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  1. INSTRUCTIONS & SAMPLES

    How to use
  2. FREE Samples
    4 Submodules
  3. PAPER I: ANCIENT INDIA
    1. Sources
    9 Submodules
  4. 2. Pre-history and Proto-history
    3 Submodules
  5. 3. Indus Valley Civilization
    8 Submodules
  6. 4. Megalithic Cultures
    3 Submodules
  7. 5. Aryans and Vedic Period
    8 Submodules
  8. 6. Period of Mahajanapadas
    10 Submodules
  9. 7. Mauryan Empire
    7 Submodules
  10. 8. Post – Mauryan Period
    7 Submodules
  11. 9. Early State and Society in Eastern India, Deccan and South India
    9 Submodules
  12. 10. Guptas, Vakatakas and Vardhanas
    14 Submodules
  13. 11. The Regional States during the Gupta Era
    18 Submodules
  14. 12. Themes in Early Indian Cultural History
    9 Submodules
  15. PAPER 1: MEDIEVAL INDIA
    13. Early Medieval India (750-1200)
    9 Submodules
  16. 14. Cultural Traditions in India (750-1200)
    11 Submodules
  17. 15. The Thirteenth Century
    2 Submodules
  18. 16. The Fourteenth Century
    6 Submodules
  19. 17. Administration, Society, Culture, Economy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
    13 Submodules
  20. 18. The Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century – Political Developments and Economy
    14 Submodules
  21. 19. The Fifteenth and early Sixteenth Century – Society and Culture
    3 Submodules
  22. 20. Akbar
    8 Submodules
  23. 21. Mughal Empire in the Seventeenth Century
    7 Submodules
  24. 22. Economy and Society in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
    11 Submodules
  25. 23. Culture in the Mughal Empire
    8 Submodules
  26. 24. The Eighteenth Century
    7 Submodules
  27. PAPER-II: MODERN INDIA
    1. European Penetration into India
    6 Submodules
  28. 2. British Expansion in India
    4 Submodules
  29. 3. Early Structure of the British Raj
    7 Submodules
  30. 4. Economic Impact of British Colonial Rule
    12 Submodules
  31. 5. Social and Cultural Developments
    7 Submodules
  32. 6. Social and Religious Reform movements in Bengal and Other Areas
    8 Submodules
  33. 7. Indian Response to British Rule
    8 Submodules
  34. 8. Indian Nationalism - Part I
    4 Submodules
  35. 9. Indian Nationalism - Part II
  36. 10. Constitutional Developments in Colonial India between 1858 and 1935
  37. 11. Other strands in the National Movement (Revolutionaries & the Left)
  38. 12. Politics of Separatism
  39. 13. Consolidation as a Nation
  40. 14. Caste and Ethnicity after 1947
  41. 15. Economic development and political change
  42. PAPER-II: WORLD HISTORY
    16. Enlightenment and Modern ideas
  43. 17. Origins of Modern Politics
  44. 18. Industrialization
  45. 19. Nation-State System
  46. 20. Imperialism and Colonialism
  47. 21. Revolution and Counter-Revolution
  48. 22. World Wars
  49. 23. The World after World War II
  50. 24. Liberation from Colonial Rule
  51. 25. Decolonization and Underdevelopment
  52. 26. Unification of Europe
  53. 27. Disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Rise of the Unipolar World
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The Mughal policy towards the Rajputs played a crucial role in the expansion and consolidation of the Mughal Empire in India. The policy was designed to serve the political needs of the empire and was influenced by various factors, including the struggle for supremacy or autonomy among aristocratic elements, socio-cultural considerations, and the geo-strategic context of the country. This module explores the Rajput policy of Akbar, which became one of the defining features of Mughal rule in India, despite facing challenges in later years.

