(Last Updated on : 20/01/2012)
Jahangir, the mughal emperor, born on September 20th, 1569, succeeded to the throne a week after the death of his father Akbar
. The coronation of Salim took place on 3 November 1605 A.D. and he assumed the title of Nur-ud-din Muhammad Jahangir. Like Akbar, Jahangir managed diplomatic relations on the Indian subcontinent dexterously, was tolerant of non-Muslims, and was a great patron of the art. He was greatly assisted by his wife Nur Jahan
in administrative affairs. Jahangir began his reign with the declaration of many liberal laws which benefited his subjects. Jahangir was a just and kind ruler. Jahangir was a fairly obedient son, a lovable father, a good relative and an affectionate friend. He certainly revolted against his father but it was more due to his intention to behave as an independent individual rather than the desire to capture the throne of his father. Jahangir also possessed some weaknesses. He was easily influenced by his close relatives. His revolt against his father was also more due to their evil influences than his personal ambitions. His same weakness was responsible for his handing over the reigns of government in the hands of his beloved queen, Nur Jahan.
Expansion of Empire by Jahangir
Jahangir pursued the policy of the extension of the empire like his father. The conquest of north India was nearly complete during the reign of Akbar. Only a few petty states and Mewar
could maintain their independence. Jahangir tried to subdue Mewar and the states in south India. Jahangir desired the submission of Mewar from the beginning of his reign and dispatched prince Parwez to conquer Mewar after his accession to the throne in 1605 A.D. Ultimately the Rana accepted the suzerainty of the Mughal emperor and a peace treaty was signed between the Mughals and the Rana in 1615 A.D. Thus the long-drawn war between Mewar and the Mughals ended.
Jahangir tried to complete the conquest of south India. Khandesh and a part of Ahmednagar
were conquered during Jahangir`s reign. But the conquest of Ahmednagar could not be completed while Golkonda and Bijapur
were left untouched so far. Jahangir attempted to conquer them. The campaigns of the Mughals in the Deccan during the reign of Jahangir, infact brought not much territorial gain though of course, pressure on the states of south India were increased. No rulers of the south were prepared to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Mughals.
Nur Jahan, Wife of Jahangir
Nur Jahan was an educated, social, generous, intelligent and cultured lady and was fond of poetry, music and painting. She was interested in administration and had the capacity to tackle the relevant problems. She participated in administration, interfered in the politics of her time, increased her influence and tried to keep the power of the state in her hands. Therefore, she influenced the history and politics of during Jahangir`s reign. In 1613 A.D. Nur Jahan was elevated to the rank of Badshah Begum or the first lady of the realm. Nur Jahan`s tremendous influence was the cause of disappointment among certain Mughal nobles, like Mohabbat Khan, and Jahanghir`s son Prince Khurram, who struggled his way to the throne. Nur Jahan voted for Shariyar, another son of Jahangir as the next ruler. Her hostility propelled Prince Khurram to revolt in 1622.This revolt snatched away Kandahar from the Mughal Empire. Thus, the interference of Nur Jahan in the politics of the state resulted in two major rebellions during the last years of the reign of Jahangir which weakened the empire and harmed its prestige.
Development of Art and Culture
Jahangir was a well-educated and cultured person. He had good command over Persian and Turki language and was well-versed in other languages as well like Hindi and Arabic. He wrote his autobiography entitled Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri himself for seventeen year and later on got it prepared by others under his personal guidance. The description is fairly creditable and proves that Jahangir had not only varied interests but also knowledge of different subjects and fine arts. Jahangir was keenly interested in painting which reached to its zenith of progress during his rule.
Development of Architecture
Jahangir was interested in architecture as well. The tomb of Akbar at Sikandrabad near Agra was constructed by him and it is one among the beautiful buildings erected by the Mughal emperors. The mosque in Lahore, which was constructed in his reign, has been compared with the Jami Masjid, constructed by Shah Jahan
, in Delhi. One of the most striking buildings constructed during his sovereignty, is the tomb of Itimad-ud-daula near Agra, which was constructed by Nur Jahan. Jahangir laid out many beautiful gardens in Kashmir and Lahore.
Conquests of Jahangir
Jahangir was well trained in arms and was an expert rider. But he was not prepared to undergo hardships of battlefield. He did not participate in any major battle during the reign of his father and, during his own reign all important battles were fought either under the command of his son Shah Jahan or under other talented officers. Jahangir neither tried to improve the military system which he inherited from his father nor increased the fighting strength of his army in any way. As regards religious beliefs and policy, Jahangir stands midway between his father, Akbar and his son, Shah Jahan. He believed in God and normally pursued the basic principles of Islam.
Death of Jahangir
Jahangir`s health was adversely affected due to excessive drinking of alcohol. Jahangir died in the year 1627, while returning from Kashmir
, the region of Sarai Saadabad. His deceased body was buried in Shahdara Bagh, in Lahore. He was succeeded by his son Prince Khurram, also known as Shah Jahan.