Akbar, Ruler of India, Dies - History

Akbar, Ruler of India, Dies - History

Akbar, Ruler of India, Dies

History of India

India is a land of ancient civilization. India's social, economic, and cultural configurations are the products of a long process of regional expansion. Indian history begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization and the coming of the Aryans. These two phases are usually described as the pre-Vedic and Vedic age. Hinduism arose in the Vedic period.

The fifth century saw the unification of India under Ashoka, who had converted to Buddhism, and it is in his reign that Buddhism spread in many parts of Asia. In the eighth century Islam came to India for the first time and by the eleventh century had firmly established itself in India as a political force. It resulted into the formation of the Delhi Sultanate, which was finally succeeded by the Mughal Empire, under which India once again achieved a large measure of political unity.

It was in the 17th century that the Europeans came to India. This coincided with the disintegration of the Mughal Empire, paving the way for regional states. In the contest for supremacy, the English emerged 'victors'. The Rebellion of 1857-58, which sought to restore Indian supremacy, was crushed and with the subsequent crowning of Victoria as Empress of India, the incorporation of India into the empire was complete. It was followed by India's struggle for independence, which we got in the year 1947.

Indian timeline takes us on a journey of the history of the subcontinent. Right from the ancient India, which included Bangladesh and Pakistan, to the free and divided India, this time line covers each and every aspect related to the past as well as present of the country. Read on further to explore the timeline of India.

Indus valley civilization, which flourished between 2800 BC and 1800 BC, had an advanced and flourishing economic system. The Indus valley people practiced agriculture, domesticated animals, made tools and weapons from copper, bronze and tin and even traded with some Middle East countries.

After the death of Harsha the Rajputs came into prominence on the political horizons of North India. The Rajputs were known for their bravery and chivalry but family feuds and strong notions of personal pride often resulted into conflicts. The Rajputs weakened each other by constant wrangling.

Emperor Akbar, also known as Akbar the Great or Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar, was the third emperor of the Mughal Empire, after Babur and Humayun. He was the son of Nasiruddin Humayun and succeeded him as the emperor in the year 1556, when he was only 13 years old.

Shah Jahan, also known as Shahbuddin Mohammed Shah Jahan, was a Mughal Emperor who ruled in the Indian Subcontinent from 1628 to 1658. He was the fifth Mughal ruler, after Babur, Humayun, Akbar and Jahangir. Shah Jahan succeeded the throne after revolting against his father, Jahangir.

Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was the founder of the Maratha Empire in western India. He is considered to be one of the greatest warriors of his time and even today, stories of his exploits are narrated as a part of the folklore. King Shivaji used the guerrilla tactics to capture a part of, the then, dominant Mughal empire.

The History of India begins with the Indus Valley Civilization and the coming of the Aryans. These two phases are generally described as the pre-Vedic and Vedic periods. The earliest literary source that sheds light on India's past is the Rig Veda. It is difficult to date this work with any accuracy on the basis of tradition and ambiguous astronomical information contained in the hymns.

During the late 16th and the 17th Centuries, the European trading companies in India competed with each other ferociously. By the last quarter of the 18th Century the English had outdone all others and established themselves as the dominant power in India. The British administered India for a period of about two centuries and brought about revolutionary changes in the social, political and the economic life of the country.


Akbar as a National Ruler &ndash Essay

Undoubtedly Akbar was the only ruler among the rulers of medieval India who attempted to foster the national feeling in India.

He did succeed to some extent. However subsequent Mughal rulers failed to catch his spirit.

The majority of historians regard Akbar as a great emperor.

image source: upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2e/Posthumous_portrait_of_Mughal_Empreror_Akbar.jpg

K.T. Shah writes, “Akbar was the greatest of the Mughals and perhaps the greatest of all Indian rulers for a thousand years, if not ever since the days of the mighty Mauryas. But without detracting in the least from the genius of the man of the inheritance of his birth, it may yet be said that Akbar was so great, because he was so thoroughly Indianised.”

Akbar’s claim to be a ‘national king’ is supported on the following basis:

1. Bringing entire India under rule of one monarch.

2. Unified system of administration.

3. Unified system of revenue administration.

4. Unified taxation policy.

5. Rajput policy of reconciliation.

6. Religious policy of synthesis and toleration.

7. Making Persian as court language.

8. Generous help in the growth of literature in all languages.

9. Developing a uniform Indian style of fine arts by bringing about synthesis of different styles.

10. Cultural harmony relating to customs and manners.

11. Welfare of his subjects belonging to different communities.

Edwardes and Gerrett wrote:

“Akbar has proved his worth in different fields of action. He was an intrepid soldier, a great general, a wise administrator, a benevolent ruler, and a sound judge of character. He was a born leader of men and can rightly claim to be one of the mightiest sovereigns known to history …During a reign of nearly fifty years, he built up a powerful Empire which could vie with the strongest and established a dynasty whose hold over India was not contested by any rival for about a century. His reign witnessed the final transformation of the Mughuls from merely military invaders into a permanent Indian dynasty.”

