Mughal Dynasty - Informative & researched article on Mughal Dynasty
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Home > Reference > History of India > Medieval History of India > Mughal Dynasty
Mughal Dynasty
Mughal Dynasty was an imperial power of Indian Subcontinent. The "classic period" of this dynasty started in 1556 with the accession of Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar.
 Mughal DynastyMughal Dynasty has contributed immensely with their culture, tradition, ethnicity and artistry to the Indian history. The Mughals invaded India under the leadership of Zahir-ud-Din Babur. In 1526 the battle of Panipat took place and Babur defeated the last Sultan of India, Ibrahim Lodhi. The dynasty founded by him endured for more than three centuries. The Mughals ruled from Kabul to Assam and Kashmir to Tanjore (Tamil Nadu) on vast regions of India. Not only they ruled but also they provided a golden age to Indian medieval period, the Mughal Era.

History of Mughal Dynasty
After the bright period of the Gupta Empire and the reign of the Delhi Sultanate, India saw the development of the largest ever dynasty with the rise of the Mughal rule in the country. The word 'Mughal' is the Persian synonym of the term 'Mongol". The founder of this new empire in India was Zahir-Ud-din Muhammad Babur, a descendant of Chenghis Khan and Timur the Lame. At the age of twelve he ascended the throne of Fergana. He established the largest centralised Mughal Empire during the pre modern period of history. It began in 1526.

Rulers of Mughal Dynasty
Babur's main contenders were the Rajputs and the Afghans. After death of Babur in 1530, his son Humayun ascended the throne. He was also a soldier. Humayun did the first campaign against Sher Shah Suri as he was expanding his territory in the east. In 1539, battle of Chausa took place between Humayun and Sher Khan Suri, the only Afghan ruler left at that time. Humayun escaped from the battlefield in 1540.

After Humayun's death he left behind his thirteen-year-old son Jalal-ud din Akbar as his heir. Akbar ascended the throne under the guardianship of regent Bairam Khan, as he was minor then. Akbar's administrative policies were the backbone of the Mughal Empire for more than two hundred years. After Akbar, Jahangir ascended the throne in 1605. The Mughal Era under Jahangir and Shah Jahan was remembered for political stability, strong economic activity, monumental buildings and beautiful paintings. Jahangir built the famous garden after his name and spent much time relaxing. The Taj Mahal named after Shah Jahan's Wife Mumtaz Mahal became one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The third son of Shah Jahan, Aurangzebimprisoned him and ascended to the throne in 1658. Aurangzeb took the title 'Alamgir'. During his reign the Mughal Empire reached to its highest pick.

After Aurangzeb, Prince Muazzam succeeded and took the title Bahadur Shah I. His reign was short and during that time he was engaged in fighting with Rajasthan and Punjab. Marathas constantly attacked Delhi. In 1759 Shah Alam II became the ruler. Shah Alam's grandson Bahadur Shah Zafar II was the last emperor of Mughals. The glory of the Mughal Era was established in 1526 and ended in 1858.

Art and Arc hitecture under Mughal Dynasty
Art and architecture under the Mughals was a blend of Islamic, Persian and Indian architecture. Mughal architecture under Babur witnessed the construction of quite a few mosques around India, mostly taken from the desecrated Hindu temples. With the exception of a single inscribed mosque in Agra, no other surviving structure unquestionably had resulted from Humayun's patronage. Mughal architecture during Akbar represents that unique blending of Persian architecture with the Indian style. The famous architectural groundings that belong to Akbar are the fortified-palace of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri in Agra, Jahangiri Mahal, Palace in Allahabad, Fort in Ajmer, Jodha Bai Palace, House of Birbal and his own magnificent tomb.

Jahangir patronised enthusiastically in the school of miniature painting in the Mughal regime. In Aurangzeb's reign squared stone and marble gave way to brick or rubble with stucco ornament. He added his mark to the Lahore Fort. The most impressive building of Aurangzeb's reign, is the Badshahi Mosque which was constructed in 1674.

Administration of Mughal Dynasty
Mughal emperors brought about certain elementary changes in the central administration structure in India. They accepted two primary duties for themselves, Jahanbani (protection of the state) and Jahangiri (extension of the empire). Jahangir and Shah Jahan followed Akbar's policy in principle. Only Aurangzeb reversed the policy of Akbar. Akbar raised the structure of Mughal administration. It persisted till the reign of Aurangzeb with minor changes. The weak successors of Aurangzeb, however, could not maintain it.

The emperor was the head of the state. The muhtasib looked after the moral development of the subjects particularly it was his job that the Muslims observed Muslim laws. The Sadr-us-sadur advised the emperor on religious matters. He looked after the religious education, distribution of Jagirs to scholars and observance of the laws of the Islam by the Muslims.

Downfall of Mughal Dynasty
The Mughal Empire which gave Indian History an era of magnificent accomplishments and supreme power disintegrated into dust with the irreparable mistakes of emperors like Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb inherited a large empire, and instead of consolidating what he already had, he embarked an intolerant policy of annexation. His conflict with the Rajputs yielded serious consequences. Aurangzeb, blinded by religious discriminations withdrew himself from Rajput-loyalty and challenged their sovereignty. The Deccan invasion by the Mughals depleted the financial resources. The peace and order of the state was shattered at the very nerve-centre by the political uprisings of discontenting groups, namely, the Jats, the Satnamis and the Sikhs.

A final blow to the shaken constitution of the empire was given by the foreign invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah. Finally the colonial conquest by the British led to the disintegration of the Mughal Dynasty.

(Last Updated on : 24/05/2012)
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