Friday, June 12, 2020


Hello, friends welcome to the Indian Art & Culture. Today we are talking about the history and biography of the Mughal King Shah Jahan. So let's start...


Taj Mahal, which is known as the symbol of love all over the world. This building made of white marble is the masterpiece of the Mughal architecture. Around four million tourists visit this monument every year. Gifting the model of Taj Mehal has become a fashion all over the world. But the emperor who had built the Taj Mahal passed the last years of his life in deep pain. He passed away but the beauty of the buildings and gardens he constructed still stays in India and Pakistan.

we will show you the story of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in this Article. On January 15,1592 Mughal Prince Jahangir had the birth of a son. Then Akbar-e-Azam, the father of Prince Jahangir ruled India. Akbar named Khurram his grandson. Khurram learned Persian from competent teachers, archery from this uncle Murad... and the gun firing from Raja Suleman. He also practiced sword-fighting in Deccan.

Emperor Akbar died when Khurram was 13. Jahangir became the emperor. Like other princes, Prince Khurram too was carefree and busy in his own life. Then Arjumand Bano Begum entered his life. She was the daughter of Asif Jah, the brother of Empress Noor Jahan. Khurram and Arjumand married in 1612. She was the same lady known as Mumtaz Mahal in history. Khurram was captivated by the love of his wife the same manner his father Jahangir to Empress Noor Jahan. But Prince Khurram did not forget his royal responsibilities.

In 1614, Emperor Jahangir sent him to conquer Mewar commanding the army of 12000. Khurram set up posts at a place to place in Mewar and began to apprehend the men, women, and children. He also made back to back attacks in different parts of Mewar. The repeated attacks made Amar Singh surrender. He accepted the reign of Emperor Jahangir. Later Khurram also crushed insurgencies in Deccan and Kangra. Pleased with the successes of his son, Jahangir awarded Khurram the title of Shah Jahan in 1617. The military successes generated the desire of becoming the emperor in Shah Jahan.


On the other, Empress Noor Jahan wanted to make Prince Shahryar, her son-in-law and, brother of Shah Jahan, the Emperor of India. Shah Jahan apprehended Jahangir would appoint Shaharyar his successor under Noor Jehan's influence. So he stood in revolt. He first attacked Dholpur. This area was the principality of Shahryar which Shah Jahan took into possession by force. Emperor Jahangir became greatly annoyed by this act of Shah Jahan. He attached the principalities of Shah Jahan. And gave him the title of "Bedaulat," which means poor and without fortune.

Shah Jahan attacked Agra and plundered the city when Jahangir was in Lahore. Now Jahangir himself took out an army to take Shah Jahan to the task. He sent his son Prince Parvez with the commander in chief Mohabbat Khan to the front line. The army of Jahangir inflicted a crushing defeat to a contingent of Shah Jahan's army near Shahpur. Sundar who was an important commander of Shah Jahan was killed in that fight. After that, the troops of Parvez and Mohabbat Khan gave defeat after defeat to Shah Jahan's forces. Shah Jahan was greatly embarrassed by it. He sent the tutor of Jahangir and his close associate Khane Khana to Mohabbat Khan for reconciliation. But Khane Khana betrayed Shah Jahan and joined hands with the Royal Army.

Now Shah Jahan was forced to flee to Deccan. He urged Jahangir to pardon him. Shah Jahan also sent his sons Dara Shikoh and Aurengzeb to the service of his father Jahangir pardoned his son. Thus the revolt of Shah Jahan was over. But some time after that on October 28, 1627 Jahangir passed away. With this, the issue of Jahangir's succession cropped up. The sons of Jahangir, Khusro, and Parvez, had died during the lifetime of their father. Now two heirs of Jahangir were alive. Prince Shaharyar and Shah Jahan.

Asif Jah, the father in law of Shah Jahan, detained his sister Noor Jahan without delay. It aimed at preventing Noor Jahan from helping her son-in-law, Prince Shaharyar in the succession race. Then he moved to Lahore where Shaharyar had declared his kingship. Only three months after Shaharyar had declared the kingship, Asif Jah reached Lahore with the army. A decisive battle took place between two armies near Lahore. The ministers of Shaharyar had an underhand deal with Asif Jah. Their treachery caused defeat to Shaharyar. Shaharyar was blinded and put in jail.

