History of Pakistan

First Six Major Mughal Emperors: From Babur to Aurangzeb

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In the timeline of the history of Pakistan, we have this second article on Mughals. In history, we can observe numerous dynasties. But, the Mughal Dynasty is one of the best dynasties in the world. Its first six major Mughal Emperors were the best emperors among all emperors of the Mughal Empire from 1526 to 1857.

Six important Mughal Emperors are Babur, Humayoun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shahjahan, and Aurangzeb. From Babur to Aurangzeb Alamgir, the period is known as the Rise of Mughal Empire.

Let’s have a glimpse on the life of each of them.

Zaheer-ud-din Mohammad Babur (1526-1530)

Zaheer Ud Din Mohammad Babur
Idealized portrait of Babur, early 17th century

He fought 1st battle of Panipat. It was the battle, which resulted in the formation of Mughal Empire. The great historians may not have even quoted that he wished to create Mughal Empire. But he knew and intended that any region he conquers will be under his supervision and governance.

Naseer-Ud-din Mohammad Humayoun (1st reign-1530-1540, 2nd reign-1555-1556)

Naseer Ud din Mohammad Humayoun: 2nd Great Mughal Emperor
Imaginary 19th-century portrait

He became the emperor in 1530, when his father Babur died. He was dethroned by Sher Shah Suri in 1540, and he got his throne back in 1555 after waging a dreadful war with the son of Sher Shah Suri. He is a controversial personality when historians talk about his death. He fell from the stairs of his library. He heard the call-for-prayer (Azaan), and hurriedly walked that resulted in slipping of his feet while downing the stairs.

Some have said that he died in the way of Almighty. So, he was a noble soul. Others are of the averse opinions, and say that he was very unfortunate and lost his empire by Suri Dynasty, and was banished from his ancestral land. At the end of his life, he died unnaturally because of an accidental slipping. Whatever destiny had he, but he is the second important Mughal emperor.

Jalal-Ud-din Mohammad Akbar (1556-1605)

Jalal Ud Din Mohammad Akbar the Great
Akbar by Govardhan, c. 1630

When his father died, he was in Gurdaspur. He was very wise and clever. His father’s old companion Bairam Khan announced his kingship, and within his initial days of being king, he fought 2nd battle of Panipat with Hemu Vikramadatiya.

He appointed both Hindus and Muslims in his court. His nine gems are very popular. He was of the conviction that he only has to expand his empire. He did not want to let any hassle to come up on the front. He knew it very well that rebellion can cause his empire to weaken, and his kingship to fade out.

He introduced Mansabdari Nizam and did other works as well, and facilitated people a lot. His typical dealing in religious affairs caused birth of a new religion known as “Tawheed-e-Elahi”, better known as Din-e-Elahi. Mujjadid Alf Sani (Shaikh Ahmed Sarhindi) after the death of Akbar the Great, tried to convince Jehangir to end such religious interference, and let him preach Islam in the United India.

Noor-ud-din Jehangir (1605-1628)

Noor Ud Din Mohammad Jehangir
Jahangir

Instead of beating around the bush, his life was terrible. He saw his sons killing one and other for becoming successors of their father; Jehangir. He is popular for having pristine feelings for Noor Jahan; his wife. He had become 4th emperor of Mughal Empire with the help of Muslim reformists as well, and had promised them to end religious interference of Mughals. After his death, all his sons; Shahjahan, Shehryar, and Pervez. Prince Khusro was already killed by Prince Khuram, better known as, Shahjahan.

Shahab-ud-din Mohammad Khuram (1628-1658)

Shahab Ud Din Mohammad Khurram popular as Shahjahan
Jujhar Singh Bundela kneels in submission to Shah Jahan by Bichitr, c. 1630

Shahjahan is known as Engineer King, because of his interest in architecture and buildings. Taj Mahal of Agra was built on his orders. He is also a noteworthy 5th important Mughal emperor. He was very unfortunate to have seen his own sons fighting with one and other brutally. He loved Mumtaz Mahal a lot.

After the death of Mumtaz Mahal, he went into the depression. His son Aurangzeb imprisoned him in his last 7 years of life.

Aurangzeb Alamgir (1658-1707)

Sixth Great Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir
Emperor Aurangzeb seated on a throne in the darbar with a hawk

The 6th major Mughal emperor is Aurangzeb Alamgir. As mentioned, he imprisoned his father Shahjahan for seven years. He is also a controversial personality. Some say, he was a very religious and able emperor. But some historians have criticized him and said that he was very cruel to have put his father behind the bars.

Conclusion

From Babur to Aurangzeb, it was the rise of the Mughal Empire from 1526 to 1707. After the death of Aurangzeb Alamgir, Mughal Dynasty started to decline.