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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Aurangzeb - Succession to Mughal throne | An alternate Story

Hi friends,

This topic is dedicated to Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. While we all know that Aurangzeb, got his brothers eliminated to get the Mughal throne, here is an alternate story today. This is related to Aurangzeb and a son of Shah Jahan, whom he got eliminated. 
Read on.!

There was nothing that would stop Aurangzeb in his quest to become the ruler of Hindustan. He imprisoned his father and eliminated his brothers. He did not trust anyone and considered his own brothers his deadly enemies. He did not even trust his own sons who in turn rebelled against him later. What's more? He imprisoned his own daughter too.! Besides liquidating his brothers, he imprisoned and drove into exile many of his sons except his favourite third son, Prince Azam. Towards Azam, he was loving and indulgent.

Aurangzeb often said in the court > “The art of ruling is so delicate that the king’s jealousy should be awakened by his very shadow.”

Shah Jahan’s favourite son was Dara Shikoh. But Aurangzeb hated him and was determined to get rid of him first and deal with the rest of his brothers later. His fight against Dara was not merely a power struggle but a holy war. Both brothers absolutely despised each other.

While Dara looked down on Aurangzeb as a bigot, the latter called Dara as an infidel. For Dara, it was not a question of good against evil. It was simply that his brothers rebelled against Shah Jahan, who was the legitimate ruler of Hindustan. And so they had to be put down by him.


The war of succession between the two brothers percolated down to the imperial harem, between their two sisters who were fierce rivals. One sister, the beautiful Jahanara Begum who was loved by all her brothers, favoured Dara although Aurangzeb too loved her dearly. Raushnara Begum, the other sister, stood by Aurangzeb.

Dara was assisted in battle by his son Sulaiman Shikoh. When the decisive battle between Dara and Aurangzeb took place at Samrugarh  in June 1658, Sulaiman was unfortunately away from Agra  and could not return in time to save his father or himself. He received the grim news of Dara’s defeat when he was at Kara(near Allahabad), east of Agra.

Abandoned by his generals, Sulaiman, with a small army of 6,000 soldiers sought refuge with the Raja of Garhwal. The Raja was hospitable and helped him. 

For about a year, Sulaiman roughed it out in the hilly terrains of Garhwal. However in 1661 Aurangzeb, who had ascended the throne, reached into the mountains and forced the Raja to surrender the prince. Sulaiman was brought in chains to Delhi and presented in court before Aurangzeb.

Many courtiers shed tears at the sight of this tall and very handsome young man in shackles. The royal ladies of the court who were permitted to be present were greatly moved too.

Aurangzeb was unmoved and smiled at the humiliation of the handsome young prince. But he feigned kindness and promised Sulaiman that no harm would come to him. Sulaiman’s only request was that he be put to death right away rather than administered posta, a narcotic concoction made from crushed poppy heads soaked overnight in water, which given over a period of time slowly turned men into zombies and drained them of life. Sulaiman was determined not to die such a degrading death. Aurangzeb gave him his word that posta would not be administered to him. Alas, this was the word of Aurangzeb, who was known to betray even his own brothers.

Sulaiman was sent to Gwalior prison for confinement, where on Aurangzeb’s orders, he was forced to drink posta every day. Sulaiman lingered on for a year, more or less a vegetable. He passed away in May 1662, when he was only 27 years old. He  was Shah Jahan’s favourite grandson, but was buried at an exclusive cemetery meant for traitors. There was no reason for Aurangzeb to inflict such cruelty on this young man who was no longer any threat to him. By the time Sulaiman was captured, Aurangzeb had already been the emperor for two years. He had already liquidated his brothers Dara and Shuja while Shah Jahan and his another brother Murad were his prisoners. What could Sulaiman have possibly done to Aurangzeb? But this was Aurangzeb’s way..!!!

Major credit for this post goes to a friend who shared this with me. I have simply checked the information and added few points in it. I have kept the details simple here, we can explore this topic in the REAL discussion/debate below, in comments, as we usually do.!!

This article has been posted under the Miscellaneous topics section of history_geek's Blog.

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  1. Abhay,

    Wonderful post!

    What a cruel king Aurangzeb was known to be!

    This posta is opium. You remember we talked about this being given to prisoners to make them oblivious to reality and then die slowly. Akbar and Jahangir took smaller doses of this for recreation sometimes.

    I read that Roshanara was afraid that Dara Shikoh may rise to power one day and it was she who begged Aurangzeb to put Dara to death. It was mentioned that Dara was chained, paraded through Chandni Chowk and then beheaded and his head was sent to Shah Jahan. The latter fainted and was ill for many days afterwards. Is this true?

    Is it true that Aurangzeb's favorite daughter Zebunnissa was betrothed to Sulaiman Shikoh by Shah Jahan, so that she could be an empress in future? I read that Aurangzeb was against this alliance and so she stayed single all her life.

  2. Can I ask you about Roshanara here?:)

  3. Great post Abhay, I have often wondered who was more cruel Shah Jehan or Aurangzeb. Don't you think it is ironic that the greatest mughal emperor Akbar died in his 60s while this apology of a human being lived till he was 90 :(. I do believe things would have been very different if Akbar would have lived longer. I have wondered what the mughal narrative in India would be had Dara Shikoh become emperor .
    Radhika Zebunissa was an awesome lady. A sufi at heart and wrote poems on the sly as her father hated poetry. She was imprisoned and died a captive. Below is a poem of hers

    Things of Love’
    "Though I am Laila of Persian romance,
    my heart loves like ferocious Majnun.
    I want to go to the desert
    but modesty is chains on my feet.
    A nightingale came to the flower garden
    because she was my pupil.
    I am an expert in things of love.
    Even the moth is my disciple!"
    By Zebunnisa Makhfi (translated by Willis Barnstone).

