Muhammad Akbar (15 October 1542[a]– 27
October 1605), popularly known as
(IPA: [əkbər], was the third Mughal emperor, who reigned
from 1556 to 1605.
Akbar succeeded his father, Humayun, under a
regent, Bairam Khan, who helped the young emperor expand and
consolidate Mughal domains in India. A strong personality and a
Akbar gradually enlarged the
Mughal Empire to
include nearly all of the
Indian Subcontinent north of the Godavari
river. His power and influence, however, extended over the entire
country because of Mughal military, political, cultural, and economic
dominance. To unify the vast Mughal state,
Akbar established a
centralised system of administration throughout his empire and adopted
a policy of conciliating conquered rulers through marriage and
diplomacy. To preserve peace and order in a religiously and culturally
diverse empire, he adopted policies that won him the support of his
Muslim subjects. Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic state
Akbar strove to unite far-flung lands of his realm through
loyalty, expressed through an Indo-Persian culture, to himself as an
emperor who had near-divine status.
India developed a strong and stable economy, leading to
commercial expansion and greater patronage of culture.
was a patron of art and culture. He was fond of literature, and
created a library of over 24,000 volumes written in Sanskrit, Urdu,
Persian, Greek, Latin, Arabic and Kashmiri, staffed by many scholars,
translators, artists, calligraphers, scribes, bookbinders and readers.
Akbar also established the library of
Fatehpur Sikri exclusively for
women, and he decreed that schools for the education of both
Muslims and Hindus should be established throughout the realm. Holy
men of many faiths, poets, architects, and artisans adorned his court
from all over the world for study and discussion. Akbar's courts at
Delhi, Agra, and
Fatehpur Sikri became centres of the arts, letters,
and learning. Perso-Islamic culture began to merge and blend with
indigenous Indian elements, and a distinct Indo-Persian culture
emerged characterized by Mughal style arts, painting, and
architecture. Disillusioned with orthodox
Islam and perhaps hoping to
bring about religious unity within his empire,
Din-i-Ilahi, a syncretic creed derived mainly from
Islam and Hinduism
as well as some parts of
Zoroastrianism and Christianity. A simple,
monotheistic cult, tolerant in outlook, it centered on
Akbar as a
prophet, for which he drew the ire of the ulema and orthodox Muslims.
Many of his courtiers followed
Din-i-Ilahi as their religion as well,
as many believed that
Akbar was a prophet. One famous courtier who
followed this blended religion was Birbal.
Akbar's reign significantly influenced the course of Indian history.
During his rule, the Mughal empire tripled in size and wealth. He
created a powerful military system and instituted effective political
and social reforms. By abolishing the sectarian tax on non-Muslims and
appointing them to high civil and military posts, he was the first
Mughal ruler to win the trust and loyalty of the native subjects. He
Sanskrit literature translated, participated in native festivals,
realising that a stable empire depended on the co-operation and
good-will of his subjects. Thus, the foundations for a multicultural
empire under Mughal rule were laid during his reign.
succeeded as emperor by his son, Prince Salim, later known as
1 Early years
2 Military campaigns
2.1 Military innovations
2.2 Struggle for North India
2.3 Expansion into Central India
2.4 Conquest of Rajputana
2.5 Annexation of Western and Eastern India
2.6 Campaigns in Afghanistan and Central Asia
2.7 Conquests in the Indus Valley
2.8 Subjugation of parts of Baluchistan
2.9 Safavids and Kandahar
2.10 Deccan Sultans
3.1 Political government
3.3 Military organisation
5.1 Matrimonial alliances
6 Foreign relations
6.1 Relations with the Portuguese
6.2 Relations with the Ottoman Empire
6.3 Relations with the Safavid Dynasty
6.4 Relations with other contemporary kingdoms
7 Religious policy
7.1 Association with the
7.3 Relation with Hindus
7.4 Relation with Jains
8 Historical accounts
8.3 Akbarnāma, the Book of Akbar
12 In popular culture
13 See also
17 Further reading
18 External links
Rejoicing at the birth of
Akbar the Great, 1542
Defeated in battles at
Kannauj in 1539–40 by the forces
of Sher Shah Suri,
Humayun fled westward to Sindh.
There he met and married the then 14-year-old Hamida Banu Begum,
daughter of Shaikh Ali
Akbar Jami, a teacher of Humauyun's younger
brother Hindal Mirza. Jalal ud-din
Akbar was born the next
year on 15 October 1542[a] (the fourth day of Rajab, 949 AH) at the
Rajput Fortress of
Sindh (in modern-day Pakistan), where
his parents had been given refuge by the local
Hindu ruler Rana
Akbar as a boy
During the extended period of Humayun's exile,
Akbar was brought up in
Kabul by the extended family of his paternal uncles,
Kamran Mirza and
Askari Mirza, and his aunts, in particular Kamran Mirza's wife. He
spent his youth learning to hunt, run, and fight, making him a daring,
powerful and brave warrior, but he never learned to read or write.
This, however, did not hinder his search for knowledge as it is said
always when he retired in the evening he would have someone
read. On 20 November 1551, Humayun's youngest brother, Hindal
Mirza, died fighting valorously in a battle against Kamran Mirza's
forces. Upon hearing the news of his brother's death,
overwhelmed with grief.
Out of affection for the memory of his brother,
Hindal's nine-year-old daughter, Ruqaiya
Sultan Begum, to his son
Akbar. Their betrothal took place in Kabul, shortly after Akbar's
first appointment as a viceroy in the province of Ghazni. Humayun
conferred on the imperial couple all the wealth, army, and adherents
of Hindal and Ghazni. One of Hindal's jagir was given to his nephew,
Akbar, who was appointed as its viceroy and was also given the command
of his uncle's army. Akbar's marriage with Ruqaiya was solemnized
in Jalandhar, Punjab, when both of them were 14-years-old. She was
his first wife and chief consort.
Following the chaos over the succession of Sher Shah Suri's son Islam
Delhi in 1555, leading an army partly
provided by his Persian ally Tahmasp I. A few months later, Humayun
died. Akbar's guardian,
Bairam Khan concealed the death in order to
prepare for Akbar's succession.
Humayun on 14 February
1556, while in the midst of a war against Sikandar Shah to reclaim the
Mughal throne. In Kalanaur, Punjab, the 14-year-old
Bairam Khan on a newly constructed platform, which still
stands. He was proclaimed Shahanshah (Persian for "King of
Bairam Khan ruled on his behalf until he came of age.
Mughal Empire under Akbar's period show in orange borders
Akbar was accorded the epithet "the Great" because of his many
accomplishments, including his record of unbeaten military
campaigns that consolidated Mughal rule in the Indian subcontinent.
The basis of this military prowess and authority was Akbar's skilful
structural and organisational calibration of the Mughal army. The
Mansabdari system in particular has been acclaimed for its role in
upholding Mughal power in the time of Akbar. The system persisted with
few changes down to the end of the Mughal Empire, but was
progressively weakened under his successors.
Organisational reforms were accompanied by innovations in cannons,
fortifications, and the use of elephants.
Akbar also took an
interest in matchlocks and effectively employed them during various
conflicts. He sought the help of Ottomans, and also increasingly of
Europeans, especially Portuguese and Italians, in procuring firearms
and artillery. Mughal firearms in the time of
Akbar came to be far
superior to anything that could be deployed by regional rulers,
tributaries, or by zamindars. Such was the impact of these weapons
that Akbar's Vizier, Abul Fazl, once declared that "with the exception
of Turkey, there is perhaps no country in which its guns has more
means of securing the Government than [India]." The term
"Gunpowder Empire" has thus often been used by scholars and historians
in analysing the success of the Mughals in India. Mughal power has
been seen as owing to their mastery of the techniques of warfare,
especially the use of firearms encouraged by Akbar.
Struggle for North India
Akbar is depicted training an elephant
Humayun had regained control of the Punjab, Delhi, and
Agra with Safavid support, but even in these areas Mughal rule was
precarious, and when the Surs reconquered
Delhi following the
death of Humayun, the fate of the boy emperor seemed uncertain.
