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Jahangir


Akbar’s son Salim made his first marriage to his cousin Man Bai who gave birth to his first son, Khusrau in 1585. The second son namely Parvez was born in 1589 from a Muslim mother. The birth of the third son from Jodh Bai of Marwar (Jodhpur) in 5 January 1592 pleased the family and especially was adored by the grandfather Akbar thanks to his birth moment was the same with Timur according to the conjunctions of the planets and the month was the same with the prophet Muhammad. He therefore named as Khurram “Joyous” and later the future’s emperor “Shah Jahan”.

Khurram customary started his education at four years, four months and four days. Besides his talent in details and memory he had a particular interest in gems and clothes. Khurram went hunting and fighting with his grandfather Akbar only at six years old. Akbar adored his grandson like his own son which caused deep disappointment in Salim, Khurram’s father. Akbar’s insoluble negligence towards Salim’s led to the son’s rebellion. He thought to give harm to his father’s one of the closest advisors, Abul Fazl and offered to reward the one who kills. He was then murdered by a local raja in 1602, which angered Akbar but he could not give any reaction to his son in order to protect the Empire’s future. Akbar’s other son Murad died and Daniyal was nearly dying because of alcohol and Khusrau was only a teenager, therefore, leaving no other option but to reconcile. After the death of Daniyal in 1604, the eyes were on Salim and Khusrau. Akbar prevented the rivalry which might cause the decline of the Empire by declaring Salim as his heir leaving no question marks on the bed before his death in October 15, 1605 at the age of sixty three.

Salim hold the throne at the age of thirty-six and took the name of Jahangir “seizer of the world” or “worldholder”.

His rebellious son Khusrau was sent to the Red Fort at Agra in order to prevent any potential disaster as the rival to his own father. Unfortunately it did not stop Khusrau and he rebelled in April 1606. Jahangir interfered the rebels recklessly leaving his fourteen year-old son Khurram to govern the council himself. Jahangir’s tendency in torturing was notable. It was reported that the guilty people were punished under the feet of the elephants.

His curiosity for science and nature are worth emphasising and he was interested in architecture like his father Akbar. Although he lost time in suppressing Khusrau’s rebels, he continued to finish his father’s four-minaret-mausoleum at Sikandra near Agra which was amongst the masterpiece of elegance of the time.
When he controlled his rebelled son, Jahangir devoted himself to Khurram, the heir to the Empire. Khurram was engaged in April 1607 with the grand daughter of Ghiyas Beg, Arjumand Banu. On the other hand, Ghiyas beg who was awarded by Jahangir with the title of Itimad-ud-daula (pillar of government) was then embarrassed to the loyal family with one of his son’s contribution to Khusrau’s revolts. He saved his son’s life from execution and forced to pay huge amounts to Jahangir for this disorder which was the reason of the delay of Arjumand Banu’s wedding. Khurram married with a Persian girl of Shah Ismail Safavi’s descent in October 1610 and gave birth to his first child, in August 1611.
The selection of thirty-year-old Mehrunissa to Harem by the order of Jahangir was after her husband’s murder intentionally in Bengal. Mehrunissa took the name of Nur Mahal “Light of the Palace” as Jahangir’s last bride and, then, Nur Jahan “Light of the world”. The former problems were gradually solved with Ghiyas Beg after the coming of the new bride.
It was also a good period for Arjumand Banu, who was lately able to marry with Khurram in 10 May 1612, a fortunate date which was well-chosen by the astrologers .

Jahangir also awarded Ghiyas beg’s son, Arjumand Banu’s father with the title of Asaf Khan in 1614.

After the marriage Khurram gave the title of Mumtaz Mahal Begum to elect from the other women and to honour her.

