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Did Akbar Married Bairam Khan’S Wife | Mughal Badshah Akbar ने अपने ही गुरु की बीवी Salima Beghum से किया निकाह 11832 People Liked This Answer

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Jodha Bai was the daughter of Raja Bharmel of Amer (Jaipur). She was a Hindu princess but married a Muslim king, Akbar. Their marriage was considered to be an example of religious tolerance. However, the marriage between the two of them was more of a political alliance.Mariam-uz-Zamani ( lit. ‘Mary of the Age’); ( c. 1542 – 19 May 1623), commonly known by the misnomer Jodha Bai, was the chief consort and principal Rajput wife as well as the favorite empress consort of the third Mughal emperor, Akbar.Akbar Wife: Akbar had six wives, his first wife’s name was Princess Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, who was also his cousin. His second wife was Bibi Khiera, daughter of Abdullah Khan Mughal. His third wife was Salima Sultan Begum, the daughter of Nur-ud-din Muhammad Mirza.

She was initially betrothed to Akbar’s regent, Bairam Khan, by her maternal uncle, Humayun.
Salima Sultan Begum
Spouse Bairam Khan ​ ​ ( m. 1557; d. 1561)​ Akbar ​ ​ ( m. 1561; d. 1605)​
House Timurid (by marriage)

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अकबर ने 36 रानियां और तीन महारानियां थीं। अकबर की तीन महारानियों के नाम हैं- रुकैया सुल्‍तान बेगम, हीरा कुंवर, जिन्‍हें जोधा बाई के नाम से भी जाता है और सलीमा सुल्‍तान बेगम। ये सलीमा सुल्‍तान बेगम असल में अकबर की गुरुमाता और बहन थीं। यूं तो हिंदुस्‍तान की तारीख में अकबर के बारे में एक से बढ़कर एक किस्‍से-कहानियां दर्ज हैं, जिनके बारे में खूब चर्चा भी है, लेकिन अकबर से जुड़े कई ऐसे किस्‍से भी हैं, जो इतिहास में पूरी प्रमाणिकता के साथ दर्ज हैं, लेकिन उन पर कोई बात नहीं करता। ऐसी ही कहानी है बैरम खां की। बैरम खां वीर था, वफादार था, रणकौशल में माहिर, बैरम खां ही वो शख्‍स था, जिसने भारत से भाग चुके बाबर के बेटे हुमायूं को वापस हिंदुस्‍तान की सत्‍ता दिलाई।

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Mughal Badshah Akbar ने अपने ही गुरु की बीवी Salima Beghum से किया निकाह
Mughal Badshah Akbar ने अपने ही गुरु की बीवी Salima Beghum से किया निकाह

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  • Author: DailyBuzz India
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Why did Akbar marry Bairam Khan’s wife?

Jodha Bai was the daughter of Raja Bharmel of Amer (Jaipur). She was a Hindu princess but married a Muslim king, Akbar. Their marriage was considered to be an example of religious tolerance. However, the marriage between the two of them was more of a political alliance.

Who is Akbar Favourite wife?

Mariam-uz-Zamani ( lit. ‘Mary of the Age’); ( c. 1542 – 19 May 1623), commonly known by the misnomer Jodha Bai, was the chief consort and principal Rajput wife as well as the favorite empress consort of the third Mughal emperor, Akbar.

Who married Bairam Khan wife?

How many wife does Akbar had?

Akbar Wife: Akbar had six wives, his first wife’s name was Princess Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, who was also his cousin. His second wife was Bibi Khiera, daughter of Abdullah Khan Mughal. His third wife was Salima Sultan Begum, the daughter of Nur-ud-din Muhammad Mirza.

Is Mughal family still alive?

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Is Jodha Akbar true story?

Jodhaa Akbar was a largely fictionalised take on Akbar and the legendary Jodha Bai, his queen consort. This was a unique movie for a reason. Perhaps for the first time, the filmmaker approached very eminent historians for help. They said what historians world over largely agree—that Akbar had no wife named Jodha Bai.

Who was the most beautiful Mughal queen?

The Story of the most beautiful Mughal Empress: Nur Jahan.

Which Mughal emperor married his own daughter?

Shahjahan married his daughter Jahanara after the death of his wife Mumtaz Why this is not taught in History about Mughals? SPOT ON! You are 100% correct. They just say Roshanara was favourite of Aurangzeb and Jahanara of Shah Jahan-leaving out he married her also.

Was Akbar a vegetarian?

Hussain also says that Akbar was a vegetarian thrice a week, drank only Gangajal “and had his own kitchen garden which he nourished with rosewater so that the vegetables would smell fragrant when cooked.” Some of the dishes prepared with gusto during his time were Sanbusas or Samosas, sag — a spinach dish prepared with …

Who was Bairam Khan to Akbar?

Muhammad Bairam Khan was an important military commander, and later commander-in-chief of the Mughal army, a powerful statesman and regent at the court of the Mughal Emperors, Humayun and Akbar. He was also the guardian, chief mentor, adviser, teacher and the most trusted ally of Akbar.

Did Akbar marry his own mother?

Hamida Banu Begum ( c. 1527 – 29 August 1604), was a wife of the second Mughal emperor Humayun and the mother of his successor, the third Mughal emperor Akbar. She was bestowed the title of Mariam Makani ( lit. ‘Dwelling with Mary’), by her son, Akbar.
Hamida Banu Begum
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Salima Sultan Begum

Third and chief consort of Mughal Emperor Akbar (1539–1613)

Salima Sultan Begum (23 February 1539 – 2 January 1613)[1] was the third wife and chief consort of the Mughal emperor Akbar,[2] and the granddaughter of Babur.

Salima was the daughter of Akbar’s paternal aunt, Gulrukh Begum, and her husband, the Viceroy of Kannauj, Nuruddin Muhammad Mirza. She was initially betrothed to Akbar’s regent, Bairam Khan, by her maternal uncle, Humayun. The bride was probably a reward for the surpassing services done by Bairam for Humayun. The couple, who had a considerable age difference of approximately forty years, were married in 1557 after Akbar had succeeded Humayun as the third Mughal emperor. However, this brief union, which did not produce any children, lasted for only three years since Bairam Khan was assassinated by a band of Afghans in 1561. After his death, Salima was subsequently married to her first cousin, Akbar. She however remained childless in both her marriages, but she raised the second son of Akbar, Murad Mirza for the first few years.

Salima was a senior-ranking wife of Akbar and had much influence over her husband and his son, Jahangir.[3] As stated by Henry Beveridge, she was entrusted with the charge of the Muslim harem of Akbar. She wielded major political influence in the Mughal court during her husband’s reign as well as during his successor’s (Jahangir) reign. Her name, however, appears in the histories as a reader, poet, who wrote under the pseudonym of Makhfi ( lit. ‘Hidden One’) and as pleading with Akbar for Jahangir’s forgiveness. She was known as the Khadija-uz-Zamani ( lit. ‘Khadija of the Age’) for her wisdom.[4]

Family and lineage [ edit ]

Salima Sultan Begum was the daughter of Mughal princess Gulrukh Begum and her husband, the Viceroy of Kannauj, Nuruddin Muhammad Mirza.[5] Her father was the grandson of Khwaja Hasan Naqshbandi and was a scion of the illustrious Naqshbandi Khwajas,[6] who were held in great esteem and were related to Sultan Abu Sa’id Mirza of the Timurid Empire through his son, Sultan Mahmud Mirza.[7]

Salima’s mother, Gulrukh Begum, was the daughter of the first Mughal emperor Babur. The identity of the mother of Gulrukh Begum is disputed. In some sources her mother’s name is mentioned as Saliha Sultan Begum, however, this name is not mentioned in the Baburnama written by Babur himself or the Humayun-Nama written by Gulbadan Begum, and therefore the existence of such a woman is questionable. She may also have been the daughter of Dildar Begum, who may have been the same woman as Saliha Sultan Begum.[8][9]

Gulrukh was thus, a half-sister of the second Mughal emperor Humayun and if she was Dildar’s daughter a full-sister of Humayun’s youngest brother, Hindal Mirza.[10]

Salima was, therefore, a half-cousin of Emperor Akbar. Gulrukh Begum, who was known for her beauty and accomplishments in the imperial household,[10] died four months after giving birth to her daughter.[11]

Education and accomplishments [ edit ]

Salima was a highly educated and accomplished woman,[12][13] has often been described as extremely talented,[14][15] and was tactful.[3] Proficient in Persian,[16] she was a gifted writer and a renowned poet of her time. She wrote under the pseudonym of Makhfi, a pseudonym later adopted by her equally talented step great-great-granddaughter, the gifted poetess, Princess Zeb-un-Nissa.[17] Salima was also a passionate lover of books and was very fond of reading.[18] She not only maintained a great library of her own but freely used Akbar’s library as well. Abdus Hayy, the author of Ma’asir al-umara, quotes one of her famous couplets:

In my passion I called thy lock the ‘thread of life’

I was wild and so uttered such an expression[19]

Akbar’s court historian, Bada’uni, in his book Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh, gives one passage which throws light on Salima’s love for books.[18] The passage runs thus: “On account of the book Khirad-afza, which had disappeared from the library and concerning Salima Sultan Begum’s study of which the Emperor [Akbar] reminded me, an order was issued that my allowance should be stopped and that they should demand the book of me.” He adds that Abu’l Fazl did not lay his refutation before the Emperor, and he does not clear up the awkward doubt as to what he had done with Salima’s desired book.[20]

Marriage to Bairam Khan (1557–1561) [ edit ]

Bairam Khan is assassinated by an Afghan at Patan, 1561

At the age of 18, Salima Begum was married to the considerably older Bairam Khan (who was in his fifties)[15] on 7 December 1557 in Jalandhar, Punjab.[21] Bairam was the commander-in-chief of the Mughal army and a powerful statesman at the Mughal court, who was acting as Akbar’s regent at the time. Salima’s maternal uncle, Humayun, had promised Bairam that he would give his niece in marriage to him as soon as India was conquered (which was accomplished in Akbar’s reign). The bride was probably a reward for the surpassing services done by Bairam for Humayun. The marriage enhanced his prestige among the Mughal nobles as it made him a member of the imperial family.[22]

It is said that the marriage excited great interest at court. It united two streams of descent from Ali Shukr Beg, that is, the Blacksheep Turkomans from Bairam Khan’s side and Timur from Salima’s side as Salima was a Timurid through her maternal grandfather, Emperor Babur, and through Mahmud, one of her great-grandfathers.[23] Salima became Bairam’s second wife,[24] after the daughter of Jamal Khan of Mewat, who was his first wife and the mother of his son, Abdul Rahim.[25] Salima and Bairam Khan’s short-lived marriage did not produce any children.[3]

Shortly before he died in 1561, Bairam Khan lost his prestigious position in the Empire as he was provoked into rebelling against Akbar by conspirators who wanted to ruin him. Khan’s rebellion was twice put down by Akbar, and he submitted to him. As punishment for his rebellions, Bairam was stripped of all his privileges and Akbar gave him three options: of a handsome jagir in the sarkar of Kalpi and Chanderi, the post of the emperor’s confidential advisor, and a journey to Mecca. Bairam Khan chose the last option.[25]

Marriage to Akbar (1561–1605) [ edit ]

While on his way to Mecca, Bairam Khan was attacked in Patan, Gujarat on 31 January 1561 by a band of Afghans, led by a man named Mubarak Khan, whose father had been killed fighting against Bairam at the Battle of Machchiwara in 1555.[26][27] Bairam Khan’s camp was also put to plunder and the newly widowed, Salima Begum, along with her step-son, Abdul Rahim (aged four), reached Ahmedabad after suffering many hardships. Akbar was shocked to hear the sad news of his former teacher and guardian’s death. As per his orders, Salima and Abdul Rahim were brought under imperial escort to the Mughal court with great honour and respect. Akbar himself married her on 7 May 1561 as a regard for the astute services offered by her late husband to the Mughal Empire and acknowledging her exalted lineage.[18][26] She was about three and a half years older than him and became his third wife.[2]

The richly talented Salima was Akbar’s only other wife apart from Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, who was of the most exalted lineage, being a granddaughter of Emperor Babur through her maternal line. Salima was, thus, a senior-ranking wife of Akbar and became one of the chief consorts.[10] Salima remained childless throughout her marriage, however, some sources mistakenly identify her as the mother of Akbar’s son, Sultan Murad Mirza.[28] The Jahangirnama states that Murad was the son of a royal serving-girl.[29] However some sources cite Mariam-uz-Zamani as Murad’s birth mother. He was however entrusted to the care of Salima Sultan Begum for the first few years and later returned to the care of his mother as Salima Begum left for Hajj in 1575.

