The Concubine of Aurangzeb-Udaipuri Mahal


Udaipuri Mahal Sahiba (died soon after 8 June 1707 date of death of Aurangzeb), was a concubine to Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

When Aurangzeb died she grieved so deeply and died within just four months at Gwalior.

Udaipuri Mahal Sahiba died at Gwalior, shortly after 8th June 1707. She was buried in an alcove at the Shrine of Qutb al-Aqtab, Delhi.

So many old graves are there, I have to go there again to establish her grave (if I can).

In July 1707 Bahadur Shah I carried out her dying wishes with regard to her household and had forwarded her remains for burial in a grove close to the shrine of Qutb-al Aqtab Delhi.

Udaipuri Mahal Sahiba was a slave girl, and not a wedded wife of Aurangzeb. This is complimented by Aurangzeb’s own words. When her son Muhammad Kam Bakhsh intrigued with the enemy at the siege of Jinji, Aurangzeb angrily remarked, — ‘A slave-girl’s son comes to no good.’…..

Her probable origins


The contemporary Venetian traveler Manucci speaks of her as a Georgian slave-girl of Dara Shikoh’s harem, who, on the downfall of her first master, became the concubine of his victorious rival.
She seems to have been a very young woman at the time, as she first became a mother in 1667, when Aurangzeb was verging on fifty.
Another version is there that Udaipuri Bai, was probably the daughter of a Sisodia Thakur from Jodhpur, or a Kashmiri girl originally from the harem of Prince Dara Shikoh. (Killed at the orders of Aurangzeb).
In a letter written by Aurangzeb on his death-bed to Kam Bakhsh, he says “Udaipuri, your mother, who has been with me during my illness, wishes to accompany [me in death].

“From this expression Tod, infers, “Her desire to burn shews her to have been a Rajput.”.
But others opine that such an inference is wrong, because a Hindu princess on marrying a Muslim king lost her caste and religion, and received Islamic burial.
No Rajputni of the harem of any of the Mughal emperor has ever burnt herself with her deceased husband, for the very good reason that a Muslim’s corpse is buried and not burnt.

Evidently Udaipuri meant that she would kill herself in passionate grief on the death of Aurangzeb.

Udaipuri Mahal – Mother of Muhammad Kam Bakhsh

Udaipuri Mahal had mothered Muhammad Kam Bakhsh and Hijat Un-Nisa Begum.
She retained her youth and influence over the Emperor till his death, and was the darling of his old age.

Under the spell of her beauty he pardoned the many faults of Kam Bakhsh.
Aurangzeb also overlooked Udaipuri Mahal’s freaks of drunkenness, which must have shocked so pious a Muslim.



An Anecdote

“During the campaign of Marwar over Ajit Singh, s/o Late Jaswant Singh, Aurangzeb himself was encircled in a precipice by the Rajputs. The Rajput closed the back movement of the Mughal army by felling the overhanging trees.”

“Aurangzeb’s favorite, Udaipuri Begum, who was also accompanying him in the war was also encircled in another part of mountain. She however surrendered and was taken to
Rana, who treated her with utmost respect.”

“Meanwhile, Aurangzeb and his garrison were without food and water for two days. The Emperor would have died of hunger if the siege had continued. The Mughals however cried for Rana’s clemency.”

“A treaty was signed between Rana and Aurangzeb. It was promised on Aurangzeb’s behalf that in future sacred animals would not be slaughtered. The magnanimous Rana ordered his forces to withdraw from their stations so that way could be cleared for Mughal army to withdraw along with their emperor.”

“The Begum, Udaipuri Mahal, with her retinue was also sent to the Emperor, who had withdrawn to Chittor.”

Colonel Tod comments on the incident: “But for repeated instances of ill-judged humanity, the throne of Mughals might have been completely overturned”. (Annals & Antiquities of Rajasthan, Vol. I p. 379).

Aurangzeb learnt nothing from the defeat. Once out of danger, Aurangzeb forgot the promise of not slaughtering the cows and the clemency of Rana. Aurangzeb continued the war claiming that Rana’s generosity was the result of fear of future vengeance by the Mughals.

