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Shah Jahan

Shah Jahan, suffering deeply by his wifeís death, directed his concern into his beloved and privileged daughter Janahara. His excessive emotions towards his daughter might be a creation of his love to Mumtaz with the most resembling person and was interpreted as an incest relationship by some historians but never approved by the Mogul official documents.

Shahjahanabad, was Shah Jahanís enormous project of a metropolis in Delhi. The constructions of the new fortress-city started in 1639 with the massive citadel namely the Red Fort which is the twice size of the one in Agra with its eleven gates and twenty seven towers. The lovable city in its excellent condition was honoured by presence of Shah Jahan on 18 April 1648 on his famous eye-catching Peacock Throne. The architectural investments of Shah Jahan continued with the construction of Jami Masjid in Shahjahanabad as the biggest mosque of the Empire, even the economy was worsening with the imbalance of the enormous spending and insufficient incomes. Shah Jahan left the military and administrative matters to his four grown sons; Dara Shukoh, Aurangzeb, Shah Shuja and Murad Baksh. Augranzeb was just like his ancestors had a bad relationship with his father as an unloved boy. Disappointed by his son Muradís rejection, Shah Jahan positioned Augrenzeb in mid 1647 to capture the home of Timur, Samarkand from the Uzbeks. Unfortunately the Persians taking the advantage of Samarkand campaign, held the control of Kandahar. Even the long attempts of Augrenzeb in order to recapture the city until 1652 were not enough and caused Shah Jahanís lack of trust towards Augrenzeb and he entrusted this time to his seventy thousand soldiers under the head of Dara Shukoh in 1653 but could not help to end the fail. The campaigns cost approximately half of the annual budget but were not important as the loss of power and prestige of the Empire.

Shah Jahan honoured his oldest son Dara Shukoh to be seated next to his throne, therefore, pointing the heir to himself. He sent Augrenzeb as the governor of Deccan where his aggressive son could attack to Golconda and Bijapur in 1656 Ėthe sultans in suzerainty of Mogul since 1636 in order to gain funds for his region but hardly stopped by his father.
Shah Jahan was in fact with full confidence of his childrenís unity. Unlikely to his ancestors his children were from the same mother and, therefore, creating a real family string. However, the brothers were polarised with the illness of Shah Jahan in September 1657. The distasteful events were accelerated with the lack of Mumtaz who could possibly mediate between the children. Janahara was not administrating adequately like a real mother. The absence of Shah Jahan was interpreted as if he died by the public which also encouraged the brothers as candidates to the heir. Even Shah Jahan showed himself from his bedroomís window and insisted his eldest son, Dara as the heir, the three younger sons declared themselves as the emperors of their regions leaded first by Shah Shuja. Dara thought that the real threat was Augranzeb who also dealt with his other brother, Murad Bakhsh in order to divide the empire as one third to Murad including Afganistan, Kashmir, Sind and Punjab and the remaining two third to Augranzeb. The scenario also reveals also the three brothersí dislike to Dara, Shah Jahanís beloved.

Dara sent the army headed by his son Suleiman Shukoh in February 1658 resulted with the capture of his uncle Shah Shuja. Awfully disappointed Shah Jahan ordered the release of Shah Shuja to find a peaceful solution between the brothers. The three princes were all emphasizing their loyalty to Shah Jahan and the reason for their alerted armies was only because of Daraís hostile manner. The long conciliatory conversations were inadequate. Dara convinced his father for a battle with Augranzeb supported by Murad as the only way to stop the threat to the heir. The two forces met on the Plain of Samugarh on May 29th, 1658 and the fierce battle resulted with the victory of Augranzeb.

The two brothers reached Agra on June 1st .Shah Jahanís peaceful invitation to the fort was rejected by Augranzeb instead answered by the surrender request which was not welcomed by his father. Consequently, Augranzeb cut off the fortís water of Jumna and the fort was forced to open the gates only after three days. Shah Jahan and Janahara were imprisoned in the Harem while Raushanara was the only woman who was allowed to leave. After the allied Murad was caught with intrigue and imprisoned on an island in the Jumna River near Delhi, Augranzeb announced himself emperor on a modest ceremony on July 21, 1658 outside Delhi. He had yet two brothers as threat: Dara was in Sind on southwest and Shah Shuja was on the east. Dara was the first discouraged by Augranzeb who changed the sides of Daraís supporters with bribery. Augranzeb met with Shah Shuja in September 1658 between Benares and Agra. Mir Jumla, the ally of Augranzeb followed Shah Shuja down the Ganges almost fifteen months. Shah Shuja and his family vanished on the lands of the dangerously located pirate king of Arakan, east of Bengal which could be resulted with their death or murder. In the meanwhile Dara gathered his army and confronted with Augranzeb on March 11, 1659 in Ajmer three hundred km west of Agra. The victory of Augrenzeb made Dara and his family escape once more. After crossing the deserts of the Rann of Kutch in Sind exhausted Dara lost his favourite wife Nadira Begum from dysentery. The only shelter he could find was of an Afghan chieftain. The chieftain captured Dara and his family unexpectedly and delivered them to Delhi in August 23, 1659. Augranzeb was, in fact, determined to murder Dara. However, he could not decide only by himself and he had to be approved by the council. The logical reason of the execution could be Daraís tendency to Hinduism or even atheism and this was not acceptable in such an Islamic Empire. The council supported and therefore, Dara was not a threat to the throne anymore. With the order of Augranzeb, Murad who was still in prison judged according to Islamic laws and because he had once murdered his finance minister, the family of the minister demanded life to life. He was also executed in December 4, 1661. Daraís son Suleiman Shukoh and his own young sons were also murdered with intrigue. He only left Daraís young son Sipihr Shukoh alive as prisoner, who could then marry with Augrenzebís daughter. Augranzeb stopped not only his relatives but also his son Mohammed Sultan by imprisoning him as because he was once joined his forces with Shah Shujaís.
With the merciless execution of his two sons and vanishing of the other was intolerable grief for Shah Jahan. Although he was a rebellious son, even he had not predicted such hatred between full brothers. The dream of the tranquil plans of late years was unfortunately full with sorrow spending his time in his prison at Agra Fort overlooking Taj Mahal with his devoted Jahahara. He was exchanging letters with Augrenzeb which were fully accusation and defence of themselves. Shah Jahan fell ill with strangury and dysentery at the age of seventy three. The curing attempts were not answered and he was died on January 22, 1666. An imposing funeral ceremony of course could not be expected from Augrenzeb. He was buried quietly next to the cenotaph of Mumtaz in Taj Mahal.

Shah Jahan - Taj Mahal



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