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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

" Mariam-Uz-Zamani " -- The Forgotten Enigma | Part - I

Hi Everyone…

Before, you start reading this article, let me mention that this article about the HINDU queen of Akbar the Great, Mariam-uz-zamani / Harka Bai / Heer Kunwari has been written after an extensive analysis of historical accounts.

Also check :
Mariam-Uz-Zamani - The Forgotten Enigma - Part-2 : Click Here to Read
This is a new post with some scanned rare documents about her and Akbar. The account used in this post was suggested by Professor Findly of Trinity College.

Mariam-Uz-Zamani (Heer Kunwari / Harka Bai)  

She was an Empress of the Mughal Empire. She was the wife of Mughal Emperor Akbar. She was his first and chief Rajput wife, and the mother of the next Mughal Emperor, Jahangir, and grandmother of the following Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan.

Mariam-Uz-Zamani was referred to as the Queen Mother of Hindustan
, during the reign of Emperor Akbar. She was the longest serving Hindu Mughal Empress (6th February 1562 - 27 October 1605) and ruled for over 43 years.

Her marriage to Akbar
was a very important event in Mughal history and led to a gradual shift in Akbar’s religious and social policy. She is widely regarded in modern Indian historiography as exemplifying Akbar's and the Mughal's tolerance of religious differences and their inclusive policies within an expanding multi-ethnic and multi-denominational empire.


1. Family
2. Marriage
3. Children
4. Religion
5. Family advancement and Power consolidation
6. Titles
7. Political influence and power
8. Death
9. The misnomer of Jodhabai


Heer Kunwari was born a Rajput princess (Rajkumari) and was the eldest daughter of Raja Bharmal
, of Amer (modern day Jaipur). She was the granddaughter of Raja Prithvi Singh I of Amer.

Rajkumari Heer Kunwari was also the sister of Raja Bhagwan Das of Amer, whose son, Raja Man Singh I later became one the Nine Jewels (Navaratnas) in the court of Akbar. Both Raja Bhagwan Das and Raja Man Singh occupied the highest offices in Akbar's court.

Her niece, Manbhawati Bai or Manmati bai, daughter of her brother Raja Bhagwan Das, married Prince Salim (Jahangir) on 13 February, 1585. Man Bai later became mother to Prince Khusrau Mirza and was awarded the title of Shah Begum by Jahangir. 


Akbar's marriage with Heer Kunwari had far-reaching results.
He started taking a more favorable view of Hinduism and his Hindu subjects. In a marriage of political alliance, Heer Kunwari was married to Akbar on February 6, 1562 at Sambhar near Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. Heer Kunwari became the third wife of Akbar after Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, who was Akbar's first wife, and Salima Sultan Begum, the widow of his most trusted general, Bairam Khan.


                                      The Mariam-uz-Zamani Palace at Fatehpur Sikri. 

Akbar's marriage with Heer Kunwari produced important effects on both his personal life and his public policy. The custom of Hindu rulers offering their daughters for marriage to Muslim rulers, though not common, had been prevalent in the country for several centuries. 

Yet Akbar's marriage to the princess of Amber/Amer is significant, as an early indicator of his evolving policy of religious eclecticism. The marriage secured the powerful support of her family throughout his reign, and offered manifest proof, to the world that Akbar had decided to be the Badshah of all his people, Hindus as well as Muhammadans.

Akbar took other Rajput princesses in marriage. The rajas had much to gain from the
ir link to the imperial family. Akbar made such marriages respectable for Rajputs.


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.

The complete post can be read at this link : Facts about Akbar & Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum



Among many children , Heer Kunwari also gave birth to the twin sons of Akbar.. The twins were named Hassan and Hussain..The twins survived barely for 2 weeks..

Related Post with a Video:
The TWINS of Mariam-Uz-Zamani and Akbar | An Assessment

Though she remained a Hindu, Heer Kunwari was honoured with the title Mariam-uz-Zamani ("Mary of the Age") after she gave birth to Jahangir. Despite her being a non-Muhammadan wife, she held great respect and honour in the Mughal household. As mother of the heir-apparent, she took precedence over all the other wives of Akbar.
In the beginning of 1569, Akbar was gladdened by the news that Heer Kunwari was expecting a child and that he might hope for the first of the three sons promised by Sheikh Salim Chisti, a reputed holy man who lived at Sikri. An expectant Heer was sent to the Sheikh's humble dwelling at Sikri during the period of her pregnancy. On August 30, 1569, the boy was born and received the name Salim, in acknowledgement of his father's faith in the efficacy of the holy man's prayers.

Heer Kunwari’s  title, Mariam-uz-zamani, has caused her to be mistaken sometimes with Akbar's mother, whose title was Mariam-Makani, 'dwelling with Mary'.

Jahangir reserved exceptional respect for his mother Mariam-Uz-Zamani :

Jahangir's regard for his mother was exceptional and different from what he showed to others. He conducted almost all major ceremonies in her palace. The English traveller Edward Terry, who visited India between 1616 and 1619  records that the Mughal Emperor Jahangir used to carry the palanquin of his mother Mariam-Uz-Zamani on his own shoulders! There are various tales of "the stature and largesse he bestowed upon her". 

A separate post will be made about the relation of Jahangir with his mother, based on accounts of foreign travellers who record that he celebrated his birthdays with his mother, and most weddings of the sons of Jahangir took place in the palace of his mother - among other such events, which show his affection for his mother.

For details on Children of Akbar and Mariam-uz-Zamani Begum -  Click HERE to Read


Akbar developed Hindu inclinations and allowed his Hindu wife to perform the customary rites in the royal palace. Thus, contrary to the usual practice of sultans, Akbar allowed her to remain a Hindu and to maintain a Hindu temple in the royal palace. He himself participated in the puja she performed. She was a devotee of Lord Krishna. Her palace was decorated with paintings of Lord Krishna and frescos.

Family advancement and Power consolidation

Akbar's friendly relations with the Rajputs began after his marriage with Heer Kunwari. This was an important step which profoundly influenced his future policies. The marriage
, secured for him the support of her family, from among whom he drew his leading counsellors.

