Akbar the Great

Akbar the Great

Overview
Akbar also known as Shahanshah
King of Kings
King of Kings is a title that has been used by several monarchies and empires throughout history. The title originates in the Ancient Near East. It is broadly the equivalent of the later title Emperor....

 Akbar-e-Azam or Akbar the Great (14 October 1542  – 27 October 1605), was the third Mughal Emperor
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

. He was of Timurid
Timurid Dynasty
The Timurids , self-designated Gurkānī , were a Persianate, Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Iran, modern Afghanistan, and modern Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of contemporary Pakistan, North India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the...

 descent; the son of Emperor Humayun
Humayun
Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor who ruled present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of northern India from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early, but with Persian aid, he eventually regained an even larger one...

, and the grandson of the Mughal Emperor Zaheeruddin Muhammad Babur
Babur
Babur was a Muslim conqueror from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty of South Asia. He was a direct descendant of Timur through his father, and a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother...

, the ruler who founded the Mughal dynasty in India. At the end of his reign in 1605 the Mughal empire covered most of the northern and central India. He is most appreciated for having a liberal outlook on all faiths and beliefs and during his era, culture and art reached to zenith as compared to his predecessors.

Akbar was thirteen years old when he ascended the Mughal throne in Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 (February 1556), following the death of his father Humayun.
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Encyclopedia
Akbar also known as Shahanshah
King of Kings
King of Kings is a title that has been used by several monarchies and empires throughout history. The title originates in the Ancient Near East. It is broadly the equivalent of the later title Emperor....

 Akbar-e-Azam or Akbar the Great (14 October 1542  – 27 October 1605), was the third Mughal Emperor
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

. He was of Timurid
Timurid Dynasty
The Timurids , self-designated Gurkānī , were a Persianate, Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Iran, modern Afghanistan, and modern Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of contemporary Pakistan, North India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the...

 descent; the son of Emperor Humayun
Humayun
Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor who ruled present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of northern India from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early, but with Persian aid, he eventually regained an even larger one...

, and the grandson of the Mughal Emperor Zaheeruddin Muhammad Babur
Babur
Babur was a Muslim conqueror from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty of South Asia. He was a direct descendant of Timur through his father, and a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother...

, the ruler who founded the Mughal dynasty in India. At the end of his reign in 1605 the Mughal empire covered most of the northern and central India. He is most appreciated for having a liberal outlook on all faiths and beliefs and during his era, culture and art reached to zenith as compared to his predecessors.

Akbar was thirteen years old when he ascended the Mughal throne in Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 (February 1556), following the death of his father Humayun. During his reign, he eliminated military threats from the powerful Pashtun
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 descendants of Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri , birth name Farid Khan, also known as Sher Khan , was the founder of the short-lived Sur Empire in northern India, with its capital at Delhi, before its demise in the hands of the resurgent Mughal Empire...

, and at the Second Battle of Panipat
Second battle of Panipat
The Second Battle of Panipat was fought between the forces of Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, popularly called Hemu, the Hindu king who was ruling North India from Delhi, and the army of Jalal ud-Din Muhammad Akbar, on November 5, 1556...

 he decisively defeated the newly self-declared Hindu king Hemu
Hem Chandra Vikramaditya
Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, Hemu Vikramaditya or simply Hemu was a Hindu Emperor of India during the sixteenth century, in medieval times...

. It took him nearly two more decades to consolidate his power and bring all the parts of northern and central India
Geography of India
The geography of India describes the physical features of India, a country in South Asia, that lies entirely on the Indian Plate in the northern portion of the Indo-Australian Plate. The country lies to the north of the equator between 8°4' and 37°6' north latitude and 68°7' and 97°25' east...

 into his direct realm. He influenced the whole of the Indian Subcontinent as he ruled a greater part of it as an emperor. As an emperor, Akbar solidified his rule by pursuing diplomacy with the powerful Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

 caste, and by marrying Rajput princesses.

Akbar's reign significantly influenced art and culture in the country. He was a great patron of art and architecture He took a great interest in painting, and had the walls of his palaces adorned with mural
Mural
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A particularly distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.-History:Murals of...

s. Besides encouraging the development of the Mughal school
Mughal painting
Mughal painting is a particular style of South Asian painting, generally confined to miniatures either as book illustrations or as single works to be kept in albums, which emerged from Persian miniature painting, with Indian Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist influences, and developed largely in the court...

, he also patronised the European style of painting. He was fond of literature, and had several Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 works translated into Persian and Persian scriptures translated in Sanskrit apart from getting many Persian works illustrated by painters from his court. During the early years of his reign, he showed intolerant attitude towards Hindus and other religions, but later exercised tolerance towards non-Islamic faiths by rolling back some of the strict sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 laws. His administration included numerous Hindu landlords, courtiers and military generals. He began a series of religious debates where Muslim scholars
Alim
-Given name:* Amat Al Alim Alsoswa, Yemeni politician* Alim Ashirov, Soviet footballer* AFM Alim Chowdhury, Bangladeshi physician*Aleem Dar , Pakistani cricketer* Alim Karkayev, Russian footballer* Mohammed Alim Khan, last emir of the Manghit dynasty...

would debate religious matters with Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

s, Jains
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

, Zoroastrians and Portuguese
Portuguese India
The Portuguese Viceroyalty of India , later the Portuguese State of India , was the aggregate of Portugal's colonial holdings in India.The government started in 1505, six years after the discovery of a sea route to India by Vasco da Gama, with the nomination of the first Viceroy Francisco de...

 Roman Catholic Jesuits. He treated these religious leaders with great consideration, irrespective of their faith, and revered them. He not only granted lands and money for the mosques but the list of the recipients included a huge number Hindu temples in north and central India, Christian churches in Goa and a land grant to the newly born Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

 faith for the construction of a place of worship. The famous Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab is constructed on the same site.

Early years and name


Shahzade (son of the emperor) Akbar was born on 14 October 1542 (the fourth day of Rajab
Rajab
Rajab is the seventh month of the Islamic calendar. The lexical definition of Rajaba is "to respect", of which Rajab is a derivative.This month is regarded as one of the four sacred months in Islam in which battles are prohibited...

, 949 AH
Hijri year
The Hijri year is year numbering system used in the Islamic calendar. It commemorates the Hijra , or emigration of Muhammad and his followers to the city of Medina in 622 CE. In Arabic, AH is symbolized by the letter هـ...

), at the Rajput Fortress of Umerkot
Umerkot
Umarkot or Umer Kot,, also known as Amar Kot, Omarkot and Omercote, is town in the Umerkot District in Sindh, Pakistan...

 in Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

 (in modern day Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

), where Emperor Humayun and his recently wedded wife, Hamida Banu Begum
Hamida Banu Begum
Hamida Banu Begam, Maryam Makani was a wife of the second Mughal Emperor, Humayun, and the mother of Mughal Emperor , Akbar...

 of Paat
Paat
Paat, also known as Pat or Goth Pat, is a small town in the Dadu District of Sindh, Pakistan. It is located at 20°28'0N 48°68'0E with an altitude of...

 village were taking refuge. At birth Akbar was named Badruddin, because he was born on the night of a badr (full moon). After the capture of Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 by Humayun
Humayun
Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor who ruled present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of northern India from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early, but with Persian aid, he eventually regained an even larger one...

, Badruddin's circumcision ceremony was held and his date of birth and name were changed to throw off evil sorcerers and he was re-named Jalal-ud-din Muhammad by Humayun, a name which he had heard in his dream at Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

.
Humayun had been driven into exile
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

 in Persia by the Pashtun leader Sher Shah Suri. Akbar did not go to Persia with his parents but grew up in the village of Mukundpur in Rewa
Rewa (princely state)
Rewa was a princely state of India, surrounding its eponymous capital, the town of Rewa.-Description:With an area of about 13,000 mi², Rewa was the largest princely state in the Bagelkhand Agency and the second largest in Central India Agency. The British political agent for Bagelkhand resided...

 (in present day Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....

). Akbar and prince Ram Singh I, who later became the Maharajah of Rewa, grew up together and stayed close friends through life. Later, Akbar moved to the eastern parts of the Safavid Empire (now a part of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

) where he was raised by his uncle Mirza Askari. He spent his youth learning to hunt, run, and fight, but he never learned to read or write. This lifestyle of his childhood made him a daring, powerful and a brave warrior but he remained illiterate throughout his life. Although this did not hinder his search of knowledge as it is said whenever he used to go to bed, there would be somebody reading for the king.

Following the chaos over the succession of Sher Shah Suri's son Islam Shah, Humayun reconquered Delhi in 1555, leading an army partly provided by his Persian ally Tahmasp I
Tahmasp I
Tahmasp or Tahmasb I was an influential Shah of Iran, who enjoyed the longest reign of any member of the Safavid dynasty...

. A few months later, Humayun died. Akbar's guardian, Bairam Khan
Bairam Khan
Bairam Khan also Bayram Khan was a important military commander, general of the Mughal army, a powerful statesman and regent at the court of the Mughal emperors Humayun and Akbar.-Background:...

 concealed the death in order to prepare for Akbar's succession. Akbar succeeded Humayun on 14 February 1556, while in the midst of a war against Sikandar Shah
Sikandar Shah Suri
Sikandar Shah Suri was the sixth ruler of Sur dynasty, a late medieval Pashtun dynasty of northern India. He became the sultan of Delhi after overthrowing Ibrahim Shah Suri.-Early life:...

 to reclaim the Mughal throne. In Kalanaur, Punjab, the 13 year old Akbar was enthroned by Bairam Khan on a newly constructed platform, which still stands. He was proclaimed Shahanshah (Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 for "King of Kings"). Bairam Khan ruled on his behalf until he came of age.

Early conquests


Akbar decided early in his reign that he should conquer the threat of Sher Shah's dynasty, and decided to lead an army against the strongest of the three, Sikandar Shah Suri
Sikandar Shah Suri
Sikandar Shah Suri was the sixth ruler of Sur dynasty, a late medieval Pashtun dynasty of northern India. He became the sultan of Delhi after overthrowing Ibrahim Shah Suri.-Early life:...

, in the Punjab. He left Delhi under the regency of Tardi Baig Khan. Sikandar Shah Suri presented no major concern for Akbar, and often withdrew from territory as Akbar approached.

The Hindu king Hemu
Hemu
Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, Hemu Vikramaditya or simply Hemu was a Hindu Emperor of India during the sixteenth century, in medieval times...

