Maham Begum

Maham Begam or Mahim Begum[1] (died 28 March 1534; Persian: ماهم بیگم‎; meaning "My moon") was Empress of Mughal Empire from 20 April 1526 to 26 December 1530 as the third wife and chief consort of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire and the first Mughal emperor.

Maham Begum is rightly counted as one of the initial Queens among the Mughals who could be placed on the pinnacle in view of her substantial role and attractive personality. Babur conferred her the superlative imperial title Padshah Begum. The title was first time used for her which was given to the first lady of the Court of Empire. Maham Begum is frequently mentioned in the Humayun Nama by her adoptive daughter Gulbadan Begum, who calls her 'lady and my Lady' (aka and akam).

Maham Begum
ماہم بیگم
Padshah Begum
Empress consort of Mughal Empire
Tenure20 April 1526 – 26 December 1530
SuccessorBega Begum
Bornlate 15th century
Died28 March 1534
Mirza Barbul
Mirza Faruq
Mihr Jahan Begum
Aisan Daulat Begum
HouseTimurid (by marriage)

Family and lineage

Maham Begum's parentage is not mentioned in any of the contemporary chronicles. Princess Gulbadan Begum calls Khwaja Muhammad Ali as Uncle Muhammad Ali, and it is possible that he may have been Maham's brother. He was associated with Khost, and it is on record that Humayun visited his maternal grandparents in Khost. Babar speaks frequently of Khwaja Muhammad Ali as being employed in the government of Khost; as coming from Khost for orders, etc., and the mirzadas of Khost also are recorded as visiting the court. One of Maham's children was born in Khost. Babar frequently mentions an Abdu-l-malik Khosti, and he may be a connection of Maham. Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak a vizier of the great Mughal emperor Akbar, and author of the Akbarnama, the official history of Akbar's reign wrote that Maham belonged to a noble family of Khorasan. He also stated that she was related to Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqara, Padshah of Khorasan who belonged to Barlas tribe like her husband Babur, as he met her at his death. Maham Begum traced her descent from Sheikh Ahmad, of Jam. She would narrate to her son Humayun, stories connected with her ancestor and other renowned holy personages of his time. Princess Gulbadan Begum says that she was related to the owner of the Nauroz garden at Kabul which was laid by Ulugh Beg Miranshahi. Some considerations suggest that Maham Begum was a Dughlat Mughal, and of the family of Abdu-l-qadus.


Babur married her in 1506 at Herat, when on the death of Sultan Husayn Mirza, he paid a condolence visit to Herat capital of Khosran. She was mentioned as "the one who was to Babur" what Aisha was to Muhammad. She played an active role in the political affairs of Babur as well as in the royal household. She had the qualities of extreme intelligence and good looks. She accompanied her husband to Badakhshan and Transoxiana and stood by him through thick and thin. She was the chief lady of the royal household. Upon the birth of the couple's first child, Humayun. Another four children were born to her and unfortunately all died in infancy. They were Barbul, Mihr Jahan, Aisan Daulat and Faruq.

As Babur's chief consort, she had well defined rights over other inmates of his harem. She herself took her own guardianship of, two Dildar Begum's children, Hindal Mirza and Gulbadan Begum in 1519 and 1525 respectively and Babur's affirmation of it, though she already possessed five children. A devoted mother, Maham spent all her spare time to educate the prince in values dear to her. She would narrate to him stories connected with her ancestor Shaikh Ahmad Jam and other renowned holy personages of his time.

As Empress

In 1528, Maham Begum came to Hindustan from Kabul. When she reached Aligarh, Babur sent two litters with three horsemen. She went on post haste from Aligarh to Agra. Babur had intended to go as far as Aligarh to meet her. At evening prayer time someone came and said to Babur that he had just passed Maham Begum on the road, four miles out. Babur did not wait for a horse to be saddled but sat out on foot. He met her near the house of Maham's advance camp. She wished to alight, but he would not wait, and fell into her train and walked to his own house. Nine troopers with two sets of nine horses and the two extra litters which the Emperor had sent, and one litter which had been brought from Kabul, and about a hundred of Maham Begum's servants mounted on fine horses. After staying three months at Agra, Maham Begum went to Dholpur with Babur.

