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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Padshah Begum - Under Akbar and Mughals

Hi EveryOne..

This Post is to Deal with the topic of Padshah Begum of Mughal Emperors.

Special Thanks to my friends - Ms. Kamal and Lizzy for the inputs for this article.!.
Following major ladies had titles in Mughal history:

1. Maham Begum, till 1532-33, Babur's principle wife. - Padshah Begum..same source as below

2. After that, Khanzada Begum, eldest sister of Babur, till her death in 1545. - Padshah Begum... Baburnama Vol. 1 , Pg-314/15

It is also said that, Haji Begum/Bega Begum(wife of Humayun, died 1582) was Padshah Begum, but could not find it documented. On the other hand, Akbarnama, Abul Fazl, Vol.1, page-340, ONLY says, she was a favorite wife of Humayun. No mention of Padshah Begum there.

3. Hamida Banu, Mariam Makani ... Akbarnama, Vol.3, Pg-815, by Abul Fazl

4. Harka Bai(Wrongly called Jodha) - Mariam Uz Zamani ... Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, Vol.1, Pg-76, by Jahangir

5. Man Bai - wife of Salim - Shah Begum... Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, Vol.1, Pg-55, by Jahangir

6. Jagat Gosain - wife of Salim - Biqlis Makani - meaning Lady of Pure Abode ... PadshahNama, Sec.13a/49a, by Qauzwini

7. Nur Jahan  - Padshah Begum (this title was given LATER, NOT JUST after marriage). Saliha Bano Begum was the Padshah Begum of Jahangir till her death in 1619-20.

8. Arjumand Bano Begum - Mumtaz Mahal .. By Shah Jahan (known fact) Badshahnama by Lahori, tr. edition, Vol.7, Pg.-27

9. Jahanara Begum, Shah Jahan's daughter - Padshah Begum ... by Shah Jahan Storia de Mogor, by Manuci, Vol.2, Pg-127...Also, in Aurangzeb-a history, Vol.3, Pg-58, by Sarkar

10. Zinnat-un-Nissa, Aurangzeb's daughter - Padshah Begum.. Aurangzeb-a history, Vol.1/2, Pg-38, by Sarkar


The mother of the Emperor was the highest lady of the land and can ONLY issue farmans during her life periodOther than that only the Emperor can give power to somebody to issue farmans.

During the later Mughal Emperor's time, both Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb had no mothers alive to be given this right. The daughters and sisters enjoyed power because of this.

The first wives of all the Mughal Emperors were called Zan-i-Kalan
It is NOT a title, but like a nom-de-plume.




Regarding Padshah Begum, also there are some points, compiled from various sources:  

It was an imperial title, conferred in the Mughal Harem, to the First Lady. The title could be (means not mandatory) bestowed upon the chief or principal wife, a sister, the mother or even a favored daughter of the Mughal Emperor. The title could be held by only one lady at a time.


Journal of Numismatic Society of India, Volume-20/21., Year-1958,  page-223.



Till now were BARE FACTS. Now, the conclusions.

Tried searching a lot.
But, concluded that, it was NOT that giving Padshah Begum title was a necessity. Because, NOT ALL ladies, got Padshah Begum title, in succession in the Mughal Empire . 

P.S. : Special mention of this point. We did NOT get any document saying Ruqayya Begum was Padshah Begum. On Internet, it is claimed that in Jahangirnama it is given that Ruqayya was Padshah Begum, but COULD NOT find so, even after reading it PERSONALLY .!!. She is called Padshah Begum in the FICTIONAL novel - The 20th Wife, by Ms. Indu Sundaresan.


Also there are certain points.....

These statements are from the text of , Edicts from the Mughal Harem. ( Idarah-i Adabiyat-i Delhi), compiled by Tirmizi. The following lines appear on page. 127-128

Some ladies had the exclusive privilege of issuing official orders.
The right of issuing royal farmans was the exclusive prerogative of the emperor.
There were other official documents like Hasb-Ul-Hukm, Nishans, Sanads and Parwanas which were issued by the high officials and Princes.

But in some cases farmans were issued by queens and princesses.

This issuing of such orders was confined to the highest ladies of the harem such as
Hamida Banu Begum,
Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum
Nur Jahan,
Mumtaz Mahal,
Nadira Banu Begum, and
Jahanarra Begum



Remember that, farmans could ONLY be issued by the highest ladies of the harem.