Akbar's minority and the lack of any possibility of military
assistance from the Mughal stronghold of Kabul, which was in the
throes of an invasion by the ruler of
Badakhshan Prince Mirza
Suleiman, aggravated the situation. When his regent, Bairam Khan,
called a council of war to marshall the Mughal forces, none of Akbar's
Bairam Khan was ultimately able to prevail over
the nobles, however, and it was decided that the Mughals would march
against the strongest of the Sur rulers, Sikandar Shah Suri, in the
Delhi was left under the regency of Tardi Baig Khan.
Sikandar Shah Suri, however, presented no major concern for Akbar, and
avoided giving battle as the
Mughal army approached.[full citation
needed] The gravest threat came from Hemu, a minister and general of
one of the Sur rulers, who had proclaimed himself
Hindu emperor and
expelled the Mughals from the Indo-Gangetic plains.
Urged by Bairam Khan, who re-marshalled the
Mughal army before Hemu
could consolidate his position,
Akbar marched on
Delhi to reclaim
it. His army, led by Bairam Khan, defeated
Hemu and the Sur army
on 5 November 1556 at the Second Battle of Panipat, 50 miles
(80 km) north of Delhi. Soon after the battle, Mughal forces
Delhi and then Agra.
Akbar made a triumphant entry into
Delhi, where he stayed for a month. Then he and
Bairam Khan returned
Punjab to deal with Sikandar Shah, who had become active again.
In the next six months, the Mughals won another major battle against
Sikander Shah Suri, who fled east to Bengal.
Akbar and his forces
Lahore and then seized
Multan in the Punjab. In 1558, Akbar
took possession of Ajmer, the aperture to Rajputana, after the defeat
and flight of its
Muslim ruler. The Mughals had also besieged and
defeated the Sur forces in control of Gwalior Fort, the greatest
stronghold north of the
Royal begums, along with the families of Mughal amirs, were finally
brought over from
India at the time – according to Akbar's
vizier, Abul Fazl, "so that men might become settled and be restrained
in some measure from departing to a country to which they were
Akbar had firmly declared his intentions that the
Mughals were in
India to stay. This was a far cry from the political
settlements of his grandfather, Babur, and father, Humayun, both of
whom had done little to indicate that they were anything but transient
Expansion into Central India
Akbar hawking with Mughal chieftains and nobleman accompanied by his
guardian Bairam Khan
By 1559, the Mughals had launched a drive to the south into Rajputana
and Malwa. However, Akbar's disputes with his regent, Bairam Khan,
temporarily put an end to the expansion. The young emperor, at the
age of eighteen, wanted to take a more active part in managing
affairs. Urged on by his foster mother, Maham Anga, and his relatives,
Akbar decided to dispense with the services of Bairam Khan. After yet
another dispute at court,
Akbar finally dismissed
Bairam Khan in the
spring of 1560 and ordered him to leave on
Hajj to Mecca. Bairam
Khan 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
Akbar forgave him, however, and gave him the option of
either continuing in his court or resuming his pilgrimage; Bairam
chose the latter.
Bairam Khan was later assassinated on his way to
Mecca, allegedly by an Afghan with a personal vendetta.
Akbar resumed military operations. A
Mughal army under
the command of his foster brother, Adham Khan, and a Mughal commander,
Muhammad Khan, invaded Malwa. The Afghan ruler, Baz Bahadur, was
defeated at the Battle of Sarangpur and fled to
Khandesh for refuge
leaving behind his harem, treasure, and war elephants. Despite
initial success, the campaign proved a disaster from Akbar's point of
view. His foster brother retained all the spoils and followed through
with the Central Asian practice of slaughtering the surrendered
garrison, their wives and children, and many
Muslim theologians and
Sayyids, who were the descendants of Muhammad.
rode to Malwa to confront
Adham Khan and relieve him of command. Pir
Muhammad Khan was then sent in pursuit of
Baz Bahadur but was beaten
back by the alliance of the rulers of
Khandesh and Berar. Baz
Bahadur temporarily regained control of Malwa until, in the next year,
Akbar sent another
Mughal army to invade and annex the kingdom.
Malwa became a province of the nascent imperial administration of
Baz Bahadur survived as a refugee at various courts
until, eight years later in 1570, he took service under Akbar.
Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana
Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana son of
Bairam Khan being received by
Despite the ultimate success in Malwa, the conflict exposed cracks in
Akbar's personal relationships with his relatives and Mughal nobles.
Adham Khan confronted
Akbar following another dispute in 1562, he
was struck down by the emperor and thrown from a terrace into the
palace courtyard at Agra. Still alive,
Adham Khan was dragged up and
thrown to the courtyard once again by
Akbar to ensure his death. Akbar
now sought to eliminate the threat of over-mighty subjects. He
created specialised ministerial posts relating to imperial governance;
no member of the Mughal nobility was to have unquestioned
pre-eminence. When a powerful clan of Uzbek chiefs broke out in
rebellion in 1564,
Akbar decisively defeated and routed them in Malwa
and then Bihar. He pardoned the rebellious leaders, hoping to
conciliate them, but they rebelled again, so
Akbar had to quell their
uprising a second time. Following a third revolt with the proclamation
Muhammad Hakim, Akbar's brother and the Mughal ruler of
Kabul, as emperor, his patience was finally exhausted. Several Uzbek
chieftains were subsequently slain and the rebel leaders trampled to
death under elephants. Simultaneously the Mirzas, a group of
Akbar's distant cousins who held important fiefs near Agra, had also
risen up in rebellion. They too were slain and driven out of the
empire. In 1566,
Akbar moved to meet the forces of his brother,
Muhammad Hakim, who had marched into the
Punjab with dreams of seizing
the imperial throne. Following a brief confrontation, however,
Muhammad Hakim accepted Akbar's supremacy and retreated back to
In 1564, Mughal forces conquered the Gondwana kingdom, a thinly
populated, hilly area in central
India that was of interest to the
Mughals because of its herd of wild elephants. The territory was
ruled over by Raja Vir Narayan, a minor, and his mother, Durgavati, a
Rajput warrior queen of the Gonds.
Akbar did not personally lead
the campaign because he was preoccupied with the Uzbek rebellion,
leaving the expedition in the hands of Asaf Khan, the Mughal governor
of Kara. Durgavati committed suicide after her defeat at the
Battle of Damoh, while Raja Vir Narayan was slain at the Fall of
Chauragarh, the mountain fortress of the Gonds. The Mughals seized
immense wealth, an uncalculated amount of gold and silver, jewels and
1000 elephants. Kamala Devi, a younger sister of Durgavati, was sent
to the Mughal harem. The brother of Durgavati's deceased husband
was installed as the Mughal administrator of the region. Like in
Akbar entered into a dispute with his vassals over the
conquest of Gondwana. Asaf Khan was accused of keeping most of the
treasures and sending back only 200 elephants to Akbar. When summoned
to give accounts, he fled Gondwana. He went first to the Uzbeks, then
returned to Gondwana where he was pursued by Mughal forces. Finally,
he submitted and
Akbar restored him to his previous position.
Conquest of Rajputana
Akbar shoots the
Rajput warrior Jaimal during the
Siege of Chittorgarh in 1568
Bullocks dragging siege-guns up hill during Akbar's attack on
Ranthambhor Fort in 1568
Having established Mughal rule over northern India,
Akbar turned his
attention to the conquest of Rajputana. No imperial power in India
based on the Indo-Gangetic plains could be secure if a rival centre of
power existed on its flank in Rajputana. The Mughals had already
established domination over parts of northern
Rajputana in Mewat,
Ajmer, and Nagor. Now,
Akbar was determined to drive into the
heartlands of the
Rajput kings that had never previously submitted to
Muslim rulers of the
Delhi Sultanate. Beginning in 1561, the
Mughals actively engaged the Rajputs in warfare and diplomacy.