  4. Thank you Abhay for an informative post about Aurangzeb, undoubtedly the cruelest Mughal emperor.
    I have heard of the saying that 'blood is thicker than water'. This ruler did the straight opposite by unhesitatingly killing his own brother, to ascend the throne. Worst still, his sister supported him too. Birds of the same feather.
    What a despicable way to kill one's own nephew .... ! Sulaiman died a slow , gory, miserable death.
    The obsession and thirst for control and power makes one think insensibly and behave inhumanly. Aurangzeb belonged to this category.

  5. abhay - thnks 4 'tis informative post. but i neither like shah jahan 2. he did same with his poor brother khusrau and 2 d sons of his other brothers.

    history repeated wid him. as u sow so shall u reap.

  6. Iqra, exactly how I feel!!!! earlier I had a favourable impression of Shah Jehan as I was in awe of the Taj and I felt so emotional about his love story. But was shocked about how he slaughtered of all his male relatives all at once.... He did not even spare poor Murad and Daniyal's kids. I don't feel to sorry about the indignity of his death because I firmly believe in what you have said " Jaisi Karni waisi Bharni" Mumtaz Mahal apparently told him not to have kids with other wives so that all the princes from one mother will be close and not fight for the throne.......Look what happened between her 4 sons.

  7. preeti - i m in agreement wid u. shah jahan did very very wrong wid his brother n his sons.
    not only murad n daniyal sons preeti. shah jahan maimed sons of khusrau 2. he made the daughter of khusrau a widow. poor girl had just married n shah jahan killed her hubby.
    u knw it was foretelling of muz tat - if khusrau z killed by treachery it will repeat in mughal empire.
    m not sure, abhay cn tell 'tis , bt i read 'tis.

  8. Iqra , wow did not know about Khusrau's daughter too. About MUZ foretelling...dd not know that either but this weekend I read Professor findlys book. She has clearly mentioned that MUZ was so concerned about Khusrau's life that she wrote a strongly worded letter to salim. Maybe thats what you may be talking about? Also the book and the Jehangirnama both say that Salima begum and shakrunissa and other sisters of Jehangir pleaded very strongly on behalf of Khusrau. Its anybodys guess whose side ruks was on given her strong relationship with Khurram :(

  9. Hi Preeti

    Ya, that she was :) Aurangzeb himself consulted her about affairs of the court, I heard.

    Thanks for sharing the lovely poems. :)

    To those who don't know, Makhfi was her nom de plume and meant the hidden one in Persian. As she wrote poetry in hiding. :(

    Preeti, I read that some poets from Aurangzeb's court used to meet secretly for informal mushairas and Zebunnissa also participated in them.

    The more I am discovering Mughal history, the more my heart reaches out to the Mughal daughters. Most of them had very privileged childhoods but lonely adulthood and a few even spent the last years of their lives in exile / prison. It is so tragic that in spite of being born to powerful emperors, these beautiful, intelligent and talented women mostly led broken, private lives. And if they loved, they had to love on the sly, for discovery meant sure death.

    I hope one day, Abhay makes a post specially on these daughters of the empire so that more people learn about them.

  10. Iqra, Preeti,

    Fratricide is always sad, whoever may be doing it or be at its receiving end.

    Akbar was lucky not to have real brothers. But Mirza Hakim, his step brother, was a thorn in his side for many years and his brothers-in-law, Abul Maali and Shareefuddin and even his step-mother, MahaChuchak Begum, made life tough for him.

    Salim was chosen as the heir at the last possible moment, just as Akbar was dying. He also imprisoned and blinded his own son, Khusrau, and later even handed him over to Shah Jahan's custody. Just to keep his own throne safe.

    So how was Salim better than Shah Jahan or Aurangzeb? Yet we know him as a lover of justice! The irony is chilling.

    The women, both begums and betis, also played their part in this "musical chairs game for the throne". As the Mughal empire started sliding downwards, morals and compunctions were the first victims. There came a stage when even dancing girls could become begums and beget heirs and become powerful queen mothers.

    If anyone wants to study how power corrupts and ultimately destroys those who hanker for it, the Mughal dynasty is a classic study case.

  11. Yes Radhika, even the story of Jehanara was tragic in so many ways but what a dynamic lady. After MUZ , I would like to read about her. Yes their lives were tragic but I am also struck by the no. of strong willed women in the harem from akbar reign all the way to Auranzeb's reign

  12. Yes, and the men were forced to take note of them and include them in the administration, esp as they trusted very few men in this regard. :)

    Aurangzeb apparently removed Jahanara from the head of the harem post and made Roshanara the head because the latter supported him, while the former supported Dara Shikoh. Not sure.

  13. on the contrary Radhika, Auragnzeb respected her a lot despite her siding with Shikoh. after her fathers death she returned to auranzebs court and he crowned her Padshah begum I believe.

  14. Preeti,

    I am not sure. I heard that Aurangzeb gave more importance to Roshanara. Let's see if Abhay or someone else can clear this up.

  15. Preeti

    Jahanara may have been given the title of Padshah Begum by her father, Shah Jahan, as she was his favorite daughter and assisted him in court matters.

    She seems to have been entitled Sahibat-Al-Zamani too by her father.

    She served her father till the end, even staying with him in prison to take care of him.

    Her tomb is in Delhi, near the dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya. Her grave is a simple marble monument, hollow at the top and filled with green grass, as per her wish. The words on her tomb are her own and written in Persian. They read,

    Let naught but the green grass cover the grave of Jahanara; for grass is the fittest covering for the tomb of the lowly.

    In death as in life, she remained simple, so different from the other Mughals of her age who were killing each other for power.

