Mughal Empire

Mughal Empire (1526 A.D.-1857 A.D.)


His actual name was Zahiruddin Mohammed, son of Omar Sheikh Mirza, the king of Ferghana in Afghanistan. His ambition was to conquer Samarkand, the seat of Timur. In 1527 A.D., Babur defeated ranasanga in the battle of Kanwa. In the battle of Chanderi (1528 A.D.), Babur defeated Mediniroy. In the battle of Gogra in 1529 A.D., Babur defeated Mohd Lodi, brother of Ibrahim Lodi and conquered Bengal. Babur wrote his memories in Turkish language. It was called Tuzak-i-Babari or babarnamah.


Humayun (1530 A.D.- 1555 A.D.) 

Humayun means ‘the most fortunate’. In 1537 A.D., he conquered Gujarat. His arch enemy was sher shah. Humayun defeated sher shah suri in the battle of Chausa in 1540 A.D. and for the second time in the battle of bilgram (1540 A.D.). The mughals lost delhi in the battle of bilgram for the first time. Humayun took shelter in the court of Rana Prasad of Amarkot. In 1545 A.D., humayun defeated sikandar shah of the suri dynasty in the battle of sarhind and got back delhi. He fell from his personal library at dinpanah and died.


Akbar (1556 A.D.- 1605 A.D.)

Second battle of Panipat( October 1556 A.D.) was fought between Akbar and Hemu. Hemu took the title of ‘Raja Vikramajeet’. Akbar was declared the emperor of Hindustan at Kalanoor in sind without being coronated by his tutor Bairam Khan. The mughals got back delhi in the second battle of Panipat by killing Hemu.upto 1562 A.D., the government was called ‘Purdah government’ as mahamanagabagum, the first wife of Humayun ,hamidabanu begum and bairam khan managed the administration.

Akbar,s conquests-

In 1562 A.D., Rani durgavati of godwana was defeated.

In 1564 A.D., Bazbahadurof malwa was defeated.

In 1570 A.D., Dawood khan of Bengal was killed.

In 1572 A.D., Muzaffar shah of Gujarat was defeated.

In 1585 A.D, Akbar conquered Kashmir defeated Md. Padshah.

In 1600 A.D., Rani chandbibi of Amhmednagar was defeated btAbulFazl who sent by Akbar. this was the last conquest of Akbar.

Akbar,s Rajput policy-

Akbar was a great pragmatist. He was the first Muslim ruler to realize that without the help of the Rajput’s, no permanent empire could be set up in India. In January, 1562 when the Akbar was going to Ajmer to visit the holy shrine of Saint Chishti, he accepted the submission of Raja Bharmal of Amber and welcomed a matrimonial alliance with that Kachhwaha ruling family and on his return from Ajmer Akbar married with his daughter on 6th February, 1562.

Bharmal with his son Bhagwant Das and grandson Man Singh accompanied the Emperor to Aagra where he was given a command of 5,000 and his son and grandson were granted commissions in the imperial army.

The Rajput policy of Akbar was wise and statesman like. He succeeded in bringing the majority of the Rajput kingdoms under his authority. What is more important, Akbar was able to enlist the support of the Rajputs in fighting his wars.

But it would be a mistake to suppose that Akbar’s Rajput policy was wholly successful. It was not. He was unable to break the power and pride of Mewar. It was not till Jahangir’s time that Mewar concluded terms with the Mughals. Even then the Mughal Emperor had to concede to the ruler of Mewar, a status of special honour and privilege.

Akbar,s Religious policy-

In 1562 A.D., Akbar banned force conversion.

In 1563 A.D. the pilgrim tax on Hindus was abolished.

In 1564 A.D. JIzia tax was abolished.

In 1575 A.D. Akbar constructed Ibadatkhana at FatehpurSikri for religious discourses and discussions to be conducted every Thursday.

Akbar invited father monsuratte and father Aquinois to speak on Christianity, Pt. Puroshottam on Hinduism, jainasenasuri on Jainism and Raza on parsi religion.

In 1579 A.D., he issued his famous decree of infallibility called mahazir or Mahzarnama.

It was drafted by sheikh Mubarak. With he decree, Akbar became Mir-i-Adil (chief interpretor of konan). In 1582 A.D. akbar founded a new faith called Din-iillahi. It was also called tauhid-i-illahi meaning universal faith. Its main theme sul-i-khul interpreted as ‘peace and harmony’ was  introduced for the first time by abdullatif, the teacher of akbar. din-i-illahi was openly criticized by raja bhagwan das.

