Was Jahangir a Cruel Ruler?

Yes, he was a harsh and cruel ruler. It is widely known that the first three Mughal emperors (Babur, Humayun and Akbar) were kind and just souls. But their predecessors were dissolute kings. Aurangzeb was the cruellest and most ruthless among all other Mughal rulers. Aurangzeb’s father himself had his moments of cruelty. But Jahangir whom people just know as a wine and opium addict was also quite cruel.


Jahangir was the Fourth Mughal Ruler

Historical records from Jahangir’s time suggest that he got angry very quickly and imposed severe punishments upon anyone close to him. Even the high nobility were not safe from Jahangir’s wrath. There is a famous story about his ruthlessness. Once a chamberlain broke one of his previous Chinese porcelain dishes. Realising what could be the outcome the chamberlain immediately sent of the servants to China to find a similar replacement. Two years passed and the servant did not return. But good news was Jahangir had also not asked for the dished. One day Jahangir ordered the chamberlain to bring the dish as he wished to see it. Shivering chamberlain informed him that the dish was broken, this made the Emperor burst out in rage. He called for the guards and ordered them to lash the poor man a hundred times and twenty times with a corded whip. He watched on as the chamberlain suffered in pain. After having undergone his punishment, he was again beaten up with cudgels by orders of the Emperor. At least twenty men beat the poor man until he was thought to be dead. Then he dragged out by the heels and thrown into prison.


No one was safe from Jahangir's wrath not even the nobility at his court

Next day Jahangir was informed that the chamberlain had survived, whereupon he ordered life imprisonment. But one of the royal princes freed the chamberlain from the prison and nursed him back to fitness. Once fit Jahangir again summoned him and asked him not to return to the kingdom until he has brought back the same dish. It is learned that the chamberlain travelled to China to find the dish. He journeyed through China for fourteen months but found no similar dish. Until the King of Persia possessing a similar dish sent it to him in pity.

One thought on “Was Jahangir a Cruel Ruler?

  1. It’s a false story. Though in initial years he was an opium addict (the addiction to opium is also attributed to his disliking by one of his stepmother who didn’t want him to ascend the throne). But once he was chosen by Emperor Akbar, he not only discontinued opium consumption but in later years he was widely known for generosity and fairness of his Judgements.

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