The Mughal Empire: The Most Popular and Longest Reigning Indian Dynasty
The Mughal Dynasty is known to have Genghis Khan, the founder of the Great Khan Dynasty and Timurids reigning from 1370-1526 and dynasty among the Mongols as their ancestors. The Mughals were constructors of some of the great architectural monuments and at the height of their power in 17th and 18th century, they were the rulers of almost the entire Indian Subcontinent. Mughal Era was a boon for the Indian Economy.
Origins of the Mughal Dynasty
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Zahir-ud-din-Muhammad Babur was successful in laying the foundation stone of the Mughal Dynasty in India in the year 1526. Babur had both Timurid and Genghis Khan Connection. His father was a descendant of Timurids and his mother belonged to the Dynasty of Genghis Khan. He had to face a rebellion by Yusufzai tribes at the Indo Afghan Border. His victory at the first battle of Panipat in 1526 against the Delhi Sultan -Ibrahim Shah Lodhi and the subsequent win against Rajput Rana Sanga of Chittor helped him establish his reign in India.
Rule of Humayun
Humayun, the son of Babur succeeded the throne of the Mughal Kingdom from 1530 to 1556. He proved to be a weak king and Sher Shah Suri defeated Humayun and got hold of a great part of the Mughal territories and forced Humayun to exile after which a Hindu King named Hemu Vikramaditya ruled the throne of Delhi before the Mughals made a comeback in the second Battle of Panipat against the Mughal Emperor Akbar who had ascended to the throne by then.
Rule of Akbar
The rule of Akbar (1556-1605) marked the beginning of the golden period of the Mughal Rule in India. Akbar is known to be a very sagacious and just king. Several of the Administrative reforms introduced by him made him a dear king among his subjects who revered him deeply. The fact that he was more tolerant of other religious groups sets him apart from the Mughal rulers who preceded or succeeded him. He is known to have made god political ties with the Hindu Rajput Kings which earned him nationwide support. He even married the Rajput princess- Jodha. He involved his subjects in the affairs of the state and levied taxes only where they were necessary. He even paid attention to the social reforms like abolition of sati and legalisation of widow remarriage.
Rule of Jahangir and Shah Jahan
Jahangir, son of Akbar, once forced himself to the Mughal throne while his father was still alive and away from Agra which forced Akbar to consider his grandson- Khusrau Mirza as athe future emperor but that was not to be and Jahagir ascended the Mughal throne in 1605 after death of Akbar. The Mughal Empire expanded under the rule of Jahangir. His animosity with the Sikhs was result of the fifth guru of Sikhs-Guru Arjan Dev giving money to Khusrau Mirza whom he imprisoned to avoid his claims on the throne. He laid special emphasis on the promotion of arts specially painting. Jahangir’s popular “chain of justice” enabled his subjects to have a special hearing from him. After the death of Jahangir in 1627, Shah Jahan was chosen as the next Mughal Emperor. The reign of Shah Jahan was prosperous and several significant developments were made in the field of art and architecture. Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World was built in his reign. Other popular monuments constructed at the time were “the Pearl Mosque” in Agra, “Red Fort” and “Jama Masjid” in Delhi. Shah Jahan suppressed several rebellions that were raised against him successfully. Shah Jahan’s illness in 1658 CE gave his son Aurangzeb an opportunity to succeed to the throne forcefully after house arresting his own father.
Rule of Aurangzeb
Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammadr Aurangzeb is known to have entered the war with the Marathas for most part of his reign beginning in 1658. One of the most notable activities associated with him is the reinterpretation of the Islamic Law. He held control of the diamond mines owned by the Sultanate of Golconda. He is said to have ruled one fourth of the world’s population while he was the king. Aurangzeb wrote Quran using his own style of calligraphy. He was specifically interested and took special training in spiritualism.
Fall of the Mughal Empire
After death of Aurangzeb in 1707, none of the succeeding Mughal Rulers could retain the control of the Mughal Dynasty. There were internal invaders like Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali who led to further ruin of the Mughal Dynasty before the British East India Company could take the total control of the Throne of Delhi in its hands. Initially, the British let the Mughal Emperor rule Delhi by serving them on certain conditions but after they discovered of the involvement of Bahadur Shah-2, the last Mughal King in the revolt of 1857, the total hold of Delhi was transferred to the British, thus, ending the Mughal Era in India.