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Akbar
Akbar also known as Akbar the Great or Akbar I.
1. Biography
Akbar(born Oct. 15, 1542, Umarkot, Sindh [India] died 1605, Agra), greatest of the Mughal emperors of India, who reigned from 1556 to 1605 and who extended Mughal power over most of the Indian subcontinent. In order to preserve the unity of his empire, Akbar adopted programs that won the loyalty of the non Muslim populations of his realm. He reformed and strengthened his central administration and also centralized his financial system and reorganized tax collection processes. Although he never renounced Islam, he took an active interest in other religions, persuading Hindus, Parsis, and Christians, as well as Muslims, to engage in religious discussion before him. Illiterate himself, he encouraged scholars, poets, painters, and musicians, making his court a centre of culture.
2. Akbars Early Life
Akbar was born to the second Mughal Emperor Humayan and his teenaged bride Hamida Banu Begum on October 14, 1542 in Sindh, now in Pakistan. Although his ancestors included both Genghis Khan and Timur (Tamerlane), the family was on the run after losing Baburs newly established empire. Humayan would not regain northern India until 1555.

With his parents in exile in Persia, little Akbar was raised by an uncle in Afghanistan, with help from a series of nursemaids. He practiced key skills like hunting, but never learned to read (perhaps due to a learning disability). Nonetheless, throughout his life, Akbar had texts on philosophy, history, religion, science and other topics read to him, and could recite long passages of what he had heard from memory.

3. Akbar Takes Power
In 1555, Humayan died just months after retaking Delhi. Akbar ascended the Mughal throne at the age of 13, and became Shahanshah (King of Kings). His regent was Bayram Khan, his childhood guardian and an outstanding warrior statesman.The young emperor almost immediately lost Delhi once more to the Hindu leader Hemu. However, in November of 1556, Generals Bayram Khan and Khan Zaman I defeated Hemus much larger army at the Second Battle of Panipat. Hemu himself was shot through the eye as he rode into battle atop an elephant; the Mughal army captured and executed him.

When he came of age at 18, Akbar dismissed the increasingly overbearing Bayram Khan and took direct control of the empire and army. Bayram was ordered to make the hajj to Mecca; instead, he started a rebellion against Akbar. The young emperors forces defeated Bayrams rebels at Jalandhar, in the Punjab; rather than executing the rebel leader, Akbar mercifully allowed his former regent another chance to go to Mecca. This time, Bayram Khan went.

4. Intrigue and Further Expansion
Although he was out from under Bayram Khans control, Akbar still faced challenges to his authority from within the palace. The son of his nursemaid, a man called Adham Khan, killed another adviser in the palace after the victim discovered that Adham was embezzling tax funds. Enraged both by the murder and by the betrayal of his trust, Akbar had Adham Khan thrown from the parapets of the castle. From that point forward, Akbar was in control of his court and country, rather than being a tool of palace intrigues.The young emperor set out on an aggressive policy of military expansion, both for geo strategic reasons and as a way to get troublesome warrior advisers away from the capital. In the following years, the Mughal army would conquer much of northern India (including what is now Pakistan) and Afghanistan.
5. Akbars Governing Style
In order to control his vast empire, Akbar instituted a highly efficient bureaucracy. He appointed mansabars, or military governors, over the various regions; these governors answered directly to him. As a result, he was able to fuse the individual fiefdoms of India into a unified empire that would survive until 1868.Akbar was personally courageous, willing to lead the charge in battle. He enjoyed taming wild cheetahs and elephants, as well. This courage and self confidence allowed Akbar to initiate novel policies in government, and to stand by them over objections from more conservative advisers and courtiers.


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