Akbar was born in Umerkot (Sindh, Pakistan) on 15 October, 1542 as Abu al-fath Jalaluddin Muhammad. He was son of Mughal emperor Humayun and Hamida Bano Begum. Humayun living in Sindh as he was defeated and thrown out of India by Sher Shah Suri. After the death of Sher Shah Suri, Humayun was able to recover part of his empire. By 1556, he regain the control Delhi. He did not live long to consolidate his power and died by falling from the staircase. After the death of Humayun, Akbar was proclaimed as emperor at the age of thirteen. He became the emperor of Punjab and area around Delhi. Soon, he was challenged by Hemu. Hemu was the general of Adil Shah Suri, son of Sher Shah Suri. Hemu proclaimed himself emperor and declared war against Akbar. Akbar was able to defeat and kill Hemu in Second Battle of Panipat. During second battle of Panipat, Mughal finally crushed the Afghan power in India. This battle mark the rise of Mughal empire in India. As emporer was minor at the time he became emperor, so Bairam khan started managing empire on behalf of emperor. But in few years, Akbar assumed full control of his empire. Akbar knew that if he wants to build lasting empire, he needs loyal and powerful friends. So, he adopted the policy of carrot and stick towards Rajput. He greatly rewarded those Rajput who agreed to accept him as his emperor and pay him tribute. In return Rajputs got financial rewards and complete control over their territory. Emporer punished those Rajput who failed to join him by attacking and plundering their kingdom.
Conquest of Akbar
In 1561, Akbar started his conquest by annexing Kingdom of Malwa. In few years he established complete control over central India. In 1568, he captured the fort of chittorgarh. Rana Pratap inspite of losing much of his kingdom continued his struggle against Mughal through guerilla warfare. In 1573, Akbar conquered Gujarat and consolidated his power over western India. In 1576, he conquered Bengal and consolidated his power over eastern India. Same year, Rana Pratap challenged Akbar in battle of Haldighati. Rana Pratap lost the battle and went back to his earlier hit and run tactics. In 1592, Emperor conquered Orissa and established complete control over eastern India. Around this time emporer strengthen his empire by conquering Kashmir in 1586, Sind in 1591 and North Eastern Afghanistan in 1595. In 1601, Akbar was able to get foothold in southern India by conquering Berar and Khandesh.
Last few years of Akbar life were full of grief. He close friend faizi died. Another close friend Birbal was killed in battle. His another close friend Abu Fazl was murdered by his son Jahangir. Jahangir even lead a rebellion against his father but was defeated and imprisoned for few months. All the physical exertion and grief took toll on Akbar’s body. In 1605, emperor died due to severe diarrhea. Akbar is acknowledged as one of the greatest ruler of India. He initiated many civil and administrative reforms. He was tolerant towards other religion and abolished Jaziya, a tax paid by non-muslim to Muslim rulers. He also created a new religion called ‘Din-i-Ilahi’. He was a great patron of painters, musicians and poets l, though he himself was illiterate.
- Akbar founded the city of Allahabad in 1575.
- He was fond of cheetah and owned more than thousand of them.
- He planted more than 1,00,000 Mango tree in the place near Darbhanga(Bengal) called Lakhi Bagi.
- Mahesh Das was the real name of Birbal, courtier and close friend of Emperor.
- Abu Fazl wrote biography of Emporer titled Ain-i-Akbari.