The Rise of Mughal Empire: 1526 to 1707
Let’s know how the Great Mughal Empire was formed?
The period of rising of the Mughal Empire is from 1526 to 1707. I will discuss the great Mughal emperors in a concise description in this article. But, the next article would be about the first six great Mughal emperors in a detailed version.
The rise and fall of the Mughal Empire would be discussed, keeping the focus on the rise only in this article. Those who want to read how Mughal Empire was ended should follow the next articles.
The Mughal Emperors from 1526 to 1707 were Zaheer-ud-din Mohammad Babur, Naseer-ud-din Mohammad Humayoun, Jalal-ud-din Mohammad Akbar, Noor-ud-din Mohammad Jehangir, Shahab-ud-din Mohammad Khuram, and Aurangzeb Alamgir.
Who was Zaheer-ud-din Mohammad Babur?
History keeps with it all chapters of the past. Mughal Empire is also such a great chapter of history which opens the door of historical understanding for the students of International Relations, Political Science, and History. Back in 1483, a child opened his eyes to the world, whose father Omer Shaikh Mirza was the ruler of Farghana Valley (In present day-Uzbekistan). The child’s name was Zaheer-Uddin Mohammad. To Whom It May Concern, people know him by the name Zaheer Udin Babur. It was the mother of Zaheer Udin Mohammad, who gave the child “Babur” which means ‘a brave’ as a title.
Babur was only 12-year-old, when he was blessed with the rule of Farghana. Nobody knew that he had to strive hard for his sultanate. Ahmad Mirza who was the uncle of Babur, stood against him for snatching the rule, and becoming the ruler of Farghana. Ahmad Mirza fought and defeated Babur. After some time (Perhaps some months), Mehmood Khan was the brother of Babur’s mother also attacked on the areas which only Babur had after the onslaught of Ahmad Mirza.
After the death of Ahmad Mirza, Babur with Mongol soldiers attacked Samarkand. After the triumphant victory, Mongols left Babur alone and accompanied Sultan Ahmad Tambal, going back to the Farhana and announcing that Jehangir Mirza (Brother of Babur) is now appointed as the new ruler of Farghana. When Babur came to know about the dubious reign of Jehangir, he traveled to Farghana to rescue his Sultanate, but his cousin Sultan Mirza captured Samarkand too. Babur had now lost both Farghana and Samarkand Sultanates.
Babur had to strengthen his army with the help of some other army’s association from another state. Ali Dost of Markanan State helped him out with the army support for the attack on Farghana. When Babur attacked Farghana, he reached an agreement with Jehangir Mirza that both will attack on Samarkand together, and then Babur will give Farghana to Jehangir, and he will keep the Samarkand. They did it and Babur became the ruler of Samarkand.
The greed of power never ends. Shaibani Khan uzbek had eyes on the Samarkand and he attacked soon after Babur had conquered Samarkand. The name of power, Shaibani captured Samarkand and banished Babur. Shaibani had a dream to rule the world and wanted expansion of his sultanate.
Babur, the blood of Genghis Khan and Amir Timur, did not stay silent but sought help from Ameer Ahmad Tambal for impending attack on Farghana to snatch his ancestral rule from Jehangir Khan. It was a great victory for Babur as he got his family sultanate back to him. Shaibani Khan, again after Samarkand, defeated Babur in Farghana. Zaheer udin Babur now could not think of capturing Farghana and Samarkand because Shaibani Khan Uzbek had defeated all his companions badly.
In 1501, Babur’s paternal uncle Ulugh Beg II, the ruler of Kabul in Afghanistan died, and his only heir was Abdul razaq Mirza. Beg’s Minister Mukeem Beg cheated upon Abdul Razak and became the ruler of Kabul. In 1504, Babur attacked and conquered Kabul.
Babur had threats to his throne from his family relatives, and most of all by the fear of Shaibani Khan uzbek. But his destiny blessed him when “Shah of Iran” Ismail Safavi (The founder of Safavid Dynasty) killed Shaibani Khan.
Babur got the support from Irani Army (Safavid Dynasty) and attacked to get Samarkand back. He got a triumphant victory but when Safavid Army went back, the Uzbek army attacked the Babur’s Samarkand and re-conquered it again.
Now, Babur was fed-up with fighting again and again for Samarkand and Farghana, and was planning to enter into the region of Hindustan. Coming through and conquering Khyber Pass, Kohat, Bannu, Essa Khel, and Gomal Pass, reached Indus River. In 1519, he conquered Bajaur, the areas between River Chenab and Jhelum, and also Sialkot.
