Dara Sikoh poisoned by Aurangzeb- The deadly lunch

Dara Sikoh the elder son of Shah Jahan was a amicable person. He was 15 years old when his mother Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to her 14th child, a daughter. His father Shah Jahan went into prolonged seclusion and did not come out of it for almost an year. In the meanwhile the responsibility of the empire and family rested on the young shoulders of Dara Sikoh and his elder sister Jahanara Begum who was 17 years old. Although Shah Jahan came out of seclusion after a year he lost all interest in running administration for a few more years and dedicated his time in building Taj Mahal. During this time Dara shouldered many responsibilities of both the court and empire.

Aurangzeb his younger brother was highly ambitious and orthodox and his only aim was becoming the next emperor. Dara Sikoh’s idealogy was liberal and hence he and Aurangzeb’s ideas were always at logger heads with each other. Aurangzeb took a great dislike for his elder brother as he was a favourite with his father Shah Jahan and sister Jahanara.

Dara was 18 years old and Aurangzeb around 15 years, when Dara fell gravely ill after lunch one day. Shah Jahan who had lost his wife 3 years back was scared and upset that Dara fell so gravely ill and requested any Hakim in and around Mughal empire to help cure Dara. But no matter what the Hakim’s tried they just could not cure him. Dara’s food had been poisoned and mixed with tiger hairs uknown to anyone. Dara lost all appetite and whatever he ate and drank he would throw up and no food intake was possible. It was almost 15 days since that fateful day of poisoning. Astrologers, peers, fakirs even swaiji’s were invited to cure him by the orthodox Shah Jahan but to no avail.

Shah Jahan  discovered that Aurangzeb had administered him tiger whiskers in food and hence Dara was so unwell. Many hakims/pandits gathered and they were of the opinion that till the whiskers were removed from his intestine he would not be able to have any food. He had already weakened a lot without food for 15 days.

All hakims/vaidya were of the opinion that if two ounces of chebulic myrobalan (scientific name: termininalia chebula; known in Ayurvedic medicine as Aralu, credited with having laxative and stomachic properties) and a clove weighing one masha were administered, his health could be restored. Shah Jahan’s men searched for these ingridents everywhere but he could not find it anywhere. Shah Jahan’s PM heard about Guru Hari Das and that he had the necessary medicine.

Now Shah Jahan/Jehangir did not have amicable relation with Sikh guru’s since Guru Arjan Dev’s murder. But Shah Jahan humbled himself and sent a letter to guru begging him to save his son. The ingredients were weighed and it was explained that these medicines would cause the hardest substance taken to be digested. To these ingredients, Guru Ji added a pearl which was to be ground and used as a subsidiary remedy. The Emperor was naturally very pleased and forgot all his enemity with Guru Sahib, and vowed that he would never again cause him annoyance. His medicine was administered and effected a speedy and complete cure. Dara Sikoh visited Guru Hari Das and prostrated himself and thanked the Guru for saving his life. Shah Jahan was angry with Aurangzeb at his audacity of poisoning his elder brother but Jahanara and Dara Sikoh told their father to forgive him. Hence he was forgiven but Aurangzeb the ungrateful was now even more angry and plotted more evilly against Dara Sikoh that eventually led to Daras death.

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