Vincent Arthur Smith.

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effected an outward, though insincere, reconciliation between
Khusru and his father. It is interesting to note that the
fulfilment of Akbar's will was due to the trusty Rajputs on
whose devotion he had relied for so many years. 1 Before
attempting to estimate the character of India's greatest
sovereign since the time of Asoka. we must devote a few
pages to a consideration of his policy and innovations, and
to the enumeration of the leading men among his chosen
advisers and friends.

Principle of Akbar's conquests. The summary chronicle
recorded in the foregoing narrative, if it stood alone without
comment, would naturally lead the reader to regard Akbar
merely as a specially able king of the ordinary aggressive
type. But, although no doubt he accepted the current
opinion that a respectable monarch is bound to enlarge his
dominions, Akbar the victorious kept before his mind a pur

1 Authorities differ concerning the exact date of Akbar's death. Mr.
W. Irvine, who kindly examined them for me, found that the weight of evi-
dence is in favour of October 15, Old Style = October 25, New Style. The
Dutch authority is followed for the facts relating to Sallm's succession.
The exact amount of the treasure left by Akbar is recorded by Manrique,
Mandelslo, and Do Laet. The cash may be taken as equal to twenty-two
millions of pounds sterling. Maniiquc describes in detail how he obtained
the figures from an official document.



THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761 181

pose higher than that of mere ambition. It is clearly apparent
that at an early stage in his career he formed a plan for
bringing all India under his sole government in such a way
that all races, native and foreign, Hindus as well as Musal-
mans, might be brought to work together for the common
good. He believed himself to be the vicegerent of the Most
High, and as such empowered to give India a better govern-
ment than her own sons could provide.

Abolition of the jizya. As early as the ninth year of his
reign, when he was a young man twenty-two years of age,
and long before he came under the influence of the free-
thinkers, Faizi and Abul Fazl, Akbar had abolished the jizya,
or special poll-tax imposed on non-Muhammadans, which was
intensely galling to the Hindus forming the great majority
of the population. That measure alone, which was supple-
mented later by the abolition of the tax on pilgrimages, is
enough to prove that Akbar in early youth realized that he,
a foreigner, could not build up a stable empire without the
aid of the indigenous civilization.

Marriages with Rajput princesses ; Hindu friends. The
royal marriages with Rajput princesses, following the example
set by Humayun,who had one Hindu consort, were arranged
in pursuance of the same principle, and all the leading states,
except Mewar, sent daughters to court. The Emperor
Jahangir was the son of a princess of Jaipur. Several of
Akbar's most trusted officers and intimate friends were
Hindus. Raja Bhagwan Das of Jaipur and Raja Man Singh
of the same state fought valiantly by his side even against
Rajputs and were raised to the highest dignities. Man Singh
governed in succession the great provinces of Kabul and
Bengal. Another dear Hindu friend of the emperor was
a Brahman of Kalpi named Gadal Brahmandas, 2 known to
history as Raja Birbal, the reputed author of many wise and
witty sayings still current, whom even Badaoni admits to

1 This is the name given by Badaoni. Count von Noer calls him Mahesh
Das, following another authority.



184 THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761

grades ranged from commands of 10,000 to those of 10. The
Mansabdars drew pay in proportion to their rank, and in
practice had not to furnish the number of men indicated by
their grade. The highest grades were reserved for members
of the imperial family. The Mansabdar system appears to
have been devised by Akbar. It is not mentioned before his
reign. Many officials held grants of land or fiefs (jaglr), sub-
ject to conditions of service Free grants to men of reputed
sanctity or learning were called Sayurghals.

Finance and army. The mainstay of the imperial treasury,
as always in India, was the land revenue, or Crown rent, the
state's share of the produce, paid in either kind or cash. The
land revenue in 1600 is estimated to have amounted to about
nineteen millions of pounds sterling, and the customs and
miscellaneous revenue to about as much again, but the figures
are open to doubt. Many taxes were remitted by Todar Mall.

The army was chiefly a cavalry militia raised by the Man-
sabdars and Jaglrdars, who were much addicted to making
false returns. Akbar tried to correct such abuses, but with
only partial success. The standing, or permanently enrolled,
army was small, 25,000 men in the latter part of the reign, of
whom about half were troopers, the rest being gunners and
infantry. The practice of enslaving prisoners of war was
forbidden in 1573.

