Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Tidbits
15-Indian History-AD-3 (1526-1605)
See also Islaam Dharm
India has a continuous civilization since 2500 BC. During the 2nd millennium, Aryan speaking tribes migrated from northwest into the Indian subcontinent. The following material has been taken from "A New History of India", by Stanley Wolpert. 2004.
The Mugal Empire (1526-1707 AD) - 181 years
Emperor Baabar (1526-1530 AD) 5 years
Although Baabar conquered Ibraaheem Lodee, but his brother, Mahamood Lodee, escaped from the carnage at Paaneepat, on April 21, 1526. (see Paaneepat Battles). Mahamood himself raised an army in Bangaal and Raanaa Saangaa (reign, 1509-1528 AD) did the same in Mevaad, Raajsthaan. Raanaa Saangaa was believed the descendent of Raam of Soorya's Dynasty. He stood first among the 36 royal tribes of Raajpoot. This Mevaad Dynasty survived for centuries against Muslim invasions and rule. He had 80 wounds won in battle, the one-eyed, one-armed leader fought with Mugal but lost the battle at Khaanuaa on March 15, 1527 because some of his allies deserted him. His much larger force surrounded Baabar's army. To boost the spirits of his people he shattered his golden wine goblets and distributed their fragments among the poor. At the same time he vowed not to drink again, but he could not win the battle. Raanaa Saangaa had to flee. Baabar defeated the joint forces of Afgaan and Mahamood Lodee on May 6, 1529.
It was not until Baabar, that dynamite was used in warfare. He was used to the delights of Persian gardens and the cool of the Afgaan hills. He was not happy when he first came to India. His first impression about India was - in his autobiography he has written - "Hindustaan is a country that has few pleasures to recommend it. The people are not handsome. They have no idea of charms of friendly society, of frankly mixing together, or of familiar intercourse. They have no genius, no comprehensions of mind, no politeness of manner, no kindness or fellow-feeling, no ingenuity or mechanical invention in planning, or executing their handicraft works, no skill or knowledge in design or architecture; they have no horses, no good flesh, no grapes or musk melons, no good fruits, no ice or cold water, no good food or bread in their bazaars, no baths or colleges, no candles, no torches, not a candlestick."
In three victories, Baabar secured all of North India, but little more than a year later, following the last battle, on December 26, 1530, he died in Aagaraa, after calling upon Allaah to take his life in exchange for the recovery of his son, Humaayoon (1508-1556 AD) who was deadly ill at that time.
Humaayoon (reign, 1531-1540) - 10 years
Sher Shaah Sooree (reign, 1540-1545) - 5 years
Humaayoon (1555-1556) - 1 year
Akbar (1556-1605) 50 years
[Hemoo used to sell food, gunpowder etc to Shershaah Sooree's army. After Shershaah's death, his son Islaam Shaah who ruled from Delhi recognized his abilities and placed him in an important position. After Islaam Shaah's death Aadil Shaah took control of most of Northern India, but as he was not a good administrator, he sought advice from Hemoo. He made him in-charge of his army. Hemoo fought some 22 battles from Panjaab to Bangaal. He was very popular among Hindu as well as Afgaans. This unity encouraged Hemoo to take on Mugals. He easily won his 21st battle of Aagaraa and Mugals ran away. Similarly he won Delhi on October 5, 1556. He became the king on October 6, 1556 of Delhi. He thus re-established Hindu Kingdom and started Vikramaaditya Dynasty after centuries of foreign rule. Later Hemoo was captured and beheaded by Baharaam Khaan on November 5, 1556, after Akbar hesitated or refused to execute him himself. His head was sent to Kaabul, while his body was placed in a gibbet. His army was chased down and destroyed by Iskander Khaan. - from Wikipedia]
For 5 years, Akbar ruled under guidance, but then his nurse, who hoped to run the empire herself, tried to declare him proper king. Baharaam Khaan went to pilgrimage but was killed on his way. For a few years the nurse enjoyed the power, but in 1562, the 7th year of his reign, Akbar liberated from Harem rule and took personal command of his court. He incorporated Raajpoot princes into his administrative structure. He decided to woo the Raajpoot, marrying the daughter of king Bhaaramal of Ambar in 1562. He brought many reforms and thus became very popular king. When Raanaa of Mevaad refused to follow Ambar's example of joining Mugal army, he attacked Chittaud in October 1567 and ordered the massacre of some 30,000 people. It fell in February 1568. No prisoners were taken except a few high officials as a symbol of victory. By November 1570 all chiefs of Raajasthaan, except Raanaa of Mevaad, had allied to Akbar.
