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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Facts about Akbar and Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum

This post Deals with Certain Facts relating to Akbar and Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum's relationship. The following accounts relate to Akbar and MUZ, in some way or the other


This is an account, written in between 1590's and 1612, is called ' Gulshan-e-Ibrahimi ' OR as ' Tarikh-i-Firishta '. The author is Abu'l Qa'asim Firishta. This account was FIRST published from Bombay in 1832.

About this account:

This book gives a ' BRIEF ' history of India, right from the time, from the spread of Islam to Iran and its arrival in India, and the book continues to the early years of Jahangir's reign. This book also gives a description of Mahabharata battle with a description of the Hindu society also. Basic idea of this book was to compile a brief history of India since the time Islam came to Hindustan.


Now, i am presenting a brief description about the whereabouts of this account:

This book was written by the author on orders of his master. He stayed in the court of ruler of Bijapur, Ibrahim Adil Shah.  Before that he was in the court of Ruler of Ahmednagar, but soon he left the place due to discrimination, as he was a Shia. The work started around 1590's and completed around 1612. This book has drawn it's references from about 27 contemporary chronicles, to write history of Pre-Mughal Period, though at some places the dates mis-match in this account. The book has 4 volumes.


What's our interest here ?

In the 2nd Volume, the author has given a " VERY " brief account of Mughal  Emperors upto Jahangir's early years. There is nothing new is this book to be read about Mughals. 

 But, one thing caught my attention, while i was going through this account in search of Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum. While describing Akbar, the book stated that - "In 1569, the FAVORITE Sultana(Wife) of Akbar gave birth to a Prince who was named Salim."

It is mentioned at Page-233 in the English Translation in Volume-2. The snapshot taken from that book is here ---

Mariam-Uz-Zamani, the favorite wife of Mughal Emperor Akbar gives birth to Prince Salim.
Point worth noting - This is a contemporary account written in the reign of Akbar and Jahangir.

I am mentioning this particular line due to following reasons:


The author mentions that Favorite Sultana/Wife of Akbar gave birth to Prince Salim. It suggests even before giving birth to Salim, she was a highly regarded wife. In fact, the manner in which the line is written in that account, is itself a substantial evidence in this regard.

Another point being - the author who wrote this book on the orders of his patron in whose court he stayed at Bijapur. He was NOT under any sort of obligation to mention mother of Salim as Akbar's favorite wife or even mention her in such terms at all.

Still, he mentions her as in such terms. This is a significant point. It goes on to create an impression that her name was spread far and wide as Akbar's beloved in the kingdom,  so much so that even a book commissioned by ruler of Deccani State had her reference.


The author also came in contact with Prince Daniyal before his death. Before the death of Prince Daniyal, the author (Abu'l Qa'asim) was, for a brief time, present with him in 1604, at Mungi Paitan, near Godavari river, as he was escorting Sultana Begum, the daughter of Ibrahim Adil Shah for marriage to Prince Daniyal.

Interestingly, the author met Jahangir after his accession to the throne, as a nominee of the ruler of Bijapur, to congratulate Jahangir. The author(Abu'l Qa'asim) was a courtier of High Status in the court of Ibrahim Adil Shah. Jahangir used to call Adil Shah as his SON.

I tried to find more about this account.

This account was translated on the request of Sir James Mackintosh, then President of the Literary Society of Bombay, in early 19th Century. This account has survived after lot of hassles. This account was present with the translator at Pune around 1815, when he had almost finished the translations and made SEVERAL copies of it.

This person had a library of such rare accounts, at his place. But, before the Third Anglo-Maratha War, in 1818, the Peshwa's and English forces fought in Pune, that time, the house of this official was damaged and it got burnt on 5th November, 1817, in the war while besieging the Pune residency. The author mentions, among the few historical chronicles which survived was the present Work, which has been quoted here. Copies of this particular chronicle was burnt too, but it few copies were sent to a friend by the author before this war, because he was already in a process to get it printed, and after the end of war, the author procured this account from his friend and finally got it printed in 1832.

And, in this entire account of 4 Volumes, Only 1 particular Line was of our interest, and hence it was quoted it here. Kudos to the original author (Abu'l Qa'asim) for noting down such a minute detail and a great thanks to the translator for preserving this account, and by sheer luck i chanced to hit upon this account and finally this line in it. 

The line is a clear indication that, Mariam-Uz-Zamani was quite famous even as far as Deccan States, that the author even in a brief description of History of India, did NOT forget to mention her as Akbar's beloved. The thing which is most noteworthy is that - the author is a "contemporary person", not any later scholar.

This text is present in the Bikaner House in Rajasthan.



This is from - Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume-108, Number-2, Edition - April - June 1988, Page-227/228/229, by Findly.

I am posting 4 snaps from the above mentioned paper. It is written by Professor Findly of Trinity College, United States of America. It's well referenced from contemporary accounts not Modern Ones. She gives an interesting reason for the absence of the name of Mariam-Uz-Zamani, from the Mughal history.

