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Grand Mughals: A Brief Introduction With Objective Questions

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Mughal empire: an overview

Mughal empire: an overview

Mughals

Mughals (Mogul, Arabic Mongols) were a branch of the Timurid (Muslim) dynasty of Turco- Mongol origin from Central Asia that ruled most of northern India from the early 16th to mid 18th century. Mughals were known for their effective rule and administration for more than two centuries over most of the Indian subcontinent. Mughals provided longevity to the empire and longevity of a single dynasty provides stability to the empire, enriches culture, tradition, customs, strengthens security, brings wealth, health, in short, it brings an all-round development. That is why the rule of the Mughal empire in India plays a significant role in Indian history. It's worth mentioning.

Fictional falg of Mughal empire

Fictional falg of Mughal empire

Grand Mughals of the Mughal empire

objective-questions-on-mughal-history-i

Babur (1526–1530 A.D.)

  • The actual name was Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur. He was born in Andijan, a city in Uzbekistan, in Fargana valley.
  • In 1526, Babur laid the foundation of the Mughal empire in India.
  • He was a direct descendant of Emperor Timur, a Turco-Mongol conqueror from his father's side, and Ghenghis Khan, founder of the Mongol empire, from his mother's side.
  • His father, Umar Sheik Mirza, was the governor of Fergana.

Important battles:

  • Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi in the first battle of Panipat, in 1526 A.D., and founded the Mughal empire.
  • He defeated Rana Sanga, the Indian ruler of Mewar then, in the battle of Khanwa in 1527 A.D.
  • He defeated Medini Rao of Chanderi in the battle of Chanderi in 1528 A.D.
  • Battle of Ghagra on 6 May 1529 A.D., Babur defeated Afghans. Ghagra is a river near Bihar.

Technology:

  • Babur introduced gunpowder and used heavy artillery in the first battle of Panipat. Gunpowder technology played an important in the expansion of the Mughal empire in India. Gunpowder was used in their large weapons like big guns, cannons, rockets, etc.

Literary works:

  • He wrote his autobiography Tuzuk-i-Baburi in the Turkish language, Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana translated it into Persian.

Humayun (1530–1540), (1555–1556)

  • Also called Nasir-ud-din-Muhammad, the second Mughal emperor of India, the son, and successor of Babur.
  • Humayun occupied the throne in 1530 A.D. at the age of 22.
  • He built the city of Dinpanah (1533 A.D.) as his capital in Delhi.
  • Humayun fought two battles with Afghan Sultan Sher Shah Suri—Battle of Chausa (1539 A.D.), and Battle of Kannauj or Bilgram (1540 A.D.) but he was defeated and lost his territories to Shershah Suri.
  • For 15 years, Humayun remained in exile and then he regained his lost territories in 1555 A.D. with the help of the Safavid Empire in Persia.
  • He died in 1556 A.D. in his library building, Sher Mandal in Delhi, due to falling from stairs. Sher Mandal was used by Humayun as his library and observatory. It was captured by him after the death of Shershah.
  • His half-sister Gulbadan Begum wrote his biography Humyunama in the Turkish Language.


Sher Mandal in the premise of Old Fort (Purana Qila), Delhi: library and observatory of Humayun

Sher Mandal in the premise of Old Fort (Purana Qila), Delhi: library and observatory of Humayun

Akbar(1556-1605)

  • The actual name was Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar, popularly known as Akbar the great, the real founder of the Mughal empire in India.
  • Babur laid the foundation of the Mughal empire in India and Akbar devoted his energy to the consolidation of his empire. The Mughal Empire under Akbar developed a strong base for a stable economy, also provided a strong base for the future administration and his successors.
  • Son of IInd Mughal emperor Humayun and his wife Hamida Banu Begum, Akbar, was coronated on 14th February 1556, at Kalanaur in Punjab, by his regent Bairam Khan.

Important Battles:

  • The second battle of Panipat was fought on 5 November 1556, won by Akbar's army led by Bairam Khan.
  • Battle of Haldighati in 1576, the Mughal army defeated Rana Pratap Singh - the son and successor of Rana Udai Singh (ruler of Mewar).

