Mobile menu
BBC royal detail

Learn more about the stories behind the BBC series

Abid

The Death of Khan Jahan Lodi (3 February 1631) 1656-57

RCIN 1005025.q

Your share link is...

  Close

f.94b: death of Khan Jahan Lodi (plate 16) Khan Jahan Lodi, a favourite of the Emperor Jahangir and the guardian of his eldest son, distrusted Shah-Jahan. Early in Shah-Jahan's reign he became openly rebellious and was consequently pursued by the imperial forces and eventually met his death on 3 February 1631. The artist depicts and brings the viewer close to the moment of execution. Even in death Khan Jahan is afforded the dignity of a high ranking official by being shown in profile view. In reality he had already been killed by a spear thrust by Madho Singh, the soldier wearing orange at the lower right-hand side of the picture. The heads of his son Aziz Khan and of two followers lie on the ground. These were later taken to the court at Burhanpur where Shah-Jahan had them mounted on the gate of the palace as a warning to other rebels. Around them hover blood-gorged flies emphasising the shocking reality of the scene. In complete contrast, the eye can feast on the painter's virtuosity, particularly in his meticulous study of plants and his treatment of fabric and armour. The Padshahnama text relates: 'When the misfortunate [Khan Jahan Lodi] saw that the approaching army would in no way leave him alone, he dismounted from his horse and began hand-to-hand combat with Madho Singh and the group of mace-bearers and others. During the struggles Madho Singh struck him with a lance. Most of his companions were killed, and the mace-bearers cut off the heads of those wrong-headed rebels.'