The Mughal Empire

  •  Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babar, who defeated Ibrahim Lodhi at Panipat in 1526, founded the Mughal empire in India.
  •  Babur was a descendant of Timur on his father’s side  and of Changez Khan on his mother’s side. They called themselves ‘Timuris’.
  •  On the death of his father Umar Shaikh Mirza, Babur inherited the ancestral kingdom of Farghana in 1494.
  •  He invaded India five times.
  •  He was invited to attack India by Daulat Khan Lodi (ruler of Punjab), Ibrahim Lodi’s uncle Alam Khan Lodhi and Rana Sanga.
  •  The first real expedition took place in 1519, when he captured Bhera, and the fifth one was the defeat of Ibrahim Lodi in the first battle of Panipat in April 1526.
  •  Babur was the first one who declared himself as the ‘Badshah’.

      Battles fought by Babur
Battle                                        Year                                           Result
First Battle of Panipat          1526                         Babur defeat ed Ibrahim Lodhi
Battle of Khanwa                   1527                         Babur defeated Rana Sanga
Battle of Chanderi                 1528                         Babur defeat ed Medini Rai
Battle of Ghagra                     1529                        Babur defeated the Afghans

       Battle of Panipat

  •  Babur is credited with being the first to use artillery in India, in the first battle of Panipat.
  •  A new weapon in Indian war, it was commanded by two of his able captains, Ustad Ali and Mustafa. Babur died in 1530.
  •  His dead body was first buried at Arambagh in Agra, but afterwards it was taken to Kabul and buried at a place chosen by him.
  •  A detailed record of Babur’s career is found in his autobiography Tuzuk-I-Baburi or Baburnama, which he wrote in his mother-tongue (Turki). It was translated into Persian by Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khana.
  •  Humayun succeeded his father Babur at the age of 23.
  •  He gave different territories to his brothers. Mirza Sulaiman was given Badakshan, Mirza Kamran inherited  Kabul and Kandahar, while Hindal received Mevat and Alwar, and Ashari recieved Sambal.
  •  Humayun made Delhi his capital.
  •  He built a new city Dinpanah.
  •  He faced a formidable opponent in the Afghan, Sher Khan.
  •  In the battle of Chausa (near Buxar, on the bank of Ganga) in 1539, Humayun was defeated by Sher Khan. Humayun was saved by a water-carrier named Nizam. Humayun allowed the Nizam to enjoy kingship for a day. This man issued leather coins.
  •  After the battle of Chausa, Sher Khan took the title of Sher Shah.
  •  Humayun was again defeated by Sher Shah in the battle of Bilgram or Kannauj in 1540 and fled the country.
  •  Humayun became a wanderer for about 15 years.
  •  During his wanderings in the deserts of Sindh, Humayun married Hamida Banu Begum, the daughter of Mir Ali Akbar Jami, in 1952.
  •  In November 1542, Humayun was blessed with a son, Akbar.
  •  After the death of Sher Shah, Humayun conquered Kandahar and re-established his control over Kabul with the help of the king of Persia.
  •  Humayun defeated the Afghan forces of Sikandar Sur and occupied Agra and Delhi in 1555 AD.
  •  He believed in astrology and wore seven different colours of dresses on all the seven days of the week.
  •  His sister, Gulbadan Begum, wrote his biography Humayunnama.
  •  Humayun died after falling from the steps of his library in 1556 AD.
  •  Sher Shah’s original name was Farid.
  •  He was born in 1472 at Bajwara in Hoshiarpur district.
  •  His father Hasan Khan was a Jagirdar at Sasaram in Bihar.
  •  Bahar Khan Lohani, the Governor of Bihar, gave the title of Sher Khan to Farid.
  •  He became the ruler of Delhi in 1540 after the battle of Kannauj.
  •  Grand Trunk Road was renovated by Sher Shah Suri.
  •  In 1545, he besieged the fort of Kalinjar in Bundelkhand (UP). The fort was captured but Sher Khan was killed by the explosion of gunpowder.
  •  After Sher Shah’s death, his son Islam Shah ascended the throne. Islam Shah was succeeded by his 12-yearold son Firuz Shah, who was killed by Adil Shah, maternal uncle of Firuz hah.
  •  He constructed the old fort or Purana Qila of Delhi.
  •  Sikandari gaj, the measuring standard introduced by Sikandar Lodi, was used during the reign of Sher Shah.
  •  The tomb of Sher Shah Suri is in Sasaram town of Bihar.
  •  Malik Muhammad Jaisi was the contemporary of Sher Shah.
  •  Adil Shah appointed to the post of Wazir, a very capable Hindu, Hemchandra, more commonly known as Hemu.
  •  Hemu opposed the Mughals soon after the accession of Akbar. As soon as Humayun died, he captured Delhi and Agra and became king under the title of Vikramajit or Vikramaditya.
  •  Hemu occupied Agra and Delhi by defeating Tardi Beg, who was the Mughal governor of Delhi.-
  •  Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar was born in Amarkot in the palace of Virasaal.
  •  He was crowned at Kalanaur at the age of 13. Bairam Khan was his regent.
  •  He defeated Hemu in the second Battle of Panipat in 1556.
  •  The period 1556-60 is known as the period of Bairam Khan’s regency. He was slain by Hazi Khan at Patan.
  •  The Uzbeg rebellion under Abdullah Khan Uzbeg was crushed.
  •  Adham Khan was victorious at Malwa but he sent only part of the booty to Akbar. Akbar had him thrown down from the Agra Fort.
  •  In 1573, Akbar built Buland Darwaza to commemorate the Gujarat victory.

