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AKBAR, EMPEROR OF INDIA. 3!
taken from their parents in return for a compensation and
brought up under the care of silent nurses in a remote spot
in which no word should be spoken. After four years it
was proved that as many of these unhappy children as were
still alive were entirely dumb and possessed no trace of a
predisposition for Islam.35 Later the children are said to
have learned to speak with extraordinary difficulty as was
to be expected.
Akbar's repugnance to Islam developed into a complete
revulsion against every thing connected with this narrow
religion and made the great Emperor petty-souled in
this particular. The decrees were dated from the death
of Mohammed and no longer from the Hejra (the flight
from Mecca to Medina). Books written in Arabic, the
language of the Koran were given the lowest place in the
imperial library. The knowledge of Arabic was prohib-
ited, even the sounds characteristically belonging to this
language were avoided.36 Where formerly according to
ancient tradition had stood the word Bismillahi, "in the
name of God," there now appeared the old war cry Alldhu
akbar, "God is great/' which came into use the more gen-
erally—on coins, documents, etc.— the more the courtiers
came to reverse the sense of the slogan and to apply to it
the meaning, "Akbar is God/'
Before I enter into the Emperor's assumption of this
85 J. T. Wheeler, IV, I, 174; Noer, I, 511, 512. A familiar classical paral-
lel to this incident is the experiment recorded by Herodotus (II, 2) which
the Egyptian king Psammetich is said to have performed with two infants.
It is related that after being shut up in a goafs stable for two years separated
from all human intercourse these children repeatedly cried out the alleged
Phrygian word jSe/efo, "bread," which in reality was probably simply an imita-
tion of the bleating of the goats. Compare Edward B. Tyler, Researches into
the Early History of Mankmd. 2d edition, (London, 1870), page 81: "It is a
very trite remark that there is nothing absolutely incredible in the story and
that Bek} bek is a good imitative word for bleating as in /3\i?x*oA«u, wKdottat,
bloken, meckern, etc." Farther on we find the account of a similar attempt
made by James IV of Scotland as well as the literature with regard to other
historical and legendary precedents of this sort in both Orient and Occident.
*8Noer, II, 324, 325. Beards which the Koran commanded to be worn
Akbar even refused to allow in his presence. M. Elphinstone, 525; G. B.