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Shahabuddin Muhammad Shah Jahan (15 January 1592 – 31 January 1666) was the fifth Mughal Emperor of India from 1628 to 1658. Born Prince Khurram, he was the son of Emperor Jahangir and his Hindu Rajput wife, Taj Bibi Bilqis Makani (13 May 1573 – 18 April 1619).

He was chosen as successor to the throne after the death of his father in 1627. He was considered one of the greatest Mughals of the Timur family. Like his grandfather, Akbar, he was eager to expand his vast empire. In 1658, he fell ill and was confined by his son and successor Aurangzeb in Agra Fort until his death in 1666.

The period of his reign was considered the golden age of Mughal architecture. Shah Jahan erected many monuments, the best known of which is the Taj Mahal at Agra, built in 1632–1654 as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Early life

Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, hunting lions at Burhanpur.
Born in January 1592, Shah ab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram was the third son born to Emperor Jahangir; his mother was a Rajput princess from Marwar called Princess Manmati (her official name in Mughal chronicles was Bilquis Makani). The name “Khurram” was chosen for the young prince by his grandfather, Emperor Akbar, with whom the young prince shared a close relationship.

Marriage

In 1607, Khurram became engaged to Arjumand Banu Begum (1593–1631), who is also known as Mumtaz Mahal. They met in their youth. They were about 14 and 15 when they engaged, and five years later they got married. The young girl belonged to an illustrious Persian noble family which had been serving Mughal Emperors since the reign of Akbar, the family’s patriarch was Mirza Ghiyas Beg, who was also known by his title I’timād-ud-Daulah or “Pillar of the State”. He had been Jahangir’s finance minister and his son; Asaf Khan – Arjumand Banu’s father – played an important role in the Mughal court, eventually serving as Chief Minister. Her aunt was the Empress Nur Jahan and is thought to have played matchmaker in arranging the marriage.

Military commander
The first occasion for Khurram to test out his military prowess was during the Mughal campaign against the Rajput state of Mewar, which had been a hostile force to the Mughals since Akbar’s reign. In 1614, commanding an army numbering around 200,000, Khurram began the offensive against the Rajput kingdom. After a year of the harsh war of attrition, Maharana Amar Singh II surrendered to the Mughal forces with the condition that Ruler of Mewar is not required to attend Mughal Durbar and became a vassal state of the Mughal Empire.

Rebel prince

Inheritance of power and wealth in the Mughal empire was not determined through primogeniture, but by princely sons competing to achieve military successes and consolidating their power at court. This often led to rebellions and wars of succession. As a result, a complex political climate surrounded the Mughal court in Khurram’s formative years. In 1611 his father married Nur Jahan, the widowed daughter of a Persian noble. She rapidly became an important member of Jahangir’s court and, together with her brother Asaf Khan, wielded considerable influence. Arjumand was Asaf Khan’s daughter and her marriage to Khurram consolidated Nur Jahan and Asaf Khan’s positions at court.

Emperor (1628–1658)
Administration of the Mughal Empire
Evidence from the reign of Shah Jahan states that in 1648 the army consisted of 911,400 infantry, musketeers, and artillery men, and 185,000 Sowars commanded by princes and nobles.

During his reign the Marwari horse was introduced, becoming Shah Jahan’s favorite, and various Mughal cannons were mass-produced in the Jaigarh Fort. Under his rule, the empire became a huge military machine and the nobles and their contingents multiplied almost fourfold, as did the demands for more revenue from the peasantry. But due to his measures in the financial and commercial fields, it was a period of general stability—the administration was centralized and court affairs systematized.
Rajput Revolutionaries
Shah Jahan annexed the Rajput confederates of Baglana, Mewar and Bundelkhand. He then chose his 16-year-old son Aurangzeb to serve in his place and subdue the rebellion by the Bundela Rajputs led by the renegade Jhujhar Singh.

Relations with the Deccan Sultanates
Shah Jahan captured the fortress at Daulatabad, Maharashtra, in 1632, and imprisoned Husain Shah of the Nizam Shahi Kingdom of Ahmednagar. Golconda submitted in 1635 and then Bijapur in 1636. Shah Jahan appointed Aurangzeb as Viceroy of the Deccan, consisting of Khandesh, Berar, Telangana, and Daulatabad. During his viceroyalty, Aurangzeb conquered Baglana, then Golconda in 1656, and then Bijapur in 1657.[18]:170–171
Rajput Revolutionaries
Shah Jahan annexed the Rajput confederates of Baglana, Mewar and Bundelkhand. He then chose his 16-year-old son Aurangzeb to serve in his place and subdue the rebellion by the Bundela Rajputs led by the renegade Jhujhar Singh.Khan Dauran, a commander of the Mughal Army executes the rebel leader Jhujhar Singh and his son Bikramajit.

Relations with the Deccan Sultanates

Shah Jahan captured the fortress at Daulatabad, Maharashtra, in 1632, and imprisoned Husain Shah of the Nizam Shahi Kingdom of Ahmednagar. Golconda submitted in 1635 and then Bijapur in 1636. Shah Jahan appointed Aurangzeb as Viceroy of the Deccan, consisting of Khandesh, Berar, Telangana, and Daulatabad. During his viceroyalty, Aurangzeb conquered Baglana, then Golconda in 1656, and then Bijapur in 1657.

