Mariam-uz-Zamani

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Mariam-uz-Zamani
Birth of jahangir.jpg
The birth of Jahangir
Born 1542
Died 19 May 1623 (aged 81)[1][2]
Agra, India[3]
Burial Tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani, Agra[1]
Spouse Akbar
Issue Jahangir (1569-1627)
Father Raja Bihari Mal
Mother Rani Sa Manvati Sahiba
Religion Hinduism

Mariam-uz-Zamani (Persian: مریم الزمانی‎, lit. 'Mary of the Age'‎[4]), (1542 – 19 May 1623) was a wife of the Emperor Akbar. Her actual name is unknown, but in an 18th century genealogy of her clan (the Kachwahas), she is referred to as Harkhan Champavati.[5] She is also referred to as Harkha Bai[6] or Jodha Bai, which perhaps indicates that she was a princess of Jodhpur by birth (although mostly she is said to have been a princess of Amber). Mariam-uz-Zamani was the respectful Persian title by which she was known at her husband's court. In the Mughal Empire, non-Muslim noblewoman who entered the imperial harem were given titles as a mark of honour (which she received only after the birth of her son) and this is the reason why her actual name is rather obscure.

Biography[edit]

Mariam-uz-Zamani was born as Harka Bai, a Rajput princess. According to some sources, she was the daughter of Raja Bihari Mal (or Bihari Mal) of Amber (Jaipur), whereas other historians infer that she was a princess of Jodhpur, because she is also known as "Jodha Bai." In 1562, she was offered in marriage to the Emperor Akbar by her father, Raja Bihari Mal. The wedding, held in Sambhar, was a political one and intended to seal the friendship between her father and husband, is notable for having been the first instance of matrimony between the Hindu aristocracy of India and a Muslim ruler of Delhi, although much of northern India had been ruled for over 500 years by a succession of Muslim dynasties. Her marriage to Akbar led to a gradual shift in his religious and social policy.[7] Akbar's marriage with Rajkumari Heer Kunwari was a very important event in Mughal history. She is widely regarded in modern Indian historiography as exemplifying Akbar's and the Mughal's tolerance of religious differences and their inclusive policies within an expanding multi-ethnic and multi-denominational empire.[8]

She was to become the mother of Akbar's eldest surving son and successor, Jehangir.[9][10][11] She was referred to as the Queen Mother after her son's ascension[12] during the reign of her son.[13]

Name[edit]

There is a popular perception that the wife of Akbar, mother of Jahangir, was also known as "Jodha Bai".[14]

Her name as in Mughal chronicles was Mariam-uz-Zamani. Tuzk-e-Jahangiri, the autobiography of Jahangir, doesn't mention Jodha Bai, Harkha Bai or Heer Kunwari.[14] Therein, she is referred to as Mariam-uz-Zamani.[15] Neither the Akbarnama (a biography of Akbar commissioned by Akbar himself), nor any historical text from the period refer to her as Jodha Bai.[15]

According to Professor Shirin Moosvi, a historian of Aligarh Muslim University, the name "Jodha Bai" was first used to refer to Akbar's wife in the 18th and 19th centuries in historical writings.[15] According to the historian Imtiaz Ahmad, the director of the Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library in Patna, it was Lieutenant-Colonel James Tod who first mentioned Jodhabai in his book Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan.[16]

"In the Akbarnama, there is a mention of Akbar marrying a Rajput princess of Amer but her name is not Jodhaa," says historian and director of the Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library, Imtiaz Ahmad in Patna. She is referred to as Mariam Zamani (Mary of the Age). This is a title and not a name. It further says that Mariam Zamani is a title referred to the lady who gave birth to Prince Salim, who became Emperor Jehangir. But the name Jodha is not mentioned anywhere.[16]

Professor N R Farooqi, a historian of Allahabad Central University, states that Jodha Bai was not the name of Akbar's queen instead it was the name of Jahangir's wife Taj Bibi Bilqis Makani the Princess of Jodhpur, whose real name was Jagat Gosain.[14]

Family[edit]

Heer Kunwari was born as a Rajput princess (Rajkumari) and was the eldest daughter of Raja Bihari Mal,[16][17][18][19] of Amer (modern day Jaipur). She was the granddaughter of Raja Prithvi Singh of Amer. Rajkumari Heer Kunwari was also the sister of Raja Bhagwan Das of Amer, and the aunt of Raja Man Singh I of Amer,[20] who later became one of the Nine Jewels (Navaratnas) in the court of Akbar. Later, both occupied high offices in Akbar's court.

