Sher Shah and his Successors 

A period of fifteen years elapsed between the over- 

f . , . throw and the re-establishment of the 

Introductory. . 

Mughal pmpire m India. The House 

of Sur, founded by Sher Sh&h Suri, bridged over the 
interval. The l : fe of the founder of the new dynasty 
affords an excellent instance of how the early days of 
great men aVe often, if not always, crowded with mis- 
fortunes, to which, to a certain extent, they owe their 
future greatness. 

Sher Shah's original name was Farld. He was 
born in the year 1486 A. C. at Hi^sar 
Firozz, where tys grandfather held a 
joglr. His father, Hasan, was a 
jdgirddr of Sasram and Khwaspur in Bihar. His early 
boyhood was neglected by his father owing to the 
ill- treatment of his step-mother, i Disgusted with 
his step-mother and the step-motherly treatment of his 
father, who was devoted to the youngest of his four 
wives and who treated her sons with preference, Farld 
left his home and joined the service of his father's 
benefactor, Jamal Khan, at Jaunpur. There he applied 
himself sedulously to the study of Arabic and Persian. 
His receptive mind imbibed and 'assimilated all that was 
imparted to him. Impressed by his industry and 


activity of mind, Jamal Khan, the governor of Bihar, 
sent a message to Hasan, asking him to treat his son 
kindly. < Farid returned home and his father entrusted 
him with the management of his jagirs, Sasram and 
Khwaspur. He managed his father's estate admirably 
and introduced the principle of direct settlement with 
the cultivators, which may be described as the Raiyat- 
wdrl System in modern terminology. After protecting 
the husbandmen from oppression and placing the revenue 
administration of the estate on a sound basis, he set 
himself to the task of reducing the refractory Zamlndars 
to obedience. Between 1511 A. C. and 1518 A. C., 
when he was in charge of his father's jagirs, he gained 
considerable experience. During this time, as his 
biographer observes, ' he was unconsciously serving his 
period of apprenticeship for administering the empire of 
Hindustan.' In 1519 A. C. he was again compelled to 
qait his home owing to the hostile influence of his 
step-mother. He went to Bihar and entered the service 
of its governor, Bahar Khan, son of Darya Khan Lohani. 
It was under Bahar Khan that he acquired influence and 

From 1522 A. C. to 1526 A. C. Farid was in the 

service of Bahar Khan, who greatly 

activities, appreciated his services in the civil 

and revenue departments. In one 

of the hunting expeditions of his master he killed a tiger 

and received from him the title of Sher Khan in 

appreciation of that heroic deed. But differences having 

arisen between him and his master, he resigned his 

service and entered that of Babar. In recognition of 


his meritorious services Babar bestowed upon him the 
governorship of several parganas, including those of his 
father. On the death of Bahar Khan his son, Jalal Khan, 
became king under the regency of Sher Khan, who 
gained considerable power and influence during the 
minority of Jalal. When Jalal came of age, he refused 
to play the second fiddle. Smarting under the galling 
tutelage of an ambitious Afghan, he invited the assistance 
of the r"ler of Bengal, but the allies were defeated at 
Surajgarh and Sher Khan became the ruler of Bihar. 
Sher Khan'b spirit -vas restless from the beginning. 
After the acquisition of Bihar, he 

turned his attention towards Bengal, 
whose anarchical state offered a 
favourable field for his ambitious enterprise. Early in 
the year 1536 A. C. he set out from Bihar and appeared 
before the walls of Gaur. Mahmud Shah, the ruler of 
Bengal, instead of repelling the invader, bought him off 
with a heavy bribe. The following year he repeated his 
expedition of Bengal. He captured Gaur after a pro- 
tracted siege and then attacked the stronghold of 
Rohtas, which soon capitulated. Thus ended, for a 
while, the independence of Bengal. 

When Humayun heard of Sher Khan's successes in 

the east, he lost no time in advancing 

Recovery of towards Bengal with a large Mughal 

Humtyun. army. At his approach, the 'wily 

Afghan' retired to Bihar and evaded 

his enemy. The Mughals occupied Gaur and rechristen- 

ed it Jannatabad. The Afghans, however, compensated 

themselves in another quarter for their losses : They 


seized upon the imperial territories in Bihar and jaunpur 
and overran the country as far as Kanauj. 

Again, when Humayun heard about Sher Khan's 

activities in Bihar and Jaunpur, 
Battle of Chausa. a( . 

ordered his army to march against him under his own 
command. He crossed the Ganges near Munghir, but 
soon found himself in a serious situation. He tried to 
make peace with the Afghan war-lord, but in v?in. At 
Chausa, an engagement was fought between the Afghans 
and the Mughals, in which f he latter were defeated 
and their Emperor plunged into the river flowing by and 
would have drowned had not Nizam, a water-carrier, 
saved his life. Nizam was allowed to rub as king for 
two days and all the officers were ordered to carry out 
his wishes. 

After his victory in the battle of Chausa, Sher 
aSSUmed the title f ^ eT Sh fih ' 

Battle of Kanauj, 

The coins were struck and the Khutba 

was read in his name. In short, all the formalities of 
kingship were gone through and there remained not the 
least semblance of allegiance to the Mughal Emperor. 
Humayun was now assured of the superiority of Sher 
Shah. He now realised how shaky his position was. 
He tried to enlist the assistance of his brothers, but 
failed. The latter not only refused to co-operate with 
him against the Afghan danger, but hampered his 
preparations as much as they could Sher Shah 
availed himself of the dissensions among the surviving 
sons of Babar. He crossed the Ganges at the head of 
his army and took his position near Kanauj. Humayun 


advanced from his capital and encamped opposite to 
Sher Shah. In the battle that ensued, Humayun was 
defeated and put to flight. 

Sher Shah was now the undisputed ruler of 

r* * r 01. Bengal. Bihar, Jaunpur, Delhi and 

Conquests of Sher r TT . , . . 

Shah : the Punjab Agra. Hitherto his energies were 

concentrated on the expulsion of the 

Mughals from India ; now that he 
was successful in achieving his object, he launched 
upon a career of new conquests. The Punjab was the 
first to fall into his hands. It was willingly handed 
over to him by Kamran. After occupying the Punjab, 
Sher Shah reduced the Gakhar territory between the 
upper courses of the Indus and the Jhelum in order 
to guard against the danger from the North- West; for 
Kamran, the ruler of Kabul, and Mirza Haider, the 
ruler of Kashmir, might combine together at any time 
and attack him. Constructing a strong fort (Rohtas) 
in Jhelum, he left 50,000 men under the command of 
his trusted generals and returned to Bengal to re-organise 
its administration. 

After quelling rebellions and disturbances and 

establishing peace in the province of 
of Malwa Bengal, Sher Shah turned his attention 

to Malwa. During the weak rule 
of Mahmud II, Mallu Khan, one of the local chiefs, 
taking advantage of the disorganised state of things, 
took possession of Mandu, Ujjain, Sarangpur and a few 
other districts, and set up an independent kingdom 
under his own control. Besides Mallu Khan, two 
othej independent chiefs had established tiieir sway 

75 80 85 90 


over vast tracts of thu country. MalwS and Delhi 
being so closely situated, Sher Shah's fears were well- 
founded. Therefore, he set out to conquer that kingdom 
lest some ambitious and powerful neighbour should 
successfully fish in the troubled waters* He reduced 
Gwalior, Sarangpur, Ujjain and completed the conquest 
of Malwa by the end of the year 1542 A. C. 