Administrative reforms:

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  • Mansabdari system: It was first introduced by Babur in North India, but it was Akbar who institutionalized the Mansabdari system in both the Mughal military set-up and civil administration. Mansab means a post, rank, or status of a Mansabdar.
  • Mansabdars acted as higher-level administrative officers. They were the backbone of the Mughal administration.

Literary Works:

  • Ain-i-Akbari by Abul Fazal is the biography of Akbar in the Persian language;
  • Akbarnama was written by Abul Fazal.

Nine gems in Akbar's court:

Akbar was a great patron of art and culture. He appointed the most talented people in his court from different backgrounds. They were called nine gems. They were Abul Fazal, Faizi, Mian Tansen, Birbal (Actual name Mahesh Das), Raja Todar Mal, Raja Man Singh, Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, Fakir Aziao-Din, and Ramdas.

Architecture:

  • Akbar constructed Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri to commemorate his Gujarat victory. Buland Darwaza is a part of the Jama Masjid (the Great Mosque) complex in Fatehpur Sikri.
  • Humayun's Tomb at Delhi was commissioned by Humayun's wife Hamida Banu Begum and accomplished during Akbar's reign.
  • The Tomb of Sufi Saint Salim Chisti is also a part of the Great Mosque complex in Fatehpur Sikri, built during Akbar's reign.

Mughal Architecture

Buland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra

Buland Darwaza, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra

Great mosque (Jama masjid), Fatehpur Sikri

Great mosque (Jama masjid), Fatehpur Sikri

tomb of Salim Chisti, Fatehpur Sikri,  near Agra, India

tomb of Salim Chisti, Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra, India

Jehangir (1605-1627)

  • The original name was Nur-ud-din Muhammad Salim, born on 31st August 1569 at Fatehpur Sikri in present-day Uttar Pradesh.
  • Jahangir was the son and successor of his father Akbar.
  • He ordered the execution of the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev.
  • Captain Hawkins, the first English in 1608, and Sir Thomas Roe in 1615 visited the court of Jahangir.
  • The art of painting reached its zenith in Jahangir's reign. Ustad Mansur was a famous Mughal painter in Jahangir's court.
  • The city of Faridabad was founded by the treasurer of Jahangir, Shaikh Farid in 1607.

Construction:

  • Akbar's Tomb at Agra;
  • Nurjahan, the wife of Jahangir, built Itmad-ud-Daulah's tomb at Agra;
  • Jahangir's mosque in Lahore, a fine architecture in Persian style;
  • Shalimar gardens in Kashmir.

Mughal Architecture

Shahjehan(1628-1658)

  • The actual name was Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram.
  • Although Shahjehan was an able military commander, his reign is better known for the height of Mughal architecture. Tajmahal is more noticeable.

Foreign Travellers:

  • Two Frenchmen, Bernier and Tavernier visited his court.
  • An Italian adventurer Manucci also visited his court.

Literature:

  • A new court language Hindavi was introduced in Shahjehan's reign. Hindavi was the origin of the Hindi language, maintained a balance between the Sanskrit and the Persian language.

Rebellion:

  • Sikh rebellion under Guru Hargobind took place, in retaliation Shahjehan ordered the destruction of the Sikh Temple in Lahore.

Architecture:

  • He built Moti Masjid and Taj Mahal at Agra.
  • He built Jama Masjid and Red Fort at Delhi.
  • He built Shalimar Bagh in Lahore, the capital of Pakistani province Punjab.
  • He built Shahjahan mosque in Thatta, Sindh province of Pakistan.
  • Shahjahan got built peacock throne "Takht-e-Taus".

Aurangzeb (1658-1707)

