How did Aurangzeb treat his deposed father and elder sister Jahanara Begum? 

When we read about imprisonment we think of dark cellars, chains and the ferocious prison guards. However Shah Jahan was kept in the private quarters of his royal palace with all of his ladies of harem, music bands, royal kitchen etc to keep him at ease.

  • It is a fact that Shah Jahan never met Aurangzeb after his deposition till his death on 31st January 1666.
  • However they corresponded often and Shah Jahanís anger finally gave way to reproach.
  • All the contemporary chronicles from the Mughal to the Europeans praise Aurangzeb for the respect and care he took in looking after his captive father.
  • He consulted him like an oracle on all matters of government.
  • It is very rare distinctions for Aurangzeb to have learned from the wise counsel of his father the skills and experiences in ruling a vast empire.
  • Aurangzeb instructed his officials to refer to Shah Jahan as Aala Hazrat (Exhalted One) in their writings and on his death asked him to be referred as Firdous-e-Aashyaani (Light of Paradise).
  • Things cooled down to the level where Shah Jahan sent Aurangzeb precious stones he had once asked for and Shah Jahan had refused preferring to powder them than send it to him.
  • Jahanara begum was allowed to stay and look after her father and Aurangzeb treated her with great respect.
  • After the death of Shah Jahan she became the Begum Sahiba (leading lady) of Aurangzebís harem.
  • It is said it was only her who had the right to disagree with the orders of Aurangzeb and argue with him on matters of state policy.
  • It is said that on the request of Jahan Ara, the dying Emperor Shah Jahan pardoned Aurangzeb.

When I visited Agra I was much excited to see the prison of Shah Jahan. To my amazement I found the following.

Looking at the prison I almost wanted to become a captive myself.