, however, commanding the Afghan forces, defeated the Mughal Army
Mughal Army
The Mughal Army was the army of the Mughal Empire.Mirza Najaf Khan was commander in chief of the Mughal Army from 1772 till his death in April 1782.The art of Mughal warfare brought about a complete change in the way wars were fought in the Indian...

 and captured Delhi on 6 October 1556. Urged by Bairam Khan
Bairam Khan
Bairam Khan also Bayram Khan was a important military commander, general of the Mughal army, a powerful statesman and regent at the court of the Mughal emperors Humayun and Akbar.-Background:...

, who remarshalled the Mughal army before Hemu could consolidate his position, Akbar marched on Delhi to reclaim it. Akbar's army, led by Bairam Khan, met the larger forces of Hemu on November 5, 1556 at the Second Battle of Panipat
Second battle of Panipat
The Second Battle of Panipat was fought between the forces of Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, popularly called Hemu, the Hindu king who was ruling North India from Delhi, and the army of Jalal ud-Din Muhammad Akbar, on November 5, 1556...

, 50 miles (80.5 km) north of Delhi. The battle was going in Hemu's favour when an arrow pierced Hemu's eye, rendering him unconscious. The leaderless army soon capitulated and Hemu was captured and executed.

The victory also left Akbar with over 1,500 war elephant
War elephant
A war elephant was an elephant trained and guided by humans for combat. Their main use was to charge the enemy, trampling them and breaking their ranks. A division of war elephants is known as elephantry....

s which he used to re-engage Sikandar Shah at the siege of Mankot. Sikandar, along with several local chieftains who were assisting him, surrendered and so was spared death. With this, the whole of Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 was annexed to the Mughal empire. Before returning to Agra, Akbar sent a detachment of his army to Jammu
Jammu
Jammu , also known as Duggar, is one of the three administrative divisions within Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state in India.Jammu city is the largest city in Jammu and the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir...

, which defeated the ruler Raja Kapur Chand and captured the kingdom. Between 1558 and 1560, Akbar further expanded the empire by capturing and annexing the kingdoms of Gwalior, northern Rajputana
Rajputana
Rājputāna was the pre-1949 name of the present-day Indian state of Rājasthān, the largest state of the Republic of India in terms of area. George Thomas was the first in 1800 A.D., to term this region as Rajputana...

 and Jaunpur
Jaunpur Sultanate
The Jaunpur sultanate was an independent kingdom of northern India between 1394 to 1479, whose rulers ruled from Jaunpur in the present day state of Uttar Pradesh. The Jaunpur sultanate was ruled by the Sharqi dynasty. The Khwajah-i-Jahan Malik Sarwar, the first ruler of the dynasty was a wazir ...

.

After a dispute at court, Akbar dismissed Bairam Khan in the spring of 1560 and ordered him to leave on Hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

 to Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

. Bairam left for Mecca, but on his way was goaded by his opponents to rebel. He was defeated by the Mughal army in the Punjab and forced to submit. Akbar, however forgave him and gave him the option of either continuing in his court or resuming his pilgrimage, of which Bairam chose the latter.


Akbar was known in his own time as a "military genius". Due to the constant state of war between the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

s and the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

, Akbar began to realize and utilize the Kitar alongside the Mughal Talwar
Talwar
The talwar is a type of curved sword or sabre from India and modern-day Pakistan...

s in battle. Akbar also began to believe that War elephant
War elephant
A war elephant was an elephant trained and guided by humans for combat. Their main use was to charge the enemy, trampling them and breaking their ranks. A division of war elephants is known as elephantry....

s were the keys to military success, he believed that a single "Armored Elephant" was equal to 500 Sowar
Sowar
Sowar , meaning 'The one who rides' in Persian, was originally a rank during the Mughal period. Later during the British Raj it was the name in Anglo-Indian usage for a horse-soldier belonging to the cavalry troops of the native armies of British India and the feudal states...

s at the center of the battlefield. Akbar also noted that elephants have the ability to move through the densest of forests clearing through woods and paving way for both the Mughal Sepoy
Sepoy
A sepoy was formerly the designation given to an Indian soldier in the service of a European power. In the modern Indian Army, Pakistan Army and Bangladesh Army it remains in use for the rank of private soldier.-Etymology and Historical usage:...

s, Sowar
Sowar
Sowar , meaning 'The one who rides' in Persian, was originally a rank during the Mughal period. Later during the British Raj it was the name in Anglo-Indian usage for a horse-soldier belonging to the cavalry troops of the native armies of British India and the feudal states...

s and Cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

s. Akbar personally owned 5000 well trained elephants and recorded the use of almost 40,000 across his Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

. Akbar is also known to have replaced pairs of elephant tusk
Tusk
Tusks are elongated, continuously growing front teeth, usually but not always in pairs, that protrude well beyond the mouth of certain mammal species. They are most commonly canines, as with warthogs, wild boar, and walruses, or, in the case of elephants and narwhals, elongated incisors...

s with a pair of double-curved Tusk Swords. War elephants were also utilized to carry out executions of those who fought against the Mughal Emperor.

After dealing with the rebellion of Bairam Khan and establishing his authority. Akbar went on to expand the Mughal empire by subjugating local chiefs and annexing neighbouring kingdoms. The first major conquest was of Malwa in 1561, an expedition that was led by Adham Khan
Adham Khan
Adham Khan was a general of Akbar. He was the younger son of Maham Anga, he thus became the foster brother of Akbar. In his fourth regnal year, Akbar married him to the daughter of Baqi Khan Baqlani.-Conquest of Malwa:...

 and carried out with such savage cruelty that it resulted in a backlash from the kingdom enabling its ruler Baz Bahadur
Baz Bahadur
Miyan Bayezid Baz Bahadur was the last sultan of Malwa, who reigned from 1555 to 1562. He succeeded his father, Shuja'at Khan. He is known for his romantic liaison with Roopmati, a singer of Rajput birth....

 to recover the territory while Akbar was dealing with the rebellion of Bairam Khan. Subsequently, Akbar sent another detachment which captured Malwa in 1562, and Baz Bahadur eventually surrendered to the Mughals and was made an administrator by Akbar. Around the same time, the Mughal army also conquered the kingdom of the Gond
Gondi people
The Gondi, Goindi or Gond people are people in central India, spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra , Chhattisgarh, northern Andhra Pradesh, and Western Orissa. With over four million people, they are the largest tribe in Central India.The Gondi language is related to...

s, after a fierce battle between Asaf Khan, the Mughal governor of Allahabad
Allahabad
Allahabad , or Settled by God in Persian, is a major city of India and is one of the main holy cities of Hinduism. It was renamed by the Mughals from the ancient name of Prayaga , and is by some accounts the second-oldest city in India. It is located in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh,...

, and Rani Durgavati queen of the Gonds. However after the victory of the Mughals, Asaf Khan allegedly misappropriated most of the wealth plundered from the kingdom and later Akbar subsequently ordered him to restore some of the wealth, apart from installing Durgavati's son, a convert to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, as the local administrator of the newly conquered region.

Over the course of Akbar's conquest of Malwa, he brought most of present-day Rajasthan, Gujarat and Bengal under his control, but Akbar believed that Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort is the largest fort in India and the grandest in the state of Rajasthan. The fort, plainly known as Chittor, was the capital of Mewar and is today situated several kilometres by road south of Bhilwara...

 was a major threat to Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 because it housed Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

s who were considered sworn enemies of the Mughals, in the year 1567 Akbar began to gather his forces who were briefly interrupted during the Battle of Thanesar
Battle of Thanesar
Battle of Thanesar, was fought during the summer in the year 1567, near Thanesar on the banks of the Sarsawati Ghaggar River in the state of Haryana...

, but by autumn Akbar was prepared to mount his siege. Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort is the largest fort in India and the grandest in the state of Rajasthan. The fort, plainly known as Chittor, was the capital of Mewar and is today situated several kilometres by road south of Bhilwara...

 was ruled by Udai Singh who often gave refuge to the enemies of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Udai Singh's kingdom was of great strategic importance as it lay on the shortest route from Agra
Agra
Agra a.k.a. Akbarabad is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, west of state capital, Lucknow and south from national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 , it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most...

 to Gujarat and was also considered a key to central Rajasthan. Fearing Akbar's impending assault Udai Singh retired to the hills, leaving two warriors Jaimal and Patta
Jaimal and Patta
Jaimal Rathore of Badnor and Patta of Kelwa were the warriors who faced attack of Akbar in 1567 and 1568 AD on the fort of Chittor. Both were aged 16 years.When Akbar attacked Chittor, Rana Udai Singh II left the fort together with his family...

 in charge of the fort.

In October 1567, the Mughal army of approximately 5000 men led by Akbar surrounded and besieged 8000 Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

s during the Siege of Chittorgarh
Siege of Chittorgarh
Siege of Chittor, Siege of Chittorgarh, In October 1567, well equipped Mughal forces of approximately 5000 men led by Akbar surrounded and besieged 8000 Hindu Rajputs in Chittorgarh Fort and within a few months Akbar's ranks expanded to over 50,000 men and possibly more than 60,000 troops during...

 and within a few months Akbar's ranks expanded to over 50,000 men. After an arduous siege Akbar ordered his men and augmented them to lift baskets of earth in order to create a hill in front of the fort by which the Mughal Cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

s could be placed. As the Mohur Hill was completed Akbar placed his cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

s and mortar
Mortar (weapon)
A mortar is an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It is typically muzzle-loading and has a barrel length less than 15 times its caliber....

s near its tip, he then organized his sapper
Sapper
A sapper, pioneer or combat engineer is a combatant soldier who performs a wide variety of combat engineering duties, typically including, but not limited to, bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, field defences, general construction and building, as well as road and airfield...

s to plant mines under the heavy stone walls of the fortress of Chittor, but the mines exploded prematurely during an assault killing about a hundred Mughal Sowar
Sowar
Sowar , meaning 'The one who rides' in Persian, was originally a rank during the Mughal period. Later during the British Raj it was the name in Anglo-Indian usage for a horse-soldier belonging to the cavalry troops of the native armies of British India and the feudal states...

s, as the siege continued it is believed that a shot from Akbar's own Matchlock
Matchlock
The matchlock was the first mechanism, or "lock" invented to facilitate the firing of a hand-held firearm. This design removed the need to lower by hand a lit match into the weapon's flash pan and made it possible to have both hands free to keep a firm grip on the weapon at the moment of firing,...

 wounded or killed the commander of the already demoralized Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

s. The fortress of Chittor finally fell on February 1568 after a siege of four months. The fort was then stormed by the Mughal forces, and a fierce resistance was offered by members of the garrison stationed inside. When the Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

 women were ordered to commit Jauhar
Jauhar
Jauhar and Saka refer to the ancient Indian tradition of honorary self immolation of women and subsequent march of men to the battle field to end their life with respect. It was followed by the Rajput clans in order to avoid capture and dishonour at the hands of their enemies...

