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Emperor Akbar (1556-1605) [Medieval Indian History Notes For UPSC]

Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar was one of the most formidable Mughal emperors. Akbar gradually expanded the Mughal Empire to encompass much of the Indian subcontinent, owing to his formidable personality and military prowess. However, because of Mughal military, political, cultural, and economic dominance, his power and influence extended over the entire subcontinent.

This article provides all pertinent information regarding the events that transpired during Akbar's reign, including his religious policies, relationship with Indian kingdoms, etc.

Age of Akbar [Mughal Empire consolidation]

Akbar (c. 1556 – 1605 CE) (c. 1556 – 1605 CE)

Akbar was one of the Mughal dynasty's greatest rulers. He was the son of Humayun and Hamida Banu Begum and was born around 1542 CE in Amarkot. Young Akbar was captured by his uncle Kamran when Humayun fled to Iran, but his uncle treated him well. Upon the capture of Qandahar, Akbar was reunited with his parents. When Humayun died, Akbar was commanding operations against Afghan rebels in Kalanaur, Punjab. At the young age of 13 years and four months, he was crowned at Kalanaur circa 1556 CE.

During the first few years of Akbar’s rule (c. 1556 – 1560 CE), Bairam Khan acted as his regent. Bairam Khan was Humayun’s confidante and received the title of Khan-i-Khanan.

Bairam Khan represented Akbar in the Second Battle of Panipat (c. 1556 CE) with Hemu Vikramaditya (wazir of Adil Shah of Bengal) who led the Afghan armies. Hemu was almost victorious when an arrow wounded his eye and knocked him out. His army withdrew and chance favour the Mughals.

During the regency time of Bairam Khan, Mughal domains were extended from Kabul up to Jaunpur in the east, and Ajmer in the west. Gwalior fell.

Bairam Khan emerged as the most powerful noble and started installing his own allies on critical positions dismissing the old nobility. This provoked animosity among other nobility who managed to persuade Akbar as well. The rising arrogance of Bairam Khan additionally compounded the problem. Akbar withdrew him and gave him the option of serving at the court or anywhere outside it or retiring to Mecca. Bairam Khan picked Mecca but on his journey was slain by an Afghan at Patan near Ahmedabad. Bairam’s wife and his little kid were delivered to Akbar at Agra. Akbar married his widow and raised up Bairam’s child as his own who subsequently became famous as Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, a noted Hindi poet and an influential noble.

Akbar had to fight rebellions from different organisations and people in the nobility. This included his foster mother, Maham Anaga and her relations, particularly her son, Adham Khan. Adham Khan defeated Baz Bahadur in Malwa in 1561 CE. Adham Khan slaughtered the Malwa defenders, including women and children, and sent just part of the spoils to Akbar. Removed from command, he lay claim to the post of wazir and when this was not granted, he stabbed the acting wazir in his office. Akbar got outraged and hurled him down from the Agra Fort.

Uzbeks (Central Asian aristocrats) held key positions in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Malwa. Between c. 1561- 1567 CE, they broke out in rebellion multiple times. Meanwhile, a mutiny by the Mirzas, who were Timurids, also turned against the emperor. Encouraged by these rebellions, Akbar's half brother Mirza Hakim, who had taken Kabul, invaded Punjab and besieged Lahore. Uzbek rebel nobles proclaimed Mirza Hakim Hindustan's monarch. Akbar subdued these rebellions with strength, tenacity, and luck. Mirza Hakim was forced to flee to Kabul and the insurrection of the Mirzas was defeated, while the Uzbeks were fully routed by c. 1567 CE.

Early expansion of the Empire (c. 1560- 1576 CE)

Akbar conquered northern India from Agra to Gujarat and subsequently from Agra to Bengal. He fortified the north-western boundary. He visited Deccan afterwards.

Conquest of Gwalior, Malwa and Gondwana

The first expedition was despatched to seize Gwalior (c. 1559-1560 CE) before heading towards Malwa.