1. Considering India as Motherland:

Most of the Sultan rulers of India considered themselves as the representative of Caliph of Baghdad. Babur had also willed to be buried outside India and in his home country. Humayun also looked towards Kabul and Qandhar. Akbar completely identified himself with India, its people and soil etc. He worked for the prosperity of India. He had loyalty to India alone and none else.

2. Union of Hindustan under one head:

According to Malleson, “Akbar’s foremost aim was the union of Hindustan under one head which was difficult to achieve had he persecuted all Non-Islamic religions. To accomplish this, it was necessary first to conquer, secondly to respect all consciences and all methods of worshipping the Almighty.” Thus Akbar’s aim to expand his empire in India was to unify the scattered kingdoms under one umbrella. However according to Dr. R.P. Tripathi, the aim of Akbar was more ambitious than that of national king. Akbar in his view wanted to bring the entire world under his control as he was an expansionist.

3. Equal treatment with all subjects:

Famous artist Ferguson has written, “There is nothing more remarkable in Akbar’s character as his toleration which influenced all his activities. He had the same love and appreciation for all his Hindu subjects as he had for his co-religionists.”

4. Synthesis of all religions:

Akbar attempted to being about synthesis of all religions. ‘Ibadat Khana’ was established for religious discussions.

5. Founding of Din-i-Ilahi:

On the basis of good points of all religions, Akbar founded a new religion and such a step could he taken only by a national ruler.

6. Appointments on merits and not on religious basis:

Merit was the basis of all appointments and this led to great efficiency in his administration. By this policy Akbar won the heart of the Hindus. Todar Mal, was appointed an Finance Minister. Bhagwan Dass, Man Singh and Birbal were among the high-ups.

7. Akbar’s ‘Nav-ratnas’ (Nine Jewels):

Out of nine distinguished persons of his court, four were Hindus.

8. Removal of restrictions upon the Hindus:

Akbar abolished the pilgrim tax as well as jizya tax. He gave religious freedom to all.

9. Matrimonial alliances with the Hindus:

Akbar entered into matrimonial alliances with several Rajput families. However it is not clear why no girl from the royal family was married into Hindu family.

10. Cultural synthesis of Hindus and Muslims:

Akbar made vigorous efforts to bring about fusion of Hindu and Muslim art and literature.

The effects of both Persian and Indian art are clearly visible in his buildings built at Fatehpur Sikri, Agra and Delhi.

It is said that not less than 13 out of 17 most important painters of his court were Hindus.

Akbar established a special translation department with the objective of translating the sacred books of the Hindus from Sanskrit into Persian.

From the accounts given above, it is clear that Akbar was a national ruler. Jawaharlal Nehru has rightly described him, “Father of Indian nationalism.”


Conclusion

The Mughal Empire is an important part of Indian History which is important for the IAS Exam and all its stages. This article will cover all Mughal Emperors of India – reign, achievement and victories, monuments, and their personal life. From the 15th century to the 18th century, everything you need to know about the Mughal Emperors is covered above. This article is relevant for competitive exams like UPSC, RRB, SSC, etc. If you are an aspirant then this article is for you. Read it thoroughly for the exams and to understand history better.

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Akbar the Great

In 1539-40 Humayun was being defeated by Sher Shah Suri. Then Mughal Emperor Humayun exile to west and take shelter under the local leader Ali. The emperor met Hamida Banu in Sindh the daughter of Ali and married her, the next year Akbar born on October 15, 1542, in the house of Sindh Umarkot Rajput happened.

Early Life:

After a long exile, Humayun and Akbar went to Kabul with the entire family, where his uncle Kamran Mirza and Mirza Askari lived. In the early days the young Akbar spent his days in hunting, warfare, learning and fighting. These activities made him lead a powerful, fearless and brave warrior. But his whole life, he had never learned to write or not to read. It is required to read something there had someone with whom to do reading and writing. In 1551 AD the prince married his uncle’s daughter Mirza.