Revenue Administration:

Akbar initially followed Sher Shah, revenue systems, particularly the Zabt system. Raja Todal Mal was made the Revenue Minister of Akbar and was known as Diwan-i-Ashraf. Todar Mal introduced ‘Bandobast’, a revenue assessment system classified into four categories:

Polaj (best tract), Parauti (second best), Checher (3rd grade) and Banjar (least fertile). On the basis of the average produce for the last 10 years, the category of land was decided and accordingly tax was levied. Dastur-ul-Amal was the price list for every area’s agricultural commodities. Akbar appointed supervisors for revenue collection called karoris at paraganah level.


Military Administration (Mansabdari System)

The Mansabdari  system was the unique administration system under the Mughals. Though introduced by Babur, it was perfected by Akbar. themansabdars were the civil servants selected on merit. They discharged civil, military, and judicial functions on behalf of the state/Emperor and were given land called Jagirs. The highest rank in Mansabdari of above 5000 was conferred by Akbar on raja man singhndAzizuddinKuka (11,000 sawars).

Mir-i-Atish was in charge of artillery.

Mir-i-Bahari was in charge of navy.

Mir-i-Askan was in charge of the military offences.


Jahangir (1605 A.D.- 1628 A.D.)

His pet name was Sheikh baba. He hung the ‘bell of justice’ in Agra Fort. He executed his son khusrau and also the fifth guru ArjunDev for supporting him. Mehr-un-nisa begum was given the tilte of ‘Noorjahan’and she became popular as padshah begum. She founded her own group called junta consisting of herself, her father MirzaGhiaz Beg (itamad-ud-daula)and her brother Asaf khan.

Khurram (shahjahan) made Rana Amar singh of Mewar accept Mughal suzerainty in1615 A.D.

In 1616 A.D. Khurram conquered Ahmadnagar and was given the title ‘Shahjahan’.

In 1622 A.D.,Persians occupied Kandahar and the Mughals lost Kandahar forever. Jahangir died at Lahore and was buried at Shahdra near Lahore.

Shahjahan (1628 A.D – 1658 A.D)

  • In 1629 A.D., Gujrat and Deccan famine resulted in the loss of man and material.
  • In 1630 A.D., Portuguese in Hoogly revolted and were driven away from Hoogly by Kasim Khan, Governor of Bengal.
  • In 1631 A.D., Mumtaz died.


Civil War It was fought between DaraShikoh, the eldest son of Shahjahan and Aurangzeb, the third son. Begum jahanAra supported dara and RoshanArasupported  Aurangzeb. The secular dara followed Qadri Sufi Order and translated Upanishads into Persian whereas Aurangzeb followed NaqshBandi order.

Aurangzeb and his alliance with the fourth son Murad defeated the imperial armies commanded by dara and raja Jaswantsingh in the battle of varmat and samugarh in 1658 A.D. shahjahan was imprisoned on the charges of misusing public money. He died in 1665 A.D.

Aurangzeb defeated dara for the third time in the battle of deorai , performed coronation twice and came to power with the title ‘Alamgir’ meaning ‘king of the world’.


Aurangzeb (1658 A.D. -1707 A.D.)

After coming to the power, Aurangzeb brought about many changes.

  • He abolished the ‘kalimas’ (inscribing quranic verses on coins).
  • Mohitisib, the royal censor officer was entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing Koran.
  • The customs duties were fixed at 2.5% for Muslims and 5% for Hindus.
  • In 1669 A.D.he order for the destruction of temples.h The KashiVishwanath temple and Keshavrayatwmple in Mathura were the prominent ones to be destroyed.
  • In 1679 A.D.Jizia was reimposed.
  • He abolished both, vocal and instrument music. He also restrained court astrologer and historians; banned celebration of Diwali and Persian Navaroz festival.

Mughal Architecture


The advent of the Mughals brought a new era in architecture. The synthesis of style which began earlier reached its zenith during this time. The architecture of Mughal style started during Akbar’s rule. The first building of this rule was Humayun’s Tomb at Delhi. In this magnificent building red stone was used. It has a main gateway and the tomb is placed in the midst of a garden. Many consider it a precursor of the TajMahal. Akbar built forts at Agra and FatehpurSikri. The BulundDarwaza reflects the grandeur of the mighty Mughal empire. This building was made following Akbar’s victory over Gujarat. The Arch of the BulandDarwaja is about 41 m high and is perhaps the most imposing gateway in the world. The tomb of SalimChishti, Palace of JodhaBai, IbadatKhana, Birbal’s House and other buildings at FatehpurSikri reflect a synthesis of Persian and Indian elements.


