English, Fake News

A photo of Shah Jahan Begum, the third Begum of Bhopal, is falsely shared as Mumtaz, Shah Jahan’s wife.


A black and white photograph of a woman adorned in regal attire is making rounds on social media, with claims that it portrays Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Let’s fact-check this claim through this article.

An archived version of this post can be seen here.

Claim: The photo is of Shah Jahan’s wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

Fact: The woman in the photograph is actually Shah Jahan Begum, the third Begum of Bhopal. Hence, the claim made in the post is False.

To verify the authenticity of the viral claim, we first conducted a reverse image search on the circulating photograph. This search led us to the Royal Collection Trust’s website, where the same photo is listed.

The photograph’s caption on the site identifies the woman as ‘Sultan Shah Jahan Begum’, a Begum of Bhopal. The photo was reportedly shot during the visit of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (Queen Victoria’s eldest son), to 21 cities across present-day India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Nepal.

The same photo can also be found in an article titled “Begums of Bhopal: 107 Years of Golden Reign” on the Indian Government’s official portal, “indianculture.gov.in.” According to the article, Bhopal was ruled by four women between 1819 and 1926, with Shah Jahan Begum as the third ruler who lived from 1838 to 1901.

On the other hand, Mumtaz Mahal—famously known for inspiring the construction of the Taj Mahal—was the wife of Shah Jahan, the emperor of Mughal India. She lived from 1593 to 1631, a timeline that does not match that of Shah Jahan Begum, the woman portrayed in the photograph.

To sum up, the viral photo inaccurately presents Shah Jahan Begum, the third Begum of Bhopal, as Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Shah Jahan. 


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