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Prince Khusrau Visits Guru Arjan

On 3rd October 1605, Emperor Akbar fell ill with an attack of dysentery, from which he never recovered. He is believed to have died on or about 27 October 1605, after which his body was buried at a mausoleum in Sikandra, Agra. Prince Salim, known by his imperial name Jahangir was the eldest surviving son of Akbar.

Impatient for power, he revolted in 1599 while Akbar was engaged in the Deccan. Jahangir was defeated, but ultimately succeeded his father as Emperor in 1605 due to the support of the orthodox muslim priesthood and the women in Akbar's harem. Jahangir had an addiction to alcohol, opium, and women. He was hardly ever sober and set the precedent for sons rebelling against their emperor fathers.

Escape From Agra

Prince Khusrau was the eldest son of Jahangir and a favourite of Akbar, his grandfather. Akbar had been deeply disappointed with Prince Khusrau's father Jahangir and had nominated Prince Khusrau to the throne in supersession of Jahangir. Prince Khusrau claimed the Panjab and Afghanistan, which his father was unwilling to concede him. Perhaps due to this background, Prince Khusrau rebelled against his father in 1606 to secure the throne for himself.

Prince Khusrau managed to escape Agra on 6th April 1606 with 350 horsemen on the pretext of visiting the tomb of Akbar at nearby Sikandra. In Mathura, he was joined by Hussain Beg with about 3000 horsemen. In Panipat, he was joined by Abdur Rahim, the provincial dewan (administrator) of Lahore. When Prince Khusrau reached Taran Taran near Amritsar, he received the blessings of Guru Arjan.

Meeting Guru Arjan

On reaching Tarn Taran, on his way he partook food from the langar as he had done many times previously when he met Guru Arjan. Prince Khusrau used to say that Guru Arjan was his spiritual guide as, by meeting him, the doors of spiritualism were opened to him. Guru Arjan, seeing the Prince's unfortunate situation and humility, took compassion on him. Guru Arjan, moreover, felt friendly to the Prince, who had visited him a few times previously with the Emperor Akbar.


Prince Khusrau advanced towards Lahore but was offered no support by the garrison commmander, Murtaza Khan. When Prince Khusrau received news that Jahangir was following him with a large army, he tried to escape towards Kabul. Murtaza Khan made matters worse when he turned traitor gave chase. Prince Khusrau was defeated in the Battle of Bhairowal. He and his companions were taken as prisoners and were produced before Jahangir at Lahore on 29th April, 1606. Prince Khusrau's companions, who had taken part in the rebellion with him, were hanged near Kamran Bagh.

It is said that Prince Khusrau was then taken to Delhi, where a novel punishment was meted out to him. He was seated in grand style on an elephant and paraded down Chandni Chowk, while on both sides of the narrow street, the noblemen and barons who had supported him were held at knife-point on raised platforms.

As the elephant approached each such platform, the luckless supporter was impaled on a stake (through his bowels), while Prince Khusrau was compelled to watch the grisly sight and listen to the screams and pleas of those who had supported him. This was repeated numerous times through the entire length of Chandni Chowk.

Imprisoned In Agra

Prince Khusrau was then blinded (in 1607) and imprisoned in Agra. However, his eyesight was never completely lost. In 1616, he was handed over to Asaf Khan, the brother of his step-mother Nur Jahan. In 1620, he was handed over to his younger brother Prince Khurram (later known as emperor Shah Jahan), who incidentally was Asaf Khan's son-in-law. In 1622, Prince Khusrau was killed on the orders of his Prince Khurram.

Prince Khusrau was very popular with the people and the nobility. It is stated that long after his death, his last resting in place in Allahabad was visited by people in a spirit of veneration and he was considered to be a "martyred saint". Jahangir decided to use Prince Khusrau's visit to Guru Arjan as an excuse to act against the Guru.

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