Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/145

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THE EMPEROR JAHANGIR. 141 their first youth, during the reign of Akbar. The old emperor tried to put her out of his son's way, by marrying her to a brave soldier, who obtained high employment in Lower Bengal. Jahangir, on his accession to the throne, commanded her divorce. The husband refused, and was killed. The wife, being brought into the imperial palace, lived for some time in chaste seclusion as a widow, but in the end emerged as the Empress Nur Jahan, the Light of the World. She surrounded herself with her relatives, and at first influenced the self- indulgent emperor Jahangir for his good. But the jealousy of the imperial princes and of the Mughal generals against her party led to intrigue and rebellion. In 1626, her successful general, Mahabat Khan, found himself compelled, in self- defence, to turn against her. He seized the emperor, whom he kept, together with Nur Jahan, in captivity for six months. Jahangir died in the following year, 1627, in the midst of a rebellion against him by his son, Shah Jahan, and his greatest general, Mahibat Khan. Jahangir 's Personal Character. — Jah&ngir's personal cha- racter is vividly portrayed by Sir Thomas Roe, the first British ambassador to India (1615). Agra continued to be the central seat of the government, but the imperial army on the march formed in itself a splendid capital. Jahangir thought that Akbar had too openly severed himself from the Muhammadan faith. The new emperor conformed more strictly to the outward observances of Islam, but lacked the inward religious feeling of his father. While he forbade the use of wine to his subjects, he spent his own nights in drunken revelry. He talked religion over his cups until he reached a certain stage of intoxication, when he 'fell to weeping, and to various passions, which kept them to midnight.' In public he maintained a strict appear- ance of virtue, and never allowed any person whose breath smelt of wine to enter his presence. On one occasion, a cour- tier who had shared his midnight revel, indiscreetly alluded to it next morning. The Sultan gravely examined him as to who could possibly have been the companions of such a debauch, and bastinadoed them so severely that one of them died. When sober, Jahangir tried to work wisely for his empire. A