Emperors too were children once. Even Mughal emperor Akbar, who has been given the title of Akbar the Great. He was more interested in bunking lessons rather than learn from his tutor. Being his own master from a young age, one day he decided that he did not want to study. He made the highest minister in his father Humayun’s court tell his teacher that it was to be an off day!

Later in life, he went out of his way to tell people that he was illiterate. But that was not entirely true, though it is correct that he never penned a line himself. At the same time, he loved books and also enjoyed them being read to him.

He had a huge collection of books. Especially illustrated books. He was interested in nature, medicine, maths, military affairs, astrology, and religion. He took a keen interest in painting and it was during his rule that the famous Mughal miniature style of painting started.

His great curiosity for the unknown made him explore subjects that were never taught by teachers. He also created a special syllabus for his son Salim, or Jehangir.

The Emperor who Hated Schooling
The Emperor who Hated Schooling [Illustration: Nitin Vishwakarma]
His son Jehangir inherited his father’s curious bent of mind. When he liked the milk of one particular camel, he tried to find out what food it ate. Then he had it made specially for an entire herd of camels!

He was very attached to the animals in the royal stable. When he saw elephants shiver in the cold, he ordered that they be given warm water.