Important Regions won by Akbar :
State                            Year                                         Ruler
Malwa                         1561                                Musi ci an Sult an Bar Bahadur
Chunar                        1562                               Afghans
Amer                           1562                               Raja Bharmal
Gondwana                  1564                               Rani Durgavati and her minor son
Mewar                         1560                              Udai Singh
Ranthambhor            1569                               Surjanhara
Kalinjar                       1569                               Ramchandra (Bundelkhand)
Gujarat                        1572                               Muzaffar Khan III
Bengal, Bihar             1581                               Hakim Mirza and Kabul
Kashmir                      1586                               Yakub Khan

Deccan States :
Khandesh                                                          Ali Khan (1591)
Ahmednagar                                                    Chandbibi (1596)
Asirgarh                                                            Miran Bahadur (1601)

  •  Akbar was now almost the paramount chief of Rajputana. Almost, because he could never subdue Mewar, against whom he sent expeditions from time to time.
  •  In 1576 was fought the famous batlle of Haldighati between Akbar and Rana Pratap. Mansingh and Asaf Khan led the Mughal forces.
  •  Akbar gave the Mughal India one official language — Persian.
  •  The last campaign of Akbar was against Asirgarh in 1601.
  •  Abdur Rahim was given the title Khan-i-Khana for supressing the revolt of Gujarat.
  •  Birbal died in a campaign against the Yusufzais.
  •  Akbar abolished the pilgrimage tax in 1563 and Jaziya in 1564. In 1575, he constructed Ibadat Khana (Hall of Worship) for religious descussions at Fatehpur Sikri. His religious discussions were held every Thursday evening.
  •  In 1578, he converted the Ibadat Khana into a parliament of religions.
  •  In 1579, the proclamation of Mazhar took place. Akbar became the Imam-i-Adil. In 1582, the discussions in Ibadat Khana were stopped. Tauhid-i-illahai or Din-iIllahi was enunciated. According to Badauni, Akbar wanted to create a new religion. Birbal, Abul Fazal and Faizi joined the Din-i-Illahi.
  •  Akbar read the Khutba composed by Faizi in his own name in 1579.
  •  Abul Fazal was murdered by Bir Singh Bundela.
  •  Akbar died after an attack of dysentery. He was buried at Sikandara.

Akbar’s Administration

  •  During Akbar’s reign, the empire was divided into 12 Subahs (provinces). These were Bengal, Bihar, Allahabad, Agra, Avadh, Delhi, Lahore, Multan, Kabul, Ajmer, Malwa and Gujarat. Each of these provinces was administered by officers called Subahdar, Diwan, Bakshi, Sadr and Qazi.
  •  The provinces were further divided into Sarkars and Parganas.
  •  The entire land of the empire was divided into Jagir, Khalisa and Inam lands.
  •  Akbar reorganised the central machinery of the administation on the basis of division of power between the various deparments as given below:
    Wazir                                                       Head of the revenue department
    Mir Bakshi                                              Head of the military department
    Barids                                                      Intelligence Officers
    Waqia                                                      Reporters
    Mir Saman                                              In charge of imperial household
    Qazi                                                          Head of the judicial department

Akbar’s Court

 The Nine Gems or Navratnas of emperor Akbar were:
(1) Birbal: A Brahman of Kalpi, he is known for his gift of humour and wits. His original name was Mahesh Dass. He was in charge of administration of justice at the royal court.
(2) Todar Mal: He is known for his expertise in land revenue matters.
(3) Tansen: He is known as Geet Samrat. Born at Gwalior, he was a court singer of Akbar. His original name was Ramtanu Pandey.
(4) Abul Fazal: He is known for his books Akbarnama and Ain-i-Akbari.
(5) Raja Man Singh: He is credited with defeating Maharana Pratap in the battle of Haldighati.
(6) Faizi: A great poet at the court of Akbar.

