MUGHAL PERIOD (1526-40 and 1555-1857)

MUGHAL PERIOD (1526-40 and 1555-1857)

  • The Mughals were descendants of two great lineages of rulers.
  • Babur: founder of the Mughal Empire in India was related to Timur from his father’s side and to Chengiz Khan through his mother.
  • Babur succeeded his father as the ruler of Farghana (Uzbekistan), but soon lost his kingdom.
  • Financial difficulties, apprehension of Uzbek attack on Kabul and invitation of Rana Sanga to invade India forced Babur to look towards India.


BABUR (1526-1530 AD)
  • First Battle of Panipat (1526) – Babur decisively defeated Ibrahim Lodhi. It Replaced the Lodhi and established Mughal era in India.
  • Reasons for Babur’s victory: Alternatively resting one wing of Army, Services of two ottoman master gunners – Ustad Ali & Mustafa, Use of Gunpowder, scientific use of cavalry & artillery tactics – tulughma and the araba, effective use of Cannons.
  • Battle of Khanwa (1527) – Babur defeated Rana Sangha and assumed title of Ghazi
  • Battle of Chanderi (1528) – Medini Rai was defeated and with this resistance across Rajputana was completely shattered.
  • Battle of Ghagra (1529) – Babur defeated Mahmud Lodhi who aspired to the throne of Delhi.




  • Babur Introduced Char-Baghs and symmetrically laid out gardens.
  • Built mosques at Panipath and Sambhat in Rohilkhand.
  • Babur wrote Tuzuk-I-Baburi (Babarnama) & Masnavi.
  • Kabul and Gandhar became integral parts of Mughal Empire.
  • Security from External invasions for almost 200yrs.
  • Babur popularized the gun powder, cavalry and artillery in India. (Gunpowder used earlier in India, but Babur popularized its use).
  • Strengthened India’s foreign trade.
  • Babur introduced a new mode of warfare in India.
  • Defeating Sangha & Lodi he smashed the balance of power and laid the foundation for all India empire.
  • He had assumed title of Padshah.


HUMAYUN (1530-40 & 1555-56)
  • Humayun succeeded Babur in 1530.
  • He had to deal with the rapid growth of power of the Afghans & and Bahadur shah of Gujrat.
  • At the battle of Chausa (1539) & battle of Kanauj (1540) Sher Shah, defeated Humayun and forced him to flee India.
  • For sometimes he took shelter at the Iranian king. In 1555, following the breakup of Suri Empire he recaptured Delhi but died next year.
  • Humayun built a new city at Delhi which he named “Dinpanah”.
  • Mosques: Jamali mosque and mosque of Isa Khan at Delhi.
  • His widow Amida Benu Bhegum built Humayun’s tomb (UNESCO site).
  • Humayun’s sister, Gul Badan Begum, wrote “Humayun-Nama”.
  • The foundation for the Mughal painting was laid by Humayun when he was staying in Persia.
  • He brought with him two painters – Mir Sayyid Ali and Abdal Samad to India, who became famous during Akbar’s reign.


SHER SHAH SURI (1540-45)
  • Founder of Sur dynasty and second Afghan Empire (after Lodhi).
  • Sher Shah’s rule lasted for five years.




  • Purana Qila (Old Fort) and its mosque, Mausoleum at Sasaram were constructed during this period.
  • Malik Muhammad Jayasi wrote the famous Hindi work “Padmavat” during his reign.


  • He continued the central administration developed during the Sultanate period.
  • Imp officials –
  • Diwan –i- Wizarat / Wazir – Revenue and Finance.
  • Diwan-i-Ariz – in charge of Army.
  • Diwan-i-Rasalat- Foreign Minister.
  • Diwan-i-Insha- Minister for Communications.
  • Barid – Intelligence
  • Sher Shah’s empire was divided into “sarkars”.
  • Chief Shiqdar (law and order) & Chief Munsif (judge)à Incharge of the administration in each sarkar.
  • Each sarkar was divided into several parganas. Shiqdar (military officer), Amin (land revenue), Fotedar (treasurer), Karkuns (accountants) were in charge of the administration of each pargana.
  • Mauza (village) was the lowest level of administration.
  • There were also many administrative units called iqtas.
  • The land revenue was well organized & revenue officers were called Amils and Qanungo were the officials incharge of maintaining revenue records.
  • Land survey was carefully done. He introduced a schedule of crop rates (ray).
  • Improved land revenue by adopting zabti-i-har-sal (land assessment every year).
  • All cultivable lands were classified into three classes – good, middle and bad. The state’s share was one third of the average produce and it was paid in cash or crop. Land was measured using Sikandari gaz (32 points).
  • Introduced Patta (amount each peasant had to pay) and Qabuliyat (deed of agreement).
  • Introduced new silver coins called “Dam” and they were in circulation till 1835.
  • He built the Shahi (Royal) road from the Indus Valley to the Sonar Valley in Bengal. This road was renamed the Grand Trunk (GT) road during the British period, connecting Calcutta and Peshawar.
  • He also built Sarais (lodging) which also served as post office. Many sarais developed into market towns.
  • Every Sarai was under the control of a Shahana (custodian).
  • He followed branding of horses from Alauddin Khalji and maintained his personal royal force called Khasa Kail.


