Quick Basic Facts about Akbar
- Birth name – Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar
- Born – 15 Oct 1542
- Parents – Humayun, Hamida Banu Begum
- Birth Place – Umerkot (Amarkot) Fort, Umerkot, present Sindh, Pakistan
- Period of rule – 11 Feb 1556 to 27 Oct 1605
- Wives – Salima Sultan Begum, Mariam-uz-Zamani (probably Jodha Bai), Raziya Begum, Qasima Banu Begum, Bibi Daulat Shad and others
- Death – 27 Oct 1605 at age of 63
- Death place – Fatehpur Sikri, Agra
- Tomb – Sikandra, Agra
- Books/Biography – Akbarnama, Ain-i-Akbari (by Abul Fazl), Tabaqat-i-Akbari by Khwaja Nizamuddin Ahmed, Akbarnama (by Faizi Sirhindi)
Interesting Facts about Akbar : Birth and Childhood
- Akbar was born in Umerkot (earlier Amarkot) Rajputana Fort to the parents Humayun and Hamida Banu Begum. Humayun was on the run after successive defeats in battle of Chausa and Battle of Kannauj from Sher Shah Suri and took refuge at this fort.
- Akbar was brought up in Kabul by his paternal uncles Kamran Mirza and Askari Mirza. He spent his childhood times in learning skills of fight, combat, hunt etc.
- Akbar married his uncle’s (Hindal Mirza) daughter Ruqaiya Sultan Begum at the age of 14 years just before ascending the Mughal throne.
- During the reign of Akbar, Agra remained the capital of Mughal empire. However, Akbar also used Fatehpur Sikri and Lahore as the capital of Mughal empire briefly from 1571 to 1585 and then 1586 to 1598. respectively.period of Akbar (1556-1605) is considered as the most prosperous period of Mughal empire. Akbar consolidated the territorial expanses of Mughal empire.
- Arts, literature, culture, society, agriculture, trade, business flourished during Akbar reign. During Akbar’s era, India has well diversified economy. There was cultivation of large varieties of staple food crops such as wheat, rice, gram, barely, pulses, bajra etc. Cash crops like cotton, indigo, oil seeds and sugarcane etc were also sown to great extent.
- Akbar was crowned to the royal throne at very young age of thirteen years. Bairam Khan was the mentor/ tutor of the greatest Mughal ruler Akbar. He was also defacto ruler cum guardian of the throne till Akbar attained maturity.
- There was a time when Akbar’s relation with Bairam Khan turned sordid. Akbar wanted to take the power in his own hand wanted more representation in state affairs. The disputes with Bairam Kham kept on increasing and after such episode Akbar dismissed the services of Bairam Khan. Bairam Khan started his visit to Mecca but turned rebellious. Bairam Khan was defeated by Mughal army near Punjab. Akbar forgave him for his crime and gave option either to join royal court or to proceed his journey to Mecca. Bairam Khan chooses the latter but was assassinated on his way at Patan in Gujarat.
- No previous Mughal rulers, nor did Delhi Sultanate was able to rule the Rajputana entirely. Akbar used military campaign mixed with diplomacy and marriage alliances to win the heartlands of Rajputana.
Religious facts about Akbar
- All Mughal emperors were ardent followers of Islam and belonged to Sunni sect. Akbar in latter stage of life started a new religion called din-e-ilahi which was an amalgamation of teaching and good things of all faiths. Akbar himself professed this religion although this didn’t get that much popularity.
- There is little evidence that Akbar really started a new religion. Poets Abul Fazal and Badayuni have used the word tauhid-i-ilahi which means “divine monotheism” as the new path sermoned by Akbar. The word din or faith was not applied to this new path till 80 years later.
- In the reign of Akbar there are several instances of Hindus reaching important posts in the court. Akbar followed a policy of religious tolerance. Akbar was firm believer that Hindu dominated India can be ruled only by involvement of Hindus.
- To support the theory of religious tolerance followed by Akbar, there is accepted fact that Jazia tax (or Jizya tax) which was imposed on non muslims by earlier Mughal emperors was removed by Akbar.