Rajput states accepted Akbar's suzerainty; the rulers of Mewar
and Marwar, Udai Singh and Chandrasen Rathore, however, remained
outside the imperial fold. Rana Udai Singh was descended from the
Sisodia ruler, Rana Sanga, who had died fighting
Babur at the Battle
of Khanwa in 1527. As the head of the Sisodia clan, he possessed
the highest ritual status of all the
Rajput kings and chieftains in
India. Unless Udai Singh was reduced to submission, the imperial
authority of the Mughals would be lessened in
Furthermore, Akbar, at this early period, was still enthusiastically
devoted to the cause of
Islam and sought to impress the superiority of
his faith over the most prestigious warriors in Brahminical
Akbar moved to reduce the
Chittor Fort in Mewar. The
Mewar was of great strategic importance as it lay
on the shortest route from
Gujarat and was also considered a
key to holding the interior parts of Rajputana. Udai Singh retired to
the hills of Mewar, leaving two
Rajput warriors, Jaimal and Patta, in
charge of the defence of his capital. Chittorgarh fell on February
1568 after a siege of four months.
Akbar had the surviving defenders
and 30,000 non-combatants massacred and their heads displayed upon
towers erected throughout the region, in order to demonstrate his
authority. The booty that fell into the hands of the Mughals
was distributed throughout the empire. He remained in Chittorgarh
for three days, then returned to Agra, where to commemorate the
victory, he set up, at the gates of his fort, statues of Jaimal and
Patta mounted on elephants. Udai Singh's power and influence was
broken. He never again ventured out his mountain refuge in
Akbar was content to let him be.
The fall of Chittorgarh was followed up by a Mughal attack on the
Ranthambore Fort in 1568. Ranthambore was held by the Hada Rajputs and
reputed to be the most powerful fortress in India. However, it
fell only after a couple of months.
Akbar was now the master of
almost the whole of Rajputana. Most of the
Rajput kings had submitted
to the Mughals. Only the clans of
Mewar continued to resist.
Udai Singh's son and successor, Pratap Singh, was later defeated by
the Mughals at the
Battle of Haldighati
Battle of Haldighati in 1576.
celebrate his conquest of
Rajputana by laying the foundation of a new
capital, 23 miles (37 km) W.S.W of
Agra in 1569. It was called
Fatehpur Sikri ("the city of victory"). Pratap Singh, however,
continuously attacked Mughals and was able to retain most of the
kingdom of his ancestors in the life of Akbar.
Annexation of Western and Eastern India
The court of young Akbar, age 13, showing his first imperial act: the
arrest of an unruly courtier, who was once a favourite of Akbar's
father. Illustration from a manuscript of the Akbarnama
Akbar's next military objectives were the conquest of
Bengal, which connected
India with the trading centres of Asia,
Africa, and Europe through the
Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal
Gujarat had been a haven for rebellious
Mughal nobles, while in Bengal, the Afghans still held considerable
influence under their ruler, Sulaiman Khan Karrani.
Akbar first moved
against Gujarat, which lay in the crook of the Mughal provinces of
Rajputana and Malwa. Gujarat, with its coastal regions, possessed
areas of rich agricultural production in its central plain, an
impressive output of textiles and other industrial goods, and the
busiest seaports of India.
Akbar intended to link the maritime
state with the massive resources of the Indo-Gangetic plains.
However, the ostensible casus belli was that the rebel Mirzas, who had
previously been driven out of India, were now operating out of a base
in southern Gujarat. Moreover,
Akbar had received invitations from
Gujarat to oust the reigning king, which served as
justification for his military expedition. In 1572, he moved to
occupy Ahmedabad, the capital, and other northern cities, and was
proclaimed the lawful sovereign of Gujarat. By 1573, he had driven out
the Mirzas who, after offering token resistance, fled for refuge in
the Deccan. Surat, the commercial capital of the region and other
coastal cities soon capitulated to the Mughals. The king, Muzaffar
Shah III, was caught hiding in a corn field; he was pensioned off by
Akbar with a small allowance.
Having established his authority over Gujarat,
Akbar returned to
Fatehpur Sikiri, where he built the
Buland Darwaza to commemorate his
victories, but a rebellion by Afghan nobles supported by the Rajput
ruler of Idar, and the renewed intrigues of the Mirzas forced his
return to Gujarat.
Akbar crossed the
Rajputana and reached
Ahmedabad in eleven days – a journey that normally took six weeks.
Mughal army then won a decisive victory on 2 September
Akbar slew the rebel leaders and erected a tower out of their
severed heads. The conquest and subjugation of
highly profitable for the Mughals; the territory yielded a revenue of
more than five million rupees annually to Akbar's treasury, after
Akbar had now defeated most of the Afghan remnants in India. The only
centre of Afghan power was now in Bengal, where Sulaiman Khan Karrani,
an Afghan chieftain whose family had served under Sher Shah Suri, was
reigning in power. While Sulaiman Khan scrupulously avoided giving
offence to Akbar, his son, Daud Khan, who had succeeded him in 1572,
decided otherwise. Whereas Sulaiman Khan had the khutba read in
Akbar's name and acknowledged Mughal supremacy, Daud Khan assumed the
insignia of royalty and ordered the khutba to be proclaimed in his own
name in defiance of Akbar. Munim Khan, the Mughal governor of Bihar,
was ordered to chastise Daud Khan, but later,
Akbar himself set out to
Bengal. This was an opportunity to bring the trade in the east
under Mughal control. In 1574, the Mughals seized
Patna from Daud
Khan, who fled to Bengal.
Akbar returned to
Fatehpur Sikri and
left his generals to finish the campaign. The
Mughal army was
subsequently victorious at the
Battle of Tukaroi
Battle of Tukaroi in 1575, which led to
the annexation of
Bengal and parts of
Bihar that had been under the
dominion of Daud Khan. Only Orissa was left in the hands of the
Karrani dynasty as a fief of the Mughal Empire. A year later, however,
Daud Khan rebelled and attempted to regain Bengal. He was defeated by
the Mughal general, Khan Jahan Quli, and had to flee into exile. Daud
Khan was later captured and executed by Mughal forces. His severed
head was sent to Akbar, while his limbs were gibetted at Tandah, the
Mughal capital in Bengal.
Campaigns in Afghanistan and Central Asia
See also: Akbar's conquest of Gujarat
Following his conquests of
Gujarat and Bengal,
Akbar was preoccupied
with domestic concerns. He did not leave
Fatehpur Sikri on a military
campaign until 1581, when the
Punjab was again invaded by his brother,
Akbar expelled his brother to
Kabul and this
time pressed on, determined to end the threat from
Muhammad Hakim once
and for all. In contrast to the problem that his predecessors once
had in getting Mughal nobles to stay on in India, the problem now was
to get them to leave India. They were, according to Abul Fazl
"afraid of the cold of Afghanistan." The
Hindu officers, in turn,
were additionally inhibited by the traditional taboo against crossing
the Indus. Akbar, however, spurred them on. The soldiers were provided
with pay eight months in advance. In August 1581,
Kabul and took up residence at Babur's old citadel. He stayed there
for three weeks, in the absence of his brother, who had fled into the
Kabul in the hands of his sister,
Bakht-un-Nisa Begum, and returned to India. He pardoned his brother,
who took up de facto charge of the Mughal administration in Kabul;
Bakht-un-Nis continued to be the official governor. A few years later,
Muhammad Hakim died and
Kabul passed into the hands of Akbar
once again. It was officially incorporated as a province of the Mughal
Kabul expedition was the beginning of a long period of activity
over the northern frontiers of the empire. For thirteen years,
beginning in 1585,
Akbar remained in the north, shifting his capital
Lahore in the
Punjab while dealing with challenges from beyond the
Khyber Pass. The gravest threat came from the Uzbeks, the tribe
that had driven his grandfather, Babur, out of Central Asia. They
had been organised under Abdullah Khan Shaybanid, a capable military
chieftain who had seized
Badakhshan and Balkh from Akbar's distant
Timurid relatives, and whose Uzbek troops now posed a serious
challenge to the northwestern frontiers of the Mughal Empire.
