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The Rise and Fall of the Mughal Empire - Impact of the Mughals on Indian Culture

After the death of Timur, no such worthy person was born in his generation who could save the great empire of Timur from disintegrating. Therefore, after Timur, Timurid princes and emirs established small kingdoms in Central Asia and became embroiled in civil wars. Among them, there was a kingdom called Fargana whose ruler was Umar Shaikh Mirza.

Babur Mirza, the founder of the Mughal Empire of India, was the son of Shaikh Mirza at the same age. Babur’s lineage is related to Timur on his father’s side and Genghis Khan on his mother’s side. So Babur had the blood of both Timur and Genghis in his veins.

The Rise and Fall of the Mughal Empire

Umar Shaikh Mirza died in 1494. Babur was only 12 years old at that time. In the midst of an intense civil war, it was nearly impossible for the young Babur to defend the small kingdom of Fargana.
Therefore, for 10 years, Babur fought with the rulers of neighboring states to save himself and his state.

Frustrated with the situation in Central Asia, Babur turned to Afghanistan and in 1504 conquered Kabul and established a strong government there. At that time India was ruled by the Lodhi Pathans.

There were frequent struggles for territorial supremacy between the independent Muslim states of Punjab and the Lodhi rulers. The ruler of Multan invited Babur Mirza to invade India. However, Babur considered the territories of India that Timur had conquered and invaded India to get them.

At the invitation of the ruler of Multan, Babur made the final invasion of India and in 1526 defeated Ibrahim Lodi in the field of Panipat and captured Agra and Delhi. With the defeat of Ibrahim Lodhi in the First Battle of Panipat, power passed from the hands of the Pathans to the Timurid Mughal dynasty.

Although the Pathans had gained power in India by defeating the Rajputs. But during the Delhi Empire, Rajputana practically remained under the control of various Rajput dynasties.

During the Lodhi rule, the Delhi kingdom was reduced to a regional state and the Rajputs dreamed of regaining power in India. Therefore, at the time of Babur’s invasion, the Rajputs did not support Ibrahim Lodi and remained mute spectators instead of jointly fighting the foreign invader.

Because the Rajputs believed that Babur, like Timur, would destroy the Lodhi dynasty and go back, and instead of fighting to regain the Lodhi kingdom, they wanted to base their government on the ruins of the Lodhi kingdom. But when Babur abolished the Delhi Sultanate and established the Mughal Empire, then the eyes of the Rajputs were opened and they went on to gain the power of the central government of Delhi.

A combined army of Rajputs under the leadership of Chittor king Rana Sanga proceeded to drive Babur out of India. After the destruction of the Lodi dynasty, many Afghan chieftains who became staunch enemies of Babur also joined the Rajputs.

On March 16, 1527, Babur with an army of 12,000 faced and defeated a combined army of 200,000 Rajputs and Afghans at the Battle of Khanwah. After the Battle of Khanwah, several defeated Afghan chieftains approached Nusrat Shah, the ruler of Bengal, and with Nusrat Shah’s help, they once again fought against Babur.

On May 6, 1529, Babur defeated the combined forces of Nusrat Shah and the defeated Afghan chieftains on the banks of the Ghaghra River. After the battles of Khanwah and Ghaghra, there was no one to challenge the Mughal power and no claimant to the central government in Delhi.

Rise and Fall of the Mughal Empire:

The Mughal rule in India lasted for 315 years. The first 181 years from Babur’s accession to the throne (1526 AD) to Aurangzeb’s death (1707 AD) was the period of the rise of the Mughal Empire. Of these 181 years, if the 15 years when the power was with Sher Shah Suri and his family (1540 to 1555) are removed, then the period of the rise of the Mughal Empire becomes 166 years. During this period, the Mughal Empire was blessed with six kings of great merit:

  • Babur (1526 to 1530)
  • Humayun (1530 to 1556)
  • Akbar (1556 to 1605)
  • Jahangir (1605 to 1627)
  • Shah Jahan (1627 to 1657)
  • Aurangzeb (1657 to 1707)

The period of 82 years from 1799 AD is the period of decline of the Mughal Empire. During this period, the military power of the Mughals was destroyed in the civil war.

The British had started interfering in Indian politics from Bengal and Madras. But no real claimant was yet born for the central government in Delhi.