Also, a brief incident describing the seizure of her Ship - Rahimi, by the Portuguese has been mentioned there. Have a look.


Capture of ship of Mariam-Uz-Zamani, the mother of Mughal Emperor Jahangir by the Portuguese


The capture of ship of the Queen Mother of Mughal Empire, Mariam-Uz-Zamani drew a very strong reaction from the Mughal Court

This mentions her as wife of Emperor Akbar and daughter of Raja Bharmal.

Mariam-Uz-Zamani's ship capture was a major insult to the Mughal Empire

d. The following picture is the reference for the Above^^ picture. Note the last 3-4 lines. It gives prejudice as a reason for her name being vanished from the Mughal accounts.

According to Professor Findly the reason for ambiguity about Mariam-Uz-Zamani is the prejudice of historians



There is an account, called, ' Khulasat-ut-Tawarikh ' , written by Sujan Rai Bhandari, in Punjab {Lahore}, Page-374. This work was originally written in 17th Century. It has been published from Delhi in 1918, ed. Zafar Hasan. It is a general history from early times of India to the 1660's.


The striking feature of this account is that, this account mentions the names of 9-10 (legal) wives of Akbar. And, in this list of wives, the name of Mariam-Uz-Zamani, appears too. Her name appears as -> Wali Ni'maat Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum Sahiba. Here she is also mentioned as the mother of Jahangir and as princess of Amber.

Khulsat-ut-Tawarikh tells us that Mariam-Uz-Zamani was the mother of Jahangir.

I can not provide more snaps of this account as it is present in Persian language and till date i have not located the exact lines myself. When i am through, i will update this post. Please keep checking.



In the account of Colonel James Tod, The Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, in Volume-2, on Page-27, he talks specially about a Rajput Wife of Akbar. This account was published in London, by George Routlege & Sons, in 1914. Originally, this book was written around 1830.


And, since the last 450 years, we have the tale of Akbar and his Hindu Wife in the ENTIRE Golden Triangle region(Delhi, Agra, Jaipur) of India. Those who live here, know about them, before any movie or serial which was made on their life, like the Jodha Akbar MOVIE or the television show on Jodha Akbar. 



Though, in the post on Children of Akbar and Mariam-Uz-Zamani, it has been mentioned many times how reverently Abu'l Fazl has addressed Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum.

But here, it is relevant to mention another instance from Akbarnama where Abu'l Fazl, has  described the Princess of Amer, the eldest daughter of Raja Bharmal, in very beautiful words as follows --

"His eldest daughter, in whose forehead shone the lights of chastity and intellect, among the attendants on the glorious pavilion."


Akbarnama, Volume-2, by Abu'l Fazl, Page-242

I am quoting the line as it is. These are the exact words. Abu'l Fazl is a prolific writer, however, these words look quite beautiful. Isn't it ? This was Abu'l Fazl's description of Harka Bai / Mariam-Uz-Zamani, in Akbarnama, when she married Akbar at Sambhar.

What Abu'l Fazl means is - " Among all the ladies of the Harem(glorious pavillion) , it was daughter of Raja Bharmal, who had outshone them. " 



There is a separate blog post based on the testimony of a British Resident and an Army Officer. In his personal diary, he recorded the manner in which the people of Agra and nearby regions remembered Akbar and his Hindu Wife.  

Here is the link : Mariam-Uz-Zamani - The Forgotten Enigma : Part - II 


There are more such descriptions, BUT they need to be searched with a microscope. We never know which line in which historical account can make us familiar with something new about these historical figures.

All one need to do is to read continuously. Our historical documents are never ending. Theirs is a story which NEEDS to be analyzed from a different sense. She was important to Akbar, not because of the heir, but due to other reasons.

Her titles, other than Mariam-Uz-Zamani, which were bestowed on her (quoted in Part-1 of Mariam-Uz-Zamani's Post), do give a sense that she was much more to Akbar, and NOT ONLY the mother of his heir. Even contemporary accounts ( like the first account mentioned above in this post), describe her as his close one. It is not rocket science to understand. Just, one needs to ponder over all the points. 

Despite the presence of any number of wives, they had something Unique between them. That's why they are still remembered, [ especially in the Golden Triangle Region - Jaipur, Agra, Delhi ]. They did not need beautiful monuments like the Taj Mahal to make posterity retain their story. The posts above are an articulation of the same fact.

Article Category : Mughals (Akbar)

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  1. very indepth search and we are lucky to get the information which we may not be able to know if this blog doesn't give us. as i like muz i am very excited to know how biosed some people in those days who tampered her name from history. how misleading was the wickipedia information! how people those who don't go through this blog will be misled by wickipedia info! great work Abhay you are providing info with all references. thankyou

    1. Thanks Mehak..
      One of the motives to open this Blog was to break the hegemony of the false material being written all over the Internet in the name of history, thereby misleading people. I was very disheartened when i started to look for the information on Internet. Hence, adopted this route. Researching on MUZ and Akbar's relation is very interesting...

