The Mughal Empire of India

The Mughal Empire of India

The Mughal era is the historic period of the Mughal Empire in India, it ran from the early sixteenth century to a point in the early eighteenth century when the Mughal Empire of India power had dwindled.

Mughal Empire of India

It ended in several generations of conflicts between rival warlords.

During the Mughal period, art and architecture flourished and many beautiful monuments were constructed. The rulers were skillful warriors and admirers of art as well.

The Mughal Empire lasted for more than three centuries. The Mughal Empire was one of the largest centralized states in premodern history and was the precursor to the British Indian Empire.

More information about the famous Mogul rulers in our related section.

The Mughal Emperors

  • Babur (1526-1530)
  • Humayun (1530-40 & 1555- 1556)
  • Akbar (1556 – 1605)
  • Jahangir (1605-1627)
  • Shahjahan (1628-1658)
  • Aurangzeb Alamgir (1658-1707)
  • Later Mughal or Fall of Mughal

Salient Features of Mughal Dynasty in India

  1. Mughal Administration in India
  2. Mughal Buildings in India
  3. Mughal Paintings in India
  4. Mughal Literature

Mughal Empire of India

Babar (1526-1530)

  • Was a descended of Timur on his father’s side and Chengiz Khan on his mother’s side his family belonged to the Chaghtai sections of the Turkish race and were commonly known as Mughal Empire of India .
  • Originally ruled over Ferghana (Uzbekistan). He became the Sultan at the early age of 12 his father Sultan Umar Shaikh Mirza died.
  • He was invited to attack India by Daulat Kl Lodhi (Subedar of Punjab), Alam Khan (under Ibrahim Lodhi) and Rana Sanga. Defeated Ibra Lodi in the First Battle of Panipat in 152 babar
  • In this Babar used the Rumi (Ottoman) device of lashing a large number of carts to form a defending wall with a breastwork in between to rest gu (Tulghama system of warfare). His artillery was by Ustad Ali and Mustafa.
  • Defeated Sangram Singh (Rana Sanga) of Mew in the Battle of Khanua in 1527. This weakened Rajput confederacy and strengthened Babr position. Babar took the tide of “Ghazi” after that.
  • Defeated another Rajput ruler, Medini Rai ( of Chanderi) in the Battle of Chanderi in 1528.
  • Defeated the Afghan chiefs under Mahmud brother of Ibrahim Lodi) in the Battle of Ghagra 1529.
  • His victories led to rapid popularization gunpowder and artillery in India.
  • Died in 1530. Buried at Aram Bagh in Agra; the body was taken to Aram Bagh, Kabul.
  • His memoir, the Tazuk-i-Baburi in Turkic language is a classic of world literature .it shows his humane outlook and sensitivity to the beauty of nature. Also wrote Masnavf.

Humayun (1530-40 and 1555-56)

  • He was born to Mahim Begam and Babur.
  • The throne inherited by Humayun was not a bed of
    roses humayun
  • Babar had practically got no time to consolidate his position and authority. Before he could put the whole country on a stable basis, he was gone.
  • He did a blunder by dividing his empire among his ree brothers-Kamran, Hindal, and Askari
  • Built Dinpanah at Delhi as his second capital
  • Defeated the Afghan forces at Daurah in 1532

The Afghan Interlude

Sher Shah Suri History (1540-1545)

  • Real name was Farid. Given the title Sher Khan by Babar Khan Lohani (Governor of Bihar) who appointed him Vakil (deputy).
  • Became the master of Delhi after the exit of Humayun.
  • Crushed the Rajput forces of Marwarat Samuel in 1544.
  • Died in 1545 while campaigning against Kalinzar Fort.