Her son-Muhammad Kam Bakhsh

Kam Baksh is also called ‘a dancing-girl’s son’ Orme speaks of her as a Circassian, evidently on the authority of Manucci. Aurangzeb had a special liking for Udaipuri Mahal, so her co-wives were very jealous of her.
He bestowed upon her all the accouterments of a Queen. In 1678 in a battle against the Rana of Chittor and the Raja of Marwar, Udaipuri accompanied Aurangzeb. In the 28th year of Aurangzeb’s reign, Udaipuri Mahal was in Aurangabad or Ahmadnagar with Aurangzeb.


A portrait
The son of Udaipuri Mahal, Muhammad Kam Bakhsh
Shahzada of the Mughal Empire
King of Bijapur
Kam Baksh aka Muhammad Kam Bakhsh (Full name)

His Spouse/s (Known)

Fakhr Jahan Khanam
Azarm Banu Begum
Kalyan Kaur

His Issue/s (Known)

Umed Bakhsh
azarm banu begum

Kam Bakhsh Born on 7 March 1677 at Delhi, was the fifth son of sixth Mughal emperor Aurangzeb through a Georgian/Hindu concubine Udaipuri Mahal.

Kam Bakhsh was married to Fakhr Jahan Khanam, the daughter of Barkhurdar Beg. Later that year, he married Kaliyan Kaur (rechristened as Jamilat-un-Nisa), the daughter Amar Chand Singh and sister of Jagjit Singh of Manoharpur. His third wife was Azarm Banu Begum, daughter of Muazzam Khan.

His sons were Umaid Bakhsh, Muhammad Muhi-us-Sunnat Mirza (married to Fatima Begum, daughter of Prince Sulaiman Shikoh and grand daugther of Dara Shikoh), Muhammad Firuzmand Mirza, Bariqu’llah Mirza and Muhi ul-Millat Mirza. He had also a daughter, Hayat-un-Nisa Begum who was married to Muhammad Karim who was the son of Azim-us-Shan.

Death of Kam Baksh whilst fighting with Bahadur Shah I

On 20 December 1708, Kam Bakhsh marched towards Talab-i-Mir Jumla, on the outskirts Hyderabad with “three hundred camels, twenty thousand rockets” for the war against Bahadur Shah I.
Shah made his son Jahandar Shah the commander of the vanguard, but was replaced by Khan Zaman. On 12 January 1709, Shah finally reached Hyderabad and set up his tent training his troops. With little money and soldiers left, Kam Bakhsh was sure of his victory due to the foretelling of the royal astrologer who predicted that he would “miraculously” win the battle.
On 13 January, Shah’s army charged towards him. The troops were divided in two bodies – one was under the commandant of Mumin Khan and was assisted by Rafi-ush-Shanand Jahan Shah and the second under Zulfikar Khan. There was an estimation of fifteen thousand soldiers in Shah’s army. After two hours from sunrise, the emperor’s troops surrounded Kam Bakhsh’s camp. Being impatient, Khan attacked him with his “small force”.

With his soldiers being outnumbered and unable to resist the attack, Kam Bakhsh himself started shooting arrows at the enemy, finishing two quiver-full of arrows. Irvine writes that when he was “weakened by loss of blood” the opposition surrounded him and took him and his son Bariqullah as prisoners. However a dispute rose among Mumin Khan and Zulfikar Khan about who had actually captured him. Rafi-us-Shan solved the matter by attributing it to the latter.

He was taken by a palanquin to Shah’s camp where he was made to rest on a bed. Shah went to his bedside and said “I had no desire to see you reduced to this state”. Shah himself also washed the wounds from his body and replaced his blood stained clothes, besides forcing him to take “few spoonful’s of food”.

The next morning on 14 January 1708, Kam Bakhsh died.

After ten days, his body was sent to Delhi for burial, and was hence buried in Humayun’s Tomb on 23 January 1709, Delhi.




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