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The rise of the great Mughal empire

Updated on February 23, 2016

The battle of Panipat


The king Babur


Mughal king Humayun


Babur was not really a Mughal or Mongol buta Chagatai Turk

The defeat of Ibrahim Lodi at the of Babur in the first battle of Panipat in 1526 opened a new chapter not only in the political but also the social and cultural history of Medieval India. The dynasty which Babar founded came to be known as the Mughal dynasty. The name `Mughal' has been derived from the word `Mongol'. The name was given to this dynasty by other historians. Babur was not really a Mughal or Mongol buta Chagatai Turk. He was a descendant of Taimur from the paternal side and Chengiz Khan from the maternal. He came to India as an adventurer after being chased out of his ancestral kingdom of Ferghana (now in Uzbekistan). The dynasty he founded created the kind of political stability which had been lacking during the period of the Delhi Sultanate. The Mughal empire emerged as one of the biggest and richest empires of its and lasted for a period of almost two hundred years.

After the battle of Panipat, Babar defeated Rana Sanga, the most powerful Rajput ruler of the time, in the battle of Khanwa, near Fatehpur Sikri in Agra district. He then proceeded to conquer the smaller principalities in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Thus during his short reign in India, Babur succeeded in conquering a large territory extending from Afghanistan to the borders of Bengal and from the Himalayan foot hills to the Vindhyas but excluding Malwa, Gujarat and Rajasthan. He had won most of these territories from the Afghans and the Rajputs neither of whom had accepted their defeats as final. His descendants had to fight for long before they succeeded in finally subduing them.

Humayun, the son of Babar, had a rather tragic career. He was addicted to opium and did not have the energy or competence of his father. Further, his own brothers, Kamran, Hindal and Askari, became his rival and increased his difficulties.

decline of mughal empire


The decline of the Mughal empire

Finally, after the crushing of the rebellion of 1857, the English captured Emperor Bahadur Shah II, `Zafar', the successor of Shah Alam II, in 1858 and forced him to spend the rest of his life in Rangoon as a prisoner, where he died in 1862. Thus even the nominal rule of the Mughals came to an end, and India became a part of the empire of the British Queen.

Decline of the Mughals

`Empires are not built in a day, nor do they fall overnight'. The process of decline, however, is much faster than building an empire.

The fundamental causes of the decline of the Mughal empire.

The absence of a definite law of succession and primogeniture which has proved fatal to the Delhi Sultanate once again spelled disaster for the Mughal Empire. After Babur's demise each successive rule witnesses civil wars amongst the contenders. Aurangzeb himself was obsessed with the fear of a civil war amongst his sons and this fatally influenced his Deccan policy. After his death, rulers rose and fell with startling rapidity.

The Mughal administration, over the years, had degenerated and decayed into laxity and irredeemable corruption. Its principal institutions like the mansabdari system has outlived their utility. An acute shortage of Jagirs, had led to corruption and rebellion among the nobility.

Aurangzeb's Deccan policy was the main cause of the ruination of the Mughal empire. His long stay in the Deccan gave a big blow to the administration of the North and let loose the centrifugal forces.

The dismal failure of Aurangzeb's policy towards the Rajputs, the Sikhs, the Deccan powers and his inability to avert forces of disruption, undoubtedly drained the Mughal resources and left a political and financial vacuum.

Two foreign invasions (Nadir Shah in 1740 and Ahmad Shah Abdali in 1761) completely destroyed the prestige of the Mughals.

Aurangzeb The Mughal Emperor Mughal decline



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      madugundu krishna 2 years ago from Yemmiganur

      thank you sir

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      Kevin Goodwin 2 years ago

      Very good and concise hub with good information.