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The Mughal Dynasty                   [1556 AD - 1627 AD]


Akbar, The Great (1556 AD - 1605 AD)

He consolidated the empire. Daring and reckless, an able general, and yet gentle and full of compassion. An idealist and a dreamer, and yet a man of action and a leader of men who roused the passionate loyalty of his followers. He was only thirteen, when he came to the throne. His first conflict was with Hemu, a general of Adil Shah, under whom the Afghan resistance had regrouped. At the second battle of Panipat (1556 AD), Hemu was defeated and Akbar reoccupied Delhi and Agra.

Akbar annexed Malwa and brought a major part of Rajasthan under his control. He built the Buland Darwaza, after his successful campaign in Gujarat. Most of the Rajputs recognised his suzerainty, except Mewar, which continued to resist under Rana Pratap and his son Amar Singh. By according broad religious toleration to his subjects, with the abolition of the pilgrimage tax (1563 AD) and the abolition of Jaziya - a tax imposed on non-muslims (1564 AD) and by stopping the practice of forcible conversion of prisoners of war, Akbar strengthened the Mughal state.

After his success in military activities and administration, Akbar's insatiable quest and his personal need led him to build the Ibadat-Khana - Hall of prayer (1575 AD). Initially it was open only to the Sunnis but later in 1578, it was opened to people of all religions. However, in 1582, he discontinued the debates in the Ibadat-Khana. Later the academic, spiritual and metaphysical aspects of it crystallized into Tauhid-i-Ilahi (Divine Monotheism). Akbar did not create a new religion but only suggested a new religious path based on the common truths of all religions. The word Din (Faith) of Din-i-Ilahi, was applied after eighty years.

Akbar believed that a ruler was the guardian of his subjects and had to look after their welfare irrespective of their sect or creed. He believed in the policy of Sulh-i-kul (peace to all). Because of his discerning mind, broad vision and humanitarian outlook, he is regarded as one of the great rulers in history.

Salim (1605 AD - 1627 AD)

Akbar's son, Salim succeeded him as Jahangir after his death. He strengthened his control over Bengal and his four successive campaigns forced Amar Singh of Mewar to accept his suzerainty. The Mughal empire became more vulnerable to attacks from central and western Asia. Towards the end of his reign, he had to deal with the rebellion of his son Shah Jahan.

He was very famous for his sense of justice. Even a common man could easily approach the Emperor for justice during his reign. It was at this time The East India Company was established in India. An important event of his reign was the active interest taken by Nur Jahan, his queen, in matters of the State and she also ruled the empire when he was ill.