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.



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