(Online Course) History for IAS Mains: Akbar – Conquests and consolidation of the Empire


Conquests and consolidation of the

Q. Akbar built the Moghul Empire by enlisting the support of the Rajputs,
Aurangzeb destroyed it by alienating the Rajputs? Do you agree.

Answer : After
ascending to the throne solving earlier problems, Akbar started his policy
of the expansion of the kingdom in a proper way. In that period. the Rajputs
were an important political power. Akbar developed very friendly relations
with them and took their help in political matters. Through their power and
help, Akbar not only established an enormous Moghul kingdom but also gave a
proper form to their participation in strengthening the Moghul Kingdom in
later periods. This fact is very important that during the reign of Akbar,
the Moghul Empire was greatly expanded. During the times of his
predecessors, there were only battles and in that of his successors, the
Empire was only partly expanded. In Akbar’s times, the association with the
Rajputs started and a friendly relation was established.

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As a result of which, the struggle based on religious and
political basis of the level for the ruler class diminished gradually. An
age of friendship and cooperation started which helped both the sides. In
the Delhi Sultanate, the Rajputs had enjoyed and important place from
earlier times. In the beginning of the Moghul period, Babur and Humayun
faced a major resistance from the Rajputs during their reign. Babur had to
fight with Rana Sanga but after that the Rajput’s political dominance,
lessened. Till 1556, the Afghans had an important place in Indian politics.
Akbar understood the importants of the Rajput power and hence made a proper
policy to take their help in the affairs of the Empire. Due to this policy,
the Rajputs not only did become his supporters, but they also contributed
actively in the expansion of the Moghul Empire. As the revolts of the
Rajputs diminished, the reign of Akbar was more or less very peaceful. So,
he could built a permanent empire giving enough time to administrative

There were two major problems as Akhar ascended to the
throne- (i) the problem of the Afghans and (ii) the problem of revolt by the
Hindu ruler class. The Rajputs could have been a help in solving these
problems. The Afghans could have been uprooted if there was an association
between the Moghuls and it the Rajputs. It is known that during the reign of
Behar and Humanyun there developed an armed alliance between the Afghans and
the Rajputs. Keeping in view all these things, Akbar sought the help of a
section of the powerful Hindus the Rajputs. in solving the internal and
external problems. Akbar had promised the Rajputs that there would be no
interference in their social, religious and internal political matters.
Although there was not any essential condition to establish marriage
relations. Akbar strengthened his ` relations with the rulers like King
Bharmal with the help of marriage.

At first, in 1562 Akbar had a treaty of friendship with
king Bharmal. King Bharmal and his family cooperated with Akbar till the
end. Almost the whole of the Rajput region was included in the Empire of
Akbar. Uptill 1585-86, the Rajputs had not only become friends but were
participant in the Empire. In the battle of Kabul in 1580 Mansingh showed
undaunted gallantry and bravery. King Todarmal had strengthened the economy
of the state by giving a new dimension to the land revenue system of that
time. The contribution of the Rajputs in the Mughol service consolidated the
Empire. Mansingh as the Subedar’of Kabul, Shekhawat as that of Agra and
Jagannath as that of Ajmer, provided stability to the Empire.

The predecessors of Akhar. Jahangir and Shanjahan, more
or less followed his Rajput policy. But during the reign of Aurangzeb, there
came a drastic change in these policies. In the beginning, Aurangzeb got the
help of the Rajputs. In the fight of succession Jaswant Singh gave military
help to Aurangzeb. But in 1679, he had to face the opposition from the
Rajputs. Even after that, the relation of Aurangzeb with the Rajput didn’t
finish completely. But indeed it got strained. In 1978, after the death of
Jaswant Singh the ruler of Marwar. Aurangzeb interfered in the issue of
successor of Marwar. This made the Rathore Rajputs his enemies. He fought
battles with the Rajputs also during the Marwar battle, Aurangzeb forced ‘jazia
tax’ on the Hindus. He collected pilgrimage tax also and destroyed many
temples. This gave rise to feeling of enmity and resentment among the
Hindus. Later on, the ruler of Marwar allied with the Rathore Rajputs
against Aurangzeb. The Rajputs also helped his unsatisfied and revolting Son
Akbar, but Aurangzeb solved this problem by his treacherous policy.

Till the end of the period of Aurangzeb the Moghuls had
gained strength in north India and sought help of the Marathas in the South,
that is why he didn’t give much attention to the Rajputs. Apart from his
orthodox policy the contemporary situations very much contributed to his
Rajput policy.

The economic and feudal problems were basically
responsible for the decline of the Moghul Empire, not his Rajput policy. He
added another problem to his problems by distancing the Rajputs. His Rajput
policy reflects his incapability to handle the issues which gave a fillip to
the prestige of the Moghul Empire. As a result of which political and
religious resentment spread to a great extent.

So, comparing and analyzing the policies and deeds of
Akbar and Aurangzeb, there is no doubt that Aurangzeb destroyed the prestige
and esteem of the Moghul Empire which had prospered and shined brilliantly
tinder the golden reign of Akbar. While Akhar quite diplomatically acquired
the support of the Rajputs. Aurangzeb alienated them and weakened his


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