Shah Jahan was the fifth Mughal Emperor of India.
Born On: January 5, 1592
Died On: January 22, 1666
Achievements: Founder of the magnificent monument Taj Mahal, Also associated with the Red Fort of Delhi, Jama Masjid of Delhi, Section of Agra Fort, the Wazir Khan Mosque and the Moti Masjid in Lahore, PakistanShah Jahan, his name along with the name of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, being synonymous with the existence and ever growing popularity of Taj Mahal, was a Mughal Emperor of the Southern Asia who reigned from 1627 to 1658. Born as Prince Shihab ud din Muhammad Khurram in the Lahore, Pakistan of 1592, Shah Jahan was the son of Emperor Jahangir. His name Khurram, which means joyful in Persian, was given to him by his grandfather Akbar the Great. Displaying great military skills at an early age against numerous enemies including Mewar, the Lodi in the Deccan, and Kangra, impressed his father so much that Shah Jahan received the title Shah Jahan Bahadur from him. He wasnt just a sharp military leader, but also had an exceptional talent for building and proved it by re designing buildings within the Agra fort. Among many titles he had earned, The Builder of the Marvels was one that was about to be proved the most deserving in the time to come.
The most significant part of Shah Jahans life history began in 1607 when he was 15 and was betrothed to Arjumand Banu Begum, the granddaughter of a Persian noble and was just 14 at that time. After they got married in 1612, Arjumand became the unquestioned love of his life. Khurram, upon finding her appearance and character elect among all the women of the time, bestowed her with the title of Mumtaz Mahal, meaning Jewel of the Palace. Although Mumtaz was one among the few wives Shah Jahan had had, according to the official court chronicler Qazwini, the relationship with his other wives had nothing more than the status of marriage. The intimacy, deep affection, attention and favor which His Majesty had for the Cradle of Excellence (Mumtaz) exceeded by a thousand times what he felt for any other. She was his inseparable companion, accompanying him even on military ventures, a trusted confidante and their relationship was intense.
After she died in 1631 while giving birth to their 14th child, Shah Jahan undertook the work of constructing worlds most beautiful monument in her memory. This monument, which entombs Mumtaz Mahal as well as Shah Jahan, came to be known as Taj Mahal, the building of which took 22 years and 22000 laborers. It was in 1657 that Shah Jahan fell ill, and Dara, Mumtaz Mahals eldest son assumed responsibility of his fathers throne. His other son, Aurangzeb, accompanied by his younger brothers Shuja and Murad marched upon Agra to in order to claim their share. They defeated Daras armies and declared their father Shah Jahan incompetent to rule and put him under house arrest in Agra Fort. After Shah Jahan died in 1666 in captivity, his body was taken quietly by two men and was laid beside Mumtaz. Apart from the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Red Fort of Delhi, Jama Masjid of Delhi, Section of Agra Fort, the Wazir Khan Mosque and the Moti Masjid in Lahore, Pakistan, are some of the noble structures associated with the name of Shah Jahan, meaning King of the World in Persian.
2. Patron of the Arts
Shah Jahan had three wives. His second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, whom he had married in 1612, died in 1631. She had been the mother of 14 of his 16 children. It was to her memory that the Taj Mahal was built. In this most beautiful of the worlds tombs, the minutest detail has been carefully thought out and executed with tireless precision. In inscribing texts from the Koran round the tall doorways, the artists have shown themselves such masters of perspective that the letters 30 feet or more above the line of the eye appear to be exactly of the same size as those a foot above the floor level. Onyx, jasper, cornelian, carbuncle, malachite, lapis lazuli, and other precious stones are studded in the mosaic. It has been described as A Dream in Marble.
The Jama Mosque of Delhi and the Pearl Mosque of Agra are two other masterpieces. Near the city of Old Delhi, Shah Jahan built a new capital, Shahjahanabad, with its magnificent Red Fort. Within the fort is the Hall of Public Audience, and here Shah Jahan sat on the Peacock Throne, which consisted entirely of jewels and precious metals and stones. Four legs of gold supported the seat, 12 pillars of emeralds held up the emerald canopy, each pillar bore two peacocks encrusted with gems, and between each pair of peacocks rose a tree covered with diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and pearls.Under Shah Jahans patronage jewelry reached a high degree of perfection, and jewelers from both Asia and Europe visited the Mogul court to sell their craft and gems. Yet in spite of all these lavish expenditures, the imperial treasury was never in debt, in fact, Shah Jahan ended his reign with more money in the treasury than he had at the beginning of his reign.
