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Title: Rulers of India: Akbar
Author: Malleson, George Bruce, 1825-1898
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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CHAP.                                                          PAGES
   I. THE ARGUMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    5-11

  II. THE FAMILY AND EARLY DAYS OF BÁBAR . . . . . . . . . .   12-16

 III. BÁBAR CONQUERS KÁBUL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   17-25

  IV. BÁBAR'S INVASIONS OF INDIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   26-34

   V. THE POSITION OF BÁBAR IN HINDUSTÁN . . . . . . . . . .   35-49

  VI. HUMÁYÚN AND THE EARLY DAYS OF AKBAR  . . . . . . . . .   50-59

 VII. HUMÁYÚN INVADES INDIA. HIS DEATH . . . . . . . . . . .   60-64

VIII. AKBAR'S FIGHT FOR HIS FATHER'S THRONE  . . . . . . . .   65-71

        SIXTEENTH CENTURY  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   72-80

   X. THE TUTELAGE UNDER BAIRÁM KHÁN . . . . . . . . . . . .   81-90

  XI. CHRONICLE OF THE REIGN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   91-145


      INDEX  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  201-204


The orthography of proper names follows the system adopted by the
Indian Government for the _Imperial Gazetteer of India_. That system,
while adhering to the popular spelling of very well-known places,
such as Punjab, Lucknow, etc., employs in all other cases the vowels
with the following uniform sounds:--

_a_, as in wom_a_n: _á_, as in l_a_nd: _i_, as in pol_i_ce: _í_, as
in intr_i_gue: _o_, as in c_o_ld: _u_, as in b_u_ll: _ú_, as in




I crave the indulgence of the reader whilst I explain as briefly as
possible the plan upon which I have written this short life of the
great sovereign who firmly established the Mughal dynasty in

[Footnote 1: For the purposes of this sketch I have referred to the
following authorities: _Memoirs of Bábar_, written by himself, and
translated by Leyden and Erskine; Erskine's _Bábar and Humáyún_; _The
Ain-í-Akbarí_ (Blochmann's translation); _The History of India, as
told by its own Historians_, edited from the posthumous papers of Sir
H. M. Elliot, K.C.B., by Professor Dowson; Dow's _Ferishta_;
Elphinstone's _History of India_; Tod's _Annals of Rajast'han_, and
various other works.]

The original conception of such an empire was not Akbar's own. His
grandfather, Bábar, had conquered a great portion of India, but
during the five years which elapsed between the conquest and his
death, Bábar enjoyed but few opportunities of donning the robe of the
administrator. By the rivals whom he had overthrown and by the
children of the soil, Bábar was alike regarded as a conqueror, and as
nothing more. A man of remarkable ability, who had spent all his life
in arms, he was really an adventurer, though a brilliant adventurer,
who, soaring above his contemporaries in genius, taught in the rough
school of adversity, had beheld from his eyrie at Kábul the
distracted condition {6} of fertile Hindustán, and had dashed down
upon her plains with a force that was irresistible. Such was Bábar, a
man greatly in advance of his age, generous, affectionate, lofty in
his views, yet, in his connection with Hindustán, but little more
than a conqueror. He had no time to think of any other system of
administration than the system with which he had been familiar all
his life, and which had been the system introduced by his Afghán
predecessors into India, the system of governing by means of large
camps, each commanded by a general devoted to himself, and each
occupying a central position in a province. It is a question whether
the central idea of Bábar's policy was not the creation of an empire
in Central Asia rather than of an empire in India.

Into this system the welfare of the children of the soil did not
enter. Possibly, if Bábar had lived, and had lived in the enjoyment
of his great abilities, he might have come to see, as his grandson
saw, that such a system was practically unsound; that it was wanting
in the great principle of cohesion, of uniting the interests of the
conquering and the conquered; that it secured no attachment, and
conciliated no prejudices; that it remained, without roots, exposed
to all the storms of fortune. We, who know Bábar by his memoirs, in
which he unfolds the secrets of his heart, confesses all his faults,
and details all his ambitions, may think that he might have done this
if he had had the opportunity. But the opportunity was denied to him.
The time between the first battle of Pánípat, which gave him {7} the
north-western provinces of India, and his death, was too short to
allow him to think of much more than the securing of his conquests,
and the adding to them of additional provinces. He entered India a
conqueror. He remained a conqueror, and nothing more, during the five
years he ruled at Agra.

His son, Humáyún, was not qualified by nature to perform the task
which Bábar had been obliged to neglect. His character, flighty and
unstable, and his abilities, wanting in the constructive faculty,
alike unfitted him for the duty. He ruled eight years in India
without contributing a single stone to the foundation of an empire
that was to remain. When, at the end of that period, his empire fell,
as had fallen the kingdoms of his Afghán predecessors, and from the
same cause, the absence of any roots in the soil, the result of a
single defeat in the field, he lost at one blow all that Bábar had
gained south of the Indus. India disappeared, apparently for ever,
from the grasp of the Mughal.

The son of Bábar had succumbed to an abler general, and that abler
general had at once completely supplanted him. Fortunately for the
Mughal, more fortunately still for the people of India, that abler
general, though a man of great ability, had inherited views not
differing in any one degree from those of the Afghán chiefs who had
preceded him in the art of establishing a dynasty. The conciliation
of the millions of Hindustán did not enter into his system. He, too,
was content to govern by camps {8} located in the districts he had
conquered. The consequence was that when he died other men rose to
compete for the empire. The confusion rose in the course of a few
years to such a height, that in 1554, just fourteen years after he
had fled from the field of Kanauj, Humáyún recrossed the Indus, and
recovered Northern India. He was still young, but still as incapable
of founding a stable empire as when he succeeded his father.

He left behind him writings which prove that, had his life been
spared, he would still have tried to govern on the old plan which had
broken in the hands of so many conquerors who had gone before him,
and in his own. Just before his death he drew up a system for the
administration of India. It was the old system of separate camps in a
fixed centre, each independent of the other, but all supervised by
the Emperor. It was an excellent plan, doubtless, for securing
conquered provinces, but it was absolutely deficient in any scheme
for welding the several provinces and their people into one
harmonious whole.

The accident which deprived Humáyún of his life before the second
battle of Pánípat had bestowed upon the young Akbar, then a boy of
fourteen, the succession to the empire of Bábar, was, then, in every
sense, fortunate for Hindustán. Humáyún, during his long absence, his
many years of striving with fortune, had learnt nothing and had
forgotten nothing. The boy who succeeded him, and who, although of
{9} tender years, had already had as many adventures, had seen as
many vicissitudes of fortune, as would fill the life of an ordinary
man, was untried. He had indeed by his side a man who was esteemed
the greatest general of that period, but whose mode of governing had
been formed in the rough school of the father of his pupil. This boy,
however, possessed, amid other great talents, the genius of
construction. During the few years that he allowed his famous general
to govern in his name, he pondered deeply over the causes which had
rendered evanescent all the preceding dynasties, which had prevented
them from taking root in the soil. When he had matured his plans, he
took the government into his own hands, and founded a dynasty which
flourished so long as it adhered to his system, and which began to
decay only when it departed from one of its main principles, the
principle of toleration and conciliation.

I trust that in the preceding summary I have made it clear to the
reader that whilst, in a certain sense, Bábar was the founder of the
Mughal dynasty in India, he transmitted to his successor only the
idea of the mere conqueror. Certainly Humáyún inherited only that
idea, and associating it with no other, lost what his father had won.
It is true that he ultimately regained a portion of it, but still as
a mere conqueror. It was the grandson who struck into the soil the
roots which took a firm hold of it, sprung up, and bore rich and
abundant fruit in the happiness and contentment of the conquered

{10} This is the argument to the development of which I have devoted
the following pages. The book seems to me naturally to divide itself
into three parts. To Bábar, as the developer of the idea of the
invasion and conquest of India, I have devoted the first part. He was
a remarkable man, and he would have been remarkable in any age. When
he died, at the early age of forty-eight, he left behind him a record
which may be read with interest and profit even at the close of this
nineteenth century. It has seemed to me the more necessary to devote
a considerable space to him inasmuch as the reader will not fail to
discern, in the actions of the grandson, the spirit and energy and
innate nobility of character of the grandfather. Of Humáyún, whose
life properly belongs to the first part, I have written as much only
as seemed to me necessary to illustrate the cause of his fall, and to
describe the early days of the hero of the book, who was born in
Sind, during the father's flight from India.

The remaining two-thirds of the book have been given to Akbar. But,
here again, I have subdivided the subject. In the first of the
two-thirds, I have narrated, from the pages and on the authority of
contemporary Muhammadan historians, the political events of the
reign. In the last chapter I have endeavoured to paint the man. From
the basis of the records of the Ain-í-Akbarí and other works I have
tried to show what he was as an administrator, as an organiser, as
the promulgator of a system which {11} we English have to a great
extent inherited, as a conciliator of differences which had lasted
through five hundred years, of prejudices which had lived for all
time. I have described him as a husband, as a father, as a man, who,
despite of a religious education abounding in the inculcation of
hostility to all who differed from him, gave his intellect the freest
course, and based his conduct on the teachings of his intellect. This
chapter, I am free to confess, constitutes the most interesting
portion of the book. For the sake of it, I must ask the reader to
pardon me for inflicting upon him that which precedes it.



On the 9th of April, 1336, there was born to the chief of the Birbás,
a tribe of the purest Mughal origin, at Shehr-Sebz, thirty miles to
the north of Samarkand, a son, the eldest of his family. This boy,
who was called Taimur, and who was descended in the female line from
Chengiz Khán, was gifted by nature with the qualities which enable a
man to control his fellow men. Fortune gave him the chance to employ
those qualities to the best advantage. The successors of Chengiz Khán
in the male line had gradually sunk into feebleness and sloth, and,
in 1370, the family in that line had died out. Taimur, then
thirty-four, seized the vacated seat, gained, after many vicissitudes
of fortune, the complete upper hand, and established himself at
Samarkand the undisputed ruler of all the country between the Oxus
and the Jaxartes. Then he entered upon that career of conquest which
terminated only with his life. He established his authority in
Mughalistán, or the country between the Tibet mountains, the Indus
and Mekrán, to the north, and Siberia to the north; in Kipchak, the
country lying north of the lower {13} course of the Jaxartes, the sea
of Aral, and the Caspian, including the rich lands on the Don and
Wolga, and part of those on the Euxine; he conquered India, and
forced the people of territories between the Dardanelles and Delhi to
acknowledge his supremacy. When he died, on the 18th February, 1405,
he left behind him one of the greatest empires the world has ever

After his death his empire rapidly broke up, and although it was
partly reconstituted by his great-grandson, Abusáid, the death of
this prince in 1469, when surprised in the defiles of the mountains
near Ardebil, and the defeat of his army, precipitated a fresh
division among his sons. To the third of these, Umershaikh Mirzá, was
assigned the province of Fergháná, known also, from the name of its
capital, as Khokand.

Umershaikh was the father of Bábar. He was an ambitious man, bent on
increasing his dominions. But the other members of his family were
actuated by a like ambition, and when he died from the effects of an
accident, in 1494, he was actually besieged in Akhsí, a
fortress-castle which he had made his capital.

His eldest son, Bábar, then just twelve years old, was at the time at
Andijan, thirty-six miles from Akhsí. The enemy was advancing on
Andijan. Bábar, the day following his father's death (June 9), seized
the citadel, and opened negotiations with the invader. His efforts
would have availed him little, {14} if there had not existed
jealousies and divisions in the hostile camp. These worked for him so
as to secure to him all that remained of Fergháná. But he had lost
the important towns of Khojend, Marghinan, and Uratiupé.

For two years after the retirement of the invader, the boy rested,
consolidating his resources, and watching his opportunity. Then,
troubles having arisen in Samarkand, he made a dash at that city,
then the most important in Central Asia. He forced its surrender
(November, 1497), but as he would not allow his troops to pillage,
these deserted him by thousands. He held on, however, until the news
that Fergháná was invaded compelled him to quit his hold. On the eve
of his departure he was prostrated by a severe illness, and when at
length he reached Fergháná it was to hear that his capital had
surrendered to his enemies. He was, in fact, a king without a
kingdom. 'To save Andijan,' he wrote, 'I had given up Samarkand: and
now I found that I had lost the one without preserving the other.'

He persevered, however, recovered Fergháná, though a Fergháná
somewhat shorn of its proportions, and once more made a dash at
Samarkand. The Uzbeks, however, forced him to raise the siege, and,
his own dominions having in the interval been overrun and conquered,
he fell back in the direction of Kesh, his birthplace. After many
adventures and strivings with fortune, he resolved with the aid of
the very few adherents who remained to him, to return and {15}
attempt the surprise of Samarkand. It was a very daring venture, for
his entire following numbered but two hundred and forty men. He made
the attempt, was foiled; renewed it, and succeeded. He was but just
in time. For the last of the garrison had but just yielded, when the
chief of the Uzbeks was seen riding hard for the place, at the head
of the vanguard of his army. He had to retire, baffled.

But Bábar could not keep his conquest. The following spring the
Uzbeks returned in force. To foil them Bábar took up a very strong
position outside the city, on the Bokhára road, his right flank
covered by the river Kohik. Had he been content to await his enemy in
this position, he would probably have compelled him to retire, for it
was too strong to be forced. But he was induced by the astrologers,
against his own judgment, to advance beyond it to attack the Uzbek
army. In the battle which followed, and which he almost won, he was
eventually beaten, and retreated within the walls of the city. Here
he maintained himself for five months, but had then to succumb to
famine. He was allowed to quit the city with his following, and made
his way, first to Uratiupé, ultimately to Dehkát, a village assigned
to him by the reigning Khán of the former place. For three years that
followed he lived the life of an adventurer: now an exile in the
desert; now marching and gaining a throne; always joyous; always
buoyed up by hope of ultimate success; always acting with energy and
vigour. He attempted to win {16} back, and had been forced to
abandon, Fergháná; then he resolved, with a motley band of two to
three hundred men, to march on Khorásán. It seemed madness, but the
madness had a method. How he marched, and what was the result of his
march, will be told in the next chapter.



At this period the kingdom of Kábul comprehended solely the provinces
of Kábul and Ghazní, the territory which we should call eastern
Afghánistán. Herát was the capital of an independent empire, at this
time the greatest in Central Asia; and Kandahár, Bajáur, Swát, and
Pesháwar, were ruled by chiefs who had no connection with Kábul. The
tribes of the plains and outlying valleys alone acknowledged the
authority of the King of that country. The clans of the mountains
were as independent and refractory as their descendants were up to a
recent period. Kábul at this time was in a state bordering upon
anarchy. The late King, Abdul-rizák, a grandson of the Abusáid
referred to in the preceding chapter, had been surprised in, and
driven from, the city, by Muhammad Mokim, a son of the ruler of
Kandahár, and that prince, taking no thought of the morrow, was
reigning as though all the world were at peace, and he at least were
free from danger.

Bábar, I have said, tired of his wandering life, had resolved to
march on Khorásán. He crossed the Oxus, therefore, and joined by
Bákí, the son of Sultán {18} Khusrou, ruler of the country, marched
on Ajer, remained there a few days; then, hearing that the Mughals in
Khusrou's service had revolted, he marched towards Talikán, so as to
be able to take advantage of the situation. Between the two places he
was joined by the Mughals in question, and learnt that Sultán
Khusrou, with the remainder of his troops, was on his way to Kábul.
The two armies were so close to one another, that an interview took
place between the leaders, which resulted in the complete submission
of Khusrou, whose troops came over in crowds to Bábar. Thus
strengthened, Bábar marched upon Kábul, besieged it, and took it
(October, 1504). By this sudden change of fortune, he found himself
all at once King of Kábul and Ghazní, a kingdom far more powerful
than the Fergháná which he had inherited and lost.

Bábar had but just began to feel his seat in his new kingdom when he
received an invitation to invade a district called Bhera, south of
the river Jehlam, and therefore within the borders of India. The
invitation was too agreeable to his wishes to be refused, and he
accordingly set out for Jalálábád. The time was January, 1505. The
Sultán--for so he was styled--records in his journals the impression
produced upon him by the first sight of that favoured part of Asia,
an impression shared, doubtless, by his successors in the path of
invasion, and which may well account for their determination to push
on. 'I had never before,' he wrote, 'seen warm countries nor the
country of {19} Hindustán. On reaching them, I all at once saw a new
world; the vegetables, the plants, the trees, the wild animals, all
were different. I was struck with astonishment, and indeed there was
room for wonder.' He then proceeded by the Khaibar Pass to Pesháwar,
and, not crossing the Indus, marched by Kohát, Bangash, Banú, and
Desht Daman, to Múltán. Thence he followed the course of the Indus
for a few days, then turned westward, and returned to Kábul by way of
Chotiálí and Ghazní. The expedition has been called Bábar's first
invasion of India, but as he only touched the fringes of the country,
it took rather the character of a reconnoitring movement. Such as it
was, it filled him with an earnest desire to take an early
opportunity to see more.

But, like every other conqueror who has been attracted by India, he
deemed it of vital importance to secure himself in the first place of
Kandahár. Internal troubles for a time delayed the expedition. Then,
when these had been appeased, external events came to demand his
attention. His old enemy, Shaibání, was once more ruling at
Samarkand, and, after some lesser conquests, had come to lay siege to
Balkh. Sultán Husen Mirzá of Herát, alarmed at his progress, sent at
once a messenger to Bábar to aid him in an attack on the invader.
Bábar at once responded, and setting out from Kábul in June, 1506,
reached Kahmerd, and halted there to collect and store supplies. He
was engaged in this work when the information was brought him by a
messenger that {20} Sultán Husen Mirzá was dead. He at once pushed
on, and after a march of eight hundred miles joined the sons of the
late Sultán and their army on the river Murgháb.

Two of the sons of the Sultán had succeeded him as joint-rulers.
Bábar found them elegant, accomplished, and intelligent, but
effeminate, devoted to pleasure, and utterly incapable of making head
against the hardy Shaibání. Whilst they were pleasuring in camp, the
latter had taken Balkh. After some discussion, the two kings decided
to break up their army and recommence in the spring. Winter was now
coming on, and Bábar was persuaded, against his better judgment, to
visit his two hosts at Herát. His description of that royal city
takes up pages of his autobiography.[1] For twenty days he visited
every day fresh places; nor was it till the 24th of December that he
decided to march homewards.

[Footnote 1: _Memoirs of Bábar_, translated by Leyden and Erskine,
pp. 203-208.]

Our countrymen who served in Afghánistán during the war of 1879-81
can realise what that march must have been; how trying, how
difficult, how all but impossible. The distance was twenty days'
journey in summer. The road across the mountains, though not very
difficult in summer, was especially trying in the depth of winter,
and it was at that season, the snow falling around him, that Bábar
undertook it. He himself showed the way, and with incredible exertion
led the army, exhausted and reckless, to the foot of {21} the Zirín
Pass. There the situation seemed hopeless. The storm was violent; the
snow was deep; and the Pass was so narrow that but one person could
pass at a time. Still Bábar pushed on, and at nightfall reached a
cave large enough to admit a few persons. With the generosity which
was a marked feature of his character he made his men enter it,
whilst, shovel in hand, he dug for himself a hole in the snow, near
its mouth. Meanwhile those within the cave had discovered that its
proportions increased as they went further in, and that it could give
shelter to fifty or sixty persons. On this Bábar entered, and shared
with his men their scanty store of provisions. Next morning, the snow
and tempest ceased, and the army pushed on. At length, towards the
end of February, he approached Kábul, only, however, to learn that a
revolt had taken place in the city, and that although his garrison
was faithful, the situation was critical. Bábar was equal to the
occasion. Opening communication with his partisans, by a
well-executed surprise he regained the place. His treatment of the
rebels was merciful in the extreme.

During the spring of that year, 1507, Shaibání Khán, the Uzbek chief,
who had formerly driven Bábar from Samarkand, had attacked and taken
Balkh; then invaded Khorásán and occupied Herát. Kandahár, which had
been to a certain extent a dependency of the rulers of Herát, had
been seized by the sons of Mír Zulnun Beg, who had been its Governor
under Sultán Husen Mirzá, and these had invoked the {22} assistance
of Bábar against Shaibání. Bábar, accordingly, marched for Kandahár.
On his way thither, he was joined by many of the flying adherents of
the expelled House of Sultán Husen. But, before he could reach
Kandahár, Shaibání Khán had put pressure on the sons of Zulnun, and
these had accepted his sovereignty. They notified this act to Bábar
in a manner not to be mistaken. The latter, therefore, prepared to
make good his claims by force of arms.

His army was not numerous, but he had confidence in it and in
himself. From Kilát-í-Ghilzaí, where he first scented the change of
front at Kandahár, he had marched to the ford across the Tarnak.
Thence, confirmed in his ideas, he moved in order of battle, along
the course of the stream, to Bábá Walí, five or six miles to the
north of Kandahár, and had occupied the hill of Kálíshad. Here he
intended to rest, and sent out his foragers to collect supplies. But,
soon after these had quitted the camp, he beheld the enemy's army, to
the number of five thousand, move from the city towards him. He had
but a thousand men under arms, the remainder being engaged in
foraging, but he saw it was not a time to hesitate. Ranging his men
in defensive order, he awaited the attack. That attack was led in
person by the sons of Zulnun with great gallantry; but Bábar not only
repulsed it, and forced the assailants to flee, but, in his pursuit,
he cut them off from the city, which surrendered to him with all its
treasures. The spoils of the place were magnificently rich. Bábar did
not, however, remain in {23} Kandahár. Leaving his brother, Nasír
Mirzá, to defend it, he returned to Kábul, and arrived there at the
end of July (1507), as he writes, 'with much plunder and great

Hardly had he arrived when he learned that Shaibání Khán had arrived
before Kandahár and was besieging his brother there. He was puzzled
how to act, for he was not strong enough to meet Shaibání in the
field. A strategist by nature, he recognised at the moment that the
most effective mode open to him would be to make an offensive
demonstration. He doubted only whether such a demonstration should be
directed against Badakshán, whence he could threaten Samarkand, or
against India. Finally he decided in favour of the latter course,
and, as prompt in action as he was quick in decision, he set out for
the Indus, marching down the Kábul river. When, however, he had been
a few days at Jalálábád, he heard that Kandahár had surrendered to
Shaibání. Upon this, the object of the expedition having vanished, he
returned to Kábul.

I must pass lightly over the proceedings of the next seven years,
eventful though they were. In those years, from 1507 to 1514, Bábar
marching northwards, recovered Fergháná, defeated the Uzbeks, and
took Bokhára and Samarkand. But the Uzbeks, returning, defeated Bábar
at Kulmalik, and forced him to abandon those two cities. Attempting
to recover them, he was defeated again at Ghajdewan and driven {24}
back to Hisár.[2] Finding, after a time, his chances there desperate,
he returned to Kábul. This happened in the early months of 1514.

[Footnote 2: There are two other Hisárs famous in Eastern history:
the one in India about a hundred miles north of Delhi: the other in
the province of Azarbijan, in Persia, thirty-two miles from the
Takht-i-Sulaimán. The Hisár referred to in the text is a city on an
affluent of the Oxus, a hundred and thirty miles north-east of

Again there was an interval of eight years, also to be passed lightly
over. During that period Bábar chastised the Afgháns of the
mountains, took Swát, and finally acquired Kandahár by right of
treaty (1522). He took possession of, and incorporated in his
dominions, that city and its dependencies, including parts of the
lowlands lying chiefly along the lower course of the Helmand.

Meanwhile Sháh Beg, the eldest son of the Zulnun, who had formerly
ruled in Kandahár, had marched upon and had conquered Sind, and had
made Bukkur the capital. He died in June, 1524. As soon as this
intelligence reached the Governor of Narsápur, Sháh Hásán, that
nobleman, a devoted adherent of the family of Taimur, proclaimed
Bábar ruler of the country, and caused the Khatbá, or prayer for the
sovereign, to be read in his name throughout Sind. There was
considerable opposition, but Sháh Hásán conquered the whole province,
and governed it, acknowledging Bábar as his suzerain. At length, in
1525, was invited to Múltán. He marched against the fortress, and,
after a protracted siege, took it by storm (August or September,
1526). Meanwhile, great {25} events had happened in India. On the
29th of April, of the same year, the battle of Pánípat had delivered
India into the hands of Bábar. Before proceeding to narrate his
invasion of that country it is necessary that I should describe, very
briefly, the condition of its actual rulers at the time.



Into the first period of Indian history, that extending from the
earliest times to the invasion of Mahmúd of Ghazní, in the beginning
of the eleventh century, I do not propose to enter. The world,
indeed, possesses little detailed knowledge of that period. It is
known that from the Indus to Cape Comorin the country was peopled by
several distinct races, speaking a variety of languages; that the
prevailing religions were those of the Bráhman, the Buddhist, and the
Jain; and that the wars periodically occurring between the several
kings of the several provinces or divisions were mostly religious

The invasion of Mahmúd of Ghazní came first, in the year 1001, to
disturb the existing system. But although Mahmúd, and his successors
of the Ghazní dynasty, penetrated to Delhi, to Rájpútána, and to the
furthest extremities of Gujarát, they did not practically extend
their permanent rule beyond the Punjab. The territories to the
south-east of the Sutlej still remained subject to Hindu sovereigns.
But in 1186, the dynasty of the Ghaznívís was destroyed by the
dynasty of Ghor or Ghur, founded by an Afghán of Ghur, a {27}
district in Western Afghánistán, a hundred and twenty miles to the
south-east of the city of Herát, on the road to Kábul. The Ghuri
dynasty was, in its turn, supplanted, in 1288, by that of the Khiljí
or Ghiljí. The princes of this House, after reigning with great
renown for thirty-three years over Delhi and a portion of the
territories now known as the North-west Provinces, and, pushing their
conquests beyond the Narbadá and the Deccan, made way, in 1321, for
the Tughlak dynasty, descended from Túrkí slaves. The Tughlaks did
not possess the art of consolidation. During the ninety-one years of
their rule the provinces ruled by their predecessors gradually
separated from the central authority at Delhi. The invasion of Taimur
(1388-9) dealt a fatal blow to an authority already crumbling. The
chief authority lingered indeed for twelve years in the hands of the
then representative, Sultán Máhmud. It then passed for a time into
the hands of a family which did not claim the royal title. This
family, known in history as the Saiyid dynasty, ruled nominally in
Northern India for about thirty-three years, but the rule had no
coherence, and a powerful Afghán of the Lodí family took the
opportunity to endeavour to concentrate power in his own hands.

The Muhammadan rule in India had indeed become by this time the rule
of several disjointed chiefs over several disjointed provinces,
subject in point of fact to no common head. Thus, in 1450, Delhi,
with a small territory around it, was held by the {28} representative
of the Saiyid family. Within fourteen miles of the capital, Ahmad
Khán ruled independently in Mewát. Sambhal, or the province now known
as Rohilkhand, extending to the very walls of Delhi, was occupied by
Daryá Khán Lodí. Jalesar, now the Itah district, by Isá Khán Turk:
the district now known as Farukhábád by Rájá Partáb Singh: Biána by
Dáúd Khán Lodí: and Lahore, Dipálpúr, and Sirhind, as far south as
Pánípat, by Behlul Lodí. Múltán, Jaunpur, Bengal, Málwá, and Gujarát,
each had its separate king.

Over most of these districts, and as far eastward as the country
immediately to the north of Western Bihár, Behlul Lodí, known as
Sultán Behlul, succeeded on the disappearance of the Saiyids in
asserting his sole authority, 1450-88. His son and successor, Sultán
Sikandar Lodí, subdued Behar, invaded Bengal, which, however, he
subsequently agreed to yield to Allah-u-dín, its sovereign, and not
to invade it again; and overran a great portion of Central India. On
his death, in 1518, he had concentrated under his own rule the
territories now known as the Punjab; the North-western Provinces,
including Jaunpur; a great part of Central India; and Western Bihár.
But, in point of fact, the concentration was little more than
nominal. The Afghán nobles, to whom from necessity the Lodí Sultán
committed the charge of the several districts, were indeed bound to
their sovereign by a kind of feudal tenure, but within the circle of
his own charge each of them made his own will {29} absolute, and
insisted on obedience to his decrees alone.

The result of this arrangement was that when Sultán Sikandar died the
several important nobles, impatient even of nominal obedience,
resolved, acting in concert, to assign to his son, Ibráhím, the
kingdom of Delhi only, and to divide the rest of the deceased
Sultán's dominions amongst themselves, Jaunpur alone excepted. This
province was to be assigned to the younger brother of Ibráhím, as a
separate kingdom, in subordination to Delhi. It would appear that
when the proposal was first made to him, Ibráhím, probably seeing no
remedy, assented. Upon the remonstrances of his kinsmen, Khán Jahán
Lodí, however, he withdrew his assent and recalled his brother, who
had already set out for Jaunpur. The brother refused to return. A
civil war ensued in which Ibráhím was victorious. On the death of his
brother, in 1518, Ibráhím endeavoured to assert his authority over
his ambitious nobles. They rebelled. He quelled the rebellion. But
the cruel use he made of his victory, far from quenching the
discontent, caused fresh revolts. The nobles of Behar, of Oudh, of
Jaunpur, flew to arms: the Punjab followed the example. The civil war
was conducted with great fury and with varying fortunes on both
sides. It was when the crisis was extreme that Allah-u-dín, uncle of
Sultán Ibráhím, fled to the camp of Bábar, then engaged in the
pacification of the Kandahár districts, and implored him to place him
on the throne of Delhi. Almost {30} simultaneously there came to the
King of Kábul a still more tempting offer from Dáolát Khán, Governor
of Lahore, and who was hard pressed by Ibráhím's general, begging for
assistance, and offering in return to acknowledge him as his
sovereign. Bábar agreed, and marched at once in the direction of

     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

The foregoing sketch of the internal condition of India during the
five centuries which had elapsed since the invasion of Mahmúd of
Ghazní will explain, I hope sufficiently clearly, how it was that
none of the successive dynasties had taken root in the soil. Whether
that dynasty were Ghazníví, or Ghurí, or Tughlak, or Saiyid, or Lodí,
the representative had fought merely for his own hand and his own
advantage. The nobles of the ruling sovereign had in this respect
followed the example of their master. Hindustán had thus been overrun
and partly occupied by the feudal followers of chiefs, who in turn
owed feudal allegiance which they would or would not render,
according to the power and capacity of the supreme lord. There had
been no welding of the interest of the conquerors and the conquered
such as took place in England after the Conquest. The Muhammadans sat
as despotic rulers of an alien people, who obeyed him because they
could not resist. There was no thought of attaching those people to
the ruling dynasty either by sympathy or by closer union. The
conquerors had come as aliens, and as aliens they remained. Their
hold on the country was thus superficial: it had {31} no root in the
affections of the people, and it could be maintained only by the
sword. It was in this respect that it differed so widely from the
Mughal dynasty, as represented by Akbar, that was to succeed it.

The first invasion of India by Bábar, not reckoning the hasty visit
spoken of in Chapter III, occurred in 1519. Some historians assert
that there was a second invasion the same year. But Ferishtá is
probably correct when he says that this so-called invasion amounted
simply to an expedition against the Yusufzais, in the course of which
Bábar advanced as far as Pesháwar, but did not cross the Indus. There
is no doubt, however, that he made an expedition, called the third,
in 1520. On this occasion he crossed the Indus, marched into the part
known now as the Ráwal Pindí division, crossed the Jehlam, reached
Siálkót, which he spared, and then marched on Saiyidpur, which he
plundered. He was called from this place to Kábul to meet a
threatened attack upon that capital.

