History - Mughal Empire (Download in PDF)
History - Mughal Empire
The second Battle of Panipat marked the real beginning of the Mughal Empire in India.
Bairam Khan remained the protector and guardian of Akbar during the initial reign of Akbar.
Akbar’s mother Hamida Banu Begum, and his foster mother Maham Anaga urged Akbar to get rid of the Regent, Bairam Khan. In 1560, Akbar openly expressed his desire to take the reigns of the empire in his own hands and dismissed him. Bairam Khan submitted his resignation and desired to proceed to Mecca. On his way to Mecca, Bairam was stabbed to death by Lohani Afghan, whose father had been killed by Mughal troops under the command of Bairam Khan.
Akbar followed a policy of conquest for the expan-sion of his empire until the capture of Asirgarh in January 1601. He achieved the political unification of the whole of northern and central India by frequent annexations extend-ing over 40 years.
Akbar realised the value of Rajput alliance in his task of building up an Empire in India and tried, as far as possi-ble, to conciliate the Rajputs and secure and ensure their active cooperation in almost all activities. The Empire of Akbar can be said to be an outcome of the coordination of Mughal prowess and diplomacy and Rajput valour and service. Mewar, however, gave stiff resistance to Mughal forces. Rana Sanga, the ruler of Mewar, kept the torch of independence burning. However, after his death, his weak son, Uday Singh, could not hold against the Mughals and Akbar finally besieged the fort of Chittor in October 1567. But, the victory did not come his way easily. Rana Sanga’s brave followers, Jaimnall and Patta, gave stiff resistance. The entire garrison, to the last man, died fighting. The Rajput women performed the rite of Jauhar.
Victory at Chittor resulted in other Rajput chiefs to submit to Akbar. But Mewar continued to defy. Uday Singh continued to retain his independence even after losing the capital. After his death, Mewar found a true leader in Rana Pratap.
The imperial invasion of territory of Rana Pratap took place in April 1576, under troops commanded by Man Singh, the ruler of Amber, and Asaf Khan. A furious battle was fought at the pass of Haldighati. Rana Pratap was defeated by the Mughal forces. His life was, however, saved by the selfless devotion of the chief of Jhala, who drew upon himself the attack of Mughal forces by declaring himself to be the Rana. Rana mounted his favourite horse Chetak and fled to the hills, from where he continued his resistance to the Mughal forces and also managed to recover some of the lost territory. Rana Pratap’s son tried to continue the resis-tance after his father’s death but was finally defeated in 1599 by Mughal forces led by Man Singh.
After annexing Ranthambhor and Kalinjar in 1569, the Mughals subjugated Gujarat. In 1572, Akbar marched in person against Gujarat and defeated all opposition.
Gujarat turned out to be one of the most profitable sources of income for the Mughal empire, chiefly through the re-organisation of its finances and revenues by Todar Mal.