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Saturday, December 24, 2016


The Mughal Age is called as the “Second Classical Age”, the first being the Gupta Age in northern India. Three most important aspects of cultural developments during the Mughal period were:
1)    The Mughal culture was largely secular and aristocratic.
2)    In the growth and enrichment of this culture, people from different parts of India and outside contributed equally, and
3)    The cultural norms which the Mughals introduced in India in the field of architecture, painting, music etc. deeply influenced the future course of Indian culture during the subsequent centuries.
·         The history of Mughal architecture begins with Babur, who have undertaken many building projects at Agra, Dholpur, Gwalior and other places. He built two mosques, one at Kabulibagh in Panipat and other at Sambhal in Rohilkhand.
·         In the early years of Humayun’s reign, he built a city at Delhi, called the Din-panah (World Refuge). The mausoleum of Humayun in Delhi heralded the new movement. In spirit, the structure of Humayun’s tomb stands as an example of synthesis of two great building traditions of Asia, namely the Persian and the Indian. It was built by his widow Haji Begum.
·         Thus, the contribution of both Babur and Humayun to the growth of Mughal architecture is almost negligible.


Jahangir(1605 - 27):
·         He issued Twelve ‘Edicts’ or ‘Ordinances’ for the general welfare and better government of the country.
·         Established Zanjir-i-Adal (Chain of justice) at Agra fort for justice seekers.
·         Rebellion by prince Khusrau (Jahangir’s son) at Lahore (1606). Jahangir personally suppressed the rebellion. The fifth Sikh Guru Arjun Dev ji, with whom the rebel prince had stayed at Tarn Taran and also received his blessings, was at first fined by the government, but as he refused to pay the fine he was sentenced to death.
·         The first military expedition undertaken by Jahangir was against Rana Amar Singh, son of Rana Patap of Mewar. The Mughal expeditions sent against Mewar in 1606 and 1608-09 proved indecisive, but in 1613-14 the campaign led by prince Khurram proved decisive and Rana Amar Singh came to terms with the Mughals in 1615. Jahangir offered most liberal terms to Mewar and thus ended a long drawn out struggle between Mewar and the Mughals.
·         He pursued his father’s plan of territorial expansion beyond the Narmada. The first target was a half-conquered Sultanate of Ahmadnagar.
·         The greatest failure of Jahangir’s reign was the loss of Kandahar to Persia. Shah Abbas of Persia (15871629), outwardly professing friendship towards the Mughals, captured Kandahar in 1622. The loss of Kandahar greatly affected the Mughal prestige in Central Asia.
·         Jahangir married young widow Mihar-un-nisa (widow of Sher Afghan), daughter of a Persian Mirza Ghiyas Beg and conferred on her the title of Nur Mahal (Light of the Place) which was later changed to Nur Jahan. In 1613, she was promoted to the status of padshah Begum, coins were struck in her name and on all farmans her name was attached to the imperial signature.
·         Nur Jahan’s influence secured high positions for her father who got the title Itimad-ud-daulah and her brother, Asaf Khan. A year after her own marriage, Asaf Khan’s Mumtaz Mahal, was married to Khurram, the ablest of Jahangir’s sons.
·         In 1620, Nur Jahan married Ladli Begum (her daughter by Sher Afghan) to Jahangir’s youngest son Shahryar and supported the cause of her son-in-law Shahryar as heir apparent to the throne, while her brother Asaf Khan supported his son-in-law Khurram (who had already been conferred the title of Shah Jahan).
·         Jahangir also married Manmati or Jodha Bai, daughter of Raja Jagat Singh of Marwar.
·         Many of the events of the period, such as Khusrau’s murder, Mahavat Khan’s coup and Salim’s rebellion, were all results of this factional politics.
·         Jahangir’s court was visited by two representatives of King James I of England, namely, Captain Hawkins (1608-11) and Sir Thoms Roe(1615- 19) and as a result of the efforts of Thomas Roe English factories were established at Surat, Agra, Ahmedabad and Broach.
·         He was buried at Lahore.
Shah Jahan(1628-58):
·         At the time of Jahangir’s death in October 1627, Shah Jahan was in the Deccan. At Lahore, Nur Jahan proclaimed Shahryar as the emperor, while Asaf Khan put Dawar Baksh, son of Khusrau, on the throne as a temporary arrangement till the return of Shah Jahan.