As the Emperor:

Humayun restored his power in 1555 in Delhi and there he built a huge army. Later few months Humayun died. As soon as the death of Humayun, Akbar at the age of 13 enthroned and declared the empire of Mughal dynasty. Then the king inherited little more than a collection of frail fiefs. Bairam Khan supported Akbar the great to achieved the relative stability in the region. Bairam Khan controlled North India from the Afghans and successfully led the army against the Hindu king Hemu at the Second Battle of Panipat. He brought back the glory of Mughal dynasty with his powerful efforts and brave activities. In spite of this loyal service, when Akbar came of age 18, dismissed Bairam Khan and took full control of the government.

Akbar was a brave and powerful ruler in Indian History. Generally, he was a great commendable general, and continued military expansion throughout his reign.His endless armed forces, on the basis of immense power and economic strength gradually many states merged into Mughal Empire. He expanded his empire to Afghanistan in the north, Sindh in the west, Bengal in the east, and the Godavari River in the south. He allied himself with the defeated Rajput rulers, and rather than demanding a high “tribute tax” and leaving them to rule their territories unsupervised. The Mughal Emperor introduced a system of central government, integrating them into the administration.

Religion:

Akbar had a lot of faith in Islam and also other religious concepts. So he never put force on the Hindus to convert to Islam. The Emperor regularly participated in the festivals of other faiths and built a temple called ibadat-khana in Fatehpur Sikri. There supported local priests to conduct religious summits and hosted scholars from all other religions including Hindus, Zoroastrians, Christians and Yogis. Akbar allowed the Jesuits to construct a church at Agra, and strictly restricted on the slaughter of cattle out of respect for Hindu custom. So every religious people loved him with profound respect. In 1582, he established a new cult with the combination of all other religious elements called the Din-i-Ilahi (“divine faith”). He tried to bri n g it as a religion but not succeeded in later years.

Patron of arts:

Though Akbar was illiterate but very interested in Arts and cultures. He encouraged the poets and other cultural activists throughout the empire. The Emperor brought a new architecture Mughal style which the combination of Islamic, Persian and Hindu design. He encouraged and sponsored some of the best and brightest minds of the era including poets, musicians, artists, philosophers and engineers in his courts at Delhi, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri.

Administration:

He annihilated the discriminations among the people and between different regions and tried to bring assurance among the people on him. Put out the Jizya tax on the Hindus and maintained close relations with the Hindu religious people. Akbar married Rajput women to establish favour relations among the Mughal and Rajputs.

Nine Gems or Navaratnas:

The most famed ‘navaratna’ or nine gems were served in Akbar court. They were the poets, philosophers, musicians, and advisors. These nine gems served as the advisers and entertainers of the King. They were Abul Fazl, who chronicled his reign in the three-volume book “Akbarnama” Abul Faizi, a poet and scholar, Miyan Tansen, a singer, and musician the court jester Birbal Raja Todar Mal, minister of finance Raja Man Singh, a celebrated lieutenant Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, a poet and Fagir Aziao-Din and Mullah Do Piaza, who were both advisors.


Jodha Bai History – Hindu Queen in Mughal Emperor

Jodha Bai real name was Harkabhai. She was also well known as Hira Kumwari and Mariam-uz-Zamani, born on October 1, 1542, AD. Her father was Raja Bharmal, the ruler of Jaipur . In her childhood days, all called Hira Kumwari. She was very clever and precious woman and married Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great in 1562 AD. After the marriage, she referred to as Jodha Begum. The marriage between Mughal Emperor Akbar and Jodha Bai was totally a political alliance between the king of Jaipur and the Mughal emperor. With the Jodha Bai’s marriage, the disturbed situations between Mughals and Rajputs came down. Akbar was very impressed about the intellectuality of Queen Jodha Bai. Her fierce for the self-respect and her courageous attitude made Akbar give the title of ‘Mariam-uz-Zamani. Her brother Harika Bai and father Raja Bharmal have also joined the court of Akbar.

Jodha Bai influence on Akbar:

She infused Akbar to abolish the pilgrimage tax on Hindus. He gave prominent positions to the Rajputs in his court. Totally the marriage between Jodha Begum and Akbar had a deep impact on religious and political policies in the Mughal administration during Akbar rule and in later years also. Akbar allowed her to worship Lord Krishna in the Harem. With the liberal attitude of Akbar on Hindus made him great all over India. All religious people also respect him as equal treatment of all sects.