The abortive result of this third expedition more than ever convinced
Bábar that no invasion of Hindustán could with certainty succeed
unless he could secure his base at Kandahár. He spent, therefore, the
next two or three years in securing that stronghold and the territory
between Ghazní and Khorásán. He had just succeeded in settling these
districts on an efficient basis when he received the messages from
Allah-u-dín Lodí and Dáolát Khán of Lahore, the latter of which
decided him to undertake his fourth expedition to India. Once more
did he cross the Indus, the {32} Jehlam, and the Chenáb, and advanced
within ten miles of Lahore. There he was met by, and there he
defeated, the army of the adherents of the House of Lodí. Lahore fell
a prize to his troops. But he halted there but four days; then
pushing on, reached and stormed Dipálpúr.[1] Here he was joined by
Dáolát Khán and his sons. These, however, dissatisfied with the
rewards meted out to them, began to intrigue against their new
master. Bábar was approaching Sirhind, on his way to Delhi, when he
discovered their machinations. He determined, then, to renounce for
the moment his forward movement, and to return to Kábul. This he did
after having parcelled out the Punjab among chiefs upon whom he hoped
he could depend.

[Footnote 1: Dipálpúr is a town in the Montgomery district to the
south-west of Lahore and forty miles from it. In Bábar's time it was
a place of great importance.]

Scarcely had he crossed the Indus when the Punjab became the scene of
a renewed struggle. Allah-u-dín Lodí, to whom the district of
Dipálpúr had been consigned, fled in despair to Kábul, hoping that
Bábar would himself undertake the invasion of India. At the moment
Bábar could not comply, for the Uzbeks were laying siege to Balkh.
However he supplied Allah-u-dín with troops and ordered his generals
in the Punjab to support him. But again did the expedition of this
prince fail, and he fled from Delhi in confusion to the Punjab. At
the time that he entered it, a fugitive, Bábar was preparing for his
fifth and last invasion of India.

{33} Of that invasion I must be content to give the barest outline.
Accompanied by his son, Humáyún, Bábar descended the Khaibar Pass to
Pesháwar, halted there two days, crossed the Indus the 16th of
December, and pushed on rapidly to Siálkót. On his arrival there,
December 29th, he heard of the defeat and flight of Allah-u-dín.[2]
Undismayed, he marched the following morning to Parsaror, midway
between Siálkót and Kalánaur on the Ráví; thence to Kalánaur, where
he crossed the Ráví; thence to the Bíás, which he crossed, and thence
to the strong fortress of Milwat, in which his former adherent Dáolát
Khán, had taken refuge. Milwat soon fell. Bábar then marched through
the Jálandhar Duáb to the Sutlej, placing, as he writes, 'his foot in
the stirrup of resolution, and his hand on the reins of
confidence-in-God,' crossed it near Rupar, then by way of Ambála, to
the Jumna, opposite Sirsáwá.[3] Thence he held down the river for two
marches. Two more brought him to Pánípat, fifty-three miles to the
north-west of Delhi. There he halted and fortified his camp. The date
was April 12, 1526.

[Footnote 2: Of this march there is a detailed and most interesting
account given by Bábar in his _Memoirs_, page 290, and the pages

[Footnote 3: Sirsáwá lies on the south bank of the Jumna, ten miles
west-north-west of Saháranpur.]

Nine days later Ibráhím Lodí, at the head of an army computed by
Bábar to have been a hundred thousand strong, attacked the invader in
his intrenched camp. 'The sun had mounted spear-high,' {34} writes
Bábar, 'when the onset of the battle began, and the combat lasted
till midday, when the enemy were completely broken and routed.' The
victory was in all respects decisive. Ibráhím Lodí was killed,
bravely fighting, and Hindustán lay at the feet of the victor. That
very day Bábar despatched troops to occupy Delhi and Agra. These
results were accomplished on the 24th of April and 4th of May

[Footnote 4: In his _Memoirs_, Bábar, after recounting how, from
comparatively small beginnings, he had become conqueror 'of the noble
country of Hindustán,' adds: 'This success I do not ascribe to my own
strength, nor did this good fortune flow from my own efforts, but
from the fountain of the favour and mercy of God.']



Master of the two great centres of power in the north-west, Bábar,
with the foresight of a statesman, 'took stock' of the actual
situation of Hindustán. He realised at once that he was master of
Northern India, and that was all. The important provinces of Oudh,
Jaunpur, and Western Behar, had revolted against Ibráhím, and though
that prince had sent an army against the revolters, it seemed but too
certain that the two parties would make common cause against the new
invader. Then, Bengal, under its King, Nasrat Sháh; Gujarát, under
Sikandar Sháh; and Málwá, under Sultán Mahmúd, were three powerful
and independent kingdoms. A portion of Málwá, indeed, that
represented by the fortresses, Ranthambor, at the angle formed by the
confluence of the Chambal and the Banás; Sarangpur, on the Kálí Sind;
Bhilsa, on the Betwá; Chanderi; and Chitor, very famous in those
days, had been re-conquered by the renowned Hindu prince, Ráná Sanga.
In the south of India, too, the Báhmanís had established a kingdom,
and the Rájá of Vijayanagar exercised independent authority. There
were, moreover, he found, a considerable number {36} of Ráis and
Rájás who had never submitted to Muhammadan kings.

But the independence of these several princes did not, he soon
recognised, constitute his greatest difficulty. That difficulty arose
from the fact that the Hindu population, never conciliated by the
families which had preceded his own, were hostile to the invader.
'The north of India,' writes Erskine, 'still retained much of its
Hindu organisation; its system of village and district administration
and government; its division into numerous little chieftainships, or
petty local governments; and, in political revolutions, the people
looked much more to their own immediate rulers than to the prince who
governed in the capital.' In a word, never having realised the
working of a well-ordered system, emanating from one all-powerful
centre, they regarded the latest conqueror as an intruder whom it
might be their interest to oppose.

The dread thus engendered by the arrival of a new invader, whose
character and whose dispositions were alike unknown, was increased by
the machinations of the Muhammadan adherents of the old families.
These men argued that the success of the Mughal invader meant ruin to
them. They spared no pains, then, to impress upon the Hindu
population that neither their temples nor their wives and daughters
would be safe from the rapine and lust of the barbarians of Central
Asia. Under the influence of a terror produced by these warnings the
Hindus fled from before the merciful and generous invader as he
approached Agra, {37} preferring the misery of the jungle to the
apparent certainty of outrage.

To add to Bábar's troubles, there arose at this period discontent in
his army. The men composing it were to a great extent mountaineers
from the lofty ranges in Eastern Afghánistán. These men had followed
their King with delight so long as there was a prospect of fighting.
But Pánípat had given them Northern India. The march from Delhi to
Agra was a march through a deserted country, at a season always hot,
but the intense heat of which, in 1526, exceeded the heat of normal
years. Like the Highlanders of our own Prince Charlie in '45, these
highlanders murmured. They, too, longed to return to their mountain
homes. The disaffection was not confined to the men. Even the chiefs
complained; and their complaints became so loud that they at last
reached the ears of Bábar.

Bábar had been greatly pleased with his conquest. Neither the heat
nor the disaffection of the inhabitants had been able to conceal from
him the fact that he had conquered the finest, the most fertile, the
most valuable part of Asia. In his wonderful memoirs[1] he devotes
more than twenty large printed pages to describe it. 'It is a
remarkably fine country,' he begins. 'It is quite a different world
compared with our countries.' He saw almost at a glance that all his
work was cut out to complete the conquest in the sense he attributed
to that word. Henceforth the title of King of Kábul {38} was to be
subjected to the higher title of Emperor of Hindustán. For him there
was no turning back.

[Footnote 1: Bábar's _Memoirs_, pp. 312 to 335.]

He had noted all the difficulties, and he had resolved how to meet
them. A thoroughly practical man, he proceeded first to take up that
which he rightly regarded as the greatest--the discontent in the
army. Assembling a council of his nobles, he laid before them the
actual position: told them how, after many toilsome marches and
bloody fights, they had won numerous rich and extensive provinces. To
abandon these and to return to Kábul would be shame indeed. 'Let not
anyone who calls himself my friend,' he concluded, 'henceforward make
such a proposal. But if there is any among you who cannot bring
himself to stay, or to give up his purpose of returning back, let him
depart.' The address produced the desired effect, and when the words
were followed by action, by new encounters and by new successes,
enthusiasm succeeded discontent.[2]

[Footnote 2: To one of his friends, who found the heat unsupportable,
and whom he therefore made Governor of Ghazní, Bábar, when he was
firm in the saddle, sent the distich, of which the following is the

'Return a hundred thanks, O Bábar, for the bounty of the merciful God
 Has given you Sind, Hind, and numerous kingdoms;
 If, unable to stand the heat, you long for cold,
 You have only to recollect the frost and cold of Ghazní.']

The firmness of the conqueror was soon rewarded in a different
manner. No sooner did the inhabitants, Muhammadan settlers and Hindu
landowners and traders, recognise that Bábar intended his occupancy
to {39} be permanent, than their fears subsided. Many proofs,
meanwhile, of his generous and noble nature had affected public
opinion regarding him. Every day then brought accessions to his
standard. Villagers and shopkeepers returned to their homes, and
abundance soon reigned in camp. A little later, and the army which
had been employed by Ibráhím Lodí to put down rebellion in Jaunpur
and Oudh, acknowledged Bábar as their sovereign. In the interval,
judiciously employing his troops, he conquered a great part of
Rohilkhand; occupied the important post of Ráberí, on the Jumna; and
laid siege to Itáwa and Dholpur. But troubles were preparing for him
in Central India, from a quarter which it would not do for him to

These troubles were caused by Ráná Sanga, Ráná of Chitor. I have
related already how this great prince--for great in every sense of
the term he was--had won back from the earlier Muhammadan invaders a
great portion of his hereditary dominions. He had even done more. He
had defeated Ibráhím Lodí in two pitched battles, those of Bakrául
and Chatáulí, and had gained from other generals sixteen in addition.
Before the arrival in India of Bábar he had taken the then famous
fort of Ranthambor. But he had continued, and was continuing, his
career of conquest, and the news which troubled Bábar was to the
effect that the great Rájpút chief had just taken the strong
hill-fort of Kandar, a few miles to the eastward of Ranthambor.

Towards the end of the rainy season Bábar held a council to meet
these and other difficulties. At this {40} council it was arranged
that, whilst his eldest son, Humáyún,[3] then eighteen years old,
should march eastward, to complete the subjection of the Duáb, Oudh,
and Jaunpur, Bábar should remain at Agra to superintend there the
general direction of affairs. As for Ráná Sanga, it was resolved to
march against him only when the enemy nearer home should have been

[Footnote 3: In the famous _Memoirs_, pp. 302-3, is to be found the
following note, inserted by Humáyún: 'At this same station,' the
station of Sháhábád, on the left bank of the Sarsutí, reached on the
march to Pánípat, 'and this same day,' March 6, 1526, 'the razor or
scissors were first applied to Humáyún's beard. As my honoured father
mentioned in these commentaries the time of his first using the
razor, in humble emulation of him I have commemorated the same
circumstance regarding myself. I was then eighteen years of age. Now
that I am forty-six, I, Muhammad Humáyún, am transcribing a copy of
these _Memoirs_ from the copy in his late Majesty's own

The expedition of Humáyún was completely successful. He conquered the
country as far as the frontiers of Bihár. On his return, January 6th,
1527, Bábar subdued Biána and Dholpur, took by stratagem the fortress
of Gwalior, received information of the surrender of Múltán. Then,
master of the country from the Indus to the frontiers of Western
Bihár, and from Kálpi and Gwalior to the Himálayas, he turned his
attention to the famous Ráná of Chitor, Ráná Sanga. On February 11 he
marched from Agra to encounter the army of this prince, who, joined
by Muhammadan auxiliaries of the Lodí party, had advanced too, and
had encamped at Bisáwar, some {41} twelve miles from Biána and some
sixty-two, by that place, from Agra. Bábar advanced to Síkrí, now
Fatehpur-Síkrí, and halted. In some skirmishes which followed the
Rájpúts had all the advantage, and a great discouragement fell on the
soldiers of Bábar. He contented himself for the moment with making
his camp as defensible as possible, and by sending a party to ravage

Cooped up in camp, discouraged by the aspect of affairs, Bábar,
uneasy at the forced inaction, passed in review the events of his
life, and recognised with humility and penitence that throughout it
he had habitually violated one of the strictest injunctions of the
Kurán, that which forbids the drinking of wine. He resolved at once
to amend. Sending then for his golden wine-cups and his silver
goblets he had them destroyed in his presence, and gave the proceeds
of the sale of the precious metal to the poor. All the wine in the
camp was rendered undrinkable or poured on the ground. Three hundred
of his nobles followed his example.

Sensible at length that the situation could not be prolonged, Bábar,
on March 12th, advanced two miles towards the enemy, halted, and
again advanced the day following to a position he had selected as
favourable to an engagement. Here he ranged his troops in order of
battle. On the 16th the Rájpúts and their allies advanced, and the
battle joined. Of it Bábar has written in his memoirs a picturesque
and, doubtless, a faithful account. It must suffice here to say {42}
that he gained a victory so decisive,[4] that on the morrow of it
Rájpútána lay at his feet. He at once pushed on to Biána, thence into
Mewát, and reduced the entire province to obedience. But the effects
of his victory were not limited to conquests achieved by himself.
Towns in the Duáb which had revolted, returned to their allegiance or
were recovered. When the Duáb had been completely pacified Bábar
turned his arms, first, against the Hindu chiefs of Central India,
the leader of whom was at the time the Rájá of Chandérí. He had
reached the town and fortress of that name when information came to
him that his generals in the east had been unfortunate, and had been
compelled to fall back from Lucknow upon Kanauj. Unshaken by this
intelligence, the importance of which he admitted, he persevered in
the siege of Chandérí, and in a few days stormed the fortress. Having
secured the submission of the country he marched rapidly eastward,
joined his defeated generals near Kanauj, threw a bridge across the
Ganges near that place, drove the enemy--the remnant of the Lodí
party--before him, re-occupied Lucknow, crossed the Gúmtí and the
Gogra, and forced the dispirited foe to disperse. He then returned to
Agra to resume the threads of the administration he was arranging.

[Footnote 4: Ráná Sanga was severely wounded, and the choicest
chieftains of his army were slain. The Ráná died the same year at
Baswa on the frontiers of Mewát.]

But he was not allowed time to remain quiet. The {43} old Muhammadan
party in Jaunpur had never been effectively subdued. The rich kingdom
of Behar, adjoining that of Jaunpur, had, up to this time, been
unassailed. And now the Muhammadan nobles of both districts combined
to place in the hands of a prince of the house of Lodí--the same who
had aided Sanga Ráná against Bábar--the chief authority in the united
kingdom. The conspiracy had been conducted with so much secrecy that
the result of it only reached Bábar on the 1st of February, 1529. He
was then at Dholpur, a place which he greatly affected, engaged with
his nobles in laying out gardens, and otherwise improving and
beautifying the place. That very day he returned to Agra, and taking
with him such troops as he had at hand, marched the day following to
join his son Askarí's army, then at Dakdakí, a village near Karra,[5]
on the right bank of the Ganges. He reached that place on the 27th,
and found Askarí's army on the opposite bank of the river. He at once
directed that prince to conform his movements on the left bank to
those of his own on the right.

[Footnote 5: Karra is now in ruins. It is in the tahsil or district
of the same name in the Allahábád division. In the times of Bábar and
Akbar it was very prosperous.]

The news which reached Bábar here was not of a nature to console. The
enemy, to the number of a hundred thousand, had rallied round the
standard of Máhmud Lodí; whilst one of his own generals, Sher Khán,
whom he had distinguished by marks of his favour, had joined the
insurgents and had {44} occupied Benares with his division. Máhmud
Lodí was besieging Chanar, twenty-six miles from the sacred city.

Bábar immediately advanced, compelled Máhmud Lodí to raise the siege
of Chanar, forced Sher Khán to evacuate Benares and re-cross the
Ganges, and, crossing the Karamnása, encamped beyond Chausá, at the
confluence of that river and the Ganges, and Baksar. Marching thence,
he drove his enemy before him until he reached Arrah. There he
assumed the sovereignty of Behar, and there he learned that Máhmud
Lodí, attended by but a few followers, had taken refuge with the King
of Bengal.

Nasrat Sháh, King of Bengal, had married a niece of Máhmud Lodí. He
had entered into a kind of convention with Bábar that neither prince
was to invade the territories of the other, but, despite this
convention, he had occupied the province of Sáran or Chaprá, and had
taken up with his army a position near the junction of the Gogra with
the Ganges, very strong for defensive purposes. Bábar resolved to
compel the Bengal army to abandon that position. There was, he soon
found, but one way to accomplish that end, and that was by the use of
force. Ranging then his army in six divisions, he directed that four,
under his son Askarí, then on the left bank of the Ganges, should
cross the Gogra, march upon the enemy, and attempt to draw them from
their camp, and follow them up the Gogra; whilst the two others,
under his own personal direction, should cross the Ganges, then {45}
the Gogra, and attack the enemy's camp, cutting him off from his
base. The combination, carried out on the 6th of May, entirely
succeeded. The Bengal army was completely defeated, and the victory
was, in every sense of the word, decisive. Peace was concluded with
Bengal on the conditions that the province, now known as Western
Behar, should be ceded to Bábar; that neither prince should support
the enemies of the other, and that neither should molest the
dominions of the other.

Thus far I have been guided mainly by the memoirs of the illustrious
man whose achievements I have briefly recorded. There is but little
more to tell. Shortly after his return from his victorious campaign
in Behar his health began to decline. The fact could not be
concealed, and an account of it reached his eldest son, Humáyún, then
Governor of Badakshán. That prince, making over his government to his
brother, Hindal, hastened to Agra. He arrived there early in 1530,
was most affectionately received, and by his sprightly wit and genial
manners, made many friends. He had been there but six months when he
was attacked by a serious illness. When the illness was at its
height, and the life of the young prince was despaired of, an
incident occurred which shows, in a manner not to be mistaken, the
unselfishness and affection of Bábar. It is thus related in the
supplemental chapter to the _Memoirs_.[6]

[Footnote 6: This chapter was added by the translators. The same
circumstance is related also by Mr. Erskine in his _Bábar and

{46} 'When all hopes from medicine were over, and whilst several men
of skill were talking to the Emperor of the melancholy situation of
his son, Abul Báká, a personage highly venerated for his knowledge
and piety, remarked to Bábar that in such a case the Almighty had
sometimes vouchsafed to receive the most valuable thing possessed by
one friend, as an offering in exchange for the life of another. Bábar
exclaimed that, of all things, his life was dearest to Humáyún, as
Humáyún's was to him; that his life, therefore, he most cheerfully
devoted as a sacrifice for that of his son; and prayed the Most High
to vouchsafe to accept it.' Vainly did his courtiers remonstrate. He
persisted, we are told, in his resolution; walked thrice round the
dying prince, a solemnity similar to that used by the Muhammadans in
sacrifices, and, retiring, prayed earnestly. After a time he was
heard to exclaim: 'I have borne it away! I have borne it away!' The
Musalmán historians relate that almost from that moment Humáyún began
to recover and the strength of Bábar began proportionately to decay.
He lingered on to the end of the year 1530. On the 26th December he
restored his soul to his Maker, in his palace of the Chárbágh, near
Agra, in the forty-ninth year of his age. His remains were, in
accordance with his dying request, conveyed to Kábul, where they were
interred in a lovely spot, about a mile from the city.

Amongst the famous conquerors of the world Bábar will always occupy a
very high place. His character {47} created his career. Inheriting
but the shadow of a small kingdom in Central Asia, he died master of
the territories lying between the Karamnásá and the Oxus, and those
between the Narbadá and the Himálayas. His nature was a joyous
nature. Generous, confiding, always hopeful, he managed to attract
the affection of all with whom he came in contact. He was keenly
sensitive to all that was beautiful in nature; had cultivated his own
remarkable talents to a degree quite unusual in the age in which he
lived; and was gifted with strong affections and a very vivid
imagination. He loved war and glory, but he did not neglect the arts
of peace. He made it a duty to inquire into the condition of the
races whom he subdued and to devise for them ameliorating measures.
He was fond of gardening, of architecture, of music, and he was no
mean poet. But the greatest glory of his character was that
attributed to him by one who knew him well, and who thus recorded his
opinion in Taríkhí Reshídí. 'Of all his qualities,' wrote Haidar
Mirzá, 'his generosity and humanity took the lead.' Though he lived
long enough only to conquer and not long enough to consolidate, the
task of conquering could hardly have been committed to hands more

Bábar left four sons: Muhammad Humáyún Mirzá, who succeeded him, born
April 5, 1508: Kámrán Mirzá, Hindal Mirzá, and Askarí Mirzá. Before
his death he had introduced Humáyún to a specially convened council
of ministers as his successor, and had given him his dying
injunctions. The points upon which he {48} had specially laid stress
were: the conscientious discharge of duties to God and man; the
honest and assiduous administration of justice; the seasoning of
punishment to the guilty with the extension of tenderness and mercy
to the ignorant and penitent, with protection to the poor and
defenceless; he besought Humáyún, moreover, to deal kindly and
affectionately towards his brothers.

Thus died, in the flower of his manhood, the illustrious chief who
introduced the Mughal dynasty into India; who, conquering the
provinces of the North-west and some districts in the centre of the
peninsula, acquired for that dynasty the prescriptive right to claim
them as its own. He had many great qualities. But, in Hindustán, he
had had neither the time nor the opportunity to introduce into the
provinces he had conquered such a system of administration as would
weld the parts theretofore separate into one homogeneous whole. It
may be doubted whether, great as he was, he possessed to a high
degree the genius of constructive legislation. Nowhere had he given
any signs of it. In Kábul and in Hindustán alike, he had pursued the
policy of the conquerors who had preceded him, that of bestowing
conquered provinces and districts on adherents, to be governed by
them in direct responsibility to himself, each according to his own
plan. Thus it happened that when he died the provinces in India which
acknowledged him as master were bound together by that tie alone.
Agra had nothing in common with Lucknow; Delhi with {49} Jaunpur.
Heavy tolls marked the divisions of territories, inhabited by races
of different origin, who were only bound together by the sovereignty
of Bábar over all. He bequeathed to his son, Humáyún, then, a
congeries of territories uncemented by any bond of union or of common
interest, except that which had been concentrated in his life. In a
word, when he died, the Mughal dynasty, like the Muhammadan dynasties
which had preceded it, had shot down no roots into the soil of



Brave, genial, witty, a charming companion, highly educated,
generous, and merciful, Humáyún was even less qualified than his
father to found a dynasty on principles which should endure. Allied
to his many virtues were many compromising defects. He was volatile,
thoughtless, and unsteady. He was swayed by no strong sense of duty.
His generosity was apt to degenerate into prodigality; his
attachments into weakness. He was unable to concentrate his energies
for a time in any serious direction, whilst for comprehensive
legislation he had neither the genius nor the inclination. He was
thus eminently unfitted to consolidate the conquest his father had
bequeathed to him.

It is unnecessary to relate in detail a history of the eight years
which followed his accession. So unskilful was his management, and so
little did he acquire the confidence and esteem of the races under
his sway, that when, in April, 1540, he was defeated at Kanauj, by
Sher Khán Sur, a nobleman who had submitted to Bábar, but who had
risen against his son--whom he succeeded under the title of Sher
Sháh--the {51} entire edifice crumbled in his hand. After some
adventures, Humáyún found himself, January, 1541, a fugitive with a
mere handful of followers, at Rohri opposite the island of Bukkur on
the Indus, in Sind. He had lost the inheritance bequeathed him by his

Humáyún spent altogether two and a half years in Sind, engaged in a
vain attempt to establish himself in that province. The most
memorable event of his sojourn there was the birth, on the 15th of
October, 1542, of a son, called by him Jalál-ud-dín Muhammad Akbar. I
propose to relate now the incidents which led to a result so
important in the history of India.

In 1541, Humáyún, whose troops were engaged in besieging Bukkur,
distrusting the designs of his brother Hindal, whom he had
commissioned to attack and occupy the rich province of Sehwán,
appointed a meeting with the latter at the town of Pátar, some twenty
miles to the west of the Indus. There he found Hindal, surrounded by
his nobles, prepared to receive him right royally. During the
festivities which followed, the mother of Hindal--who, it may be
remarked, was not the mother of Humáyún--gave a grand entertainment,
to which she invited all the ladies of the court. Amongst these
Humáyún especially noted a girl called Hámidá, the daughter of a
nobleman who had been preceptor to Hindal. So struck was he that he
inquired on the spot whether the girl were betrothed. He was told in
reply that, although she had been promised, no {52} ceremony of
betrothal had as yet taken place. 'In that case,' said Humáyún, 'I
will marry her.' Hindal protested against the suddenly formed
resolution, and threatened, if it were persisted in, to quit his
brother's service. A quarrel, which had almost ended in a rupture,
then ensued between the brothers. But the pleadings of Hindal's
mother, who favoured the match, brought Hindal to acquiescence, and,
the next day, Hámidá, who had just completed her fourteenth year, was
married to Humáyún. A few days later, the happy pair repaired to the
camp before Bukkur.

The times, however, were unfavourable to the schemes of Humáyún. All
his plans miscarried, and, in the spring of 1542, he and his young
wife had to flee for safety to the barren deserts of Marwar. In
August they reached Jaisalmer, but, repulsed by its Rájá, they had to
cross the great desert, suffering terribly during the journey from
want of water. Struggling bravely, however, they reached, on August
22nd, the fort of Amarkót, on the edge of the desert. The Ráná of the
fort received them hospitably, and there, on Sunday October the 15th,
Hámidá Begam gave birth to Akbar. Humáyún had quitted Amarkót four
days previously, to invade the district of Jun. His words, when the
news was brought to him, deserve to be recorded. 'As soon,' wrote one
who attended him, 'as the Emperor had finished his thanksgivings to
God, the Amírs were introduced, and offered their congratulations. He
then called Jouher (the historian, author of the Tezkereh al {53}
Vakiat) and asked what he had committed to his charge. Jouher
answered: "Two hundred Sháh-rukhís" (Khorásání gold coins), a silver
wristlet and a musk-bag; adding, that the two former had been
returned to their owners. On this Humáyún ordered the musk-bag to be
brought, and, having broken it on a china plate, he called his
nobles, and divided it among them, as the royal present in honour of
his son's birth.... This event,' adds Jouher, 'diffused its fragrance
over the whole habitable world.'

The birth of the son brought no immediate good fortune to the father.
In July, 1543, Humáyún was compelled to quit Sind, and, accompanied
by his wife and son and a small following, set out with the intention
of reaching Kandahár. He had arrived at Shál, when he learnt that his
brother, Askarí, with a considerable force, was close at hand, and
that immediate flight was necessary. He and his wife were ready, but
what were they to do with the child, then only a year old, quite
unfit to make a rapid journey on horseback, in the boisterous weather
then prevailing? Reckoning, not without reason, that the uncle would
not make war against a baby, they decided to leave him, with the
whole of their camp-equipage and baggage, and the ladies who attended
him. They then set out, and riding hard, reached the Persian frontier
in safety. Scarcely had they gone when Askarí Mirzá arrived. Veiling
his disappointment at the escape of his brother with some {54} soft
words, he treated the young prince with affection, had him conveyed
to Kandahár, of which place he was Governor, and placed there under
the supreme charge of his own wife, the ladies who had been his
nurses still remaining in attendance.

In this careful custody the young prince remained during the whole of
the year 1544. But soon after the dawn of the following year a change
in his condition occurred. His father, with the aid of troops
supplied him by Sháh Tahmásp, invaded Western Afghánistán, making
straight across the desert for Kandahár. Alarmed at this movement,
and dreading lest Humáyún should recover his child, Kámrán sent
peremptory orders that the boy should be transferred to Kábul. When
the confidential officers whom Kámrán had instructed on this subject
reached Kandahár, the ministers of Askarí Mirzá held a council to
consider whether or not the demand should be complied with. Some,
believing the star of Humáyún to be in the ascendant, advised that
the boy should be sent, under honourable escort, to his father.
Others maintained that Prince Askarí had acted so treacherously
towards his eldest brother that no act of penitence would now avail,
and that it was better to continue to deserve the favour of Kámrán.
The arguments of the latter prevailed, and though the winter was
unusually severe, the infant prince and his sister, Bakhshí Bánu
Begam, were despatched with their attendants to Kábul. After some
adventures, which made the {55} escort apprehend an attempt at
rescue, the party reached Kábul in safety, and there Kámrán confided
his nephew to the care of his great-aunt, Khánzáda Begam, the whilom
favourite sister of the Emperor Bábar. This illustrious lady
maintained in their duties the nurses and attendants who had watched
over the early days of the young prince, and during the short time of
her superintendence she bestowed upon him the tenderest care.
Unhappily that superintendence lasted only a few months. The capture
of Kandahár by Humáyún in the month of September following (1545)
threw Kámrán into a state of great perplexity. A suspicious and
jealous man, and regarding the possession of Akbar as a talisman he
could use against Humáyún, he removed the boy from the care of his
grand-aunt, and confided him to a trusted adherent, Kuch Kilán by
name. But events marched very quickly in those days. Humáyún, having
established a firm base at Kandahár, set out with an army for Kábul,
appeared before that city the first week in November, and compelled
it to surrender to him on the 15th. Kámrán had escaped to Ghazní: but
the happy father had the gratification of finding the son from whom
he had been so long separated. The boy's mother, Hámidá Begam, did
not arrive till the spring of the following year, but, meanwhile,
Kuch Kilán was removed, and the prince's former governor, known as
Atká Khán,[1] was restored to his post.

[Footnote 1: His real name was Shams-ud-dín Muhammad of Ghazní. He
had saved the life of Humáyún in 1540, at the battle of Kanauj,
fought against Sher Sháh.]

{56} For the moment splendour and prosperity surrounded the boy. But
when winter came, Humáyún, who meanwhile had recovered Badakshán,
resolved to pass the coldest months of the year at Kílá Zafar, in
that province. But on his way thither he was seized with an illness
so dangerous that his life was despaired of. He recovered indeed
after two months' strict confinement to his bed, but, in the
interval, many of his nobles, believing his end was assured, had
repaired to the courts of his brothers, and Kámrán, aided by troops
supplied by his father-in-law, had regained Kábul, and, with Kábul,
possession of the person of Akbar. One of the first acts of the
conqueror was to remove Atká Khán from the person of the prince, and
to replace him by one of his own servants.

But Humáyún had no sooner regained his strength than he marched to
recover his capital. Defeating, in the suburbs, a detachment of the
best troops of Kámrán, he established his head-quarters on the
Koh-Akabain which commands the town, and commenced to cannonade it.
The fire after some days became so severe and caused so much damage
that, to stop it, Kámrán sent to his brother to declare that unless
the fire should cease, he would expose the young Akbar on the walls
at the point where it was hottest.[2] {57} Humáyún ordered the firing
to cease. He continued the siege, however, and on the 28th of April
(1547) entered the city a conqueror. Kámrán had escaped the previous

[Footnote 2: Abulfazl relates in the Akbarnáná that the prince
actually was exposed, and Haidar Mirzá, Badauní, Ferishtá, and others
follow him; but Bayazid, who was present, though he minutely
describes other atrocities in his memoirs, does not mention this;
whilst Jouher, in his private memoirs of Humáyún, a translation of
which by Major Charles Stewart appeared in 1832, states the story as
I have given it in the text.]

Kámrán had fled to Badakshán. Thither Humáyún followed him. But, in
the winter that followed, some of his most powerful nobles revolted,
and deserted to Kámrán. Humáyún, after some marches and
countermarches, determined in the summer of 1548 to make a decisive
effort to settle his northern dominions. He marched, then, in June
from Kábul, taking with him Akbar and Akbar's mother. On reaching
Gulbahan he sent back to Kábul Akbar and his mother, and marching on
Talikán, forced Kámrán to surrender. Having settled his northern
territories the Emperor, as he was still styled, returned to Kábul.

