Akbar - Mughal Emperor

Akbar was the third emperor of the Mughal dynasty. He reigned from 1556 to 1605 and extended Mughal power over most of the Indian subcontinent. He was born as Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad.

Jalal ud-din Muhammad Akbar was born on 15 October 1542 at the Rajput Fortress of Umerkot. He was the son of Mughal emperor Humayan. His mother was Hamida Banu Begum. At the time of his birth, Jahangir was a refuge under the local Hindu ruler Rana Prasad. Before his birth, Humayun was driven away from his capital of Delhi by the Afghan ruler Sher Shah of Sur. During the extended period of Humayun's exile, Akbar was brought up in Kabul by his paternal uncles, Kamran Mirza and Askari Mirza.

Akbar’s father Humayun had succeeded in regaining control of some areas such as Delhi, Punjab and Agra but the Mughal rule in these areas was unstable. A few months later, Humayun died in the year 1627. The Surs reconquered Agra and Delhi following the death of Humayun. After the death of Humayan, Akbar was made the shahanshah at the age of 13. Bairam Khan ruled on his behalf until he came of age.

After the coronation of Akbar, the Mughal army was marching against Sikandar Shah Suri in the Punjab. Hemu, the Hindu general in the Sur Dynasty, proclaimed himself as Hindu emperor and drove away the Mughals from Delhi. After defeating Sikandar Shah Suri, the Mughal army marched towards Delhi. The Mughal forces moved to Panipat through Thaneshwar and faced Hemu’s army on November 5, 1556. Hemu was defeated in the second battle of Panipat. Akbar recaptured Delhi and Agra.

Akbar dedicated the first decade of his rule towards expanding his empire. He captured Lahore and Multan, major centers of Punjab. He also claimed the Gwalior fort from the Sur Rulers. Following his victory over the Ajmer, Akbar brought in Gujarat (1584), Kabul (1585), Kashmir (1586-87), Sindh (1591), Bengal (1592) and Kandahar (1595) within the Mughal territory. Because of his record of unbeaten military campaigns, Akbar was accorded the epithet "the Great". By the time he died, his empire extended to most of the Indian subcontinent, stretching from the Himalayas in the north to the Vindhyas in the south and Hindukush in the north-west to Brahmaputra River in the east.

Beyond his ability as an effective conqueror, Akbar was a keen administrator who developed a centralized federal government. His entire empire was divided into 15 Subas, each province being governed by a Subadar. Each subah, or governor, was responsible for maintaining order in his region. He introduced the Mansabdari system to effectively organize the Military. Land revenue was the chief source of income for the Mughal Government and his finance minister todar mal introduced several reforms in the revenue department. Akbar also introduced reforms in judicial system. Akbar was probably the first Islamic ruler in India who sought stable political alliances through matrimony. He married several Hindu Princess including Jodha Bai and Heer Kunwari.

Akbar was a follower of the great Sufi mystic Sheikh Moinuddin Chishti and made several pilgrimages to his shrine at Ajmer. Akbar was known for rewarding talent, loyalty, and intellect, regardless of ethnic background or religious practice. He appointed many Rajput princess in the highest malitary ranks. In 1582 he established a new religion, the Din-i-Ilahi (“divine faith”). It borrowed the best from the existing. Akbar is known for ushering in the Mughal style of architecture, which combined elements of Islamic, Persian and Hindu design. Akbar commissioned the building of several forts and mausoleums during his reign. Among the architectural marvels commissioned during his rule is the Agra Fort, Jami Masjid, Buland Darwaza, Humayun’s Tomb, Ajmer Fort, Lahore Fort and Allahabad Fort. In 1569, he established a new capital west of Agra to celebrate his victory over Chittorgarh and Ranthambore, which was named Fatehpur Sikri (‘City of Victory’) in 1573 after he conquered Gujarat.

He had Nine Navaratnas or nine jewels at his court, this include: Abdul Rahim, Abdul Fazal, Birbal, Faizi, Hamim Human, Raja Man Singh, Shaikh Mubarak, Tansen and Todar Mal.

He passed away on October 27, 1605 at Fatehpur Sikri. He was buried at Sikandra, Agra. He was succeeded by his son Jahangir.

Enter Email Address for Newsletter