Check out the biography of the tenth Mughal Emperor Jahandar Shah, the grandson of Aurangzeb. Know about his life & his love story with Lal Kunwar

After the death of Aurangzeb’s son Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah I, there was again a war for the throne between.the brothers, the one who succeeded was Jahandar Shah. Here we share everything about the Emperor.

Early Life

Prince Ma’az-ud-Din Jahandar Shah Bahadur aka Jahandar Shah was born on 9th May 1661 in Deccan Subah, to Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah I and his wife Nizam Bai. She was the daughter of Mirza Raja Jai Singh and granddaughter of Mirza Bhau Singh of Amber.

mughal emperor jahandar shah The Chronicles of Mughal Emperor Jahandar Shah   The 10th Mughal.Emperor

During the presence of his grandfather Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Jahandar Shah was appointed as Vizier of Balkh. He also sailed across the Indian ocean and was known to be a prosperous trader. Jahandar was also appointed as the Subedar of the Sindh

The War of Succession

Upon the death of Emperor Shah Alam Bahadur Shah in 1712, his sons fought amongst each other for the throne. The war of succession was amongst his four sons – Jahandar Shah, Azim-ush-shan, Rafi-ush-shan and Jahan Shah. Jahandar Shah, the eldest son came out victorious by killing his brother Azim-ush-shan with the help and support of Amir-ul-umara Zulfiqar Khan.

Next, Jahandar Shah ascended the throne on 29 March, 1712 at the age of 52. He made Zulfiqar Khan as his wazir.


The tenth Mughal Emperor was a very weak and pleasure-seeking Emperor who led a frivolous life and neglected the state affairs. His court was more enlivened in dancing, and the emperor spent most of his time in entertainment. Jahandar Shah’s reign was good only for the dancers and singers, not for the subjects in general.

lal kunwar dancing girl The Chronicles of Mughal Emperor Jahandar Shah   The 10th Mughal.Emperor

Because of his love for entertainment, he fell in love with a dancing girl named Lal Kunwar. Being his favorite concubine, she also used to accompany him in his battle. She became his queen after his succession to the throne and was given the title of Imtiyaz Mahal. Their relationship, acts and behavior was disapproved by almost all of the Empire including Jahandar’s aunt and Aurangzeb’s daughter Zinat-un-Nissa. He however paid no heed.

Now that Jahandar Shah was much into entertainment, he didn’t do anything towards the welfare of the people or the Empire. All he did was reintroduced couplets and issued coins in copper, silver and gold.

mughal coins The Chronicles of Mughal Emperor Jahandar Shah   The 10th Mughal.Emperor

Family Life of Mughal Emperor Jahandar Shah

Jahandar Shah’s first marriage took place in the year 1676 at the age of 15 with the daughter of Mirza Mukarram Khan Safavi. She didn’t survive long and post her death, he remarried his wife’s niece, Sayyid-un-nissa Begum, the daughter of Mirza Rustam in 1684 in the presence of his father Bahadur Shah I as well as his grandfather Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

jahandar shah lal kunwar The Chronicles of Mughal Emperor Jahandar Shah   The 10th Mughal.Emperor

Jahandar’s third wife was Anup Bai, the mother of Prince Muhammad Aziz-ud-din Mirza (later Mughal Emperor Alamgir II). She was given the title of Muazzamabadi Mahal. She died in 1735. His fourth wife was none other than the dancing girl, Lal Kunwar Begum. He had three sons – Izz-ud-Din Mirza, A’az-ud-Din Mirza, Alamgir II and two daughters – Iffat Ara Begum and Rabi Begum.

The Battle With His Nephew Farrukhsiyar

All during his reign, his nephew Farrukhsiyar, the second son of his brother Azim-ush-Shan whom Jahandar had killed in the war of succession, made plans against him. Farrukhsiyar got strong support from the Sayyids of Barha – Abdullah Khan and his brother Husain Ali Khan. When Jahandar Shah heard about the revolt, he sent his son Azz-ud-din to face Farrukhsiyar. He, however, was defeated and fled to Agra.

jahandar shah mughal emperor The Chronicles of Mughal Emperor Jahandar Shah   The 10th Mughal.Emperor

Next, Jahandar Shah went to war against his nephew. He too was defeated in the battle at Agra (10 Jan 1713); His wife Lal Kunwar, who was also present in the battle, however came to Jahandar’s rescue and took him on her elephant. Together they escaped to Delhi.

The Death

In Delhi, Jahandar seeked help from Zulfiqar’s father Asad Khan. He however took Jahandar as a prisoner in hopes of reconciliation with Farrukh Siyar and confined him in the fort. He however gave permission to Lal Kunwar to stay with him in confinement.

humayun tomb delhi The Chronicles of Mughal Emperor Jahandar Shah   The 10th Mughal.Emperor

Next, Farrukhsiyar became the next Mughal Emperor on 19 January 1713 and gave orders to kill his uncle Jahandar on 11 February 1713. He was murdered by professional stranglers who were sent on the orders of the Emperor. He was buried in Humayun’s tomb in Delhi while his widow Lal Kunwar was sent to Suhagpura where the families of deceased Emperors lived in retirement.

Source and Reference:

Maasir-i-Alamgiri: A History of Emperor Aurangzib-Alamgir (reign 1658-1707 AD) by Jadunath Sarkar

The Later Mughals by Irvine William

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