XIV. The Age of Splendor

*The Reign of Shah Jahan*

        [[175]] AKBAR'S only surviving son, Prince Salim, succeeded to the throne on November 3, 1605, under the title of Jahangir. To prove his desire to end the bitterness that had divided the court when he had made an unsuccessful attempt to usurp power during the last years of his father's reign, he granted a general amnesty to all his former opponents. Abdur Rahman, the son of Abul Fazl (Akbar's friend who had been murdered at Jahangir's instigation), was promoted to higher rank. The nobles who had endeavored to have Jahangir's son, Khusrau, made Akbar's successor were allowed to retain their ranks and jagirs.

       Despite his attempts at conciliation, Jahangir was soon faced with the task of suppressing a revolt led by Khusrau, who had fled to the Punjab. The revolt was quelled without great difficulty, with Khusrau brought back in chains, but it led, incidentally, to one important development. Khusrau had received help from Arjan Dev, the guru or leader of the Sikhs. After Khusrau's defeat, Arjan Dev was summoned to the court to answer for his conduct. Sikh historians say that the enmity of Chandu Lal, the Hindu diwan of Lahore, who had a family quarrel with the guru, was responsible for his troubles. When the guru was unable to give any satisfactory explanation for his part in the rebellion, he was put to death. He might have ended his days in peace if he had not espoused the cause of the rebel, but this punitive action against him marked the beginning of a long and bitter conflict between the Sikhs and the Mughal government.

       An event of Jahangir's private life that was to have great significance for his reign was his marriage to Nur Jahan in 1611. She was the widow of a Persian nobleman, Sher Afghan, a rebellious official of Burdwan who met his death while resisting arrest at the hands of Qutb-ud-din Khan Koka, the viceroy of Bengal.

       Nur Jahan was taken to the court, and three years later, at the age of forty, she became the royal consort. A capable woman, she acquired such an ascendency over her husband that she became in effect [[176]] the joint ruler of the kingdom. Coins were struck in her name, and Jahangir used to say that he had handed her the country in return for a cup of wine and a few morsels of food. Nur Jahan's relatives soon occupied the chief posts of the realm. Her brother, Asaf Khan, became the prime minister, and his daughter, Mumtaz Mahal, the Lady of the Taj, married Prince Khurram, who succeeded his father as Shah Jahan. The influence of the gifted but masterly queen and her relatives was not entirely beneficial, but they were all capable people, and until toward the end of the later part of Jahangir's reign they administered the empire efficiently. Their influence attracted a large number of brilliant soldiers, scholars, poets, and civil servants from Iran who played an important role in the administration and the cultural life of Mughal India.

       One of the most fruitful achievements of Jahangir's reign was the consolidation of Mughal rule in Bengal. This province had been incorporated in the empire under Akbar, but the governors of Akbar's time had not attempted to bring the existing local chiefs—Hindu and Muslim—under the full control of the central government. The imposition of Mughal power and the crushing of local resistance was largely the work of Jahangir's foster-brother, Shaikh Ala-ud-din, entitled Islam Khan, who was viceroy of Bengal from 1608 to 1613. He employed all possible methods—force, reward, and diplomacy—to terminate the independence of the powerful zamindars. He also enlarged the territorial limits of the empire by subjugating Cooch Behar in 1609 and Kamrup in 1612. In 1612 he shifted his capital from Rajmahal to Dacca, a singularly appropriate choice in view of the menace of Magh raids on the eastern rivers. Islam Khan died in 1613, and after an interval of four years, during which his incompetent brother was in charge of the area, his good work was continued by another capable viceroy, Ibrahim Khan Fath-i-Jung. He devoted the six years of his viceroyalty (1617–1623) to consolidating the gains already made and died fighting loyally against Prince Khurram when he revolted against his father the emperor and tried to seize the government of Bengal.