AKBAR (1556-1605)
  • He succeeded the throne after his father Humayun’s death.
  • In 1556, in the second battle of Panipat, he defeated Hemu (Sur’s wazir).
  • Between 1556-60, Akbar ruled under Bairam Khan’s regency. Bairam became Wakil of the kingdom with title of Khan-i-Khanam.
  • Battle of Haldighati (1576)- Akbar defeated Rana Paratap following most of the Rajput rulers accepted Akbar’s suzerainty.
  • Akbar defeated Gujarat ruler Muzaffar Shah. To commemorate this victory, he built Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri.
  • Akbar gradually enlarged the Mughal Empire to include much of the Indian subcontinent.




  • Empire was divided into subas (provinces), governed by a subadar who carried out both political and military functions. Each subha had officials – diwan, bakshi, sadr, qazi etc.
  • There was another division of empire – Jagir (allotted to nobles & members of royal family), Khalisa (tract reserved for royal exchequer), Inam (given to religious leaders, half of it was uncultivated).


  • Fauzdar – Charge of law & order & Amalguzar – land assessment and revenue collection were chief officers of Sarkar.






  • With the help of Raja Todar Mal, Akbar experimented on the land revenue administration; it was Zabti or Bandobast system.
  • Dahsala System – The revenue was fixed on the average yield of land measured on the basis of previous ten years. It was improved version of Zabti.
  • Battai/Gholla-Bakshi system – Produce divided between state & peasants in fixed proportion. Peasants were given choice between Battai & Dahsala.
  • Nasaq/kankut – revenue on the basis of what peasant had been paying in the past.
  • Categorization of landPolaj (cultivated every year), Parati (once in two years), Chachar (once in three or four years) and Banjar (once in five or more years).
  • Payment of revenue was made generally in cash.
  • Qanungos were hereditary holders of land and Karoris were officers appointed all over North India. they had responsibility of collecting dam (rupees).





  • Akbar introduced the Mansabdari system in his administration. Under this system every officer was assigned a rank (mansab).
  • The word “Mansabdar” used for all but it had 3 scale gradation –

1. Mansabdar – (500 zat / below it)

2. Amir (between – 500-2500 zat)

3. Amir-i-Umda – (above 2500 zat)

  • The ranks were divided into two – zat and sawar.
  • Zat fixed the personal status & salary of a person.
  • Sawar rank indicated the number of sawars had to maintained by person. Every sawar had to maintain at least two horses.
  • The mansab rank was not hereditary & mansabdar were paid by assigning jagir.








  • Abolished jizya, pilgrimage and forcible conversion of prisoners of wars.
  • He built ibadat khana (House of Worship) at Fatehpur sikri for religious discussion.
  • Akbar was convinced that religious bigots over emphasize ritual and dogma.
  • thus, he advocated the idea of sulh-i kul or “universal peace’’ idea of tolerance which did not discriminate between the people of different religions.
  • Abul Fazl helped Akbar in framing a vision of governance around this idea of sulh-i kul. This principle of governance was followed by Jahangir and Shah Jahan as well.
  • In 1582, he promulgated a new religion called “Din-e-Ilahi” or Divine Faith. It believes in one God. It contained good points of all religions. It had only fifteen followers including Birbal. Akbar did not compel anyone to his new faith.
  • Jharoka Darshan was introduced by Akbar with the objective of broadening the acceptance of the imperial authority as part of popular faith.