The Relationship Between Local Rulers and Central Authority

During the Sultanate period, the relationship between local rulers and the central authority experienced many ups and downs. Turkish rulers, who sought to reduce the power and influence of local rulers (many of whom were Rajputs), demanded formal submission, military assistance when required, and the payment of Peshkash. However, there were instances of active alliances and friendly relations with autonomous Rajas, indicating a more nuanced approach:

  • Alauddin Khalji: Alauddin Khalji was the first ruler to establish an active alliance with an autonomous raja named Ram Deo of Deogir. After Ram Deo’s submission, he was invited to Delhi, showered with presents, and even received the gift of Navsari, a district in Gujarat. Alauddin also married his daughter, Jhatyapali, and arranged a marriage between his son and heir-apparent, Khirz Khan, and Dewal Devi, the daughter of the former ruler of Gujarat. However, this policy came to an end with the deaths of Ram Deo, Alauddin Khalji, and Khirz Khan.
  • Bahlul Lodi and Sikandar Lodi: Bahlul Lodi and Sikandar Lodi attempted to establish friendly relations with some Rajput rajas in the Gangetic doab region. Some Rajputs were even given the position of amirs, fostering a lasting relationship between the Afghans and Hindu rajas that continued even after the Mughal conquest of India.

Rajput Policy during Babur’s Reign

During the reign of Babur, the relationship between the Mughals and Rajputs was not characterized by a clear and positive trajectory but rather aligned with political exigencies:

  • Babur and Rana Sanga: Rana Sanga, a Rajput ruler, initially negotiated with Babur against the Lodi dynasty. However, as Babur progressed according to their agreement, Sanga changed his stance. The conflict between Sanga and Babur was not religious in nature, given the diverse composition of Sanga’s coalition. While Babur declared the contest against Sanga as Jihad, it was primarily an attempt to mobilize his soldiers based on religious sentiments. Babur emerged victorious in battles against Rana Sanga at Khanwa and Chanderi.
  • Role of Political Needs: During Babur’s reign, the relationship between the Mughals and Rajputs was shaped by political necessities rather than a well-defined alliance.

Rajput Policy under Humayun

Humayun, successor to Babur, pursued a defensive stance towards Rajasthan and deferred offensive policies for later. Recognizing the decline of Mewar’s power due to internal conflicts, Humayun perceived its military significance as an ally to be insufficient. Instead, he focused on conciliating and winning over the zamindars, a term that encompassed both Hindu and Muslim autonomous rajas:

  • Marital Alliances: To appease the zamindars, Humayun entered into matrimonial relations with them. For instance, in 1556, when Hasan Khan of Mewat, a prominent zamindar, paid homage to Humayun, his two beautiful daughters were married to Humayun and Bairam Khan, respectively. This attempt to establish special relations with the Rajputs was part of a broader policy aimed at the indigenous ruling sections in the country.
  • Advice from Shah Tahmasp: According to Shaikh Fakhruddin Bhakkari, who wrote in the 17th century, Shah Tahmasp, the ruler of Iran, advised Humayun to focus on rearing Rajputs. Shah Tahmasp emphasized that gaining control over the zamindars was crucial for ruling in Hind (India). Humayun, before his death, passed on this advice to his son, Akbar, stating that the Rajputs were obedient and service-oriented.
  • Basis of Alliance: The Mughals’ desire to conciliate the zamindars, combined with the Rajputs’ reputation for loyalty and service, formed the basis of their alliance.

Akbar’s Rajput Policy

Akbar’s Rajput policy played a crucial role in shaping the relationship between Hindus and Muslims during his reign. What started as a political coalition eventually evolved into a foundation for a broad, liberal, and tolerant approach towards all individuals, irrespective of their faith. Akbar’s policy can be divided into three distinct phases, each characterized by a different approach towards the Rajputs and the Muslim orthodoxy.

