India: Contribuions Made By The Mughal Kings

Contribuions Made By The Mughal Kings To Religion
The Moghuls in India were not Mongolians, but Turks. It was only the first Moghul Emperor, Babur who was able to trace his bloodline to Chingiz (Genghis) Khan. Over the centuries many religions were followed in the Indian subcontinent. In India, Hinduism and Islam have been prominent religions. Times of conflict, strife and cohesion have been seen in the country. During the Mughal Era, culture and religion flourished among Muslims and Hindus in India. This led to a culmination of cross cultural pollination of the Islamic-Hindu golden age. The cohesive system fragmented towards polarization of religion due to intolerance of the policy of the last Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. Greatness of the Mughal Empire ended in 1707 with Aurangzebs’ death. After this the British began to emerge gradually as a dominant force from Europe in India. In Indian history, the last major Empire was the Mughal Empire.
Under the leadership of Moghul Emperors like Akbar, his son Jahangir and Shah Jahan the grandson of Akbar, the Muslims and Hindus did fight on various things except for religion. However Aurangzeb did not tolerate religious pluralism. Between his subjects he caused a rift and got the Hindu allies alienated. Policy enactment and Sharia law enforcement led to interference in holidays and practices related to worship amongst Hindus. This caused animosity and tension. When it came to general welfare and economics he favored the Muslims more than non Muslims. He dominated and subjugated the non Muslims.
For the Muslim conquerors, the dominant motivators were wealth and territory. After the Mughals took over control of resources and wealth of the territory, limited efforts were put in to limit freedom, religious practices and convert Hindus to Islam. Many non Muslim areas were ruled by Mughals. Pre existing Indian culture continued thus leading to exceptional diversity in the country. The Muslims infused a number of Hindu ideas and traditions into the Mughal Empire in an effort to create a subculture that was unique enough in the world civilization.
A lot of effort was put in by Akbar the Great to foster religious cohesion amongst the Hindus and the Muslims during his reign from 1556 to 1605. Akbar propounded a syncretic religion that was new and called Din-I-IIai. He propounded this religion with the main intention of merging some of the best elements of religions like Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Jainism, Islam and Christianity. Akbar ruled in the northern and central region of India for nearly five decades when he got a common domain established.
In the Akbarnama, a book written by Abul Fazl, the trusted advisor and friend of Akbar, the Emperor’s rule and the policies and religious views towards the Hindus has been mentioned. A lot about policies and interactions established by the Muslim rulers in response to the majority of Hindus has been written in the book. This only indicated the tolerance of Muslim leaders towards other regions in the effort of maintaining power in a peaceful manner. Similarities between religions have also been stated in the book. The Mughal rulers like Shah Jahan, Akbar and Jahangir practiced sensitivity towards the rest of the religions.
Akbar the Great managed a successful government which was well accepted by Muslims and Hindus. Hindus were given power to check any kind of military abuse. Hindus were also offered high posts in the government. He put in effort to fuse both the faiths and sought the best out of the two religions. Muslims and Hindus were treated equally with respect. Akbar had true feelings towards Hindus and felt that they made legitimate and valuable contributions to society.

Contribuions Made By The Mughal Kings To Culture

Hospitality was emphasized by the courtly traditions of the Mughal Empire. Kitchen used were generous and open and local and seasonal delicacies were made use of. Every simple meal taken daily was accompanied by appreciation and ritual cleansing. Rule of the Muslim Empire resulted in a superb fusion of traditions related to the Persian, Indian and Middle Eastern culinary art. Under the Muslims, this art reached its peak of sophistication. Communal dining was emphasized as per Muslim values in court. The Book of Delights or the Ni'matnamah, a unique manuscript is available that gives information on the styles the Sultans used in court.
Ingredients like juice, pollen, vegetables, tubers, fruit, seeds, roots, gums, stems, resins, bark, leaves and resins used are mentioned. Flavored pastes with rich aroma, powders, rosewater and kevra essence made from screwpine were used in making food items. The Mughals always ate lavishly. Lemon and ginger pickle and mangoes were served at the start of meals. Green plantains, gourds, pumpkins, aubergines etc were served with black pepper, sesame seed, mustard seed, fenurgreek seed and cumin flavorings. A lot of clarified butter or ghee was used. In the middle of the meal, sweets were eaten generally. Salads and soups were also served.
Fish and meat was extremely relished. Women and men were served separately. A dish that the emperor approved earned an appropriate title like shahi, shahjahani, akbari or khichri alamgiri. After a particular court dancer, anarkali shorba, a soup made from promegranate was named. The courtiers favored navratan a dish made from rice and colorful vegetables. Grilled meats, fruits and nuts were added to cuisine during the Mughal Empire. Saffron, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg were popular spices used. Varkh or silver and gold thin tissue and flower petals were used to decorate particular food items. Meals ended with a betel leaf chew as it was considered a digestive. Even after the Mughal Empire declined, the rich cuisine continued evolving at the courts of rulers in Kashmir and Rajasthan, Nawabs of Bengal and Lucknow and Nizams of Hyderabad.

