Indian History Part 82 Jahangir Section II: A Queen Rules and a Prince Rebels

Canberra, 02 November 2020

After successfully subjugating his eldest son Prince Khusrau’s rebellion and imprisoning him, Jahangir turned to consider ways to consolidate his power over the vast Empire that he had inherited. His son’s rebellion had made Jahangir inherently insecure; he had started to distrust his own strength and judgement, and he was apprehensive about the support of his nobles. Jahangir unfortunately was not the equal of any of his illustrious predecessors—he was not gifted with the foresight and ruthlessness of Babur; not with the inherent optimism of Humayun; nor with the cool, calculated courage of his father, Emperor Akbar. In his easy-going manner, he tended to ignore ugly realities rather than deal with them. He chose to attempt consolidation of power through gifting jagirs and land holdings to his supporters and bestowing number of titles to the nobles in his camp. The list of honours that were distributed, which is available for scrutiny even today, indicates that Jahangir attempted to placate all sections of influence and factions within the royal court.

The Mewar Expedition

The earlier Mewar expedition had been called off when Prince Khusrau rebelled. In 1608, another expedition, under the command of Mahabat Khan had been sent, but it did not make much headway in Rajputana. In 1609, the command devolved to Abdullah Khan, who was considered a spirited general but was a rash and cruel man, who was also unable to make any progress. Subsequently Raja Basu was asked to lead, but his progress, if any, was much too slow and ponderous for Jahangir’s liking. He placed his third son, Prince Khurram in command. Khurram started to prosecute the campaign with vigour and gradually, Rana Amar Singh ruling Mewar, was hemmed in with his supply lines interdicted. From the time of his grandfather, the Ranas of Mewar had been fighting the growing might of the Mughals and he had come to the end of his tether, the indomitable spirit of the Rajputs was showing the strain. The Rana decided to sue for peace and submitted.

Amar Singh send his son to the royal court, where Jahangir received him graciously and restored the kingdom of Mewar to the Rana, including the famous Chitor, with the condition that the fort at Chitor was not to be rebuilt or re-fortified. Jahangir was jubilant at the ‘victory’, which had eluded his celebrated father throughout his reign. He treated the defeated Rana magnanimously—he could afford to, since the hereditary enemy of the dynasty from the time of Babur had been brought down.

The Deccan Foray

After Akbar had left the Deccan, a few years before his death, the Mughal affairs there had lapsed into confusion, especially since the Emperor was preoccupied with the rebellions of his son and heir apparent, Prince Salim, now ruling as Jahangir. The imperial forces in the Deccan was unable to withstand the continuous onslaught of the armies of the Shahi kingdoms and was constantly on the back foot. Having dealt with his son’s rebellion and also achieved success against Mewar, Jahangir now turned his attention to the Deccan. He appointed the Khan Khanan as the commander of the forces in the Deccan with instructions to conquer the kingdoms there—the new commander marching out on 4th December 1607, with Raja Sooraj Singh to assist him.

Subsequently, Prince Parvez was send as the supreme commander to the Deccan, accompanied by renowned officers of the Mughal forces, and with additional reinforcements and finances. However, Parvez had neither the talent nor the inclination to mount a meaningful campaign. Mughal forces suffered a significant defeat and although further reinforcements were send to the Deccan, by 1611, the Maratha horsemen, who formed a sizeable part of the Shahi armies had forced the imperial army to retreat to Gujarat with heavy losses. The Nizam Shahi army opposing the Mughals was led by Malik Ambar—a manumitted Abyssinian slave—completely loyal to the Nizam Shahi dynasty and with an intense dislike for the Mughals. He had raised a peoples’ army of Maratha peasantry and successfully employed irregular and asymmetric tactics against the more traditional manoeuvres of the conventional and cumbersome Mughal army. (The effort of Malik Ambar to defeat the Mughals in the Deccan is narrated in detail in Chapter 23, of Volume VI of this series – From Indus to Independence: A Trek through Indian History, Volume VI: Medieval Deccan Kingdoms)

Command of the Mughal Deccan army was changed a number of times with limited success. Jahangir now appointed Prince Khurram as the commander of the Deccan expedition, which had been on-going for a decade. Coming off the celebrated victory over Mewar, Khurram was at the height of his military reputation. He reached Burhanpur on 6th March 1617, accompanied by many generals. He signed a treaty with Adil Shah, who waited on his personally, bringing some order to the confusion that was prevailing from the time his grandfather Akbar had made inroads into the plateau. In appreciation of another ‘victory’, Jahangir bestowed the title of Shah Jahan on Khurram, by which title he would hence forth be known.