Marriage[edit]

Akbar's marriage to Heer Kunwari was purely a political affair which helped to strengthened the ties between the Mughals and the Rajputs.[21] The marriage took place on 6 February 1562 at Sambhar near Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. The marriage with the Amer princess secured the support of her family throughout the reign, and offered a proof manifest to all the world that Akbar had decided to be the Badshah or Shahenshah of his whole people i.e. Hindus as well as Muslims.[22]

Akbar took many Rajput princesses in marriage. The rajas had much to gain from the link to imperial family. Akbar made such marriages respectable for Rajputs.[23] However, it is noteworthy that none of his Rajput wives had any political influence in the Mughal court.[24]

In the beginning of 1569, Akbar heard the news that his first Hindu consort was expecting a child, and that he might hope for the first of the three sons promised by Sheikh Salim Chisti, a reputed holy man who lived at Sikri. An expectant Heer was sent to Sheikh's humble dwelling at Sikri during the period of her pregnancy.On 30 August 1569, the boy was born and received the name Salim, in acknowledgement of his father's faith in the efficacy of the holy man's prayer. Though she remained a Hindu, Heer Kunwari was honoured with the title Mariam-uz-Zamani ("Mary of the Age") after she gave birth to Jahangir.

Fatehpur Sikri: Mariam's House

Her niece, Manbhawati Bai or Manmati Bai, daughter of her brother Bhagwan Das, married Prince Salim on 13 February 1585. Man Bai later became mother to Prince Khusrau Mirza[25][26] and was awarded the title of Shah Begum by Jahangir.[27]

Religion[edit]

Akbar allowed his Hindu wife to perform the customary rites in the royal palace.[28][29] Thus, contrary to the usual practice of sultans, Akbar allowed her to remain a Hindu and to maintain a Hindu temple in the royal palace. He, himself, sometimes participated in the puja his Hindu wives would perform.[28] She was a devotee of Lord Krishna. Her palace was decorated with paintings of Lord Krishna and frescoes.

Family advancement[edit]

Akbar's friendly relations with the Rajputs began after his marriage with Heer Kunwari. This was an important step which profoundly influenced his future policies.[30] The marriage, secured for him the support of her family, from among whom he drew his leading counsellors.[21]

On his marriage with Heer Kunwari, Akbar summoned Raja Man Singh I, nephew of Heer Kunwari and son of Raja Bhagwan Das of Amer, the heir to the throne of Raja Bihari Mal, and took him into the imperial service, by giving him an office in his court.[21] Raja Bhagwan Das was also enrolled amongst the nobility.[30] Later, they both rose ultimately to high offices.[31]

The Rajas of Amer especially benefitted from their close association with the Mughals, and acquired immense wealth and power. Of twenty-seven Rajputs in Abu'l-Fazl list of mansabdars, thirteen were of Amber clan, and some of them rose to positions as high as that of imperial princes. Raja Bhagwan Das, for instance, became commander of 5000, the highest position available at that time, and bore the proud title Amir-ul-Umara (Chief Noble). His son, Man Singh I, rose even higher to become commander of 7000.[32] This position was not enjoyed by any one except the imperial princes. This marriage was thus, beneficial to both Mughals and Kachwaha Rajputs of Amer.

