Reign of Jahangir and Shahjahan

Reign of Jahangir (1605-1627 CE)

Badshah Akbar died in 1605 CE, after ruling for 50years. After the death of Akbar, his son Jahangir came to the throne. He was the son of Akbar and Harka Bai. So, he was of both Rajput and Mughal descendent. In 1611, Jahangir married Mehrunnisa alias Nur Jahan (Light of World). The autobiography of Jahangir was Tujuk-i-Jahangiri. It is in the Persian language.

Reign of Jahangir
Reign of Jahangir


Nurjahan had very much influence over the Jahangir. She was the daughter of Itimad-Duala. It was seen that due to the influence of Nurjahan, the court of Jahangir had two different fraction. Jahangir’s son, from his other wife Khurram alias Shahjahan, revolted against Jahangir.

Nurjahan also encouraged Persian art and culture in the Mughal Empire. Actually, Jahangir’s reign was the Golden Era of Mughal Painting period.  She was a constant companion of Jahangir and even joined him in his hunting. When, Jahangir’s military general, Mahabat Khan revolted and abducted him, Nurjahan saved him by her diplomatic efforts.

Killing of Guru Arjan Dev

Killing of Guru Arjan Dev
Killing of Guru Arjan Dev

Son of Jahangir and Man Bai Khusrau also revolted against Jahangir. Sikh Guru, Arjan Dev gave shelter to Khusrau. So, in agile, Jahangir killed Guru Arjan Dev. This was his shameful act. Because he killed a prominent Sikh Guru. Guru Arjan Dev compiled the Adi Granth Sahib.

Entry of British East India Company in India

During the reign of Jahangir, the seed of British Imperialism sowed in India. Actually, during his reign, two Britishmen Captain Hawkins and Sir Thomas Roe came India. They got favourable trade concessions from Jahangir. John Hawkins resided at Agra for two years (1609-11). He was given the Mansab of 400. Thomas Roe (1615-18) was an ambassador of James I at the Mughal court.

Chain of Justice

Zanzir-i-Adl. The chain was set up as a link between his people and Jahangir himself. So, people standing outside the castle of Agra with sixty bells, anyone was capable of pulling the chain and having a personal hearing from Jahangir himself. It was his method to provide justice to his people.

Expedition During the Reign of Jahangir

In 1620, Prince Khurram (Shahjahan) forced the rulers of Bijapur and Golconda to pay tribute to the Mughal Empire.

Akbar conquered Kandahar in 1595 CE. But Shah Abbas, the ruler of Persia, recovered it in 1622. So, Jahangir made elaborate preparations for a war to recapture it. However, he had to give up the expedition on account of Prince Khurram’s rebellion. Though initially, Khurram also revolted against his father soon Jahangir reconciled him.

So, in 1622, Jahangir died. He was buried at Shahdara near by Lahore. Shahjahan succeeded Jahangir.

Reign of Shahjahan (1628-1658 CE)

Reign of Shahjahan
Reign of Shahjahan

Shahjahan came to the throne with the help of Asaf Khan (father in law of Shahjahan or father of Mumtaz Mahal).

The first thing that he had to face was revolts in Bundelkhand (Jujjhar Singh Bundela of Orchcha) and the Deccan (Khan-i-Jahan Lodi, the governor of Deccan). Though, he annexed Ahmednagar in 1636. He sent his armies to Balkh and Badakshan in Central Asia in order to secure the defence of north-western India.

Shah Jahan who had recovered Kandahar (1638) from the Iranians but lost it again (1649) despite three campaigns under Prince Murad, Aurangzeb and Darashikoh. Shah Jahan carved four Mughal provinces in the Deccan – Khandesh, Berar, Telangana and Daulatabad. They were put under the control of his son Aurangzeb.

But in his last days of Shahjahan faced a bitter war of succession among his four sons.

War of Succession

Shahjahan had four sons. Dara Shikoh (crown prince), Shuja (governor of Bengal), Aurangzeb (governor of Deccan) and Murad Baksh (governor of Malwa and Gujarat). During the War of succession (1657-1658 CE), Shahjahan’s two daughters Jahan Ara and Roshan Ara supported his two sons, Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb, respectively.

Though Dara Shikoh was the crown Prince and was the choice of Shahjahan. But in the Battle of Samugarh, Aurangzeb killed Dara Shikoh. Aurangzeb emerged victorious in this struggle. So, he captured Shahjahan in Agra fort.

Shah Jahan lived for eight long years lovingly nursed by his daughter Jahanara. Finally, he died in 1666 and buried beside his wife’s grave in the Taj Mahal.

Golden Age of Art and Architecture

The Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal

The reign of Shahjahan was the Golden age of Mughal Architecture. He built many magnificent buildings during his reign. Shahjahan’s buildings have a great variety—cities, forts, gardens, mosques and palaces etc. His buildings are located at different places like Agra, Ahmedabad, Ajmer, Delhi, Lahore, Kabul and Kashmir etc. Taj Mahal was the most splendid work of the reign of Shahjahan.

So, this was a brief of Jahangir and Shahjahan. In the next coming post, we will discuss the decline of Mughal Empire and The last ruler Aurangzeb.

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