Who Was the Rajput Wife of Mughal Emperor Akbar?

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You history lovers must have seen the 2008 movie Jodha Akbar, starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. People think that Jodha (that's not her real name) was the only wife of Emperor Akbar and he loved her very much. I could find some interesting questions on Answers.com, like; "How did Akbar met Jodha Bai", "How many children did Jodha and Akbar have" and the list goes on. This post is about Akbar's wives.

Akbar's Wives:

Ruqayya Sultan Begum was the first wife of Akbar. She was the daughter of Hindal, Humayun's younger brother. She had no children.

A daughter of Abdulla Khan Mughal In 1557, Akbar married the daughter of Abdulla Khan Mughal.

Salima Sultan Begum was the daughter of Gulrukh Begum, a sister of Humayun. She was married to Bairam Khan in 1557. After the death of Bairam Khan, Akbar married her in 1561. 

The Fourth Wife:

Daughter of Raja Bharmal, the So-called "Jodha Bai":


Raja Bharmal of Kachwaha dynasty was the ruler of the small kingdom of Amber also known as Amer (now in Jaipur) from 1548 to 1574. During the first year of Akbar's reign (1556), Majnun Khan, governor of Narnaul, informed him of the loyalty of Raja Bharmal which he had shown at the siege of Narnaul (After the death of Humayun, Haji Khan, a commander of Sher Shah Suri, had besieged Narnaul). Raja Bharmal and his family were invited to the court at Delhi and were rewarded with robes of honours. At the time of their dismissal, Akbar was seated on a wild elephant, which got restive and was rushing in every direction. The people moved to one side. Once when it ran towards the Rajputs, they didn't move but still stood firm. This loyalty of Rajputs pleased Akbar very much.

Akbar the great
On 14th Jan 1562, Akbar set off to Ajmer to visit the mausoleum of Shaikh Muin-ud-din Chishti. On his way to Ajmer, Chagatai Khan, one of his intimate courtiers, reminded him of Raja Bharmal and informed that the Raja had taken refuge in the hills since Sharaf-ud-din Husain, governor of Mewat, had made war upon Amber at the instigation of Suja, son of Raja's elder brother Puran Mal. Sharaf-ud-din's intention was to take procession of Amber for himself. Followed by his defeat, the Raja was agreed to pay tribute and his son Jagannath, and Raj Singh & Kangar, the sons of his brothers Askaran and Jagmal, were taken as hostages. Now that Sharaf-ud-din was preparing to invade Amber again and the Raja requested Akbar's protection. At the request of Akbar, Raja Bharmal visited the court at Sankanir and paid his respects. He was most honorably received by Akbar and his request to enter into Akbar's service and to strengthen the ties of friendship by a matrimonial alliance was granted. On the order of Akbar, Sharaf-ud-din surrendered Jagannath, Raj Singh and Kangar to Akbar and afterwards they were sent to the Raja. Akbar married Heera Kunwari, Raja Bharmal's daughter on Jan 20, 1562 at Sambhar. Raja Bharmal was made a Commander and his heir Raja Bhagwan Das and grandson Raja Man Singh were also given high positions in the Mughal court.

Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai in Jodha Akbar

Who was the Mother of Jahangir?
Jahangir never mentions the name of his mother in his Memoirs, but, the following few lines from Jahangirnama proves that Heera Kunwari (daughter of Raja Bharmal) was not the mother of Jahangir:-

Firstly, see Jahangir's account of Raja Man Singh, "I made Raja Man Singh-who was one of the greatest and most trusted noblemen of my father, and had obtained alliances with this illustrious family, in as much as his aunt had been in my father's house, and I had married his sister (Man Bai), and Khusrau and his sister Sultanu-n-nissa Begum, the latter of whom is my eldest child, were born of her-as before, ruler of the province of Bengal. His father was Raja Bhagwan Das. His grandfather Raja Bharmal was the first of the Kachwaha Rajputs to have the honor of entering my father's service, and he excelled his tribe in truth and sincerity of friendship, and in the quality of valor". In another version of Jahangirnama, he says something like this, "She (the aunt of Raja Man Singh) was in my father's harem, but no favourite with destiny, although possessed of uncommon beauty".

Secondly, we are told by the historians that, Salim's (Jahangir) rebellion, had made Akbar to declare his grandson, Prince Khusrau, to be his successor. At that time, Raja Man Singh had supported Khusrau since he was the son of his sister Man Bai (who was given the title of Shah Begum by Jahangir). It means that Jahangir was not the son of his aunt Hira Kunwari.

Other Wives of Akbar:

Bibi Daulat Shad, another wife of Akbar, was the mother of his two daughters, Shukr-un-nisa Begum and Aram Banu Begum. Akbar made matrimonial alliances with many other Rajput princess as well (two exceptions were Mewar and Ranthambore. Maharana Pratap never submitted to Akbar. Rao Surjan Hada offered his submission but refused to give his daughter in marriage to Akbar). We do not have the information of the mother of Akbar's twins, Hasan and Husain (they died after one month). In Tuzuk, Jahangir says that Shahzada Khanum (eldest daughter of Akbar), Murad (second son of Akbar) and Daniel (Akbar's third son) were born to royal concubines. Miran Mubarak Shah of Khandesh sent one of his daughters to Akbar's harem in 1565. Akbar also married the daughter of Qazi Isa Khan of Iran. In 1570, Rai Kalyan Mal of Bikaner sent the daughter of his brother Kanho to the imperial harem. In the same year Akbar married Nathi Bai, daughter of Rawal Harraj of Jaisalmer (Mahi Begum, a daughter was born to her but she died in 1577). Qasima Banu Begum, daughter of Arab Shah, entered the royal harem in 1575. In 1577, the daughter of Rawal Askaran Singh of Dungarpur entered Akbar's harem. In 1592, Akbar added the daughter of Shams Chak of Kashmir to his harem.

