Akbar is considered to be the greatest Mughal emperor of India. Akbar’s full name is Abū al-Fatḥ Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Akbar. He was born in Umarkot on October 15, 1542, which is now in Sindh province, Pakistan, and died on October 25, 1605, at Agra, India. He extended Mughal power over most of the Indian subcontinent and he reigned from 1556 to 1605. He was always considered to be the king of people as he listens to his people. To preserve the unity in his empire, various programs were adopted by Akbar which helped in winning the loyalty of the non-muslim population in his realm. He made sure that the central administration of his kingdom was reformed and strengthened.
Akbar also focused on the centralization of his financial system and reorganized the tax-collection process. Akbar practised Islam as his religion but he had the utmost respect for other people and their religion. He took a keen interest in understanding other religions asking various religious scholars from religions like Hindu, Parsis, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam to engage in religious discussion in front of him. Akbar was illiterate, and he always encouraged art and respected people who can teach him new things, and that is the reason his court was considered to be a centre of cultures as he would encourage different scholars, poets, artists, etc. to show their art in front of him.
Akbar Full Name: Abū al-Fatḥ Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Akbar.
Date of Birth: October 15, 1542
Death Date: October 25, 1605
Cause of Death- Dysentery, an infection in the intestines that causes bloody diarrhoea
Age (at the time of death)- 63
Akbar the great also known as the Abū al-Fatḥ Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Akbar was descended from Turks, Iranians, and Moguls. Genghis Khan and Tamerlane are considered to be the ancestors of Akbar. Humayun was the father of Akbar who succeeded to the throne of Delhi as ruler of the Mughal territories in the Indian subcontinent. He came to power at the age of 22 and as a result of which he was very inexperienced.
In December 1530, Humayun succeeded his father to the throne of Delhi as ruler of the Mughal territories in the Indian subcontinent. Humayun was an inexperienced ruler when he came to power, at the age of 22. Sher Shah Suri defeated Humayun and won many Mughal territories. Humayun went to Persia and took political shelter for almost 10 years and returned 15 years later to regain the lost Mughal territories.
Humayun Regained the throne in 1555 but had no authority in his kingdom. Humayun further expanded his Mughal territories and he then met with an accident and passed away in 1556 leaving a substantial legacy for his son, Akbar. At 13 years of age, Akbar was made the governor of the Punjab region. Humayun had barely established his authority as an emperor when he died in 1556 which led to many other rulers seeing it as a possibility to capture the Mughal dynasty. As a result of which many governors of the Mughal empire lost several important places. Delhi was also captured by Hemu, a Hindu minister who claimed the throne for himself.
But under the guidance of Bairam Khan who was the regent to the young emperor, on November 5, 1556, Mughal forces defeated Hemu in the second battle of Panipat and recaptured Delhi thus ensuring Akbar’s succession.
Akbar Wife: Akbar had six wives, his first wife’s name was Princess Ruqaiya Sultan Begum, who was also his cousin. His second wife was Bibi Khiera, daughter of Abdullah Khan Mughal. His third wife was Salima Sultan Begum, the daughter of Nur-ud-din Muhammad Mirza. Another of his wives was Bhakkari Begum, the daughter of Sultan Mahmud of Bhakkar. Akbar married Jodha Bai, the daughter of the Rajput ruler of Ajmer, Raja Bharmal. She is also known as Mariam-uz-Zamani. Qasima Banu Begum, the daughter of Arab Shah was also the wife of Akar.
Akbar Son: Akbar had five sons from different wives. His first two sons were Hassan and Hussain and their mother was Bibi Aram Baksh. Both of them died at a young age for an unknown reason. The other Akbar sons were Murad Mirza, Daniyal Mirza, and Jahangir. Akbar’s favourite son was Daniyal Mirza as he also had a keen interest in poetry like his father. Out of the three sons, Prince Salim or Jahangir succeeded Akbar as the fourth emperor of the Mughal dynasty.
Akbar Religious Policy
Mughal emperor Akbar was known for his religious policies and liberal ideas towards it. He adopted a policy that helped in maintaining mutual understanding between people of a different faith. The policy introduced by Akbar treated every religion with respect and equality. He always tried to maintain peace and harmony between people of different faith. He also founded a new religion called ‘Din-i-Ilahi’ having all the common points from all the religions. The main steps taken for religious harmony in Akbar's time were to treat everyone irrespective of their faith. Akbar saw the injustice that was done by his predecessors on Hindus and he resolved all of them like the abolition of taxes on Hindu, Employment of Hindus at a higher post, allying with Hindu families, and most importantly allowing freedom of worship to all.
Due to Akbar’s religious policies, people of different faith trusted him and truly accepted him as their king. The impact of religious policies was huge and it allowed the empire to get strong. Cultural unity emerged and there was an environment of goodwill developed between people of a different faith. Akbar also was credited as the national king by all the people.
After Bayram Khan retired in 1560, Akbar started to govern on his own. Akbar first attacked Malwa and captured it in 1561. In 1562, Raja Bihari Mal of Ajmer offered Akbar his daughter in marriage and Akbar accepted it and it was considered as a sign of total surrender. Akbars followed the same feudal system as other Rajput chiefs. they were allowed to have their ancestor’s territories under the condition that they acknowledged Akbar as their emperor.
Akbar paid tribute to, supplying his soldiers to fight their wars when required to strengthen his alliance with the Rajputs. Akbar showed no mercy to those who refused him as his emperor and acknowledged his supremacy. While fighting Mewar, In 1568 Akbar captured the fortress of Chitor and killed its inhabitants. The fall of Chitor made many Rajput rulers surrender themselves against the supremacy of Akbar and accept him as their emperor in 1570.
In 1573 Akbar conquered Gujarat. It was the area with many ports that was very successful in having trade with western Asia. After conquering Gujarat, Akbar’s eyes were set on Bengal, a city that had networks of Rivers. Bengals Afghan rulers decided to surrender to the supremacy of Akbar in 1575.
Towards the end of his reign, Akbar conquered Kashmir in 1586, Sindh in 1591, and Afghanistan in 1595. After completely conquering the north, The Mughals then set their eyes on the South. In 1601 Khandesh, part of Ahmadnagar and Berar was added to the Akbar’s empire. Throughout his reign, Akbar had captured two-thirds of the Indian subcontinent.
Akbar was the third emperor of the Mughal dynasty and the most successful one too. At the end of his reign, he had conquered two-thirds of the Indian subcontinent that including Afghanistan too. One of the noticeable features of how governed his kingdom was that he treated everyone equally irrespective of their religion. Everyone was allowed to follow their faith without any fear. The discrimination against Hindus was reduced by abolishing the taxation of pilgrims. He gave equal employment opportunities to Hindus for the higher post.
Akbar was very successful as a ruler as every in his kingdom of any faith trusted him and his way of running the kingdom. Akbar was successful in bringing cultural unity among the people and because of that he was given the title of the national king by all people.