KHUSRAU, PRINCE (1587-1622), the eldest son of Prince Salim (later Emperor Jahanglr) from Man Bai (later Shah Bcgam), daughter of Raja Bhagvan Das of Amber, was born at Lahore on 6 August 1587. His grandfather, Emperor Akbar, had him brought up in the liberal tradition, entrusting his education to teachers, such asAbu`1Fazl and Abu`lKhair. Sheo Daft, a scholar of distinction, instructed him in Hindu religious thought and philosophy. Under the influence of these teachers and of his mother and Raja Man Singh, who acted as his guardian for sometime, Khusrau developed an eclectic interest in religion. His amiable disposition won him the favour of his grandfather and the goodwill of the liberal party at the court.
But as relations between the Emperor and Prince Salim became strained, Khusrau was driven into an unseemly conflict with his father as a rival for succession to the throne. During Akbar`s absence in the South in 1599-1601, Salim openly rebelled and started holding court at Allahabad. In August 1602, he had Abu`1Fazl, his father`s trusted friend and counsellor, killed through a hired assassin. Saltm`s excessive indulgence in wine was also a cause of distress to his father, especially after the death from the effects of alcohol of his second son, DanTyal, in April 1604.
His third son, Murad, had met with a similar fate in May 1599. In this situation, Khusrau came to be considered by a section of tlie nobles headed by Raja Man Singh and Mir/a `A/i/ Koka, to whose daughter (lie young prince had been married, as a natural successor to Akbar.Distressed at the tension that liad developed between the father and the son, Khusrau`s mother, Shah Bcgam, committed suicide on 16 May 1604. Salim, recalled to the court in November 1604, was reconciled to his father who, shortly before his death on 17 October 1605, appointed him his successor.
Salim, now Emperor Jahangir, placed Khusrau under strict surveillance at Agra from where they latter escaped on 6 April 1606 and hurried towards the Punjab with only 350 horsemen, augmented at Mathura by another contingent of 300 horse. The fugitive prince during his flight from Agra to Lahore, in April 1606, met Guru Arjan, probably at Tarn Taran. According to Sarup Das Bhalla, Mahima Prakash, “He was in serious trouble. The Guru extended to him hospitality of Guru ka Larigar.
Spending the night there, lie resumed his journey.” The Guru`s detractors headed by Ghandu . Shah, a revenue official at the court, incited the Emperor, while lie was still in Lahore, against him (the Guru) alleging that he had given help to the rebel prince and blessed him putting a mark of royalty on his forehead. JahangTr, who, according to what lie records in his autobiography, resolved “to put an end to his preachings or bring him to the fold of Islam,” summoned Guru Arjan to Ins court and ordered his execution with confiscation of his property. The Guru was consequently tortured to death.
Khusrau himself was captured on 27 April 1606 at Shahpur ferry on the River Ghenab. Following an abortive attempt to escape, lie was blinded. In October 1616, he was transferred from the custody of Ani Rai Singh, a Rajput noble sympathetic to the prisoner, to that of Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jahari and father in law of Prince Khurram (later Emperor Shah Jahari), the ambitious third son of Jahangir. In November 1620, Khurram secured the possession of the person of Khusrau, and had him done to death on 29 January 1622.
1. Bhalla, Sarup Das, Mahima Prakash. Paliala, 1971
2. Smith, Vincent, The Oxford History of India. Oxford, 1958
3. Lalif, Syad Muhammad, History of the Punjab. Delhi, 1964
4. Klinshwant Singli, A tlisto-i-y of tin` Sikh.v, vol.1., Plinceton, 1963
5. Harbans Singh, The Hi-iitngr of thf Sikhs. Delhi, 19H3 K.A.N.