  16. How lovely Radhika, Will go visit her gravesite next time I am in delhi. not sure about jehanara then.... you and Abhay will throw brickbats at me but you know where I read this about Jehanara?
    WIKIPEDIA !!! Ha Ha... though seriously the book by Early also said that despite her loyalty to Dara, aurangzeb respected her a lot and retored all her titles after Shahjehan's death. We shall have to wait till the master historian pitches in :)

  17. Preeti,

    You are not entirely wrong. :)

    I believe he did respect her and enabled her to live comfortably and respectably after Shah Jahan's death. Only thing is that he was perhaps grateful to Roshanara for her support and gave her more importance. :)

  18. Thank you Abhay and also to your friend for bringing and sharing this information :) . ....Absolutely disgusting treatment of Sulaiman by Aurangzeb.....A tall, young, defenceless prince (Aurangzeb's nephew) being killed purposefully to die like a vegetable (something that he did not want) and being buried at a cemetery meant for traitors is very cruel......Sometimes I wonder why was Aurangzeb (despite being a prince) such a personality- jealous, cruel, non-tolerant towards other religions, greedy, non-trustworthy, brutal towards his close family -- brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, his dad. :-?....Is power the only reason???? Then why was he such a fanatic???...

  19. Yes Radhika, i remember you telling me about opium. :)

    Radhika, yes this is true, that Roshanara had her hand in Dara's end. The exact story i will be able to tell you later. I need to read on this again. :)

    There are some "versions" of Dara Shikoh's death. All are very sad. :( Dara's head was sent by Aurangzeb to his father. And seeing which he fainted.!

    Yes, Zeb-un-nissa being a Sufi , was very favorite of Dara Shikoh himself. Hence, she was betrothed to Dara's son. But the marriage did not take place.! She remained unmarried throughout.

  20. Radhika and Preeti,

    Both of you are correct. :)

    Both these sisters were powerful, at SOME POINT of their lifetime.

    Jahanara was close to Shah Jahan and Dara. She remained with Shah Jahan also till his end.

    Roshan Ara enjoyed power initially in the reign of Aurangzeb. But due to her conduct which was NOT strictly as per Islam, she developed some strains with Aurangzeb. Hence, her power lessened. Also, she died in 1671, i mean, early in the reign of Aurangzeb.

    At the same time, Jahanara was simple. She retained the title of Padshah Begum , given to her by Shah Jahan. She died in 1680. She got many titles in her lifetime. :)

    BTW, Preeti, what if instead of Shah Jahan, we could have Khusrau coming to the throne.?. We need not go much ahead to Aurangzeb vs. Dara. The blunder was made before only. :(

  21. Charu,

    Well said and i agree too. About Roshanara i will say that, it is "said that she saved" life of Aurangzeb. Dara had laid a trap for Aurangzeb in Delhi, and she informed Aurangzeb of this. This was the help she did. As i mentioned that both brothers despised each other. :(

  22. Iqra,

    Can you give me some time. I willconfirm this sooner or later.

    Yes there was a VALID prediction and warning given that if something wrong is done to Khusrau then the future Mughal dynasty will face wars of brothers, and this proved to be true also. We have the case of Shah Jahan's son. But i need to confirm who gave this prediction as a warning. I also think you are right, but my mind is occupied with so many books that i am not able to re-collect the right event. Let me read again. :)

    @Radhika and Preeti...>Thanks for the imputs. Today, i am finding the discussion very entertaining and informative. :)

  23. Pallavi,

    He was called Zinda Pir, meaning a living saint..!!!!. He strictly observed only those things which are mentioned in Islam. But, his biggest problem was that he mixed religion with politics, and he derived his power from the Ulemas, who were used to follow bitter policies against other religions in those days.

    Aurangzeb's problem was that, in order to enforce Islamic provisions he went after "others" , tolerance was absent in him. But, you will find some strange instances also. He wanted the support of his Hindu generals for political expansion as a part of his political policy, but this clashed with his religious policy. So, you see, the interests are driven by many factors.

    Religion and Politics - both need to be kept separate. But Aurangzeb failed here, it was mostly due to his policies. Being in a land like Hindustan, without a certain amount of tolerance it was not possible to rule for long.

    BTW, even Dara wanted to have the throne, and wanted to eliminate Aurangzeb. But, he was a better person compared to Aurangzeb and is called "tolerant".

    No one is completely white or black in kingship. :)

  24. Interesting post, it just reinforces what is generally thought about Aurangzeb. Reading this I think HK MUZ must have played the biggest part in Akbar's religious tolerance. Wasn't he cruel in younger days? It is to Akbar's credit that he changed himself of course. Was his tolerance policy also a strategy to firm the foundations of his empire?

    Can we imagine if Aurangzeb could do this to his own brothers and nephews, how much he would have done to destroy and deny references of MUZ and her power in the Sultanate? I can imagine documents and archives would have been tampered with, painting painted over etc.

    It is interesting that Rajvanshis Ameris stayed fiercely loyal to Augranzeb also! I had read that Aurangzeb was thought to have had in poisoning Mirza Raje Jaisingh - Abhay you had told me he was grandson of Maan Singh.

  25. Thanks again Abhay :)....Aurangzeb is such a complex, in-tolerant, cruel, bitter personality ....He had his pluses too I heard..... but his minuses overpower them.....Power, greed, jealousy, very-low tolerance level and don't know what else seems to be highly motivating / driving factors for some rulers like Aurangzeb to destructive levels .......Any idea WHY so much intolerance towards Hindus and other religions when his grand parents, parents had mixed blood ????.... I am asking so because even his other brothers must have had the same education / environment in their formative years ....OR does the answer lie in between -- 'why do some people become the way they are --- they are just so different in their thinking makeup' :-?