Even though great wealth and prestige was heaped on Shah Jahan by a grateful Emperor, the reality was that after more than ten years of continuous warfare, the Mughal frontier to the south had not been advanced even by a single mile. In fact, there had been severe setbacks—Ahmadnagar had been lost and Mughal territories had been constantly raided and menaced. Shah Jahan had only patched up a tentative peace. Even this peace, hard won by the Mughals, was only temporary; by 1620-21, Malik Ambar had recaptured all that had been lost in the treaty.

‘Nothing could conceal the stern reality that the expenditure of millions of rupees and thousands of lives had not advanced the Mughal frontier a single mile beyond the limits of 1605.’

— Beni Prasad,

History of Jahangir, p.282

Nur Jahan Enters the Picture: Prelude

Few women in world history can match the shrewdness, courage and statesmanship displayed by Nur Jahan during her time as Jahangir’s principal Queen. Contemporary and other medieval chroniclers have attempted to embellish facts and create a romantic story of her birth. However, modern research has brought out actual facts and the reality regarding the early life of this remarkable woman. Her father, Mirza Ghiyas Beg was the son of Khawaja Muhammad Sharif, a native of Tehran. The Khawaja was greatly respected and held high office, being the Wazir, governor, of Yazd under Shah Tahmasp Safawi. After the death of the Khawaja, the family fell on hard times.

Ghiyas Beg, unable to establish himself in Persia decided to move to Hindustan in search of employment. His wife was pregnant at this time and during the journey, in 1577 in Kandahar, she gave birth to a female child who was named Mehr un-Nissa. Since the family was in dire straits, a wealthy and well-connected merchant called Malik Masud helped them. Once in Hindustan, Masud introduced Ghiyas to Emperor Akbar and managed to get him gainful employment in the royal court. Ghiyas Beg was intelligent and industrious and gradually rose in rank and status; by 1595, he held a ‘mansab’ of 300 and had been appointed the Diwan of Kabul. He was also an erudite lover of poetry and skilled in conducting public business.

Prince Salim Meets Mehr un-Nissa

Mehr un-Nissa grew up to be of unparalleled beauty and at the age of 16, requests for her hand in marriage came from a number of nobles of the regime. In order to avoid creating hostility towards himself, Ghiyas Beg requested Emperor Akbar to decide on a groom in order to clear the situation. Akbar chose Ali Quli Khan to be her husband and they were betrothed with the Emperor’s blessing on 11th December 1594. 

During the Nauroz, New Year celebrations on Akbar’s 40th regnal year, Salim saw Mehr un-Nissa in Jodha Bai’s palace and as immediately smitten. He wrote to his father asking permission to marry her. Since she had already been betrothed on his orders, Akbar was angered at this demand. He asked Jodha Bai and Salima Sultan to persuade Prince Salim to restrain and not press his demand. However, Salim was not to be dissuaded.

In order to avoid further confrontation between father and son, Mehr un-Nissa and Ali Quli were married off on 27th June 1595 and quietly send off to Burdwan with a small jagir. The couple stayed there, out of the picture, till Akbar’s death and Jahangir assuming the throne. [There is no way to corroborate this account and therefore it must remain speculative.]     

Ali Quli came from humble origins, and like many others before him, had come to Hindustan to seek his fortune. His full name was Ali Quli Beg Istajlu. In Multan he met the Khan Khanan who gave him a military rank and brought him to Akbar’s court. He was subsequently appointed to Prince Salim’s staff when the Emperor ordered the Prince to march on Mewar. During a hunt, he slayed a tiger single-handedly and Salim gave him the title Sher Afghan, by which name he was better known thereafter. He abandoned Salim when the Prince’s rebellion was quelled and was send to Bengal with a minor jagir.