Phase 1: Continuation of Delhi Sultanate Policy (Until 1572)

During the initial phase of Akbar’s reign, he largely followed the policy established by the Delhi Sultans. The Rajput rulers who submitted to him were considered loyal allies, but their military service was primarily expected within or near their principalities. Some notable events during this phase include:

  • Akbar’s favorable impression of the Rajputs during an incident where they displayed bravery and loyalty.
  • Rajput rajas, like Raja Bhara Mal and his son Bhagwant Das, accompanying Akbar during the Uzbek rebellions but not actively participating in military operations.
  • Kachhawaha contingent serving alongside Mughal forces during the siege of Merta in 1562.
  • Ram Rai, the elder brother of Chandrasen, actively aiding the Mughals during the siege of Jodhpur in 1563.

Matrimonial Alliances

In a feudalized polity, personal relationships were considered a better guarantee of loyalty. Hence, matrimonial alliances between royal houses were both a bond and a mark of submission. Akbar established several such alliances with the Rajput rulers:

  • Akbar’s marriage with Bhara Mal’s daughter, emphasizing the special relationship with the family.
  • Bhagwant Das being assigned the responsibility of guarding the Imperial camp, highlighting his close relationship with Akbar.
  • The birth of Salim from the Kachhawaha princess solidifying Akbar’s connection with the ruling house.
  • Marriages between Akbar and daughters of Rai Kalyan Mal of Bikaner and Rawal Har Rai of Jaisalmer, restoring their kingdoms and admitting them to Imperial service.
  • Chandrasen of Jodhpur offering submission and marrying one of his daughters to Akbar, despite opposition from his relatives.

Misconceptions About Matrimonial Alliances

There are several misconceptions regarding Akbar’s policy of establishing matrimonial relations with the Rajput rajas:

  • These alliances were political compromises and did not imply conversion to Islam or a break with Hindu traditions.
  • They did not create a special bond between the Rajputs and Mughals or aim at countering recalcitrant elements or gaining military advantage.
  • The alliances were not forced upon the Rajputs; rather, they recognized the benefits these marriages might bring.
  • Akbar did not consider these alliances as tests of loyalty and submission, as evident from the absence of matrimonial relations with certain Rajput rulers.

Historical Precedence of Matrimonial Alliances

Matrimonial alliances between rulers of different faiths were not unique to Akbar’s time:

  • The Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta (5th Century A.D.) mentions the requirement for subordinate rajas to send a daughter to the Imperial household.
  • Marriages between Muslim rulers and Hindu ruling houses were recorded earlier, such as Alauddin Khalji’s marriage with a daughter of Ram Deo and Firuz Shah Bahmani’s marriage with the daughter of Deo Ray of Vijaynagar.

Era of Personal Fidelity

During Akbar’s reign, an era of personal fidelity emerged, with Akbar establishing intimate relationships with chieftains who personally submitted to him. This approach aimed to ensure political allegiance through personal connections.

Liberal Measures and Ongoing Tensions

Although Akbar implemented several liberal measures, such as forbidding the enslavement of women and children of rebellious villagers and abolishing jizyah, tensions persisted between the Mughals and Rajputs. For example:

  • The Rajputs offered firm resistance during the war of Chittor, despite Bhagwant Singh’s presence alongside Akbar.
  • Akbar proclaimed the conflict as jihad, giving it a religious color, to raise religious sentiment among soldiers.

Softening of Relations (Phase 1)

Despite ongoing tensions, Akbar’s attitude towards the Rajputs softened during the first phase:

  • Rajputs, including Rao Dalpat Rai, were accepted into the imperial service and granted jagirs.
  • Matrimonial alliances played a crucial role in fostering a more cordial relationship.
  • Certain Rajputs, like Bhara Mal, became close confidants of Akbar, as exemplified by Bhara Mal being entrusted with the charge of Agra during Akbar’s Gujarat campaign.

Phase 2: Extending the Alliance (1572-1578)

In the second phase, Akbar sought to further develop and extend the alliance with the Rajputs while retaining certain components of the earlier policy. Key developments during this phase include:

  • The Gujarat campaign of 1572 marked a significant turning point in Mughal-Rajput relations. The Rajputs were systematically enlisted as soldiers, and their salaries were fixed for the first time.
  • Rajput rulers began to emerge as the sword-arm of the Mughal empire, actively involved in military campaigns.
  • Rajput leaders, such as Man Singh and Bhagwant Singh, received important assignments and praise from Akbar for their valor and loyalty.
  • Rajputs were deployed outside Rajasthan for the first time, given significant responsibilities and posts.
  • Akbar remained firm on the principle of personal homage, which posed a challenge when the Rana of Mewar refused to submit personally and aimed to regain Chittor.