Maham Begum was the chief queen and the only one, privileged to sit by the side of Babur on the throne of Mughal Empire. She was powerful, moody and spoil and it seems Babur denied her nothing. It is worth of noticing that “Babur speaks of his favorite wife, Maham Begum’s edict as a farman.” During Humayun's illness Babur walked round him and turned his face. He also exclaimed that he loved Humayun because he was the son of his favourite wife, Maham by saying, "Although I have other sons, I love none as I love your Humayun. I crave that this cherished child may have his heart's desire and live long, and I desire the kingdom for him and not for the others, because he has not his equal in distinction."

As Empress dowager

After Humayun was restored to health, Babur became ill and died. Humayun ascended the throne at twenty three-years of age. Maham Begum made an allowance of food twice daily. In the morning an ox and two sheep and five goats, and at afternoon prayer time five goats. She gave this from her own estate during the two and a half years. During Babur's illness, he laid a command on Maham Begum, the charge to arrange marriages of Gulrukh Begum and Gulchehra Begum. Maham Begum received her cleverness of the conspiracy and bade Humayun to return from Badakhshan. She played an important role in promoting successfully the cause of Humayun. She continued to be Padshah Begum and participated in the affairs of the imperial household organization of social functions and the maintenance of her husband's tomb, until her death.

After Humayun's return from Chunar, Maham Begam, gave a great feast. They lit up the bazaars. Then she gave orders to the better class and to the soldiers also to decorate their places and make their quarters beautiful, and after this illumination became general in India. With all her stores of replenishing, she made an excellent and splendid feast. She gave special robes of honour to 7,000 persons. The festivities lasted several days.


In April Maham Begum was attacked by a disorder of the bowels. On the 16th of the same month she died. After the death of Maham, Khanzada Begum, Babar's sister, became the first-lady of the Empire.

It is not known where she was buried and which place was chosen to be her tomb by her son Humayun who was then reigning. She seems to have been buried alongside the grave of Babur. It is certain, however, that her body was never transferred to Kabul.


  1. ^ Mukhia 2004, p. 124.


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External links

Maham Begum
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Position established
Padshah Begum
20 April 1526 - 27 April 1535
Succeeded by
Khanzada Begum

Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar ابو الفتح جلال الدين محمد اكبر‬ (15 October 1542– 27 October 1605), popularly known as Akbar I (IPA: [əkbər]), also as Akbar the Great (Akbar-i-azam اکبر اعظم‬), was the third Mughal emperor, who reigned from 1556 to 1605. Akbar succeeded his father, Humayun, under a regent, Bairam Khan, who helped the young emperor expand and consolidate Mughal domains in India. A strong personality and a successful general, Akbar gradually enlarged the Mughal Empire to include nearly all of the Indian Subcontinent north of the Godavari river. His power and influence, however, extended over the entire country because of Mughal military, political, cultural, and economic dominance. To unify the vast Mughal state, Akbar established a centralised system of administration throughout his empire and adopted a policy of conciliating conquered rulers through marriage and diplomacy. To preserve peace and order in a religiously and culturally diverse empire, he adopted policies that won him the support of his non-Muslim subjects. Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic state identity, Akbar strove to unite far-flung lands of his realm through loyalty, expressed through an Indo-Persian culture, to himself as an emperor who had near-divine status.

