It is often suggested that fact can be more strange than fiction. Here is a biography that adds weight to that proposition!
Sebastian Manrique was born in Portugal and joined the Order of Saint Augustine as a member of the Province of Portugal
By about the year 1628 or 1629 Manrique was in Bengal, in an area that today is part of the nation of Bangladesh.
He served in the area that is now called Bangladesh from then until the year 1642.
A case of the killing of a bird called a peacock somewhere near Burdwan by a Muslim and his arrest by the shiqdar of the locality in 1628 was reported by Manrique.
It indicates that a regulation prohibiting the killing of peacocks was imposed in that locality at the time of the conquest of Bengal by Akbar (1575).
The offence carried a punishment by whipping and by cutting off the right hand.
Manrique defended the accused before shiqdar of Narayangadhi on the plea that the man "had only acted according to the precept of his faith".
But this argument was rejected on the ground that the regulation of the Emperor regarding the matter was to the contrary.
What was left unsaid was that, in a situation where an order of the Emperor came into a clash with a religious injunction, the former would prevail.
This was, apparently, the position not only under Akbar, who was known for his adherence to the principles of sulh-i kul, but also under Shah Jahan, notwithstanding his claim of being a defender of the orthodox shari'a.
(Continued on the next page.)