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Jahangir Biography

Last updated date: 14th Apr 2024
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About Jahangir

Jahangir, also spelled as Jehangir, was the fourth emperor of the Mughal dynasty. His original name was Nūr-ud-dīn Muhammad Salīm and he was the eldest son of the greatest Mughal emperor, Akbar the great. His mother's name was Mariam-uz-Zamani. He was born on August 31, 1569, in Fatehpur Sikri, India. He was the fourth Mughal emperor and one of the most prominent rulers of the Mughal dynasty. He ruled the Mughal empire from 1605 until his death in 1627. 

Jahangir had a bitter relationship with Akbar as he wanted the throne as soon as possible. He was very impatient and was very hungry for power and therefore he revolted against his father, Akbar in 1599 while Akbar was engaged in the Deccan. But later father and son reconciled and when Akbar was on his death bed confirmed Salim as his successor.

The new emperor Salim chose the Persian name  Jahāngīr which means the “World Seizer” as his reign name. 

Apart from focusing on the military campaigns, Jahangir also gave very importance to art. Throughout his 22 years of rule, he expanded the Mughal empire and also had conflicts with the Sikh community. He was an alcoholic and an addict and he paid a huge price for that and on October 28, 1627, he passed away. Jahangir’s mausoleum, Tomb of Jahangir, located at Shahdara, is a major tourist attraction in present-day Lahore.

Basic Information

Jahangir full name: "Salim Nûr ud-Din Muhammad"

Jahangir Date of Birth: September 9, 1569

When did Jahangir died: October 28, 1627

Age (at the time of death)- 58 

Jahangir Childhood and Early Life 

Jahangir’s real name is Nur-ud-din Muhammad Salim and he was born on August 31, 1569, at Fatehpur Sikri. Since Akbar’s previous children had died at the various stages of infancy. it caused Akbar to be worried about the future of his Kingdom. He approached many holy places for the birth of his first child and after many prayers, Akbar and his wife Marium-uz-Zamani (Jodha Bai) were blessed with a baby boy name Nur-ud-din Muhammad Salim. He was named after a Sufi saint, Salim Chishti, who had earlier blessed Akbar. 

As a young prince, Jahangir rebelled against his father for many reasons and in 1599 he revolted against Akbar for the throne but later both father and son consolidated. When Akbar was on his deathbed on October 27, 1605, he declared Jahangir as his successor. Jahangir was thirty-six years old when he became the ruler of the Mughal dynasty and many people were not happy because of this decision as many administrators and ministers thought that Jahangir was not fit to be a king because of his addiction to alcohol. Jahangir’s own son Khusrau Mirza also revolted against him and claimed that he was the rightful heir to his grandfather’s throne. But when Akbar died and Jahangir crowned himself as the new emperor, Khusrau Mirza became rebellious and chose to fight against Jahangir. In the battle of Bhairowal, Khusrau Mirza was successfully defeated by his father. Jahangir’s forces and Mirza and his forces were brought to Delhi. Khusrau Mirza, despite being the son of the emperor, was sentenced to death on January 26, 1622, by his brother, Prince Khurram (Shah Jahan), who was considered to be the favorite son of Jahangir. 

Jahangir and His Wives 

Jahangir throughout his life had married 20 times and the one who was very close to him was Nur Jahan. Many of Jahangir’s marriages were for political reasons, while others were also personal. When Jahangir was only 16 years old, he was engaged to the Rajput princess of Amer, Mai bai on February 13, 1585. Mia bai was Jahangir’s cousin as his mother Jodha Bai was related to Mai Bai’s father. Two years after the marriage the couple were blessed with a son and named him Khusrau Mirza.

On January 26, 1586, Jahangir married Udai Singh’s daughter, Jagot Gosain. The wedding was considered to be a political event as Udai Singh after surrendering his territory to Akbar had promised to give his daughter for the wedding which was considered to be a sign of loyalty towards the emperor. Jagat Gosain was considered to be one of his beloved wives. She was known for her beauty, intelligence, wit, and courage. The couple was blessed with three children of which two daughters died while they were infants. The third child’s name was Khurram, who was the favorite son of Shah Jahan and later ascended the throne.

On July 7, 1586, he went on and married Malika Shikhar Begam who was the princess of Kashgar, and also married the daughter of Raja Rai Singh in the same month. He married Sahib Jamal in October 1586 who later gave birth to two children - a son named Sultan Parviz and a daughter who died while she was young. Later he married the Rajput princess of Jaisalmer known as Malika Jahan. 

Zohra began, the daughter of Mirza Sanjar Hazara was married by Jahangir in October 1590  and the following year he married Karamnasi Begum who was the princess of Mertia. On January 11, 1592, he married Kanwal Rani and then followed up with another marriage with the daughter of Hussain Chak of Kashmir. Jahangir then married Khas Mahal on June 28,1596 who became the empress when Jahangir ascended the throne. 

