Shah Jahan (1627-1658)
When Shah Jahan ascended the throne in Agra his position was secure and unchallenged.
Yet the affairs of the empire needed attention. The Afghan Pir Lodi, with the title Khanjahan, who had been governor of the southern provinces of the empire was hostile.
Despite Shah Jahan’s order transferring him from the government of the Deccan, he aligned with Murtaza Nizam Shah II, the Sultan of Ahmed-Nagar, and conspired against Shah Jahan.
As the situation turned serious, Shah Jahan proceeded to the Deccan in person.
The newly appointed governor of the Deccan, Iradat Khan, who received the title Azam Khan led the imperial army and invaded the Balaghat.
Seeing the devastation caused by the imperial troops, Murtaza changed his attitude towards Khanjahan.
Khanjahan thereupon fled from Daulatabad into Malwa, but was pursued and finally slain.
Peace thus having been restored in the Deccan, Shah Jahan left the Deccan after dividing it into four provinces: Ahmednagar with Daulatabad; Khandesh; Berar; and Telangana.
The viceroyalty of the four provinces was conferred by Shah Jahan on his son Aurangzeb, then eighteen years of age.
Thus the Deccan was brought under the effective control of the Mughal empire during the reign of Shah Jahan.
Ahmad Nagar, which offered resistance to the Mughals, was annexed despite the efforts of Malik Ambar.
Shah Jahan, with the help of Mahabat Khan, subdued the Nizam Shahi rulers of Ahmad Nagar in When the Shi’ite Qutub Shahi ruler of Golkonda imprisoned his own minister Mir Jumla it was used as a pretext by Aurangzeb to invade Golkonda.
A treaty made the Qutub Shahi ruler a vassal of the Mughal empire.
In 1638 Shah Jahan made use of the political intrigues in the Persian empire and annexed Kandahar, conquered by Akbar and lost by Jahangir.
The Portuguese had authority over Goa under their viceroy.
In Bengal, they had their chief settlements in faraway Hugli.
Shah Jahan ordered the Mughal Governor of Bengal, to drive out the Portuguese from their settlement at Hugli.
About 200 Portuguese at Hugli owned nearly 600 Indian slaves.
They had forced many of them to be baptised into the Christian faith. Moreover, Portuguese gunners from Goa had assisted the Bijapur forces against the Mughals.
Though the Portuguese defended themselves valiantly, they were easily defeated. In 1641, Shah Jahan’s minister and father-in-law Asaf Khan died.
Asaf Khan’s sister and Shah Jahan’s old enemy Nur Jahan survived until December 1645, but lived in retirement and never caused him trouble again.
A contemporary of Louis XIV of France, Shah Jahan ruled for thirty years.
In his reign, the famous Peacock Throne was made for the King.
He built the Taj Mahal by the side of the Yamuna at Agra.
Europeans like Bernier (French physician and traveller), Tavernier (French gem merchant and traveller), Mandelslo (German adventurer and traveller), Peter Mundy (English Trader) and Manucci (Italian writer and traveller) visited India during the reign of Shah Jahan and left behind detailed accounts of India.
During the last days of Shah Jahan, there was a contest for the throne amongst his four sons.
Dara Shukoh, the eldest, was the favourite of his father. He had been nominated as heir apparent, a fact resented by his brothers. Aurangzeb, the third son, was astute, determined and unscrupulous.
Dara professed the Sunni religion but was deeply interested in Sufism.
A war of succession broke out between the four sons of Shah Jahan in which Aurangzeb emerged victoriously.
Aurangzeb imprisoned Shah Jahan and crowned himself as the Mughal emperor.
Shah Jahan died broken-hearted as a royal prisoner in January 1666 and was buried in the Taj Mahal next to his wife.