  • Actual name was Muin-ud-din-Muhammad.
  • Aurangzeb was a more common name. Aurangzeb means "ornament of the throne".
  • War of succession: the decisive battle of Samugarh was fought on 29 May 1658 between Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb came out victorious.
  • He was formally coronated on 5th June,1659.
  • He assumed the title of 'Alamgir' means "conqueror of the world".
  • Aurangzeb was an expansionist: during his reign, the Mughal empire reached its greatest extent. He annexed the Kingdom of Deccan - Bijapur, and Golconda in 1686-1687. He ruled for almost half a century and covered the maximum part of the Indian subcontinent.
  • Aurangzeb was called 'Zinda Pir'. He never tried to live a luxurious life. Moreover, his expenses and constructions of small mosques were covered by his earnings, not received by the royal treasury. He patronised works of Islamic and Arabic calligraphy.
  • He discontinued the practice of Jharokha Darshan, started by his forefather Humayun, during the 11th year of his reign.
  • He ordered the execution of 9th Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur.
  • Aurangzeb ordred the execution of Sambhaji, the martha leader, as Sambhaji gave asylum to the Mughal prince Akbar, the rebellious son of Auranzeb.
  • He forbade music in his court.
  • He prohibited certain activities that were against the maintenance of law and order such as music, gambling, consumption of alcohol, narcotics, fornication, etc. However, all these activities were shown by many critics as Islamic laws.
  • He introduced the Jizya tax on non-muslims. However, women, children, elders, handicapped, the insane, the ill, slaves, hermits, and non-Muslim foreigners who only temporarily reside in Muslim lands were exempted from the Jizya.

Rebellion:

  • Tribal Pathans revolt in 1667;
  • Jat peasantry of Mathura revolted in 1669;
  • A revolt by the Satnami sect under the leadership of Birbhan at Narnaul in 1672;
  • Sikh revolt under the leadership of the 10th and last guru Govind Singh in 1675.

Literary works:

  • Fatwa-e-Alamgiri*1 compiled by Aurangzeb;
  • Muntakhab-ul-Lubab by Khafi Khan;
  • Alamgir Namah by Mirza Muhammad Kazim;
  • Masir-i- Alamgiri by Muhammad Saqi;
  • Fatuhat-i- Alamgiri by Iswar Das.

Architecture:

  • Moti Masjid in Red Fort complex in Delhi;
  • Badshahi Mosque in Lahore;
  • Tomb of Sufi saint, Syed Abdul Rahim Shah Bukhari;
  • Great Mosque at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh;
  • Bibi Ka Makbara at Aurangabad for his wife Rabia-Ud-Daurani.

*1 Fatwa-e-Alamgiri is based on Sharia (Islamic Law), covers the subjects of statecraft, general ethics, military strategy, economic policy, justice, and punishment. This served the purpose of a principal law and regulating body of the Mughal empire. It can be compared with the constitution of a country.

Moti Masjid, Red Fort complex, Delhi

Moti Masjid, Red Fort complex, Delhi

Aurangzeb was the last Grand Mughal ruler of India. After him, many successors occupied the throne but none of them was capable enough to provide stability to the empire. Gradually the empire began to disintegrate. It's but natural to witness a change in the dynasty after a long time but maintaining an effective administration and rule for a long time shows the caliber of the Mughal rulers. They were able to create awe among his subjects, their glory reached Europe and other continents. The title Grand Mughal was coined by the Europeans for the Mughals. Even after the death of Aurangzeb, the Mughal rule persisted till the mid of the 19th century. Such was the awe among the subjects then.

Answer the following MCQs

Q.1 Tuzuk-i-Baburi, an autobiography of Babur, was written in which language?

  • a) Persian
  • b) Urdu
  • c) Turkish
  • d) Hindi

Q.2 Hemu was a minister of............

  • a) Humayun
  • b) Akbar
  • c) Babur
  • d) Adil Shah

Q.3 The Sikh Guru......... was granted a piece of land by Akbar?

  • a) Gobind Singh
  • b) Ram das
  • c) Teg Bahadur
  • d) Har Rai

Q.4 Sher Shah's original name was........

  • a) Hamid Khan
  • b) Farid Khan
  • c) Sher Khan
  • d) Atagh Khan

Q.5 Humayun's Tomb was built by.....