It was a law of Mughal emperors that if the Emperor cast his eye with desire on any women, the husband is bound to divorce her. Thus Akbar married the beautiful wife of Abd-ul Wasi.

(Major Price's Jahangirnama gives the following details about Akbar's wives and children: Akbar's first child, Fatima Banu Begum was born to Bibi Pungrai; Hasan & Husain, the twin sons, were born to Bibi Aram Bakhsh; Shahzada Khanum to Bibi Salima; Murad also known as Pahri to Bibi Kheira; Meeti Begum to Mihr Sema; Daniel to Bibi Mariam and Lala Begum to Bibi Naun.)

Who is Maryam Zamani?


Jahangir never calls Maryam Zamani "my mother". When Maryam Zamani died in 1623, he just made a simple statement that, "On this day news came from Agra that Her Highness Maryam Zamani, by the decree of God, had died. I trust that Almighty God will envelop her in the ocean of His mercy". No chronicler mentions the name of Jahangir's mother: Abul Fazl, "the matrix of the sun of fortune"; Ferishta, "the favorite Sultana"; Nizamuddin Ahmad, "one of the consorts". Francisco Pelsaert in his 'Jahangir's India', gives the name of Jahangir's mother as Guljar Begum. De Laet's 'Empire Of The Great Mogol', also has Guljar Begum. A farman was found, which mentions the name of Jahangir's mother, 'Wali Nimat Begum, the mother of King Nur-ud-din Jahangir'. We do not have any further information about the Wali Nimat Begum. Bada'uni states that the mother of Jahangir was an imperial princess, "In this year one of the Imperial wives became with child, and he (Akbar) went to beg the intercession of Shaikh-Salim Chishti living at Sikri, and he left his Empress at the monastery of the Shaikh".


Anyway, Jahangir was not really attached to his own mother. But he was deeply attached to his foster-mother, who was the daughter of Shaikh Salim Chishti. See Jahangir's own words, "When I was an infant I was looked after by her. The intimacy I have with her I do not have with my own mother. She stands in the place of an affectionate mother to me". When she died in 1607, Jahangir was 'very grieved and depressed, that he lost his appetite for several days and did not change his clothes'. "She had given me milk in my mother's stead — indeed, she was kinder than a mother — and I had been raised from infancy in her care. I took one of the legs of her bier on my own shoulder and carried it a bit of the way".

Who is Jodh Bai?

Jagat Gosaine, daughter of Motaraja Udai Singh of Jodhpur, better known as Jodh Bai, was the wife of Jahangir and mother of Shah Jahan. Rukmawati Bai, also known as Jodh Bibi, was the sister of Motaraja Udai Singh (daughter of Rao Maldeo) and wife of Akbar. Colonel James Tod in his 'Annals & Antiquities of Rajasthan' says that Motaraja bestowed his sister Jodh Bai on Akbar. He was actually referring Rukmawati Bai.

Reference;

Jahangirnama, Akbarnama, Ain-i-Akbari, Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh, Tabaqat-i-Akbari, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals By Satish Chandra

22 comments:

  1. Really very descriptive and informative post. as many books we read , these all creates confusion , now a days a serial Jodha -Akbar is also being aired on Zee TV , it tells some different story .

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    1. I agree. History is lost with the importance given to the heroes and heroines. Good to know the real story behind the movies.

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  2. Nice piece of information.. Her (Jodha) tomb called as Maryam tomb is near to my house :)

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  3. Are you telling that Jodha was Jahangir's spouse & not Akbar's? If that is the case how could Ashutosh Gawarikar play with history ? Thanks for the information.

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    1. Hi Hitesh, it's true that Akbar married a princess of Amer, but her name was not Jodha. The movie is 80 percent fiction and 20 percent history....

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    2. If these all history.....then wat should be teach to younger generation?if movie s fiction 80 percent...d whole history might b wrongly taken by viewers know?

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  4. very well described ... thanks for these inputs Anjana !
    it's surprising that false stories are being allowed to run as movies which is spreading misinformation to all.!!

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  5. very well described.. thanks Anjana !
    it's really surprising to see that false stories of Jodha-Akbar are running as movies and spreading misinformation to people !!

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  6. You give us wrong information so pls before you posted think

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    1. no the information is true.you read akbarnama and jahangirnama you will know the truth

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  7. Now that’s really interesting! I was reading about the history of mughal empire Akbar and this article gives me an amazingly different perspective!

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  8. Yes, you are right sir.movies, and serial's are fact. They pool us, which is not good for our children's. Don't watch such Indian history movies,serials,etc. They make it without knowledge.

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  9. You’ve made some good points there. it’s a good idea !


    send flowers to ajmer

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  10. Heera Kunwari converted to Islam. As only then can Nikah take place her new name was Mariam-uz-Zamani. And she was buried after death. So these facts should be mentioned. And we should also see what Rajputs say in their pages as they have the first right to tell their history as it is their history. Their version should be known.

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  11. Mariyam uz zamani is the title not name Jodha is the filmy wife of Jalaluddin.

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  12. In God's new world when they are all resurrected we can ask them what really happened!!! Love reading these histories. Wish I heard these stories in school growing up. (PA, USA) See www. JW . Org for more information about the Paradise earth soon to come! :)

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  13. Intercast marriages ..... Rajputs vs mougals

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  14. Lot's of respect for Mewad & Ranthumbor dynasty.
    At least both of them not followed this bullshit.

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