During the times of their marriage, the capital Agra was huge enough with 750.000 habitants and was welcoming visitors from Europe, Uzbek, Afghanistan easily with approximately ninety lodging houses and eight hundred bath houses as a very lively city. Princess Hue al-Nisa, the daughter of Mumtaz Mahal and Khurram, was born on 30 March 1613. The comfortable days of Mumtaz was ended by Jahangir’s calling his son Khurram to the military campaign in 1614. Unlikely to his ancestors’ rules, Khurram preferred to take his wife wherever he goes which caused Mumtaz Mahal’s twelve of fourteen children’s birth during the campaigns but she never separated from her husband.

Khurram showed his skills both in military and diplomacy during his campaign to Mewar and controlled the city where his father attempted twice before and could not succeed. Mumtaz gave birth to their second daughter, Janahara on 2 April 1614 and the first son, Dara Shukoh on 30 March 1615 during the campaign to Mewar . Khurram was positioned for the Deccan campaign on the southern in 1616 after a short period of peace time. Unfortunately Deccan campaign caused a very tragic incident. The eldest daughter of Khurram and Mumtaz died of smallpox in 1616’s summer which was mournful for the family. Mumtaz was eight-month pregnant for the fourth child while deeply grieving for her daughter. The second son Shah Shuja was born and Khurram’s family started to prepare for the war against Deccani Kingdoms. The Mogul army settled at Burhanpur through the Tapti River. Khurram’s army of ten thousand soldiers and six hundred elephants on 31 October 1616 and was followed by his father towards Deccan. Khurram defeated Malik Ambar, the former Abyssinian slave struggling to gain lands and the sultan of Bijapur. Khurram returned in October 1617 and his success was awarded and honoured by his father Jahangir with the title of Shah Jahan “the lord of the World”. Jahangir also requested Khurram to be seated next to his throne as the governor of Gujarat.

Mumtaz gave birth to their fifth child, a baby girl Raushanara. Shah Jahan had to take another wife according to the request of his father Jahangir due to political reasons. In order to reward the leading general of Jahangir, Khan Khanan Shah Jahan married with his grand daughter. She gave birth to a son namely Sultan Afroz but not a favoured child as the children of Mumtaz and an unfortunate son who died of an illness in 1620.

The third son of Mumtaz, Aurangzeb was born 3 November 1618 and only after three months she was pregnant again.

Jahangir, Khurram, Nur and Mumtaz reached the vale of Kashmir in March 1620 after the five month of dangerous and struggling journey from Agra. Mumtaz’s son Ummid Bakhsh was born during the journey in December 1619.

Nur Jahan, advantaging from her husband Jahangir’s great tendency in alcohol and his illness determined to control the government business and signed the orders on behalf of her husband. Shah Jahan was dealing with the military matters but indeed suspicious of Nur Jahan’s intentions. Nur was planning to rule the Empire after her husband’s death with a more controllable emperor, rather than ambitious Shah Jahan. She also desired to strengthen her relations with the court by trying to marry her daughter Ladli from his ex-husband Sher Afgan with a Mogul Prince. The influence of Mumtaz on Shah Jahan was obvious, therefore, he was not a suitable candidate. Khusrau was imprisoned and was not preferred by Ladli, who was strictly against to live behind the cages. After long persistence Jahangir promised to marry his youngest son Shahriyar with Ladli on December 1620. While the intrigues were continuing inside the court, the Deccani sultans of Bijapur, Ahmednagar and allied Golconda rebelled against Moguls again with an army of sixty thousand. Shah Jahan, the only powerful option between the sons was again called for the war by Jahangir. Although it was the worst time to leave the court in the hands of Nur, Shah Jahan had no option but to defend the country. He, at least prevented one of the threat by taking the permission from his father to take Khusrau to the campaign with him. Sorayya Bano, the eight child of Mumtaz was born during Deccan campaign in June 1621. Shah Jahan, again, was successful to solve the conflicts and he defeated within six months.