Adham Khan, son of Akbar’s foster mother, Maham Anaga fought the monarch of Malwa, Baz Bahadur (c. 1561 CE) (c. 1561 CE). Due to the senseless cruelties of Adham Khan and his successor, there was a reaction against the Mughals which enabled Baz Bahadur to reclaim Malwa. Akbar ordered another Malwa expedition after defeating several rebellions. Baz Bahadur sought refuge with the Rana of Mewar. Later he moved from one place to another and finally surrendered at Akbar’s court and was employed as a Mughal mansabdar. Thus, Malwa came under the Mughal dominion.

The kingdom of Garh-Katanga (Gondwana) encompassed the Narmada Valley and the northern parts of present-day Madhya Pradesh. The kingdom comprised of a number of Gond and Rajput states. Durgavati, the Mahoba Chandella princess and widow of Dalpat Shah, son of Sangram Shah, governed it. She controlled the country with great zeal and courage. Meanwhile, the cupidity of Asaf Khan, the Mughal governor of Allahabad was awakened by the rumours of the wonderful wealth and beauty of Rani Durgavati. In c.1564 CE, he attacked Gondwana; Rani Durgavati fought heroically but lost the fight. Asaf Khan captured Gondwana after she stabbed herself to death. After conquering 10 forts to complete Malwa, Akbar restored Garh-Katanga to Chandra Shah, the younger son of Sangram Shah.

Conquest of Rajasthan

Akbar was well aware of the importance of the Rajput kingdoms and desired them as allies in order to construct a big empire. The Rajput policy of Akbar was notable. He married the Rajput princess Jodha Bai, daughter of Raja Bharamal of Amber. He enlisted Rajputs into Mughal troops and several of them got to the post of military generals. Bhagwant Das, son of Raja Bharamal was named joint governor of Lahore, his son Man Singh was appointed the governor of Bihar and Bengal.

Akbar’s military conquests in Rajasthan-

Merta and Jodhpur fell easily.

A important milestone in his assault against the Rajput states was the siege of Chittor which was regarded a key to central Rajasthan. In c. 1568 CE, Chittor fell after a heroic siege of 6 months. Rana Udai Singh retired to the hills, leaving the fort to Jaimal and Patta. When the Mughals besieged the fort, a considerable number of Rajput warriors (~30,000) were killed.

The Ranas of Mewar continued to defy despite repeated defeats. In the legendary Battle of Haldighati, Rana Pratap Singh, king of Mewar was brutally defeated by the Mughal army headed by Man Singh in 1576.

After the fall of Chittor, Ranthambhore (the most formidable fortress in Rajasthan) and Kalinjar were conquered. As a result of these victorious conquests, most of the Rajput Rajas, including those of Bikaner and Jaisalmer bowed to Akbar. By c. 1570 CE, Akbar had conquered practically the whole of Rajasthan.

In spite of the subjugation of the whole of Rajasthan, there was no hatred between the Rajputs and the Mughals. Akbar’s Rajput policy was mixed with broad religious toleration. He eliminated the pilgrim tax and the practise of compulsory conversion of prisoners of battle. In approx. 1564 CE, he abolished the jizya which was frequently regarded a symbol of Muslim control and superiority. The Rajput policy of Akbar proved advantageous to the Mughal empire as well as to the Rajputs. The alliance secured to the Mughal empire the services of the best warriors in India. The unshakable allegiance of the Rajputs became a key component in the consolidation and growth of the kingdom.

Conquest of Gujarat, Bihar and Bengal

Gujarat was confused after Bahadur Shah's death. Gujarat also housed the Mughal-rebel Mirzas. Akbar did not want Gujarat, a wealthy region, to challenge him. In c. 1572 CE, Akbar proceeded on Ahmedabad via Ajmer and destroyed Muzaffar Shah, the Gujarat monarch without much fight. Akbar erected Fatehpur Sikri's Buland Darwaza to celebrate Gujarat's victory. Akbar then turned his attention to the Mirzas who held Broach, Baroda and Surat. In a short space of time, most of the principalities of Gujarat were brought under Mughal rule. Akbar made Gujarat a province under Mirza Aziz Koka and returned to the capital. However, only within six months, rebellions erupted out all over Gujarat. Hearing the news, Akbar promptly marched out of Agra and reached Ahmedabad in just ten days. He vanquished the enemies and quashed the insurrection (c. 1573 CE) (c. 1573 CE). Akbar then focused on Bengal.

