Meet the guy that Aurangzeb cruelly assassinated and who was destined to become the emperor of the Mughal Empire

The horrible saga of treachery and ambition that unfolds in the life of Shahjahan and his sons is evocative of the brutal power struggles that characterized the Mughal Empire.

Stories of unbridled power and turmoil within the family reverberate down the halls of Mughal history. Enthralled by the seductive charm of being king, Shahjahan spared no effort to usurp the blood of his own family members in order to take the throne. Power had such a strong hold on the Sultanate that many people’s judgment was impaired, leaving a violent and treacherous legacy.

Shahjahan’s love for his firstborn son, Dara Shikoh, was unwavering among his descendants. Dara was his father’s favorite child, free from the hardships of military life while his siblings had to deal with more responsibility. Shahjahan envisioned a legacy in which the name Dara would be inscribed in gold letters, serving as a source of inspiration for succeeding generations. But Aurangzeb, Murad, and Shah Shuja, Shahjahan’s other sons, were resentful of this treatment.

Enraged by his unquenchable desire, Aurangzeb plotted with his brothers to remove all hindrances to his rise. Dara had to contend with crafty plots intended to bring him down, while Shahjahan, weak and sick, was trapped by his own flesh and blood. A vicious fight for power broke out, which ended with Aurangzeb usurping the throne brutally and Dara being imprisoned and eventually killed.

Historical literary accounts depict Dara Shikoh’s last days in a dismal light. He was carried to Delhi, shook and disheveled, his once-brilliant face now a pale shell of its former splendour. Dara’s destiny was sealed by Aurangzeb’s order, as executioners quickly took his life and denied him even the honor of a decent funeral. In Humayun’s tomb, Dara Shikoh was buried wearing the same faded clothes he had worn throughout his imprisonment, a moving representation of hopes dashed and dreams dashed.

In a sad turn of events, Dara’s ultimate burial place was under the same dome as those of his predecessors, Akbar’s sons Daniyal and Murad. In the annals of history, the legacy of Shahjahan and his sons stands as a sobering reminder of the dangerous attraction of power and the disastrous consequences of family treachery.

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