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Mogul Emperor Akbar: Was He Really Great?

The Mogul Emperor Akbar was hailed as great for his religious tolerance, farsightedness and for the establishment of Hindu Muslim unity in his empire.

Among the hundreds of Muslim rulers that we come across in the annals of Medieval Indian History, his name stands out; it is so enchanting; it is shining as an undiminished glittering star; it is evoking the instant admiration of the people of all ages; above all his name has left an indelible impression in the history of India. He was none other than the Mogul Emperor ‘Akbar, the great

You may be quite inquisitive to know, whether he was a superhuman personality and what was special about him.

He was born in the most bizarre circumstances at Amarkot, when his father Humayun was in exile, having been dethroned as emperor and driven away from Delhi, by a more powerful ruler, Shersha Sur.

Akbar’s father Humayun was such a weakling, known for his physical weakness; in fact Humayun died because of a serious injury that he sustained when he fell down from the wooden staircase of his palace. Hence, naturally his son Akbar was also not physically a strong personality.

However, when Humayun died, Akbar had to ascend the throne at the age of 15.Akbar, being a minor, his uncle Bairam Khan became his guardian and the defacto ruler of his empire as well.However, within a year or two, having got disillusioned with the approach of his uncle in ruling his empire, Akbar dethroned him from power and took the reigns of his empire under his control.

Even though Akbar ascended the throne at a very young age, very soon he grasped the problems of his empire. Having toured his empire far and wide, Akbar was quick to find out that his empire had both the Hindus and Muslims considerably. He came to the conclusion that for the establishment of peace and unity in his empire, they should live peacefully and there should be cordial relationship between them.

Hence Akbar, as the emperor, took a series of steps in his empire to win over the Hindus by taking the following steps with a farsightedness:-

Abolition of Jizya:

He abolished the Jizya, a poll tax hitherto levied from the Hindus, for the simple reason that they were Hindus.By levying this poll tax, Akbar’s predecessors actually tried to convert many Hindus into Muslims.In fact for fear of paying a heavy poll tax, many Hindus became bread and butter Muslims.Akbar was quick to realize levying the Jizya means indirect or forcible conversion of the Hindus into Muslims.The abolition of Jizya, not only eased the economic burden of the Hindus but also they began to extend their support and repose confidence in their emperor Akbar and in the Mogul rule.

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User Comments
  1. Uma Shankari

    On August 16, 2009 at 6:18 am

    An interesting account, no doubt. Sad that his descendants were not as tolerant.

  2. chitragopi

    On August 16, 2009 at 6:22 am

    Yes, his insight made him great. Good article.

  3. Vaibhav Diwaker

    On August 16, 2009 at 6:23 am

    Well written article….I do think that Akbar was the greatest emperor of medieval India. His greatness lies in showing equal respect to all religions particularly Hinduism. Whether this tolerance had anything to with his Hindu wife whom he loved very much may be a matter of debate but the fact of the matter is he did what none dared.

  4. ken bultman

    On August 16, 2009 at 6:46 am

    I enjoyed learning about a historical figure I would not have read about elsewhere. Thanks.

  5. deep blue

    On August 16, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Well written article which added up to my historical knowledge. Great work Ram.


    On August 16, 2009 at 7:28 am

    An interesting read here. I read of his history when I was in lower secondary. I think he is great, isn’t he? Have my liked it.

  7. papaleng

    On August 16, 2009 at 11:06 am

    very interesting write. I think he is great.

  8. Darla Beck

    On August 16, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Very interesting article.

  9. George W Whitehead

    On August 16, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Nice article, Rama. Didn’t know too much about Akbar.

  10. CutestPrincess

    On August 24, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    i truly enjoyed reading this… nice one!

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