Mughal India developed a strong and stable economy, leading to commercial expansion and greater patronage of culture. Akbar himself was a patron of art and culture. He was fond of literature, and created a library of over 24,000 volumes written in Sanskrit, Urdu, Persian, Greek, Latin, Arabic and Kashmiri, staffed by many scholars, translators, artists, calligraphers, scribes, bookbinders and readers. He did much of the cataloging himself through three main groupings. Akbar also established the library of Fatehpur Sikri exclusively for women, and he decreed that schools for the education of both Muslims and Hindus should be established throughout the realm. He also encouraged bookbinding to become a high art. Holy men of many faiths, poets, architects, and artisans adorned his court from all over the world for study and discussion. Akbar's courts at Delhi, Agra, and Fatehpur Sikri became centres of the arts, letters, and learning. Perso-Islamic culture began to merge and blend with indigenous Indian elements, and a distinct Indo-Persian culture emerged characterized by Mughal style arts, painting, and architecture. Disillusioned with orthodox Islam and perhaps hoping to bring about religious unity within his empire, Akbar promulgated Din-i-Ilahi, a syncretic creed derived mainly from Islam and Hinduism as well as some parts of Zoroastrianism and Christianity. A simple, monotheistic cult, tolerant in outlook, it centered on Akbar as a prophet, for which he drew the ire of the ulema and orthodox Muslims. Many of his courtiers followed Din-i-Ilahi as their religion as well, as many believed that Akbar was a prophet. One famous courtier who followed this blended religion was Birbal.Akbar's reign significantly influenced the course of Indian history. During his rule, the Mughal empire tripled in size and wealth. He created a powerful military system and instituted effective political and social reforms. By abolishing the sectarian tax on non-Muslims and appointing them to high civil and military posts, he was the first Mughal ruler to win the trust and loyalty of the native subjects. He had Sanskrit literature translated, participated in native festivals, realising that a stable empire depended on the co-operation and good-will of his subjects. Thus, the foundations for a multicultural empire under Mughal rule were laid during his reign. Akbar was succeeded as emperor by his son, Prince Salim, later known as Jahangir.


Babur (Persian: بابر‬‎, translit. Bābur, lit. 'tiger'; 14 February 1483 – 26 December 1530), born Zahīr ud-Dīn Muhammad, was the ultimate founder and first Emperor of the Mughal dynasty in the Indian subcontinent. He was a direct descendant of Emperor Timur (Tamerlane) from what is now Uzbekistan.Babur was born in Andijan, in the Fergana Valley, in modern Uzbekistan. Babur ruled nearby Osh in Fergana Valley, located in modern Kyrgyzstan, pondered his future on Sulayman Mountain and even constructed a mosque atop of the mountain. Babur somehow concludes that the confines of the Fergana would cramp his aspirations as a descendant of famous conquering warrior princes. He wrote of the city:

"There are many sayings about the excellence of Osh. On the southeastern side of the Osh fortress is a well-proportioned mountain called Bara-Koh, where, on its summit, Sultan Mahmud Khan built a pavilion. Farther down, on a spur of the same mountain, I had a porticoed pavilion built in 902 (1496-7)"

Babur was the eldest son of Umar Sheikh Mirza, governor of Fergana and great grandson of Timur the Great. He ascended the throne of Fergana in its capital Akhsikent in 1494 at the age of twelve and faced rebellion. He conquered Samarkand two years later, only to lose the vilayat of Fergana soon after. In his attempt to reconquer Fergana, he lost control of Samarkand. In 1501, his attempt to recapture both vilayats went in vain as he was defeated by Muhammad Shaybani Khan. In 1504, he conquered Kabul, which was under the rule of the infant heir of Ulugh Begh. Babur formed a partnership with Safavid ruler Ismail I and reconquered parts of Turkistan, including Samarkand, only to again lose it and the other newly conquered lands to the Sheybanids.

After losing Samarkand for the third time, Babur turned his attention to South. At that time, the Indo-Gangetic Plain of the northern Indian Subcontinent was ruled by Ibrahim Lodi of the Afghan Lodi dynasty, whereas Rajputana was ruled by a Hindu Rajput Confederacy, led by Rana Sanga of Mewar. According to historical records and Baburnama (Babur's autobiography), Daulat Khan Lodi invited him to attack Delhi where Ibrahim Lodi was ruling at that time. He sent his ambassador to him to support him in his attack on Delhi. Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi at the First Battle of Panipat in 1526 CE and founded the Mughal empire. However, he again faced opposition, this time from Rana Sanga of Mewar and Medini Rai, another rajput ruler in the battle of Chanderi who considered Babur a foreigner. The Rana was defeated in the Battle of Khanwa.

