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Akbar-The Mughal Emperor

Akbar The Mughal Empire


Akbar-The Mughal Emperor, also known as Akbar the Great, was the third ruler of the Mughal Empire in India, reigning from 1556 to 1605. Born in 1542, he ascended to the throne at a young age after the death of his father, Humayun. Akbar is widely regarded as one of the greatest emperors in Indian history. Known for his strong leadership, administrative reforms, and cultural patronage, he fostered a period of stability and prosperity. Akbar was also known for his policy of religious tolerance, promoting a syncretic culture that blended elements of Hindu, Muslim, and other traditions. Jahangir was the son of Akbar. The Navratanas and the Religous policy of Akbar are also very famous.

Akbar-The Mughal Emperor’s Reign:

Akbar-The Mughal Emperor’s reign, often referred to as the “Akbari Age,” lasted from 1556 to 1605. It was a period of significant political, economic, and cultural developments in the Mughal Empire. Here are some key aspects of Akbar’s reign:

  1. Military Conquests: Akbar expanded the Mughal Empire through a series of military campaigns. He successfully annexed territories in northern India, Gujarat, Bengal, and the Deccan region, solidifying the empire’s control over a vast and diverse expanse.
  2. Administrative Reforms: Akbar implemented several administrative reforms to strengthen the governance of his empire. The most notable among these was the introduction of the Mansabdari system, a hierarchical system of military ranking and administrative offices. This helped integrate various ethnic and religious groups into the imperial structure.
  3. Religious Tolerance: Akbar is renowned for his policy of religious tolerance. He sought to create a harmonious society by promoting understanding and acceptance among different religious communities. He abolished the jizya tax on non-Muslims and encouraged dialogues among scholars of various faiths.
  4. Cultural Patronage: The Akbari period is considered a golden age of Mughal culture. Akbar was a great patron of the arts, fostering developments in architecture, painting, literature, and music. The famous illustrated manuscript, Akbarnama, detailing the history of his reign, is a testament to the artistic achievements of his time.
  5. Architecture: Akbar commissioned the construction of several architectural marvels, including the Agra Fort and the city of Fatehpur Sikri. His capital, Fatehpur Sikri, reflects a unique blend of Persian, Central Asian, and Indian architectural styles.
  6. Economic Prosperity: The Mughal Empire under Akbar experienced economic prosperity, with efficient revenue administration and trade flourishing within and beyond the empire’s borders.

Expansion of Akbar-The Mughal Emperor:

Akbar, the third ruler of the Mughal Empire, significantly expanded its territorial boundaries through a series of military campaigns. His expansionist policies aimed to consolidate and strengthen the empire. Here are some key aspects of Akbar’s territorial expansion:

  1. Conquest of Northern India: Akbar inherited a significant portion of northern India from his father, Humayun. However, he faced challenges from regional rulers. Through a combination of military campaigns and strategic alliances, Akbar expanded Mughal control over regions like Delhi, Punjab, and parts of Uttar Pradesh.
  2. Annexation of Gujarat (1572): Akbar’s forces, led by his general Raja Todar Mal, successfully annexed the rich and prosperous region of Gujarat in 1572. This expanded the empire’s western frontiers and enhanced its economic wealth.
  3. Incorporation of Bengal (1576-1578): Akbar’s military campaigns in Bengal resulted in the annexation of the region. Bengal was an important economic center, contributing significantly to the empire’s prosperity.
  4. Campaigns in the Deccan (1590s): Akbar aimed to extend Mughal influence to the Deccan region. Although he faced resistance from local rulers, he managed to secure strategic territories in the Deccan through military campaigns.
  5. Expansion into Rajputana: Akbar pursued a diplomatic approach to incorporate the Rajput states into the Mughal Empire. Through a series of alliances and matrimonial ties, he brought several Rajput kingdoms under Mughal suzerainty without resorting to extensive military campaigns.
  6. Annexation of Kashmir and Sindh: Akbar’s forces also brought Kashmir and Sindh under Mughal control, expanding the empire’s northern and western borders.

While expanding the empire, Akbar encountered various challenges, including resistance from local rulers, geographical obstacles, and the need to manage a diverse and multicultural population. His approach to governance, military strategy, and diplomacy played a crucial role in the territorial expansion of the Mughal Empire during his reign.

