Presentation on theme: "The great grandson of Tamerlane, Babar, who on his mother's side was descended from the famous Genghiz Khan, came to India in 1526 at the request of an."— Presentation transcript:
The great grandson of Tamerlane, Babar, who on his mother's side was descended from the famous Genghiz Khan, came to India in 1526 at the request of an Indian governor who sought Babar's help in his fight against Ibrahim Lodi, the last head of the Delhi Sultanate. Babar defeated Lodi at Panipat, not far from Delhi, and so came to establish the Mughal Empire in India. Babar ruled until 1530, and was succeeded by his son Humayun, who gave the empire its first distinctive features. But it is Humayun's son, Akbar the Great, who is conventionally described as the glory of the empire. Akbar reigned from 1556 to 1605, and extended his empire as far to the west as Afghanistan, and as far south as the Godavari river. Akbar, though a Muslim, is remembered as a tolerant ruler, and he even started a new faith, Din-i-Ilahi, which was an attempt to blend Islam with Hinduism, Christianity, Jainism, and other faiths. He won over the Hindus by naming them to important military and civil positions, by conferring honors upon them, and by marrying a Hindu princess. Rejoicing at birth of Prince Salim (Jahangir). Mughal, c. 1590.
Akbar was succeeded by his son Salim, who took the title of Jahangir. Jahangir was born on 9 September 1569 at Fatehpur Sikri. His father, Akbar, really doted on him but the relationship got bitter as Jahangir came of age. Jahangir openly rebelled against his father at first, but was evenutally reconciled; and on Akbar's death in November 1605, he assumed the throne. Though his own son, Khusrau, then seventeen years old, led a military campaign against his father, Jahangir captured him and rendered him blind. In 1611, Jahangir met, wooed, and married Mehrunissa, the young widow of a Mughal officer. A beautiful and strong woman, she soon became Jahangir's favorite queen and assumed the title of Nur Jahan, 'Light of the World'. Her father, Itimad ñud-daulah, was elevated to the position of chief minister; her brother, Asaf Khan, became a nobleman at the court; and his daughter, Mumtaz Mahal, was married to Khurram (later Shah Jahan), Jahangir's other son, in 1612. Nur Jahan herself came to exercise considerable influence over her husband, and Jahangir is said to have relied heavily on her advice.Jahangir
The Emperor Jahangir examining a picture. Under Jahangir, the empire continued to be a war state attuned to conquest and expansion. Jahangir's most irksome foe was the Rana of Mewar, Amar Singh, who finally capitulated in 1613 to Khurram's forces. In the northeast, the Mughals clashed with the Ahoms of Burma, whose guerilla tactics gave the Mughals a hard time. In Northern India, Jahangir's forces under Khurram defeated their other principal adversary, the Raja of Kangra, in 1615; in the Deccan, his victories further consolidated the empire. But in 1620, Jahangir fell sick, and so ensued the familiar quest for power. Nur Jahan married her daughter to Shahryar, Jahangir's youngest son from his other queen, in the hope of having a living male heir to the throne when Jahangir died. Jahangir always feared the Persians and the Uzbeks of Central Asia. The Persians matched the Mughals in military strength and resources. Their relations were tolerably good because each feared the other's might. But in 1622, taking advantage of the disputes within the court, the Persians capitalized on the Mughals' preoccupation in internal affairs and captured Qandahar. Shah Jahan refused to help Jahangir and Shahryar in the campaign against the Persians and thus led an open rebellion. He fought his fathers forces but was defeated and agreed to terms dictated by Nur Jahan. In 1627, Jahangir became seriously ill, and he never recovered from his illness. Upon the death of his father on 28 October 1627, Shah Jahan, with support from his father-in-law Asaf Khan, became the emperor by executing Shahryar and other male Mughal heirs. The accession of Shah Jahan to the throne was a result of great political intrigue. Jahangir lacked the political enterprise of his father Akbar. But he was an honest man and a tolerant ruler. He strived to reform society and was tolerant towards Hindus, Christians and Jews. However, relations with Sikhs were strained, and the fifth of the ten Sikh gurus, Arjun Dev, was executed at Jahangir's orders for giving aid and comfort to Khusrau, Jahangir's rebellious son. Art, literature, and architecture prospered under Jahangir's rule, and the Mughal gardens in Srinagar remain an enduring testimony to his artistic taste.
