Shah Jahan : The Enigmatic Emperor

Shah Jahan

About Shah Jahan :

Shah Jahan: The fifth and popular Mughal emperor is the most remembered king of the Mughal dynasty, for building the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. The Taj Mahal is a symbol of love between Shah Jahan and his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan was an avid lover of art and architecture. He strongly promoted the art, architecture and culture of the Mughal era during his reign, so his era is also known as the golden age of architecture and the most prosperous period of Indian civilization.

Shah Jahan was a brave, just and far-reaching Mughal emperor. Son of the Mughal emperor Jahangir and the grandson of the famous Mughal emperor Akbar. After the death of Jahangir, at a very young age, Shah Jahan took over the throne and he greatly expanded the Mughal Empire due to his efficient strategy, Shah Jahan had achieved a lot in the reign of just 30 years, let’s know some special things about his life.

He also made his mark around the world as a true lover, was born on January 5, 1592, in Lahore as the son of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and ‘Jagat Gosai’ (Jodha Bai). His mother was the daughter of Raja Udai Singh Ji, the ruler of Jodhpur. Shah Jahan was born as the grandson of the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar. The Mughal emperor Akbar called him Shahzada(prince) Khurram, so his name was Khurram in childhood which means happiness. Akbar had left no stone unturned to make Shah Jahan a great warrior, he started training him in military skills from childhood.

Shah Jahan had a very strained relationship with his father Jahangir. Because, Jahangir paid more attention and believed in the diplomacy of his clever wife Nur Jahan, due to that He and Jahangir did not make much. At the same time, just as Jahangir had revolted with his father Akbar and took over the reign of the Mughal Empire, in the same way, Shah Jahan also took over the rule of the Mughal Empire by deceiving his father Jahangir.

Shahjahan's History

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  • Name : Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram
  • Birth: 5 January 1592, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Death: 30 January 1666 (aged 74), Agra Fort, Agra India
  • Reign: 19 January 1628 – 31 July 1658
  • Predecessor: Jahangir
  • Successor: Aurangzeb
  • Father: Jahangir
  • Mother: Jagat Gosain
  • Consort: Mumtaj Mahal
  • Wives: Kandahari Begum 
  • Akbarabadi Mahal,
  • Fatehpuri Mahal,
  • Lilavati Bai(Jodhpur)

Shah Jahan as heir to the Mughal Throne

shah jahan

Shah Jahan’s step-mother Nur Jahan absolutely did not want him to sit on the Mughal throne. Shah Jahan also understood Nur Jahan’s conspiracy and raged war in 1622 AD, although he could not succeed in this. After the death of his father Jahangir in 1627 AD, using his clever lore, instructed his father-in-law Asaf Khan to eliminate all the main claimants to the heirs to the Mughal throne.

After which Asaf Khan cleverly killed Dabur Baksh, Hoshankar, Gurusasp, Shahryar and thus Shah Jahan was placed on the Mughal throne. Even at a very young age, Shah Jahan was chosen as the heir to the Mughal throne by Akbar. In the year 1628 AD he was coronated in Agra and he was honoured with the title of “Abul-Muzaffar Shahabuddin, Muhammad Sahib Kiran-e-Sani”.

After assuming the Mughal throne, the he gave the most trusted Asaf Khan the post of state’s Wazir. Shah Jaha ruled for about 30 years from 1628 to 1658 due to his intelligence and efficient strategies. His reign has been called the golden age of Mughal rule and the most prosperous period of time as he conquered many states and merged into the Mughal Empire and expanded it.

Shah Jahan's Architecture

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Shah Jahan, from the very beginning, was an avid, courageous and extremely intelligent ruler.  He was an esoteric lover of art and architecture. during his reign, He Promoted art and architecture a lot and built many such historical buildings and developed beautiful gardens that are still recorded on the pages of history one of them is the Taj Mahal, which is counted among the 7 wonders of the world due to its grand beauty and historical importance. Most of the structures and architecture built during his reign have been constructed using white marble. 

Let me also tell you that during his reign, the prosperity, glory and fame of the Mughal Empire was in the seventh sky, many eminent people from the country and abroad used to come to Shahjahan’s court and wondered to see the splendour and luxuries. And also used to appreciate his royal court. Shah Jahan played a very big role in strengthening the Mughal Empire.