He quitted it again, in the late spring of 1549, to attempt Balkh, in
the western Kunduz territory. The Uzbeks, however, repulsed him, and
he returned to Kábul for the winter of 1550. Then ensued a very
curious scene. Kámrán, whose failure to join Humáyún in the
expedition against Balkh had been the main cause of his retreat, and
who had subsequently gone into open rebellion, had, after Humáyún's
defeat, made a disastrous campaign on the Oxus, and had sent his
submission to Humáyún. That prince, consigning the government of
Kábul to Akbar, then {58} eight years old, with Muhammad Kásim Khán
Birlás as his tutor, marched from the capital to gain possession of
the person of his brother. So careless, however, were his movements
that Kámrán, who had planned the manoeuvre, surprised him at the
upper end of the defile of Kipchak, and forced him to take refuge in
flight. During the flight Humáyún was badly wounded, but nevertheless
managed to reach the top of the Sirtan Pass in safety. There he was
in comparative security. Meanwhile Kámrán had marched upon and
captured Kábul, and, for the third time, Akbar found himself a
prisoner in the hands of his uncle. Humáyún did not submit tamely to
this loss. Rallying his adherents, he recrossed the mountains, and
marched on the city. Arriving at Shutargardan he saw the army of
Kámrán drawn up to oppose him. After some days of fruitless
negotiation for a compromise Humáyún ordered the attack. It resulted
in a complete victory and the flight of Kámrán. For a moment Humáyún
feared lest Kámrán should have carried his son with him in his
flight. But, before he could enter the city, he was intensely
relieved by the arrival in camp of Akbar, accompanied by Hásán Akhtá,
to whose care he had been entrusted. The next day he entered the

This time the conquest was decisive and lasting. In the distribution
of awards which followed Humáyún did not omit his son. He bestowed
upon Akbar as a jaghír the district of Chirkh, and nominated Hájí
Muhammad Khán of Sístán as his minister, {59} with the care of his
education. During the year that followed the causes of the troubles
of Humáyún disappeared one by one. Kámrán indeed once more appeared
in arms, but only to be hunted down so vigorously that he was forced
to surrender (August, 1553). He was exiled to Mekka, where he died
four years later. Hindal Mirzá, another brother, had been slain some
eighteen months before, during the pursuit of Kámrán. Askarí Mirzá,
the other brother, in whose nature treachery seemed ingrained, had
been exiled to Mekka in 1551,[3] and though he still survived he was
harmless. Relieved thus of his brothers, Humáyún contemplated the
conquest of Kashmír, but his nobles and their followers were so
averse to the expedition that he was forced, unwillingly, to renounce
it. He consoled himself by crossing the Indus. Whilst encamped in the
districts between that river and the Jehlam he ordered the repair,
tantamount to a reconstruction on an enlarged plan, of the fort at
Pesháwar. He was contemplating even then the invasion of India, and
he was particularly anxious that he should possess a _point d'appui_
beyond the passes on which his army could concentrate. He pushed the
works so vigorously that the fort was ready by the end of the year
(1554). He then returned to Kábul. During the winter and early spring
that followed, there came to a head in Hindustán the crisis which
gave him the opportunity of carrying his plans into effect.

[Footnote 3: He died there in 1558.]



Sher Khán Sur, who had defeated Humáyún at Kanauj in 1540, had used
his victory to possess himself of the territories which Bábar had
conquered, and to add somewhat to them. He was an able man, but
neither did he, more than the prince whom he supplanted, possess the
genius of consolidation and union. He governed on the system of
detached camps, each province and district being separately
administered. He died in 1545 from injuries received at the siege of
Kálinjar, just as that strong fort surrendered to his arms.

His second son, Salim Sháh Sur, known also as Sultán Islám, succeeded
him, and reigned for between seven and eight years. He must have been
dimly conscious of the weakness of the system he had inherited, for
the greater part of his reign was spent in combating the intrigues of
the noblemen who held the several provinces under him. On his death,
leaving a child of tender years to succeed him, the nobles took the
upper hand. The immediate result was the murder of the young prince,
after a nominal rule of three days, and the seizure of the throne by
{61} his maternal uncle, who proclaimed himself as Sultán under the
title of Muhammad Sháh Adel. He was ignorant, cruel, unprincipled,
and a sensualist of a very pronounced type. He had, however, the good
fortune to attach to his throne a Hindu, named Hemu, who, originally
a shopkeeper of Rewárí, a town of Mewát, showed talents so
considerable, that he was eventually allowed to concentrate in his
own hands all the power of the State. The abilities of Hemu did not,
however, prevent the break-up of the territories which Sher Sháh had
bequeathed to his son. Ibráhím Khán revolted at Biáná, and occupying
Agra and Delhi, proclaimed himself Sultán. Ahmad Khán, Governor of
the country north-west of the Sutlej, seized the Punjab, and
proclaimed himself king under the title of Sikandar Sháh. Shujá Khán
seized the kingdom of Málwá, whilst two rival claimants disputed the
eastern provinces. In the contests which followed Sikandar Sháh for
the moment obtained the upper hand. He defeated Ibráhím Khán at
Farah, twenty miles from Agra, then marched on and occupied Delhi. He
was preparing to head an expedition to recover Jaunpur and Behar,
when he heard of danger threatening him from Kábul.

The events that followed were important only in their results.
Humáyún marched from Kábul for the Indus in November, 1554, at the
head of a small army, which, however, gathered strength as he
advanced. Akbar accompanied him. Crossing the Indus the 2nd of
January, 1555, Humáyún made for {62} Ráwal Pindí, then pushed on for
Kálánaur, on the further side of the Ráví. There he divided his
forces, sending his best general, Bairám Khán, into Jálandhar, whilst
he marched on Lahore, and despatched thence his special favourite,
Abul Má'alí, to occupy Dípálpur, then an important centre, commanding
the country between the capital and Múltán.

Events developed themselves very rapidly. Bairám Khán defeated the
generals of Sikandar Sháh at Machhíwára on the Sutlej, and then
marched on the town of Sirhind. Sikandar, hoping to crush him there,
hurried to that place with a vastly superior force. Bairám intrenched
himself, and wrote to Humáyún for aid. Humáyún despatched the young
Akbar, and followed a few days later. Before they could come,
Sikandar had arrived but had hesitated to attack. The hesitation lost
him. As soon as Humáyún arrived, he precipitated a general
engagement. The victory was decisive. Sikandar Sháh fled to the
Siwáliks, and Humáyún, with his victorious army, marched on Delhi.
Occupying it the 23rd of July, he despatched one division of it to
overrun Rohilkhand, another to occupy Agra. He had previously sent
Abul Má'alí to secure the Punjab.

But his troubles were not yet over. Hemu, the general and chief
minister of Muhammad Sháh Adel, had defeated the pretender to the
throne of Bengal, who had invaded the North-west Provinces, near
Kálpi on the Jumna, and that capable leader was preparing to march on
Delhi. Sikandar Sháh, too, who had {63} been defeated at Sirhind, was
beginning to show signs of life in the Punjab. In the face of these
difficulties Humáyún decided to remain at Delhi himself, whilst he
despatched Akbar with Bairám Khán as his 'Atálik,' or adviser, to
settle matters in the Punjab.

We must first follow Akbar. That prince reached Sirhind early in
January, 1556. Joined there by many of the nobles whom Abul Má'alí,
the favourite of his father, had disgusted by his haughtiness, he
crossed the Sutlej at Phillaur, marched on Sultánpur in the Kángra
district, and thence, in pursuit of Sikandar Sháh, to Hariána. The
morning of his arrival there, information reached him of a serious
accident which had happened to Humáyún. He at once suspended the
forward movement, and marched on Kálánaur, there to await further
intelligence. As he approached that place, a despatch was placed in
his hands, drafted by order of Humáyún, giving hopes of speedy
recovery. But, a little later, another courier arrived, bearing the
news of the Emperor's death. Akbar was at once proclaimed.

The situation was a trying one for a boy who had lived but thirteen
years and four months. He occupied, indeed, the Punjab. His servants
held Sirhind, Delhi, and possibly Agra. But he was aware that Hemu,
flushed with two victories, for he had obtained a second over another
pretender, was marching towards the last-named city with an army of
fifty thousand men and five hundred elephants, with the avowed
intention of restoring the rule of Muhammad {64} Sháh Adel. To add to
his difficulties he heard a few days later that the viceroy placed by
his father at Kábul had revolted.

Humáyún had met his death by a fall from the top of the staircase
leading to the terraced roof of his library in the palace of Delhi.
He lingered four days, the greater part of the time in a state of
insensibility, and expired the evening of the 24th of January, in the
forty-eighth year of his age. Tardí Beg Khán, the most eminent of all
the nobles at the capital, and actually Governor of the city, assumed
on the spot the general direction of affairs. His first care was to
conceal the incident from the public until he could arrange to make
the succession secure for the young Akbar, to whom he sent expresses
conveying details. By an ingenious stratagem he managed to conceal
the death of the Emperor for seventeen days. Then, on the 10th of
February, he repaired with the nobles to the great Mosque, and caused
the prayer for the Emperor to be recited in the name of Akbar. His
next act was to despatch the insignia of the empire with the Crown
jewels, accompanied by the officers of the household, the Imperial
Guards, and a possible rival to the throne in the person of a son of
Humáyún's brother, Kámrán, to the head-quarters of the new Emperor in
the Punjab. He then proceeded to take measures to secure the capital
against the threatened attack of Hemu.



The news of his father's death, I have said, reached Akbar as he was
entering the town of Kálánaur at the head of his army. At the moment
he had not heard of the revolt at Kábul, nor had his adviser, Bairám
Khán, dwelt in his mind on the probability of a movement by Hemu
against Delhi. In the first few days, then, it seemed as though there
were but one enemy in the field, and that enemy the Sikandar Sháh, to
suppress whom his father had sent him to the Punjab. That prince was
still in arms, slowly retreating in the direction of Kashmír. It
appeared, then, to the young Emperor and his adviser that their first
business should be to secure the Punjab; that to effect that object
they must follow up Sikandar Sháh. The army accordingly broke up from
Kálánaur, pushed after Sikandar, and drove him to take refuge in the
fort of Mánkót, in the lower ranges of the Siwáliks. As Mánkót was
very strong, and tidings of untoward events alike in Hindustán and
Kábul reached them, the leaders {66} contented themselves with
leaving a force to blockade that fortress, and returned to Jálandhar.

It was time indeed. Not only had Kábul revolted, but Hemu, his army
increasing with every step, had taken Agra without striking a blow,
and was pursuing the retreating garrison towards Delhi. A day later
came the information that he had defeated the Mughal army close to
Delhi, and had occupied that capital. Tardí Beg, with the remnants of
the defeated force, had fled towards Sirhind.

In the multitude of counsellors there is not always wisdom. When
Akbar heard of the success of Hemu, he assembled his warrior-nobles
and asked their advice. With one exception they all urged him to fall
back on Kábul. That he could recover his mountain-capital they felt
certain, and there he could remain until events should be propitious
for a fresh invasion of India. Against this recommendation Bairám
Khán raised his powerful voice. He urged a prompt march across the
Sutlej, a junction with Tardí Beg in Sirhind, and an immediate
attempt thence against Hemu. Delhi, he said, twice gained and twice
lost, must at all hazards be won back. Delhi was the decisive point,
not Kábul. Master of the former, one could easily recover the latter.
The instincts of Akbar coincided with the advice of his Atálik, and
an immediate march across the Sutlej was directed.

Akbar and Bairám saw in fact that their choice lay between empire in
Hindustán and a small kingdom in Kábul. For they knew from their
adherents in {67} India that Hemu was preparing to supplement the
occupation of Delhi by the conquest of the Punjab. To be beforehand
with him, to transfer the initiative to themselves, always a great
matter with Asiatics, was almost a necessity to secure success. Akbar
marched then from Jálandhar in October, and crossing the Sutlej,
gained the town of Sirhind. There he was joined by Tardí Beg and the
nobles who had been defeated by Hemu under the walls of Delhi. The
circumstances which followed their arrival sowed in the heart of
Akbar the first seeds of revolt against the licence of power assumed
by his Atálik. Tardí Beg was a Turkí nobleman, who, in the contest
between Humáyún and his brothers, had more than once shifted his
allegiance, but he had finally enrolled himself as a partisan of the
father of Akbar. When Humáyún died, it was Tardí Beg who by his tact
and loyalty succeeded in arranging for the bloodless succession of
Akbar, though a son of Kámrán was in Delhi at the time. After his
defeat by Hemu, he had, it is true, in the opinion of some of the
other nobles, too hastily evacuated Delhi; but an error in tactics is
not a crime, and he had at least brought a powerful reinforcement to
Akbar in Sirhind. But there had ever been jealousy between Bairám
Khán and Tardí Beg. This jealousy was increased in the heart of
Bairám by religious differences, for Bairám belonged to the Shí'áh
division of the Muhammadan creed, and Tardí Beg was a Sunní. On the
arrival of the latter at Sirhind, then, Bairám summoned him to his
tent {68} and had him assassinated.[1] Akbar was greatly displeased
at this act of violence, and Bairám did not succeed in justifying
himself. It may be inferred that he excused himself on the ground
that such an act was necessary, in the interests of discipline, to
secure the proper subordination of the nobles.

[Footnote 1: Vide Dowson's Sir Henry Elliot's _History of India as
told by its own Historians_, vol. v. page 251 and note. The only
historian who states that Akbar gave a 'kind of permission' to this
atrocious deed is Badauní. He is practically contradicted by Abulfazl
and Ferishtá. In Blochmann's admirable edition of the _Ain-í-Akbarí_,
p. 315, the story is repeated as told by Badauní, but the translator
adds the words: 'Akbar was displeased. Bairám's hasty act was one of
the chief causes of the distrust with which the Chagatái nobles
looked upon him.']

Meanwhile Hemu remained at Delhi, amusing himself with the new title
of Rájá which he had assumed, and engaged in collecting troops. When,
however, he heard that Akbar had reached Sirhind, he despatched his
artillery to Pánípat, fifty-three miles to the north of Delhi,
intending to follow himself with the infantry and cavalry. But, on
his side, Akbar was moving from Sirhind towards the same place. More
than that, he had taken the precaution to despatch in advance a force
of ten thousand horsemen, under the command of Álí Kulí
Khán-í-Shaibání, the general who had fought with Tardí Beg against
Hemu at Delhi, and who had condemned his too hasty retirement.[2] Álí
Kulí rode as far as Pánípat, and noting there the guns of Hemu's
army, unsupported, he dashed upon them and captured them all. {69}
For this brilliant feat of arms he was created a Khán Zamán, by which
he is henceforth known in history. This misfortune greatly depressed
Hemu, for, it is recorded, the guns had been obtained from Turkey,
and were regarded with great reverence. However, without further
delay, he pressed on to Pánípat.

[Footnote 2: Blochmann's _Ain-í-Akbarí_, p. 319.]

Akbar and Bairám were marching on to the plains of Pánípat on the
morning of the 5th of November, 1556, when they sighted the army of
Hemu moving towards them. The thought must, I should think, have been
present in the mind of the young prince that just thirty years before
his grandfather, Bábar, had, on the same plain, struck down the house
of Lodí, and won the empire of Hindustán. He was confronted now by
the army of the usurper, connected by marriage with that House of Sur
which had expelled his own father. The battle, he knew, would be the
decisive battle of the century. But, prescient as he was, he could
not foresee that it would prove the starting-point for the
establishment in India of a dynasty which would last for more than
two hundred years, and would then require another invasion from the
north, and another battle of Pánípat to strike it down; the advent of
another race of foreigners from an island in the Atlantic to efface

Hemu had divided his army into three divisions. In front marched the
five hundred elephants, each bestridden by an officer of rank, and
led by Hemu, on his own favourite animal, in person. He dashed first
against the advancing left wing of the Mughals and {70} threw it into
disorder, but as his lieutenants failed to support the attack with
infantry, he drew off, and threw himself on the centre, commanded by
Bairám in person. That astute general had directed his archers, in
anticipation of such an attack, to direct their arrows at the faces
of the riders. One of these arrows pierced the eye of Hemu, who fell
back in his howdah, for the moment insensible. The fall of their
leader spread consternation among the followers. The attack
slackened, then ceased. The soldiers of Bairám soon converted the
cessation into a rout. The elephant on which Hemu rode, without a
driver--for the driver had been killed[3]--made off instinctively
towards the jungle. A nobleman, a follower and distant relative of
Bairám, Sháh Kulí Mahrám-i-Bahárlu, followed the elephant, not
knowing who it was who rode it. Coming up with it and catching hold
of the rope on its neck, he discovered that it was the wounded Hemu
who had become his captive.[4] He led him to Bairám. Bairám took him
to the youthful prince, who throughout the day had shown courage and
conduct, but who had left the ordering of the battle to his Atálik.
The scene that followed is thus told by contemporary writers. Bairám
said to his master, as he presented to him the wounded general: 'This
is your first war: prove your sword on this infidel, for it will be a
meritorious deed.' {71} Akbar replied: 'He is now no better than a
dead man; how can I strike him? If he had sense and strength I would
try my sword (that is I would fight him).' On Akbar's refusal, Bairám
himself cut down the prisoner.

[Footnote 3: This is the generally received story, though Abulfazl
states that the driver, to save his own life, betrayed his master.
Elliot, vol. v. p. 253, note.]

[Footnote 4: Compare Elliot, vol. v. p. 253, and Blochmann's
_Ain-í-Akbarí_, p. 359.]

Bairám sent his cavalry to pursue the enemy to Delhi, giving them no
respite, and the next day, marching the fifty-three miles without a
halt, the Mughal army entered the city. Thenceforward Akbar was
without a formidable rival in India. He occupied the position his
grandfather had occupied thirty years before. It remained to be seen
whether the boy would use the opportunity which his father and
grandfather had alike failed to grasp. To show the exact nature of
the task awaiting him, I propose to devote the next chapter to a
brief survey of the condition of India at the time of his accession,
and in that following to inquire how the boy of fourteen was likely
to benefit by the tutelage of Bairám Khán.



The empire conquered south of the Sutlej by the Afghán predecessors
of the Mughal had no claim to be regarded as the empire of Hindustán.
It was rather the empire of Delhi, that is, of the provinces called
up to the year 1857 the North-western Provinces, including that part
of the Bengal Presidency which we know as Western Behar, and some
districts in the Central Provinces and Rájpútána. It included,
likewise, the Punjab. For a moment, indeed, the princes of the House
of Tughlak could claim supremacy over Bengal and almost the whole of
Southern India, but the first invasion from the north gave the
opportunity which the Hindu princes of the south seized to shake off
the uncongenial yoke, and it had not been re-imposed. The important
kingdom of Orissa, extending from the mouth of the Ganges to that of
the Godavárí, had always maintained its independence. Western India,
too, had for some time ceased to acknowledge the sway of the foreign
invader, and its several states had become kingdoms.

{73} Thus, at the accession of Akbar, the westernmost portion of
India, the kingdom of Gujarát, ruled over by a Muhammadan prince of
Afghán blood, was independent. It had been overrun, indeed, by
Humáyún, but on his flight from India it had re-asserted itself, and
had not since been molested. Indeed it had carried on a not
unsuccessful war with its nearest neighbour, Málwá. That state,
embracing the greater part of what we know as Central India, was thus
independent at the accession of Akbar. So likewise was Khándesh: so
also were the states of Rájpútána. These latter deserve a more
detailed notice.

The exploits of the great Sanga Ráná have been incidentally referred
to in the first chapter. The defeat of that prince by Bábar had
greatly affected the power of Mewár, and when Sher Sháh drove Humáyún
from India its chiefs had been compelled eventually to acknowledge
the overlordship of the conqueror. But, during the disturbances which
followed the death of Sher Sháh, they had recovered their
independence, and at the accession of Akbar they still held their
high place among the states of Rájpútána. Of the other states it may
briefly be stated that the rulers of Jaipur had paid homage to the
Mughal in the time of Bábar. The then Rájá, Bahármá, had assisted
that prince with his forces, and had received from Humáyún, prior to
his defeat by Sher Sháh, a high imperial title as ruler of Ámbar. The
son of Bahármá, Bhagwán Dás, occupied the throne when Akbar won {74}
Pánípat. Jodhpur, in those days, occupied a far higher position than
did Jaipur. Its Rájá, Maldeo Singh, had given to the great Sher Sháh
more trouble in the field than had any of his opponents. He had,
however, refused an asylum to Humáyún when Humáyún was a fugitive. He
was alive, independent, and the most powerful of all the princes of
Rájpútána when Akbar ascended the throne of Delhi. Jaisalmer,
Bíkáner, and the states on the borders of the desert were also
independent. So likewise were the minor states of Rájpútána; so also
was Sind; so also Múltán. Mewát and Baghelkhand owned no foreign
master; but Gwalior, Orchha, Chanderí, Narwár, and Pannao suffered
from their vicinity to Agra, and were more or less tributary,
according to the leisure accruing to the conqueror to assert his

But even in the provinces which owned the rule of the Muhammadan
conqueror there was no cohesion. The king, sultan, or emperor, as he
was variously called, was simply the lord of the nobles to whom the
several provinces had been assigned. In his own court he ruled
absolutely. He commanded the army in the field. But with the internal
administration of the provinces he did not interfere. Each of these
provinces was really, though not nominally, independent under its own

According to all concurrent testimony the condition of the Hindu
population, who constituted seven-eighths of the entire population of
the provinces subject to Muhammadan rule, was one of contentment.
They {75} were allowed the free exercise of their religion, though
they were liable to the _jizyia_ or capitation tax, imposed by
Muhammadans on subject races of other faiths. But in all the
departments of the Government the Hindu element was very strong. In
most provinces the higher classes of this faith maintained a
hereditary jurisdiction subordinate to the governor; and in time of
war they supplied their quota of troops for service in the field.

Each province had thus a local army, ready to be placed at the
disposal of the governor whenever he should deem it necessary. But,
besides, and unconnected with this local army, he had almost always
in the province a certain number of imperial troops, that is, of
troops paid by the Sultán, and the command of which was vested in an
officer nominated by the Sultán. This officer was, to a great extent,
independent of the local governor, being directly responsible to the

Theoretically, the administration of justice was perfect, for it was
dispensed according to the Muhammadan principle that the state was
dependent on the law. That law was administered by the Kázís or
judges in conformity with a code which was the result of accumulated
decisions based on the Kurán, but modified by the customs of the
country. The Kází decided all matters of a civil character; all
questions, in fact, which did not affect the safety of the state. But
criminal cases were reserved to the jurisdiction of a body of men
whose mode of procedure {76} was practically undefined, and who,
nominated and supported by the Crown, sometimes trenched on the
authority of the Kází. The general contentment of the people would
seem, however, to authorise the conclusion that, on the whole, the
administration of justice was performed in a satisfactory manner.
Time had welded together the interests of the families of the earlier
Muhammadan immigrant and those of the Hindu inhabitant, and they both
looked alike to the law to afford them such protection as was
possible. In spite of the many wars, the general condition of the
country was undoubtedly, if the native records may be trusted, very

It is important to note, in considering the administration upon which
we are now entering, that neither Bábar nor Humáyún had changed, to
any material extent, the system of their Afghán predecessors in
India. Bábar, indeed, had been accustomed to a system even more
autocratic. Whether in Fergháná, in Samarkand, or in Kábul, he had
not only been the supreme lord in the capital, but also the feudal
lord of the governors of provinces appointed by himself. Those
governors, those chiefs of districts or of jaghírs, did indeed
exercise an authority almost absolute within their respective
domains. But they were always removable at the pleasure of the
sovereign, and it became an object with them to administer on a plan
which would secure substantial justice, or to maintain at the court
agents who should watch over their interests with the ruling prince.

{77} Similarly the army was composed of the personal retainers of the
sovereign, swollen by the personal retainers of his chiefs and
vassals and by the native tribes of the provinces occupied.

With Bábar, too, as with his son, the form of government had been a
pure despotism. Free institutions were unknown. The laws passed by
one sovereign might be annulled by his successor. The personal
element, in fact, predominated everywhere. The only possible check on
the will of the sovereign lay in successful rebellion. But if the
sovereign were capable, successful rebellion was almost an
impossibility. If he were just as well as capable, he discerned that
the enforcement of justice constituted his surest safeguard against
any rebellion.

Bábar, then, had found in the provinces of India which he had
conquered a system prevailing not at all dissimilar in principle to
that to which he had been accustomed in the more northern regions.
Had he been disposed to change it, he had not the time. Nor had his
successor either the time or the inclination. The system he had
pondered over just prior to his death shows no radical advance in
principle on that which had existed in Hindustán. He would have
parcelled out the empire into six great divisions, of which Delhi,
Agra, Kanauj, Jaunpur, Mándu, and Lahore should be the centres or
capitals. Each of these would have been likewise great military
commands, under a trusted general, whose army-corps should be so
strong as to render him independent of {78} outside aid: whilst the
Emperor should give unity to the whole by visiting each division in
turn with an army of twelve thousand horse, inspecting the local
forces and examining the general condition of the province. The
project was full of defects. It would have been a bad mode of
administration even had the sovereign been always more capable than
his generals. It could not have lasted a year had he been less so.

The sudden death of Humáyún came to interfere with, to prevent the
execution of, this plan. Then followed the military events
culminating in the triumph of Pánípat. That battle placed the young
Akbar in a position his grandfather Bábar had occupied exactly thirty
years before. Then, it had given Bábar the opportunity, of which he
availed himself, to conquer North-western India, Behar, and part of
Central India. A similar opportunity was given by the second battle
of Pánípat to Akbar. On that field he had conquered the only enemy
capable of coping with him seriously. As far as conquest then was
concerned, his task was easy. But to make that conquest enduring, to
consolidate the different provinces and the diverse nationalities, to
devise and introduce a system so centralising as to make the
influence of the Emperor permeate through every town and every
province, and yet not sufficiently centralising to kill local
traditions, local customs, local habits of thought,--that was a task
his grandfather had never attempted; which, to his father, would have
seemed an impossibility, even if it had occurred or {79} had been
presented to him. Yet, in their schemes, the absence of such a
programme had left the empire conquered on the morrow of the Pánípat
of 1526, an empire without root in the soil, dependent absolutely on
continued military success; liable to be overthrown by the first
strong gust; not one whit more stable than the empires of the
Ghaznivides, the Ghors, the Khiljis, the Tughlaks, the Saiyids, the
Lodís, which had preceded it. That it was not more stable was proved
by the ease with which the empire founded by Bábar succumbed, in the
succeeding reign, to the attacks of Sher Sháh. It may be admitted
that if Bábar had been immortal he might possibly have beaten back
Sher Sháh. But that admission serves to prove my argument. Bábar was
a very able general. So likewise was Sher Khán. Humáyún was flighty,
versatile, and unpractical; as a general of but small account. It is
possible that the Sher Khán who triumphed over Humáyún might have
been beaten by Bábar. But that only proves that the system introduced
by Bábar was the system to which he had been accustomed all his
life--the system which had alternately lost and won for him Fergháná
and Samarkand; which had given him Kábul, and, a few years later,
India; the system of the rule of the strongest. Nowhere, neither in
Fergháná, nor in Samarkand, nor in Kábul, nor in the Punjab, nor in
India, had it shot down any roots. It was in fact impossible it could
do so, for it possessed no germinating power.

{80} And now, at the close of 1556, the empire won and lost and won
again was in the hands of a boy, reared in the school of adversity
and trial, one month over fourteen years.[1] Pánípat had given him
India. Young as he was, he had seen much of affairs. He had been
constantly consulted by his father: he had undergone a practical
military education under Bairám, the first commander of the day: he
had governed the Punjab for over six months. But it was as an
administrator as well as a conqueror that he was now about to be
tried. In that respect neither the example of his father, nor the
precepts of Bairám, could influence him for good. So far as can be
known, he had already displayed the germs of a judgment prompt to
meet difficulties, a disposition inclined to mercy. He had refused to
slay Hemu. But other qualities were required for the task now opening
before him. Let us examine by the light of subsequent transactions
what were his qualifications for the task.

[Footnote 1: Akbar was born the 15th October, 1542. The second battle
of Pánípat was fought the 5th November, 1556.]



First, as to his outward appearance. 'Akbar,' wrote his son, the
Emperor Jahángír,[1] 'was of middling stature, but with a tendency to
be tall; he had a wheat-colour complexion, rather inclining to be
dark than fair, black eyes and eyebrows, stout body, open forehead
and chest, long arms and hands. There was a fleshy wart, about the
size of a small pea, on the left side of his nose, which appeared
exceedingly beautiful, and which was considered very auspicious by
physiognomists, who said that it was a sign of immense riches and
increasing prosperity. He had a very loud voice, and a very elegant
and pleasant way of speech. His manners and habits were quite
different from those of other persons, and his visage was full of
godly dignity.' Other accounts confirm, in its essentials, this
description. Elphinstone writes of him as 'a strongly built and
handsome man, with an agreeable expression of countenance, and very
captivating manners,' and as having been endowed with great personal
strength. He was capable of enduring great fatigue; was fond of
riding, of walking, of shooting, of {82} hunting, and of all
exercises requiring strength and skill. His courage was that calm,
cool courage which is never thrown off its balance, but rather shines
with its greatest lustre under difficulty and danger. Though ready to
carry on war, especially for objects which he deemed essential to the
welfare of the empire or for the common weal, he did not rejoice in
it. Indeed, he infinitely preferred applying himself to the
development of those administrative measures which he regarded as the
true foundation of his authority. War, then, to him was nothing more
than a necessary evil. We shall find throughout his career that he
did not wage a single war which he did not consider to be necessary
to the completion and safety of his civil system. He had an
affectionate disposition, was true to his friends, very capable of
inspiring affection in others, disliked bloodshed, was always anxious
to temper justice with mercy, preferred forgiveness to revenge,
though, if the necessities of the case required it, he could be stern
and could steel his heart against its generous promptings. Like all
large-hearted men he was fond of contributing to the pleasures of
others. Generosity was thus a part of his nature, and, even when the
recipient of his bounties proved unworthy, he was more anxious to
reform him than regretful of his liberality. For civil administration
he had a natural inclination, much preferring the planning of a
system which might render the edifice his arms were erecting suitable
to the yearnings of the people to the planning of a {83} campaign. On
all the questions which have affected mankind in all ages, and which
affect them still, the questions of religion, of civil polity, of the
administration of justice, he had an open mind, absolutely free from
prejudice, eager to receive impressions. Born and bred a Muhammadan,
he nevertheless consorted freely and on equal terms with the
followers of Buddha, of Bráhma, of Zoroaster, and of Jesus. It has
been charged against him that in his later years he disliked learned
men, and even drove them from his court. It would be more correct to
say that he disliked the prejudice, the superstition, and the
obstinate adherence to the beliefs in which they had been educated,
of the professors who frequented his court. He disliked, that is, the
weaknesses and the foibles of the learned, and when these were
carried to excess, he dispensed with their attendance at his court.
What he was in other respects will be discovered by the reader for
himself in the last chapter of this book. Sufficient, I hope, has
been stated to give him some idea of the characteristics of the
latent capacity of the young prince, who, fourteen years old, had
under the tutelage of Bairám Khán won the battle of Pánípat, and had
marched from the field directly, without a halt, upon Delhi. Few, if
any, of those about him knew then the strength of his character or
the resources of his intellect. Certainly, his Atálik, Bairám, did
not understand him, or he would neither have assassinated Tardí Beg
in his tent at Sirhind, nor have suggested to the young prince to
{84} plunge his sword into the body of the captured Hemu. But both
Bairám and the other nobles of the court and army were not long kept
in ignorance of the fact that in the son of Humáyún they had, not a
boy who might be managed, but a master who would be obeyed.

[Footnote 1: Sir Henry Elliot's _History of India, as told by its own
Historians_, vol. vi. p. 290.]