  26. Pallavi,

    Aurangzeb comes across as a very complex character. If you read history then you will find "ALL" the rulers with certain amount of IN-tolerance, and in that category Aurangzeb tops all. :(

    About Aurangzeb's childhood > He had no interest in arts, he liked no poetry, but ONLY liked theological books and the commentaries on Quran, etc.

    He strictly followed his religion. His teachers possibly had some influence in shaping his liking for such tastes.

    I don't know EXACTLY why he was like this, but one of his letters which is present in the biography, i read it, from that also it was clear that he was radical in his youth too. :(

  27. Medha,

    Yes , in initial days Akbar was not what we know him today. According to Abul Fazl, Akbar got people forcibly converted to Islam in his initial days. Akbar "reformed" slowly.
    The credit goes to many people, and HK is one of them. :)

    I can understand what damage Aurangzeb was capable of doing. :(

    Mirza Raja Jai Singh was great-grandson of Raja Man Singh.

    But, according to the Royal Archives of Amer, Mirza Raja Jai Singh, did not die of poisoning. :) He died a natural death after falling from the long wooden climbing step.

    But, the gossip says that - Aurangzeb got him poisoned on the ROAD.!!!!!

  28. Abhay

    I read that it was Shah Jahan himself who wanted to make Dara the next emperor and eliminate Aurangzeb, whom he perceived as dangerous, and so invited him to come to Delhi for talks to resolve "family crisis". His plan was to do away with Aurangzeb then but Roshanara learnt of this and informed Aurangzeb to stay away from Delhi.

  29. Thanks a lot buddy :)....Seems Aurangeb was too involved in reading / understanding Quran and matters related to Islam since his formative years than getting interested in arts, poetry, etc....He continued the same afterwards too.......Complex & radical man but boring...Yawn :)) ;p

  30. You are right Radhika. And that is why i said in one of the comments that, no one was completely white or black. :(
    I do not hold Roshan Ara for doing wrong here. She was also protecting "one" of her brothers. Just like Shah Jahan was securing throne for Dara.

  31. Abhay, Preeti, Iqra

    The warning you are talking about with relation to anything happening to Khusrau...

    It need not be a "spiritual" prediction or warning. It may simply be like setting a precedent. MUZ or anyone who observed this may have said that if once a contender to the throne is done away with, then subsequent generations can take it as an example and follow suit. And this is what happened. :(

  32. Pallavi,
    He was a very learned man. He could write in Persian and Arabic, and was very good at Turki also. He spoke fluent Hindustani language. :)
    Your assessment is awesome.LOL. . I like it. :-P

  33. Abhay

    I read somewhere that the British deliberately spread tales about Mughal ladies to discredit them. And such tales should not be taken seriously.

    Do you think the story about Roshanara being found with someone and later dying of poison is also one such story only?

    Also why did so many Mughal daughters remain unmarried in those days, serving their fathers and brothers all their lives?

  34. Abhay

    Why should Dara be considered an infidel?

    Poor Zeb paid a huge price for the enmity between Dara and Aurangzeb. :(

  35. Lovely, insightful discussion on this thread. Will come later with comments on these. :)

  36. True. She was right in this case.

    But, later, I read, she got drunk on power and started amassing huge wealth by unfair means and started living a lavish lifestyle, which Aurangzeb didn't like and this led to straining of their relations. Was this so and was this the only reason?

  37. Pallavi, Abhay

    It was not only about interest in the fine arts. He felt it was against Islam to indulge in poetry, music, dance etc.

    His daughters had to write poetry in secrecy lest he should punish them.

  38. Pallavi, Abhay

    It is also noticed that every country / kingdom passes through liberalism, conservatism, decadence in phases. Even now, in many countries, the liberals are pitted against the conservatives. And each group comes to power by turns.

    Aurangzeb may have perceived the "drawbacks" of the policies of tolerance of Akbar and Jahangir. And decided to swing to the other extreme.

    In Akbar's time too, the radical elements were not in favor of his liberal policies and his din-e-ilahi. Many of his own close associates like Man Singh too did not go along.

    Salim had to reverse some policies of Akbar to keep the ulema happy. So, tolerance as such existed mainly in Akbar's time and he had the strength of personality to stick to his principles.Those who followed him were neither intrinsically tolerant nor had the strength to withstand the radical elements.

    I also feel Aurangzeb may have had problems with what MUZ stood for in terms of her vision for the kingdom rather than just her Hindu background. (That may have been a problem, but I feel her principles too clashed with his.) And this may have been the reason why he obliterated her records so that she should not influence his own subjects.

    If she had merely been a submissive Hindu wife, I don't think he would have cared so much to erase her records.

  39. Abhay

    Can you pls share that letter?

  40. We are discussing rivalry between brothers from three hundred years ago. When royalty indulged in this form of cruelty, it is shocking and disgusting, however this trend continues even to this day in politics, business and even regular households.

  41. abhay - aurangzeb wrote a letter to jahanara? cn u plz share.

  42. preeti - thnks 4 lovely details. plz share mor abt muz. i love discussing 'tis lady.

  43. Charu

    What I wrote on the Mughal prince asking pardon thread, applies here too. Relationships and emotions are the same always, irrespective of the date and place.

    Power struggles, sibling rivalry, and resorting to unethical means to gain/ stay in power existed even in the time of Mahabharata and they exist even now. They existed in the ancient civilizations of India, Greece, Egypt, Ottoman empire, etc and they exist in modern countries too whether democracies or communist bastions.

  44. Iqra

    Where did you read this?

  45. radhika - in zakir husain library of delhi.
    it was said aurangzeb complained 2 his sister jahanara abt his father's bad conduct 4 him. he also complained abt his brother dara's misconduct 2 him since his child days.