 (self immolation), Akbar had realized that victory was near and the Mughals launched their final assault over 30,000 inhabitants of Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort is the largest fort in India and the grandest in the state of Rajasthan. The fort, plainly known as Chittor, was the capital of Mewar and is today situated several kilometres by road south of Bhilwara...

 were killed by the victorious Mughal army. Akbar then ordered the heads of his enemies to be displayed upon towers erected throughout the region, in order to demonstrate his authority.

The total loot that fell into the hands of the Mughal was distributed throughout the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

. Akbar then ordered the statues of two of the "armored elephants" that led the Mughal assault be carved and erected at the chief gate of the Agra Fort
Agra Fort
Agra Fort, is a monument situated at Agra, is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal...

. Akbar then built similar piked-gates throughout his fortresses in order to deter elephant attacks. It is said that the brass candlesticks taken from the Kalika temple after its destruction were given to the shrine of Moinuddin Chishti
Moinuddin Chishti
Sultan-ul-Hind, Moinuddin Chishti was born in 1141 and died in 1230 CE. Also known as Gharīb Nawāz "Benefactor of the Poor" , he is the most famous Sufi saint of the Chishti Order of the Indian Subcontinent. He introduced and established the order in South Asia...

 in Ajmer
Ajmer
Ajmer , formerly written as Ajmere, is a city in Ajmer District in Rajasthan state in India. Ajmer has a population of around 800,000 , and is located west of the Rajasthan state capital Jaipur, 200 km from Jodhpur, 274 km from Udaipur, 439 km from Jaisalmer, and 391 km from...

, a shrine that Akbar vowed to rebuild after his victory. Akbar then celebrated the victory over Chittor and Ranthambore by laying the foundation of a new city, 23 miles (37 km) W.S.W of Agra
Agra
Agra a.k.a. Akbarabad is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, west of state capital, Lucknow and south from national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 , it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most...

 in 1569. It was called Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri is a city and a municipal board in Agra district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Built near the much older Sikri, the historical city of Fatehabad, as it was first named, was constructed by Mughal emperor Akbar beginning in 1570...

 ("city of victory").

In the year 1568, the 26 year old Mughal Emperor Akbar reigned supreme, bolstered by his success, he was looking forward to widespread acclamation as one of the greatest Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 conqueror within and beyond his realm and was given the honorable title Zill-e-Ilahi (Zeal of Allah). He gathered miniature painters, who illustrated the Mughal forces that fought during the Siege of Chittorgarh
Siege of Chittorgarh
Siege of Chittor, Siege of Chittorgarh, In October 1567, well equipped Mughal forces of approximately 5000 men led by Akbar surrounded and besieged 8000 Hindu Rajputs in Chittorgarh Fort and within a few months Akbar's ranks expanded to over 50,000 men and possibly more than 60,000 troops during...

 in the Fatahnama-i-Chittor issued by him after the conquest of Chittor at Ajmer
Ajmer
Ajmer , formerly written as Ajmere, is a city in Ajmer District in Rajasthan state in India. Ajmer has a population of around 800,000 , and is located west of the Rajasthan state capital Jaipur, 200 km from Jodhpur, 274 km from Udaipur, 439 km from Jaisalmer, and 391 km from...

, where he stayed for some time and then returned to Agra
Agra
Agra a.k.a. Akbarabad is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, west of state capital, Lucknow and south from national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 , it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most...

, on Ramadan
Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

 10, 975.AH/March 9, 1568AD. After Akbar's conquest of Chittor, two major Rajput clans
Rajput clans
The Rajputs are a martial race and caste of the Indian subcontinent. They are a Hindu caste whose members generally consider themselves to belong to the Kshatriya varna ; however, Encyclopædia Britannica notes that their members have come from a variety of lineages, including from foreign...

 remained opposed to him - the Sisodiyas of Mewar
Mewar
Mewar is a region of south-central Rajasthan state in western India. It includes the present-day districts of Pratapgarh, Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara and some of the part of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The region was for centuries a Rajput kingdom that later...

 and Hadas of Ranthambore.

Ranthambore Fort
Ranthambore Fort
Ranthambore Fort is a formidable fort and has been a focal point of historical developments of Rajasthan. It is situated near Sawai Madhopur town in Rajasthan....

 was reputed to be the most powerful fortress in Rajasthan, was conquered by the Mughal army in 1569 during the Siege of Ranthambore
Siege of Ranthambore
Siege of Ranthambore, on February 8 1568, Akbar lead a massive Mughal Army composed of over 50,000 men and besieged Ranthambore Fort. Akbar had become emboldened after his victories at the Battle of Thanesar and the Siege of Chittorgarh and only Ranthambore Fort remained unconquered...

, making Akbar the master of almost the whole of Rajputana. As a result, most of the Rajput kings, including those of Bikaner, Bundelkhand
Bundelkhand
Bundelkhand anciently known as Chedi Kingdom is a geographic region of central India...

 and Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer
Jaysalmer , nicknamed "The Golden City", is a town in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is located west from the state capital Jaipur. It was once known as Jaisalmer state. The town stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, crowned by a fort, which contains the palace and several ornate Jain...

 submitted to Akbar. Only the clans of Mewar continued to resist Mughal conquest and Akbar had to fight with them from time to time for the greater part of his reign. Among the most prominent of them was Maharana Pratap who declined to accept Akbar's suzerainty and also opposed the marriage etiquette of Rajputs who had been giving their daughters to Mughals. He renounced all matrimonial alliances with Rajput rulers who had married into the Mughal dynasty, refusing such alliances even with the princes of Marwar
Marwar
Marwar is a region of southwestern Rajasthan state in western India. It lies partly in the Thar Desert. In Rajasthani dialect "wad" means a particular area. The word Marwar is derived from Sanskrit word 'Maruwat'. English translation of the word is 'The region of desert'., The Imperial Gazetteer...

 and Amer until they agreed to sever ties with the Mughals.

Consolidation


Having conquered Rajputana, Akbar turned to Gujarat, whose government was in a state of disarray after the death of its previous ruler, Bahadur Shah
Bahadur Shah of Gujarat
Sultan Qutb-ud-Din Bahadur Shah , who reigned 1526-1535 and 1536-1537, was a sultan of Gujarat Sultanate, a late medieval independent kingdom in India.-Early years:...

. The province was a tempting target as it was a center of world trade, it possessed fertile soil
Fertile soil
Fertile soil has the following properties:*It is rich in nutrients necessary for basic plant nutrition, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium....

 and had highly developed crafts. The province had been occupied by Humayun for a brief period, and prior to that was ruled by the Delhi Sultanate. In 1572, Akbar marched to Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad also known as Karnavati is the largest city in Gujarat, India. It is the former capital of Gujarat and is also the judicial capital of Gujarat as the Gujarat High Court has its seat in Ahmedabad...

, which capitulated without offering resistance. He took Surat
Surat
Surat , also known as Suryapur, is the commercial capital city of the Indian state of Gujarat. Surat is India's Eighth most populous city and Ninth-most populous urban agglomeration. It is also administrative capital of Surat district and one of the fastest growing cities in India. The city proper...

 by siege, and then crossed the Mahi
Mahi River
The Mahi is a river in western India. It rises in Madhya Pradesh and, after flowing through the Vagad region of Rajasthan, enters Gujarat and falls into the sea by a wide estuary near Khambhat. Its total length is 500 km. and its estimated drainage area 40,000 km2...

 river and defeated his estranged cousins, the Mirzas, in a hard-fought battle at Sarnal. During the campaign, Akbar met a group of Portuguese merchants for the first time at Cambay. Having established his authority over Gujarat, Akbar returned to Agra, but Mirza-led rebellions soon broke out. Akbar returned, crossing Rajasthan at great speed on camels and horses, and reached Ahmedabad in eleven days - a journey that normally took six weeks. Akbar's army of 3000 horsemen then defeated the enemy forces numbering 20000 in a decisive victory on 2 September 1573.

Political government


Akbar's system of central government
Central government
A central government also known as a national government, union government and in federal states, the federal government, is the government at the level of the nation-state. The structure of central governments varies from institution to institution...

 was based on the system that had evolved since the Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived, Delhi based kingdoms or sultanates, of Turkic origin in medieval India. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal dynasty...

, 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
    Royal Bodyguard
    The Royal Bodyguard of Bhutan is a part of the Royal Bhutan Army but independent as it is under the personal command of the King of Bhutan and is in charge of the security of the King of Bhutan and members of the royalty...

    .
  • The judiciary was a separate organization headed by a chief qazi, who was also responsible for religious endowments.


Akbar departed from the policy of his predecessors in his treatment of the territories he conquered. Previous Mughals extracted a large tribute from these rulers and then leave them to administer their dominions autonomously; Akbar integrated them into his administration, providing them the opportunity to serve as military rulers. He thus simultaneously controlled their power while increasing their prestige as a part of the imperial ruling class. Some of these rulers went on to become the navaratnas in Akbar's court.

Taxation


Akbar set about reforming the administration of his empire's land revenue by adopting a system that had been used by Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri , birth name Farid Khan, also known as Sher Khan , was the founder of the short-lived Sur Empire in northern India, with its capital at Delhi, before its demise in the hands of the resurgent Mughal Empire...

. A cultivated area where crops grew well was measured and taxed through fixed rates based on the area's crop and productivity. However, this placed hardship on the peasantry because tax rates were fixed on the basis of prices prevailing in the imperial court, which were often higher than those in the countryside. Akbar changed to a decentralised system of annual assessment, but this resulted in corruption among local officials and was abandoned in 1580, to be replaced by a system called the dahsala. Under the new system, revenue was calculated as one-third of the average produce of the previous ten years, to be paid to the state in cash. This system was later refined, taking into account local prices, and grouping areas with similar productivity into assessment circles. Remission was given to peasants when the harvest failed during times of flood or drought. Akbar's dahsala system is credited to Raja Todar Mal
Raja Todar Mal
Raja Todar Mal was born in Laharpur, Uttar Pradesh in a Punjabi Kayastha family, and rose to become the Finance Minister in Akbar's Darbar of the Mughal empire. He was made in charge of Agra and settled in Gujarat. Later, he was made in charge of Gujarat as well. He also managed Akbar's Mint at...

