Identify the distinctive features of the imperial household of the Mughal Empire.
The Mughal imperial household consisted mainly of the king and the harem. The Mughal household consisted of emperor’s wives and concubines, his near and distant relatives such as mother, sister, foster mother, daughters-in-law and aunts. Female servants and slaves served the members of imperial households.
In the imperial household, a distinction was maintained between wives who belonged to royal and aristocratic families and other wives (known as agha) who did not belong to a royal family. Concubines occupied the lowest position in the hierarchy of females closely associated to royalty.
The imperial household had numerous male and female slaves who performed different tasks according to their skills. Slave eunuchs were appointed as guards, servants and even as agents for Mughal women who were interested in trading. Many elderly Mughal women also played an important role in resolving family conflicts. In the course of time, many Mughal women who amassed wealth also began to commission buildings and gardens. Jahanara commissioned many buildings in Shahjahanabad, the capital of Shahjahan.