Nuruddin Salim Jahangir was the son of Akbar and his beloved wife Jodha. He had two brothers, Murad and Daniyal.
Jahangir was extremely popular in his father’s court because of his military skills and intelligence. His first triumph came at the age of 12, when he led a regiment of soldiers into Kabul emerging victorious. By the time Jahangir turned 16, he was made a ‘Mansubdar,’ a high military post, commanding 12,000 men.
Akbar and Jahangir argued over a number of number of issues. Jahangir did not like the attention his father paid to his favourite scholar, Abul Fazi. Jahangir in the process picked up some bad habits and took to drinking heavily.
Jahangir, who was married by this time and had children also, did not like the idea of his father favouring his grandchild Khurram. He felt that Akbar would favour Khurram over his eldest child Khusrau, who was the rightful heir.
After a number of misunderstandings with his father, Jahangir marched to Allahabad, where he proclaimed himself to be king. Akbar was furious and cut off all ties with him. Jahangir blamed Abul Fazl for his father’s hostility and ordered the scholar to be killed.
Akbar came to his senses after the death of Abul Fazl and the father-son duo were now reunited. Akbar declared Jahangir as the rightful heir and also placed the crown on Jahangir’s head before his own death.
Jahangir after leading an irresponsible life, now ruled wisely. He like his father expanded his kingdom and crushed those who rebelled against the Mughal rule. He is also known to have released several prisoners of war and was a great patron of the arts and learning.
One of his greatest achievements in the field of justice was the Golden Chain of Justice. Sixty bells, were connected to each other with a chain outside the castle in Agra. Anyone with a grievance could pull the chain and get a chance to meet the Emperor in person.
Like his father, Jahangir was very tolerant towards other religions, more so because his own mother was a Hindu Rajput princess.
Jahangir was married to Mehrunnisa, the wife of a slain rebel officer. He was so captivated by her beauty that he named her Nur Jahan (Light of the World). Nur Jahan played a big role in important matters of the State and her stepson Khurram, the future King, was always in conflict with her.
The good times did not last long. Mahabat Khan attacked Jahangir’s army and captured him. He however managed to escape thanks to Nur Jahan’s plan. This however took a toll on his health, which had already deteriorated from excessive drinking. Jahangir traveled to Kashmir where he could take time off to recover. Here he found the peace he desired. He built the magnificent Shalimar Bagh for his wife on the Dal Lake. It had sprawling gardens and a number of terraces liked by a water channel. Three lovely pavilions were built with black marble pillars and big halls.
Jahangir breathed his last in 1627. His son Khurram (Shah Jahan) marched to Agra and took over the reigns of the kingdom, imprisoning his stepmother, Nur Jahan in a beautiful mansion.