Over a period of time in Bengal, Sher Afghan became insubordinate and rebellious, especially after Akbar’s death. After establishing himself on the throne, Jahangir ordered Qutb ud-Din Khan, who had succeeded Raja Man Singh as the Governor of Bengal, to send Sher Afghan to the court in Agra. The story goes that on 30th May 1607, Qutb ud-Din went to arrest Sher Afghan, who attacked and killed the governor and in turn was hacked to death by the soldiers accompanying Qutb ud-Din. Mehr un-Nissa and her daughter were send to the court in Agra, where she was entrusted to the care of the dowager queen Salima Sultan Begum and became one of her ladies-in-waiting. Jahangir is accused of complicity in plotting the murder of Sher Afghan—although, if this is indeed true, there is no evidence to substantiate the denunciation. [If the story of Prince Salim asking his father for permission to marry Mehr un-Nissa after her betrothal is indeed true, Jahangir’s connivance at the order for Sher Afghan to report to Agra cannot be ruled out. Historians are divided on this issue and the debate whether or not Jahangir, as Prince Salim, knew Mehr un-Nissa before her marriage continues. The majority believe that the two were in love much before Mehr’s wedding and Salim’s accession to the throne.] Points are also made regarding his innocence. Since there is no conclusive evidence to prove either guilt or innocence, the accusation must remain an eternal unsolved mystery. It is certain that Prince Salim had seen Mehr un-Nissa as a maiden, when his father Emperor Akbar was still ruling. The rest—of the Emperor’s role in her betrothal, Salim’s falling in love with her and asking his father for permission to marry her etc., are pure conjuncture.

It was four years later, in March 1611 that Jahangir saw her again in a ‘fancy market’ in the palace and once again fell in love. Mehr un-Nissa had initially avoided the royal suitor, but clearly saw the opportunity that lay ahead if she yielded to the Emperor. She was an ambitious woman and needed no persuasion to become the royal consort. [The wait for four years to declare his love for Mehr, if they had been involved with each other before, is unexplained; unless it was to maintain a certain decorum, which Mughal emperors were not particularly known to adhere to.] In any case, Jahangir and Mehr un-Nissa were married in May the same year, opening a new chapter in the history of the Mughal dynasty and more so in the history of Mehr un-Nissa’s family. Mehr received the title of Nur Mahal, which was later improved to Nur Jahan, and her brother Asaf Khan and father were raised to high positions and granted exalted titles and jagirs. Asaf Khan would go on to become the most powerful person in the empire.

The Queen

At the time of her marriage to Jahangir, Nur Jahan was 35 years old and still very charming; her renowned beauty had not diminished with the passage of time. She was found of poetry and was herself a somewhat well-known poet; some of her verses are still admired. She was genuinely found of beauty and personally enhanced the splendour of the Mughal court by being involved in the design and get-up of the court, what in today’s terms would be called ‘interior decoration’. She was physically strong and a fearless hunter, shooting tigers mounted on an elephant when the Emperor arranged his regular hunting trips, demonstrating a calmness in the face of danger. However, her biggest asset was a sharp wit and an intelligent mind, which was able to grasp and solve the most complex issues in the affairs of state easily.

‘She [Nur Jahan] possessed a strong and virile intellect and could understand intricate political problems without any difficulty. No political or diplomatic complication was beyond her comprehension and the greatest statesmen and ministers bowed to her decisions.’

—Dr Iswari Prasad,

The Mughal Empire, p. 425.

She gladly meddled in politics, plotting and intriguing to obtain and increase her own power. However, her loyalty to Jahangir was unparalleled—she loved him in her own full-blooded manner and he in turn was a willing tool in her hands. Her hold over Jahangir was such that in the later part of his reign, it was clear that Nur Jahan was the actual ruler and Jahangir had all but in name abdicated the throne. While she was a decisive ruler, there was a downside to this arrangement. Her inordinate love of power, combined with a decidedly womanly vanity led her to initiate actions that directly threatened the stability of the Empire. While there is no doubt that Nur Jahan was blessed with a fine intellect, she was impetuous and lacked a long-term perspective of the decisions that she was taking and how it would impact the affairs of state.

It was her love for intrigue that finally led Prince Khurram to rebel. Her partiality towards Prince Shahryar, who was also her son-in-law, was responsible for the loss of Kandahar, narrated later in this chapter. Further, Nur Jahan consciously encouraged Jahangir’s degenerate behaviour to an extent where he became a drunkard, revelling in his intimate and inherent love of pleasure. As her husband’s mental faculties and physical power declined, she increased her active participation in State affairs. Jahangir granted her the rights to sovereignty and governance. Coins started to be struck in her name and she gradually reduced Jahangir to a mere figurehead. Her brother and father became the most prominent nobles of the realm and wielded great influence. In 1612, Arjumand Banu Begum, Asaf Khan’s daughter was married to Prince Khurram, the son most likely to succeed Jahangir to the throne. Arjumand would become better known in history as Mumtaz Mahal.