, who also served as a revenue officer under Sher Shah Suri, and the structure of the revenue administration was set out by the latter in a detailed memorandum submitted to the emperor in 1582-83.

Other local methods of assessment continued in some areas. Land which was fallow or uncultivated was charged at concessional rates. Akbar also actively encouraged the improvement and extension of agriculture. The village continued to remain the primary unit of revenue assessment. Zamindar
Zamindar
A Zamindar or zemindar , was an aristocrat, typically hereditary, who held enormous tracts of land and ruled over and taxed the bhikaaris who lived on batavaslam. Over time, they took princely and royal titles such as Maharaja , Raja , Nawab , and Mirza , Chowdhury , among others...

s of every area were required to provide loans and agricultural implements in times of need, to encourage farmers to plough as much land as possible and to sow seeds of superior quality. In turn, the zamindars were given a hereditary right to collect a share of the produce. Peasants had a hereditary right to cultivate the land as long as they paid the land revenue. While the revenue assessment system showed concern for the small peasantry, it also maintained a level of distrust towards the revenue officials. Revenue officials were guaranteed only three-quarters of their salary, with the remaining quarter dependent on their full realisation of the revenue assessed.

Military organization


Akbar organized his army as well as the nobility by means of a system called the mansabdari. Under this system, each officer in the army was assigned a rank (a mansab), and assigned a number of cavalry
Cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

 that he had to supply to the imperial army. The mansabdars were divided into 33 classes. The top three commanding ranks, ranging from 7000 to 10000 troops, were normally reserved for princes. Other ranks between 10 and 5000 were assigned to other members of the nobility. The empire's permanent standing army
Standing army
A standing army is a professional permanent army. It is composed of full-time career soldiers and is not disbanded during times of peace. It differs from army reserves, who are activated only during wars or natural disasters...

 was quite small and the imperial forces mostly consisted of contingents maintained by the mansabdars. Persons were normally appointed to a low mansab and then promoted, based on their merit as well as the favour of the emperor. Each mansabdar was required to maintain a certain number of cavalrymen and twice that number of horses. The number of horses was greater because they had to be rested and rapidly replaced in times of war. Akbar employed strict measures to ensure that the quality of the armed forces was maintained at a high level; horses were regularly inspected and only Arabian horse
Arabian horse
The Arabian or Arab horse is a breed of horse that originated on the Arabian Peninsula. With a distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, the Arabian is one of the most easily recognizable horse breeds in the world. It is also one of the oldest breeds, with archaeological evidence of horses...

s were normally employed. The mansabdars were remunerated well for their services and constituted the highest paid military service in the world at the time.

Capital of the empire



Akbar was a follower of Salim Chishti, a holy man
Asceticism
Asceticism describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals...

 who lived in the region of Sikri near Agra
Agra
Agra a.k.a. Akbarabad is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, west of state capital, Lucknow and south from national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 , it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most...

. Believing the area to be a lucky one for himself, he had a mosque constructed there for the use of the priest. Subsequently, he celebrated the victories over Chittor and Ranthambore by laying the foundation of a new walled capital, 23 miles (37 km) west of Agra in 1569, which was named Fatehpur ("town of victory") after the conquest of Gujarat in 1573 and subsequently came to be known as Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri is a city and a municipal board in Agra district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Built near the much older Sikri, the historical city of Fatehabad, as it was first named, was constructed by Mughal emperor Akbar beginning in 1570...

 in order to distinguish it from other similarly named towns. Palaces for each of Akbar's senior queens, a huge artificial lake, and sumptuous water-filled courtyards were built there. However, the city was soon abandoned and the capital was moved to Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

 in 1585. The reason may have been that the water supply in Fatehpur Sikri was insufficient or of poor quality. Or, as some historians believe, Akbar had to attend to the northwest areas of his empire and therefore moved his capital northwest. Other sources indicate Akbar simply lost interest in the city or realised it was not militarily defensible. In 1599, Akbar shifted his capital back to Agra from where he reigned until his death.

Diplomacy



Matrimonial alliances


The practice of giving Hindu princesses to Muslim kings in marriage was known much before Akbar's time, but in most cases these marriages did not lead to any stable relations between the families involved, and the women were lost to their families and did not return after marriage.

However, Akbar's policy of matrimonial alliances marked a departure from previous practice in that the marriage itself marked the beginning of a new order of relations, wherein the Hindu Rajputs who married their daughters or sisters to him would be treated on par with his Muslim fathers and brothers in-law in all respects except being able to dine and pray with him or take Muslim wives. These Rajputs were made members of his court and their daughters' or sisters' marriage to a Muslim ceased to be a sign of degradation, except for certain orthodox elements who still considered it a sign of humiliation.

The Kacchwaha Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

, Raja Bharmal
Bharmal
Raja Bharmal or Biharimal was a Kachwaha ruler of Amber which was later known as Jaipur in the present day Rajasthan state of India. Bharmal is more known for marrying his daughter, Heera Kunwar or Mariam-us-Zamani to the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1562...

, of Amber, who had come to Akbar's court shortly after the latter's accession, entered into an alliance by giving his daughter Harkha Bai (also called Jodhaa Bai) in marriage to the emperor. Harkha Bai became Muslim and was renamed Mariam-uz-Zamani. After her marriage she was treated as an outcaste by her Hindu family and for the rest of her life never visited Amer.

She was not assigned any significant place either in Agra or Delhi, but rather a small village in the Bharatpur district
Bharatpur district
Bharatpur District is a district of Rajasthan state in western India. The town of Bharatpur is the district headquarters.-History:When Bharatpur was a princely state, it was the only political entity ever to have a Chartreuse colored flag.-Demographics:...

. She died in 1623. A mosque was built in her honor by her son Jahangir
Jahangir
Jahangir was the ruler of the Mughal Empire from 1605 until his death. The name Jahangir is from Persian جهانگیر,meaning "Conqueror of the World"...

 in Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

. Bharmal was made a noble of high rank in the imperial court, and subsequently his son Bhagwant Das and grandson Man Singh also rose to high ranks in the nobility.

Other Rajput kingdoms also established matrimonial alliances with Akbar, but matrimony was not insisted on as a precondition for forming alliances. Two major Rajput clans remained aloof – the Sisodiyas of Mewar
Mewar
Mewar is a region of south-central Rajasthan state in western India. It includes the present-day districts of Pratapgarh, Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara and some of the part of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The region was for centuries a Rajput kingdom that later...

 and Hadas of Ranthambore. In another turning point of Akbar's reign, Raja Man Singh I of Amber went with Akbar to meet the Hada leader, Surjan Hada, to effect an alliance. Surjan accepted an alliance on the condition that Akbar did not marry any of his daughters. Consequently, no matrimonial alliance was entered into, yet Surjan was made a noble and placed in charge of Garh-Katanga. Certain other Rajput nobles did not like the idea of their kings marrying their daughters to Mughals. Rathore Kalyandas threatened to kill both Mota Raja Rao Udaisingh
Rao Udaisingh
Rao Udai Singh , also known by the sobriquet Mota Raja was the Rathore ruler of Marwar, which was later known as Jodhpur . After the death of his father Rao Maldeo on November 7, 1562 a fatricidal war for succession started and his younger brother Rao Chandrasen crowned himself in the capital...

 and Jahangir
Jahangir
Jahangir was the ruler of the Mughal Empire from 1605 until his death. The name Jahangir is from Persian جهانگیر,meaning "Conqueror of the World"...

 because Udai Singh had decided to marry his daughter to Jahangir. Akbar on hearing this ordered imperial forces to attack Kalyandas at Siwana
Siwana
Siwana is a Tehsil - in Barmer district in Indian state of Rajasthan, located 151 km from Barmer. The place is known for its fort. SIVANA having 129 villages total Population as per 2001 cencus is 213648, male is 111155 female is 102493....

. Kalyandas died fighting along with his men and the women of Siwana committed Jauhar
Jauhar
Jauhar and Saka refer to the ancient Indian tradition of honorary self immolation of women and subsequent march of men to the battle field to end their life with respect. It was followed by the Rajput clans in order to avoid capture and dishonour at the hands of their enemies...

.

The political effect of these alliances was significant. While some Rajput women who entered Akbar's harem converted to Islam, they were generally provided full religious freedom, and their relatives, who continued to remain Hindu, formed a significant part of the nobility and served to articulate the opinions of the majority of the common populace in the imperial court. The interaction between Hindu and Muslim nobles in the imperial court resulted in exchange of thoughts and blending of the two cultures. Further, newer generations of the Mughal line represented a merger of Mughal and Rajput blood, thereby strengthening ties between the two. As a result, the Rajputs became the strongest allies of the Mughals, and Rajput soldiers and generals fought for the Mughal army under Akbar, leading it in several campaigns including the conquest of Gujarat in 1572. Akbar's policy of religious tolerance ensured that employment in the imperial administration was open to all on merit irrespective of creed, and this led to an increase in the strength of the administrative services of the empire.

Another legend is that Akbar's daughter Meherunnissa was enamoured by Tansen and had a role in his coming to Akbar's court. Tansen converted to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 from Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, apparently on the eve of his marriage with Akbar's daughter.

After his daughter Meherunnissa's marriage with a Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 Musician Tansen
Tansen
Mia Tansen is considered among the greatest composer-musicians in Hindustani classical music. He was an extraordinarily gifted vocalist, known for a large number of compositions, and also an instrumentalist who popularized and improved the rabab .He was among the Navaratnas at the court of the...

, Akbar issued a Farman that in future no mughal princess or a daughter of a mughal would ever be allowed to marry. Thus, any girl born into Mughal royalty would remain unmarried for life, until her death.

Relations with the Portuguese


At the time of Akbar's ascension in 1556, the Portuguese had established several fortresses and factories on the western coast of the subcontinent, and largely controlled navigation and sea-trade in that region. As a consequence of this colonialism, all other trading entities were subject to the terms and conditions of the Portuguese, and this was resented by the rulers and traders of the time including Bahadur Shah of Gujarat
Bahadur Shah of Gujarat
Sultan Qutb-ud-Din Bahadur Shah , who reigned 1526-1535 and 1536-1537, was a sultan of Gujarat Sultanate, a late medieval independent kingdom in India.-Early years:...