Babur married several times. Notable among his sons are Humayun, Kamran Mirza and Hindal Mirza. Babur died in 1530 and was succeeded by Humayun. According to Babur's wishes, he was buried in Bagh-e Babur in Kabul, Afghanistan. Being a patrilineal descendant of Timur, Babur considered himself a Timurid and Chagatai Turkic. He is considered a national hero in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Many of his poems also have become popular folk songs. He wrote Baburnama in Chaghatai Turkic and this was translated into Persian during Akbar's reign.

Hindal Mirza

Abu'l-Nasir Muhammad (4 March 1519 – 20 November 1551) better known by the sobriquet, Hindal (Turkish: "Taker of India"), was a Mughal prince and the youngest son of Emperor Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire and the first Mughal emperor. He was also the older brother of Gulbadan Begum (the author of Humayun-nama), the younger half-brother of the second Mughal emperor Humayun, as well as the paternal uncle and father-in-law of the third Mughal emperor Akbar.

Hindal's long military career started at the age of ten, with his first appointment as a viceroy being in Badakshan, Afghanistan. The young prince subsequently proved himself to be a successful and courageous general. Thus, by the age of 19, Hindal was considered to be a strong and favourable contender for the Mughal throne as Humayun's successor by the imperial council, which despised his older brother. However, unlike his rebellious half-brother, Kamran Mirza, Hindal eventually pledged allegiance to Humayun and remained faithful to him till his untimely death in 1551, when he died fighting valorously for the Mughals in a battle against Kamran Mirza's forces. He was survived by his wife and his only daughter, the princess Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, who married his nephew, Akbar, and became Mughal empress in 1556.


Nasir-ud-Din Muḥammad (Persian: نصیرالدین محمد‬‎, translit. Nasīr-ad-Dīn Muhammad; 6 March 1508 – 27 January 1556), better known by his regnal name, Humayun (Persian: همایون‬‎, translit. Humāyūn), was the second emperor of the Mughal Empire, who ruled over territory in what is now Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India and Bangladesh from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early but regained it with the aid of the Safavid dynasty of Persia, with additional territory. At the time of his death in 1556, the Mughal Empire spanned almost one million square kilometres.

In December 1530, Humayun succeeded his father to the throne of Delhi as ruler of the Mughal territories in the Indian subcontinent. At the age of 22, Humayun was an inexperienced ruler when he came to power. His half-brother Kamran Mirza inherited Kabul and Kandahar, the northernmost parts of their father's empire. Mirza was to become a bitter rival of Humayun.

Humayun lost Mughal territories to Sher Shah Suri, but regained them 15 years later with Safavid aid. Humayun's return from Persia was accompanied by a large retinue of Persian noblemen and signalled an important change in Mughal court culture. The Central Asian origins of the dynasty were largely overshadowed by the influences of Persian art, architecture, language and literature. There are many stone carvings and thousands of Persian manuscripts in India dating from the time of Humayun.

Subsequently, Humayun further expanded the Empire in a very short time, leaving a substantial legacy for his son, Akbar.


Mirza Nur-ud-din Beig Muhammad Khan Salim مرزا نور الدین محمد خان سلیم, known by his imperial name (جہانگیر) Jahangir (31 August 1569 – 28 October 1627), was the fourth Mughal Emperor who ruled from 1605 until his death in 1627. His imperial name (in Persian, means 'conqueror of the world', 'world-conqueror' or 'world-seizer' (Jahan: world; gir: the root of the Persian verb gereftan: to seize, to grab). The tale of his relationship with the Mughal courtesan, Anarkali, has been widely adapted into the literature, art and cinema of India.

