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South Asian Memories
the-south-asian.com December 2000
Real name - named Khurram by his grandfather Akbar.
Died – 1666 at the age of 74 in Agra. Buried beside his wife in Taj Mahal.
Accession to power - Came to power in 1627 at the age of 35 after a bloody civil war, assassinating his brothers Khusrau and Parwiz and others desirous of the throne – including two nephews and two male cousins.
Length of rule in India – 31 years, from1627 to1658. The last 8 years of his life imprisoned in Agra fort by son Aurangzeb.
hree-fourths Hindu Rajput
and one-fourth Mughal
Father – Jahangir
Mother – Princess Manmati
Siblings – Three half-brothers - Khusrau, Parwiz and Shahriyar
Married – Inn 1612 married Nur Jahan’s niece Arjumand Bano [Mumtaz Mahal] a Shia wife– devoted to her for 19 years till she died in 1631, giving birth to the14th child.
Children –14 children. 7 survived to adulthood. 4 sons and 3 daughters. Among sons eldest was Dara Shukoh b 1615, Shah Shuja, Aurangzeb b Oct 23 1618, and Murad Baksh. The eldest Dara, was an aesthete who followed the religious eclecticism of Akbar and Jahangir. Daughters Jahanara, Roshanara and Gauharara. ..
Interests – Passionate interest in architecture.Famous for architectural works and artistic splendour. At 15, he redesigned the Imperial apartments in Kabul. As a young emperor he rebuilt the Red Fort in Agra, and on his wife’s death built the Taj Mahal. Connoisseur of precious stones. Enjoyed and patronised Hindu music and poetry – his reign a sort of Golden Age for Hindi literature. Built the Jama Masjid mosque in Delhi.
Noted Officers -Ali Mardan Khan, senior General.
Character traits –. Ruthless and brutal, he was also the most aesthetically sensitive Mughal. Averse to drinking.
As a ruler – A strong ruler – but discriminatory policies towards the end of rule – ordered destruction of temples.
Weaknesses –Overindulgence in opium.
Capital city – Moved court from Agra to Delhi in 1640, where he built a new capital Shahjahanabad. DaughterJahanara built the Chandni Chowk – the talk of the town for its beautiful layouts.
Above information is compiled from various sources, prominent among them ‘India – a Country Study’, ‘Delhi’ by Khushwant Singh, ‘The Great Mughals’ by Bamber Gascoigne, ‘The Mughals – Splendours of the Peacock Throne’, and ‘The City of Djinns’
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