Mughal Empire

The Mughal Empire was a powerful Islamic state that ruled over most of South Asia from the 16th to the mid-19th century. It was founded by Babur, a Chaghatai Turkic-Mongol prince, who established his empire in Delhi in 1526 after defeating the Sultan of Delhi Ibrahim Lodi. The empire went through several important rulers, including Akbar the Great, who was known for his policy of religious tolerance and his administrative reforms, and Aurangzeb, who expanded the empire to its greatest extent but also faced challenges due to his strict policies towards non-Muslims. The Mughal Empire played a crucial role in shaping the political, cultural, and economic landscape of South Asia and left a lasting impact on the region.

Mughal Kingdom

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

1526 – 1530 ADBaburFounder of Mughal Empire after the 1stBattle of Panipat
1530 – 1540 AD And
1555 – 1556 AD
HumayunHe was defeated by Sher Shah
1540 – 1555 ADSur EmpireSher Shah defeated Humayun and ruled from 1540-45 AD
15562nd Battle of PanipatAkbar Vs. Hemu
1556 – 1605 ADAkbarEstablished Din-i-illahi, expanded Mughal Empire
1605 – 1627 ADJehangirCaptain William Hawkins and Sir Thomas Roe visited the Mughal court
1628 -1658 ADShahjahanThe pinnacle of Mughal Empire and art & architecture
1658 – 1707 ADAurangazebBeginning of the decline of Mughal Empire
1707 – 1857 ADLater MughalsDecline and disintegration of the Mughal Empire with gaining strength of the British
Expansion of Mughal Empire

Babur (1526 – 1530)

Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire in India, traced his ancestry to the Timurid dynasty. In 1517 Ibrahim Lodhi succeeded Sikander Lodhi. Embassies from Daulat Khan invited Babur to displace Ibrahim Lodhi leading to the 1st Battle of Panipat in 1526. Babur used an Ottoman (Rumi) device in this war. Babur also heavily used Gunpowder in this war, though it was known in India in earlier times.

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

Literature of Babur

  • Babur composed Tuzuk-i-Baburi, a Masnavi, and the Turkish translation of a well-known Sufi work. Tuzuk-i-Baburi was translated into Persian as Baburnama by Abdur Rahim Khankhana.
  • Babur was a great scholar in Arabic & Persian languages.

Architecture of Babur

  • Babur also established a tradition of Gardening by laying out a number of formal gardens with running water. Babur Introduced Char-Baghs and symmetrically laid out gardens.
  • He built two mosques, one at Kabulibagh, Panipat, and another in Sambhal, Rohilkhand.

The signification of Babur Invasions

  • Kabul and Gandhar became integral parts of the Mughal Empire.
  • Security from External invasions for almost 200 yrs.
  • Babur popularized gunpowder, cavalry, and artillery in India. (Gunpowder was used earlier in India, but Babur popularized its use).
  • Strengthened India’s foreign trade.
  • Proclaimed himself as “Emperor of Hindustan”
  • The arrival of Babur into India led to the establishment of the Timurid dynasty in the region.
  • Babur introduced a new mode of warfare in India.
  • Defeating Sangha & Lodi he smashed the balance of power and laid the foundation for the Indian empire.
  • He had assumed the title of Padshah.

Humayun (1530 – 1540 and 1555 – 1556)

Mirza Nasir-ud-Din Muhammad, better known by his regnal name, Humāyūn, was the second emperor of the Mughal Empire, who ruled over territory in what is now Eastern Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India, and Bangladesh from 1530 to 1540 and again from 1555 to 1556.

