Who was real Jodha Bai?

A young Jodha Bai (Prince Salim wife and Shah Jahan's mother)
A young Jodha Bai (Prince Salim wife and Shah Jahan’s mother)

Jodha Bai – a name that invokes controversy every time its taken. The popular version is that Jodha Bai is the wife of Akbar and mother of Prince Salim. But in reality Jodha Bai was the princess of Jodhpur(named after Rao Jodha her ancestor) and daughter of Mota Raja Udai singh( Not Rana Udai Singh of Mewar) and grand daughter of Roa Maldeo(Of Marwar).

This Jodha Bai is popular as Jagat Gosain. But in reality she was born Jodh Bai and lived majority of her life as Jodha Bai only. Jehangir took to Jainism later on in life and when he took Diksha in Jainism Jodha Bai too took diksha and Jehangir was called Jagat guru and his better half Jodha was rechristened as Jagat Gosain in Jainism. This was when Jodha Bai was in her 40s when she was already mother of an adult Shah Jahan aka Prince Khurram.

But who was Akbar’s wife then? Was she Jodha Bai too? Not really, as the name suggests Jodha Bai was from Jodhpur the erstwhile Marwar state. Whereas the princess who married emperor Akbar was from Jaipur the erstwhile Amer. Her name was Hira Bai or Hira Kunwari and she was the mother of Prince Salim the emperor Jehangir. Akbar’s wife was Hira Kunwari the daughter of Raja Bharamal of Amer and aunt of Raja Man Singh.

What’s in a name they say? But a name is the identity of a person and when that same identity is confused it leads to complicated relationships. Jodha was Jehangir’s wife and Akbar’s daughter in law. Jodha was not Akbar’s wife and Jehangir’s mother as shown in movies/serials. Wrong history is being propagated just because a British officer wrongly named Akbar’s wife as Jodha Bai in 19th century.


1 thought on “Who was real Jodha Bai?

  1. Real Pen

    July 5, 2017
    Real pen
    Akbar’s History , History
    No comment
    Mariam Zamani was the mother of Emperor Jahangir.In this article, we are only going to discuss her identity.This article is mainly based on analysis and perception.

    Mariam Zamani was supposed to be the daughter of Raja Bharmal the king of Amber.His daughter Hira Bai popularly addressed as Jodha Bai was the 4th wife of Akbar the 3rd Mughal Emperor.

    The mother of Jahangir to be Raja Bharmal’s daughter was recorded only in one book of the Mughal era. That book is Khulasat-ut-Tawarikh, written by a Punjab Historian Sujan Rai Bandar, during Aurangzeb’s reign in 1695.There is no detailed information about the author.He had written about the history of Hindustan, in which Mughal history was just a part of the book.Sujan Rai mentions in his book that the Amber princess, the third wife of Akbar was Salim’s mother.First of all Amber princess was the fourth wife.He had missed the second wife who was the granddaughter of Munim Khan whose wedding was celebrated in 1557.He had missed it because he was not in the Mughal court.Since most of the information in this book is authentic and no other book reveals the identity of Jahangir’s mother historians are forced to believe Sujan’s statement of Jahangir’s mother.

    Jahangir refers his mother as Mariam Zamani in his memoir and does not give her identity.He mentions Raja Bharmal’s daughter to be a lady in his father’s harem. He does not say Rajabharmal’s family members as his mother’s relation(The Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri; vol 1 page no 15)

    The Rajput Chronicle is silent about it.

    Akbarnama doesn’t reveal the identity of Jahangir’s mother.It is very astonishing.But the same Akbarnama mentions about the Jaisalmer princess, wife of Akbar giving birth to a girl baby and passing away in 1 year(Akbarnama Volume III page 283), but is silent about Amber princess giving birth to Salim

    A firman of Mariam Zamani was traced.In that firman also her identity was not given.The name is mentioned by title Wali nimat Mariam Zamani, Mogolmother of Jahangir.

