Nur Jahan – Powerful Mughal Empress
Nur Jahan, her original name was Mehr-un-Nissa born on the 31st May 1577 was Empress consort of the Mughal Empire from 25 May 1611 to 28 October 1627 as the eighteenth and last wife of the fourth Mughal emperor Jahangir.
She was the daughter of Mirza Giyaz Beg and Asmat Begam. She was the second daughter among the four children. Mirza Giyaz Beg was a businessman in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, he had a huge loss in business due to which the family decided to shift to India. Mirza Giyaz Beg and Asmat Begam(pregnant) and two children left for India and when they were half way, they were attacked by robbers. The family was left with no food. They arrived at Khandhar, during this hardship Mehr-un-Nissa was born. Nur Jahan – Powerful Mughal Empress
The family was so impoverished that the parents decided to abundant the newly born girl child in the middle of the Thar Desert. There was a group of rich merchant noble Malik Mahmud, who saw the child in the desert. And the strange thing was that she was protected by a cobra snake. This rich merchant decided to rescue the child and carried her with himself. May be due to the good fortune of the child, the noble and parents camped at the same place. There was hue and cry about the girl child. The parents immediately claimed her to be their daughter and named her as Mehr-un-Nissa, which means Sun among women.
The noble assisted Mirza Giyaz Beg to find job at Akbar court at Fatehpur Sikri. He was appointed as the tax collector. Her parents provided her with best of education. Being intelligent she was well versed in Arabic and Persian languages, horse riding, dance, art, literature and took keen interest in administration. Akbar’s son Salim later Jahangir and Mirza Giyaz Beg’s daughter Mehr-un-Nissa fell in love with each other. Akbar was against this relationship. Nur Jahan – Powerful Mughal Empress
MARRIAGE WITH SHER AFGHAN
In 1594, when Mehr-un-Nissa was seventeen years old she was married to Ali Quli Istajlu or Sher Afgan. He was an adventurous Persian who had been forced to flee his home in Persia after the demise of his first master Shah Ismail II. He later joined the Mughal army and served under the Emperors Akbar and Jahangir. As a reward for his loyal service, Akbar arranged his marriage with Mehr-un-Nissa. They were blessed with a daughter Ladli Begam in 1605.
UNITED AGAIN WITH JAHANGIR
In 1605, Akbar passed away and next to the succession was his eldest son Salim. He became the forth Mughal emperor and took the title of Jahangir. In 1607, Sher Afgan was killed or some historian says that he was murdered by Jahangir, due to his fondness for Mehr-un-Nissa. Mehr-un-Nissa was summoned by Jahangir as lady in waiting for his mother Ruqaiya Sultan Begum (widow of Akbar). Ruqaiya Sultan Begum was so fond of Mehr-un-Nissa that she paved way for her to unite with Jahangir. Nur Jahan – Powerful Mughal Empress
MARRIAGE WITH JAHANGIR
In 1611, while shopping with her patroness, Empress Ruqaiya, Nur Jahan met again with the Emperor Jahangir at the palace meena bazaar during the spring festival of Navroz which celebrated the coming of the New Year. Jahangir proposed immediately and they were married on 25 May of the same year. She was thirty four years old at the time of her second marriage and she would be Jahangir’s eighteenth and last legal wife.
A POWERFUL EMPRESS
At the time of her marriage she was conferred the title of Nur Jahan it means Light of the World and new gold coins were issued in her name. After this wedding her father was promoted to the post of Treasurer of the Mughals with the title of Itimad ud Daulah. Her brother who was too in the Mughal services was appointed as the commander of the Army. Nur Jahan became the chief queen as she assisted Jahangir in all the legal matters. Jahangir was so fond of opium and liquor that he left all the administration in the hands of Nur Jahan. His royal insignia rested with her and she became one of the most powerful lady in the Mughal court. She appointed her relative and trustworthy people on high post.
Due to her power and position, she was able to construct Itimad-Ud-Daulah, a tomb in the memory of her parents at Agra. It is the first monument in India made up of pure white marble and adorned with precious and semi precious stones. Later, she also constructed the tomb of Jahangir at Lahore. She is also credited to have started the fashion of embroidery on clothes, lace work and invented rose perfume by distillation process. She also started embroidery schools for girls, so that they can support their families.
Nur Jahan, set up an excellent example for the society for nor just being a Good Daughter, intelligent wife, a capable administrator, and a social worker.