Bengal and Bihar were governed by the Afghans. They had also seized Orissa and slain its ruler. Internal strife among the Afghans and the declaration of independence by the new ruler, Daud Khan, gave Akbar the excuse he was seeking. Akbar first seized Patna and then withdrew to Agra, putting Khan-i-Khanan Munaim Khan in charge of the expedition. The Mughal army entered Bengal and Daud Khan was obliged to sue for peace. However, he eventually revolted and in a hard battle in Bihar in c. 1576, Daud Khan was defeated and killed on the spot. This ended the last Afghan monarchy in Northern India. It also brought an end to the first phase of Akbar’s expansion of the empire.

Rebellions and further expansion of the Mughal Empire

Around c. 1580 - 1581 CE, Akbar had to contend with a series of rebellions, mainly in Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat and the northwest. The main cause of the insurrection was the stringent implementation of the dagh system or branding of the horses of the jagirdars and meticulous accounting of their wealth. The unhappiness was further increased by some religious divines who were upset at Akbar’s liberal ideals, and his policy of resuming the vast revenue-free grants of land which had been gained by them sometimes illegally. The rebellions kept the Mughal empire distracted for approximately two years (c. 1580 – 1581 CE) (c. 1580 – 1581 CE).

Due to the mishandling of the situation by local officials, Bengal and virtually the whole of Bihar slipped into the hands of the rebels who proclaimed Mirza Hakim (who was in Kabul) as their king. Akbar controlled the east with a big force under Raja Todar Mal and Shaikh Farid Bakshi. Raja Man Singh and Bhagwan Das offered a robust response to Mirza Hakim’s attack on Lahore. Akbar rewarded his victories by advancing to Kabul (c. 1581 CE) (c. 1581 CE). Akbar gave up Kabul to his sister, Bakhtunissa Begum and later on, Raja Man Singh was named ruler of Kabul and it was handed over to him as jagir.

Abdullah Khan Uzbek, the hereditary nemesis of the Mughals, had been progressively gaining prominence in Central Asia. He conquered Timurid-ruled Badakhshan in 1584 CE and then headed for Kabul. Akbar was petitioned by Mirza Hakim and the Timurid princes expelled from Badakhshan. Akbar ordered Man Singh to Kabul and himself travelled to Attok on the river Indus. Akbar sought to block all roads to the Uzbeks, therefore he ordered expeditions against Kashmir (c. 1586 CE) and against Balochistan. The whole of Kashmir including Ladakh and Baltistan (named Tibet Khurd and Tibet Buzurg) came under the power of Mughals.

Expeditions were also sent to clear the Khyber route which had been blocked by the rebellious tribesmen of Roshanai. The group was created by a soldier called Pir Roshanai and his son Jalala was the head of the sect. In this voyage, Akbar’s favourite, Raja Birbal lost his life. But the tribesmen were gradually pushed to acquiesce.

In c. 1590 CE, the conquest of Sindh allowed the trade along the river Indus for Punjab. By c. 1595 CE, Mughal authority was established throughout the northwest region. Akbar lived at Lahore till c. 1598 CE when the death of Abdullah Uzbek finally removed the threat from the side of the Uzbeks. The consolidation of the northwest and setting a frontier of the empire were two key efforts of Akbar.

After consolidating the northwest, Akbar focused on eastern, western, and Deccan matters.

In c. 1592 CE, Raja Man Singh, the Mughal administrator of Bengal conquered Orissa which at that time was under the hands of Afghan chiefs.

He also captured Cooch-Bihar and sections of East Bengal, including Dacca.

Mirza Aziz Koka, the foster brother of Akbar, brought Kathiawar in the west into the domain of the Mughal empire.

In c. 1591 CE, Akbar launched a policy of aggression towards the Deccan and sent an expedition to the Deccan under the command of Prince Murad (who was the ruler of Gujarat) and Abdul Rahim Khan Khanan.

In c. 1595 CE, Mughal soldiers invaded Ahmednagar and Chand Bibi (who was the sister of the slain Sultan Burhan) was defeated.

