Why did Akbar marry a Rajput

India is a country whose history goes back thousands of years. Many different peoples and ethnic groups lived and still live in the country, in which different religions also coexist ................

Moguls in India - Personal details: Akbar
Personal details: Akbar (1556-1605)

The early years
Akbar was the first Timurid to be born on Indian soil. This gave him a better chance of getting secret. He must have been a very difficult child, which is not surprising given the circumstances of his childhood. As a toddler he experienced his parents' escape, then he was kept in his uncle's harem as a kind of fistfound, and his further youth was a series of campaigns. Since a representative of the imperial family always had to be in the army camp and Humayun did not care, Akbar grew up among soldiers. At the age of nine he was given formal high command over the units of his fallen uncle Hindal, and at twelve he was already in the vanguard of battles. Of course, Humayun wanted his only son to be brought up according to the rules of the art, and Bhairam Khan also tried to do this. Akbar, however, steadfastly refused to learn anything useful. A teacher was fired for allegedly seducing the boy to breed pigeons. In truth, of course, Akbar had bribed the teacher; likewise eight other teachers surrendered, as they did not even succeed in luring the prince to a lectern. He preferred to ride wild camels and later he repeatedly took part in elephant fights, the most dangerous game that was reserved only for the emperor to organize.

The young Akbar and his regent Bairam Khan were on a campaign against Sikander Shah, a grandson of Scher, in the Punjab when news of Humayun's death reached them. According to Islamic law, this changed their situation suddenly. Bhairam Khan decided to have Akbar proclaimed emperor. A coronation platform was hurriedly chiseled. On February 14, 1556, the thirteen-year-old took a seat on it, wrapped in a much too large brocade cloak and wearing a black turban, which only the spiritual head of the Sunnis was entitled to. His speech from the throne was a sublime grace.


The title had little weight, as many of the little rulers did not recognize it. That his claim was enforced was largely due to his regent Bairam Khan, whose energy made the campaigns against the regional empires possible. After Bairam Khan's power waned, Akbar's maternal relatives exerted their influence until the young emperor began to rule himself at the age of twenty. He was to become the greatest Mughal emperor in legend and history. Akbar was a grown man by Mughal standards, mature enough to take charge of government himself, and thus the break between himself and Bairam Khan was inevitable.

The regent at the time bore his deposition with admirable loyalty. Although he thought loudly about marching with the army to Delhi and freeing Akbar from his new advisers, he then consented to the pilgrimage to Mecca that Akbar had proposed. On the pilgrimage to Gujarat, Bairam Khan was murdered in blood revenge on January 31, 1561 by an Afghan whose father had died five years earlier in a battle against the Mughals.

Akbar's first task was to conquer the empire he had inherited and eliminate all competitors. His most important adversary was Hemu, general, governor and confidante of the heirs of Sher Shah Sur, who wanted to use the means of power entrusted to him to have himself proclaimed ruler. Again it is the Panipat field where the armies clash.

Hemu, who outnumbered Akbar in troops and elephants, had already won the day when an arrow hit him in the eye. When the seriously astonished Hemu was brought before Akbar, Akbar killed him with a sword stroke. The value of a life was not very important and Akbar had no hesitation in killing a defenseless underdog for the safety of his empire.

As the empire became more secure, Akbar turned to new conquests. In his urge to conquer the world, Akbar stands in line with all the great Indian princes, whose striving was directed towards being able to call themselves Chakrawarti (lord of the world). As a counterweight to the Central Asians, Akbar drew a number of capable Persians into his service, so that around 1580 47 Persians and 48 nobles of Central Asian origin held key positions in the Mughal empire.

The alliance with the Rajputs
Akbar also found ways to integrate individual Hindu warrior groups, who were excluded from power under the Lodis, into his empire. By far the most important were the Rajput princes. Indeed, it is doubtful whether Akbar could have realized the Mughal state so successfully if he had not succeeded in forging an alliance with these conservative Hindu warriors on his southwest flank. He not only secured the services of some of the most capable maharajas of his time, but also solved the persistent problem of pacifying a dangerously insecure border of the empire.

The arid area of ​​the Aravalli Mountains invited in the 16th century to create settlement enclaves, which bitterly maintained their independence. In a region with little communication, practically impregnable fortresses and places where water was available overlooked the major military and trade routes that linked northern India to Gujarat and the west coast. Powerful families controlled the war. More ambitious princes, however, sought broader political organizations and sometimes forays into the richer plains in the north. Whoever wanted to transport goods or people through their country often had to bow to their pressure. Their great fortresses offered refuge for political dissidents from the north. No government in the Ganges plain could feel really safe if it had not come to some arrangement with the Rajput princes.

Akbar's policy towards the Rajputs also included making simple alliances with them and asserting the supremacy of the Mughals. The first contacts were sometimes very bloody battles: in 1567 and 1568, for example, Akbar declared jihad (holy war of Muslims against non-Muslims) to the Rana of Chitorgarh (Mewar), Udai Singh Sisodia.

The fall of his fortress Chitor and the capture of Udaipur by the Mughal army led to the massacre of some 25,000 people. After Akbar demonstrated that he was capable of destroying the Rajput principalities, he quickly turned to diplomatic advances: he asked for her consent for integration into the Mughal state.