       Outside Bengal, the main military events of Jahangir's reign were the victory over the Rajputs of Mewar in 1615, the reassertion of the Mughal authority in the Deccan, and the capture of Kangra in 1620. [[177]] Two years later the Mughals lost the great fort of Qandahar to the Persians, and in spite of efforts made during Jahangir's and Shah Jahan's reigns, they were never able to recover it. This was also a time of internal difficulties. Hitherto, Nur Jahan, Asaf Khan, and Prince Khurram had cooperated in controlling the affairs of the country, and Khurram had been the leader of victorious expeditions in Rajputana and the Deccan. Nur Jahan, however, had now attained complete ascendency over the emperor, and tried to promote the claims of his youngest son, Prince Shahryar, to whom her daughter by Sher Afghan was married. This brought her into conflict with Prince Khurram, who revolted in 1623. He became master of Bengal and Bihar for a brief time, but was ultimately defeated and obliged to retire to the Deccan. In the end he asked his father's pardon and was reconciled in 1626.

       Jahangir died in the following year on his way back from Kashmir, and was buried at Shahdara, a suburb of Lahore. Through a relay of messengers, Asaf Khan sent word to Prince Khurram, his son-in-law, who was still in the Deccan, and the succession was secured without much difficulty. Prince Shahryar, Nur Jahan's son-in-law, was captured and blinded; Nur Jahan herself retired from the world she had dominated, living quietly until her death sixteen years later.

       Owing to his likable personality, the brilliance of his court, and his friendliness toward foreigners, Jahangir has been favorably treated, especially by English writers. There are, however, certain aspects of his administration which cast a shadow on his regime and darken the course of the later Mughal history. The extension of the Mughal dominion came practically to a halt in his reign, and the empire suffered a serious blow in the loss of Qandahar. In spite of vast imperial resources, no serious attempt was made to bring the great unconquered areas of the Deccan under the empire. A contemporary Dutch writer commenting on this said: The probable explanation is to be found in the sloth, cowardice, and weakness of the last emperor, Salim, and in the domestic discords of his family."/1/ There is little reason to doubt the essential truth of this harsh judgment.

       A significant change took place in the composition of the nobility [[178]] and the holders of high office during the years of Nur Jahan's ascendency. Akbar had made good use of the indigenous element—such men as Abul Fazl, Faizi, Todar Mal, Shaikh Farid, Man Singh, and Bhagwan Singh come to mind—and had maintained a due balance between the Irani and Turani elements. Under Jahangir this balance was upset, and the Iranis became all-powerful. This was facilitated by the early death of Shaikh Farid and by the stigma attached to Man Singh, the Rajput leader, and to Khan-i-Azam, the premier Turani noble, because of their association with Khusrau. Held in check, the Irani element was a source of strength, but this ceased to be the case in the eighteenth century, when its political role during the decline of the empire weakened the realm.

       Even more objectionable was the mushroom growth of bureaucracy and the resultant increase in government expenditure. No large territory was added to the empire, but the number of mansabdars, which under Akbar numbered about eight hundred, was increased to nearly three thousand in Jahangir's reign. The author of Maasir-ul-Umara, himself a financial expert, in dealing with the fiscal history of the Mughal period, said: "In the time of Jahangir, who was a careless prince and paid no attention to political or financial matters, and who was constitutionally thoughtless and pompous, the fraudulent officials, in gathering lucre, and hunting for bribes, paid no attention to the abilities of men or to their performance. The devastation of the country and the diminution of income rose to such a height that the revenue of the exchequer-lands fell to five million rupees while expenditure rose to fifteen million, and large sums were expended out of the general treasury."/2/

       Jahangir must bear the ultimate responsibility for this state of affairs, but the immediate cause was the dominance and policy of Nur Jahan. She was a woman of noble impulses and good taste who spent large sums in charity, particularly for the relief of indigent women, and worked hard to relieve the drabness of Indian life. Many innovations which enhanced the grace and charm of Mughal culture can be directly traced to her, and her influence led to the maintenance of a magnificent court. But all this strained the royal resources.