After significant losses, an agreement was struck and Chand Bibi relinquished Berar to the Mughals. After some years, Chand Bibi tried to restore power over Berar with the support of Adil Shahi and Qutab Shahi.

The Mughals sustained massive losses yet could preserve their position.

Meanwhile, conflicts emerged between Prince Murad and Abdul Rahim Khan Khanan that damaged the Mughal authority.

Akbar recalled Khan Khanan and deputed Abu Fazl to the Deccan.

After Prince Murad’s death in c. 1598 CE, Prince Daniyal (youngest son of Akbar) and Khan Khanan were despatched to the Deccan and Ahmednagar was again taken.

Soon, Mughals also took Asirgarh and nearby districts bringing them into direct combat with the Marathas.

Akbar died of illness in approx. 1605 CE and was buried at Sikandra (near Agra) (near Agra).

Art and Architecture

During the reign of Akbar, several local art styles were encouraged which led to the prevalent use of sandstone. Akbar erected a succession of forts, the most notable of which is the fort at Agra (in red sandstone) (in red sandstone). His other forts are in Lahore and Allahabad.

Akbar built Fatehpur Sikri (city of victory) near Agra. Many buildings of Gujarati and Bengali styles are located in this complex. The most splendid edifice in it is the Jama Masjid and the doorway to it is named Buland Darwaza (176 ft high), erected in c. 1572 CE to celebrate Akbar’s victory over Gujarat. Other noteworthy buildings at Fatehpur Sikri are Jodha Bai’s palace and Panch Mahal with five stories.

He erected his own tomb at Sikandra (near Agra) which was completed by Jahangir.

Akbar erected a Vrindavan Govindadeva temple.

He also built Jahangir Mahal at Agra Fort.

Akbar commissioned the drawings of various literary and religious books. He invited a great number of painters from all sections of the country to his court. Both Hindus and Muslims collaborated in this work. Baswan, Miskina and Daswant earned significant positions as Akbar’s court artists.

Illustrations of Persian versions of Mahabharata and Ramayana were produced in tiny form.

Many other Indian legends became tiny paintings in the art studio created by Akbar.

Historical works like Akbarnama also remained the principal themes of Mughal paintings.

Hamzanama is considered to be the most important masterpiece which consists of 1200 paintings. Peacock blue and Indian red were used.

Akbar patronised Tansen of Gwalior who composed many ragas. It is believed that he could deliver rain and fire through singing the ragas Megh Malhar and Deepak, respectively.

The Persian language grew prevalent in the Mughal empire by the time of Akbar’s reign. Abul Fazl was a brilliant scholar and historian of his day. He set a style of prose writing and it was followed for many decades. Many historical works were written during this period. They include Ain-i-Akbari and Akbarnama by Abul Fazl. The translation of Mahabharata into the Persian language was done under the supervision of Abul Faizi (brother of Abul Fazl) (brother of Abul Fazl). Utbi and Naziri were the other two famous Persian poets. Hindi poets were courtiers since Akbar. The most famous Hindi poet was Tulsidas, who composed the Hindi version of the Ramayana - the Ramacharitmanas.

Administrative System under Akbar / Organisation of Government

Akbar paid tremendous attention to the organisation of the central and provincial governments. His system of central government was based on the framework of government that had emerged under the Delhi Sultanate but the functions of various ministries were thoroughly reorganised and detailed rules and regulations were drawn down for the conduct of activities. The regions of the empire were categorised into Jagir, Inam and Khalisa. The Inam estates were those which were assigned to the holy and intellectual men. Jagirs were allocated to nobles and members of the royal family including the queens. Income from the Khalisa villages went directly to the royal exchequer.

Central Administration

The Emperor

The Emperor was the highest head of the administration and controlled all military and judicial authorities. He had the authority to appoint, promote and remove officials at his pleasure.


The Central Asian and Timurid tradition was of having an all-powerful wazir under whom many heads of ministries functioned. He was the key link between the ruler and the administration. Bairam Khan, in his function as wakil, exercised the power of an all-powerful wazir.

