Write a short essay on: “Nurjahan” [1998, 20m]
Nurjahan’s childhood name was Mehru-un-Nisa. She was daughter of a Mughal noble, Mirza Ghias Beg. Jahangir married her in 1611 A.D. and adorned her with title of Nurjahan, meaning ‘Light of the world’.
She had interest and knowledge in administration, politics, economics, and culture.
Influential women in Politics and administration
Her name along with that of Jahangir began to be engraved on coins and the Royal edicts were also issued in her name. Slowly Jahangir entrusted the reins of the government to her. She carried on the government very competently and ably. She was praised for her systematic administration, her own frugal living. She rendered great economy in the expenditure of the Royal palace by her wise management.
Her influence in political spheres was also quite adverse because she began to misuse her powers. In order to increase and maintain her influence and position, she married her daughter Ladli Begum (from her previous marriage with Sher Afghan) with Jahangir’s son, Shahryar. She tried to make Shahryar the successor of Jahangir instead of Prince Khurram (Shah Jahan). She appointed her relatives in high posts. These dirty tactics of favouritism brought difficulties for Jahangir as revolts began to take place and some territories were lost. Kandahar was snatched from Mughal control and Prince Khurram revolted.
She was a brave and couragious woman and used to go for hunting with Jahangir.
She had shown courage while handling the revolt of Mahabat Khan. In 1626, the Emperor Jahangir was captured by rebels while on his way to Kashmir. The rebel leader Mahabat Khan had hoped to stage a coup against Jahangir. Nur Jahan surrendered to Mahabat Khan and was placed in captivity with her husband. Mahabat Khan failed to recognise the creativity and intellect of Nur Jahan as she soon was able to organize an escape and raise an army right under his very nose.
She had kind heart and performed the marriages of orphaned and destitute girls at her private expense.
Interest in art and architecture
She was an educated woman and had developed taste in music, painting and poetry. She herself composed poetry in Persian and many scholars and artists received patronage.
She was interested in architecture and built the tomb of her father, Itmad-ud-Daulah (Title given to Mirza Ghias Beg) and Tomb in Lahore for herself.
She was a very sagacious and shrewd woman who invented new kind of royal furniture, ornaments and modes of dress.
When Shah Jahan became Mughal Emperor in 1628, Nurjahan was forced into confinement. She died in 1645.