1st Battle of Panipat
When Babur was stepping ahead Delhi, Sultan Sikander Lodhi was the ruler of Delhi. He sent his elder son Ibrahim Lodhi to fight the battle with aggressive Babur. Both armies met at Panipat and fought one of the fiece battles in the history.
In reality, the reason behind the first battle of Panipat was the invitation of the attack by the Sultan of Mewar Maharana Singh Ram who had various threats to his throne by Lodhi family. Maharana Singh Ram believed that Babur after the victory will go back to Afghanistan as Amir Tamoor did in the past, and in Hindustan, Rajputs will rule. Nobody could guess about impending rising great Mughals.
Babur founded Mughal Empire after the victory in the first Battle of Panipat, and then fighting with Maharana Singh Ram in the battle of Khanwa. Before him, son of Babur Humayoun had reached Agra where he got ‘Kohinoor Diamond’ as a gift from the family of Raja Gwalior, whom he had given protection. The lodhi family still conspired against the rule of Babur but could not do any harm.
Nasir Ud-din Humayoun
After three days of Babur’s death, Humayoun ascended the throne, meanwhile Prime Minister in that time, Nizamuddin Khalifa wanted to make Mahdi Khwaja, the successor the of Babur. Humayoun was born on 17th March, 1508 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her mother’s name was Maham Baig. He also had three other brothers; Kamran Mirza, Askari, and Hindal Mirza. He achieved his first victory in the age of 20 years, defeating Hamid Khan, Ibrahim Lodhi’s General, and conquering Hisar Feroza, Badakhshan and being the governor.
Obeying the father’s bequeathment, he divided his certain areas among his brother. He gave Kabul and Kandahar to Kamran Mirza, Mewat to Hindal Mirza, and Sanbhal to Askari. On his own will, he gifted the region of Badakhshan to his cousin named Suleiman Mirza. Instead of Humayoun such generous decisions, his brother were not happy.
Mirza Kamran conspired and attacked on the Lahore and captured entire Punjab ahead. This time, for Humayous, was very troublesome, as the Afghans had got a great leader Mehmud Lodhi, and Bahadur Shah of Gujrat as well as Nusrat Shah of Begal could prove to be a threat to the throne of Humayoun. For the safe side, humayoun decided to make agreements and create friendly relations with Rana Sangha, the ruler of Mewat. Humayoun sent Rakhi to the wife of Rana Sangha to express his brotherhood to Karta Devi. When Rana Sanga died, Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujrat invaded the state of Chittor. Karta Devi wrote a letter to Humayoun for helping her son Rana Bikram Jeet against Mehmood Khilji in the war. Humayoun arrived to help his eloquent sister, Muzaffar Shah coming to know about the arrival of humayoun fled back to Gujrat, but Naseer uddin Humayoun pursued him and conquered Gujrat.
Sher Shah, who was sometime a servant in Babur’s reign, sent troops to Humayoun under his son’s supervision to showcase his loyalty to Mughals. In the happiness, humayoun celebrated for one and a half year. This celebration proved to be a disguise of Sher Shah’s revolting intention, and in 1537 Sher Shah captured the state of Bengal.
Humayoun fought with the son Jalal Khan of Sher Shah, and conquered Chinar and Ghor. After this victory, humayoun made another mistake of celebrating for 9 months. The prolonged celebration benefitted Sher Shah, and he invaded Banaras conquering Chinar, Jaunpur and Qanoj.
Meanwhile, Hindal Mirza had reached Agra and announced his accession to the throne. When Humayoun came to know this, he stepped towards Agra from Bengal, in the way, Sher Shah Suri’s army came on front and both armies fought the battle of Chausa in 1539.
Humayoun’s Army was defeated, and he escaped to save his life, moved to the river with the horse, but could not maintain holding his feet in the saddle of the horse, and was about to drown in the river. A person named Nizam Sakka saved humayoun’s life. For saving the life of emperor, he was awarded with one-day kingship.
In 1540, humayoun assembled the troops and fought again with Sher Shah Suri but was defeated. This fight is known as the battle of Kannauj. Now, Sher Shah was in the power, and he expelled Humayoun from Hindustan.
After the death of Sher Shah Suri, his son Saleem Shah Suri became the ruler, but Suri dynasty had weakened. And then Humayoun in 1555 through Indus River came to conquer Delhi, Lahore and Agra. On 22 February, he again became the king of India but could live longer. In January 1556, he fell down the stairs and died on 27 January, 1556.
Abul Fath Jalal Ud-din Mohammad AKBAR
Akbar the Great was born in Umerkot, Sindh. When he was 4-year old, he was with his uncle Kamran Mirza in Kabul because Humayoun was escaping from the tyranny of Sher Shah Suri. Kamran Mirza put him near the pyre to torture Humayoun and make him leave the throne, but humayoun invaded Kabul and conquered it, and also saved Akbar.