    Salim’s mother was referred to as a royal concubine of Akbar in the book “The Empire of the great MongolBy J.S.Holland”.It is a latin book written by Joannes De laet a Geographer in the year 1631 during Shahjahan’s reign. Historian Vincent has a opinion that Delaet has copied it from certain reliable Persian chronicle, but certain historian doubt the authenticity of the book.page no 147-148-REF-Full text of “The Empire Of The Great Mogol” – Internet Archive

    This article I had written analysing the entire Mughal history.This is my views.I would not claim it to be History.

    First of all we should try to analyze how Sujan Rai Bandar, during Aurangzeb’s reign had written that Raja Bharmals daughter was Mariam Zamani.How did he come to know about it.There was no information among the masses in that period that Raja Bharmals daughter was Mariam zamini.Among the masses Muz was thought to be a concubine of Akbar as it is given in the book“The empire of the great Mogol By J.S.Holland”.The author had only written the view of the masses.Not even one historian of the entire Mughal era had written that Raja Bharmals daughter was MUZ, then how come Sujan came to such a conclusion.No foreign traveler or some other historian have hinted about it which is astonishing.

    We should sit and analyze how he had come to this conclusion.First see the above painting.

    This painting is from Akbarnama written much before Sujan Rai’s period.What do you interpret out of it.We could see the lady who is sitting as the mother of Jahangir is a Hindu. This is the evident by the tikka she is wearing and also by her dresses.Most of the ladies around her looks like muslims except few.The old muslim lady looks like Hamida Banu.So Sujan had come to a conclusion that the mother was a Hindu.Then he should have sat and though about the Hindus wives who had entered Akbar.s harem.Raja Bharmals daughter was the only one who had entered till Jahangir’s birth.The other Hindu queens entered only after Jahangir’s birth.So he should have come to a conclusion that Raja Bharmals daughter was MUZ.

    Again analyse the picture.There is no elderly Hindu lady,Then in that case where was Jodha’s mother during Salims birth.

    Now let us sit and analyse whether any other Hindu lady had entered Akbar’s harem before Jodha.If one read Akbarnama in detail then,he will come to know that Rani Durgavathy’s daughter in law who was a Hindu had been forcefully pushed into Akbar’s harem.She was the daughter of Raja of Puragadha a region near the sea coast of Maharashtra.She was very beautiful.

    Today there is no place called Puragadha in the Indian map.But a place called Purangad is there.May be Abul Fazl had referred only this place.Purangad is a Hindu place in the sea coast of Maharashtra.The great Shivaji later constructed a fort in that place.Why I’m thinking in this angle is MUZ”s interest in trading.No Rajput lady had so much interest in trading like MUZ.Infact Jahangirs first wife was Jodha’s niece.Even that lady did not have interest in trading.Neither no Rajput male members had interest in trading.Nurjahan’s interest on trading was seeing her mother in law.

    Why Raja of Purangad’s daughter had interest in trading.

    There are 2 reasons for this:

    1)Since Purangad was near the sea shore the princess should have seen the ship’s coming and going and could have devoloped a interest in trading.This talent of her’s was exhibited only after her son Jahangir became the emperor.

    2)It has also been mentioned that trading flourished during Rani Durgavathy’s period.May be she also devoloped interest seeing her own mother in law.

    Princess of Puragadha was so beautiful that Rani Durgavati had selected the princess for her son.She was brought to Gonda for the wedding.The wedding took place.After that the Mughals attacked Gonda, Durgavathy and her son were killed.All the ladies performed jahaur. People were appointed to burn all the ladies in a fort if the war was lost.All the ladies were burnt in a fort.Rani Durgavathy,s sister and her daughter in law were in a room where the fire could not reach.The Mughal’s captured them and sent them to Akbar’s harem which Abul Fazl had specifically mentioned that they were lucky to kiss Akbar’s threshold.(Akbarnama Volume II chapter 52,page 353)He had also added a line that though the wedding took place,it was not consumed(meaning she was a virgin).Why should Abul Fazl write such a line.Moreover the other two historian in Akbar’s court had not written about this lady.So it is clearly shown Abul Fazl who was very close to Akbar had known this fact and given importance to this incidence.

