The Emperor Akbar

The Emperor Akbar

The emperor Akbar died in 1605 and was succeeded by prince Salim, who took the regal name Jahangir. After her husband Sher Afghan (who was appointed as jagirdar of Bardhaman, a city in Bengal) was killed in 1607, Mehr-un-Nisaa became a lady-in-waiting to one of the Jahangir’s stepmothers, Ruqayya Sultana Begum. Ruqayya was the most senior woman in the harem and had been Akbar’s first and principal wife and was also the daughter of Mirza Hindal. The father of Mehr-un-Nisaa was, at that time, a diwan to an amir-ul-umra, decidedly not a very high post.

The year 1607 had not been particularly good for Mehr-un-Nisaa. Her family had fallen into disgrace. Her father, who had been holding important posts under Akbar and Jahangir, had succumbed to his only weakness, money, and had been charged with embezzlement. Moreover, due to possible involvement in the pro-Khusrau assassination attempt on Jahangir in 1607, two of Mehr-un-Nisaa’s family members (one brother named Muhammad Sharif and her mother’s cousin) were executed on the orders of the Emperor.

In march 1611, her fortune took a turn for the better. She met the emperor Jehangir at the palace meena bazaar during the spring festival Nowruz new year. Jahangir grew so infatuated by her beauty that he proposed immediately and they were married on May 25 of the same year becoming his twentieth wife.

Mehr-un-Nisaa received the name Nur Mahal (Light of the Palace), upon her marriage in 1611 and was conferred the title Nur Jahan (Light of the world) in 1616. Jahangir’s actual name was Nur-ud-din Muhammad, and thus the name that he gave to his wife was his own first name combined with the first part of his regal name.

Mughal empress: For Mehr-un-Nisaa’s own immediate family, marriage to Jahangir became a great boon with several members receiving sizeable endowments and promotions as a result. This affection led to Nur Jahan wielding a great deal of actual power in affairs of state. The Mughal state gave absolute power to the emperor, and those who exercised influence over the emperor gained immense influence and prestige. Jahangir’s addiction to opium and alcohol made it easier for Nur Jahan to exert her influence. For many years, she effectively wielded imperial power and was recognized as the real force behind the Mughal throne. She even gave audiences at her palace and the ministers consulted with her on most matters. Indeed, Jahangir even permitted coinage to be struck in her name, something that traditionally defined sovereignty.

Through Nur Jahan’s influence, her family, including her brother Asaf Khan, consolidated their position at court. Asaf Khan was appointed grand Wazir (minister) to Jahangir, and his daughter Arjumand Banu Begum (later known as Mumtaz Mahal) was wed to Prince Khurram (the future Shah Jahan), the third son of Jahangir, born by a Rajput princess, Jagat Gosaini. Jahangir’s eldest son Khusrau had rebelled against the Emperor and was blinded as a result. The second son, Parviz, was weak and addicted to alcohol. The fourth son was Prince Shahryar, born by a royal concubine. Khurram rebelled against his father and a war of succession broke out. Due to Khurram’s intransigence, Nur Jahan shifted her support to his younger brother, Shahryar. She arranged the marriage of her own daughter Ladli Begum, born of her first marriage, to her stepson Shahryar [1]. The two weddings ensured that one way or another, the influence of Nur Jahan’s family would extend over the Mughal Empire for at least another generation.

Jahangir was captured by rebels in 1626 while he was on his way to Kashmir. Nur Jahan intervened to get her husband released. Jahangir was rescued but died on October 28, 1627. After Jahangir’s death, Nur Jahan devoted some of her life to the making of perfume, an art form her mother had passed down

Posted by Mud$i on 2010-02-17 20:43:20

Tagged: , Pearl , Continental , Hotel , Lahore , Mughal , Saleem , Anarkali , Empire , India , Muslim , Hindu , Emperor , Asian , Conqueror , Babar , Akbar

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