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SHAH JAHAN

(Ruling Period:-1628-1658)

Shah Jahan Shah Jahan also spelled Shah Jehan, Shahjehan, etc.; January 5, 1592–January 22, 1666) was the ruler of the Mughal Empire in India from 1627 until 1658. Born Shehzaada Khurram (Prince Khurram), he was the third son of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and captured power after a fratricidal war. He commissioned the building of the Taj Mahal in Agra, as a burial place for his first wife Empress Mumtaz Mahal (meaning the first lady of the palace). But for the last five years of his life he was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in a room of Agra Fort, tended only by his eldest daughter Jahanara Begum, with a direct view of the Taj Mahal. This was punishment for his endorsing Dara Shikoh, Aurangzeb's older brother, in the fight for succession. Aurangazeb later killed his brother Dara and sent his head to his imprisoned father. It is rumored that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with an excellent view of the Taj Mahal. The conditions of Shah Jahan's imprisonment are controversial, with some claiming he was not held in particularly onerous conditions, as the Muasamman Burj is luxurious, while others cite the fact that only his daughter was allowed access to the imprisoned and dethroned Emperor. Shah Jahan is buried in the Taj Mahal, next to his first wife. The name Shah Jahan comes from Persian &1588;&1575;&1607;&8204;&1580;&1607;&1575;&1606; Shah Jahan meaning "The Ruler of the World"). Shah Jahan had seven surviving children: Dara Shikoh, Murad Baksh, Shah Shuja, Aurangzeb, Jahanara Begum, Roshanara Begum and Gauharara Begum. Category:Mughal empire de:Schah Jahan fr:Shâh Jahân kn:&3255;&3257; &3228;&3257;&3262;&3240;&3277; ja:&12471;&12515;&12540;&12539;&12472;&12515;&12495;&12540;&12531; sv:Shah Jahan

 

Rise to power

Khurram raised an army against his father, Jahangir, in 1622, but the insurgency failed. He was forgiven and accepted back into the fold but two of his sons, Prince Aurangzeb and one other brother, had to spend a large part of their childhood and early manhood as a kind of hostage at their grandfather's court against the possibility of Prince Khurram revolting again.

After the death of Jahangir on 29 October 1627, Khurram captured power after a fratricidal war and took the rule name Shah Jahan, 4 February 1628.

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Accomplishments

Although his father's rule was generally peaceful, the empire was experiencing challenges by the end of his reign. Shah Jahan reversed this trend by putting down a Muslim rebellion in Ahmednagar, repulsing the Portugese in the Bengal, capturing the Rajput kingdoms of Baglana and Bundelkhand to the west, and the kingdoms of Bijapur and Golconda in the Deccan. By the end of his reign, the empire was again expanding.

Shah Jahan moved the capital from Agra to Delhi, the traditional seat of Muslim power.

During his reign Mughal architecture reached its zenith. Shah Jahan was a prolific builder with a highly refined aesthetic. Among his surviving buildings are the Red Fort and Jamia Masjid in Delhi, the Shalimar Gardens (Lahore) of Lahore and buildings at the Lahore Fort. His Taj Mahal in Agra is generally thought to be among the most beautiful buildings ever created.

Legend has it that Shah Jahan wanted to build a black Taj Mahal, to match the white one. While sources can be found which support this legend. [1], most discount it. [2] [3] [4]

 

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Decline and fall

When Shah Jahan fell severly ill beginning in 1657, the struggle to succeed him began. His second son, Shah Shuja declared himself emperor in Bengal. Aurangzeb also challenged his father and the expected successor, Dara Shikoh, Aurangzeb's elder brother. Despite strong support from Shah Jahan, who had recovered enough from his illness to remain a strong factor in the struggle for supremacy, and Dara's victories over Shah Shuja, Aurangzeb finally defeated Dara. Dara attempted to rally support after this defeat, but was betrayed and turned over to his brother. Aurangzeb beheaded Dara Shikoh on the charge of heresy and, it is said, had his severed head taken to their father. He also ordered the execution of his brother Murad Baksh, who had briefly fought along with Aurangzeb against Dara Shikoh in the battle of Samogarh.

Aurangzeb put his father under house arrest in Agra Fort tended only by his eldest daughter Jahanara Begum. The conditions of Shah Jahan's five years detention are the subject of disagreement and legend. Some say that the Fort was a luxurious residence, others say it was restrictive. Legends include one that says that though the Taj is not directly visible from the Sheesh Mahal (Agra) in the Agra Fort, but it is constructed such that you can see the Taj in its multitude of mirrors. It is also rumored that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with an excellent view of the Taj Mahal. Note that these stories are directly contradictory.

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Legacy

Shah Jahan is buried in the Taj Mahal, next to his second wife Mumtaz Mahal .

Shah Jahan had four surviving children: His son the emperor Aurangzeb, and daughters Jahanara Begum, Roshanara Begum and Gauharara Begum. His three sons Murad Baksh, Dara Shikoh and Shah Shuja died or were executed during the war of succession.