Shah Jahan : The adopted child syndrome

Prince Khurram aka Shah Jahan was born to Prince Salim(Jehangir) and Princess Jodha Bai(Jagat Gosain) on 5th January 1592 at lahore. An astrologer of kashi predicted that Khurram would become more famous that his father and grandfather. Ruqaiah Begum the first wife of emperor Akbar always had a desire to bring up the next emperor of mughal empire. So she requested that Khurram be given to her for upbringing. So when Khurram was 6 days old Akbar issued an order that Khurram would be brought up by Ruqaiah in Akbar’s harem rather than with his mother Jodha Bai in Jehangir’s Harem. Thus Prince Khurram was brought up by Malika e Mughal Sultanat(Empress Mughal Empire) Ruqaiah Sultan.

Lets look at some of the actions behaviours of Shah Jahan vis-a-vis the fact that he was an adopted child. Please read below some characteristics of adopted child. 

 It is very common for those who were adopted to feel rejected and abandoned by their birth parents. This is accompanied by feelings of grief and loss. There is no set time or age when these feeling surface but, sooner or later, they do.

Feelings of loss and rejection are often accompanied by a damaged sense of self esteem. There is an understandable tendency to think that “something must be wrong with me for my birth parents to have give me away.” It must be understood that these feelings and thoughts are unrelated to the amount of love and support received from the adoptive parents and family.

Guilt accompanies loss and grief because the adopted individual believes that they are being disloyal to the people who adopted, loved and raised them. They do not want to hurt or betray their adoptive mother or father.

The child’s repeated discoveries that the mother from whom he has been biologically separated will continue to warm him, nourish him, and protect him pours into the very structure of his personality a stability and a reassurance that he is safe, even in this new, alien world.

The child who is placed with adoptive parents at or soon after birth misses the mutual and deeply satisfying mother-child relationship, the roots of which lie in that deep area of the personality where the physiological and the psychological are merged. Both for the child and for the natural mother, that period is part of the biological sequence, and it is to be doubted whether the relationship of the child to its post-partem mother, in subtler effects, can be replaced by even the best of substitute mothers. But those subtle effects lie so deeply buried in the personality that, in the light of our present knowledge, we cannot evaluate them

Jehangir and Shah Jahan

Jehangir and Shah Jahan

Shah Jahan at age 13 years left zenana(Ruqaiah’s palace) and went to mens quarters. So Shah jahan just moved from ruqaiah palace(akbars harem) to mens quarters. He never went back and stayed with his parents Jehangir or Jodha Bai ever. But after Akbars death, jehangir ensured Shah jahan spent more time with him and Jagat/Jodha and not always with ruqaiah. Hence Shah jahan grew close to his real mother Jodha Bai.

Secondly after nur jahan married jehangir and started playing all her divide games shah jahan wanted an ally and his mom jagat was that ally(as ruqaiah was close to nur jahan and not jagat) against nur jahan in harem. Shah jahan was a very Machiavellian person, he knew whom to side and when. When Akbar was alive he was close to him and when jehangir became emperor he became close to jehangir and when nur jahan started infuencing jehangir he joined her ranks, only when he felt threat to his throne by sharyar and nur jahan he left nur jahans side and rebelled. So he was a brillaint tactician when it came to politics whether in public or private life. He knew whom to side with and when.

So as you see from above Shah Jahan may have been handed by akbar to ruqaiah for upbringing but the child never forget birth mothers(or fathers). They have desire to know and be with biological parents no matter how nice adopted parents treat them. They feel guilty why their parents gave them up to other parents?(or in shah jahans case why grandparents took him from parents) They feel guilty and do not want to be disloyal to adopted parents although they want to be with biological ones.

Shah jahan was shattered by  Jodha Bais death very much that Jehangir had to go and console him. Was it a adopted son guilt that he could never be with his real mother all life, his insecurity in life, his voilence towards relatives, his fear and non trust of male relatives all stems from his adopted status as a baby.

His being over attached to mumtaz first his dependence on jahanara and his way of keeping dara sikoh near him and not sending him to be governor far off like other sons. Remember daras life was attempted at young age, shah jahan did not want to lose him like mumtaz(to death) or jagat gosain/Jodha Bai or jehangir(thru adoption).  He was scared to send loved ones away from his side.

His fear of Khusrau and sharyar and male relatives stems from this adopted child syndrome, his killing them also stems from this psychology. His over love for mumtaz(his childhood friend whom he could trust) and not other wives also comes from adopted  child syndrome.

His anger and hatred for jehangirs rule in his padshahnama(he felt jehangir abondoned him twice- once when jehangir allowed akbar to adopt him and give to ruqaiah and second jehangir abondoned him for nur jahan and sharyar sake) stems from this adopted child syndrome. Basically he felt jehangir failed to protect him as father(biological one).

No matter how much love Akbar gave him or Ruqaiah in adopted shah jahans mind he desires to be near to his biological parents is very strong. That is why the deep mourning in jagats death that is why deep hatred in padshah nama for jehangir rule etc. That also is reason for deep hatred and mistrust of step brothers khusrau, sharyar, jahandar(whom he killed) and parvez(died on own else would be killed too).

Basically he was brought up in such a way that he mistrusted his close relations that is because he was given up for adoption by parents rather his parents failed to not keep him with them. Whether the decision was Akbars or Salim’s it does not matter to the child, he felt his parents abandoned him for long duration. Nur Jahan further complicated matters by trying to make him an enemy in Jehangir’s eyes. That was the last straw for the adopted child Khurram most probably. First being separated from biological parents, then after Akbars death getting closer to his birth parents Jehangir and Jodha, then just when things were getting better and Khurram was finding his real family, Nur Jahan entering his fathers life and trying to create fissures in the relationship and finally his mothers death in 1619 all this culminated in his rebellion and violent killing of his close relatives to get the throne.

All adopted children find it tough to live with adopted family but for Shah jahan it must have been more tougher as his biological parents lived in same fort as his adopted parents. Even more worst his adopted parents Ruqaiah and Akbar were his grand parents. A young child loves to play and learn from parents. But both Ruqaiah and Akbar must have been in their 50s when Khurram was born. So could they truly fulfil a parent role in Khurrams life may be not. That filled the child Khurram with insecurity, fear of being lonely, feelings of being abandoned by real parents etc. Many of his actions can be scrutinized using the adopted child syndrome.

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