Mughal Prince Shahryar, the son of Mughal Emperor Jahangir became the fifth Mughal Emperor after the death of his father. However, he couldn’t hold the throne more than three months post which his half brother Shah Jahan took away the empire from him.
Early Life and Background
Prince Shazada Salef ud din Muhammad Sheharyar was the fourth son of Mughal Emperor Jahangir from one of his Hindu wives. He was younger to both, Khusrau Mirza and Shah Jahan. He was born few months before the death of his grandfather Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1605.
Family Life and Background
Prince Shahryar married Mihr-un-nissa Begum (Ladli Begum), the daughter of his step-mother Nur Jahan from her first marriage to Sher Afghan on 23rd April 1621. Mihr-un-nissa was 16 back then. Shahryar and Mihr-un-nissa had a daughter Arzani Banu Begum who was born two years later on September 13 1623.
Nur Jahan’s plan was to marry Mihr-un-Nissa to Jahangir’s eldest son Prince Khusrau and recreate his position as heir apparent instead of Khurram. However, Khusrau Mirza denied the offer as he loved his wife (daughter of Mirza Aziz Koka) dearly who stood by him throughout even in his days of imprisonment.
Now that Prince Shahryar was married to Nur Jahan’s daughter and she played a pivotal role during the times of Mughal Emperor Jehangir. She tried her best to push Shahryar over Emperor’s other sons especially Shahryar biggest competitor Prince Khurram.
Life As a Prince
Being Nur Jahan’s son-in-law, the Queen ensured he got the main fort/governorship. So she requested her husband Jehangir to give the pargana of Dholpur and its fort which Prince Khurram (6th Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan) wanted for himself.
On October 13, 1625, his father Jahangir even appointed Shahryar as the Governor of Thatta.
Mughal Emperor Shahryar
Shahryar ascended to the Mughal throne (only for 3 months), as Nur Jahan desired after the death of his father Jahangir on 28 October 1627. Now since he was present in Lahore at that time, he immediately took over the imperial treasury and distributed rupees amongst noble men to secure his throne, Mirza Baisinghar, son of the late Prince Daniyal too joined Shahryar.
The War And the Downfall of Mughal Emperor Shahryar
However, his forces met with the forces of Shah Jahan’s father-in-law Asaf Khan (father of Mumtaz Mahal) near Lahore, who wanted his son-in-law Shah Jahan to ascend the throne. He even made provisions to ensure that Shah Jahan gets the throne.
Incidentally, Asaf Khan was none other than Nur Jahan’s brother and Mihr-un-Nissa’s uncle. Nur Jahsn had purposely married Mumtaz Mahal her niece to Shah Jahan so that her family would grow strong.
Shahryar lost this battle. He then fled into the fort. However, the next morning he was presented in front of Dawar Baksh, who placed him in confinement. 2 to 3 days later, Shahryar was blinded by Asaf Khan, bringing a tragic end to Shahryar’s reign. Besides, since he also had a type of leprosy, he lost all his hair including his eyebrows and eyelashes.
After he was blinded towards the end of his life, Shahyrar wrote a verse titled, Bi Gu Kur Shud didah-i-Aftab.
Death of Shahryar
In 1628, Prince Khurram ascended to the throne at Lahore and became the sixth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. On January 23, 1628, upon his orders, Asaf Khan killed not only Shahryar but also his close associates Dawar, his brother Garshasp, Prince Daniyal’s son Tahmuras and Hoshang.
After Shahryar’s death, Shah Jahan confined Nur Jahan along with the widow of Shahryar in her own palace in Lahore. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan then ruled for 30 years until his own son Aurangzeb overthrew him from the throne.