We Indians are romantic fools! The monumental beauty of Taj Mahal and the eternal love story between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal have mesmerized our minds! And it’s cruel to wakey wakey us from our lovey-dovey fantasies by thrusting at us the nauseating historical facts of Mughal “love”!
Honored to be the fourth wife to Shah Jahan out of seven, Mumtaz Mahal died at the fourteenth childbirth. The mourning ruler was devastated and lonely among his six consorts and 5000 sex slaves from the harem. The vacuum created by the loss of Mumtaz could be filled by only her! And hence the ruler saw a solution in their 17 years old daughter Jahan Ara who resembled her mother strikingly. Shah Jahan forced his young daughter Jahan ara into incest and enjoyed sex with her till his death in the memory of Mumtaz Mahal. Such was the romantic story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal!
Now, isn’t incest between father and daughter illegal as per Holy Quran? Well, yes and no! ‘Yes’, if the daughter is a legitimate one, and ‘No’ if the daughter is born out of adultery. The man has every damn right to marry his illegitimate daughter when she reaches the age of 8 years, says the Holy Quran! What happens to her mother? She is to be stoned to death for her heinous crime after the childbirth and nursing period. The reward for adultery for man is a marriage with daughter after a mild punishment of 100 lashes.
Now, Jahan Ara was the legitimate daughter of Shah Jahan. How didn’t the prophets raise objection to the crime of their ruler? Well,simple… they loved their life! And Islamic rulers have been known to play “Prophet” themselves to suit their conveniences. This tradition was initiated by Prophet Mohammad himself. He had attributed legality to polygamy up to four marriages. After marrying four women, Prophet Mohammad was smitten by his daughter-in-law’s beauty and wanted to marry her. So he changed the Islamic law by extending allowance for the fifth marriage. See how easy it is to tamper with ‘Holy’ Quran!
Playing Prophet and incest ran in Shah Jahan’s blood! Akbar, grandfather of Shah Jahan too is stated to have played “Deen-e-Ilahi’ and interpreted Quran conveniently to enjoy sex with his daughters-in-law. His son Jahangir spent all his life doubting whether his children were actually his brothers and sisters! The animosity between Jahangir and Shah Jahan over this confusion made Shah Jahan rebel against him and assume throne forcefully. Born to Grandfather Akbar, incest was most naturally inherited by Shah Jahan .
So,the Self acclaimed Prophet Shah Jahan professed thus, “Why must a gardener not enjoy the fruits of the plant he has planted!” and made changes in Islamic rules accordingly. For tasting the youthful years of his beautiful daughter, her father kept her unmarried all her life! She fell in love with young men twice, but her jealous father nipped the romance in the bud by killing her suitors! The poor girl surrendered to her fate with the despair. The doting daughter sacrificed her happiness and future for the whims and fancies of the sex-perverted father.
Like any ordinary young girl, Jahan Ara fell in love with Najabat Khan, the Commander-in-Chief of the Mughal Armies, and later with a young Persian steward of the Royal household. The possessive lover in the guise of father, Shah Jahan killed her two lovers brutally. One of them was poisoned while the other one was burned to death. Shah Jahan had come to know about the secret meeting of Jahan Ara with her lover and entered her palace unannounced. Panic-stricken Jahan Ara made her lover hide in one of the capacious cauldrons used for bath. The cruel father turned lover, while conversing with Jahan Ara in a normal way, suggested her to take a bath as her skin looked neglected. He ordered his eunuchs to light a fire under the cauldron and chatted pleasantly with the traumatized daughter while her lover burned to death!
Woes of Jahan Aras’ continue in Islam till date! Imagine the agony of Imrana who was forced to marry her Father-in-law after he raped her! This is the status of Muslim women in 21st century, not any age old saga of 14th ,15th century ! A moment of lust of her Father-in-law makes her a ‘Mother’ to her own husband! Watch the video of Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik’s blabber on Imrana case!
Read the article about the struggle of one more Imrana from Uttar Pradesh! Can we hope justice for her in the state where Samajwadi Party leaders like Azam Khan and Mohammad Ikbal say, “Rape is common between father and daughter”?
Sorry if this write-up has shaken you awake from the romanticism! The bitter truth is that, during the twenty years of constructing Taj Mahal in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, Shah Jahan was actually enjoying the Fruit named Jahan Ara from the tree called Mumtaz Mahal !
Jyothi Suparna Chincholi