The conquest of Malwa was followed by a series 

of conquests in Rajputana. Raisin 
Conquests in , . . c 

Rajputana. was attacked and occupied in 1543 

A. C. Sind was conquered and then 
Jodhpur, the capital of Marwar, was besieged. Here 
the Rajputs offered such a stout resistance that Sher 
Shah was compelled to have recourse to a ruse. He caused 
letters, containing the following request of the nobles 
of Maldeva of Marwar, to be forged and thrown near 
the camp of the Rajah : 

" Let not the King permit any anxiety or doubt to 
find its way to his heart. During the battle we will seize 
Maldeva and bring him to you." 

The trick succeeded, for when Maldeva came to 
know the text of the letters, he suspected treachery 
and decided to retreat without resistance. The Rajputs 
gave him all assurances of fidelity, but he would not 
believe. In the battle that was fought, the Rajputs 
displayed extreme valour, but victory sided with the 
Afghans. Encouraged by this victory, Sher Shah occupied 
Mount Abu and then advanced to Chittor, which was 
taken and entrusted to an Afghan officer. Having 
secured his hold en Rajputana, Sher Shah undertook 
an expedition against the Rajah of Kalanjar. The 


Rajputs again displayed their \ alour, but the Afghans 
were successful. During the siege, when Sber Shah 
himself was superintending the batteries, a bomb 
exploded and injured him fatally. He was removed 
to his tent, only to die there. This took place on May 
22, 1545 A. C. Thus ended the eventful career of 
Sher Shah, the founder of the Sur Dynasty and the 
retriever of the fallen fortunes of the Afghan Monarchy, 
Born in India, Sher Shah had acquired an intimate 
knowledge of Indian life and character. 
**e had had enough of experience in the 
worK of administration while he was 
in charge of his lather's estate. As a king, he proved 
himself a very capable statesman and administrator. 
In many respects he anticipated the work of Akbar the 
Great. "The whole of his brief administration," says 
Mr. Keen "was based on the principle of union." His 
methods of dealing with the peoples of India, so 
different in character and culture, religion and language, 
affords a culminating proof of his sagacious statesman- 
ship. By his administrative reforms and humanitarian 
measures he rendered his reign so very illustrious in 
spite of its short duration. He laboured day and night 
for reforming the social and intellectual condition of 
his subjects and advancing their material interests. 
The principal features of his administration are outlined 
in the account that follows. 

For purposes of efficient administration, the whole 

Empire was partitioned into 47 Divi- 

fheEmpire. sions, the commands of which were 

distributed among the chieftains of 


hostile clans, whose intern jcine feuds and mutual jealousies 

were a sufficient guarantee against their ambitions. A 
Division had several Sarkdrs t each having a Shiqdar-i- 
Shiqdaran, or Shiqdar-in-Chief, and a Munsif-i- 
Munsifan, or Munsif-in-Chief . A Sarkdr comprised a 
number of Parganas, each having a Shiqdar, an Amln, 
a Khazanchl, a Munsif, a Hindi writer and a Persian 
clerk to write accounts. A Pargana embraced many 
villages, each having a Muqaddam, a Chaudhrl and a 
Patwdrl, who served as intermediary officers between 
the State and the subjects. The Shiqdar was a soldier, 
whose chief duty consisted in enforcing the Imperial 
firmans and furnishing military aid to the Amln when- 
ever he required it. The Amln was a civil officer, who 
was responsible to the Central Government for his 
actions. The Shiqdar-in-Chief and the Munsif-in-Chief 
were the principal civil officers who looked after the 
work of the officers of the Parganas under their charge. 
Their chief duty was to watch the conduct of the people 
and to administer justice. The Subahddr, now known 
as provincial governor, was in charge of a Division 
and was responsible only to the Crown for his actions, 
civil as well as military. The Crown Sher Shah was 
the fountain-head of all authority. He was the shadow 
of God on earth, answerable to no human authority. 
As an astute manager of the estate of his father, 
Sher Shah had realised at an early date 

Revenue d System. that the stabilit y \ his em P ire de P end ' 
ed upon the happiness of the agricul- 
turists. He had ahc understood that the traditional 
methods of the hereditary revenue officers deprived the 


State of a large amount of its dues. He, therefore, 
caused the whole land under the plough to be measured 
and portioned into bighds. The holding of every tenant 
was measured at harvest time and ^th of the gross 
produce was fixed as the share of the State. The agri- 
culturists were allowed the option of paying the land 
revenue in cash or in kind according to their conveni- 
ence. The industrious ryots were protected from 
obnoxious taxation and their interests were carefully 
looked after. No injury to cultivation was tolerated : 
Special guards were stationed to see that no damage 
was done to the growing crops. Agriculture was 
encouraged, forests were cleared and opened for culti- 
vation. Granaries were erected and corn stored for the 
times of need. The instructions to the collectors of 
land revenue were couched in humanitarian terms and 
were worked with great lenity. Advances were made to 
the cultivators to relieve their distress in bad davs. 
This efficient system of revenue settlement, based on the 
actual measurement of the land untier cultivation, was 
subsequently developed by Akbar the Great and has, in 
all its essential features, survived in British India under 
the name of 'Raiyatwari Settlement'. % 

Even-handed justice was administered throughout 
the length and breadth of the empire. 
06*58 and Mir-i-Adls (judges) tried 
civil suits and criminal cases in the 
Dar-ul-'Adalat, or Courts of Justice. They dealt out 
inflexible justice, so much so that no one could evade law 
and escape punishment by reason of his high birth or rank. 
Punishments awarded were very severe, so severe as 'to 


set an example'. The Fanchdyat System also was in 
vogue. The Hindus had their disputes decided in the 
Panchdyats. The jurisdiction of these courts of 
arbitration was restricted to civil disputes relating to 
inheritance, succession and the like. 

Sher Shah organised a most modern police force. He 
did not make any punitive police out 
PoUc^lSrce. f of gentlemen, but converted the 
robbers and the rebels, the 
malcontents and the miscreants into custodians of 
peace. He repressed crimes in his kingdom by intro- 
ducing the principle of local responsibility and enforcing 
it throughout his dominions. The Muqaddams were 
responsible for the detection of cases of theft and 
highway robbery. If they failed to find out the thieves 
and the robbers, they were forced to make good the 
losses. Likewise, if a murder occurred within their 
jurisdiction and they failed to produce the murderer, 
they were arrested and put to death. This system of 
local responsibility ' resulted in the complete security of 
life and property. The travellers and wayfarers slept 
without the least anxiety even in a desert, and the 
Zamlnddrs themselves kept watch over them for fear 
of the king*. The Police Department was greatly 
assisted by a body of censors of public morals, called 
Muhtasibs, who put down such crimes as adultery and 
drinking and enforced the observance of religious laws. 
There also existed a regular department of secret 
service, because espionage was ab- 
Secret Service. so i ute ly indispensable in that despotic 

age. An efficient army of diligent spies was employed 


in order to keep the Emperor in touch with all that 
occurred in his empire. 

Sher Shah abolished many oppressive taxes and 

_ _ _ took only those which he thought 

Tariff System. J & 

were legal and less burdensome. So 

he made a clean sweep of all internal customs and 
allowed the imposition of excise duties on the frontier 
and at the places of sale within the empire. This re- 
construction of the tariff system revived trade and 
commerce, reduced the burden of taxation and removed 
discontent to a considerable extent. The Jizid was 
also abolished. 