Akbar also allowed one of his sons, Prince Daniyal for a period of 6 months, to be brought up by Raja Bihari Mal's wife in Amer, as a gesture of honour to the raja's family.[33]

Jahangir's reign[edit]

Although she may have enjoyed a certain status in Akbar's imperial household after giving birth to the heir, she gained prestige only during Jahangir's reign (as the emperor's mother), after he had succeeded Akbar as Mughal emperor in 1605.[5] During the reign of Jahangir, she was amongst the most prodigious women traders at the Mughal court.[34] No other noblewoman on record seems to have been as adventurous a trader as the Queen mother.[35]

Mariam-uz-Zamani owned ships that carried pilgrims to and from the Islamic holy city Mecca. In 1613, her ship, the Rahīmī, was seized by Portuguese pirates along with the 600-700 passengers onboard and the cargo. Rahīmī was the largest Indian ship sailing in the Red Sea and was known to the Europeans as the "great pilgrimage ship". When the Portuguese officially refused to return the ship and the passengers, the outcry at the Moghul court was quite unusually severe. The outrage was compounded by the fact that the owner and the patron of the ship was none other than the revered mother of the current emperor. Mariam-uz-Zamani's son, the Indian emperor Jahangir, ordered the seizure of the Portuguese town Daman. This episode is considered to be an example of the struggle for wealth that would later ensue and lead to colonization of the Indian sub-continent.[36]

"Mariam-uz-Zamani was granted the right to issue official documents (singularly called farman), usually the exclusive privilege of the emperor."

[34]

[37]

She shared the highest mansab of 12000 with her son Jahangir, her grandson Sultan Muhammad Parviz, and the Khan-i-Azam, Mirza Aziz Koka;[38] and was known to receive a jewel from every nobleman "according to his estate" each year on the occasion of New Year's festival.[34] Like only a few other women at the Mughal court, Mariam-uz-Zamani was granted the right to issue official documents, firmans, usually the exclusive privilege of the emperor. Issuing of such orders was confined to the highest ladies of the harem such as Hamida Banu Begum and in later years to other queens, consorts and princesses such as Nur Jehan, Mumtaz Mahal, Nadira Banu and Jahanara Begum.[34][37][39] Mariam Zamani used her wealth and influence to build gardens, wells, mosques and other developments around the countryside, which was followed by Nur Jehan.[34][40]

These courtesies demonstrate the amount of respect and love he held for his mother, Mariam-uz-Zamani. A number of royal functions took place in the household of Mariam-uz-zamani like Jahangir's solar weighing,[41] Jahangir's marriage to daughter of Jagat Singh,[42] and Shehzada Parviz's wedding to daughter of Sultan Murad Mirza.[43]

Death[edit]

Tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani, Sikandra, Agra

Mariam uz-Zamani died in 1623.[1] A vav or step well was constructed by her son, Emperor Jahangir, as per her last wishes. The grave itself is underground with a flight of steps leading to it. Her tomb, built in 1623-27, is on the Tantpur road now known as in Jyoti Nagar. Though she remained Hindu after her marriage, she was buried according to Islamic custom, near her husband's mausoleum. Mariam's Tomb is only a kilometre from Tomb of Akbar the Great. The tomb's location reduced its chances of becoming a tourist attraction, but likewise, its lack of visibility meant it fell into a state of disrepair.[44] Later, taken over by ASI, her resting place is now dignified.[45]

There are some interesting aspects to the tomb, principally the ASI slab at the entrance which proclaims the tomb to be that of Mariam Uz Zamani, the princess of Amer who married Akbar and later gave birth to Jahangir.[45] Another interesting aspect of the tomb is that the building looks identical from the front and back and unlike other Mughal era structures, the back entrance is not a dummy.[45]

The Mosque of Mariam Zamani Begum Sahiba was built by her son Nuruddin Salim Jahangir in her honour and is situated in the Walled City of Lahore, present day Pakistan. It is one of the earliest mosques in Lahore. The mosque also has a distinction of being one of the biggest mosques in present-day Pakistan.

