Nuruddin Mohammad Jahangir (1605-1627)
Al Sultan al Azam wal Khaqan ul Mukarram, Abul Fateh Khushru e Giti Panah, Nuruddin Mohammad Jahangir Padshah Ghazi cleaved the throne after Akbar, the Great. Born on September 20, 1569, he was the third son of Akbar who survived while Hussain and Hasan, two elder brothers of him died in their infancy.
Therefore he was the apple of his father’s eyes who called him Sheikhu out of love. He was said to be born because of the prayer of Sheikh Salim Chishti, a famous religious saint of his day whose daughter was the foster mother of Jahangir. After him, Akbar named his son Salim. The word Jahangir implies the ruler of the world and Nuruddin means the illumination of the religion. His mother was Jodha Bai, the daughter of Bihar Mal, Raja of Amber. He revolted against his father Akbar in 1600 when Akbar was out of his palace. The outrageous father came back to Agra and regained the Empire from his son who was to be his successor after five years on November 3 1605.
After Nuruddin Mohammad Jahangir Padshah Ghazi ascended to the throne at the age of 36, the first revolt he had to face was from his son Khusrau Mirza who was considered appropriate for succession by Akbar. In 1606, Jahangir defeated and imprisoned him in Agra Fort and blinded him as sentence. In 1622, Khurram, the younger son of Jahangir killed Khusrau, his elder brother to succeed the throne. In the same years, Persians seized Kandhar, an important trade route to Afghanistan, Persian and Central Asia. As the Emperor of vast empire but he looked for expanding his territories and widened the boundaries of the Empire crushing the rebellions. He suppressed the revolts of the people of Assam led by independent Rajas and brought them under the Mughal hold. Safavids expressed their desire to capture Afghanistan with their clasp over Peshawar and Kabul, the cities of strategic importance for trade with Central Asia. In 1622, Jahangir sent Khurram, his younger son to combat the adversaries of Bijapur, Golkanda, and Ahmadnagar but after defeating these foes, Khurram rebelled against his father. But Jahangir controlled the insurrection of his second son after Khusrau.
“Chain of Justice”
Jahangir’s reign is denoted as the age of justice and his “Chain of Justice” which was made of gold and was intended to provide a direct approach to the Emperor. Anyone with grievances could move with 60 bells which rang inside the palace to let the Emperor know that anyone was desirous of being heard. Being son of Akbar (who introduced many heterodoxies in Islam and devised a new self-centric religion of his own amalgamating the virtues of all the religions in India) and a Rajput Hindu mother (who embraced Islam after marrying Akbar), he adopted Sunni ways of Islam. He promulgated Hinduism for Hindus and Islam for the Muslims in civil affairs instead of forcing any community to accept the jurisdiction of the other.
East India Company
An epoch-making event took place in Jahangir’s age when East India Company succeeded to get its foothold in India through trade of spices with the Indians. Sir Thomas Roe sought after permission from Jahangir to build factories in Surat which was granted. The decision of allowing the British traders bore grave price from the Mughal as the former snatched the Empire from the Mughals in the long run. Jahangir extended his hand of everlasting love and friendship with the British Crown but the later infiltrated the Indian empire taking an advantage of the mutual divergences and anarchy in the Indian society.
Marriage with Noor Jahan and others
Jahangir married Manbhawati Bai, the daughter of Bhagwan Das of Amber on February 13, 1585. She gave birth to Khusrau Mirza. Princess Manmati was his favorite wife who was the mother of Khurram. In May, 1611 he married Mehrunnisa (known as Noor Jahan, the light of the world), the widow of Sher Afgan. She was a multi-talented lady with extra ordinary valor and hunting. The Emperor loved her on account of these abilities and trusted her with the responsibilities of the state. She came at cross purposes with Khurram when the later refused to obey her orders to lead the expedition of Kandhar and Kandhar was lost due to their conflict. She issued the coins of her name when Jahangir was seriously ill during the last days of his life.
The blood of the Timurids, Jahangir followed the footing of the past traditions of expanding the Empire. He was entrusted by his father to lead a battle when he was 12 years old. At the age of 16, after many fierce encounters, he defeated Vir Singh of Bandela with 12000 men. Jahangir Mahal (Jahangir Palace) was built in Orchha to celebrate the victory. He also heralded an end to the century-old war with Mewar. In 1620, he captured Cangra Fort which was intended by Akbar, his father but could not be taken by Akbar. The district of Kistwar in Kashmir was included in the Mughal Empire in his age.
Jahangir assumed a policy of tolerance and moderation yet he turned divergent to the Sikhs and he tortured Guru Arjun Dev for supporting his son Khusrau who rebelled against his father. It should not be taken as his hostility towards other religions. He had a soft corner to the Christians and allowed them to bring in their rarities and goods even he is reported by historians to convert to Christianity.
Jahangir nurtured art especially the painting got his focus. Being a painter, he encouraged the Christian painting in his court and adopted European styles in painting.
Consistent alcohol deteriorated the health of Jahangir and he went to Kashmir for a change of environment but came back to Lahore due to extremely cold weather. On his way back from Kashmir near Sarai Saadabad in 1627, he breathed his last. He was buried in Bashghar, the Occupied Kashmir but later was brought to Lahore and buried in Shahdra Bagh, Lahore.