       [[179]] The lavish style of living introduced at the royal court was initiated by the nobility, and an era of extravagance, with its concomitants of corruption and demoralization among officers of the state, was inaugurated. This corroded the structure of the Mughal government. A contemporary Dutch account sharply criticized Nur Jahan and her "crowd of Khurasanis" for what it was costing the state to maintain "their excessive pomp," and complained that the foreign bureaucrats were particularly indifferent to the condition of the masses./3/ To Nur Jahan herself belongs the doubtful honor of introducing the system of nazars or gifts to the court—corruption at the royal level. Asaf Khan emerges in the pages of Sir Thomas Roe's account of his negotiations at the Mughal court as exceedingly greedy for such gifts./4/

       The era of extravagance which was ushered in during Jahangir's reign was fed from two other sources. One was the change in the prevalent philosophy of life. The old Indian emphasis on plain living and the excellence of limitation of wants was not consistent with the way of life introduced by Muslim rulers in the subcontinent, but (coupled with the Sufi philosophy) it was not without a certain influence. In Akbar's days in particular, with emphasis on the spiritual side of things, it is easy to trace a certain idealism, an other-worldliness, and the ability to rise above purely materialistic values, in spite of the elaborate grandeur of a great empire. The Irani newcomers were alien to this approach, and under their influence the gracious living became the summum bonum, the goal of human existence.

       The other factor responsible for increased extravagance was the vast opportunity for spending provided by the new commercial contacts with Europe. By now the fame of the Mughal empire had spread to distant lands, and in Jahangir's day embassies came to his court from European countries. England sent Captain Hawkins in 1608, and Sir Thomas Roe, the ambassador of James I, came to conclude a commercial treaty in 1615. By September, 1618, he was able to obtain a farman signed by Prince Khurram as viceroy of Gujarat which gave facilities for trade, but owing to the prince's opposition, [[180]] did not allow a building to be built as a residence. The new trade, which will be noted more fully later, brought out some pathetic propensities in the Mughal nobility. Costly toys were devised to please the taste of the court. In this Jahangir led the way. He was described as "an amateur of all varieties and antiquities, and displayed an almost childish love of toys." One traveler tells how he presented the emperor with "a small whistle of gold, weighing almost an ounce, set with sparks of rubies, which he took and whistled therewith almost an hour."/5/

The Reign of Shah Jahan

       The charge made against Jahangir—that he had been too slothful to extend the empire—could not be made against his son, Prince Khurram, who ascended the throne as Shah Jahan on February 6, 1628. Although under him the splendor and luxury of the court reached its zenith, he revived the expansionist policy of Akbar, and widened the frontiers of the empire to include territories that had so far escaped Mughal domination.

       Before he could bring new areas under his sway, however, he had to meet a number of threats within the existing empire. One came at the very beginning of his reign: on the death of Bir Singh Bundela, the favorite of Jahangir and murderer of Abul Fazl; his son revolted and tried to establish himself as an independent chieftain in Bundelkhand. This revolt was put down quickly. More serious was one in the south led by Khan Jahan Lodi, a former viceroy of the Deccan, who gained some support from Hindu chieftains. He fought Shah Jahan's troops for three years but was finally killed in 1631. Another threat came from the Portuguese who had been permitted by the last independent king of Bengal to settle at Hugli. They had received commercial privileges, but they began to abuse their position through their relations with the Portuguese at Chittagong, who indulged in piracy in the Bay of Bengal and on Bengal rivers. Another cause for [[181]] dispute was that the Portuguese had fortified their settlement at Hugli and, owing to their command of the sea and superiority in the use of firearms, the Mughal authorities "could not but conceive great fears," to quote a contemporary Portuguese account, "lest His Majesty of Spain should possess himself of the kingdom of Bengal." Shah Jahan, who had become particularly aware of the problem in the course of his wanderings in Bengal during his revolt against his father, gave orders in 1631 to Qasim Khan, viceroy of Bengal, to drive them out. As the Portuguese were well-organized, elaborate measures were necessary. They offered stiff resistance, but Hugli was captured in 1632, and the garrison was severely punished. This was followed by the reconquest of Kamrup (1637–38), which had been lost to the Ahom ruler of Assam in the previous reign.