On his marriage with Heer Kunwari, Akbar summoned Raja Man Singh I, nephew of Heer Kunwari and son of Raja Bhagwan Das of Amer, the heir to the throne of Raja Bharmal, and took him into the imperial service, by giving him an office in his court. Raja Bhagwan Das was also enrolled amongst the nobility. Later, they both rose ultimately to high offices.

The Rajas of Amer especially benefited from their close association with the Mughals, and acquired immense wealth and power. Of twenty-seven Rajputs in Abu'l-Fazl
’s list of mansabdars, thirteen were from the Amer clan. Some of them rose to positions as high as that of imperial princes. 

Raja Bhagwan Das, for instance, became commander of 5000, the highest position available at that time, and bore the proud title Amir-ul-Umara (Chief Noble). His son, Raja Man Singh I, rose even higher to become commander of 7000. This position was not enjoyed by anyone except the imperial princes. This marriage was, thus, beneficial to both the Mughals and the Kachwaha Rajputs of Amer. 

Also Read : Relations of Akbar with Mariam Uz Zamani and Rajputs of Amer Clan | Updated on 4th Nov '15


Many honorific titles were bestowed on Harka Bai / Heer Kunwari, details of which are as follows :: 

a. Wali Ni'maat - Meaning 'Blessing of Saint' / 'Gift of God'.


b. Malika-e-Muezzama 

"Muezzama" refers to someone who is chaste, innocent, and honored.  There is a pious incident which explains the motive behind awarding this title --

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had a cat named Muezza whom he cared for so much that, once when the cat was sleeping on his sleeve, and the Prophet had to go for prayers, that time rather than disturb the cat's sleep, he cut off the sleeve of his robe on which the cat slept, and thereafter went for the prayers, thus NOT disturbing the cat's sleep. "

So, going by this explanation, it can be inferred that, She was given this title, as she was someone, who was very precious / important for Akbar. And the meaning of this title itself speaks Volumes about Harka Bai.


c. Mariam-Uz-Zamani - Title Given after Salim's birth in 1569.

d. Queen Mother of Hindustan
[Literally, translates to Malika-e-Hindustan.]

A book was compiled under the patronage of the British Government. The compilation of the records started in 1800's and finally the book was published in early 20th century. Though, this book, is like a normal history account. But in this account, we get one striking point. The author makes a comment about a Rajput Princess, who was the favorite wife of Akbar.
Read the complete post here : Account of Akbar and HIS Favorite Rajput Wife


Political influence and power

Mariam-uz-Zamani was reported to have been a highly astute business woman
. She ran an active international trade in spices, silk, etc., and thus, amassed a private fortune, which dwarfed the treasury of many a European king. She was among the most prodigious women traders at the Mughal court. No other noblewoman on record seems to have been as adventurous a trader as the Queen Mother.

uz-Zamani owned ships that carried pilgrims to and from the Islamic holy city of Mecca. In 1613, her ship, the Rahīmī was seized by Portuguese pirates along with 600-700 passengers 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 Mughul court was quite unusually severe. The outrage was compounded by the fact that the owner and the patron of the ship was none other than the revered mother of the current emperor. Mariam-uz-Zamani's son, the Indian emperor Jahangir, ordered the seizure of the Portuguese town Daman. This episode is considered to be an example of the struggle for wealth that would later ensue and lead to colonization of the Indian sub-continent.

She was one of the only four members of the court (another was the emperor) and the only woman to have the rank of 12,000 cavalry, and was known to receive a jewel from every nobleman "according to his estate" each year on the occasion of New Year's festival. Like only a few other women at the Mughal court, Mariam-uz-Zamani was granted the right to issue official documents (singularly called farman), usually the exclusive privilege of the emperor. Issuing of such orders was confined to the highest ladies of the harem such as Hamida Banu Begum, Mariam-uz-Zamani, Nur Jehan, Mumtaz Mahal, Nadira Banu and Jahanara Begum. Mariam Zamani
Begum used her wealth and influence to build gardens, wells, and mosques around the countryside.


Mariam uz-Zamani died in 1623. As per her last wishes, a vav or step well was constructed by Jahangir. Her tomb is on the Tantpur road
, now known as Jyoti Nagar. Mariam's Tomb is only a kilometre away from Tomb of Akbar the Great. The tomb's location reduced its chances of becoming a tourist attraction, but likewise, its lack of visibility meant it fell into a state of disrepair.

The Mosque of Mariam Zamani Begum Sahiba was built by her son Nur-ud-din Salim Jahangir and is situated in the Walled City of Lahore, present day Pakistan. 

The misnomer of Jodhabai

There is a popular perception that the wife of Akbar, mother of Jahangir, was also known as "Jodha Bai".

Her name
in the Mughal chronicles is mentioned as Mariam-uz-Zamani. Tuzuk-e-Jahangiri, the autobiography of Jahangir refers her only as Mariam-uz-Zamani. Neither the Akbarnama nor any other historical text from the period refers to her as Jodha Bai.

The name "Jodha Bai" was first used to refer to Akbar's wife in the 18th and 19th centuries in historical writings. T
he name Jodha Bai was used by Lieutenant-Colonel James Tod, in his book Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan. Jodha Bai was not the name of Akbar's queen; but "Jodh Bai" was the name of Jahangir's wife Taj Bibi Bilqis Makani, the Princess of Jodhpur, whose real name was Jagat Gosain.

Also check :
Mariam-Uz-Zamani - The Forgotten Enigma - Part-2 : Click Here to Read
This is a new post with some scanned rare documents about her and Akbar. The account used in this post was suggested by Professor Findly of Trinity College.

Article Category : Mughals (Akbar)

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  1. Four titles bestowed on Harkha bai and a lot of people know of only one - Mariam-uz-Zamani (MUZ)! Thank you for sharing :)


    1. You're Welcome Pallavi..
      It's wonderful....4 titles bestowed on a Queen...!!!

  2. excellent discriptive information regarding harkabai/jodha which was not available
    till date anywhere. Thankyou so much and hope you keep on updating with interesting data.


