Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mughal Emperor Akbar

Mughal Empire ruled the subcontinent from 1526 to the beginning of the British Raj in 1858.Babur's (1st mughal emperor in India) victory  at panipat in the year 1526 initiated Mughal raj in India.Well this post is not about Mughal history.This post is about Akbar-most sophisticated and successful Mughal Emperor.There are many firsts under his rule; equal respect to different religions, against casteism and most importantly- Akbar not only tolerated religions other than Islam, he encouraged interfaith discussion and debate. After listening to many religious scholars from the prominent religions of his empire (i.e., Islam, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and, to a lesser extent Jainism, Christianity and Judaism) he decided that no one faith was entirely and exclusively true; he developed a syncretic religion which he called Din-i Ilahi, "the Divine Faith" and encouraged his subjects to follow it. It combined elements primarily from Islam and Hinduism, but also from Zoroastrianism, Jainism and Christianity. While it never gained a real following, it promoted many universal values found in these religions, including compassion, piety, abstinence and prudence. It forbade celibacy and animal slaughter. Another religion that was developing at the same time, but gained a large following and continues to this day as one of the world's great religions is Sikhism, which also blends elements of Hinduism and Islam.

Below are powerful words spoken by Akbar and it gives us insight about the  Emperor; his charisma, his thoughts, his leadership, his men, his rules, his intelligence, his dominance, his hard work and lot more.This words are just coaxing me to know more about him.....

The Mughal emperor Abul-Fath Jalal-ud-ddin Muhammad  Akbar expressing himself,noted down by  writer while Akbar spoke.

27 Jamada al-Thany, 1433
My Dear Omrah,
The words of kings resemble pearls; they are not meant for every ear. So listen as you seek the 'true north' in this sea of all-pervasive turmoil. Our grandfather, the defender of the faith who rests in paradise, Jahiruddin Muhammed Babur Mirza, was often a king without a kingdom, but the fire of ambition burning in his heart steeled his will to conquer the lands beyond daria Sind. The cruel showers of adversity made him not cynical, but wise and he wrote, "All ill, all good in the count, is gain if looked at aright." We, the Sublime Radiance, believe monarchs should be ever intent on conquest. If not, those upon throne of wrath and vengeance will have enemies rising in arms against them. Make your mothers' milk resplendent by growing the boundaries of your empire.

Be magnanimous, but if your magnanimity is taken for weakness, be decisive. A powerful clan of Uzbegs who did not let the ever-vernal flower of union and cordiality bloom was pardoned twice by us. Still, they would not cleanse the fountains of disagreement and the third time, committed the treasonable act of proclaiming Muhammed Hakim, our step-brother, as their king. We had them trampled to death.

Believe in luck but take your chances. While storming the fort of Chittor, on the night of Tuesday, 23rd February, 1568, we saw a regal Rajput supervising repairs. We lifted Sangram, our favourite gun, and shot him down. The unlucky man happened to be General Jai Mal. One lucky shot turned the cold winter of defeat into the spring of victory.

We, the Star of India, made powerful allies, so that wheel of the Mughal Empire could roll on with their help. As antagonists, Rajputs could be angry wasps, as Rana Pratap was, but they could be invaluable as allies. Though racial and religious considerations are important in our times, they are never as important as political considerations.

When the sword of the tongue is drawn, it inflicts deeper cuts than the sharpest blade. The harder the bow is drawn, the more the wood complains. As the rigours of the empire grow, there will be revolts. There were no less than 144 revolts against us. There will be times when those close to your heart will cross swords with you. Do what is needed, but treat them with respect.

When Bairam Khan, our mentor, fought with us and was brought in our royal presence after his defeat in battle, we raised him from the ground and embraced him. We made him sit to our right-hand side, as had been the rule when he was prime minister.

The nine Stars who bestow their advice on us are our most precious jewels. In 1589, when Raja Todar Mal submitted a petition asking for permission to resign so that he might go to the banks of Ganga and spend his last breath remembering God, we agreed, but realised our folly. We immediately sent admonitions saying that no worship of God was equal to the soothing of the oppressed, and that it would be better for him to spend his least breath in serving man and to make that the provision for his final journey. It's another matter that he turned back but died on the way.


