Jahangir4th Mughal Emperor (1569-1627) Jahangir
(Persian for "conqueror of the world" (31 August 1569 – 28 October 1627), was the fourth Mughal Emperor
who ruled from 1605 until his death in 1627.
Jahangir with falcon on horseback
Jahangir and Anarkali
Jehangir was not so much a mediocrity as an able degenerate. Born of a Turkish father and a Hindu princess, he enjoyed all the opportunities of an heir apparent, indulged himself in alcohol and lechery, and gave full vent to that sadistic joy in cruelty which had been a recessive character in Babur, Humayun and Akbar, but had always lurked in the Tatar blood. He took delight in seeing men flayed alive, impaled, or torn to pieces by elephants. In his Memoirs he tells how, because their careless entrance upon the scene startled his quarry in a hunt, he had a groom killed, and the groom’s servants hamstrung—i.e., crippled for life by severing the tendons behind the knees; having attended to this, he says, “I continued hunting.”110 When his son Khusru conspired against him he had seven hundred supporters of the rebel impaled in a line along the streets of Lahore; and he remarks with pleasure on the length of time it took these men to die.111 His sexual life was attended to by a harem of six thousand women,112 and graced by his later attachment to his favorite wife, Nur JehanXVI—whom he acquired by murdering her husband. His administration of justice was impartial as well as severe, but the extravagance of his expenditures laid a heavy burden upon a nation which had become the most prosperous on the globe through the wise leadership of Akbar and many years of peace.
Our Oriental Heritage. Ch. XVI : From Alexander to Aurangzeb, § VIII. THE DECLINE OF THE MOGULS
On the 7th azar I went to see and shoot on the tank of Pushkar, which is one of the established praying-places of the Hindus, with regard to the perfection of which they give (excellent) accounts that are incredible to any intelligence, and which is situated at a distance of three kos from Ajmir. For two or three days I shot waterfowl on that tank, and returned to Ajmir. Old and new temples
which, in the language of the infidels, they call Deohara are to be seen around this tank. Among them Rana Shankar, who is the uncle of the rebel Amar, and in my kingdom is among the high nobles, had built a Deohara of great magnificence, on which 100,000 rupees had been spent. I went to see that temple. I found a form cut out of black stone, which from the neck above was in the shape of a pig's head, and the rest of the body was like that of a man. The worthless religion of the Hindus
is this, that once on a time for some particular object the Supreme Ruler thought it necessary to show himself in this shape; on this account they hold it dear and worship it. I ordered them to break that hideous form and throw it into the tank. After looking at this building there appeared a white dome on the top of a hill, to which men were coming from all quarters. When I asked about this they said that a Jogi lived there, and when the simpletons come to see him he places in their hands a handful of flour, which they put into their mouths and imitate the cry of an animal which these fools have at some time injured, in order that by this act their sins may be blotted out. I ordered them to break down that place and turn the Jogi out of it, as well as to destroy the form of an idol
there was in the dome
Ajmer, Pushkar (Rajasthan) , Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, translated into English by Alexander Rogers, first published 1909-1914, New Delhi
Reprint, 1978, Vol. I, pp. 254-55.
'On the 24th of the same month I went to see the fort of Kangra, and gave an order that the Qazi, the Chief Justice (Mir'Adl), and other learned men of Islam should accompany me and carry out in the fort whatever was customary, according to the religion of Muhammad. Briefly, having traversed about one koss, I went up to the top of the fort, and by the grace of God, the call to prayer and the reading of the Khutba and the slaughter of a bullock which had not taken place from the commencement of the building of the fort till now, were carried out in my presence. I prostrated myself in thanksgiving for this great gift, which no king had hoped to receive, and ordered a lofty mosque to be built inside the fort' ....'After going round the fort I went to see the temple
of Durga, which is known as Bhawan. A world has here wandered in the desert of error. Setting aside the infidels whose custom is the worship of idols, crowds of the people of Islam, traversing long distances, bring their offerings and pray to the black stone
(image)' Some maintain that this stone, which is now a place of worship for the vile infidels, is not the stone
which was there originally, but that a body of the people of Islam came and carried off the original stone, and threw it into the bottom of the river, with the intent that no one could get at it. For a long time the tumult of the infidels and idol-worshippers had died away in the world, till a lying brahman hid a stone
for his own ends, and going to the Raja of the time said: 'I saw Durga in a dream, and she said to me: They have thrown me into a certain place: quickly go and take me up.' The Raja, in the simplicity of his heart, and greedy for the offerings of gold
that would come to him, accepted the tale of the brahman and sent a number of people with him, and brought that stone, and kept it in this place with honour, and started again the shop of error and misleading
Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) , Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, translated into English by Alexander Rogers, first published 1909-1914, New Delhi
Reprint, 1978, Vol. II, pp. 223-25.