Am-i-Akbari and Abul Fazl. The imperial regulations con-
cerning the court and every department of the administra-
tion are recorded in detail in the unique work of Abul Fazl
entitled Am-i-Akbari, or ' Institutes of Akbar ', which forms
part of the Akbarnama or ' History of the Reign of Akbar '.
Shaikh Abul Fazl, who was introduced to Akbar in 1574, was
one of the most learned men of his age, and is still remembered
as ' the great munsh! '. He was the most influential of Akbar's
councillors, and the emperor's gradual estrangement from
Islam was largely due to his intimacy with Abul Fazl and
his equally learned and freethinking brother, Shaikh FaizT,
who had come to court six years earlier. The nature of Abul



THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761 185

Fazl's philosophy may be gathered from the following lines
composed by him :

' O God, in every temple I see people that seek Thee, and in

every language I hear spoken, people praise Thee ! . . .
If it be a mosque, people murmur the holy prayer, and if it

be a Christian church, people ring the bell from love

of Thee,
Sometimes I frequent the Christian cloister, and sometimes

the mosque,
But it is Thou whom I search for from temple to temple '.

Akbar's loss of faith. The teaching of Abul Fazl and his
brother was only one of the influences which shook the faith
of Akbar. As a boy he had been attracted by the heretical
mysticism of the Sufi poet Hafiz, closely akin to certain Hindu
doctrines, and from an early age he had been much in company
with Hindus. His marriages with Hindu princesses, who
practised their religious rites within the palace, gave ample
opportunities for filling him with Hindu notions. Akbar,
while extremely curious about religious problems, found it
hard to accept any definite creed. He delighted in hearing the
arguments of rival Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jain and Zoro-
astrian teachers, but would never declare himself the disciple
of any one guide.

Akbar and Christianity. The arrival of two Jesuits from
Bengal in 1570 first drew the attention of the emperor to
Christianity. He became much interested, and asked the
Portuguese at Goa to send him learned theologians. They
complied gladly and dispatched three separate missions which
stayed at court respectively from 1580 to 1583, from 1590
to 1501, and from 1505 to the end of the reign, and later.
The Jesuits at one time had good hopes of converting Akbar,
but he only played with them, and was never in real earnest.
The story, when read in detail, is of fascinating interest.

Akbar's supremacy in religious matters. Although Akbar
could not make up his mind which, if any, of the rival religions
was true, he decided quite clearly that Islam was false. That



184 THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761

grades ranged from commands of 10,000 to those of 10. The
Mansabdars drew pay in proportion to their rank, and in
practice had not to furnish the number of men indicated by
their grade. The highest grades were reserved for members
of the imperial family. The Mansabdar system appears to
have been devised by Akbar. It is not mentioned before his
reign. Many officials held grants of land or fiefs (jaglr), sub-
ject to conditions of service. Free grants to men of reputed
sanctity or learning were called Sayurghals.

Finance and army. The mainstay of the imperial treasury,
as always in India, was the land revenue, or Crown rent, the
state's share of the produce, paid in either kind or cash. The
land revenue in 1600 is estimated to have amounted to about
nineteen millions of pounds sterling, and the customs and
miscellaneous revenue to about as much again, but the figures
are open to doubt. Many taxes were remitted by Todar Mall.

The army was chiefly a cavalry militia raised by the Man-
sabdars and Jaglrdars, who were much addicted to making
false returns. Akbar tried to correct such abuses, but with
only partial success. The standing, or permanently enrolled,
army was small, 25,000 men in the latter part of the reign, of
whom about half were troopers, the rest being gunners and
infantry. The practice of enslaving prisoners of war was
forbidden in 1573.

Ain-i-Akbari and Abul Fazl. The imperial regulations con-
cerning the court and every department of the administra-
tion are recorded in detail in the unique work of Abul Fazl
entitled Ain-i-Akbari, or ' Institutes of Akbar ', which forms
part of the Akbarnama or ' History of the Reign of Akbar '.
Shaikh Abul Fazl, who was introduced to Akbar in 1574, was
one of the most learned men of his age, and is still remembered
as ' the great munshl '. He was the most influential of Akbar 's
councillors, and the emperor's gradual estrangement from
Islam was largely due to his intimacy with Abul Fazl and
hie equally learned and freethinking brother, Shaikh Faizi,
who had come to court six years earlier. The nature of Abul



THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761 185

Fazl's philosophy may be gathered from the following lines
composed by him :

' O God, in every temple I see people that seek Thee, and in

every language I hear spoken, people praise Thee ! . . .
If it be a mosque, people murmur the holy prayer, and if it

be a Christian church, people ring the bell from love

of Thee,
Sometimes I frequent the Christian cloister, and sometimes

the mosque,
But it is Thou whom I search for from temple to temple '.

