Sharifuddin Mirza’s Death

Sharifuddin Hussain Mirza was the brother in law of Akbar. Sharifuddin Mirza had married Akbars elder sister Princess Bakshi Bano. Bakshi Bano was the daughter of Humayun and Gunwar Bibi. But since Gunwar Bibi died when Bakshi Bano was very young, Bakshi was brought up by milk maids. Bakshi Bano was 3 years elder to Akbar and became close to him when both were hostage of Askari Mirza, step brother of Humayun in Kabul.

Bakshi Bano was married at age 10 years to Ibrahim Mirza in 1550 by her father Humayun. Ibrahim Mirza was an ancestor of Alexander the great’s family. Ibrahim Mirza died in a battle in 1560, when Bakshi ano was just 20 years old. Bakshi was left a young widow without any children too. Hence her brother Akbar married her to Sharifuddin Mirza, the viceroy of Mewat in the same year. Sharifuddin had captured Amer in the same Year 1560. Sharifuddin’s father was Khwaja Moinunddin, a learned man from Persia.

In 1560 Sharifuddin defeated Amer and captured some sons and nephews of Raja Baramal. Raja Bharamal was forced to give huge sums as protection money to Sharifuddin to save his sons and nephews life. That is one of the major reasons he proposed his daughter Hira Kunwari’s marriage to Akbar in 1562. That marriage ensured his son and nephews were freed and he need not pay money to Sharifuddin for the safety of the princes.

Sharifuddin got very ambitious after marrying Bakshi Bano. He frst revolted against Akbar and captured Ajmer and Nagaur. Akbar sent Khan i Jahan Quli Khan and defeated Sharifuddin. Shariuddin was forgiven as he was Bakshi Banos husband. But Sharifuddin continued planning and plotting against Mughal empire and how to become an independent king.

How Sharifuddin really died was an interesting tale. Sharifuddin had high ambitions. He wanted to become an independent ruler or emperor if possible. And he rebelled against Akbar in 1560s. He was defeated and appointed viceroy or governor later. But Sharifuddin never left his ambitions. In 1569 Salim was born and he was a major thorn in path of Sharifuddin to become an independent ruler. Till Salim was alive, Sharifuddin felt he could not truly success becoming an independent ruler.

Everyone knows Salim was sent at young age to war field. During this time he was sent to various wars and was away from family. During one such war camp, Sharifuddin attempted to kill him. Akbar knew Salim was a prime target of his enemies from childhood especially his mughal kinsmen only. That is why from young age Salims security was very tight. Raja Todarmal was a famous minister in Akbars court and he donated lots of money to Tirupathi temple to be rebuilt. So his statue is there in Tirupathi temple. Salim was very fond of ladoos especially from Tirupathi. So Sharifuddin sent a maid to Salim with Tirupathi ladoos.  The maid told him that Raja Todramal has sent them to him. Usually all food given to Salim was tested.  But that time of late night Salim was alone in his tent and he trusted Todarmal so he ate the ladoo excitedly like any small kid will do in his place.  

Salim was very happy to get the ladoos and ate them immediately but the ladoos were laced in poison. When Salim ate the ladoos he got seriously unwell and lost conciouness.  Now Salim always took his pet animals with him everywhere he went. You must have seen paintings of lions strolling with Persian ambassador or Chinese Emperor when they visisted India. Same way Salim took some of his pet animals even to the war field. On war campaigns some  of his pet cheetah, deer and lions accompanied his entourage. Salim had more than 1000 pet lions in his stable in agra fort. Same way he was fond of Cheetahs and deers too from a young age and kept them as pets. Some of these dreaded animals were so tamed that they played and slept in Salims room or palace in agra as quoted by British ambassador Thomas Roe in his letters . Same way in war camp too these animals kept Salims company in his tent.  When Salim collapsed he was with his pets in his tent. The pets panicked and ran out of the royal tent and started making noises.

His body gaurds felt something was wrong and went inside and saw he was lying unconscious. The Hakim was called and he saw that Salim had been poisoned. Immediately Akbar was sent information in agra, Akbar and his sister Bakshi Bano rushed to the war camp far away from agra. Salim became unwell but his life was saved. Akbar started enquiring about who had given Salim poisoned laced ladoos. Obivously Todarmal was only a alibi to ensure Salim ate that ladoo without any suspicion. After enquiry it was found Sharifuddin was involved in this plot to kill Salim. So Akbar asked Bakshi Bano to decide Sharifuddins fate. Bakshi Bano ordered Sharifuddin to be killed. Akbar put Sharifuddin under elephant foot. Thus Sharifuddin died a cruel death. It cannot be ruled out that he may have attempted to kill Salim before too hence Bakshi Bano and Akbar felt that it is no use forgiving him again and again as he is not reforming. And till he is alive Salims life shall be in danger.

But in history all things are not recorded especially Salims childhood and young adulthood is not documented at all unlike some other emperors and historical persons. So it cannot be said if Sharifuddin had attempted on Salim’s life before too. But it can be presumed that if Sharifuddin wanted to be emperor his prime targets were Salim and Akbar only. Its not easy to kill an emperor as he has all security but easy to target a prince away from family on a war campaign. Thus Sharifuddin’s ambition to be emperor ended with a cruel death.

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