Shah Jahan was still in Deccan at a long distance from Lahore. Therefore Asif Jah made Dawar Buksh, the nephew of Shah Jahan, emperor for the time being. Dawar Buksh had no power and all affairs of the rule were in the hand of Asif Jah. Shah Jahan rushed to Agra. He sent a message to Asif Jah that Dawar Buksh, his brother Kashaniat, Shaharyar, and the other two princes Timorus and Hoshing should be done to demise. So Asif Jah first of all, made a sermon in the name of Shah Jahan and later on February 2, 162 killed all five princes. 12 days after this happening on February 14, 1628, Shah Jahan was crowned as emperor in Agra. He assumed the title of Abul Muzaffar Shahabuddin Mohammad Sahib-e-Qiran-e-Sani. He fixed Rs two million annual stipend for his stepmother and widow of Jahangir, Noor Jahan, and ousted her from the Royal Court.

We have shown you the biography of Noor Jahan. After three years of becoming the emperor, Shah Jahan got the biggest emotional shock of his life. On June 16,1631 his most beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal passed away on the birth of 14th child. It goes that in her last moments, Mumtaz called Shah Jahan and entrusted him the custody of her children... and passed away uttering some last words. Shah Jahan cried buckets after the demise of his dearest wife.

All courtiers sharing the grief of the emperor wore the mourning black dress. The emperor did not attend the Court for a week. In that period he only stood in the balcony and held the Court. His Courtiers were obliged to take his commands standing before him. The dance was also suspended in the Palace. The emperor gave up putting on colorful ornaments and dresses. Shah Jahan passed even Eid occasion weeping in memory of his wife. He even said, he would have divided this emperor among his sons had God did not bestow it on him. And he would have renounced the world. His beard turned white. And eyesight became weaker.


Shah Jahan buried Mumtaz Mahal in Agra and converted the place of her grave into a tomb which is popularly known as Taj Mahal. This tomb took about 22 years, from 1635 to 1655, to complete. 20,000 workers constructed it with their untiring efforts. The construction cost Rs. 35 million at that time which values today at Rs.50 billion. It also goes that Mumtaz Mahal got a promise at her last moment from Shah Janah... for setting up the most beautiful tomb of the world in her memory. Taj Mahal at present is enlisted with UNESCO among the world-historic heritages. Shah Jahan had appointed his father in law Asif Jah, Prime Minister with full powers. While he devoted himself largely to the constructions.

The beautification and decoration of the Moti Mosque of the Lahore Fort, Naulakha, Shalimar Garden, Red Fort Delhi, and Jamia Masjid all were got constructed by Shah Jahan. Delhi was repopulated after Shah Jahan decided to shift from Agra. The Old Delhi of the present day was originally named Shah Jahanabad. Because Shah Jahan had inhabited this City. Shah Jahan also had prepared a costly throne for himself that was called Takht-e-Taus. It had legs made of gold and peacocks on both sides each with diamonds' loop in its beak.


In the 18th century Iranian ruler Nadir Shah Irani got hold of this costly throne and took it to Iran. Shah Jahan was busy in constructing buildings yet he was not oblivious of the affairs of the state. He loved his elder son, Dara Shikoh. He wished Dar Shikoh to succeed him.

In 1654 Shah Jahan announced Dar Shikoh, the Crown Prince. He had already sent his three other sons out of Delhi. Prince Murad had been made the ruler of Gujrat. Aurengzeb was the ruler of Deccan while Shah Shuja had been the governor of Bengal. Now only Dara Shikoh was in Delhi with his father. And no hurdle stayed in the way of his becoming the Emperor. But there was a problem and that was religious ideas of Dara Shikoh which were not in sync... with a majority of Shah Jahan's courtiers. It was thought about Dara Shikoh that for him all religions were actually one. He paid equal respect to Muslim Sufis, Hindu stoics, and spiritual leaders of other faiths. His very thoughts turned the religious section in the Royal Court against him. This section began to contact Aurengzeb who was a staunchly religious person. On it, Aurengzeb quietly began to plan for capturing the power. Then he also got the opportunity to stand in revolt.

