British came to know that Akbar is the king in India and the trade with India would benefit British more. So a private company named English East India company was set up at 1600 by a charter given by Queen Elizabeth I. In 1607 William Hawkins started his journey to India carrying a letter and some presents from King James I.
Portuguese had blue water policy by which they controlled the whole Arabian sea. While sailing in the ship named “Hector” Captain Hawkins was captured by Portuguese. Later he was released by them. He reached Agra after crossing all toils and dangers. But the king found there was not Akbar and an entirely different emperor was there on the throne. Jahangir welcomed him warmly and accepted him as a guest but haven’t given permission to set up a factory (Trading Fort) in India.
There were two reasons why Jahangir didn’t give permission to Captain Hawkings. i) Pressure from Portuguese. ii) Already Portuguese started to trade in India and later became a concern for India. So for these two reasons Jahangir never accepted his proposals even though he was friendly with Captain Hawkins. Jahangir called captain Hawkins as “English Khan”.
Why Jahangir gave permission to the British?
Jahangir’s younger daughter Bahar Bano Begum got sick once and none of the Indian treatment could cure her. She was obviously the apple of her father’s eyes. Jahangir got very upset and scared and went to many holy places to pray for her to get well and also donated a lot. No miracles happened.
Captain Hawkins asked Jahangir to give permission to a British doctor to check her and Jehangir agreed. The doctor checked on Shezadi Bahar and gave her some English medicines. Within a week Bahar was getting better and got well very soon.
Jahangir who had given up hope was very grateful to Captain Hawkins and gave him many gifts and gold for saving his daughter’s life.
Captain Hawkins asked nothing for himself instead asked Jahangir to give trading rights to their countrymen (i.e British East India Company). Jahangir never wanted to give permission because already the Portuguese who had been given permission were troubling Indians. But he had given his promise and hence allowed East India company to trade. Little did he know what his promise would lead to in future???
The cost of saving an emperor’s child was the demise of his family lineage later.
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