KHUSRAU, PRINCE (1587-1622), the eldest son of Prince Salīm (later Emperor Jahāṅgīr) from Mān Bāī (later Shāh Begam), daughter of Rājā Bhagvān Dās of Āmber, was born at Lahore on 6 August 1587. His grandfather, Emperor Akbar, had him brought up in the liberal tradition, entrusting his education to teachers, such as Abu'l-Fazl and Abu'l-Khair. Sheo Datt, a scholar of distinction, instructed him in Hindu religious thought and philosophy. Under the influence of these teachers and of his mother and Rājā Mān Siṅgh who acted as his guardian for some time, Khusrau developed an eclectic interest in religion. His amiable disposition won him the favour of his grandfather and the goodwill of the liberal party at the court. But as relations between the Emperor and Prince, Salīm became strained, Khusrau was driven into an unseemly conflict with his father as a rival for succession to the throne. During Akbar's absence in the South in 1599-1601, Salīm openly rebelled and started holding court at Allāhābād. In August 1602, he had Abu'l-Fazl, his father's trusted friend and counsellor, killed through a hired assassin. Salīm's excessive indulgence in wine was also a cause of distress to his father, especially after the death from the effects of alcohol of his second son, Dānīyāl, in April 1604. His third son, Murād, had met with a similar fate in May 1599. In this situation, Khusrau came to be considered by a section of the nobles headed by Rājā Mān Siṅgh and Mirzā 'Azīz Kokā, to whose daughter the young prince had been married, as a natural successor to Akbar. Distressed at the tension that had developed between the father and the son, Khusrau's mother, Shāh Begam, committed suicide on 16 May 1604. Salīm, recalled to the court in November 1604, was reconciled to his father who, shortly before his death on 17 October 1605, appointed him his successor. Salīm, now Emperor Jahāṅgīr, placed Khusrau under strict surveillance at Āgrā from where the latter escaped on 6 April 1606 and hurried towards the Punjab with only 350 horsemen, augmented at Mathurā by another contingent of 300 horse. The fugitive prince during his flight from Āgrā to Lahore, in April 1606, met Gurū Arjan, probably at Tarn Tāran. According to Sarūp Das Bhallā, Mahimā Prakāsh, "He was in serious trouble. The Gurū extended to him hospitality of Gurū kā Laṅgar. Spending the night there, he resumed his journey." The Gurū's detractors headed by Chandū Shāh, a revenue official at the court, incited the Emperor, while he was still in Lahore, against him (the Gurū) alleging that he had given help to the rebel prince and blessed him putting a mark of royalty on his forehead. Jahāṅgīr, who, according to what he records in his autobiography, resolved "to put an end to his preachings or bring him to the fold of Islam," summoned Gurū Arjan to his court and ordered his execution with confiscation of his property. The Gurū was consequently tortured to death.

         Khusrau himself was captured on 27 April 1606 at Shāhpur ferry on the River Chenāb. Following an abortive attempt to escape, he was blinded. In October 1616, he was transferred from the custody of Anī Rāi Siṅgh, a Rājpūt noble sympathetic to the prisoner, to that of Āsaf Khān, brother of Nūr Jahāṅ and father-in-law of Prince Khurram (later Emperor Shāh Jahāṅ), the ambitious third son of Jahāṅgīr. In November 1620, Khurram secured the possession of the person of Khusrau, and had him done to death on 29 January 1622.


  1. Bhallā, Sarūp Dās, Mahimā Prakāsh. Patiala, 1971
  2. Smith, Vincent, The Oxford History of India. Oxford, 1958
  3. Latif, Syad Muhammad, History of the Panjab. Delhi, 1964
  4. Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, vol. I, Princeton, 1963
  5. Harbans Singh, The Heritage of the Sikhs. Delhi, 1983

K. A. Nizāmī