Central Administrative System Under Emperor Akbar:

Akbar-The Mughal Emperor implemented a central administrative system that was characterized by a number of reforms, many of which aimed at consolidating and strengthening the Mughal Empire. Here are some key features of the central administrative system under Emperor Akbar:

  1. Mansabdari System: One of Akbar’s most significant administrative innovations was the Mansabdari system. In this system, the emperor assigned a rank or “mansab” to every officer, whether military or civil. The term “mansab” meaning position, denoted the rank through a numerical value called “zat” (personal rank) and “sawar” (number of horsemen). This system facilitated the integration of both military and administrative functions, enabling fluid mobility within the imperial service.
  2. Revenue Reforms: Akbar implemented several reforms in revenue administration. The most noteworthy was the introduction of the “Zabt” system, which fixed the revenue demand on agricultural produce. The revenue was assessed based on the quality of the soil and the crops grown, providing stability to the agrarian economy.
  3. Iqta System: Akbar retained the Iqta system, an administrative structure inherited from his predecessors, but he made modifications. The Iqta system involved the assignment of revenue-yielding territories to nobles in return for their services. However, Akbar imposed a system of checks and balances to prevent abuse and ensure efficient governance.
  4. Centralized Judiciary: Akbar established a centralized judicial system, known as the “Adalat-e-Dar-ul-Adalat” or the “King’s Court of Justice.” The highest court was headed by the chief Qazi, and it dealt with both civil and criminal cases. The emperor himself was the court of final appeal.
  5. Religious Tolerance and Integration: Akbar’s administration was known for its policy of religious tolerance. He abolished the Jizya tax on non-Muslims, promoted interfaith dialogue, and appointed people from various religious backgrounds to important administrative positions. This policy aimed at fostering unity among the diverse population of the empire.

Provincial Administrative System Under Emperor Akbar:

Akbar-The Mughal Emperor implemented a well-organized provincial administrative system to efficiently govern the diverse regions of the Mughal Empire. Here are key elements of the provincial administrative system under Emperor Akbar:

  1. Subahs (Provinces):Administrative units known as Subahs divided the Mughal Empire. The emperor appointed a Subahdar (governor) to head each Subah. The provinces further subdivided into Sarkars (districts) and Parganas (sub-districts).
  2. Subahdar (Governor): The emperor appointed the Subahdar, who played a crucial role in maintaining law and order, collecting revenue, and overseeing the military in their respective provinces, making them a key administrative figure responsible for the overall governance of the province.
  3. Diwan (Revenue Officer): The Diwan was responsible for revenue administration in the province. They played a crucial role in implementing the revenue reforms introduced by Akbar, including the Zabt system. The Diwan assessed and collected revenue, ensuring a fair and efficient system.
  4. Faujdar (Military Commander): The Faujdar was the military commander in the province. They were responsible for maintaining the security of the region, suppressing revolts, and coordinating with the Subahdar to address any military challenges.
  5. Qazi (Judicial Officer): The Qazi was responsible for administering justice in civil and criminal matters. They presided over the Qazi courts, ensuring that legal matters were handled according to Islamic law.
  6. Amil (Tax Collector): The Amil was in charge of collecting and managing various taxes. They played a crucial role in implementing revenue policies and ensuring that the revenue collected reached the imperial treasury.
  7. Shiqdar and Faujdars (Local Administration): The Shiqdar and Faujdars were responsible for local administration at the Sarkar and Pargana levels. They assisted in maintaining law and order, collecting revenue, and implementing imperial policies at the grassroots level.

Land Revenue System Under Emperor Akbar:

Akbar-The Mughal Emperor implemented significant reforms in the land revenue system to ensure a more equitable and efficient administration of the Mughal Empire. The key features of Akbar’s land revenue system include:

  1. Zabt System: Akbar introduced the Zabt system as a major reform in revenue administration. This system fixed the revenue demand on agricultural produce.The revenue assessment was based on a careful measurement of the fertility of the land and the type of crops grown. This fixed revenue demand provided stability to the agrarian economy and reduced the burden on the peasantry.
  2. Measurement and Land Survey: To implement the Zabt system effectively, Akbar initiated a comprehensive land survey. This survey, known as the “Ain-i-Akbari,” aimed to assess the resources, cultivation, and population of different regions. The collected data helped in determining a fair and standardized revenue assessment for each area.
  3. Classification of Land: The land was classified based on its fertility and productivity. The classifications included Polaj (cultivated every year), Parauti (cultivated every alternate year), and Chachar (fallow land). Each type of land was subject to a specific rate of revenue assessment.
  4. Cash Payments: Akbar introduced the practice of revenue payments in cash rather than kind. This shift from payment in kind to cash reduced the complexities of revenue collection, facilitated financial transactions, and provided greater flexibility in the economic system.
  5. Revenue Officials (Diwan): The Diwan, or revenue officer, played a crucial role in implementing the land revenue system. They were responsible for assessing and collecting revenue, ensuring the proper classification of land, and overseeing the overall revenue administration in the provinces.
  6. Abolition of Arbitrary Demands: Akbar took steps to abolish arbitrary and excessive revenue demands. The Zabt system aimed to provide a more rational and predictable framework for revenue collection, reducing the potential for exploitation by local officials.

