Prince Khurram’s Wish
“Tonite there is I, and a companion.
A festive meeting on a grassy hill.
A cup of wine, fine sweets, and a minstrel all are here.
Oh how I wish thou were here, but not all these.”
-Prince Khurram, the future Shah Jahan (King of the World), aged 17.
Spray paint on canvas, 2006
In 1607 CE (1025 AH) Khurrum, the son of the Mughal emperor Jihangar, met and got engaged to a girl he met named Arjumand Banu Begum, who was just 14 years old at the time. It was as though the heavens opened and life suddenly had meaning, and she would become the unquestioned love of his life. They would, however, have to wait five years before they were married. In the meantime Khurrum took two other wives, but he was so taken with Arjumand that he showed little interest in exercising his polygamous rights with his other two wives, other than dutifully siring a child with each. According to the official court chronicler Qazwini, the relationship with his other wives “had nothing more than the status of marriage. The intimacy, deep affection, attention and favor which His Majesty had for the Cradle of Excellence [Begum] exceeded by a thousand times what he felt for any other.” When he ascended the throne he became known as Shah Jahan (King of the World).
When she died, he built the Taj Mahal as a testament to his love for her.