Jehangir and Khurram : Immense love turned to hatred

Salim and Khurram (Jehangir and Shah Jahan)

jahangir-weighing-son-khurram in gold

Jehangir weighing Khurram in Gold

Salim had 5 sons from various wives(please read Jehangir’s wives and sons list to know more). But his favorite son or child was his third son born to the Jodhpur Princess Jodha Bai aka Jagat Gosain on 5th January 1592

In Jehangirnama he states – I gave my son a rosary of jewels with the hope that he may attain fulfillment of all his desires both in visible and spiritual things (Translated by Alexander Rogers)

Right from childhood Khurram became a favourite of his grandfather Akbar and father Salim. Although Salim stayed away from family(in agra and lahore) on work, war and rebellion still he never let his love and bond wane for Khurram. He would call Khurram “baba” affectionately in his memories a term used for small kids even when Khurram was an adult and a father of many children.  In many places he quotes Khurram as fortunate son and my lucky son Khurram.

Quote from Jehangirnama : When i started in pursuit of Khusrau I had left my son Khurram(who was hardly 13 years old then) in charge of palace and treasuries.

Quote from Jehangirnama : On the second day of Zil-i-hijja I gave my son Khurram a flag and drum and bestowed upon him a rank of 8000 personnel and 5000 horses and gave an order of Jagir.

Unlike Salim and Murad who went to wars at a very young age of 7 years and 11 years respectively Khurram was not sent to war field at young age. His first expedition was to Mewar at the age of 19-20 years when he was an adult and had kids. In that sense Jehangir ensured his kids went late to the war expeditions Parvez at 16-17 years and Khurram at 20 years. Although Khurram was given jagirs and an considerable rank of soldiers under his command he did not go to war as a kid soldier.

Quote from Jehangirnama : On Friday, the 6th Day of Rabi-ul-akhir I came to the Quarters of my son baba Khurram. This year which was the commencement of my son Khurram’s 16th lunar year the astrologers and astronomers predicted that a most important epoch according to his horoscope would occur. As the princes health was not good i gave orders to weigh him and according to the rules and divide the gold, silver, metals among faqirs and needy. The whole day was spent in the enjoyment and pleasure in the company of baba khurram and all his presents were approved. This was done on 3rd July 1607.

Quote from Jehangirnama – On 25th Friday, weighing of my son Khurram took place. Upto the present day when Khurram is 24 years and married and has children he has not defiled himself with drinking wine. Baba though has children and kings and kings son drink. Today which is the day of weighing i will give thee wine to drink and give thee leave to drink it on feast days and time of new year and all great festivals. But thou must observe the path of moderation for wise men do not consider it right to drink to such an extent as to destroy the understanding and it is necessary to only gain profit from drinking. Khurram went to Mewar campaign on 16th Dec 1613 and returned on 20th Feb 1615

Look at Jehangir’s advice to Khurram on not exceeding his limits on drinking wine. It stemed from his personal experience of turning a wine addict and facing many health issues and behaviour issues because of that maybe. But note that he does not speak to any other son about such issues itself is significant. And the fact that even at 24 years of age he still participates in weighing ceremony of Khurram itself is a big factor. For no where in Akbarnama or other Mughal autobiographies we read of emperor participating in his sons weighing ceremony once he is adult.

Quote from Jehangirnama – Prior to this because of favour and overwhelming affection I bore Khurram(note no baba Khurram like previous quotes) and his sons when his son fell critically ill i had sworn that if God spared his life I would never hunt with gun again and never harm an animal with my own hand. Despite the enjoyment i derived from hunting particulary hunting from guns I did not do it for five years now.

It may seem a small thing but Jehangir who was fond of hunting giving up hunting is a very big thing. In those days Kings and Princes were very fond of hunting and it was not only a sport but a way of keeping enemies in check by carrying out hunting expeditions at their borders to warn them.