  • a) Akbar
  • b) Jahangir
  • c) Hamida Bano
  • d) Shah Jahan

Q.6 Match the column:

AB

(i) Quwwat-al-Islam Mosque

(I) Delhi

(ii) Badshahi Mosque

(II) Agra

(iii) Masumman Burz

(III) Lahore

(iv) Shalimar Bagh

(IV) Srinagar

  • a) (i) - (II), (ii) - (III), (iii) - (IV), (iv) - (III)
  • b) (i) - (III), (ii) - (IV), (iii) - (II), (iv) - (I)
  • c) (i) - (IV), (ii) - (III), (iii) - (II), (iv) - (I)
  • d) (i) - (I), (ii) - (III), (iii) - (II), (iv) - (IV)

Q. 7 Second battle of Panipat was fought between:

  • a) Akbar and Hemu
  • b) Bairam Khan and Hemu
  • c) Babur and Sher Shah Suri
  • d) Babur and Ibrahim Lodi

Q. 8 Guru Teg Bahadur was executed in the reign of

  • a) Jahangir
  • b) Shahjahan
  • c) Akbar
  • d) Aurangzeb
Panch mahal, Fatehpur Sikri

Panch mahal, Fatehpur Sikri

Panch mahal, Fatehpur Sikri: another view

Panch mahal, Fatehpur Sikri: another view

Q. 9 Which buildings have been constructed inside Agra Fort?

I) Diwan-i-Aam

II) Diwan-i-Khas

III) Shish Mahal

IV) Masumman Burz

V) Moti Masjid

  • a) I, II, III
  • b) I, II, III, IV
  • c) I, II & V
  • d) I, II, III, IV, & V

Q. 10 The Mughal emperor who shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi?

  • a) Jahangir
  • b) Akbar
  • c) Aurangzeb
  • d) Shah Jahan

Q. 11 The Purana Qila near Delhi was built by......

  • a) Akbar
  • b) Shah Jahan
  • c) Aurangzeb
  • d) SherShah

Q. 12 The Taj Mahal was built under the supervision of.......

  • a) Shah Jahan
  • b) Queen Mumtaz Mahal
  • c) Ustad Isha from Iran
  • d) Ustad Ahmad Lahori

Q. 13 The famous Hindi poets in Akbar's reign?

  • a) Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana
  • b) Kabir
  • c) Tulsidas
  • d) All of the above

Q. 14 Which Hindu books were translated into Persian during Akbar's reign?

  • a) Mahabharata
  • b) Ramayana
  • c) Atharva Veda
  • d) All of the above

Q. 15 Sher Khan defeated Humayun in.....

  • a) Battle of Chausa, 1539
  • b) Battle of Kannauj, 1540
  • c) a and b both
  • d) None of the above

Q. 16 Prince Khurram assumed the title of...............

  • a) Jahangir
  • b) Shahjahan
  • c) Alamgir
  • d) None

Q. 17 The land revenue system introduced by Akbar?

  • a) Dahasala
  • b) Zabt
  • c) Galla Bakshi
  • d) All of the above

Q. 18 Who was in-charge of Royal House-hold?

  • a) Meir-Bakshi
  • b) Sada-us-Sadur
  • c) Khan-i-Saman
  • d) Muqaddam

Q. 19 Who was the Revenue Minister of Akbar?

  • a) Birbal
  • b) Raja Man Singh
  • c) Raja Todar Mal
  • d) Baba Ramdas

Q. 20 Who among the following was one of the 'Nine Gems' in Akbar's court?

  • a) Kabir
  • b) Tulsi Das
  • c) Baiju Bawra
  • d) Raja Bhagwan Das

Q. 21 'Din Panah' was built by...

  • a) Humayun
  • b) Babur
  • c) Shah Jahan
  • d) Sher Shah Suri

Q. 22 The Mughal Emperor who reimposed Jaziya?

  • a) Akbar
  • b) Jahangir
  • c) Aurangzeb
  • d) Shahjahan

Q. 23 The Mughal ruler, who promoted the art of painting the most and the art of painting its zenith?

  • a) Akbar
  • b) Shah Jahan
  • c) Aurangzeb
  • d) Jahangir

Q. 24 The common painters who served both the emperors: Akbar and Jahangir were...

  • a) Daswanth and Basawan
  • b) Mansoor and Abul Hasan
  • c) Mansoor and Daswant
  • d) Daswanth and Abdus Samad