In 1657, the Emperor suddenly fell ill. So he became unable to hold the Court. Aurengzeb blamed Dara Shikoh for keeping the illness of the father a secret from him. On the pretext of inquiring after the health of his father, Aurangzeb left Deccan with a large army. He wrote a letter to his brother Murad telling him that he had no ambition for power... and had only aimed in life that is, to visit the Kaaba (the House of God) He asked for the help of Murad against Dara Shikoh committing he would appoint him the Emperor. It was a huge offer. Murad fell trap to the words of Aurengzeb. So he joined Aurengzeb and they moved to Delhi for the attack. Leading a large army Dara Shikoh faced the forces of his brothers at Chambal. But he was defeated and ran away to Lahore.


Aurengzeb captured Delhi and Agra and detained his father Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan was inside the jail while his sons were at daggers drawn outside. First of all, Aurengzeb duped Murad into imprisonment and killed in Gwalyar Fort. Dara Shikoh mopped up his army and attacked Aurengzeb forces but had back to back to defeat. At last, he escaped to Sindh but he became victim to the treachery of his own companions. They arrested Dara Shikoh and produced him before Aurengzeb. The third brother Shah Shuja with his army was proceeding to Banaras when Aurengzeb took him on the way and defeated. Shah Shuja ran to Burma and reached Arakan and took asylum with the Raja. But he had a rift with the Raja on which he killed Shah Shuja and his sons.

Now Dara Shikoh was the only surviving brother of Aurengzeb. He was already in jail. The Court tried Dara Shikoh and declared him apostate. The Court ordered to kill him. Despite suspected impartiality of the court, Dara Shikoh was put to demise. He was beheaded and his head was presented before Aurengzeb.

Some historians say, Aurengzeb refused to see the face of his brother saying, it was the face of cursed man. While others narrated that he took the head of his brother into his hand cleansed blood stains on it... and shed tears. Shah Jahan in detention was also receiving information about all these happenings. These reports aggravated his pain. His daughter Jahan Ara was serving her father detained in the Palace. Aurengzeb had deputed many servants to the care of his father and they honored him as the emperor. Shah Jahan would see the Taj Mahal from the window and remember his beloved wife. It goes that in order to kill time, Shah Jahan asked for Aurengzeb's permission to teach the Quran to children. On receiving this message, Aurengzeb thought his father still had the obsession of kingship. He dismissed the request of his father.

Dara Shikoh

On another occasion, when Aurengzeb proposed the daughter of Dara Shikoh for his son, Akbar. The female members of Dara Shikoh's family were also detained at the Royal Palace in Agra. The daughter of Dara Shikoh on learning of this proposal equipped herself with a dagger. She vowed to kill herself instead of marrying the son of a person who had killed her father. Shah Jahan also supported his grand-daughter. He stopped her from going to Aurengzeb. Another row between Aurengzeb and Shah Jahan took place on the question of Kohinoor... a huge treasure of gems and diamonds that was with Shah Jahan. Aurengzeb asked his father to hand him over this treasure, Shah Jahan refused. He even warned of crushing the treasure into pieces if attempted to snatch it. Aurengzeb became silent. And he sent a European physician for his father's treatment and after some time that Shah Jahan died. It can only be presumed whether this physician-administered poison or Shah Jahan had a natural demise. But Aurengzeb gave an elevated position to this physician in the Court.

The day Shah Jahan passed away, Aurengzeb was getting ready to proceed to Kashmir. Surprisingly, the oldest daughter of Aurengzeb, Fakharun Nisa greeted her father over Shah Jahan's demise. They all cast doubts on the demise of Shah Jahan. The last rituals of Shah Jahan were performed according to Islam in a graceful manner. The army wore mourning black dress and Aurengzeb with a sad face walked behind the vehicle... a body of Shah Jahan was placed on. Whether Aurengzeb was pretending it or he was actually saddened by the demise... of his father, we have no idea about it.

Shah Jahan died at 74. And he had left the rule seven years back. Shah Jahan was laid to rest beside Mumtaz Mahal in the Taj Mahal. What in your view was the actual cause of Shah Jahan's demise? Whether Dara Shikoh was meted out justice? Do write on it in the comments section.



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