Following is one of the farmans issued by Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum Sahiba.
"In another order issued by Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum Sahiba, Madabbir Beg is asked to restore the jagir which was usurped by one Surajmal in pargana Chaupala (Moradabad)."

The Proceedings of the Indian Historical Records Commission at Lahore 1926, Volume-VIII, Page-167/69.

The complete Farman has been posted on the Blog and can be read at this Link :
Farman of Wali Nimat Mariam-Uz-Zamani Begum


On a parting Note, there is an interesting thing which i noticed. In the Old Show, "Akbar - The Great" of 1980's which aired on DoorDarshan, the Hindu Queen of Akbar, the Princess of Amer is called, Padshah Begum. Here is the Video of the Episode which shows her being called Padshah/Badshah Begum, even before the Birth of Salim.!!.


The article has been posted under the Mughals(Akbar) section of this history BLOG.

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  1. It seems no one was assigned the title of Padshah Begum during Akbar's reign!. But interestingly Jodha Akbar serial referred Jodha (I mean Heer / Harka) as Padshah Begum y-).....Hope you find something on this. Thanks for sharing. g-)


    1. You're Welcome Pallavi..

      It is an interesting area of research..Till now, i've not got any conclusive fact, to prove someone being Padshah Begum in Akbar's reign, except Akbar Khan's serial, to an extent ..

      The MIS-nomer of Ruqayya Begum being assigned the title of Padshah Begum has gained ground from Ms. Indu Sundaresan's, " FICTIONAL " novel , The Twentieth Wife. It's an irony that despite being called a work of fiction, the novel has been used for citation in Wikipedia, etc..

  2. Very informative. Thanks for this info!

    May be Akbar had several other titles for his chief queen HK and mother Hamida Bano. Or may be he didn't want to have to choose between his begums and mother as to who would be Padshah Begum.

  3. matlab that female who asked jalal to go to sheikh salim chisti was ruqaiyya?

    1. No NO Anchal...
      It was MUZ only who went to Salim Chisti....

  4. great!!! so it means no one was given this title during Akbar's reign?! but the video u posted, that old show showing Jodha as Padshah Begum?! interesting. :-)
    I feel Jodha was really an unfortunate empress that all of her credits r purposely hidden or destroyed.
    the old show in spite of focusing on Akbar's life, didnt forget to give Jodha her credits and beautifully showed their love story.hats off.
    but in our show CVs r hellbent on glorifying Ruqaiyya..ab toh title bhi dediya! :@

  5. What more can i add Tamy. This Empress is at the receiving end, even now, after 450 years. Don't know if she will get her due ever.

  6. Hello All, I just came across this in the Jehangirnama about Padshah Begum.

    Jehangir mentions the Death of one of his wives : " on June 21st, Padshah Banu passed away and the pain of this grievous event weighed heavily on my mind. "

    Professor Findly states in her book that her name was Saliha Banu, daughter of a well place family. She was one of Jehangirs 4 chief wives as per Hawkins.
    For Most of Jehangir's reign she was Padshah Begum. When she died the title passed on to Nur Jehan in 1620.

    Abhay, I don't know how people still claim that Ruqayya was Padshah begum. Ruks was alive during this time and certainly Jehangir would not strip her of the title and give it to his wives? No where in the Jehangirnama I am reading has Ruqs been addressed as Padshah Begum!

    Abhay, I just came across a post on one of your threads that claimed that Ruqs was the longest Reigning Padshah Begum of the Mughal Empire ....makes me mad at the certainty with which they say it.

    The Jahangirnama: Memoirs of Jahangir, Emperor of India by Jahangir, tr. Wheeler M. Thackston. Oxford University Press, 1999.

    Nur Jahan : Empress of Mughal India: Empress of Mughal India, By Ellison Banks Findly

  7. Thanks for sharing that info preeti.Agree with you there are lot of misinformations being circulated .That makes all yours abhay s,radhika's and many more wonderful friends efforts to bring out the fact from various reliable sources more special.It provides a common platform for all of us to learn more and dispel some myths being circulated.

  8. Preeti,

    Thanks for sharing these snippets. :)

    I have been telling the same to one and all that Ruqayya Begum was NEVER the Padshah Begum . Even i made a note here, and tagged it on this particular post on top also.