‘This marriage symbolised the alliance of Nur Jahan, Itimad-ud-Daula and Asaf Khan with the heir apparent. For the next ten years this clique of four supremely capable persons practically ruled the empire. What has been called Nur Jahan’s sway was really the sway of these four personages.’

—Beni Prasad, History of Jahangir,

as quoted in  The Mughal Empire R.C. Majumdar (ed), p. 186

Nur Jahan dominated Jahangir to an extent that her ‘clique’ managed the affairs of state of the Empire as they chose. History records that there were no brilliant or heroic enterprises in the Empire throughout Jahangir’s reign, although some chroniclers have deemed it fit to call it the ‘Glorious Era’. Intrigue and internal struggle for influence and power became the raison d’etre for the existence of the Mughal Empire. Minor, and sometimes major, revolts in the outlying provinces became routine and regular.

The Afghan Rebellion in Bengal

The Afghan nobility, uprooted from the Gangetic plains at the fall of the Delhi Sultanate, had found refuge to the east in Bihar and Bengal and established themselves as semi-independent rulers there. They had not fully reconciled to the loss of their political power and relevance at the hands of the Mughals and built Bengal as their stronghold. Usman, an Afghan general had rebelled in a remote province of Bengal in 1599 and had been effectively suppressed by Raja Man Singh. Outwardly, Usman and his fellow Afghans owed allegiance to the Mughal emperor but secretly cherished the desire to revive Afghan rule. As a result, the Afghans of Bengal continued to rebel sporadically during the early years of Jahangir’s reign. There were three basic reasons for Bengal continuing to be in turmoil, even after Akbar’s masterful reign. First, the region was far too distant and therefore, removed from the influence of the court in Agra; second, the frequent changes of provincial governors appointed by the Mughal emperor accentuated the inherent instability of the region; and third, Jahangir’s attention was diverted to greater challenges emanating closer to home.

Usman was not to be denied another attempt at establishing Afghan rule in Bengal. The frequent changes of governors made it possible for him to surreptitiously fortify his position and rally the disgruntled Afghan nobility and local zamindars in his favour. He mounted a rebellion again in 1612, but was defeated and killed in battle by the Mughal forces led by Islam Khan. The revolt was short-lived. Jahangir treated the defeated Afghan nobles generously, winning them over to his side. This was the last Afghan insurgency in Bengal against the Mughals.

The Lure of Ancestral Lands

Kandahar was an important city in the north-west frontier of the empire and a vital gateway for trade and commerce between India and Persia. The lucrative trade that passed through Kandahar had always made it a bone of contention between the Shahs of Persia and whoever controlled North India. The city had changed hands many times: Babur had conquered Kandahar and it had been governed by his son Kamran till Humayun took possession of it in 1545. However, the Shah of Persia had reconquered the city in 1558 and it remained in Persian hands till 1594, when Akbar took it back. In this conquest, the Persian governor did not offer any resistance and joined the Mughal court as a noble. Kandahar remained part of the Mughal Empire till Akbar’s death.

Throughout his reign Akbar had concentrated on building a strong and united empire. He had established hegemony over Kabul and Kandahar, making them indelible parts of the spreading Mughal Empire. These conquests were more symbolic in nature, establishing his ‘right’ to rule the region, rather than attempting to enforce his direct rule. The great wealth and prosperity of Kandahar had always enticed the Persians to reconquer the city. On Akbar’s death, and the following instability caused by Khusrau’s rebellion, the Persians decided to attempt to recapture Kandahar.

Shah Abbas instigated a secret invasion of Kandahar by the governors of the Persian provinces in the vicinity of Kandahar. However, the Persian attack was repulsed by the Mughal governor of the city and a siege ensued. Jahangir send reinforcements to relieve the fort; the Persians raised the siege and withdrew on the arrival of fresh Mughal forces. Shah Abbas, a great diplomat, informed Jahangir that he had no knowledge of the attack and siege and that he would punish the nobles who had carried them out. Not wanting to escalate matters, which would mean having to go to war with the Persian Shah, Jahangir accepted the explanation at face value, although he knew otherwise. He initiated actions to strengthen the Kandahar garrison.

On 27th March 1607, Jahangir embarked on the equivalent of a modern day ‘Flag March’, setting out with a large entourage from Lahore to Kabul. The journey took 69 days and Jahangir entered Kabul on 4th June with great fanfare. He held a Durbar of all the tribal chieftains on 11th June and started the return journey on 21-22 August amidst farewell dances and traditional good-luck songs sung by tribal nobility. However, Kabul was raided by the Afghan tribes in 1611, a mere four years later. The raiders were beaten back by the local people led by the Farmuli tribe. The failure of the Mughal garrison to ensure the safety of the population prompted the leader of the Raushaniya movement, Ahdad, to continue the raids on Kabul. In 1617, Jahangir appointed Mahabat Khan as the governor of Kabul, with Raja Kalyan, the son of Raja Todar Mal, as his deputy.

