The Mughal Emperors have remained very dominant throughout the history of Sub-Continent in south Asia that their role in making its history can not be undermined.
The Mughal Emperors are mostly considered as luxurious persons who have done nothing but invested all the treasures in their gratification.
It is also true that they have wasted a lot of treasures for amusement purposes but we can not all the Mughals for this because they were also Mughals who conquered a dominant area of South Asia and collected those treasures.
Here, The Mughal Emperors are divided into two groups in a timeline. First were the Greater Mughals who built the Great Mughal Empire with their exceptional politics and others are Latter Mughals who started the period of amusement and are responsible for the Downfall of Mughals.
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Greater Mughal Emperors
Zaheer-ud-Din Babur (Founder of The Great Mughal Empire)
Babur was born on 14 February 1483 in Andijan, Uzbekistan. He was the one who founded the great Mughal Empire. He had the Mongols blood in his veins which created a huge appetite for conquests and Battles.
First Battle of Panipat
He came from Kabul, the city of Afghanistan, and attacked Delhi to fulfill his appetite for conquest. Here, he defeated the forces of Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi in the First Battle of Panipat in 1956.
In this way, Babur won the throne of Delhi and laid the foundation of The Great Mughal Empire in 1526.
Battle of Kanwaha
Although, after the first battle of Panipat, Babur captured Delhi. Another man Rana Sanga, who was the king of Mewar, also had the desire to sit on the throne of Delhi. He wanted the sovereignty of India in the hands of Rajput.
Rana Sanga attacked Babur in 1527. Babur came out with his army to face him and both forces met in a village of Kanwaha where this Battle of Kanwaha was fought.
At the first attack, the forces of Babur were defeated by Rajput which decreased the morale of Babur’s troops but here Babur distinguished his Leadership skills and destroyed all the wine with him and swore not to drink wine ever again and prayed to God for the absolution of his sins.
This invoked new courage in his soldiers and they attacked the Rajput so violently that Rajput had to flee from the Battleground. In this way, the reign of the Mughal Emperors started in the sub-continent.
Babur died in December 1530 and his elder son Humayun was enthroned.
Humayun was the son and successor of Babur. He was born in Kabul on 6 March 1508. He became the second Mughal Emperor and rule Delhi from 1530 to 1540 and then again from 1555 to 1556.
In between these years, the Mughal dynasty was demolished for 15 years and Suri Family ruled Delhi. First, Sher Shah Suri took over Delhi from Humayun, and afterward, his sons ruled the throne but were unable to maintain the Rule and lost the throne to Mughals in 1955.
When Sher Shah defeated Humayun and was expelled from India, he went to his brothers but his brothers proved disloyal and he was left with no choice but to go to Iran and seek the help of Shah. Shah Ṭahmāsp helped him take back the positions in Kabul and Lahore.
After gaining some strength, he took advantage of the civil wars between the sons of Sher Shah after his death and again conquered the throne of Delhi.
But he remained in power for just a little time and died in 1956 due to falling of the staircase and his son Akbar then became the next Mughal Emperors.
Jalal-ud-Din Akbar(Greatest of all the Mughal Emperors)
Akbar was enthroned when he fought and won the second battle of Panipat in 1956 from Hemu, a Hindu Emperor who took the throne for a fraction of time after the death of his father Humayun. He was born on 15 October 1542 during the period, when his father was exiled.
He is considered as the greatest of all the Mughal Emperors because he got a very small realm and he was surrounded by his rivalries Rajput everywhere.
Rajputs were very strong at that time but the military improvements of Akbar defeated them and spread the territory beyond limits.
Art and Literature
Although, he was illiterate but possessed great tactics of war and leading. His strategies and intellect ruled the great empire with harmony and development of art and literature as never before.
Interest in other Religions
He was very much interested in the other religions which encouraged the other religions to prosper under his reign. He also showed Gracious behavior to the kings of the area which he conquered by letting them keep the governance but under his throne.
He made many administrative changes that enabled him to manage the realm with such efficiency. This was the point when the Mughal Empire became a stable and wealthy state and it helped the upcoming Mughal Emperors to manage the affairs.
His elder son Jahangir already started to revolt against him during his reign and as his other sons were sickly Addicted so, he himself declared Jahangir as his rightful Successor.
Jahangir came to the throne immediately after the death of his father in November 1605. He was born on 31 August 1569 in Fatehpur and his birth name was Salim which is very popular with Anarkali in the folk stories of India.
Nur Jahan (Dearest wife)
He had a strong influence on his wife Nur Jahan and her family. But this influence also darkened his late years of reign due to official fights of Nur Jahan with her brother.
Art, Religion and Literature
Like his father, Jahangir also shared a taste for art and patronage Persian Art and Literature in the empire.
This art can be seen in his own Tomb and the Tomb of his dearest wife Nur Jahan in Lahore.