Q. 25 Which city has been described as 'Romance in Stone' by Vincent Smith?

  • a) Agra
  • b) Delhi
  • c) Kabul
  • d) Fatehpur Sikri

Answers

  1. c) Turkish language
  2. d) Adil Shah, known Adil Shah Suri, the seventh and final ruler of the Sur dynasty. Hemu was his Hindu general.
  3. b) Ramdas, a well-known Musician in Akbar's court besides Tansen. Akbar gave patronage to music, painting, and literature. The 'Navratnas' in Akbar's court:
    • Faizi, a poet and scholar of late medieval India, Shaikh Abu al-Faiz Ibn Mubarak. Faizi is the popular pen name.
    • Miyan Tansen, a prominent Hindustani classical music composer, musician, and vocalist, known for a large number of compositions. He was also an instrumentalist. He popularized and improved the plucked Rabab (of Central Asian origin).
    • Raja Birbal. He was mostly entitled to the administrative and military duties but was very close to Akbar who loved his wisdom, sense of humor and subtle wit. Birbal was a poet and an author too.
    • Abul Fazal, the vizier of the Mughal emperor and author of the Akbarnama, the official history of Akbar's reign in three volumes. (The third volume is known as the Ain-I-Akbari). Fazal was the brother of Faizi, the poet laureate of Akbar.
    • Raja Todar Mal, the finance minister in Akbar's Darbar. He was born in Laharpur, Uttar Pradesh in a Hindu family.
    • Raja Man Singh, the Rajput Raja of Amber, a state later known as Jaipur in Rajputana, was a trusted general of the Mughal emperor Akbar.
    • Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, a poet known for his Hindi couplets and his books on astrology. Also, the village of Khankhana, which is named after him, is located in the Nawanshahr district of Punjab.
    • Fakir Aziao-Din, a mystic and a chief advisor in emperor Akbar's court. Akbar regarded his advice on religious matters in high esteem.
    • Ramdas
    These 9 individuals were great scholars, they were given a very respectable position in the court.
  4. b) Farid Khan
  5. a) Akbar
  6. d)

7. b) It was between Akbar's regent Bairam Khan, who led a Mughal army, and Adil Shah's general Hemu. Hemu, also known as Hemu Vikramaditya and Hemchandra Vikramaditya, died 5 November 1556 in the second battle of Panipat, was a Hindu general and Chief Minister of Adil Shah Suri of the Suri Dynasty during a period in Indian history when the Mughals and Afghans were vying for power across North India.

8.d) Aurangzeb

9. d)

10. d) Shah Jahan shifted his capital from Agra to a city in Delhi known as Shahjahanabad.

11. d)

12. d)

13. d)

14. d) Akbar gave patronage to other languages besides Persian such as Sanskrit, Hindi, etc. He got translated many Hindu books into Persian such as Ramayan, Mahabharata, Atharva Veda, Panchatantra, Lilavati, Rajtarangini, etc. Akbar established in his court a translation department in which high-ranking scholars of Sanskrit, Arabic, and Persian were employed. The department functioned under his supervision. Tulsidas was the most famous poet in Akbar's period. However, Akbar didn't know him personally. Tulsidas' Ramayana was a great epic.

15. c)

16. c)

17. d) Akbar introduced various land reform system with the help of Raja Todar Mal such as Zabt, Ghalla Bakshi, Nasaq, Dahasala, etc. Loans were also provided to farmers to improve their agriculture. Agriculture was an important source of revenue, so the improvement was a must.

18. c)

19. c) Raja Todar Mal, a Hindu Rajput, was one among the 'Navratnas' or 'Nine Gems' of Akbar's court.

20. d)

21. a)

22. c) Akbar promoted all kinds of art—music, painting, writing, etc. Jahangir also carried forward Akbar's passion for art. Jahangir was a great connoisseur of art especially paintings while Shah Jahan was more interested in architecture. Aurangzeb didn't take much interest in the arts.

23. d) Some painter's in Jahangir's court: Manohar and Basawan excelled in portrait painting, Mansoor specialized in painting rare animals and birds, and Abul Hasan was an expert in designing color schemes.

24. a) Daswanth and Basawan

25. d) Fatehpur Sikri, a city in the Agra district of Uttar Pradesh, is the crowning achievement of Akbar's reign. He began building a city with a palace-cum-fort complex in 1572 and completed it in 1580. It is built on a hill with a large artificial lake, including many buildings in the style of Gujrat and Bengal. Panch Mahal, Buland Darwaza, Moti Masjid, etc. are worth mentioning.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Sonal Shrivastava

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