Salima Sultan Begum

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Salima Sultan Begum (23 February 1539 – 2 January 1613) was the third wife and chief consort of the Mughal emperor Akbar, and the granddaughter of Babur.

Salima was the daughter of Akbar's paternal aunt, Gulrukh Begum, and her husband, the Viceroy of Kannauj, Nuruddin Muhammad Mirza. She was promised in marriage to Akbar's regent, Bairam Khan, by her maternal uncle, Humayun. This was probably a reward for the services done by Bairam for Humayun. She was about forty years younger than Bairam. They were married in 1557 after Akbar had succeeded Humayun as the third Mughal emperor. There were no children. The marriage lasted for only three years. Bairam Khan was assassinated by a band of Afghans in 1561. After his death, Salima was married to her first cousin, Akbar. She had no children, but she raised the second son of Akbar, Murad Mirza for the first few years.

Salima was a senior-ranking wife of Akbar and had much influence over her husband and his son, Jahangir. As stated by Henry Beveridge, she was in charge of the Muslim harem of Akbar. She wielded major political influence in the Mughal court during her husband's reign as well as during Jahangir's reign. Her name, however, appears in the histories as a reader, poet, who wrote under the pseudonym of Makhfi (lit. 'Hidden One') and as pleading with Akbar for Jahangir's forgiveness. She was known as the Khadija-uz-Zamani (lit. 'Khadija of the Age') for her wisdom.