His reign was prosperous, with ample treasure there was no place for poverty. Therefore, he had made his image in front of his subjects as an efficient administrator. Due to his diplomacy and intelligence, He had also established friendly relations with many countries, which encouraged trade. during his reign and the state developed a lot.

In the year 1638, Shah Jaha shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi, naming his new capital Shahjahanabad. During this time he built many famous historical buildings including Red Fort, Jama-Masjid in Delhi. Then in the year 1648, the famous Peacock Throne of the Mughal rulers was shifted from Agra to Delhi Red Fort.

Shahjahan's Expansion of the Mughal Empire

As soon as he took over the Mughal throne, He first conquered Ahmednagar and annexed it to the Mughal Empire in the year 1633 AD. During this, he also took the last Nizamshahi Sultan Hussain Shah hostage in the Gwalior Fort, which ended the Nizamshahi dynasty.

Shahji Bhonsle was earlier in the service of Ahmednagar, but after the merger of Ahmednagar with the Mughal Empire, Shahji had to accept the service of Bijapur. After annexing Ahmednagar to the empire, Shah Jahan had made a treaty with Bijapur and Golconda according to certain conditions, some of which are as follows –

The name of Mughal Emperor was included on the coins and The ruler of Golconda will marry one of his daughters to Shahzada Mohammed, the grandson of Shah Jahan and the son of Aurangzeb. 

Muhammad Sayyid (a famous merchant of Persia) was the wise Wazir of Golconda and he got angry and went to the service of the Mughals. And then he gifted the Kohinoor diamond to the Mughal Emperor. It was in the time Shah Jahan Golconda emerged as the world’s largest diamond seller. 

In 1636 AD, the fifth Mughal emperor attacked Bijapur’s ruler Adilshah for not accepting the suzerainty of the Mughal Empire and forced him to make a treaty. According to the terms of the treaty, Sultan Adilshah promised to pay 20 rupees every year as tax. Apart from this, not troubling Golconda and Shahaji Bhonsle was also included in the terms of the treaty. 

After forcibly making a treaty, Shah Jahan appointed his son Aurangzeb as the royal representative of South India and Aurangabad was made the capital of the territories conquered by the Mughals in the south. Aurangzeb was made the ruler of Gujarat in the year 1645.

In the time of Jahangir, the fort of Kandahar came out of the possession of the Mughals, but due to the diplomatic policies of Shah Jahan, the fort again came under the Mughals in 1639 AD. 

The Mughals had given the Portuguese the monopoly of the salt trade, but the Portuguese were not deterred from their antics, and the influence of the Portuguese was increasing, to eliminate that, in 1632, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan attacked the major trading centres of the Portuguese. Hooghly was captured.

Shahjahan - Muntaj's Immortal Love Story and The Taj

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Shah Jahan was only 16 years old when he fell in love with Mumtaz Mahal. They met in the weekly market held every Friday in the Royal Palace. Where women from noble families set up stalls for the pleasure of their male buyers from the royal families. Shah then known as Prince Khurram stoped before a stall where a young girl was selling crude sugar crystals. 

The prince asked the price for a piece. The young girl flirtatiously asked an astronomical amount. Without surprise prince paid up in gold coins. Seeing that prince mistake the sugar piece for a diamond, the girl started laughing and her face was uncovered. Mesmerized by her beauty he vowed to make her his bride. So, their love story began. 

In 1612, Khurram married his love Arjumand Bano Begum (Mumtaz Mahal), the daughter of Asaf Khan. Out of many wives, Mumtaz Begum was his dearest wife. Shah Jahan was impressed by her beauty and conferred her with the title of “Malika-e-Zamani” and changed her name from Arjumand Bano Begum to Mumtaz, which means – the most precious jewel of the palace!

It is said that Shah loved Mumtaz so much that he could not stay away from her so he used to take her with him on every expedition, not only that he also did every work of his kingdom with her advice. According to many historians, No royal orders were issued without Mumtaz’s seal.

In 1631, just 3 years after the coronation of Emperor Shah Jahan, She died while giving birth to his 14th child, Shah Jahan was very broken by the death of his beloved wife. It is also said that after the death of Mumtaz, the emperor kept mourning for about two years and gave up all his hobbies, neither did he wear royal clothes nor did he attend the royal procession.