.

in the year 1572 the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 annexed Gujarat and acquired its first access to the sea, the local officials informed Akbar that the Portuguese have begun to exert their control in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

. Hence Akbar's was conscious of the threat posed by the presence of the Portuguese, remained content with obtaining a cartaz
Cartaz
Cartaz was a naval trade license or pass issued by the Portuguese in the Indian ocean during the sixteenth century , under the rule of the Portuguese empire. It shared similarities with the British navicert system of 1939-45...

 (permit) from them for sailing in the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 region. At the initial meeting of the Mughals and the Portuguese during the Siege of Surat in 1572, the Portuguese, recognising the superior strength of the Mughal army, chose to adopt diplomacy instead of war, and the Portuguese Governor, upon the request of Akbar, sent him an ambassador to establish friendly relations. Akbar's efforts to purchase and secure from the Portuguese some of their compact Artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 pieces were unsuccessful and that is the reason why Akbar could not establish the Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 navy along the Gujarat coast.

Akbar accepted the offer of diplomacy, but the Portuguese continually acknowledged their authority and power in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, in fact Akbar was highly concerned when he had to request a permit from the Portuguese before any ships from the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 were to depart for the Hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

 pilgrimage to Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 and Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

.. In 1573, he issued a firman
Firman
A firman is a royal mandate or decree issued by a sovereign in certain historical Islamic states, including the Ottoman Empire, Mughal Empire, State of Hyderabad, and Iran under Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. The word firman comes from the meaning "decree" or "order"...

 directing Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 administrative officials in Gujarat not to provoke the Portuguese in the territory they held in Daman
Daman District, India
Daman district is one of the two districts of the union territory of Daman and Diu on the western coast of India, surrounded by Valsad District of Gujarat state on the north, east and south and the Arabian Sea to the west. The district has an area of , and a population of 113,949 , which increased...

. The Portuguese, in turn, issued passes for the members of Akbar's family to go on Hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

 to Mecca. The Portuguese made mention of the extraordinary status of the vessel and the special status to be accorded to its occupants.

In the year 1579 Jesuits from Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 were allowed to visit the court of Akbar, the Jesuit did not confine themselves to the exposition of their own beliefs, but reviled Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and the Prophet in unrestrained language. Their comments enraging the Imam
Imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

's and Ulama
Ulama
-In Islam:* Ulema, also transliterated "ulama", a community of legal scholars of Islam and its laws . See:**Nahdlatul Ulama **Darul-uloom Nadwatul Ulama **Jamiatul Ulama Transvaal**Jamiat ul-Ulama -Other:...

, who objected to the remarks of the Jesuit, but Akbar however ordered their comments to be recorded and observed the Jesuits and their behavior carefully. This event was followed by a rebellion of Muslim clerics led by Mullah Muhammad Yazdi and Muiz-ul-Mulk, the chief Qadi
Qadi
Qadi is a judge ruling in accordance with Islamic religious law appointed by the ruler of a Muslim country. Because Islam makes no distinction between religious and secular domains, qadis traditionally have jurisdiction over all legal matters involving Muslims...

 of Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 in the year 1581, when these rebels wanted to overthrow Akbar and insert his brother Mirza Muhammad Hakim ruler of Kabul on the Mughal throne. Akbar however successfully defeated the rebels and had grown more cautious about his guests and his proclamations, which he later checked with his advisers carefully.

Relations with the Ottoman Empire



In the year 1555, while Akbar was still a child the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Admiral Seydi Ali Reis
Seydi Ali Reis
Seydi Ali Reis was an Ottoman admiral.He commanded the left wing of the Ottoman fleet at the naval Battle of Preveza in 1538....

 visited the Mughal Emperor Humayun
Humayun
Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor who ruled present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of northern India from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early, but with Persian aid, he eventually regained an even larger one...

. Later in the year 1569, during the early years of Akbar's rule another Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Admiral Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis
Kurtoglu Hizir Reis
Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis was an Ottoman admiral who is best known for commanding the Ottoman naval expedition to Sumatra in Indonesia .-Background and family origins:...

 arrived on the shores of the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

. These Ottoman Admirals sought to end the growing threats of the Portuguese Empire
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 during their Indian Ocean campaigns
Indian Ocean campaigns
The Ottoman naval expeditions in the Indian Ocean were a series of Ottoman amphibious operations in the Indian Ocean in the 16th century...

. During his reign Akbar himself is known to have sent six documents addressing the Ottoman Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman I was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as "The Lawgiver" , for his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system...

.

In 1576 Akbar sent a very large contingent of pilgrims led by Khwaja Sultan Naqshbandi, Yahya Saleh
Yahya Saleh
Yahya Saleh Mughal Admiral and voyager, from Surat he was a fine navigator a humble devout Muslim Sailor he entered Mughal service during the rule of Akbar and in 1577 was trusted to lead members of the Mughal Emperor's personal harem to the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina...

, with 600,000 gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 and silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 coins and 12,000 Kaftan
Kaftan
A kaftan is a man's coat usually reaching to the ankles with long sleeves, and which buttons down the front. It can be made of wool, cashmere, silk, or cotton. It is often worn with a sash....

s of honor. In October 1576, the Mughal Emperor Akbar, sent a delegation including members of his family, on Hajj by two ships from Surat
Surat
Surat , also known as Suryapur, is the commercial capital city of the Indian state of Gujarat. Surat is India's Eighth most populous city and Ninth-most populous urban agglomeration. It is also administrative capital of Surat district and one of the fastest growing cities in India. The city proper...

 including an Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 vessel, which reached the port of Jeddah
Jeddah
Jeddah, Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda is a city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The...

 in 1577 and then proceeded towards Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 and Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

. Four more caravans were sent from 1577 to 1580, with exquisite gifts for the authorities of Mecca and Medina.

The imperial Mughal
Mughal
Mughal, a word related to the Mongols, may refer to the:* Mughal Empire of South Asia* Mughal emperors* Mughal , the central Asian tribe from which the rulers of the Mughal Empire hailed* Mughal architecture* Mughal painting* Mughlai cuisine...

 entourage stayed in Mecca and Medina for nearly four years, and attended the Hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

 four times. The Mughal
Mughal
Mughal, a word related to the Mongols, may refer to the:* Mughal Empire of South Asia* Mughal emperors* Mughal , the central Asian tribe from which the rulers of the Mughal Empire hailed* Mughal architecture* Mughal painting* Mughlai cuisine...

s eventually set out for Surat
Surat
Surat , also known as Suryapur, is the commercial capital city of the Indian state of Gujarat. Surat is India's Eighth most populous city and Ninth-most populous urban agglomeration. It is also administrative capital of Surat district and one of the fastest growing cities in India. The city proper...

 and their return was assisted by the Ottoman Pasha
Pasha
Pasha or pascha, formerly bashaw, was a high rank in the Ottoman Empire political system, typically granted to governors, generals and dignitaries. As an honorary title, Pasha, in one of its various ranks, is equivalent to the British title of Lord, and was also one of the highest titles in...

 in Jeddah
Jeddah
Jeddah, Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda is a city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The...

. According to some accounts Mughal Emperor Akbar expressed a desire to form an alliance with the Portuguese, mainly in order to advance his interests, but whenever the Portuguese
Portuguese
Portuguese is an adjective referring to matters related to Portugal. It may refer to:* Portuguese language, natively spoken in Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, East Timor and other countries**including Portuguese dialects...

 attempted to invade the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

s, the Mughal Emperor Akbar proved abortive.

In 1587 a Portuguese fleet sent to attack Yemen was ferociously routed and defeated by the Ottoman Navy
Ottoman Navy
The Ottoman Navy was established in the early 14th century. During its long existence it was involved in many conflicts; refer to list of Ottoman sieges and landings and list of Admirals in the Ottoman Empire for a brief chronology.- Pre-Ottoman:...

, thereafter the Mughal-Portuguese alliance, immediately collapsed mainly due to the continuing pressure by the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

's prestigious vassals at Janjira.

Relations with the Safavid Dynasty


The Safavids and the Mughals had a long history of diplomatic relationship, with the Safavid ruler Tahmasp I
Tahmasp I
Tahmasp or Tahmasb I was an influential Shah of Iran, who enjoyed the longest reign of any member of the Safavid dynasty...

 having provided refuge to Humayun
Humayun
Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor who ruled present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of northern India from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early, but with Persian aid, he eventually regained an even larger one...

 when he had to flee the Indian subcontinent following his defeat by Sher Shah Suri. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the two empires, along with the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 to the west, were the site of major power struggles in Asia. However, the Safavids differed from the Mughals and the Ottomans in following the Shiite sect of Islam as opposed to the Sunni sect practised by the other two. One of the longest standing disputes between the Safavids and the Mughals pertained to the control of the city of Qandahar in the Hindukush region, forming the border between the two empires. The Hindukush region was militarily very significant owing to its geography, and this was well-recognised by strategists of the times. Consequently, the city, which was being administered by Bairam Khan at the time of Akbar's accession, was invaded and captured by the Persian ruler Husain Mirza, a cousin of Tahmasp I, in 1558. Subsequent to this, Bairam Khan sent an envoy to Tahmasp I's court, in an effort to maintain peaceful relations with the Safavids. This gesture was reciprocated and a cordial relationship continued to prevail between the two empires during the first two decades of Akbar's reign. However, the death of Tahmasp I in 1576 resulted in civil war and instability in the Safavid empire, and diplomatic relations between the two empires ceased for more than a decade, and were restored only in 1587 following the accession of Shah Abbas
Abbas I of Persia
Shāh ‘Abbās the Great was Shah of Iran, and generally considered the greatest ruler of the Safavid dynasty. He was the third son of Shah Mohammad....

 to the Safavid throne. Shortly afterwards, Akbar's army completed its annexation of Kabul, and in order to further secure the north-western boundaries of his empire, it proceeded to Qandahar. The city capitulated without resistance on April 18, 1595, and the ruler Muzaffar Hussain moved into Akbar's court. Qandahar continued to remain in Mughal possession, and the Hindukush the empire's western frontier, for several decades until Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan Shah Jahan (also spelled Shah Jehan, Shahjehan, , Persian: شاه جهان) (January 5, 1592 – January 22, 1666) Shah Jahan (also spelled Shah Jehan, Shahjehan, , Persian: شاه جهان) (January 5, 1592 – January 22, 1666) (Full title: His Imperial Majesty Al-Sultan al-'Azam wal Khaqan...