Akbar remained one month at Delhi. He sent thence a force into Mewát
to pursue the broken army of Hemu and to gain the large amount of
treasure it was conveying. In this short campaign his general, Pir
Muhammad Khán of Sherwán, at the time a follower of Bairám but
afterwards persecuted by him,[2] was eminently successful. Akbar then
marched upon and recovered Agra.

[Footnote 2: _Ain-í-Akbarí_ (Blochmann's Edition), pp. 324-5.]

But his conquests south of the Sutlej were not safe so long as the
Punjab was not secure. And, as we have seen, he had been forced to
leave at Mánkót, driven back but not overcome, a determined enemy of
his House in the person of Sikandar Sur. In March of the following
year (1557) he received information that the advanced guard of the
troops he had left in the Punjab had been defeated by that prince
some forty miles from Lahore. Noblemen who came from the Punjab told
him that the business was very serious, as Sikandar had made sure of
a very strong base at Mánkót, whence he might emerge to annoy even
though he were defeated in the field, and that his victory had
encouraged his partisans. Akbar recognised all the force of the
argument, and resolved to put in force a maxim which constituted the
great {85} strength of his reign, that if a thing were to be done at
all, it should be done thoroughly. He accordingly marched straight on
Lahore, and, finding Lahore safe, from that capital into Jálandhar,
where his enemy was maintaining his ground. On the approach of Akbar,
Sikandar retreated towards the Siwáliks, and threw himself into
Mánkót. There Akbar besieged him.

The siege lasted six months. Then, pressed by famine and weakened by
desertions, Sikandar sent some of his nobles to ask for terms. Akbar
acceded to his request that his enemy might be allowed to retire to
Bengal, leaving his son as a hostage that he would not again war
against the Emperor. The fort then surrendered, and Akbar returned to
Lahore; spent four months and fourteen days there to arrange the
province, and then marched on Delhi. As he halted at Jálandhar, there
took place the marriage of Bairám Khán with a cousin of the late
emperor, Humáyún. This marriage had been arranged by Humáyún, and to
the young prince his father's wishes on such subjects were a law.
Akbar reentered Delhi on the 15th of March, 1558. Bairám Khán was
still, in actual management of affairs, the Atálik, the tutor, of the
sovereign, and he continued to be so during the two years that
followed, 1558 and 1559. It is not easy for a young boy to shake off
all at once the influence of a great general under whom he had been
placed to learn his trade, and possibly Akbar, though he did not
approve many of the acts {86} authorised in his name by his Atálik,
did not feel himself strong enough to throw off the yoke. But the
removal by the strong hand of men whom Akbar liked, but who had
incurred without reason the enmity of Bairám, gradually estranged the
heart of the sovereign from his too autocratic minister. The
estrangement, once begun, rapidly increased. Bairám did not recognise
the fact that every year was developing the strong points in the
character of his master; that he was adding experience and knowledge
of affairs to the great natural gifts with which he had been endowed.
He still continued to see in him the boy of whom he had been the
tutor, whose armies he had led to victory, and whose dominions he was
administering. The exercise of power without a check had made the
exercise of such power necessary to him, and he continued to wield it
with all the self-sufficiency of a singularly determined nature.

Round every young ruler there will be men who will never fail to
regard the exercise by another of authority rightly pertaining to him
as a grievous wrong to the ruler and to themselves. It is not
necessary to inquire into the motives of such men. For one reason or
another, often doubtless of a selfish, rarely of a pure and
disinterested nature, they desire the young and rightful master of
the State to be the dispenser of power and patronage. That there was
a cluster of such men about Akbar, of men who disliked Bairám, who
had been injured by him, who expected from the prince favours which
they could not hope to {87} obtain from the minister, is certain.
Female influence was also brought to bear on the mind of the
sovereign. His nurse, who had attended on him from his cradle until
after his accession, and who subsequently became the chief of his
harem, urged upon him that the time had arrived when he should take
the administration into his own hands. Akbar was not unwilling. He
was in his eighteenth year. The four years he had lived since Pánípat
had restored to him part of the inheritance of his father, had been
utilised by him in a manner calculated to develop and strengthen his
natural qualities. But, though he saw and disliked the tendency to
cruelty and arbitrary conduct often displayed by his chief minister,
he had that regard for Bairám which a generous heart instinctively
feels for the man who has been his tutor from his childhood.
Experience, too, had given him so thorough an insight into the
character of Bairám that he could not but be sensible that any breach
with him must be a complete breach; that he must rid himself of him
in a manner which would render it impossible for him to aspire to the
exercise of any power whatever. Bairám, he knew, would have the whole
authority, or it would be unsafe to entrust him with any.

Various circumstances occurred in the beginning of 1560 which
determined Akbar to take into his own hands the reins of government.
He went therefore from Agra to Delhi resolved to announce this
determination to his minister. Bairám himself had more than {88} once
given an example of the mode in which he rid himself of a rival or a
noble whom he hated. His methods were the dagger or the sword. But
such a remedy was abhorrent to the pure mind of the young Emperor.
Nor--so far as can be gathered from the records of the period--had
anyone dared to whisper to him a proposal of that character. The
course which his mother and his nurse had alike suggested was to
propose to the minister in a manner which would make the proposition
have all the effect of a command, an honourable exile to Mekka.
Bairám had often publicly declared that he was longing for the
opportunity when he could safely resign his political burden into the
hands of others and make the pilgrimage which would ensure salvation.
Akbar then, anxious to prevent any armed resistance, on arriving at
Delhi, issued a proclamation in which he declared that he had assumed
the administration of affairs, and forbade obedience to any orders
but to those issued by himself. He sent a message to this effect to
his minister, and suggested in it the desirability of his making a
pilgrimage to Mekka.[3] Bairám had heard of Akbar's determination
before the message reached him, and had quitted Agra on his way {89}
to the western coast. He was evidently very angry, and bent on
mischief, for, on reaching Biána, he set free some turbulent nobles
who had been there confined. He received there Akbar's message, and
continued thence his journey to Nagaur in Rájpútána, accompanied only
by nobles who were related to him, and by their respective escorts.
From Nagaur, by the hand of one of these, he despatched to the
Emperor, as a token of submission to his will, his banner, his
kettle-drums, and all other marks of nobility. Akbar, who had been
assured that Bairám would most certainly attempt to rouse the Punjab
against him, had marched with an army towards that province, and was
at Jhajhar, in the Rohtak district, when the insignia reached him. He
conferred them upon a former adherent of Bairám's, but who in more
recent times had lived under the displeasure of that nobleman, and
commissioned him to follow his late master and see that he embarked
for Mekka. Bairám was greatly irritated at this proceeding, and
turning short to Bíkáner, placed his family under the care of his
adopted son and broke out into rebellion. But he had to learn the
wide difference of the situation of a rebel against the Mughal, and
the trusted chief officer of the Mughal. On reaching Dipálpur, the
news overtook him that his adopted son had proved false to his trust
and had turned against him. Resolved, however, to rouse the Jálandhar
Duáb, he pushed on for that well-known locality, only to encounter on
its borders the army of the Governor of {90} the Punjab, Atjah Khán.
In the battle that followed Bairám was defeated, and fled to Tilwára
on the Sutlej, thirty miles to the west of Ludhiána. Akbar, who had
been on his track when his lieutenant encountered and defeated him,
followed his late Atálik, and reduced him to such straits that Bairám
threw himself on his mercy. Then Akbar, remembering the great
services he had rendered, pardoned him, and, furnishing him with a
large sum of money, despatched him on the road to Mekka. Bairám
reached Gujarát in safety, was well received there by the Governor,
and was engaged in making his preparations to quit India, when he was
assassinated[4] by a Lohání Afghán whose father had been killed at
the battle of Machcíwára. Akbar, meanwhile, had returned to Delhi
(November 9, 1560). He rested there a few days and then pushed on to
Agra, there to execute the projects he had formed for the conquest,
the union, the consolidation of the provinces he was resolved to weld
into an empire. His reign, indeed, in the sense of ruling alone
without a minister who assumed the airs of a master, commenced really
from this date. The Atálik, who had monopolised the power of the
State, was gone, and the future of the country depended now entirely
upon the genius of the sovereign.

[Footnote 3: The message ran: 'As I was fully assured of your honesty
and fidelity I left all important affairs of State to your charge,
and thought only of my own pleasures. I have now determined to take
the reins of government into my own hands, and it is desirable that
you should now make the pilgrimage to Mekka, upon which you have been
so long intent. A suitable jagír out of the parganás of Hindustán
shall be assigned to your maintenance, the revenues of which shall be
transmitted to you by your agents.' Elliot, vol. v. p. 264.]

[Footnote 4: The motive attributed to the assassin was simply
revenge. Bairám was stabbed in the back so that the point of the long
dagger came out at his breast. 'With an Allahu Akbar' (God is great)
'on his lips he died,' writes Blochmann in his _Ain-í-Akbarí_. His
son was provided for by Akbar.]



The position in India, in the sixth year of Akbar's reign, dating
from the battle of Pánípat, but the first of his personal rule, may
thus be summarised. He held the Punjab and the North-western
Provinces, as we know those provinces, including Gwalior and Ajmere
to the west, Lucknow, and the remainder of Oudh, including Allahábád,
as far as Jaunpur, to the east. Benares, Chanar, and the provinces of
Bengal and Behar, were still held by princes of the house of Sur, or
by the representatives of other Afghán families. The whole of
Southern India, the greater part of Western India, were outside the
territories which acknowledged his sway.

There can be little doubt that, during the five years of his tutelage
under Bairám, Akbar had deeply considered the question of how to
govern India so as to unite the hearts of the princes and people
under the protecting arm of a sovereign whom they should regard as
national. The question was encumbered with difficulties. Four
centuries of the rule of Muhammadan sovereigns who had made no
attempt to cement into one bond of mutual interests the {92} various
races who inhabited the peninsula, each ruling on the principle of
temporary superiority, each falling as soon as a greater power
presented itself, had not only introduced a conviction of the
ephemeral character of the successive dynasties, and of the actual
dynasty for the time being. It had also left scattered all over the
country, from Bengal to Gujarát, a number of pretenders, offshoots of
families which had reigned, every one of whom regarded the Mughal as
being only a temporary occupant of the supreme seat of power, to be
replaced, as fortune might direct, possibly by one of themselves,
possibly by a new invader. This conviction of the ephemeral character
of the actual rule was increased by the recollection of the ease with
which Humáyún had been overthrown. Defeated at Kanauj, he had quitted
India leaving not a trace of the thirteen years of Mughal sway, not a
single root in the soil.

These were facts which Akbar had recognised. The problem, to his
mind, was how to act so as to efface from the minds of princes and
people these recollections; to conquer that he might unite; to
introduce, as he conquered, principles so acceptable to all classes,
to the prince as well as to the peasant, that they should combine to
regard him as the protecting father, the unit necessary to ward off
from them evil, the assurer to them of the exercise of their
immemorial rights and privileges, the assertor of the right of the
ablest, independently of his religion, or his caste, or his
nationality, to exercise command under {93} himself, the maintainer
of equal laws, equal justice, for all classes. Such became, as his
mind developed, the principles of Akbar. He has been accused, he was
accused in his life-time, by bigoted Muhammadan writers, of
arrogating to himself the attributes of the Almighty. This charge is
only true in the sense that, in an age and in a country in which
might had been synonymous with right, he did pose as the messenger
from Heaven, the representative on earth of the power of God, to
introduce union, toleration, justice, mercy, equal rights, amongst
the peoples of Hindustán.

His first aim was to bring all India under one sceptre, and to
accomplish this task in a great measure by enlisting in its favour
the several races which he desired to bring within the fold. I have
thought it advisable for the fuller comprehension of his system to
treat the subject in its two aspects, the physical and the moral.
This chapter, then, will chronicle the successive attempts to bring
under one government and one form of law the several states into
which India was then divided. The chapter that follows will deal more
particularly with the moral aspect of the question.

It would be tedious, in a work like this, to follow Akbar in all the
details of his conquests in India. It will suffice to record that,
during the first year of his own personal administration and the
sixth of his actual reign, he re-attached Málwá to his dominions.
Later in the season his generals repelled an attempt {94} made by the
Afghán ruler of Chanar and the country east of the Karamnásá to
attack Jaunpur, whilst Akbar himself, marching by way of Kálpi,
crossed there the Jumna, and proceeded as far as Karrah, not far from
Allahábád, on the right bank of the Ganges. There he was joined by
his generals who held Jaunpur, and thence he returned to Agra. The
year, at its close, witnessed the siege of Merta, a town in the
Jodhpur state, then of considerable importance, beyond Ajmere, and
seventy-six miles to the north-east of the city of Jodhpur. This
expedition was directed by Akbar from Ajmere where he was then
residing, though he confided the execution of it to his generals. The
place was defended with great energy by the Rájpút garrison, but, in
the spring of the following year it was surrendered on condition that
the garrison should march out with their horses and arms, but should
leave behind all their property and effects.

In the same year in which Merta fell (1562), the generals of Akbar in
Málwá, pushing westward, added the cities of Bijágarh and Burhánpur
on the Tápti to his dominions. The advantage proved, however, to be
the forerunner of a calamity, for the dispossessed governors of those
towns, combining with the expelled Afghán ruler of Málwá, and aided
by the zamíndárs of the country, long accustomed to their rule, made
a desperate attack upon the imperial forces. These, laden with the
spoils of Burhánpur, were completely defeated. For the moment Málwá
was lost, but the year did not expire before the {95} Mughal
generals, largely reinforced, had recovered it. The Afghán noble,
whilom Governor of Málwá, after some wanderings, threw himself on the
mercy of Akbar, and, to use the phrase of the chronicler, 'sought a
refuge from the frowns of fortune.' Akbar made him a commander of one
thousand, and a little later promoted him to the mansab (dignity) of
a commander of two thousand. He died in the service of his new
sovereign. The reader will not fail to notice how the principle of
winning over his enemies by assuring to them rank, position, and
consideration, instead of driving them to despair, was constantly
acted upon by Akbar. His design was to unite, to weld together. Hence
he was always generous to the vanquished. He would bring their
strength into his strength, instead of allowing it to become a
strength outside his own. He would make those who would in the first
instance be inclined to resist him feel that conquest by him, or
submission to him, would in no way impair their dignity, but,
ultimately, would increase it. We shall note the working of this
principle more clearly when we come to describe his dealings with the
several chiefs of Rájpútána.

A tragic event came to cloud the spring of the eighth year of the
reign of Akbar. I have referred already to the regard and affection
he entertained for the lady who had been his nurse in his infancy,
and who had watched his tender years. It was to a great extent upon
her advice that he had acted in dealing with Bairám. She had a
splendid provision in the {96} palace, and Akbar had provided
handsomely for her sons. The eldest of these, however, fired with
jealousy at the elevation of men whose equal or superior he
considered himself to be, and goaded probably by men of a like nature
to his own, assassinated the Prime Minister as he was sitting in his
public office; then, trusting to the favour which Akbar had always
displayed towards his family and himself, went and stood at the door
of the harem. But for such a man, and for such an act, Akbar had no
mercy. The assassin was cut to pieces, and his dead body was hurled
over the parapet into the moat below. Those who had incited him,
dreading lest their complicity should be discovered, fled across the
Jumna, but they were caught, sent back to Agra, and were ultimately
pardoned. The mother of the chief culprit died forty days later from
grief at her son's conduct.

For some time previously the condition of a portion of the Punjab had
been the cause of some anxiety to Akbar. The Gakkhars, a tribe always
turbulent, and the chiefs of which had never heartily accepted the
Mughal sovereigns, had set at defiance the orders issued for the
disposal of their country by Akbar. They had refused, that is, to
acknowledge the governor he had nominated. The Gakkhars inhabited, as
their descendants inhabit now, that part of the Punjab which may be
described as forming the north-eastern part of the existing district
of Ráwal Pindí. To enforce his orders Akbar sent thither an army, and
this army, after some sharp fighting, succeeded in restoring order.

{97} The chief of the Gakkhars was taken prisoner, and died whilst
still under surveillance. Akbar caused to be repressed likewise
disturbances which had arisen in Kábul, and met with promptitude a
conspiracy formed by the favourite of Humáyún, Abul Má'alí, whose
pretentions he had more than once put down, but who was now
returning, puffed up with pride, from a pilgrimage to Mekka.
Concerting a plan with another discontented noble, Abul Má'alí fell
upon a detachment of the royal army near Nárnul, and destroyed it.
Akbar sent troops in pursuit of him, and Abul Má'alí, terrified, fled
to Kábul, and wrote thence letters full of penitence to Akbar.
Ultimately, that is, early the following year, Abul Má'alí was taken
prisoner in Badakshán, and strangled.

Up to the spring of 1564 Akbar had not put into execution the designs
which he cherished for establishing the Mughal power in the provinces
to the east of Allahábád. Chanar, then considered the key of those
eastern territories, was held by a slave of the Adel dynasty. This
slave, threatened by one of Akbar's generals, wrote a letter to the
Emperor offering to surrender it. Akbar sent two of his nobles to
take over the fortress, and to them it was surrendered. The
possession of Chanar offered likewise an opening into the district of
Narsinghpur, governed by a Rání, who held her court in the fortress
of Chaurágarh. Against her marched the Mughal general, defeated her
in a pitched battle, and added Narsinghpur and portions of what is
now styled the district of {98} Hoshangábád to the imperial
dominions. In the hot weather of the same year, Akbar, under the
pretext of hunting, started for the central districts, when he was
surprised by the advent of the rainy season, and with some difficulty
made his way across the swollen streams to Narwár, then a flourishing
city boasting a circumference of twenty miles. After hunting for some
days in the vicinity of that city he pushed on towards Málwá, and
passing through Ráwa and Sarangpur, proceeded towards the famous
Mándu, twenty-six miles south-west of Mhow. The Governor of Mándu, an
Uzbek noble placed there by Akbar, conscious that the Emperor had
grounds for dissatisfaction with him, and placing no trust in a
reassuring message sent him by his sovereign, abandoned the city as
Akbar approached, and took the field with his followers. Akbar sent a
force after him which pursued him to the confines of Gujarát, and
took from him his horses, his elephants, and his wives.

The reception accorded to Akbar in Mándu was of the most gratifying
character. The zamíndárs of the neighbouring districts crowded in to
pay homage, and the King of distant Khándesh sent an embassy to greet
him. Akbar received the ambassador with distinction. It deserves to
be mentioned, as a characteristic feature of the customs of those
times, that when Akbar honoured the ambassador with a farewell
audience, he placed in his hand a firmán addressed to his master,
directing him to send to Mándu any one of his daughters whom he might
consider worthy {99} to attend upon the Emperor. The native historian
adds: 'when Mubárak Sháh,' the ruler of Khándesh, 'received this
gracious communication, he was greatly delighted, and he sent his
daughter with a suitable retinue and paraphernalia to his Majesty,
esteeming it a great favour to be allowed to do so.' After a short
stay at Mándu, Akbar returned to Agra, by way of Ujjain, Sarangpur,
Siprí, Narwár, and Gwalior. During the ensuing cold weather he spent
a great part of his time hunting in the Gwalior districts.

There can be but few travellers from the West to India who have not
admired the fortress, built of red sandstone, which is one of the
sights of Agra. At the time of the accession of Akbar there was at
Agra simply a citadel built of brick, ugly in form and ruinous from
decay. Akbar had for some time past resolved to build on its ruins a
fortress which should be worthy of the ruler of an empire, and in the
late spring of 1565 he determined on the plans, and gave the
necessary orders. The work was carried on under the direction of
Kásím Khán, a distinguished officer whom Akbar had made a commander
of three thousand. The building of the fortress took eight years of
continuous labour, and the cost was thirty-five lakhs of rupees. It
is built, as I have said, of red sandstone, the stones being well
joined together and fastened to each other by iron rings which pass
through them. The foundation everywhere reaches water.

The year did not close without an event which afforded Akbar the
opportunity of displaying his {100} decision and prompt action in
sudden emergencies. I have shown how, on his visit to Mándu, the
Uzbek governor of that city had taken fright and rushed into
rebellion; how Akbar had caused him to be pursued and punished. The
treatment of the rebel, though not unduly severe, had spread in the
minds of the Uzbek nobles at the court and in the army the impression
that the Emperor disliked men of that race, and three or four of them
combined to give him a lesson. The rebellion broke out in the autumn
of the year at Jaunpur, the governor of which the Uzbeks had secured
to their interests. Akbar was engaged in elephant-hunting at Narwár
when the news reached him.

He immediately despatched his ablest general with the troops that
were available to aid his loyal officers, whilst he should collect
further troops to follow. He marched about ten days later, reached
Kanauj, received there the submission of one of the rebel leaders,
remained there ten days, waiting till the river, swollen by the
rainfall, should subside. Learning then that the chief who was the
head of the rebellion had proceeded to Lucknow, he promptly followed
him thither with a small but chosen body of troops, and marching
incessantly for four-and-twenty hours, came in sight of that city on
the morning of the second day. As he approached, the rebels fled with
such speed that the horses of the Emperor and his retinue, completely
knocked up with their long march, could not follow them. The rebel
chief then fell back rapidly on Jaunpur, and joining there his
colleagues, quitted that place with them, and {101} crossing the
Gogra at the ford of Narhan, forty miles west-north-west of Chaprá,
remained encamped there. Thence they despatched agents into Bengal to
implore the aid of the king of that country.

Meanwhile, one imperial army, led by a general anxious for a
bloodless termination to the dispute, had arrived in front of them,
whilst another, commanded by a fiery and resolute leader, was
marching up from Rájpútána. The negotiations which the peaceful
general had commenced had almost concluded, when the fiery leader
arrived, and, declaring the negotiations to be a fraud, insisted upon
fighting. In the battle which followed the imperial forces were
defeated, and fled to re-assemble the day following at Shergarh.

Before this battle had been fought Akbar had confirmed the peace
negotiations with the rebels, and he was not moved from his
resolution when he heard of their victory over his army. He said:
'their faults have been forgiven,' and he sent instructions to his
Amírs to return to court. He then marched himself to Chanar, alike to
plan works for the strengthening of the fortress; to hunt elephants
in the Mírzápur jungles; and to await the further action of the
rebels he had pardoned with arms in their hands. The experiment was
not one to be repeated, for, flushed with their success, the rebel
chiefs broke out anew. Akbar, however, by a skilful disposition of
his forces, compelled their submission, and received them back to
favour. In the course of this year the imperial generals had {102}
taken the fortress of Rotás, in Behar, and ambassadors, sent on a
mission to the king of Orissa, had returned laden with splendid

The spring of the year 1566 found the Emperor back at Agra. The
native historians record that in these times of peace his great
delight was to spend the evening in the game of cháugan. Cháugan is
the modern polo, which was carried to Europe from India. But Akbar,
whilst playing it in the daytime in the manner in which it is now
played all over the world, devised a method of playing it on the dark
nights which supervene so quickly on the daylight in India. For this
purpose he had balls made of palás wood--a wood which is very light
and which burns for a long time, and set them on fire. He had the
credit of being the keenest cháugan-player of his time.

From this pleasure Akbar was roused by the news of successful
rebellions at Kábul and at Lahore. He marched with all haste towards
the close of the year in the direction of the Sutlej, reached Delhi
in ten days; thence marched to Sirhind; and thence joyfully to
Lahore. Thence he despatched his generals to drive the rebels across
the Indus. This they accomplished, and returned. The troubles at
Kábul were at the same time appeased: but, as a counter-irritant, the
absence of the Emperor so far in the north-west brought about
rebellion at Jaunpur. It was clear that up to this time--the end of
1566--Akbar had been unable successfully to grapple with the
important question how to establish a permanent {103} government in
Hindustán. The eleventh year of his reign, counting from the battle
of Pánípat, was now closing, and he had fixed so few roots in the
soil that it was certain that, should a fatal accident befall him,
the succession would again be decided by the sword. The beginning of
the year 1567 found him still at Lahore, engaged in hunting and
similar pleasures. He was roused from these diversions by the
intelligence that the Uzbek nobles whom he had pardoned, had taken
advantage of his absence to break out again. Accordingly he quitted
Lahore on the 22nd of March, and began his return-march to Agra. On
reaching Thuneswar, in Sirhind, he was greatly entertained by a fight
between two sects of Hindu devotees, the Jogís and the Suníásís, for
the possession of the rich harvest of gold, jewels, and stuffs,
brought to the shrine of the saint by pious pilgrims. Another sign of
the instability of his rule awaited him at Delhi, for he found that a
state prisoner had eluded the vigilance of the governor, and that the
governor, apprehensive of the imperial displeasure, had quitted the
city, and broken into rebellion.

Nor, even when he reached Agra, did more reassuring tidings await
him. The country about Kanauj was in a state of rebellion, and it was
clear to him that many of his nobles could not be trusted. In this
emergency he marched to Bhojpur, in the Rái Bareli district, thence
to Rái Bareli. There he learned that the rebels had crossed the
Ganges with the object of proceeding towards Kálpi. There had been
heavy {104} rains and the country was flooded, but Akbar, eager for
action, despatched his main forces to Karrah whilst he hastened with
a body of chosen troops to Mánikpur, midway between Partábgarh and
Allahábád. There he crossed the river on an elephant, pushed on with
great celerity, caught the rebels at the village of Mánikpur, and
completely defeated them. The principal leaders of the revolt were
killed during or after the battle. From the battle-field, Akbar
marched to Allahábád, then called by its ancient name of Pryága.
After a visit to Benares and to Jaunpur, in the course of which he
settled the country, he returned to Agra.

Deeming his eastern territories now secure, Akbar turned his
attention to Rájpútána. The most ancient of all the rulers of the
kingdoms in that large division of Western India was Udai Singh, Ráná
of Mewár, a man possessing a character in which weakness was combined
with great obstinacy. His principal stronghold was the famous
fortress of Chitor, a fortress which had indeed succumbed to
Allah-ud-dín Khilji in 1303, but which had regained the reputation of
being impregnable. It stands on a high oblong hill above the river
Banás, the outer wall of the fortifications adapting itself to the
shape of the hill. It was defended by an army of about seven thousand
Rájpúts, good soldiers, and commanded by a true and loyal captain. It
was supplied with provisions and abundance of water, and was in all
respects able to stand a long siege.

{105} Akbar himself sat down before the fortress, whilst he sent
another body of troops to make conquests in the vicinity, for the
Ráná, despairing of success, had fled to the jungles. But if he
pressed the siege vigorously, the Rájpúts defended themselves with
equal courage and obstinacy. Never had Akbar met such sturdy
warriors. As their pertinacity increased, so likewise did his pride
and resolution. At length the breach was reported practicable, and on
a night in the month of March, Akbar ordered the assault. He had a
stand erected for himself, whence he could watch and direct the
operations. As he sat there, his gun in his hand, he observed the
gallant Rájpúts assembling in the breach, led by their capable
commander, prepared to give his troops a warm reception. The distance
between his stand and the breach was, as the crow flies, but short,
for the river alone ran between the two.

By the light of the torches, Akbar easily recognised the Rájpút
general, and believing him to be within distance, he fired and killed
him on the spot. This fortunate shot, despatched whilst the hostile
parties were approaching one another, so discouraged the Rájpúts,
that at the critical moment they made but a poor defence. They
rallied indeed subsequently, but it was too late, and though they
then exerted themselves to the utmost, they could not regain the lost
advantage. When the day dawned, Chitor was in the possession of
Akbar. In gratitude for its victory Akbar, in pursuance of a vow he
had made before he began the siege, made a pilgrimage on {106} foot
to the mausoleum of the first Muhammadan saint of India, Ma'inu-i-din
Chisti of Sijistan, on the summit of the hill of Ajmere. He had not
then emancipated himself from his early training. He remained ten
days at Ajmere, and returned thence to Agra by way of Mewát.

Akbar spent the spring and rainy season at Agra. He then designed the
conquest of the strong fortress of Ranthambor in Jaipur, but whilst
the army he had raised for this purpose was on its march,
disturbances in Gujarát, followed by an invasion of Central India
from that side, compelled Akbar to divert his troops to meet that
danger. He then decided to march in person with another army against
Ranthambor. This he did early in the following year (1569). As soon
as he had compelled the surrender of the fortress, he returned to
Agra, stopping on the way a week at Ajmere, to visit once again the
mausoleum of the saint.

This year he founded Fatehpur-Síkrí, the magnificent ruins of which
compel, in the present day, the admiration of the traveller. The
story is thus told by the author of the Tabakat. After stating that
Akbar had had two sons, twins, neither of whom had lived, he goes on
to say that Shaikh Salím Chisti, who resided at Síkrí, twenty-two
miles to the south-west of Agra, had promised him a son who should
survive. Full of the hope of the fulfilment of this promise, Akbar,
after his return from Ranthambor, had paid the saint several visits,
remaining there ten to twenty days on each {107} occasion; eventually
he built a palace there on the summit of a rising ground; whilst the
saint commenced a new monastery and a fine mosque, near the royal
mansion. The nobles of the court, fired by these examples, began then
to build houses for themselves.

Whilst his own palace was building one of his wives became pregnant,
and Akbar conveyed her to the dwelling of the holy man. When,
somewhat later, he had conquered Gujarát he gave to the favoured town
the prefix 'Fatehpur' (City of victory). The place has since been
known in history by the joint names of Fatehpur-Síkrí. Towards the
end of the year his wife, whom he had sent to reside at Síkrí, gave
birth to a son at the house of the saint, who is known in history as
the Emperor Jahángír, though called after the saint by the name of
Salím. His mother was a Rájpút princess of Jodhpur. To commemorate
this event Akbar made of Fatehpur-Síkrí a permanent royal abode;
built a stone fortification round it, and erected some splendid
edifices. He then made another pilgrimage on foot to the mausoleum of
the saint on the Ajmere hill. Having paid his devotions he proceeded
to Delhi.

Early the following year Akbar marched into Rájpútána and halted at
Nagaur, in Jodhpur. There he received the homage of the son of the
Rájá of that principality, then the most powerful in Rájpútána, and
that of the Rájá of Bíkáner and his son. As a tribute of his
appreciation of the loyalty of the latter, Akbar took the Rájá's
daughter in marriage. He {108} amused himself for some time at Nagaur
in hunting the wild asses which at that time there abounded, and then
proceeded to Dipálpur in the Punjab. There he held a magnificent
durbar, and then, with the dawn of the new year, proceeded to Lahore.
After settling the affairs of the Punjab, he returned to
Fatehpur-Síkrí with the intention of devoting the coming year to the
conquest of Gujarát.

The province of Gujarát in Western India included, in the time of
Akbar, the territories and districts of Surat, Broach, Kaira,
Ahmadábád, a great part of what is now Baroda, the territories now
represented by the Mahi Kántha and Rewá Kántha agencies, the Panch
Mahas, Pálanpur, Rádhanpur, Balisna, Cambay, Khandeah, and the great
peninsula of Káthiáwár. This agglomeration of territories had for a
long time had no legitimate master. Parcelled out into districts,
each of which was ruled by a Muhammadan noble alien to the great bulk
of the population, it had been for years the scene of constant civil
war, the chiefs grinding the peasantry to obtain the means wherewith
to obtain the supreme mastery. Sometimes, fired by information of the
weakness of an adjoining province, the chiefs would combine to make
temporary raids. The result was that Gujarát had become the focus of
disorder. The people were oppressed, and the petty tyrants who ruled
over them were bent only on seeking advantages at the expense of
others. Akbar had long felt the results of this anarchy, and he
resolved now to put an end to it for ever.