Akbar's loss of faith. The teaching of Abul Fazl and his
brother was only one of the influences which shook the faith
of Akbar. As a boy he had been attracted by the heretical
mysticism of the Sufi poet Hafiz, closely akin to certain Hindu
doctrines, and from an early age he had been much in company
with Hindus. His marriages with Hindu princesses, who
practised their religious rites within the palace, gave ample
opportunities for filling him with Hindu notions. Akbar,
while extremely curious about religious problems, found it
hard to accept any definite creed. He delighted in hearing the
arguments of rival Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jain and Zoro-
astrian teachers, but would never declare himself the disciple
of any one guide.

Akbar and Christianity. The arrival of two Jesuits from
Bengal in 1576 first drew the attention of the emperor to
Christianity. He became much interested, and asked the
Portuguese at Goa to send him learned theologians. They
complied gladly and dispatched three separate missions which
stayed at court respectively from 1580 to 1583, from 1590
to 1591, and from 1595 to the end of the reign, and later.
The Jesuits at one time had good hopes of converting Akbar,
but he only played with them, and was never in real earnest.
The story, when read in detail, is of fascinating interest.

Akbar's supremacy in religious matters. Although Akbar
could not make up his mind which, if any, of the rival religions
was true, he decided quite clearly that Islam was false. That



186 THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761

conviction may be dated from about 1579. In that year he
forced the leading maulavis, or Muhammadan theologians,
to sign a decree declaring the binding force of an imperial
ruling on any religious question. The enacting part of the
decree runs as follows :

' Further, we declare that the king of Islam, Amir of the
Faithful, Shadow of God in the world Abu-1-fath Jalal-ud-
din Muhammad Akbar Padshah Ghazi whose kingdom God
perpetuate ! is a most just, a most wise, and a most God-
fearing king. Should, therefore, in future a religious question
come up, regarding which the opinions of the mujtahids
[theologians] are at variance, and His Majesty, in his penetrat-
ing understanding and clear wisdom, be inclined to adopt,
for the benefit of the nation, and as a political expedient, any
of the conflicting opinions existing on that point, and issue a
decree to that effect, we do hereby agree that such decree
shall be binding on us and on the whole nation.

' Further, we declare that should His Majesty think fit to
issue a new order, we and the nation shall likewise be bound by
it, provided that such order be not only in accordance with
some verse of the Koran, but also of real benefit to the nation ;
and further, that any opposition on the part of his subjects to
such an order passed by His Majesty shall involve damnation
in the world to come, and loss of property and religious
privileges in this.'

Akbar thus assumed a position similar to that taken up by
Henry VIII of England when he established the royal supre-
macy over the English Church, in virtue of which he ventured
to deal with matters of faith, as defined in the Ten Articles
of 1536.

Hostility to Islam. From the date of the decree onwards
Akbar showed open hostility to Islam, and issued a multitude
of orders which violated his declared principle of toleration
for all forms of belief.

For instance, the public prayers and call to prayers were
stopped, the Ramazan fast and the Mecca pilgrimage were
forbidden. In short, as Badaoni puts it, ' every command
and direction of Islam, whether special or general ... all were



THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761 187

doubted and ridiculed.' Wanton insults to Muhammadan
feeling were offered, as, for example, mosques were turned
into stables the name of Muhammad was proscribed, and so
forth.

It is a wonder that Akbar did not lose his throne. The
fact that he did not is the best proof possible of the immense
personal power which he exercised over the minds of men. If
the British Government should try to do any one of such
things, it would not last a week.

The Din Hani, or Divine Faith. Akbar, not finding any
religion to suit him, fancied that he could devise a new one
made to order out of the best bits of the old ones. He was
foolish enough to believe that such an invention could be set
up by the imperial authority as a substitute for the existing
religions, and that it might be accepted as a bond of union
throughout the empire. That was a mad dream. His new
creed laid stress on the doctrine of the unity of God and half
deified the Padshah as the representative of God on earth.
He called it ' Tauhld Ilahl ', the Divine Unity, or ' Dm Ilahl ',
the Divine Faith.

Certain time-serving courtiers accepted it, and took the
required four vows to sacrifice in Akbar's service life, property,
honour, and religion, but, outside the court, the scheme was
a failure.