Hindu Beliefs:

Akbar had a great love and respect for Queen Jodha Bai. He gave her more priority than any other women in Herman. Jodha gave the birth to Prince SaliPrince who later become the emperor of Mughal dynasty as ‘Jahangir’ after Akbar. He also adopted many Hindu beliefs and practiced them in daily life. Akbar also wore the bind on his forehead and gave high priority to the Hindus in the court. He also married many Rajput princesses and respected everyone’s beliefs in Hinduism . The Hindu concept of Karma impacted on him a lot. He gave equal priority of celebrating many Hindu festivals in his court and himself participated in the festival celebrations. Anyway, Jodha Begum enjoyed her high position in the Mughal court and also showed her power in administrative issues. She died in the year 1623 A.D.

Jodha Bai Death

After the death of Akbar, Jodha Bai lived twenty years. At the age of 80, her health became worse and died due to old age in 1622 AD. After her marriage with Akbar, she remained as a Hindu devotee to Lord Krishna. However, she was not cremated according to Hindu rituals, and buried as per the Islamic practice. Later, her son Jahangir built a grave to honour her and the construction built as for Jodha Bai’s wish. The grave built near the Akbar’s mausoleum, in the style of underground and arranged beautiful steps to lead into. After India got Independence, the grave went into a dilapidated condition and present the Archaeological Survey of India repaired properly.


Second Battle of Panipat

Akbar launched a scathing attack in the Second Battle of Panipat. The two armies fought valiantly and it seemed as the Moghuls were fighting a losing battle until an arrow hit Hemu’s eye and he fainted. Hemu’s men thought that he was dead and put down their weapons, accepting defeat. Akbar became king again.

As Akbar grew older, he won many more battles and added more regions to his kingdom, stretching from the Indo-Ganges Basin to Kashmir and Afghanistan, all the way down to Bengal in the east and part of Deccan in the south.

Religious policies of Akbar

Although Akbar was a young king, he was a shrewd and organised. He got rid of all his ministers who he felt were too ambitious and were looking to covet his position. He removed restrictions on religions and allowed his people to practice the religion of their choice, without having to fear for their life.

Akbar was fair to his people and abolished unfair taxes on non-Muslims. He also played an important role in bringing in social reforms such as the abolishment of child marriage, permission for widows to re-marry and the removal of bans to build Hindu temples.

Although illiterate, Akbar was surrounded by scholars such as Birbal, Abul Fazl and Tansen who were all part of the Nine Gems or Navaratnas. Akbar took keen interest in religion, music, painting, poetry and philosophy.

He had a huge collecting of books and manuscripts and was also the owner of a number of artworks from across the region. His biggest accomplishment however, lay in architecture. He built great structures like the Jama Masjid that stands tall even today. He even built a palace for his wife close to the Hawa Mahal.

Akbar fathered three sons, Jahangir, Murad and Daniyal. Jahangir was the only surviving son as the other two died very young. Jahangir and Akbar did not share a very good relationship and were at constant logger-heads with each other.

Death of the emperor Akbar

In 1605, Akbar fell very ill and died a slow death. He had managed to bring parts of East, West, North as well as South India under his rule. Akbar’s rule is greatly noted for the wealth of learning and culture that existed in his time. He was also admired for his bravery and wisdom.


Foreign Relations

As Akbar solidified his rule over northern India and began to extend his power south and west to the coast, he became aware of the new Portuguese presence there. Although the initial Portuguese approach to India had been "all guns blazing," they soon realized that they were no match militarily for the Mughal Empire on land. The two powers made treaties, under which the Portuguese were allowed to maintain their coastal forts, in exchange for promises not to harass Mughal ships that set out from the west coast carrying pilgrims to Arabia for the hajj.

Interestingly, Akbar even formed an alliance with the Catholic Portuguese to punish the Ottoman Empire, which controlled the Arabian Peninsula at that time. The Ottomans were concerned that the huge numbers of pilgrims flooding into Mecca and Medina each year from the Mughal Empire were overwhelming the resources of the holy cities, so the Ottoman sultan rather firmly requested that Akbar quit sending people on the hajj.

Outraged, Akbar asked his Portuguese allies to attack the Ottoman navy, which was blockading the Arabian Peninsula. Unfortunately for him, the Portuguese fleet was completely routed off of Yemen. This signaled the end of the Mughal/Portuguese alliance.

Akbar maintained more enduring relations with other empires, however. Despite the Mughal capture of Kandahar from the Persian Safavid Empire in 1595, for example, those two dynasties had cordial diplomatic ties throughout Akbar's rule. The Mughal Empire was such a rich and important potential trading partner that various European monarchs sent emissaries to Akbar as well, including Elizabeth I of England and Henry IV of France.


Jahāngīr

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Jahāngīr, also spelled Jehangir, original name Nūr-ud-dīn Muhammad Salīm, (born August 31, 1569, Fatehpur Sikri [India]—died October 28, 1627, en route to Lahore [now in Pakistan]), Mughal emperor of India from 1605 to 1627.

