The Life of Akbar

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Akbar the Great was the third Mughal Emperor, ascending the throne at the very young age of thirteen. During the time of Akbar’s reign he abolished military threats from some of the most powerful empires including the Second Battle of Panipat where he defeated the Hindu king Hemu. Aside from being a great military commander Akbar the Great was also a huge influence on India’s culture and art, even having the walls of his palaces covered in murals. He also took an interest in Sanskrit literature having several different works translated into Persian. Unlike many rulers of the time Akbar showed great respect for other cultures and their religions even granting money and land for mosques, Hindu Temples, and Christian churches. He was also remembered for hosting a series of religious debates where scholars would debate religious matters with members of many different religions including Roman Catholic Jesuits, Hindus, and Zoroastrians. This religious tolerance was very rare for an emperor of this time, Akbar not only allowed these religions to be practiced but he also studied them himself thus expanding his knowledge about the religions of the world.

Muhammad Akbar was born at the Rajput Fortress in Sindh on October 14, 1542 originally being named Badru-d din, meaning ‘the Full Moon of Religion.’ Akbar belonged to a particular branch of the Turks known as the Chagatai or the Jagatai who originated in the regions beyond the Oxus forming part of the Chagatai heritage. Akbar greatly depended on his heredity class which classified him into the Turk, Mongol, and the Persian blood lines. Later in his life Akbar changed his name and birthday because his relatives were strong believers of the supernatural and they felt the need to protect him against sorcery by concealing his true identity. Akbar’s birthdate was moved back from November 23 to October 15, and his named was changed from his birth name of Badru-d din to Jalalu-d din Muhammad which ment ‘Splendour of Religion’ (Smith page 19). In the early years of his life Akbar grew up with the future ruler of Amber, India, a prince by the name of ‘Mirza Raja Ram Singh I’ on a plateau lying between the Kaimur range and Binjh known as Rewa, India. He then moved to the Safavid Empire where he was raised by his uncle Mirza Asakri. At a young age Mirza Asakri taught Akbar how to hunt, run, and fight molding him into a daring, powerful and a brave warrior. Throughout all of his teachings Akbar was never taught to read or write causing him to be illiterate. Although this did not hinder his search of knowledge for whenever he would to go to bed he would have somebody read to him.

Later in his life Akbar the Great succeeded the throne after Muhammad Humayun died on January 24, 1556 after falling down a flight of stairs fracturing his skull. “To allow time to prepare for Akbar’s succession the fatal natures of the accident were concealed by having a man dress up and impersonate Humayun even make a public appearances (Ibid page 80).” After receiving authentic news of Humayun’s death, the formal enthronement of Akbar took place on February 14, 1556 during the midst of war against Sikandar Shah. At the age of thirteen Akbar was enthroned in the garden at Kalanaur on a plain brick throne where he was proclaimed Shahanshah meaning the king of kings. At the time of Akbar’s succession India was an ill-governed land that had an economic condition that was even worse than its political condition. Because Akbar was only at the age of thirteen at the time of his succession, Bairam Khan took responsibility of India on his behalf until he was of age.

On October 6, 1556 the Hindu king Hemu, commanding the Afghan forces defeated the Mughal Army and captured Delhi. The Hindu General possessed a far superior military greatly relying on his artillery and his 1,500 war elephants. After being urged by Bariam Khan, Akbar decided to march his forces to Delhi to reclaim it from king Hemu. The...
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