  • Introduced gold coins called asharafi (mohurs).
  • He also began dating his coins as per a new ‘Illahi era’, which replaced the earlier Hijri era.
  • Akbar introduced the practice of inscribing Persian poetry praising the ruler on coins.




1. Abul Fazl à wrote Ain-i-Akbari and “Akbar Nama”.

2. Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana à Great poet, Translated Baburnama into Turki

3. Birbal à Was a Hindu advisor and main commander (mukhya senapati) of army in the court. Akbar gave him title ’Raja Birbal’.

4. Mirza Aziz Koka à also known as Kotaltash, was the foster brother of Akbar built by Mirza Aziz Koka as a mausoleum for himself, at the time of Jahangir’s reign

5. Faizi à Translated Lilavati into Persian & under his supervision Mahabharata was translated into Persian language.

6. Raja Man Singh à was a mansabdar.

7. Raja Todar Mal à Finance Minister. Akbar bestowed on him title of Diwan-i-Ashraf.

8. Faqir Azio-Din à one of the Chief advisors of Akbar

9. Tansen à Musician, Hindu of Gwalior. He served to King Ramachandra, who gave him the title of “Tansen”. Akbar gave him title of “Mian”.






  • Haznama, consisted of 1200 paintings, belonged to his reign.
  • European style of painting was introduced by Portuguese priests in his court.
  • Jaswant & Daswan were famous painters in his court.
  • Persian poets in his court: Abu Fazl and his brother Abul Faizi, Tarikh Alfi, Utbi and Nazir.
  • Hindi poets in his court: Tulsidas- wrote “Ramcharitmanas”.
  • Akbar commissioned the translation of many Sanskrit works into Persian. A Maktab Khana or translation bureau was also established at Fatehpur Sikri for this purpose.
  • The Razmnamah is Persian translation of the Mahabharata.
  • Akbar period was popularly known as ‘the renaissance of Persian literature’.






  • Palace-cum- fort complex at Fatehpur Sikri (City of Victory): Many buildings in Gujarati and Bengali styles are found in this complex. Gujarathi style was probably built for his Rajput wives.
  • Akbar built Diwan -i-am (hall of public audience), Diwan-i-Khas (private hall).
  • The most magnificent building in it is the Jama Masjid and the gateway to it called Buland Darwaza or the Lofty Gate, Shaik Saleem chisti dargah.
  • Other important buildings at Fatepur Sikri are Jodha Bai’s palace and Panch Mahal with five storeys.
  • During Akbar’s reign, the Humayun’s tomb was built at Delhi and it had a massive dome of marble. It may be considered the precursor of the Taj Mahal.
  • Akbar’s tomb at Sikandara near Agra was completed by Jahangir.
  • He built Agra Fort in red sandstone and also Jahangiri Mahal in it according to Hindu design.


JAHANGIR (1605-1627)


Art and Architecture

  • Started decorating wall with floral designs made of semi-precious stones (Pietra Durra) during his reign.
  • Built Moti Masjid at Lahore. Laid Shalimar and Nishant gardens in Kashmir.
  • The use of Halo or Divine lights behind king’s head started under him.
  • When Akbar died, Prince Salim succeeded with the title Jahangir (Conqueror of World) in 1605.
  • His son Khusrau revolted but was defeated and imprisoned and his supporter Guru Arjun, the fifth Sikh Guru, was beheaded.
  • British Visited Machilipatnam during his reign. Captain Hawkins and Thomas Roe visited his court. Thomas Roe got the Farman for setting up an English factory at Surat. Farman was sealed by Shah Jahan.
  • His wife Nurjaha had influence over the state affairs.
  • Jahangir erected Zanjr-i-adal at Agra fort for the seekers of royal justice
  • Mahtab Khan was his military general & had revolted against him
  • Autobiography: Tuzuk-i- Jahangiri in Persian
  • Faced tough fight of Malik Amber in his expeditions to Ahmednagar
  • Introduction of the “du-aspah-sih-aspah” system. It was modification to Mansabdari. Nobles were allowed to maintain a large no of troops without raising their zat ranks.


