Empress Noor Jahan of the Mughal Empire of the subcontinent
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On May 31, 1577 AD, Empress Noor Jahan of the Mughal Empire of the subcontinent was born as a commoner in Qandahar to the Iranian refugee, Mirza Ghiyas Beg Tehrani, who was fleeing Safavid Persian to India following the fall from grace of his aristocratic family. Named Mehr on-Nisa at birth she was the fourth child of her father, whose talents were welcomed in India by Emperor Jalal od-Din Akbar who appointed him minister and conferred the title upon E’temad od-Dowla upon him. Mehr on-Nisa was brought up at the Mughal court and was married to an Iranian émigré, Ali Quli, titled Sher-Afgan for his bravery.
Her husband died in a skirmish and the widow returned along with her orphaned daughter to the Mughal court where Emperor Noor od-Din Jahangir enamoured by her beauty proposed marriage to her. He subsequently made her the empress with the official title Noor Jahan (Light of the World). She was noted for her wisdom, astute policies, administrative abilities, and scholarly pursuits. She was actually the power behind the throne. Although she didn’t bear the emperor any child, she remained loyal to him even after his death, and was later buried in the same mausoleum in Lahore in what is now Pakistan.
Her brother Asef Khan rose to become minister, while she arranged for her daughter from her previous marriage to marry Jahangir`s youngest son, Prince Shahryar and her niece Arjmand Banu (later Mumtaz Mahal buried in the famous Taj Mahal) to marry Prince Khurram, (the future Emperor Shah Jahan). Noor Jahan died on 17 December 1645 at age 68.