    1. Thank You Mehak..
      The Posts will be updated as and when new information is collected..
      Keep visiting..

  3. Loved reading about MUZ she is such an inspiring figure.. The titles bestowed on her tell a lot about her relationship with her husband...

    Abhay can you inform more about MUZ mosque...

    1. Hi Surochita..

      Will post on MUZ's Mosque soon.

    2. Very informative post Abhay . Enjoyed reading about Harka Bai . I appreciate all your efforts in putting together so much authentic information.

  4. Loved reading this extensive and authentic info on MUZ. Thank you so much Abhay. I also liked how you divided the info on her in difft. sections.

  5. Hi abhay you also mentioned on forum about debating between Akbar and muz in DEK so can you elaborate more on that.
    She was fascinating women for sure . Can you please also write about traits if Akbar and reaction of people after his death. I am asking too many things now but is there any account off muz took the news of his death ,I know she had to be strong ,and she remained strong through out .

    1. Pallavi,

      About your mention of incident of debating....This has been mentioned by Badayuni, where he talks about Rajput wife of Akbar. I had read this fact from Professor Haribans Mukhia {Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU Delhi} whereby he mentions that - "A Hindu saint was executed by a bigot CHIEF religious cleric of Akbar's court, despite the fact that Akbar had ordered for the investigation to be continued...!!!!!! There, he says, Akbar was " TAUNTED " by his Rajput wife/s, as he was UNABLE to enforce his order..." This incident was given as an example to show that the Rajput wife/s of Akbar, had much Power in the Mughal household, to the extent that they "even taunted the Emperor OPENLY". Of course, i would also credit Akbar that he had given so much power.. :)

      Badayuni even says that they did NOT allow him to eat beef. LOL

      He laments this excessive power given by Akbar.. And, in his account the most serious lament is about the daughter of Raja Bharmal, and about her 'magic' on Akbar. :D

      You can check these 2 posts, in this regard ::

      1. Relations of Akbar with Mariam Uz Zamani and Rajputs of Amer Clan

      2. Glory of Faith - Akbar with Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum - Painting

      About rest of your questions , can you make it more clear, so that i can reply in a specific manner...?. :)

    2. abahy can u pls elaborate about the debate...I m curious to know.

    3. Hi Paritosh,

      The linear details are not present in the accounts. I mean the exact wordings are not recorded. What type of details do you want to know.?. :)

      This incident i mentioned is of late 1570's. This bigot person was on a very important religious position in the court of Akbar at Fatehpur Sikri, and he was close to Akbar's heart. He had executed a Brahman of Mathura. And then, this TAUNTing incident happened.

    4. Thank you so much abhay ,I was looking for notification in other account of mine and forgot about this one ,so I thought you are busy,silly me ,thank you again.
      I have not come across any material in which elaborate description of what emotional toll took upon jodha and salim ,their personal grief ,just wanted to know about that .
      This shows she was strong head just like him ,what a lady .

    5. Pallavi,
      I have not come across any such text especially mentioning about MUZ's state on Akbar's death by now. But, I have come across the text of last meeting between Akbar and Salim, while the former was on his death bed.
      She was indeed a strong lady, still evokes curiosity among many of us.

  6. actually i want to know the debating lines...dnt need the exact words.

    1. Paritosh,

      Historical Records are not linear narratives, most of the times, buddy. I do not have the details of the "debating lines" of this debate. :)

    2. Abhay i want to know about khurram and ruquaiyaa...when ruqaiya restircted his spending time with his own mother then salim or muz or akbar or jagat gossain didnt do anything.

    3. Paritosh,

      Giving Kids was a normal custom, and this may appear quite cruel in present times, but this was a reality. I would request you to see this in "broad" terms. I mean, try to understand the situation.

      Only the meeting hours were restricted, not the meeting altogether. Khurram did meet his mother. Infact, Khurram was very close to his OWN mother Jagat Gosain, according to Jahangir' memoirs, despite his childhood spent with Ruqayya..

      Also, this incident is NOT one of great significance. I say this due to the reason because, this "child giving incident of Khurram to Ruqayya", has NOT been mentioned in Akbarnama..!!!!!..

      Had it been such a great incident of repute to Akbar, it would have been mentioned in Akbarnama at least. Though, Akbarnama tells us about the birth of Khurram and the pomp associated with it. BUT NOT EVEN a single reference to Ruqayya being given Khurram is present in it..!!!!.

      We should see that, she was childless throughout her life. And hence, she was given this child.

      Also, around 1599 Akbar started giving more access of Khurram to Jagat Gosain. It is said that, this was to do more with his worry about the secular nature of Khurram, as Ruqayya did not allow Khurram to celebrate/participate in Hindu festivals. Salim had also rebelled around the same time.

      Hence, after initially giving Khurram to Ruqayya, his hold was again transferred to Jagat Gosain slowly, though Khurram completely came back to Jagat Gosain at the age of 13 only. Akbar ensured it before his death..

  7. Hi
    Abhay I have a question in mind what was the mission statement of this man Abkbar for his life,Like Shivaji Maharaj had hindvi swarajya


    1. Rashmi,
      I have not read of any specific motto of Akbar, as such. In broad terms, He wanted to spread Mughal Empire in Hindustan, coupled with his various reforms and was different from rest of Mughals. :)

  8. I too have a similar question on Khurram that how come Akbar took a tiny baby from his mother and gave it to Ruku

    1. Rashmi,

      I replied above..It was a custom, though it may appear cruel in present times to take away a child from his/her mother. : (

  9. Abhay
    Very interesting the power struggles fratricide was suppressed/less visible during Abkar's reign but worsed during the subsequent generations somehow maybe was Mughal/Rajput traits or a bad side effect of Monarchy.

    MUZ no doubt was a able administrator to be given so much power

    1. Hi Sunram,

      Can you explain more on this fratricide issue.?.
      I would like to know your views on this before i give mine. :)

  10. Hi, where did you read about the mallika-e-muezzma title??

    1. You can get it here...

      Book Name - Akbar
      Author - Lal
      Page Number -133
      Publisher - V.P. House Private Ltd. , Delhi
      Year - 1977
      Copyright-1980 / 1V2M2405
      ISBN - 0706910761

      Along with this, there are contemporary edicts, you can find various titles of Mughal ladies in them also. They have been compiled by Tirmizi.

