About Mariam-uz-Zamani

Who is it?: Akbar's Third Wife
Birth Year: 1542
Birth Place: Indian
Burial: Tomb of Mariam-uz-Zamani, Agra
Spouse: [akbar)
Issue: Jahangir
Father: Bhar Mal
Religion: Hinduism


Mariam-uz-Zamani was born on 1542 in Indian, is Akbar's Third Wife. Mariam-uz-Zamani happens to be one of the most fascinating personalities in the medieval history of India. The third wife of Emperor Akbar, she has been known by many names in the history such as Harka Bai, Jodha Bai with the latter name indicating that she was born in Jodhpur, but many historians also claim that she was in fact born in Amber region of Rajasthan. She was married off to Akbar by her father Raja Bihari Mal to secure an alliance with the Moguls, which was mostly due to the fact that Rajput houses at that time were at each other’s throat to sit on the royal Amber throne. The decision of marrying a Rajput princess to a Muslim ruler was met with severe criticism from Indian rulers. Akbar’s courtesans also condemned him for going ahead with the marriage with a Hindu princess, but there was no stopping the marriage, and the Emperor went ahead with it. Akbar loved Mariam with all his heart, and she quickly became his most loved wife and the first one to adorn the royal household with an heir, Jahangir. She was a strong willed lady, who established Hindu deity’s idols inside her palace, against the rules. She oversaw the trades with Europeans and other gulf countries. Mariam died in 1623 and her son Jahangir built her tomb in Agra, known as Mariam’s Tomb.
Mariam-uz-Zamani is a member of Historical Personalities

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The marriage, which was a political one, took place on 6 February 1562, while Akbar was on his way back to Agra from Ajmer (after offering prayers to the tomb of Moinuddin Chishti) at the imperial military camp in Sambhar, Rajasthan, instead of the bride's natal home in Amber (which was only 80 miles away). This was a sign that the marriage was not of equals and indicated Bihari Mal's family's inferior social status. The marriage with the Amber Princess provided the Service of her family throughout the reign, and offered a proof manifest to all the world that Akbar had decided to be the Badshah or Shahenshah of his whole people i.e. Hindus as well as Muslims.


In 1569, Akbar heard the news that his first Hindu wife was expecting a child, and that he might hope for the first of the three sons promised by Sheikh Salim Chisti, a reputed holy man who lived at Sikri. An expectant Heer was sent to Sheikh's humble dwelling at Sikri during the period of her pregnancy. On 30 August 1569, the boy was born and received the name Salim, in acknowledgement of his father's faith in the efficacy of the holy man's prayer. Though she remained a Hindu, Jodhabai was honoured with the title Mariam-uz-Zamani ("Mary of the Age") after she gave birth to Jahangir.


Her niece, Manbhawati Bai or Manmati Bai, daughter of her brother Bhagwan Das, married Prince Salim on 13 February 1585. Man Bai later became mother to Prince Khusrau Mirza and was awarded the title of Shah Begum by Jahangir.


Although she may have enjoyed a certain status in Akbar's imperial household after giving birth to the heir, she gained prestige only during Jahangir's reign (as the emperor's mother), after he had succeeded Akbar as Mughal Emperor in 1605. During the reign of Jahangir, she was amongst the most prodigious women traders at the Mughal court. No other noblewoman on record seems to have been as adventurous a trader as the Queen mother.


Mariam-uz-Zamani owned ships that carried pilgrims to and from the Islamic holy city Mecca. In 1613, her ship, the Rahīmī, was seized by Portuguese pirates along with the 600-700 passengers onboard and the cargo. Rahīmī was the largest Indian ship sailing in the Red Sea and was known to the Europeans as the "great pilgrimage ship". When the Portuguese officially refused to return the ship and the passengers, the outcry at the Moghul court was quite unusually severe. The outrage was compounded by the fact that the owner and the patron of the ship was none other than the revered mother of the current Emperor. Mariam-uz-Zamani's son, the Indian Emperor Jahangir, ordered the seizure of the Portuguese town Daman. This episode is considered to be an Example of the struggle for wealth that would later ensue and lead to colonization of the Indian sub-continent.


Mariam uz-Zamani died in 1623. The grave itself is underground with a FLIGHT of steps leading to it. Her tomb, built in 1623–27, is on the Tantpur road now known as in Jyoti Nagar. Mariam's Tomb, commissioned by her son, is only a kilometre from Tomb of Akbar the Great.


According to Professor Shirin Moosvi, a Historian of Aligarh Muslim University, the name "Jodha Bai" was first used to refer to Akbar's wife in the 18th and 19th centuries in historical writings. According to the Historian Imtiaz Ahmad, the Director of the Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library in Patna, it was Lieutenant-Colonel James Tod who first mentioned Jodhabai in his book Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan.


Akbarnama doesn’t reveal the identity of Jahangir’s mother.The mother of Jahangir to be Raja Bharmal’s daughter was recorded only in one book of the Mughal era. That book is Khulasat-ut-Tawarikh, written by a Punjab Historian Sujan Rai Bandar, during Aurangzeb’s reign in 1695.There is no detailed information about the author.He had written about the history of Hindustan, in which Mughal history was just a part of the book.Sujan Rai mentions in his book that the Amber Princess, the third wife of Akbar was Salim’s mother.First of all Amber Princess was the fourth wife.He had missed the second wife who was the granddaughter of Munim Khan whose wedding was celebrated in 1557.He had missed it because he was not in the Mughal court.Since most of the information in this book is authentic and no other book reveals the identity of Jahangir’s mother historians are forced to believe Sujan’s statement of Jahangir’s mother.

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