  46. Iqra,

    oh, thanks! :)

  47. Yes, I completely agree with you, Radhika. Craze for money, power, title and control blinds man and makes him stoop to the level of murdering his own kith and kin. Human behavior remains the same irrespective of time and age.
    I know of friends and relatives who are going through this struggle in their lives. One of them voluntarily gave up every single penny bequeathed to him by his grandparents, to his siblings , just to maintain his sanity.
    Is this thirst for control, power and money going to accompany a person six feet under? These kind of greedy, power hungry people , eventually die a horrible death.

  48. Abhay :)
    Awesome post!!Whatever abhorrent impression I have of Aurangzeb,this post surpasses that.I have heard somewhere that perhaps he was a schizophrenic.I've heard his brother Dara Shikoh was considered the best prince to succeed to the throne and was a very sensible and gentle man.I think none of the Mughal rulers were completely religiously tolerant though some were more than the others.Akbar was perhaps the most tolerant one but I have read somewhere that he asked Tansen to convert to Islam in order to marry Akbar's daughter and Tansen agreed.Is it true?
    I've heard that the real tolerant ruler was king Suleiman of the Ottoman empire.Is it true?Was there any relation between him and Akbar?

  49. Hi Aashrita

    I agree with your views on Aurangzeb. But I do feel that the others were not better than him. Even Salim got his son blinded and imprisoned so that he could remain the emperor. The less said about Shah Jahan, the better. Yet, these 2 are written of well in history books. Strange!

    Dara Shikoh and Shah Jahan tried to get Aurangzeb killed so that he would not pose a risk to Dara Shikoh becoming the next emperor. Aurangzeb was saved by timely warning from his sister Roshanara. So DS was no better.

    Tansen didn't marry Akbar's daughter. That was just a myth.

    All these things have already been discussed here on the blog. Do try to follow the discussions also along with Abhay's posts because a lot of insights are shared and many doubts cleared in them. :) I still remember when I started reading history threads on IF, Abhay told me not to miss a single comment on them. :)

  50. Preeti

    I don't dispute what you say about Aurangzeb. I am saying most of them were also driven by ambition and insecurity and a thirst for power and intolerance.

    Dara and Shah Jahan considered Aurangzeb dangerous for their ambitions, not for Mughal sultanat or what would happen to Hindustan if he came to power.

    Shah Jahan is known as a master builder. But there are question marks on many Mughal "constructed" buildings, including the Taj Mahal.

    Khusrau was considered a much better choice even by Akbar over Jahangir. Khusrau was also the people's choice. Jahangir was absolutely the last minute choice of next emperor. And he did what he did to Khusrau to safeguard his own throne is my personal view.

    Even Nur Jahan knew how much the people wanted to see Khusrau as the next emperor and tried to get him to marry her daughter. But he refused. Only then did she give her vote to Shah Jahan.

    Most Mughal ladies including MUZ did their best to save Khusrau from Jahangir or he might have even killed him. Ultimately Khusrau was killed by his own brother.

  51. Abhay, I do not know that much about Khusrau except his really tragic end and his love for his wife. So I cannot post much on who would have made a better king. I do know that maybe he was not shrewd enough like Khurram. Why make a bid for the throne when your power isnt even consolidated. Khurram on the other hand had a string of victories to boast of and became indispensable to Jehangir. Only then did he rebel against him. I would love to know more about Khusrau some time....they say he was loved by the awam. Although Akbar's favorite was Khurram right? Didn't he say that this child is far superior to all of Jehangirs other kids?

  52. Ha ha Radhika we must be on the same wavelenght. Just as you were writing this I was replying to abhay about Khusrau Will cut and paste what I wrote above over here. BTW agree with you. Reading Professor Findlys account of NurJehan. My blood boils over her role in Khusrau's downfall:

    I do not know that much about Khusrau except his really tragic end and his love for his wife. So I cannot post much on who would have made a better king. I do know that maybe he was not shrewd enough like Khurram. Why make a bid for the throne when your power isnt even consolidated. Khurram on the other hand had a string of victories to boast of and became indispensable to Jehangir. Only then did he rebel against him. I would love to know more about Khusrau some time....they say he was loved by the awam. Although Akbar's favorite was Khurram right? Didn't he say that this child is far superior to all of Jehangirs other kids?

  53. preeti - i m in agreement wid u. shah jahan did very very wrong wid his brother n his sons.
    not only murad n daniyal sons preeti. shah jahan killed sons of khusrau 2. he made the daughter of khusrau a widow. poor girl had just married n shah jahan killed her hubby.
    i dont believe in his love story. no 1 in my region remembers 'tis story.
    u knw preeti it was foretelling of muz tat - if khusrau z killed by treachery it will repeat in mughal empire. m not sure, abhay cn tell 'tis , bt i read it smwhere.

  54. Radhika, I agree Jehangir blinding Khusrao was very cruel...but he did try to make 2 attempts on Jehangir's life if Jehangirnama is to be believed. Shah Jehan is one of my least respected emperors ( I think I actually hate him) but he was a master Builder and is remembered more for his monuments and contributions to the arts. Aurangzeb on the other hand was a true and simple bigot who I believe single handedly destroyed the intricate fabric of co existence that medievial India was famous for. We are even today paying the price for his actions in Mathura and Varanasi. I believe he changed the narrative on Mughal rule in India. Yes Dara and Shah jehan tried to get rid of Aurangzeb....I really wish they had. Dara and Shah Jehan knew how dangerous Aurangzeb can be....How correct they were.

  55. Akbar's favorite was Khusrau. Akbar saw himself in Khusrau. Khusrau also had the backing of many of Akbar's close associates like Man Singh.