(7) Hamim Humam: He was the chief of royal school.
(8) Abdul Rahim: was conferred the title of Khan-e- Khana by Akbar. He is remembered for Rahim Satsai.
(9) Shaikh Mubarak: He was a great Sufi.

  •  Todar Mal was Akbar’s finance minister and overhauled the revenue system in the kingdom.


  •  Akbar’s eldest and only surviving son, Salim, became king under the title of Nur-ud-din Mohammad Jahangir.
  •  His mother was the Rajput princess Jodhabai.
  •  In 1611, Jahangir married Mehr-un-Nisa, who was later known as Nur Jahan. She conferred the title of Itmadud-Daula on her father.
  •  Nur Jahan exercised tremendous influence over the state affairs. She built Itmad-ud-Daula’s tomb in Agra.
  •  In 1612, Nur Jahan arrnaged the marriage of Jahangir’s second son Khurram (Shah Jahan) to her brother Asif Khan’s daughter Arjumand Banu (later known as Mumtaz Mahal).
  •  Nur Jahan was the widow of Sher Afghan before she got married to Jahangir.
  •  Rooh Gulab Itr was discovered by Nur Jahan’s mother, Asmat Begum.
     Jahangir had five sons:
    (1) Khusrau (2) Parvez
    (3) Khurram (Shah Jahan) (4) Shahryar
    (5) Jahandar
  •  A few months after his accession, his eldest son Khusrau revolted against him.
  •  Khusrau received the patronage of Guru Arjun Dev. The fifth Sikh guru Arjun Dev was later sentenced to death for his blessing to the rebel prince.
  •  Jahangir’s first political success was against the Mewar Rana, Amar Singh (1615).
  •  Jahangir sent his son Khurram against Malik Amber in Ahmadnagar. In 1617, Ahmadngar fell and Khurram was awarded the title ‘Shah Jahan’.
  •  In 1622, the Mughals lost Kandahar to the Iranian king Shah Abbas.
  •  Nur Jahan married Ladli Begum, her daughter by Sher Afghan, to Jahangir’s youngest son Shaharyar.
  •  The reign of Jahangir is generally regarded as the Golden Age of Mughal Painting.
  •  Jahangir ’s reign has been vividly portrayed by two representatives of king of England, namely Captain Hawkins (1608-11) and Sir Thomas Roe (1615-18), who visited his court.
  •  Jahangir was famous for his Chain of Justice (Zanjir-iAdl), a golden chain with bells attached to it that was hung between the Jasmine Tower in the Agra Fort and a port on the bank of Yamuna . Anyone in despair could pull the chain and go in for a personal hearing from the Emperor himself.
  •  Jahangir died in 1627 and was buried at Lahore.
  •  Shajahan took the charge of Mughal empire on the death of Jahangir in 1627. His mother was Jagat Gosain, a Rajput princess.
  •  Shah Jahan was supported by Asaf Khan (brother of Nur Jahan) in the struggle that ensued for succession.
  •  The first thing that Shah Jahan had to face was revolts in Bundelkhand (Jujhar Singh Bundela) and the Deccan (Khan-i-Jahan Lodi, the governor of Deccan).
  •  In 1612, he married Arzumand Banu, who became famous as Mumtaz Mahal.

Mumtaz Mahal

  •  Mumtaz Mahal (1593-1637) was the beloved wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It was in her fond memory and as a tribute to her beauty that the grand monument of Taj Mahal was built.
  •  Mumtaz’s maiden name was Arjumand Banu Begum. She died in 1631 while giving birth to her 14th child.
  •  The master architect under whose guidance the Taj Mahal was designed and completed was Ustad Isa. The monument was constructed in 22 years.
  •  The period of Shah Jahan’s rule in India is regarded as the Golden Age of Indian Architecture.
  •  Shah Jahan built Moti Masjid (Agra), Jama Masjid (Delhi), Taj Mahal (Agra), Shalimar Garden (Lahore), the Tomb of Jahangir at Lahore, and the Diwan-i-Aam and Diwan-i-Khas at the Red Fort in New Delhi.