       In the Deccan, Shah Jahan was faced by the opposition of the virtually independent Muslim ruler of Ahmadnagar. Akbar had succeeded in annexing Khandesh, Berar, and a part of Ahmadnagar, but the ruler of Ahmadnagar took advantage of Jahangir's preoccupation with the rebellion of Shah Jahan to reassert his independence. Shah Jahan, having acted as governor for the area, knew the Deccan well, and adopted a vigorous policy. In 1633 the last king of the Nizam Shahi dynasty of Ahmadnagar was captured, and the famous fort of Daulatabad fell into the hands of the Mughals. Three years later Shah Jahan went to the Deccan himself, and compelled the rulers of Golkunda and Bijapur to acknowledge the Mughal suzerainty and to pay tribute. He appointed his son Aurangzeb as viceroy of the Deccan. Under him were the four provinces of Khandesh, Berar, Telingana, and Daulatabad. In 1638 Aurangzeb added Baglana to the empire.

       Having attained his goal in the Deccan, Shah Jahan turned his attention to the northwest. The Mughals had not reconciled themselves to the loss of Qandahar, and in 1638 Shah Jahan's officers persuaded Ali Mardan Khan, the local Persian governor, to hand over the fort to the Mughals and enter their service. Ali Mardan Khan was a capable officer and proved a great acquisition to the empire. While governor of Kabul and Kashmir he erected many magnificent buildings. The recovery of Qandahar was only temporary, however, for [[182]] the Persians regained the fort in 1648. Attempts made by the Mughals in 1649, 1652, and 1653 to dislodge them were all unsuccessful.

       Shah Jahan's efforts to interfere in the affairs of Central Asia were equally fruitless. In 1645 conditions at Bukhara were disturbed, and Shah Jahan took this opportunity to send an army under Murad, who entered Balkh in 1646. Aurangzeb, who was appointed governor, fought bravely to hold his own against the Uzbegs, but he found it impossible to hold the country, and evacuated Balkh in 1647.

       Despite Shah Jahan's failures in Central Asia, he was singularly successful in dealing with the northwest frontier. This area had given trouble in the days of Akbar, mainly because of the opposition of the Yusufzais and the followers of the Raushaniya sect. Shah Jahan's chief official in the area, Saíd Khan, who was appointed governor of Kabul, dealt with Abdul Qadir, the Raushaniya leader, in an effective way.

       He dispersed the hostile tribesmen with heavy casualties, but by tact and firmness he persuaded Abdul Qadir and his mother to surrender on promise of safe-conduct. Abdul Qadir died shortly thereafter, but his mother, with other relatives and Raushaniya leaders, appeared before the emperor at Delhi. "They were kindly treated, and sent with rank and dignity to the Deccan provinces, where they were allowed to gather round them their adherents in the empire's service."/6/

       Aurangzeb, who was the viceroy of the Deccan from 1636 to 1644, had placed the affairs of the newly conquered territory on a satisfactory basis, but the viceroys who succeeded him were unable to administer the area effectively. A large number of soldiers and officials belonging to the Deccani kingdoms, who had been displaced, fomented unrest; cultivation was neglected; and revenues diminished. Aurangzeb was sent back to the Deccan in 1653, and worked arduously to restore order and good government. He introduced the land revenue system which Akbar had adopted in the north, and with the adoption of a regular system of land revenue, cultivation was extended and revenue increased.

       Aurangzeb's relations with his eldest brother, Dara Shukoh, who had gained great power at the capital with their father, were not [[183]] happy. His requests for additional funds received little attention, and many other difficulties were placed in his way. He was hampered even in his dealings with the rulers of the Deccan. They failed to pay the annual tribute regularly and, after obtaining the approval of the court, Aurangzeb demanded from the ruler of Golkunda a part of his territory to cover his tribute. He marched on Golkunda and laid siege to the fort, but the sultan made representations to Delhi and Aurangzeb was ordered to pardon him.

