Mughal Empire: Reign of Akbar (1556-1605 CE)

In the last post, we have studied about reign of Humayun and Sher Shah Suri. After the Sher Shah Suri, there was no great ruler of Sur Dynasty. So, Akbar, the son of Humayun recaptured the Empire from Sur Dynasty and re-established Mughal Empire.

Reign of Akbar

Mughal Empire during Akbar's Reign
Mughal Empire during Akbar’s Reign

Akbar was one of the greatest monarchs of India. He was 14 years old when he sat on the throne of Kalanaur in 1556. But he could consolidate his position only after the second battle of Panipat (5th November 1556). In the battle of Panipat, Akbar defeated Hemu. Akbar’s mentor was Mir Abdul Latif. He faced many difficulties during his reign.

Problems

Problems faced by Akbar
Problems faced by Akbar

In a situation when the close associates of Akbar revolted against him. Rajputs appeared as a shield. This led to a famous Rajput policy of Badshah. But Mewar was the only state which did not surrender to him.

Revolts During his reign
Revolts During his reign

Solution for Diversity

Akbar was very much aware that in a diversified country like India. It would not be possible for him to rule the country with the support of any one group. For this, he has to bring all on one platform. So, this led to the establishment of Ibadat Khana in 1575.

Mazhar: Declaration

Akbar became Imam of the country. So in his authority, he said that if Muslim intellectuals will have a different opinion on an issue, then as religious head and ruler of state will choose any one decision. But, his search for the common platform for all religions was not over. This led to next phase of his exploration. So, it was his search for truth. In this, he invited saints of different religions and had a discussion with them.

Search for truth
Search for truth

 

After this discussion, Akbar came to the conclusion that the things are common in all the religions ie basic principle+final objective. So, this was a conclusion and the integration of these two led to the birth of the last phase.

Tauhid-i-Illahi

He gave new religion to the Empire and it was Tauhid-i-Illahi or Din-i-Illahi.

Feudalism during Akbar’s Reign

From the last phase, 14th-century feudalism revived in India because the centre was weak till 1556. So, feudal lords became a problem for the State. So, Akbar introduced zamindari system in India. By introducing this his objective was to maintain a big boss on feudal lords and zamindari in India.

Challenges and their Solutions
Challenges and their Solutions

Regional Revolts

The challenge during his reign was Regional revolts. Because civil administration was in local hand and when centre became weak, the local people used to declare their independence. To overcome this trouble Akbar came out with Mansabdari System.

Mansabdari System

So, in Akbar’s reign from now onwards the regional centres were under the military+administrative command of Mughals.

Mansabdari System
Mansabdari System

This system was evolved by Akbar to specify the status and duty of different officers. After Akbar, his son came to the throne. He was Salim or Jahangir. Jahangir somehow modified the Mansabdari system. He introduced Du-Aspa and Si-Aspa system. This was a step to increase the strength of nobles without changing the personal status and salary.

Shahjahan succeeded Jahangir. Shahjahan also modified this system. He introduced the law of 1/3rd, 1/4th and 1/5th. Because his reign saw the beginning of the financial crisis in Mughal Empire. Actually, he started to spend more on art and architecture of Empire instead of giving focus on administration.

So, this was the step to handle the financial crisis. According to this law, a Mansabdar in his home territory was asked to maintain 1/3rd of Sawar by his own. Outside the home territory, Mansabdar has to maintain 1/4th Sawar by his own. So, as in technical areas, Mansabdar was asked to maintain 1/5th of Sawar by his own.

Zabti System of Akbar

Zabti System
Zabti System

During the reign of Akbar, an agricultural research and development department was established. Minimum Supportive Price was there during his reign. It was to support small farmers. The 10years record of land was taken and further reforms were done. It is called Ain-i-Dahshala.

In this way in 49years of reign, Akbar consolidated the Mughal Empire in India. His successors Jahangir and Shahjahan managed this empire smoothly but Aurangzeb became the cause for the decline of the Mughal Empire in India.

In the next coming post, we will read about Jahangir and Shahjahan.

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