Internal Revolts among the Mughals: Jahangir with Akbar & Khusrau with Jahangir

Mughal Emperor Akbar's eldest son was born to him (Aug 31, 1569) with the blessings of a Sufi saint named Salim Chisti. The Saint had promised Akbar three sons; the following year his son Murad (Pahry) was born and two years later his son Daniyal. As a mark of admiration to Salim Chishti, Akbar named his eldest son Salim. "When my mother came near the time of her delivery, my father sent her to the Shaikh's house that I might be born there. After my birth they gave me the name of Sultan Salim, but I never heard my father call me Muhammad Salim or Sultan Salim, but always Shaikhu Baba", Jahangir says. Akbar built Fatehpur Sikri, (the city of victory) at Agra, in honor of Shaikh Salim Chishti (1571), which served as the capital of the Empire from 1571-1585. (Due to inadequate water supplies Sikri was abandoned in 1585 and Lahore became the new capital. In 1599, Akbar again shifted his capital back to Agra).

Nur-ud-din Muhammad Salim, the Fourth Mughal Emperor of India (1605-1627):


After the death of Akbar, Salim ascended the throne at Agra on 24th Oct, 1605, with the title Jahangir, which means "Conqueror of the World". He was most famous for his Chain of Justice. Standing outside the fort of Agra with sixty bells, anyone in trouble could pull the chain and have a personal hearing from the Emperor. Jahangir was very fond of mangoes and flowers of India. He was a great patron of arts and under him, the Mughal painting reached its climax. Unfortunately, excessive drinking has affected his health and he died on 28th Oct, 1627, on the way from Kashmir. He was buried in Shahdara Bagh at Lahore. He had five sons: Khusrau by Man Bai (daughter of Raja Bhagwan Das and sister of Raja Man Singh), Parveiz by Sahib-i-Jamal, Khurram (later Shah Jahan) by Jagat Gosain best known as Jodh Bai (daughter of Motaraja Udai Singh of Jodhpur), Jahandar and Shahryar.

Sir Thomas Roe: Sir Thomas Roe came to Jahangir's court as an Ambassador of King James of England and spent nearly four years in India (1615-1619). He succeeded in obtaining a Firman from Jahangir allowing the English to trade at Surat (1615). Even though Jahangir was addicted to wine and opium, he banned the use of tobacco.

Prince Salim's rebellion before becoming Emperor Jahangir:- (1601-1604)

Jahangir in his court

Akbar's Deccan Campaign: Akbar was the first Mughal emperor who extended the Mughal suzerainty over the Deccan Sultanates. Akbar began his Deccan campaign by sending envoys to Khandesh, Ahmadnagar, Bijapur and Golconda in 1591. He dispatched his first expedition in 1595 under the command of Prince Murad and Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan. Chand Bibi, the ruler of Ahmednagar, made peace with Murad by surrendering the territory of Berar. Upon the death of Prince Murad in 1599, Akbar sent his youngest son Prince Daniyal to conquer Ahmednagar and himself camped at Burhanpur (Mughal capital at Deccan). In 1600, after the death of Chand Bibi, Ahmednagar was captured by the Mughals. Akbar’s last campaign was against Asirgarh, resulting in the annexation of Khandesh (1601). When Akbar was engaged in the Deccan campaign, Prince Salim, who was in charge of the capital, rose up in rebellion against his father (1601). On hearing this, Akbar appointed Prince Daniyal as the Viceroy of Deccan (1601) and hurried to Agra. When he returned to Agra, Salim marched with 30,000 cavalry against Agra. Akbar ordered him to return to Allahabad and also offered him the governorship of Bengal and Orissa. But Salim rejected his father's orders to take the governorship of Bengal and Orissa and returned to Allahabad, where he established his own court. Akbar sent his wazir Abul Fazal (the author of Akbarnama), to Allahabad to bring back the Prince to Agra, but he was murdered by Bir Singh Bundela, on the orders of Salim (1602). "I employed the man who killed Abul Fazal and brought his head to me and for this it was that I incurred my father's deep displeasure", Salim admitsFinally Salima Begum effected a reconciliation between father and son and brought the Prince to Agra (1603). Thereafter Salim returned to Allahabad and again indulged in opium and wine. Meanwhile Prince Daniyal also died due to alcoholism (Apr 1604).

