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JAHANGIR, NUR LJD-DIN MUHAMMAD

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JAHANGIR, NUR LJDDIN MUHAMMAD (1569-1627), fourth Mughal emperor of Delhi. Born SalTm, he assumed at his accession the title of Jahangir, Conqueror of the World. During his father`s Dcc^an campaign of 1598-99, he had planned a rebellion, but in 1604 the father and son were reconciled, and the latter was made viceroy of southern and western India and allowed to live in Agra as heir apparent. Jahangir, crowned king on 24 October 1605, was possessed of many natural abilities and was a lover of art and literature, but he turned out to be a capricious ruler who gradually allowed his Persian wife, NurJahan, to take the reins of government into her hands. Jahangir was not liberal like his father, Akbar.

In his early years on the throne, lie depended more on the orthodox section among his courtiers.This coterie was under the influence of Shaikh Ahmad of Sirhind (d. 1624), leader of the Naqashbandi order of Sufis, whose one aim was to have Emperor Akbar`s policy of religious neutrality and eclecticism reversed. The Sikh order was the first to bear the burnt of Jahangir`s hostility. Jahangir felt especially alarmed at the growing popularity of Guru Arjan. As he wrote in his Tuzk: "At last when Khusrau [his son] passed along this road, this insignificant fellow [Guru Arjan] proposed to wait upon him. Khusrau happened to halt at the place where he was, and he came out and did homage to him.

He behaved towards Khusrau in certain special ways and placed on his forehead a fingermark in saffron which the Indians call qashqd and consider to be propitious. So many of the simpleminded Hindus, nay, many foolish Muslims too had been fascinated by the Guru`s way and teaching... For many years the thought had been presenting itself to my mind that either I should put an end to this false traffic, or that [he] be brought into the fold of Islam." Jahangir found an excuse within a few months of his accession. The meeting his rebel son Khusrau had with Guru Arjan at Goindval was made the ground for imposing a heavy fine on Guru Arjan. Upon his refusal to pay any fine, he was taken into custody.

Jahangir further wrote in his memoirs: "I fully knew of his heresies, and I ordered that he should be brought into my presence, that his property be confiscated, and that he should be put to death with torture." The Guru was taken to Lahore where he was subjected to extreme physical torment for several days until he passed away on 30 May 1606. Guru Hargobind was also a victim of Jahangir`s bigotry. He was arrested and detained in the fort at Gwalior. There he remained for a few months sometime between 1617 and 1619. After he was released, Jahangir`s attitude towards him became more friendly and Sikh chronicles even mention of their having taken out a trip together to Kashmir. Jahangir died in October 1627 and lies buried in the gardens of Shahdara on the outskirts of Lahore.

References :

1. Gurhilds PStshahi Chhmln. Patiala, 1970
2. Ganda Singh, Guru. Arjan `.< Martyrdom Reinterpreted. Patiala, 1969
3. Bcveridge, Henry, ed., The `f`uzuk-i-Jahfingin. Delhi, 1978
4. Sharma, Sri Ram, Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors. Bombay, 1962
5. Smith, Vincent, The Oxford History of India. Oxford, 1958
6. Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, vol. I. Princeton, 1963
7. IIarbans Singh, The Heritage of the Sikhs. Delhi, 1983

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