Peacock Throne

  •  The famous Peacock Throne was built by Shah Jahan.
  •  The famous Koh-i-Noor diamond was placed in this throne.
  •  Nadir Shah invaded the Mughal empire in 1738 and returned to Persia in 1739 with the original Peacock Throne from the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah.
  •  In the absence of a well-defined law of succession, a terrible civil war broke out among Shah Jahan’s four sons.
  •  Shah Jahan favoured the succession of his eldest son, the liberal-minded Dara Shikoh.
  •  Dara translated the Upanishads, Bhagawad Gita and Yogavashishtha and wrote Safinat-al-Aulia.
  •  Dara Shikoh is known as the King of Lofty Fortune.

War of Succession
Battle                                                    Outcome
Battle of Dharmat                        Aurangzeb defeated Dara’s army.
Battle of Samugarh                     Aurangzeb defeated Dar a Shikoh.
Battle of Deorai                            Aurangzeb finally defeated Dara Shikoh.

  •  Shah Jahan fell seriously ill in September 1657. Seeking this as an opportunity, one of his sons, Aurangzeb, took over the throne and imprisoned him in the citadel of Agra. Shah Jahan left this world, in confinement, in the year 1666. Shah Jahan was looked after by his daughter Jahan Ara till his death.
  •  After the capture of Agra, Aurangzeb crowned himself as emperor of Delhi at Delhi in 1658 and assumed the title of Alamgir (Conqueror of the World.)
  •  But his formal coronation took place on June 5, 1695, after to the battle of Deorai.
  •  Aurangzeb had claimed the throne as the champion of Sunni orthodoxy.
  •  He discontinued the practice of inscribing the Kalma on the coins and abolished the celebration of the new year’s day.
  •  He reimposed Jaziya in 1679.
  •  He prohibited intoxicating drugs and destroyed the Vishwanath temple at Varanasi.
  •  He appointed Muhtasibs (regulator of moral conduct) to censor the public morals as per the laws of the Quran.
  •  He forbade music in court.
  •  Aurangzeb was not that good in the construction of monuments. However, he built Moti Masjid at Delhi and Bibi Ka Maqbara at Aurangabad.
  •  He ended the ceremony of weighing the emperor on his birthday and the practice of Jharokha darshan.
  •  Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, was besieged and taken to Delhi, where he was beheaded in 1679.
  •  In 1689, Sambhaji, the eldest son of Shivaji, was captured and beheaded by Aurangzeb.
  •  Aurangzeb compiled Fatwa-i-Alamgiri.
  •  The Jats also rebelled against Aurangzeb in 1669 under the leadership of Gokul Jat.
  •  Aurangzeb died in 1707 in Ahmednagar and was buried near Daulatabad.
  •  During Aurangzeb’s reign, the Marathas had became very powerful under Shivaji. Aurangzeb sent Shaista Khan against him, but Shivaji defeated Shaista Khan.

Bahadur Shah (1707-12)

  •  After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, a war of sucession started amongst his three surviving sons, namely Muazzam,the governor of Kabul; Azam, the governor of Gujarat; and Kam Baksh, the governor of Bijapur.
  •  Muazzam defeated Azam and Kam Baksh and ascended the Mughal throne under the title of Bahadur Shah.
  •  He pursued pacifist policy and was therefore also called Shah-e-Bekhaber.
  •  He also assumed the title of Shah Alam I.
  •  He made peace with Guru Gobind Singh and Chhatrasal.
  •  He granted Sardeshmukhi to Marathas and also released Shahu.
  •  He defeated Banda Bahadur at Lohgarh and reoccupied Sirhind in 1711.

Jahandar Shah (1712-13)

  •  In the civil war of 1712, Jahandar Shah emerged victorious and he ascended the throne with the aid of Zulfiqar Khan.
  •  He was an incapable ruler, so the power was shifted in the hands of Zulfiqar Khan.
  •  He abolished Jaziya.
  •  He adorned Raja Jai Singh with the title of Mirza Raja Savai.