Being an extensive reader, she kept accounts of her encounters with the Emperor and the state of affairs. Salima was, thus, one of the most important ladies in the Mughal court. In 1575, Salima traveled to Mecca to perform the Hajj pilgrimage along with her aunt, Gulbadan Begum, and many other Timurid ladies. She was the only wife of Akbar who accompanied the pilgrims.[30] Akbar himself, was dissuaded from traveling only by the pleas of Abu’l Fazl.[31] The high-ranking female party, under the fortunate auspices of Akbar, left Fatehpur Sikri on 15 October 1575 and after taking a year to get to the sea, set sail for Mecca on 17 October 1576. They were said to have spent three and a half years in Arabia and made the hajj four times, returning home to Agra in March 1582.[32]

Political influence at the Mughal court [ edit ]

Salima had much influence over Akbar and her step-son, Salim,[3] and wielded major political influence in the Mughal court during both the father-son’s respective reigns. She played a crucial role in negotiating a settlement between Akbar and Salim when the father-son’s relationship had turned sour in the early 1600s, eventually helping to pave the way for Salim’s accession to the Mughal throne.[33] In 1601, Salim had revolted against Akbar by setting up an independent court in Allahabad and by assuming the imperial title of “Salim Shah” while his father was still alive.[13] He also planned and executed the assassination of Akbar’s faithful counsellor and close friend, Abu’l Fazl.[34]

This situation became very critical and in the end, it was Salima Sultan Begum and Hamida Bano Begum who pleaded for his forgiveness. Akbar granted their wishes and Salim was allowed to present himself before the Emperor. Salima Begum went to Allahabad to convey the news of forgiveness to the prince. She went with an elephant named Fateh Lashkar, a special horse, and a robe of honour. Salim received her warmly and agreed to go back to Agra with her. The prince was finally pardoned in 1603 through the efforts of his step-mother and his grandmother, Hamida Banu Begum.[13]

During Jahangir’s reign, Salima Begum displayed her political influence on several occasions. After the death of Akbar in the year 1605, Salima Sultan Begum alongside Mariam-uz-Zamani and Shakr-un-Nissa Begum secured a pardon for the Khusrau Mirza, the eldest son of Jahangir upon his succession.[35] She also secured a pardon for the powerful Khan-i-Azam, Mirza Aziz Koka. Aziz Koka had been a foster brother of Akbar’s and consequently a great favourite in the harem for decades. One of his daughters had married Jahangir’s eldest son, Khusrau Mirza, and when Khusrau revolted against his father in 1606, Aziz Koka was discovered to have been in the plot from the very beginning. Aziz Koka would surely have received the death penalty had not Salima Sultan Begum yelled out from behind the screens:

Majesty, all the ladies have assembled in the women’s quarters to pledge their support for Mirza Aziz Koka. It would be better if you were to come here – if not, they will come to you![36]

Jahangir was thus constrained to go to the female apartment, and on account of the pressure exercised by revered elderly women of Harem, he finally pardoned him.[37]

Death [ edit ]

Salima died in 1613 in Agra, after suffering from an illness. Her step-son, Jahangir, gives particulars of her birth and descent; her marriages. By his orders, her body was laid in Mandarkar Garden in Agra, which she had commissioned.[38]

Jahangir praises Salima both for her natural qualities and her acquirements, saying “she was adorned with all good qualities. In women, this degree of skill and capacity is seldom found.”[1] She creates an impression of herself as a charming and cultivated woman.[38]

In popular culture [ edit ]

References [ edit ]

Bibliography [ edit ]

Jodha Bai’s 474th birth anniversary: 17 facts about the Queen Mother

Popularly known as Jodha Bai, Mariam-uz-Zamani was born on October 1, 1542. Jodha Bai was the daughter of Raja Bharmel of Amer (Jaipur). She was a Hindu princess but married a Muslim king, Akbar. Their marriage was considered to be an example of religious tolerance. However, the marriage between the two of them was more of a political alliance. She was also known as the first and the last love of the Mughal emperor, Akbar.

On her 474th birth anniversary today, let’s read a brief timeline of her life:

Jodha Bai was born as Heer Kunwari. Her other names were Hira Kunwari and Harka Bai

Her name in Mughal chronicles was Mariam-uz-Zamani. This title was given to her by her husband, Akbar, after she gave birth to their son, Jahangir

She married Akbar on Febrauary 6, 1562 at the age of 20

Mariam-uz-Zamani was referred to as the Queen Mother of Hindustan during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar and also during her son Emperor Jahangir’s reign

Jodha Bai was the longest serving Hindu Mughal Empress. Her tenure lasted for over 43 years

Akbar’s marriage with Heer Kunwari was more of a political alliance between the father of Jodha Bai and Akbar

The marriage led to a much more favourable view of Hinduism by the emperor

After marriage to Akbar, Heer Kunwari remained a Hindu

She became one of the chief wives of Emperor Akbar after her marriage

Though she remained a Hindu, Heer Kunwari was honoured with the title Mariam-uz-Zamani which means “Mary of the Age” after she gave birth to Jahangir

Despite her being a Hindu, she held great honour in the Mughal household

Apart from the title of Mariam-uz-Zamani, Jodha also held the titles of Mallika-e-Muezzama, Mallika-e-Hindustan and Wali Nimat Begam which means the Gift of God

She used to issue official documents using the title of Wali Nimat Mariam-uz-Zamani Begum

Jodha was known as Akbar’s first and last love

Akbar allowed Jodha to perform the customary Hindu rites in the royal palace. He also let her maintain a Hindu temple in the palace. In fact, Akbar too sometimes participated in the puja she performed

Jodha Bai was reported to have been a very smart business woman, who ran an active international trade in spices and silk

She died in the year 1623. As per her wish, she was buried near her husband’s grave.

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Mariam-uz-Zamani

Mughal empress consort (1562–1605)

Mariam-uz-Zamani ( lit. ‘Mary of the Age’);[3] ( c. 1542 – 19 May 1623), commonly known by the misnomer Jodha Bai, was the chief consort and principal Rajput wife as well as the favorite empress consort of the third Mughal emperor, Akbar.[4][5][6][7][8][9][11] She was also the longest-serving Hindu empress of the Mughal Empire with a tenure of forty-three years (1562 –1605).[12]

Born a Rajput princess,[13] she was married to Akbar by her father, Raja Bharmal of Amer due to political exigencies.[14][15] Her marriage to Akbar led to a gradual shift in the latter’s religious and social policies. She is widely regarded in modern Indian historiography as exemplifying both Akbar’s and the Mughals’ tolerance of religious differences and their inclusive policies within an expanding multi-ethnic and multi-religious empire.[15] She was an extremely beautiful woman reported to possess uncommon beauty,[16] widely known for both, her grace and intellect. In the words of Akbar, she’s described as ‘a piece of the moon’.[17]

She was a senior-ranking wife of Akbar who in the words of Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak, commanded a high rank in the imperial harem.[18] According to Henry Beveridge, she was head of the Hindu harem of Akbar. Several medieval historical chronicles, written during the reign of Emperor Akbar namely ‘Tarikh-I-Farishta’ and ‘Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh’ by Abdul Qadir Badayuni, cites Mariam-uz-Zamani to be the favorite and most influential consort of Akbar.[19][4]The Empress held a prodigious influence[20][21]in the matters of the court during Akbar’s reign and was often consulted by Akbar in important matters.[22] Described as an intelligent,[23] amiable, kind,[24] gentle[25] and secular woman,[26] she was the mother of Akbar’s eldest surviving son and eventual successor, Jahangir, and grandmother of Shah Jahan.

Name, Titles and Background [ edit ]

Background [ edit ]

Mariam-uz-Zamani was born in 1542 as the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amer by his wife Rani Champavati, daughter of Rao Ganga Solanki.[27][28][29] Her paternal grandparents were Raja Prithviraj Singh I and Apurva Devi, a daughter of Rao Lunkaran of Bikaner.

Artistic impression of Mariam-uz-Zamani, chief Rajput Queen of Akbar , commonly known as Jodha bai.

Name and Titles [ edit ]

Her birth name is unknown.[15] Later historical accounts give several suggestions for her birth name. In an 18th-century genealogy of her clan (the Kachwahas) for example, she is referred to as ‘ Harkhan Champavati ‘.[15] Other names provided by various sources include Harkha Bai,[14] Jiya Rani, Maanmati bai,[31] Harika bai, Hira Kunwari,[32] Heer Kunwari, and Shahi-Bai.

