The artist has further added to her personality the element of service by rendering in her hand a fan to suggest that the supreme lady of the empire was to her husband but a humble servant, always in service.
Mumtaz Mahal, or Arjumand Banu Begum, was born to Asaf Khan, brother of Empress NurJahan, who was a Mughal officer of high rank and the prime instrument behind the installation of Shahjahan on the Mughal throne. When eighteen, Mumtaz was married to Shahjahan, in the year 1612. This was just an year after her maternal aunt NurJahan was married to Emperor Jahangir, Shahjahan's father. Instigated by his grandfather Akbar, and assisted by several Mughal nobles, Shahajahan had been incessantly rebelling against his father, and was hence constantly on the run. Mumtaz Mahal, his beloved wife and the mother of his fourteen children, was during these adverse days his strength and his constant companion.
Mumtaz Mahal passed away at Burhanpur, in 1631, while giving birth to a child. She was cremated there, and only when the Taj Mahal was completed were her mortal remains shifted there.
Description by Dr. Daljeet.
Dr. Daljeet is Curator, National Mueseum of india, New Delhi.
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