Nur Jahan wanted to place her son-in-law on the throne. However, Shah Jahan after killing his contender and some royal princes occupied the throne. Shah Jahan ascended the throne in 1628 after his father’s death. He was best known for his Deccan and foreign policies. The first thing that he had to face was revolts in Bundelkhand (Jujhar Singh Bundela of Orchha: 1628-35) and the Deccan (Khan-i-Jahan Lodhi, the governor of Deccan: 1629-31).
- Three years after his accession, his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal (original name Arzumand Bano) died in 1631. To perpetuate her memory he built the Taj Mahal at Agra in 1632-53.
- In 1631-32, he defeated the Portuguese.
- In addition to Jahangir’s empire, Nizam Shahi’s dynasty of Ahmadnagar was brought under Mughal control (1633) by Shah Jahan. The Deccan Sultanate of Bijapur and Golconda accepted his sovereignty in 1636.
- He sent his army to Balkh in order to secure the defense of North-Western India (1647). Sha Jahan who had recovered Kandhar (Afghanistan) in 1638 from the Iranians lost it again in 1647 despite three campaigns under prince Murad, Aurangzeb and Dara.
- Shah Jahan’s reign is described by French traveler Bernier and Tavernier and the Italian traveler Nicoli Manucci. Peter Mundi described the famine that occurred during Shah Jahan’s time.
- During the reign of Shah Jahan, the Portuguese strengthened their position in India. The Dutch East India Company formed in 1602, established its trading units at Surat, Ahmedabad, Cochin, Patna, Agra and Negapatnam. Later, the English East India Company became the supreme power in the country.
- Shah Jahan’s reign is said to have marked the pinnacle of the Mughal dynasty and empire. He is known for the promotion of art, culture, and architecture during his time. The Red Fort, Jama Masjid, and Taj Mahal are some of the magnificent structures built during his reign.
- His period is known for the construction of various monuments and structures. However, this drained the royal treasury. Thus, taxes during his period were increased to one-half of the produce. His long reign provided peace and stability to the Empire.
- Shah Jahan’s failing health set off the war of succession among his four sons in 1657. Aurangzeb emerged the victor who crowned himself in July 1658. Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in the Agra Fort where he died in captivity in 1666. He was buried at Taj (Agra).
Akbar – the Great
Akbar was one of the greatest Mughal rulers in India. He ascended the throne at the age of thirteen years. He was guided by his tutor, Bairam Khan.