Akbar the Great

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Akbar the Great

Akbar the Great (Abu'l-Fath Jalal ud-din Muhammad Akbar, 15 October 1542 – 1605) was the third Mughal Emperor. He was born in Umerkot, India. He was the son of Emperor Humayun. He became emperor at age 13. He is considered to be one of the greatest rulers of India. He was known as much for his inclusive leadership style as for his war mongering. He began a time of religious tolerance and appreciation for the arts. Akbar had great respect for the Rajputs.He realized that with their support,he could consolidate his empire.

Expansion and consolidation[change | change source]

Akbar became the king in 1556 at the age of 13. Bairam Khan was appointed as Akbar's regent. 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 offered a hand of friendship to the Rajputs. However, he fought against Rajputs who opposed him. In 1576 he defeated Rana Pratap of Mewar in the Battle of Haldighati. Akbar formed a vast empire covering a large part of India.

Administration[change | change source]

Akbar - Project Gutenberg eText 14134.jpg

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 carefully reorganised by laying down detailed regulations for their functioning

  • The revenue department was headed by a wazir, responsible for all finances and management of jagir and inam lands.
  • The head of the military was called the mir bakshi, appointed from among the leading nobles of the court. The mir bakshi was in charge of intelligence gathering, and also made recommendations to the emperor for military appointments and promotions.
  • 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

Religion[change | change source]

Akbar realized that to establish a strong empire, he had to gain the confidence of his Hindu people who were the majority in India. He treated all his subjects equally. He gave the people freedom to follow any religious path.He was interested in learning about different religions.

Din-i-ilahi[change | change source]

Din-i-ilahi was a religious path suggested by Akbar. It was a code of moral conduct which reflected Akbar's secular ideas and his 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.

Personality[change | change source]

Akbar's reign was chronicled by his court historian Abul Fazal in the books Akbarnama and Ain-i-akbari.books Akbarnama and Ain-i-akbari. Other sources of Akbar's reign include the works of Badayuni, Shaikhzada Rashidi and Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi. Akbar was an artisan, warrior, artist, armourer, blacksmith, carpenter, emperor, general, inventor, animal trainer , lacemaker, technologist. Believed to be dyslexic, he was read to everyday and had a remarkable memory

Akbarnama[change | change source]

The Akbarnāma  means the  Book of Akbar. It is the official biographical account of Akbar written in Persian. It includes vivid and detailed descriptions of his life and times.

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. 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. He was succeeded by his son Prince Salim.

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