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Akbar

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Akbar the Great
Padishah
Ghazi[1]
(King of kings of India)[2]
Akbar in rajput clothing
3rd Mughal Emperor
Reign11 February 1556 – 27 October 1605[3][4]
Coronation14 February 1556[3]
PredecessorHumayun
SuccessorJahangir
RegentBairam Khan (1556–1560)[5]
BornJalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar
15 October 1542[a]
Amarkot, Rajputana
(modern-day Umerkot, Sindh, Pakistan)
Died27 October 1605(1605-10-27) (aged 63)
Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Subah, Mughal Empire
(modern-day Uttar Pradesh, India)
BurialNovember 1605
Consorts
Wives
  • Raj Kunwari (m. 1570)
  • Nathi Bai (m. 1570)
  • Bhakkari Begum (m. 1572)
  • Qasima Banu Begum (m. 1575)
  • Gauhar-un-Nissa Begum
  • Bibi Daulat Shad
  • Rukmavati
  • several others[broken anchor]
Issue
Detail
  • Hassan Mirza
  • Hussain Mirza
  • Jahangir
  • Shahzada Khanam
  • Murad Mirza
  • Shakr-un-Nissa Begum
  • Daniyal Mirza
  • Aram Banu Begum
Full name
Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar[10]
Posthumous name
Arsh-Ashyani (lit.'One who nests on the divine throne')
FatherHumayun
MotherHamida Banu Begum
ReligionSunni Islam[11][12]
Din-i-Ilahi(Later converted)

Akbar (Abu'l-Fath Jalal ud-din Muhammad Akbar, 15 October 1542 – 27 October 1605), also known as Akbar the Great was the 3rd Mughal Emperor.[13] He was born in Amarkot (or Umerkot) now in Province Sindh, Pakistan. He was the son of 2nd Mughal Emperor Humayun. Akbar is considered one of the greatest Indian emperors in Indian history[14]. Some even compare his legacy with that of the Indian conqueror Ashoka.

Akbar grew up in a rajput household and was born in a rajput fortress of local Hindu Ruler Rana Prasad.[15] Akbar became the de jure (by Law) king in 1556 at the age of 13 when his father died. Akbar was too young to rule, so Bairam Khan was appointed as Akbar's regent and chief army commander. Soon after coming to power Akbar defeated Hemu, the general of the Afghan forces, in the Second Battle of Panipat. After a few years, he ended the regency of Bairam Khan and took charge of the kingdom. He initially offered friendship to the Rajputs. However, he had to fight against some Rajputs who opposed him. In 1576 he defeated Maharana Pratap of Mewar in the Battle of Haldighati, Who soon however reconquered most of his territories in Battle of Dewair. Akbar's wars made the Mughal empire more than twice as big as it had been before, covering most of the Indian subcontinent except the south (excluding the Deccan Plateau).

Administration[change | change source]

Mughal Empire under Akbar's period (excluding white area)
Remain of Mughal Empire when Akbar died

Akbar's system of central government was based on the system that had evolved since the Delhi Sultanate, but the functions of various departments were reorganized with detailed regulations for their functioning

  • The revenue department was headed by a Wazir, responsible for all finances and management of Jagir and Inamdar feudal lands.
  • The head of the military was called the Mir Bakhshi, appointed from among the leading nobles of the court. The Mir Bakhshi was in-charge of intelligence gathering, and also made recommendations to the emperor for military appointments and promotions.
  • The Mir Atish, under the Mughal Empire, was the head of Ordinance department.
  • The Mir Bahar, was the head of Customs, Ferry Taxes, Boats and Port Duties in coastal towns.
  • The Mohtasib/Muhtasab, was the regulator of Public Business and enforced Islamic Injunctions. This title was also given to the Religious Officers.
  • The Mir Saman was in-charge of the imperial household, including the Harems, and supervised the functioning of the court and royal bodyguard.
  • The judiciary was a separate organization headed by a chief Qazi, who was also responsible for religious beliefs and practices.

Military campaigns[change | change source]

Akbar conquered Gujarat[16][17] and expanded his reign into much of northern and Central India by having conquered Malwa.[18] Later he expanded his realm into Rajputana[18] Beginning in 1561, the Mughals of delhi actively engaged the Rajputs in warfare and diplomacy. Most Rajput states accepted Akbar's suzerainty; however, the rulers of Mewar and Marwar—Udai Singh II and Chandrasen Rathore—remained outside the imperial fold.[18] Later akbar conquered the Indus valley.[18] Due to his liberal policies and conversion to Din-I-Ilahhi, Afghans of kabul had rebelled against him, To supress the revolt akbar first sent Raja Birbal, When he died, Akbar sent Raja Man singh who successfully conquered Kabul.

Religious policy[change | change source]

Akbar was a Muslim. He realized that to establish a strong empire, he had to gain the confidence of his Hindu people who were the majority in India.

Din-i-ilahi (Religion of God) was a religious path suggested by Akbar. It was a code of moral conduct which reflected Akbar's secular ideas and he desire to achieve peace, unity, tolerance in his empire. Belief in one god, worship of source of light, non-killing of animals, Having peace with all were some features of Din-i-ilahi. It didn't have any rituals, holy books, temples or priests.

