Posted on: 1 November 2012

Firman of the Emperor Aurangzeb

Mughal dynasty
Ink, color, and gold on paper
H: 110.0 W: 47.5 cm

The firman—dated to Aurangzeb's fourth regnal year, corresponding to A.H. 1072/A.D. 1661-62—is written in clear and legible nast'liq and consists of fourteen lines of text. It begins with an elegant "basmallah" written in gold thuluth at the top. Aurangzeb's tugrha or signature giving his name and titles appears below the "bismillah," and a round seal is placed to its right. The seal bears the date of Aurangzeb's coronation, A.H. 1069/A.D. 1658-59 and includes the emperor's name in the center surrounded by smaller medallions giving his lineage, beginning with Timur.

The firman, written on A.H. 25th Jumadi II of 1072/A.D. 15 February 1662, is adressed to Jasvant Singh, the Raj of Marwar, in response to a petition (arzdasht) he had sent to Aurangzeb earlier that month (A.H. 8 Jumadi II/A.D. 29 January) from Aurangabad. In the present decree, Aurangzeb orders Jasvant Singh to remain in Aurangabad and gather and organize his troops, which included muskateers. (The purpose of this order is unclear from the text.)

In addition to its subtle aesthetic qualities, the decree is of considerable historical interest. Jasvant Singh played an important role in the Mughal war of succession that broke out between Shah Jahan's sons, Dara Shikoh, Shah Shuja, Murad Bakhsh, and Aurangzeb, following the emperor's illness in 1657. Fighting on Dara's side, Jasvant Singh's forces were badly beaten by Aurangzib in 1658. Following his defeat, the raja changed sides and joined Aurangzeb. This allegiance, however, did not prevent him from commiting treachery and attacking Aurangzeb's forces at Khajuha in 1659. Jasvant Singh changed sides again and offered to join forces with Dara to rescue Shah Jahan, who had been inprisoned in Agra. At this point, Aurangzeb intervened and promised to forgive Jasvant Singh and honor him with a high post. If he decided to refuse his offer, however, he would be subject to severe retribution. The emperor continued to show favors to Jasvant Singh until his death in 1678—a fact also confirmed by the firman. Following the raja's death, Aurangzeb seized the foremost Hindu state or Marwar and placed it under Mughal rule.

This firman is the earliest of the published ones and is the first acquisition of its kind for the Sackler Gallery.

Copyright © 2012 Smithsonian Institution

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RBSI You have been glorifying Mughals and their tombs for quite some time! Please give us a break!

Its a nice effort to show various views of Mughal Era in the sub-continent. Its really appreciable. but i would like to draw attention to the pronunciation of the word "Bismillah" which is regrettably mistaken here. Hope you will edit this otherwise perfect narration. thanks.

@renuka ...100% agree with you, admin are you listening us ??

Shakib Aman Sohan : The above narration is reproduced as documented by the Smithsonian Institution. No offence intended by RBSI.

@Renuka/Vikash- it is sad to see people like you playing religious cards in a forum like this.

Renuka Narayan Gopinath : Mughal dynasty forms an integral part of Indian history and they deserve their fair share :)...and these posts are worthy of presentation on this page. Your share of 'likes' will also feature sooner than later.

Renuka Narayan Gopinath: Yes! I do get carried away at times and I am sure you meant no offense. We will have moved on from the Mughals by tonight until they return after some time. They have produced so much of extraordinarily breath-taking art that inevitably leaves us spellbound and wanting for more. But then as Arindam Sen has rightly pointed out the Mughals ruled over India for close to 330 years (from about 1526–1857)... and have had a definitive and pervasive influence over all aspects of the subcontinent. They are and will be an integral and important part of our history. So we have to make peace with their histories, art, monuments and graves. : )

I have read about firmans issued by Mughal kings on special events like conferring a title of Raja or granting certain very special and rare favours .These firmans were adorned by print of emperor's right hand dipped in heena.There was also a very elaborate ceremony prescribed to receive this firman. Can RBSI access any photograph or image of these special firmans??

It's so valuable Persian document that has remained from Indian emperor Aurangzeb.

First time for me to see a Mughul firman of the period of Aurangzeb. Actually court communication reached its climax and perfection during Aurangzeb' era. I appreciate this posting. Most of us members here are here for history, archaeology and not for any other reasons. All of us have a free will to dissociate from this group if we don't like any posting rather than saying the 'French' by Renuka

LOL! Mr Nadeem Abbasi, you are joking right? Please enlighten me where have I spoken about "Religious whatever"...RBSI, Absolutely no offence! I APRECIATE ALL YOUR RESEARCH and EFFORTS OF PRESERVING THE RARE BOOKS AND SHARING WITH ALL OF US! Just a suggestion...Our History books have given A LOT of information and dedicated chapters of each Mughal King so it will be nice if we we also could see the other side side of the coin! THE UNTOLD STORIES OF INDIA, UNGLORIFIED Tales, Manususcripts that couldn't make it to history books. Like Nalandas Golden years and how it was brought to shambles. Vijaya Nagara empire...Have you come across Saraswathi Mahal Library in Thanjavur?

Arindam Sen & RBSI , I was nor offended neither it was intended.. even the mighty Smithsonians can make mistakes.. just asking woudnt u right a wrong if there is an option like 'edit' ? personally im a big fan of RBSI. it helps me understanding the harmony of life that used to exist in predating era. GOOD JOB. :)

Renuka Narayan Gopinath: Point well taken. But you will have to understand that we post material on RBSI after day. We have posted close to 2500 rare books and around 6000 prints, photos etc till date. And also...almost 700 themes, topics and subjects! Many of them repeated more than once...but with completely different material. Many of the obscure, unknown and generally unheard of topics have already been covered here. We will yet continue to do so in future. Unfortunately the subjects you are referring to do not have much printed material to post day after naturally they would appear few and far between. If you only have patience to browse through this humungous page you might yet find thousands of posts that you are referring to.

One correction in my comment above the handprint used to be made by dipping palm in saffron paste and not heena.