Akbar reorganised the central machinery of administration on the basis of division of authority between several departments, and of checks and balances. Akbar took away the financial powers from the Wazir. While the post of wakil was not abolished, it was deprived of any power. This post was given to important nobles from time to time, but they played little part in governance. The head of the tax department continued to be wazir but he was no longer the principal adviser to the ruler. The wazir was a specialist in revenue affairs and was termed diwan or diwan-i-aala. The diwan was responsible for all incomes and expenditures and held jurisdiction over Khalisa, Inam and Jagir domains.

Mir Bakshi

Mir Bakshi was the head of the military department and also the leader of the nobility. Recommendations for appointment to mansabs or for promotions, etc. were made to the emperor through him. After acceptance of the suggestions by the emperor, it was delivered to the diwan for confirmation and for providing a jagir to the appointee.

He oversaw empire intelligence and information organisations. Intelligence officers (Barids) and news reporters (waqia-navis) were posted to all regions of the empire. It was Mir Bakshi who submitted the intelligence reports to the emperor.

Mir Saman \sAn influential officer who was in charge of the royal household and royal workshops called karkhanas. He was responsible for all kinds of purchases, fabrication of different kinds of products for use and their storage for the royal household. Only trustworthy nobility were assigned to this job. The upkeep of etiquettes at the court, the regulation of royal bodyguards, etc. were all under the direction of Mir Saman.

Chief Qazi/ Sadrus Sudur

Chief Qazi was the head of the judicial department. This title was frequently paired with that of the Chief Sadar (Sadrus Sudur) who was responsible for all philanthropic and religious endowments. Interestingly, the chief Qazi of Akbar’s reign, Abdun Nabi, was accused of corruption. Later, many constraints were established on the authority of the Sadar for the award of revenue-free donations. Two major elements of the inam grants were- \sAkbar made it a deliberate part of his policy to grant inam lands to all persons irrespective of religious religion and views. Sanads of donation to several Hindu maths made by Akbar are still preserved.

Akbar established it a regulation that half of the inam land should consist of cultivable wasteland. Thus, inam holders were encouraged to continue cultivation.


These enforced morals. They also reviewed weights and measures and enforced fair prices, etc.

Provincial Administration

In approx. 1580 CE, Akbar partitioned the empire into 12 subas or provinces. These were Bengal, Bihar, Allahabad, Awadh, Agra, Delhi, Lahore, Multan, Kabul, Ajmer, Malwa and Gujarat. Later on, Berar, Ahmednagar and Khandesh were included. With the rise of the Mughal empire, the number of provinces climbed to twenty. The empire was divided into-


Each suba was administered by a Subedar (provincial governor) who was selected directly by the emperor. He maintained the general order of society.

Diwan was in charge of the revenue department in the suba. He oversaw the collection of revenue in the suba and kept track of all expenditures. Through his office, taccavi (advance loans) were provided to peasants.

The Bakshi was appointed based on the recommendations of the Mir Bakshi, and he carried out the same duties at the centre as the Mir Bakshi. He issued both the mansabdar's and the troops' pay stubs.

Sadar was the provincial representative of the central Sadar region. He was in charge of the judicial division and supervised the qazis' activities. He was also concerned with the wellbeing of persons engaged in religious activity and education.

Darogai-i-Dak, who was appointed provincially, was in charge of maintaining the communication route. He utilised the Merwars to communicate with the court (postal runners).


These were the chief officers of the Sarkar:

He was primarily accountable for preserving law and order.

Amalguzar - The Amalguzar or Amil was accountable for the valuation and collection of land taxes.

The faujdari was a division of administration, whereas the Sarkar was a geographical and revenue division.


At the pargana level, the shiqdar was the executive official. He supported the Amil in generating revenue. In Pargana, the Quanungo was responsible for land records. In the towns, the Kotwals were in charge of preserving law and order.


The village chief was referred to as the Muqaddam, while the patwari was in charge of land tax records. In addition to maintaining law and order in their own regions, the zamindars assisted with tax collection.