On June 17, 1608, Jahangir married the daughter of Prince Jagat Singh, Koka Kumari Begum and in the same year, he married Saliha Banu Begum. His life wife was Mehr-un-Nisa also known as Nur Jahan who became his twentieth wife and she was his favorite wife. Nur Jahan was very close to Jahangir and he trusted her so much that she went on to have control over the entire empire during her reign as the emperor’s royal consort. Nur Jahan had the wielded influence over the administration of the Mughal empire and was considered very powerful at the court. She had a big influence on Jahangir and thereby had a direct influence on the affairs of the empire. She was very actively involved in the political and military affairs of the empire. Nur Jahan also had good administrative skills and was very brave at defending the empires’ borders during Jahangir’s absence. She was also very well known for her ability to lead the armed forces whenever required. 

Art During Jahangir’s Reign 

Jahangir was very good at strategizing and strengthening the Mughal empire but Jahangir was very much interested in arts, especially painting. During his reign of 25 years, the emperor commissioned many paintings which included several portraits of himself. Because of his interest in paintings, the Mughal paintings flourished and it provided an opportunity for many artists to show their talent to the emperor and empress. Jahangir was greatly influenced by European paintings and architecture. Jahangir also took advice from various English ambassadors to oversee the paintings. He encouraged many artists in his court to paint his real-life portraits, the birds, animals, and flowers. The ‘British Museum’ in London has collected 74 paintings that were commissioned by Jahangir. The Tuzk-e-Jahangiri or the Jahangirnama which was written during his lifetime, considered to be an autobiographical account of Jahangir’s reign has many paintings depicting his life. Jahangir encouraged art and welcomed artists from all across the world to present their talent in the Mughal court. 

The Reign of Jahangir 

Though Akbar captured most of the northern territory, he had failed to capture regions in South India and few regions such as Mewar in Rajasthan. After becoming the emperor of the Mughal dynasty at the age of 36, Jahangir was on a mission to capture all the territories which his father failed to capture during his reign. Jahangir’s first mission was to capture Mewar in Rajasthan which led him to march his military towards Rana Amar Singh of Mewer. An expedition led by Parwez was sent to conquer but the mission was called off as a result of his son Khusrau Mirza, who revolted against him and was working with Rana Amar Singh. Jahangir’s own son Khusrau Mirza, stood against him as he believed that he was the true successor to the throne and not his father. 

Jahangir after defeating his son, Khusrau Mirza sent another expedition to Mewar, and this time he was very successful in making Rana Amar Singh of Mewer surrender before him, which resulted in signing a peace treaty in 1615 between Jahangir and Rana Amar Singh. After conquering Mewar, Jahangir turned his attention towards South India. Jahangir was on a mission to conquer Ahmednagar but despite his best efforts, Jahangir was not able to have complete control over regions like Ahmednagar, Bijapur, and Golconda. The ruler of Bijapur was successful in arranging a peace treaty between Jahangir and Malik Ambar, the Wazir of Ahmednagar. Due to this treaty few forts and the territory of Balaghat was given to the Mughal empire. Jahangir was able to get a few forts and territories in South India because of various treaties he signed with many rulers of South India but was never able to completely conquer the south throughout his life. 

Jahangir and His Religious View 

Jahangir was not a very religious person but he practiced Islam and had faith in God. Jahangir followed his father’s step when it came to religion. He was never biased against people because of their religion. When it came to handling his subjects he did not grant special powers to his administrators because they were  Muslims nor did he burden the taxes on Hindu. 

Jahangir was not on good terms with the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun Dev which resulted in an increase in the tension between the Sikhs and the Mughals for a very long time. Jahangir also beheaded Guru Arjun Dev which caused many people to truly hate him. 

Despite the fact that Jahangir was not on very good terms with the Sikhs he was attracted towards the Christain themes which were because of his keen interest in European art and culture. As a result of this, the British were able to conduct many trades in India which only strengthened the relationship between them and Jahangir. Jahangir also imported many paintings from the European countries and also exported a few paintings which were done by a few artists of his court. 

When Did Jahangir Died? 

Jahangir was an alcohol addict in his early life which resulted in his health worsened by the year 1627. He visited many places like Kabul and Kashmir with the hope of restoring his health but nothing seemed to be helpful. Jahangir’s health got even worse due to severe cold and infection and while he was returning to Lahore he passed away on October 28, 1627, at Sarai Saadabad in Bhimber. He was buried in Shahdara Bagh. The tomb of Jahangir which is located at Shahdara is considered to be a major tourist place in present-day Lahore. 

FAQs on Jahangir Biography

1. What is the Real Name of Jahangir?

Ans- Jahangir’s original name was Nūr-ud-dīn Muhammad Salīm. After becoming the emperor of the Mughal empire he renamed himself Jahāngir which means the conqueror in the Persian language.

2. When Was Jahangir Born?

Ans- Jahangir was born on August 31, 1569, in Fatehpur Sikri, India, He was the first son of the greatest Mughal emperor, Akbar the great. 

3. How Many Wives Did Jahangir Had?

Ans- Jahangir had a total of 20 wives and the favorite among them all was his last wife, Nur Jahan.