's expedition into Badakhshan
Badakhshan
Badakhshan is an historic region comprising parts of what is now northeastern Afghanistan and southeastern Tajikistan. The name is retained in Badakhshan Province which is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, in the far northeast of Afghanistan, and contains the Wakhan Corridor...

 in 1646. Diplomatic relations continued to be maintained between the Safavid and Mughal courts until the end of Akbar's reign.

Relations with other medieval kingdoms


Vincent Arthur Smith
Vincent Arthur Smith
Vincent Arthur Smith was born in 1843 in Dublin which was then part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He was an Indologist, historian and art historian who worked in the Indian Civil Service and retired early to devote himself to his writing.His Oxford History of India, covering...

 observes that the merchant Mildenhall was employed in 1600 while the establishment of the Company was under adjustment to bear a letter from Queen Elizabeth to Akbar requesting liberty to trade in his dominions on terms as good as those enjoyed by the Portugese.

Akbar was also visited by the French explorer Pierre Malherbe.

Religious policy


Akbar, as well as his mother and other members of his family, are believed to have been Sunni Hanafi
Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 Muslims. His early days were spent in the backdrop of an atmosphere in which liberal sentiments were encouraged and religious narrow-mindednness
Fundamentalism
Fundamentalism is strict adherence to specific theological doctrines usually understood as a reaction against Modernist theology. The term "fundamentalism" was originally coined by its supporters to describe a specific package of theological beliefs that developed into a movement within the...

 was frowned upon. From the 15th century, a number of rulers in various parts of the country adopted a more liberal policy of religious tolerance
Religious toleration
Toleration is "the practice of deliberately allowing or permitting a thing of which one disapproves. One can meaningfully speak of tolerating, ie of allowing or permitting, only if one is in a position to disallow”. It has also been defined as "to bear or endure" or "to nourish, sustain or preserve"...

, attempting to foster communal harmony
Communalism (South Asia)
This article deals with the use of the word communalism in South Asia, as a name for a force separating different communities based on some form of social or sectarian discrimination...

 between Hindus and Muslims. These sentiments were earlier encouraged by the teachings of popular saints like Guru Nanak, Kabir
Kabir
Kabīr was a mystic poet and saint of India, whose writings have greatly influenced the Bhakti movement...

 and Chaitanya, the verses of the Persian poet Hafez
Hafez
Khwāja Shamsu d-Dīn Muhammad Hāfez-e Shīrāzī , known by his pen name Hāfez , was a Persian lyric poet. His collected works composed of series of Persian poetry are to be found in the homes of most Iranians, who learn his poems by heart and use them as proverbs and sayings to this day...

 which advocated human sympathy and a liberal outlook, as well as the Timurid ethos of religious tolerance that persisted in the polity right from the times of Timur
Timur
Timur , historically known as Tamerlane in English , was a 14th-century conqueror of West, South and Central Asia, and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia, and great-great-grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived as the Mughal Empire in India until...

 to Humayun
Humayun
Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor who ruled present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of northern India from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early, but with Persian aid, he eventually regained an even larger one...

, and influenced Akbar's policy of tolerance in matters of religion. Further, his childhood tutors, who included two Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

i Shias, were largely above sectarian
Sectarianism
Sectarianism, according to one definition, is bigotry, discrimination or hatred arising from attaching importance to perceived differences between subdivisions within a group, such as between different denominations of a religion, class, regional or factions of a political movement.The ideological...

 prejudices, and made a significant contribution to Akbar's later inclination towards religious tolerance.

One of Akbar's first actions after gaining actual control of the administration was the abolition of jizya
Jizya
Under Islamic law, jizya or jizyah is a per capita tax levied on a section of an Islamic state's non-Muslim citizens, who meet certain criteria...

, a tax which all non-Muslims were required to pay, in 1562. The tax was reinstated in 1575, a move which has been viewed as being symbolic of vigorous Islamic policy, but was again repealed in 1580. Akbar adopted the Sulh-e-Kul (or Peace to All) concept of Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 as official policy, integrated many Hindus into high positions in the administration, and removed restrictions on non-Muslims, thereby bringing about a composite and diverse character to the nobility. As a mark of his respect for all religions, he ordered the observance of all religious festivals of different communities in the imperial court.

Relation with Jains


Akbar regularly held discussions with Jain scholars and was also greatly impacted by some of their teachings. His first encounter with Jain rituals was when he saw a Jain shravika named Champa's procession after a six month long fast. Impressed by her power and devotion, he invited her guru
Guru
A guru is one who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom, and authority in a certain area, and who uses it to guide others . Other forms of manifestation of this principle can include parents, school teachers, non-human objects and even one's own intellectual discipline, if the...

 or spiritual teacher Acharya
Acharya
In Indian religions and society, an acharya is a guide or instructor in religious matters; founder, or leader of a sect; or a highly learned man or a title affixed to the names of learned men...

Hiravijaya
Hiravijaya
Hiravijaya was the supreme pontiff of Tapa Gachcha order of Jain Svetambara tradition. He is famous for propounding the Jain philosophy to Emperor Akbar and turning him towards vegetarianism.-Early life and monkhood:Hiravijaya was born in a Jain Oswal family in Palanpur in Gujarat in 1527...

 Suri to Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri is a city and a municipal board in Agra district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Built near the much older Sikri, the historical city of Fatehabad, as it was first named, was constructed by Mughal emperor Akbar beginning in 1570...

. Acharya accepted the invitation and began his march towards the Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 capital from Gujarat.

Akbar was greatly impressed by the scholastic qualities and character of the Acharya. He held several debates and discussions on religion and philosophy in his courts. Arguing with Jains, Akbar remained sceptical of their rituals, and yet became convinced by their arguments for vegetarianism
Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism encompasses the practice of following plant-based diets , with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat...

 and end up deploring the eating of all flesh.

The Indian Supreme Court too has cited examples of co-existence of Jain and Mughal architecture. Terming Mughal emperor Akbar as "the architect of modern India", a bench said that Akbar, who had great respect for Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

, had declared "Amari Ghosana" banning the killing of animals during Paryushan and Mahavir Jayanti
Mahavir Jayanti
In Jainism, Mahavir Janma Kalyanak is the most important religious holiday. It celebrates the birth of Mahavira, the last Tirthankara. On the Gregorian calendar, the holiday occurs either in March or April....

. He rolled back the Jazia tax from Jain pilgrim places like Palitana
Palitana
Palitana is a city in Bhavnagar district, Gujarat, India. It is located 50 km southwest of Bhavnagar city and is a major pilgrimage centre for Jains.-History:...

. These farmans were also issued in 1592, 1584 and 1598.

Relations with Shias and Islamic clergy


During the early part of his reign, Akbar adopted an attitude of suppression towards Muslim sects that were condemned by the orthodoxy as heretical
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

. In 1567, on the advice of Shaikh Abdu'n Nabi, he ordered the exhumation of Mir Murtaza Sharifi Shirazi - a Shia buried in Delhi - because of the grave's proximity to that of Amir Khusrau, arguing that a "heretic" could not be buried so close to the grave of a Sunni saint, reflecting a restrictive attitude towards the Shia, which continued to persist till the early 1570s. He suppressed Mahdavi
Mahdavi
Mahdavi Islam is a sect within Islam, founded by Hazrath Syed Muhammad Jaunpuri in India in the 15th century CE. Jaunpuri declared himself to be the Imam Mahdi, the prophesied redeemer in Islam, and the denomination takes its name from the term mahdi...

sm in 1573 during his campaign in Gujarat, in the course of which the Mahdavi leader Bandagi Miyan Shiek Mustafa was arrested and brought in chains to the court for debate and released after eighteen months. However, as Akbar increasingly came under the influence of pantheistic Sufi mysticism from the early 1570s, it caused a great shift in his outlook and culminated in his shift from orthodox Islam as traditionally professed, in favor of a new concept of Islam transcending the limits of religion. Consequently, during the latter half of his reign, he adopted a policy of tolerance towards the Shias and declared a prohibition on Shia-Sunni conflict, and the empire remained neutral in matters of internal religious conflict within Islam.

In 1580, a rebellion broke out in the eastern part of Akbar's empire, and a number of fatwa
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

s, declaring Akbar to be a heretic, were issued by Qazis. Akbar suppressed the rebellion and handed out severe punishments to the Qazis. In order to further strengthen his position in dealing with the Qazis, Akbar issued a mazhar
Mazhar
The mazhar is a large, heavy tambourine used in Arabic music. The mazhar's frame is generally made out of wood. The instrument's brass jingles are quite large . It is played with a shaking technique that gives it a raucous sound...

 or declaration that was signed by all major ulema
Ulema
Ulama , also spelt ulema, refers to the educated class of Muslim legal scholars engaged in the several fields of Islamic studies. They are best known as the arbiters of shari‘a law...

s in 1579. The mahzar asserted that Akbar was the Khalifa
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 of the age, the rank of the Khalifa was higher than that of a Mujtahid, in case of a difference of opinion among the Mujtahids, Akbar could select any one opinion and could also issue decrees which did not go against the nass
Nass (Islam)
Nass is an arabic word meaning "a known, or clear, legal injunction". In Twelver Shi`ah Islam, nass is used to reference the nomination of an Imam by a previous Imam....

. Given the prevailing Islamic sectarian conflicts in various parts of the country at that time, it is believed that the Mazhar helped in stabilizing the religious situation in the empire. It made Akbar very powerful due to the complete supremacy accorded to the Khalifa by Islam, and also helped him eliminate the religious and political influence of the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Khalifa over his subjects, thus ensuring their complete loyalty to him.

Din-i-Ilahi




Akbar was deeply interested in religious and philosophical matters. An orthodox Muslim at the outset, he later came to be influenced by Sufi mysticism that was being preached in the country at that time, and moved away from orthodoxy, appointing to his court several talented people with liberal ideas, including Abul Fazl, Faizi
Faizi
Shaikh Abu al-Faiz ibn Mubarak, popularly known by his pen-name, Faizi was a poet of late medieval India. In 1588, he became the Malik-ush-Shu'ara of Akbar's Court. He was the elder brother of Akbar's historian Abul Fazl...

 and Birbal
Birbal
Raja Birbal was the Grand Vizier of the Mughal court in the administration of the Mughal emperor Akbar. He one of his most trusted members along with being a part of Akbar's inner council of nine advisors, known as the navaratna, a Sanskrit word meaning nine jewels...

