Akbar the Great (in white) visits a shrine
In 1582, King Philip II of Spain received a letter from the Mughal Emperor Akbar of India. Akbar wrote: "As most men are fettered by bonds of tradition, and by imitating ways followed by their fathers... everyone continues, without investigating their arguments and reasons, to follow the religion in which he was born and educated, thus excluding himself from the possibility of ascertaining the truth, which is the noblest aim of the human intellect. Therefore we associate at convenient seasons with learned men of all religions, thus deriving profit from their exquisite discourses and exalted aspirations." [Johnson, 208] Akbar the Great chided Philip for the anti-Protestant excesses of the Spanish Counter-reformation. Spain's Catholic inquisitors had by this time mostly rid the country of Muslims and Jews, so turned their murderous attentions to Protestant Christians instead, particularly in Spanish-ruled Holland. Although Philip II did not heed Akbar's call for religious tolerance, it is indicative of the Mughal emperor's attitudes towards people of other faiths. Akbar is also renowned for his patronage of the arts and sciences. Miniature painting, weaving, book-making, metallurgy, and technological innovations all flourished under his reign. Who was this emperor, famed for his wisdom and goodness? How did he become one of the greatest rulers in world history? Akbar's Early Life:
Akbar was born to the second Mughal Emperor Humayan and his teenaged bride Hamida Banu Begum on October 14, 1542 in Sindh, now in Pakistan. Although his ancestors included both Genghis Khan and Timur (Tamerlane), the family was on the run after losing Babur's newly-established empire. Humayan would not regain northern India until 1555. With his parents in exile in Persia, little Akbar was raised by an uncle in Afghanistan, with help from a series of nursemaids. He practiced key skills like hunting, but never learned to read (perhaps due to a...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document