Shah Jehan was one of Jehangir’s four sons. Born in 1592 in Lahore, his parents named him Khurram. He was smart, intelligent, and ambitious. He proved himself a great military commander and an able provincial governor during his father’s lifetime.
Shah Jehan came to the throne after a bloody war of succession. When Jehangir died, only two of his sons, Shahryar and Shah Jehan were alive. Shahryar, who was also Nur Jehan’s son-in-law, was seriously sick at the time. Despite this, Nur Jehan sought vainly to have him ascend to the throne. However, Shah Jehan, with the aid of his father-in-law, was able to seize power. He was the first Mughal to finish off his nearest relatives, including brothers and half-brothers, in order to come to power.
Shah Jehan ruled for three decades. After becoming emperor in 1628, he found no difficulty in successfully ruling over the vast Mughal Empire. He was an ambitious ruler like his grandfather, Akbar. Shah Jehan chose honest people to be his governors and commanders in the army. He warned them to be fair in their dealing with the people. He is known in history as Shahinshah-i-Adil, or the “Just Emperor”. He worked long hours and kept an eye on every detail of administration of the Empire. He made the roads safe for travelers, severely punishing looters and robbers. He developed agriculture and improved trade with foreign countries. The result was that people became rich and the state revenue increased manifold.