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Christopher Buyers. "Timurid Dynasty GENEALOGY delhi4". Royalark.net. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  2. ^ Jahangirnama (1909). Alexander Rogers and Henry Beveridge, ed. The Tūzuk-i-Jahāngīrī, Volume 2. Royal Asiatic Society, London. p. 261. 
  3. ^ Jahangir (1909). Rogers and Beveridge, ed. The Tūzuk-i-Jahāngīrī, Volume 2. Royal Asiatic Society, London. p. 261. 
  4. ^ Mukhia 2004, p. 126.
  5. ^ a b chief, Bonnie G. Smith, editor in (2008). The Oxford encyclopedia of women in world history. Oxford [England]: Oxford University Press. p. 656. ISBN 9780195148909. 
  6. ^ Chandra, Satish (2005). Medieval India : from Sultanat to the Mughals (Revised ed. ed.). New Delhi: Har-Anand Publications. p. 111. ISBN 9788124110669. 
  7. ^ Giri, S.Satyanand (2009). Akbar. Trafford Publishing, Victoria, B.C., Canada. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-4269-1561-1. 
  8. ^ Smith, B.G. (2008). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History: 4 Volume Set. Oxford University Press. p. 656. ISBN 978-019-514890-9. 
  9. ^ Eraly, Abraham (2000). Emperors of the Peacock Throne, The Saga of the Great Mughals. Penguin Books India. ISBN 0141001437. 
  10. ^ Lal, Ruby (2005). Domesticity and power in the early Mughal world. Cambridge University Press. p. 170. ISBN 9780521850223. 
  11. ^ Metcalf, Barbara, Thomas (2006). A Concise History of Modern India. Cambridge University Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-521-86362-9. 
  12. ^ Milford, Humphrey (1921). Early Travels In India By William Foster,. Oxford University Press. p. 203. 
  13. ^ Ahmed, Nazeer (2000). Islam in Global History: Volume Two. Xlibris Corporation. p. 51. ISBN 0-7388-5965-6. 
  14. ^ a b c Atul Sethi (2007-06-24). "'Trade, not invasion brought Islam to India'". The Times of India. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  15. ^ a b c Ashley D'Mello (2005-12-10). "Fact, myth blend in re-look at Akbar-Jodha Bai". The Times of India. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  16. ^ a b c Syed Firdaus Ashraf (2008-02-05). "Did Jodhabai really exist?". Rediff.com. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  17. ^ Smith, Vincent Arthur (1917). Akbar the Great Mogul. Oxford, Clarendon Press. p. 58. ISBN 0895634716. 
  18. ^ Eraly, Abraham (2000). Emperors of the Peacock Throne, The Saga of the Great Mughals. Penguin Books India. p. 136. ISBN 0141001437. 
  19. ^ Metcalf, Barbara, Thomas (2006). A Concise History of Modern India. Cambridge University Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-521-86362-9. 
  20. ^ Smith, Vincent Arthur (1917). Akbar the Great Mughal. Oxford, Clarendon Press. p. 58. ISBN 0895634716. 
  21. ^ a b c Garrett, Edwardes (1930). Mughal Rule in India. Oxford University Press,Great Britain. p. 30. 
  22. ^ Smith, Vincent Arthur (1917). Akbar the Great Mogul. Oxford, Clarendon Press. p. 58. ISBN 0895634716. 
  23. ^ Eraly, Abraham (2000). Emperors of the Peacock Throne, The Saga of the Great Mughals. Penguin Books India. p. 145. ISBN 0141001437. 
  24. ^ Sharma, Sudha (2016). The Status of Muslim Women in Medieval India. SAGE Publications India. ISBN 9351505650. It is noteworthy that Akbar's Rajput wives have not been mentioned for having played any active political role 