During Akbar’s reign, the male garb comprised of the jama or the coat, the pagri or the turban, a Patka or shawl, a dhoti or loin cloth and a katzeb or a sash. He made an effort to blend both Muslim and Hindu cultures. The Muslims tied the Jamas on the right while the Hindus tied the Jamas on the left. This garment was considered a social and religious identity of a man. Boots and shoes were used by the followers of Islam to provide protection to feet from hazards of landscape in India. A remarkable change was seen in the attire and dress of the rich zamindars and Hindus. They started dressing like the Mughals. The pearl studded and ornamented salwar and kameez was worn by women. Palanquins were used to go out at times by women. Men and women wore costly jewels.
Chagtai Turkic, Persian and Hindustani were languages spoken during the period of the Mughals. In many parts of Central Asia the Chagtai Turkic language was spoken. The Mughal Emperors also spoke Chagtai Turkic. However in the 1900s this language became extinct. The native language of Hindustani is spoken even today in India and Pakistan.

Contributions Made By The Mughal Kings To Politics
The government system that existed during the Mughal times carried forward a number of ideas with the Sultanate besides the new ideas was provided by the Mughal Empire. Many of the Indian ideas too were incorporated in the government. By nature, the Mughal Empire continued to be military. In law making there was unlimited freedom as the Mughal Emperor was an autocrat. The word of the Emperor was final in everything. Even if there existed a council of ministers, the king was not bound to consult them.
Guidelines that were taken from the Islamic traditions and the scriptures were mainly followed and at times these were also violated. ‘Benevolent despots’ is the kind of description that can be made about the powerful Mughal emperors. Their rule was just and fair. Decisions were mainly made by them. During their time there wasn’t any kind of social work prevailing and accordingly many attempts were made by the Mughal rulers to improve the lives of the people. It was the main work of Akbar the Great to develop the administrative system. Humayun and Babur the two early Mughal kings did not get a chance to develop the administrative system. Sher Shah followed a particular organizational system which was inherited by Akbar. This helped in simplifying Akbar’s efforts to implement an appropriate administrative system.
Even if the system worked quite well during Akbar’s reign, at the time of his successors it started deteriorating. A particular responsibility was assigned to the officers within the army for which a salary was paid monthly. At times even land was granted for use over a short period of time to generate revenue. Troops were to be maintained in a particular strength. Larger units were commanded by the senior officers and they drew bigger salaries. A flexible system was adopted and any office could be assigned to an officer. Akbar was efficient enough to pick the right person to complete particular jobs. However the successors did not prove to be efficient enough.
Various departments headed by officers were administered during the Mughal Empire. Public morals, the Exchequer – Salaries and Accounts, Charities and Judiciary were some of the main departments of the state. Wazir was the highest officer, Bakshi for paying salaries to employees, the head of Imperial workshop or the Auditor General, news reporters, superintendent of forests etc were some of the posts in the administrative section.

Revenue was collected in a very organized manner during the Mughal rule. For the state, an important income source was land revenue. The different hierarchical system areas included the subahs, which were divided further into paraganas, or a union of many villages headed by officers. Revenue collection and assessment was supervised by these officers in an efficient and just manner. No undue pressure was put on the villages especially during natural disasters. Accountability in the administrative sector was tremendous during the Mughal rule. With the developed system, the landlords developed a sense of security. To pay dues they were given a fair amount of flexibility. No laws were formally written during the Mughal Empire. They were interested in ensuring that speedy justice was delivered to the people.