       Lack of harmony between the viceroy of the Deccan and the authorities at Delhi became even more manifest in the case of Bijapur. In 1657 disorder broke out in that kingdom, and after obtaining the permission from the emperor, Aurangzeb set out to conquer Bijapur. Bidar and Kalyani were captured and the Bijapur army was decisively defeated, but again Dara Shukoh and Shah Jahan interfered. Aurangzeb was ordered to withdraw.

       Shah Jahan fell seriously ill in 1658, and was unable to attend to affairs of state for so long a time that there were even rumors of his death. His sons, feeling that his end was near, began to assert their claims. Dara Shukoh, the eldest, viceroy of the Punjab and Allahabad, had been treated practically as heir-apparent, and toward the end of Shah Jahan's reign the administration of the state had been left largely to him. His brothers, who also were in charge of vast territories—Aurangzeb as viceroy of the Deccan, Shah Shuja in charge of Bengal, and Murad ruler of Gujarat—contested Dara's claims. On hearing of their father's illness and Dara Shukoh's assumption of the administration of the imperial affairs, Shuja and Murad claimed the succession, but the ever-cautious Aurangzeb bided his time. He corresponded with Shuja and Murad, and all three brothers started moving toward the capital from their respective territories. The forces of Murad and Aurangzeb met near Ujjain in Central India and continued toward Agra. Dara sent Jaswant Singh to oppose them, but he was defeated, and the victorious armies of the allies reached Samugarh, near Agra. Here Dara, with the bulk of the imperial army, gave them battle, but he was no match for Aurangzeb in generalship, and the battle ended in his complete defeat.

       Aurangzeb entered Agra and was invited by Shah Jahan to meet [[184]] him, but his well-wishers, Khalil Ullah Khan (who had originally been sent by Shah Jahan as an intermediary and later switched allegiance to Aurangzeb) and Shayista Khan, informed him that there was a plot to have him arrested and assassinated. Shah Jahan was so closely allied with Dara that Aurangzeb refused to trust him. A point had been reached where there could be no turning back; Aurangzeb therefore placed his father under restraint and assumed the imperial authority on July 21, 1658.

       In the meanwhile, Murad, who had shown resentment at the growing power of Aurangzeb, was arrested and imprisoned in the fort of Gwalior. Some three years later, after an attempt at escape, Aurangzeb decided that alive he was dangerous. A complaint was lodged by the son of a former diwan of Gujarat whom Murad had put to death, and, obtaining a legal decree, Aurangzeb had Murad executed on December 4, 1661.

       Dara fled to the north, but after wandering in the Punjab, Sind, Gujarat, and Rajputana, he was captured and put to death in 1659. Shuja, after the initial setback, reorganized his forces and moved toward Allahabad. Aurangzeb met him at Khajuha and decisively defeated him. He took refuge in Arakan, where the Magh chief had him assassinated.

       Thus ended the grim struggle for the throne, and Aurangzeb, who was already exercising royal powers, held a grand coronation ceremony in 1659. Shah Jahan recovered from his illness, and though there was an exchange of bitter letters between him and his son, ultimately he became reconciled to Aurangzeb's assumption of power. When he died in 1666, his daughter Jahan Ara Begum, who was with him throughout his internment, presented Aurangzeb with a letter of pardon written by Shah Jahan.

       Shah Jahan, whose reign ended on such a sad note, was perhaps the most magnificent of the Muslim rulers of India. His empire extended over an area greater than that of any of his Mughal predecessors. Largely due to the financial ability of his wise wazir, Saadullah Khan, the royal treasury was full. Because of this, Shah Jahan was able to embark on a great building program in Delhi and Agra and to encourage the other arts, particularly music and painting.

