Biography of the Mughal King – Shah Jahan

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Prince Khurram succeeded his father Jahangir in A.D. 1628 and assumed the title of Shah Jahan. He came to the throne with the help of Asaf Khan, his father–in-law. Shah Jahan ruled for 31 years and tried to bring peace and prosperity in the empire. His region is often referred to as the ‘Golden Age of the Mughal Period’.

Main Events of his Reign:

Rebelion of Bundela Rajputs (A.D. 1628):

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Jujhar Singh Bundela was the son of Bir Singh, who had killed Abul Fazl at the instigation of Jahangir. In A.D. 1628, soon after the accession of Shah Jahan, he revolted. The revolt was put down.

Rebellion of Khan Jahan Lodi (A.D. 1628):

Khan Jahan Lodi was the governor of the Deccan. He, along with the Marathas and the Sultan of Ahmadnagar, revolted. Shah Jahan himself marched against him and defeated and killed him. Aurangzeb was made the governor of the Deccan.

Expeditions against Kandhar and Central Asia:

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The province of Kandhar, which once formed a part of the Mughal Empire, was conquered by the Shah of Persia in 1623. Shah Jahan was eager to get it back, so through diplomacy he won over Ali Mardan Khan, the governor of Persia, and Kandhar was annexed in 1638. The Persians never forgot the loss of Kandhar and so under Shah Abbas-iii, they compelled the Mughals to surrender the fort of Kandhar.

Like his ancestors, Shah Jahan also had the desire to conquer central Asia. He got an opportunity in A.D. 1645 when there was dissension prevailing in the royal family of Balkh and Badakshan. The Mughals succeeded in capturing Balkh in A.D. 1646 but the stout Uzbeks offered such a resistance that the Mughals had to vacate it in 1647. Prince Aurangzeb also failed to capture central Asia and could not win any territory. This expedition also proved to be an utter failure and led to the loss of both men and money.

Suppression of the Portuguese:

The Portuguese had settled along the Hugli with the permission of the former rulers of Bengal. But gradually they began strengthening their position by collecting war material. They were also engaged in forceful conversions. Many Indians were converted to Christianity. They indulged in piracy and deprived the state of its revenue. This annoyed Shah Jahan and sent Qasim Khan the governor of Bengal to punish them. The Portuguese were defeated and many of their men and women were made captives and punished severely.

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Shah Jahan and the Deccan:

Like Akbar and Jahangir, Shah Jahan tried to annex the states of the Deccan. But he was not guided by imperialistic designs alone. He had religious motives as well. The Mughal emperor was a Sunny, while the rulers of the Deccan being Shias, accepted the suzerainity of the Shah of Persia. Shah Jahan could not tolerate this.

In A.D. 1636, the Mughal forces managed to annex large portions of Ahmadnagar as the son of Malik Ambar proved to be a traitor and handed over the state.

In 1656, the Shia ruler of Golconda accepted Shah Jahan as his overload as he feared military action by the emperor and agreed to pay heavy indemnity of six lakhs a year.

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The Adil Shahi ruler of Bijapur also submitted to Shah Jahan after a brief struggle with the Mughal forces in A.D. 1637. As a result of the emperor’s Deccan policy the boundaries of the empire were greatly extended but it greatly drained the royal treasury and created more administrative problems.

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