The Mughal Empire (Class 7 History Chapter 4 Notes)

The Mughal Empire Map 1605-1707
The Mughal Empire
The Mughals were descendants of two great lineages. From maternal side they were descendants of Genghis Khan and from paternal side they were the successors of Timur.
They did not like to be called Mughal or Mongol because of the Genghis Khan's association with the massacre of innumerable people. However, there were proud of their Timrud ancestry.

Babur (1526-1530)
  1. Babur succeeded to the throne of Ferghana at the age of tweleve. However, he was forced to leave his ancestral home due to invasion of another Mongol Group, Uzbegs.
  2. His first military success came when he seized the Kabul in 1504. Eventually, he entered India by defeated last Sultan of Delhi, Ibhrahim Lodhi at the Battle of Panipat and captured Delhi and Agra in 1526.
  3. In 1527, he defeated  Rana  Sanga,  Rajput  rulers  and  allies at Battle of Khanua.
  4. In 1528, he defeated  the Rajputs at Chanderi and established his sovereignity over Agra-Delhi region.

Humayun (1530-1540, 1555-1556)
  1. In 1530, Humayun  divided  his  inheritance  according  to  the  will of  his  father.  His  brothers  were  each  given  a  province. However, due to his brother Mirza Kamran ambitions, he was left in lurch against Afghans.
  2. Sher Shah Suri, founder of Suri Empire, later defeated him at Chausa  (1539)  and  Kanauj  (1540). Following, he fled to Iran.
  3. In 1555, he recaptured Delhi with the help of Safavid Shah.

Akbar (1556-1605)
  1. After sudden death of his father, Akbar became emperor at the age of 13.
  2. During 1556-1570, he led military campaigns against Suris and other Afghan rebels. He led expedition against Malwa and Gondwana and suppressed the reovlt of his half-brother Mirza Hakim.
  3. He seized Sisodiya Capital of Chittor in 1568 and later Ranthambore in 1569.
  4. During 1570-1585, he campaigned in Gujarat followed by Bihar, Bengal and Odisha. Though, Mirza Hakim was the constant trouble for him.
  5. During 1585-1605, Akbar further expanded his empire in the north-west. He annexed Kandhar, Kashmir and Kabul. He also expanded southward and annexed parts of Deccan, Berar, Khandesh and Ahmadnagar.

Jahangir (1605-1627)
  1. Jahangir continued his father expansionist policy and led successful  campaigns  against the  Sikhs,  the  Ahoms  and  Ahmadnagar.
  2. His son Prince Khurram, next Mughal emperor Shah Jahan rebelled against him, which brought break on his reign.
  3. His wife Noorjahan played  an important role in his administration. She was elevated to the status of Padshah Begum.

Shah Jahan (1627-1658)
  1. Mughal campaign continued in Deccan. He crushed the rebellion of Afghan noble Khan Jahan Lodi. Later, he defeated Bundelas and annexed Orchha.
  2. In the north-west, his led an unsuccessful campaign to seize Balkh from the Uzbegs and also lost Qandahar to the Safavids.
  3. In 1632, He finally annexed Ahmadnagar.
  4. During 1657-1658, a war succession emerged between his four sons. Aurangzeb emerged victorious and his eledst son Dara Shikoh was killed. He was imprisoned for rest of the life.

Aurangzeb  (1658-1707)
  1. He defeated Ahoms in 1663, but faced rebellion again in 1680s.
  2. Similarly, his success against the  Yusufzai  and  the  Sikhs were  short lived.
  3. Later, Maratha chieftan Shivaji declared himself an independent king and campaigned against the Mughals.
  4. His son, Prince Akbar, also rebelled against him and was supported by the Marathas.
  5. He annexed Bijapur in 1685 and Golconda  in  1687.
  6. He personally managed campaigns against Maratha from 1698.
  7. He also faced the rebellion in  north of Sikhs, Jats and Satnamis, and in the north-east of the Ahoms.

Mughal Traditions of Succession
They did not believe in the rule of primogeniture, where the eldest son get his father’s estate, but they followed the Timurid custom  of coparcenary inheritance, where everything is divided among all the sons.

Mughal Relations with Other Rulers
  1. Initially, Mughals campaigned against rulers who refused against their authority, but as soon as they became powerful, several kings accepted their sovereignty.
  2. They maintained careful balance between defeating and not humilating. They returned the lands and assignments of the people they defeated. However, it difficult to keep this balance all the time.

Mansabdars and Jagirdars
  1. Mansabdar refers to an individual who holds a mansab, meaning a position.
  2. It was a grading system used by the Mughals to fix (1) rank (2) salary and (3) military responsibilities.
  3. The rank and salary were determined by a numerical value called zat. Higher the zat, higher the rank of masnabdar.
  4. They are required to maintain a specified number of sawar or cavalrymen alongwith foot soldiers.
  5. They received salaries as revenue assignments known as jagirs, on the similar line of iqtas. However, they did not administer their jagirs like muqtis and revenue was collected for them by their servants while they serve in some other part of the country.
  6. In Akbar's reign, there were 29 mansabdars with a rank of 5000 zat. A number which increased to 79 in Aurangzeb's reign.

Zabt and Zamindars
  1. The people who collected the taxes on behalf of the Mughal empire were known as Zamindars.
  2. Zabt is a tax revenue system developed by Todarmal, Akbar's revenue minister, on the basis of crop yields, prices and areas  cultivated  for  a  10-year  period. Under this system, each  province  was divided  into  revenue  circles  with  its  own schedule  of  revenue  rates  for  individual crops.

Akbar's Policies
  1. Abul Fazl has discussed about Akbar's policies in his book, Akbar Nama, particularly in his third volume, Ain-i-Akbari. (Also read: List of Important Books and Their Authors)
  2. He explained each provinces known as suba was governed by a subadar, who both political and military head of that suba. Each province had a diwan who maintained the accounts.
  3. They were supported by military paymaster (bakhshi), the minister in charge of religious and charitable patronage (sadr), military commanders (faujdars) and the town police commanders (kotwals).
  4. Akbar followed the policy of sul-i-kul (universal peace). The idea was not to discriminate people on the basis of their religious beliefs, but to a ethical system on the basis of honesty, justice and peace.
  5. The principle of sulh-i-kul was followed by the Jahangir and Shahjahan.

The Mughal Empire in the Seventeenth Century and After
  1. The administrative and military efficiency of the Mughal Empire  led  to  great  economic  and  commercial prosperity. However, there was a huge disparity betwen rich and poor section of the society.
  2. In Shahjahan reign, there were 8000 mansabdars, out of which there were 445 high ranking mansabdars.
  3. However, as the Mughal authority declined, new power centres such as Hyderabad  and  Awadh started to rise.