During the reign of Jehangir, Akbar’s Mausoleum was constructed at Sikandra near Agra. He built the beautiful tomb of Itimad-ud-daula which was built entirely of marble.


Shahjahan was the greatest builder amongst the Mughals. He used marble extensively. Decorative design in inlay work, (called pietraduro) beautiful arches and minarets were the features of his buildings. The Red Fort and Jama Masjid of Delhi and above all the TajMahal are some of the buildings built by Shahjahan. The TajMahal, the tomb of Shahjahan’s wife, is built in marble and reflects all the architectural features that were developed during the Mughal period. It has a central dome, four elegant minarats, gateway, inlay work and gardens surrounding the main building.

The Mughal style of architecture had a profound influence on the buildings of the later period. The buildings showed a strong influence of the ancient Indian style and had courtyards and pillars. For the first time in the architecture of this style living beings- elephants, lions, peacocks and other birds were sculptured in the brackets.

Mughal Paintings

The art of textual illustration got a new look under the Mughals. Akbar and his successors brought revolutionary changes to painting and sensual illustrations. From this period book illumination or individual miniatures replaced wall painting as the most vital form of art. Emperor Akbar patronised artists from Kashmir and Gujarat; Humayun brought two Persian painters to his court. For the first time painters’ names were recorded in inscriptions. Some great painters of this period were Abd-us-SamadDasawanth and Basawan.

Beautiful illustrations are found on the pages of Baburnama and Akbarnama. Within a few years an integrated and dynamic style resulted from the synthesis of Persian and Indian style and the independent style of Mughal painting was developed. Between 1562 and 1577 a series of nearly 1400 cloth paintings were produced representing the new style and were placed in the imperial studio. Akbar also encouraged the art of making portraits.

The art of painting reached its climax during the period of Jahangir who himself was a great painter and connoisseur of art. Artists began to use vibrant colours such as peacock blue and red and were able to give three dimensional effects to paintings. Mansur, Bishan Das and Manohar were the most gifted painters of Jahangir’s time. Mansur had made an outstanding portrait of the artist AbulHasan and specialised in paintings of birds and animals.

Though Shah Jahan was more interested in architectural splendours, his eldest son DaraShikoh patronised painting like his gradfather. He preferred depicting natural elements like plants and animals in his painting. However withdrawal of royal patronage to painting under Aurangzeb led to the dispersal of artists to different places in the country.

Economic Condition during Mughal Period

The village was the unit around which peasant society revolved. It was also the real unit of assessment of the state’s revenue demand, which was distributed among villagers by the headman (muqaddam or kalantar  ) and the village accountant ( patwar ı). It thus had a financial pool, from which not only tax payments but also minor common expenses (kharch-i dih) were met. This seems to have formed the basic factor behind the celebrated, but often elusive, Indian village community.

Commerce seems to have penetrated the village economy to a great extent, since peasants needed to sell their crops in order to pay their taxes. There was little left them with which to buy any goods on the market. Even so, commerce must have intensified the already existing differences due to the unequal possession of agricultural and pastoral goods (seed, ploughs and cattle). The peasants were usually divided among castes. Even the administration recognized caste hierarchy by varying the revenue rates according to caste, as documents from Rajasthan especially show.

By and large, artisans were in the same position as peasants: they were technically’free’, but hemmed around by many constraints. Though some artisans were bound to render customary services as village servants, most could sell their wares in the market. The need for advances, however, often forced them to deal only with particular merchants, brokers or other middlemen. A small number worked in the workshops (karkhana  s) of nobles and merchants.

Merchants formed a numerous and fairly well-protected class in the Mughal empire. This class was also quite heterogeneous in composition. There were, on the one hand, the large bands of the banjara  s (transporters of goods in bulk), who travelled with pack oxen over enormous distances; on the other, there were specialist bankers (sarraf s), brokers (dallal s) and insurers (the business of bıma, or insurance, being usually carried on by sarraf s). Some of them, at the ports, also owned and operated ships.



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