He admired artists. Baasavaan (Basawan) and Miskin captured animal life. Examples of their works can be seen not only in India, but also at major museums in Europe. He had nine gems in his court - Taansen (musician), Maan Sinh, Abul Fazal, Beerbal, Raajaa Todarmal. Abul Fazal (1551-1602), several foreign visitors and others have described him as a most energetic, powerful, yet singularly sensitive, often melancholy man.
Akbar did not have a child until he was 27. Twin sons were born to him in 1564 but died after a month. So he went to Shekh Saleem of Chishtee order living in Seekaree, some 23 miles from Aagaraa, and in 1569 his first son Saleem (Jahaangeer) was born to the daughter of king Bhaaramal. Next year he had another son, and two years later the third son was born. To show his gratitude to Shekh, in 1571 he built Fatehpur at that spot. Raajaa Todarmal, a Hindu, held the second most powerful post, Deevaan - minister of revenue, Akbar's India had about 100 million population. He had abandoned orthodox Islaam for its mystic Soofee form. Some of his ideas came from Hinduism and Jainism; while others from Paarasee, Sikh, and Christians who regularly visited Fatehpur Seekaree to discuss their beliefs with ever-curious Emperor.
One of the most interesting buildings at Akbar's capital was his octagonal hall "Deevaane Khaas", a small chamber whose central support is a stout pillar from which catwalk spokes emerge about 8 feet above floor level. Akbar would stand on the catwalk and talked to those wise men. He appointed a Hindi poet also along with Persian and Urdu languages - Raajaa Beerbal (1528-1583) was the first poet to hold that honored title. Most popular and famous work of this era was Raam Charit Maanas written by Tulasee Daas ((1532-1623). His court had a 100 painters constantly encouraged to improve their magnificent pictures. There was a Persian calligrapher, Khwaajaa Abdul Samad in his court.
The last four years of Akbar's life were plagued by his eldest rebellion son Saleem. Saleem declared himself Baadshaah, Emperor, in Ilaahaabaad in 1601, while his father was preoccupied with Daccan warfare. Akbar sent his most trusted lieutenant Abul Fazal to take care of this, but he was murdered on the way. Akbar tried his power briefly but then was poisoned by his son and he died on October 17, 1605. Saleem assumed his Persian name Jahaangeer and started his 22 year reign at the age of 36.
Foreign Penetration (1498-1669) 171 years
When Portuguese landed here, Kaaleekat was a known port for Arab, Hindu, Chinese merchants who came from all parts of Asia. Vasco ordered his men to pay anything for ginger loaded with red clay and the cinnamon of the poorest quality, thus paying twice the price; and he sold them at the price of 60 times of the total cost. When this news spread in Lisbon, other ships also ventured into this trade. Dom Affonso d'Albuquerque was the master architect of Portugal's Indian Empire. He, in 1510 seized control of Goaa as the best Maalaabaar base for his headquarters. Goaa became the first Portugal's capital on Indian soil. It was soon known as the "Golden Babylon of the East". This first hold spot was the last freed spot after 4 and 1/2 centuries later. Albuquerque hated Islaam so much he had a dream to divert the Nile to dry up Egypt and stealing the remains of Prophet from Makkaa. No Muslim was permitted to hold any office. Western Europeans learned long before the British arrived, how to exploit communal conflicts and social divisions. Albuquerque died in 1515 AD.