She was bestowed an honorific Muslim name, ‘Wali Nimat Begum’ ( lit. ‘Blessings of God’) by Akbar, in 1564, after two years of her marriage.[33] ‘Mariam-uz-Zamani’ ( lit. ‘Mary/Compassionate of the Age’) was a prestigious title bestowed on her by Akbar on the occasion of their son Jahangir’s birth.[34] This was the title by which she was referred to in contemporary Mughal chronicles, including Jahangir’s autobiography, the Tuzk-e-Jahangiri. Apart from the title of Mariam-uz-Zamani, she also bore two more glorious titles of ‘Mallika-e-Muezamma’ ( lit. ‘Exalted Empress’)[36] and ‘Mallika-e-Hindustan’ ( lit. ‘Empress of Hindustan’).[36] She was commonly referred as ‘Shahi Begum’ ( lit. ‘Imperial Begum’) throughout her reign.[37][38] She would officially use the name Wali Nimat Mariam-uz-Zamani Begum Sahiba.[2]

The misnomer of Jodha Bai [ edit ]

The name by which she is most popularly known in modern times is ‘Jodha Bai’.[39] The name ‘Jodha Bai’ was first used in relation to Mariam-uz-Zamani in James Tod’s Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, a colonialist history written in the early 19th century.[40] This naming appears to have been an error, given that it implies a relationship with the royal family of Jodhpur, rather than that with the Rajas of Amber.[41] Instead, it is believed that ‘Jodha Bai’ in fact refers to the wife of Jahangir, Jagat Gosain daughter of Raja Udai Singh of Jodhpur.[42]

Marriage to Akbar and Religion [ edit ]

Marriage [ edit ]

Mariam-uz-Zamani’s marriage was the result of a conflict between her father and Akbar’s brother-in-law, Sharif-ud-din Mirza, the Hakim of Mewat. Raja Bharmal had been facing harassment at Sharif-ud-din’s hands, on account of his conflict with Sujamal. Bharmal agreed to pay peshkash and had given his son and Mariam-uz-Zamani’s full brother, Jagannath, and two nephews, Raj Singh, son of Raja Askaran and Khangar, son of Jagmal, as hostages but Sharif-ud-din wished to destroy him.[43] So he approached Akbar to request his intervention. The Emperor agreed to mediate on the condition of Raja Bharmal’s submission, as well as the suggestion that his daughter be given to Akbar in marriage.[14] Raja Bharmal then espoused his gentle daughter, who was veiled in chastity, in honorable wedlock to Emperor Akbar, and was enlisted in the rank of honored consorts.[44][45]

The marriage, thus, a political one, took place amidst proper festivity on February 6, 1562, while Akbar was on his way back to Agra from Ajmer (after offering prayers at the tomb of Moinuddin Chishti) at the imperial military camp in Sambhar, Rajasthan, instead of the bride’s natal home. As per Abu’l Fazl, Akbar accepted the marriage proposal of the daughter of Raja Bharmal due to a divine vision he had at Ajmer Sharif. The Amber princess’s marriage provided her family’s powerful support throughout the reign.[46]

Views of eminent historians about their marriage:

“Bihari Mal gave rich dowry to his daughter and sent his son Bhagwan Das with a contingent of Rajput soldiers to escort his newly married sister to Agra as per Hindu custom. Akbar was deeply impressed by the highly dignified, sincere, and princely conduct of his Rajput relations. He took Man Singh, the youthful son of Bhagwant Das into the royal service. Akbar was fascinated by the charm and accomplishments of his Rajput wife; he developed real love for her and raised her to the status of chief queen. She came to exercise profound impact on the socio-cultural environment of the entire royal household and changed the lifestyle of Akbar.” Historian J.L. Mehta, Advanced study in the history of medieval India(1981)[5]

“The heavenly reward, was not long in coming… Raja Bihari Mal of Jaipur arrived to seek military alliance with the Mughals, and in the pledge of his loyalty, offered his eldest daughter in marriage to Akbar. The Emperor, still under the spiritual spell of Ajmer, thought the offer part of some grand design of the Khwaja and accepted it without hesitation… Jodha Bai entered the harem as a Hindu, not as a Muslim. The insistence on conversion was waived at the instance of her father. A small, exquisite temple was built within the four walls of the fort; she went there every morning to pray and also perhaps to underline her identity as a proud Rajput. With a blue-blooded Rajput princess in the harem, there came about a radical change in the style of life in the palace and at the court. Jodha Bai was as good-looking as she was tactful. Warm-hearted liberalism added luster to her physical charm. Akbar respected her. So did everybody else. Maham Anaga, in particular, became very fond of her. Soon she became a center around which life in the palace revolved. Akbar often consulted her on important matters; her responses were invariably high-minded and above partisanship. An equation of complete trust gradually developed between the two. The future greatness of Akbar was in no small measure due to the large-heartedness of Jodha Bai. With a lesser person in her place, the story of the reign of Akbar might have been different.”[47] — Muni Lal, 1980

“No marriage in medieval Indian history was, politically, so happy and fruitful, as the one contracted by Akbar with the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amer in January 1562. It symbolized the dawn of a new era in Indian politics; it gave the country a line of remarkable sovereigns; it secured to four generations of Mughal Emperors the services of some of the greatest captains and diplomats that medieval India produced.” Historian B.P. Saxena, History of Shah Jahan of Dehli(1932)

“It was indeed, in more than one way, a marriage made in heaven. Not only was the princess of Amber to become a highly respected Qadasi Arkani Mariam-uz-Zamani (the pillar of purity, Mary of Age), the queen mother of Akbar’s first born son and later successor: this marriage also sealed the mighty Rajput-Mughal alliance that would become the backbone of Akbar’s military power and the very foundation of Mughal Empire. In itself, there was nothing unusual about Hindu kings offering their daughters to Muslim rulers as a token of their submission, but Akbar’s attitude towards his wife and her family was significantly different. Contrary to the usual practice, he did not ask her to convert to Islam, but allowed her to maintain a Hindu shrine in the imperial residence, he himself occasionally would participate in the Hindu festivities. Her relatives were not treated as mere vassals, but as true allies, friends, and family members, in every respect, equal or superior to the leading Muslim amirs. In short, Akbar’s alliance to Rajput house of Amber was the very cornerstone upon which his military might and the internal cohesion of his empire was founded.” — Dirk Collier, The Great Mughals and their India

Religion and Style [ edit ]

Akbar, at the insistence of Raja Bharmal, did not convert the princess to Islam and permitted her to perform Hindu rituals in her palace. Although the marriage was a result of a political alliance, the two however gradually developed an intimate and affectionate bond. Akbar himself is recorded to participate in the Pooja performed by the beautiful empress though he married several other Hindu princesses in his life.[49][50] She gradually became his most loved wife and till his death remained his favorite and subsequently was also the only wife buried close to Akbar. She was a devotee of Lord Krishna. The palace commissioned for her by Akbar in the imperial harem was decorated with paintings of Lord Krishna, and, gems and frescoes.

Harka bai arrived at Akbar’s court resplendent in the sensuous and excessively feminine style of the Rajput nobility.[51] She is illustrated to wear heavy, swinging, and gathered ghagra which would stop well above her ankle and a tightly fitting choli, tied at back with tasseled strings. Her head and shoulders were covered with an odhani but so translucent and fine that her bare midriff and arms were visible through that shimmering dupatta. Light would flicker against her heavy gold jewelry -swinging earrings, nose rings, clinging bracelets, and girdle of gold. In a few years, the culture and dressing style of this Rajput princess influenced the Mughal dresses and etiquette of the Mughal court.[51] Her roots were deeply embedded in the Rajput culture and style which was exhibited in her colorful and elaborated odhani or embroider lehengas.

Birth of Twins [ edit ]

On 19 October 1564, after two years of her marriage, Mariam-uz-Zamani gave birth to twin sons, Mirza Hassan and Mirza Hussain.[53]Akbar arrived in Agra on 9 October 1564 for the birth of twins.[54] Both of them died within a few days of their birth. Mirza Hussain died on 29 October 1564 and Mirza Hassan died on 5 November 1564.

Grief struck, Akbar took Mariam-uz-Zamani along with him after their sons’ demise as he set out for a war campaign, and during his return to Agra, he sought the blessings of Salim Chisti, a reputed Khawja who lived at Fatehpur Sikri.[55] Akbar confided in Salim Chisti who assured him that he would be soon delivered of three sons who would live up to a ripe old age.

As noted by Christian missionaries of the court, Pelsaert and Van Den Broecke, Akbar and Mariam-uz-Zamani went on a barefoot pilgrimage to Ajmer Dargah to pray for a son in the year 1566.[56][57]

Birth of Prince Salim [ edit ]

In 1569, Akbar heard the news that his chief consort was expecting a child again and hoped for the first of the three sons that had been promised to him after the death of the twins by Khawaja Salim Chisti. The expectant empress was sent to the Salim Chisti humble dwelling in Fatehpur Sikri during the latter period of her pregnancy. Akbar himself travelled often from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri during her period of pregnancy to take care of the empress for whom a royal palace named Rang Mahal was constructed in Fatehpur Sikri.[58] On 31 August 1569, the empress gave birth to a boy who received the name, Salim, in acknowledgment of his father’s faith in the efficacy of the holy man’s prayer. Akbar’s ecstasy in having his heir-apparent born to Heer Kunwari was enormous and publicly proclaimed, “It is right for that piece of moon”.[17] The Empress was presented with jewelry worth one lakh gold coins immediately when Akbar met her for that first time in Sikri after the birth of sultan Salim and gave a ‘Rajvanshi pat’ on her head expressing his love.[59] She was subsequently honored with the prestigious title of ‘Mariam-uz-Zamani’ (Mary/Compassionate of the Age).

Painting describing the scene of the birth of Jahangir

Some sources cite her to be the mother of Akbar’s second son, Murad Mirza too. She was also the foster mother of Daniyal Mirza, the favorite son of Emperor Akbar. Several marriages of her eldest son Salim and her foster son, Daniyal, were held at her palace.

Family advancement [ edit ]

Mariam-uz-Zamani’s family became the highest-ranking nobles in the Akbar’s court. The Rajas of Amber especially benefited from their close association with the Mughals and acquired immense wealth and power. Her family was held in high esteem by Akbar for their unmatchable courage, devotion, and loyalty all of which greatly endeared to the Emperor. Of twenty-seven Rajputs in Abu’l-Fazl list of mansabdars, thirteen were of the Amber clan, and some of them rose to positions as high as that of imperial princes.

Her father Raja Bharmal, after her marriage to Akbar, was immediately made the commander of 5000 cavalry units, the highest rank that could be held by the noble in the court. Mariam-uz-Zamani’s brother Bhagwant Das in the year 1585, became commander of 5000 cavalry units and bore the proud title Amir-ul-Umra (Chief Noble). His son, Man Singh I, rose even higher to become commander of 7000 forces which was at par with the mansab of royal princes. Akbar referred to Raja Man Singh as his farzand(son).

Akbar’s respect for the family of Mariam-uz-Zamani was profound. As per historian Badani, who specializes in Rajputana history, Akbar shared an intimate relationship with the Amer clan. After the death of the fiance of one of the daughters of Raja Bharmal and younger sister of Mariam-uz-Zamani, Sukanya, in the Battle of Paronkh in October 1562, Akbar personally took the responsibility for her marriage in a Rajput clan and adopted her as her own daughter.[62] To honor them, he visited her native town, Amer, in the year 1569 and enjoyed the largesse bestowed over him by his in-laws. During this time, Mariam-uz-Zamani was into the fourth month of her pregnancy and thereafter was shortly delivered with Salim. Abul Fazl notes that his stay in Amer was of a month and a half and Akbar was showered with several noticeable gifts.

Mariam-uz-Zamani also arranged the marriage of the daughter of her brother, Raja Bhagwant Das, to Salim on 13 February 1585. Man bai became the first and chief consort of Prince Salim. For this marriage Akbar personally visited the town of Amer and as a token of respect for her family carried the palanquin of her daughter-in-law on his shoulders for some distance. Man Bai later became the mother to Akbar’s favorite grandson, Khusrau Mirza, and received the prestigious title of ‘Shah Begum’.