Sher Shah paid great attention to the development 
of the means of communication and 
Communication. transportation. His name is inti- 
mately associated with the construc- 
tion of roads and highways on a large scale. The 
longest of his roads was the one running from 
Sunargaon to the Indus. Besides this, there were 
many other important roads which were so dexterously 
planted that they linked almost all the strategic cities 
of the empire to the Imperial Capital. Of them, three 
deserve specific mention at this place: (1) from Agra 
to Burhanpur, (2) from Agra via Bianah to the borders 
of Marwar, and (3) from Lahore to Multan. On both 
sides of these roads shady trees were planted and at 
intervals serais were constructed for the comfort and 
convenience of travellers. Each of the serais had 
a well, a mosque and a garden in it. It waS looked 
after by a set of officers, viz., r *a,h Imam, a Mu'azzin 
and some watermen, appointed by the State* Inside 


the serais, separate accommodation was allotted to 
Hindus and Muslims. Brahmans were employed for 
the convenience of the former and Muslims for the 
service of the latter. Dwelling upon the importance 
of these serais, Mr. Qanungo remarks that they became 
'the veritable arteries of the empire, diffusing a new 
life among its hitherto benumbed limbs '. There sprang 
up around them busy market towns and a brisk trade 
was the natural consequence. 

Sher Shah was equally interested in the maintenance 

, . of a highly organised postal service. 

Postal Service. * B r 

The serais, referred to, served as 

dak chowkis, and through them the news of the 
remotest parts of the empire were dispatched to the 
Emperor. In every serai two horses were kept to 
provide postal service; and foot-runners and horsemen 
were posted along the highways and they carried the 
imperial firmans^ or dispatches, from place to place. 
If there existed an excellent postal system under Sher 
Shah, it was because he had sufficiently developed the 
means of communication. 

Sher Shah introduced several reforms in the army. 

In the first place, he tried to put an 
Military Reforms. end to ^ feudal system ^ 

endeavoured to bring his soldiers in close contact with 
himself. Therefore, he combined in his person the 
functions of the Commander-in-Chief and the Pay- 
Master General. He himself paid the soldiers and 
their officers and told them to obey their immediate 
officers not as their personal chiefs but as servants of 
the Emperor. Previously, whenever a provincial 


gove-nor rebelled against the Sultan, his soldiery sided 
with him and not with the latter. Sher Shah at once 
abolished this system and ordered his soldiers to obey 
the imperial firmans first and those of their immediate 
officers after. Thus, with one stroke of wisdom the 
main cause of rebellions and revolts was removed. Second- 
ly, Sher Shah checked fraudulent musters by reviving 
Ala-ud-DIn Khilji's system of branding the horses in 
the service of the State, and drew up descriptive rolls 
of the troopers. The marks on the persons of the 
soldiers and Oil the hodies of their horses were entered 
in their descriptive rolls and compared at the time of 
inspection. Soldiers were recruited by the Emperor 
himself and their salaries were fixed after personal 
inspection. The system of assigning jaglrs in lieu of 
service was abolished and cash salaries were paid to 
the rank and file from the State Treasury. Military 
officers were not allowed to stay in one place for more 
than two years. During their f marches they were 
ordered to behave properly and were strictly warned 
against damaging the growing crops. Finally, Sher 
Shah established fortified posts in many parts of his 
kingdom in order to prevent the possibility of external 
invasion. As a result, India enjoyed complete 
immunity from foreign attacks, and the recalcitrant 
population was kept in check. 

At his accession Sher Shah found the currency 

Currency Reform. SyStem . f the COuntr y under his 
control in confusion. He knew that 

the financial stability of a government depended upon 
its credit and credit upon its currency. He, therefore, 


undertook the task of reforming the coinage, and 
establishing the financial stability of his government. 
He issued gold, silver and copper coins in abundance 
and gave them a fixed standard of weight, fineness 
and execution. The twofold advantage of the reform 
in the current coins of the country was that prices 
were low and trade was brisk. 

Sher Shah was a remarkable promoter of public 
welfare. He encouraged agriculture, 

Welfa S re f UC systematically constructed roads and 
bridges, laid out beautiful gardens 
and terraced-walks, erected aim-houses, hospitals and 
caravan-serais, patronised art and literature, founded 
maktabs and madrasahs, established mosques and 
monasteries, granted stipends and scholarships to the 
teachers and the taught, maintained a large number 
of free kitchens in short, he tried to do all that he 
could for the betterment of his subjects. His guiding 
principle was that no one should be deprived of 
his due share of State benefactions and that no one 
should have a superfluity of the same. 

Sher Shah was a good builder also. He made 

A . . a magnificent city at Delhi and 

Architecture. J 

erected the famous fort of Rohtas 
in the Punjab. The mausoleum, which he built while 
he was living and in which he was buried after his 
\ieath, is one of the splendid monuments in India. 
The palace he constructed in the Fort of Agra has 
exacted the encomiums of Fergusson, the historian 
of Indian Architecture? who writes : 

" Ini the citadel of Agra there stands or at least 


stood when I was there a fragment of a palace built 
by Sher Shah, or his son Salim, which was as exquisite 
a piece of decorative art as anything of its class in India. 
Being one of the first to occupy the ground, this palace 
was erected on the highest spot within the fort ; hence 
the present Government, fancying this a favourable site 
for the erection of a barrack, pulled it down, and 
replaced it by a more than usually hideous brick erec- 
tion of their own. This is now a warehouse, in white- 
washed ugliness, over the marble palaces of the Moghals 
a fit standard of comparison of the tastes of the 
two races. 

"Judging from the fragment that remains, and the 
accounts received on the spot, this palace must have 
gone far to justify the eulogium more than once passed 
on the works of these Pathans that ' they built like 
giants and finished like goldsmiths ' : for the stones seem 
to have been of enormous size, and the details of 
most exquisite finish. It has passed away, however, 
like many another noble building of its class, 

under our rule. Mosques we have 

generally spared, and sometimes tombs, because they 
were unsuited to our economic purposes, and it would 
not answer to offend the religious feelings of the 
natives. But when we deposed the kings and appro- 
priated their revenues, there was no one to claim their 
now useless abodes of splendour. It was consequently 
found cheaper either to pull them down, or use them 
as residences or arsenals than to keep them up, so that 
very few now remain for the adrrfiration of posterity."* 

* Ferguson's Indian and Eastern Architecture, pp. 572-73. 


Sher Shah's ideal of kingship was very high ^nd be 

it said to his credit that he fell little 

vShcr Shah's ideal ^ *. t *. u j j. i T^ 

of kingship. s " ort * !t - He use d to sa y : " 

behoves the great king to be always 

active." He himself looked into the minutest details of 
his government and kept a vigilant watch on his civil 
and military officers. He spared no pains in advancing 
the interests of his subjects. In his own words : 

"The essence of royal protection consists in pro- 
tecting the life and property of the subjects. They 
(kings) should use the principles of justice and equality 
in all their dealings with all classes of people, and 
should instruct powerful officials so that they may try 
their best to refrain from cruelty and oppression in their 

Suffice it to say that he lived up to this ideal and 
secured the sincere homage and acquiescent good-will 
of his subjects, Hindus and Muslims alike. 