  25. ^ Smith, Vincent Arthur (1917). Akbar the Great Mogul. Oxford, Clarendon Press. p. 225. ISBN 0895634716. 
  26. ^ Eraly, Abraham (2000). Emperors of the Peacock Throne, The Saga of the Great Mughals. Penguin Books India. p. 273. ISBN 0141001437. 
  27. ^ Jahangir (1968). Henry Beveridge, ed. The Tūzuk-i-Jahāngīrī: or, Memoirs of Jāhāngīr, Volume 1. Munshiram Manoharlal. p. 56. 
  28. ^ a b Eraly, Abraham (2000). Emperors of the Peacock Throne, The Saga of the Great Mughals. Penguin Books India. p. 136. ISBN 0141001437. 
  29. ^ Agrawal, Ashvini (1983). Studies in Mughal History. Motilal Banarsidass Publications. p. 126. ISBN 9788120823266. 
  30. ^ a b Garrett, Edwardes (1930). Mughal Rule in India. Oxford University Press,Great Britain. p. 40. 
  31. ^ Smith, Vincent Arthur (1917). Akbar the Great Mogul. Oxford, Clarendon Press. pp. 57–58. ISBN 0895634716. 
  32. ^ Eraly, Abraham (2000). Emperors of the Peacock Throne, The Saga of the Great Mughals. Penguin Books India. p. 146. ISBN 0141001437. 
  33. ^ Eraly, Abraham (2000). Emperors of the Peacock Throne, The Saga of the Great Mughals. Penguin Books India. p. 193. ISBN 0141001437. 
  34. ^ a b c d e Findly, Ellison B. (1988). "The Capture of Maryam-uz-Zamānī's Ship: Mughal Women and European Traders". Journal of the American Oriental Society. American Oriental Society. 108 (2): 232. doi:10.2307/603650. JSTOR 603650. 
  35. ^ Findly, Ellison B. (1988). "The Capture of Maryam-uz-Zamānī's Ship: Mughal Women and European Traders". Journal of the American Oriental Society. American Oriental Society. 108 (2): 233. doi:10.2307/603650. JSTOR 603650. 
  36. ^ Findly, Ellison B. (1988). "The Capture of Maryam-uz-Zamānī's Ship: Mughal Women and European Traders". Journal of the American Oriental Society. American Oriental Society. 108 (2): 227–238. doi:10.2307/603650. JSTOR 603650. 
  37. ^ a b Tirmizi, S.A.I. (1979). Edicts from the Mughal Harem. Idarah-i Adabiyat-i Delli. pp. 127–128. OCLC 465427663. 
  38. ^ Prasad, Ram Chandra (1980). Early English Travellers in India: A Study in the Travel Literature of the Elizabethan and Jacobean Periods with Particular Reference to India. Motilal Banarsidass Publications. p. 106. ISBN 9788120824652. 
  39. ^ Mishra, Rekha. Women in Mughal India, 1526-1748 A.D. Munshiram Manoharlal, 1967. p. 67. ISBN 9788121503471. 
  40. ^ Mishra, Rekha. Women in Mughal India, 1526-1748 A.D. Munshiram Manoharlal, 1967. p. 112. ISBN 9788121503471. 
  41. ^ Jahangir (1968). Henry Beveridge, ed. The Tūzuk-i-Jahāngīrī: or, Memoirs of Jāhāngīr, Volume 1. Munshiram Manoharlal. pp. 78, 230. 
  42. ^ Jahangir (1968). Henry Beveridge, ed. The Tūzuk-i-Jahāngīrī: or, Memoirs of Jāhāngīr, Volume 1. Munshiram Manoharlal. p. 145. 
  43. ^ Jahangir (1968). Henry Beveridge, ed. The Tūzuk-i-Jahāngīrī: or, Memoirs of Jāhāngīr, Volume 1. Munshiram Manoharlal. p. 81. 
  44. ^ Arjun Kumar (2008-03-06). "Mariam Zamani's tomb: Jodha's rest". The Economic Times, TNN. Retrieved 2013-12-06. 
  45. ^ a b c Mariam Zamani's tomb Arjun Kumar (2008-03-06). "Mariam Zamani's tomb: Jodha's rest". The Economic Times, TNN. Retrieved 2013-12-06. 
  46. ^ Ursula K Le Guin (2008-03-29). "The real uses of enchantement". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  47. ^ Chaya Unnikrishnan (2013-06-26). "So far, so good". dnaindia.com. Retrieved 2013-12-04.