  11. Hi,

    Do you know if MUZ was ever bestowed the title of Shahbanu (empress in Farsi)? I was reminded of this when I was watching an old version of Akbar and Birbal, in which Akbar uses the title shahbanu when speaking to his chief wife.


  12. Hi Ika,
    Nice to find you here. :)

    Shahbanu is a Persian word, meaning the Empress.
    Shah means - King. Banu means - Lady.
    Hence, Shahbanu means "Lady/Wife of the King" .

    I don't think "Shahbanu" was a separate title. It is just a reference. :)

  13. Hi Abhay,

    Thanks for that clarification, about the title. I read that the last Emperor of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, had bestowed Shahbanu as a title on his third wife, so if he had an untimely death she would act as the de-facto ruler till their son was old that is why I asked if something similar had ever happened to MUZ.

    I know Wikipedia is not a reliable source for any information but this caught my eye in an uneasy way, could you please explain it, and have you come across this before? (Below is the excerpt from Wiki)

    "Qutub uddin Khan Koka's mother, the daughter of Sheikh Salim Chishti, was the foster mother of Emperor Jahangir. The emperor was deeply attached to his foster mother, as reflected by the following paragraph in the Tuzk-e-Jahangiri(The memoirs of Jahangir or Jahangirnama :

    "In the month of Zi-l-qada the mother of Qutubuddin Khan Koka who had given me her milk and was as a mother to me and even kinder than my own mother... was committed to the mercy of God. I placed the feet of her corpse on my shoulders and carried her a part of the way (to her grave). Through extreme grief and sorrow I had no inclination for some days to eat, and I did not change my clothes." --- Jahangirnama, Memoirs of Mughal Emperor Jahangir)"

    This was taken from the wiki page of Qutubuddin is it true that Jahangir said that his nurse was kinder than MUZ? I know the Jahangirnamas are full of mistakes and unreliable info...but this was just unsettling for me to read. :(

    Thanks a lot!


  14. Ika,
    Before answering you yesterday, i already had taken a look at this wikipedia page of the said ruler. :)
    But that is the ruler's prerogative. I mean this title was not necessarily given in Mughals.

    Ex : Salim gave the title of Shah Begum to Man Bai. Similarly, this ruler gave the title of ShahBano to his wife, though the meaning of both titles in same. :D

    It was more of a reference to raise the authority. :)

    About the Jahangirnama's passage.LOL.

    This is again a creation of Wikipedia. The ACTUAL passage is something else.. ;p Just see how the meaning are changed by missing out few words DELIBERATELY. LOL

    See this >

    1. Such sentences are written in a "poetic" manner, not to be taken in "literal" sense. :)

    These sentences are NOT written to compare the two mothers, but to show that how much Jahangir respected his foster mother like HIS OWN KIND mother

    2. The exact extract from Jahangirnama is this >

    "In the month of Zi-l-qada the mother of Qutubuddin Khan Koka who had
    given me her milk and was as a mother to me and even kinder than my own KIND
    mother... was committed to the mercy of God. I placed the feet of her
    corpse on my shoulders and carried her a part of the way (to her grave).
    Through extreme grief and sorrow I had no inclination for some days to
    eat, and I did not change my clothes."

    a. See that, Jahangir calls HIS OWN mother as > "MY OWN KIND MOTHER".

    b. But the Wikipedia's extract missed this KIND word and only added the rest of the part. LOL.

    c. Along with this, read my point-1, such sentences are NOT written as a form of comparison, but written to show the amount of respect which a person holds for someone. :)

    Do read the MUZ Mosque post, you will understand Jahangir's respect for his OWN KIND MOTHER also. :)

    Hope this clarifies. :)

  15. It's sad that we are not being shown Salim's relationship with his own mother or foster mother, two ladies to whom he was closest. Instead, all we see is Salim being turned into a zombie by Ruqaiyya.

  16. Hi Abhay,

    I read your post, about the MUZ Mosque in Lahore, and it is still so beautiful even in the dismal state it has been thrown into. I hope that the Pakistani government decides to restore it, since it is a historical heritage site.

    I felt bad about Wikipedia's nonsense and deliberate fabrications, when I thought that it might be true. The CV's are showing discord in Salim and MUZ's relationship, which makes me question even the established facts (I feel like the show has shifted from historical to pure historical fiction). Thanks a bunch for the clarifications. I can tell from the passage that Jahangir did love his foster mother very much.

    Do you know how MUZ's death affected Jahangir? Did he mourn for her death in the same way? Is it mentioned in the Jahangirnama?

    Plus I have always wanted to ask why MUZ's tomb is so simple in the inside. I have seen the pillars and the interiors in pictures, and they are not fancy or even appealing as the exterior of the tomb. Is there some reason for this?

    Also I believed that you or someone on IF may have mentioned that MUZ wanted to be buried with Akbar...was this her wish or Akbar's?

    Thanks a lot!


  17. JA CVS could have showed Akbar honoring Jodha i mean MUZ with all the titles. They really should follow your blog and learn from it and give you credit for it. If they had showed even half of the info you wrote about I am sure their trps would have stayed on top.

  18. Completely agree. The link of the blog is present with the writers of Jodha Akbar on Twitter. But, i feel they are more accustomed to portray Jodha as the "normally" accepted definition of a medieval women.!

  19. Ika,

    Unfortunately when MUZ died, that time Salim was not present in Agra. He was NOT in Agra due to VERY SERIOUS disturbances in the kingdom.
    That time his armies were preparing for the war with Khurram.! And he was near Ajmer.

    He writes in his autobiography, about the death of his mother, and prays to God to give peace to that noble soul. It is also possible that the news of death of his mother was given to him late.!

    By mourning TOO MUCH for the loss of a someone, you in turn give "pain" to the departed soul.