- In the starting years of rule during the expansion of Mughal territory, Akbar too showed the same streak of cruelty and barbarism like his ancestors. The conquest of Chittor is such an example where Mughal army under Akbar beheaded the survivors and the heads were displayed on the towers throughout the Rajputana kingdom.
- Akbar had a profound quest for truth and spirituality. In 1575 he opened a place called Ibadat Khana where scholars of every religion used to sit and discuss spirituality and faiths and other good things of different religion. However the debates generally became bitter as every one tried to show their religion superior then others. Akbar hence discontinued these debates in Ibadat Khana in 1582.
Facts about Akbar : Territorial Expanse and Military Campaigns of Akbar
At its maximum expanse, the Akbar’s empire consisted on all north and central India. Godavari river is considered as the southernmost frontier of Akbar’s empire. Akbar further consolidated the territorial gains made by his predecessor Mughal emperors Babur and Humayun. In short his military campaign can be summarized as follows-
- Central and West India – Malwa, Gondwana, Ahmedabad, Surat
- Rajputana conquest – Chittorgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Mewar Haldighati battle,
- East India – Bengal, Bihar
- North frontier – Kashmir, Baltistan, Ladakh, Sindh, Baluchistan,
- Deccan – Ahmadnagar, Berar, Burhanpur, Asirgarh fort
Facts about Akbar : Nine Navratnas
Akbar had nine navratna in his court. It is customary to note that navratna translates to “jems”. The nine famous courtiers of Akbar’s royal court were called as nine navratnas. They were Abul Fazel, Faizi Sirhindi, Tansen, Birbal, Raja Todar Mal, Raja Man Singh, Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, Fakir Aziao-Din and Mullah Do Piazza
Facts about Akbar: The Mughal Army
- The greatness of the Akbar lies in the fact that he transformed the land revenue system, economy and administrative system of Army on the ground level. Much is not known about the systems followed by starting Mughals emperors Babur and Humayun.
- Mughal army was maintained and managed by Mansabdari system. This system was also implemented by Akbar. Under this system every army officer was assigned a rank called mansab from 10 to 5000. 10 being the lowest rank and 5000 being the highest. Although for some nobles rank of 7000 was also given as highest rank.
- Mirza Aziz Koka and Raja Man Singh were bestowed with equal mansabs of 7000 each.
- There were two terms which decide the rank zat and sawar. The term zat fixed the personal status of the individual soldier. Sawar indicated the number of cavalrymen (sawar) required to maintain that person. A person who was required to maintain as many sawars as his zat rank was placed in first category of that rank, if he maintained half or more then in second category. If the person maintains less sawars than his zat rank then he was in third category. Thus there were three categories in every rank.
- Proper care was taken that an army contingent was a mixed one i.e. all different groups, religions, sects – Mughal, Pathan, Rajput, Hindustani, Afghan etc should get represented. This was done to reduce the sectarian/ grouping politics.
- A typical contingent of Akbar’s army contained cavalrymen, bowmen, musketeers (bandukchi), sappers (combat engineer) and miners.
- The salaries of different persons in army contingent varied. Average salary of a sawar used to be Rs 20 per month, infantry men get Rs 3 per month. Salary to an officer (mansabdar) was generally paid in cash although at times they were given jagir to extract the land revenue of their own. Akbar however was personally against the idea of allotting jagirs to mansabdars.
- Each mansabdar was required to maintain a certain quota of horses, elephants, camels, mules and carts out of his own salary.
- The Salary and the status of an individual officer/ soldier was dependent upon his rank (mansab).
- A typical contingent of Mughal army contained cavalrymen, bowmen, musketeers (bandukchi), sappers (combat engineer) and miners.
- A mansabdar with a rank of 5000 could get Rs 30,000 per month, a rank of 3000 could get Rs 17,000 and a rank of 1000 could get Rs 8,200. These figures shows that Mughal mansabdars were the highest paid officers in contemporary world history.