{109} The expedition of Akbar to Gujarát is the most famous military
exploit of his reign. He was resolved that there should be no mistake
either in its plan or in its execution. For the first time since he
had become ruler of the greater part of India he felt secure as to
the behaviour, during the probable duration of the expedition, of the
conduct of his nobles and his vassals. He set out from Fatehpur-Síkrí
at the head of his army in September, 1572, and marching by Sanganer,
eighteen miles south of Jaipur, reached Ajmere the middle of October.
There he stayed two days to visit the mausoleum of the saint, then,
having sent an advanced guard of ten thousand horse to feel the way,
followed with the bulk of the army, and marched on Nagaur,
seventy-five miles to the north-east of Jodhpur. On reaching Nagaur a
courier arrived with the information that a son, later known as
Prince Dányál, had been born to him. He spent there fourteen days in
arranging for the supplies of his army, then pushing on, reached
Patan, on the Saraswatí, in November, and Ahmadábád early in the
following month. In the march between the two places he had received
the submission of the chief who claimed to be supreme lord of
Gujarát, but whose authority was barely nominal. At Ahmadábád, then
the first city in Gujarát, Akbar was proclaimed Emperor of Western

There remained, however, to be dealt with many of the chieftains, all
unwilling to renounce the authority they possessed. Amongst these
were the rulers of Broach, of Baroda, and of Surat. No {110} sooner,
then, had the Emperor arranged matters at Ahmadábád for the good
order of the country, than he set out for Cambay, and reached it in
five days. There, we are told by the historians, he gazed for the
first time on the sea. After a stay there of nearly a week, he
marched, in two days, to Baroda. There he completed his arrangements
for the administration of the country, appointing Ahmadábád to be the
capital, and nominating a governor from amongst the nobles who had
accompanied him from Agra. Thence, too, he despatched a force to
secure Broach and Surat. Information having reached him that the
chief of Broach had murdered the principal adherent of the Mughal
cause in that city, and had then made for the interior, passing
within fifteen miles of Baroda, Akbar dashed after him with what
troops he had in hand, and on the second night came in sight of his
camp at Sársa, on the further side of a little river.

Akbar had then with him but forty horsemen, and, the river being
fordable, he endeavoured to conceal his men until reinforcements
should arrive. These came up in the night to the number of sixty, and
with his force, now increased to a total number of a hundred, Akbar
forded the river to attack ten times their number. The rebel leader,
instead of awaiting the attack in the town, made for the open, to
give a better chance to his preponderating numbers. Akbar carried the
town with a rush, and then dashed in pursuit. But the country was
intercepted by lanes, {111} bordered on both sides by cactus hedges,
and the horsemen of Akbar were driven back into a position in which
but three of them could fight abreast, the enemy being on either side
of the cactus hedges. The Emperor was in front of his men, having by
his side the gallant Rájpút prince, Rájá Bhagwán Dás of Jaipur, whose
sister he had married, and the Rájá's nephew and destined successor,
Mán Singh, one of the most brilliant warriors of the day. The three
were in the greatest danger, for the enemy made tremendous efforts to
break in upon them. But the cactus hedges, hitherto a bar to their
formation, now proved a defence which the enemy could not pass. And
when Bhagwán Dás had slain his most prominent adversary with his
spear, and Akbar and the nephew had disposed of two others, the three
took advantage of the momentary confusion of the enemy to charge
forward, and aided by the desperate gallantry of their men, roused by
the danger of their sovereign to extraordinary exertions, to force
them to flight. The followers of the rebel chief, sensible that they
were engaged in a losing cause, displayed nothing like the firmness
and persistency of the soldiers of Akbar. They dropped off as they
could find the opportunity, and the rebel chief himself, abandoned by
his following, made his way, as best he could, past Ahmadábád and
Dísa to Sirohí in Rájpútána.

Broach meanwhile had fallen, and there remained only Surat. Against
this town, so well known to {112} English traders in the days of his
son and grandson, Akbar marched in person on his return from the
expedition just related. Against the breaching material employed in
those days Surat was strong. But the Emperor pressed the siege with
vigour, and after a patient progress of a month and seventeen days,
the garrison, reduced to extremities, surrendered. He remained at
Surat long enough to complete the settlement of the affairs of the
province of Gujarát, and then began his return-march to Agra. He
arrived there on the 4th of June, 1573, having been absent on the
expedition about nine months.

Whilst Akbar had been besieging Surat, the rebel chief whom he had
defeated at Sársa, and who had fled to Sirohí, had been bestirring
himself to make mischief. Joined by another powerful malcontent noble
he advanced against Pátan, met near that place the Emperor's forces,
and had almost beaten them in the field, when, his own troops
dispersing to plunder, the Mughal forces rallied, pierced the enemy's
centre, and turned defeat into victory. The news of this achievement
reached Akbar whilst he was still before Surat. The rebel leader,
still bent on doing all the mischief in his power, made his way
through Rájpútána to the Punjab, encountering two or three defeats on
his way, but always escaping with his life, and plundering, as he
marched, Pánípat, Sonpat, and Karnál. In the Punjab he was
encountered by the imperial troops, was defeated, and, after some
exciting adventures, was wounded by a party of {113} fishermen near
Múltán, taken prisoner, and died from the effect of his wound. He was
a good riddance, for he was a masterful man. It may here be added
that during this year the Mughal troops attempted, but failed to take
the strong fortress of Kángra, in the Jálandhar Duáb. The besiegers
had reduced the garrison to extremities when they were called off by
the invasion of the adventurer whose death near Múltán I have
recorded. Kángra did not fall to the Mughal till the reign of the son
of Akbar.

Akbar had quitted the province of Gujarát believing that the conquest
of the province was complete, and that he had won by his measures the
confidence and affection of the people. But he had not counted
sufficiently on the love of rule indwelling in the hearts of men who
have once ruled. He had not been long at Agra, then, before the
dispossessed lordlings of the province began to raise forces, and to
harass the country. Determined to nip the evil in the bud, Akbar
prepared a second expedition to Western India, and despatching his
army in advance, set out, one Sunday morning in September, riding on
a swift dromedary, to join it. Without drawing rein, he rode seventy
miles to Toda, nearly midway between Jaipur and Ajmere. On the
morning of the third day he reached Ajmere, paid his usual devotions
at the tomb of the saint; then, mounting his horse in the evening,
continued his journey, and joined his army at Páli on the road to
Dísa. Near Pátan he was joined by some troops collected by his
lieutenants, {114} who had awaited the arrival of their sovereign to

His force was small in comparison with that which the rebel chiefs
had managed to enlist, but the men who formed it were the cream of
his army. The celerity of his movements too had served him well. The
rebels had not heard that he had quitted Agra when he was amongst
them. They were in fact sleeping in their tents near Ahmadábád when
Akbar, who had made the journey from Agra in nine days, was upon

That there was chivalry in those days is shown by the remark of the
native historian, the author of the Tabakat-í-Akbarí, 'that the
feeling ran through the royal ranks that it was unmanly to fall upon
an enemy unawares, and that they would wait till he was roused.' The
trumpeters, therefore, were ordered to sound. The chief rebel leader,
whose spies had informed him that fourteen days before the Emperor
was at Agra, still declared his belief that the horsemen before him
could not belong to the royal army as there were no elephants with
them. However he prepared for battle. The Emperor, still chivalrous,
waited till he was ready, then dashed into and crossed the river,
formed on the opposite bank, and 'charged the enemy like a fierce
tiger.' Another body of Mughal troops took them simultaneously in
flank. The shock was irresistible. The rebels were completely
defeated, their leader wounded and taken prisoner.

An hour later, another hostile body, about five {115} thousand
strong, appeared in sight. These too were disposed of, and their
leader was killed. In the battle and in the pursuit the rebels lost
about two thousand men. Akbar then advanced to Ahmadábád, rested
there five days, engaged in rewarding the deserving, and in arranging
for the permanent security of the province. He then marched to
Mahmudábád, a town in the Kaira district, and thence to Sirohí. From
Sirohí he went direct to Ajmere, visited there the mausoleum of the
famous saint, thence, marching night and day, stopped at a village
about fourteen miles from Jaipur to arrange with Rájá Todar Mall,
whom he met there, one of the ablest of his officers, afterwards to
become Diwán, or Chancellor, of the Empire, regarding the mode of
levying the revenues of Gujarát. From that village the Emperor
proceeded direct to Fatehpur-Síkrí, where he arrived in triumph,
after an absence of forty-three days.

His plan of bringing under his sceptre the whole of India had so far
matured that he ruled now, at the end of the eighteenth year of his
reign, over North-western, Central, and Western India, inclusive of
the Punjab and Kábul. Eastward, his authority extended to the banks
of the Karamnásá. Beyond that river lay Behar and Bengal,
independent, and under certain circumstances threatening danger. He
had fully resolved, then, that unless the unforeseen should occur,
the nineteenth year of his reign should be devoted to the conquest of
Bengal and the states tributary to Bengal. Before setting out on the
{116} expedition, however, he paid another visit to the tomb of the
saint on the hill of Ajmere.

I have written much in the more recent pages of the marches of Akbar,
and the progress of his armies, but up to the present I have not
referred to the principle on which those movements were made. There
have been warriors, even within the memory of living men, who have
made war support war. Upon that principle acted the Khorasání and
Afghán barbarians who invaded India when the Mughal power was
tottering to its fall. But that principle was not the principle of
Akbar. Averse to war, except for the purpose of completing the
edifice he was building, and which, but for such completion, would,
he well knew, remain unstable, liable to be overthrown by the first
storm, he took care that neither the owners nor the tillers of the
soil should be injuriously affected by his own movements, or by the
movements of his armies. With the object of carrying out this
principle, he ordered that when a particular plot of ground was
decided upon as an encampment, orderlies should be posted to protect
the cultivated ground in its vicinity. He further appointed assessors
whose duty it should be to examine the encamping ground after the
army had left it, and to place the amount of any damage done against
the government claim for revenue. The historian of the
Tabakat-í-Akbarí adds that this practice became a rule in all his
campaigns; 'and sometimes even bags of money were given to these
{117} inspectors, so that they might at once estimate and satisfy the
claims of the raiyats and farmers, and obviate any interference with
the revenue collectors.' This plan, which is in all essentials the
plan of the western people who virtually succeeded to the Mughal,
deprived war of its horrors for the people over whose territories it
was necessary to march.

Whilst Akbar is paying a visit of twelve days' duration to the tomb
of the saint at Ajmere, it is advisable that we examine for a moment
the position of affairs in Behar and Bengal.

The Afghán king of Bengal and Behar, who sat upon the joint throne at
the time of the Mughal re-conquest of the North-western Provinces,
had after a time acknowledged upon paper the suzerainty of Akbar. But
it was, and it had remained a mere paper acknowledgment. He had paid
no tribute, and he had rendered no homage. During the second
expedition of Akbar to Gujarát this prince had died. His son and
immediate successor had been promptly murdered by his nobles, and
these, constituting only a fraction, though a powerful fraction, of
the court, had raised a younger brother, Dáúd Khán, to the throne.
But Dáúd was a man who cared only for pleasure, and his accession was
the cause of the revolt of a powerful nobleman of the Lodí family,
who, raising his standard in the fort of Rohtásgarh, in the Shahábád
district of Behar, declared his independence. A peace, however, was
patched up between them, and Dáúd, taking {118} advantage of this,
and of the trust reposed in him by the Lodí nobleman, caused the
latter to be seized and put to death. As soon as this intelligence
reached the Mughal governor of Jaunpur, that nobleman, who had been
directed by Akbar to keep a sharp eye on the affairs of Behar, and to
act as circumstances might dictate, crossed the Karamnásá, and
marched on the fortified city of Patná, into which Dáúd, distrustful
of meeting the Mughals in the field, had thrown himself. Such was the
situation very shortly after the return of Akbar from Gujarát.
Desirous of directing the campaign himself, Akbar despatched orders
to his lieutenant to suspend operations till he should arrive, then,
making the hurried visit to Ajmere of which I have spoken, he
hastened with a body of troops by water to Allahábád. Not halting
there, he continued his journey, likewise by water, to Benares,
stayed there three days, then, taking to boat again, reached the
point where the Gúmtí flows into the Ganges. Thence, pending the
receipt of news from his lieutenant, he resolved to ascend the Gúmtí
to Jaunpur.

On his way thither, however, he received a despatch from his
lieutenant, urging him to advance with all speed. Directing the
boatmen to continue their course with the young princes and the
ladies to Jaunpur, Akbar at once turned back, reached the point where
he had left his troops, and directing that they should march along
the banks in sight of the boats, descended to Chausá, the place
memorable, the reader may recollect, for the defeat of his {119}
father by Sher Khán. Here a despatch reached him to the effect that
the enemy had made a sortie from Patná, which had caused much damage
to the besiegers. Akbar pushed on therefore, still by water, and
reached the besieging army on the seventh day.

The next day he called a council of war. At this he expressed his
opinion that before assaulting the fort it was advisable that the
besiegers should occupy Hájípur, a town at the confluence of the
Gandak and the Ganges, opposite to Patná. This course was adopted,
and the next day Hájípur fell. Dáúd was so terrified by this success,
and by the evident strength of the besieging army, that he evacuated
Patná the same night, and fled across the Púnpún, near its junction
with the Ganges at Fatwa. Akbar entered the city in triumph the next
morning, but, anxious to capture Dáúd, remained there but four hours;
then, leaving his lieutenant in command of the army, followed with a
well-mounted detachment in pursuit of the enemy. Swimming the Púnpún
on horseback he speedily came up with Dáúd's followers, and captured
elephant after elephant, until on reaching Daryápur, he counted two
hundred and sixty-five of those animals. Halting at Daryápur, he
directed two of his trusted officers to continue the pursuit. These
pressed on for fourteen miles further, then it became clear that Dáúd
had evaded them, and they returned.

The conquest of Patná had given Behar to Akbar. He stayed then at
Daryápur six days to constitute the {120} government of the province,
then nominating to the chief office the successful lieutenant who had
planned the campaign, he left him to follow it up whilst he should
return to Jaunpur. At that place he stayed thirty-three days, engaged
in perfecting arrangements for the better administration of the
country. With this view he brought Jaunpur, Benares, Chanar, and
other mahalls in the vicinity, directly under the royal exchequer,
and constituted the newly acquired territories south of the Karamnásá
a separate government.

Having done this, he proceeded to Cawnpur, on his way to Agra. At
Cawnpur he stayed four days, long enough to receive information that
his general in Bengal had occupied, successively, Monghyr, Bhágalpur,
Garhí, and Tanda on the opposite side of the Ganges to Gaur, the
ancient and famous Hindu capital of Bengal, and that he was preparing
to push on further. It may be added that he carried out this
resolution with vigour, and followed up Dáúd relentlessly, defeating
him at Bájhura, and finally compelling him to surrender at Cuttack.
With the surrender of this prince, the conquest of Bengal might be
regarded as achieved.

Very much elated with the good news received at Cawnpur, Akbar,
deeming the campaign in Bengal as virtually terminated, pushed on to
Delhi, devoted there a few days to hunting, and then made another
journey to Ajmere, hunting as he marched. At Nárnul he received
visits from his governors of the Punjab and of Gujarát, and had the
satisfaction of learning {121} that everywhere his rule was taking
root in the hearts of the people. After the exchange of ideas with
these noblemen, he pushed on to Ajmere, made his pilgrimage to the
tomb of the saint, caused to be repressed the rising of a petty chief
in the jungles of Jodhpur, and then returned to his favourite
residence at Fatehpur-Síkrí.

He had noticed, on his many journeys, that a very great part of the
territories he had traversed remained uncultivated. The evil was
neither to be attributed to the nature of the soil, which was rich,
nor to the laziness of the people. Sifting the matter to the bottom,
Akbar came to the conclusion that the fault rather lay with the
administration, which placed upon the land a tax which rendered
cultivation prohibitive to the poor man. The evil, he thought, might
be remedied if some plan could be devised for dividing the profits of
the first year between the government and the cultivator. After a
thorough examination of the whole question, he arranged that the
several parganás, or subdivisions of the districts, should be
examined, and that those subdivisions which contained so much land
as, on cultivation, would yield ten million of tankás,[1] should be
divided off, and given in charge of an honest and intelligent officer
who was {122} to receive the name of Karorí. The clerks and
accountants of the exchequer were to make arrangements with these
officers and send them to their respective districts, where, by
vigilance and attention, the uncultivated land might in the course of
three years be brought into a state of production, and the revenues
recovered for the government. This scheme was carried out, and was
found to realise all the advantages it promised.

[Footnote 1: Blochmann, in his _Ain-í-Akbarí_ (note, p. 16), states
that, according to Abulfazl, the weight of one dam was five tanks. As
the copper coin known as 'dam' was one fortieth part of a rupee
(Ibid. p. 31), it follows that ten million of tankás would equal
50,000 rupees. A parganá is a division of land nearly equalling a
barony. A parganadár was called 'lord of a barony.']

The nineteenth year of the reign of Akbar was thus in all respects
save one a glorious year for the young empire. Bengal and Behar had
been added to North-western, Central, and Western India. Practically,
in fact, all India north of the Vindhya range acknowledged the
supremacy of the son of Humáyún. The exception to the general
prosperity was caused by a terrible famine and pestilence in Western
India, the effects of which were most severely felt. Grain rose to a
fabulous price, 'and horses and cows had to feed upon the bark of
trees.' The famine and pestilence lasted six months.

The early part of the following year, 1575, was occupied with the
pursuit of Dáúd and the conquest of Orissa. I have already stated how
the Afghán prince was defeated at Bájhura, midway between Mughalmárí
and Jaleswar, and how, pursued to and invested in Cuttack, he had
surrendered. The treaty concluded with him provided that he should
govern the province of Orissa in the name and on behalf of the
Emperor Akbar. It may be added that Dáúd did not keep {123} the faith
he plighted on this occasion. He took the first propitious occasion
to rebel, and two years later was defeated in a great battle by the
Mughal general. He was taken prisoner, and in punishment of his
treason his head was severed from his body on the field of battle.
For some time, however, Bengal and Orissa continued to require great
vigilance and prompt action on the part of the Mughal administrators.

The other principal events of this year were the building by the
Emperor at Fatehpur-Síkrí of an Ibádat-kháná, or palace for the
reception of men of learning, genius, and solid acquirements. The
building was divided into four halls: the western to be used by
Saiyids, or descendants of the Prophet: the southern by the learned,
men who had studied and acquired knowledge: the northern by those
venerable for their wisdom and their subjection to inspiration. The
eastern hall was devoted to the nobles and officers of state, whose
tastes were in unison with those of one or other of the classes
referred to. When the building was finished, the Emperor made it a
practice to repair there every Friday night and on the nights of holy
days, and spend the night in the society of the occupants of the
halls, moving from one to the other and conversing. As a rule, the
members of each hall used to present to him one of their number whom
they considered most worthy of the notice and bounty of the Emperor.
The visits were always made opportunities for the distribution of
largesses, and scarcely one of {124} the guests ever went empty away.
The building was completed by the end of the year.

The following year was uneventful, but the year 1577 was marked by
that rebellion in Orissa under Dáúd of which I have already spoken.
The campaign was stirring whilst it lasted, but the death of Dáúd and
his uncle put an end to it.

This year, likewise, there was trouble in Rájpútána. Alone of all the
sovereigns of the territories known by that name, the Ráná of Mewár
had refused the matrimonial alliance offered to his female relatives
by Akbar. Descended, as he believed, from the immortal gods, he
regarded such an alliance as a degradation. He refused it then,
whilst he was yet struggling for existence. He refused it, though he
saw the Rájpút prince whom he most hated, the Rájá of Jodhpur,
enriched, in consequence of his compliance, by the acquisition of
four districts, yielding an ample revenue. He remained obdurate,
defying the power of Akbar. Ráná Udai Singh had in 1568 lost his
capital, and had fled to the jungles of Rajpípla, and there had died
in 1572.

His son, Partáp Singh, inherited all his obstinacy, and many of the
noble qualities of his grandfather, the famous Sanga Ráná. Without a
capital, without resources, his kindred and clansmen dispirited by
the reverses of his house, yet sympathising with him in his refusal
to ally himself with a Muhammadan, Partáp Singh had established
himself at Kombalmír, in the Arávallis, and had endeavoured to
organise the country for a renewed struggle. Some {125} information
of his plans seems to have reached the ears of Akbar whilst he was
paying his annual visit to Ajmere in 1576-7, and he despatched his
most trusted general, also a Rájpút, the Mán Singh of Jaipur, whom we
have seen fighting by his side in Gujarát, with five thousand horse,
to beat him up. The two opposing forces met at Huldíghát, called also
Gogandah, in December 1576. The battle which followed terminated in
the complete defeat of the Ráná, who, when the day was lost, fled to
the Arávalli hills. To deprive him of all possible resources Akbar
despatched a party into the hills, with instructions to lay waste the
country whilst pursuing. Akbar himself entered Mewár, arranged the
mode of its administration; then proceeded to Málwá, encamped on its
western frontier, arranged the administration of the territories
dependent upon the city of Burhánpur, and improved that of Gujarát.
To these matters he devoted the years 1577-8. He then marched for the

A circumstance, interesting to the people who now hold supreme sway
in India, occurred to the Emperor on his way to the Punjab. He had
reached Delhi, and had even proceeded a march beyond it, when a
certain Hájí[2] who had visited Europe, 'brought with him fine goods
and fabrics for his Majesty's inspection.' The chronicler does not
state more on the subject than the extract I have made, and we are
left to imagine the part of Europe whence the fabrics came, and the
impression they made. Akbar stayed but a short time {126} in the
Punjab, then returned to Delhi, paid then his annual visit to Ajmere,
and stopping there but one night, rode, accompanied by but nine
persons, at the rate of over a hundred miles a day to Fatehpur-Síkrí,
arriving there the evening of the third day.

[Footnote 2: A Hájí is a Musalmán who has made the pilgrimage to

The following year, 1580, was remarkable for the fact that the empire
attained the highest degree of prosperity up to that time. Bengal was
not only tranquil, but furnished moneys to the imperial exchequer.
The ruler of Mewár was still being hunted by the imperial troops, but
in no other part of India was the sound of arms heard.

In the course of his journeys Akbar had noticed how the imposition of
inland tolls, justifiable so long as the several provinces of
Hindustán were governed by rival rulers, tended only, now that so
many provinces were under one head, to perpetuate differences. Early
in 1581, then, he abolished the tamgha, or inland tolls, throughout
his dominions. The same edict proclaimed likewise the abolition of
the jizyá, a capitation tax imposed by the Afghán rulers of India
upon those subjects who did not follow the faith of Muhammad. It was
the Emperor's noble intention that thought should be free; that every
one of his subjects should worship after his own fashion and
according to his own convictions, and he carried out this principle
to the end of his days. The most important political event of the
year was the rebellion of a body of disaffected nobles in Bengal.
Acting without much cohesion they were defeated and dispersed.

{127} The year following, 1582, Akbar marched at the head of an army
to the Punjab to repulse an invasion made from Kábul by his own
brother, Muhammad Hakím Mirzá. The rebel brother had arrived close to
Lahore before Akbar had reached Pánípat. The news, however, of the
march of Akbar produced upon him the conviction that his invasion
must miscarry. He accordingly retreated from Lahore, and fell back on
Kábul. Akbar followed him by way of Sirhind, Kálánaur, and Rotás;
then crossed the Indus at the point where Attock now stands, giving,
as he crossed the river, instructions for the erection of a fortress
at that place.

He advanced on to Pesháwar, and pushed forward a division of his army
under his son, Prince Murád, to recover Kábul. Murád was a young man,
tall and thin, with a livid complexion, but much given to drink, from
the effects of which he and his brother, Prince Dányál, eventually
died. Marching very rapidly, he encountered the army of his uncle at
Khurd-Kábul and totally defeated him. Akbar had followed him with a
supporting army, and entered Kábul three days after him. There he
remained three weeks, then, having pardoned his brother and
re-bestowed upon him the government of Kábul, he returned by way of
the Khaibar to Lahore, settled the government of the Punjab, and then
marched, by way of Delhi, to Fatehpur-Síkrí. 'He now,' writes the
chronicler, 'remained for some time at Fatehpur, administering
justice, dispensing charity, and arranging public business.'

{128} Apparently he continued to reside there throughout the year
following. Rebellion was still smouldering in Bengal, but the Emperor
was represented there by capable officers who reported constantly to
him, and to whom he as constantly despatched instructions. The
disaffection was not very serious, but it was harassing and
interfered greatly with the collection of the revenues.

The beginning of 1584 found Akbar still at Fatehpur-Síkrí. The
principal events of the year were, the pacification of Bengal; the
outbreak and suppression of a rebellion in Gujarát; the revolt of the
ruler of Asírgarh and Burhánpur; disturbances in the Deccan; and the
death of the brother of Akbar, the then ruler of Kábul. The revolts
were put down and a new governor was sent to Kábul. Prosperity
reigned over the empire when the year closed.

Among the firmest of the protected allies of the Emperor was Bhagwán
Dás, Rájá of Jaipur, who had not only himself rendered splendid
military service to Akbar, but whose nephew, Mán Singh, held a very
high command in his armies. At the period at which we have arrived
this Rájpút prince was governor of the Punjab. From his family Akbar
now selected a wife for his son, Prince Salím, afterwards the Emperor
Jahángír. The marriage was celebrated at Fatehpur-Síkrí, with great
ceremony and amid great rejoicings. Until this reign the Rájpút
princes had scornfully rejected the idea of a matrimonial alliance
with princes of the Muhammadan faith. But it was the {129} desire of
Akbar to weld: to carry into action the cardinal principle that
differences of race and religion made no difference in the man. He
had many prejudices to overcome, especially on the part of the Rájpút
princes, and to the last he could not conquer the obstinate
resistance of the Ráná of Mewár.

The others were more complaisant. They recognised in Akbar the
founder of a set of principles such as had never been heard before in
India. In his eyes merit was merit, whether evinced by a Hindu prince
or by an Uzbek Musalmán. The race and creed of the meritorious man
barred neither his employment in high positions nor his rise to
honour. Hence, men like Bhagwán Dás, Mán Singh, Todar Mall, and
others, found that they enjoyed a consideration under this Muhammadan
sovereign far greater and wider-reaching than that which would have
accrued to them as independent rulers of their ancestral dominions.
They governed imperial provinces and commanded imperial armies. They
were admitted to the closest councils of the prince whose main object
was to obliterate all the dissensions and prejudices of the past,
and, without diminishing the real power of the local princes who
entered into his scheme, to weld together, to unite under one supreme
head, without loss of dignity and self-respect to anyone, the
provinces till then disunited and hostile to one another.

One of the means which Akbar employed to this end was that of
marriage between himself, his family, {130} and the daughters of the
indigenous princes. There was, he well knew, no such equaliser as
marriage. The Rájpút princes could not fail to feel that their
relationship to the heir to the throne, often to the throne itself,
assured their position. When they reflected on the condition of
Hindustán prior to his rule; how the Muhammadan conquests of the
preceding five centuries had introduced strife and disorder without
cohesion, and that this man, coming upon them as a boy, inexperienced
and untried in the art of ruling, had introduced order and good
government, toleration and justice, wherever he conquered; that he
conquered only that he might introduce those principles; that he made
no distinction between men on account of their diversity of race or
of religious belief; they, apt to believe in the incarnation of the
deity, must have recognised something more than ordinarily human,
something approaching to the divine and beneficent, in the conduct of

His toleration was so absolute, his trust, once given, so thorough,
his principles so large and so generous, that, despite the prejudices
of their birth, their religion, their surroundings, they yielded to
the fascination. And when, in return, Akbar asked them to renounce
one long-standing prejudice which went counter to the great principle
which they recognised as the corner-stone of the new system, the
prejudice which taught them to regard other men, because they were
not Hindus, as impure and unclean, they all, with one marked
exception, gave way. They recognised that {131} a principle such as
that was not to be limited; that their practical renunciation of that
portion of their narrow creed which forbade marriages with those of a
different race, could not but strengthen the system which was giving
peace and prosperity to their country, honour and consideration to

It was in the beginning of the thirty-first year of his reign that
Akbar heard of the death of his brother at Kábul, and that the
frontier province of Badakshán had been overrun by the Uzbeks, who
also threatened Kábul. The situation was grave, and such as, he
concluded, imperatively required his own presence. Accordingly, in
the middle of November, he set out with an army for the Punjab,
reached the Sutlej at the end of the following month, and marched
straight to Ráwal Pindí. Learning there that affairs at Kábul were
likely to take a direction favourable to his interests, he marched to
his new fort of Attock, despatched thence one force under Bhagwán Dás
to conquer Kashmír, another to chastise the Balúchís, and a third to
move against Swát. Of these three expeditions, the last met with
disaster. The Yusufzais not only repulsed the first attack of the
Mughals, but when reinforcements, sent by Akbar under his special
favourite, Rájá Bírbal, joined the attacking party, they too were
driven back with a loss of 8,000 men, amongst whom was the Rájá.[3]
It was the {132} severest defeat the Mughal troops had ever
experienced. To repair it, the Emperor despatched his best commander,
Rájá Todar Mall, supported by Rájá Mán Singh, of Jaipur. These
generals manoeuvred with great caution, supporting their advance by
stockades, and eventually completely defeated the tribes in the
Khaibar Pass.

[Footnote 3: Rájá Bírbal was a Bráhman, a poet, and a skilful
musician. He was noted for his liberality and his _bonhomie_. 'His
short verses, bon mots, and jokes,' writes Blochmann (_Ain-í-Akbarí_,
p. 405) 'are still in the mouths of the people of Hindustán.']

Meanwhile, the expedition sent against Kashmír had been but a degree
more successful. The commanders of it had reached the Pass of
Shuliyas, and had found it blockaded by the Musalmán ruler of the
country. They waited for supplies for some days, but the rain and
snow came on, and before they could move there came the news of the
defeat inflicted by the Yusufzais. This deprived them of what
remained to them of nerve, and they hastened to make peace with the
ruler of Kashmír, on the condition of his becoming a nominal
tributary, and then returned to Akbar. The Emperor testified his
sense of their want of enterprise by according to them a very cold
reception, and forbidding them to appear at court. But the mind of
Akbar could not long harbour resentment, and he soon forgave them.

Of the three expeditions, that against the Balúchís alone was
immediately successful. These hardy warriors submitted without
resistance to the Mughal Emperor. As soon as the efforts of Todar
Mall and Mán Singh had opened the Khaibar Pass, Akbar appointed the
latter, the nephew and heir to the Jaipur Rájá, to be Governor of
Kábul, and sent {133} him thither with a sufficient force, other
troops being despatched to replace him in the Yusufzai country, and
Pesháwar being strongly occupied. Akbar had himself returned to
Lahore. Thence he directed a second expedition against Kashmír. As
this force approached the Passes, in the summer of 1587, a rebellion
broke out against the actual ruler in Srínagar. The imperial force
experienced then no difficulty in entering and conquering the
country, which thus became a portion of the Mughal empire, and, in
the reign of the successor of Akbar, the summer residence of the
Mughal sovereigns of India. It may here be mentioned that to reach
Jamrúd, at the entrance of the Khaibar Pass, Mán Singh had to fight
and win another battle with the hill-tribes. He reached Kábul,
however, and established there a stable administration. The Kábulis
and the heads of the tribes, however, complained to Akbar that the
rule of a Rájpút prince was not agreeable to them, whereupon Akbar
translated Mán Singh in a similar capacity to Bengal, which just then
especially required the rule of a strong hand, and replaced him at
Kábul by a Musalmán. He announced at the same time his intention of
paying a visit to that dependency.

First of all, he secured possession of Sind (1588); then, in the
spring of the following year, set out for Kashmír. On reaching
Bhímbar, he left there the ladies of his harem with Prince Murád, and
rode express to Srínagar. He remained there, visiting {134} the
neighbourhood, till the rainy season set in, when he sent his harem
to Rotas. They joined him subsequently at Attock on his way to Kábul.
The Passes to that capital were open, all opposition on the part of
the hill-tribes having ceased, so Akbar crossed the Indus at Attock,
and had an easy journey thence to Kábul. He stayed there two months,
visiting the gardens and places of interest. 'All the people, noble
and simple, profited by his presence.'[4] He was still at Kábul when
news reached him of the death of Rájá Todar Mall (November 10, 1589).
The same day another trusted Hindu friend, Rájá Bhagwán Dás of
Jaipur, also died. Akbar made then new arrangements for the
governments of Kábul, Gujarát, and Jaunpur, and returned towards

[Footnote 4: Elliot, vol. v. p. 458.]

