Mughals and their campaigns

Chapter 3

The Mughal Empire

In the Middle Ages, a very powerful empire was that of the Mughals.From the laterhalf of the 16th century, they expanded their Kingdom from Agra and Delhi until in the 17th century, they controlled nearly all the sub continents.The impose structures of administration and ideas of governance that outlasted their rule leaving a political legacy.That succeeding rulers of the subcontinent could not be ignored.The legacy left by them stands unparalleled.

Who were the Mughals?

The Mughals were descendants of two great lineages of rulers.Genghis Khan (died 1227), the Mongol ruler, who ruled over parts of China in Central Asia from other side and successors of Timur (died 1404),the ruler of Iran, Iraq and modern day Turkey from father’s side.Mughals did not like to be called Mughal or Mongol as Genghis Khan's memory was associated with the massacre of innumerable people.It was also linked with the Uzbegs, their Mongol competitors.On the other hand, Mughals were proud of their Timurid ancestry,because their great ancestors had captured Delhi in 1398.

Mughal and there  campaigns

Begining of Empire and Rulers:


Babur, the first Mughal emperor(1526-1530),succeeded to the throne of Ferghana in 1494, when he was only 12 years old.He was forced to leave his ancestral thrown due to the invasion of another Mongol group. In 1526, he defeated the Sultan of Delhi, Ibrahim Lodi, at Panipat and captured Delhi and Agra.In 1527, he defeated Rana Sanga, Rajput rulers and alliesat Khanua.In 1528, he defeated the Rajputs at Chanderi and established control over Agra and Delhi before his death.

HUMAYUN (1530-1540,1555-1556)

Humayun divided his inheritance according to the will of his father.His brothers were each given a province.He was defeated by Sher shah at Chausa in 1539 and Kannauj in 1540, forcing him to flee to Iran. Recapture Delhi in 1555, but died the next year after an accident in this building.


Akbar was 13 years old when he became emperor.After 1570, Akbar became independent of the regent Bairam Khan and other members of his domestic staff.He launched military campaign against the Suris and other Afghans, against the neighbouring Kingdom of Malwa and Gondwana, and to suppress the revolt of his half brotherMirza Hakimand Uzbegs.

In 1568 the sisodiya capital of Chittor was seized and in 1569 Ranthambhor.

During 1570-1585, military campaigns in Gujarat were followed by campaigns in the east, in Bihar, Bengal and Orissa.

During 1585-1605 campaigns were launched in the North West.

* Qandahar was seized from the Safavids.

* Kashmir was annexed as also Kabul after the death of Mirza Hakim. 

* Campaigns in the deccan started and Berar, Khandesh and parts of Ahmadnagar were next


The Sisodiya ruler of Mewar, Amar Singh accepted Mughal service.Less successful campaigns against the Sikhs, theAhoms and Ahmadnagar followed. 

Shah Jahan (1627-1658)

Campaigns continued in the deccan.The Afghan noble Khan Jahan Lodi rebelled and was defeated.The Bundelas were defeated and Orchha seized.

In the northwest, the campaign to seize Balkh from the Uzbegs was unsuccessful, and Kandahar was lost to the Safavids. In 1632 Ahmadnagarwas finally annexed and the Bijapur forces sued for peace.


Aurangzeb became emperor after killing his brothers and imprisoning his father, Shahjahan. In the North East, the Ahoms were defeated in 1663, but rebelled against in the 1680s.Campaigns in the northwest against the Yusuffzai and the Sikhs were temporarily successful. Maratha Chieftain Shivaji declared himself as independent king and resumed his campaigns against the Mughals. Bijapur was annexed in 1685, and Golconda in 1687.From 1698, Aurangzeb personally manage campaigns in the Deccan against the Marathas.He also had to face the rebellion in North India of the Sikhs,Jats and Satnamis in the north-east of the Ahoms. His death was followed by a succession conflict among his sons.

Mughal tradition

The Mughals did not believe in the rule of primogeniture, where the eldest son inherited his fathers estate.Instead, they followed the custom of coparcenary inheritance or a division of the inheritance amongst all the Sons.

Mughal Relations with other Rulers.