3. Patron of Letters
Hindi language was coming into vogue, and Shah Jahan himself spoke Hindi and patronized Hindi poets like Sundar Das and Chintamani and Hindi musicians like Jagan Nath, Sukh Sen, and Lal Khan. His reign also saw the rendering into Persian of several Sanskrit classics, some of these translations were patronized by his son Dara Shikoh.Shah Jahan had begun his reign by killing his brothers and all male members of their families. His sons likewise recognized no kinship in their pursuit of kingship. In 1657, when the Emperors health appeared to be failing, his four sons, Dara Shikoh, Shuja, Murad Baksh, and Aurangzeb, began to take steps to secure the succession. Eventually the contest resolved itself between Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb, and the latter proved successful. On June 8, 1658, Aurangzeb entered Agra, made a captive of his father, and assumed the throne. For 8 years Shah Jahan remained a prisoner in the Agra Fort, attended by his faithful daughter Jahanara and gazing, it is reported, most of the time upon the Taj Mahal, where he was to be laid to rest beside his favorite consort.
In some respects Shah Jahan is a paradox. He employed many non Moslems at his court but nevertheless showed considerable intolerance to Hinduism and Christianity. His son Aurangzeb continued this illiberal policy to its worst extent. Shah Jahans court was enormously rich, and he spent a vast sum on splendid buildings. His was an age of luxury. Yet he did nothing to arrest the decline in Mogul economy. The policy of reducing the Deccan and conquering the northwest, also continued by his successor, proved disastrous and shook public confidence in the Mogul imperium. Though he was a just man, he was also at times quite vengeful, and he set into motion wars of succession from which the Mogul polity never recovered. But as the builder of the Taj Mahal, he ensured himself a place in world history.
4. Columbia Encyclopedia
Shah Jahan or Shah Jehan , 1592 1666, Mughal emperor of India (1628 58), son and successor of Jahangir. His full name was Khurram Shihab ud din Muhammad. He rebelled against his father in 1622 but was pardoned and succeeded to the throne in 1628. In the course of his long reign he conquered most of the Deccan and temporarily (1638 49) recovered Kandahar from the Persians. Shah Jahans reign is considered the golden age of Mughal art and architecture. Among the buildings he erected were the unsurpassed Taj Mahal and the Pearl Mosque, both at Agra, and the new city at Delhi, which he made his capital. Literature also flourished at his magnificent court. Shah Jahan fell seriously ill in 1657, and this led to a war of succession among his sons. In 1658 he was deposed and imprisoned for the rest of his life by his son Aurangzeb.
5. Early life
Born on 5 January 1592, Shah ab ud din Muhammad Khurram, which was Shah Jehans birth name, was the third son born to Emperor Jehangir, his mother was a Rajput princess from Marwar called Princess Manmati her official name in Mughal chronicles being Bilquis Makani. The name Khurram was chosen for the young prince by his grandfather, Emperor Akbar, with whom the young prince shared a close relationship. When Khurram was only six days old, Akbar handed him over to his first wife and chief consort, Empress Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, who was childless.Ruqaiya assumed the primary responsibility for Khurrams upbringing and he grew up under her care.Her step son, Jahangir, noted that Ruqaiya loved Khurram a thousand times more than if he had been her own son.As a child, Prince Khurram received a broad education befitting his status as a Mughal prince, which include martial training and exposure to a wide variety of cultural arts, such as poetry and music, most of which was, according to court chroniclers, under the watchful gaze of his grandfather. In 1605, as the Emperor Akbar lay on his deathbed, Prince Khurram, who at this point was 13,remained by his bedside and refused to move even after his mother tried to retrieve him. Given the politically uncertain times immediately preceding Akbars death, Prince Khurram was in a fair amount of physical danger of harm by political opponents of his father and can be understood to be a precursor of the bravery that he would later be known for.
In 1605, his father acceded to the throne after crushing a rebellion by Prince Khausrau Prince Khurram remained distant from the court politics and intrigues in that events immediate aftermath, which was apparently a conscious decision on Jahangirs part. As the third son, Prince Khurram did not challenge the two major power blocs of the time, his father and his step brother, thus he enjoyed the benefits of Imperial protection and luxury, while being allowed to continue with his education and training. This relatively quiet and stable period of his life allowed Prince Khurram to build his own support base in the Mughal court, which would be useful later on in his life.Due to the long period of tensions between his father and step brother, Prince Khurram began to drift closer to his father and over time started to be considered the de facto heir apparent by court chroniclers, this status was given official sanction when Jahangir granted the jagir of Hissar Feroza, which had traditionally been the fief of the heir apparent, to Prince Khurram in 1607.
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