    He did not make the bid but was always projected to be the next in line to succeed Akbar. Imagine he was so young and bright, Preeti. He was thinking of becoming the king and then suddenly he was not the king, but his father was. His father imprisoned him and kept him chained. If Jahangir went anywhere, he dragged Khusrau behind him in chains. Once Khusrau managed to escape but was captured and brought back. And then blinded. And he went into major depression after this.

    Khurram was highly ambitious and cruel. He always wanted custody of Khusrau so that he could do away with him. he knew he could not be king and be popular with the people as long as Khusrau was alive. Finally he was given custody of Khusrau by Nur Jahan. Even Nur wasn't initially in favor of Khurram.

    Though Shah Jahan is known for his love for Mumtaz, I prefer Khusrau's love story. He had only one wife who remained loyal to him throughout his life and stayed with him only even though Jahangir allowed her freedom. So when Nur asked Khusrau to marry her daughter, he refused, saying he couldn't do injustice to his wife who had served him so well all her life. He could have married that girl and become the next emperor with Nur's backing. But he chose his wife over the empire even though it meant he lived and died in prison.

  56. OMG Radhika, I did not know about Khusrau's chaining, Dragging by Jehangir. Gives me the shudders!!!! WHere can I read about all this as well as Akbar's impressions of Khusrau?

    I fully agree with you about Khusrau's love story. I was reading an article about this and the account made me teary eyed. Khusrau's end is tragic.. now history only knows him as unfortunate prince who never got his due.

  57. Radhika,

    I don't know what to say with complete assurity here. There are such tales which have been told by multiple foreign travellers, not by Britishers. ;p

    In fact, the contemporary Italian and French have written on this. I am confused here, what to believe.
    It is true that Roshanara Begum died "suddenly" and "mysteriously".

    About the daughters remaining unmarried, i have read that there was no family of such a high imperial status as Mughals , hence the daughters remained unmarried. Obviously, they did not marry in Hindus. Hence, i am talking of Muslim families.
    Also, Shah Jahan had killed almost all the relatives. This is also given as a reason.
    It is also possible that they did not marry their daughters to "outsiders" as that could have raised "political problems" later, in the form of "demands" from the bride-groom's family.

  58. radhika-preeti - very interesting convo. as far as i knw khusrau was preferred 2 b next king by akbar. bt 'tis did not happen.
    preeti - i think abhay mentioned 'tis plight of khusrau.
    dara n shah jahan were not white. dey were partial 2 aurangzeb 4rm start. aurangzeb left his sudebari twice in protest n wanted 2 b a fakir.

  59. Preeti

    I read on the internet only. Here are a few links:

    You can check other sites / history books.

    PS: I am only giving these links with reference to how Khusrau was treated by Jahangir. Not for the rest of the content on these links. :)

  60. Abhay


    The daughters did have a hard time. There were no eligible bachelors and if they fell in love with someone, he was considered ineligible and either or both would be killed.

    The guys, on the other hand, could marry / have affairs with anyone. Such blatant double standards. Didn't they ever feel the women too had a desire / right to have their own families?

  61. thanks, Radhika, will look it up

  62. True Radhika.
    But those were the troubled times. Yes, the females faced the brunt, not the males. There are enough examples. :(

  63. Radhika,

    Dara Shikoh had Sufi beliefs. And, hence Aurangzeb
    called him non-believer(kaafir) and Dara also called Aurangzeb as
    "a hypocritical scoundrel".!!. He too did not like Aurangzeb.

  64. Radhika,
    The details of this fact are very disputed, but the core thing is that, her conduct was NOT as per the "strict Islamic" provisions, which was not acceptable to Aurangzeb. ;p The reasons you mentioned are often told in this regard.

  65. Abhay

    Aurangzeb was quite strict about upholding his religious beliefs, wasn't he? I mean, he held himself also to the same standards.

    One thing is that he seems to be a man of fixed views, not able to accept divergent opinions or anyone straying from the path he considered correct. Whether Roshanara or Zebunnissa, both beloved to him, once he felt that they were straying from "his path", "his beliefs", he was able to cut them off from his life without a second thought. To him, his beliefs seemed to hold more sanctity and value than his relationships, no matter how important they may have been to him.

  66. Abhay

    LOL - not much love lost between these 2. Did they have the same mother?

    Jahanara also had Sufi beliefs. I read her account of her introduction to Sufism. If you like, I can share it here.

  67. Preeti,

    "Akbar saying that Khurram was the best child of Salim". < This is what is written in Salim's autobiography. ;p

    Please note that, these^^ words were supposedly written at that time when Khusrau was in arrest and Salim was angry with him.

    I am not denying that Akbar did not like Khurram, only making a point that these words are not from Akbar's "pen".

    If you read Akbarnama, it is NOT written exclusively about Khurram. In that Akbar said - "I love my grandchilren more than my own children. "

    Also, we were talking of a future king, and here the clear choice was Khusrau, he also had support of Rahim, Man Singh, and Aziz Koka. Khurram was only 13 years old at the time of Akbar's death.

    Akbar had given mansabdari to Khusrau as well.

  68. thanks Abhay, Ironically just reading snippets of Jehangirnama right now( Price's translation published by the Smithsonian Institute) and Jehangir first speaks disparagingly of khusrau and high praise for Khurram throughout. Then right after Khurram's rebellion he angrily refers to Khurram and Bedawlet and suddenly refers to Pervez " as my favored son" :(

  69. Preeti,
    That's Great.!. If possible , please do share your observations about the readings you do, on the pages dedicated to the topics. :)

    About this Jahangirnama, i have made 3 separate posts on this blog. You can post there if you find something interesting. :)

  70. Radhika - A Brahmin of Bihar was beheaded with the orders of Shah Jahan after an inquiry, he was accused of blasphemy against The Prophet. But this inquiry was not transparent. After this, the brothers of this Brahmin thought of protesting by lodging complains against the Imperial officers. Aurangzeb was informed of this by the person who was the actual culprit. On this, Aurangzeb wrote a letter to the highest officer of the land, and asked him to "enforce the Holy Law" and "protect the religion of Prophet". And for this he gave him free hand to stop those complainants from reaching the main authorities.