The Empress of Hindustan [ edit ]

The Empress held a significant influence over Akbar and exercised considerable powers in the Mughal court.[66] She wielded massive powers in the imperial harem owing to her superior rank and was designated as in charge of the Hindu harem of Akbar.[51] Findly proclaims it was her retirement as the Empress Consort of the Mughal Empire after the demise of her husband, Akbar that led to the decline of Rajput influence in the Mughal court. She is described as a charismatic and adventurous woman having a high-spirited disposition and a taste for the unusual.

She has high praises reserved in the biography of her husband. As stated by Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak in Akbarnama, she’s described as both intellectual and tactful and is termed as an auspicious lady having lights of chastity and intellect shining on her forehead.[23] Abul Fazl calls her “the choicest apple from the garden of paradise. Badayuni in his book states Akbar’s affection and endearment for her with the statement “magic the kind daughter of Raja Bharmal did on Akbar”.[69] Another contemporary account describes her as a ‘great adventurer’.

She was a major driving force and prime inspiration for Akbar’s promotion of secularism.[70] In the words of historian Lal, “The personality and beauty of Mariam-uz-Zamani were indeed partly responsible for Akbar’s religious neutrality.” Nizamuddin Ahmad professes ‘daughter of Raja Bihari Mal, who was veiled in chastity, was ennobled by a marriage with His Majesty and was enlisted in the rank of honored consorts.’ [44] Abdul Qadir Badayuni describes her as a woman with a gentle disposition.[45]

” In the perspective of my work, Harkha Bai’s depiction has been particularly problematic. Because of the movie Jodha-Akbar, the identity of this Rajput princess has been forever confused because Harkha Bai belonged to the clan of the Kachwahas of Amber, not to Jodhpur at all. Moreover, because the Bollywood version focuses intensely on the so-called love story between Akbar and his Rajput bride, we forget the many complicated and nuanced ways in which Harkha Bai influenced Akbar and the Mughal court. We ignore the cultural, culinary, artistic, and religious impact of this Rajput queen, reducing her instead to the usual, tired trope of a love interest of the central male figure. She has been terribly written out of history. She had an amazing life and went on to become a very influential, powerful, and wealthy woman. Her life was not a typical Mughal life of a queen that we imagine, of putting on ittar and perfume and changing clothes every hour.”[72] — Ira Mukhoty, The Perspective Magazine

She had her garden in Agra which was gifted to her by Akbar and had several palaces constructed for her by Akbar in Fatehpur Sikri, Mandu, Lahore, and Allahabad.[70] In Agra, her palace of residence is believed to be Jahangiri Mahal, constructed by Akbar for his Hindu wives. When Akbar moved his court to Fatehpur Sikri in 1571, she resided in one of the most magnificent and beautiful palaces of Fatehpur Sikri which was built in the zenana complex. This palace was built as per Rajasthani architecture and was the biggest palace of his harem. This palace commonly known as Jodha Bai palace was also internally connected to the Khawabgah of Akbar. Her palace was decorated with paintings of Lord Krishna and in its time is reported to be studded with gems and frescoes. This palace also includes a temple used by the empress for her prayers and a Tulsi math.

Khawabgah of Mariam-uz-Zamani within her palace in Fatehpur Sikri, commonly known as Jodha bai Palace.

Her palace in Mandu called Nilkanth temple (Mandu) or as recorded by Jahangir in his biography, Imarat-i-Dilkhusha (the heart pleasing abode), was the favorite retreat place of Jahangir where he would celebrate his birthdays with his mother as recorded by Thomas Roe, a Christian missionary in Jahangir’s court. This palace was commissioned by Akbar for her in the year 1574 and has a Lord Shiva temple inside with a Shiv Ling and is built as per Mughal architecture on a hilltop. She was also the patron of several towns during her reign and held many jagirs like Bayana, pargana, Jansath, etc.[73]

After the demise of their twins, Hassan Mirza and Hussain Mirza in the year 1564, the empress was taken to the war by Akbar and later to the abode of Salim Chisti.[74] In the year 1566, Akbar and Mariam-uz-Zamani went on a pilgrimage barefoot to Dargah Ajmer to pray for a son.[56] The Empress also had the privilege to accompany Akbar often during his campaigns. The freedom Akbar bestowed on her was immense. During his Gujarat campaign when her brother Bhopat had fallen in the battle of Sarnal, Akbar personally sent Mariam-uz-Zamani, who was traveling with him during this campaign, to her native town Amer to pay condolences to her parents.[18] She is recorded to be a virtuous woman with high ideals and fidelity. She had been faithful and highly devoted to her husband throughout her life having sided with Akbar than her son Salim, during the latter’s rebellion against his father.

Jahangir’s nature of the relationship with his mother [ edit ]

Jahangir paid obeisance to his mother by touching her feet. He records these instances with a sense of pride. His reference to his mother was preceded by the epithet ‘Hazrat’. Jahangir referred to her as “Hazrat Mariam-uz-Zamani”, “Her Majesty” or at times “my exalted mother” out of his love for her in his memoirs.[75] Jahangir states, “I ordered Khurram to attend upon Hazrat Maryam-Zamani and the other ladies and to escort them to me. When they reached the neighbourhood of Lahore.. I embarked on a boat and went to a village named Dahr to meet my mother, and I had the good fortune to be received by her. After the performance of obeisance and prostration (rites of Korunish, Sajda, and Taslim before my exalted mother)…”[76] Jahangir would greet her mother by performing Korunish, Sajda, and Taslim and after paying her homage used to pay respect to other elders and royals. The stature and reverence Jahangir held for his mother were exceptional, he used to carry her palanquin on his shoulders.[78] During the plague of Agra when Jahangir was in Fatehpur Sikri, he says, “On January 1618, Mallika Mariam-uz-Zamani came from Agra to meet me and I attained the happiness of waiting on her. I hope that the shadow of her protection and affection will always be over the head of this supplicant.”[79]

In 1595, when Mariam-uz-Zamani was traveling for her business exigency, she was robbed of all her personal possessions in the city of Kabul and was left out of the ordinary necessities of life. Jesuit Benedict Goes hearing this assisted her before prince Salim could reach her. He granted the queen 600 pieces of gold and was subsequently paid in jade by the queen. When this news was delivered to Akbar’s court, he in astonishment thanked Benedict for his services to her queen as the assistance she sought from her countrymen was delivered to her by a stranger. Salim who was at a distance of eight days from his mother came in haste to meet his mother and meeting Benedict he embraced him and ordered full repayment of the advances he lent to the queen. When Mariam-uz-Zamani reached Akbar’s court safely, several people arrived there to welcome her and presented her with many gifts.[81]

The courtesies and largesse demonstrate by Jahangir surface the proof of the amount of respect and love he held for his mother, Mariam-uz-Zamani. In the words of Edward Terry, a foreign traveler to the Mughal court, “Jahangir’s affection for his mother Her Majesty Mariam-uz-Zamani were exceptional, and not seldom would he show many expressions of duty and display his strong affections for her”. Several royal functions took place in the household of Mariam-uz-Zamani like Jahangir’s solar and lunar weighings, all his birthday celebrations, Jahangir’s marriage to the Amer princess, daughter of Kunwar Jagat Singh, Shahzada Parviz’s wedding to the daughter of Sultan Murad Mirza and the henna ceremony of Ladli Begum, daughter of Nur Jahan and Shahryar Mirza. Several royal functions and events were hosted at her palace.

Jahangir also commissioned a mosque, Mosque of Mariam Zamani Begum Sahiba in her honor, owing to the love and strong affections he had for her. It is situated in the Walled City of Lahore, present-day Pakistan. This mosque was named after Empress Mariam-uz-Zamani, in her honor, and is known as the Begum Shahi Mosque. The foundation of this mosque was laid by Dowager Empress Mariam-uz-Zamani herself in the year 1611. It is one of the biggest mosques in the city of Lahore. Historians of Lahore state that the color combination and frescoes of this mosque, which are similar to the colored frescoes on the ceiling of the palace of Mariam-uz-Zamani, known as Jodha bai Palace in Fatehpur Sikri, were unrivaled for the beauty in their prime having the finest of niches and fountains. This mosque has four Arabic-Persian verses, and one of them includes the prayer of Mariam-uz-Zamani for her son, Jahangir.

Powers and Influence [ edit ]

The Empress held considerable freedom of speech in the political matters of court.[66] She was one of the few wives of Akbar who had the privilege to attend and express her views on the matters of the court. One of the episodes recorded in the book of Badayuni notes that once on the execution of a Brahmin by a conservative Muslim courtier of Akbar while Akbar had ordered the investigation to be continued, the daughter of Raja Bharmal taunted Emperor Akbar publicly for failing to maintain the abidance of his order.[24] She would exercise her influence to secure a pardon for offenders. Once on her intervention, Niyabat Khan, son of Hashim Khan, Nishapuri, who had revolted against Akbar, was admitted to Akbar’s presence and was saved from the death penalty.[86]

The religious ulemas of Akbar’s court were utterly displeased by the influence of Mariam-uz-Zamani and his Hindu wives on him in making him follow rituals and practices of Hindu culture. Since his marriage with the daughter of Raja Bharmal, he is said to have complimented her by ordering the continuous burning of the hom in which occasionally he would join her during her prayers.[87]

Akbar taking note of the disapproval of Mariam-uz-Zamani and his other Hindu wives stopped eating beef as the cow was regarded as a sacred animal in their religion. His Hindu wives insisted that he must refrain from eating onions and garlic which Badayuni says he agreed to. They also exerted enough influence on him to never keep a beard and abstain from association with people who kept beards. In order to gain the love of his Hindu wives and their goodwill, Badayuni notes, he abstained entirely from everything which was a natural abhorrence to them and took it as a mark of special devotion to himself if men shaved their beards so that it became common practice.[88] The marriages of the sons of Akbar, Mirza Salim, Mirza Murad, and Mirza Daniyal were also decided and fixed by his Hindu wives as per Badayuni.