It died with its author, or perhaps earlier.

Akbar almost a Hindu. Towards the close of his life, Akbar
became practically a Hindu in most respects, adopting many
Hindu usages, such as shaving his beard and whiskers, ab-
staining from beef, and to a large extent from meat of any
kind. He issued many regulations framed on Hindu models,
and sanctioned suttee (sati), provided that the woman's con-
sent was ascertained.

But notwithstanding those facts, there is fairly good evidence
that on his death-bed he made formal profession of the
Muhammadan faith.

Literature and art. Akbar resembled most of the members



188 THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761

of his family in enjoying and patronizing literature and art.
As a boy he had steadily refused to learn his lessons, and to
the end of his days was absolutely ignorant of reading and
writing. He could not even read or sign his own name. But
he kept other people busy reading to him continually, and so
learned by the ear more than most men can learn by the eye.
He had a marvellously strong memory and an extremely keen
understanding.

He collected an enormous library, comprising 24,000 manu-
scripts, valued at nearly six and a half millions of rupees.
The high valuation, working out at about 270 rupees, then equal
to thirty pounds sterling, a volume, was due to the employ-
ment of the most famous scribes to write the texts, and the
most skilled artists to illustrate the contents and bind the
books. A few volumes have escaped destruction, and many
works by the artists employed are extant.

In the seventh year of his reign Akbar compelled the Raja
of Riwa(Bhath)to send to court Tansen,the poet and musician.
Abul Fazl says that such a singer had not been known in India
for a thousand years.

The excellent imperial taste in architecture is best attested
by the numerous beautiful buildings still standing at Fathpur-
Slkri. Akbar wasted huge sums on building that city, which
was occupied for a few years only.

Character of Akbar. Although Akbar cannot be described
as ' a mixture of opposites ', like Muhammad bin Tughlak or
Jahangir, his nature was complex, and not easy to understand.
He was a very human man, not a saint, and was not free from
serious faults and frailties. The portrait drawn by most
historians all light with no shadow is false. In the early
years of his reign, after the fall of Bairam Khan, he was in the
hands of bad advisers, including the scoundrel Pir Muhammad,
who was allowed to commit appalling cruelties in Malva
without censure, so far as appears. Towards the close of the
reign, when Akbar had exercised uncontrolled power for some
forty years, and his generous nature had become to a certain



THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761 189

extent corrupted, he committed various foolish and unworthy
acts, especially the deliberate insults to Islam above mentioned.
He had then acquired the evil opium habit, which probably
shortened his life. In earlier days he sometimes drank more
than was good for him.

The Jesuits, who give by far the best personal descriptions,
rightly praise Akbar's zeal and care in the administration of
justice. It must be understood that the justice was of the
bloody, ferocious kind then in fashion, and that men were
commonly impaled, torn to pieces by elephants, and mutilated.
Akbar, however, does not seem to have taken pleasure in
witnessing such scenes, as Jahangir and Shahjahan did.

Akbar's vanity was, perhaps, his weakest point, as may be
learnt from the critical pages of Badaonl. His insatiable
curiosity led him into absurd positions from time to time.

Nevertheless, when all that can be said against him has
been said, it remains true that Akbar was one of the greatest of
kings, comparable in India with Asoka alone, and fully worthy
to stand as an equal beside his European contemporaries
Elizabeth of England (1558-1603) and Henry IV of France
(1593-1610).

He possessed exceptional bodily strength, and courage as
undaunted as that of Alexander of Macedon. His fights in
Gujarat and his nine days' ride to Ahmadabad were heroic
performances.

The Jesuit accounts. Space does not permit me to quote
in full the vivid Jesuit accounts of Akbar as he was in 1582,
when forty years of age, but a few of their phrases must be
cited. In eating he was ordinary and simple to a notable
degree. He was a man of excellent parts with much judge-
ment, prudence, and intelligence, and exceedingly sagacious.
He was also very magnanimous and generous, pleasant-
mannered and kindly, while still preserving his gravity and
sternness. There was nothing that he knew not how to do,
whether matters of war, or administration, or the mechanical
arts. He rarely lost his temper, but his occasional outbursts



190 THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761

of wrath were terrible. He was ready to forgive, being
naturally gentle, humane, and kind. ' In truth ', we are told,
' he was great with the great, and lowly with the lowly.' It
was not easy to find the clue to his thoughts, because, although
apparently free from mystery and guile, he was in reality close
and self-contained. 1

That picture, even when thus drawn in bare outline, is
a noble one.