'I am here led to relate that at the city of Banaras a temple
had been erected by Rajah Maun Singh, which cost him the sum of nearly thirty-six laks of five methkally ashrefies. The principle idol
in this temple
had on its head a tiara or cap, enriched with jewels to the amount of three laks ashrefies. He had placed in this temple
moreover, as the associates and ministering servants of the principal idol, four other images of solid gold, each crowned with a tiara, in the like manner enriched with precious stones. It was the belief of these Jehennemites that a dead Hindu, provided when alive he had been a worshipper, when laid before this idol
would be restored to life. As I could not possibly give credit to such a pretence, I employed a confidential person to ascertain the truth; and, as I justly supposed, the whole was detected to be an impudent imposture. Of this discovery I availed myself, and I made it my plea for throwing down the temple
which was the scene of this imposture and on the spot, with the very same materials, I erected the great mosque, because the very name of Islam was proscribed at Banaras, and with God's blessing it is my design, if I live, to fill it full with true believers.'
- Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) , Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, translated into English by Major David Price, Calcutta, 1906. pp. 24-25. , "Decisions Involving Urban Planning and Religious Institutions"
- Different translation: I made it my plea for throwing down the temple which was the scene of this imposture; and on the spot, with the very same materials, I erected the great mosque, because the very name of Islam was proscribed at Banaras, and with God’s blessing it is my design, if I live, to fill it full with true believers.
In the very first year of his reign, he [Jahangir] tortured Guru Arjun Dev to death. His contempt for Hindus
comes out clearly in his Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri: “A Hindu
named Arjun lived in Govindwal on the bank of river Beas in the garb of a saint and in ostentation. From all sides cowboys and idiots became his fast followers. The business had flourished for three or four generations. For a long time it had been in my mind to put a stop to this dukan-e-batil (mart of falsehood) or to bring him into the fold of Islam.” According to other accounts, he asked the Guru to include some surahs of the Quran in the adi Grantha, which the Guru refused to do. In the eighth year of his reign, he destroyed the temple
of Bhagwat at Ajmer. He persecuted the Jains in Gujarat, and ordered that Jain
monks should not be seen in his kingdom on pain of death. Finally, he sent Murtaza Khan to Kangra for reducing that city of temples. The siege lasted for 20 months at the end of which he himself went to Kangra for slaughtering cows in that sacred place of Hindus, and building a mosque where none had existed before.
Goel, S. R. (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India.
The common people (live in) poverty so great and miserable that the life of the people can be depicted or accurately described only as the home of stark want and dwelling place of bitter woe.
Reference is to a remark of Francisco Pelsaert, who visited the Mughal court in India in the time of Jahangir. Quoted in The position of Hindus
under the Delhi
Sultanate, 1206-1526 by Kanhaiya Lall Srivastava, quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu
mind: Ideological development of Hindu
revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 390
“Perhaps these in stances [Mewar, Kangra, and Ajmer] made a contemporary poet of his court sing his praises as the great Muslim emperor who converted temples
Badshah-Nama Badshah Nama cited by Sri Ram Sharma, p. 63. Sharma, Sri Ram, Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors, Bombay, 1962.