All Padshahs need a great Munshi, and we chose Abul Fazl. We put on his shoulders the task of chronicling our reign, and he wrote with a pen perfumed with sincerity the account of the glorious events and of our dominion-increasing victories. And when one of our testicles was lacerated in a deer hunt, the application of the medicine was left to - who else, but the writer of the book of fortune.

Overlook defects if the Farzand is worthy of being in your presence. Raja Todar Mal was our manager of money, possessing a sharp intellect for the ins and outs of political and financial affairs, but we did not like his pride. Would that he had not been spiteful and revengeful so that a little opposition would cause dislike to spring up in his heart. But in spite of these defects, if we look to the nature of men in service, in diligence and skill, he was a man such as is seldom seen. We personally consoled him when his idols were lost while moving camps and when he abandoned sleep and food.

We never reveal ourselves to anyone. Some days we can be honest and candid, but in reality we are close and self contained with twists of words and deeds ever so divergent from the other, and most times so contradictory that even by much seeking one could not find any clue to our thoughts. Even our closest observers know no more about us on the last day than they know on first.

Never let fall from the hand, the reins of self control. We allow no sloth or idleness to find its way to us. We wake up three hours before day break. We eat once a day and leave before we are full.

We are busy with work till late at night. Bring reforms constantly, as new problems arise from new regulations. Two major reforms we carried out were creation of a centralised bureaucracy and a standard of military grading. Though the royal revenues increased, our 2000 mansabdars and their followers consume 82% of our annual budget as their pay. But then, all empires are sustained on a machinery of coercion.
We were illiterate but we had an insatiable thirst for knowledge. We have 24,000 volumes in our library and books are read to us regularly. Some of our distinguished Amirs are distinguished scholars.

For example, Abdur Rehman, the Khan-i-Khanan, is fluent in Persian, Arabic, Turki, Sanskrit, and Hindi. When we first ascended the throne, Omrah numbered 51, all non-Indian muslims. By 1580, their numbers increased to 222, nearly half-Indian and including 43 Rajputs. Be inclusive. Be firm with the great, kind to those of low estate, just to all men, high and low, neighbour or stranger, so that every man believes the king is on his side. We were sent into the world by providence to live and labour, not for oneself but for others.
We have set down of good and bad whatever we know, concerning kinsman and stranger: of them all I have set down carefully the known virtues and defects.

May God preserve you at all times! 

Emperor of Islam, Emir of the Faithful, Shadow of God on earth, Abul Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar Badshah Ghazi 

 Mughal rule Timeline


1526 - 1530 Babur's victory at Panipat in 1526 established the Mughal Empire and ended the reign of the Delhi Sultanate.The rise of the great Mughal dynasty in India
1530 - 1556 Humayun succeeded his father Babur and became an emperor in India.Humayun was defeated and dislodged by insurrections of nobles from the old Lodi regime. In 1540, the Mughal domain came under the control of one of those nobles, Farid Khan Sur, who assumed the regional name of Shir Shah Sur.
Humayun died unexpectedly at the age of 48 when he fell down the steps of his library in his haste to obey the muezzin's call to prayer.
1556 - 1605 Akbar, the most sophisticated Mughal commander and leader, was only 14 years of age when he succeeded his father Humayun.
1605 - 1627 Jahangir succeeded his father , Akbar.
1628 - 1658 Prince Khurram was 35 years old when he ascended the throne as Shah Jahan (King of the World).
1659 - 1707 In the summer of 1659, Aurangzeb held a coronation durbar in the Red Fort where he assumed the title of Alamgir (World Conqueror). After a bitter struggle with his three brothers, Aurangzeb was the victor who took the throne.
1857 Bahadur Shah II, the last Mughal emperor, was deposed in 1858; India was brought under the direct rule of the British Crown.
The end of the Mughal Empire.

Bibliography- 

~The Penguin History Of Early India: From The Origins To AD 1300 - By Romila Thapar (2003)
~ Emperors of the Peacock Throne - By Abraham Eraly (2004)

Online sources- wiki,economist.