  2. RIP Shehenshah akbar and WNMUZ begum sahiba!! and a toast to their legend! (luna24)

  3. read it in IF...reading it feels great!
    thank u Abhay.

    Rest In Peace Akbar and MUZ. :-)

  4. Thanks for this Blog. IF is too restraining. God knows why so

    1. @ Jyothi, Tamy, Gauri..

      Welcome...Here we will be able to interact without any restrictions of IF. :)

  5. Abhay...why most of the historians made misleading facts about MUZ? You stated in your blog because she's so important to Akbar. Is it because she's Hindu? I've tried to find facts about her in your blog FACT ABOUT MUZ...but many of the quotes...are in arab, right? I can't read them in my computer. Could you please give the exact translation of the quotes...? I really love your blog...I found articles about MUZ are very disappointed in other blog or wiki. One more the wiki page of MUZ..they said....she's remained closest to her husband...why didn't she buried in the same tomb with akbar?

    I love the serials also. It's aired in Bali, Indonesia (my country). Rest in Peace Akbar and MUZ...


    1. Hi Mirah,

      Welcome to the Blog buddy. Well, have we interacted before.?. I did not recognize you. :)

      Coming to your questions. Yes, BIAS is one of the reasons for misleading info on MUZ + there are less records available on MUZ..

      The thing is that - She was a Rajput and enjoyed high favor of Akbar.. Later, Muslim historians tried to remove her from the accounts. : (
      Prof. Findly from Trinity College has written it, so aptly in her research paper. I have posted a snippet from it here..

      All the pages on this Blog are in English language, and in case you are viewing it in another language on your system, then use the "Google Translate" tool present on all the pages of this blog on right sidebar..Try to locate, you will get it.

      I will be posting a separate article on MUZ's burial. There you can have your doubt cleared. Hope you continue to enjoy the show. :)

  6. Abhay,the words describing MUZ are beautiful indeed.There is no doubt in the fact that she was extremely 'special' to Akbar.She was a sharp businesswoman, besides being a skilled sword fighter too. I am very very thankful to you for this extensive research on the life of Akbar.Your blog is an eye opener for me, because I was completely misled by reading wrong information from other sources.


    1. Well Said Charu. Even i came to know more about her, after reading a lot. And still searching on her. She was certainly different, and her identity concealed for many reasons mainly 'communal' .

  7. So many accounts where MUZ and her importance is mentioned in Akbar's life and Mughal era and it is an eye-opener for many people. thanks a lot for sharing, Abhay.

  8. You're welcome Ayesha. The show Jodha Akbar has not lived up to these expectations. But, through these posts we can feel the bond they had shared.!!

  9. Sankaran SatheedeviJanuary 9, 2015 at 8:12 PM

    Thank you Abhay for this magnificent piece of history about MUZ. There maybe so many prejudices for MUZ but she was a woman we still remember as the beloved wife of Akbar!!! I truly love them so much for their love for each other!!!

  10. Hai Abhay,
    Is this true
    can u have any thing about this new
    when Manbhai committed suicide Salim depressed n totally broke down...he didnt eat n drink for 4days........he ate food after her death is from his mothers kitchen......i mean jodha usko kaana kilayi....

  11. Hi Meena,
    I have personally not read this myself, that he ate the food from his mother's kitchen, but i have been asked/told this by many people.

    Yes, Salim was depressed and he did not eat food for long - this is what i have read. :)

  12. Hi Abhay,
    One more detail i want to ask u that their is some people of Jahangir sashural of Rajputs said that Jodha is really Akbar wife y they did give this prof to historians to get more info. is it true did u hear about it my friend told me this is this so can u tell any thing about this

  13. Hi Meena,
    No i have not read any thing like this. Infact the protest was on this issue only. The protesters did not want the name Jodha to be used for wife of Akbar. :)
    Because it was not her real name. Her name was Harka Bai. Jodh Bai was wife of Jahangir. :)

  14. Hai Abhay,
    thanks for ur reply, I have one more doubt about Akbar n HarkaBai marriage as we know in those day girls get married in their childhood how com MUZ waited for 20 year its really a long period in those day do v can get any info in this can u get for us its really very much confusing for me? can u help and tell me if u can get any detail about this its a very interesting Topic i think so pls try
    and thank for reading

  15. Meena,
    I will be posting a topic on Marriage of Akbar and MUZ soon. In that i will give the complete details, till then i can tell you in short. :)
    MUZ got married to Akbar at the age of 15-16, as far as i remember not 20, which is given on Internet websites. :)

  16. Hai Abhay,
    Thank and i will be waiting for ur post belong to it, very nice of u thanks for ur reply