According to Benjamin Siegel’s Twitter profile, he is a “transnational South Asian historian”. His testimonies may be true, but he definitely spurred a debate over historical accuracy after posting a series of four images he claims are Mughal paintings, each showing evidence of Mughals eating pizza .
Now Twitter is the last place to even have a historical discussion (at least one that has the facts in it); and now imagine someone cracking a historical joke. Siegel similarly claims (we suspect) that Mughal nobles received these culinary gifts from Italian ambassadors, adding that the paintings chronicle Akbar’s reign and come from a private collection in Akbar’s capital, Fatehpur Sikri.
But on closer inspection one can conclude that these paintings may just be morphed. The biggest giveaway is one where a bearded man eats a giant piece and holds it with seemingly endless fingers. Some fingers seem to have fingers of their own!
So when one Twitter user asked, “Didn’t know Akbar had so many fingers,” another was quick to reply:
“There’s a reason they threw Hrithik in Jodha Akbar.”
Another Twitter user, Nasr Khan, responded with four other paintings claiming that the Mughals also ate giant cakes. The human figures in these paintings have such blotchy faces that it is very likely that these paintings were created with the help of an artificial intelligence (AI) art generator app (the botched faces are quite common in such cases).
Maybe Khan Siegel just pulled the leg or fooled others on Twitter.
At the same time, Siegel’s tweet also has its defenders (again, as a joke, we’re guessing). Yael Rice, associate professor of art history at Amherst College, Massachusetts, tweeted:
“Listen, all of you who are commenting that this is fake: I am a legitimate Mughal painting specialist and I assure you they are 100% genuine.”
On the other hand, those who passionately believe this is a clear work of AI indulge in friendly sarcasm.
As one Twitter user Ahmad Ali Gul writes,
“The AI hasn’t learned how to draw hands yet…”
Followed by a reply from a Twitter profile called Doubt Everything,
“Oh, it’s just more fingers to hold more pizza. Was lost to evolution.”
And that’s not all, another pointed out that one of the women in these paintings has a whole third arm sticking out from her hip!
Let’s assume that all of this isn’t AI-generated work, and that the moguls actually ate Italian pizza. Twitter user Samrat has a hilarious take on the fallout in this case.
“Six months later, the Topping Paneer Tikka was born. For reasons unknown, shortly thereafter Italy closed its diplomatic channels to India for the next 200 years.”
(The modern pizza you and I eat – the same one you see ‘Akbar’ eating was actually invented sometime in the 18th or 19th century in Naples, Italy. Akbar died in 1605…at least a hundred years before he could have eaten a pizza!)