Akbar was displeased with Salim, when he learned that Salim had murdered his closest companion, Abul Fazal. In addition to that, under the double intoxication of wine and opium, Salim sometimes inflicted severest punishments for slightest offences. On this occasion Akbar declared his grandson (Salim's eldest son) Prince Khusrau his successor instead of Salim. Salim's rebellion had lasted for more than four years. Akbar himself decided to go to Allahabad and bring the Prince to court. Unfortunately he had to leave for Agra hearing that his mother Maryam Makani (Hamida Banu Begum) was seriously ill. She died on 29th Aug, 1604. Salim, now realizing that he is the only surviving son of his father, decided to submit. He returned to Agra, for giving condolences for the death of his grandmother (Nov 1604). This time Akbar put him in prison. But after ten days, he was released. When Akbar fell ill, the royal court was divided into two groups, one favoring Khusrau and the other Salim. His uncle Raja Man Singh and father-in-law Khan-i-Azam Mirza Aziz Koka, supported Khusrau. But Saiyid Khan, one of the great nobles, said that it is contrary to the laws and customs of the Chaghatai Tatars that while the elder Prince was alive, to put his son upon the throne. Finally, on his death bed, Akbar took his turban off his head and placed it on Salim's head. The next day Raja Man Singh brought Khusrau to the Court. Salim treated him with great kindness and kissed his face.

Emperor Jahangir's reign:-

Prince Khusrau's Rebellion (1606):

Khusrau, eldest son of Jahangir

Prince Khusrau was the eldest son of Jahangir and his beloved wife Man Bai. During the first year of Jahangir's reign, Khusrau revolted against him, who was at that time only 18 years old. Khusrau left his palace and fled towards Lahore with his followers. On his way to Lahore, he also received the blessings of the Sikh Guru Arjun Dev. Hearing this news, Jahangir's forces under Dilawar Khan strengthened the Lahore fort. Khusrau was defeated and afterwards imprisoned at Agra. His followers (about thirty-thousand) were killed mercilessly. The Sikh Guru Arjun Dev was put to death for giving blessings to Khusrau on his way to Lahore. "At last when Khusrau passed along this road this insignificant fellow (Guru Arjun) proposed to wait upon him. He behaved to Khusrau in certain special ways, and made on his forehead a fingermark in saffron, and is considered propitious by the Hindus. When this came to my ears and I clearly understood his folly, I ordered them  to produce him and handed over his houses, dwelling-places, and children to Murtaza Khan, and having confiscated his property commanded that he should be put to death" Jahangir states. Next year (1607), Jahangir went to Kabul for hunting and he ordered Khusrau's chains to be taken off from his legs, and allowing him to walk in the Shahr-ara garden (a Mughal garden built by Shahr Bano Begum, aunt of Babur). He says, "My fatherly affection would not permit me to exclude him from walking in the Shahr-ara garden".

Khusrau's Plot to Kill His Father (1607): After the capture of Khusrau, Jahangir kept him under the safe custody of Asaf Khan III. After some time he was placed under the charge of I'tibar Khan. Nur-ud-din, a supporter of Khusrau, sent Khusrau a list of names of the grandees who favoured him. Within 4-6 months a plot was made to assassinate Jahangir while engaged in hunting. But one of the conspirators got offended and revealed the plot to Khwaja Waisi, Diwan of Prince Khurram. When Jahangir learned this from Khurram, he executed both Nur-ud-din and Muhammad Sharif, one of Nur Jahan's elder brothers, and again imprisoned him. "Although Khusrau had repeatedly done evil actions and deserved a thousand kinds of punishment, my fatherly affection did not permit me to take his life", Jahangir says.