  71. Aashrita,

    Radhika has answered your queries above. I am only making a passing reference to the other part.

    Suleiman - the ruler of Ottoman Empire was called - "The Magnificent" and the "Law giver". He was also a great ruler, brought many socio-cultural changes and administrative reforms. He died in 1560's. :)

    Do check this new post on Aurangzeb.

  72. Abhay

    A silly Q. Is this Suleiman different from the one who was "influenced by his wife"?

  73. Iqra,
    You are right, Radhika and i myself have shared some letter and an anecdote above. :D

    Have a look. :)

  74. Abhay

    Saw a brief allusion to a letter, where Aurangzeb wrote that he was being made the target (of rivals), indirectly referring to Dara Shikoh. Are these 2 letters same?

    Things may have been different if Shah Jahan had been sympathetic to Aurangzeb's complaints instead of treating him with more anger.

  75. Radhika, these 2 are the same letters/people. :)
    Yes, things could have been different had Shah Jahan been somewhat better with Aurangzeb too.

  76. Shocking piece of information abt Aurangzeb....Actually I feel sad for him and pity him....He actually got nothing in life and till the end was guided by hatred

  77. One thing common seems to be that many Mughals lovedloved one women exclusive to all other wives/concubines and let them influence in their life and ruling policy later on it was the wives or daughters/sisters who influenced them.
    Long time back I dont now remember I read one book on harem politics which carried many horrific tales from daughters sisters etc had to be hidden/ safe guarded from their own fathers brothers I got pretty disgusted with it and left reading half way.

  78. Abhay, Iqra,

    Seems things started souring between Aurangzeb and Shah Jahan when the latter assigned Hissar Firoza to Dara, usually assigned to the heir, and allowed Dara to pitch crimson tents, again the privilege of crown princes, in 1633.

    But still Aurangzeb was made viceroy or governor of Deccan around 1636. He was quite successful in the Deccan. So what went wrong so suddenly around 1644 that Aurangzeb was either dismissed from service and court or resigned himself?

  79. Abhay, Iqra,

    Why did Aurangzeb write to Jahanara about his angst, when the two were not on very close terms? Was it because she was quite influential with Shah Jahan?

  80. Radhika,
    Jahanara was extremely powerful in Shah jehan's court. Moreover, after MumTaz mahals death she became like a mother figure to a lot of Shah Jehan's kids. That is why I think Aurangzeb asked her to intervene

  81. Abhay thanks for this post.
    We had always read in our history textbooks that Aurangzeb was cruel your post gave more insight on it.No wonder Shivaji hated him to core .

  82. Radhika,
    Jahanara was close to all her brothers. :)
    Even after the death of Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb HIMSELF brought her back from Agra to Delhi. :)

  83. Replied. :)
    At this link :

  84. Abhay

    Thanks :) Replied there.

  85. coolpree, u too seem to hv rare info in ur treasure. What a poetry! What a waste of talent, by being born to such a king! The poem reveals innermost feelings of her heart. Thank u fr sharing:)

  86. What a post, history -geek, i never thought, a post on Aurangzeb would be so interesting!. Right frm school days we hv heard abt his attrocities, I hv also heard he cut off Dara's head n presented it to his father in silver plate! What I came to know only later was that even Shahjahan was equally cruel n's debatable who was more cruel!.
    I like Jahan aara fr being an ideal daughter.a noble woman considering she sided the right person. But history-geek, both these girls r frm same mother?I hv read even Jahan ara was in love with some commoner.
    I totally agree with Radhika. It's a pity that daughters of Mughal dynasty ultimately a loner. Though they cud get whatever they wanted, they had neither sukoon nor sukh.

    They were reduced to caretakers of their brother's children. In exchange they got the title of Padshah begum ! Abhay, what were the rights of Padshah begum? They cud issue farmaans? Even if they had, did anyone exercise their right? I am looking forward to a dedicated post fr these daughters.
    History-geek, u said they remained unmarried as there was no other alliance of their level. What happened to Mirza Hakim? How many children did he hv? Were they also eliminated by Shsh jahan? As they themselves were treacherous, they did not hv trust in son in laws I think.

  87. Interesting post Geeta. :)
    I have replied to you on a new post on Aurangzeb. That is part-2 of this series. :)
    Here is my reply to this post:

    Do go through the comments here. I am sure you will find it interesting. :)

  88. Welcome, Geeta, No my readings have just begun. But I agree these poems really touched me especially the second one. So bold, daring and unconventional for her time....loved it

  89. Yes Radhika,
    They both were sons of Mumtaz. You can share your readings about Jahanara Begum, but it would have been better if you shared it in a main post. ;p
    But please feel free to share here also. :)

  90. Yes, this is different one. ;p

  91. Iqra,

    Jahanara interceded on behalf of Aurangzeb with her father and the latter reinstated Aurangzeb in his former rank and then made him Governor of Gujarat.

  92. Iqra,

    Aurangzeb wrote a letter to Jahanara saying that his father was not trusting him, and though he had made him a Subedar but he was not giving him the treatment of a Subedar and neither sufficient forces for his personal usage.

    He also said that he wants to resign so that all
    the people(his father and Dara) remain at peace, and so that his no longer being a Subedar does not cause any problem in anyone's heart.

    He also said he can no longer bear his humiliation and continuous harassment. It is a painfully worded document.