He had already, as I have stated, arranged for the government of
Bengal. He reached Lahore on his home journey in the beginning of
1590. Whilst residing there, information reached him that his newly
appointed Governor of Gujarát, the son of his favourite nurse, had
engaged in hostilities with Káthíawár and Cutch. These hostilities
eventuated in the addition of those two provinces to the Emperor's
dominions, and in the suicide of the prince of Afghán descent, who
had fomented all the disturbances in Western India.[5] The Emperor
took advantage of his stay at Lahore to direct the more {135}
complete pacification of Sind, affairs in which province had taken a
disadvantageous turn. The perfect conquest of the province proved
more difficult than had been anticipated. It required large
reinforcements of troops, and the display of combined firmness and
caution to effect the desired result. The campaign took two years,
and, during that time, Kashmír had revolted.

[Footnote 5: Vide Blochmann's _Ain-í-Akbarí_, p. 326.]

The Emperor during those two years had had his head-quarters at
Lahore. No sooner did he hear that the success in Sind was complete,
than Akbar, who, expecting the event, had sent on the bulk of his
forces towards Bhímbar, remaining himself hunting on the banks of the
Chenáb, set out to rejoin his main body. On his way to it he learned
that his advanced guard had forced one of the Passes, notwithstanding
fierce opposition. This event decided the war, for the soldiers of
the rebel chief, resenting his action, fell upon him during the
night, killed him, and cut off his head, which they sent to Akbar.
With the death of this man all opposition ceased, and Akbar, riding
on to Srínagar, stayed there eight days, settling the administration,
and then proceeded by way of the gorge of Baramula to Rotas, and
thence to Lahore. There he received information that his lieutenant
in Bengal, the Rájá Mán Singh, had definitively annexed the province
of Orissa to the imperial dominions. He had despatched thence to
Lahore a hundred and twenty elephants, captured in that province, as
a present to the Emperor.

{136} The attempt to bring into the imperial scheme the Deccan
provinces south of the Vindhyan range, followed the next year, and
continued for eight years later. On the whole it was successful. The
strong places, Daulatábád, Kherwá, Násik, Asírgarh, and Ahmadnagar,
opened their gates, after long sieges, to the imperial arms. And,
although the territories dependent upon Ahmadnagar were not entirely
subdued till 1637, the position acquired by Akbar gave him a
preponderance which the Mughals retained for at least a century.

The campaign in Southern India was remarkable for three facts. The
first was the dissensions of the generals sent from different parts
of India to co-operate independently in the conquest, dissensions
which necessitated, first, the despatch thither from Agra of the
Emperor's confidant, Abulfazl, and afterwards, the journey thither of
Akbar himself; secondly, the death, from excessive drinking, of the
Emperor's son, Prince Murád, at Jálna; thirdly, the murder of
Abulfazl, on his return to Agra, at the instigation of Prince Salím,
the eldest surviving son of Akbar and his heir apparent.

Akbar had held his court for fourteen years at Lahore when, in 1598,
the necessities of the position in Southern India forced him to march
thither. He had compelled the surrender of Ahmadnagar and Asírgarh,
when, nominating Prince Dányál to be governor in Khándesh and Berár,
and Abulfazl to complete the conquest of the territories dependent
{137} upon Ahmadnagar, he marched in the spring of 1601 towards Agra.

The circumstances which required the presence of Akbar at Agra were
of a very painful character. Prince Salím had from his earliest youth
caused him the greatest anxiety. Nor had the anxiety been lessened as
the boy approached manhood. Salím, better known to posterity as the
Emperor Jahángir, was naturally cruel, and he appeared incapable of
placing the smallest restraint on his passions. He hated Abulfazl,
really because he was jealous of his influence with his father;
avowedly because he regarded him as the leading spirit who had caused
Akbar to diverge from the narrow doctrines of the bigoted
Muhammadans. Akbar had hoped for a moment that the despatch of
Abulfazl to Southern India would appease the resentment of his son,
and when he decided to proceed thither himself he had nominated Salím
as his successor, and had confided to him, with the title of Viceroy
of Ajmere, the task of finishing the war with the Ráná of Mewár,
which had broken out again. He had further studied his partialities
by despatching the renowned Mán Singh, his relation by marriage, to
assist him.

The two princes were already on their march towards Mewár when
information reached them that a rebellion had broken out in Bengal,
of which province Mán Singh was Viceroy. Mán Singh was therefore
compelled to march at once to repress the outbreak. Left without a
counsellor, and commanding a {138} considerable force, Prince Salím
resolved to take advantage of the absence of his father in the south
to make a bold stroke for the crown. Renouncing, then, his march on
Mewár, he hurried with his force to Agra, and when the commandant of
the imperial fortress, loyal to his master, shut its gates in his
face, hastened to Allahábád, occupied the fort, seized the provinces
of Oudh and Behar, and assumed the title of King.

It was the news of these occurrences which drew Akbar from the
Deccan. Attributing the action of Salím to the violence of a temper
which had ever been impatient of control, he resolved rather to guide
than to compel him. Accordingly he wrote him a letter, in which,
assuring him of his continued love if he would only return to his
allegiance, he warned him of the consequences of continued
disobedience. When this letter reached Salím, Akbar was approaching
Agra at the head of an army of warriors, few in number, but the
chosen of the empire. Salím, then, recognising that his position was
absolutely untenable, and that if he persisted it might cost him the
succession, replied in the most submissive terms. His conduct,
however, did not correspond to his words. Informed, somewhat later,
that the bulk of the imperial army was still in the Deccan, he
marched to Itáwa, levying troops as he proceeded, with the intention
of waiting upon his father at the head of an imposing force. But
Akbar was not deceived. He sent his son an order {139} to choose one
of two courses; either to come to Agra slightly attended, or to
return to Allahábád.

Prince Salím chose the latter course, receiving the promise, it is
believed, that he should receive the grant of Bengal and Orissa. At
any rate, he did receive the grant of those provinces. We cannot say,
at this time, how much Akbar was influenced in his course by the
consciousness of the comparative weakness of his own position, by his
dislike of having to fight his own son, or by his affection. Probably
the three sentiments combined to give to the course he adopted a
tinge of weakness. At any rate, he soon had reason to feel that his
concessions to his rebellious son had produced no good effect. For
Salím, whose memory was excellent, and whose hatred was insatiable,
took the opportunity of the return of Abulfazl from the Deccan, but
slightly attended, to instigate the Rájá of Orchhá to waylay and
murder him.[6]

[Footnote 6: Prince Salím justifies, in his _Memoirs_, the murder on
the ground that Abulfazl had been the chief instigator of Akbar in
his religious aberrations, as he regarded them. To the last he
treated the Rájá of Orchhá with the greatest consideration.]

The murder of his friend was a heavy blow to Akbar. Happily he never
knew the share his son had in that atrocious deed. Believing that the
Rájá of Orchhá was the sole culprit, he despatched a force against
him. The guilty Rájá fled to the jungles, and succeeded in avoiding
capture, until the death of Akbar rendered unnecessary his attempts
to conceal himself. A reconciliation with Salím followed, and {140}
the Emperor once more despatched his eldest son to put down the
disturbances in Mewár. These disturbances, it may be mentioned, were
caused by the continued refusal of Ráná Partáp Singh to submit to the
Mughal. After his defeat at Huldíghát in 1576, that prince had fled
to the jungles, closely followed by the imperial army. Fortune
continued so adverse to him that after a series of reverses,
unrelieved by one success, he resolved, with his family and trusting
friends, to abandon Mewár, and found another kingdom on the Indus. He
had already set out, when the unexampled devotion of his minister
placed in his hands the means of continuing the contest, and he
determined to try one more campaign. Turning upon his adversaries,
rendered careless by continued success, he smote them in the hinder
part, and, in 1586, had recovered all Mewár, the fortress of Chitor
and Mandalgarh excepted. Cut off from Chitor, he had established a
new capital at Udaipur, a place which subsequently gave its name to
his principality. When he died, in 1597, he was still holding his
own. He was succeeded by his son, Amra Ráná, who, at the time at
which we have arrived, was bidding defiance, in Mewár, to all the
efforts of the imperial troops (1603).

Prince Salím had a great opportunity. The forces placed at his
disposal were considerable enough, if energetically employed, to
complete the conquest of Mewár, but he displayed so little taste for
the task that Akbar recalled him and sent him to his {141}
semi-independent government of Allahábád, where he spent his time in
congenial debauchery, and in worse. His disregard of all sense of
duty and honour, even of the lives of his most faithful attendants,
became at last so marked that Akbar set out for Allahábád, in the
hope that his presence might produce some effect. He had made but two
marches, however, when the news of the serious illness of his own
mother compelled him to return. But the fact that he had quitted Agra
for such a purpose produced a revulsion in the thought and actions of
Prince Salím. As his father could not come to him, he determined to
repair, slightly attended, to the court of his father. There he made
his submission, but he did not mend his ways, and his disputes with
his eldest son, Prince Khusrú, became the scandal of the court.

The Emperor, indeed, was not happy in his children. His two eldest,
twins, had died in infancy. The third, erroneously styled the first,
was Prince Salím. The fate of the fourth son, Prince Murád, has been
told. The fifth son, Prince Dányál, described as tall, well-built,
good-looking, fond of horses and elephants, and clever in composing
Hindustání poems, was addicted to the same vice as his brother Murád,
and died about this time from the same cause. His death was a great
blow to Akbar, who had done all in his power to wean his son from his
excesses, and had even obtained a promise that he would renounce
them. There were at court many grandsons of the Emperor. Of these the
best-beloved was Prince Khurram, who {142} subsequently succeeded
Jahángír under the title of Sháh Jahán.

The news of the death of Prince Dányál and its cause seem to have
greatly affected the Emperor. He was ill at the time, and it soon
became evident that his illness could have but one termination. The
minds of those about him turned at once to the consideration of the
succession. His only surviving son was Prince Salím, but his conduct
at Allahábád, at Agra, and elsewhere, had turned the hearts of the
majority against him, whilst in his son, Prince Khusrú, the nobles
recognised a prince whose reputation was untarnished. Prince Khusrú,
moreover, as the son of a princess of Jodhpur, was closely related to
Rájá Mán Singh, and that capable man was a great factor in the
empire. He had married, too, the daughter of the Muhammadan nobleman
who held the highest rank in the army, and who was himself probably
related to the royal family, for he was the son of the favourite
nurse of Akbar. These two great nobles began then to take measures
for the exclusion of Prince Salím, and the succession of Prince

To effect this purpose they had the fort of Agra, in the palace in
which Akbar was lying ill, guarded by their troops. Had Akbar died at
this moment his death must have given rise to a civil war, for Salím
would not renounce his pretensions. But, as soon as the prince
recognised the combination against him, alarmed for his personal
safety, he withdrew a short distance from Agra. Vexed at his absence
during {143} what he well knew was his last illness, Akbar, a lover
above all of legality, summoned his nobles around him, declared
Prince Salím to be his lawful successor, and expressed a hope that
Prince Khusrú might be provided for by the government of Bengal.

The influence acquired by Akbar was never more apparent than at this
conjuncture. It needed but one expression of resentment against his
ungrateful and undutiful son to secure his exclusion. His expressions
in his favour, on the other hand, had the effect of inducing the most
powerful nobles to resolve to carry out his wishes, the half-hearted
and wavering to join with them. Not even the highest nobleman in the
army, the father-in-law of Prince Khusrú, who had already combined
with Rájá Mán Singh to support Khusrú, could resist the influence. He
sent privately to Prince Salím to assure him of his support. Mán
Singh, the most influential of all at that particular crisis, seeing
that he was isolated, yielded to the overtures made him by Salím, and
promised also to uphold him. Secure now of the succession, Prince
Salím repaired to the palace, where he was affectionately received by
the dying Akbar. The circumstances of that interview are known only
from the report of the prince.

After the first affectionate greetings Akbar desired that all the
nobles might be summoned to the presence; 'for,' he added, 'I cannot
bear that any misunderstanding should subsist between you and those
who have for so many years shared in my toils, {144} and been the
companions of my glory.' When the nobles entered and had made their
salutations, he said a few words to them in a body; then, looking at
each of them in succession, he begged them to forgive him if he had
wronged any one of them. Prince Salím then threw himself at his feet,
weeping; but Akbar, signing to his attendants to gird his son with
his own scimitar and to invest him with the turban and robes of
State, commended to his care the ladies of the palace, urged him to
be kind and considerate to his old friends and associates, then,
bowing his head, he died.

Thus peacefully departed the real founder of the Mughal empire. More
fortunate than his father and his grandfather, more far-sighted, more
original, and, it must be added, possessing greater opportunities, he
had lived long enough to convince the diverse races of Hindustán that
their safety, their practical independence, their enjoyment of the
religion and the customs of their forefathers, depended upon their
recognition of the paramount authority which could secure to them
these inestimable blessings. To them he was a man above prejudices.
To all alike, whether Uzbek, or Afghán, or Hindu, or Pársí, or
Christian, he offered careers, provided only that they were faithful,
intelligent, true to themselves. The several races recognised that
during his reign of forty-nine years India was free from foreign
invasion; that he subjugated all adversaries within, some by force of
arms, some by means more peaceful, and that he preferred {145} the
latter method. 'The whole length and breadth of the land,' wrote
Muhammad Amín after his death, 'was firmly and righteously governed.
All people of every description and station came to his court, and
universal peace being established among all classes, men of every
sect dwelt secure under his protection.' Such was Akbar the ruler. In
the next chapter I shall endeavour to describe what he was as a man.

Akbar died the 15th October, 1605, one day after he had attained the
age of sixty-three.



'The success of the three branches of the government, and the
fulfilment of the wishes of the subject,' writes the author of the
Ain-í-Akbarí, 'whether great or small, depend upon the manner in
which a king spends his time.'

Tried by this test, the cause of the success of Akbar as a man and as
a ruler can be logically traced. Not only was he methodical, but
there ran through his method a most earnest desire to think and do
what was right in itself and conducive to the great aim of his life,
the building of an edifice which, rooted in the hearts of people,
would be independent of the personality of the ruler. Before I
attempt to state in detail the means he adopted to attain this end, I
propose to say a few words on a subject which may be said to underlie
the whole question, the conformation of his mind and the manner in
which it was affected by matters relating to the spiritual condition
of mankind. Than this there cannot be any more important
investigation, for it depended entirely on the structure of his mind,
and its power to accept {147} without prejudice, and judge
impartially, views differing from those of his co-religionists,
whether the chief of the Muhammadans, few in number when compared
with the entire community, could so obtain the confidence and
sympathy of the subject race, doomed to eternal perdition in the
thought of all bigoted Musalmáns, as to overcome their prejudices to
an extent which, had they been consulted previously, they would have
declared impossible. The period was undoubtedly unfavourable to the
development of what may be called a liberal policy in this matter.

The Muhammadans were not only conquerors, but conquerors who had
spread their religion by the sword. The scorn and contempt with which
the more zealous among them regarded the religion of the Hindus and
those who professed it may be traced in every page of the writings of
Badauní, one of the contemporary historians of the period. Nor was
that scorn confined solely to the Hindu religion. It extended to
every other form of worship and to every other doctrine save that
professed by the followers of Muhammad.

Akbar was born in that creed. But he was born with an inquiring mind,
a mind that took nothing for granted. During the years of his
training he enjoyed many opportunities of noting the good qualities,
the fidelity, the devotion, often the nobility of soul, of those
Hindu princes, whom his courtiers, because they were followers of
Bráhma, devoted mentally to eternal torments. He noted that these
men, and men who {148} thought like them, constituted the vast
majority of his subjects. He noted, further, of many of them, and
those the most trustworthy, that though they had apparently much to
gain in a worldly point of view by embracing the religion of the
court, they held fast to their own. His reflective mind, therefore,
was unwilling from the outset to accept the theory that because he,
the conqueror, the ruler, happened to be born a Muhammadan, therefore
Muhammadanism was true for all mankind. Gradually his thoughts found
words in the utterance: 'Why should I claim to guide men before I
myself am guided;' and, as he listened to other doctrines and other
creeds, his honest doubts became confirmed, and, noting daily the
bitter narrowness of sectarianism, no matter of what form of
religion, he became more and more wedded to the principle of
toleration for all.

The change did not come all at once. The historian, Badauní, a
bigoted Musalmán, who deplored what he considered the backsliding of
the great sovereign, wrote: 'From his earliest childhood to his
manhood, and from his manhood to old age, his Majesty has passed
through the most various phases, and through all sorts of religious
practices and sectarian beliefs, and has collected everything which
people can find in books, with a talent of selection peculiar to him
and a spirit of inquiry opposed to every (Islamite) principle. Thus a
faith based on some elementary principles traced itself on the mirror
of his heart, and as the result of all the influences which were
brought to {149} bear on his Majesty, there grew, gradually as the
outline on a stone, the conviction on his heart that there were
sensible men in all religions, and abstemious thinkers, and men
endowed with miraculous powers, among all nations. If some true
knowledge were thus everywhere to be found, why should truth be
confined to one religion, or to a creed like Islám, which was
comparatively new, and scarcely a thousand years old; why should one
sect assert what another denies, and why should one claim a
preference without having superiority conferred upon itself?'

Badauní goes on to state that Akbar conferred with Bráhmans and
Sumánís, and under their influence accepted the doctrine of the
transmigration of souls. There can be no doubt, however, but that the
two brothers, Faizí and Abulfazl, like himself born and brought up in
the faith of Islám, greatly influenced the direction of his studies
on religion. It is necessary to say something regarding two men so
illustrious and so influential. They were the sons of a Shaikh of
Arab descent, Shaikh Mubárak, whose ancestors settled at Nagar, in
Rájpútána. Shaikh Mubárak, a man who had studied the religion of his
ancestors to the acquiring of a complete knowledge of every phase of
it, who possessed an inquiring mind and a comprehensive genius, and
who had progressed in thought as he acquired knowledge, gave his
children an education which, grafted on minds apt to receive and to
retain knowledge, qualified them to shine in any society. The elder
son, {150} Shaikh Faizí, was born near Agra to the vicinity of which
the father had migrated in 1547. He was thus five years younger than
Akbar. Shortly after that prince had reconquered the North-western
Provinces, Shaikh Faizí, then about twenty, began his quiet,
unostentatious life of literature and medicine. He soon made a name
as a poet. His native generosity, backed by the earnings of his
profession as physician, prompted him to many acts of charity, and it
became a practice with him to treat the poor for nothing.

In religious matters he, following his father's example, displayed a
tendency towards the unfashionable doctrines of the Shiahs. It is
related that, on one occasion, when he applied to the Kadr[1] for the
grant of a small tract of land, that officer, who was a Sunní, not
only refused him but, solely because he was a Shiah, drove him from
the hall with contumely and insult. Meanwhile, moved by the report of
his great ability, Akbar had summoned Faizí to his camp before
Chitor, which place he was besieging. Faizí's enemies, and he had
many, especially among the orthodox or Sunní Muhammadans, interpreted
this order as a summons to be judged, and they warned the Governor of
Agra to see that Faizí did not escape. But Faizí had no thought of
escape. He was nevertheless taken to the camp of Akbar as a prisoner.
The great prince received him with courtesy, and entranced by his
varied talent, {151} shortly afterwards attached him to his court, as
teacher in the higher branches of knowledge to the princes, his sons.
He was occasionally also employed as ambassador.

[Footnote 1: Kadr: an officer appointed to examine petitions, and
selected on account of his presumed impartiality. Vide Blochmann's
_Ain-í-Akbarí_, p. 268.]

His abundant leisure Faizí devoted to poetry. In his thirty-third
year he was nominated to an office equivalent to that of Poet
Laureate. Seven years later he died, never having lost the favour of
Akbar, who delighted in his society and revelled in his conversation.
It is said that he composed a hundred and one books. His fine
library, consisting of four thousand three hundred choice
manuscripts, was embodied in the imperial library.

But if Shaikh Faizí stood high in the favour of Akbar, his brother,
Shaikh Abulfazl, the author of the Ain-í-Akbarí, stood still higher.
Abulfazl was born near Agra the 14th January, 1551. He too, equally
with his brother, profited from the broad and comprehensive teaching
of the father. Nor did he fail to notice, and in his mind to resent,
the ostracism and more than ostracism, to which his father was
subjected on account of the opinions to which the free workings of a
capacious mind forced him to incline. The effect on the boy's mind
was to inculcate the value of toleration for all beliefs, whilst the
pressure of circumstances stimulated him to unusual exertions in his
studies. At the age of fifteen he had read works on all branches of
those sciences that are based on reason and traditional testimony,
and before he was twenty had begun his career as a teacher.

{152} 'An incident,' writes the lamented Professor Blochmann, 'is
related to shew how extensive even at that time his reading was. A
manuscript of the rare work of Içfahání happened to fall into his
hands. Unfortunately, however, one half of each page, vertically
downwards from top to bottom, was rendered illegible, or was
altogether destroyed, by fire. Abulfazl, determined to restore so
rare a book, cut away the burnt portions, pasted new paper to each
page, and then commenced to restore the missing halves of each line,
in which attempt, after many thoughtful perusals, he succeeded. Some
time afterwards, a complete copy of the same work turned up, and on
comparison it was found that in many places there were indeed
different words, and in a few passages new proofs even had been
adduced: but on the whole the restored portion presented so many
points of extraordinary coincidence, that his friends were not a
little astonished at the thoroughness with which Abulfazl had worked
himself into the style and mode of thinking of a difficult author.'

A student by nature, Abulfazl for some time gave no favourable
response to the invitation sent to him by Akbar to attend the
imperial court. But the friendship which, in the manner already
described, had grown between his elder brother, Faizí, and the
Emperor, prepared the way for the intimacy which Akbar longed for,
and when, in the beginning of 1574, Abulfazl was presented as the
brother of Faizí, Akbar accorded to him a reception so favourable
that {153} he was induced to reconsider his resolve to lead a life
'of proud retirement.' He was then only twenty-three, but he had
exhausted the sources of knowledge available in his own country. To
use his own words: 'My mind had no rest, and my heart felt itself
drawn to the sages of Mongolia or to the hermits on Lebanon; I longed
for interviews with the Llámas of Tibet or with the pádris of
Portugal, and I would gladly sit with the priests of the Pársís and
the learned of the Zend-ávestá. I was sick of the learned of my own

From this period he was attached to the court, and there arose
between himself and Akbar one of those pure friendships founded on
mutual esteem and mutual sympathy, which form the delight of
existence. In the Emperor Abulfazl found the aptest of pupils. Amid
the joys of the chase, the cares of governing, the fatigues of war,
Akbar had no recreation to be compared to the pleasure of listening
to the discussions between his much regarded friend and the bigoted
Muhammadan doctors of law and religion who strove to confute him.
These discourses constituted a great event in his reign. It is
impossible to understand the character of Akbar without referring to
them somewhat minutely. Akbar did not suddenly imbibe those
principles of toleration and of equal government for all, the
enforcement of which marks an important era in the history of India.
For the first twenty years of his reign he had to conquer to maintain
his power. With the representatives of dispossessed dynasties in
Bengal, in Behar, in Orissa, in {154} Western India, including
Gujarát and Khándesh, ready to seize an opportunity, to sit still was
to invite attack. He was forced to go forward. The experience of the
past, and the events daily coming under his notice, alike proved that
there must be but one paramount authority in India, if India was to
enjoy the blessings of internal peace.

During those twenty years he had had many intervals of leisure which
he had employed in discussing with those about him the problem of
founding a system of government which should retain by the sympathy
of the people all that was being conquered. He had convinced his own
mind that the old methods were obsolete; that to hold India by
maintaining standing armies in the several provinces, and to take no
account of the feelings, the traditions, the longings, the
aspirations, of the children of the soil,--of all the races in the
world the most inclined to poetry and sentiment, and attached by the
strongest ties that can appeal to mankind to the traditions of their
fathers--would be impossible.

That system, tried for more than four centuries, had invariably
broken down, if not in the hands of the promulgator of it, certainly
in those of a near successor. Yet none of those who had gone before
him had attempted any other. His illustrious grandfather, who had
some glimmering of the necessity, had not been allotted the necessary
time, for he too had had to conquer to remain. His father had more
than almost any of the Afghán sovereigns {155} who preceded him
failed to read the riddle. He fell before a better general, and his
rootless system died at once, leaving not a trace behind it.
Penetrated, then, with the necessity of founding a system that should
endure, and recognising very gradually, that such a system must be
based on mutual respect, on mutual toleration regarding differences
of race, of religion, of tradition; on the union of interests; on the
making it absolutely clear that the fall of the keystone to the arch
meant the fall of each stone which went to build up the arch; he
sought, as I have said, during the first twenty years of his reign,
discussions with his courtiers and the learned regarding the system
which would best appeal to those sentiments in the conquered race
which would convey to them confidence and conviction.

Before Akbar knew Abulfazl he had almost withdrawn from the task in
despair. Instead of wise counsel he encountered only precepts tending
to bigotry and intolerance. From his earlier counsellors there was
absolutely no help to be hoped for. Akbar became wearied of the
squabbles of these men; of their leanings to persecution for the
cause of religious differences, even amongst Muhammadans. Before even
he had recognised the broad charity of the teachings of Abulfazl he
had come to the conclusion that before founding a system of
government it would be necessary to wage war against the bigoted
professors who formed a power in his own empire. 'Impressed,' writes
Professor Blochmann, 'with a favourable idea {156} of the value of
his Hindu subjects, he had resolved when pensively sitting in the
evenings on the solitary stone at Fatehpur-Síkrí, to rule with an
even hand all men in his dominions; but as the extreme views of the
learned and the lawyers continually urged him to persecute instead of
to heal, he instituted discussions, because, believing himself to be
in error, he thought it his duty as ruler to "inquire."' These
discussions took place every Thursday night in the Ibádat-Khána, a
building at Fatehpur-Síkrí, erected for the purpose.

For a time Abulfazl took but a subordinate part in the discussions,
simply spurring the various Muhammadan sectaries to reply to and
demolish each other's arguments. The bigotry, the narrowness, evinced
by the leaders of these sectaries, who agreeing that it was right to
persecute Hindus and other unbelievers, hurled charges of infidelity
against each other, quite disgusted Akbar. Instead of 'unity' in the
creed of Islám he found a multiplicity of divisions. He was further
disgusted with the rudeness towards each other displayed by the
several sectaries, some of them holding high office in the State, and
he was compelled on one occasion to warn them that any one of them
who should so offend in the future would have to quit the hall. At
last, one memorable Thursday evening, Abulfazl brought matters to a
crisis. Foreseeing the opposition it would evoke, he proposed as a
subject for discussion that a king should be regarded not only as the
temporal, but as the spiritual guide of his subjects.

{157} This doctrine struck at the fundamental principle of Islám,
according to which the Kurán stands above every human ordinance. The
point of Abulfazl's proposition lay in the fact that in preceding
discussions the Muhammadan learned had differed not only regarding
the interpretation of various passages of the Kurán, but regarding
the moral character of Muhammad himself. The storm raised by
Abulfazl's motion was, therefore, terrible. There was not a doctor or
lawyer present who did not recognise that the motion attacked the
vital principle of Islám, whilst the more clear-sighted and
dispassionate recognised that the assertions made in their previous
discussions had broken through 'the strong embankments of the
clearest law and the most excellent faith.'

But how were they to resist a motion which affected the authority of
Akbar? In this difficulty they came to a decision, which, though they
called it a compromise, gave away in fact the whole question. They
drew up a document[2] in which the Emperor was certified to be a just
ruler, and as such was assigned the rank of a 'Mujtáhid,' that is, an
infallible authority in all matters relating to Islám. This admission
really conceded the object aimed at by Abulfazl, for, under its
provisions, the 'intellect of the just king became the sole source of
legislation, {158} and the whole body of doctors and lawyers bound
themselves to abide by Akbar's decrees in religious matters.'

[Footnote 2: Blochmann (_Ain-í-Akbarí_, p. xiv) calls it 'a document
which I believe stands unique in the whole Church history of Islám.'
He gives a copy of it at p. 186 of the same remarkable book.]

'The document,' writes Abulfazl in the Akbarnámah, 'brought about
excellent results: (1) the Court became a gathering-place of the
sages and learned of all creeds; the good doctrines of all religious
systems were recognised, and their defects were not allowed to
obscure their good features; (2) perfect toleration, or peace with
all, was established; and (3) the perverse and evil-minded were
covered with shame on seeing the disinterested motives of his
Majesty, and thus stood in the pillory of disgrace.' It has to be
admitted that two of the Muhammadan sectaries who had been the
leaders of the party which inclined to persecution, signed the
document most unwillingly, but sign they did. Abulfazl's father, on
the other hand, who had exhausted all the intricacies of the creed of
Islám, and the dogmas of its several sects, signed it willingly,
adding to his signature that he had for years been anxiously looking
forward to the realisation of the progressive movement.

The signature of this document was a turning-point in the life and
reign of Akbar. For the first time he was free. He could give
currency and force to his ideas of toleration and of respect for
conscience. He could now bring the Hindu, the Pársí, the Christian,
into his councils. He could attempt to put into execution the design
he had long meditated of making the interests of the indigenous
princes the {159} interests of the central authority at Agra. The
document is, in fact, the Magna Charta of his reign.

The reader will, I am sure, pardon me if I have dwelt at some length
on the manner in which it was obtained, for it is the keystone to the
subsequent legislation and action of the monarch, by it placed above
the narrow restrictions of Islám. It made the fortune of Abulfazl. It
gained for him, that is to say, the lasting friendship of Akbar. On
the other hand it drew upon him the concentrated hatred of the
bigots, and ultimately, in the manner related in the last chapter,
caused his assassination.

One of the first uses made by Akbar of the power thus obtained was to
clear the magisterial and judicial bench. His chief-justice, a
bigoted Sunní, who had used his power to persecute Shiahs and all
so-called heretics, including Faizí the brother of Abulfazl, was
exiled, with all outward honour, to Mekka. Another high functionary,
equally bigoted, received a similar mission, and the rule was
inculcated upon all that in the eye of the law religious differences
were to be disregarded, and that men, whether Sunnís, or Shiahs,
Muhammadans or Hindus, were to be treated alike: in a word, that the
religious element was not to enter into the question before the judge
or magistrate.

From this time forth the two brothers, Faizí and Abulfazl, were the
chief confidants of the Emperor in his schemes for the regeneration
and consolidation of the empire. He caused them both to enter the
military service, as the service which best secured their {160}
position at court. They generally accompanied him in his various
expeditions, and whilst they suggested reforms in the land and
revenue systems, they were at hand always to give advice and support
to the views of the sovereign.

Meanwhile Akbar was preparing, in accordance with the genius of the
age, and with the sentiments of the people over whom he ruled, to
draw up and promulgate a religious code such as, he thought, would
commend itself to the bulk of his people. The chief feature of this
code, which he called Dín-í-Iláhí, or 'the Divine faith,' consisted
in the acknowledgment of one God, and of Akbar as his Khalífah, or
vicegerent on earth. The Islámite prayers were abolished as being too
narrow and wanting in comprehension, and in their place were
substituted prayers of a more general character, based on those of
the Pársís, whilst the ceremonial was borrowed from the Hindus. The
new era or date, which was introduced in all the government records,
and also in the feasts observed by the Emperor, was exclusively
Pársí. These observances excited little open opposition from the
Muhammadans, but the bigoted and hot-headed amongst them did not the
less feel hatred towards the man whom they considered the principal
adviser of the sovereign. They displayed great jealousy, moreover,
regarding the admission of Hindu princes and nobles to high commands
in the army and influential places at court. It was little to them
that these men, men like {161} Bhagwán Dás, Mán Singh, Todar Mall,
Bírbal, were men of exceptional ability. They were Hindus, and, on
that account and on that alone, the Muhammadan historians could not
bring themselves to mention their names without sneering at their
religion, and at the fate reserved for them in another world.