The Afghan tribes on the border were also restless, partly on account
of the hostility of the Yusufzai of
Bajaur and Swat, and partly owing
to the activity of a new religious leader, Bayazid, the founder of the
Roshaniyya sect. The
Uzbeks were also known to be subsidising
Akbar negotiated a pact with Abdullah Khan in which the
Mughals agreed to remain neutral during the Uzbek invasion of Safavid
held Khorasan. In return, Abdullah Khan agreed to refrain from
supporting, subsidising, or offering refuge to the Afghan tribes
hostile to the Mughals. Thus freed,
Akbar began a series of campaigns
to pacify the Yusufzais and other rebels.
Akbar ordered Zain Khan
to lead an expedition against the Afghan tribes. Raja Birbal, a
renowned minister in Akbar's court, was also given military command.
The expedition turned out to be a disaster, and on its retreat from
Birbal and his entourage were ambushed and killed by
the Afghans at the Malandarai Pass in February 1586. Akbar
immediately fielded new armies to reinvade the Yusufzai lands under
the command of Raja Todar Mal. Over the next six years, the Mughals
contained the Yusufzai in the mountain valleys, and forced the
submission of many chiefs in Swat and Bajaur. Dozens of forts were
built and occupied to secure the region. Akbar's response demonstrated
his ability to clamp firm military control over the Afghan tribes.
Despite his pact with the Uzbeks,
Akbar nurtured a secret hope of
reconquering Central Asia from today's Afghanistan. However,
Badakshan and Balkh remained firmly part of the Uzbek dominions. There
was only a transient occupation of the two provinces by the Mughals
under his grandson, Shah Jahan, in the mid-17th century.
Nevertheless, Akbar's stay in the northern frontiers was highly
fruitful. The last of the rebellious Afghan tribes were subdued by
Roshaniyya movement was firmly suppressed. The Afridi
Orakzai tribes, which had risen up under the Roshaniyyas, had been
subjugated. The leaders of the movement were captured and driven
into exile. Jalaluddin, the son of the
founder, Bayazid, was killed in 1601 in a fight with Mughal troops
near Ghazni. Mughal rule over today's Afghanistan was finally
secure, particularly after the passing of the Uzbek threat with the
death of Abdullah Khan in 1598.
Conquests in the Indus Valley
Lahore dealing with the Uzbeks,
Akbar had sought to subjugate
Indus valley to secure the frontier provinces. He sent an army
Kashmir in the upper Indus basin when, in 1585, Ali Shah,
the reigning king of the
Shia Chak dynasty, refused to send his son as
a hostage to the Mughal court. Ali Shah surrendered immediately to the
Mughals, but another of his sons, Yaqub, crowned himself as king, and
led a stubborn resistance to Mughal armies. Finally, in June, 1589,
Akbar himself travelled from
Lahore to Srinagar to receive the
surrender of Yaqub and his rebel forces.
Baltistan and Ladakh,
which were Tibetan provinces adjacent to Kashmir, pledged their
allegiance to Akbar. The Mughals also moved to conquer
the lower Indus valley. Since 1574, the northern fortress of Bhakkar
had remained under imperial control. Now, in 1586, the Mughal governor
Multan tried and failed to secure the capitulation of Mirza Jani
Beg, the independent ruler of
Thatta in southern Sindh. Akbar
responded by sending a
Mughal army to besiege Sehwan, the river
capital of the region. Jani Beg mustered a large army to meet the
Mughals. The outnumbered Mughal forces defeated the Sindhi forces
at the Battle of Sehwan. After suffering further defeats, Jani Beg
surrendered to the Mughals in 1591, and in 1593, paid homage to Akbar
Subjugation of parts of Baluchistan
As early as 1586, about half a dozen Baluchi chiefs, that were still
under nominal Pani Afghan rule, had been persuaded to attend the
imperial court and acknowledge the vassalage of Akbar. In preparations
Kandahar from the Safavids,
Akbar ordered the Mughal forces to
conquer the rest of the Afghan held parts of
1595. The Mughal general, Mir Masum, led an attack on the
stronghold of Sibi, situated to the northwest of
Quetta and defeated a
coalition of local chieftains in a pitched battle. They were made
to acknowledge Mughal supremacy and attend Akbar's court. As a result,
the modern-day Pakistani and Afghan parts of Baluchistan, including
the areas of the strategic region of
Makran that lay within it, became
a part of the Mughal Empire. The Mughals now bordered Persian
Kandahar on three sides.
Safavids and Kandahar
Kandahar was the name given by Arab historians to the ancient Indian
kingdom of Gandhara. It was intimately connected with the Mughals
since the time of their ancestor, Timur, the warlord who had conquered
much of Western, Central, and parts of South Asia in the 14th century.
However, the Safavids considered it as an appanage of the Persian
ruled territory of Khorasan and declared its association with the
Mughal emperors to be a usurpation. In 1558, while
consolidating his rule over northern India, the Safavid emperor,
Tahmasp I, had seized
Kandahar and expelled its Mughal governor. For
the next thirty years, it remained under Persian rule. The
Kandahar had not been a priority for Akbar, but after his
prolonged military activity in the northern frontiers, a move to
restore Mughal rule over the region became desirable. The
conquests of Sindh,
Kashmir and parts of Baluchistan, and the ongoing
consolidation of Mughal power over today's Afghanistan had added to
Akbar's confidence. Furthermore,
Kandahar was at this time under
threat from the Uzbeks, but the Emperor of Persia, himself beleaguered
by the Ottoman Turks, was unable to send any reinforcements.
Circumstances favoured the Mughals.
Akbar received the exiled Safavid prince, Rostam Mirza, after
he had quarrelled with his family. Rostam Mirza pledged allegiance
to the Mughals; he was granted a rank (mansab) of commander of 5000
men and received
Multan as a jagir. Beleaguered by constant Uzbek
raids, and seeing the reception of Rostom Mirza at the Mughal court,
the Safavid prince and governor of Kandahar, Mozaffar Hosayn, also
agreed to defect to the Mughals. Mozaffar Hosayn, who was in any case
in an adversary relationship with his overlord, Shah Abbas, was
granted a rank of 5000 men, and his daughter
Kandahari Begum was
married to Akbar's grandson, the Mughal prince, Khurram.
Kandahar was finally secured in 1595 with the arrival of a garrison
headed by the Mughal general, Shah Bayg Khan. The reconquest of
Kandahar did not overtly disturb the Mughal-Persian relationship.
Akbar and the Persian Shah continued to exchange ambassadors and
presents. However, the power equation between the two had now changed
in favour of the Mughals.
Akbar began military operations against the Deccan Sultans
who had not submitted to his authority. He besieged
Ahmednagar Fort in
Chand Bibi to cede Berar. A subsequent revolt forced
Akbar to take the fort in August 1600.
Asirgarh Fort in 1599, and took it on 17 January 1601, when
Miran Bahadur Shah refused to submit Khandesh.
Akbar then established
the Subahs of Ahmadnagar, Berar and
Khandesh under Prince Daniyal. "By
the time of his death in 1605,
Akbar controlled a broad sweep of
territory from the Bay of
Qandahar and Badakshan. He touched
the western sea in Sind and at
Surat and was well astride central
Akbar's system of central government was based on the system that had
evolved since the
Delhi Sultanate, but the functions of various
departments were carefully reorganised by laying down detailed
regulations for their functioning
The revenue department was headed by a wazir, responsible for all
finances and management of jagir and inam lands.
The head of the military was called the mir bakshi, appointed from
among the leading nobles of the court. The mir bakshi was in charge of
intelligence gathering, and also made recommendations to the emperor
for military appointments and promotions.
The mir saman was in charge of the imperial household, including the
harems, and supervised the functioning of the court and royal
The judiciary was a separate organisation headed by a chief qazi, who
was also responsible for religious beliefs and practices
Akbar set about reforming the administration of his empire's land
revenue by adopting a system that had been used by Sher Shah Suri. 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, 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. Zamindars 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.
Main article: Mansabdari
Mughal Army artillerymen during the reign of Akbar.
Akbar organised 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 mansabdar), and assigned a number of cavalry 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 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 horses were normally
employed. The mansabdars were remunerated well for their services
and constituted the highest paid military service in the world at the
Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) in Fatehpur Sikri
Akbar was a follower of Salim Chishti, a holy man who lived in the
region of Sikri near Agra. 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 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
Lahore in 1585. The reason may have been that the water
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
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.