Prince Salīm was the eldest son of the emperor Akbar, who early marked Salīm to succeed him. Impatient for power, however, Salīm revolted in 1599 while Akbar was engaged in the Deccan. Akbar on his deathbed confirmed Salīm as his successor. The new emperor chose the Persian name Jahāngīr (“World Seizer”) as his reign name.

Jahāngīr continued his father’s traditions. A war with the Rajput principality of Mewar was ended in 1614 on generous terms. Campaigns against Ahmadnagar, initiated under Akbar’s rule, were continued fitfully, with Mughal arms and diplomacy often thwarted by the able Ḥabshī (slave), Malik ʿAmbār. In 1617 and 1621, however, Prince Khurram (later Shah Jahān) concluded apparently victorious peace treaties. Jahāngīr, like his father, was not a strict Sunni Muslim he allowed, for example, the Jesuits to dispute publicly with Muslim ʿulamāʾ (theologians) and to make converts.

After 1611 Jahāngīr accepted the influence of his Persian wife, Mehr al-Nesāʾ ( Nūr Jahān) her father, Iʿtimād al-Dawlah and her brother Āṣaf Khan. Together with Prince Khurram, that clique dominated politics until 1622. Thereafter, Jahāngīr’s declining years were darkened by a breach between Nūr Jahān and Prince Khurram, who rebelled openly between 1622 and 1625. In 1626 Jahāngīr was temporarily placed under duress by Mahābat Khan, another rival of Nūr Jahān’s group. Jahāngīr died while traveling from Kashmir to Lahore.

Jahāngīr, a heavy drinker and opium eater—until excess taught him comparative moderation—encouraged Persian culture in Mughal India. He possessed a sensitivity to nature, an acute perception of human character, and an artistic sensibility, which expressed itself in an unmatched patronage of painting. Mughal painting reached a high level of elegance and richness during his reign.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Letricia Dixon, Copy Editor.


'Emperor Akbar The Precursor To The Secular Values Of Modern Day India': AMU History Symposium

The Centre of Advanced Study (CAS), Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) observed the 477th birth anniversary of Mughal emperor Akbar with a symposium elaborating the Mughal as the precursor to the secular values of modern day India, an official release from the varsity said.

During a technical session of the symposium chaired by eminent historian of ancient and medieval India, Professor Emeritus Irfan Habib and renowned writer and historian Ms Rana Safvi, Prof Shireen Moosvi pointed out that the first prime minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in his book, 'Glimpses of World History' applauded Akbar for choosing reason over intolerance.

"Akbar's ideas relating to coexistence and mutual tolerance of each other's faith and recognition of talents have to be seen as part of a rich legacy he left behind," she said.

Prof Moosvi emphasised Akbar created an environment of knowledge building and intellectual engagement in participatory learning and works like Urfi's poetry produced during Akbar's time are reflective of religious tolerance during his administration.

"Akbar supervised translations of Singhasan Battisi, Atharva Veda, Mahabharata, Harivamsa and other scriptures into Persian," said Prof Moosvi adding that Sulh-I-Kul of Akbar, was a result of genuine considerations to suit a multi-religious country like India.

She spoke on how Abul Fazl referred to the idea of the nation, where he identified Akbar with India and the Proto Nationalism based on religious conciliation practiced by Akbar, said the release.

"Akbar travelled incognito from Mathura to Agra to realise that it is not justified to tax a person on pilgrimage. On his return, Akbar abolished the Pilgrim tax," said Prof Moosvi.

Prof Ali Nadeem Rezavi, Chairperson and Coordinator, CAS, Department of History, elaborated how Akbar is relevant in the present time and it is the duty of the Department of History to celebrate his legacy.

He shed light on Akbar's works on religious tolerance, his concentration on establishing a stable administration based on moral and material welfare of his subjects and how Akbar brought policies for an environment of uniform opportunities to people irrespective of their religion.

Prof Habib, Prof Moosvi and Ms Safvi also released Mr Manimugdha Sharma's book, 'Allahu Akbar', which elaborates how Akbar, with a progressive bent of mind, dared to look ahead to find the common ground for all his people to stand together.

In the discussion after the book release, the author of the book Mr Sharma discussed concerns and inspirations that went into the writing of the book.

He referred to Akbar being not just a revered monarch in India but an inspiration to Europeans as well.

Prof Habib said that the book contests the historical fallacies which the masses believe like that of Jodha Bai's existence.


Watch the video: Maham Anga of Jodha- Akbar passes away