The Afghan tribal insurrection continued unabated and Mahabat Khan resorted to cruel repression and persecution to contain it, but with limited effect. Understanding the serious nature of the insurgency, Jahangir started to march towards Kabul. By the time the royal body reached Kabul, the rebellion had been put down and Ahdad killed; his head was presented to the Emperor on his arrival. In the meantime, Shah Abbas had continued his diplomatic overtures, sending embassies with rich gifts and soft words to the Mughal who was gradually mollified. Kandahar defences started to be neglected. In 1622, the Shah attempted to capture Kandahar and laid siege to the city. Jahangir was in Kashmir and decided to immediately send an army to relieve Kandahar. In March 1622, Jahangir asked Shah Jahan to take command of this army and proceed to Kandahar and secure the city.

The plan to relieve Kandahar was frustrated by Shah Jahan refusing to march to Kandahar. By this time, he had fallen out with the Nur Jahan clique. Nur Jahan’s daughter from her first marriage, Ladli Begum, had been married to Prince Shahryar and she had started to promote the young prince as a possible successor to Jahangir. Shah Jahan feared that his claim to the throne would be diluted if he went on this expedition to the faraway Kandahar—he was uncomfortable to leave Hindustan. While this palace intrigue was playing out, Kandahar surrendered to the Persians at the end of a month-long siege. The Shah send an embassy to Jahangir to convince him that Kandahar rightly belonged to Persia. Jahangir was not convinced and wanted send an expedition to retrieve the city. However, before the expedition could be mounted, news came that Shah Jahan had rebelled. In hindsight, it can be observed that Nur Jahan’s behaviour and manipulative actions were primarily responsible for the loss of Kandahar. The Empire was being gradually diminished.

Shah Jahan’s Rebellion

Nur Jahan’s political career can be divided into two distinct phases—first, from her marriage to Jahangir in 1611 till 1622 and the second, from 1622 till the death of Jahangir. In the first phase she was a sobering and beneficial influence on the State and she had worked in close collaboration with Prince Khurram who was the presumed heir apparent. However, in 1620, her daughter from her first marriage, Ladli Begum, was betrothed to the youngest son of Jahangir, Prince Shahryar. She then started to promote Shahryar to prominence and her relationship with Khurram changed for the worse. By this time Khurram, as Shah Jahan, had already been established as a successful military commander and had become the presumptive heir apparent. By 1622, Shah Jahan and the Queen had drifted apart. 

From around 1620, the government was effectively being run by Nur Jahan. Mahabat Khan, a senior noble and governor of Kabul had attempted to set things right by petitioning the Emperor to curtail his wife’s power. However, Jahangir declined to take any action. Although Mahabat Khan continued as a commander of the imperial forces, he was now disliked by Nur Jahan and became a prime target for her intrigue to cut him down to size. Shah Jahan was still in the Deccan, after his successful campaign there and managed to get custody of the half-blind Khusrau. He had the blind prince transferred to the Deccan. In January 1622, Shah Jahan informed Jahangir that Khusrau had died of an attack of colic. It is believed by most historians that Khusrau was murdered at the insistence of Shah Jahan, a premise that is probably true.

With Jahangir’s health rapidly deteriorating, both Nur Jahan and Shah Jahan were looking for allies in the power struggle that both knew would eventuate on his death. It was at this stage in the developments that Shah Jahan refused to undertake the expedition to Kandahar, since he wanted to be close to the seat of power, in case Jahangir died. Around the same time he also appropriated some jagirs that belonged to Shahryar. Even though Jahangir reprimanded him and asked him to return the holdings, he refused. In 1623, almost as an answer to the rebuke, Shah Jahan rebelled and marched to Agra with Abdullah Khan and Raja Bhim Singh as his subordinate commanders. He reached Fathpur with his forces and plundered the countryside. On their way to Delhi, imperial forces intercepted them at Balochpur. In the ensuing battle, Shah Jahan’s forces were defeated.