    Again see the face expression of Jahangir’s mother in the above painting.It clearly shows that the lady was not happy.It is because she was forced into Akbar’s harem.This was the reason why MUZ did not involve in the controversy between Akbar and Jahangir.She had so much of hatred toward Akbar that she did not get involved in any of the affair.Salima,Akbar’s third wife and Akbar’s mother were involved in the negotiation between Akbar and Jahangir not MUZ .

    MUZ gained importance and was active only during Jahangirs reign.Her firmann which was traced had been issued during Jahangirs reign.In the firmann MUZ had addressed herself as mother of Jahangir and not as wife of late Emperor Akbar.At the same time Hamida Banu in her firmann had addressed herself as wife of late Emperor Humayun.This confirms the hatred of MUZ towards Akbar .Moreover none of the foreign travellers in Akbar’s period or Jahangir’s have referred MUZ to be a Rajput.They only refer her as queen mother during Jahangir’s reign and gives no reference about any love between MUZ and Akbar.

    Historical evidences that MUZ could not be Raja Bharmals daughter.
    1.Abul Fazl does not give the identity of Jahangir’s mother,at the same time he had written about Shahjahan’s mother to be a Rajput and had given her identity.When Jaisalmer princess gave birth to a girl which has been mentioned in Akbarnama, then why can’t he mention that Raja Bharmals daughter gave birth to a son.

    2.Abul fazl says that Akbar discourages wedding between cousin.If Jodha Bai was Jahangir’s mother then Jahangir’s first wife Mannbai is Jahangir’s cousin.Mannbai was Jodha’s niece.But Abul Fazl does’nt mention that they were cousin or doesnt give us an excuse for the wedding.At the same time when a wedding was proposed between Jahangir and Hakim’s(Akbar’s brother)daughter Abul Fazl was giving an excuse that though Akbar discourages wedding between cousin,since some good is going to happen he is agreeing for this wedding proposal.This clearly shows Jahangir and Mannbai were not cousins and hence Jodha was not MUZ.

    3.Jahangirnama mentions Raja Bharmals daughter to be a lady in his father’s harem and does not mention her as his mother.Neither does he mention RajaBharmal to be his grandfather or Mann singh as his uncle.He only shows his hatred towards this Rajput family.At the same time he is close to MUZ and give her all respect and power.This again proves Jodha was not MUZ.

    4,Shahjahan was very proud to say his mother was a Rajput.but he does not mention anything about his grandmother’s identity.This again adds on to the fact Jodha was not MUZ.

    Again see the painting .The painting clearly shows Hamida Banu,Akbars mother happily in the scene taking care of the delivery.Where is Raja Bharmals wife in the scene.Most of ladies are Muslim and Hindu servant girls.If it was RajaBharmals daughter many Rajput ladies dressed richly would have been around her.Even one or two Hindu ladies around her looks like servant which Akbar could have posted since Jahangirs mother was a Hindu.The lady holding the baby looks like a Hindu having a sad face could be Rani Durgavathi’ sister who was forced into Akbars harem along with the princess of Purangabd.Both these ladies seem to be sad.

    This clearly shows Jahangirs mother could not have been Jodha,but she was a hindu which had misguided Sujan rai Bhandar.I had only thought in his lines and had come to the conclusion that Muz could be princess of Purangabad who was forced into Akbar’s harem.The main evidence is MUZ’s interest in trading which was not there among the Rajputs.

    What I had written in this article is only my perception and not historical facts.I had written my opinion in a subject(Who is Mariam Zamani) which is always debatable and doubt in minds of Historians.Im not telling what I had written is true fact but it has possibility to be true.I hope historian give a ear to my thought and think in this angle,dig history and try to bring out evidences.

    I had submitted my evidences,rest is left in the hands of the people and Historians.



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