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Jehangir Biography

Jehangir was a Mughal emperor who ascended the throne after his father Akbar. He was born on 9th September 1569 at Fatehpur Sikri and was named Prince Muhammad Salim.

He was given the best education possible and from the age of four, he learned Persian, Arabic, Hindi, history, arithmetic, geography and other branches of science from scholarly tutors like Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khana. His relationship with his father was bitter but later reconciled with him and was crowned the king after Akbar’s death in November 1605. He was given the name Jehangir and started his reign at the age of 36 which lasted for 22 years. He punished his own son Khusrau who was conspiring against him to seize power.

In 1611, Jehangir married Mehrunissa or Nur Jahan, the widow of a Mughal officer. This intelligent and beautiful woman exercised a considerable influence on her husband and soon became Jehangir’s favorite queen. He depended heavily on her advice on various issues. Jehangir’s addiction to comfort and wine made it easier for Nur Jehan to exercise the actual power behind the throne. Jehangir had keen interest in art and literature. He wrote a book Tuzk-i-Jehangiri that was about wildlife. He loved paintings and collected them in his palace.

During the reign of Jehangir the empire was involved in conquests and expansions. His greatest enemy was the Rana of Mewar, Amar Singh. In the northeastern part of the empire his troops had a hard time fighting the guerilla war against the Ahoms of Burma. Whereas in Northern India, his army under the leadership of Khurram defeated the Raja of Kangra, in 1615; and his victorious expeditions further extended till Deccan. As a ruler he was tolerant towards Hindus, Christians and Jews. However, his relations with Sikhs were not quite well because he executed the fifth guru of the Sikhs, Guru Arjun Dev ji, for helping his son Khusrau who rebelled against him.

Jehangir became popular for releasing prisoners of war, protecting Islam and granting general amnesty to his enemies. He was also popular for disposing justice to his countrymen by placing a “Chain of Justice” outside his palace. At the time of trouble one could pull the chain and beg for justice from the Emperor. One of the disastrous decision taken by him was to grant permission to the British to trade freely in his empire, who later became the ruler of the sub-continent. As the Persians and the Uzbeks of Central Asia equalled the Mughals in military strength and resources they feared each other. But in 1622, the Persians took advantage of the internal disputes of the Mughal’s and captured Qandahar. Few years later Jehangir died on 28 October 1627 due to illness and was buried in Shahdra, near Lahore in Pakistan. He was succeded on throne by his son Shah Jahan.