The influence of Mariam-uz-Zamani and his Hindu wives was highly resented by the Muslim conservatives of the court, even more, when Akbar had ordered everyone in the court to stand up during the evening prayers of his Hindu wives when they would light up the hom in their temples to honor their traditions and culture and made sure that he was no exception to it.[24]

Akbar’s Imperial harem was re-organized into a fortress-like institution which is quite in contrast to the image of the reigns of Babur and Humayun. Harbans Mukhia attributed this change to the growing influence of Rajput cultural ethos on Akbar ever since his marriage in 1562 to Mariam-uz-Zamani.[89]

One of her intercessions in the inclination of his son include in May 1603, when Akbar suggested that Salim should undertake a military expedition for chastizement of Rana Amar Singh who was making encroachments on Mughal territories in Rajasthan. Salim suspicious of his father’s motives expressed his reluctance to accept the assignment however this provoked Akbar to issue a formal firman appointing Shahzada Salim to the command of the proposed expedition. The ladies of the harem, Mariam-uz-Zamani and Salima Sultan Begum requested the Emperor not to press the matter, and let Salim continue to live under his eye at the court. Akbar succumbed to their pleas and withdrew the firman. Muni Lal says that at the time when Akbar marched towards Salim to wage a war, Mariam-uz-Zamani was torn by conflicting loyalties between father and son.[91]

Muni Lal notes another intervention of her alongside Salima Sultan Begum to revoke the orders of house arrest for Salim by Akbar. After the death of Hamida Bano Begum, in order to cease his rebellions and put an end to his alcoholism and debauchery, Akbar ordered he should be kept in solitary confinement in ghusalkhana and ordered no serving of alcohol and opium. Salim begging for wine the entire time behaved like a madman. Akbar appointed his physician to recommend the minimum necessary alcohol for his health. Muni Lal claims, ‘the taming of the temperamental Salim bristled with complications, especially when Mariam Zamani and Salima Begum took into their scheming heads to leave no design unused to win freedom for their Baba’. The pressure from the senior queens became too compelling to be resisted for long. Akbar gave in and allowed Salim to shift to his palace.[92]

A 19th-century sketch of Queen Mother Mariam-uz-Zamani.

The Empress of Hindustan was the wealthiest and most distinguished woman of her time.[51] She was honored by various members of the regality of prominent nations during her husband and son’s reign by receiving several precious and exorbitant gifts. The Empress was the recipient of a noble gift, in the year 1601, from the Queen of England.[49] Mariam-uz-Zamani had numerous agents, middlemen, and financial advisers in and out of the harem appointed to help her oversee her trading activities and advise her on investments, “mirroring in miniature the Emperor’s own finance ministry”.[51] She had her own vakils, who supervised her jagirs and the construction of buildings on various of her properties.

The woman was perhaps, well ahead of her time. She was the first woman of the Mughal empire to have been given the privilege of holding a military rank. The Empress was one of the four senior-most figures in the Mughal court and the only woman to hold the highest military rank which was at par with the rank of the emperor itself, 12,000 cavalries. She is recorded to be a skilled warfare practitioner. She was known to receive a jewel from every nobleman “according to his estate” each year on the occasion of the New Year’s festival, an honor bestowed upon no other Mughal Empress.

Mariam-uz-Zamani was the senior-most woman in the imperial harem and held a high rank since the reign of Akbar.[51] She was consented to the right to issue official documents and edicts, called Farman (sovereign mandates).[95] Issuing of such orders was confined to the highest ladies of the harem such as Hamida Banu Begum, Nur Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal and Jahanara Begum.[96][97] Mariam-uz-Zamani used her wealth to build gardens, wells, mosques, and other developments around the countryside and was in charge of the Hajj department since Akbar’s reign.[49]

Khusrau’s affair [ edit ]

Mariam-uz-Zamani’s retirement after her husband’s death along with the death of Jagat Gosain led to the decline of Rajput influence in the Mughal court.[49] After the death of Akbar in the year 1605, she became the prime shield of Khusrau Mirza and as noted by a Christian missionary present in Mughal court, she secured a pardon for the prince along with Salima Sultan Begum, Shakr-un-Nissa Begum, and Emperor Jahangir’s other sisters upon Jahangir’s succession.[99] Nur Jahan is noted to have faked tears in front of her mother-in-law, Queen Mother Mariam-uz-Zamani for the possession of the charge of Prince Khusrau who was considered a powerful contender to the throne by the ambitious empress Nur Jahan however, she did not succeed.

Ellison Banks Findly notes a strong-worded letter of Mariam-uz-Zamani to her son, Jahangir, written by her in the year 1616 expressing her concern for the safety of Khusrao Mirza and cites that she had anticipated that if Khusrau’s charge was to be entrusted to Nur Jahan junta whom she believed was eager to eliminate Khusrau they would eventually kill Khusrau and it would be disastrous for the Mughal dynasty as the future descendants would use it as a specimen to murder their brothers for the possession of the royal throne. Succumbing to the pleas of his mother, sisters, Khusrau’s stepmothers and sisters, Jahangir did not transfer the control of Khusrau to Nur Jahan or prince Khurram. She, in fact, was so worried about the danger to Khusrau’s life at this time that she “is gone to the king with an ouerture of all the Practice”. Further, Findly adds that this foretelling of her substantiated soon afterward in the Mughal Empire when Shah Jahan’s kids, Aurangzeb and Dara Shikoh had a face-off for the royal throne eventually leading to the murder of Prince Dara Shikoh by his brother.

As a Businesswoman [ edit ]

Mariam-uz-Zamani was a woman with a strong personality who laid the foundation of a highly astute international trade in the Mughal Empire and was a remarkable businesswoman herself. She owned ships that carried pilgrims to and from the Islamic holy city Mecca, ran an extensive trade of silk and several spices to international borders, and oversaw the trade with Gulf countries and nations. Akbar took a significant note of Mariam-uz-Zamani’s activities of interest like her trading expedition. He personally invested time and money in her trading endeavors and had long discussions with the empress about her business which were held often.[102] She was the only wife of Akbar authorized for international trade.

The most influential queen of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (1542-1605), and mother of Emperor Jahangir, was the beautiful Empress Mariam-uz- Zamani … She stands out as an adviser who maintained that without a strong navy, the Mughal Empire would be overtaken by foreign armies. As the Mughals had come from Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, both landlocked countries, the concept of a navy was just not in their DNA. But then Akbar allowed his favourite and most loved wife to build ships for trade and Haj pilgrims at the Khizri Darwaza on the River Ravi.[9] — Muhammad Azam Khan

Regarded as a woman who built the first large sea-faring ships of the Mughals at Lahore, she was the owner and patron of the largest ships named Rahīmī and afterward Ganj-i-Sawai.[103] The value of her cargo named Rahimi, built on the orders of Akbar was estimated to be around 100,000 pounds (95,33,839 INR).[104] She would often travel to various cities of her empire and seaports to manage her trade business. This honor continued to be bestowed on the ladies holding the highest rank in the imperial harem like Nur Jahan and Jahanara Begum.

In the words of Findly, no other noblewoman on record seems to have been as adventurous a trader as the Queen Mariam-uz-Zamani however no trader’s ship seems to have gotten into as much trouble as hers. For example, as noted by the English ambassador in the Mughal court, William Hawkins, on February 1, 1609, he witnessed a great stirre touching the Mariam-uz-Zamani’s ship as it prepared to carry goods to Mocha, an Arabian port south of Mecca at the Red Sea’s entrance.[105] The Portuguese threatened to abscond with the ship to Diu unless she paid an exorbitant fee for a cartaz or pass.[12] It is recorded that the Portuguese demanded 1,00,000 mamudies for their cartaz or pass and then 20,000; eventually, to forestall violence, the two sides were able to compromise on a much smaller payment of 1,000 rialls and some odd money.[105][12]

In 1613, her ship, the Rahīmī, was seized by Portuguese pirates along with the 600–700 passengers on board and the cargo. Rahīmī was the largest Indian ship sailing in the Red Sea and was known to the Europeans as the “great pilgrimage ship”. When the Portuguese officially refused to return the ship and the passengers, the outcry at the Mughal court was quite unusually severe. The outrage was compounded by the fact that the owner and the patron of the ship was the revered Dowager Empress, Mariam-uz-Zamani. The whole affair was meant to gain leverage at a time when the Portuguese were threatened by competition from other European companies. But as it happened, the move backfired. As one observer noted, The Empress in retaliation ordered her son, Jahangir to seize the Portuguese town, Daman, block all Portuguese trade in Surat, and “hath likewise taken order for the seizing of all Portingals (sic) and their goods within his kingdoms”. Furthermore, she had her son “sealed up their church doors and hath given an order that they shall no more use the exercise of their religion in these parts”.

Rattled, the Portuguese made amends by offering Rs three lakh as compensation, but on the condition that the Mughals expel the English from Agra. Jahangir refused to blink, however, calling the Portuguese bluff, and welcoming soon afterward in 1615 Thomas Roe, the famous English ambassador. “The Portuguese folly in the capture of the Rahimi, then,” writes Findly, “tipped the scales in favor of the English.” This episode is considered to be an example of the struggle for wealth that would later ensue and lead to colonisation of the Indian sub-continent. But it was not as if the English newcomers were granted a red-carpet reception, on the contrary, the playing field was merely leveled somewhat. Mariam-uz-Zamani herself wasn’t sympathetic to the English.

Around the end of 1610, William Hawkins, commander of the English East India Company’s first mission to India, instructed one of his fellow merchants, William Finch, to travel about 80 km southwest from Agra to Bayana, a town well known for its high-quality indigo production. At this time, one of Mariam-uz-Zamani’s ships was being equipped for a voyage to Mocha. An agent had consequently been sent on her behalf to procure indigo, presumably an important part of the royal cargo. But just as the deal was being concluded, Finch swooped in with a higher bid, an infraction no Indian would have dared to commit knowing her social standing, and made away with the indigo the Queen Mother had reserved.

An insult to the Queen Mother was an insult to the emperor himself, while Finch was long on his way out of Bayana by this time, his boss, Hawkins, already in trouble with Jahangir for other reasons, had to suffer consequences. She exerted enough pressure on her son to ensure that Roe’s unofficial predecessor, William Hawkins, the “English Khan” who till then was friendly with Jahangir, had to pack his bags and leave for good. The repercussions were so severe for Europeans after Hawkins outbid Queen Mother that local merchants refused to trade their goods abroad until Europeans leave from India. In any case, if there was any doubt that the Emperor’s mother was a force to reckon with, the affair around the Rahimi dispelled such thinking.

After the loss of her ship Rahimi, the Dowager Empress then ordered the build of even a larger ship with 62 guns and the placement of over 400 musket men. It was named ‘Ganj-I-Sawai’ and in its day was the most fearsome ship in the sea with the objective of trade and taking pilgrims to Mecca and on the way back converting all the goods into gold, silver, and bringing back the pilgrims.[106]

Death [ edit ]

Mariam-uz-Zamani died in May 1623, immensely rich and powerful, and due honor was given by burying her in a mausoleum close to that of an equally redoubtable man she was married to, Akbar.[107] Her desire of being close to her husband even in death is visible in the proximity of her tomb to that of her husband, Akbar. There is no concrete evidence stating the reason for her death though it is believed to have been because of sickness. Jahangir had made several references in his autobiography towards her declining health since 1616 and calls her decrepit.

Her tomb, built between 1623–27, is on the Tantpur road in Jyoti Nagar, next to the tomb of Akbar. Mariam’s Tomb, commissioned by her son, is only a kilometer from Tomb of Akbar the Great and she stands as the only wife buried close to Akbar being his favorite and most devoted wife. The grave itself is underground with a flight of steps leading to it.

