Babur was the founder of the Mughal Empire. He captured Kabul from one of his uncles. He wanted to capture India and launched four expeditions for it.
When Babur was interested in invading India it had five sultans in Delhi, Malwa, Gujarat, Bengal and Deccan. The Rajput king Rana Sanga and the Vijaynagar Empire were also prominent.
Babur defeated the Lahore governor Daulatkhan Lodi. He then met Ibrahim Lodi in the Panipat battle and
defeated him due to superior cavalry and artillery.
He also captured Rajput territories by defeating Rana Sanga and the Afghans at Bihar. His rule was short as he was constantly fighting the rebels to his rule.
Estimate of Babur:
- He was a great statesman and a man of solid achievements.
- He was a scholar of Arabic and Persian.
He was the eldest son of Babur. Babur had divided the kingdom between the sons. Humayun fought the Gujarat sultan Bahadur shah and concluded a treaty with Sher shah for this. After Bahadur shahs defeat he imposed a governor for Gujarat. But Bahadur shah recovered his kingdom.
Meanwhile, Sher Shah had become stronger and Humayun was forced to fight him. Humayun was defeated and forced to flee. He tried to conclude a treaty with his brothers against Sher shah but they refused to help. Finally, he had to face Sher shah alone and he was defeated and forced into exile for 15 years.
Humayun stayed with his wife in a Hindu kingdom. It was there that Akbar was born. He then defeated his brothers with the help of Iran. Due to the decline of the Sur dynasty, he waged a war on the Afghans and captured the throne.
Though Humayun wasn’t a great general he was kind and generous. He was a learned scholar too. He died falling from the steps of the balcony.
Sher shah: Sur Dynasty
Initially, he worked under the sultan of Bihar. But later he defeated Humayun and became the emperor of Delhi. He waged extensive battles to expand his Empire. His kingdom now consisted of all of North India except Gujarat, Assam, and Kashmir.
- He was an able commander and an efficient administrator. For the convenience of administration, the kingdom was divided into many smaller units.
- He organized the kingdom under seven departments. He was assisted by a council of four ministers.
- Land revenue was the chief source of revenue. He surveyed the land and then decided on the revenue.
- He also introduced a new coin for circulation.
- His main contribution was the building of highways for communication. They improved the convenience of travel. He also built rest houses for travelers.
- The police were reorganized to reduce crime.
- He was a devout Muslim but tolerant of all religions. He also appointed Hindus to administration.
He died in 1545 and his successors continued to rule until 1555 when Humayun recaptured Delhi.
Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar:
He ascended the throne at a dangerous time. The Afghan general Hemu had come to Panipat to fight Akbar and capture Delhi. Hemu was at a point of victory but by luck, an arrow pierced his eye and he fell unconscious.
The Mughals were victorious. The initial years of Akbar were under the guardianship of Bairam khan. But after 5 years he relieved Bairam khan and sent him to Mecca. Akbar’s military conquests were extensive he captured territories from Gujarat to Bengal and strengthened the northwest frontier.
- Akbar married a Rajput’s princess. This was the turning point of the Empire. Rajputs submitted to the Mughals. They were appointed to senior positions. The Rajputs served the Mughals for four centuries. This alliance ensured peace in Rajasthan. Akbar thus secured the support of the bravest warriors.
- He was a devout Muslim but tolerant towards other religions. He abolished the pilgrim tax and jiziya.
He also set up an Ibadat khana where people of all religions could come to discuss doctrines.
- He also disliked the interference of Ulemas in administration. He established his own faith din i ilahi but after his death, it fizzled out.
- The land revenue was made with help of Raja Todar Mal. The land was carefully surveyed. Payments were made in cash.
- Akbar started a mansabdari system. It was assigning ranks to nobles. Each mansabdars had to maintain cavalry as per his rank.
He succeeded Akbar. His rule too was troubled by rebellions from his son prince Khurram but after defeating him he was killed. His supported Guru Arjun Singh too was beheaded. Jahangir married Nur Jahan.
Nur Jahan formed a junta in the Mughal court and created a second faction. This was hated by prince Shah Jahan who believed the emperor was in complete control of Nur Jahan. Nur Jahan used to dominate the court and introduced Persian art and culture. She was a constant companion of Jahangir.
The rise of Shah Jahan was due to his personal ambition. He rose in rebellion and Jahangir forced him into exile to Kandahar. But after the emperor’s death, Shah Jahan returned and captured the throne with the help of nobles and the army. Nur Jahan was pensioned off.
Shah Jahan was eager to capture the ancestral lands of Kandahar. He waged a prolonged battle for this but the Mughals lost 5000 men. He later realized the futility of this and gave up. His Deccan policy was more successful.
He defeated the sultan of Ahmadnagar and signed treaties with the sultans of Bijapur and Golconda. The Deccan provinces were put under the command of Aurangzeb.
At the end of his reign, the sons of Shah Jahan continued to fight for the throne. Finally, Aurangzeb won and he forced Shah Jahan to abdicate. The emperor was then confined to the female apartments of the Agra fort where he lived for another 8 years nursed by his daughter. He died and was buried in his wife’s tomb beside the Taj Mahal.
Though Aurangzeb was the ablest of all Mughal kings, He led to the decline of the Mughal Empire.
The expansionist policies of Aurangzeb in the Deccan led to the annexation of the Qutubshahi [Hyderabad] and Adilshahi [Bijapur].
This brought him into direct confrontation with the Marathas. His religious intolerance also created hatred amongst the Rajputs, Jats, Sikhs, and Deccan sultanates who were Shias.
The beheading of Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur transformed them into a warring community. He started a policy of imposing Islamic taxes on non-Muslims. He destroyed Hindu temples. But in spite of this, he was a disciplined person. He banned music, drinking, and intoxicants from his kingdom.
He used to copy Quran and sell those copies to earn money for personal use.
Even though he extended the Mughal Empire from the northwest frontier to the south his lack of political foresight led to his downfall and finally the ruin of the Empire.
Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh set up Astronomical towers in Delhi, Ujjain, Varanasi, Mathura, and Jaipur.