Shershah’s Administration

  • For administrative convenience, Shershah divided his whole empire into 47 divisions called sarkars and sarkars into smaller Parganas. In the field of central administration, Shershah followed the Sultanate pattern. There were four main central departments, viz, Diwan – i -wizard, Diwan -i- are, Diwan -i-insha and Diwan -i-rasalat.
  • His Land Revenue System is noteworthy as he classified his land under 3 heads – good, middle and bad, and claimed 1/3rd of the produce. The land was measured by using the Sikandari – gap (32 points). Todarmal contributed greatly to the development of revenue policy of Shershah. Akbar also adopted the same revenue policy, albeit with some amendments.
  • Shershah personally supervised the recruitment of the soldiers and paid them directly, He revived Alauddin’s system of branding the horses (drag) and keeping a descriptive roll of soldiers (chehra)
  • Shershah introduced a regular postal service. He also attempted to fix standard weights and measures.
  • Introduced the silver ‘Rupiya’and the copper ‘Dam’ and abolished all old and mixed metal currency. He promoted the cause of trade and commerce by reducing the number of the customs duty collection points to just two
  1.  Goods produced in Bengal outside had to pay customs duty at Sikrigali (at the border of Bengal and Bihar).
  2. For the goods coming from West and Central Asia imported from or at the Indus.
  • Shershah improved communication by building roads. The roads built by Shershah are called ‘the arteries of the empire’. Sarais were built on roads. He restored the old imperial road called Grand Trunk road, from the Indus River to Sonargaor, in Bengal.
  • Built his tomb at Sasaram in Bihar.
  • Built a new city on the bank of Yamuna River (present-day Purana Qila).
  • Malik Mohammad Jaisi composed Padmavat (in Hindi) during his reign.
  • Abbas Khan Sarwani was his historian, who wrote Tarikh-i-SherShahi.
  • Sher Shah Suri gradually gained power during his time.
  • He was attacked by Sher Shah at Chausa (Battle of Chausa) in 1539 but escaped. Here Humayun was saved by Nizam, a water carrier.
  • But in the Battle of Kannauj (also called Battle of Bilgram) in 1540, he was defeated by Sher Shah and had to flee.
  • Passed nearly 15 years (1540-1555) in exile.
  • First fled to Sind, which was under Shah Hussain Arghuna. In 1545, he went to the Persian emperor’s court.
  • Had the chance to return in 1555. Sher Shah, the victor of Kannauj, died in 1545. He was succeeded by his son Islam Shah, who ruled up to 1553. He was succeeded by Muhammad Adil Shah.
  • He was very fond of pleasures and left the affairs of his government in the hands of Hemu, his minister. His authority was challenged by Ibrahim Shah and Sikandar Shah. There were a large number of bloody battles among the various rivals. The net result of all this was that the Suri Empire was broken up
  • Bairam Khan, his most faithful officer, helped him.
  • Died in 1556, due to a fall from his library building stairs (Sher Mandal, Delhi) seven months after he captured Delhi. It is said about him that “Humayun tumbled through life and he tumbled out if it”
  • Gulbadan Begum, his half-sister, wrote Humayun-name


Akbar (1556-1605)

  • Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar was the son of Humayun and Hamid Banu Begam. He was born at in Amarkot 1542
  • Bairam Khan coronated him at Kalanaur (Punjab)
    when he was 14 years old.
  • Bairam Khan represented him in the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556 against Hemu Vikramaditya. Hemu, the PM of Muhammad Shah Adil of Bengal, was defeated. Hemu is considered the last Hindu king of Delhi.
  • Between 1556 – 1560, Akbar ruled under Bairam Khan’s regency. (Bairam Khan was assassinated at Patan, Gujarat, on his way to Mecca by one of his old Afghani enemies).
  • Conquered Malwa in 1561 defeating Baz Bahadur. He was later made the Mansabdar to honor his skill as a musician.
  • Then defeated Garh Katanga (ruled by Rani
    Durgawati) followed by Chittoor and Ranthambhore.
  • kbar followed a policy of reconciliation with the Rajputs. Some of the Rajput princes entered into matrimonial alliances with him. In 1562, he married the eldest daughter of Raja Bharmal of Jaipur. In 1570, he married princesses from Bikaner and Jaisalmer. In 1584, Prince Salim was married to the daughter of Raja Bhagwan Das. All these activities paved the way for friendship between Rajputs and Mughals (except Mewar).
  • Won Gujarat in 1572. commemorate his victory of Gujarat that Akbar got the Buland Darwaza constructed at Fatehpur Sikri.
  • Fought Battle of Haldighati with Mewar forces on 18 Jun 1576. Mughals were represented by Raja Maan Singh and Rajputs by Rana Pratap Singh. Rajputs were defeated.
  • Raja Maan Singh conquered Bihar, Bengal, and Orissa for him
  • In 1586, he conquered Kashmir and in 1593, he conquered Sindh. His last conquest was at the fort of Asirgarh Deccan.
  • At this death in1605, his empire included Kashmir, Sind, Kandahar and extended as far as the Godavari in the Deccan.