Administration of Land Tax

Akbar's land taxation scheme was known as the Zabti or Bandobast system. Several improvements were made to Sher Shah's system of land taxation. It was subsequently enhanced by Raja Todar Mal, who christened it the Dahsala system and completed it around 1580 CE. Todar Mal created a standardised method for measuring land with this methodology. The revenue was determined based on the average yield of land assessed during the previous 10 (dah) years. The state's portion of the average harvest was one-third, and cash was the most common form of payment.

The land was categorised into four classes

  1. Polaj (cultivated every year) (cultivated every year)

  2. Parauti (cultivated once in two years) (cultivated once in two years)

  3. Chachar (cultivated once every three or four years) and Banjar (once in five or more years).

Both chachar and banjar were taxed at a reduced rate.

Appointments were made for officials known as karoris who were responsible for the collection of crores of dams (Rs. 2,500,000) as well as the verification of the qanungos' facts and statistics.

Akbar was passionate about the expansion and enhancement of agriculture. In times of necessity, the Amil (revenue officers) were instructed to provide peasants with taccavi (loans) for tools, seeds, animals, etc., and to collect them in easy instalments.

The land income system of the Mughal empire lasted based on Akbar's settlement (with minor modifications) until the 17th century, with some modifications.

Mansabdari System

Utilizing the mansabdari system, Akbar organised both his aristocracy and his army. Every officer was given the mansab rank under this system. The nobles had the highest rank of 5000 and the lowest rank of 10. Even greater mansabs were awarded to princes of royal families. Two prominent nobles of the empire, Mirza Aziz Koka and Raja Man Singh, were each awarded the rank of 7000. The emperor was responsible for all appointments, promotions, and dismissals.

Initially, there was only one rank, but subsequently, the ranks were separated into two-

Personalize your ranking with the Zat Rank. It established a person's personal standing as well as his compensation.

Sawar Rank - This denoted how many cavalrymen (sawars) a person was obligated to maintain.

Every rank contained three categories (mansab). If a person was required to maintain the same number of sawars as his zat, he was placed in the first category of that rank; if he maintained half or more, he was placed in the second category; and if he kept less than half, he was placed in the third category.

Those holding ranks below 500 zat were known as mansabdars, those from 500 to below 2500 were known as amirs, and those having ranks of 1500 and beyond were known as amir-i-umda or amir-i-azam. Nonetheless, mansabdar is sometimes used to refer to all groups. An amir or amir-i-umda could have a subordinate amir or mansabdar, but a mansabdar could not. On the basis of their merits and the emperor's favour, individuals were normally appointed at a low mansab and eventually advanced.

In addition to his personal costs, the mansabdar was required to maintain a quota of horses, elephants, beasts of burden (camels and mules), and carts using his salary. Later, these were maintained centrally, but the mansabdar was responsible for paying for them out of his salary. The mansabdars of the Mughal Empire comprised the highest-paid service in history.

The chehra (descriptive roll of each soldier) and dagh system (branding of horses) were adhered to. Each noble was required to present his contingent for periodic examination before individuals designated by the emperor for this reason. Mansabdars were expected to maintain 20 horses for every 10 cavalrymen. Interestingly, a sawar with only one horse was only regarded half a sawar.

It was stipulated that the aristocratic contingent would be comprised of individuals from each of the four major ethnic groups: Mughal, Pathan, Rajput, and Hindustani. Thus, Akbar endeavoured to weaken the powers of tribalism and narrow-mindedness.

The mansabdari system as it evolved under the Mughals was a distinct and unique institution that had no exact equivalent outside of India. Despite this, the Mughal empire's absence of a formidable navy remained a significant drawback.

System of Jagirdari

As compensation for their services to the state, the Jagirdari system allocated the revenue of a certain province to nobles. It was a modified form of the Delhi Sultanate's Iqta and a vital aspect of the mansabari system. The central Diwan office would identify parganas whose total jama equaled the mansabdar's wage demand. If the recorded jama was larger than the claimed salary, the mansabdar was required to deposit the difference with the central treasury. However, if the jama was less than the salary claim, the remainder was paid from the Treasury.

Categorization of jagirs:

Tankha Jagirs were transferrable land grants provided in lieu of salary.

Watan Jagirs – were hereditary and intransferable. It was given to zamindars and rajas in their local domains. When a zamindar was appointed as mansabdar, he received tankha jagir in addition to watan jagir if the remuneration of his position exceeded his revenue from watan jagir.

