Adham Khan (Hindi: आधम खान) (d. May 1562) was a general of Akbar. He was the younger son of Maham Anga, he thus became the foster brother of Akbar. In his fourth regnal year, Akbar married him to the daughter of Baqi Khan Baqlani.
Conquest of Malwa
In 1561, the Mughal army led by Adham Khan and Pir Muhammad Khan invaded Malwa. They defeated the army of Baz Bahadur, the Sultan of Malwa in the battle of Sarangpur on March 29, 1561. All his treasures, elephants and his harem was captured by the victors. Adham Khan tried to take possession of Baz Bahadur's Hindu mistress Rani Roopmati also, but she killed herself by consuming poison. According to the historian Badauni, both the commanders, Adham Khan and Pir Muhammad Khan, perpetrated acts of barbaric cruelty, massacring the prisoners and killing even their wives and children. After the victory, Adham Khan sent to the emperor Akbar a report of victory along with only a few elephants, himself appropriating the rest of the spoils.
Akbar resented this insolence and personally marched to Sarangpur. He took Adham Khan by surprise. Adham Khan surrendered to Akbar and his spoils were seized. Later he was recalled from Malwa and the command was made over to Pir Muhammad Khan.
Murder of Ataga Khan and its aftermath
On May 16, 1562, Adham Khan accompanied by a few ruffians burst in upon him as he sat in the hall of audience and murdered him. Adham Khan then rushed to the inner apartment where he was caught by Akbar, just roused from sleep by tumult. Akbar replied to the Adham Khan's explanation to palliate his crime by striking him down with a heavy blow of his fist. Adham was thrown down twice from the ramparts of the Agra Fort which was 40 ft (12 m) high from ground level by the royal order and put to death. Akbar himself broke this news to Maham Anga, who made a simple but dignified reply that he did well. This sudden demise of Adham Khan, made his mother mentally depressed and after forty days she also died.
After his death his body was sent with respect to Delhi. Akbar built the mausoleum of Adham Khan in Mehrauli, where both Adham Khan and his foster mother Maham Anga were buried. This mausoleum, popularly known as Bhul-bhulaiyan, due to a labyrinthine maze inside, and stands on the ramparts of the Lal Kot, located at the north of the Qutub Minar.
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- Beveridge, H. (1907, reprint 2000). The Akbarnama of Abu'l Fazl, Vol. II, Calcutta: The Asiatic Society, ISBN 81-7236-093-2, p.129
- Majumdar, R.C. (ed.) (2007). The Mughul Empire, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, ISBN 81-7276-407-1, p. 112
- Majumdar, R.C. (ed.) (2007). The Mughul Empire, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, ISBN 81-7276-407-1, pp.113-4
- Beveridge, H. (1907, reprint 2000). The Akbarnama of Abu'l Fazl, Vol. II, Calcutta: The Asiatic Society, ISBN 81-7236-093-2, pp. 268-75
- Beveridge, H. (1907, reprint 2000). The Akbarnama of Abu'l Fazl, Vol. II, Calcutta: The Asiatic Society, ISBN 81-7236-093-2, p. 274