    But we know there are some writers who purposely on an agenda "make" wrong articles. :(

  9. Yes I remember your post about Ruks and Padshah Begum ..very clearly. I am very surprised about this Padshah Saliha Banu. Never heard of her and shocked she was Padshah Begum. Makes me wonder if Padshah Begum is that big of a deal anyways.
    Abhay it is frustrating that thanks to " the Twentieth Wife" and the TV show JA, Ruks may become known as Padshah begum from now on

  10. Preeti,

    I was discussing this with Ika on the Mariam-Uz-Zamani's post. That these titles, are more of a reference. These titles were perhaps not given in continuation.

    This name Saliha Banu Begum, is not a major name in Mughal history and hence we don't find her mention neither i mentioned here as she was not a "major" name. BTW, She bore 2 kids to Jahangir. :)

    What i remembered till few days back was - either it was 1622-23, when Nur Jahan became Padshah Begum, or it was 1612-13, as per Hijri year. Was confused in this 10 years duration(1612-22). On reading back, i got it is 1622-23.

    Moreover, it was Jagat Gosain who wielded her authority in the harem till her death. :)

    PS : There is also a MISNOMER that Saliha Banu was aunt of Aurangzeb. Be careful. ;p

  11. Thanks Abhay, gosh did not know she bore him two kids too.

  12. Preeti,

    Do not go by these Persian translations "ONLY". Try to analyze yourself also. The translations depend on the "translators" method of depicting an incidence. :)

    One can also contradict Nur Jahan's influence by a point that why she was NOT made Padshah Begum after marriage only. And, Why Jahangir allowed Saliha Banu to remain Padshah Begum, if Nur was the ONLY supreme authority.?.

    BTW, If you have Tirmizi's book with you,
    1. Can you tell me the year in which Nur Jahan gave her first order and the year of the last order(as per Tirmizi) ?
    2. What was written on her seal ?

    I am not having that book at present, hence asking you, it will spare me of the trouble of going to the library again, and save a lot of time.

  13. yes Abhay , I still have the book with me and will have it till the 13th.

    Nur Jahan : !st order: 31st July, 1620 AD
    Last order: 16th may, 1627 AD
    Seal: shape of a Mihrabi : By the light of the Sun of Emperor Jehangir, the bezel of the seal of Nur Jahan, the Empress of the age, has become resplendant like the moon.
    Tughra : The edict of the most exalted, cradle of sublimity, Nur Jahan, the Empress

  14. Thanks Preeti.
    Is the same description present on all the seals ?

  15. Preeti, Abhay

    A Padshah begum is a very important queen. When most of the other Padshah begums are known commonly, how come this Saliha Banu is not known much? We know about Man Bai, Jagat Gosain, and, of course, the magnificent Nur Jahan. But how did Saliha Banu escape into obscurity? Did she have any seal or the right to issue farman etc?

    Why was she chosen over Man Bai and Jagat Gosain, who were quite close to Jahangir in the early years?

  16. Abhay, Preeti,

    The seals remind me.

    Is it true that Shah Jahan took out of circulation all the coins introduced by Nur Jahan and even removed all the officials she had appointed in the court? That he systematically wiped out all influence of Nur Jahan from his court and administration?

    When it was apparently Nur Jahan herself who arranged the marriage of Arjumand Banu with Khurram, when and how did she and Asaf Khan fall out?

    Were she and Khurram ever on good terms? She seemed to prefer anyone to Khurram as next emperor, may be because she may have felt that he would not come under her thumb? She got her own daughter married to Khurram's brother and not Khurram.

    Was her exile after Jahangir's death self-imposed or was she forced out of power?

  17. Preeti

    So effectively, Nur Jahan issued farmans after she became Padshah Begum and till Jahangir's death.

    Do you have any of her farmans? Were these important orders or merely like minor cases or reaffirmations of the emperor's orders?

  18. Preeti

    Most history is simply a mix of things that happened and the perception of people. And usually things that happened form a very minor part of this mix. :)

  19. Abhay today i saw, Akbar the great, which link you posted here, so acc to this jodha is here Padshah begum. What is the meaning of padshah.
    But this title also gives to Daughters also. so this title is not fix, As we saw MUZ title who earns who will give heir to Empire.

    After Jodha, MUZ title which begums achieved?Ekta team should see some episodes of Akbar the Great.

    Respect +Speaking manner is good in this Posted episode.