Sher Shah is a most interesting figure in the history 

TT . oi Muslim India. Commencing career 

His estimate. . 

as a private soldier, he raised himself 

gradually to the sovereignty of India and ruled success- 
fully for about five years. He was a self-made man, 
one who never hesitated to handle a spade even in 
the capacity of an emperor. He never indulged in unne- 
cessary bloodshed and was all averse to cruelty. He was 
3, staunch SunnI, but was not intolerant of other 
creeds. He was a bigot without intolerance. He was 
kindly disposed towards his Hindu subjects. He exempt- 
ed them from the JiziZ and other taxes imposed upon 
the Zimtnls (non-Muslims). He encouraged education 


among them and took them in his service without restric- 
tion. As a general, he occupies a high place in history. 
His military operations against Humayun were directed 
with wonderful skill and strategy. In the space of a 
decade he overthrew the Mughal Empire and revived 
the Afghan Rule by founding the Sur Dynasty. His 
successful campaigns against Malwa, Bundelkhand and 
Rajputana speak much for his military genius and 
show that he was a great military commander. But 
he will go deep down in history more for his adminis- 
tration which vvas ju^t, wise and vigorous, than for 
anything else. If he knew how to conquer, he also 
knew how to consolidate his conquests by his indefatig- 
able industry and sleepless vigilance. By his adminis- 
trative reforms, by the land revenue system which he 
introduced, and by tho policy of religious toleration 
which he always adhered to, he prepared the ground 
for the greatness of Akbar the Great. In view of his 
civil and military achievements, one is inclined to agree 
with one who says that 'if he had b'een spared he would 
have established his dynasty, and the great Mughals 
would not have appeared on the stage of history'. Un- 
fortunately, like Babar, he enjoyed a brief ^eign of about 
five years ; but all that he accomplished during this 
short period, entitles him to rank with the greatest 
sovereigns of India. 

Sher Shah was succeeded by his young son, Jalal 
Khan, who was proclaimed king 
because of his arrival in the camp in 
time on the death of his father. 
Becoming king, he assumed the title of Sallm'Shah, but 


soon he discovered the truth of the maxim : " Uneasy lies 
the head that wears a crown". The turbulence of the 
unruly Afghans compelled him to have recourse to drastic 
measures. He issued several regulations and strove 
hard to strengthen his position. He arrested the 
Amirs, who were against him, and imprisoned them, 
or put them to death, as he thought fit. Although he 
fell far short of his father's standard, he proved himself 
quite a capable king. Barring out a few disturbances, he 
enjoyed a peaceful reign of about eight years. 

The first to feel the force of his arn*s was Shuja'at 
Khan, the governor of Malwa, who had 
M^wa^and^ accumulated enormous wealth and had 
the Punjab. effectively established hfc authority 

over the country under his rule. 
Receiving intelligence of the indentions of the Emperor, 
he sent submissive and reverential representations and 
so secured his safety. Azim Humayun, governor of 
the Punjab, was less prudent but more arrogant. 
When Salim Shah summoned him to his court, he did 
not go personally but sent a substitute to act as his 
representative. The King took this as an insult and 
an act of insubordination. He issued peremptory 
orders to his army and set out at its head against the 
Punjab. Azim anticipated drastic action on the part 
of the Emperor and therefore broke into open 
lebellion. He was defeated at Ambala and put to 
flight. Again he gathered strength and fought an 
engagement and again he was defeated and put to flight. 
In Kashmir he was shot dead by certain tribesmen. 
The Punjab was occupied. 


Another important event of Salim Shah's reign was 
the rise of a religious movement. 
r ~ * Under the influence of Shaikh Alai's 

pursuasive eloquence it roused the religious zeal of the 
masses and created disturbances in the Punjab. But, 
when it assumed threatening dimensions and its 
adherents began to defy the State authorities in the 
open, the Sultan was compelled to order the immedi- 
ate arrest and execution of the Shaikh. The orders 
were carried out and Alai was put to death. With the 
death of its author died the movement when it 
was quite in its inception, its followers gradually dwindl- 
ing into insignificance. 

Salim Shah adopted a policy of repression in order 

to establish his authority in his king- * 
Government . . , .. . . 

ot Sriliin Shah. dom. He maintained a well-organised 

standing army and through it he 
enforced his authority. He curbed the power 01 his 
Amirs and took away from them all the instruments 
of war they had in their possession. He deprived 
them of their elephants and put an end to the practice of 
granting money for a certain quota of horses supplied 
to the State. He held the strings of tne State coffers 
tight in his own hand and effected economies wherever 
it was possible. He maintained an efficient spying 
system and kept himself informed about all the events 
of his reign through it. A new code of regulations was 
formulated and justice was administered in accordance 
with it. Neither the Qazls nor the Muftis, only 
the Munsifs, were empowered to interpret these 
regulations. In order to enforce the new code 'throughout 


the kingdom special troops were stationed and the King 
himself endeavoured to see that the machinery of his 
government worked well. 

Salmi Shah died in 1553 A. C. He was followed 
by his son, Firoz Khun, to the throne. 

Muhammad 'Achl The latter was, however, killed by 
Shah : 1553-5o. hjs und ^ Mubariz K^ who became 

king and assumed the title of 
Muhammad Shah 'Adil. The new king proved himself 
a profligate debauchee. He soon earned for himself 
the nickname of 'Adali, ' the fooMsh ' ; Tor immediately 
after his enthronement, he began to dissipate the 
resources of the Imperial Treasury in senseless prodigality. 
Himself a chartered libertine, he allowed t^e adminis- 
tration of his empire to be controlled by his clever and 
capable minister, Hemu, who managed the affairs of 
the State with great vigour and wisdom. But even 
then it was impossible to bring under control the 
jarring elements that had escaped at the death of 
Salim Shah. Rebellions broke out everywhere and 
the entire machinery of administration collapsed. 
The King's own cousin, Ibrahim Khun, seized upon Agra 
and Delhi, but he was soon beaten by his brother, 
Sikandar Sur, who succeeded in securing for himself the 
whole of the territory between the Indus and the 
Ganges. Such was the chaotic condition of Hindustan 
when messengers were sent to the ex- Emperor 
Humayun, inviting him to occupy the throne of his 

This brings us to tne main theme of our history. 
Humayur, our homeless hero, was not idling away his 


time. Though defeated, deposed and driven out of 
India, he was not altogether deserted by fortune ; the 
stars in their courses were fighting for him. With 
the help of the Persian King, he attacked India, 
defeated Sultan Sikandar Sur and took possession 
of his lost empire. After a brief reign of twelve 
months he fell from the stairs of his library and died 
on January 24, 1556 A.C. 



(1556-1605 A. C.) 
Reconquest and Reconstruction 

Humayun was succeeded by his illustrious son, 
j t Akbar, who stands as a splendid and 

unrivalled figure in the annals of 
Indian history. He successfully ruled in this country 
for about fifty years, and during this period he made 
mighty and enduring contributions to the cause of 
human happiness. His versatile activity, embracing 
almost every sphere of human endeavour, and many- 
sided achievements assign him a place second to none 
in the history of India. No other Mughal Emperor 
is extolled so much by historians as he for his sagacious 
statesmanship, dexterous diplomacy and military skill. 
In this short space it is impossible to do justice to his 
reign, which most unmistakably comprises the brightest 
epoch of Indian history. The present account is, 
therefore, bound to be imperfect. It does not, however, 
omit anything important. For the sake of clarity and 
convenience the subject is divided into five parts: 
(1) Reconquest and Reconstruction, (2) Territorial 
Annexations, (3) Din-i-Ilahl, (4) Administration, and 
(3) Literature and Fine Arts. 