Akbar's deeds as a conqueror and administrator stand out
clearly on the page of history. He was the real founder of the
Mughal empire, and succeeded in establishing an authority
which nothing could shake during his lifetime. He took the
broad views of a true statesman. He knew how to choose,
use, and keep loyal servants. His policy of toleration for all
religions was wholly his own, unknown in Europe or Muham-
madan Asia in his days.

The stately eulogy bestowed by Wordsworth on a hero now
obscure may be applied fitly to Akbar the Great :

' Yet shall thy name, conspicuous and sublime,
Stand in the spacious firmament of time,
Fixed as a star ; such glory is thy right.'

Chronology of Akbar's reign.

Death of Humayun, accession of Akbar . . . Jan., 1556

Second battle of Panlpat ; defeat and death of Hemu . Nov., 1556
Occupation of the Panjab ....... 1556

Assumption of full authority by Akbar . . . March, 1560

Abolition of the jizya tax . . . . . . . 1565

Siege of Chitor 1567-8

Foundation of Fathpur SikrI . ...... 1569

Reduction of Gujarat 1572

Capture of Surat ; suppression of revolt in Gujarat ; completion

of fort at Agra ........ 1573

Introduction of Abul Fazl at court ; abolition of tax on pil-
grimages ......... 1574

Conquest of Bengal and Bihar ; death of Daud . . . 1574-6
Rajput rising ; battle of Gogunda 1576

1 Translated from various passages in the Italian of Peruschi and Bartoii.



THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761 191

Decree making Akbar head of the Church .... 1579

Death of Muhammad Hakim ; annexation of Kabul . . . 1585

Akbar's capital at Lahore 1585-98

Defeat of Raja Birbal by .the Yusufzi 1586

Conquest of Kashmir . . . .-..:. . . 1586-7

Conquest of Sind . . . . ...:,. . . 1588-90

Embassies to the kingdoms of the Deccan . . . .1591

Annexation of Kandahar '.' . '' . 'V- " ' '' ' 1594

Defence of Ahmadnagar by Chand Bibi . '.' ' -j' , . . . 1595

Death of Prince Murad . ... . .1,*, .-,; . . - 1599

Fall of Ahmadnagar . . ., . . .... .,.'.. - 1600

Capture of Asirgarh . , . . : . .' ., 1601

Rebellion of Prince Salim ; murder of Abul Fazl . ! ; . 1602

Death of Akbar ^ . Oct., 1605



CHAPTER XIX

The reigns of Jahangir and Shahjahan : Sir Thomas Roe ; Bernier ; Mughal

architecture.

Accession of Jahangir ; rebellion of Khusru. Prince Salim,
then in the thirty -seventh year of his age, ascended the throne
without open opposition, taking the style of Jahangir, ' World-
seizer '. Four months after his accession the intrigues begun
during the preceding reign produced a rebellion in favour of
his eldest son Khusru, who occupied Lahore. Jahangir, acting
on his doctrine that ' kingship regards neither son nor son-in-
law : no one is a relation to a king ' pursued the rebel with
untiring diligence and crushed the revolt in a month. Khusru
was captured while trying to cross the Chinab, and was brought
in chains before his father, who inflicted a terrible penalty on
his son's followers. Under the date Thursday, April 23, 1606,
the emperor writes in his authentic Memoirs :

' For the sake of good government I ordered posts to be set up
on both sides of the road from the garden [where I lodged] to
the city [Lahore], and ordered them to hang up and impale
the seditious Aimaqs and others who had taken part in the
rebellion. Thus each one of them received an extraordinary
punishment.'



192 THE MUGHAL EMPIRE FROM 1526 TO 1761

The men impaled are said to have numbered 300. The
Dutch author De Laet (1631) adds that Jahangir mounted his
unhappy son on an elephant and led him between the lines of
his writhing followers, while Mahabat Khan (Zamana Beg)
recited the names of the sufferers.

Khusru was partially blinded and kept in confinement, more
or less strict, until 1622, when he was reported officially to
have died of colic. But there is sound reason for believing
that he was strangled by order of his half-brother, Prince
Khurram (Shahjahan), who was resolved to clear away every
relative who might possibly claim succession to the throne.
The remains of Khusru lie in the well-known garden at Allah-
abad which bears his name.

Wars. Jahangir, although mentally and morally inferior


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