List of Mughal empresses

"Queen consort of Samarkand", "Queen consort of Kabul" and "Queen consort of Ferghana Valley" redirect here for only wives of BaburThis is a list of Mughal empresses. Most of these empresses were from branch of the Timurid dynasty and royal houses of Rajputs. Who, alongside Mughal emperors, built and ruled the Mughal Empire in South Asia, mainly corresponding to the modern countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and major regions of Afghanistan, from the early 16th century to the early 18th century.

List of the mothers of the Mughal Emperors

This list includes the biological mothers of Mughal Emperors. There were seventeen emperors of the Mughal Empire in thirteen generations. Throughout the 331-year history of the Mughal Empire the emperors were all members of the same house, the house of Timurid.

Mirza Ghulam Moinuddin Muhammad Javaid Jah Bahadur

Shahzada Mirza Ghulam Moinuddin Javaid Jah Bahadur, was born on 16 May 1946 in Delhi the eldest son of Shahzada Muhammad Khair ud-din Mirza, Khurshid Jah Bahadur (1914-1975). He succeeded his father as head of the descendants of Timurid Dynasty on his death in 1975.

Mughal emperors

The Mughal Emperors, from the early 16th century to the mid 19th century, built and ruled the Mughal Empire on the Indian subcontinent, mainly corresponding to the modern countries of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The Mughals were a branch of the Timurid dynasty of Turco-Mongol origin from Central Asia. Their power rapidly dwindled during the 18th century and the last of the emperors was deposed in 1857, with the establishment of the British Raj. Mughal emperors were of direct descent from Timur (generally known in western nations as Tamerlane), and also affiliated with Genghis Khan, because of Tamerlane’s marriage with a Genghisid princess.

The Mughals also had significant Indian Rajput and Persian ancestry through marriage alliances, as emperors were born to Rajput and Persian princesses. Only the first two Mughal emperors, Babur and Humayun, were fully Central Asian (Turkic people), whereas Akbar was half-Persian (his mother was of Persian origin), Jahangir was half-Rajput and quarter-Persian, and Shah Jahan was three-quarters Rajput.At their Empire's greatest extent in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Mughals controlled much of the Indian subcontinent, extending from Bengal in the east to Kabul and Sindh in the west, Kashmir in the north to the Kaveri basin in the south. Its population at the time has been estimated as between 110 and 150 million (a quarter of the world's population), over a territory of more than 4 million square kilometres (1.2 million square miles).

Padshah Begum

Padshah Begum (Empress) was a superlative imperial title conferred in the Mughal Harem to the first lady of the Court of Empire. This individual as taking precedence over all other women, as the emperor did over all other men.

The title could be bestowed upon the chief or principal wife, a sister, the mother or even a favored daughter of the Mughal Emperor. The title could not be held by more than one lady simultaneously. The title was first bestowed upon Maham Begum, wife of Emperor Babur and mother of the next Emperor Humayun.Emperor Humayun bestowed it to Hamida Banu Begum the mother of next emperor Akbar.Emperor Akbar bestowed it to his first wife Ruqaiya Sultan Begum. Emperor Jahangir bestowed the title upon Saliha Banu Begum and Mehr-un-Nisaa Nur Jahan Begum. Emperor Shah Jahan bestowed the title upon his wife Arjumad Bannu (Mumtaz Mahal)Begum. Emperor Muhammad Shah bestowed upon the title upon his wife Malika-uz-Zamani Badshah Begum.

The title was also bestowed upon the daughter of the emperor, such as Emperor Shah Jahan's daughter, Princess Jahanara Begum and Emperor Aurangzeb's daughter, Princess Zinat-un-Nissa, both of whom bore the title throughout their lives.In some cases the title was also bestowed upon the sister of the emperor. Such as in the case of Emperor Babur's older sister, Khanzada Begum. When the princesses held the title it literally meant "Empress amongst princesses".

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