SHAHJAHAN (1628-1658)


  • “Shah Jahan Nama” is written by Inayat Khan. His son translated Bhagavat Gita and Upanishads into Persian language.
  • Succeeded Jahangir ad ascended throne in 1628.
  • Three years after accession, his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal died in 1631.
  • In the north-west, the campaign to seize Balkh from the Uzbegs was unsuccessful and Qandahar was lost to the Safavids.
  • His Deccan policy was more successful. He defeated the forces of Ahmadnagar and annexed it. Both Bijapur and Golkonda signed a treaty with the emperor.
  • The court, army and household moved from Agra to the newly completed imperial capital, Shahjahanabad. It was a new addition to the old residential city of Delhi, with the Red Fort, the Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk
  • Salutation: Under Shah Jahan it was chahar taslim and zaminbos (kissing the ground).
  • During his reign war of succession among his sons broke out.
  • Battle of Dharmat, Battle of Samugarh, Battle of Khajwah, and Battle of Deorai took place & Finally Aurangzeb emerged victorious.
  • His court historian Abdul Hameed Lohiri wrote “Badusha nama”.



  • Built Taj Mahal in 1632-33 to perpetuate memories of his wife, Mumtaj Mahal.
  • Moti Masjid (entirely of white marble), Sheesh Mahal and Mussaman Burj at Agra.
  • Red Fort with its Rang Mahal, Diwan-i-Am and Diwan-i-Khas at Delhi.
  • Jama Masjid in Delhi (red stone), Shalimar Bagh in Lahore and city of Shahjahanabad.
  • The pietra dura method was used on a large scale in the Taj Mahal by Shah Jahan.


AURANGZEB (1658-1707)
  • Masir – I Alamgiri book written by Mustaid Khan throws light on Aurangzeb’s rule.
  • He assumed the title Alamgir, World Conqueror. He was also called Zinda Pir.
  • During his reign, the Mughal Empire reached its greatest extent, ruling over nearly the entire Indian subcontinent.
Imp Officials During Mughal Period

  • Diwan-i-Ala/Wazir – Head of revenue department
  • Mir Bakshi – Head of military department.
  • Mir saman – in charge of the imperial households.
  • Barids – Intelligence officers.
  • Waqia Navis – Reporters
  • Qazi – Head of judicial department.
  • Sadr-ul-sadr – incharge of charitable & religious endowments.
  • Mutasaddi – Governor of port
  • He annexed Bijapur (1686) & Golkonda (1687) and extended Mughal Empire further south.
  • He faced tough fight from Shivaji Maharaj – Maratha king who had carved out independent state.
  • Discontinued Official departments of history.
  • He issued Zawabit-i- Alamgir (decrees of Aurangzeb) and appointed Muhtasibs to enforce moral codes given under it.
  • Drinking was prohibited & cultivation and use of bhang and other drugs were banned.
  • Although he was proficient in playing Veena, Aurangzeb forbade music in the court.
  • He discontinued the practice of Jarokha darshan.
Village Administration

  • Muqaddam – Head of village
  • Patwari – Accountant
  • He also discontinued the celebration of Dasarah & Navroz and royal astronomers and astrologers were also dismissed from service.
  • Aurangzeb built Bibi Ka Maqbara (replica of Taj) at Aurangabad, Moti Masjid (Near Red fort, Delhi).
  • Initially Aurangazeb banned the construction of new Hindu temples and repair of old temples. Then he began a policy of destroying Hindu temples.
  • In 1679, he reimposed Jizya and pilgrim tax.
  • He was also not tolerant of other Muslim sects. The celebration of Muharram was stopped.
  • He executed the ninth Sikh Guru Tej Bahadur.
  • It had also resulted in the rebellions of the Jats of Mathura and the Satnamis of Mewar. Therefore, Aurangzeb was held responsible for the decline of the Mughal.
  • In Mansabdari System he created additional rank Mashrut (conditional), Added one deduction called Khurak-i-dawwab towards meeting the cost for feed of animals.
  • Aurangzeb appointed Rajputs to high positions, and under him the Marathas accounted for a sizeable number within the body of officers.
  • Miraz Mohammad Qasim wrote “Alamgirnama”.
  • His religious policy was responsible for turning the Rajputs, the Marathas and Sikhs into the enemies of Mughal Empire.


  • It is the system of assignment of revenue of a particular territory to the nobles for their services to the state.
  • It was an integral part of Mansabdari system.


Tankha Jagirs Given in lieu of salary and were transferable every three to four years
Mashrut Jagirs Were given on certain conditions
Watan Jagirs Were assigned to zamindar or rajas in their local dominions. Were hereditary and non-transferable
Altamgha Jagirs Given to Muslim nobles in their family towns or place of birth.




