Nur Jehan

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Nur Jehan (alternative spelling Noor Jahan, Nur Jahan, etc.) was a Mughal Empress.

Nur Jehan or Mehrunissa Begum was the daughter of a Persian immigrant, Mirza Ghiyas Baig of Tehran. Before becoming the beloved wife of the Mughal emperor Jahangir, she was the widow of a Mughal officer, Sher Afghan Quli Khan. Her father had reached the position of Itmad-ud-Daulah at Akbar's court.

The Mughal state gave absolute power to the Emperor and those who exercised influence over the Emperor could rule the Empire. Nur Jehan was seen by many as the real power behind the throne. Jahangir's addiction to opium and alcohol made it easier for her to assert her role. For many years she wielded the imperial powers. She even gave audiences at her palace and her name was placed on the coinage.

She attempted to consolidate her position through her brother Asaf Khan who was the Imperial wazir. She also arranged the marriage of her niece Arjumand Bano Begum, (later known as Mumtaz Mahal and the inspiration for the Taj Mahal) to Prince Khurram (who reigned as Shah Jahan), the most powerful of Jahangir's sons.

Due to Shah Jahan instrangience she decided to shift her support to his younger brother Prince Shahryar, and married him to Ladli Begum, her daughter from her first marriage.

Shah Jehan rebelled and sought shelter in Rajasthan. Emperor Jahangir was captured by rebels in 1626 while he was on his way to Kashmir. Nur Jehan intervened to get her husband released. Jahangir was rescued but died on October 28, 1627.

When Jahangir died, Asaf Khan took the side of his son-in-law Shah Jahan against his sister. Nur Jehan became a prisoner in a small house for the rest of her life. She died in 1643 and is buried in Shadara in Lahore.


For the famous singer and actress see: Noor Jehan

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