    Prof. Findly, in her research mentions that, Salim would have felt a heavy loss and cried a lot at his mother's demise - for the kind of affection he had for her .

    About the tomb of MUZ, it appears "white" from inside in the limited pictures we have seen, but that white plaster is a later addition. A lot of it had been altered and damaged, as the tomb was occupied by the Christian missionaries and was also used as a printing press.!!. Hence, it appears like this.!

    About her resting place, there is a tradition in Fatehpur Sikri, that she is the ONLY wife to have a resting place close to her husband, and Salim chose that place for her. This can be MUZ's wish.

  20. Abhay,

    I am curious about the relationship between HK / MUZ and Akbar's navratnas. :) She was, of course, close to Man Singh and Rahim, treating them as her sons. How did she deal with the other men?

    And how did they react to her power and influence over Akbar and even them?

  21. Abhay,

    Pushing this up as I think you missed it :)

  22. Preeti

    Abhay had published on the forum a farman by MUZ when Akbar was still king.

    My understanding is that she got these privileges during Akbar's time and they continued in Jahangir's time too.

  23. Radhika, the only published farmaan on the posts is the one by Walinimat Marium Uz Zamanai Validah of Jehangir. If there is another one I do not know about it. Tmirzi clearly states there is one farmaan the national records commission has for MUZ and Hamida Banu as queen mothers. So if there is another farmaan while in Akbar's reign I do not know of it. Waiting for Abhay's reply.
    Also it was Hawkins who stated that MUZ had 12000 horse cavalry during Jehangir's reign. I wonder if she had this honor in Akbar's reign.....Abhay and kamal ect have looked at official chronicles so they will know

  24. preeti - cn u share some part frm d edicts book in small comments 4 us. i wud love 2 knw mor. i missed reading 'tis book.

  25. Preeti,

    Pls do share. :)

  26. Radhika, Iqra yes I have wanted to type a small summary of this book for myself so I can remember facts. Will try to finish tonite and post it so you can read it in the morning in India :)

  27. Hi Abhay

    Thanks for the clarification. I agree sometimes at the loss of a loved one people want to celebrate the amazing life that their beloved lived, rather than to morn their departure.


  28. EDICTS FROM THE MUGHAL HAREM- S.A.I TIRMIZI ( Deputy Director of Archives,
    Government of India)

    Note his position in the Indian Archives- guys I think heknows what he is talking about J

    The book is a rare one to find in the US. I got my copy froman inter University library Loan. This
    book is a collection of Farmaans or Hukms and Nishans of the ladies of the Harem that are available
    in various archives. The book also tells
    you where originals are located. He
    divides his Farmaans in to the following:

    Hukm of Queen Mothers

    1. Marium Makani- one found

    2. Marium Uz Zamani- one found

    Hukms of Queen consorts:

    1. Nur Jehan- MANY Hukms!!!!!!!!

    2. Mumtaz Mahal- one found as she died shortly
    after becoming Empress

    Nishan of Prince consort

    1. Nadira Banu- wife of Dara Shikoh – 2 found

    Nishan of Princesses

    1. Jahan Ara Begum

    **** As Abhay as said ad Nauseum…there
    is no mention of a farmaan of Rukaiyya or Salima for that matter

    Now to MUZ farman: It is in poor shape as date not visible but clearly states during reign of Jehangir

    1. Invocation: God is Great ( allahu Akbar)- This invocation was started in Akbar’s reign

    Seal: Shape of a Pitcher- Wali Nimat Begum, Walidah i Nurud Din Jehangir, Badshah

    ***do note MUZ seal was very
    different from most of the other seals that were spherical- Any significance to a Pitcher in either Hindu or Islamic traditions???

    Title: In the name of Marium UzZamani

    The hukm orders that a person called Mudabbir
    Beg who is a loyal subject of the court be given all his dues and Jagir which appears to be ursurped by a Zamindar Suraj Mal. She also orders an enquiry in to this.

    2. Timirzi states that Wali Nimat begum was the name given to HK post her marriage to Akbar and MUZ was her title after birth of Salim. So apparently that was her name notTitle? He also says there was great controversy over who Wali Nimat was and this seal puts all controversies to rest that Walinimat and MUZ are the same and that she was undoubtedly the mother of Jehangir. APPARENTLY SOME

    3. Another interesting thing he said was
    that the retirement of MUZ and the death of Jagat Gosani caused the decline of
    Rajput influence in the court of Jehangir and the rise of Nur jehan at that time cause the rise of the Persian influence in court.

    **** In 1612 , Aziz Koka wrote a strongly worded letter condemning jehangir’s policy of favoring the
    Khurasanis ( Nur jehan’s sect) and the Shaikhzadas ( Indian Muslims) at the expense of the Rajputs and Chagtais. What a brave Man. I respect Akbar and his Navratnas more and
    more as I keep reading these fascinating accounts.

  29. Iqra, please read the summary of the book I have writen below.. Read till the end ..its an awesome farmaan

  30. preeti - thank u very much 4 sharing. a hug 4rm me 2 u dear.

    just 1 ques dear. is 'tis farman same as d 1 mentioned by abhay on 'tis post of padshah begum? -

    he has also given 'tis farman on muz in tat post.

    i hv more queries. cn v know the farman of hamida begum 2. preeti - if u cn do it den, plz write mor abt muz, if der z mor in tat buk.

    bcoz 'tis book is very rare. i 2 searched 'tis book 2 m hearts content aftr reading in abhay's posts only bt i was unsuccessful in getting 'tis in my library.

    dese details r vry interesting. a big thanks dear.

    @abhay - ur blog z becoming a gr8 place 4 history loving people lyk us. hope v get mor ppl lyk radhika n preeti soon.

  31. preeti - very interesting observation. i remember reading abt pitcher in hindu culture. bt i can not recollect wht it was? i m not well versed in tat. giv me 1 day tym. i ll ask my frnds. abhay can tell dis perhaps. bt i m also missing him? will wait fr hamida's farman. by den he ll also cme. thanks dear.