  20. Radhika,

    Jahangir married Saliha Banu in 1608. Man Bai died in 1605. So, she is out of picture. :)

    Rest we have Jagat Gosain, i don't know why she was not given this Padshah Begum title, but it was she who wielded her coin in the harem till her death.

    Also, one thing baffles me, till her death in 1605 Man Bai was Shah Begum. So, from 1605 to 1610, who was the major authority in harem.?. Clearly, Jagat Gosain.

    So, we see, Padshah Begum title was not given in continuous succession.

    Another thing is that, why did Jahangir did not give this title of Padshah Begum, to Nur Jahan before Saliha Banu's death?

    I am making a separate post on Padshah Begums of Jahangir, as this topic also seems fascinating. :)

  21. Ayushi,

    Padshah means Emperor.
    After Harka Bai, an equivalent title of Mariam Uz Zamani was given to Man Bai, called "Shah Begum" , by Jahangir, mother of Khusrau, but ironically he did not became the Emperor.

  22. lot of thanks Abhay,

  23. !st FArman: 31 july 1620
    2nd Farman: 27 jan , 1625
    23 oct, 1625

    12 nov 1625
    1 jan 1626
    6 0ct 1626
    28 dec 1626
    16 may 1627

    8 Farmans!!!!! Yes Abhay Seal is the same. The language of the Farman gets fancier, and praises her more and more... She is the undisputed monarch Abhay......

  24. Preeti,
    Thanks for the details. I have another same question for you
    and that is about the seal being same for all the 8 farmans. As far as i
    have inferred, the seal for the farman of 1620 should be different. Rest of the 7 farmans can have same seal. Has
    the book mentioned same seal for this Ist farman also.!!!!

  25. Preeti,
    My reply below here >

  26. Hi Radhika, I am answering both your questions here. Yes she issued Farmaans from 1620- 1627. See info I posted for abhay below. Radhika her farmaans were much much more broader in scope. Closer to 1627 her Farmaans started gettting more and more like ones issued by a ruler. One would think she was Queen Elizabeth!! Many to Raja Jai Singh of Amber. Her first farmaan to Jai Singh that Muhammad Hashim has been deputed by her to collect the ijara money of the pargana of Amber and for the necessary cash to be remitted urgently to the khazana of agra

    I can only answer part of your second question but yes Findly has published a research article on how much Shah Jehan hated Nur Jehan later..... He deliberately tried to destroy her records and accomplishments, Forced her into exile and sent her to Lahore where she could not interfere. There is a fascinating theory that NurJehan wanted to be buried next to Jehangir and had constructed Salims tomb to allow for that. Shah Jehan deliberately interefered and got Asaf Khan buried next to Jehangir and Nur Jehan's tomb off to a side. Ironically a railroad track built later now separates Nur Jehans tomb from Jehangir.

    She was on good terms with Shah Jahan in the beginning.
    She, Asaf Khan and Shah jahan formed the Junta that sucessfully fought to side line Khusrau and promote Shah Jehan. But all that changed as Shah Jehan rebelled and She was in the end betrayed by her own brother Asaf Khan. You can have varied views on her... But she was one dynamic woman

  27. Apparently Salima Begum was de facto head of Harem in both Akbar's and Jehangir's reign until her death.

  28. Radhika, I am in the dark about this. Don't know anything about this Saliha Banu and am a bit confused about this. Just read it in the Jehangirnama but has never heard of her before

  29. Yes ABhay exactly the same. I just checked :(

  30. Preeti

    Wouldn't MUZ and Hamida Banu have any say in the running of the harem while they were alive?

    Esp since the harems were separate for Hindus and Muslims, Salima Begum may have controlled the muslim harem along with Hamida Banu, while MUZ may have run the hindu harem. What do you think?

  31. Preeti

    Can you pls share these farmans of Nur?

  32. Abhay

    Is it true that Jahangir's health started deteriorating after MUZ's death in 1622, which may have allowed Nur to wield more power?

    Also, did Jahangir stop recording his memoirs after his mother's death, and pass on the task to someone else?

  33. Radhika,

    Please be careful while collecting info.
    People do create unverified stories, to suit their theories.. :)

    MUZ died NOT in 1622 but in May 1623..!!!!!
    Yes, Jahangir stopped writing his memoirs in 1622, but that was a year before the death of MUZ. This has been recorded in the Jahangirnama also, remember i had posted some screenshots too. If you wish i can give a short update also ?

