Services (Prelims) Examination Special
Quick Revision Notes
Empire - II (Indian History)
The second Battle
of Panipat marked the real beginning of
the Mughal Empire in India.
Bairam Khan remained the protector and guardian
of Akbar during the initial reign of Akbar.
Akbarâ€™s mother Hamida
Banu Begum, and his foster
mother Maham Anaga urged
Akbar to get rid of the Regent, Bairam Khan. In
1560, Akbar openly expressed his desire to take the
reigns of the empire in his own hands and dismissed
Bairam Khan submitted his resignation and
desired to proceed to Mecca. On his way to Mecca,
Bairam was stabbed to death by Lohani
Afghan, whose father had been killed
by Mughal troops under the command of Bairam Khan.
Akbar followed a policy of conquest for the
expansion of his empire until the capture of Asirgarh
in January 1601.
He achieved the political unification of the whole of northern
and central India by frequent annexations extending over
Akbar realised the value of Rajput alliance in
his task of building up an Empire in India and
tried, as far as possible, to conciliate the
Rajputs and secure and ensure their active
cooperation in almost all activities. The Empire of Akbar
can be said to be an outcome of the coordination of Mughal
prowess and diplomacy and Rajput valour and service.
Mewar, however, gave stiff resistance to Mughal
forces. Rana Sanga, the
ruler of Mewar, kept the torch of independence
burning. However, after his death, his weak son,
Uday Singh, could not hold against the Mughals and Akbar
finally besieged the fort of Chittor in
October 1567. But, the victory did not come his way
easily. Rana Sangaâ€™s brave followers, Jaimnall
and Patta, gave stiff resistance. The
entire garrison, to the last man, died fighting. The Rajput
women performed the rite of Jauhar.
Victory at Chittor resulted in other Rajput
chiefs to submit to Akbar. But Mewar continued to
defy. Uday Singh continued to retain his
independence even after losing the capital. After
his death, Mewar found a true leader in Rana Pratap.
The imperial invasion of territory of Rana
Pratap took place in April 1576, under troops
commanded by Man Singh, the ruler of
Amber, and Asaf Khan. A
furious battle was fought at the pass of Haldighati.
Rana Pratap was defeated
by the Mughal forces. His life was, however, saved by
the selfless devotion of the chief of Jhala, who drew upon himself
the attack of Mughal forces by declaring himself to be
the Rana. Rana mounted his favourite horse Chetak
and fled to
the hills, from where he continued his resistance to the
Mughal forces and also managed to recover some of the lost
territory. Rana Pratapâ€™s son tried to continue the resistance after
his fatherâ€™s death but was finally defeated in 1599 by
Mughal forces led by Man Singh.
After annexing Ranthambhor and Kalinjar in
1569, the Mughals subjugated Gujarat.
In 1572, Akbar marched in person
against Gujarat and defeated all opposition.
Gujarat turned out to be one of the most
profitable sources of income for the Mughal empire,
chiefly through the re-organisation of its finances
and revenues by Todar Mal.
In 1585, Kabul was formally annexed to the
Delhi empire after the death of Mirza
Muhammad Hakim, stepbrother of
Akbar who governed Kabul as an independent ruler.
Bhagwan Das and Kasim
Khan were deputed by Akbar
to conquer Kashmir. They
defeated its Sultan Yusuf Shah in 1586 and annexed
Kashmir to the Empire.
By 1595, Akbar made himself undisputed ruler of
an area extending from Hindukush to Brahamputra, and
from Himalayas to the Narmada.
With an ideal of an all-India Empire, Akbar
sought to bring the Deccan Sultanates, Ahmadnagar,
Bijapur, Golkunda and Khandesh
under his hegemony. He also wanted
to utilise his control over Deccan as means of pushing the
the sea. Thus, his Deccan policy was purely
imperialistic in origin and outlook and not influenced by religious
considerations, as was the case with Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb.
Akbar sent a large army under Bairam Khanâ€™s
son Abdur Rehman and his second son Prince
Murad to annex Ahmadnagar.
The city was besieged in 1595, but not before splendid
courage and extraordinary resolution shown by Chand
Bibi, a queen of Bijapur. Under a treaty with Chand Bibi,
Berar was ceded
to Akbarâ€™s forces and the boy king of Ahmadnagar
agreed to the overlordship of Akbar. The kingdom could
be annexed to the empire only during the reign of Shah Jehan.
In July 1599, Akbar himself marched to the
south and captured Burhanpur,
the capital of Khandesh
and laid siege to
the mighty fortress of Asirgarh.
Akbar seduced the Khandesh officers by money to get
the doors of the fort opened. This
was the last conquest of Akbar.
In 1601, Akbar returned to Agra to deal with
his rebellious son Salim.
On October 17, 1605 Akbar died following severe
dysentery. His mausoleum is located at Sikandra.
Akbar observed the external forms of the Sunni
faith until 1575, when his association with Shaikh
Mubarak and his two sons, Faizi
and Abul Fazal,
produced change in his
Akbar got a building called Ibadat-Khana
or the House
of Worship constructed at Fatehpur Sikri, with
a view to discussing philosophical and theological
Hari Vijaya Suri, Vijaya Sen Suri and
Bhanuchandra Upadhaya were prominent
Jain teachers who were called by
Akbar to attend the philosophical and theological discussions.
Akbar floated a new religion, called Din-i-Ilahi,
based on his discussions with people of different
Akbar abolished the pilgrim
tax in the eighth year of
his reign, and the jaziya in
the ninth year.