A Lecture by Munis Faruqui, Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Berkeley.
In 1626 a disgruntled Mughal nobleman, Mahabat Khan, took the entire Mughal court – including the emperor Jahangir and his powerful wife Nur Jahan – captive. At the time the Mughal court was mobile in the Punjab and en-route to Kabul. Between March and September, for almost six months, Mahabat Khan’s effective command of the court meant that the entire Mughal Empire was in limbo. Although Mahabat Khan's challenge was eventually beaten back, subsequent Mughal narratives recalling the Mahabat Khan episode point to a critical debate unfolding in the late 1620s and early 1630s about the nature of Mughal imperial authority and the future direction of the empire. Significantly, this debate occurred long after Emperor Akbar had supposedly consolidated the position of the Mughal emperor and created a system of unchallengeable imperial control in the 1570s and 1580s.
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