The reign of
Akbar was characterised by commercial expansion. The
Mughal government encouraged traders, provided protection and security
for transactions, and levied a very low custom duty to stimulate
foreign trade. Furthermore, it strived to foster a climate conductive
to commerce by requiring local administrators to provide restitution
to traders for goods stolen while in their territory. To minimise such
incidents, bands of highway police called rahdars were enlisted to
parol roads and ensure safety of traders. Other active measures taken
included the construction and protection of routes of commerce and
Akbar would make concerted efforts to
improve roads to facilitate the use of wheeled vehicles through the
Khyber Pass, the most popular route frequented by traders and
travellers in journeying from
Kabul into Mughal India. He also
strategically occupied the northwestern cities of
Punjab and constructed great forts, such as the one at Attock near
the crossing of the
Grand Trunk Road
Grand Trunk Road and the Indus river, as well as a
network of smaller forts called thanas throughout the frontier to
secure the overland trade with Persia and Central Asia.
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Silver coin of
Akbar with inscriptions of the Islamic declaration of
faith, the declaration reads: "There is no god but God, and Muhammad
is the messenger of Allah."
Akbar was a great innovator as far as coinage is concerned. The coins
Akbar set a new chapter in India's numismatic history. The coins of
Akbar's grandfather, Babur, and father, Humayun, are basic and devoid
of any innovation as the former was busy establishing the foundations
of the Mughal rule in
India while the latter was ousted by the Afghan,
Farid Khan Sher Shah Suri, and returned to the throne only to die a
year later. While the reign of both
turmoil, Akbar's relative long reign of 50 years allowed him to
experiment with coinage.
Akbar introduced coins with decorative floral motifs, dotted borders,
quatrefoil and other types. His coins were both round and square in
shape with a unique 'mehrab' (lozenge) shape coin highlighting
numismatic calligraphy at its best. Akbar's portrait type gold coin
(Mohur) is generally attributed to his son, Prince Salim (later
Emperor Jahangir), who had rebelled and then sought reconciliation
thereafter by minting and presenting his father with gold Mohur's
bearing Akbar's portrait. The tolerant view of
Akbar is represented by
the 'Ram-Siya' silver coin type while during the latter part of
Akbar's reign, we see coins portraying the concept of Akbar's newly
promoted religion 'Din-e-ilahi' with the Ilahi type and Jalla Jalal-Hu
The coins, left, represent examples of these innovative concepts
Akbar that set the precedent for Mughal coins which was
refined and perfected by his son, Jahangir, and later by his grandson,
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
However, Akbar's policy of matrimonial alliances marked a departure in
India 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
Muslim fathers-in-law 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 proud elements who still considered it a sign of
Birth of Salim, the future emperor Jahangir
Kacchwaha Rajput, Raja Bihari Mal, of the small kingdom of Amer,
who had come to Akbar's court shortly after the latter's accession,
entered into an alliance by giving his daughter in marriage to the
Bihari Mal 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.
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 and Hadas of Ranthambore. In another turning point of Akbar's
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.
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 and
Jahangir because Udai Singh had
decided to marry his daughter to Jahangir.
Akbar on hearing this
ordered imperial forces to attack Kalyandas at Siwana. Kalyandas died
fighting along with his men and the women of
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
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
Islam from Hinduism, apparently on the eve of his
marriage with Akbar's daughter.
Relations with the Portuguese
An Emperor shall be ever Intent on Conquest, Otherwise His enemies
shall rise in arms against him.
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
Bahadur Shah of Gujarat at Diu, in front of the Portuguese in
In the year 1572 the
Mughal Empire annexed
Gujarat and acquired its
first access to the sea after local officials informed
Akbar that the
Portuguese had begun to exert control in the Indian Ocean. Hence Akbar
was conscious of the threat posed by the presence of the Portuguese
and remained content with obtaining a cartaz (permit) from them for
sailing in the
Persian Gulf 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. 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 pieces were unsuccessful
Akbar could not establish the Mughal navy along the Gujarat
Akbar accepted the offer of diplomacy, but the Portuguese continually
asserted their authority and power in the Indian Ocean; in fact Akbar
was highly concerned when he had to request a permit from the
Portuguese before any ships from the
Mughal Empire were to depart for
Hajj pilgrimage to
Mecca and Medina. In 1573, he issued a
firman directing Mughal administrative officials in
Gujarat not to
provoke the Portuguese in the territory they held in Daman. The
Portuguese, in turn, issued passes for the members of Akbar's family
to go on
Hajj to Mecca. The Portuguese made mention of the
extraordinary status of the vessel and the special status to be
accorded to its occupants.
In September 1579 Jesuits from
Goa were invited to visit the court of
Akbar. The emperor had his scribes translate the
New Testament and
granted the Jesuits freedom to preach the Gospel. One of his sons,
Sultan Murad Mirza, was entrusted to Antoni de Montserrat for his
education. While debating at court, the Jesuits did not
confine themselves to the exposition of their own beliefs but also
Islam and Muhammad. Their comments enraged the Imams and
Ulama, who objected to the remarks, but
Akbar ordered their comments
to be recorded and observed the Jesuits and their behaviour carefully.
This event was followed by a rebellion of
Muslim clerics in 1581 led
Muhammad Yazdi and Muiz-ul-Mulk, the chief
Qadi of Bengal;
the rebels wanted to overthrow
Akbar and insert his brother Mirza
Muhammad Hakim ruler of
Kabul on the Mughal throne.
defeated the rebels, but he had grown more cautious about his guests
and his proclamations, which he later checked with his advisers
Relations with the Ottoman Empire
Portuguese ambush against the galleys of
Seydi Ali Reis
Seydi Ali Reis (Akbar's
allies) in the Indian Ocean.
In 1555, while
Akbar was still a child, the Ottoman Admiral Seydi Ali
Reis visited the
Mughal Emperor Humayun. In 1569, during the early
years of Akbar's rule, another Ottoman Admiral Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis
arrived on the shores of the Mughal Empire. These Ottoman admirals
sought to end the growing threats of the
Portuguese Empire during
their Indian Ocean campaigns. During his reign
Akbar himself is known
to have sent six documents addressing the Ottoman
Sultan Suleiman the
Akbar sent a very large contingent of pilgrims led by Khwaja
Sultan Naqshbandi, Yahya Saleh, with 600,000 gold and silver coins and
12,000 Kaftans of honour and large consignments of
rice.[page needed] In October 1576
Akbar sent a delegation
including members of his family, including his aunt
Gulbadan Begum and
his consort Salima, on
Hajj by two ships from
Surat including an
Ottoman vessel, which reached the port of
Jeddah in 1577 and then
Mecca and Medina. Four more caravans were sent
from 1577 to 1580, with exquisite gifts for the authorities of Mecca
The imperial Mughal entourage stayed in
Medina for nearly
four years and attended the
Hajj four times. During this period Akbar
financed the pilgrimages of many poor Muslims from the Mughal Empire
and also funded the foundations of the
Sufi Order's dervish
lodge in the Hijaz. The Mughals eventually set out for Surat, and
their return was assisted by the Ottoman
Pasha in Jeddah. Because
of Akbar's attempts to build Mughal presence in
Mecca and Medina, the
local Sharif's began to have more confidence in the financial support
provided by Mughal Empire, lessening their dependency upon Ottoman
bounty. Mughal-Ottoman trade also flourished during this period
– in fact merchants loyal to
Akbar are known to have reached and
sold spices, dyestuff, cotton and shawls in the bazaars of Aleppo
after arriving and journeying upriver through the port of Basra.
According to some accounts
Akbar expressed a desire to form an
alliance with the Portuguese, mainly in order to advance his
interests, but whenever the Portuguese attempted to invade the
Akbar proved abortive. In 1587 a Portuguese fleet
sent to attack Yemen was ferociously routed and defeated by the
Ottoman Navy; thereafter the Mughal-Portuguese alliance immediately
collapsed, mainly because of the continuing pressure by the Mughal
Empire's prestigious vassals at Janjira.
