Mah Chuchak Begum

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Mah Chuchak Begum
ماہ چوچک بیگم
Died 28 March 1564
Bala Hissar, Kabul, Mughal Empire
Burial Kabul, Mughal Empire
Spouse Humayun
Issue Mirza Muhammad Farrukh
Mirza Muhammad Hakim
Fakhr un-Nissa Begum
Bakht un-Nissa Begum
Amina Banu Begum
Sakina Banu Begum
Religion Sunni Islam

Mah Chuchak Begum (Persian: ماہ چوچک بیگم‎; died 28 March 1564;[1] meaning "Moon flower"[2]) was a wife of the second Mughal emperor Humayun. She was an ambitious lady who threw out the Naib Subadar and ruled Kabul on her own, once leading her army in person and defeating Munim Khan at Jalalabad.[3]

Early years[edit]

Mah Chuchak Begum's parentage is not mentioned in any of the contemporary chronicles. She was the sister of Bairam Oghlan of Arghun and Faridun Khan Kabuli. Humayun married Mah Chuchak in 1546. She had two sons, Muhammad Hakim Mirza and Farrukhfal Mirza, and four daughters, Bakht un-Nissa Begum, Sakina Banu Begum, Amina Banu Begum, and Fakhr un-Nissa Begum.[4]

As Empress dowager[edit]

She was one of the Mughal ladies who gave a lot of trouble to Akbar in the initial days of his reign. Her son was Mirza Muhammad Hakim. In 1544, Humayun nominated this boy, then three years old, as the governor of Kabul under the charge of Munim Khan. In 1566, Akbar confirmed the appointment. Munim Khan came to the court in 1561 and his son Ghani took his place. Mah Chuchak was politically ambitious. She was advised by Fazli Beg and his son Abdulfath, who hated Ghani Khan, to close the doors of Kabul, when Ghani Khan was once temporarily absent at Faliz. Ghani Khan not finding adherents, to oppose her, went to India. Mah Chuchak Begum then appointed Fazli Beg as Vakil and Abdulfath as Naib (regent), but being dissatisfied with them, she killed them both, at the advice of Shah Wali, one of her nobles. When Akbar heard all of this, he sent Munim Khan with an army against Mah Chuchak. Mah Chuchak met him and defeated Munim khan at Jalalabad. Mah Chuchak ruled Kabul with the help of three advisers, two of whom were killed earlier. Now, even the third one was killed. In their place came Haidar Qasim Kohbur, whom Mah Chuchak Begum had made Vakil.[5] Munim fled to the Ghak'hars, and ashamed and hesitating he joined Akbar, who appointed him Commander at the fort of Agra.

Around this time a certain Shah Abdul Maali, who belonged to the family of the great Sayyids of Termez, who had escaped from the prison at Lahore, arrived at Kabul and approached Mah Chuchak Begum for refuge. The Begum welcomed him, was generous to him and gave her daughter Fakhr-un-nisa Begum in marriage with him.[5]

Death and aftermath[edit]

Shah Abdul Maali soon grew tired of the dominating and interfering ways of Mah Chuchak Begum. He wanted Kabul for himself. So he killed the Begum and Haidar Qasim in 1564.[2] Akbar's half-brother and Mah Chuchak's son was luckily rescued by Mirza Sulaiman of Badakshan, who defeated Abdul Maali and helped Mirza Hakim to keep his hold over Kabul. The activities of Mah Chuchak Begum and her political ambitions certainly proved to be headache for Akbar and troubled him like a sore thumb, just when he was trying to consolidate his father's inherited, lost and finally gained empire in India. But he was soon freed of Mah Chuchak Begum and her ambitious ways.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

Since 2013, a television series, called Jodha Akbar airs on Zee TV, in which the role of Mah Chuchak Begum is played by actress, Mita Vashisht.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Beveridge, Henry (1907). Akbarnama of Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak - Volume II. Asiatic Society, Calcuta. p. 319. 
  2. ^ a b Annemarie Schimmel (2004). The Empire of the Great Mughals: History, Art and Culture. Reaktion Books. ISBN 978-1-861-89185-3. 
  3. ^ Rekha Misra (1967). Women in Mughal India, 1526–1748 A.D. Munshiram Manoharlal. p. 24. 
  4. ^ Begum, Gulbadan (1902). The History of Humayun (Humayun-Nama). Royal Asiatic Society. p. 260. 
  5. ^ a b c Soma Mukherjee (2001). Royal Mughal Ladies and Their Contributions. Gyan Books. p. 126. ISBN 978-8-121-20760-7.