  • Humayun became the Mughal Emperor on 29 December 1530 at the age of 23.
  • He had to deal with the rapid growth of the power of the Afghans & and the Bahadur shah of Gujrat.
  • At the battle of Chausa (1539) & battle of Kanauj (1540) Sher Shah, defeated Humayun and forced him to flee India.
  • In the Battle of Chausa, in 1539, Humayun was defeated for the first time by Sher Shah Suri.
  • In the next year (1540) Sher Shah completely defeated Humayun in the Battle of Kanauj and founded the Sur dynasty.
  • After the lapse of 15 years, Humayun recaptured the Empire by defeating the last Sur ruler Sikandar Shah Suri in the Battle of Sirhindh, 1555, after which he ruled only for 6 months.
  • Humayun built a new city in Delhi which he named “Dinpanah”.
  • Mosques: Jamali mosque and mosque of Isa Khan at Delhi.
  • His widow Amida Benu Bhegum built Humayun’s tomb (UNESCO site).
  • Humayun’s sister, Gul Badan Begum, wrote “Humayun-Nama”.
  • The foundation for the Mughal painting was laid by Humayun when he was staying in Persia.
  • Humayun died by an accidental fall from the staircase of his Library ‘Shermandal’ at the Puranakwila in Delhi on 24 January 1556.
  • Humayun was an accomplished mathematician and astronomer. He earned the title Insan-i-Kamil (Perfect Man), among the Mughals.
  • Humayun’s biography Humayun Namah was written by Humayun’s sister Gulbadan Begum. The language used to write this biography was a mixture of Turkish and Persian.
  • He brought with him two painters – Mir Sayyid Ali and Abdal Samad to India, who became famous during Akbar’s reign.

Architecture during Humayun’s Period

  • The Purnakwila was constructed by Humayun but its construction was completed by Sher Shah.
  • Humayun’s tomb is situated in Delhi (the first building in India to have double domes) which was built by Haji Begum.
  • Humayun tomb is known as the predecessor of Tajmahal because Taj was modeled after this, also known as a dormitory of the house of Timur. Mirak Mirza Ghias was its architect.
  • In 1533 Humayun built the city of Dinpanah (world refuge) in Delhi.

Sher Shah Suri (Sur Empire)

  • Sher Shah’s original name was Farid.
  • His family came to India from Afghanistan.
  • In the Battle of Chausa, in 1539, Sherkhan defeated Humayun for the first time and assumed the name, Sher Shah.
  • Later in 1540 he completely defeated Humayun in the Battle of Kanauj and founded the Sur dynasty.
Sher Shah Suri (Sur Empire)

The architecture of Sher Shah Suri

  • Sher Shah constructed the Grand Trunk Road from Sohargaon to Attock (Calcutta to Amritsar) He introduced the National Highway concept for the first time in India. Now the Grand Trunk Road is known as Sher Shah Suri Marg. Its part from Delhi to Amritsar is known as National Highway -1.
  • He also built roads from Agra to Jodhpur and Chittoor and Lahore to Multan. He built Sarais at a distance of every two Kos. These saris later developed into Market towns, Qasbas. They were also used as stages for news services, Dak-Chowkis.
  • He built the Purana Qila in Delhi (its construction was started by Humayun) and his own Mausoleum (Tomb) at Sasaram in Bihar.
  • He also constructed the Khooni Darwaza (blood-stained gate), the gateway of Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi.
  • Chief Shiqdar (law and order) & Chief Munsif (judge) are a charge of the administration in each sarkar.
  • Each sarkar was divided into several Parganas. Shiqdar (military officer), Amin (land revenue), Fotedar (treasurer), and Karkuns (accountants) were in charge of the administration of each pargana.
  • Mauza (village) was the lowest level of administration.
  • There were also many administrative units called iqtas.

Economy and Administration of Sher Shah Suri

  • He was the first ruler to introduce Silver Rupiya (one Rupiya was equal to 64 dams) and the gold coin Ashrafi.
  • Administrative Divisions:
    • Iqta – Province under Haqim or Amin
    • Sarkar – District under Shiqdar-i-Shiqadaran or Munsif-i-Munsifan
    • Pargana – Taluk under Shiqdar or Munsif
    • Gram – Village under Muqqadam or Amil
  • He made local Muqaddams/Zamindars responsible for local crimes.
  • Hindi poet Malik Muhammed Jayasi completed his Padmavat, during his reign.
  • He continued the central administration developed during the Sultanate period.
  • Imp officials –
    • Diwan –i- Wizarat / Wazir – Revenue and Finance.
    • Diwan-i-Ariz – in charge of the Army.
    • Diwan-i-Rasalat- Foreign Minister.
    • Diwan-i-Insha- Minister for Communications.
    • Barid – Intelligence
  • Sher Shah’s empire was divided into “sarkars”.
  • He followed the branding of horses from Alauddin Khalji and maintained his personal royal force called Khasa Kail.
  • All cultivable lands were classified into three classes – good, middle, and bad. The state’s share was one-third of the average production and it was paid in cash or crop. The land was measured using the Sikandari gaz (32 points).


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