Campaign constantly against rulers who refused to accept their authority.But as the Mughals became powerful, many other rulers also join them voluntarily.The Rajputs served the Mughal voluntarily.Mughals gave mansab and jagirs which helped them to expand their territories.Main source of income available to Mughal rulers was the tax on the produce of the peasantry.

Administrations in kingdoms, taxes , land grants

Adminstrations in Kingdoms,Taxes and Land Grants

Mansabdars and Jagirdars

Groups coming from different backgrounds such as Iranians, Indian Muslims, Afghans, Rajputs, Marathas, joint mobile service were enrolled asmansabdars. The term mansabdar refers to an individual who holds a mansab, meaning a position or rank.Rank is a grading system used by Mughals to rate.


*salary and                                 

*military responsibilities.

Rank and salary determined by a numerical value.

Zat: Higher the zat, the more prestigious the nobles position in court and larger his salary. Mansabdar’s military responsibilities require him to maintain specific number of sawar or cavalrymen. Cavalryman were reviewed, registered and their horses branded before the mansabdar who received the money to pay them as a salary.Mansabdar’s salaries were revenue assignments called jagirs.Most manasabdars did not administer there Jagirs.Mansabdars only had rights to the revenue of their assignment collected for them by their servants. During Akbar's reign jagirs were accessed so that their revenues were roughly same as the salary of the mansabdar.However, things changed by Aurangzeb's rule during this time. Actual revenue collected was often less than the granted sum.The number of mansabdars also increased, thus leading to a long wait before they received jagir. These are other factors lead to shortage in the number of Jagirs.

Jabts and  Zamindar

The main source of income for Mughal rulers was the tax on the produce of peasantry. The intermediaries who collected taxes were called zamindars.Jabt was the revenue system, which was started by when Akbar's revenue minister ,Todar Mal, carried out a careful survey of crop yields and fix tax on each crop in cash. This system was prevalent in areas where Mughal administrators could survey the land and keep very careful accounts. This system was not possible in provinces like Gujarat and Bengal. As the zamindars exercised more power, exploitation by Mughal administrators lead them to rebellion and at times zamindars and peasants of the same caste allied in rebelling against Mughal authority.

Akbarnama and Ain-i akbari

Akbar ordered one of his close friends and 40 years Abul Fazal, to write a history of his reign, Abulfazl wrote a 3 volume history of Akbar's reign, titled Akbarnama.The first volume dealt with Akbars ancestors and the second volume recorded the events of Akbar's reign. The 3rd volume is the Ain i  Akbari. It deals with Akbar's administration, household, army, revenues and the geography of his empire. It also provides rich details about the tradition and culture of the people living in India. The most interesting aspect about Ain i Akbari is its rich statistical details about things as diverse as crops, yields, prices, wages, and and revenues.

Akbar's policies

Abul Fazal explained that the empire was divided into provinces called subas, governed by a subedar who carried out both political and military functions.Each province also had a financial officeror diwan.For the maintenance of peace and order in his province, the Subedar was supported by other officers. Akbar's nobles commanded large armies and access to large amount of revenue.While Akbar was at Fatehpur Sikri started a discussion on religion with the ulemas, Akbar divided his Kingdom into provinces called Subas, governed by a subedar.The discussion took place in the Ibadat Khana.Akbar realized those religious scholars emphasized rituals and dogmas were often by bigots.Their teachings created divisions and disharmony amongst his subjects. It led Akbar to the idea ofSulh-i kul or universal peace.Jahangir and Shah Jahan also followed this principle.

Mughal empire in the 17th century and after

The administrativeand military efficiency of Mughal Empire lead to great economic and commercial prosperity. Mughal emperors and their mansabdars spent a great deal of their income on salaries and goods.The Wealthier peasantry and artisanal groups, the merchants and bankers profited in this economic world. In the last 17th century enormous wealth and resources commanded by the Mughal elite, made them extremely powerful group of people.As the authority of Mughal emperors slowly declined, his servants emerged as powerful centre of power in the regions.

By the 18th century, the provinces of the empire such as Hyderabad, Awadh has consolidated there independent political identities. 

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