His love for architecture and Mumtaj Mahal was the reason for the construction of the Taj Mahal, the best monument of the Mughals one of the seven wonders of the world. Built using white marble to keep his love forever immortal also considered as a symbol of the unmatched love of both of them.

It took about 22 years for the construction of the Taj Mahal. the construction work of the main tomb of Mumtaz Begum was completed in the year 1643, it took 11 more years to build the gardens and the rest of the complex was completed by the year 1653. Many ancient, Mughal, Turkish, Islamic and Indian arts have been included in the making of the Taj Mahal.

20 thousand labourers were used to build this grand historic building, these labourers worked under the leadership of Mughal craftsman Ustad Ahmad Lahori. World best artisans, embroidery workers, jewellers and stone cutters were involved in the construction. It was like a grand city is being built. 

Interesting Facts about Shah Jahan

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  • Shah was an intolerant ruler. he promoted Islam during his reign and there was no tolerance and generosity towards Hindu people.
  • A separate department was also opened by him to convert Hindus into Muslims.
  • Shah had issued an order after 7 years of his reign that if anyone becomes a Muslim of his own will, then he will have the right to his father’s property.
  • Shah abolished the system of Sijda during his reign and used the Hijri era in place of the Ilahi era.
  • Shah Jahan removed the ban on cow slaughter, along with it banning Hindus from keeping Muslim slaves.
  • Taxes were imposed on the pilgrimage of Hindus, along with it ordered the destruction of the Hindu temples. Due to which many Hindu temples were demolished in Kashmir, Gujarat, Allahabad, Banaras etc., due to which the religious sentiments of the Hindus were greatly hurt.
  • During his reign, when he was trying to stop the growing influence of the Portuguese in his Mughal Empire, during this time he had demolished the cathedrals of Agra.
  • The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, the main religious place of Muslims, used to donate to the mystics and mullahs of Mecca and Medina.
  • Shah Jahan’s son Dara Shikoh got the Bhagavad Gita, Yogavasistha Upanishad and Ramayana translated into Persian.
  • However, despite being intolerant of his religion, Mughal emperor  continued the practice of applying tilak on the foreheads of Hindu kings during his reign and ordered the repair of the Chintamani temple in Ahmedabad.
  • Not only this, Jagannath, Ganga Lahiri were his chief poets, while Hindu writers like Kavindraacharya Ayer Sundardas, Chintamani were also in his royal court.

Shahjahan's Life as a Prisoner and his Death

According to historians, out of 14 children of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, only 7 children survived, out of which 4 were sons and 3 daughters. His four sons Dara Shikoh, Shah Shuja, Aurangzeb, Murad Baksh, did not get along at all, because they all wanted to sit on the Mughal throne, the war of succession between the four started in the year 1657 itself.

Shah Jahan wanted his son Dara Shikoh to sit on the Mughal throne after him as he was the most intelligent, educated, civilized, sensible and kind-hearted among the four sons, but Aurangzeb, in his desire to get his father’s power, to such an extent It fell that he took his father Shah Jahan hostage.

According to historians, Shah Jahan was imprisoned in the Agra Fort in the year 1658 by the cruel son Aurangzeb. For about 8 years, Shah Jahan spent like a prisoner in the Shahburj of this fort. His eldest daughter Jahanara had served him by staying close to his royal house arrest.  

From January 31, 1666, this great Mughal emperor Shah Jahan said goodbye to this world. His mortal body was buried near the tomb of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in the Taj Mahal and after his death, his son Aurangzeb sat on the Mughal throne by deceit.

Thus ,the great ruler of the Mughal Empire died but even today he is still remembered for making the Taj Mahal and giving the example of his and Mumtaz’s love.

Shahjahan's Question

1. How many daughters did Shah Jahan have?

Ans. He had 8 daughters. 

2. Who wrote Shah Jahan Naama (Shahjahan’s biography)?

Ans. His biography was written by Inayat Khan. 

3. Where is the tomb of Shah Jahan? 

Ans. He is buried in the Taj Mahal. 

4. Shah Jahan had how many children?

Ans. He had 15 children. 

5. What is the real name of Mumtaj Mahal?

Ans. Mumtaj Mahal’s real name was Arjumand Banu Begum

I hope you’ve got complete information about Shah Jahan