. In 1575, he built a hall called the Ibadat Khana
Ibadat Khana
The Ibādat Khāna was a meeting house built in 1575 CE by the Mughal Emperor Akbar at his palace in Fatehpur Sikri to gather religious leaders of many faiths in discussion....

 ("House of Worship") at Fatehpur Sikri, to which he invited theologians, mystics and selected courtiers renowned for their intellectual achievements and discussed matters of spirituality
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 with them. These discussions, initially restricted to Muslims, were acrimonious and resulted in the participants shouting at and abusing each other. Upset by this, Akbar opened the Ibadat Khana to people of all religions as well as atheists, resulting in the scope of the discussions broadening and extending even into areas such as the validity of the Quran and the nature of God. This shocked the orthodox theologians, who sought to discredit Akbar by circulating rumours of his desire to forsake Islam.

Akbar's efforts to evolve a meeting point among the representatives of various religions was not very successful, as each of them attempted to assert the superiority of their respective religions by denouncing other religions. Meanwhile, the debates at the Ibadat Khana grew more acrimonious and, contrary to their purpose of leading to a better understanding among religions, instead led to greater bitterness among them, resulting to the discontinuance of the debates by Akbar in 1582. However, his interaction with various religious theologians had convinced him that despite their differences, all religions had several good practices, which he sought to combine into a new religious movement known as Din-i-Ilahi
Din-i-Ilahi
The Dīn-i Ilāhī was a syncretic religious doctrine propounded by the Mughal emperor Jalālu d-Dīn Muḥammad Akbar , who ruled the Indian subcontinent from 1556 to 1605, intending to merge the best elements of the religions of his empire, and thereby reconcile the differences that divided his subjects...

. However, some modern scholars claim that Akbar did not initiate a new religion and did not use the word Din-i-Ilahi. According to the contemporary events in the Mughal court Akbar was indeed angered by the acts of embezzlement of wealth by many high level Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 clerics.

The purported Din-i-Ilahi was more of an ethical system and is said to have prohibited lust, sensuality, slander and pride, considering them sins. Piety, prudence, abstinence and kindness are the core virtues. The soul is encouraged to purify itself through yearning of God. Celibacy was respected, chastity enforced, the slaughter of animals was forbidden and there were no sacred scriptures or a priestly hierarchy. However, a leading Noble of Akbar's court, Aziz Koka, wrote a letter to him from Mecca in 1594 arguing that the discipleship promoted by Akbar amounted to nothing more than a desire on Akbar's part to portray his superiority regarding religious matters To commemorate Din-e-Ilahi, he changed the name of Prayag to Allahabad
Allahabad
Allahabad , or Settled by God in Persian, is a major city of India and is one of the main holy cities of Hinduism. It was renamed by the Mughals from the ancient name of Prayaga , and is by some accounts the second-oldest city in India. It is located in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh,...

 in 1583.

It has been argued that the theory of Din-i-Ilahi being a new religion was a misconception which arose due to erroneous translations of Abul Fazl's work by later British historians. However, it is also accepted that the policy of sulh-e-kul, which formed the essence of Din-i-Ilahi, was adopted by Akbar not merely for religious purposes, but as a part of general imperial administrative policy. This also formed the basis for Akbar's policy of religious toleration. At the time of Akbar's death in 1605 there were no signs of discontent amongst his Muslim subjects and the impression of even a theologian like Abdu'l Haq was that close ties remained.

Personality



Akbar's reign was chronicled extensively by his court historian Abul Fazal
Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak
Shaikh Abu al-Fazl ibn Mubarak also known as Abu'l-Fazl, Abu'l Fadl and Abu'l-Fadl 'Allami was the vizier of the great Mughal emperor Akbar, and author of the Akbarnama, the official history of Akbar's reign in three volumes, and a Persian translation of the Bible...

 in the books Akbarnama and Ain-i-akbari. Other contemporary sources of Akbar's reign include the works of Badayuni, Shaikhzada Rashidi and Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi.

Akbar was an artisan
Artisan
An artisan is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools...

, warrior
Warrior
A warrior is a person skilled in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan-based society that recognizes a separate warrior class.-Warrior classes in tribal culture:...

, artist
Artist
An artist is a person engaged in one or more of any of a broad spectrum of activities related to creating art, practicing the arts and/or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech and academic discourse is a practitioner in the visual arts only...

, armourer, blacksmith
Blacksmith
A blacksmith is a person who creates objects from wrought iron or steel by forging the metal; that is, by using tools to hammer, bend, and cut...

, carpenter
Carpenter
A carpenter is a skilled craftsperson who works with timber to construct, install and maintain buildings, furniture, and other objects. The work, known as carpentry, may involve manual labor and work outdoors....

, emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

, general
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

, inventor, animal trainer (reputedly keeping thousands of hunting cheetahs during his reign and training many himself), lace
Lace
Lace is an openwork fabric, patterned with open holes in the work, made by machine or by hand. The holes can be formed via removal of threads or cloth from a previously woven fabric, but more often open spaces are created as part of the lace fabric. Lace-making is an ancient craft. True lace was...

maker, technologist and theologian.

Akbar was said to have been a wise emperor and a sound judge of character. His son and heir, Jahangir, wrote effusive praise of Akbar's character in his memoirs, and dozens of anecdotes to illustrate his virtues. According to Jahangir, Akbar was "of the hue of wheat; his eyes and eyebrows were black and his complexion rather dark than fair". Antoni de Montserrat, the Catalan
Catalan people
The Catalans or Catalonians are the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia that form a historical nationality in Spain. The inhabitants of the adjacent portion of southern France are sometimes included in this definition...

 Jesuit who visited his court described him as follows:

"One could easily recognize even at first glance that he is King. He has broad shoulders, somewhat bandy legs well-suited for horsemanship, and a light brown complexion. He carries his head bent towards the right shoulder. His forehead is broad and open, his eyes so bright and flashing that they seem like a sea shimmering in the sunlight. His eyelashes are very long. His eyebrows are not strongly marked. His nose is straight and small though not insignificant. His nostrils are widely open as though in derision. Between the left nostril and the upper lip there is a mole. He shaves his beard but wears a moustache. He limps in his left leg though he has never received an injury there."

Akbar was not tall but powerfully built and very agile. He was also noted for various acts of courage. One such incident occurred on his way back from Malwa to Agra when Akbar was 19 years of age.

Akbar rode alone in advance of his escort and was confronted by a tigress who, along with her cubs, came out from the shrubbery across his path. When the tigress charged the emperor, he was alleged to have dispatched the animal with his sword in a solitary blow. His approaching attendants found the emperor standing quietly by the side of the dead animal.

Abul Fazal, and even the hostile critic Badayuni, described him as having a commanding personality. He was notable for his command in battle, and, "like Alexander of Macedon, was always ready to risk his life, regardless of political consequences". He often plunged on his horse into the flooded river during the rainy seasons and safely crossed it. He rarely indulged in cruelty and is said to have been affectionate towards his relatives. He pardoned his brother Hakim, who was a repented rebel. But on rare occasions, he dealt cruelly with offenders, such as his maternal uncle Muazzam and his foster-brother Adham Khan, who was twice defenestrated
Defenestration
Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window.The term "defenestration" was coined around the time of an incident in Prague Castle in the year 1618. The word comes from the Latin de- and fenestra...

 for drawing Akbar's wrath.
He is said to have been extremely moderate in his diet. Ain-e-Akbari mentions that during his travels and also while at home, Akbar drank water from the Ganges river, which he called ‘the water of immortality’. Special people were stationed at Sorun and later Haridwar
Haridwar
Haridwar is an important pilgrimage city and municipality in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India...

 to dispatch water, in sealed jars, to wherever he was stationed. According to Jahangir
Jahangir
Jahangir was the ruler of the Mughal Empire from 1605 until his death. The name Jahangir is from Persian جهانگیر,meaning "Conqueror of the World"...

's memoirs, he was fond of fruits and had little liking for meat, which he stopped eating in his later years. He was more religiously tolerant than many of the Muslim rulers before and after him. Jahangir wrote:

"As in the wide expanse of the Divine compassion there is room for all classes and the followers of all creeds, so... in his dominions, ... there was room for the professors of opposite religions, and for beliefs good and bad, and the road to altercation was closed. Sunnis and Shias met in one mosque, and Franks and Jews in one church, and observed their own forms of worship. "

To defend his stance that speech arose from hearing, he carried out a language deprivation experiment
Language deprivation experiments
Language deprivation experiments have been attempted several times through history, isolating infants from the normal use of spoken or signed language in an attempt to discover the fundamental character of human nature or the origin of language....

, and had children raised in isolation, not allowed to be spoken to, and pointed out that as they grew older, they remained mute.

Hagiography


During Akbar's reign, the ongoing process of inter-religious discourse and syncretism
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 resulted in a series of religious attributions to him in terms of positions of assimilation, doubt or uncertainty, which he either assisted himself or left unchallenged. Such hagiographical accounts of Akbar traversed a wide range of denominational and sectarian spaces, including several accounts by Parsi
Parsi
Parsi or Parsee refers to a member of the larger of the two Zoroastrian communities in South Asia, the other being the Irani community....

s, Jains and Jesuit missionaries, apart from contemporary accounts by Brahminical and Muslim orthodoxy. Existing sects and denominations, as well as various religious figures who represented popular worship felt they had a claim to him. The diversity of these accounts is attributed to the fact that his reign resulted in the formation of a flexible centralised state accompanied by personal authority and cultural heterogeneity.

Akbarnāma, the Book of Akbar


The , which literally means Book of Akbar, is a official biographical account of Akbar, the third Mughal Emperor (r. 1542–1605), written in Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

. It includes vivid and detailed descriptions of his life and times.

The work was commissioned by Akbar, and written by Abul Fazl
Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak
Shaikh Abu al-Fazl ibn Mubarak also known as Abu'l-Fazl, Abu'l Fadl and Abu'l-Fadl 'Allami was the vizier of the great Mughal emperor Akbar, and author of the Akbarnama, the official history of Akbar's reign in three volumes, and a Persian translation of the Bible...

, one of the Nine Jewels (Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

: Navaratnas
Navaratnas
Navaratnas Nauratan was a term applied to a group of nine extraordinary people in a emperor's court in India...