He invited individual maharajas or tribal leaders to serve in the army at the head of a contingent of his own relatives and subjects. In return, Akbar was willing to guarantee them possession of their ancestral land. This recognition increased their local status and helped cement their primacy among their blood relatives. The Mughals allowed the Rajputs to maintain their beliefs and customs, especially their honor as Hindu warriors was respected. In the service of the state, the Rajput princes also had the opportunity to attain power and wealth in the larger world of the Mughal Empire. Both parties took advantage of this: the emperor won thousands of loyal soldiers and at the same time prevented the formation of a coalition led by Hindus and directed against the Mughals. The Rajput rulers relied on the political support of the Mughals to increase their influence over the country and the people, and their service outside the country was a means of bringing new wealth to Rajputana (Rajasthan).

If Akbar, for example, chose Rajputs to fight against other Rajputs, this can hardly be regarded as a testimony to active tolerance, but it does betray the sophistication of the emperor, who understood the wishes of his subjects and used them for the integration of the empire. The older Akbar got, the more freedom he granted the Hindus and the more he curtailed the privileges of the Mohammedans. Akbar also married several Hindu princesses in the course of his life, mostly of the rajput families. One of these Hindu women became the mother of the heir to the throne Salim (later Emperor Jahangir).

The practice of religion
Akbar was quick to assert his political weight against those Muslim leaders who had expected him to apply Islamic laws uncompromisingly. In 1563 he lifted the pilgrimage tax imposed by his predecessors on Hindu pilgrims who gathered for religious festivals. He also allowed the Hindus to renovate old temples and even build new ones. His instruction, which allowed those who were forcibly converted to Islam to return to their original beliefs and thus to avoid the death penalty that Islam imposed on apostates, particularly irritated those who had expected it to interpret Sharia strictly. Akbar also forbade making prisoners of war slaves and converting non-Muslim slaves against their will.

A key element of the ideology was to see the emperor as a higher being, closer to God and true reality. As a result, he received greater insight and authority, surpassing the recognized interpreters of Islamic law, the holy Sufis and even the impatiently awaited mahdi, the Redeemer. Figuratively this turned out to be divine

Light that was passed on from God to Akbar through a chain of shining angels. While the life-expanding image of the flow of water through the gardens of paradise was a recurring theme in the Timurids' thinking, wisdom and righteousness in particular were associated with the Mughal rulers since Akbar, which was revealed through the emanation of light.

From the early 1980s, Akbar began using this ideology in a political context. He developed a formalized social life in his army camp and at court and asked his followers to pay their respects there. Hand in hand with his claim to direct a large number of powerful men of various origins and cultures, Akbar moved further and further away from conventional Islamic practices. He stopped sending pilgrims to Mecca and Medina, and after moving his capital from Fatehpur Sikri to Lahore in 1585, his devotion to the Chishti saints also waned. He introduced a number of new rituals for worshiping the sun and renounced excessive consumption of meat, alcohol and sexual intercourse. This behavior was more in keeping with the everyday world of Hinduism and in line with the ethos of its Rajput elite.

Akbar now surrounded himself with an order of nobles. On the occasion of ceremonies dedicated to the veneration of the sun and light, selected members were accepted into this order. They swore to put life, property, religion and honor in the service of the emperor. The Muslims among them signed a declaration rejecting the shackles of Orthodox Islam. For the duration of the ceremony the initiate lay stretched out in front of the emperor, Akbar's foot resting on his head. As a sign of belonging to this inner group, the nobleman received a special turban, a chased medallion with a picture of the sun and a miniature portrait of the emperor that he had to wear. In the end, probably most of the Mughal-amire (military leaders) belonged to this select group; it proved to be a very effective way of assimilating a heterogeneous group of nobles and assuring themselves of their loyalty to the throne. Indeed, this development related to various respected Islamic traditions.

Akbar was an extraordinarily far-sighted statesman and general. In the half century of his rule (1556-1605) he formed the foundations of modern India as one of the most important emperors in Indian history.

Little by little he had expanded his power. Akbar's empire with Agra as its capital comprised the Punjab, the Ganges plain to Allahabad and areas of Rajputana (Rajasthan). Bengal, including Bihar and Orissa, was ruled by an Afghan dynasty. The Rajputs controlled the greater part of Rajputana. Malwa and Gujarat were Muslim states like five sultanates of the Deccan (Bijapur, Ahmednagar, Berar, Bidar and Golkonda). In the south, Vijainagar was already in decline, but still had influence. Portugal had established a base in Goa for half a century. According to the vocabulary of power, Akbar's state was simply one of several rival states, but as the successor to the Sultanate of Delhi he had a, if vague, claim to the loyalty of various regional empires.

What bitter Akbar's final years was the rebellion of his son Salim, who urged to power. Since he was the only surviving son of the emperor, Akbar had to spare him. It was only with great difficulty that he managed to curb his son and initiate a peaceful change of the throne.

Akbar died on October 25, 1605 and was placed in a magnificent tomb that he had built in Sikandra at the gates of Agra.