Akbar was born at Amarkot on the 23rd of 

Akbar's early life. November, 1542 A. C. His father, 

Humayun, was out on an expedition 

against Sind with the Rajah of that place (Amarkot) 


when he received the news of the birth of his 
son. He searched the saddle bags of his escort and 
found only a bag of musk which he distributed among 
his friends and prayed that the fame of his son might 
spread in the world like the smell of that substance. 
The boy was brought up in the camp by his mother, 
Hamida Bano Begum. At the tender age of twelve 
months his father left him in Qandhar at the mercy of 
his uncle, Kamran. There his education was sadly 
neglected. At the age of five years his vindictive uncle 
exposed him f o a volley of shots fired by his father 
when the latter was besieging Kabul. Fortunately, 
however, he had a narrow escape. By the time he 
attained the age of twelve, he had acquired considerable 
skill in the control of camels, horses and elephants. 
He had had enough of experience in the use of arms 
and had seen much of warfare as a companion of his 
father in his fugitive life. At the age of thirteen he was 
called upon to occupy the throne of Hindustan on the 
death of his father. 

While Akbar was on his way back from the 

u . . Punjab, where he had gone with his 

His accession. J 

father's faithful friend, Bairam Khan, 
to put an end to the misgovernment of its governor, 
Abdul Mali, he received at Kalanaur the news of the 
death of his father. After performing the customary 
rites of mourning, the coronation ceremony was gone 
through in a garden on the 14th of February, 1556 
A. C. As the new king was only a boy of thirteen, 
Bairam Khan began to act as 1 regent and formally 
took charge of the Imperial Government.* Akbar's 


younger brother, Muhammad Hakim, was confirmed 
in his government of Kabul, which, though a dependen- 
cy of Hindustan, was none the less an independent 

After his restoration, Humfiyun did not live long to 
establish his authority in Hindustan. 

The political He died only a year after, and his 

condition of , , i r 

India in 1556. son, Akbar, therefore, succeeded 

to a troublous inheritance. In 1556 
A. C. anarchy and confusion reigned supreme in India 
and famine and pestilence were rampant in the rank 
and file. The fairest provinces of Northern India, 
including Delhi and Agra, were visited by plague, 
which carried away a large number of f he people. 
Politically, the throne of Delhi had become a bone of 
contention between the Afghans and the Mughals, and 
the country had been reduced to a mere geographical 
expression, or a congeries of small states. The 
sovereignty of North-West India was contested by 
Sikandar Sur on the one hand, and Muhammad Shah 
'Adil on the other. The former had collected a large 
arrny in the Punjab and was aspiring for the sovereignty 
of the whole of Hindustan ; the latter had retired to the 
eastern provinces and uas increasing the area of his 
influence there ; but his indomitable commander-in- 
chief, Hemu, who had earned for himself a unique 
military distinction by successfully fighting as many 
as twenty-two pitched battles, was advancing from 
Chunar, the capital of his master, towards Agra 
with a large army, gathering strength on his march 
from the enemies of the Mughal cause. Before Bairam 


Khan came to the rescue, Agru had fallen and TardI 
Beg, the Governor of r Delhi, had been defeated 
and put to flight After the fall of Agra, 
Hemu occupied Delhi, ascended the Mughal Throne, 
struck coins in his own name, raised the Imperial 
Canopy over his head and assumed the title of 
Vikramaditya. Consumed as he was with the ambition 
of conquests, he was equally aflamed with the idea of 
acquiring the empire of India. The fact that Humayun 
was dead and that a boy of thirteen was on the throne 
broadened the v horizon of his ambitions. Kabul, under 
Muhammad Hakim, was an independent kingdom to 
all intents and purposes. Its existence as such was 
threatened by Sulaiman of Badakhshan. Bengal 
enjoyed its independence under its Afghan Chiefs. 
The Rajputs of Rajasthan had recovered from the 
shock inflicted on them by Babar ; they were now in 
unchallenged possession of their castles. Malwa ?nd 
Gujarat had renounced their allegiance to the Central 
Government during the reign of Muhammad Tughluq, 
Gondwana was ruled by its own local chieftains. 
Orissa was independent. Kashmir, Sind and Balochistan 
were free from external control. The Deccan Sultanates 
of Ahmednagar, Bijapur, Golconda, Khandesh and 
Berar were ruled by their own Sultans, who were at 
daggers drawn with one another. The Hindu Empire 
of Vijayanagar then towered supreme in wealth, 
strength and civilization. The Portuguese were power- 
ful in the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf ; they 
held the sway of the western sea-coast and possessed 
some good sea-ports, including Goa and Diu. 


Such was the situation of India when Akbar 
ascended the throne. It was fortunate 

ISt!lSk eof for * he Mughal Dynasty that the 
young Emperor had a powerful sup- 
porter and an excellent general and statesman in Bairam 
Khan, who served his master and secured his position 
till he attained the age of discretion. The first 
important thing that he was required to do as regent 
was to fight against Hemu, who was advancing against 
the Mughal Emperor at the head of a huge army. Almost 
all the officers of the Mughal armv advised the Emperor 
to retreat to Kabul, but Bairam Khan successfully 
resisted such a pusillanimous step as would have spoiled 
the prospects of the Mughal Dynasty. Forthwith he 
ordered the immediate arrest and execution of TardI 
Beg on a charge of misconduct in the face of the 
enemy, and himself marched out to oppose Hemu. 
Fo-tune favoured the resolute Mughal general from the 
outset. An advance-guard had already handicapped 
Hemu by capturing the whole park of his artillery. The 
two armies, each commanded by a military genius of no 
mean merit, came to severe blows at the memorable 
plain of Panipat. Hemu made a furious charge of his 
elephants and soon threw the left wing of the Mughal 
army into confusion, and there was considerable con- 
sternation in the Mughal Camp. The tide of victory 
turned at once in favour of the Mughals when, in the 
thick of fight, Hemu was hit in his eye with an arrow 
and rendered unconscious. The fall of the leader from 
his elephant decided the fate of the battle. The 
Mughals won the day. Hemfl, the hero and the hope 


of the Hindus, was taken prisoner and brought 
before the Emperor. Bairam was anxious to see the 
young emperor slaying a most formidable enemy, but 
the chivalrous Shahinsktih refused to do so, saying 
that it was unchivalrous to slay a fallen foe. There- 
upon Bairam Khzln took out his own sword and slew 

The victory at Panlpat removed the most powerful 
opponent of Akbar. Hemu was 
the'eatul defeated and slain. His army was 

ruthlessly routed. A large booty, 
including a big treasure and 1,500 elephants, fell into the 
hands of the victorious army. Delhi and Agra and the 
neighbouring districts were occupied. The way was 
prepared for further conquests. The hopes of the 
Hindus to establish theu own rule in India were dashed 
to the ground. The prestige of the Mughal arms was 
established and Akbar was hailed as the Emperor of 
Hindustan. The Afghan Rule came to an end and the 
Mughals began to rule in India. These were the net 
results of the Second Battle of PanTpat. 