  93. Iqra,
    Aurangzeb wrote a letter to Jahanara saying that his father was not trusting him, and though he had made him a Subedar but he was not giving him the treatment of a Subedar and neither sufficient forces for his personal usage.
    He also said that he wants to resign so that all the people(his father and Dara) remain at peace, and so that his no longer being a Subedar does not cause any problem in anyone's heart.
    He also said he can no longer bear his humiliation and continuous harassment. It's a painfully worded document.

  94. viewed-116
    | Back

  95. Awesome piece of information Sunram. I am sharing the picture also. Thanks for posting here. :)

  96. ] Another report with picture of cannon not able to copy paste

    Jan 30 2015
    The Times of India

    Cannon from Mughal era found on Musi bank




    In a rare discovery, the
    archaeology and museums department, found a six-foot long 17th century
    cannon on the banks of Musi, on Thursday .

    The cannon was found
    on the river bank near a residential area by the east zone task force
    police team. Authorities in the museums department said that the 17th
    century cannon is in a good condition. According to ex

    perts, the cannon is from the Delhi Sultanates army and it might have
    been used when the Sultanates attacked the Warangal Fort, which was
    under the Kakatiyas.

    The cannon, which has a four-inch mouth
    and is made of bronze was used by several rulers, including the Qutub
    Shahis of Hyderabad between the 14th and 20th century.

  97. Thanks for sharing Sunram. Here is the pic. :)

  98. I would not look back at Mughal period ever.
    Whole period was Dark Age for subcontinent.Aurangzeb was the most cruel person that Indian land ever produced.He killed lakhs of innocent people for sake of Islam and more than that were converted to Islam(Just like ISIS).Sikhism was born only due to cruel Mughals.
    All Mughals were 'illiterate',drunkards and lustful.They only built monuments nothing else.
    That period was crucial for building nation in every part of world.You would not believe before 16th century Britain and all European states;China were zero to India.Well USA was infant that time.But all developed rapidly in that period where India was ruled by foreign Mughals.
    All Muslims rulers even Mughals were against education so they destroyed all Universities.
    Jahangir was in hangover 24×7 hours.His Empire was ruled by his Empress.
    Akbar had brain but he never used in field of education,science like what in other Emperors done.
    During Vedic Times Veds were composed.
    In Buddha period too all Kings were graduated from universities like Takshashila.
    Chandragupt himself Takshashila scholar; in Maurya period many writings on Politics,Economics were done by Chankya.
    Charak(Ayurved medicine doctor) was in cabinet of Kushan Emperor--Kanishka.
    Gupt period show immense growth in field of Science and Mathematics apart from Literature.This all know.
    HarshVardhan was himself highly educated Emperor.He took part in conferences on literature.Had written dramas in Sanskrit.
    Later Rajputs also made instruments like water clock.
    You all know Takshashila & Nalanda Universities;but there were about 20 more such universities many made by South indian Kingdoms like Chola Emperors.
    Now comes Britishers many scientists born in that period...
    But there is no such thing in Muslim empires.They destroyed all temples of educations.
    Thus..Period of Mughals and Muslims is said to Dark Age for India.

  99. This is a matter of perception. Mughals like Akbar and Dara Shikoh got many Sanskrit books translated to Persian so that even their people could read and learn from those books. The gems in Akbar's court were learned people too. Even women had a strong role to play during Mughal times.

    I would say a king like Akbar faced more challenges than a Hindu king from ancient India because he had to deal with a more diverse population with many more religions and ethnicities.

  100. Vinay,

    Replied here. >
    Link >

  101. Never tell women good position in any Muslim rule of any time in any part of World.
    I think you are fond of watching fiction serials like Jodha Akbar(which has no fix records of existence of both)...Akbar was lustful illiterate ruler--this is bitter fact.Has he built any School of education?Look period between 1526-1857 in rest part of world,How much they grow and how much India(under Mughals) has fallen.
    He has been called 'the great' by stupid Indians.And the Persian translations were been done 7th-8th centuries mainly.During Mughal period Hindustani(Urdu-Hindi) was in dominance not Persian.

  102. Vinay,

    There is enough material present on the blog for Jodha(which should be Harka) and Akbar. Please do go through it.

    This is a proven fact that the Mughal women enjoyed great say in the administration. I have my self posted the Imperial Order given by mother of Akbar in favor of a Brahman of Mathura, which validated an earlier order of Akbar.

    See this link >

    Do we judge greatness only by an educational school ?

    Persian translations were done by foreign scholars since 19th century, and majority of chronicles were written in Persian only. Urdu developed in later times, as a camp language. It was not the language of Mughals.. Mughals used Turkish.

    Rest i have replied on another post . I would like to continue the discussion there..Here is the link of my reply..

  103. In muslim period history is not always as true as it is shown to world...not only i am saying but many great philosophers told..You have heard a common saying---''Musalmano ne apni talwar ki nauk pe khud ka itihaas likhwaya hai''....This is true my friend.No one brutal and demonic like them.I am here not going religious comments...TajMahal is one of the best example and most controversial monuments about its architecture,history,place where it is built...see Prof. P.N. Oak research on Taj.

  104. Vinay,
    I have read the research you are mentioning, though i tend to comment after i verify even the sources used in a research. :)
    So, that is what i am still doing, and not only that book, i have read the other researches as well by that author. But frankly telling you, it was mentally disturbing.
    About Taj Mahal, i can't say as of now, but one thing i would like to say is that, he has projected ALMOST ALL Muslims as barbaric which i do not agree, and a lot of things which he mentioned is an exaggeration. Many sources cited in his research do not exist in reality. I have tried to cross check many things.

    I do not know if you are talking about the entire Muslim period or only about the Mughals. The thing is that NOT ALL rulers in a particular religion/dynasty are similar. Some are good and some are bad. The grain should not be grinded with the chaff.