Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Tidbits


Home | Rel-Dictionary | History


Previous | Next

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
Mugal History contd on Next Page

Emperor Baabar (1526-1530 AD) 5 years
The last of Lodee Dynasty, Ibraaheem Lodee (1517-1526) was unable to command people his father was ruling upon. Portuguese who had already landed at Maalaabaar Coast in 1498, went unnoticed; but the immediate threat for him didn't come from a 1,000 miles away, but from nearby Laahaur, whose city gates were flung wide open to welcome the king of Kaabul, Baabar (b/d 1483-1530). His name was Zaahiruddeen Muhammad, popularly known as Baabar. Baabar was the great grandson of Taimoor Lang, and a descendent of Mangol Changez Khaan from his mother's side. In fact Daulat Khaan had invited him to save him from Ibraaheem Lodee. He came and founded the Muslim Dynasty - the greatest one in Indian history, as the first Baadshaah (emperor) of the Mugal, on April 21, 1526. He came on the invitation of Daulat Khaan, the Governor of Laahaur, to save him from Ibraaheem Lodee. He didn't stop at Delhi after defeating Ibraaheem, but advanced to Aagaraa, some 100 miles south along the River Yamunaa, which became the twin capital of Mugal kings, and conquered that city next day.

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
Humaayoon almost lost the Empire, his father built for him. He was challenged by his younger brothers and Afgaan Generals who served under Baabar. The most powerful of these Afgaan was Shershaah Sooree who established himself as an independent in Bihaar and claimed Bangaal as well after 1536. Humaayoon tried to defend him but lost in Chausaa battle in 1539. After the victory of Chausaa, Sher Shaah Sooree declared himself Shaah (king) and chased Humaayoon west defeating him again at Kannauj in 1540. Thus the second Mugal Emperor was forced to flee to Persia.

Sher Shaah Sooree (reign, 1540-1545) - 5 years
After Baabar's death, his son Humaayoon could not manage the kingdom, so Baabar's lieutenant Shershaah Sooree and two of Hummaayoon's brothers  sent Humaayoon back from Delhi in 1540. Sher Shaah Sooree ruled India for 5 years from Delhi. He reorganized everything by taking personal interest. He was the most talented Afgaan ruler; and he might have established a dynasty of his own, equal to almost Mugal dimensions, had he not been killed in a battle in 1545. Even with his short power, he managed to hand over his kingdom to his son and grandson, but neither had wisdom or energy to manage it. The last of his line, mere a boy, was killed by his own uncle in 1554.

Humaayoon (1555-1556) - 1 year
After Baabar's death, Baabar's lieutenant Shershaah Sooree and two of Hummaayoon's brothers sent Humaayoon back to Persia from Delhi. So he had to flee away with his pregnant wife through Sindh. Akbar was born in Umarkot, Sindh, during the period of exile, on November 23, 1542. Humaayoon came back to India and recaptured Panjaab, Delhi and Aagaraa in early 1545 with the help of Iraanians from his brother Kaamaraan. Initially Humaayoon forgave his brother but ultimately he had to blind him. (Shakespeare's "King Lear" was written some 50 years later). Humaayoon got Delhi back in 1555 AD. For the remaining year of his life, he spent much of his time in the octagonal building "Sher Mandal" in "Puraanaa Kilaa". Within a year of his return, he tripped, light headed from a pipe or two of opium, cracking his head on the stone stairs of his private astronomical observatory in January 1556. His tomb was built in Puraanaa Kilaa  by his senior widow, Akbar's mother Hameedaa Begam during 1564-1573. Thus the legacy of Baabar now passed to his 13-year old grandson Akbar who soon proved his name "Great".

Akbar (1556-1605) 50 years
One year after his final return to Delhi, Humaayoon died. [Queen Elizabeth I ruled 1558-1603] Akbar was only 13 years old when he took charge of the throne. Although he inherited the throne but it was he who really created the Empire. Jalaaluddeen Muhammad Akbar was born on October 15, 1542, at Amarkot in Sindh desert, while his father was fleeing away to Persia. The infant Akbar was left with his Persian mother, Hameedaa Baanoo Begam and his head nurse Maaham Anag, at the Afgaan fortress at Kandhaar under the guard of his father's trusted lieutenant Baharaam Khaan who continued to be at his side after he ascended the throne. From 1556 to 1560, until his 18th birthday, he was served by the prince regent named Baharaam Khaan. He could never got time to read and write but he had a splendid library on biography, theology, comparative religion, history, astrology, medicine, zoology. He then learnt to hunt, run and fight. He was the only Mugal Emperor who was illiterate. Akbar was only 13 years old when Humaayoon died, so Baharaam Khaan, knowing that others would claim the throne, quickly crowned the boy at Kalaanaur at Panjaab. One Hindu Hemoo, minister of Shershaah Sooree, tried to regain Hindu power in Delhi and Aagaraa but was defeated in 2nd Paaneepat Battle on November 5, 1556. He was always hyperactive throughout his life, so he required very little sleep.

[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
Portuguese Penetration - 1498 AD
Vaasco da Gaamaa came to India on Maalaabaar Coast port of Kaaleekut on May 27, 1498. His coming to India opened an era of Western European penetration which lasted for 4 and 1/2 centuries. But neither Vaasco nor the Hindu ruler of Kaaleekut dreamed that that small but sturdy flag will dominate Indian Ocean for most of the next century. For the following next 3 centuries, in fact, tens of thousands of still large freighters came to India from Holland, England and France following the Portuguese route forming a chain of power that would bind India to Western Europe.

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
The first Jesuit missionaries arrived in Goaa in 1542, to convert India to be Catholic, but in 1548, Francis Xavier wrote to report pessimistically that , all these Indian nations are very barbarous, vicious and without inclination to virtue, no constancy of character, no frankness." So he soon left India for Jaapaan. Philip II of Spain took possession of all Portuguese domains after 1580.

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
Merchants of London left England with three ships in March 1607 under the command of Captain William Hawkins. They landed off Soorat at the mouth of River Taaptee on August 24, 1608. It was the first visit of East India Company to India. Soorat was the Mugal Empire's principal port, but after 1619 it became the site of England's first factory in India and remained the west coast headquarters for John Company (East India Company) until that key role would be taken over by Bombay in 1687. When ambassador Hawkins arrived, armed with 25,000 pieces of gold and a letter of James I to the Mugal Emperor Jahaangeer, Soorat was a bustling city.

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%.

Mugal History contd on Next Page



Home | Rel-Dictionary | History


Previous | Next

Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 11/10/12