Akbar (Makers of the Muslim World) by Andre Wink

By Andre Wink

Largely considered as the best of the Mughal emperors, Jalal ad-Din Akbar (1542-1603) was once a powerful army tactician and well known demagogue. Ascending to the throne on the age of 13, he governed for part a century, accelerated the Mughal empire, and left in the back of a legacy to rival his notorious ancestor Chinggis Khan. This lucid biography presents glimpses into Akbar's lifestyle and highlights his contribution to new tools of imperial regulate.

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Akbar (Makers of the Muslim World)

Broadly considered as the best of the Mughal emperors, Jalal ad-Din Akbar (1542-1603) was once an impressive army tactician and renowned demagogue. Ascending to the throne on the age of 13, he governed for part a century, accelerated the Mughal empire, and left in the back of a legacy to rival his notorious ancestor Chinggis Khan.

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32 AKBAR KABUL, THE NORTH-WEST FRONTIER, AND THE “GREAT GAME” OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY The control of Kabul and the North-West Frontier of the subcontinent became a second, almost lifelong preoccupation for Akbar. Yet Kabul – like Qandahar or “Zabulistan” – belonged to the Mughal dominion of India from its inception, whereas the lands beyond the Panjshir pass across the Hindu Kush mountains, comprising Balkh and often Badakhshan, belonged to the Uzbek dominion of Central Asia. Until 1585 Akbar’s half-brother Mirza Muhammad Hakim retained the Kabul throne with the help of the Panjab troops.

With Akbar’s dominion increasing in Hindustan, in Gujarat too “the demand for men of discrimination and excellence was such as to exceed all imagination,” and recruitment as well as retention efforts reached a feverish pitch (MT, II, 67). The Mughal conquest of Gujarat was as much a political as a military struggle. Much of the time it was complicated by the fact that the Uzbeks in Akbar’s service and the Timurid princes who were known as the “Mirzas” would switch sides at opportune moments, bringing Afghan warlords of the ancien regime along with them.

Only then was he compelled to give it up. “His Majesty’s constitution,” wrote Abul-Fazl, “became somewhat affected by the climate and long marches . . in that warm, elephant-haunted country [which] was not conformable to the human constitution . . [and] the hunting party fell ill,Akbar too” (AN, II, 370). Akbar’s long absences in the forests of Narwar, needless to say, had not remained unnoticed. During all this time, the revolt of the Uzbeks had been gaining momentum in Awadh under another of their leaders, Iskandar Khan.

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