Issue [ edit ]

Mughal Emperor Akbar and Mariam-uz-Zamani Begum are confirmed to have at least three children:

Hassan Mirza (19 October 1564, Agra, Mughal Empire — 5 November 1564, Agra, Mughal Empire) (twin with Hussain)

Hussain Mirza (19 October 1564, Agra, Mughal Empire — 29 October 1564, Agra, Mughal Empire) (twin with Hassan)

Shahzada Salim (30 August 1569, Fatehpur Sikri, Mughal Empire — 28 October 1627, Rajouri, Mughal Empire)

She is purported to have had another child:

Murad Mirza (15 June 1570, Fatehpur Sikri, Mughal Empire — 12 May 1599, Mughal Empire)

She was also the foster mother of one of her stepsons:

Daniyal Mirza (11 September 1572, Ajmer, Mughal Empire — 8 April 1605, Mughal Empire)

Notes [ edit ]

Professor Ellison B. Findly claims the reason for the absence of her name and background in historical accounts is inter-religious marriage and that her name has been suppressed by Muslim historians out of prejudice. [109]

See also [ edit ]

In popular culture [ edit ]

Movies and T.V. serials

Literature

Jodha Bai is also a major character in Salman Rushdie’s 2008 novel The Enchantress of Florence.

Bibliography [ edit ]

Akbar Biography

Akbar is considered to be the greatest Mughal emperor of India. Akbar’s full name is Abū al-Fatḥ Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Akbar. He was born in Umarkot on October 15, 1542, which is now in Sindh province, Pakistan, and died on October 25, 1605, at Agra, India. He extended Mughal power over most of the Indian subcontinent and he reigned from 1556 to 1605. He was always considered to be the king of people as he listens to his people. To preserve the unity in his empire, various programs were adopted by Akbar which helped in winning the loyalty of the non-muslim population in his realm. He made sure that the central administration of his kingdom was reformed and strengthened.

Akbar also focused on the centralization of his financial system and reorganized the tax-collection process. Akbar practised Islam as his religion but he had the utmost respect for other people and their religion. He took a keen interest in understanding other religions asking various religious scholars from religions like Hindu, Parsis, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam to engage in religious discussion in front of him. Akbar was illiterate, and he always encouraged art and respected people who can teach him new things, and that is the reason his court was considered to be a centre of cultures as he would encourage different scholars, poets, artists, etc. to show their art in front of him.

Personal Details:

Akbar Full Name: Abū al-Fatḥ Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Akbar.

Date of Birth: October 15, 1542

Death Date: October 25, 1605

Cause of Death- Dysentery, an infection in the intestines that causes bloody diarrhoea

Age (at the time of death)- 63

Akbar History

Akbar the great also known as the Abū al-Fatḥ Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Akbar was descended from Turks, Iranians, and Moguls. Genghis Khan and Tamerlane are considered to be the ancestors of Akbar. Humayun was the father of Akbar who succeeded to the throne of Delhi as ruler of the Mughal territories in the Indian subcontinent. He came to power at the age of 22 and as a result of which he was very inexperienced.

In December 1530, Humayun succeeded his father to the throne of Delhi as ruler of the Mughal territories in the Indian subcontinent. Humayun was an inexperienced ruler when he came to power, at the age of 22. Sher Shah Suri defeated Humayun and won many Mughal territories. Humayun went to Persia and took political shelter for almost 10 years and returned 15 years later to regain the lost Mughal territories.

Humayun Regained the throne in 1555 but had no authority in his kingdom. Humayun further expanded his Mughal territories and he then met with an accident and passed away in 1556 leaving a substantial legacy for his son, Akbar. At 13 years of age, Akbar was made the governor of the Punjab region. Humayun had barely established his authority as an emperor when he died in 1556 which led to many other rulers seeing it as a possibility to capture the Mughal dynasty. As a result of which many governors of the Mughal empire lost several important places. Delhi was also captured by Hemu, a Hindu minister who claimed the throne for himself.

But under the guidance of Bairam Khan who was the regent to the young emperor, on November 5, 1556, Mughal forces defeated Hemu in the second battle of Panipat and recaptured Delhi thus ensuring Akbar’s succession.

Akbar Wife: Akbar had six wives, his first wife’s name was Princess Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, who was also his cousin. His second wife was Bibi Khiera, daughter of Abdullah Khan Mughal. His third wife was Salima Sultan Begum, the daughter of Nur-ud-din Muhammad Mirza. Another of his wives was Bhakkari Begum, the daughter of Sultan Mahmud of Bhakkar. Akbar married Jodha Bai, the daughter of the Rajput ruler of Ajmer, Raja Bharmal. She is also known as Mariam-uz-Zamani. Qasima Banu Begum, the daughter of Arab Shah was also the wife of Akar.

Akbar Son: Akbar had five sons from different wives. His first two sons were Hassan and Hussain and their mother was Bibi Aram Baksh. Both of them died at a young age for an unknown reason. The other Akbar sons were Murad Mirza, Daniyal Mirza, and Jahangir. Akbar’s favourite son was Daniyal Mirza as he also had a keen interest in poetry like his father. Out of the three sons, Prince Salim or Jahangir succeeded Akbar as the fourth emperor of the Mughal dynasty.

Akbar Religious Policy

Mughal emperor Akbar was known for his religious policies and liberal ideas towards it. He adopted a policy that helped in maintaining mutual understanding between people of a different faith. The policy introduced by Akbar treated every religion with respect and equality. He always tried to maintain peace and harmony between people of different faith. He also founded a new religion called ‘Din-i-Ilahi’ having all the common points from all the religions. The main steps taken for religious harmony in Akbar’s time were to treat everyone irrespective of their faith. Akbar saw the injustice that was done by his predecessors on Hindus and he resolved all of them like the abolition of taxes on Hindu, Employment of Hindus at a higher post, allying with Hindu families, and most importantly allowing freedom of worship to all.

Due to Akbar’s religious policies, people of different faith trusted him and truly accepted him as their king. The impact of religious policies was huge and it allowed the empire to get strong. Cultural unity emerged and there was an environment of goodwill developed between people of a different faith. Akbar also was credited as the national king by all the people.

Akbar Reign

After Bayram Khan retired in 1560, Akbar started to govern on his own. Akbar first attacked Malwa and captured it in 1561. In 1562, Raja Bihari Mal of Ajmer offered Akbar his daughter in marriage and Akbar accepted it and it was considered as a sign of total surrender. Akbars followed the same feudal system as other Rajput chiefs. they were allowed to have their ancestor’s territories under the condition that they acknowledged Akbar as their emperor.

Akbar paid tribute to, supplying his soldiers to fight their wars when required to strengthen his alliance with the Rajputs. Akbar showed no mercy to those who refused him as his emperor and acknowledged his supremacy. While fighting Mewar, In 1568 Akbar captured the fortress of Chitor and killed its inhabitants. The fall of Chitor made many Rajput rulers surrender themselves against the supremacy of Akbar and accept him as their emperor in 1570.

In 1573 Akbar conquered Gujarat. It was the area with many ports that was very successful in having trade with western Asia. After conquering Gujarat, Akbar’s eyes were set on Bengal, a city that had networks of Rivers. Bengals Afghan rulers decided to surrender to the supremacy of Akbar in 1575.

Towards the end of his reign, Akbar conquered Kashmir in 1586, Sindh in 1591, and Afghanistan in 1595. After completely conquering the north, The Mughals then set their eyes on the South. In 1601 Khandesh, part of Ahmadnagar and Berar was added to the Akbar’s empire. Throughout his reign, Akbar had captured two-thirds of the Indian subcontinent.

Conclusion

Akbar was the third emperor of the Mughal dynasty and the most successful one too. At the end of his reign, he had conquered two-thirds of the Indian subcontinent that including Afghanistan too. One of the noticeable features of how governed his kingdom was that he treated everyone equally irrespective of their religion. Everyone was allowed to follow their faith without any fear. The discrimination against Hindus was reduced by abolishing the taxation of pilgrims. He gave equal employment opportunities to Hindus for the higher post.

Akbar was very successful as a ruler as every in his kingdom of any faith trusted him and his way of running the kingdom. Akbar was successful in bringing cultural unity among the people and because of that he was given the title of the national king by all people.

Salima Sultan Begum – 4th wife of the great emperor Akbar

Quick Facts

Full Name : Salima Sultan Begum

: Salima Sultan Begum Born : 23rd February 1539

: 23rd February 1539 Died : 2nd January 1613

: 2nd January 1613 Religion : Islam

: Islam Dynasty: Timurid by birth

Timurid by birth Spouse : Bairam Khan m. 1557 to 1561), Akbar (m. 1561–1605)

: 1557 to 1561), (m. 1561–1605) Father : Nuruddin Muhammad Mirza

: Nuruddin Muhammad Mirza Mother : Gulrukh Begum

: Famous as: 4th Wife of Akbar

Introduction

Salima Sultan Begum was the 4th wife of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar and the granddaughter of the founder of the Mughal Empire, Babur. She was the daughter of Gulrukh Begum who was her paternal aunt and her husband Nuruddin Muhammad Mirza who was the viceroy of Kannauj.

Salima Sultan Begum was betrothed to Bairam Khan at first by Humayun who was her maternal uncle too. Bairam Khan was the regent of Akbar that time. She married to Bairam Khan in 1557 after Akbar succeeded his father Humayun. However, she was 40 years younger than Bairam Khan. The relationship between Salima Sultan Begum and Bairam Khan lasted for only 3 years and he was killed in 1561 by a group of Afghans. After the death of Bairam Khan she was married to Akbar who was her first cousin too.

Salima had a high influence on Akbar and her son Jahangir. She had operated many important decisions during Akbar’s reign as well as during Jahangir’s reign. She was known for her intelligence and also known as ‘Khadija of the era’.

Family

The mother of Salima Sultan Begum, Gulrukh Begum was the mughal princess and the daughter of Babur. Her husband Nuruddin Muhammad Mirza was the viceroy of Kannauj. Khwaja Hasan Naqshbandi was her father’s grandfather who was the descendant of Naqshbandi Khwajas related to the Timurid empire. Though her mother’s name is disputed and not mentioned in Baburnama written by Gulbadan Begum or babur himself.

Gulrukh was the half sister of Humayun. She was the Dildar’s daughter so she was the full sister of Hindal Mirza who was the younger brother of Humayun. Thus Salima was the half cousin of Akbar and the first cousin of Ruqaiya Sultan Begum who was the daughter of Mirza Hindal and the first wife of Akbar.

Accomplishments

Salima was highly educated. She was often described as extremely talented and intellectual woman. She was proficient in Persian language and was a renowned writer and poet during her time. Salima had written under the pseudonym of Makhfi (meaning “Hidden One”), a pseudonym. This pseudonym was later adopted by her great-great-granddaughter, Princess Zeb-un-Nissa. Princess Zeb-un-Nissa was also a gifted poet and writer.

She was a passionate lover of books and used to like reading. She had maintained a big library of her own.

Marriage with Bairam Khan

Salima Begum married to Bairam Khan at the age of 18. Bairam Khan was in his fifties. The marriage took place on 7 December 1557 in Jalandhar, Punjab. Bairam was the commander-in-chief of the Mughal army and a powerful statesman at the Mughal court. He was was acting as Akbar’s regent during that time.