Victory over Mewar (1615)

Jahangir deputed his second son Parveiz to Mewar and demanded the submission of Rana Amar Singh, son of Maharana Pratap. A tough battle was fought at Dewar, and Rana Amar Singh was able to defend his territories in the Battle of Dewar (1606). Because of Khusru's insurrection, the Mughal army was recalled; but later in 1608, Mahabat Khan, in 1609, Abdulla Khan and later Raja Basu and subsequently in 1613, Mirza Aziz Koka were all sent by Jahangir to conquer Mewar; but in vain. Jahangir then sent Prince Khurram to Mewar and the Mughal army burnt villages and destroyed many temples. Rana Amar Singh also fought valiantly like his father, Maharana Pratap. However, with the advice of his son, Prince Karan Singh and his nobles, Amar Singh agreed to sign a treaty of peace with Jahangir in 1615. According to the treaty, Rana Amar Singh accepted Mughal sovereignty and send his son Prince Karan to attend the Mughal court. All the territories including Chittor was restored to Rana Amar Singh and unlike other Rajput Chiefs, the Rana was not required to enter into a matrimonial alliance with Mughals. Jahangir celebrated his victory by installing two life-size marble statues of Rana Amar Singh and his son Karan in the garden of his palace at Agra. Prince Karan Singh was appointed as a commander in the Mughal army.

Conquest of Ahmednagar

During Jahangir's reign, the power of Ahmednagar was considerably increased under the prime minister-ship of Malik Ambar (1600-1626). He used guerrilla warfare to defy the Mughals. In 1617, Jahangir dispatched Prince Khurram to Deccan with a large force and a treaty was signed between the Mughals and Malik Ambar. The territory of Balghat and the fort of Ahmednagar were surrendered to the Mughals. It was on this occasion that Prince Khurram was given the title of Shah Jahan by his father (1617). Later Malik Ambar entered into an agreement with Bijapur and Golconda, and besieged the fort of Ahmednagar in 1620. Since Malik Ambar failed to adhere to the terms of the treaty, Prince Khurram was again sent to Deccan and and a similar peace treaty was followed in 1621. As per the treaty Malik Ambar accepted Mughal sovereignty and a large part of Ahmednagar was surrendered to the Mughals. Malik Amber died in 1626.

Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri (Jahangirnama) is the autobiography of Emperor Jahangir, written in Persian. Jahangir wrote the events of his reign beginning from his accession to the throne (1605) to the seventeenth year of his reign. (1622). He then entrusted the task to Mutamad Khan, who continued the Memoirs to the beginning of the nineteenth year of his reign (1624).

From the "Memoirs of Emperor Jahangir"

Death of Man Bai: "His mother, while I was prince, in grief at his (Khusrau) ways and behaviour and the misconduct of her brother Madhu Singh, killed herself by swallowing opium. At a time when I had gone hunting, on May 6th, 1605, she in her agitation swallowed a quantity of opium, and quickly passed away. When this tale was told to my revered father, a letter of condolence of excessive kindness and affection reached this devoted disciple, and he sent me a robe of honour and the auspicious turban tied just as he had taken it off his head. This favour threw water on the flame of my grief and afforded complete quiet and repose to my inquietude and disturbance".

Prince Khusrau's Rebellion: "Misled by the counsels of evil-disposed and turbulent men, my son Khusrau became a fugitive... Short-sighted men in Allahabad had urged me also to rebel against my father..."


In 1564, twin sons, Hassan and Hussain, were born to Akbar, but they died in infancy. 

Though Khusrau's uncle Raja Man Singh and father-in-law Khan-i-Azam Mirza Aziz Koka, supported Khusrau during Akbar's lifetime, they never opposed Jahangir after his coronation. 

Abdu-r-Rahim, who was the companion of Khusrau in his rebellion, luckily escaped from the punishment after his capture, and on being released, became one of the personal servants of Jahangir and served him.