Contribuions Made By The Mughal Kings To Economy
During the period of the Mughals, the economy was quite strong. Trade became very powerful and important during the reign of the Mughals. Indigo, different kinds of spices and textiles were exported. They imported slaves, silks, horses, gold, perfumes, ivory and precious stones. Land routes were commonly used for transporting goods. Land routes in Afghanistan were common used however these were not reliable or safe. Instead they found the river routes and sea routes comparatively easier. Gradually many of the countries in Europe began trading with India. The only thing was the goods traded by them were quite expensive.
One of the major occupations that continued was agriculture. New road systems were developed due to which the economy started becoming stronger. Development of industries and road system are considered the key parts in the economy during the Mughal Empire. Agriculture has been a large income source during the time of the Mughal kings. For a majority of Indian people is has been a major source of livelihood. Betel, cereals, indigo, millets, hemp, oilseeds, chilli, sugarcane, cotton and hemp were the main crops grown. During the reign of Jehangir, the Portuguese introduced crops like potato and tobacco.
Sugarcane in its best quality was available in Ajmer. Indigo was famous in Agra and Gujarat. India was introduced to a number of fruits in Central Asia by Babur, the Mughal king. For the very first time, Firoz Shah’s Yamuna Canal was repaired during the reign of Akbar. The Nahr-i-Bihisht was built in Shah Jahan reign by opening the canal located at Khizrabad for the purpose of irrigation.
The Muslim ruling class had great preference to settle in towns and cities. Trade, art, handicrafts and architecture was encouraged by the Mughal ruling clan’s artistic lifestyle. The trader and merchant class was divided into petty shopkeepers, rich traders and merchants and big magnates in business who owned ships in hundreds. A privileged class was formed by the nobles especially the Afghans and the Turks during the Mughal period. However during that time there was a tussle between the two. Many of them settled in India and made this country their permanent home. They got themselves assimilated in the culture and society in India but still continued to retain certain persona traits. A large number of elephants, servants, horses etc were owned by the nobles. Emperors were presented with costly presents.
To carry out bigger transactions, the Hundi system developed during this period. Tremendous increase in trade within and outside the country started taking place mainly due to the economic and political unification under the Mughal rule in India. Their rule helped in creating a favorable environment for commerce and trade. Communication and transportation systems improved. Monetization of the economy was given a lot of encouragement by the Mughal Emperors. By the beginning of the seventeenth century trade with European countries grew. A popular centre for textiles and muslin was Decca. Silk was woven at the main centers at Lahore, Agra, and Fatehpur Sikhri. The main ports used for foreign trade were Cambay and Surat and Baroch in Gujarat.

Contribuions Made By The Mughal Kings To Architecture
Records in history indicate that the Mughal rulers barring Aurangazeb were fine builders. During the Mughal period, architecture in India was influenced greatly by various styles from Persia. A uniform pattern has been shown by Persian styles in terms of character and structure, both. After the construction of ornamental pieces of delicate nature, vaulted gateways that were truly massive, large halls, slender minarets adorned at the four corners with cupolas and bulbous shaped domes were the architectural features that became even more visible. In the construction of edifices that were so splendid, a change was brought in by Akbar, the Moghul Emperor.
Akbar was the first great emperor during the time of the Mughals who was a great patron of art. Akbar’s eldest son, Jehangir then ascended the throne after Akbar, The Mughal rule of Jehangir and Shah Jahan can be remembered as an era where beautiful paintings were made, monuments were built, economic activity was strong and there was also political stability. It was during the reign of Akbar, a stylistic change in features related to construction features were seen. Along with the Persian styles, a number of Hindu styles were also seen.
Akbar is well known for getting numerous, gateways, forts, mausoleums, towers, mosques, palaces and towers constructed. During Akbar’s time, the Tomb of Humayun was built in Delhi. Akbar was an organized administrator and because of this Jehangir had revenue sources that were unlimited. After his name he got a garden built that became very famous. He spent majority of his time relaxing in the garden. Nur Jahan was the princess from Persia, Jehangir married. In 1627 Shah Jahan took over his father’s expanding empire.
The Mughal Empire’s finest monuments were left behind by Shah Jahan which included the tomb of his favorite wife, the Taj Mahal built in Agra along the Yamuna River banks. Taj Mahal was the greatest structure built by Shah Jahan. The massive mausoleum was constructed in top quality white marble. The other colossal monuments he built were the Red Fort, the Pearl Mosque and the Royal Mosque. Shah Jahan did a lot of campaigning in the south. Taxes were increased due to his flair for architecture of extravagant nature. In fact Shah Jahan has been termed as the ‘Architect King’ Achievements of art and civil engineering both, can be seen in constructions like the Jama Masjid and the Red Fort.