She was the second wife of Bairam Khan after the daughter of Jamal Khan of Mewat, who was his first wife. Salima and Bairam Khan had a short-lived marriage and the didn’t have any child

Just before his death in 1561, Bairam Khan had lost his position in the Empire as he had jumped into rebelling against Akbar. Bairam Khan’s rebellion was twice put down by Akbar, and he submitted to him. As a result Akbar had stripped of all his privileges. Instead, Akbar gave him three options: of a handsome jagir in the sarkar of Kalpi and Chanderi, the emperor’s confidential advisor’s post, and a Mecca journey. He selected the journey to Mecca.

Marriage with Akbar

Bairam Khan was attacked while he was on journey to Mecca in Patan, Gujarat on 31st January 1561 by a band of Afghans led by Mubarak Khan. Mubarak Khan’s father had been killed fighting against Bairam Khan at the Machhiwara Battle in 1555. Salima Begum, along with her step-son, Abdul Rahim (who was just 4 years old at that time), reached Ahmedabad after suffering many hardships. As per Akbar’s orders, Salima and Abdul Rahim had to report to the Mughal court. Akbar was highly impressed by the abilities of Salima Sultan Begum, and he himself married her on 7th May 1561. She was about three and a half years older than him. She became Akbar’s fourth wife.

Salima was a senior-ranking wife of Akbar along with Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, who was his first wife and chief consort. She was childless throughout her marriage.

Salima was the one of the most important ladies at the Mughal court. In 1575, Salima also travelled to Mecca and performed the Hajj pilgrimage along with her aunt, Gulbadan Begum, and many other Timurid ladies. She was the only wife of Akbar who accompanied the pilgrims.

Death

Salima died in 1613 in Agra. She was suffering from an illness. She was sixty years old at the time of her death. By his step son Jahangir‘s orders, her body was laid in Mandarkar Garden in Agra, which was commissioned by herself.

Jahangir praises Salima for her accomplishments and her qualities.

History of Mughal Empire.

Salima Sultan Begum (23 February 1539 – 15 December 1612) was an Empress of the Mughal Empire as a wife of Emperor Akbar. Salima had been previously married to Bairam Khan and after his murder in 1561, she was subsequently married by her first cousin, the Emperor Akbar.

Salima Begum was a senior-ranking woman in the Imperial harem. As such, she wielded major political influence at Court and in the Empire. Her name appears in the histories as a reader, poet, who wrote under the pseudonym of Makhfi “Hidden One” and as pleading with Akbar for her step-son, Jahangir’s forgiveness

Family

Salima Sultan Begum was born as the daughter of Mughal princess Gulrang Begum and her husband, the Viceroy of Kanauj, Nur-ud-din Muhammad Mirza. Salima’s maternal grandfather was Emperor Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire and the first Mughal Emperor.

Her maternal uncles were the second Mughal Emperor Humayun and the Mughal prince Hindal Mirza. Salima was therefore a first cousin to Emperor Akbar and to his first wife Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, as both of them were the children of her maternal uncles: Humayun and Hindal Mirza, respectively

. Marriage

In December of 1557, at the age of eighteen, Salima Begum was married to the considerably older Bairam Khan, (who was in his fifties) at Jalandhar, Punjab. Bairam was the Military Commander of the Mughal Empire and a powerful statesman at the Mughal Court. It is said that the marriage excited great interest at Court. It united two streams of descent from Ali Shukr Beg, i.e. the Blacksheep Turkomans from Bairam Khan’s side and Timur from Salima’s side as Salima was a Timurid through her maternal grandfather, Emperor Babur, and through Mahmud, one of her great-grandfathers. Salima had been betrothed to Bairam Khan by her maternal uncle, Emperor Humayun, during his reign. Salima became Bairam’s second wife, after the daughter of Jamal Khan of Mewat, who was the mother to his son, Abdul Rahim. Salima and Bairam Khan’s short-lived marriage did not produce any children.

After only three years of marriage, Bairam Khan died in 1561 as a result of the intrigues against him instigated by Maham Anga, which culminated in his murder. Salima was subsequently married by her first cousin, Akbar, in the same year. She was three years and seven months older than him. Akbar married Salima to protect her and Bairam Khan’s son Rahim lives from further political conspiracies. Salima was very talented and Akbar’s only other wife apart from Ruqaiya, who was of the most exalted lineage, being a Timurid through her mother’s side and thus, a granddaughter of Emperor Babur in the maternal line.

Being an extensive reader, she kept accounts of her encounters with the Emperor and the state of affairs. Salima was thus, one of the most important ladies at the court.

Salima and Maryam Makani played a crucial role in negotiating a settlement between Akbar and Jahangir when the father-son’s relationship turned sour in the early 1600s, eventually helping to pave the way for Jahangir’s accession to the throne. During Jahangir’s reign, Salima and Ruqaiya played a crucial role in securing pardon for the powerful, Khan-i-Azam, Mirza Aziz Koka, who had been sentenced to death by Jahangir.

In 1575, Salima went for the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca along with her aunt Princess Gulbadan Begum and many other royal ladies. Salima was an accomplished poet and collected a library, to which apparently copy of all books had to be contributed, which had any currency in court circles.

Death

Salima died on 15 December 1612 at Delhi. Her step-son, Jahangir, gives particulars of her birth and descent; her marriages and he states that she was seventy three years old at the time of her death in 1612. By his orders, her body was laid in a garden which she herself had commissioned.

Jahangir praises her both for her natural qualities and her acquirements. She creates an impression of herself as a charming and cultivated woman

Salima Sultan Begum

Salima Sultan Begum

Salima Sultan Begum was the wife of Mughal Emperor Akbar. She was born 23rd of February, 1539. Akbar was three years younger than Salima Sultan Begum.

Salima’s mother, Gulrang Begum, was a Mughal Empress. Her mother was the daughter of Babur and sister of Humayun. Gulbadan Begum was the the sister of Gulrang Begum.

The first marriage of Salima took place with Bairam Khan in 1557. Bairam Khan was a trusted general and guardian of Akbar the Great. After the death of Bairam Khan, Salima was married to Akbar. The short married life of Salima with Bairam Khan did not produce any child. However, Bairam Khan had a son named Abdul Rahim from his first wife. Thus, Rahim was the step-son of Salima Begum. Abdul Rahim is popularly known as Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana.

Salima Begum was a poet and had a charming personality. Salima Begum belonged to a royal family. She had good influence over Akbar. At difficult times, Akbar often used to consult with Salima and seek her advice. She took active participation in Mughal Court and had high authority in the Mughal Imperial Harem. Her authority was next only to Rukaiya Begum, the first wife of Akbar.

Prince Murad (also Shahzada Murad Mirza) was the son of Salima Begum and Akbar. Unfortunately, Prince Murad died on 12th May, 1599 at the age of 29. Later on, she supported Jahangir to ascend to the throne of Mughal Empire. Both Salima Sultan Begum and Rukaiya Begum had love for Prince Salim (Later Jahangir) and wished to see him as the successor of Akbar.

Salima Sultan Begum maintained a cordial relationship with Harkha Bai and Prince Salim. In 1601 A.D. Prince Salim revolted against the reign of his father. This could result in Akbar taking stern action his son. But Salima Begum, Rukaiya Begum and Hamida Banu Begum together stepped forward to mitigate the differences between the father and the son. Salima Begum successfully managed to bring back Salim to Agra and Salim was cordially welcomed by Akbar.

She was a religious lady. She proceeded to Mecca along with her aunt, Gulbadan Begum.

In the Television Series titled ‘Jodha Akbar”, Manisha Yadav is playing the role of Salima Sultan Begum. Manisha Yadav is renowned film actress in Tamil Film Industry.

She died on 15th December, 1612.

Suggested External Readings

1. Wikipedia on Salima Sultan Begum

2. Wikipedia on Ruqaiya Sultan Begum

3. Wikipedia on Jodha Akbar TV Series

Wasn’t Salima childless as well?

Posted: 8 years ago

Salima Sultan Begum

After only three years of marriage, Bairam Khan died in 1561 as a result of the intrigues against him instigated by Maham Anga, which culminated in his murder. Salima was subsequently married by her first cousin, Akbar, in the same year. She was three years and seven months older than him. Akbar had been greatly impressed by his talented cousin which was the main reasons for him marrying her aside from the fact that Salima was his only other wife apart from Ruqaiya, who was of the most exalted lineage, being a Timurid through her mother’s side and thus, a granddaughter of Emperor Babur in the maternal line.[8]

Salima was Akbar’s favourite wife apart from his first wife and chief consort, Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, and had a major say in the affairs of the state. Being an extensive reader, she kept accounts of her encounters with the Emperor and the state of affairs. Salima was thus, the most senior figure in the imperial harem after Ruqaiya and was second in status, power, and authority only to her. As a result, she wielded significant great influence in the imperial harem along with Ruqaiya. Both Salima and Ruqaiya’s influence in the harem was unmatched by any of Akbar’s other wives.[5]

After nine years of marriage with Akbar, Salima gave birth to a son, Prince Murad in 1570.[9] She still did not try to claim her son’s position as Akbar’s successor as she dearly loved Salim (the future Emperor Jahangir) and greatly supported him as her husband’s successor along with Ruqaiya Begum; despite the fact that Salim had not proven to be a worthy future emperor. Another fact being that her son, Prince Murad, died before both Salima and Akbar in 1599.

The extent of Salima and Ruqaiya’s influence in the Empire and over Akbar, came to the fore in the early 1600s, when both the women played a crucial role in negotiating a settlement between Akbar and Jahangir when the father-son’s relationship turned sour, eventually helping to pave the way for Jahangir’s accession to the throne.[10]

In 1575, Salima went for the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca along with her aunt Princess Gulbadan Begum and many other royal ladies.[11] Salima was an accomplished poetess and collected a library, to which apparently copy of all books had to be contributed, which had any currency in court circles.[12][13]

How Many Wives Did Akbar Have In Hinduism?

All of his relatives are difficult to identify, although he had six wives who are called Mariam-uz-Zamani, Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, Salima Sultan Begum, Bibi Marium, Bibi Khiera, and Bibi Salima Sulatana. He has no children. But it was his Jodha begum that he cherished the most. She was a Hindu by faith, and as a result, she was not welcomed by all of Akbar’s family members. 4.

He even constructed a palace for his wife in the vicinity of the Hawa Mahal. Akbar had three sons, Jahangir, Murad, and Daniyal, whom he raised as his own. In fact, Jahangir was the only one of three sons to survive, since the other two died while they were little. Jahangir and Akbar did not have a very cordial relationship and were frequently at odds with one another in their dealings.

How many times did Akbar have more than one wife?

Similarly, all of the Mughal emperors and princes had several wives, with Akbar having 35 and Jahangir having 20. Jahangir’s brother Daniyal had 9 wives, while Shah Jahan had roughly 10 wives. A woman’s position in the harem was not determined by whether or not she was married; rather, it was determined by how close she was to the emperor.

What was the name of Akbar’s Hindu wife?

According to legend, it was the name of Jahangir’s Hindu bride, Taj Bibi Bilqis Makani, also known as Jagat Gosain (maiden name Jagat Gosain), princess of Jodhpur (thus, the name ‘Jodha’). Many people make the mistake of conflating the two names and assume Jodha was the name of Akbar’s Hindu concubine.