  34. Hamida and Salima Begum were handling Akbar's harem, and to be more precise Hamida Banu being the ELDEST was governing harem in time of Akbar. Salima was also a authority. The Hindu harem was under MUZ. :)

  35. Abhay

    That's the reason I am asking you to verify this info. :)

    It would be wonderful if you could give a short update. I mean, why did he stop writing - was his health failing? If his health was failing even before his mother's demise, then it must have been due to his addictions and not due to his attachment to his mother.

  36. Radhika,
    He was unwell, hence he stopped writing. Will make a post soon on it. :)

  37. Abhay,

    Thanks! :)

    Pls answer the other Qs too (^^) when you get time. :)

  38. Radhika,

    Nur Jahan very much wanted to retain power after the death of Jahangir, and for this reason she tried getting her daughter married to Khusrau first and when he refused she thought of another son of Jahangir.

    About fact that she wanted to retain power after Salim's death is evident from her farmans which she sent to the ruler of Amer that time.

    Not only she, even Khurram tried to get the Amer ruler to his side by sending messages to him. These are preserved in Rajashtan State Archives. Will share them, only constraint is time. :(

  39. Preeti

    Thanks for the detailed reply. :)

    I read that Nur Jahan felt threatened by Shah Jahan and she wanted to neutralize his growing influence. So initially she tried to get Khusrau married to her daughter, Ladli Begum. When he refused, she got her daughter married to Shahryar and desired to make Shahryar the next emperor.

    But after Jahangir's death, Asaf Khan and Shah Jahan got Shahryar killed, and Shah Jahan became the emperor.

    Shah Jahan may have rebelled to counter Nur Jahan's excessive influence over his father and in the court and, of course, to further his own ambitions.

    I agree Nur was a dynamic woman but she seemed to misuse her power and position a great deal. :( How different Mughal history might have been if she had used her influence positively to chart a fresh course for the Mughal empire!

  40. Abhay, Preeti

    This Saliha Banu must be the daughter of one Kaim Khan Arab, who was one of the principal nobles in Akbar's court and had taught archery to Jahangir as a child.

    I read that Jahangir had married the daughter of Kaim Khan Arab after 1607 and, shortly after the marriage, she was given the title of Padshah Mahal. Her name was not mentioned.

  41. Abhay...

    i read this on IF also... you written this there right??
    And the last paragraph i copied to you some minutes ago asking wether any further information...
    Thx for your reply aniway...

  42. Yes Nia,
    This is same info. But i mentioned , do go through these comments here. This will be something very new for you. :)

  43. Yeaaahhh....done with all the comments...
    hhhmmm,,, seems I have to believe that Ruq is nothing at all....
    Even Salima Begum has more important role than her. Though still hard to believe that the first wife of Akbar, and the character who was shown soo important at the Ekta's serial, has no important role at all in the reality...
    Thanks to all of you guys,,, for all information u dig and share...

  44. Nia

    Don't go by Ekta's or any other production's TV show or movie. They dramatize the story as they like for TRPs and profits.

    Real history can only be found in historical books and is usually quite different from the myths that are circulated around us freely. :)

  45. Nia,
    About the topic of Ruqayya Begum..In case you missed, here are 2 comments. :)

  46. Posting snippet from the first page of the FICTIONAL novel - The 20th Wife of Ms. Indu Sundaresan.

    The MIS-nomer of Ruqayya Begum being assigned the title of Padshah Begum has gained ground from Ms. Indu Sundaresan's, " FICTIONAL "
    novel , The Twentieth Wife. It's an irony that despite being called a
    work of fiction, the novel has been used for citation in Wikipedia, and many other places,

    The following snippet clearly mentions that it is work of fiction..

  47. Please im Egyptian and nowadays im watching siysaat serial which shows that padsha begum was ruqqya begum and she was akbars favorite wife!!! I'm really confuse...this serial don't mention mariam uz zamani ...why!

  48. Mary,
    Siyaasat is inspired from a FICTIONAL novel . Before the starting of the show, the makers clearly declare in a note that they have made the show considering the novel of a writer. It is upto that writer that sadly she has decided to omit Mariam Uz Zamani's name. Hence, the problem.
    You can see the above comments and read the discussions here. I have also posted the screen shot from that novel above. This reply and above comments will clear your doubt.