Debunking the 21st Century Myths Surrounding Mumtaz Mahal & Taj Mahal

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Once upon a time in India, Taj Mahal was the monument of love. Everybody around the world traveled to the country and the city of Taj Mahal to visit the gorgeous architectural icon built by Shah Jahan, an Emperor of India in the loving memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. This was the brief introduction to the story and no matter what Shah Jahan did to his brothers for the throne, we always looked at the basic and relevant plot of the monument, i.e. His love for his wife.

via Wikimedia Commons

Things remained the same way up till now until the 21st century started digging too much deep into the story forgetting the relevance of that time and period to cook some myths and extraneous story around both, Tajmahal and the love story between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. Here we shall debunk few of the myths that have been flashing on social media from quite some time now.

Myth 1: Mumtaz Mahal was Shah Jahan’s Fourth Wife Out of His 7 Wives

First of all, Mumtaz wasn’t Shah Jahan’s fourth wife but the second wife. However, although she was married to Shah Jahan post his first marriage, the historic details reveal that she was betrothed (1607) to him much before he married his first wife Kandhari Begum in 1609.

His first marriage was nothing but a political alliance which in those days was quite common. Shah Jahan (then Khurram) always wanted to marry Mumtaz (then Arjumand Banu Begum), his love but was denied due to the political situation of that time. So, how did Shah Jahan fell in love with Mumtaz? Well, she was the niece of Nur Jahan and Nur Jahan was none other than the wife of his father Jahangir.

Besides, having multiple wives doesn’t mean that he cannot love Mumtaz unconditionally or his love towards her is nothing but an exaggeration. Back in those days having multiple wives was a common thing, there is nothing to be so flabbergasted about this fact.

Myth 2: Shah Jahan Killed Mumtaz’s Husband to Marry Her

Mumtaz was only 13 when she was betrothed to Shah Jahan. She was never married then. So, this is not only totally untrue but a lie. Perhaps people who have been propagating this lie has a confusion with Mumtaz and Nur Jahan as Nur Jahan was a widow before she married Jahangir. However, Jahangir too didn’t kill Nur Jahan’s husband though there are conspiracy theories surrounding it.

Myth 3: Mumtaz Died During Her 14th Delivery. Where was the Love?

Yes, Mumtaz bore Shah Jahan 14 kids and she did die at the age of 37 while delivering her 14th child, but that surely doesn’t reflect oppression towards Mumtaz or by any way show that the Emperor didn’t love his wife and took her simply as a child-bearing machine.

In fact, it looked sensibly, taking into consideration with times of that era, it makes one obvious how much Shah Jahan loved his wife. And back then people didn’t use contraceptives. Her death during her delivery doesn’t prove anything that can hint that their love wasn’t eternal or Shah Jahan simply oppressed her.

Myth 4: Shah Jahan Married Mumtaz’s Sister after her death

According to the court chronicles, Shah Jahan didn’t marry at all post the death of Mumtaz Mahal, let alone marry her sister. Besides, I fail to understand even if he did so, why would it by any chance be a fault in his love life with his deceased wife? Such mentality in this century reveals how backward we are as a country. Don’t you think so?

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