A month after the Battle of Panlpat, Bairam Khan 

and Akbar turned their attention 

Submission of Sur towards the Sur claimants to the 

thr n6 f ^^ Bef re ^'^ CO "' 
elusions with Hemu, Bairam had sent 

an army against Sikandar Sur, who had retired to 
the Siwalik Hills and had taken shelter in the 
stronghold of Mankot, from where he could easily 
defy the authority of the Emperor. The fort was 
beleaguered and Sikandar was reduced to su^.h straits 


that he was compelled to sue for peace. He consented 
to surrender himself if he was decently provided for. 
The stronghold was occupied and Sikandar was assigned 
an estate in the east, where he died in 1569 A, C. In 
1557 A. C Muhammad Shah Adall met his death in a 
conflict with the king of Bengal. Thus, within a brief 
span of time, the three acknowledged adversaries of 
Akbar were got rid of, and he was now securely seated 
on the throne of Delhi. Next year (1558) Ajmer, 
Gwalior and Jaunpur were annexed to the Mughal 
Empire. After these conquests, Bairam Khan turned 
his serious attention to the internal administration of the 
country. But ere long he carne into conflict with his 
ambitious and impatient royal ward. The story of his 
rise and fall is an interesting episode in the early history 
of the present reign. 

A Turkman by birth and a Shia Muslim by faith, 
Bairam Khan was one of the most 

Bairam Khan, devoted and faithful followers of 

or Khan Bba. 

Humayun. He had suffered with his 

master all the privations of a fugitive life and had stood 
by him in some of his most trying situations. But for 
his advice and assistance, Humayun would not have 
been able to reconquer India. His loyalty towards 
Akbar was equally unmixed and his services to the 
Mughal cause were invaluable. It was at his instance 
chat the Second Battle of Panlpat was fought and a 
decisive victory won. At his accession Akbar cannot be 
said to have possessed any definite kingdom. It was 
during his regency that Delhi, Agra and the surrounding 
districts were occupied, and Ajmer, Gwalior and 


Jaunpur were conquered. It was he, again, who 
removed the rivals of his young master and securely 
seated him on the throne of India. His ability, age and 
experience enabled him to acquire an inestimable 
influence in the Mughal Empire. He was a shrewd 
politician and a rigid disciplinarian. He was jealous of 
his master's youthful friendships and would not tolerate 
any favours which the latter might bestow upon his 
servants without his consultation. 

Unfortunately enongh, Bairam Khan had made 

TT , ,, many enemies at the Court by his 

His fall. , . J 

haughty demeanour and arrogant 

behaviour. Hamlda Bano Bagum, the Queen-mother ; 
Maham Ankah, the foster-mother ; Adham Khan, a 
foster-brother ; and Shahab-ud-Dln, the Governor of 
Delhi all these disliked him for reasons of their own. 
They availed themselves of every occasion to foment 
the feelings of irritation between the Emperor and the 
Protector. At last a trifling incident brought about a 
serious quarrel between the two. Once, when Akbar 
was amusing himself with an elephant-fight, the two 
contesting animals got out of control. They broke 
through the enclosure, stampeded Bairam, Kuan's camp 
close by, and put his life in danger. In spite of Akbar's 
strong protestations that the occurrence was purely 
accidental, the Khan lost his temper and immediately 
ordered the execution of an innocent personal servant 
of His Majesty. At this Akbar's indignation knew no 
bounds. For some time there was a feeling of coldness 
between the Emperor and his Atallq (tutor), but a 
reconciliation was effected when the former soothed the 


ruffled feelings of the htter by giving him the hand 
of Salima Sultana, the niece of Humayun. But before 
long Bairam executed another courtier, Pir Muhammad, 
for an alleged offence. By such actions as these he not 
only strained his relations with the Emperor but also 
earned for himself a host of enemies at the Court. The 
appointment of his own kith and kin and co-religionists 
(Shias) to high offices in the State grossly offended the 
Sunnl Orthodoxy. His punishment of the Emperor's 
servants and courtiers for the most trivial misconduct 
had already estranged him to the Emperor ; but when 
the latter learnt that his regent was harbouring 
plans of placing Kamran's son, Abul yasim, on the 
throne, the tension took a serious turn. The breaking- 
point had already reached. Now a conspiracy was 
organised against him and at the instance of Hamida 
Bano Begum, Maham Ankah, Adham Khan and 
Shahab-ud-DIn, the Emperor went to Bianah, on the 
pretext of hunting, in order to discuss the matter. 
There it was arranged that he should go to Delhi to see 
his mother, who was given out to be ill. While he was 
with his mother, Maham Ankah employed all arts of 
intrigue against Bairam Khan. She fomented the 
feelings of the Emperor, who was already smarting 
under the galling tutelage of his rather domineering 
regent. Soon after his return from Delhi, Akbar issued 
the following declaration : ' It being our intention 
henceforth to govern our people by our judgment, let 
our well-wisher withdraw from all worldly attachments 
and retire to Mecca to pass the rest of his life in prayer, 
far-removed from the toils of public life. 1 Bairam 


Khan soon discerned what - was passing behind the 
screen. Realising that he had gone too far, he sent 
two trusty officers to the Court with * assurances of 
unabated loyalty towards the throne ', and offered 
* supplication and humility.' Akbar imprisoned the 
messengers and sent a certain Pir Muhammad Khan, 
once a subordinate of the Khan, at the instigation of the 
Court Party, in order to hasten his departure to Mecca. 
Bairam Khan's pride was touched to the quick, and in 
the outburst of his wrath, he broke into open 
rebellion. He was, however, defeated, taken prisoner 
and brought before the Emperor, who graciously 
pardoned him in view of his past services. When he 
reached Lahore, where the Emperor was holding his 
Court, he was greatly impressed by the reception 
accorded to him. He threw himself at his sovereign's 
feet and burst into tears. The forgiving King at once 
raised him up and made him take his former place on the 
right hand side at the head of the grandees of the 
Empire. Then His Majesty invested him with a 
magnificent robe of honour and offered him three 
alternatives : (1) If he preferred to remain at Court, he 
would be treated with profound honour as the benefactor 
of the Royal House ; (2) If he chose to remain in 
office, he would be given the governorship of one of the 
Imperial provinces, and (3) If he wished to retire to a 
religious life, he would be honourably provided for and 
comfortably escorted to on his pilgrimage to Mecca 
He replied that, having once lost his master's confidence, 
he was not willing to continue in his service any more 
and added that the clemency of the Padshah was 


enough, and his forgiveness was more than a regard 
for his former services. " Let me, therefore, turn my 
thoughts from this world," he said, " to another and be 
permitted to proceed to the Holy Shrine." The 
Padshah approved of his decision, provided him with a 
suitable escort and assigned him a liberal pension for 
his maintenance. But he was not destined to reach 
the ' Holy Shrine*. He was murdered on his way by a 
private enemy at Patan. This took place in January 
1561 A. C. 