The inquiring nature of the mind of Akbar was displayed by the desire
he expressed to learn something tangible regarding the religion of
the Portuguese, then settled at Goa. He directed Faizí to have
translated into Persian a correct version of the New Testament, and
he persuaded a Jesuit priest, Padre Rodolpho Aquaviva, a missionary
from Goa, to visit Agra.

It was on the occasion of the visit of this Father that a famous
discussion on religion took place in the Ibádat-Khána, at which the
most learned Muhammadan lawyers and doctors, Bráhmans, Jains,
Buddhists, Hindu materialists, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians or
Pársís, each in turn spoke. The story is thus told by Abulfazl. 'Each
one fearlessly brought forward his assertions and arguments, and the
disputations and contentions were long and heated. Every sect, in its
vanity and conceit, attacked and endeavoured to refute the statements
of their antagonists. One night the Ibádat-Khána was brightened by
the presence of Padre Rodolpho, who for intelligence and wisdom was
unrivalled among Christian doctors. Several carping and bigoted men
attacked him, and this afforded an opportunity for the display of the
calm judgment and justice of the {162} assembly. These men brought
forward the old received assertions, and did not attempt to arrive at
truth by reasoning. Their statements were torn to pieces, and they
were nearly put to shame, when they began to attack the
contradictions of the Gospel, but they could not prove their
assertions. With perfect calmness and earnest conviction of the truth
the Padre replied to their arguments, and then he went on to say:

'"If these men have such an opinion of our Book, and if they believe
the Kurán to be the true word of God, then let a furnace be lighted,
and let me with the Gospel in my hand, and the 'Ulamá (learned
doctors) with their holy book in their hands, walk into that
testing-place of truth, and the right will be manifest." The
black-hearted mean-spirited disputants shrank from this proposal, and
answered only with angry words. This prejudice and violence greatly
annoyed the impartial mind of the Emperor, and, with great
discrimination and enlightenment, he said:

'"Man's outward profession and the mere letter of Muhammadanism,
without a heartfelt conviction, can avail nothing. I have forced many
Bráhmans, by fear of my power, to adopt the religion of my ancestors;
but now that my mind has been enlightened with the beams of truth, I
have become convinced that the dark clouds of conceit and the mist of
self-opinion have gathered round you, and that not a step can be made
in advance without the torch of proof. That course only can be
beneficial which we select with clear judgment. To repeat the words
of {163} the creed, to perform circumcision, or to be prostrate on
the ground from the dread of kingly power, can avail nothing in the
sight of God:

  Obedience is not in prostration on the earth:
  Practice sincerity, for righteousness is not borne upon the brow!"'

Whatever we may think of this discussion, of the test of fire
proposed by the Christian priest, we may at least welcome it as
showing the complete toleration of discussion permitted at the
Ibádat-Khána, and, above all, as indicating the tendency of the mind
of Akbar. He had, in fact, reasoned himself out of belief in all
dogmas and in all accepted creeds. Instead of those dogmas and those
creeds he simply recognised the Almighty Maker of the world, and
himself, the chiefest in authority in his world as the representative
in it of God, to carry out his beneficent decrees of toleration,
equal justice, and perfect liberty of conscience, so far as such
liberty of conscience did not endanger the lives of others. He was
very severe with the Muhammadans, because he recognised that the
professors of the faith of the dominant party are always inclined to
persecution. But he listened to all, and recognising in all the same
pernicious feature, viz., the broad, generous, far-reaching,
universal qualities attributed to the Almighty distorted in each case
by an interested priesthood, he prostrated himself before the God of
all, discarding the priesthood of all.

He has been called a Zoroastrian, because he recognised in the sun
the sign of the presence of the Almighty. And there can be no doubt
but that the {164} simplicity of the system of the Pársís had a great
attraction for him. In his own scheme there was no priesthood.
Regarding himself as the representative in his world of the Almighty,
he culled from each religion its best part, so as to make religion
itself a helpful agency for all rather than an agency for the
persecution of others. The broad spirit of his scheme was as much
raised above the general comprehension of the people of his age, as
were his broad political ideas. To bring round the world to his views
it was necessary that 'an Amurath should succeed an Amurath.' That
was and ever will be impossible. The result was that his political
system gradually drifted after his death into the old narrow groove
whence he had emancipated it, whilst his religious system perished
with him. After the reigns of two successors, Muhammadan but
indifferent, persecution once again asserted her sway to undo all the
good the great and wise Akbar had effected, and to prepare, by the
decadence of the vital principle of the dynasty, for the rule of a
nation which should revive his immortal principle of justice to all
and toleration for all.

In the foregoing remarks I have alluded to the fact that Akbar
allowed liberty of conscience in so far as that liberty did not
endanger the lives of others. He gave a marked example of this in his
dealing with the Hindu rite of Satí. It is not necessary to explain
that the English equivalent for the word 'Satí' is 'chaste or
virtuous,' and that a Satí is a woman who burns herself on her
husband's funeral pile. The custom {165} had been so long prevalent
among Hindu ladies of rank, that not to comply with it had come to be
regarded as a self-inflicted imputation on the chaste life of the
widow. Still, the love of life is strong, and the widow, conscious of
her own virtue, and unwilling to sacrifice herself to an idea, had
occasionally shown a marked disinclination to consent to mount the
pile. It had often happened then that the priests had applied to her
a persuasion, either by threats of the terrors of the hereafter or
the application of moral stimulants, to bring her to the proper pitch
of willingness.

Such deeds were abhorrent to the merciful mind of Akbar, and he
discouraged the practice by all the means in his power. His position
towards the princes of Rájpútána, by whom the rite was held in the
highest honour, would not allow him so far to contravene their
time-honoured customs, which had attained all the force of a
religious ordinance, to prohibit the self-sacrifice when the widow
earnestly desired it. Before such a prohibition could be issued time
must be allowed, he felt, for the permeation to the recesses of the
palace of the liberal principles he was inaugurating. But he issued
an order that, in the case of a widow showing the smallest
disinclination to immolate herself, the sacrifice was not to be

Nor did he content himself with words only. Once, when in Ajmere,
whilst his confidential agent, Jai Mall, nephew of Rájá Bihárí Mall
of Ambar, was on a mission to the grandees of Bengal, news reached
{166} him that Jai Mall had died at Chausá. Jai Mall had been a great
favourite with Akbar, for of all the Rájpútána nobles he had been the
first to pay his respects to him, and had ever rendered him true and
loyal service. He had married a daughter of Rájá Udai Singh of
Jodhpur, a princess possessing great strength of will. When the news
of her husband's death reached Ambar she positively refused to become
a Satí. Under the orders of the Emperor she had an absolute right to
use her discretion. But when she did use it to refuse, the outcry
against her, headed by Udai Singh, her son, became so uncontrollable,
that it was resolved to force her to the stake. Information of this
reached Akbar, and he determined to prevent the outrage. He was just
in time, for the pile was already lighted when his agents, one of
them the uncle of the deceased, reached the ground, seized Udai
Singh, dispersed the assembly, and saved the princess.

Attached as Akbar was to his learned and liberal-minded friends,
Faizí and Abulfazl, he encouraged all who displayed a real love for
learning, and a true desire to acquire knowledge. He hated pretence
and hypocrisy. He soon recognised that these two qualities underlay
the professions of the 'Ulamás (Muhammadan doctors of learning) at
his court. When he had found them out, he was disgusted with them,
and resolved to spare no means of showing up their pretensions.

'He never pardoned,' writes Professor Blochmann, 'pride and conceit
in a man, and of all kinds of {167} conceit, the conceit of learning
was most hateful to him.' Hence the cry of the class affected by his
action that he discouraged learning and learned men. He did nothing
of the sort. There never has flourished in India a more generous
encourager of the real thing. In this respect the present rulers of
India might profit by his example. One of the men whose knowledge of
history was the most extensive in that age, and who possessed great
talents and a searching mind, was Khán-í-Ázam Mírzá, son of his
favourite nurse. For a long time this man held fast to the orthodox
profession of faith, ridiculing the 'new religion' of Akbar, and
especially ridiculing Faizí and Abulfazl, to whom he applied
nicknames expressing his sense of their pretensions. But at a later
period he had occasion to make the pilgrimage to Mekka, and there he
was so fleeced by the priests that his attachment to Islám insensibly
cooled down. On his return to Agra, he became a member of the Divine
Faith. He wrote poetry well, and was remarkable for the ease of his
address and his intelligence. One of his many aphorisms has descended
to posterity. It runs as follows: 'A man should marry four wives--a
Persian woman to have somebody to talk to; a Khorasání woman for his
housework; a Hindu woman, for nursing his children; and a woman from
Marawánnáhr (Turkistan), to have some one to whip as a warning to the
other three.'

One of the ablest warriors and most generous of men in the service of
Akbar was Mírzá Abdurráhím, {168} son of his old Atálik or preceptor,
Bairám Khán. For many years he exercised the office of Khán Khánán,
literally 'lord of lords,' tantamount to commander-in-chief. But he
was as learned as he was able in the field. He translated the memoirs
of Bábar, well described by Abulfazl as 'a code of practical wisdom,'
written in Turkish, into the Persian language then prevalent at the
court of Akbar, to whom he presented the copy. Amongst other writers,
the historians, Nizám-u-dín Ahmad, author of the Tabákat-í-Akbarí, or
records of the reign of Akbar; the authors of the Taríkhí-í-Alfí, or
the history of Muhammadanism for a thousand years; and, above all,
the orthodox historian, Abul Kádir Badauní, author of the
Taríkh-í-Badauní, or Annals of Badauní, and editor and reviser of a
history of Kashmír, stand conspicuous.

Badauní was a very remarkable man. Two years older than Akbar, he had
studied from his early youth various sciences under the most renowned
and pious men of his age, and had come to excel in music, history,
and astronomy. His sweet voice procured for him the appointment of
Court Imán for Fridays. For forty years Badauní lived at court in
company with Shaikh Mubárik and his sons Faizí and Abulfazl, but
there was no real friendship between them, as Badauní, an orthodox
Musalmán, always regarded them as heretics. Under instructions from
Akbar he translated the Rámáyana from its original Sanscrit into
Persian, as well as part of the _Máhábhárata_. His {169} historical
work above referred to as the Taríkh-í-Badauní, and which is perhaps
better known under its alternative title _Muntakhabat-ul-Tawarikh_,
or _Selections from the Annals_, is especially valuable for the views
it gives of the religious opinions of Akbar, and its sketches of the
famous men of his reign.

Badauní died about eleven years before the Emperor, and his great
work, the existence of which he had carefully concealed, did not
appear until some time during the reign of Jahángír. It is a very
favourite book with the bigoted Muhammadans who disliked the
innovations of Akbar, and it continued to be more and more prized as
those innovations gradually gave way to the revival of persecution
for thought's sake.

It is perhaps unnecessary to give a record of the other learned men
who contributed by their abilities, their industry, and their
learning to the literary glory of the reign of Akbar. The immortal
Ain contains a complete list of them, great and small. But, as
concerning the encouragement given to arts and letters by the
sovereign himself, it is fitting to add a few words. It would seem
that Akbar paid great attention to the storing in his library of
works obtained from outside his dominions, as well as of those Hindu
originals and their translations which he was always either
collecting or having rendered into Persian. Of this library the
author of the Ain relates that it was divided into several parts.
'Some of the books are kept within, some without the Harem. {170}
Each part of the library is subdivided, according to the value of the
books and the estimation in which the sciences are held of which the
books treat. Prose books, poetical works, Hindí, Persian, Greek,
Kashmirian, Arabic, are all separately placed. In this order they are
also inspected. Experienced people bring them daily, and read them
before his Majesty, who hears every book from the beginning to the
end. At whatever page the readers daily stop, his Majesty makes with
his own pen a mark, according to the number of the pages; and rewards
the readers with presents of cash, either in gold or silver,
according to the number of leaves read out by them. Among books of
renown there are few which are not read in his Majesty's assembly
hall; and there are no historical facts of past ages, or curiosities
of science, or interesting points of philosophy, with which his
Majesty, a leader of impartial sages, is unacquainted.' Then follows
a long list of books specially affected by the sovereign, some of
which have been referred to in preceding pages.

I have, I think, stated enough to show the influence exercised by
literary men and literature on the history of this reign. The
influence, especially of the two learned brothers, Faizí and
Abulfazl, dominated as long as they lived. That of Abulfazl survived
him, for the lessons he had taught only served to confirm the natural
disposition of his master. The principles which the brothers loved
were the principles congenial to the disposition of Akbar. They were
the {171} principles of the widest toleration of opinion; of justice
to all, independently of caste and creed; of alleviating the burdens
resting on the children of the soil; of the welding together of the
interests of all classes of the community, of the Rájpút prince,
proud of his ancient descent and inclined to regard the Muhammadan
invader as an outcast and a stranger; of the Uzbek and Mughal noble,
too apt to regard the country as his own by right of conquest, and
its peoples as fit only to be his slaves; of the settlers of Afghán
origin, who during four centuries had mingled with, and become a
recognised part of the children of the soil; of the indigenous
inhabitants, always ready to be moved by kindness and good treatment.

There was one class it was impossible to conciliate: the Muhammadan
princes whose families had ruled in India, and who aspired to rule in
their turn; who, in Bengal, in Orissa, in Behar, and in many parts of
Western India, still exercised authority and maintained large armies.
These men, regarding their title as superior to that of Akbar, and
not recognising the fact that whilst their predecessors had lived on
the surface, Akbar was sending roots down deep into the soil,
resisted his pretensions and defied his power. How he tried
conciliation with these men, and how their own conduct compelled him
to insist on their expulsion, has been told in the last chapter.

I propose now to relate how the broad principles natural to Akbar and
confirmed by his association {172} with Faizí and Abulfazl, affected
the system of administration introduced by the reforming sovereign.
In a previous page of this chapter I have quoted an expression of his
own, to the effect that he had, at one time of his reign, forced
Bráhmans to embrace Muhammadanism. This must have happened because
Akbar states it, but of the forced conversions I have found no
record. They must have taken place whilst he was still a minor, and
whilst the chief authority was wielded by Bairám. From the moment of
his assumption of power, that is, from the day on which he gave the
till then all-powerful Bairám Khán permission to proceed to Mekka, he
announced his intention, from which he never swerved, to employ
Hindus and Muhammadans alike without distinction. In the seventh year
of his reign, he being then in the twenty-first year of his life,
Akbar abolished the practice, heretofore prevailing, by which the
troops of the conqueror were permitted to forcibly sell or keep in
slavery the wives, children, and dependants of the conquered.
Whatever might be the delinquencies of an enemy, his children and the
people belonging to him were, according to the proclamation of the
sovereign, to be free to go as they pleased to their own houses, or
to the houses of their relatives. No one, great or small, was to be
made a slave. 'If the husband pursue an evil course,' argued the
liberal-minded prince, 'what fault is it of the wife? And if the
father rebel, how can the children be blamed?'

The same generous and far-seeing policy was {173} pursued with
unabated vigour in the reform of other abuses. The very next year,
the eighth of his reign, the Emperor determined to abolish a tax,
which, though extremely productive, inflicted, as he considered, a
wrong on the consciences of his Hindu subjects. There are no people
in the world more given to pilgrimages than are the Hindus. Their
sacred shrines, each with its peculiar saint and its specific virtue,
abound in every province of Hindustán. The journeys the pilgrims have
to make are often long and tedious, their length being often
proportioned to the value of the boon to be acquired. In these
pilgrimages the Afghán predecessors of the Mughal had recognised a
large and permanent source of revenue, and they had imposed,
therefore, a tax on all pilgrims according to the ascertained or
reputed means of each.

Abulfazl tells us that this tax was extremely prolific, amounting to
millions of rupees annually. But it was felt as a great grievance. In
the eyes of the Hindu a pilgrimage was often an inculcated duty,
imposed upon him by his religion, or its interpreter, the Bráhman
priest. Why, he argued, because he submitted his body to the greatest
inconvenience, measuring his own length along the ground, possibly
for hundreds of miles, should he be despoiled by the State? The
feelings of his Hindu subjects on this subject soon reached the ears
of Akbar. It was submitted to him by those who saw in the tax only an
easy source of revenue that the making of pilgrimages was a vain
superstition which the Hindus would not forego, and {174} therefore
the payment being certain and continuous, it would be bad financial
policy to abolish the tax. Akbar, admitting that it was a tax on the
superstitions of the multitude, and that a Hindu might escape paying
it by staying at home, yet argued that as the making of pilgrimages
constituted a part of the Hindu religion, and was, in a sense, a
Hindu form of rendering homage to the Almighty, it would be wrong to
throw the smallest stumbling-block in the way of this manifestation
of their submission to that which they regarded as a divine
ordinance. He accordingly remitted the tax.

Similarly regarding the jizyá, or capitation tax imposed by
Muhammadan sovereigns on those of another faith. This tax had been
imposed in the early days of the Muhammadan conquest by the Afghán
rulers of India. There was no tax which caused so much bitterness of
feeling on the part of those who had to pay it: not one which gave so
much opportunity to the display and exercise of human tyranny. The
reason why the sovereigns before Akbar failed entirely to gain the
sympathies of the children of the soil might be gathered from the
history of the proceedings connected with this tax alone. 'When the
collector of the Diwán,' writes the author of the Tarikh-í-Fíruz
Sháhí, 'asks the Hindus to pay the tax, they should pay it with all
humility and submission. And if the collector wishes to spit into
their mouths, they should open their mouths without the slightest
fear of contamination, so that the collector may do so.... The object
of such humiliation {175} and spitting into their mouths is to prove
the obedience of infidel subjects under protection, and to promote
the glory of the Islám, the true religion, and to show contempt for
false religions.' That the officials who acted in the manner here
described contravened the true spirit of Islám, I need not stop to
argue. There is not a religion which has not suffered from the
intemperate zeal of its bigoted supporters; and Muhammadanism has
suffered at least as much as the others. But the extract proves the
extent to which it was possible for the agents of an unusually
enlightened prince to tyrannise over and to insult the conquered race
in the name of a religion, whose true tenets they perverted by so

Akbar recognised not only the inherent liability to this abuse in the
collection of such a tax, but also the vicious character of the tax
itself. The very word 'infidel' was hateful to him. 'Who is certain
that he is right,' was his constant exclamation. Recognising good in
all religions, he would impose no tax on the conscientious faith of
any man. Early then, in the ninth year of his reign, and in the
twenty-third of his life, three years, be it borne in mind, before he
had come under the influence of either of the two illustrious
brothers, Faizí and Abulfazl, he, prompted by his own sense of the
eternal fitness of things, issued an edict abolishing the jizyá.
Thenceforth all were equal in matters of faith before the one

The dealings of Akbar with the Hindus were not confined to the
abolition of taxes which pressed hardly {176} on their religious
opinions. He endeavoured, with as little show of authority as was
possible, to remove restrictions which interfered with the well-being
and happiness of the people. What he did regarding Satí I have
already related. The kindred question of the re-marriage of a widow
met with the greatest encouragement from him. He even went further,
and issued an edict rendering such re-marriage lawful. In the same
spirit he forbade marriages before the age of puberty, a custom
deeply rooted amongst the Hindus, and carried on even at the present
day, though theoretically condemned by the wisest among them. He
prohibited likewise the slaughter of animals for sacrifice, and
trials by ordeal. Nor was he less stringent with those of the faith
in which he was born. His method with them took the form rather of
example, of persuasion, of remonstrance, than a direct order.

He discouraged the excessive practice of prayers, of fasts, of alms,
of pilgrimages, but he did not forbid them. These were matters for
individual taste, but Akbar knew well that in the majority of
instances open professions were merely cloaks for hypocrisy; that
there were many ways in which a man's life could be utilised other
than by putting on an austere appearance, and making long prayers.
The rite of circumcision could not, indeed, be forbidden to the
Muhammadans, but Akbar directed that the ceremony should not be
performed until the lad had attained the age of twelve. To humour the
{177} prejudices of the Hindus, he discouraged the slaughter of kine.
On the other hand, he pronounced the killing and partaking of the
flesh of swine to be lawful. Dogs had been looked upon by Muhammadans
as unclean animals, and the strict Muhammadan of the present day
still regards them as such. Akbar declared them to be clean. Wine is
prohibited to the Muslim. Akbar encouraged a moderate use of it.

In the later years of his reign (1592) he introduced, to the great
annoyance of the bigoted party at his court, the practice of shaving
the beard. In a hot country such as India the advantages arising from
the use of the razor are too obvious to need discussion. But,
although the order was not obligatory, the compliance or
non-compliance with the custom became a distinguishing mark at the
imperial court. Few things are more repugnant to a devout Musalmán
than the shaving of his beard. It was so then, and it is so now. The
example set in this respect by the sovereign caused then many murmurs
and much secret discontent.

Amongst others of the natural characteristics of Akbar may be
mentioned his attachment to his relatives. Of one of these, a
foster-brother, who persistently offended him, he said, whilst
inflicting upon him the lightest of punishments: 'Between me and Azíz
is a river of milk, which I cannot cross.' The spirit of these words
animated him in all his actions towards those connected with him.
Unless they were irreclaimable, or had steeped their hands in the
blood {178} of others, he ever sought to win them back by his
gentleness and liberality. He loved forgiving, reinstating, trusting,
and though the exercise of these noble qualities led sometimes to his
being imposed upon, they told in the long run. He was a good son, a
loving husband, and perhaps too affectionate a father.

His sons suffered from the misfortune of having been born in the
purple. One of them, Prince Dányál, was a prince of the highest
promise, but the temptations by which he was surrounded, unchecked by
his tutors, brought him to an early grave. Similarly with Prince
Murád. As to his successor, Jahángír, he was, in most respects, the
very opposite of his father. Towards the close of the reign he set an
example which became a rule of the Mughal dynasty, that of trying to
establish himself in the lifetime of his father, whose dearest
friend, Abulfazl, he had caused to be assassinated. Nothing could
exceed the exemplary patience and forbearance with which Akbar
treated his unworthy son. Again, Akbar abhorred cruelty: he regarded
the performance of his duty as equivalent to an act of worship to the

In this respect he made no difference between great and small
matters. He was not content to direct that such and such an ordinance
should be issued. He watched its working; developed it more fully, if
it were successful; and marked the details of its action on the
several races who constituted his subjects. He had much confidence in
his own judgment of men. He was admittedly {179} a good
physiognomist. Abulfazl wrote of him that 'he sees through some men
at a glance,' whilst even Badauní admits the claim, though with his
usual inclination to sneering at all matters bearing on the Hindus,
he declares that Akbar obtained the gift of insight from the Jogís
(Hindu ascetics or magicians).

With all his liberality and breadth of view Akbar himself was not
free from superstition. He believed in lucky days. Mr. Blochmann
states that he imbibed this belief from his study of the religion of
Zoroaster, of which it forms a feature. His courtiers, especially
those who were secretly opposed to his religious innovations,
attributed his undoubted success to luck. Thus Badauní writes of 'his
Majesty's usual good luck overcoming all enemies,' whereas it was his
remarkable attention to the carrying out of the details of laws and
regulations which he and his councillors had thoroughly considered
which ensured his success.

He was very fond of field sports, especially of hunting, but after
the birth of the son who succeeded him he did not hunt on Fridays. If
we can accept the authority of the Emperor Jahángír, Akbar had made a
vow that he would for ever abstain from hunting on the sacred day if
the mother of Jahángír should have a safe deliverance, and he kept it
to the end of his life. There is abundant evidence to prove that
Akbar was not only fond of music, but was very musical himself. He
delighted in the old tunes of Khwárizm, and, according to Abulfazl,
himself composed more than two hundred of these, 'which are the {180}
delight of young and old.' The same authority states that 'his
Majesty had such a knowledge of the science of music as trained
musicians do not possess.' Every day the court was treated to an
abundance of music, the sounds of which have in all times been
especially agreeable to Eastern monarchs. He also was gifted, to a
considerable extent, with the genius of invention. The Ain records
how he invented a carriage, a wheel for cleaning guns, and elephant
gear; how, further, he made improvements in the clothing of his
troops and in his artillery.

In his diet Akbar was simple, taking but one regular meal a day. He
disliked meat, and abstained from it often for months at a time. He
was specially fond of fruits, and made a study of their cultivation.
Abulfazl records that he regarded fruits 'as one of the greatest
gifts of the Creator,' and that the Emperor brought horticulturists
of Irán and Turán to settle at Agra and Fatehpur-Síkrí. 'Melons and
grapes have become very plentiful and excellent; and water-melons,
peaches, almonds, pistachios, pomegranates, etc., are everywhere to
be found.' He adds that fruits were largely imported from Kábul,
Kandahár, Kashmír, Badakshán, and even from Samarkand. The Ain
contains a long list of these, which the reader who knows India will
read with pleasure. It is interesting to find that, even in those
days, the first place among the sweet fruits of Hindustán is given to
the mango. This fruit is described as 'unrivalled in colour, smell,
and taste; and some of the gourmands {181} of Turán and Irán place it
above musk-melon and grapes.'

One word as to the daily habits of Akbar and to the manner in which
he was accustomed to pass an ordinary day at Agra or Fatehpur-Síkrí.
It would seem that he kept late hours, spending the evenings far into
the early morning in conversation and discussion. In such matters he
occupied himself, according to the record of Abulfazl, till 'about a
watch before daybreak,' when musicians were introduced. At daybreak
the sovereign retired into his private apartments, made his
ablutions, dressed, and about an hour later presented himself to
receive the homage of his courtiers. Then began the business of the
day. Probably this was concluded often long before midday, when the
one meal which Akbar allowed himself was usually served, though there
was no fixed hour for it. The afternoon was the recognised hour of
sleep. Sometimes Akbar devoted the early morning to field sports, and
sometimes the late evenings to the game of chaugán, or polo, for
which purpose balls made of the palás wood were used. The hottest
hours of the day were the hours of rest and recuperation.

Akbar had not reigned long ere he recognised the importance of
attaching to his throne the Hindu princes of Rájpútána by a tie
closer even than that of mere friendship. It is interesting to note
how he managed to overcome the inborn prejudices of the high caste
princes of Rajast'hán to consent to a union which, in their hearts,
the bulk of them regarded as {182} a degradation. It would seem that
his father, Humáyún, had to a certain extent prepared the way. In his
erudite and fascinating work,[3] Colonel Tod relates how Humáyún, in
the earlier part of his reign, became the knight of the princess
Kurnávatí of Chitor, and pledged himself to her service. That service
he loyally performed. He addressed her always as 'dear and virtuous
sister.' He also won the regard of Rájá Bihárí Mall of Amber, father
of the Bhagwán Dás, so often mentioned in these pages.

[Footnote 3: _Annals and Antiquities of Rajast'hán_, by
Lieutenant-Colonel James Tod, second (Madras) edition, pp. 262,

Akbar subsequently married his daughter, and becoming thus connected
with the House of Amber (Jaipur), could count upon Bhagwán Dás and
his nephew and adopted son, Mán Singh, one of the greatest of all his
commanders, as his firmest friends. Writing in another page of
Bhagwán Dás, Colonel Tod describes him as 'the friend of Akbar, who
saw the value of attaching such men to his throne.' He adds, and few
men have ever enjoyed better opportunities of ascertaining the real
feelings of the princes of Rájpútána, 'but the name of Bhagwán Dás is
execrated as the first who sullied Rájpút purity by matrimonial
alliance with the Islámite.' Prejudice is always strong, and, like
the dog, it returns to its vomit.

Rájpútána never produced greater or larger-minded princes than
Bhagwán Dás and his nephew. Their intimate union with Akbar
contributed more than any other circumstance to reconcile the Rájpúts
to {183} the predominance of the Mughal. The union was further
cemented by the marriage, already referred to, between Prince Salím
and a daughter of Bhagwán Dás. What the real influence of Akbar's
administration was upon that chivalrous race may be gathered from the
short summary which Colonel Tod, himself, more Rájpút in his
sympathies than the Rájpúts themselves, devotes to his career.

'Akbar,' writes that author, 'was the real founder of the empire of
the Mughals, the first successful conqueror of Rájpút independence.
To this end his virtues were powerful auxiliaries, as by his skill in
the analysis of the mind and its readiest stimulant to action, he was
enabled to gild the chains with which he bound them. To these they
became familiarised by habit, especially when the throne exerted its
power in acts gratifying to national vanity, or even in ministering
to the more ignoble passions.' Unable, apparently, to comprehend the
principle which underlay the whole policy of Akbar, that of
conquering that he might produce union, and regarding him as he
rightly regarded his Afghán and Pathán predecessors, Colonel Tod
attacks him for his conquests. Yet even Colonel Tod is forced to add:
'He finally succeeded in healing the wounds his ambition had
inflicted, and received from millions that meed of praise which no
other of his race ever obtained.' I need not add that if to render
happiness to millions is one of the first objects of kingship, and if
to obtain that end union has to be cemented by conquest, the means
sanction {184} the end. Akbar did not conquer in Rájpútána to rule in
Rájpútána. He conquered that all the Rájpút princes, each in his own
dominions, might enjoy that peace and prosperity which his
predominance, never felt aggressively, secured for the whole empire.

From the Rájá of Jodhpur, Udai Singh, at the time the most powerful
of the Rájpút princes, Akbar obtained the hand of his daughter for
his son Salím. The princess became the mother of a son who succeeded
his father as the Emperor Sháh Jahán. In him the Rájpút blood
acquired a position theretofore unknown in India. Of this marriage,
so happy in its results, Colonel Tod writes that Akbar obtained it by
a bribe, the gift of four provinces which doubled the fisc of Márwár
(Jodhpur). He adds: 'With such examples as Amber and Márwár, and with
less power to resist temptation, the minor chiefs of Rajast'hán, with
a brave and numerous vassalage, were transformed into satraps of
Delhi, and the importance of most of them was increased by the
change.' Truly did the Mughal historian designate them as 'at once
the props and ornaments of the throne.'

There surely could not be a greater justification of the policy of
Akbar with respect to Rájpútána and its princes than is contained in
the testimony of this writer, all of whose sympathies were strongly
with the Rájpúts.

Whilst on the subject of the imperial marriages, I may mention that
Akbar had many wives, but of these eight only are authoritatively
mentioned. His {185} first wife was his cousin, a daughter of his
uncle, Hindal Mirzá. She bore him no children, and survived him,
living to the age of eighty-four. His second wife was also a cousin,
being the daughter of a daughter of Bábar, who had married Mirzá
Nuruddin Muhammad. She was a poetess, and wrote under the _nom de
plume_, Makhfí (the concealed). His third wife was the daughter of
Rájá Bihárí Mall and sister of Rájá Bhagwán Dás. He married her in
1560. The fourth wife was famed for her beauty: she had been
previously married to Abul Wásí. The fifth wife, mother of Jahángír,
was a Jodhpur princess, Jodh Báei. As mother of the heir apparent,
she held the first place in the harem. The sixth, seventh, and eighth
wives were Muhammadans.

In the matter of domestic legislation Akbar paid considerable
attention to the mode of collecting revenue. He found existing a
system devised by Sher Sháh, the prince who had defeated and expelled
his father. The principles upon which this system was based were (1)
the correct measurement of the land; (2) the ascertaining the average
production of a block of land per bíghá;[4] (3) the settlement of the
proportion of that amount to be paid to the Government by each; (4)
the fixing of the equivalent in money for the settled amount in kind.
Akbar proposed rather to develop this principle than to interfere
with it. {186} With this object he established a uniform standard to
supersede the differing standards theretofore employed.

[Footnote 4: A bíghá is a portion of land measuring in the North-west
Provinces nearly five-eighths of an acre. In Bengal, it is not quite
one-third of an acre.]