Maharana Pratap

  • A Rajput ruler of Mewar, he belonged to Sisodia clan of Suryavanshi Rajputs. He was son of Udai Singh II. In 1568, during the reign o Udai Singh II, Mewar was conquered by the Akbar
  • Battle of Haldighati was fought on Jun 18, 1576, which Maharana Pratap was defeated by Akbar’s army, led by Raja Maan Singh. Maharana had fled the field on his trusted horse Chetak.
  • Thereafter, Pratap had to retreat into the Aravali from where he continued his struggle through the tactics of guerilla warfare. Using the hills as is base, Pratap harassed the large and therefore awkward Mughal forces in their encampments
  • He ensured that the Mughal occupying force Mewar never knew peace. Rana Pratap died injuries sustained in a hunting accident.


  • Akbar’s eldest son Salim assumed the title Nuruddin Muhammad Jahangir and ascended the throne.
  • He mostly lived in Lahore which he adorned with gardens and buildings.
  • But soon, his eldest son Khusro revolted, which was suppressed.
  • The fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjun Dev, had helped
    Khusro. So he was also executed after 5 days of
  • Rana Amar Singh (son of Maharana Pratap) of Mewar submitted before Jahangir in 1615. Rana’s mansabdar in the was made a son Karan Singh Mughal court.
  • Faced a formidable opponent in Malik Amber in his expedition to Ahmednagar.
  • His greatest failure was the loss of Kandahar to Persia in 1622.
  • The most important event in Jahangir’s life was his marriage to Mehr – un Nisa, the widow of Sher Afghani in 1611. The title of Nur Jahan was conferred on her.
  • She had a great influence on Jahangir’s life, as she was given the status of Padshah Begum, coins were struck in her name and all royal farmans beared her name.
  • She got a high position for her father and her brother. She married Asaf’s daughter, Mumtaz Mahal to Khurram. This cemented the alliance between Nurjahan, her father, Asaf Khan, and Khurram.
  • This alliance practically ruled the empire for 10 years. A problem arose when Nur Jahan married her daughter by Sher Afghani to Jahangir’s youngest son, Shahryar. Now Nur Jahan supported him for the heir-apparent
  • All the event hampered the military events for the recovery of Kandahar.
  • Had a chain of justice outside his palace in Agra called Zanzir – i – Adil). He also laid a number of gardens, such as the Shalimar and Nishat gardens in Kashmir.
  • Captain Hawkins (1608-11) and Sir Thomas Roe (1615-1619) visited his court. Due to the efforts of established at Surat and some other places.
  • Pietra Valle, famous iotalian traveler came during his region.
  • Tobacco growing started during his region. It was brought by the Portuguese

Shahjahan (1628-1658) 

  • Able general and administrator.
  • Had to face revolts in Bundelkhand (Jujjhar Singh Bundelkhand of Orchha) and in the Deccan (Khan-i-Jahan Lodi) in the initial years.
  • Shahjahan’s policy of annexing the Deccan was quite successful. Ahmednagar was annexed while Bijapur and Golconda accepted his overlordship.
  • Shahjahan also expelled the Portuguese from Hughli, as they were abusing their trading privileges.
  • In 1639, Shahjahan secured Kandahar and immediately fortified it. But Persia wrested Kandahar from the Mughals in 1649. Shahjahan sent three expeditions to recover Kandahar, but all failed.
  • Made his son, Aurangzeb, the viceroy in Deccan in 1636. Aurangzeb first tenure was till 1644.
  • Aurangzeb second term as Viceroy in Deccan began in 1653 and continued till 1658. Aurangzeb built an effective Revenue System there.
  • Last 8 years of his life were very painful, as there was a brutal war of succession among his four sons- Dara, Shuja, Aurangzeb, and Murad. Dara was his favorite but Aurangzeb was the ablest.
  • Ultimately, Aurangzeb took control and he was made the prisoner in the Agra Fort, being looked after by his daughter, Jahan Ara, till his breath in 1666.
  • His region is considered the ‘Golden Age of the Mughal Empire of India’.
  • 2Frenchmen, Bernier and Tavernier, and an Italian adventurer Manucci visited during his region


1 Comment

Add a Comment

Leave a Reply