Bairam Khan's dismissal cleared the way for the 
'Petticoat Court Party, the most prominent 

Government': member of which was Mahr.m Ankah, 

1560-64 A. C. , u- * u j v , 

whom historians have described as 

the 'prime confidante ' of the Ring in all the affairs of 
the State. While dwelling upon the dismissal of Bairam 
Khan, Dr. Smith remarks that the Emperor shook off 
the tutelage of the Khan-i-Khanan only to bring himself 
under the ' monstrous regiment of unscrupulous women ', 
and further observes that the most unscrupulous of them 
was Maham Ankah, who conferred high offices upon her 
worthless favourites. The Doctor is not at all justified 
in his remarks. His views are contradicted by facts. 
Akbar was not at all dominated by Maham Ankah. 
Had that been the case, the fate of Bairam Khan, after 
his fall, would have been terrible ; for he had no greater 
enemy at the Court than that women. It was quite 
contrary to her wishes that the Khan was so honourably 
treated after his rebellion. Again, if Akbar had really 
been undei the thumb of Maham Ankah, as he is alleged 


to have been, Adham Khan, her son, would have been 
the first man to receive a high title or a big jagir. But 
we know for certain that he was not entrusted with any 
responsible post in the State. Doubtless, he was once 
sent against Malwa at the head of an army, but when 
he misappropriated the spoils of war after success, 
the Emperor marched against him in person and chastis- 
ed him for his brazen insolence. Afterwards, when he 
murdsred Shams-ud-Dln Atka Khan, on whom the 
Emperor wished to bestow the office of Vakil, quite 
against the will of his foster-mother, he was twice 
thrown down from the ramparts of his fort, with the 
result that his brains were knocked out and his life 
came to an end. If, therefore, the Emperor had been 
under the influence of Maham Ankah, the punishment 
awarded to Adham Khan must have been much milder. 
That was, however, not so. Akbar acted independently 
according to his own judgment, though he sought the 
advice of the Court Party in certain affairs of the 
kingdom and held his foster-mother in high esteem. 

By the year 1564 A.C. Akbar had fully establish- 
ed his authority; he had taken the 
A. S c! n reins of administration in his own 
hands, had overcome his rivals and had 
firmly seated himself on the throne of Delhi. He had 
shaken off the tutelage of Bairam Khan and the influence 
of the Court Party and had entered upon his personal 
government. As a man of strong imperial instinct, 
he aspired to become the spyereign-ruler of India. 
Before he entered upon a career of conquest, he was 
called upon to suppress a series of rebellions and revolts. 


One of the Uzbeg officers of Akbar had xisen 
to the position of Kban Zaman in 
KhanZamln. appreciation of his valuable services 

~ at the Battle of Panlpat U556 A. C.). 

In 1560 A. C. the Afghans of Bengal, headed by Sher 
Shah II, son of Muhammad Shah 'Adali, made an 
attempt to recover Delhi. They were utterly defeated 
by Khan Zaman, who, however, refused to send to His 
Majesty the elephants, included in the spoils of war. 
The Emperor took the field against him in person and 
advanced towards Jaunpur. When the Kh?n heard of the 
Emperor's advance, he marched out to pay homage 
to His Majesty, taking with him not only the elephants 
but the rest of the booty as well as other propitiatory 
offerings. With his usual generosity, the Emperor 
passed over his act of insubordination and confirmed 
him in the government of Jaunpur shortly afterwards. 

Adham Khan was employed by Akbar against Baz 
Bahadur of Malwa. He won a decisive 
AdhamKha f n. victory near Sarangpur over his enemy, 

but followed the example of Khan 
Zaman by rebelling and retaining the spoils of the con- 
quest. As if this was not enough, he went a step further : 
Elated by his success, he made a lavish distribution of 
the booty in order to increase his popularity, retaining, 
however, for himself the royal ensigns and a major part 
of the treasure, which ought to have been sent to the 
Emperor as a matter of course. Akbar instantly 
marched into Malwa at the head of the Imperial army, 
took Adham Khan by surprise before he could break into 
open rebellion, captured the booty and removed him 


from the government of Malwa After his misconduct 
in the expedition against Malwa, Adham Khan was kept 
at the Imperial Court, where he grew jealous of the 
promotion of Shams-ud-Dln to the position of Vakil, i.e., 
Prime Minister. Smarting under the loss of his 
government of Malwa, he entered, one night, in the 
Diwan-i-KJ}as with some of his retainers and stabbed 
the Vakil to death. The noise that followed the 
mi 1 Her, aroused the Emperor from his sleep, brought 
him out of his private apartment and attracted him to 
the scene of the occurrence. Finding his minister dead, 
the Emperor dealt such a blow to the traitor that he fell 
senseless to the ground. He was twice thrown down 
from the terraced-roof of the royal palace inside the fort 
and killed. This took place in 1562 A. C. 

Adham Khan was superseded by Pir Muhammad 
in the government of Malwa. But 

Abdullah Khan. ^ r was more a man f letters than 
of war. His barbarous treatment of 
the people of the province strengthened the cause of 
Baz Bahadur, who was thus enabled to expel the 
Mughals out of his dominions with the help of the 
Sultan of Kbandesh. Pir Muhammad .was drowned 
while his defeated troops were crossing the river 
Narbada. Akbar dispatched another army under the 
command of one Abdullah Khan who inflicted a severe 
defeat on Baz Bahadur and recaptured Malwa. After 
some futile efforts to recover his kingdom, Baz Bahadur 
took service under the Mughal Emperor. The 
government of the province wa made over to Abdullah 
Khan, who soon followed the example of his predecessor 


by an attempt at rebellion. Akbar marched against 
him and, after some fighting, compelled him to take 
refuge in Gujarat. 

Hotly chased into Gujarat, the rebellious chief 

(Abdullah) ultimately made his way 
Revolts of Uzbeg . , T , , . . , , , 

Chiefs- 1565-1567 in * Jaunpur, where he joined hands 

with the traitor, Khan Zaman, and 
Asaf Khan, and made common cause with them against 
the Mughal Emperor. An insurrection of threatc:;In & 
dimensions broke out in Jaunpur in 1565 A. C. and 
lasted till 1567 A. C. It was somjthing like a general 
rising of the Uzbeg Chiefs, the hereditary enemies of the 
family of Babar, who did not like the Persianised ways 
of Akbar and his sympathetic attitude towards his 
Persian officers, so much so that they now intrigued 
against him in favour of Kamran's son, Abul Qasim. The 
Imperial army sent against Khan Zaman was defeated in 
156j A. C. Thereupon the Emperor himself advanced 
towards the insurgent chiefs, who at once made a show 
of submission, but never submitted. A little afterwards 
they were joined by the disaffected Afghans and the 
discontented Musalmans of the eastern provinces. 
Before Akbar could find time to suppress the rebellion 
of the Uzbegs, he was called upon to protect the 
Punjab, which was simultaneously invaded by Mirza 
Muhammad Hakim of Kabul. At this critical juncture 
he displayed marvellous courage, resourcefulness and 
presence of mind. He lost no time in marching to the 
Punjab, dispersing the allies of his brother and putting 
them to flight. The Mirza returned to Kabul 
discomfited After restoring internal tranquillity in the 


Punjab, the Emperor again turned his attention to the 
insubordinate Uzbegs. Post-haste he marched into the 
east and took them by surprise at Mankuwal (ten miles 
from Allahabad). Khan Zaman was killed in the battle 
which ended disastrously for the Uzbegs. His 
accomplices were severely punished while Abul Qasim 
was executed in the fort of Gwalior. Thus, the back of 
the Uzbeg rising was broken, though it was not finally 
"nnressed till 1573 A. C. 

Another instance of insubordinate and head-strong 
of^cers, who tried to take law in their 

Monstrous act own hands and escape punishment 

of Khwajah . . , . 