  32. Preeti

    Thanks a lot for the summary! :)

    Seems a most interesting book. :)

    Preeti, Iqra and Abhay, isn't it amazing that while we dismiss the 16th century women as being docile, submissive creatures, they were actually quite intelligent and powerful and enjoyed a great deal of influence with the emperors of their times. The Mughal emperors were also keen to tap the potential of their womenfolk in dealing with court matters instead of relegating them to child rearing.

  33. Preeti,

    Just clarifying your remarks that Aziz Koka was not a navratna, so that there is no confusion among readers. :)

    Ya, Abhay had mentioned that Aziz Koka was quite a daring guy who opposed the Din-e-ilahi during Akbar's time and the rise in importance of foreigners in Jahanhgir's court. He had almost rebelled once during Akbar's reign!

    I agree Akbar gave a lot of space and freedom to those around him, whether it was letting MUZ follow Hinduism or not forcing Din-e-ilahi on those who were opposed to it like Bhagwandas and Man Singh.

  34. Preeti, Iqra

    The pitcher symbol represents the kalash or kumbha in Hindu culture. Every religious ritual includes the use of a kalash or kumbha, filled with water, with fresh mango leaves and a coconut (sriphal - divine fruit) placed at the top.

    The kalash symbolizes the cosmos / universe. The water is the primordial water, the elixir of life, or a soul filled with love, abundance and prosperity.

    Some say the kalash represents the body, the leaves the 5 senses, and water is the life-force.Some Vedic scriptures refer to it as the symbol of mother earth and divine consciousness. The kalash also represents the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in its base, mouth, and throat and the Divine Mother's power streams in its belly. Thus the small urn contains all the Gods and symbolizes all Gods are one and emanate from the Supreme Power.

  35. OMG Radhika...i did not think of the english word pitcher as the Kalash!!!! how silly of me. Also thank you for the meaning of Kalash. As a hindu all I knew of the Kalash is that its used in our pujas. Your explanation was a joy to read.

  36. OOPS! Sorry Radhika, thanks for clarifying. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall of the court of Akbar to hear these Giants of their time debate policy matters.
    Yes Akbar forgave Aziz Koka a few times and is said to have stated in deference to JiJi Anga " Between him and me runs a river of milk that I cannot cross"

  37. Iqra,

    I found some info on a farman by Hamida Bano.

    Hamida Bano had strictly given orders to the officials of Agra that no one should stop the person named in the farman, a Vithal Rai of Mathura, from letting his cows graze ANYWHERE in that region. She was reinforcing an earlier farman given by Akbar, as the officials were perhaps harassing him. So Hamida Bano also gave an order to the officials under her "mohor" / seal to NOT stop Vithal Rai. (He was a Brahmin.) This order was given in the 1580's.

    I hope Abhay or Preeti can give the exact text.:)

  38. radhika - thnks a lot 4 'tis help dear. i was constantly looking 'tis particular page 4 d last many hours 2day, in anticipation of hamida bano begum's farman. finally i made up my mind 2 search tat book. :-( checkd last tym n got ur rply. :-) hamida bano was secular queen. 'tis farman proves it.

    ur details abt pitcher shape r very revealing. muz's connection wid her culture z significant in her mohor 2. i m sure abhay can tell mor abt 'tis as he always does.

  39. Hi Abhay, I am revisiting this post today as I just finished reading " edicts of the Mughal harem " and also WIlliam hawkins account when he was at the court of Jehangir( the english was sooooo difficult to read ) Several Questions arise from my readings:
    All the honors you have mentioned ie the Farman, getting the jewel from each nobleman and 12000 rank cavalry appear to be from the Reign of Jehangir as the imperial Queen mother. Do we know if MUZ could issue farmaans and had the 12000 rank cavalry as AKbar's wife?

    BTW: Hawkins account is fascinating; he describes how after the new years celebration at the court all the nobleman went in a formal procession to the house of MUZ to present her with a jewel. That must have been a sight to behold!!! He also describes the ladies behing the purdah at the court and confirms the presence of "Nur Mahal" so apparently this honor was bestowed on MUZ even after she retired.

  40. Big hug back dear Iqra. Don't have much more in this book abt MUZ because only one Farman has been found. Yes as far as I know this is the only farmaan of MUZ which is what I said to radhika ( look above). I myself want to know if MUZ wrote any farmans during akbars reign. BUT abhay is missing????
    I will post about Hamida's farmaan tomorrow..very interesting s it has to do with akbar's religious tolerance.

    Iqra, did u notice my question about the pitcher as her symbol on the you know if it has any imptce to either hindus or muslims.. I was wondering why she chose a pitcher as her seal shape

  41. Okay Radhika and Iqra. Here is more about Hamida farman

    Title: He is Great ( note not god is great)

    Seal: shape of flower with 8 petals: Hamida Begum Bint i Ali Akbar ( daughter of Ali akbar)
    Date: 29 September 1581 AD

    The hukm confirms a previous Farmaan by Emporer Akbar that a person called Bithaleshar's cows be allowed to graze unhindered
    in that particular land/pargana

    Tirmirzi states that Bithaleshar (Vithaleshwar ) was the second son of the famous saint of Mathura area at that time called Vallabhacharya who impressed Akbar greatly with his piety and views that Akbar named him "Marifatagah" or possessor of Divine Knowledge and granted him the pargana of Mahaban as a gift tax free.

    Secular Emperor Ki Secular Walidah ! :)

  42. preeti - thnks 4 sharing. hmm... 'tis looks very royal. flower shaped seal, 8 petals. 'tis is arabic origin, predominantly pious muslim religious belief.

  43. Thanks for sharing Iqra. I was wondering of flower with 8 petals had significance. Also isnt Bint i...arabic also. I wonder how cause I thought Hamida was predominantly of persian origin?