Relations with the Safavid Dynasty
The Akbari Mosque, overlooking the Ganges
The Safavids and the Mughals had a long history of diplomatic
relationship, with the Safavid ruler
Tahmasp I having provided refuge
Humayun when he had to flee the
Indian subcontinent following his
defeat by Sher Shah Suri. However, the Safavids differed from the
Sunni Mughals and Ottomans in following the
Shiite sect of Islam.
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 the court
Tahmasp I 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. They were restored only in 1587 following the accession of
Shah Abbas 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 18 April 1595, and the
ruler Muzaffar Hussain moved into Akbar's court. Qandahar
continued to remain in Mughal possession, and the
empire's western frontier, for several decades until Shah Jahan's
Badakhshan in 1646. Diplomatic relations
continued to be maintained between the Safavid and Mughal courts until
the end of Akbar's reign.
Relations with other contemporary kingdoms
Akbar receives an embassy sent by Queen Elizabeth
Vincent Arthur Smith 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
liberty to trade in his dominions on terms as good as those enjoyed by
Akbar was also visited by the French explorer Pierre Malherbe.
Portrait of the
Akbar invocation of a
Akbar, as well as his mother and other members of his family, are
believed to have been
Hanafi Muslims. His early days were
spent in the backdrop of an atmosphere in which liberal sentiments
were encouraged and religious narrow-mindedness 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,
attempting to foster communal harmony between Hindus and Muslims.
These sentiments were earlier encouraged by the teachings of popular
Kabir and Chaitanya, the verses of the
Hafez which advocated human sympathy and a liberal
outlook, as well as the Timurid ethos of religious tolerance in
the empire, persisted in the polity right from the times of
Humayun, (the second emperor of the mughal empire), and influenced
Akbar's policy of tolerance in matters of religion. Further, his
childhood tutors, who included two Irani Shias, were largely above
sectarian prejudices, and made a significant contribution to Akbar's
later inclination towards religious tolerance.
When he was at Fatehpur Sikri, he held discussions as he loved to know
about others' religious beliefs. On one such day he got to know that
the religious people of other religions were often bigots (intolerant
of others religious beliefs). This led him to form the idea of the new
religion, Sulh-e-kul meaning universal peace. His idea of this
religion did not discriminate other religions and focused on the ideas
of peace, unity and tolerance.
Association with the
Akbar welcomes his son Prince Salim at Fatehpur
During the early part of his reign,
Akbar adopted an attitude of
Muslim sects that were condemned by the orthodoxy
as heretical. In 1567, on the advice of Shaikh Abdu'n Nabi, he
ordered the exhumation of Mir Murtaza Sharifi Shirazi – a Shia
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 Mahdavism in 1573 during his campaign in Gujarat, in the
course of which the Mahdavi leader Bandagi Miyan Sheik 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
Islam as traditionally professed, in favour of a new concept
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-
and the empire remained neutral in matters of internal sectarian
conflict. In the year 1578, the
referred to himself as:
Emperor of Islam, Emir of the Faithful, Shadow of God on earth, Abul
Akbar Badshah Ghazi (whose empire Allah
perpetuate), is a most just, most wise, and a most God-fearing ruler.
In 1580, a rebellion broke out in the eastern part of Akbar's empire,
and a number of fatwas, declaring
Akbar to be a heretic, were issued
Akbar suppressed the rebellion and handed out severe
punishments to the Qazis. To further strengthen his position in
dealing with the Qazis,
Akbar issued a mazhar, or declaration, that
was signed by all major ulemas in 1579. The mahzar asserted
Akbar was the Khalifa of the age, a higher rank 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 that
did not go against the nass. Given the prevailing Islamic
sectarian conflicts in various parts of the country at that time, it
is believed that the
Mazhar helped stabilize the religious situation
in the empire. It made
Akbar very powerful because of the
complete supremacy accorded to the Khalifa by Islam, and also helped
him eliminate the religious and political influence of the Ottoman
Khalifa over his subjects, thus ensuring their complete loyalty to
Throughout his reign
Akbar was a patron of influential
Mir Ahmed Nasrallah Thattvi and Tahir Muhammad
Akbar would attend congregations at a mosque the following
proclamation was made:
The Lord to me the Kingdom gave, He made me wise, strong and brave, He
guides me through right and truth, Filling my mind with the love of
truth, No praise of man could sum his state, Allah Hu Akbar, God is
Main article: Din-i-Ilahi
Akbar holds a religious assembly of different faiths in the Ibadat
Khana in Fatehpur Sikri.
Akbar was deeply interested in religious and philosophical matters. An
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 and Birbal. In
1575, he built a hall called the
Ibadat Khana ("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 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
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
Akbar by circulating rumours of his desire to forsake
Akbar's effort 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 in the discontinuance of the debates by
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.
Silver square rupee of Akbar,
Lahore mint, struck in Aban month of
Some modern scholars claim that
Akbar did not initiate a new religion
but instead introduced what Dr.
Oscar R. Gómez
Oscar R. Gómez calls the
transtheistic outlook from tantric Tibetan Buddhism, and that he
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
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
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
(pronounced as ilahabad) in 1583.
It has been argued that the theory of
Din-i-Ilahi being a new religion
was a misconception that arose because of 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
Muslim subjects, and the impression of even a theologian
like Abdu'l Haq was that close ties remained.
Relation with Hindus
Akbar decreed that Hindus who had been forced to convert to Islam
could reconvert to
Hinduism without facing the death penalty. In
his days of tolerance he was so well liked by Hindus that there are
numerous references to him, and his eulogies are sung in songs and
religious hymns as well.
Akbar practised several
Hindu customs. He celebrated Diwali, allowed
Brahman priests to tie jewelled strings round his wrists by way of
blessing, and, following his lead, many of the nobles took to wearing
rakhi (protection charms). He renounced beef and forbade the sale
of all meats on certain days.
Even his son
Jahangir and grandson
Shahjahan maintained many of
Akbar's concessions, such as the ban on cow slaughter, having only
vegetarian dishes on certain days of the week, and drinking only
Ganges water. Even as he was in the Punjab, 200 miles away from
the Ganges, the water was sealed in large jars and transported to him.
He referred to the
Ganges water as the "water of immortality."
It was rumoured that each night a Brahman priest, suspended on a
string cot pulled up to the window of Akbar's bedchamber, would
captivate the emperor with tales of
Relation with Jains
Akbar triumphantly enters Surat.
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 procession of a
Champa after a six-month-long fast. Impressed by her power and
devotion, he invited her guru, or spiritual teacher, Acharya
Hiravijaya Suri to Fatehpur Sikri.
Acharya accepted the invitation and
began his march towards the Mughal capital from Gujarat.
Akbar was impressed by the scholastic qualities and character of the
Acharya. He held several inter-faith dialogues among philosophers of
different religions. The arguments of Jains against eating meat
persuaded him to become a vegetarian.
Akbar also issued many
imperial orders that were favourable for
Jain interests, such as
banning animal slaughter.
Jain authors also wrote about their
experience at the Mughal court in
Sanskrit texts that are still
largely unknown to Mughal historians.
Indian Supreme Court
Indian Supreme Court has cited examples of co-existence of Jain
and Mughal architecture, calling
Akbar "the architect of modern India"
and that "he had great respect" for Jainism. In 1584, 1592 and 1598,
Akbar had declared "Amari Ghosana", which prohibited animal slaughter
Paryushan and Mahavir Jayanti. He removed the Jazia tax from
Jain pilgrim places like Palitana. Santichandra, disciple of
Suri, was sent to the Emperor, who in turn left his disciples
Bhanuchandra and Siddhichandra in the court.
Akbar again invited
Hiravijaya Suri's successor Vijayasena Suri in his court who visited
him between 1593 and 1595.
Akbar's religious tolerance was not followed by his son Jahangir, who
even threatened Akbar's former friend Bhanuchandra.
Akbar hunting with cheetahs, c. 1602
Akbar's reign was chronicled extensively by his court historian Abul
Fazl 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 a warrior, emperor, general, animal trainer (reputedly
keeping thousands of hunting cheetahs during his reign and training
many himself), and theologian. Believed to be dyslexic, he was
read to everyday and had a remarkable memory.