In Sheikhpura, Delhi, Lahore, Dhaka, Jaipur and Agra, many splendid forts, palaces, minars and tombs have been built by the Mughals. These can be even seen in many other cities of Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. A lot of beautiful garden landscaping work is seen in different locations in India which are very popular amongst tourists. Only Aurangzeb did not indulge in making fine buildings. Greatest structures were built by Shah Jahan. During the reign of Humayun and Babur, a few monuments were constructed.
Babur got a mosque at Panipat and within an old Lodi fort in Agra. He also got the Jami Masjid built at Sambhal. Sher Shah Sur of the Sur dynasty constructed the Qil-I-Kuhma Masjid, a fine architectural work in northern India. Akbar built the Jahangiri Mahal in the Agra fort, Jodha Bai’s Palace, Diwan-I-Khas, Diwan-I-Am, Bulund Darwaza, Panch Mahal, a tomb in Sikandara and the Palace of Forty Pillars located in Allahabad.

Contribuions Made By The Mughal Kings To Literature
For more than two hundred years, India was dominated by the Mughals. They were successful in establishing a mighty Mughal Empire. Excellent works in literature were commissioned by their great passion for knowledge and literature. It was the Moghul kings who added wealth and luster to Indian literature. The Moghul Empire was prosperous and stable and during this period the literary activity was tremendous. In fact, India can be termed as a mine, enriched with a number of hidden gems. Much of the literature on palm leaves is still preserved. This is guaranteed to bring in a great impact on many sciences, history and knowledge.
Wealth that just cannot be imagined has been added to the Indian literature by languages such as Urdu, Tamil, Sanskrit and many other vernacular languages. Mughals got themselves well integrated within the Indian society and hence patronized a number of languages in India. This led to highest quality literature for those particular languages. Religious themes were particularly adopted in literature by many of the religions. Vaishnava literature developed in Bengal. A number of biographies too were written during the Mughal period. Arts and literature flourished well while people enjoyed a peaceful life in the rest of the country. This can be seen in Indian history, especially during the rule of the Mughals.
The Emperors themselves had a lot of interest in literature and hence encouraged many contributions towards this field. During the Mughal period numerous works were written. Literary contributions were made in various categories including novels, poetry, historical works and translations. A lot of information could be sourced from these sources. Mulla Daud wrote the Ta'rikh-I-'Alfi, Abul Fazl wrote the Akbarnama and Ain-I-Akbari. Akbar did make contributions to literature due to his keen interest even if he had not obtained any formal education in any institution. His autobiography was very popular. Important historical works written during his reign include the Zubud-ut-Tawaikh, Ma'asir-I-Jahangir and the Igbalnamah-I-Jahangiri.
During the Mughal period also written were various important translation works. Epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata were translated. Previous historical books and many vedas were also translated. This helped in spreading ancient knowledge and wealth of literature in India to a bigger audience. Due to this, interest in literature in India got renewed. In the 18th century, the social reformers used this renewed interest as an important tool to get people educated on ancient texts instead of the distorted interpretations people had to follow. During the Moghal reign, new literary contributions were published. Kaviraj and Krishnada were popular writers during this time.
Imperial studios kept humming with the activities of hundreds of book dealers, printers and paper makers. Miniature paintings in exquisite quality are seen illustrated in manuscripts and books kept in museums worldwide as of today. Palm leaves were used for Indian literature. Then, in the 16th century, printing technology arrived which became a turning point in the history of India. The Mughal Empire was able which was established in the 16th century in northern India was able to witness this change.

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