Shah Jahan retreated to Malwa and then to the Deccan, where he unsuccessfully sought the assistance of Malik Ambar to continue the rebellion. Since he also failed to get any support from the Shahi kingdoms, he marched into Orissa. The Mughal governor there was a coward and immediately fled with his family and treasure, initially to Burdwan and later to Dacca. Khurram was overjoyed at this ‘victory’, but also realised that further success depended on speed of action— if the rebellion was to succeed, he needed to capture Bengal, Bihar and Oudh before the imperial forces arrived to protect these regions. He managed to capture Bengal after a siege of Burdwan, then moved to annex Bihar and captured the fort at Rohtas. The governor, Mukhlis Khan, was intemperate and incompetent. He was very easily defeated by Raja Bhim Singh the second senior-most commander of rebel army. Bihar fell without much trouble. 

The plan was to capture Allahabad and then sweep across Oudh towards Agra, the ultimate objective. However, the commander of Allahabad, Rustom Khan, remained staunchly faithful to Jahangir and prepared for a siege. The rebel forces were outnumbered by the defenders and were forced to retreat. At the same time Mughal forces under the command of Prince Parvez, now titled Shah, and Mahabat Khan arrived at Allahabad. Shah Jahan and his commanders disagreed on the strategy to be adopted, but in the end decided to make a stand, even though their forces were heavily outnumbered. In the ensuing Battle of Kampat on 11th January 1624, Raja Bhim Singh was knocked off his horse by a stray bullet and then killed by the imperial forces—the rebel forces fled in confusion at this early reversal of fortunes. Once again Shah Jahan was on the run with a number of middle-level commanders from his army defecting to join the imperial army, lured by Mahabat Khan’s offer of bribes and veiled threats. 

News now came that Jahangir was gravely ill and that he had summoned Parvez Shah to the court. Shah Jahan knew instinctively that if Parvez was nominated the successor, it would be a strategic defeat for his ambitions, from which he would not be able to recover. He decided to attempt a reconciliation with his father, the Emperor. He could not go directly to Agra from the outskirts of Allahabad, since Mahabat Khan and his massive army blocked the way; the shortest route therefore lay through the Deccan. Shah Jahan now retraced his steps through the hills of Orissa, Telengana and Golconda. However, this time he ensured that there was no hostility with the local chieftains in order to continue a fast-paced march. He even attempted to make friends, since this was a mission of peace and not war, making overtures of friendship to the major Shahi kingdoms of Bijapur, Golconda and Ahmednagar.

Malik Ambar, now attempted to capitalise on Shah Jahan’s dire plight, signed a treaty of alliance with him and instigated the rebel prince to besiege Burhanpur. Although the defences were sparsely manned, the rebel force could not subdue the fort for a week. On the eighth day, the Mughal army led by Parvez and Mahabat unexpectedly arrived on the scene and saved Burhanpur. It is believed that the imperial army had force-marched to the Deccan on Nur Jahan’s direct orders. Shah Jahan, now at the end of his tether, realised that his rebellion was defeated. He send word of unconditional surrender to his father, through Prince Parvez, asking for his forgiveness. Although Mahabat wanted to capture Shah Jahan and present him in chains to Jahangir, Parvez decided on a more lenient action and permitted the rebel to go to Rohangarh, where Shah Jahan fell ill. The rebellion was practically over. Jahangir was heartbroken at Shah Jahan’s rebellion. He clearly understood the role his beloved queen had played in his son’s rebellion but was helpless to control or influence the unfolding events—he was a pathetic sight. The answer to Shah Jahan’s appeal for forgiveness was send under Nur Jahan’s seal and not that of the Emperor.

Shah Jahan was granted a pardon under two strict conditions. He was to return the forts of Rohtas and Asir that he had captured and he had to send his two sons, Dara Shikoh aged ten and Aurangzeb aged eight, as hostages to the royal court. On the two children reaching the court, Shah Jahan was permitted to proceed to Nasik, where he rested for several months to recover. Although the rebellion had fizzled out completely, it was a great blow to the prestige of the Empire. A great deal of resources had been frittered away and Kandahar had been lost, never to be regained.             

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About Sanu Kainikara

Sainik School Kazhakuttam (Kerala), National Defence Academy 39/A, 108 Pilot's Course IAF, fighter pilot, QFI, FCL, psc, HACC, Voluntary Retirement as Wing Commander. Canberra-based Political and Defence Analyst specialising in military strategy, national security, and international politics. PhD in International Politics from University of Adelaide Executive Masters in Public Adminsitration (ANZSOG) Adjunct Professor, University of New South Wales, Distinguished Fellow Institute For Regional Security (IFRS) Distinguished Fellow Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS)

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