An overview on the Mughal Empire
India is known to have one of the interesting and richest history in the world. It was a land of kings and queens, emperors and extravagant empires, and lavish dynasties. And to substantiate this fact we have examples of monuments, art and architecture, literary works from almost all the era or kingdoms that made its mark in the pages of history of India.
Some empires ruled for a longer period of time whereas some were just able to rule only a couple of years. Some kings were known to be peace loving whereas some were ruthless in their approach. History has proved that there were times that some Emperors who do not belong or did not have any maternal roots in India, were more welcomed by its subjects than the ones who were indigenous.
Some emperors had legacy that are still appreciated while the rules and rituals of some kingdoms were only found unjust. We cannot forget that India had efficient indigenous kings and empires who ruled during their time, and it would be exceptionally wrong to not include the invasions that were made in India.
Although the invasions were ruthless and barbaric by some emperors but some emperors proved to look after its subject better than ever. And with the rise of one empire we have seen and with substantial proofs that another empire has to go down.
After all every king has to become history someday, and that time is the mightiest of them all. But, what is more powerful than the time is the work of these mighty rulers that still stand strong at the face of the time.
And with this, let us explore one of the greatest empire that India has seen, the Mughal Empire. The Mughal Empire itself explains everything. And even the least literate person in India has something to say when it comes to Mughal Empire.
The Taj Mahal, is one of the perfect examples; one of the seven wonders that has been recognized by the UN, shows how strong the hold of the Mughal Reign was, so much so that we still cannot forget and deny the magnitude of their influence.
The rise of the Mughal Empire starts with the battle of Panipat in the year 1526, and the defeat of the ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, Ibrahim Lodhi by the first Mughal Emperor Babur. With the victory of Babur over Ibrahim Lodhi, Mughal reign made its first impression in India. And after his reign started the expansion of the great Mughal Empire.
The empire stretched around 4 million sq. km, in the Indian subcontinent and not forgetting its maternal roots, Afghanistan. This was the greatest empire ever made its roots in the subcontinent parts of India. But unlike any other empires Mughals were very sensitive with their administration and were quite remarkable when looking after their subjects.
Of course, not all the Mughal kings should be credited with this excellence. The first half of the Mughal clan were especially the more efficient rulers as well as warriors, when it comes to defending at the battle field.
The expansion of the Mughal reign started with Babur, his successor Humayun was able king but not as able as his father Babur, evidenced of which can be seen when he was unable to defend the crown and the throne under the interference of Sher Shah Suri from the Sur Empire.
However, the actual period of dominance of the Mughal Empire started when Akbar the son of Humayun, and the grandson of Babur, ascended the throne and took control over the falling empire. From 1556, the period that Akbar came to the throne, both the Mughal Empire as well as India saw its golden time.
He was a just king, but why he is referred to as Akbar the Great, because of his tolerance policy towards other religions.
It should not be forgotten that India still had its indigenous rulers and kings, although not as powerful but prevalent, Akbar showed respect to the religious beliefs and practices of its subjects as well as its adjacent Hindu territories. His time period was extravagant in terms of monetary benefit as well as religious security.
Then came his successor and son Jahangir, who was also an able ruler not as efficient as his predecessor but was able and efficient enough to hold the torch of the Mughal Empire.
However as previously mentioned that not all the rulers of Mughal Dynasty were equally efficient like their ancestors and the later part of the Mughal clan was somewhat loose at its administration as well as its fighting skills. In the other half of the discussion of this essay we shall see what led to the decline of such an overpowering reign.
What went wrong with the Mughal Empire?
Although it is true that even the mightiest lion has to face old age, the empire of Mughals too had reached its odd time dismissal, but when looking at what really made the great empire as such to shatter in its later half. There are many explanations to this. And some stand strong while others are just a means to look at it.
Let us go through some of the reasons that are associated with what actually went wrong with the Mughal Empire, and what led to its decline. First, possible explanation would be the lack of the efficient kings who followed after the time of Jahangir. The rulers that were ascending the throne at the later part of the Mughal clan were not efficient enough to defend the throne.
They were unable to protect the throne at any adversary. The invasions were not always external. And this leads us to the second point that is all was not well among the family members. Unlike any other dynasty the Mughal emperors had to face the oppositions of their family members as well so that they can be claimed as the next ruler.
It is seen that the rulers had to fight their cousins who also claim there right to the throne. And thus, the rulers who were efficient enough were discarded.
The next reason was that the policy system of the Mughals. Except for Akbar, other Mughal emperors were not equally tolerant towards any other religion practices or beliefs. And so, this led to the massive fall of the dynasty.
As it had been earlier mentioned that there were adjacent Hindu territories with Hindu kings, the latter half of the Mughal kings were not in good terms with them.
And this was noticed by the adjacent and rival territories who were closely observing this trend in the Mughals and when they found out about the loop hole in the administrations of the Mughals, these territories joined to invade and disrupt the administration.
Another factor that led to the decline of the massive dynasty was Aurangzeb, although he was a skilled warrior and quite efficient administrator, he was unable to foresee the importance of peaceful alliance, and therefore ended up being the collective enemy of the Hindu and Sikh kings.
After Aurangzeb had descended from the throne, mainly started the unfortunate fall of the Mughal Empire. Some other factors that led to the decent of the reign would be the increased deficiency of the riches and treasures.
The monuments, art and architecture that were an important part of the previous Mughal luxuries and their legacy, had finished the national treasures, which is why they were unable to fund the army as well as were not able to meet the demands of their alliance which soon left them.
There were countless invasions and disruptions that led to the fall and weakening of the Mughal Empire. Many of them were planned skillfully, such that they were patiently waiting for the right moment to attack.
It was previously mentioned that the Mughal Empire stretched in majority of the Indian subcontinent and was also in Afghanistan, which was both overwhelming as well as a disadvantage for the Mughals.
This led to improper and poor administration of them and the subjects. It had become impossible after one point to efficiently run the Kingdom.
And so, these were few of many such reasons that led to the fall of the great Mughal Dynasty. Although this empire saw a heavy defeat, it is just impossible to overlook how far the empire had risen and the never-ending legacy it left behind.