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 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
Akbar plays draughts with living pieces at Fateh pur Sikri, 1575
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
Akbar was 19 years of age.
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
Abul Fazl, 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 for drawing Akbar's
He is said to have been extremely moderate in his diet. Ain-e-Akbari
mentions that during his travels and also while at home,
water from the
Ganges river, which he called 'the water of
Special people were stationed at Sorun and later
Haridwar to dispatch water, in sealed jars, to wherever he was
stationed.[better source needed] According to
Jahangir's memoirs, he was fond of fruits and had little liking for
meat, which he stopped eating in his later years.
Akbar also once visited Vrindavan, the birthplace of Krishna in the
year 1570, and gave permission for four temples to be built by the
Gaudiya Vaisnavas, which were Madana-mohana, Govindaji, Gopinatha and
To defend his stance that speech arose from hearing, he carried out a
language deprivation experiment, and had children raised in isolation,
not allowed to be spoken to, and pointed out that as they grew older,
they remained mute.
During Akbar's reign, the ongoing process of inter-religious discourse
and syncretism 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
Akbar traversed a wide range of denominational and
sectarian spaces, including several accounts by Parsis, Jains and
Jesuit missionaries, apart from contemporary accounts by Brahminical
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
Akbarnāma, the Book of Akbar
Main article: Akbarnama
Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak
Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak presenting
Akbarnama to Akbar, Mughal miniature
The Akbarnāma (Persian: اکبر نامہ), which literally means
Book of Akbar, is an official biographical account of Akbar, the third
Mughal Emperor (r. 1542–1605), written in Persian. It includes vivid
and detailed descriptions of his life and times.
The work was commissioned by Akbar, and written by Abul Fazl, one of
the Nine Jewels (Hindi: Navaratnas) 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, and work
of masters of the imperial workshop, including Basawan, whose use of
portraiture in its illustrations was an innovation in Indian art.
Akbar's first wife and chief consort was his cousin, Princess Ruqaiya
Sultan Begum, the only daughter of his paternal uncle, Prince
Hindal Mirza, and his wife Sultanam Begum. In 1551, Hindal Mirza
died fighting valorously in a battle against Kamran Mirza's forces.
Upon hearing the news of his brother's death,
Humayun was overwhelmed
with grief. Out of affection to the memory of his brother, Humayun
betrothed Hindal's nine-year-old daughter Ruqaiya to his son Akbar.
Their betrothal took place in Kabul, shortly after Akbar's first
appointment as a viceroy in the province of Ghazni. Humayun
conferred on the imperial couple, all the wealth, army, and adherents
of Hindal and
Ghazni which one of Hindal's jagir was given to his
nephew, Akbar, who was appointed as its viceroy and was also given the
command of his uncle's army. Akbar's marriage with Ruqaiya was
solemnized near Jalandhar, Punjab, when both of them were
14-years-old. Childless herself, she adopted Akbar's favorite
grandson, Prince Khurram (the future emperor Shah Jahan). She died on
19 January 1626.
His second wife was the daughter of Abdullah Khan Mughal. The
marriage took place in 1557 during the siege of Mankot. Bairam Khan
did not approve of this marriage, for Abdullah's sister was married to
Akbar's uncle, Prince Kamran Mirza, and so he regarded Abdullah as a
partizan of Kamran. He apposed the match until Nasir-al-mulk made him
understand that opposition in such matters was unacceptable.
Nasir-al-mulk arranged an assembledge of pleasure and banquet of joy,
and a royal feast was provided.
His third wife was his cousin, Salima
Sultan Begum, the daughter
Muhammad Mirza and his wife
Gulrukh Begum also known as
Gulrang, the daughter of Emperor Babur. She was at first betrothed to
Bairam Khan by Humayun. After Bairam Khan's death in 1561, Akbar
married her himself the same year. She died childless on 2 January
1613. In 1562, he married the daughter of Raja Bihari Mal, ruler
of Amer. The marriage took place when
Akbar was on his way back from
Ajmer after offering prayers to the tomb of Moinuddin Chishti. Bihari
Mal had conveyed to
Akbar that he was being harassed by his
brother-in-law Sharif-ud-din Mirza (the Mughal hakim of Mewat). Akbar
Bihari Mal should submit to him personally, it was also
suggested that his daughter should be married to him as a sign of
complete submission. She was entitled
giving birth to Akbar's eldest surviving son, Prince Salim (the future
emperor Jahangir). She died on 19 May 1623.
His next marriage took place in 1564 to Raziya Begum, the daughter of
Miran Mubrak Shah, the ruler of Khandesh. In 1564, he sent presents to
the court with a request that his daughter be married by Akbar.
Miran's request was acceded and an order was issued. Itimad Khan was
sent with Miran's ambassadors, and when he came near the fort of Asir,
which was Miran's residence. Miran welcomed Itimad with honor, and
despatched his daughter with Itimad. A large number of nobles
accompanied her. The marriage took place in September 1564 when
she reached Akbar's court. As dowry, Mubarak Shah ceded Bijagarh
and Handia to his imperial son-in-law.
He married another
Rajput princess in 1570, who was the daughter of
Kahan, the brother of Rai Kalyan Mal Rai, the ruler of Bikanir. The
marriage took place in 1570, when
Akbar came to this part of the
country. Kalyan made a homage to Akbar, and requested that his
brother's daughter be married by him.
Akbar accepted his proposal, and
the marriage was arranged. He also married the daughter of Rawal Har
Rai, the ruler of
Jaisalmer in 1570. Rawal had sent a request
that his daughter be married by Akbar. The proposal was accepted by
Akbar. Raja Bahgwan Das was despatched on this service. The marriage
ceremony took place after Akbar's return from Nagor. She was the
mother of Princess Mahi Begum, who died on 8 April 1577.
Another of his wives was the daughter of
Sultan Mahmud of Bhakkar, who
was known as 'Bhakkari Begum'. On 2 July 1572, Akbar's envoy
I'timad Khan reached Mahmud's court to escort his daughter to Akbar.
I'timad Khan brought with him for
Sultan Mahmud an elegant dress of
honour, a bejewelled scimitar-belt, a horse with a saddle and reins
and four elephants. Mahmud celebrated the occasion by holding
extravagant feasts for fifteen days. On the day of wedding, the
festivities reached their zenith and the ulema, saints and nobles were
adequately honoured with rewards. Mahmud offered 30,000 rupees in cash
and kind to I'timad Khan and farewelled his daughter with a grand
dowry and an impressive entourage. She came to
Ajmer and waited
upon Akbar. The gifts of
Sultan Mahmud, carried by the delegation were
presented to the ladies of the imperial harem.
His ninth wife was Qasima Banu Begum, the daughter of Arab Shah.
The marriage took place in 1575. A great feast was given, and the high
officers, and other pillars of the state were present. In 1577,
the Rajah of
Dungarpur State petitioned a request that his daughter
might be married to Akbar.
Akbar had regard to his loyalty and granted
his request. Rai Loukaran and Rajah Birbar, servants of the Rajah
were sent from Dihalpur to do the honour of conveying his daughter.
The two delivered the lady at Akbar's court where the marriage took
place on 12 July 1577.
His eleventh wife was Bibi Daulat Shad. She was the mother of
Princess Shakr-un-Nissa Begum, and Princess Aram Banu Begum born
on 2 January 1585. His next wife was the daughter of Shams Chak,
a Kashmiri. The marriage took place on 3 November 1592. Shams belonged
to the great men of the country, and had long cherished this
wish. In 1593, he married the daughter of
Qazi Isa, and the
cousin of Najib Khan. Najib told
Akbar that his uncle had made his
daughter a present for him.