Aurangzeb who was favored by powerful men more inclined to turn the Mughal Empire into an Islamic state subject to the laws of the Sharia. It is Aurangzeb who triumphed, and though the Mughal Empire saw yet further expansion in the early years of his long reign (1658-1707), by the later part of the seventeenth century the empire was beginning to disintegrate. Aurangzeb remains a highly controversial figure, and no monarch has been more subjected to the communalist reading of Indian history. He is admired by Muslim historians for enforcing the law of the Sharia and for disavowing the policies pursued by Akbar; among Hindus, laymen and historians alike, he is remembered as a Muslim fanatic and bigot. In the event, Aurangzeb's far-flung empire eventually eluded his grasp, and considerable disaffection appears to have been created among the peasantry. After Aurangzeb's death in 1707, many of his vassals established themselves as sovereign rulers, and so began the period of what are called "successor states". The Mughal Empire survived until 1857, but its rulers were, after 1803, pensioners of the East India Company. The last emperor, the senile Bahadur Shah Zafar, was put on trial for allegedly leading the rebels of the 1857 mutiny and for fomenting sedition. He was convicted and transported to Rangoon, to spend the remainder of his life on alien soil. SHUJA, AURANGZEB, AND MURAD BAKHSH
Few figures from the Indian past strike most Hindus with as much revulsion as the Turkish conqueror, Mahmud of Ghazni. Mahmud succeeded his father, a warlord who had carved out an empire in central Asia and had established his capital at Ghazni, south of Kabul, in 998 AD at the age of 27. He launched aggressive expansionist campaigns, and is said to have invaded India no less than 17 times between 1000 and 1025 AD. His campaigns invariably took place during the hot summer season, and on each occasion Mahmud left India before the onset of the monsoons, which would have flooded the rivers of the Punjab and possibly trapped his troops. Mahmud’s invasions of India, which never extended to the central, south, and eastern portions of the country, were doubtless exceedingly bloody and ruthless affairs. He is said to have carried away huge amount of booty on each visit, and among other Indian dynasties, the Chandellas of Khujaraho, the Pratiharas of Kanauj, and the Rajputs of Gwalior all succumbed to his formidable military machine. Places such as Kanauj, Mathura, and Thaneshwar were laid to ruins, but it is the memory of his destruction of the Shiva temple at Somnath, on the southern coast of Kathiawar in Gujarat, which has earned him the undying hatred of many Hindus. Muslim chronicles suggest that 50,000 Hindu died in the battle for Somnath, and it is said that the Shiva lingam was destroyed by Mahmud himself; after the battle, Mahmud and his troops are described as having carried away across the desert the equivalent of 6.5 tons of gold. The famous, intricately carved, doors of the temple at Somnath were also carried away, and there is an interesting story to be told about Somnath [see entry]. There can be no doubt that Mahmud of Ghazni waged ruthless campaigns and terrorized the people who came in his way. The Arab geographer and scholar, Alberuni, who wrote an account of India and spent much time at Mahmud’s court, wrote of his raids that "the Hindus became like the atoms of dust scattered in all directions and like a tale of old in the mouths of people. Their scattered remains cherish of course the most inveterate aversion towards all Moslems." Nonetheless, the communalist interpretation of Mahmud, first initiated by British historians and then adopted by nationalist Hindu historians, is without merit and must be rejected. This interpretation represents Mahmud as someone who harbored a special hatred for Hindus, but in point of fact there is nothing he did to Hindus that he did not also do to Muslims, especially Muslims he considered to be heretical. The Muslim ruler of Multan, an Ismaili, and his subjects were dealt with just as ruthlessly. Though Mahmud destroyed Hindu temples and broke Hindu idols, he acted as any ruthless warrior bent on conquest and pillage might do; indeed, one would be hard-pressed to find other conquerors at that time who behaved any differently. Many of his deeds struck even later Muslim historians as indefensible, and they become comprehensible, though emphatically not justifiable, when one considers him within a framework which recognizes the ‘politics of conquest’. If Mahmud pillaged Hindu temples, he did so because wealth was hoarded in these temples; but there is little to suggest a particular animus towards Hinduism. Contemporary records suggest that one of his most notable generals was a Hindu by the name of Tilak.
Mahmud’s ferocity and barbarism scarcely prevented him from cultivating the great minds of the time. He was animated by an ambition to make turn his court at Ghazni into a haven for scholars and artists, and he turned Ghazni into one of the cosmopolitan cities of the world. The famous Persian poet, Firdausi, author of the national epic the Shahnamah, was enticed to make his home in Ghazni, as was the Arab geographer Alberuni. The more substantive questions pertain to why India fell so easily to Mahmud’s sword on so numerous occasions, though even here it is worthy of note that he met stiff opposition in Kashmir and could never establish his rule over that fabled land. He doubtless had a more efficient military than any Indian ruler could muster, and the most formidable of the Hindu kings, the Cholas, were too far removed from northern India to offer any resistance, or even to have any interest in the affairs of the north. Caste divisions in Hindu society also played their part in weakening the resistance of Hindu kings, and the professionalism and egalitarianism of Muslim armies, many of which allowed slaves to rise to the top, was nowhere to be seen among the Hindus. These are among the pertinent considerations raised by Mahmud’s raids into India, and scholarship would do much better in directing itself towards the ‘politics of conquest’ and the political structures of north India around 1000 AD than in being derailed by communalist readings of Indian history.