“One day at Ahmadabad it was reported that many of the infidel and superstitious sect of the Seoras (Jains) of Gujarat had made several very great and splendid temples, and having placed in them their false gods, had managed to secure a large degree of respect for themselves and that the women
who went for worship in those temples
were polluted by them and other people… The Emperor Jahangir ordered them banished from the country, and their temples
to be, demolished. Their idol
was thrown down on the uppermost step of the mosque, that it might be trodden upon by those who came to say their daily prayers there. By this order of the Emperor, the infidels were exceedingly disgraced, and Islam exalted…”
Ahmadabad (Gujarat) Intikhab-i-Jahangir Shabi Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own historians, Vol. VI, p. 451.
“The Emperor by the divine guidance, had always in view to extirpate all the rebels in his dominions, to destroy all infidels root and branch, and to raze all Pagan temples
level to the ground. Endowed with a heavenly power, he devoted all his exertions to the promulgation of the Muhammadan religion; and through the aid of the Almighty God, and by the strength of his sword, he used all his endeavours to enlarge his dominions and promote the religion of Muhammad…”
Nagarkot Kangra (Himachal Pradesh). Shash Fath-i-Kañgra Elliot and Dowson. History of India as told by its own historians, Vol. VI, p. 528.
For towards the close of my father’s reign,... availing himself of the influence which by some means or other he had acquired, he [Abul Fazzel] so wrought upon the mind of his master [that is, Akbar], as to instil into him the belief that the seal and asylum of prophecy, to whom the devotion of a thousand lives such as mine would be a sacrifice too inadequate to speak of, was no more to be thought of than as an Arab of singular eloquence, and that the sacred inspirations recorded in the Koran were nothing else but fabrications invented by the ever-blessed Mahommed.... Actuated by these reasons it was that I employed the man who killed Abul Fazzel and brought his head to me, and for this it was that I incurred my father’s deep displeasure.
Memoirs of the Emperor Jahangueir, written by himself; and translated from a Persian manuscript, by Major David Price (Oriental Translation Committee, 1829), Quoted from Spencer, Robert
(2018). The history of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS.
During the reign of my father, the ministers of religion and students of law and literature, to the number of two and three thousand, in the principal cities of the empire, were already allowed pensions from the state; and to these, in conformity with the regulations established by my father, I directed Miran Sadr Jahan (spelling normalised) one of the noblest among the Seyeds of Herat, to allot a subsistence corresponding with their situation; and this is not only to the subjects of my own realms, but to foreigners - to natives of Persia, Roum, Bokhara, and Azerbaijan, with strict charge that this class of men should not be permitted either want or inconvenience of any type.
Tarikh-i-Salim Shahi, p. 16. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5
Jahangir, when a prince, at one time intended demolishing some of the Hindu temples at Banaras but desisted there from on Man Singh's intervention. In his reign conversions to Islam were encouraged, conversions back from Islam to Hinduism were punished. When he visited Kangra, he celebrated the Muslim occupation of the fort by desecrating its famous temple. At Pushkar he broke the image of Varaha and a bull was sacrificed to signify the victory of Islam over idolatry.
Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 2
Both Akbar and Jahangir sent to the religious men of Persia, Rum and Azarbaijan subsistence allowance on the principle: "Wealth is from God... and these are his servants", be they in Hindustan or any other Muslim country.169
Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5
Jahangir in the seventeenth century confessed that “the number of the turbulent and the disaffected never seems to diminish; for what with the examples made during the reign of my father, and subsequently of my own, …there is scarcely a province in the empire in which, in one quarter or the other, some accursed miscreant will not spring up to unfurl the standard of rebellion; so that in Hindustan never has there existed a period of complete repose.”
Tarikh-i-Salim Shahi, trs. Price, 225-26. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 6
In the seventeenth century, Jahangir writes in his Memoirs that after the third year of his accession, “I demanded in marriage the daughter of Jagat Singh, eldest son of Raja Man Singh (of Amer).” Raja Ram Chandra Bundela was defeated, imprisoned, and subsequently released by Jahangir.28 Later on, says Jahangir, “I took the daughter of Ram Chandra Bandilah into my service (i.e. married her).”
Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 12
Immediately after Akbar’s death “Mulla Shah Ahmad, one of the greatest religious leaders of the age, wrote to various court dignitaries exhorting them to get this state of things altered in the very beginning of (Jahangir’s) reign because otherwise it would be difficult to accomplish anything later on.”
