The name Moghul or Mughal comes from Mongol, a Persian word which refers to a tribe from Central Asia. It was in Central Asia that the Mughals had originated. They were descendants of the Jenghiz Khan the Mongol ruler and Timur, Asia’s great conqueror. Their own pedigree made them feel very proud and in memory of this in the 14th century, Timur raided India which in turn spurred Babur’s invasion of India.
It was in India that the other Mughal emperors namely Akbar the Great, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangazeb were buried and Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last emperor was buried in Burma.
Timeline Of The Mughal Rule:
The major emperors during the Mughal Dynasty were:
• Babur (1526 AD to 1539 AD)
• Humayun (1530 to 1556 AD)
• Akbar (1556 AD to 1605 AD)
• Jahangir (1605 AD to 1627 AD)
• Shah Jahan (1627 AD to 1658 AD)
• Aurangzeb (1658 AD to 1707 AD)
The First Invasion
Babur, a Turk, was born on 14th February 1483. His birthplace was Uzbekistan. In Central Asia, the power of Uzbeks increased due to which Babur left his country. The Delhi Sultanate was in complete disarray during this time under Ibrahim Lodi’s power. A major portion of the power was commanded by the nobles. A powerful noble, Daulat Khan who was not happy with Ibrahim Lodi requested Babur to invade India. This helped Babur to fulfill his long cherished dream to conquer India. Babur had greater artillery and weapons and hence defeated Ibrahim Lodi with superb leadership and strategy and captured not only Delhi but surrounding areas. Before establishing his rule in India he faced a lot of challenges from native rulers in India, Turks and Afghans.
The first Mughal emperor of India was Babur, a Turk. Babur was a down to earth and modest man. He concentrated mainly in gaining control of India’s northwestern region. At the first battle of Panipat a town in northern Delhi, in 1526 he defeated Ibrahim Lodi. Later on at Khanwa, he defeated the Rajput rulers, Rana Sanga and their allies. He persuaded his followers in Central Asia to continue staying in India. To gain power he encouraged them to overcome other contenders especially the Afghans and Rajputs. In both, the tasks he attained success. In just four years he set the stage for the great Mughal Empire. On 25th December 1530 he died in Agra after which he was buried in Kabul.
First Empire Set Up
In India the founder of the Moghul Dynasty was Babur. He reigned from 1504 AD to 1525 AD. In the history of India he was one conqueror who was the most endearing. He was an impoverished prince in his youth who fought to possess a small part of the fragmented empire. On three various occasions, he captured Samarkand but just for some months. He was just fourteen when he conquered the territory.
In 1526 he invaded the north of India and captured the kingdom of Lodi. After this for three centuries the Moghul Dynasty was established in India. He was a patron of arts. However Humayun his son, set up the first painting studio of the Mughuls. He brought artists from Iran for this. The successor to Humayun was Akbar who had great interest in painting. He employed Hindu artists from the locality and set up studios with great enthusiasm.
Sher Shah threw Humayun out just after he succeeded Babur his father. However, after Sher Shah died, Humayun returned again and got the Mughal Empire re-established. The empire was next taken to its peak by Akbar, the next Mughal King. During Aurangzeb’s reign, disintegration of the Mughal Empire started. In the next two hundred years the Mughal Empire became an important part in the history of India. It was after this disintegration that the way for British rule in India was paved.
Achievements Of The Mughal Dynasty
Magnificence associated with the dynasty of the Mughals is still retained in cities like Lahore, Agra and Delhi which were built by the Mughal emperors during the 17th century.
In the history of India, the last greatest and the most remarkable empire was the Mughal Dynasty. They left a lasting impact on India. The finest monuments of India were built during their reign.
Humayun was Babur’s favorite son. After his father succumbed to a disease at forty seven years of age, he took up the reigns. First he was not able to gain proper control over the kingdom but with aid from Persia he regained a larger kingdom. At the battle of Chausa, Sher Khan defeated Humayun and established monarchy in Delhi. He ruled from 1540 to 1545 when he got his realm consolidated from Bengal to Punjab.
• Humayun’s Excellent Organization And Administration
Humayun is accredited with administering and organizing the military and government in such a way that Mughal kings in the future used it as a model. He built the Purana Qila or the Old Fort and inside it, a masterpiece, the Masjid Qila-i-Kuhna. Humayun died in 1556 after falling down from the stairs at the age of 48, leaving 13 year old Akbar behind as heir.
• Akbar’s Religious Tolerance And Administrative Genius
Akbar was a leader well known for his administrative genius and religious tolerance. In Humayun’s honor he built a tomb in red sandstone in Delhi which became the precursor of Mughal architecture in future. Akbar restored and expanded Mughal rule. Irrespective of the religion of his followers, he based his authority on loyalty and ability of his followers. He abolished the jizya tax in 1564 on non Muslims and ban on building temples and pilgrimages of Hindus were lifted. He initiated the Divine Faith called the Din-i-Illahi a religion followed in court. Fatehpur Sikri’s fort city, grand entrances, numerous palaces, and the tomb at Sikandra are well known heritage sites built during his rule.
• Jahangir - A Connoisseur Of Paintings And Gems
Jahangir was Akbar’s son and claimed a number of victories during his reign. Jahangir was a connoisseur of gems, paintings and nature lover. In the royal workshops many precious objects and beautiful miniatures were produced.
• Shah Jahan - Creator Of One Of The Seven Wonder’s Of The World
The Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders Of The World was built by the Moghul emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz. He built the great Jama Masjid, the Red Fort in red sandstone, chambers in white marble in forts in Agra and Delhi.
• Aurangzeb’s Memorable Construction Work
Aurangzeb constructed the Alamgiri Gate of the Lahore Fort, the Badshahi Masjid in 1673 in Lahore and Moti Masjid inside the Red Fort. After Aurangzeb’s death there were around 17 claimants to the throne, including his sons, grandsons and great grandsons.