Religious Policy Of Emperor Akbar:

Akbar-The Mughal Emperor is renowned for his policy of religious tolerance and inclusivity. His religious policy, often referred to as Din-i Ilahi, aimed at fostering harmony among diverse religious communities in the Mughal Empire. Key features of Akbar’s religious policy include:

  1. Din-i Ilahi (Religion of God): Akbar sought to create a syncretic and inclusive faith called Din-i Ilahi, which integrated elements from various religions, including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. However, this new religion did not gain widespread acceptance.
  2. Religious Tolerance: Akbar actively promoted religious tolerance and discouraged religious discrimination. He abolished the Jizya tax on non-Muslims, allowed people to practice their faith freely, and appointed individuals from different religious backgrounds to key administrative positions.
  3. Interfaith Dialogue: Akbar encouraged discussions and debates among scholars of different religions. The Ibadat Khana (House of Worship) at Fatehpur Sikri served as a platform for religious scholars to engage in dialogue and promote understanding among various faiths.
  4. Abolition of Sati: Akbar took steps to curb certain social practices, such as the practice of Sati (self-immolation of widows). He recognized the importance of social reforms to create a more just and humane society.
  5. Integration of Rajputs: Akbar pursued a policy of matrimonial alliances with Rajput rulers, leading to the integration of Rajput states into the Mughal Empire. This strategy helped in fostering goodwill and cooperation among different communities.
  6. Religious Festivals and Celebrations: Akbar actively participated in and supported the celebrations of various religious festivals, regardless of the faith they belonged to. This gesture contributed to a sense of inclusivity and cultural integration.
  7. Sulh-i Kul (Universal Peace): Akbar’s principle of Sulh-i Kul emphasized universal peace and understanding. He believed in the coexistence of different religious communities and sought to create an environment where people of diverse faiths could live together harmoniously.

Navratnas Of Emperor Akbar:

Akbar-The Mughal Emperor, recognizing the importance of intellectual and artistic pursuits, assembled a group of nine exceptionally talented individuals known as the “Navaratnas” (Nine Jewels) in his court. These individuals, hailing from diverse backgrounds, made significant contributions to various fields. The Navaratnas of Akbar’s court were:

  1. Abu’l-Fazl: Akbar’s court historian and the author of the “Ain-i-Akbari,” a comprehensive account of Akbar’s reign. He was also involved in the compilation of the Akbarnama.
  2. Birbal (Mahesh Das): A close confidant of Akbar, renowned for his wit and wisdom. He served as a courtier, military commander, and diplomat.
  3. Faizi: Akbar’s poet laureate and one of the finest poets of his time. Faizi was also a scholar, and his literary contributions were highly appreciated.
  4. Tansen (Miyan Tansen): A legendary musician and vocalist, considered one of the greatest musicians in Indian classical music history. Tansen’s influence beyond the Mughal court and his credited creation of the classical music tradition known as the Gharana system.
  5. Raja Todar Mal: Akbar’s finance minister and a key figure in implementing revenue reforms. Todar Mal played a crucial role in the introduction of the Zabt system.
  6. Raja Man Singh: A trusted military commander and one of Akbar’s most prominent generals. Man Singh played a crucial role in various military campaigns and diplomatic missions.
  7. Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana: A poet and one of the Navaratnas known for his literary contributions. Rahim is particularly remembered for his dohas (couplets) and compositions.
  8. Mulla Do-Piyaza: A scholar and humorist known for his wit and linguistic expertise. Mulla Do-Piyaza was often involved in playful banter with Birbal.
  9. Fakir Aziao-Din: An influential Sufi saint and spiritual advisor to Akbar. Fakir Aziao-Din provided guidance on spiritual matters and contributed to Akbar’s policy of religious tolerance.


Akbar-The Mughal Emperor, the third ruler of the Mughal Empire, reigned from 1556 to 1605. Known for his military conquests, administrative reforms, and religious tolerance, Akbar created a period of stability and cultural flourishing in India. His policies, such as the Mansabdari and Zabt systems, aimed at efficient governance, while his efforts to integrate diverse religious communities reflected a commitment to inclusivity. Akbar’s legacy endures through his contributions to art, architecture, and the synthesis of diverse cultural elements, leaving an indelible mark on the history of the Indian subcontinent.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1. What is Akbar the Great most famous for?

Ans1. Akbar extended the reach of the Mughal dynasty across the Indian subcontinent and consolidated the empire by centralizing its administration and incorporating non-Muslims (especially the Hindu Rajputs) into the empire’s fabric.

Q2. Who ruled after Akbar death?

Ans2. Answer and Explanation: Akbar succeeded the throne of the Mughal Empire in 1556 from his father, Humayun. After Akbar died in 1605, Nur-ud-din Muhammad Salim became the fourth emperor of the Mughal Empire. Also known as Jahangir, or Salim, he ruled until he died in 1627.

Q3. How many wives did emperor Akbar have?

Ans3. The wives of Emperor Akbar are classified as the Chief wives and secondary wives. He had about three hundred wives. 36 wives became his chief wives. Abdullah Khan’s daughter(name not recorded) Married within Mankot.

Read Also: Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556-1605)

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