       [[185]] Shah Jahan wanted to earn the title of Shahanshah-i-Adil, the Just Emperor. He took a personal interest in the administration of justice, and tried to be like a father to his subjects. During the first few years he seems to have been under the influence of religious revivalists, although later, under Sufi influences, he became more tolerant. The apathy and indifference that had characterized Jahangir's attitude disappeared, and the regime was marked by attempts to approximate the administration to orthodox Islamic law—including the creation of a department to look after new converts to Islam.

       But if the developments of the period are closely studied, a major Hindu revival is also noticeable in the reign of Shah Jahan. In Jahangir's time the rebellion of his son Khusrau, who had a Rajput mother, drove the Rajput nobility into the background, and after his marriage with Nur Jahan, Persians became supreme in the state. Shah Jahan's reign was marked not only by the predominance of the indigenous Muslim elements, but also by the dominating position of Rajputs in the army and Hindu officials in the imperial secretariat. Rai Raghunath officiated for some time as diwan, while Rai Chandra Bhan Brahman was in charge of the secretariat. The explanation seems to be that by now Hindus were in a position to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Mughal polity, and with the increasing influence of their patron, Dara, they made rapid headway.

       Akbar had based his policy of equal treatment for all subjects on laws of natural justice; in Shah Jahan's time the Muslim scholars advocated it on the basis of Islamic law and principles. Shah Muhibullah of Allahabad wrote in a letter to Dara Shukoh that the Holy Prophet had been referred to as Rahmat-ul-lil-Alimin—a blessing to all the worlds and not only to Muslims. Mulla Abul Hakim, the greatest scholar of the day, gave a ruling that according to Islamic law a mosque could not be set up on the property of another, and that the conversion of a Jain temple into a mosque by Prince Aurangzeb was unauthorized.

       Such discussions remind one of the controversies of Akbar's time, but as they were without Akbar's excesses and innovations, the Hindu case gained more general support. But it also awakened anxieties, and the support which Aurangzeb was able to get against Dara Shukoh [[186]] was probably due not only to Dara's arrogance and tactlessness, but also to a feeling among the Muslim nobility—especially among the Persian nobles, who had lost their privileged position—that their interests were not safe.

       Involved in this was not just the problem of increasing Hindu influence, but also what may be called an "Indian-Irani" controversy. In the rebellion against his father, Shah Jahan's main collaborator had been Mahabat Khan, whose opposition to Nur Jahan and Irani nobles was well known. It is true that after his accession, Shah Jahan maintained his father-in-law Asaf Khan, an Irani, as the prime minister, but his two successors—Fazil Khan and Saadullah Khan—were of indigenous origin. Irani influence seems to have decreased in the secretariat. This Irani-Indian competition in the administrative sphere found an echo in the literary controversies of the day. Munir, a well-known poet of Lahore, complained of the airs assumed by Irani writers, and Shaida, another prominent poet of the day, challenged contemporary Irani poets, rated high by the Irani nobles on points of Persian language and style, to compete with him.

       These developments indicate that by now indigenous elements, benefiting by the spread of learning and orderly government in the country, were able to assert their claims in administrative and literary fields. Shah Jahan's own vision was not narrow or parochial. The way in which the Taj Mahal was built is indicative of his policy. At one time it was thought that it had been designed by a Venetian architect, but this view has been abandoned. The Taj represents the culminating point of the development of Indo-Muslim architecture. The particulars of those who took part in the production of this incomparable masterpiece indicate that no effort was spared to obtain the services of specialists in every phase of the work: craftsmen from Delhi, Lahore, Multan; a calligraphist from Baghdad and another from Shiraz to ensure that all the inscriptions were correctly carved; a flower-carver from Bukhara; an expert in dome construction, Ismail Khan Rumi, who, by his name may have come from Constantinople; a pinnacle-maker from Samarqand; a master-mason from Qandahar; and lastly, an experienced garden designer. The chief supervisor who coordinated [[187]] the entire work was Ustad Isa, according to one account an inhabitant of Shiraz whose family had settled in Lahore.

