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  • Shah Jahan

    Later life

    When Shah Jahan became ill in 1658, Dara Shikoh (Mumtaz Mahals eldest son) assumed the role of regent in his fathers stead, which swiftly incurred the animosity of his brothers. Upon learning of his assumption of the regency, his younger brothers, Shuja, Viceroy of Bengal, and Murad Baksh, Viceroy of Gujarat, declared their independence, and marched upon Agra in order to claim their riches. Aurangzeb, the third son, and ablest and most virile of the brothers, gathered a well trained army and became its in chief commander, he faced his elder brother and heir apparent Daras army close to Agra and completely defeated him during the Battle of Samugarh. Although Shah Jahan fully recovered from his illness, Aurangzeb declared him incompetent to rule and put him under house arrest in Agra Fort.

    Jahanara Begum Sahib, Jahans first daughter, voluntarily shared his 8 year confinement and nursed him in his dotage. In January 1666, Shah Jahan fell ill with strangury and dysentery. Confined to bed, he became progressively weaker until, on 22 January, he commended the ladies of the imperial court, particularly his consort of later years Akbarabadi Mahal, to the care of Jahanara. After reciting the Islamic declaration of faith (Laa ilaaha illa l laah) and verses from the Quran, one of the greatest of the Mughal Emperors died, aged 74.Princess Jahanara planned a state funeral which was to include a procession with Shah Jahans body carried by eminent nobles followed by the notable citizens of Agra and officials scattering coins for the poor and needy. Aurangzeb refused to accommodate such ostentation and the body was washed in accordance with Islamic rites, taken by river in a sandalwood coffin to the Taj Mahal and was interred there next to the body of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.


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