Nobody knows who started this fairy tale of a Love Story between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.
It is as true as the Love story of Ambikapathy and Amaravathy in Tamil lore.
Both have no historical references except in poetic works.
As Shakespeare took the germ of an idea for his famous Dramatic works,from Plutarch’s Lives,people have taken fancy to some ideas and developed an interesting story;the difference being that Shakespeare’s works had some facts as basis, while these have none.
Let’s look at the story of Shah jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.
“Shah Jahan, initially named Prince Khurram, was born in the year 1592. He was the son of Jehangir, the fourth Mughal emperor of India and the grandson of Akbar the Great. In 1607 when strolling down the Meena Bazaar, accompanied by a string of fawning courtiers, Shah Jahan caught a glimpse of a girl hawking silk and glass beads. It was love at first sight and the girl was Mumtaz Mahal, who was known as Arjumand Banu Begum at that time. At that time, he was 14 years old and she, a Muslim Persian princess, was 15. After meeting her, Shah Jahan went back to his father and declared that he wanted to marry her. The match got solemnized after five years i.e., in the year 1612.(http://www.tajmahal.org.uk/story.html)
“Beginning of a Love Story
The story goes back in 1607, when a prince of the royal Mughal household strolled down the Meena Bazaar, accompanied by a string of fawning courtiers, he caught a glimpse of a girl hawking silk and glass beads. Five years and a wife later (in those days princes did not marry for love alone) the regal 20-yr-old went to wed his 19-yr-old bride.”(http://www.taj-mahal-travel-tours.com/taj-mahal-story.html)
In 1607, Prince Khurram was engaged to Arjumand Banu Begum - when they were 15 and 14 years old, respectively. 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 Itimad-ud-Daulah, who had been Emperor 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 the matchmaker in arranging the marriage.
But for some reason, the Prince was not married to Arjumand Banu Begum for five years, which was an unusually long engagement for the time. However, Shah Jahan married a Hindu princess during this time, whose name has not been recorded by contemporary chroniclers, with whom he had his first child – a daughter – who died in infancy.
Politically speaking, the betrothal allowed Prince Khurram to be considered as having officially entered manhood, and he was granted several jagirs, includingHissar-Feroze and ennobled to a military rank of 8,000, which allowed him to take on official functions of state, an important step in establishing his own claim to the throne.
In 1612, aged 20, Prince Khurram married Arjumand Banu Begum on an auspicious date chosen by court astrologers. The marriage was a happy one and Prince Khurram, while married to her, remained devoted to her and she bore him fourteen children, out of whom the seven survived into adulthood. In addition, Khurram had two children from his first two wives”
2.Where is much celebrated Love angle where it is indicated that Shah Jahan’s Father, Jahangir opposed this and the lovers were married amidst a lot of trials and tribulations?
3.The name Mumtaz is a Nom de plume., meaning ‘Pride of Palace’
4.Shah Jahan was engaged to Mumtaz for 4 years, a very long period of waiting in Muslim tradition and in the meanwhile married a Rajput Princess.
5.He was engaged to Mumtaz at the age of 15 , when Mumtaz was 14!
6..Shah Jahan had three wives.
- Arjumand Banu Begum aka Mumtaz Mahal
- Akbarabadi Mahal
- Kandahari Mahal .
Number of concubines.
Like all his ancestors, Shah Jahan’s court included many wives, concubines, and dancing girls. Several European chroniclers noted this. Niccolao Manucci wrote that “it would seem as if the only thing Shahjahan cared for was the search for women to serve his pleasure” and “for this end he established a fair at his court. No one was allowed to enter except women of all ranks that is to say, great and small, rich and poor, but all beautiful”. When he was detained in the Agra Fort, Aurangzeb permitted him to retain “the whole of his female establishment, including the singing and dancing women.” Manucci notes that Shah Jahan didn’t lose his “weakness for the flesh” even when he had grown very old,. Shah Jahan also had an affair with Farzana Begum, Mumtaz Mahal’s sister. It was said that Farzana Begum’s son was the son of Shah Jahan, and Manucci wrote, “as for myself, I have no doubt about it, for he was very like Prince Dara..
Apart from the AlamgirNamah and Maasir-i-Alamgiri we have the collection of letters belonging to Aurangzeb compiled by his meer munshi Inayat Ullah Khan Kashmiri known as the Rukhaat-e- Alamgiri and the Adabe-e-Alamgiri. The mother of Inayatullah Kashmiri Hafeza Maryam was appointed as the hifz ustad (teacher appointed to help memorizing the Quran) for Zebunnisa Begum the eldest daughter of Aurangzeb.
The third source we have is the Ahkaam-e-Alamgiri ascribed to the pen of Hamiduddin Khan Bahadur who wrote a series of essays on the life and times of Aurangzeb Alamgir. Hamiduddin Khan was a very trusted officer of Aurangzeb so much so that he even entrusted Hamiduddin Khan with his last will for dividing his empire amongst his sons.
The fourth source we have is the Muntakhab-ul-lubab written by Khafi Khan. It is said that Khafi Khan did not scribe the Muntakhab-ul-Lubab with anyone’s permission or knowledge. The interesting fact attributed towards Muntakhab-ul-Lubab is that it was brought out after some 30 years from the death of Aurangzeb. Khafi Khans father was a servant in the service of Prince Murad Baksh. Muntakhab-ul-lubab provides some critical analysis on the rule of Aurangzeb from the early Mughal historians. It is pertinent to mention here that Khafi Khan belonged to the Fiqh – e – Jafaria who were extremely hostile to scholars of Fiqh – e- Hanafia who were favored by Aurangzeb.
The fifth source is Miraat-Ul-Khayal by Sher Khan Lodhi.(http://aurangzeb.org/history.htm)
- Taj Mahal A Vedic Shiva Temple Preface (ramanan50.wordpress.com)