(Prelims) Examination Special
Quick Revision Notes
Empire - IV
: Indian History
The imperial service during Akbarâ€™s reign was organized
on bureaucratic principles, but was military in organization
The most flourishing towns during
Akbarâ€™s regime were Fatehpur Sikri,
Agra, Delhi, Allahabad, Benaras, Lucknow,
Lahore, Multan, Ujjain, Ahmedabad, Ajmer,
Patna, Rajmahal and Dhaka.
The most important industry of
the time was cultivation of cotton and
manufacture of cotton cloth. The principal centres
of cotton manufacture were Jaunpur, Benaras, Patna,
Burhanpur, Lucknow, Khairabad and Akbarpur.
Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Lahore were important centres
The principal outlets for foreign
sea-borne trade during Akbarâ€™s
regime were Cambay, Surat and Broach in Gujarat,
Lahori Bandar in Sindh, Bassein, Chaul and Dabul (modern
Bhabol) in the Ratnagiri district, Goa and Bhatkal, Calicut
and Cochin in Malabar, and Negapatnam and Masulipatnam
on the east coast, and Satgaon, Sripur, Chatgaon
and Sonarghat in Bengal.
Two main land routes for exports were
Lahore to Kabul and beyond, and from
Multan to Kandhar and beyond.
Gold and silver were not allowed to be exported during
the Akbarâ€™s regime. Only imports were allowed.
Among the popular indoor games during
Akbarâ€™s reign were chaupar,
phansa and pachisi.
Akbar was particularly
fond of chandalmandal and
The Tajak, a
well-known work of Astronomy, and the Tazuk-i-Baburi,
or the memoirs of Babur, were
translated into Persian during Akbarâ€™s
The Mahabharat was
rendered into Persian by Naqib Khan, Abdul
Qadir Badayuni and Shaikh Sultan of Thanesar
and was named Razm-nama, the
book of wars.
The Lilawati, a
Sanskrit treatise on Mathematics, was
rendered into Persian by Faizi.
Among the notable works of literature during
Akbarâ€™s regime were: Abul Fazalâ€™s Akbar-Nama
and Ain-i-Akbari, Nizamud-Din
Ahmadâ€™s Tabqat-i-Akbari, Gulabadan
and Jauharâ€™s Tazkirat-ul-
Waqayat. Abbas Sarwani produced the
Tohfa-i-Akbar Shahi alias
Akbar ordered the compilation of the history of 1000
years of Islam, and Naqib Khan Mullah
Mohammad of Thatta and Jaffer
Beg were commissioned to write out the
work. The book, with an introduction by Abul
Fazi, became known
as the Tarikh-i-Alfi.
The reign of Akbar was golden age of Hindi poetry. The
most notable luminaries of Hindi were
Tulsi Das, Sur Das, Abdur Rahim Khan
Khana, Ras Khan and Birbal.
Among the famous works of Tulsi Das were
Akbar created a separate department of painting
Abdus Samad, one of the best painters
of his court, was placed at its head.
Abdus Samad was
a Persian who had come from Shiraz. He was
given the title of Shirin-qalam or
Daswanth, Basawan, Kesu, Lal, Mukand, Madhu, Jagan,
Mahesh, Tara, Khem Karan, Sanwla, Haribansh and Ram
were some well-known Hindu painters during
Akbarâ€™s reign. They were experts in portrait
According to Abul Fazal eight modes of calligraphy
were in vogue at Akbarâ€™s court, of which the
eighth kind, named Nastaliq,
was specially favoured by Akbar.
The most important calligraphist at Akbarâ€™s court was
Mohammed Hussain Kashmiri, who
was given the title of Zarin
Qalam. Some of the other famous
calligraphists were Maulana Baqir,
Mohammed Amin of Mashad, and Mir Hussein
The Ain-i-Akbari gives
names of 36 first-rate musicians
in Akbarâ€™s court. They were arranged in seven
divisions. Each division was required to
entertain Akbar for one fixed day in the
Akbar himself was a skilled musician and was an expert
performer on Naqqara (kettle
the most notable musician of the age. He
had been trained in a school established at Gwalior by Raja
Man Singh Tomar.
Baba Ram Das was
another famous musician of Akbarâ€™s court
and was ranked next only to Tansen.
Sur Das, besides
being a great poet, was also a musician of
The gigantic forts at
Agra, Lahore and Allahabad were built by
The Agra fort resembles
that of Gwalior. It has two main gateways,
namely, the Delhi gate and
the Amar Singh gate. Inside,
about 500 buildings of red sandstone were built.
Most of these were later pulled-down by Shahjehan.
The greatest architectural achievement of
Akbar was his new capital at Fatehpur
Sikri. Three sides of Fatehpur Sikri
are covered by a wall and the fourth side by an artifical
lake. The walls have nine gates, of which Buland Darwaza,
built of marble and sandstone, is â€œone of the most perfect
architectural achievements in the whole of Indiaâ€.
Decorative carving was an important feature of Mughal
Mughals brought the concept of geometrically designed
India. The chief characteristic of Mughal
gardens was artificial irrigation in the form of channels, basins
or tanks, and dwarf waterfalls.
The most important garden associated with Akbar is
at Sikandra. In
the centre of this garden stands his mausoleum.
Akbar was illiterate. But, he acquired knowledge of theology,
literature, philosophy, history, etc. by having books
read out to him every day.
Akbar was the first ruler of Medevial India to discard
the Islamic basis of sovereignty and to lay down the principle
that the king was the father of all his subjects, irrespective
of caste, race or religion.
Akbar sought to strengthen the society by doing away
with its evils. He tried to abolish Sati,
child-marriage and old-age marriage. He
did not allow circumcision before the age
of 12, and allowed Muslim converts to go back to their
original religion if they liked.
Akbar attempted to give his empire cultural unity by
making Persian the court language and by providing in that
language (either by translation or original composition) the
best Hindu and Muslim thought, religious as well as secular.
Most of the fine arts, such as architecture, painting and
music were nationalised and made the common property
of the Hindus and Muslims alike.
Akbar gave his empire the political and administrative unity
of the highest kind possible in that age, by giving
all the provinces the same system of administration, the
same set of officials, the same administrative methods, the
same revenue system and the same coinage.