·         Shah Jahan arrived at Agra in February 1628, Dawar Baksh was deposed and Asaf Khan defeated. He captures and blinded Shahryar.
·         The first three years of Shah Jahan’s reign were disturbed by the rebellions of the Bundela Chief Juhar Singh and of Khan Jhan Lodi. He ousted the Portuguese from Hugli in 1931and occupied it.
·         After the death of her beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal in 1631, he built Taj Mahal at Agra in her memory.
·         In 1632, the Nizam Shahi kingdom of Ahmadnagar was finally annexed to the Mughal Empire.
·         In 1636-37, Shah Jahan himself arrived in the Deccan and after a show of strength forced Bijapur and Golcunda to accept the Mughal suzerainty and pay annual tribute.
·         In 1636, Aurangzeb, son of Shah Jahan, was appointed the Mughal viceroy in the Deccan. The territories in his charge were divided into four subahs:
a.     Khandesh with its capital at Burhampur and stronghold at Asirgarh,
b.    Berar with its capital at Eclichpur,
c.     Telengana with its capital at Nanded, and
d.    Ahmadnagar.
·         No attempt was made to recapture Kandhar till 1638. The opportunity, however, came in 1639, when Ali Mardan Khan, the disgruntled Persian Governor of Kandahar, delivered the fort to the Mughals without fighting.
·         Similarly, taking advantage of internal rebellions in Balkh and Badakhshan and the unpopularity of the ruler of these states, Shah Jahan sent an expedition under his son Murad in 1646 and the Mughal army occupied both these states.
·         Shah Abbas II of Persia once again captured Kandahar from the Mughals in 1649. Subsequently, Shah Jahan sent three expeditions to recover Kandahar, but all proved to be miserable failures.
·         The second term of Aurangazeb’s viceroyalty in the Deccan began in 1653 and continued till 1658. He secured the service of a very comptent revenue administrator named Murshid Quli Khan whom he appointed as his diwan.
·         For purpose of revenue administration Murshid Quli Khan divided the Mughal subahs into ‘lowlands’ and ‘highland’.
·         Todarmal’s zabti system of survey and assessment was also extended to the Deccan with some changes suited to the local conditions. These measures led to improvement in agriculture and increase in the revenue in a few years.
·         In 1656, Aurangzeb planned to annex Golconda. In this task Mir Jumla (whose actual name was Muhammad Sayyid), wazir of Golconda, also colluded. In February 1656, Aurangzeb laid siege of Golconda.
·         In 1657, the Adil Shahi kingdom of Bijapur was attacked, and on the intervention of Shah Jahan and Dara Shikoh peace was made with Bijapur too.
·         Meanwhile, Shah Jahan fell ill and a war of succession seemed imminent. At the time of Shah Jahan’s sickness in September 1657, his eldest son Dara was at his bedside in Agra; Shuja was governor in Bengal; Aurangzeb was viceroy in the Deccan. The youngest Murad was governor in Gujarat.
·         In the closing weeks of 1657, when Shah Jahan was on the way to full recovery, Shuja crowned himself in Bengal. Murad did the same in Gujarat and then formed an alliance with Aurangzeb who was already marching towards Agra. In February 1658, the forces of Murad joined him near Ujjain. The imperial forces sent to contain the combined forces of Murad and Aurangzeb were defeated in the battle of Dharmat, near Ujjain. After Dharmat, Aurangzeb marched towards Agra and in the ensuing battle at Sumugarh, near Agra, the Mughal forces under Dara were decisively defeated and he fled from Agra.
·         In June 1658, the fort of Agra also surrendered and Shah Jahan was made a prisoner. The echo of the war of succession continued till 1661 and in between 1658 and 1661 all the remaining sons of Shah Jahan were killed or excuted.
·         Shah Jahan passed the remaining years of his life in captivity. He was buried in Taj Mahal.
·         Three most important factors responsible for the war of succession were:
a.     Shah Jahan’s partisan attitude towards Dara,
b.    old rivalry between Dara and Aurangzeb, and
c.     Dara and Aurangzeb led two factions of the Mughal court, Dara representing liberalism and Aurangzeb the conservative elements.
·         Mughal architecture under him reached its zenith. A large trade developed between India and Western Asia and Europe, which greatly contributed to the travelers.
·         Two Frenchmen, Bernier and Travenier and an Italian adventurer Manucci, the author of the Storio Dor Mogor, visited his court.

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