Mariam Zamani was the mother of the Mughal emperor Jahangir. He was born on 31st August 1569.
The mother of Salim 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.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.
Jahangir refers his mother as Mariam Zamani in his memoir and does not give her identity.He mentions Raja Bharmal’s daughter to be a lady in his father’s harem. He does not say Rajabharmal’s family members as his mother’s relation(The Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri; vol 1 page no 15)
The Rajput Chronicle is silent about it.
Akbarnama mentions about the Jaisalmer princess, wife of Akbar giving birth to a girl baby and passing away in 1 year(Akbarnama Volume III page 283), but is silent about Amber princess giving birth to Salim
A firman of Mariam Zamani was traced.In that firman also her identity was not given.The name is mentioned by the title Wali nimat Mariam Zamani, mother of Jahangir.
Salim’s mother was referred to as a royal concubine of Akbar in the book “The empire of the great Mogol By J.S.Holland”.It is a latin book written by Joannes De laet a Geographer in the year 1631. Historian Vincent has an opinion that Delaet has copied it from certain reliable Persian chronicle, but particular historian doubts the authenticity of the book.Page no 147-148-REF-Full text of “The Empire Of The Great Mogol” – Internet Archive
Since Sujan Rai, a historian during Mughal era had documented that Raja Bharmals daughter was Salim’s mother in his book which is a trustworthy book by Historian’s we will agree to it.
In this article, I would address Jahangir’s mother as Mariam Zamani(MUZ) since there is always a doubt among the historian about her identity.
Jahangir was the fourth Mughal emperor.His father was Akbar the great, the third Mughal emperor.
Jahangir was a weak personality compared to his father, Akbar.He is a man of mixed character.A person who could see a man being flayed alive but at the same time feel pity for elephants having bath in cold water during the winter season(The Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri; preface).He was always in bad terms with Akbar; the reason is not clearly known.He was the rightful heir to the throne but could not wait patiently to get power in his hands.
There had been some problem with his fundamental nature.He had seemed to miss love. Mother’s love is vital for any induvial.Jahangir appears to have lost the love of Mariam Zamani.That was the reason he went under the spell of Nurjahan later in his life.He had openly exclaimed in his autobiography, that he knew what is love only after marrying Nur Jahan.
Jahangir was always favored by his grandmother Hamida Banu.
Hamida Banu-affectionate grandmother.
When Akbar was planning for an expedition to Kabul, he initially decided to take his second son Murad with him and leave Jahangir in charge of the capital.Jahangir was interested in accompanying his father.It was only, Hamida Banu who requested Akbar and saw to that he accompanied his father to Kabul.(Akbarnama Volume III chapterLVI page492)There was no involvement of MUZ in this event.Secondly, when Jahangir wanted to marry Zain Koko’s cousin’s daughter, Akbar was against the marriage.Again it was Hamida Banu who made Akbar agree for the wedding, not his mother.Lastly, when Jahangir was in rebellion with Akbar and left Delhi to Allahabad, it was Hamida Banu who prevented Akbar from punishing Jahangir(AkbarnamaVolume III Chapter CLIII page 1242). MUZ was missing even in this incidence.After the death of Hamida Banu, there was nobody to show love, so Nurjahan could easily impress Jahangir.
One should think about Mann Bai in such an event.Mann Bai was the first wife of Jahangir and mother of Khusarao, When the relationship between Father and son turned sour, it was Mann Bai who was worried and tried negotiating between the two.Since it was not possible, she committed suicide(The Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri; page 55).But MUZ was not bothered about anything.This shows the indifferent nature of Jahangir’s mother.This makes one doubt about her relationship with Akbar.
Even if we assume Abul Fazl in Akbarnama has deliberately avoided mentioning Akbar’s wives, then what about Jahangir? Jahangir had diplomatically avoided his mother’s activities within the harem and her real nature.In fact, he had revealed about the nature of his stepmother’s Ruqaiya and Salima’s at least once(The Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri; page 48,232).This shows his mother’s indifferent attitude.
When Jahangir was in rebellion with his father, it was Hamida Banu and Salima, Akbar’s third wife who negotiated with Akbar and paved the way for Jahangir’s ascension to the throne.Even there Mariam Zamani was missing in the scene.Jahangirnama also does not mention about Mariam Zamani involved in the negotiation(AkbarnamaVolume III chapter CL page no 1208).This makes us think that she was not interested in Jahangir.
Jahangir in his autobiography document’s the respect he had shown his mother as it was a culture of a Tartarian(The Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri; Page no 76) but does not reveal anything about his mother’s character or her relationship with his father.The travelers who were in Jahangir’s court documents about the calvary of 12000 given to the queen mother and about the gifts given by nobles to her(Early travels in India, 1583-1619 page no 98.118)on festival days.They reveal about her as a lady very interested in business(Early travels in India, 1583-1619 page 123).Nothing is mentioned by them about her character.Nowhere does the foreign traveler’s document about the relation of Muz and Akbar. The international traveler Hawkin documents about Akbar’s activity, and mentions that Akbar had built palaces in various places on the way from Ajmer to Agra for 16 queens.This shows Muz to be just one among Akbar’s ladies.Muz seems to have some indifference with Akbar which she had infused in her son and was later shown by Jahangir as hatred towards his father.
Mariam Zamani doesn’t seem to be a lady with family bonding as Hamida BanuShe doesn’t negotiate withJahangir even for the sake of her grandson Khusarao(The Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri;page 252).It was only Khusarao’s stepmother and his sister’s who spoke with Jahangir and got pardoning for him.MUZ was able to talk with Jahangir when the Portuguese captured her ship and could make her son wage a war against the Portuguese.The same lady could not save her grandson.When Shahjahan was victorious in the Deccan war, he got appreciation from Jahangir and Nur Jahan.Even his aunt Shukrinissa, Akbar’s daughter came to congratulate Shahjahan. MUZ was not bothered to congragulate Shahjahan,who was Akbar’s favorite.
Jahangir was a dutiful son.He had constructed a mosque in his mother’s honor, had a tomb done for her.He had given her power to one extent which was not provided by Akbar.But he does not mention any real nature of MUZ.Jahangir in his autobiography reveals only one sentence about her death.He states
On this day news came from Agra that Her Highness (ḥaẓrat) Maryamu-z-zamānī,* by the decree of God, had died. I trust that Almighty God will envelop her in the ocean of His mercy.(The Memoirs of Jahangueir (Rogers) volume II Page no 253)What does this statement mean?
MUZ also seem to be proud to be Jahangir’s mother rather than Akbar’s wife.This is clearly revealed in her firman that has been traced.She addresses herself as Wali nimat Mariam Zamani, mother of Jahangir. She has not mentioned anything about her identity neither as a wife of late emperor Akbar.Nobody knows why she had not given her jdentity.One should compare her firman with that of Hamida Banu.She has addressed herself as Hamida Banu daughter of Akbarali who was no more.This clearly shows she had revealed her identity and did not use the title Mariam Makani which was already given to her.
Jahangir’s opium addiction and womanizing habits show his poor upbringing.Since MUZ had no family bonding, Jahangir’s character was ruined.This was very advantageous for Nurjahan who made him realize what is true love, reduced his drinking and womanizing habits.Indirectly she also met her needs and took the power in her hands and created chaos at the end of Jahangir’s reign.
This clearly shows Muz as a mother had not fulfilled her duties.
Disclaimer: This article is based on what I read in Historical books, not pointing to any particular person, site or blog.