  • Zamindars had hereditary rights over the produce of the land and claimed a direct share in the peasants produce which varied from 10% to 25% in different parts of the country.
  • They assisted the state and jaghirdars in the collection of land revenue.
  • Had their own armed forces and had to render military duties.
  • Zamindars were not the owner of all lands comprising their zamindari.






Important terms & meaning


  • Tainat-i- Rakab -reserved force
  • Taccavi – loans provided for agriculture expansion.
  • Merwars – Postal runners
  • Banik Local Traders
  • Bitikchis – Clerks
  • Chehra – Descriptive roll of every soldier
  • Ahadis – the “gentlemen troopers,” who drew higher pay than ordinary servicemen under mansabdari system.
  • Khudkasht – Peasants who owned the land they tilled.
  • Khasa Kail – Personal royal force maintained by Sher Shah.
  • Qabuliyat system – deed agreement between the peasant and the government.



A war of succession broke out among the sons when father Aurangzeb died in 1701. Muazzam emerged victorious after defeating Muhammad Azam Shah in the Battle of Jajau.




Important Rulers Important Events

Muazzam (Bahadur Shah I)


More tolerant towards Hindu.

Never abolished Jizya but didn’t collect the tax strictly.

Granted Marathas Sardeshmukhi of Deccan, but failed to grant Chauth.

Mughal historian like Khafi khan gave him the title of Shah-i-Bekhabar.



Jahandar Shah


  • Introduced Ijarah (Revenue Farming)
  • Became emperor with help of Zulfikhar Khan (later became PM)
  • Tried to establish friendly relations with Maratha and Rajputs and hence abolished Jizya, granted Sardeshmukhi and Chauth of Deccan to Shahu and accorded title of Mirza Raj Sawai on Jai Singh of Ambar and title of Maharaja to Ajit Singh.


Farruk Siyar


  • Abolished Jizya completely
  • Puppet of Sayyed Brothers – Abdula Khan & Hussain Ali (known as kingmakers)
  • Policy of religious tolerance – abolished Jizya & pilgrimage tax.
  • Gave Farman to British in 1717.
  • Dethroned by Sayyed Brothers
  • Ruled for the shortest period of time among the Mughals


Muhammad Shah Rangeela


  • Autonomous states emerged under his reign

1. Nizam-ul-Mulkà Deccan

2. Saadat Khanà Awadh

3. Murshid Quli Khanà Bengal, Bihar and Orissa

  • Nadir Shah invaded India and looted Delhi. He also took away the famous Kohinoor Diamond.
  • Became king with help of Sayyed Brothers later he killed them with help of Nizam-ul-Mulk.
  • Nadir Shah defeated in Battle of Karnal.
  • Ahmad Shah Abdali also raided Delhi for first time during his reign.
Ahmad Shah


  • Mohd. Shah Rangeela’s only son.
  • Was incompetent ruler. left the state affairs in the hands of Udham Bai. She was given title of Qibla–i-Alam.
Alamgir II


  • Battle of Plassey (1757) was fought during his reign


Shah Alam II/Aligauhar


  • Third Battle of Panipat fought between Marathas and Ahmad Shah Abdali during his reign.
  • Participated in Battle of Buxar (1764) along with Mir Qasim and Shuja-ud-Daula against British East India Company. Was defeated and was forced to sign Treaty of Allahabad (1765) under which Diwani of Bengal was granted to Company.
  • Diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.
  • Became pensioner of the English
Akbar II
  • Gave Ram Mohan Roy the title of “Raja”.
  • Introduced Hindu-Muslim unity festival Phool Walon ki Sair.

Bahadur Shah II


  • Last Mughal Emperor
  • Was an Urdu Poet using Zafar as his pen name.
  • Participated in revolt of 1857 after which he was deported to Rangoon and died.


  • Lack of stability after Aurangzeb.
  • Most of the emperors became puppets in the hands of powerful Nobles who often ran administration on their behalf.
  • Weal military and political administration as exposed by Nadir Shah and Ahmad Abdali’s invasion
  • Emergence of autonomous states and hence weakening of central power.
  • Orthodox policy of Aurangzeb: His attitude towards Marathas, Rajputs and Jats made them his enemy. His religious policies too alienated the Hindus.
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