V.A. Smith, Akbar the Great Mogul, p.233. Smith writes on the authority of Du Jarric, III, p.133. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4
“I am compelled to observe, with whatever regret, that notwithstanding the frequent and sanguinary executions which have been dealt among the people of Hindustan, the number of the turbulent and disaffected never seems to diminish; for what with the examples made during the reign of my father, and subsequently of my own, there is scarcely a province in the empire in which, either in battle or by the sword of the executioner, five or six hundred thousand human beings have not, at various periods, fallen victims to this fatal disposition to discontent and turbulence. Ever and anon, in one quarter or another, will some accursed miscreant spring up to unfurl the standard of rebellion; so that in Hindustan never has there existed a period of complete repose.”
Tarikh-i-Salim Shahi, trs. Price, pp 225-26. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 7
But with the passing of time, a peasant became a tribal and from tribal a beast. William Finch, writing at Agra about 1610 C.E., describes how Jahangir and his nobles treated them - during Shikar. A favourite form of sport in Mughal India was the Kamargha, which consisted in enclosing a tract of country by a line of guards, and then gradually contracting the enclosure until a large quantity of game was encircled in a space of convenient size. “Whatever is taken in this enclosure” (Kamargha or human circle), writes Finch, “is called the king’s shikar or game, whether men or beasts… The beasts taken, if man’s meat, are sold… if men they remain the King’s slaves, which he sends yearly to Kabul to barter for horses and dogs: these being poor, miserable, thievish people, that live in woods and deserts, little differing from beasts.”89 W.H. Moreland adds: “Other writer (also) tell it besides Finch.”
Finch, William, quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 7
Jahangir ordered that “a government collector or Jagirdar should not without permission intermarry with the people of the pargana in which he might be” for abduction and forced marriages were common enough.
Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, I, p. 9. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 7
When Jahangir learnt that the Hindus and Muslims intermarried freely in Kashmir, “and both give and take girls, (he ordered that) taking them is good but giving them, God forbid”. And any violation of this order was to be visited with capital punishment.
Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, II, p. 181. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 8
“Of the whole population of Hindustan it is notorious that five parts in six are composed of Hindus, the adorers of images, and the whole concerns of trade and manufacture… are entirely under the management of these classes. Were it, therefore, ever so much my desire to convert them to the true faith, it would be impossible, otherwise than through excision of millions of men… but the massacre of a whole people can never be any business of mine.”
Tarikh-i-Salim Shahi (Calcutta Edition), (According to K.S. Lal, some scholars hold that this work is a fabrication and does not comprise the real Memoirs of Jahangir), quoted from Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian muslims: Who are they.
“In Hindustan, especially in the province of Sylhet, which is a dependency of Bengal, it was the custom for the people of those parts to make eunuchs of some of their sons and give them to the governor in place of revenue (mal-wajibi)… This custom by degrees has been adopted in other provinces and every year some children are thus ruined and cut off from procreation. This practice has become common.”
Jahangir, Tuzuk, I, 150-51. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 9
There was a Hindu named Arjan in Gobindwal on the banks of the Beas River. Pretending to be a spiritual guide, he had won over as devotees many simple-minded Indians and even some ignorant, stupid Muslims by broadcasting his claims to be a saint. They called him guru. Many fools from all around had recourse to him and believed in him implicitly. For three or four generations they had been peddling this same stuff. For a long time I had been thinking that either this false trade should be eliminated or that he should be brought into the embrace of Islam. At length, when Khusraw passed by there, this inconsequential little fellow wished to pay homage to Khusraw. When Khusraw stopped at his residence, [Arjan] came out and had an interview with [Khusraw]. Giving him some elementary spiritual precepts picked up here and there, he made a mark with saffron on his forehead, which is called qashqa in the idiom of the Hindus and which they consider lucky. When this was reported to me, I realized how perfectly false he was and ordered him brought to me. I awarded his houses and dwellings and those of his children to Murtaza Khan, and I ordered his possessions and goods confiscated and him executed.
