(Akbar's Third Wife)
Mariam-uz-Zamani happens to be one of the most fascinating personalities in the medieval history of India. The third wife of Emperor Akbar, she has been known by many names in the history such as Harka Bai, Jodha Bai with the latter name indicating that she was born in Jodhpur, but many historians also claim that she was in fact born in Amber region of Rajasthan. She was married off to Akbar by her father Raja Bihari Mal to secure an alliance with the Moguls, which was mostly due to the fact that Rajput houses at that time were at each other’s throat to sit on the royal Amber throne. The decision of marrying a Rajput princess to a Muslim ruler was met with severe criticism from Indian rulers. Akbar’s courtesans also condemned him for going ahead with the marriage with a Hindu princess, but there was no stopping the marriage, and the Emperor went ahead with it. Akbar loved Mariam with all his heart, and she quickly became his most loved wife and the first one to adorn the royal household with an heir, Jahangir. She was a strong willed lady, who established Hindu deity’s idols inside her palace, against the rules. She oversaw the trades with Europeans and other gulf countries. Mariam died in 1623 and her son Jahangir built her tomb in Agra, known as Mariam’s Tomb.