Male circumcision was not to be done before the boy was 12 years old, and after that it was optional. It was a Jewish custom adopted by Islam. Akbar's rule was that it should be made optional and should be done, if at all, at an age when boys could understand what it was. Here Akbar gave every man a choice and opportunity to have a play of his reason. Indeed, the boy of reason as he was, he could not deny it to others.

When he was at Fatehpur Sikri, he held discussions as he loved to know about others' religious beliefs. On one such day, he got to know that the religious people of other religions were often bigots (intolerant of others religious beliefs). This led him to form the idea of the new religion, Sulh-e-kul meaning universal peace. His idea of this religion did not discriminate other religions and focused on the ideas of peace, unity and tolerance. This gesture of his made the Hindus and people of other religions call him with different names and start loving him.[19]

Personality[change | change source]

Akbar's reign was chronicled by his court historian Abul Fazal in the books Akbarnama and Ain-i-Akbari. Other sources of Akbar's reign include the wod Sirhindi. Akbar was an artisan, warrior, artist, armourer, administrator carpenter, emperor, general, inventor, animal trainer, technologist. He became emperor at the age of 13.

Navaratnas[change | change source]

Akbar had Navaratnas (nine jewels in Sanskrit) in his court which include Abul Fazl, Faizi, Tansen, Birbal, Raja Todar Mal, Raja Man Singh, Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, Fakir Azizudin and Mohd Shakil Hasan

Akbarnama[change | change source]

(Pronounced as Akbar-e-Namah)
The Akbarnāma means the Book of Akbar. It is the official biographical account of Akbar written by Abu Fazl. It includes vivid and detailed descriptions of his life and times. It also includes the information about the flora, fauna, life of the people of his reign, and the places Akbar used to visit.

The work was commissioned by Akbar, and written by Abul Fazl, one of the Navratnas (Nine Jewels) of Akbar's royal court. The book took seven years to complete. An illustration was done in the Mughal school of painting. A part of this is Ain-i-Akbari.

Death[change | change source]

On 3 October 1605, Akbar fell ill with an attack of dysentery, from which he never recovered. Twelve days after his sixty third year he died on 27 October 1605, after which his body was buried at a mausoleum in Sikandra (Agra): Akbar's tomb.

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Cite error: The named reference birth was used but no text was provided for refs named (see the help page).

References[change | change source]

  1. Lal 1999, p. 67: "It may be recalled that as an adolescent, Akbar had earned the title of Ghazi by beheading the defenseless infidel Himu. Under Akbar and Jahangir 'five or six hundred thousand human beings were killed,' says emperor Jahangir"
  2. Srivastav, Niraj (August 2019). The Curse of Mughals. ISBN 9781932705546. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Eraly 2000, pp. 114, 117
  4. "Akbar (Mughal emperor)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  5. Chandra 2005, p. 95
  6. Jahangir 1999, p. 437: "Ruqayya-Sultan Begam, the daughter of Mirza Hindal and wife of His Majesty Arsh-Ashyani [Akbar], had passed away in Akbarabad. She was His Majesty's chief wife. Since she did not have children, when Shahjahan was born His Majesty Arsh-Ashyani entrusted that 'unique pearl of the caliphate' to the begam's care, and she undertook to raise the prince. She departed this life at the age of eighty-four."
  7. Hindu Shah 1595–1612, p. 223: "Akbur, after this conquest, made pilgrimage to Khwaja Moyin-ood-Deen Chishty at Ajmere and returned to Agra; from whence he proceeded to visit the venerable Sheikh Sulim Chishty, in the village of Seekry. As all the king's children had hitherto died, he solicited the Sheikh's prayers, who consoled him, by assuring him he would soon have a son, who would live to a good old age. Shortly after, his favourite sooltana, being then pregnant, on Wednesday the 17th of Rubbee-ool-Awul, in the year 997 was delivered of a son, who was called Sulim."
  8. Mehta 1984, p. 222: "Bihari Mal gave rich dowry to his daughter and sent his son Bhagwan Das with a contingent of Rajput soldiers to escort his newly married sister to Agra as per Hindu custom. Akbar was deeply impressed by the highly dignified, sincere and princely conduct of his Rajput relations. He took Man Singh, the youthful son of Bhagwant Das into the royal service. Akbar was fascinated by the charm and accomplishments of his Rajput wife; he developed real love for her and raised her to the status of chief queen. She came to exercise profound impact on socio-cultural environment of the entire royal household and changed the lifestyle of Akbar. Salim (later Jahangir), heir to the throne, was born of this wedlock on 30th August, 1569."
  9. Ahloowalia 2009, p. 130
  10. Cite error: The named reference Britannica was used but no text was provided for refs named (see the help page).
  11. Black 2011, p. 245
  12. Eraly 2000, p. 189
  13. "AKBAR I – Encyclopaedia Iranica". www.iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2020-06-14.[permanent dead link]
  14. Early, Abraham (2000). The Saga of the Great Mughals. ISBN 9781932705546. Retrieved May 19, 2024.
  15. Smith 1917, pp. 12–19
  16. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Fatehpur Sikri
  17. Sen Gupta, Subhadra; Israni, Prakash (2013). Fatehpur Sikri : Akbar's magnificent city on a hill. New Delhi: Niyogi Books. pp. 186–187. ISBN 9789381523728. OCLC 845530599.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Richards 1996, pp. 14–15
  19. "Part2_12".