Akbar accepted his representation and on 3
July 1593 he visited Najib Khan's house and married
Gate of Akbar's mausoleum at Sikandra, Agra, 1795
On 3 October 1605,
Akbar fell ill with an attack of dysentery
(possibly from drinking contaminated water from the
Ganges river), 1
which he never recovered from. He is believed to have died on or about
27 October 1605, after which his body was buried at a mausoleum in
Seventy-six years later, in 1681, a group of austere
known as the Jats, rebelling against the Mughal Empire, robbed the
gold, silver and fine carpets within the tomb, desecrating Akbar's
Akbar's great-grandson, Aurangzeb, pursued oppressive policies and
gave orders to demolish
Hindu temples. The rebellious
Jats rose against his policies under the leadership of Raja Ram Jat,
they took the control of
Agra fort after defeating Mughal forces. Jats
ransacked Akbar's tomb, plundered and looted all the gold, jewels,
silver and carpets, whilst destroying other things. He even, in order
to avenge his father Gokula's death, plundered Akbar's tomb, looted
it, opened Akbar's grave and dragged Akbar's bones and burned them in
retaliation. Jats also shot off the tops of
the minarets on the gateway to Akbar's Tomb and melted down two silver
doors from the Taj Mahal.
Akbar remains a popular historical figure in many parts of South Asia.
Akbar left a rich legacy both for the
Mughal Empire as well as the
Indian subcontinent in general. He firmly entrenched the authority of
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. Folk tales revolving around him and Birbal, one
of his navratnas, are popular in India.
Bhavishya Purana is a minor
Purana that depicts the various
days and includes a section devoted to the various dynasties that
ruled India, dating its oldest portion to 500 CE and newest to the
18th century. It contains a story about
Akbar in which he is compared
to the other Mughal rulers. The section called "
Varnan", written in Sanskrit, describes his birth as a "reincarnation"
of a sage who immolated himself on seeing the first Mughal ruler
Babur, who is described as the "cruel king of Mlecchas (Muslims)". In
this text it is stated that
Akbar "was a miraculous child" and that he
would not follow the previous "violent ways" of the Mughals.
Citing Akbar's melding of the disparate 'fiefdoms' of
India into the
Mughal Empire as well as the lasting legacy of "pluralism and
tolerance" that "underlies the values of the modern republic of
India", Time magazine included his name in its list of top 25 world
In popular culture
The violin concerto nicknamed "Il Grosso Mogul" written by Antonio
Vivaldi in the 1720s, and listed in the standard catalogue as RV 208,
is considered to be indirectly inspired by Akbar's reign. See also "Il
gran mogul concerto".
Films and television
Akbar was portrayed in the award-winning 1960
Mughal-e-Azam (The great Mughal), in which his character was played by
Akbar was portrayed by
Hrithik Roshan in the 2008
Bollywood film Jodha
Birbal were portrayed in the
Hindi series Akbar-
Zee TV in late 1990s where Akbar's role was played by Vikram
A television series, called
Akbar the Great, directed by
was aired on
DD National in the 1990s.
Since 2013-2015, a television series, called
Jodha Akbar aired on Zee
TV, in which the role of
Akbar was played by actor Rajat Tokas.
Akbar was portrayed by
Uday Tikekar in EPIC channel's critically
acclaimed historical drama
Siyaasat (based on the novel The Twentieth
In Sony TV's historical drama Bharat Ka Veer Putra - Maharana Pratap,
Akbar was at first portrayed by
Krip Suri and later by Avinesh Rekhi.
Akbar is portrayed by
Kiku Sharda in BIG Magic's sitcom
Abhishek Nigam portrayed
Akbar in BIG MAGIC's historical drama Akbar
— Rakht Se Takht Tak Ka Safar.
Akbar is a principal character in Indu Sundaresan's award-winning
historical novel The Twentieth Wife (2002) as well as in its sequel
The Feast of Roses (2003).
Akbar plays an important supporting role in Kim
Stanley Robinson's 2002 novel, The Years of Rice and Salt.
Akbar is also a major character in Salman Rushdie's 2008 novel The
Enchantress of Florence.
Bertrice Small 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).
In Kunal Basu's The Miniaturist, the story revolves around a young
painter during Akbar's time who paints his own version of the
Akbar is mentioned as 'Raja Baadshah' in the
Chhattisgarhi folktale of
"Mohna de gori kayina"
Akbar is the main character in Empire of the Moghul: Ruler of the
World by Alex Rutherford, the third book in a quintet based on the
five great Mughal Emperors of the Mughal Dynasty.
Akbar is featured in the video game Sid Meier's Civilization IV:
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.
List of people known as The Great
^ a b c Official sources, such as contemporary biographer Abu'l-Fazl,
record Akbar's birth name and date as Jalal ud-din
15 October 1542 respectively. However, based on recollections of
Humayun's personal attendant Jauhar, historian Vincent Arthur Smith
Akbar was born on November 23, 1542 (the fourteenth day of
Sha'aban, which had a full moon) and was originally named Badr ud-din
("The full moon of religion"). According to Smith, the recorded date
of birth was changed at the time of Akbar's circumcision ceremony in
March 1546 in order to throw off astrologers and sorcerers, and the
name accordingly changed to Jalal ud-din ("Splendour of Religion")
^ a b Eraly, Abraham (2004). Phoenix. pp. 115, 116.
ISBN 978-0-7538-1758-2. Missing or empty title= (help)
Akbar (Mughal emperor)". Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Retrieved
^ Chandra, Satish (2005). Medieval India : from Sultanat to the
Mughals (Revised ed.). New Delhi: Har-Anand Publications. p. 95.
^ a b c Jahangir, Emperor of Hindustan (1999). The Jahangirnama:
Memoirs of Jahangir, Emperor of India. Translated by Thackston,
Wheeler M. Oxford University Press. p. 437.
ISBN 978-0-19-512718-8. Ruqayya-
Sultan Begam, the daughter of
Mirza Hindal and wife of His Majesty Arsh-Ashyani [Akbar], had passed
away in Akbarabad. She was His Majesty's chief wife. Since she did not
have children, when
Shahjahan was born His Majesty Arsh-Ashyani
entrusted that "unique pearl of the caliphate" to the begam's care,
and she undertook to raise the prince. She departed this life at the
age of eighty-four.
^ Lal, Ruby (2005). Domesticity and power in the early Mughal world.
Cambridge University Press. p. 205.
^ Burke, S. M. (1989). Akbar, the greatest Mogul. Munshiram Manoharlal
Publishers. p. 142.
^ a b Ballhatchet, Kenneth A. "Akbar". Encyclopedia Britannica.
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Akbar I". Encyclopaedia Iranica. 2011-07-29. Retrieved
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^ a b Tharoor, Ishaan (4 February 2011). "Top 25 Political Icons:Akbar
the Great". Time.
^ Wiegand & Davis 1994, p. 271.
^ Banjerji, S.K. (1938).
Humayun Badshah. Oxford University
^ Smith 1917, pp. 18–19
^ Smith 1917, pp. 12–19
^ Fazl, Abul.
Akbarnama Volume I.
^ Smith 1917, p. 22
^ a b Erskine, William (1854). A History of
India Under the Two First
Sovereigns of the House of Taimur, Báber and Humáyun, Volume 2.
Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans. pp. 403, 404.
^ a b Mehta, Jaswant Lal (1986). Advanced Study in the History of
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^ a b Eraly, Abraham (2000). Emperors of the Peacock Throne : the
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^ a b Robinson, Annemarie Schimmel ; translated by Corinne
Attwood ; edited by Burzine K. Waghmar ; with a foreword by
Francis (2005). The empire of the Great Mughals : history, art
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World. Cambridge University Press. p. 140.
^ a b Kulke, Hermann (2004). A history of India. Routledge.
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^ Schimmel, Annemarie (2004). The Empire of the Great Mughals:
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^ Richards, John F. (1996). The Mughal Empire. Cambridge University
Press. p. 288. ISBN 978-0-521-56603-2.
^ Elgood, Robert (1995). Firearms of the Islamic World. I.B.Tauris.
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^ Gommans, Jos (2002). Mughal Warfare: Indian Frontiers and High Roads
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^ a b c d e Eraly, Abraham (2000). Emperors of the Peacock Throne: The
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^ Majumdar 1984, pp. 104–105
^ Chandra 2007, pp. 226–227
^ a b Chandra 2007, p. 227
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^ Smith 2002, p. 339
^ Chandra 2007, p. 228
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^ a b Richards, John F. (1996). The Mughal Empire. Cambridge
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