So what led to a conflict that made Khurram given title Shah Jahan by Jehangir after conquest of Mewar rebel and declare war on Mughal empire and his father Jehangir and Jehangir call him Be Daulat (Unfortunate) publicly

Quote from Jehangirnama – During these days its repeatedly reported that Khurram had taken over some of Begum Nur Jahan’s and Prince Shariyar’s jagirs among them the pragan of Dolpur

 Quote from Jehangirnama – I ordered the Diwan to levy Khurrams jagirs of Hissar, Mian Doab and instead he could take jagirs of Malwa, Gujarat or Deccan or wherever he wanted.

 Quote from Jehangirnama – I sent Musavi Khan one of my loyal servants to deliver threatening messages and try to persuade the wretch with rational arguments and guide him to wakefulness from his slumber of heedlessness and conceit.

There were many reasons for this rift

Jehangir’s health started deteriorating and he had a heart attack around the time Shah Jahan started his rebellion in 1619-1620. Nur Jahan influence on administration started increasing and she handled all decisions. Khurram did not like her increasing influence in administration.

Nur Jahan took decisions against Khurrams interests. Khurram he had refused to marry her daughter Ladli Begum in past. Shariyar was married to Nur Jahan’s daughter Ladli Begum and Nur Jahan now wanted Shariyar to be next emperor not Khurram by then.

Nur Jahan influenced Jehangir and forced him to withdraw jagirs to Khurram and give him less significant jagirs. This led to even more anger and resentment by Khurram.

Khurram refused to go on Deccan campaign if Khusrau’s custody was not handed over to him. Jehangir was very unwell at that time. Nur Jahan agreed to hand over Khusrau custody to Khurram. Jehangir was angry at this arm twisting tactics of Khurram.

Khusrau was apparently killed in custody by Khurram’s gaurds in 1622. Actually Khurram recieved news that Jehangir was very unwell and may not survive as he had suffered an heart attack. To remove any favourite contenders of throne he ordered killing of Khusrau and his wife in custody. He further buried Khusrau without informing his father or other family and sent a letter saying Khusrau died of ill health. By then Jehangir had become fine and a minister who was in deccan informed him that Khusrau may have been killed. Jehangir was furious and ordered Khurram to report to the court to answer regarding Khusrau’s death which Khurram ignored. Finally Jehangir ordered Khusrau’s body to be brough to Allahabad and buried with his mother Man Bai’s tomb(Khusrau Bagh).

These and many other issues led to rebellions and wars between Mughal empire(Jehangir) and Prince Khurram

If you read Shah Jahan’s official biography you see the hatred for Jehangirs rule and regime. It is true that the best of friends can only be the worst of enemies. For all the love Jehangir felt for his son, ultimately his son became his biggest rebel before death and worst critic after death too.

But despite all anger towards a ungrateful son Jehangir did allow Shah Jahan many lee ways – although shah jahan started a civil war by trying to capture key cities of Delhi and agra in Jehangirs absence and was defeated in many civil wars, Jehangir never caught him or punished him like he did a Khusrau. He even did not attack mewar when Karan singh gave shelter to Shah Jahan and family. He did not take away all his jagirs(states) and looked after Dara Sukoh and Aurangzeb who were surrendered as hostages to Mahbhat Khan to avoid further civil wars nicely.  And despite all hatred towards Jehangir, Shah Jahna still gave funds to build Jehangir tomb in Lahore. So despite Nur Jahan trying to create fissures in father son relationship, the relationship never was destroyed completely.

But it definetly caused great heartburn to Jehangir who faced rebellion of Khusrau and then Khurram, a replay of his own rebellion against his father Akbar. But that rebellion of Salim against Akbar did not have any volience except the killing of Abul Fazl the friend and biographer of Akbar. Unlike Khusrau and Khurrams rebellion, the Salim rebellion did not have the blood shed, the civil wars, the split in court along father and son camps etc. It was an ameture rebellion in Salim that ended in a whimper.

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