The tragic dramas started with the marriage of Shahriyar and Ladli as the great project of Nur Jahan while Shah Jahan was on the campaign. Jahangir’s serious illness of asthma attacks got worse and at the time of the worries about Jahangir, Nur lost his mother. Itimad-ud-daula, the father of Nur was also fell sick with deep grieving after three months of his wife’s death and died in January 1622. The loss of Itımad-ud-daula was unfortunate for the court after his successful duties over forty-four years. Also he was the only person capable to control Nur’s interests. The death of Khusrau during the campaign was also a question mark whether it was of colic or a murder by Shah Jahan, mostly believed the second.

When the news arrived from Kandahar that the emperor of Persia Shah Abbas was advancing, Jahangir settled on a campaign with a huge army in order to prevent Persia and a possible Persian invasion. He also called Shah Jahan to join the army in March 1622 which turned with various demands of Shah Jahan. He required to be the commander of the Kandahar campaign and the governor of Punjap and also requested the Rajput fortress of Ranthambhor in Rajastan as a secured place for his family. The demands were angered Jahangir and even was considered as his son’s disloyalty. After the deep disappointment, Jahangir decided to position Shahriyar as the commander of Kandahar but resulted with the loss of the city. Shah Kahan apologised Jahangir for his attitude but was not welcomed by his father. He rebelled against his father by taking their former enemies to his side. Jahangir asked his son Parvez to command the army against Shah Jahan but mostly trusting his general Mahabat Khan in May 1623. The long and tiring three-years passed with father and son struggles. Shah Jahan, also tired of his illness, had no option but to beg mercy from his father. Unlikely to his former merciless reaction to Khushrau, Jahangir decided to forgive Shah Jahan, probably taking his wife, Nur’s support who did not consider Shah Jahan as a threat anymore in such a poor condition. Jahangir gave his son a diamond-studded mace and positioned him as the governor of Balaghat in Central India as the presents of his mercy but requested Shah Jahan’s sons Dara Shukoh and Aurangzeb as the hostages in return. He also asked to surrender the fortresses of Rohtas and Asir.

General Mahabat Khan’s success with Parvez was attracted Jahangir and rose the idea of a heir supported by an ambitious general. As soon as Nur and his brother Asaf Khan discovered Jahangir’s intention, the intrigues and slanders against Mahabat Khan started. He was tried to be driven to Bengal in the east as a governor. Therefore, Mahabat Khan had to defend himself on Jahangir’s presence before getting destroyed. When both Jahangir and Mahabat Khan met, the general was supported by Rajput soldiers in any unexpected case. Jahangir listened to him and offered hunting and riding as for showing their former friendship. However, general’s Rajput soldiers kidnapped the emperor and hidden in Mahabat Khan’s camp. An imperial troop was arranged with the order of Nur and Asaf Khan to save the kidnapped emperor. But the Rajput soldiers were successful and killed about two-thousand imperial soldiers also added Asaf Khan among the hostages.

Shah Jahan and Mumtaz were following the events with worrying in their exile place in south. He decided to help his father in June 1626 and confronted with Mahabat Khan. The general defeated Shah Jahan. The seizure of the general became pointless with the death of Parvez in October 1626 because of his tendency to alcohol and Mahabat Khan who clearly understood that he would not escape from Nur’s harm, joined forces with his once opponent, Shah Jahan.

Jahangir, “seizer of the World” died on 28 October 1627 at the age of fifty-eight leaving a stable country but without any enlargement probably due to his two son’s rebellion. With the death of the Empire without declaring any successor, the eyes were on two princes: Shahriyar and Shah Jahan. At this point Asaf Khan was in a very important position. He had to control his grieving sister by putting a guard and send the news of Jahangir’s death to his daughter Mumtaz and Shah Jahan before Shahriyar’s announcement for the throne. He proposed Dawar Baksh on his side in order to prevent any rebel with the absence of the two heirs.