Mohammad Akbar the Great was 13-year-old when his father got the throne back from Suri Dynasty, soon after the 3-years of throne, Humayoun died. Akbar was in Kalanour, Gurdaspur when humayoun had died in Delhi. Bairam Khan, old companion of Humayoun kept the death of Humayoun as a secret to prevent rebellion in the Sultanate. A clerk Mullah Bekasi was as same in looks as Humayoun, he rounded in the gallery of the palace so people could see that Humayoun is alive, and may not doubt about the absence.
In Kalanour, Bairam Khan declared Jalal Uddin Akbar as a Mughal Emperor. Akbar fought second battle of Panipat against Hemu Vikramadatiya, general of Adil Shah Suri, and defeated him. The great Akbar dismissed Bairam Khan because of his arrogant decisions again and again, and sent him to Pilgrimage where on the way, he was murdered by some unknown Afghans.
After Bairam Khan, he appointed some genius people. Among them, 9 gems are very popular because of their extraordinary wisdom including Maan Singh, Tudor Mal, and Beer Bal.
Akbar’s Maan Singh also fought with Khan singh of Rana Pratap, who was the ruler of the state of Mewar.
He visited Moinuddin Chishti’s tomb to pray for the expansion of his Sultanate. On the return, he met with Rana Bihari Mal, the ruler of Jaipur who offered him marriage proposal with his daughter Jodha. Akbar agreed for the expansion of his rule and married Jodha who was then known as Mariam Uz Zamani.
Akbar’s other works:
- He set age-limit for marriage. (Boy-16, girl-14)
- He declared Din-i-Ilahi
- Set Arms factories
- Khairpura and Dharampura discussion halls in Lahore
- Chess shape in his palace where humans acted as chess pieces
- Land revenue system
- Mansabdari Nizam
- Discouraged Sati
Akbar died of Dysentry on 27th October, 1605.
Noor Ud-din Jehangir
On the 8th day of Akbar’s death, Jehangir ascended the throne with the help of some religious and other personalities because Akbar never wanted to see his son Jehangir to ascend the throne rather he wanted that his grandson Khursoo should be next emperor of the great Mughal empire. Mujjadid Alf Thani had also favored Jehangir to become the emperor after Akbar, and he had demanded that the concept of Din-e-ilahi would be ended. And, the Mughal Empire should not intervene in the religious affairs.
Jehangir had banned alcohol and prostitution, built schools and hospital, and tried every single thing for the betterment of society. He had also launched tree plantation campaigns.
After 6months of ascending the throne, Jehangir faced the revolt by his Khusroo and was defeated by the Jehangir’s Army. Khusroo was handed over to Khuram urf Shahjahan. On the order of Shahjahan and conspiracies of Nur Jahan, Khusroo was killed. Later on, Shah Jahan also revolted against his father but was forgiven by Jehangir. Nur Jahan wanted that her son-in-law Shehryar should ascend the throne after Jehangir whereas Asif Khan, brother of Nur Jahan, wanted to make his son-in-law Shah Jahan to be ascended to the throne after the death of Jehangir. Dawar Bux fought with Shehryar after the death of Jehangir, and killed him. Shah Jahan killed Dawar bux, and became 5th Mughal emperor.
Shahab Udin- Mohammad Khuram Urf Shahjahan
Shah Jahan became the 5th Mughal emperor after the Jehangir. His intelligence was such an example that his father had given him the rule of Hisar Feroza when he was only 15 years of age. Shah Jahan attacked on the army of Jhujhar Singh to capture Gwalior, conquered Doulat Abad fort in 1632, and did many other actions to expand his rule in area. His architectural works are very popular in the world including Moti Masjid in Lahore, Lal Qila in Delhi, and Taj Mahal in Agra.He got peacock throne to be built which had cost around 6 billion then. He divided his empire among his sons yet Aurangzeb was not happy and had imprisoned him for last seven years of his life.
Aurangzeb Alamgir is a person who has always been controversial in the history as there are different schools of thoughts against his policies. Some people say that he was very religious and could not muster up the courage even to take a single penny from the empire’s treasury whereas others say that he was very cruel and had revolted against his father Shah Jahan. There are different schools of thoughts of different western and indo-pak historians. He ascended the throne after imprisoning his father, defeating his brothers Shah Shuja and Dara Shikoh.
In the end, I would like to make it obvious that readers may have some doubts. So, they can comment on this post, and I will get back to correct any mistake. In this 1st article about the rise of the Mughal Empire, I have discussed the six great Mughal emperors. In the next article, I will be writing descriptively about six of them with more information. After that, other series of articles will continue.
Be connected and keep reading.