After the martyrdom of Tipu Sultan in 1799, only the Maratha power remained on the political horizon of India. After defeating him on various fronts, the East India Company ousted him from power by 1803 and the Maratha chieftains one by one fell into the ranks of the Bahadur Company.

After crushing the Maratha power, the East India Company appeared on the political horizon of India as a contender for the central government in Delhi. Therefore, in 1803, the army of the East India Company under the leadership of General Lake reached Delhi after capturing Aligarh and Agra, then the Mughal emperor Shah Alam stood under a torn umbrella to welcome the British.

General Lake took the Mughal emperor under his protection and fixed his pension, and then Bar Azim’s power passed into the hands of the East India Company. For 58 years from 1799 to the First War of Independence in 1857, Mughal power remained nominal.

Meanwhile, the East India Company cleverly convinced the Indian people that the Emperor was the creation of God’s country and that the Company’s government was valiant. The hierarchy was so firmly entrenched that they could not imagine anyone else’s kingdom.

In the 1857 War of Independence, the British recognized not only their visual superiority, but their political superiority as compared to the Mughal ruler, and the British Crown responded by expelling the Company and accusing Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal emperor, of rebellion. Exiled and grabbed power. Now the British changed the motto of the East India Company and said:

“The British Commanded by Malik Malik Muazzam.”

Impact of Mughals on Indian Culture

Bashambharanath Pandey says:

The Turks came and shook India to its roots and prepared the people by inspiring new hopes. This change changed the social foundation of India itself. The advent of the Aryans shook the social life of India to its very roots. The Turkish attack was little less than that. But after the storm there is calm and after the earthquake there is change.

When two rivers meet, the currents of both rivers collide with the thunderbolt. But immediately they merge and start flowing in one stream. In the same way, Hindus and Muslims collided with each other and got mixed in the human confluence of love.

Both religions were different, both had different cultures. The cultures were different but their different cultures formed the combined Indian culture. This new stream of culture flourished in the fields of industry and craft, art and science, literature and poetry, painting, building construction, and idolatry (excerpt from the Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Memorial Lecture 1986).

It was like Hun tribes or Afghans. The tribes based their power on the ruins of Arya Shakti (Kshatriya Raj) and became Indian and ruled some limited areas of India. No concept of nationality was given.

After them came the Mughals, who also ended the Afghan power and established their own government.

The Mughals also did not give any concept of Muslim nationhood or Indian nationhood either religiously or politically. It is another matter that the Mughal emperors gradually brought the whole of India under one center. The coming of the whole of India under one central administration was no less than a boon for the Indians.

This country was the cradle of many religions, many languages, many cultures, and different civilizations and traditions. For the first time, the possibility of a united Indian nationalism emerged. In order to bring the whole of India under one center, Aurangzeb abolished the two Muslim regional governments of the Deccan and weakened the growing power of the Marathas, limiting their expansionist ambitions.

The progress that India made during the reign of the Sultans of Delhi was due to the mind that came to India from the outside with new ideas and new methods of knowledge and practice. By creating awareness among the people here, Malik Keet became their helper in Ruki.

Medieval India has been characterized by the fact that despite being the cradle of various religions, the collective life of the people remained free from religious bigotry and communal riots and quarrels. The situation improved after the arrival of the Mughals. Because the Mughals gave India a strong and so-called fair central administration and maintained political stability for nearly three centuries.

Dr. Tara Chand writes:

This vast empire had a reputation for its splendor and splendor, wealth, and culture that was unparalleled in its time. The style and administration of this government were such that it guaranteed peace and law over a vast area and provided rare opportunities for learning and the arts. His achievements form a glorious chapter in the history of the Mughal civilization.

Due to these characteristics of the Mughal rule, the foundation of the country’s development which was laid during the time of the Delhi Sultanate, its speed became exceptionally fast during the Mughal period, and within fifty years of the establishment of the Mughal Empire, India became the most developed country in the world. became. This would never have been possible if the two major religious communities of India, the Hindus, and the Muslims, had fallen into the conflict between home religion and foreign religion and embraced each other on that basis.

Excerpt from the book: Role of Muslims in India’s Freedom Struggle
Translated By Dr. Santosh Kumar Sain

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