Nuruddin Salim Jahangir (full title: Al-Sultan al-'Azam wal Khaqan al-Mukarram, Khushru-i-Giti Panah, Abu'l-Fath Nur ud-din Muhammad Jahangir Padshah Ghazi [Jannat-Maksani](September 20, 1569-November 8, 1627) (OS August 31, 1569 NS November 8, 1627) was the ruler of the Mughal Empire from 1605 until his death. The name Jahangir is from Persian جهانگير, meaning "Conqueror of the World," "World-Conqueror." Alternative spellings of the name include Ghehangir, and Cihangir (in Turkish). Nuruddin or Nur al-Din is an Arabic name which means "the Light of the Faith."
Jahangir was a child of many prayers. It is said to be by the blessing of Shaikh Salim Chisti (one of the revered sages of his times) that Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar's first surviving child, the future Jahangir, was born. He was born at the dargah of the Shaikh Salim Chisti, within the fortress at Fatehpur Sikri near Agra. The child was named Salim after the darvesh and was affectionately addressed by Akbar as Sheikhu Baba.
Akbar developed an emotional attachment with the village Sikri (abode of Chishti). Therefore, he developed the town of Sikri and shifted his imperial court and residence from Agra to Sikri, later renamed as Fatehpur Sikri.
Salim was made a Mansabdar of ten thousand (Das-Hazari), the highest military rank of the empire, after the emperor. He independently commanded a regiment in the Kabul campaign of 1581, when he was barely twelve. His Mansab was raised to Twelve Thousand, in 1585, at the time of his betrothal to his cousin Manbhawati Bai, daughter of Bhagwan Das of Amber. Raja Bhagwant Das, was the son of Raja Bharmal and the brother of Akbar's wife Rajkumari Hira Kunwari, also known as Mariam Zamani.
The marriage with Manbhawati Bai took place on February 13, 1585. Khusraw Mirza was the offspring of this union. Thereafter, Salim was allowed to marry, in quick succession, a number of accomplished girls from the aristocratic Mughal and Rajput families. One of his favourite wives was a Rajput Princess, known as Jagat Gosain and Princess Manmati, who gave birth to Prince Khurram, the future Shah Jahan, Jahangir's successor to the throne.The total number of wives in his harem was more than eight hundred.
Jahangir married the extremely beautiful and intelligent Mehr-un-Nisa (better known by her subsequent title of Nur Jahan), in May 1611. She was the widow of Sher Afghan. She was witty, intelligent and beautiful, which was what attracted Jahangir to her. Her abilities are said to range from fashion designing to hunting. There is also a myth that she had once killed four tigers with six bullets.
In 1622, Khurram (Shah Jahan), younger brother of Khosraw, had Khusraw murdered in a conspiracy to eliminate all possible contenders to the throne. Taking advantage of this internal conflict, the Persians seized the city of Qandahar and as a result of this loss, the Mughals lost control over the trade routes to Afghanistan, Persian and Central Asia and also exposed India to invasions from the north-west.
Jahangir is most famous for his golden “chain of justice.” The chain was setup as a link between his people and Jahangir himself. Standing outside the castle of Agra with sixty bells, anyone was capable of pulling the chain and having a personal hearing from Jahangir himself.
Furthermore, Jahangir preserved the Mughal tradition of having a highly centralized form of government. The son of a Hindu Rajput mother who converted to Islam, Jahangir made the noble precepts of Sunni Islam the cornerstone of his state policies. A faithful Muslim, as evidenced by his memoirs, he expressed his gratitude to Allah for his many victories. Jahangir, as a devout muslim, did not let his personal beliefs dictate his state policies. Sovereignty, according to Jahangir, was a “gift of God” not necessarily given to enforce God’s law but rather to “ensure the contentment of the world.” In civil cases, Islamic law applied to Muslims, Hindu law applied to Hindus, while in criminal law was the same for both Muslims and Hindus. In matters like marriage and inheritance, both communities had their own laws that Jahangir respected. Thus Jahangir was able to deliver justice to people in accordance of their beliefs, and also keep his hold on empire by unified criminal law. In the Mughal state, therefore, defiance of imperial authority, whether coming from a prince or anyone else aspiring to political power, or a Muslim or a Hindu, was crushed in the name law and order. In this state, Jahangir was also open to the influence of his wives, a weakness exploited by many. Because of this constant inebriated state, Nur Jehan, the favourite wife of Jahangir, became the actual power behind the throne.
The character of Nur Jahan was fascinating and deserves praise.She had a piercing intelligence, a versatile temper and sound common sense. She possessed great physical strength and courage.She went on hunting tours with her husband, and on more than one occasion shot and killed ferocious tigers. Her devotion to Jahangir was unmatched.She loved him so much that he forgot all about the world. No wonder he entrusted all the work of the goverenment to her.
The loss of Kandhar was due to Nur Jahan. When the Persians besieged Kandhar, Nur Jahan was at the helm of affairs. She ordered Prince Khurram to march for Kandhar, but the latter refused to do so. There is no denying that the refusal of the prince was due to her behaviour towards him. She was favouring her son-in-law, Shahriyar, at the cost of Khurram. Khurram suspected that in his absence, Shahriyar might be given promotion and he might be disposed off in battlefield.It was this fear which forced Khurram to rebel against his father rather than fight against the Persians and thereby Kandhar was lost to Persians.
Jahangir was responsible for ending a century long struggle with the state of Mewar.The campaign against the Rajputs was pushed so extensively that the latter were made to submit and that too with a great loss of life and property.
Jahangir also thought of capturing the fort of Kangra, which Akbar had failed to do so. Consequently a siege was laid, which lasted for fourteen months, and the fort was taken in1620.
The district of Kistwar, in the state of Kashmir, was also conquered.
The health of Jahangir was completely shattered due on account of too much of drinking. He was trying to restore it by visiting Kashmir and Kabul.He went from Kabul to Kashmir but returned to Lahore on account of severe cold.
Jahangir died on the way in 1627 and was buried in Shahdara Bagh, a suburb of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. He was succeeded by his third son, Prince Khurram who took the title of Shah Jahan. Jahangir's elegant mausoleum is located in the Shahdara locale of Lahore and is a popular tourist attraction in Lahore.
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