Sultan Murad Mirza was the third son of the Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great. He was born to a royal serving girl and was first educated by Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak and later by western Jesuit priests. Murad was appointed to his first military rank at the age of seven and was in command of the army in the Deccan from 1593. However, his drinking and ineffective leadership led to his replacement by Abu’l-Fazl.
Birth and education
As per the Tuzk-e-Jahangiri, Sultan Murad Mirza was born to Akbar the Great and a royal serving girl. In his early years, he was raised by Salima Sultan Begum and later returned to his mother’s care in 1575 when Salima went on Hajj.
His education began with Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak and, from 1580, he was also tutored by Jesuit priests, including Antonio de Montserrat, who was called upon by Akbar to teach Murad Portuguese and Christianity.
This made him the first Mughal prince to receive education from western Jesuit priests. He is also known as Sultan Murad Pahari, being the first person to represent the blend of Tibetan tantric Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity.
In 1577 (at the age of seven), Murad was awarded his first military rank, receiving a mansab of 7000 men. In 1584, after he attained puberty, this was enhanced to 9000 men.
From 1593 Prince Murad was in command of the army in the Deccan. He was ineffective in command largely due to his drunkenness. His condition led to his replacement by Abu’l-Fazl, who arrived at Murad’s camp in early May.
Later life and death
After his unsuccessful expedition to Ahmadnagar, Murad Mirza was overwhelmed with sadness, which was compounded by the death of his son, Rustum. This led him to seek solace in excessive drinking, which ultimately caused him to develop health issues such as epilepsy and chronic indigestion.
In February 1599, Murad began his journey towards Ahmadnagar to avoid meeting the Emperor in Agra. However, on 6th May 1599, he suffered a severe seizure, and he remained unconscious until his death on 12th May near Ahmadnagar.
Prince Murad had two wives, Habiba Banu Begum and the daughter of Bahadur Khan.
Habiba Banu Begum was the daughter of Mirza Aziz Koka, also known as Khan Azam, the son of Akbar’s milk mother, Jiji Anga. They were married on 15 May 1587 when Murad was seventeen. Habiba Banu Begum was the mother of Prince Rustam Mirza, who was born on 27 August 1588 and died on 30 November 1597, and Prince Alam Sultan Mirza, who was born on 4 November 1590 but died in infancy.
The marriage with Bahadur Khan’s daughter was arranged by Akbar to gain more support from Khandesh for the Mughals’ operations in the Deccan.
Murad’s only daughter, Princess Jahan Banu Begum, was married to Prince Parviz Mirza, son of Emperor Jahangir, in a ceremony held at the palace of his mother, Mariam-uz-Zamani.
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