       Shah Jahan's reign represents the golden age of the Mughal empire, but as some students have pointed out, the artistic productions of the period give an impression of over-ripeness and a certain loss of vigor. Mughal civilization had reached its climax and was moving toward its declining phase. But the resolute vigor of Aurangzeb, a man of iron will, held the structure together for another half a century and gave it new support, so that the end came very gradually.

       A special word must be said of Dara Shukoh, who, except for Aurangzeb, is the best-known of Shah Jahan's four sons. That he was not the paragon of virtue his partisans would have him is indicated by the statement of the French traveler Bernier that he had poisoned Saadullah Khan, Shah Jahan's able prime minister./7/ And his interference with Aurangzeb's efforts to extend the empire in the south shows his inability to rise above personal enmity. But as a figure in the religious history of India he holds a unique place, and it is for this that he is remembered.

       When he was nineteen, Dara had recovered from a serious illness after having visited Mian Mir, a famous saint who lived at Lahore. From this time on, his faith in the power of saints and his interest in religion were firmly established. In 1640 he became a disciple of Mullah Shah, one of Mian Mir's successors. In the meanwhile he had already completed a book containing biographies of Sufi saints. A biography of Mian Mir and his principal disciples followed two years later. He also wrote brief Sufi pamphlets, one of which was a reply to those who criticized Dara for his heterodox statements. In order to justify himself, he collected a number of utterances and statements similar to those attributed to him by celebrated Sufis.

       In Majma-ul-Bahrain (The Mingling of Two Oceans), which was completed in 1655, Dara Shukoh tried to trace parallels between Islamic Sufism and Hindu Vedantism. In the introduction he says that after a deep and prolonged study of Islamic Sufism and Hindu [[188]] Vedantism he had come to the conclusion that "there were not many differences, except verbal, in the ways in which Hindu monotheists and Muslim Sufis sought and comprehended truth." Here he sounded a note that was to become the hallmark of many Hindu thinkers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. None of his books is without interest, but his translation of the Upanishads, which he made with the help of Sanskrit scholars, had a particularly interesting history. It was completed in 1657, just before his disastrous struggle for the throne. A French traveler, Anquetil Duperron, translated Dara Shukoh's Persian version of the Upanishads into Latin. It was this version, which was published in two volumes in 1801 and 1802, that fell into the hands of Schopenhauer. His enthusiasm for the new world of speculation profoundly influenced many others, including Emerson and other Transcendentalists in the United States.

       In India itself Dara Shikoh's work had a considerable influence. Majma-ul-Bahrain was translated into Sanskrit by a Hindu scholar, and Hindu protegés of Dara Shukoh gave expression to ideas of Islamic Sufism in moving Persian verse. Among the distinguished people whom Dara attracted were the celebrated poet and Sufi, Sarmad; the unknown author of that remarkable history of religions, Dabistan-i-Mazahib; and Muhandis, the son of Ustad Isa, the architect of the Taj. Indeed, Dara Shukoh seems to have been a center of an entire literary, spiritual, and intellectual movement, but with his defeat by Aurangzeb, the liberal group also lost its cohesion and potency.


/1/ Joannes de Laet, Empire of the Great Mogul, trans. by J. S. Hoyland (Bombay, 1928), p. 246.
/2/ Maasir-ul-Umara, trans. by Henry Beveridge (Calcutta, 1911–1952), I, 579.
/3/ Brij Narain and S. R. Sharma, trans. and eds., A Contemporary Dutch Chronicle of India (Calcutta, 1957), pp. 92–93.
/4/ William Foster, ed., The Embassy of Sir Thomas Roe to India (London, 1926).
/5/ S. M. Edwardes and H. L. O. Garrett, Mughal Rule in India (Delhi, 1956), p. 269.
/6/ Olaf Caroe, The Pathans (London, 1958), p. 229.
/7/ François Bernier, Travels in the Mogul Empire, A.D. 1656–1668, trans. by A. Constable (London, 1914), p. 23.

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