Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Juliana Dias da Costa 1658–1733 and all in the Mogul Emperor family - India


Juliana Dias da Costa. blog.chughtaimuseum.com.
A woman of Portuguese descent was close to the Royal  family of India's  Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb!! Does it sound crazy? People who have read the Indian history with special reference to Delhi Muslim rulers know very well, among the Mogul rulers of India,  Aurangzeb (1618 – 1707 was the most treacherous ruler. He murdered his own brothers  just to  grab the throne. Not content with this heinous crime, he jailed his sick father Shah Jahan. He was a staunch Hindu bigot and hated Christians and people of other faiths. How come  a woman following the Christian faith found it cozy and comfortable with the most cruel ruler ? How did she win the heart of the royal family members?
Bahadur Shah I, Mogul Ruler. en.wikipedia. org
Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb.en.wikipedia.org
Dona Juliana Dias da Costa (1658–1733 was a woman of  Portuguese descent from Kochi (now in Kerala).  Juliana was born in 1658 in Cochin to Agostino Diaz da Costa and his wife. During the invasion of Dutch in 1663, the family fled to Goa  for safety and then on to Calcutta. Having found their survival there unsafe because the Portuguese were considered as dangerous people and were active in sea piracy, etc.,  Juliana's family this time moved over to Agra,
where her father was employed in the Mogul emperor Aurangzeb's royal household. The emperor wanted the services of a Portuguese women, by the name of Lady Juliana Dias Da Costa. Surprisingly, she was the head of a Mogul harem, and through love, affection and care  served the Mughal household during the reign of five Mogul Emperors, that is Aurangzeb Alamgeer, Bahadur Shah Alam, Jahandar Shah, Farruk Siyar as well a Muhammed Shah.


As years went by Juliana married the Mogul ruler's physician and through him she became closer to the family. She was entrusted with the job of taking care of the women folks there and  also the prince Shah Alam; in a short period she was close to Prince Muazzam. Bahadur Shah (1643 – 1712), after his father's death became a ruler in  1707 and she used to accompany Bahadur (Shah Alam) to the battle fields, riding the war elephant and never failed to give him moral support. Though closer to a powerful royal Muslim family, she never gave up her Christian faith, daily prayers, etc. After the death of Bahadur Shah in 1712, Farukh Siyar ascended the throne in 1713 through violent struggle. When he was ill as a result of painful  carbuncle, Juliana hepled him with her knowlede of natural medicine plus Christian prayers. 

When he was throughly cured, the ruler was very happy. Using his good mood and her proximity to him, Juliana  helped the, Portuguese,  as well as the English get special trade concessions through Firmans.

When she had close relationship with Bahadur Shah, she was very helpful to the English, Dutch and Portuguese  representatives, in addition, she was of great help to the society of Jesus  and the evangelists who wanted to spread Christianity in India and Tibet. Hence she was recognized as a Patroness of the Society in recognition of her service to the Jesuits.
 

Juliana, a woman with true Christian spirits passed away in 1732  to enjoy eternal bliss in the shadow of God Almighty. This is the story of a daring woman of different nationality, who was closely associated with a family of India's tough Mogul rulers  among whom fratricide was quite common. She wielded enormous power but led a humble living, never failing to thank Jesus daily for his kindness and blessings. She was buried in Agra in an unnamed grave!
 

Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juliana_Dias_da_Costa