Mughal Era (1526-1858)
The era of Mughal Empire is written with golden words in Indian history as this was the period when the phenomenon of single central ruling power came into existence in the country. Prior to the emergence of Mughal Empire, different regions of the country were ruled by many Muslim and Hindu kingdoms across the country.
The era of the Mughal Kingdom also presented a lot to the glorious heritage of the country as the period contributed many splendid monuments and art pieces. The founder of the Mughal Kingdom was Babar, who established the Mughal Empire in the country in 1526.
Babar owns the credit of establishment of Mughal Empire in India after defeating Lodhi in 1526 at the battle of Panipat. Babar ruled until 1530, and was succeeded by his son Humayun.
Achievements of Babur
- Defeated Ibrahim Lodhi in the first Battle of Panipat in 1526 to establish the greatest dynasty in India – the Mughal Dynasty
- He extended his kingdom from Kabul and Kandahar in the north-west to Bihar in the east and from Himalayas in the north to Gwalior in the south
- Though he ruled only for four years his love for art and architecture and fondness for nature is well known. He made beautiful Moghul-style gardens in almost every fort and palace.
Humayun (1530-1540 and 1555-1556)
Humayun was the eldest son of the first emperor Babar of the Mughal Kingdom and became the second ruler of the empire after succeeding his father in 1530. He ruled the country for about 10 years but later in 1540 he was defeated by Sher Shah Suri.
Sher Shah Suri, the Afghan ruler who ruled for the short duration of 5 years from 1540 to 1545 but contributed a lot to the country. He established efficient public administration and also set a revenue collection system.
Humayun regain the throne in 1555 by defeating the Sikandar Suri, the successor of Sher Shah Suri but soon died in 1556 at a young age of 48 years.
Achievements of Humayun
- The School of Mughal painting began with Humayun in 1549 when he invited two Persian painters to his court.
- He was defeated by Sher Shah in the Battle of Chausa in 1539 but later with the help of the Iranian army he regained lost power in 1555.
- He was well versed in Persian, Turki and subjects like Mathematics, Astronomy and Geography
- Humayun was tolerant towards all religions and invied various scholars in this court.
Akbar was Humayun's son and ascended the throne at the early age of 13 when his father died. The era of Akbar’s rule holds a certain eminence in history for the same reason he is also known as Akbar the great. He was great administrator as well the efficient ruler of the country. He introduced impartial justice towards non Muslims and treated every religion with respect. Akbar’s popular Mansabdari system system became the basis of Mughal military organization and civil administration.
Akbar ruled the country for nearly 50 years and died in 1605 and was buried outside of Agra at Sikandra.
Achievements of Akbar
- Akbar’s generals Bairam Khan and Khan Zaman I defeated Hemu, the Hindu ruler of North India in the second battle of Panipat in 1556
- Akbar was a great patron of architecture and built the first Mughal monument, the Humayun’s tomb.
- Akbar also built the entire city of Fatehpur Sikri which is made of low arches and huge domes
- In his capital city of Agra, Akbar built the remarkable Red Fort which has exquisite carvings and canopied roofs with sandstone.
- He formed a new religion called the Din-i-Ilahi which had the best elements of all religions drawn mostly from Islam and Hinduism
- That Akbar was tolerant towards all religions is evident from the fact that he repealed the Jizya tax from non-Muslims.
Jehangir was the son of Akbar whose real name was Salim but was given the title of Jehangir, "Conqueror of the World". He was married to Mehr-un-Nisa and gave her the title of Nur Jahan (light of the world).He further strengthened the Mughal Empire in India after his father Akbar’s death. He was found of art and literature, famous Mughal gardens at Srinagar are the evidence of his artistic taste. He died in 1627.
Achievements of Jahangir
- Mughal painting reached great heights during the rule of Jahangir. He promoted Persian culture and patronised European and Persian painters.
- The Shalimar Gardens in Kashmir was built during Jahangir’s reign
- He sketched his own autobiography named Tuzk-e-Jahangiri.
- It was under Jahangir’s reign that the the seamless celestial globe was built by the Mughal scientists.
Shah Jahan: (1628-1658)
Jehangir was succeeded by his second son Khurram in 1628. Khurram alias Shah Jahan, was the fifth Mughal ruler of India. He expanded his Empire to Kandhar in the north and conquered most of Southern India. The Mughal Empire prospered greatly during this reign. The arts and culture of the Mughal Empire is admired even today. The Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Taj Mahal are some of the great monuments of that era.
Achievements of Shah Jahan
- He built the Taj Mahal in Agra, one the best Mughal architecture in memory of his loving wife Mumtaz Mahal.
- He built the Peacock throne made out of precious stones and gold.
- Shah Jahan shifted his capital to Delhi and built the Red Fort
- The Moti Masjid, the Jama Masjid and several mosques in Lahore were built by Shah Jahan.
Aurangzeb was the son of Shah Jahan and was the sixth ruler of the Mughal Empire. He was a devout Muslim and was very particular that his state follows Islam strictly. In terms of tenure he matched the reign of Akbar. The vision to unite entire India was well realized during his tenure and in terms of area captured the Mughal rule was at its peak. The only negative aspect was that he never trained any of his sons into administration.
Achievements of Aurangzeb
- Under his rule, the Mughal Empire reached its peak stretching from Kashmir in the north to Jinji to the south and from Chitagong in the east to Hindukush in the west
- Only a few monuments were built by him as he was not too passionate about art and architecture.