Rajput Princess and Mughal Empress
Hijri 949-1031 (AH); Common Era 1542-1622 (CE)
Born Hira Kunwar as a Rajput princess, she married the Emperor Akbar in 1562 and thenceforth became known by the name Mariam uz-Zamani or “Mary of the Age.” She was an exceptionally politically active member of the throne, until the rise of the Empress Nur Jahan, the wife of her son Jahangir. She was one of the few women in the Mughal court who had the authority to issue official documents (called farman) which was usually a power exclusive to the emperor. She also partook in construction and shipping across the empire. Her wealth and influence were utilized to create gardens, wells, and mosques. Mariam owned and oversaw the ships that carried pilgrims to and from Mecca. IN 1613, her ship, the Rahimi, carrying passaengers and cargo, was seized by the Portugese pirate. When they refused to return the ship, her son, Jahangir, attacked the Portugeuese town of Daman. This sort of conflict would come to characterize the interactions between the Westernrs with their intention to colonize and the Mughal and other Indian powers. When Mariam died in 1622, she was buried in Mariam’s Tomb in Sikandra. The Mosque of Mariam Zamani Begum, located in the Walled City of Lahore, was named after her.