Jahan Ara's last wish

The Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan’s only daughter was Jahan Ara. Jahan Ara was extremely beautiful, extremely soulful and extremely self-giving. When Shah Jahan was incarcerated in the Red Fort by his son, Aurangzeb, Jahan Ara remained in the same prison to serve and console her father. She stayed with her father for eight years. In every way she tried to keep him happy and well.

Long before he was imprisoned, Shah Jahan had built the Taj Mahal, one of the great wonders of the world, in memory of his dead wife, Mumtaz Mahal, whom he had loved very much. Who knows what he would have done if Jahan Ara also had died before him? True, by that time he was no longer the Emperor, but he would have perhaps begged his most notorious son to do something very special for his all-giving daughter, Jahan Ara. When Shah Jahan died, the daughter greatly mourned the loss of her father. With her mother also gone, she had full freedom to come out of her self-imposed prison-life and enjoy life as a member of the royal family. But Jahan Ara said, “How can I be happy when my brother is so cruel and undivine?” She felt her life had no meaning without her beloved father. So she continued living in prison for her few remaining years on earth.

Jahan Ara’s last wish was not to have a canopy over her grave. Instead, she wanted only grass to grow on top of her grave. She wanted a most humble funeral ceremony, just like that of an ordinary person. She said, “I have not lived the life of a princess for many years. The life of simplicity, humility and purity I have tried to live. So let my passing also be all simplicity, humility and purity.”