What Is the True Story Behind Jodha Bai, Emperor Akbar’s Wife?

Jodha Bai, Emperor Akbar’s wife, was a Rajput princess hailing from Amber or Amer and the first chief Rajput spouse of the Emperor. Married to Akbar in 1562, Jodha Bai, also known as Harka Bai and Heer Kunwari, was the mother of Jahangir, the subsequent Moghul Emperor. She died in the year 1623.

Jodha Bai was given the title “Mariam-uz-Zamani” after her marriage to Emperor Akbar. She was also recognized as the Chief Hindu Mughal Queen Consort and became the heir-apparent’s mother.

As a businesswoman, Jodha Bai traded internationally in silk and spices and owned pilgrimage ships. She was a court member, held the 12,000 cavalry rank, received jewels from noblemen annually, and could issue farmans or documents of an official nature.

Jodha Bai’s marriage to Akbar had significant political and religious implications. Through this marriage, Akbar obtained the staunch support of Jodha Bai’s family members, with her brother Raja Bhagwan Das and nephew Raja Man Singh I becoming highly ranked officers in the Emperor’s court. This wedding proved to be beneficial to the Rajputs and the Mughals.

Additionally, the marriage led to Akbar developing an inclination for the Hindu religion and also showed to the world that Akbar was the Emperor of the Muslims as well as the Hindus. Jodha Bai continued to be a Hindu even after her marriage.

The Akbarnama does not refer to Mariam-uz-Zamani as Jodha Bai, but historical works of the 18th and 19th centuries use this name when referring to Emperor Akbar’s wife.