) of Akbar’s royal court. It is stated that the book took seven years to be completed and the original manuscripts contained a number of paintings supporting the texts, and all the paintings represented the Mughal school of painting
Mughal painting
Mughal painting is a particular style of South Asian painting, generally confined to miniatures either as book illustrations or as single works to be kept in albums, which emerged from Persian miniature painting, with Indian Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist influences, and developed largely in the court...

, and work of masters of the imperial workshop, including Basawan
Basawan
Basawan, or Basavan , was an Indian miniature painter in the Mughal style. He was known by his contemporaries as a skilled colorist and keen observer of human nature, and for his use of portraiture in the illustrations of Akbarnama, Mughal Emperor, Akbar's official Biography, which is seen as an...

, whose use of portraiture in its illustrations was an innovation in Indian art
Indian art
Indian Art is the visual art produced on the Indian subcontinent from about the 3rd millennium BC to modern times. To viewers schooled in the Western tradition, Indian art may seem overly ornate and sensuous; appreciation of its refinement comes only gradually, as a rule. Voluptuous feeling is...

.

Death and legacy




On 3 October 1605, Akbar fell ill with an attack of dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

, from which he never recovered. He is believed to have died on or about 27 October 1605, after which his body was buried at a mausoleum in Sikandra, Agra.

Akbar left behind a rich legacy both for the Mughal Empire as well as the Indian subcontinent in general. He firmly entrenched the authority of the Mughal empire in India and beyond, after it had been threatened by the Afghans during his father's reign, establishing its military and diplomatic superiority. During his reign, the nature of the state changed to a secular and liberal one, with emphasis on cultural integration. He also introduced several far-sighted social reforms, including prohibiting sati, legalising widow remarriage and raising the age of marriage.

Citing Akbar's melding of the disparate 'fiefdoms' of India into the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 as well as the lasting legacy of "pluralism and tolerance" that "underlies the values of the modern republic of India", Time magazine
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 included his name in its list of top 25 world leaders.

In popular culture

  • In 2008, director Ashutosh Gowariker
    Ashutosh Gowariker
    Ashutosh Gowariker is an Indian film director, actor, writer and producer. He is known for directing the films Lagaan , Swades , Jodhaa Akbar , What's Your Raashee and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey...

     released a film telling the story of Akbar and his wife Hira Kunwari (known more popularly as Jodha Bai), titled Jodhaa Akbar. Akbar was played by Hrithik Roshan
    Hrithik Roshan
    Hrithik Roshan is an Indian actor who appears in Bollywood films.After having appeared in films as a child actor in the 1980s, Roshan made his film debut in a leading role in Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai for which Roshan earned his Filmfare Awards for Best Actor and Best Male Debut...

     and Jodhaa was played by Aishwarya Rai
    Aishwarya Rai
    Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is an Indian film actress. She worked as a model before starting her acting career, and ultimately won the Miss World pageant in 1994...

    .
  • Akbar was portrayed in the award-winning 1960 Hindi movie
    Bollywood
    Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

     Mughal-e-Azam
    Mughal-e-Azam
    Mughal-E-Azam is a 1960 Indian historical epic film produced under the banner of Sterling Investment Corporation Pvt Ltd, and directed by K. Asif. With its unmatched production, K. Asif's magnum opus took nine years and $3 million to complete this movie. This was when a typical Bollywood film...

     (The great Mughal), in which his character was played by Prithviraj Kapoor
    Prithviraj Kapoor
    Prithviraj Kapoor , 3 November 1906 – 29 May 1972) was a pioneer of Indian theatre and of the Hindi film industry, who started his career as an actor, in the silent era of Hindi cinema, associated with IPTA and who founded Prithvi Theatres, a travelling theatre company based in Mumbai, in...

    .
  • Akbar and Birbal were portrayed in the Hindi series Akbar-Birbal aired on Zee TV
    Zee TV
    Zee TV is an India-based satellite television channel owned by Zee Entertainment Enterprises based in Mumbai, Maharashtra, which broadcasts various programmes in Hindi and other regional languages of India. Broadcasting is also present in various nations of South Asia, Europe, the Middle East,...

     in late 1990s where Akbar's role was essayed by Vikram Gokhale
    Vikram Gokhale
    Vikram Gokhale is an well known Indian film, television and stage actor, notable for his roles in Marathi theatre and Hindi films and television...

    .
  • A television series, called Akbar the Great, directed by Sanjay Khan
    Sanjay Khan
    -Career:Khan made his debut in the 1964 Chetan Anand film "Haqeeqat" followed by the Rajshri film Dosti. In the 1960s and 1970s Khan starred in the movies Dus Lakh, Ek Phool Do Mali and Intaqam. He also acted opposite his brother Feroz in three films Upaasna , Mela and Nagin...

     was aired on DD National
    DD National
    DD National or DD1 is Doordarshan's flagship channel and the most widely available terrestrial television channel in India.-The Early Years:...

     in the 1990s.
  • A fictionalized Akbar plays an important supporting role in Kim Stanley Robinson
    Kim Stanley Robinson
    Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer known for his award-winning Mars trilogy. His work delves into ecological and sociological themes regularly, and many of his novels appear to be the direct result of his own scientific fascinations, such as the fifteen years of research...

    's 2002 novel, The Years of Rice and Salt
    The Years of Rice and Salt
    The Years of Rice and Salt is an alternate history novel with major Buddhist and Islamic religious elements written by science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson, a thought experiment about a world in which neither Christianity nor the European cultures based on it achieve lasting impact on world...

    .
  • Akbar is also a major character in Salman Rushdie's 2008 novel The Enchantress of Florence
    The Enchantress of Florence
    The Enchantress of Florence is the ninth novel by Salman Rushdie, and was published in 2008. According to Rushdie this is his "most researched book" which required "Years and years of reading"....

    .
  • Amartya Sen
    Amartya Sen
    Amartya Sen, CH is an Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory, and for his interest in the problems of society's poorest members...

     uses Akbar as a prime example in his books The Argumentative Indian
    The Argumentative Indian
    The Argumentative Indian is a book written by Nobel Prize winning Indian economist Amartya Sen. It is a collection of essays that discuss India's history and identity, focusing on the traditions of public debate and intellectual pluralism...

     and Violence and Identity.
  • Bertrice Small
    Bertrice Small
    Bertrice Small is an U.S.American New York Times bestselling writer of historical and erotic romance novels. Bertrice lives on Long Island, New York with her husband George Small. She is a member of The Authors Guild, Romance Writers of America, PAN, and PASIC...

     is known for incorporating historical figures as primary characters in her romance novels, and Akbar is no exception. He is a prominent figure in two of her novels, and mentioned several times in a third, which takes place after his death. In This Heart of Mine the heroine becomes Akbar's fortieth "wife" for a time, while Wild Jasmine and Darling Jasmine centre around the life of his half-British daughter, Yasaman Kama Begum (alias Jasmine).
  • Akbar is featured in the video game Sid Meier's Civilization 4: Beyond the Sword as a "great general" available in the game.
  • Akbar is also the AI Personality of India in the renowned game Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties
    Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties
    Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties is the second official expansion pack for real-time strategy video game Age of Empires III developed through a collaboration between Ensemble Studios and Big Huge Games, and published by Microsoft Game Studios. The Mac version was ported over and developed...

    .
  • The violin concerto nicknamed "Il Grosso Mogul" written by Antonio Vivaldi
    Antonio Vivaldi
    Antonio Lucio Vivaldi , nicknamed because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe...

     in the 1720s, and listed in the standard catalogue as RV 208, is considered to be indirectly inspired by Akbar's reign.
  • In Kunal Basu's The Miniaturist, the story revolves around a young painter during Akbar's time who paints his own version of the Akbarnamu'
  • Akbar is mentioned as 'Raja Baadshah' in the Chhattisgarhi folktale of Mohna de gori kayina
    Mohna de gori kayina
    The story of Mohna De Gori Kayina is the romantic and humorous story of Radi Mai Batau Tura alias Chhail Batohi Kunwar of Delhi and queen Mohna De Gori Kayina of Avdhe Nagar , district Janjgir-Champa, Chhatisgarh...


See also

  • List of people known as The Great
  • Mughal emperors
  • Mirza
    Mirza
    Mirza , is of Persian origin, denoting the rank of a high nobleman or Prince. It is usually translated into English as a royal or imperial Prince of the Blood...

  • Mughal weapons
    Mughal Weapons
    Mughal Weapons, The Military of the Mughal Empire used a variety of weapons in their conquests throughout the centuries. various types of: swords, bow & arrows, horses, camels, elephants, various types of cannons , muskets and Flintlock Blunderbuss...

  • Second Battle of Panipat

Further reading

  • Abu al-Fazl ibn Mubarak Akbar-namah Edited with commentary by Muhammad Sadiq Ali
    Sadiq Ali
    Sadiq Ali was a senior politician of Kashmir, India, a noted poet and writer and an active environmentalist. He was an elected legislator in the Kashmir State Assembly for three consecutive terms. Mr Sadiq Ali was born in Srinagar into an influential business family. His father, the late Mr...

     (Kanpur-Lucknow: Nawal Kishore) 1881–3 Three Vols. (Persian
    Persian language
    Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

    )
  • Abu al-Fazl ibn Mubarak Akbarnamah Edited by Maulavi Abd al-Rahim. Bibliotheca Indica Series (Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal) 1877–1887 Three Vols. (Persian
    Persian language
    Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

    )
  • Henry Beveridge (Trans.) The Akbarnama of Ab-ul-Fazl Bibliotheca Indica Series (Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal) 1897 Three Vols.
  • Haji Muhammad 'Arif Qandahari Tarikh-i-Akbari (Better known as Tarikh-i-Qandahari) edited & Annotated by Haji Mu'in'd-Din Nadwi, Dr. Azhar 'Ali Dihlawi & Imtiyaz 'Ali 'Arshi (Rampur Raza Library) 1962 (Persian
    Persian language
    Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

    )
  • Martí Escayol, Maria Antònia. “Antoni de Montserrat in the Mughal Garden of good government European construction of Indian nature”, Word, Image, Text; Studies in Literary and Visual Culture, ed. Shormistha Panja et al., Orient Blacksw an, New Delhi, 2009. ISBN : 978-81-250-3735
  • Satyananda Giri,AKBAR,Trafford Publishing, 2009,ISBN : 978-1-42691-561-1
  • The Adventures of Akbar by Flora Annie Steel, 1847-1929 -(ebook)

External links