Shah Jahan: The architect of the Taj Mahal whose kingdom was the richest and his subjects the poorest


Indian writers generally regard Shahab uddin Muhammad Khurram aka Shah Jahan who ascended the throne as the fifth Mughal king today in 1628as an ideal Muslim king as the splendor of the Mughal court reached its zenith in his time. But they also left behind effects that eventually led to the downfall of the Mughal Empire.

Shah Jahan: The architect of the Taj Mahal whose kingdom was the richest and his subjects the poorest
Shah Jahan: The architect of the Taj Mahal whose kingdom was the richest and his subjects the poorest

Shah Jahan, the son of Mughal King Jahangir and Rajput Princess Manmati nicknamed Balqis Makani Begum was born in Lahore on 5January  1592 in the 36th year of the reign of his grandfather Akbar Azam. At that time Lahore was the capital of the Mughal Empire and the Mughal Emperor Akbar Azam had resided here with the Mughal royal family since 1586.

On the sixth day of his birth. Jahangir invited his father Jalaluddin Akbar to suggest the name of the newborn baby. Emperor Akbar named the child Khurram and handed it over to his childless wife Raqiyah Sultan Begum to train him. Shah Jahan continued to grow up under the shadow of Raqiyah Sultan Begum for three years from  earliest days till he regained consciousness and after regaining consciousness.

Dr. Banarasi Prasad Saxena writes that Shah Jahan had a more practical mind than his father. The mind was sharp & the memory was extraordinary. He had a special ability of detail which remained with him till his death.

He also practiced riding and sharpening, and daily exercise became his routine. He was an expert in the use of bows and arrows and guns. His voice was sweet fluent in Persian.

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Assassination of possible heirs to the throne

Jahangir became the Mughal emperor on 3 November  1605. With this enthronement the revolt of his first son Khusrau Mirza began. It is written in Tazak-e-Jahangiri that Khusrau laid siege to Lahore which was defended by Dilawar Khan.

Jahangir soon reached Lahore with a large army and Khusrau was defeated in the battle of Bherwal. Khusrau and his companions tried to flee to Kabul but were captured by Jahangir's army while crossing the Chenab.

Khusrau was first brought to Delhi where he was elegantly seated on an elephant & taken to Chandni Chowk. On both sides of the street his supporters were speared. Khusrau was compelled to see this horrible scene and hear their cries. This process was repeated several times.

According to Vidya Dharmahajan and Allison Banks Findley. Khusrau was blindfolded and imprisoned in Agra. However, his sight was not completely lost. From 1616 to 1620 he was in the custody of Shah Jahan father-in-law and Queen Noor Jahan  brother Asif Khan. In 1620, he was handed over to Shah Jahan and on 26 January 1622, on the orders of Shah Jahan, Khusrau was killed in Deccan.

RP Tripathi writes in his book 'Rise and Fall of Mughal Empire' that he was strangled to death but it was famous that he died of colic.

Shah Jahan was allowed to set up a red tent

After Khusrau rebellion, Jahangir settled in Lahore. Dr. Banarasi Prasad Saxena writes that it was during the establishment of Lahore that Shah Jahan was assigned the first military post on March 21, 1607 namely Hasht Hazari Zat &  Panj Hazari Sawar with Tuman, Knife, Drum and Knowledge.

In November 1607, Shah Jahan was given the Jagir of Ujjain and the government of Hisar Feroze. In addition, the prince was given permission by Emperor Jahangir to pitch a red tent (this permission was given exclusively to the eldest prince).

In addition to these honors, a royal seal was handed over to him and it was ordered that his seal must be affixed on all decrees and butterflies. On March 27, 1612, on the advice of Queen Noor Jahan, Emperor Jahangir granted Shah Jahan the rank of 12,000 castes and 5,000 cavalry.

Tripathi says that Shah Jahan started resenting Noor Jahan when the queen married Ladli Begum, the daughter of her ex-husband, to Shahriar, the youngest son of Jahangir in 1620. It was naturally assumed that the queen would now use her influence in favor of her son-in-law.

Beni Prashad wrote Shah Jahan other elder brother Pervez Mirza, at the age of 37 was devastated by the abundance of alcohol & luxury. In 1626 Pervez was seriously ill. He died at the age of 38. When another heir deviated from the path,l it was immediately suspected that he had been poisoned by Shah Jahan. In 1622 Khurram revolted passionately to win the succession. He continued to roam the empire ineffective until he made peace with Jahangir in 1625.