Farrukh Siyar (1713-19)

  •  Farrukh Siyar ascended the throne with the help of the Sayyid brothers, Abdullah Khan and Hussain Khan, who were Wazir and Mir Bakshi respectively.
  •  Abdullah Khan and Hussain Khan were known as the king makers.
  •  Farrukh Siyar was killed by the Sayyid brothers in 1719.

Mohammad Shah (1719-48)

  •  Mohammad Shah was never bothered about what was happening in the state and what was required for the development of the state. He was a pleasure-loving king and was nicknamed Rangeela.
  •  Nizam-ul-Mulk was appointed Wazir in 1722 but he relinquished the post and marched to the Deccan to found the state of Hyderabad.
  •  Murshid Quli Khan, who was the governor of Bengal, established the independent state of Bengal.
  •  Saadat Khan Burhan-ul-Mulk, who was appointed governor of Awadh by Mohammad Shah, laid the foundation of the autonomous state of Awadh.
  •  During the reign of Mohammad Shah, Nadir Shah raided India in 1739 and he destroyed the mughal empire and took away the Peacock Throne and the Kohinoor diamond. He ruined Delhi and killed the masses of Delhi.

Ahmed Shah (1748-1754)

  •  During his reign, Ahmed Shah Abdali (one of the ablest generals of Nadir Shah) marched towards Delhi and the Mughals ceded Punjab and Multan.
  •  From 1748 to 1761, Ahmed Shah Abdali attacked many times and looted Mathura and Delhi. He defeated the Marathas in the third battle of Panipat in 1761.

Alamgir (1754-59)

  •  During his reign Ahmed Shah Abdali occupied Delhi. Later, Delhi was also plundered by the Marathas.

Shah Alam II (1759-1806)

  •  After Mohammad Shah, he was the first ruler who got so many years to rule. But he was so afraid of his own Wazir that he transferred his capital from one place to another.
  •  He, along with Nawab of Bengal Mir Qasim and Nawab of Awadh Shuja-ud-daula, fought the Battle of Buxar in 1764, but they were defeated by the British.

Akbar Shah II (1806-37)

  •  During the rule of Akbar Shah II, Lord Hastings ceased to acept the sovereignty of Mughals and claimed an equal status.

Bahadur Shah II (1837-1862)

  •  Bahadur Shah II was the last Mughal king. he was confined by the British to the Red Fort.
  •  He was known as Bahadur Shah Zafar.
  •  During the revolt of 1857, he was proclaimed the emperor by the rebels. He was deported to Rangoon following the 1857 rebellion and he died there in 1862. With the death of Bahadur Shah Zafar, Mughal rule formally came to an end.
  •  Father Anthony Monserrate (1578-82): He came with Father Acquaviva during Akbar’s reign. His travelouge contains descriptions of Akbar’s court.
  •  Ralph Fitch (1588-91): He came during Akbar’s reign. He was the first European who wrote about the clothes and customs of Indians.
  •  William Hawkins (1608-91): He came during Jahangir’s period. He was a merchant and official of the East India Company.
  •  William Fitch (1608): He too came during the reign of Jahangir.
  •  Sir Thomas Roe (1615-1619): He came to India during the reign of Jahangir.
  •  Francisco Paelsari: He came during Jahangir’s reign. He was a Dutch Doctor.
  •  Jean Baptist Tavernier (1641-87): He came during Shah Jahan’s reign.
  •  Francois Bernier (1658-70): He was a French doctor. He visited India during the reigns of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. He wrote Travels in Mughal India.
  •  Mir Sayyid Ali, the pupil of Bihzad of Herat, who has been styled the Raphael of the East, and Khwaja Abdus Samad were in the court of Humayun. Both helped prepare the illustrations to the Dastan-i-Amir Hamzah.
  •  During Akbar’s reign, Abdus Samad, Farrukh Beg, Khursau Quli, Jamshed, Basawan, Lal Kesu, Haribans and Daswanth were the prominent painters.
  •  Akbar said that it appeared to him that the painter had quite peculiar means of recognising God. The painters excelled in portraiture, book illustration and animal painting.
  •  Daswant painted the Razm Nama (Persian Mahabharat).
  •  Abdus Samad was given the title of Shiraz.
  •  Jahangir could tell the names of individual artists in a composite piece of painting.
  •  In his royal court at Agra, Abul Hasan of Herat, Muhammad Nadir, Muhammad Murad, Ustad Mansur, Bishan Das, Manohar, Govardhan et al flourished.
  •  Aurangzeb’s age saw a decline in painting and he had many paintings defaced.