Christian Missionaries - 1542 AD
Two people Osborne and Staper sent a boat in 1583, it was captured by Portuguese and its people were taken to Goaa as prisoners. Ralph Fitch survived and wrote back to Britain, "They have a very strange order among them - they worship a cow and esteem much of the cow's dung to paint the walls of their houses, They will kill nothing, not so much as a louse, for they hold it a sin to kill anything. They eat no flesh, but live by roots and rice and milk. And when the husband dies, his wife is burned with him if she be alive... In the town they have hospitals to keep lame dogs and cats and for birds... Here be n=many merchants of all nations." He then told how wealthy the people of Goaa were, how richly varied their commodities were, how magnificent were their palatial homes. In 1585, he visited Aagaraa and Delhi too, and he estimated the population of each of Akbar's capitals twice the size of London, whose population at that time was only 100,000. He went back to London in 1591.
East India Company - 1608 AD
Mugal were carried on their palanquins by African slaves, their houses were filled were nubile beauties from all parts of India, its bazaars were jammed with merchants from most of Asia for peacock feathers to white elephants, for coarse grain to opium, for palm leaves to gold. Soon Hawkins knew that India had no more need to trade with England. England was not making anything desired by Indian merchants. Hawkins was first ignored, next humiliated, then robbed by Portuguese pirates. He stayed in India for two years and always wrote that it was in vain to negotiate a treaty of trade with Jahaangeer.
England's second envoy, Paul Canning arrived at Aagaraa in 1612 and was packed off within months. But the value of British people increased in Soorat people's minds when Captain Best's ship fought with Portugese ships and dispersed them. Best's victory at sea shifted the balance, so when King James's ambassador, Sir Thomas Roe visited Jahaangeer in 1616 to present gifts and credentials, he was cordially treated. Although Mugal army was mighty but had no fleet and they depended on Portuguese to protect their annual pilgrim ship to Makkaa. It took Roe about 2 years and 9 months to take permission, in 1619, to build a factory in Soorat and thus British got busy in building their base on the fringes of Mugal Empire. Soon they gained control over the Arabian sea and Persian Gulf destroying Portuguese power in 1622. Soorat remained Company's West Coast headquarters, but Bombay, given to Charles II as part of Catherine of Braganza's dowry in 1661 and turned over to John Company in 1668 for 10 British Pounds annual rent, would soon displace it. They established a factory at Coromandal also. Francis Day purchased land in Mandaraaz, some 30 miles south of Puleekat, and built an English fort there in 1639. The fort was christened St George in 1642, and the village came to be called Madraas. The Company's headquarter at Coromandal soon grew into one of three great urban ports of British Empire. From these ports in southeastern Asia, British merchants soon sought immediate access to Gangaa plains and Bay of Bengal.
In 1633, Ralph Cartwright sought the permission to trade anywhere in Udeesaa, free of customs and the right to purchase land for factories, as well as to provision and repair ships at any Udeesaa harbor; from its Governor Aagaa Muhammad Zamaan. This didn't prove much useful as hurricanes troubled them. By 1641, Udeesaa was to be abandoned and Englishmen could work to reach Bangaal only in 1650. On one side, the Company was facing problems in trading in India, while to retain its monopoly it had to pay more gifts to the courtiers. Another company, Sir William Courtean Company stepped in but could not continue easily. Then Oliver Cromwell's Charter of 1657 revitalized the company. In 1654, Cromwell's treaty with Portugal gave English ships full rights of trade in any Portugese possession in Asia.
After 1660, and for the remaining four decades (up to 1700), British companies received enough money to from home to purchase anything they required to assure continuous flow of an annual profit of 25%.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 11/10/12