How many women were there in Akbar’s harem?

The idea that Akbar had 5000 or 300 women in his harem is a fiction, and as such, one should not place too much emphasis on it. He had nine legally married wives in all, for a total of 35 wives. His primary queens, on the other hand, were the Empress Ruqaiya Sultan begam and the Empress Salima Sultan begam, both of whom died in the same year. His most beloved wife and chief of staff

Why did Akbar marry Bairam Khan’s wife?

In the same way, why did Akbar marry Bairam Khan’s wife?

Bairam Khan (1557–1561) was the subject of the marriage.

Bairam’s outstanding contributions to Humayun were most likely rewarded with the marriage of his daughter.

Because he became a part of the imperial dynasty, his status among the Mughal nobility increased as a result of the marriage.

According to reports, the marriage drew a lot of attention at the courthouse.

How many wives did Pharoh Khufu have?

In 2589 B.C., Khufu was born and rose to the throne in his early twenties, making him the youngest ruler in Egyptian history.

In addition to his two wives, Meritates and Henutsen, and twenty-four offspring, of whom fifteen were daughters and nine were males, Khufu was the patriarch of a large family.

In the vicinity of the Great Pyramid of Giza, Khufu’s wives were buried, as were his mother and several of his children.

How many wives did Okonkwo have?

Okonkwo’s tenacity and military prowess have elevated him to a position of prominence within his tribe, and he has amassed enough cash to sustain three women and their children. Okonkwo’s sad weakness is that he is paralyzed by the fear of seeming weak, much like his father.

How many wives did Shahanshah Akbar have?

Look for signs and symptoms of spinal muscular atrophy. After Akbar’s death, he had 13 wives, Jodhabai being the fourth. She was the mother of Prince Salim (Jahangir), who would go on to become the second mughal emperor after Akbar. His first wife and major consort was Princess Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, who was his first cousin once removed.

Salima Sultan Begum

Family and lineage

Salima Sultan Begum was the daughter of Mughal princess Gulrukh Begum and her husband, the Viceroy of Kannauj, Nuruddin Muhammad Mirza.[5] Her father was the grandson of Khwaja Hasan Naqshbandi and was a scion of the illustrious Naqshbandi Khwajas,[6] who were held in great esteem and were related to Sultan Abu Sa’id Mirza of the Timurid Empire through his son, Sultan Mahmud Mirza.[7] Salima’s mother, Gulrukh Begum, was the daughter of the first Mughal emperor Babur. The identity of the mother of Gulrukh Begum is disputed. In some sources her mother’s name is mentioned as Saliha Sultan Begum, however, this name is not mentioned in the Baburnama written by Babur himself or the Humayun-Nama written by Gulbadan Begum, and therefore the existence of such a woman is questionable. She may also have been the daughter of Dildar Begum, who may have been the same woman as Saliha Sultan Begum.[8][9] Gulrukh was thus, a half-sister of the second Mughal emperor Humayun and if she was Dildar’s daughter a full-sister of Humayun’s youngest brother, Hindal Mirza.[10] Salima was, therefore, a half-cousin of Emperor Akbar. Gulrukh Begum, who was known for her beauty and accomplishments in the imperial household,[10] died four months after giving birth to her daughter.[11]

Education and accomplishments

Salima was a highly educated and accomplished woman,[12][13] has often been described as extremely talented,[14][15] and was tactful.[3] Proficient in Persian,[16] she was a gifted writer and a renowned poet of her time. She wrote under the pseudonym of Makhfi, a pseudonym later adopted by her equally talented step great-great-granddaughter, the gifted poetess, Princess Zeb-un-Nissa.[17] Salima was also a passionate lover of books and was very fond of reading.[18] She not only maintained a great library of her own but freely used Akbar’s library as well. Abdus Hayy, the author of Ma’asir al-umara, quotes one of her famous couplets: In my passion I called thy lock the ‘thread of life’

I was wild and so uttered such an expression[19] Akbar’s court historian, Bada’uni, in his book Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh, gives one passage which throws light on Salima’s love for books.[18] The passage runs thus: “On account of the book Khirad-afza, which had disappeared from the library and concerning Salima Sultan Begum’s study of which the Emperor [Akbar] reminded me, an order was issued that my allowance should be stopped and that they should demand the book of me.” He adds that Abu’l Fazl did not lay his refutation before the Emperor, and he does not clear up the awkward doubt as to what he had done with Salima’s desired book.[20]

Marriage to Bairam Khan (1557–1561)

Bairam Khan is assassinated by an Afghan at Patan, 1561 At the age of 18, Salima Begum was married to the considerably older Bairam Khan (who was in his fifties)[15] on 7 December 1557 in Jalandhar, Punjab.[21] Bairam was the commander-in-chief of the Mughal army and a powerful statesman at the Mughal court, who was acting as Akbar’s regent at the time. Salima’s maternal uncle, Humayun, had promised Bairam that he would give his niece in marriage to him as soon as India was conquered (which was accomplished in Akbar’s reign). The bride was probably a reward for the surpassing services done by Bairam for Humayun. The marriage enhanced his prestige among the Mughal nobles as it made him a member of the imperial family.[22] It is said that the marriage excited great interest at court. It united two streams of descent from Ali Shukr Beg, that is, the Blacksheep Turkomans from Bairam Khan’s side and Timur from Salima’s side as Salima was a Timurid through her maternal grandfather, Emperor Babur, and through Mahmud, one of her great-grandfathers.[23] Salima became Bairam’s second wife,[24] after the daughter of Jamal Khan of Mewat, who was his first wife and the mother of his son, Abdul Rahim.[25] Salima and Bairam Khan’s short-lived marriage did not produce any children.[3] Shortly before he died in 1561, Bairam Khan lost his prestigious position in the Empire as he was provoked into rebelling against Akbar by conspirators who wanted to ruin him. Khan’s rebellion was twice put down by Akbar, and he submitted to him. As punishment for his rebellions, Bairam was stripped of all his privileges and Akbar gave him three options: of a handsome jagir in the sarkar of Kalpi and Chanderi, the post of the emperor’s confidential advisor, and a journey to Mecca. Bairam Khan chose the last option.[25]

Marriage to Akbar (1561–1605)

While on his way to Mecca, Bairam Khan was attacked in Patan, Gujarat on 31 January 1561 by a band of Afghans, led by a man named Mubarak Khan, whose father had been killed fighting against Bairam at the Battle of Machchiwara in 1555.[26][27] Bairam Khan’s camp was also put to plunder and the newly widowed, Salima Begum, along with her step-son, Abdul Rahim (aged four), reached Ahmedabad after suffering many hardships. Akbar was shocked to hear the sad news of his former teacher and guardian’s death. As per his orders, Salima and Abdul Rahim were brought under imperial escort to the Mughal court with great honour and respect. Akbar himself married her on 7 May 1561 as a regard for the astute services offered by her late husband to the Mughal Empire and acknowledging her exalted lineage.[18][26] She was about three and a half years older than him and became his third wife.[2] The richly talented Salima was Akbar’s only other wife apart from Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, who was of the most exalted lineage, being a granddaughter of Emperor Babur through her maternal line. Salima was, thus, a senior-ranking wife of Akbar and became one of the chief consorts.[10] Salima remained childless throughout her marriage, however, some sources mistakenly identify her as the mother of Akbar’s son, Sultan Murad Mirza.[28] The Jahangirnama states that Murad was the son of a royal serving-girl.[29] However some sources cite Mariam-uz-Zamani as Murad’s birth mother. He was however entrusted to the care of Salima Sultan Begum for the first few years and later returned to the care of his mother as Salima Begum left for Hajj in 1575. Being an extensive reader, she kept accounts of her encounters with the Emperor and the state of affairs. Salima was, thus, one of the most important ladies in the Mughal court. In 1575, Salima traveled to Mecca to perform the Hajj pilgrimage along with her aunt, Gulbadan Begum, and many other Timurid ladies. She was the only wife of Akbar who accompanied the pilgrims.[30] Akbar himself, was dissuaded from traveling only by the pleas of Abu’l Fazl.[31] The high-ranking female party, under the fortunate auspices of Akbar, left Fatehpur Sikri on 15 October 1575 and after taking a year to get to the sea, set sail for Mecca on 17 October 1576. They were said to have spent three and a half years in Arabia and made the hajj four times, returning home to Agra in March 1582.[32]

Political influence at the Mughal court

Salima had much influence over Akbar and her step-son, Salim,[3] and wielded major political influence in the Mughal court during both the father-son’s respective reigns. She played a crucial role in negotiating a settlement between Akbar and Salim when the father-son’s relationship had turned sour in the early 1600s, eventually helping to pave the way for Salim’s accession to the Mughal throne.[33] In 1601, Salim had revolted against Akbar by setting up an independent court in Allahabad and by assuming the imperial title of “Salim Shah” while his father was still alive.[13] He also planned and executed the assassination of Akbar’s faithful counsellor and close friend, Abu’l Fazl.[34] This situation became very critical and in the end, it was Salima Sultan Begum and Hamida Bano Begum who pleaded for his forgiveness. Akbar granted their wishes and Salim was allowed to present himself before the Emperor. Salima Begum went to Allahabad to convey the news of forgiveness to the prince. She went with an elephant named Fateh Lashkar, a special horse, and a robe of honour. Salim received her warmly and agreed to go back to Agra with her. The prince was finally pardoned in 1603 through the efforts of his step-mother and his grandmother, Hamida Banu Begum.[13] During Jahangir’s reign, Salima Begum displayed her political influence on several occasions. After the death of Akbar in the year 1605, Salima Sultan Begum alongside Mariam-uz-Zamani and Shakr-un-Nissa Begum secured a pardon for the Khusrau Mirza, the eldest son of Jahangir upon his succession.[35] She also secured a pardon for the powerful Khan-i-Azam, Mirza Aziz Koka. Aziz Koka had been a foster brother of Akbar’s and consequently a great favourite in the harem for decades. One of his daughters had married Jahangir’s eldest son, Khusrau Mirza, and when Khusrau revolted against his father in 1606, Aziz Koka was discovered to have been in the plot from the very beginning. Aziz Koka would surely have received the death penalty had not Salima Sultan Begum yelled out from behind the screens: Majesty, all the ladies have assembled in the women’s quarters to pledge their support for Mirza Aziz Koka. It would be better if you were to come here – if not, they will come to you![36] Jahangir was thus constrained to go to the female apartment, and on account of the pressure exercised by revered elderly women of Harem, he finally pardoned him.[37]

Death

Salima died in 1613 in Agra, after suffering from an illness. Her step-son, Jahangir, gives particulars of her birth and descent; her marriages. By his orders, her body was laid in Mandarkar Garden in Agra, which she had commissioned.[38] Jahangir praises Salima both for her natural qualities and her acquirements, saying “she was adorned with all good qualities. In women, this degree of skill and capacity is seldom found.”[1] She creates an impression of herself as a charming and cultivated woman.[38]

In popular culture

References

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