  44. Many royal Mughal wo
    men played a
    dominant role in political arena. Akber`s
    mother Hamada Bano Begam was a capable
    advisor to both her husband and her son.
    Akber`s wife Salima Sultana Begum was
    also an intelligent women who was respected
    for her natural political ability. Jaha
    mother Jodha Bai was very influential at
    court and was a major driving force behind
    Akber`s promotion of secularisam.The
    increased wealth of Mughal court brought
    great prosperity to the women in the Zenena

    men played a
    dominant role in political arena. Akber`s
    mother Hamada Bano Begam was a capable
    advisor to both her husband and her son.
    Akber`s wife Salima Sultana Begum was
    also an intelligent women who was respected
    for her natural political ability. Jaha
    mother Jodha Bai was very influential at
    court and was a major driving force behind
    Akber`s promotion of secularisam.The
    increased wealth of Mughal court brought
    great prosperity to the women in the Zenena
    men played a
    dominant role in political arena. Akber`s
    mother Hamada Bano Begam was a capable
    advisor to both her husband and her son.
    Akber`s wife Salima Sultana Begum was
    also an intelligent women who was respected
    for her natural political ability. Jaha
    mother Jodha Bai was very influential at
    court and was a major driving force behind
    Akber`s promotion of secularisam.The
    increased wealth of Mughal court brought
    great prosperity to the women in the Zenena

  45. Hi Sunram

    Sorry, I am slightly confused. Are these your comments or have you quoted from the article? Can you please share the article in its entirety?

  46. Iqra,

    Ya, Hamida Bano, her side of the family, the tutors Akbar had as a child, MUZ, the navratnas, the theologians with whom he discoursed later - all played a vital part in changing an orthodox person into a person more open to and inclusive of all religions and communities.

    Hamida Bano had taken shelter with many people during her years of exile including a Rajput king in whose palace Akbar was born. Surely her experiences must have shaped her into a secular, tolerant person with respect for all. Or it may have been the other way round. Because she was a secular person, she may have found the years in exile easier to deal with, adjusting wherever she went.

    Akbar was very lucky that both his mother and his wife MUZ had similar nature and reinforced his views on religious tolerance.

    MUZ remained in touch with her culture / roots and ensured that her children too developed a link to their maternal roots. Only a highly religious person like her could have chosen the kalash as a symbol to represent her royal seal.

    I too hope to hear more from Abhay on this. :)

  47. Preeti

    Thanks so much :) Agree with your views on Hamida Banu Begum.

  48. Radhika

    I have shared a paragraph of an article where Salim's mother's influence on Akbar was why I gave this in MUZ item but it has more fashion and attire so wanted to post rest in that item

  49. yes Sunram please share the article wou.d love to read it

  50. Iqra

    Wow, seems some symbols are common to Islam and Hinduism.

    The 8-petalled lotus is very sacred to Hindus. Known as the ashta-dala-padma, it is typically used, at least in the south, as the rangoli pattern on which Gods are installed for performing any major puja. No major puja or religious ritual can be completed without using this symbol of Goddess Lakshmi.

  51. Sunram,

    TFS :) Pls share the rest of it too - should be an interesting read.

  52. Iqra

    If you see this book, The Empire of the Great Mughals : History, Art and Culture, by Annemarie Schimmel, it also refers to the farman by Hamida Banu Begum to show the power of the Mughal ladies in issuing farmans. :)

  53. Actually it is very common among Royalty since the ancient times as a bad side effect of monarchy among all cultures/religions and regions. Akbar being an exception while even his brothers uncles wanted to practice it /went against him.If Mughals survived so long after Akbar it is because of the foundation he laid his far sightedness and polices ,the wealth he accumulated so few generations could reap the benefit..Even in the current times fratricide happened in Nepal.But in the later generations it became a bane in Mughal dynasty as none of the warriors were allowed to survive and only the old and infirm in the family survived/were there and hence English occupied India.

  54. Sunram

    I agree fratricide is common in royalty and about Akbar's contribution to Mughal empire.

    But Akbar didn't really have to contend with anyone seriously for the throne. Ya, his step-brothers like Mirza Hakim troubled him but he did ultimately get rid of them.

    Look what happened between Humayun and his brothers and that was during the early Mughal era.

    Secondly, the English started coming to India for trade in Jahangir's time, "much before all the warriors were killed". It was the ineptitude of the Mughal kings and their lack of fore-sight that allowed the English to dig in their roots and take over, in a systematic and shrewd manner.

  55. radhika - dese details r absolutely stunning dear. i m in a different space aftr reading preeti n urs comments abt d seals. mughal women were given lot of space in playing powerful politics. i 2 m waiting 4 abhay. janab id ka chand ho gaye hain aj kal.

  56. preeti-bint means daughter in arabic language

  57. True if it had been just trade ok but then the political inefficiency was the main reason They could occupy India

    finding a gap otherwise it would just have been trade relations

  58. Read this interesting item on Mughal attire

    Fashion, Attire and Mughal women: A story behind the purdha

    Research Scholars, Dept of Visual Arts, Assam University, Silchar, India. Abstract.
    This study is focused on the attire and fashion of the Mughal women.

  59. Hi Sunram,

    Thanks for sharing. :) It's a wonderful document. I will go thru it in leisure.

    Mughal attire was the subject of one of Abhay's history threads on IF. As mentioned there, Mughal women were fond of sheer, extremely delicate fabrics from (the then) Bengal, which were aptly known as "woven air" and revealed their slender figures.

    Shah Jahan once criticized his daughter for her dress. She responded by saying that she was wearing 7 layers of gossamer-fine fabric!

    Most clothes were worn just once. I read that the early Mughal noble ladies usually wore tall, Turkish hats, often with small veils attached to them. Later on, they wore extremely fine veils that permitted a glimpse of their hair.

  60. Finally, i am back on this page's comments. :)
    Radhika - I don't know much about her interaction with the other Navratans, except Man Singh and Rahim, who were were obviously like her sons.
    Abu'l Fazl, it is said was "impressed" by her. I will share a snippet soon, as a new post on this. About Birbal, we know most of such stories in the form of tales. :)
    About rest of the navratans not much idea as of now. :)

  61. Sunram,
    I am yet to post that topic on the blog. I will do it soon. Thanks for sharing these interesting snippets. :))

  62. @All.
    Do READ the recent FARMANs related discussions on this post. :)

    Hi Preeti, Radhika, Iqra and all..