Shahriyar, also suffering with his shameful illness of leprosy which causes hairlessness, was notified earlier by Nur. He came with his army from Lahore but was defeated by Asaf Khan, imprisoned and blinded. On the other side, the news came to Shah Jahan on 18 November 1627. After four-days mourning together with Mahabat Khan he went to the north for the throne. Before their arrival to Agra, Shah Jahan ordered Asaf Khan in Lahore to execute Dawar Bakshsh, Shahriyar, the two sons of Daniyal (Jahangir’s dead brother), therefore, leaving no threat for the empire inside the court as a trace of his self-preservation.
Shah Jahan came to the throne on 14 February 1628, the day of the 145th anniversary of Babur’s birth and 72nd anniversary of Akbar’s succession as the “king of the world”, meteor of the faith. In early March, Mumtaz joyfully met his formerly hostage to sons and introduced them their new brother born in exile Sultan Lutf Allah. The whole family started to live in the Red Fort of Agra in full harmony. He customary started to make appearance to the public on the jharokha balcony. However the unfortunate events started in April 1628 while Mumtaz was pregnant the seven-year old Sorayya Bano died of smallpox and just after five days of the birth of baby boy Daulat Afza, she lost little Lutf Allah, the grief of two lost children at a very short time.

Nur, abandoned her passions after her husband’s death, speeded up to build his father’s tomb, Itimad-ud-daula in Agra. As the symbol of the paradise white marble was the typical of the time of Shah Jahan. The building is ornamented by geometrical and flower designs and is towered by four minarets on four sides. She, then started to build a mausoleum for her husband Jahangir, and herself next to him located at Dilkusha Garden outside Lahore where both once spent joyful times. The mausoleum was totally reflecting Sunni belief of minimalism, without any ornamentation and in an open space for the blessings of merciful rain.

Mumtaz, indeed was an influential character on Shah Jahan. Unlike Nur Jahan, she was not controllable. She preferred to be a partner and an adviser next to her husband. She was even allowed by her husband to give her own orders and appointments with her own seal.

Formerly fight against Shah Jahan under Jahangir’s rule, Khan Jahan was the governor of Deccan – appointed by Jahangir. He was called by Shah Jahan to the court to make his obeisance but was ordered to leave from his lands and dissolve his soldiers; which was not accepted by Khan Jahan.

The armies of Khan Jahan with two thousand Afgans confronted Shah Jahan’s army on the banks of Chambal River, forty miles from Agra in October 1629. After the death of Khan Jahan’s two sons and two brothers, he took shelter in the kingdom of Ahmetnagar as an ally. Shah Jahan campaigned to the south together with his pregnant wife with the determination to defeat not only Khan Jahan but also Ahmetnagar in late 1629. They journeyed through Burhanpur palace where the births of some children and deaths of Khusrau and Parvez took place. Mumtaz gave birth to a baby girl, the thirteenth child in 23 April 1630, who died in a very short time after birth. The end of Khan Jahan came with Ahmetnagar’s leaving the alliance at the end of 1630. He was caught shortly afterward and his head was presented to Shah Jahan.

Once again pregnant Mumtaz was determined to marry her son Dara Shukoh with Parvez’s daughter. The idea was welcomed both by his son and Shah Jahan. While the preparations for the marriage were continuing, the labour of Mumtaz started and after long and dreadful struggles, Gauharara, was born in June 1631. The birth of the new daughter was dramatically the end of the beloved Mumtaz, the endless love of Shah Jahan. According to some historians the Mumtaz’s last requests were not to have children by any other women and to build a paradise-like mausoleum.

Mumtaz was buried temporarily in a garden on the opposite bank of the Tapti River in Burhanpur according to the Muslim rules.

Mournful Shah Jahan left his interest in gems and eye-catching clothes and preferred to wear pure white clothes in next two years after his wife’s death and then continued to wear them on every Wednesday. One-third of Mumtaz’s fortune rich with gems, gold and silver was given to her eldest daughter, seventeen-year-old Janahara who was then promoted to her mother’s position by Shah Jahan, not the other wives. The rest of the fortune was split between other six children.


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