Tripathi wrote many incidents which show that King Shah Jahan was mostly ready for revolt. Referring to these incidents Jahangir wrote: This unfortunate man has himself put an ax at the feet of his kingdom.

Jahangir death and the assassination of four princes

Jahangir's death and the assassination of four princes

At the time of Jahangir  death Shah Jahan was at Junar or Junaid. GP Taylor wrote that after Jahangir  death Shah Jahan father-in-law Asif Khan installed Dawar Bakhsh son of his brother Khusro Mirza as the Mughal emperor.

At the time of Jahangir death, according to Tripathi, Prince Shehryar was undergoing treatment for hair loss in Lahore. In Lahore Shahriardue to his folly, made himself famous as emperor and issued coins in his name. In a short span of 15 days, Rs 7 million was distributed among them to get the support of the princes and soldiers.

On the other hand according to GP Taylor, the seat proved to be temporary for Davar Bakhsh and when the other princes of the family, namely Daniel Mirza  sons Hoshang Mirza Tahmasp & Tahmor Shah Shah Jahan came under attack, Asif Khan gave Davar Bakhsh the opportunity to flee Iran. Given.

But this opportunity did not prove to be lasting for him and meanwhile in Lahore on 30th December 1627 Shah Jahan was recognized as the Mughal Emperor and on 23rd January 1628 on the orders of Shah Jahan the four princes were assassinated in Lahore.

Says Tripathi: Asif Khan had the princes killed at the request of Shah Jahan and delivered the sermon of Shah Jahan in Lahore. Shah Jahan with his barbaric and evil act of murder laid the foundation of a dangerous ritual which was to hollow out the power of Babar  family and the roots of the Mughal Empire. Although other people did not live to see the result of their deeds Shah Jahan did get the fruits of his deeds.

Expensive coronation and daily routine of Shah Jahan

Expensive coronation and daily routine of Shah Jahan

Tripathi writes: “Finally, with the blood of brothers, loved ones and nephews, Shah Jahan ascended the throne in Agra. Ascended the throne & ended the ritual of prostration. Started your new year. He spent Rs. 17 million on his coronation. Of this amount 3 million went to the princes and the rest went to the royal family in the form of gifts. An annual pension of Rs 200,000 has been fixed for Noor Jahan.

Mullah Mohammad Saleh Kamboh has written a detailed account of his daily routine in Shah Jahan Nama after his accession to the throne.

Shah Jahan used to wake up two hours before sunrise, perform ablutions himself and perform Fajr Sunnah prayers in the mosque adjacent to the solitary place & then perform the obligatory prayers. After that they would offer prayers and offerings and after completing this Tasbeeh they would come to the Haram Sara.

At sunrise people would sit in a window in the east window of the Jumna River and watch the people. At that time everyone played the Cornish and every oppressed person was allowed to ask the emperor without interruption. Then they would get up from the window & enter the special and public court and at the doors of this house there would be horrible guards who would not allow any person to enter without permission.

In this House, ministers used to gather people carrying out various national and financial campaigns and listen to the affairs of government of the emperor. After the execution of these matters petitions of the Subedars had to be looked into & these petitions had to be stamped.

After staying in this house for five hours they would get up and go to Nasheman where no one was allowed to come except the relatives or nobles. Here the details of income and expenditure of the Diwan-e-Mal-e-Khalsa Mahals & the account of the salaries of the feudal lords were presented to the emperor.

After performing these tasks he would spend time looking at jewelry, listening to music, or issuing orders regarding construction. After that Shah Jahan would go to Shah Burj where the sitting was only for four or five hours. Only princes or prime ministers could meet at Shah Burj.

At twelve o'clock in the afternoon, they would come to the palace and after eating, they would take a nap & after a nap Zuhr prayers would be offered. After noon the widows & helpless women had to be assisted through Queen Mumtaz Mahal to be given cash six or land.

After Asr prayers one had to go to Nasheman and after Maghrib prayers one had to spend time in religious affairs & world affairs till four hours. In this session the emperor would occasionally listen to melodies from Hindi musicians.

After this sitting it was customary to offer Isha prayers and after that to go to the royal palace. From behind the scenes at night people would narrate the biographies events history and events of the past in the bedroom. The clothes were always fragrant and the seat was fragrant with incense or invigorating perfumes.