Mashrut Jagirs - jagirs assigned under particular conditions.

Altamgha Jagirs - granted to Muslim aristocrats in their ancestral cities or places of birth.

Zamindars possessed inherited rights over the produce of the land and a direct 10-25% part of the peasants' produce. He supported the state in the collecting of taxes and also provided military assistance in times of crisis. Not all of the territories composing the zamindar's zamindari were under his control. The peasants who really farmed the land could not be evicted so long as they paid the land tax. Both zamindars and peasants possessed inherited rights to the land.

Religious Policy under Akbar

Akbar established an empire in which all citizens, regardless of their religious views, were accorded equal rights. He eliminated jizya and the pilgrim fee after marrying Jodha Bai of Amber. By including capable Hindus into the nobility, the empire's liberal ideas were bolstered. For example, Raja Todar Mal ascended to the position of diwan, and Akbar's lifelong companion Birbal climbed to the rank of diwan.

Religion and philosophy captivated Akbar's attention. Akbar was initially a devout Muslim. Abdun Nabi Khan, who was Sadr-us-Sadur, was the most prominent qazi in the state in his estimation. He gradually drifted away from the limited road of orthodoxy.

Akbar erected a hall named Ibadat Khana or the Hall of Prayer in his new capital, Fatehpur Sikri, in 1575 C.E., where he hosted theological talks with religious professors of all faiths, including Hinduism, Jainism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. The intellectuals included Dastur Maharji Rana, a Parsi (from Navsari), Hira Vijaya Suri, a Jain saint from Kathiawar, and Purushottam. Das – Hindu Aquaviva and Monserrate – Christian (sent by the Portuguese at the request of Akbar).

At approximately 1582 C.E., Akbar ended the arguments in the Ibadat Khana because they led to animosity. The representatives of each religion condemned the other and argued that their religion was superior.

In approximately 1579 C.E., Akbar issued a decree or mahzar titled "Decree of Infallibility" in which he reaffirmed his religious authority. If there was a difference of opinion among the ulamas, he had the right to pick any of the interpretations of the Quran.

In approximately 1582 CE, he established a new religion known as Din-i-Ilahi/Tawhid-i-Ilahi (Divine Monotheism), which adheres to the belief in one God and Sulh-i-Kul, i.e., tolerance and respect for all religious factions. It included the positive aspects of a variety of religions. Tawhid-i-Ilahi was a Sufist-type order. With Akbar's demise, though, it all but vanished.

Akbar's Navratnas

The courtiers known as Akbar's navratnas numbered nine (nine jewels).

Abul Fazl

He composed the Akbarnama and the Ain-i-Akbari.

He commanded the Mughal army in its conflict in Deccan.

Bir Singh Bundela executed his death on the orders of Prince Salim.


He was an exceptional Persian poet.

Abul Fazl's sibling

Under his direction, a Persian translation of the Mahabharata was completed.

In addition, he rendered into Persian Lilavati, a mathematical masterpiece.


He served as a renowned musician at the court of King Ramachandra, who dubbed him "Tansen." His name at birth was Tanna Mishra.

He was given the title "Mian" by Akbar.

It is believed that he could summon both fire and rain by singing the ragas Deepak and Megh Malhar.

Raja Birbal

Mahesh Das was his original name.

He was given the titles "Raja" and "Birbal" by Akbar.

He died against the Yusuf Shahis on the northwest frontier.

Raja Todar Mal

He supervised the revenue system. He established weight and measurement standards.

He has worked for Sher Shah Suri in the past.

The title "Diwan-i-Ashraf" was bestowed upon him by Akbar.

Raja Man Singh

One of Akbar's most dependable generals

Fakir Aziao Din

He was one of Akbar's principal advisers.

He was a mystical Sufi.

Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khanan

Progeny of Bairam Khan.

He was a tremendous poet. He rendered Baburnama in the Persian language.

Mirza Aziz Koka

Also referred to as Khan-i-Azam and Kotaltash.

Akbar's adoptive sibling

Moreover, he was the Subedar of Gujarat.


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