Mu'azzam. for their misconduct owing to their 

friendship with or influence over the 
Emperor, was that of Khwajah Mu'azzam, a half-brother 
of the dowager-queen, Hamida Bano Begum. This 
1 half insane monster ' took his wife to his country-seat 
and stabbed her to death. This tragic accident took 
place in 1564 A. C. At the request of the deceased's 
mother, Emperor Akbar hurried to the scene of the 
occurrence, seized the murderer, Mu'azzam, and his 
accomplices, and threw them into the State Prison of 

Akbar did not take long to realize that there was 

something grievously wrong with the 
Akbar and P . i TT 

the Rajputs. policy of his predecessors. He soon 

discovered that if he wanted to 
establish his empire he must broad-base his rule on the 
acquiescent good- will of his subjects, irrespective of their 
caste or creed. * Of all the dynasties that had yet 
ruled m India, that of Tamerlane was the most insecure 


in its foundation. ' This sense of insecurity led him to 
secure the sympathies of the Hindus in general and 
the Rajputs in particular. The latter constituted the 
military class of the Hindu community. They were 
the born war-lords of India and their support was 
indispensable to the cause of the new dynasty. 
Accordingly, Akbarset himself to the task of reconciling 
the Rajputs to the ideas of the Mughal Rule. The 
following were the methods he adopted : 

(1) With the true acumen and insight of a statesman 

he entered into matrimonial alliances 
Matrimonial ... .,_ -- -a. TU c. *. -o-- -. 

alliances. Wlt " t" e Rajputs. The first Rajput 

Rajah to give him his daughter in 
marriage was Bharmal Kachhwaha of Amber. This 
marriage secured the powerful support of a brave 
Rajput family. ' It symbolised, ' says Dr. Beni Prasad, 
' the dawn of a new era in Indian politics, it gave the 
country a line of remarkable sovereigns ; it secured to 
four generations of Mughal emperor the services of some 
of the greatest cap f ains and diplomats that mediaeval 
India produced'. This marriage was solemnised in 
1562 A. C. In 1570 the Emperor married princesses 
from the Rajput States of Jaisalmir and Bikaner. In 
1584 A. C, Prince Salim (Jahanglr) was married to the 
daughter of Rajah Bhagwan Das. 

(2) Towering above the trammels of religion and the 

petty prejudices of the Age, Akbar 
appreciated and rewarded the services 

and other Hindus, of his Hindu subjects, particularly the 
Rajputs. He granted them high 

posts of power and responsibility, both in the civil and 


military departments. He took them into his confi- 
dence and admitted them to every degree of power. 
Rajah Todar Mai, Rajah Bharmal, Rajah Bhagwan 
Das and Rajah Man Singh were some of those who 
enjoyed high commands in the army. Nearly half of 
Akbar's soldiers and many of his generals were Hindus. 

(3) The basic principle of Akbar's policy was toleration. 
To all his subjects he granted the 
freedom of worship and the liberty of 

liberty of conscience. He abolished the Jizia, 

conscience. . , 

levied upon the Ziwwts (non-Mus- 

lims), and all the taxes imposed upon Hindu pilgrims. 
He treated his Hindu subjects as well as his Muslim 
subjects ; rather, ' with a leaning in favour of the 
former '. To please his Hindu subjects, he often 
adopted their customs and practices, mixed freely with 
them, and seemingly shared their beliefs. 

(4) Akbar took a lively interest in the welfare of his 

Hindu subjects. He tried to eradi- 

Reforms. cate the ev ^ s that had honeycombed 

Hindu society. While following the 

policy of toleration and reconciliation, he did not 

hesitate to remove the abuses of Hindu* society. He 

forbade child-marriage, discouraged Sati* and encourag- 

ed widow-remarriage. Besides, he practically preached 

against caste-restrictions and inculcated love of 

humanity. He encouraged fellow-feeling among all his 

* The rite of burning widows alive with the dead bodies of 
their husbands, in vogue among t : he Hindus in ancient and 
madiaeval India. 


subjects and imparted education to all and sundry. 
During his reign the Hindus studied side by side with 
the Muslims without any restrictions of rank, race or 

By such methods as enumerated above, Akbar 
won over the Rajput element to his 

Effects of the side Three benefits accrued from 

above methods. 

the policy of toleration and reconcilia- 
tion adopted by him: (1) The Rajput danger was 
over ; (2) when the Rajputs were reconciled, their 
support was used as a counterpoise against the 
Uzbegs and insubordinate officers ; and (3) their 
loyalty served as a strong safeguard against the opposi- 
tion of the Afghans who had been freshly dethroned. 
For the Emperor it was wise to enlist the active co- 
operation of the Rajputs whoi.e martial qualities were 
universally admired. For the Rajpilts, on the other 
hand, it was equally wise to submit to a sovereign who 
appreciated their merits, rewarded their services, res- 
pected their feelings and tolerated their faith. 

After erecting the famous Ibadat-Khana at Fathpur 
Slkrl for the meetings of the intel- 
e lectuals of his reign, Akbar sent a 

formal letter of invitation to the 
Portuguese authorities at Goa, requesting them to send to 
bis court some of their most learned and well-qualified 
Christian theologians to enlighten him on the philoso- 
phical basis of Christianity. The hopes of the Portu- 
guese ran high at the prospect of winning so desirable a 
convert as the Emperor of India. 


In 1580 A. C., a year after the invitation, they 

_. . ... . complied with the Imperial request 

First Mission. r t . r ^ 

and sent a mission under Father 
Rudolf Acquaviva and Father Monserrat, both of 
whom were renowned for their devotion to the 
Christian faith. Akbar accorded the missionaries a most 
hearty welcome. He treated them with great respect 
and permitted them to build a chapel at Agra. He 
evinced a keen interest in the sacred pictures of Christ 
ana Mary. He even placed his son, Sallm, under 
their tuition in order tc try the effect of Christian 
teachings on the unbiassed mind of the young ; but 
nothing could shake his belief in his own faith. The 
Fathers were grievously disappointed in their expecta- 
tions ; for indeed the Emperor was a hard nut to crack. 
After a stay of three years at the Mughal Court, 
the first mission returned in 1583 A. C., without 
achieving its object, i.e., without converting Akbar to 

The second mission, sent from Goa, arrived at the 

***. . Mughal Court in 1 590 A. C. It too did 

Second Mission. ~T . 

not fare better than its predecessor ; 

for it failed to convert Akbar to Christianity. The 
failure of this mission convinced the Jesuits that Akbar's 
mind was most inscrutable, though he still remained 
most favourably disposed towards them and loved to have 
some of them with him. It remained at the Mughal 
Court for three years (1590-1593 A.C.) and then 
returned, as unsuccessful as the first. 


The third mission arrived at Lahore, where the 
Third Mission. Imperial Court then resided, and it 

was extended a rousing reception. It 
fared better than the first two inasmuch as it was 
allowed to build its chapels in Lahore and Agra and to 
make converts if it could. Besides, it secured many 
valuable trading facilities and became, more or less, a 
permanent institution in the Mughal Empire. 

To the Portuguese Akbar was at first an encourage- 
Akbar's object. ment, then an enigma, and finally a 
bitter disappointment. Why ? be- 
cause his object in inviting the Portuguese missionaries 
to his Court and showing profound veneration for the 
Gospel was political rather than religious. He wished 
to befriend the Portuguese at Goa, who possessed a 
large park of artillery, and to secure their assistance 
against the stronghold of Aslrgarh as well as against his 
own son, Salim, who had rebelled against him. Akbar 
was more a politician and a statesman than a religious 
propagandist or a missionary. Behind all his acts there 
were always some ulterior political motives