Relations with the Ottoman Empire
While he was encamped in Baghdad, the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV is known to have met the Shah Jahan’s ambassadors: Mir Zarif and Mir Baraka, who presented 1000 pieces of finely embroidered cloth and even armor. Murad IV presented them with the finest weapons, saddles and Kaftans and ordered his forces to accompany the Mughals to the port of Basra, where they set sail to Thatta and finally Surat.

War with Portuguese
Shah Jahan gave orders in 1631 to Qasim Khan, the Mughal viceroy of Bengal, to drive out the Portuguese from their trading post at Port Hoogly. The post was heavily armed with cannons, battleships, fortified walls, and other instruments of war. The Portuguese were accused of trafficking by high Mughal officials and due to commercial competition the Mughal-controlled port of Saptagram began to slump. Shah Jahan was particularly outraged by the activities of Jesuits in that region, notably when they were accused of abducting peasants. On 25 September 1632 the Mughal Army raised imperial banners and gained control over the Bandel region and the renegade garrison was punished.

Patronage of the arts
Shah Jahan also intended to construct his capitol at Agra as an urban center that would rival both Istanbul and Isfahan in all its wealth and cultural opulence.

Shah Jahan’s reign saw some of India’s most well-known architectural and artistic accomplishments. The land revenue of the Mughal Empire under Shah Jahan was higher than that of any other Mughal ruler. The magnificence of his court was commented upon by several European travelers and by ambassadors from other parts of the world, including Francois Bernier and Thomas Roe.
Religious attitude

Shah Jahan leading the Mughal Army, in the upper left War elephants bear emblems of the legendary Zulfiqar.
Shah Jahan was a more radical in his thinking than his father and grandfather. Upon his accession, he adopted new policies which reversed Akbar’s treatment of non-Muslims. In 1633, his sixth regnal year, Shah Jahan began to impose his interpretation of Sharia provisions against construction or repair of churches and temples and subsequently ordered the demolitions of newly built Hindu temples. He celebrated Islamic festivals with great pomp and grandeur and with an enthusiasm unfamiliar to his predecessors. Long-dormant royal interest in the Holy Cities was also revived during his reign.

Later life

When Shah Jahan became ill in 1658, Dara Shikoh (Mumtaz Mahal’s eldest son) assumed the role of regent in his father’s stead, which swiftly incurred the animosity of his brothers. Upon learning of his assumption of the regency, his younger brothers, Shuja, Viceroy of Bengal, and Murad Baksh, Viceroy of Gujarat, declared their independence, and marched upon Agra in order to claim their riches.

Contributions to architecture
Shah Jahan left behind a grand legacy of structures constructed during his reign. He was one of the greatest patrons of Mughal architecture. His most famous building was the Taj Mahal, which he built out of love for his wife, the empress Mumtaz Mahal.

Its structure was drawn with great care and architects from all over the world were called for this purpose. The building took twenty years to complete and was constructed from white marble underlaid with brick. Upon his death, his son Aurangzeb had him interred in it next to Mumtaz Mahal. Among his other constructions are the Red Fort also called the Delhi Fort or Lal Qila in Urdu, large sections of Agra Fort, the Jama Masjid, the Wazir Khan Mosque, the Moti Masjid, the Shalimar Gardens, sections of the Lahore Fort, the Jahangir mausoleum—his father’s tomb, the construction of which was overseen by his stepmother Nur Jahan and the Shahjahan Mosque. He also had the Peacock Throne, Takht e Taus, made to celebrate his rule. Shah Jahan also placed profound verses of the Quran on his masterpieces of architecture

Contributions to architecture
Shah Jahan left behind a grand legacy of structures constructed during his reign. He was one of the greatest patrons of Mughal architecture. His most famous building was the Taj Mahal, which he built out of love for his wife, the empress Mumtaz Mahal.

Its structure was drawn with great care and architects from all over the world were called for this purpose. The building took twenty years to complete and was constructed from white marble underlaid with brick. Upon his death, his son Aurangzeb had him interred in it next to Mumtaz Mahal. Among his other constructions are the Red Fort also called the Delhi Fort or Lal Qila in Urdu, large sections of Agra Fort, the Jama Masjid, the Wazir Khan Mosque, the Moti Masjid, the Shalimar Gardens, sections of the Lahore Fort, the Jahangir mausoleum—his father’s tomb, the construction of which was overseen by his stepmother Nur Jahan and the Shahjahan Mosque. He also had the Peacock Throne, Takht e Taus, made to celebrate his rule. Shah Jahan also placed profound verses of the Quran on his masterpieces of architecture
Coins
Shah Jahan Continued striking coins in three metals i.e Gold(mohur), Silver(rupee) and Copper(dam). His pre accession coins bear the name Khurram.
Full title

Shahanshah Al-Sultan al-‘Azam wal Khaqan al-Mukarram Malik-ul-Sultanat Ala Hazrat Abu’l-Muzaffar Shahab ud-din Muhammad Shah Jahan I Sahib-i-Qiran-i-Sani Padshah Ghazi Zillu’llah Firdaus-Ashiyani Shahanshah—E—Sultanant Ul Hindiya Wal Mughaliya