    Sorry for my late reply. Coming to all your questions, here is my response :

    Points 1 and 2, below are noted with me, with out reference, which i am telling you. This info, i had dug up last year.

    1. As far as i know "at present", the earliest reference for Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum receiving gifts from the noble men of the Mughal Court, the event is of mid 1590's.
    2. The earliest reference to cavalry is also in the reign of Akbar in 1590's, though the "rank" was not mentioned.
    Clearly, both these above events are from the reign of Akbar.

    3. The reference to 12,000 cavalry "rank" which i mentioned is from the reign of Jahangir, but as i mentioned the earliest such reference is from Akbar's reign. This was the highest possible rank which could be taken by "anyone including the king" that time.!!!!

    4. There was no restriction on issuing orders as only Queen Mothers or as Queen Consorts. Tirmizi has "only" divided the farmans into those two categories. He has not mentioned a restriction on this point. He has based his orders on the inscriptions he got THAT TIME, before 1970's. :)

    According to what i have got, there is also a imperial document where the same 8-petal seal of Mariam Makani is present, but that document dates back to 6 years before Akbar's becoming the king.!!!! That means it is of 1550. This means she was NOT Queen Mother that time. This is the same seal with which she issued the farman of 1580's regarding that cow grazing allowance, after more than 30 years.
    This was presented by the British Library in 2013 for the first time, in an exhibition. If you have read my posts in my old threads, there i mentioned about an exhibition. :)

    Also, there are 3 farmans of Hamida Bano Begum, as far as i have read. Tirmizi has mentioned only 1 of them. :)

    It is also noted with me that the Christian missionaries noted a farman issued by Mariam Uz Zamani granting them a land for church(?) around 1582/83..!!!!. It was a tax free land. A paper in this regard was presented to the Asiatic Society of Bengal around 1900. But this is not verified, as the document was an utterly faded one, and apparently, only the name Mariam was visible, perhaps. :(

    I am planning postS on these farmans soon. :)
    In the meantime, if you get something more, then do share here, so that those snippets can be included in the main new posts which will be made.

    BTW, Friends I found this discussion which you all carried in my absence, very interesting.
    It is this 2-way exchange of information which keeps me going despite my tight schedule. :)

  63. Thanks Abhay, so excited for your reply and her standing in Akbar's court. I have been desperately searching for Akbar's MUZ but kept running into only accounts of MUZ in Jehangir's reign. I cant wait for you to post more about these farman's and I hope you can find out more about MUZ farmans.

  64. Preeti,
    I will keep sharing, as and when time permits. It's the hunger to know more and more about these legends which keep me going, and carry on with your reading and sharing content about them with us. Because we all are in process of learning no matter how much we read. :)

  65. Yes Abhay, I have posted info on your questions about Nur Jehan's seals in the other post. Hope that helps. I have the book till the 13th if you have to ask another question

  66. Sure will do it later as now I will again search the link and post it was very interesting

  67. Abhay, Radhika....

    Could you tell me one thing, is Heer Kunwari, become an important wife of Akbar because she gave Akbar a heir or because he love her???
    Maybe you could tell me how was their relationship before the brith of Salim..???


  68. Hi Nia

    Welcome to the blog :)

    Good Q - something we all start with when we start to discover the Akbar-MUZ love story. :)

    The answer is Akbar loved MUZ even before she gave birth to an heir. He called her his Wali Ni'mat - God's / pir's blessing. And he continued to love her all his life. He gave her immense powers - including the right to issue farmans. She had a cavalry of 12,000 under her command - only 3 others, including the Emperor had such a huge force under them. She had her own shipping business - one of the first women in India to engage in foreign (maritime) trade. He even gave a lot of power and respect to her Ameri clan. He not only allowed her to practice her faith but even joined her in her prayers and festivals. She was instrumental (along with others) in making Akbar more tolerant of other faiths and in treating citizens of different faiths equally.

    Do look around the blog - you will find many posts on her and her relationship with Akbar. :)

  69. Haaai radhika....

    Very happy to your very fast response...

    I read many of story about MUZ here but use MUZ instead of Harkha Bai or Jodha Begum... so i start thinking that their good relationship, a lot of power she has, were caused after she gave birth to an heir...

    But i just view your attachment in twitter, scan of akbarnama, that proved the good relationship about akbar and "before-MUZ". I think that a counterattack to Shaurya's tweet??

    ((Sorry if my english is bad because i use english language very very rarely here *blushing))

  70. Nia

    Got used to calling Harka Bai as MUZ :)

    Akbar loved her even before she gave birth to an heir. He used to take her with him everywhere, even to wars. Esp after the death of their twins, he just would not leave her alone in the palace but took her to war with him and also to Sikri.

    Akbar had many wives but he was closest to Ameris. The reason is obvious - his love of MUZ. :) See this new post;:

    He even adopted an Ameri princess as his own daughter and personally arranged for her marriage.

    There are many incidents like this. It is upto us whether we believe their love or not. :)

    Don't worry about language - it's enough that we can understand each other and that you are trying so well to express your honest views in a foreign language. Keep writing :)

  71. Hi Nia,
    As Radhika said, there are many posts on this blog. Do read them.
    You will understand that before birth of Salim also, she was held in high favor by Akbar. :)
    Read this one, about MISSED Historical Tracks and see the events in their life before the birth of Salim. :)
    This is MUZ Part-2.
    Go through other posts as well. :)

  72. Did Akbar also give special titles to his other wives? (Salima and Ruqaiya)

  73. Kembang

    This is not documented anywhere I have seen so far :)

  74. Kembang TanjoengApril 1, 2015 at 4:47 PM

    Then it is safe to say just another "made up" topic by the screen writter and Ekta?

  75. Yes Kembang.
    This is a made up issue by the writer of JA.

  76. Hy. I want to ask something ..
    I really want to know about the REAL HISTORY of mughal,also about jodha. ..
    Is your post a real history of mughal or mariam uz zamani ?
    By the way, how is the real love story between hira dan jalal ? I really need a real history..
    Is that true that it was because of politic or maybe something else ? ..
    Please answer it. Thanks a lot <3