'This laudable regulation,' we are told in the Ain, 'removed the rust
of uncertainty from the minds of collectors, and relieved the subject
from a variety of oppressions, whilst the income became larger, and
the State flourished.' Akbar likewise caused to be adopted improved
instruments of mensuration, and with these he made a new settlement
of the lands capable of cultivation within the empire. We are told in
the Ain that he was in the habit of taking from each bíghá of land
ten sers (about twenty pounds) of grain as a royalty. This was at a
later period commuted into a money payment. In each district he had
store-houses erected to supply animals, the property of the State,
with food; to furnish cultivators with grain for sowing purposes; to
have at hand a provision in case of famine; and to feed the poor.
These store-houses were placed in charge of men specially selected
for their trustworthy qualities.

The land was in the earlier part of the reign divided into three
classes according to its fertility, and the assessment was fixed on
the average production of three bíghás, one from each division. The
cultivator might, however, if dissatisfied with the average, insist
on the valuation of his own crop. Five classifications of land were
likewise made to ensure equality of payment in proportion to the
quality of the land and its immunity from accidents, such as
inundation. Other regulations were {187} carefully formed to
discriminate between the several varieties of soil, all having for
their object the fixing of a system fair alike to the cultivator and
the Government.

Gradually, as I have above indicated, as the Government became
settled, a better principle was introduced to fix the amount payable
to the State. For this purpose statements of prices for the nineteen
years preceding the survey were called for from the village heads.
From these an average was struck, and the produce was valued at the
current rates. At first these settlements were annual, but as fresh
annual rates were found vexatious, the settlement was made for ten
years, on the basis of the average of the preceding ten.

To complete this agricultural system, Akbar made at the same time a
new division of the country for revenue purposes. Under this scheme
the country was marked out in parcels, each yielding a karór (ten
millions) of _dáms_, equal to twenty-five thousand rupees. The
collector of each of these parcels was called a karórí. Whenever a
karórí had collected the sum of two lakhs of _dáms_,[5] he was
required to send it to the Treasurer-General at head-quarters. It was
found, however, after a time, that the arbitrary division based
simply upon a mathematical theory produced {188} confusion and
disturbed ancient ways, of all others most congenial to the Hindus.
After a trial, then, the artificial division was abandoned in favour
of the ancient system of the people, under which the lands were
parcelled out in conformity with the natural features of the country
and the village system prevailing therein.

[Footnote 5: Two hundred thousand _dáms_, equivalent to five thousand
rupees. A _dám_ is a copper coin, the fortieth part of a rupee. The
coin known as the _damrí_, used at the present day for the purposes
of calculation, is the eighth part of a _dám_.]

Against the farming of the revenue, as a certain mode of oppression,
Akbar was very strong. He particularly enjoined upon his collectors
to deal directly, as far as was possible, with the cultivator
himself, rather than with the village headman. This was an innovation
which, though based upon the best intentions, did not always answer.
Custom counts for much in India, and custom pronounced in favour of
the recognition of the influence of the chief man of the village, and
it became necessary practically to deal, at least conjointly, with

When the Emperor took into consideration the circumstances attending
the holding of lands, he found not only that grants had been made by
his predecessors to unworthy objects, but that his own administrators
had been guilty of bribery and corruption of various degrees. It was
shortly after Faizí joined him in camp, and had acquired great
influence with him, that his eyes were opened to these enormities. He
found to his horror that the chief perpetrators of them were men who
made the largest professions of sanctity. Then followed, almost
immediately, the sarcastic exile of these men to Mekka: {189} then, a
thorough inquiry into the department. There were four classes to whom
it had been considered desirable that the sovereign should be able to
render State assistance. The first class comprised the men who
devoted themselves to literature and learning, and who had no means
of their own. It had seemed desirable that such men should not be
harassed by the need of having to care for their daily bread. The
second class included those who 'toil and practise self-denial, and
while engaged in the struggle with the selfish passions of human
nature, have renounced the society of men.' The third, the weak and
poor, who had no strength for toil. The fourth, honourable men of
gentle birth, who, from want of knowledge, are unable to provide for
themselves by taking up a trade.

To inquire into the circumstances of petitioners of these classes an
experienced officer of presumably correct intentions had been
appointed. He was entitled Sadr, or chief, and ranked above the Kází
and the judges. When, in consequence of the inquiries set on foot at
the instance of Faizí, it was discovered that the whole of this
department was a hotbed of corruption, Akbar made a clean sweep of
the officials, from the Sadr down to the smallest Kází, and nominated
men drawn from a different class, fencing their functions with strict

But, as sovereign who had to reward great services rendered to the
crown, Akbar required to dispose of large grants of land to men
devoted to his service. Thus, he paid the Mansabdárs, or officers
entrusted {190} with high command, by temporary grants of land in
lieu of a money allowance. He found that the most powerful of his
immediate predecessors, the Sher Sháh who had expelled his father,
Humáyún, had been more than lavish in his grants of land to his
immediate followers, men mostly of Afghán descent. Akbar inquired
into the circumstances under which these grants had been made, and in
many instances he resumed them to bestow them upon his own adherents.

In acting in this way he only followed the precedent set him by
previous sovereigns. But he had even more reason than that which
precedent would sanction. He found that the land specified in the
_firmán_ granted to the holder but rarely corresponded in extent to
the land which he actually held. Sometimes it happened that the
language of the _firmán_ was so ambiguously worded as to allow the
holder to take all that he could get by bribing the Kázís and the
provincial Sadr. Hence, in the interests of justice and the interests
of the crown and the people, he had a perfect right to resume
whatever, after due inquiry, he found to be superfluous. He
discovered, moreover, that the 'Ulamá, or learned doctors, a class
more resembling the pharisees of the New Testament than any class of
which history makes record, and whom he cordially detested, had been
very free in helping themselves during the period of his minority,
and before the representations of Faizí had induced him to make
inquiries. He therefore made the strictest {191} investigation into
their titles. When these were found faulty, or he had reason to
believe that they had been dishonestly obtained, he resumed the
grants, and exiled the ex-holders to Bukkur in Sind, or to Bengal,
the climate of which had, in those days, a very sinister reputation.
At the period of his reform, moreover, he greatly reduced the
authority of the Sadr, transferring to his own hands the bulk of the
power which had devolved upon them.

Regarding the general tendency and result of the reforms instituted
by Akbar in the territorial system of the country, a distinguished
writer[6] has recorded his judgment that, much as they 'promoted the
happiness of the existing generation, they contained no principle of
progressive improvement, and held out no hopes to the rural
population by opening paths by which it might spread into other
occupations, or rise by individual exertion within his own.' I
venture, with some diffidence and with the greatest respect, to
differ from this criticism. Akbar, admittedly, promoted the happiness
of the generation amongst whom he lived. To have proceeded on the
lines suggested by Mr. Elphinstone, he would have destroyed a
principle which was then vital to the existence of Hindu society as
it was constituted. Akbar went dangerously near to that point when he
attempted to negotiate directly with the cultivators instead of
through the headman of the village. He recognised in sufficient time
that he must deal very charily and {192} cautiously with customs
which had all the force of law, and he withdrew his order.

[Footnote 6: _The History of India_, by the Hon. Mountstuart

The chief adviser of Akbar in matters of revenue, finance, and
currency was the Rájá Todar Mall, of whom I have spoken in the last
chapter. He was a man of great ability and of tried integrity. Though
attached to the court of a Muhammadan sovereign, he was an earnest
Hindu, and performed faithfully all the ceremonies of his religion.
On one occasion when accompanying Akbar to the Punjab, in the hurry
of departure he forgot his idols. As he transacted no business before
his daily worship he remained for several days without food or drink,
and was at last with difficulty consoled by the Emperor.

Of the army the principal component force was cavalry. Elephants too
constituted an important feature in the array of battle. As a rule,
the presence of elephants was supposed to indicate the presence of
the Emperor, or rather, it was believed that the sovereign could not
be present unless elephants were there. In the last chapter I have
given an example of the happy mistake committed by a formidable
antagonist of the Emperor in consequence of this prevailing

The empire north of the Vindhyan range was portioned by the Emperor
into twelve subahs or provinces. These were each governed by a
viceroy, subordinate only to the sovereign. He held office during
good behaviour, and was bound in all things to carry out the
instructions of his master. Under {193} him were local military
officers called _fáujdárs_, who united in their own persons the
duties devolving upon a chief of police and a military commander. To
them was consigned the maintenance of peace in their several
districts; the superintendence of military establishments within the
same; the command of the regular troops there located; and,
generally, the repression of disturbances.

The lines upon which justice was administered by the officers of
Akbar were the same as those introduced by his Afghán predecessors.
The Kurán was the basis upon which the law rested. But precedents
often modified the strict interpretation. Where, moreover, the law
leaned to severity it was again modified by the instructions drafted
by the Emperor or his advisers. The leading features of these
instructions were to temper justice with mercy. The high officers
were enjoined to be sparing in capital punishments. In one rescript
addressed to the Governor of distant Gujarát, that functionary was
directed in no case, except in that of dangerous sedition, to inflict
capital punishment until his proceedings had received the
confirmation of the Emperor.

South of the Vindhyan range, in the division known as the Deccan, or
South, the imperial possessions were originally divided into three
subahs or commands. Subsequently, when new provinces and districts
had been acquired, they were increased to six. After the death of
Akbar these were all placed under one head, called the Subahdár, the
precursor of {194} the Nizám. With him, but subordinate to him, was
associated an administrative financial officer called the Diwán, or

Akbar was a very magnificent sovereign. Though simple in his habits,
he recognised, as the greatest of British Viceroys recognised after
him, that show is a main element in the governing of an Eastern
people. It is necessary to strike the eye, to let the subjects see
the very majesty of power, the 'pomp and circumstance' attending the
being whose nod indicates authority, who is to them the personified
concentration on earth of the attributes of the Almighty. This is no
mere idea. The very expressions used by the natives of India at the
present day show how this thought runs through their imaginations. To
them the man in authority, the supreme wielder of power, sits in the
place of God. His _fiat_ means to them weal or woe, happiness or
misery. On days of ceremony, then, they expect that this all-powerful
being shall display the ensigns of royalty, shall surround himself
with the pomp and glitter which betoken state. Akbar thoroughly
understood this and acted accordingly.

We are not left to the descriptions of the author of the Ain to
realise the imposing grandeur of his ceremonies. The native
historians speak of his five thousand elephants, his twelve thousand
riding-horses, his camp-equipage containing splendid tents,
comprising halls for public receptions, apartments for feasting,
galleries for exercise, chambers for retirement, all of splendid
material and rich and varied {195} colours. They describe the Emperor
himself on the days of special ceremonial seated in a rich tent, the
awnings of which were thrown open, in the centre of carpeting of the
softest material, covering at least two acres of ground, receiving
the homage of his nobles. These occupied tents inferior only in
degree to that of the sovereign. Then ensued, in the sight of the
people, the ceremony of weighing the sovereign against various
articles, to be distributed to those who needed them. According to
the number of years the sovereign had lived there was given away an
equal number of sheep, goats, and fowls to the breeders of those
animals. A number of the smaller animals were likewise set at
liberty. The Emperor himself distributed with his own hand almonds
and fruits of the lighter sort among his courtiers.

On the great day of the festival Akbar seated himself on his throne,
sparkling with diamonds, and surrounded by his chiefest nobles, all
magnificently attired. Then there passed before him, in review, the
elephants with their head and breast-plates adorned with rubies and
other stones, the horses splendidly caparisoned, the rhinoceroses,
the lions, the tigers, the panthers, the hunting-leopards, the
hounds, the hawks, the procession concluding with the splendidly
attired cavalry. This is no fancy picture. The like of it was
witnessed by Hawkins, by Roe, and by Terry, in the time of the son
and successor of Akbar, and those eminent travellers have painted in
gorgeous colours the magnificence of the spectacle.

{196} These scenes were witnessed only on days of high ceremony. At
ordinary times Akbar was the simple, unaffected, earnest man, ever
striving after truth, such as the work he accomplished gives evidence
of. That work was the consolidation of an empire, torn by Muhammadan
conquerors for more than four centuries, and at the end of that
period still unsettled, still unconsolidated. During those four
centuries the principles of the Kurán, read in a bigoted and
unnatural sense by the Afghán conquerors, had been distorted to rob
and plunder the Hindu population. The most enlightened of his earlier
predecessors, Sultán Firuz Sháh, described by an English writer as
possessing 'a humane and generous spirit,' confesses how he
persecuted those who had not accepted the faith of Islám. Those
principles of persecution for conscience sake, in full swing at the
time of the accession of Akbar, Akbar himself abolished.

Akbar's great idea was the union of all India under one head. A union
of beliefs he recognised at a very early stage as impossible. The
union therefore must be a union of interests. To accomplish such a
union it was necessary, first, to conquer; secondly, to respect all
consciences and all methods of worshipping the Almighty. To carry out
this plan he availed himself to a modified extent only of the
Muhammadan ritual. Instead of the formula under which so many
persecutions had been organised, 'there is but one God, and Muhammad
is his Prophet,' he adopted the revised version: 'there is but one
God, and Akbar is his {197} vicegerent on earth.' The prophet, he
argued, came to preach the oneness, the unity, of God to an
idolatrous people. To that people Muhammad was the messenger to
proclaim the good tidings. But the precepts that messenger had laid
down and had embodied in the Kurán had been interpreted to teach the
propagation of the doctrine of the oneness of God by the sword.

The consequences of acting upon that mis-reading, as Akbar considered
it, had been failure, at least in India. To that failure he had
before him the witness of upwards of four centuries. He had but just
entered his twenty-first year when he recognised that government
carried on on such a principle must inevitably alienate. His object,
I cannot too often repeat, was to bring together, to conciliate, to
cement, to introduce a principle which should produce a community of
interests among all his subjects. The germ of that principle he found
in the alteration of the Musalmán profession of faith above stated.
The writings of Muhammad, misinterpreted and misapplied, could only
produce disunion. He, then, for his age and for his reign, would take
the place of the Prophet. He would be the interpreter of the generous
and merciful decrees of the one All-powerful.

The dominant religion should not be, as long as he was its
interpreter, the religion of the sword. It should carry, on the
contrary, a healing influence throughout India; should wipe away
reminiscences of persecution, and proclaiming liberty of conscience,
should practise the most perfect toleration. When this change had
been generally recognised Akbar would then appeal {198} to the
princes and peoples of India to acknowledge the suzerainty of the one
prince who would protect and yet not persecute. He would appeal to
them to aid in the regeneration he was preparing, not in his
individual interest, but in the interests of the millions who, for
four centuries, had been harassed by invasions, by civil wars, by
persecutions following both.

Akbar did not appeal to an unreflecting or an obstinate people. With
one exception, that of Chitor (now known as Udaipur), the Rájpút
princes and people of the most influential part of India came into
his scheme. The most powerful amongst them, Jaipur and Jodhpur,
helped him with the counsels of the men who, Hindus, were his most
trusted captains, and with their splendid soldiers. The principal
opposition he encountered was from the bigots of his own court, and
from the descendants of the Afghán invaders settled in Bengal, in
Orissa, and in Western India. For the sake of his beneficent scheme
it was necessary to bring these into the fold. He tried at first to
induce them to accept their authority from him. They accepted it
only, on the first occasion, to seize an opportunity to rebel. There
was then no choice but conquest. So he conquered. Toleration, good
and equal laws, justice for all, invariably followed.

Thus it was that he, first of the Muhammadan invaders of India,
welded together the conquered provinces, and made them, to the extent
to which he conquered, for a portion of Southern India remained
unsubdued, one united Empire. These are his titles {199} to the
admiration of posterity. We, who have watched his work, and have
penetrated his motives, recognise the purity of his intentions. He
did not wish, as the bigots of his Court declared that he wished, to
have himself obeyed and worshipped as a God. No: he declared himself
to be the interpreter of the religion of which the Prophet had been
the messenger in the sense of teaching its higher truths, the truths
of beneficence, of toleration, of equal justice irrespective of the
belief of the conscience. His code was the grandest of codes for a
ruler, for the founder of an empire.

'There is good in every creed; let us adopt what is good, and discard
the remainder.' Such was his motto. He recognised this feature in the
mild and benevolent working of Hinduism, in the care for the family
inculcated by it, in the absence of the spirit of proselytism. He
recognised it in the simple creed of the followers of Zoroaster. He
recognised it in Christianity. There was good in all. He believed,
likewise, that there was good in all men. Hence his great
forbearance, his unwillingness to punish so long as there was hope of
reform, his love of pardoning. 'Go and sin no more' was a precept
that constituted the very essence of his conduct.

Such was Akbar, the founder of the Mughal dynasty. Such were the
principles which enabled him to found it. They were principles which,
if adhered to, would have maintained it. They were the principles by
accepting which his Western successors maintain it at the present

{200} In the foregoing pages I have spoken of Akbar and his
achievements as though I were comparing him with the princes of our
own day. Handicapped though he is by the two centuries which have
since elapsed, Akbar can bear that comparison. Certainly, though his
European contemporaries were the most eminent of their respective
countries, though, whilst he was settling India, Queen Elizabeth
ruled England, and Henry IV reigned in France, he need not shrink
from comparison even with these. His reputation is built upon deeds
which lived after him. No one can suppose that his successor,
Jahángír, had he followed Humáyún, could have conciliated and welded
together the divided territories he would have inherited or
conquered. His passionate and bigoted character would have rendered
the task impossible. But the foundations dug by Akbar were so deep
that his son, although so unlike him, was able to maintain the empire
which the principles of his father had welded together. When we
reflect what he did, the age in which he did it, the method he
introduced to accomplish it, we are bound to recognise in Akbar one
of those illustrious men whom Providence sends, in the hour of a
nation's trouble, to reconduct it into those paths of peace and
toleration which alone can assure the happiness of millions.



ABUL MÁ'ALÍ, favourite of Humáyún, is sent to occupy Dípálpur, 62:
  rebellion, and death of, 97.

ABULFAZL, becomes the friend of Akbar, 151:
  character, studies, and influence of, 152-3, 170:
  murder of, 139.

AGRA, the building of the fort of, 99.

AGRICULTURE, measures taken by Akbar to benefit those addicted to,

AKBAR, birth of, 52:
  is abandoned at Shál, 53:
  is taken to Kandahár, and tended by his aunt, 54:
  is removed to Kábul, 54, 55:
    where his father rejoins him, 55:
  perils of, at Kábul, 55-9:
  joins his father in the invasion of India, and is present at the
    battle of Sirhind, 62:
  is sent by his father to the Punjab, 63:
  is there proclaimed Emperor, 63:
  choice of courses before, 65:
  turns to contest the empire with Hemu, 66:
  moves on Pánípat, 68:
  wins the battle of Pánípat, 70:
  refuses to slay the captured Hemu, 71:
  the problem he had to solve in India, 78-80:
  personal appearance of, 81:
  character and predispositions of, 82-4:
  secures the Punjab, 84, 85:
  feels the preponderating influence of Bairám, 85-7:
  assumes the administration and exiles Bairám to Mekka, 88:
  suppresses the rebellion of Bairám, 89:
  personal rule of, begins, 91:
  the aims of, 92, 93:
  begins to carry out his plan of bringing all India into his system,
  design of, of welding together, 94:
  deals with the Gakkhars, 96, 97:
  reception of, in Mándu, 98:
  deals with the revolt of the Uzbek nobles, 100:
  conquers Behar, 101, 102:
  suppresses rebellions in the Punjab and Kábul, 102:
  besieges Chitor, 105:
  founds Fatehpur-Síkrí, 106:
  after securing Rájpútána, marches on Gujarát, 108:
  incidents of the conquest of Gujarát by, 109-13:
  extent of the authority of, 115:
  reverses the principle of making war support war, 116:
  orders the invasion of Bengal, 118:
    and invades it himself, 118:
  captures Patná, 119:
  returns to Delhi, 120:
    and Fatehpur-Síkrí, 121:
  takes measures to benefit the agriculturists, 121:
  completes conquest of Bengal, 122:
  builds the Ibádat-khána at Fatehpur-Síkrí, 123:
  abolishes inland tolls and the _jizyá_, 126:
  proceeds to Kábul, 127:
  reasons of, for matrimonial alliances with Rájpút families, 129-31:
  proceedings of, in the Punjab, 131-6:
  revisits Kábul, 134:
  proceeds to the Deccan, but returns to repress the rebellion of
    Prince Salím, 136-8:
  family of, 141:
  illness of, 142:
  dying words of, 144:
  character of, 144, 145:
  disposition, principles, and training of, 146:
  influence of Faizí over, 151:
  influence of Abulfazl over, 153-5:
  creed promulgated by, 157:
  uses made by, of his power, 159:
  religious code of, 160:
  culls from many religions, 161:
  his own conception of his position, 163:
  discourages Satí, 164:
  discourages professors, but encourages men of real learning, 166:
  his affection for Faizí and Abulfazl, 170:
  how the principles of, affected his administration, 171:
  making difference of religion no distinction, 172:
  abolishing the tax on pilgrimages, 172:
    the _jizyá_, 174:
    how they affected his dealings with the Hindus, 175:
  attachment of, to his relatives, 177:
  likings and peculiarities of, 179:
  fondness for field sports of, 179:
  daily habits of, 180:
  reasons of, for marriage with Rájpút princesses, 181-4:
  wives of, 184:
  revenue system of, 185:
  rewards granted by, to the deserving, 189:
  wise caution displayed by, in disturbing ancient customs, 191:
  army of, 192:
  divisions of the empire of, 192:
  magnificence of, 194:
  a true seeker after truth, 197:
  character of the people he appealed to, 198:
  comparison of, with his European contemporaries, 200.

ÁLÍ KULÍ KHÁN-Í-SHAIBÁNÍ, brilliantly captures Hemu's artillery, 68.

ARGUMENT, the, of the work, 5.

ATTOCK, on the Indus, built by Akbar, 127-31.

BÁBAR, family from which, was descended, 12:
  age of, at time of father's death, 13:
  loses Fergháná, 14:
  surprises Samarkand, 15:
  is defeated by the Uzbeks, 15:
    and flees to the deserts, 16:
  crosses the Oxus, and conquers Kábul, 18:
  impressions on the mind of, by first glance at the Punjab, 18:
  resolves to conquer Kandahár, 19:
  visits Herát, 19:
  terrible march of, from Herát to Kábul, 20:
  marches for Kandahár, 21:
  defeats his enemy and takes it, 22:
  vicissitudes of the fortunes of, against the Uzbeks, 23:
  is proclaimed ruler of Sind, 24:
  first, second, and third invasions of India by, 31:
  fourth invasion of India by, 32:
  fifth invasion of India by, 33:
  reaches Pánípat, 33:
  fights and wins the battle of Pánípat, 34:
  the position of, in India, 35:
  difficulties of, with his army, 37:
  generous and noble nature of, 39:
  methods of, to conquer the country, 39:
  defeats Sanga Ráná, 41:
  conquers large portions of Central India and of Oudh, 42:
  invades Behar, 43:
  health of, declines, 45:
  devotion of, to Humáyún, 46:
  dies, 46:
  character of, 47, 48:
  last words of, 48.

BAIRÁM KHÁN, the best general of Humáyún, invades Jálandhar, 62:
  defeats the generals of Sikandar Sháh on the Sutlej, and marches to
    Sirhind, 62:
  is joined by Humáyún and Akbar, and helps to defeat Sikandar Sháh,
  goes with Akbar to the Punjab as his Atálik, 63:
  murders Tardí Beg, 67, 68:
  urges Akbar to slay the captured Hemu, 70, 71:
  virtually rules the new conquest, 85:
  is exiled to Mekka by order of Akbar, 88:
  rebels, is defeated, and assassinated, 89, 90.

BENGAL, king of, in the time of Akbar, 117:
  is invaded by Akbar, 118:
  submits to Akbar, 122:
  Mán Singh appointed Governor of, 133.

BHAGWÁN DÁS, of Jaipur, Rájá, connection of, with Akbar, 111:
  gallantry of, 111:
  is governor of the Punjab, 128:
  death of, 134.

BÍRBAL, Rájá, is killed by the Yusufzais, 131, and note.

DÁNYÁL, Prince, the one failing of, causes death of, 141, 142.

DÁÚD KHÁN, king of Bengal, _vide_ BENGAL.

DECCAN, the, campaigns in, and partial conquest of, 136.

FAIZÍ, Shaikh, story of, 150:
  how he influenced the actions of Akbar, 151, 170.

FATEHPUR-SÍKRÍ, founded by Akbar, 106, 107:
  discussions in the Ibádat-kháná at, 123:
  memorable scenes at, 156, 157, 161.

FERGHÁNÁ, kingdom of, 13, 14.

GAKKHARS, the, are subdued by Akbar, 96, 97.

GUJARÁT, story of the conquest of, by Akbar, 108-15.

HEMU, rise to power of, 61:
  wins two victories and threatens Delhi, 62, 63:
  defeats Tardí Beg and occupies Delhi, 66:
  moves towards Pánípat, 68:
  is attacked, and defeated by Akbar, 70:
  is slain, 71.

HERÁT, position of, in the time of Bábar, 17:
  route between, and Kábul, 20:
  is conquered by the Uzbeks, 21.

HUMÁYÚN, eldest son of Bábar and father of Akbar, assists his father
    in the conquest of India, 40:
  is sent for at the time of his father's illness, 45:
  sickness, and recovery of, 46:
  succeeds Bábar, 50:
  character of, 50:
  after a reign of eight years is driven from India by Sher Sháh, 50,
  spends two and a half years in Sind, 51:
  wooes, wins, and marries Hámidá Begam, 52, 53:
  flight of, to Amarkót, 52:
  action of, on learning of the birth of Akbar, 53:
  sets out for Kandahár, 53:
  is forced to abandon Akbar at Shál, 53:
  conquers Kandahár and Kábul, 55:
  vicissitudes of fortune between, and Kámrán, at Kábul, 55-9:
  resolves to recover India, 59:
  invades India, 61:
  defeats Sikandar Sháh at Sirhind, 62:
  death of, 63, 64.

INDIA, sketch of history of, before the Mughal invasion, 26:
  character of the rule of dynasties prior to that of the Mughal, 27,
  Bábar's position in, after Pánípat, 35:
  internal condition of, at the time, 36:
  position of, at the time of the death of Bábar, 48:
  general condition of, in the middle of the 16th century, 72-80.

KÁBUL, kingdom of, in the time of Bábar, 17:
  Akbar is removed to, 54, 55:
  vicissitudes of fortune between Humáyún and Kámrán at, 55-9:
  Akbar appeases troubles at, 102:
  Akbar restores order at, 127.

KÁMRÁN, Mirzá, vicissitudes of fortune in contest of with Humáyún,
  finally succumbs, 59.

KANDAHÁR, important position of, recognised by Bábar, 19:
  taken by Bábar, 22:
  is captured by the Uzbeks, 23:
  is secured by Bábar, 31:
  Akbar is taken to, 53, 54:
  is conquered by Humáyún, 55.

KASHMÍR, conquest of, by Akbar, 131-5.

KHUSRÚ, Prince, chances of, to succeed Akbar, 141-3.

LEARNED MEN, who flourished in the time of Akbar, notice of some of
    the, 166-9.

LIBRARY, the, of Akbar, 169.

MÁN SINGH, of Jaipur, gallantry of, in Gujarát, 111:
  appointed Governor of Kábul, 132:
  on the remonstrance of the Kábulis is transferred to Bengal, 133:
  conduct of, during Akbar's illness, 143.

MEWÁR, Ráná of, refuses to come into Akbar's system, 124:
  is defeated at Huldíghát, 125:
  still fights for his own hand, 140.

MURÁD, Prince, son of Akbar, death of, 136.

ORCHHÁ, the Rájá of, is prompted by Prince Salím to murder Abulfazl,
    139, and note.

ORISSA, conquest of, by Akbar, 118-22.

PÁNÍPAT, the first battle of, 33, 34:
  second battle of, 68-71.

PATNÁ, taken by Akbar, 119.

PUNJAB, the, Bábar's first impressions of, 18:
    renews his acquaintance with, 32:
    again, 33:
  Akbar enters, and pursues his enemy into the Siwáliks, 63-6:
  sojourn of Akbar in, 131-6.

RÁJPÚTÁNA, matrimonial alliances of Akbar with the royal families of,
    128, 181:
  dealings with the several princes of, 91-143.

SALÍM, Prince (afterwards the Emperor Jahángír), character of, 137:
  rebels, 138:
  causes the murder of Abulfazl, 139:
  vicious conduct of, 140-42:
  apparent repentance of, 144:
  is girt with his dying father's sword, 144.

SAMARKAND, city of, surprised by Bábar, 15:
  taken by the Uzbeks, 15:
  is reconquered by, and captured from, Bábar, 23.

SANGA, Ráná, position of, in Rájpútána, 40:
  is defeated by Bábar, 41.


SHER KHÁN, afterwards Sher Sháh, revolts from Bábar, 43:
  drives Humáyún from India, 50, 51:
  reign of, 60:
  defects of rule of, and predecessors of, 73-8.

SIKANDAR SHÁH, claims the rule over Muhammadan India, 61:
  is defeated by Humáyún at Sirhind, and flees to the Siwáliks, 62:
  again shows signs of life, 63:
  retreats into Mánkót, 65:
  pursued by Akbar, surrenders on terms, 84, 85.

SIND, Bábar is proclaimed ruler of, 24:
  completion of the conquest of, under Akbar, 134, 135.

TARDÍ BEG, prudent conduct of, on the death of Humáyún, 64:
  is defeated by Hemu, 66:
  joins Akbar at Sirhind, 67:
    where he is murdered by Bairám, 68.

TODAR MALL, Rájá, is sent by Akbar to repair the defeat of his troops
    by the Yusufzais, 132:
  death of, 134:
  influence of, with Akbar, 192.

UMERSHAIKH, father of Babar, 13.

UZBEKS, the, defeat Bábar before Samarkand 15:
  conquer Herát, 21:
  take Kandahár, 23:
  contests of, with Bábar, 23:
  the, nobles, revolt against Akbar, 100:
  are forgiven, 101.

YUSUFZAIS, the, repulse the troops of Akbar, 131:
  are defeated by Todar Mall, 132.


Works by Colonel Malleson.


London: W. H. Allen & Co., 13 Waterloo Place.

'Colonel Malleson wields his pen with so much skill that while giving
a realistic account of all important operations, passing over no
really noteworthy act of heroism, and acutely criticizing everything
which demands criticism, he abstains from overlaying his narrative
with details which would have increased the bulk of the book beyond
all reason.'--_Athenæum_.

'A brilliant narrative, in which a great number of threads of history
are taken up and combined with singular skill. We have never read a
volume in which this merit is more conspicuously displayed; and a
history which, in unskilful hands, might have become confused to the
last degree is made remarkably clear and intelligible.'--_Spectator_.


NEW EDITION, 7_s_. 6_d_.
London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1888.

'We know of no book so well calculated as is the one we are noticing
for giving the student a clear and comprehensive knowledge of the
successive steps taken in conquering for ourselves the Empire of
Hindustan. It is not simply the story of so many decisive battles.
The causes which led to each one are set forth, and the connection
between each successive war is clearly shewn. The author has
consulted as far as possible original documents, or the writings,
published and unpublished, of contemporaries; and to judge by the
list he has given, the labour of composing this excellent work must
have been considerable.'--_Saturday Review_.


London: Longmans, 1868.

'Colonel Malleson has produced a volume alike attractive to the
general reader, and valuable for its new matter to the special
student.'--_Edinburgh Review_.


Price 20_s_.
London: Allen & Co., 1885.

'It would not be possible to find in any other work a more faithful
or vivid word-picture of the work accomplished by this great soldier
and statesman, or of the manner in which he performed


London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1884.

'A thoroughly good book.'--_The Guardian_.

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