Did Mughals eat pizza? White historian's viral tweet helps Internet find why Hrithik was cast as Akbar

Shaurya Thapa
Shaurya ThapaNov 24, 2022 | 17:37

Did Mughals eat pizza? White historian's viral tweet helps Internet find why Hrithik was cast as Akbar

Mughlai Pizza in what is being debated as AI generated art (photo-Benjamin Siegel on Twitter)

According to Benjamin Siegel's Twitter profile, he is a 'Transnational South Asian historian'. His credentials might be true but he has definitely spurred a debate over historical accuracy after he posted a set of four images which he claims are Mughal paintings, each of them showing proof of Mughals eating pizza. 

Now, Twitter is the last place to have a historical discussion in the first place (at least one where the facts are right); and now imagine if someone were to crack a historical joke. Siegel, in the same vein (we guess), claims that the Mughal nobles received these culinary gifts from Italian ambassadors and adds that the paintings chronicle the reign of Akbar and are procured from a private collection at Akbar’s capital city Fatehpur Sikri. 


But on closer observation, one can deduce that these paintings might just be morphed. The biggest giveaway is one in which a bearded man is eating a giant slice, holding it with seemingly infinite fingers. Some fingers seem to have fingers of their own!

So, when a Twitter user asked, “Didn't know that Akbar had that many fingers”, another one was quick to reply with, 

“There is a reason why they cast Hrithik in Jodha Akbar.”
(photo-India Today)
(photo-India Today)

Another Twitter user, Nasr Khan, replied with four more paintings claiming that the Mughals also used to feast on gigantic cakes. The human figures in these paintings have such blotched faces that it is highly probably these paintings were generated with the help of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) art generator app (the botched faces are quite common in such cases). 

Maybe Khan was just pulling Siegel’s leg or fooling others on Twitter. 

At the same time, Siegel’s tweet has its defenders too (again, as a joke, we're guessing). Yael Rice, an associate professor of art history at Amherst College in USA’s Massachusetts, tweets:

“Listen, all of you commenting that these are fake: I’m a legit specialist of Mughal painting and I assure you they’re 100% real.”

On the other hand, the ones who ardently believe this is a clear work of AI are indulging in some friendly sarcasm. 

As a Twitter user Ahmad Ali Gul writes,

“AI hasn't learnt how to draw hands yet…”

Followed by a reply by a Twitter profile simply named Doubt Everything, 

“Oh it's just more fingers to hold more pizza. Was lost to evolution.”

And that is not all, another one pointed out how one of the women in these paintings has an entire third arm popping out of her hip!

Let’s say that all of this is not AI-generated work and the Mughals indeed ate Italian pizza. Twitter user Samrat has a hilarious take on the aftermath in this case. 

“Six months later the Paneer Tikka topping was born. For reasons unknown, soon after Italy closed its diplomatic channels to India for the next 200 years.”

(The modern pizza that you and I eat -- the same one that you can see 'Akbar' eating, was actually invented in Naples, Italy, sometime in the 18th or 19th century. Akbar died in 1605... at least a hundred years before he could have eaten a pizza!)

Last updated: November 25, 2022 | 11:23
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