– Emperor Jahangir's Memoirs, Jahangirnama 27b-28a, (Translator: Wheeler M. Thackston) Jahangir, Emperor of Hindustan (1999). The Jahangirnama: Memoirs of Jahangir, Emperor of India
. Oxford University Press. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-19-512718-8
. (Also quoted with different translation in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited. )
Before that kãfir [Guru Arjun Deva] was executed this recluse [meaning himself] had seen in a dream that the reigning king had smashed the skull of idolatry. Indeed, he was a great idolater, and the leader of the idolaters, and the chief of unbelievers. May Allah blast him! The Holy Prophet who is the ruler of religion as well as the world, has cursed the idolaters as follows in some of his prayers – “O Allah, demean their society, create divisions in their ranks, destroy their homes, and get at them like the mighty one.”
Maktûbãt-i-Imãm Rabbãnî translated into Urdu by Maulana Muhammad Sa’id Ahmad Naqshbandi, Deoband, 1988, Volume I. Quoted in Sita Ram Goel: Muslim Separatism - Causes and Consequences.
After Akbar’s death, Islamization was gradually revived during the subsequent reigns of Jahangir and Shahjahan. On Emperor Jahangir, seen as a liberal and kind-hearted ruler, records Shash Fath-I Kangra that ‘he devoted all his exertions to the promulgation of the Muhammadan religion...’ and that his ‘whole efforts were always directed to the extinguishing of the fire of Paganism...’
Elliot & Dawson, Vol. VI, p. 528–29 (quoted in Khan, M. A. (2011). Islamic Jihad: A legacy of forced conversion, imperialism and slavery.
According to Intikhab-I Jahangir Shahi, when Jains in Gujarat built splendid temples, attracting many devotees, ‘Emperor Jahangir ordered them to be banished from the country and their temples to be demolished. Their idols were thrown down on the uppermost step of the mosque, so that it might be trodden upon’ by Muslim worshippers.
Elliot & Dawson, Vol. VI, p. 451 (quoted in Khan, M. A. (2011). Islamic Jihad: A legacy of forced conversion, imperialism and slavery.)
“The sect of the Sewras exists in most of the cities of India, but is especially numerous in Gujarat. As the Banyans are the chief traders there, consequently the Sewras also are plentiful. Besides making idol-temples for them, they have built houses for them to dwell in and to worship in. In fact, these houses are the headquarters of sedition. The Banyans send their wives and daughters to the Sewras, who have no shame or modesty. All kinds of strife and audacity are perpetrated by them. I therefore ordered that the Sewras should be expelled, and I circulated Farmans to the effect that wherever there were Sewras in my empire they should be turned out.” ( Memoirs of Jahangir, translated by Alexander Rogers, Preface by Henry Beveridge)
Generals under the command of Jahangir
As an example, the exploits of one of Jahangir’s commanders, Abdullah Khan Uzbeg Firoz Jung, can provide an idea of the excessive cruelty perpetrated by the government. Peter Mundy, who travelled from Agra to Patna in 1632 saw, during his four days’ journey, 200 minars (pillars) on which a total of about 7000 heads were fixed with mortar. On his way back four months later, he noticed that meanwhile another 60 minars with between 2000 and 2400 heads had been added and that the erection of new ones had not yet stopped. Abdullah Khan’s force of 12,000 horse and 20,000 foot destroyed, in the Kalpi-Kanauj area, all towns, took all their goods, their wives and children as slaves and beheaded and ‘immortered’ the chiefest of their men.
Mundy, Travels, II, pp. 90, 185, 186. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 7
Abdulla Khan Uzbeg’s force of 12,000 horse and 20,000 foot destroyed, in the Kalpi-Kanauj area alone, all towns, took all their goods, their wives and children as slaves and beheaded and ‘immortered’ (fixed heads with mortar in walls and pillars) the chiefest of their men. No wonder he once declared that “I made prisoners of five lacs of men and women and sold them. They all became Muhammadans. From their progeny there will be crores by the day of judgement.”
Shah Nawaz Khan, Maasir-ul-Umara, I, 105. quoted from K.S. Lal, Muslim slave system in medieval India, chapter 6
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