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The Mughal Empire
Transcript of The Mughal Empire
Intense Human Interactions
The Taj Mahal is the iconic image of modern India, but its origins lie within the Mughal Empire. This gargantuan mausoleum was completed in 1650 CE by the emperor Shah Jahan in memorial to his deceased wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Mumtaz Mahal died shortly after giving birth to her fourteenth child. The historical database ABC-CLIO remarks that Shah Jahan was so upset about his wife's passing that he "mourned deeply and was forever changed by her loss; even his dark hair was said to have turned gray in a very short period of time." To commemorate her greatness, Shah Jahan began construction of the Taj Mahal, which would become her final resting place. The building today is a major tourist attraction and, as ABC-CLIO notes, is considered by many to be the eighth wonder of the world.
Shah Jahan Creates the Taj Mahal
Connections to Big Era 5
It's arguable that no theme better suits the history of the Mughal Empire than Intense Human Interactions due to its shaky start and the subsequent successes of Akbar the Great. Following the rule of Humayun, Babur's son and the second ruler of the Mughal Dynasty, the empire was what historian and religious scholar Richard Foltz calls a "tenuous foundation" -- it had been quickly defeated and exiled by Afghan rulers. Though Humayun eventually regained his empire, he soon died. His son Akbar ascended to the throne at age thirteen, but he was no slouch in charge. Foltz again provides clarity into the Mughal Empire, this time identifying Akbar's significance, noting that he "reigned and distinguished himself as the most effective of the many Mughal rulers" during his fifty year reign and that the empire was "united and greatly expanded" while he reigned. It was undoutedly Akbar's fortitude and ruling chops that enabled him to succeed amidst such intense circumstances.
Continuing on the successes of Akbar the Great, part of the reason he was able to rule for fifty years was likely due to his opening up of Mughal society. The empire consisted of a plethora of faiths, from the predominant Islam to Buddhist, Hindu, and even Christians who were petitioning to spread their faith. One of Akbar's early changes was to abolish the jaziyya, the tax on non-Muslims to be able to practice their religion. In the wake of this move, Akbar "welcomed the building of Hindu temples" and provided positions in the government to non-Muslims. Furthermore, Akbar "established himself as a deity in a new state religion called the Dīn-i-ilāhī (Divine Faith)". This new religion brought together concepts from a multitude of religions, thus making it easier for the diverse population to work together to ultimately serve the Mughal Dynasty's needs. Because of these changes, Mughal culture was able to figuratively explode, thereby allowing the empire to essentially enter into a golden age.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
The Liggett Annual
A Rocky Beginning, a Shining Middle, and a Slow Decline
The Mughal Empire in a Snapshot
Sources Consulted or Used
Foltz, Richard. "Mughal Empire." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2016. Web. 8 May 2016.http://worldhistory.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/308673?terms=Mughal+Empire
"Mughal Empire." Gale Encyclopedia of World History: Governments. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 8 May 2016. http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE7CCX3048600064&v=2.1&u=lom_liggett&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w&asid=69dc447d4043a2a0783c197f6a2e77c6
World History: The Modern Era, s.v. "Taj Mahal," accessed May 8, 2016. http://worldhistory.abc-clio.com/.
All images taken from Creative Commons: search.creativecommons.org
Located in between the Muslim empires to the west and the powerful Ming Dynasty to the east, the Mughal Empire was a major power in its own right. It's lengthy existence (1526-1827) alone is enough to mark it as unique -- it began in a pre-industrial era and ended as industry and imperialism became too great to fend off. Nevertheless, it's history is marked with strong leaders and fantastic accomplishments. The Empire began in 1526 with the successful conquest of the Delhi Sultanate by Babur, a descendent of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane. Despite a weak ruler here or there, the Mughal Empire flourished under leaders such as Akbar and Jahangir, who both spread their borders and faith while at the same time opening society up to people of other beliefs and faiths. However, despite these early successes, the empire would go out with an elongated whimper, as the undeniable British Empire would take effective control in the late 1700s.
The Mughal Empire
Connections to Big Era 6
Above: Akbar the Great
Above: a painting of a religious meeting place in the Mughal Empire where representatives of multiple faiths convened to discuss important matters.
Left: The Taj Mahal