He also remained Muslim during his lifetime but no practically as he was also drunken like his brothers and even appointed an assistant for managing his Alcoholic supplies.
The campaigns which were initiated by his father Akbar were kept going smoothly during his reign of conquering the areas of Rajput and some new area was added to the territory. He also started to move toward Deccan.
His lust for Alcohol caused his death which leads to making of his son Shah Jahan next to the Mughal Emperors.
Shah Jahan (Era of Great Cultural Achievements)
Shah Jahan got the throne after Jahangir’s death in February 1628 in a very prosperous and stable condition like his father. He was born on 5 January 1592 in Lahore.
Love for Mumtaz
He had very few wives as compared to other Mughal Emperors and among them, his most beloved was Mumtaz Begum. In the memory of which he constructed a masterpiece in Agra, Taj Mahal.
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During his reign culture reached its zenith and a huge amount was invested in the Buildings and Architecture. His patronage for architecture, calligraphy,, and other arts can never be undermined.
The most important of the Architectures of that time is the Taj Mahal which is included in the seven Wonders of the World.
Expansions of the realm
His reign also marks many conquests in the annexation of Deccan. Although other expansion campaigns continued in other areas.
In 1657, Shah Jahan fell ill and a war of Succession was started between his four sons and was won by Aurangzeb Alamgir who became the next Mughal Emperor.
Aurangzeb Alamgir (Last Greater Mughal)
Aurangzeb captured his father because Shah Jahan wanted the elder son Dara to be enthroned in 1658. So, Aurangzeb Imprisoned him and became the ruler of the Mughal Empire. Shah Jahan died during this imprisonment in the Agra fort.
Aurangzeb was a true military leader and free from the bad alcoholic habits of other Mughal Emperors. He expanded the Empire to the far-off boundaries to which it was never extended.
Annexation of Deccan
Although, he tried his best to conquer Deccan but was unable to conquer the full Deccan due to lack of resources, and a large amount was lost during this conquest and extra taxes were imposed on the public which causes revolts in the realm.
And when he remained away from the capital for a large amount of time in conquests, he also lost grip on the control of the empire. This empowered Marathas which attacked and weakened the realm.
His Anti-Rajput policy also caused the Rajputs to stand together against him.
From here, the end of his realm started with 49 years of ruling till 1707.
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Latter Mughal Emperors
On the Death of Aurangzeb, the Decline of the Mughal Empire was started and the realm of Latter Mughals started in the following chronology.
- Muhammad Azam Shah (14 March 1707 – 8 June 1707)
- Bahadur Shah (19 June 1707 – 27 February 1712)
- Jahandar Shah (27 February 1712 – 11 February 1713)
- Farrukhsiyar (11 January 1713 – 28 February 1719)
- Rafi ud Darajat (28 February – 6 June 1719)
- Shah Jahan 2 (6 June 1719 – 17 September 1719)
- Muhammad Shah (27 September 1719 – 26 April 1748)
- Ahmad Shah Bahadur (29 April 1748 – 2 June 1754)
- Alamgir 2 (3 June 1754 – 29 November 1759)
- Shah Jahan 3 (10 December 1759 – 10 October 1760)
- Shah Alam (10 October 1760 – 31 July 1788)
- Shah Jahan 4 (31 July 1788 – 11 October 1788)
- Shah Alam 2 (16 October 1788 – 19 November 1806)
- Akbar Shah 2 (19 November 1806 – 28 September 1837)
- Bahadur Shah Zafar (28 September 1837 – 21 September 1857)
The Decline of the Great Mughal Empire
After the death of Aurangzeb, the downfall of the Mughal Emperors was started with the war of succession among the son of Aurangzeb.
Battle of Plassy was lost by Nawab of Bengal in 1757 due to the defection of Mir Jafer. It was the first capture in India and then Britishers captured the whole of India.
They imposed the Doctrine of Lapse in India to take hold of the whole area. According to this Doctrine, no Indian leader can transfer power to anyone except his sons.
Causes of Decline of the Mughal Empire
Shift of interest
The first and the foremost cause of Mughals Decline was getting of latter Mughals into the Drugs and pleasures of life and taking no interest in the affairs of state.
Hindus and Marathas getting into Power
From the reign of Akbar Hindus and Marathas came into the affairs of the state and incorporated into the administration which made them powerful and when Aurangzeb came as a Practical Muslim ruler then they went against him.
War of Succession
Mughals did not have any proper way of transferring the throne and this caused the war of succession among the sons.
It started from the sons of Shah Jahan and continuously weakened the throne.
There were foreign invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali which also played a significant role in the downfall of Mughal Emperors.
Neglection of British Navy
Mughal Emperors also Neglected the British Navy which was the real power of England. In turn, the power of English kept growing in the region.
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