Phase 3: Consolidating the Alliance (From 1578)

The third phase of Akbar’s relationship with the Rajputs began in 1578 and coincided with his break from orthodox clergy. Key developments in this phase include:

  • Raja Bhagwant Das and Man Singh arrived at the Imperial camp in Bhera, western Punjab, in preparation for campaigns in the north-west, including Kashmir.
  • This phase witnessed Akbar’s break from orthodox practices, including the expulsion of Shaikh Abdun Nabi and the issuance of the Mahzar, granting him the right to choose between different schools of law.
  • However, religion still played a role in serving political ends, as seen in the reimposition of jizya in 1575 in preparation for the war with Mewar.
  • The Rajputs emerged as partners in the empire, actively involved in Mughal administration and governance.
  • Akbar forged close relations with Rajput ruling houses through marriage alliances between his princes, Salim and Daniyal, and Rajput princesses.
  • Rajput nobles were appointed to administrative tasks and significant positions, such as faujdars, commanders of forts, and joint-governors of subahs.
  • The Kachhawahas, a prominent Rajput clan, held significant influence and positions in Akbar’s service.
  • The concept of Mughal paramountcy emerged, as Akbar pronounced that the grant of tika (marks of sovereignty) was the prerogative of the Mughal Emperor.

Challenges and Conclusion

Akbar’s Rajput policy faced challenges and limitations throughout its implementation:

  • The Mughal-Rajput relations aimed to foster a secular, non-sectarian state, but the Rajputs generally maintained orthodox social and religious outlooks.
  • The Mughal elite and ulema also had orthodox tendencies and feared that a broad liberal policy might undermine their dominant positions.
  • Non-sectarian movements stressing commonalities between Hindus and Muslims emerged to support the Mughal-Rajput alliance and counter opposition.
  • However, these movements had limited influence, and the Mughal-Rajput alliance faced strains and eventually collapsed due to a lack of powerful support.

The Mughal-Rajput Alliance: Mutual Benefits and Pax Mughalica

The Mughal-Rajput alliance during the reign of Akbar the Great proved to be mutually beneficial for both parties involved. This alliance not only secured the Mughals the services of the bravest warriors in India but also played a crucial role in the consolidation and further expansion of the Mughal Empire. Conversely, it provided the Rajput rajas with the opportunity to serve in distant regions, away from their homelands, and hold important administrative posts, elevating their prestige and social status. Additionally, service with the Mughals proved financially rewarding for the Rajput rajas as they were accorded jagirs (land grants) outside of Rajasthan in accordance with their mansabs (rank and status). These jagirs served as valuable sources of additional income. Let’s delve into the specifics of the Mughal-Rajput alliance and the concept of Pax Mughalica.

Financial Rewards and Social Status

  • The Rajput rajas, particularly the Kachhawahas, held jagirs in various regions based on their service to the Mughals.
    • Initially, they received jagirs in Gujarat and later in Punjab when Bhagwant Das and Man Singh were posted there.
    • Subsequently, they were granted jagirs in Bihar and Bengal during Man Singh’s governorship.
    • These jagirs provided additional income to the Rajput rajas and were transferable like any other jagirs.
  • The Rajput rajas also enjoyed watan jagirs, which were their own homelands granted as jagirs. These jagirs were not transferred during the ruler’s lifetime and increased as their mansabs increased.
  • Abul Fazl, in his writings, highlights that rajas entering into alliances with the Mughals were considered distinguished among other zamindars.

Pax Mughalica: The Mughal Concept of Paramountcy

The Mughals introduced the concept of Pax Mughalica, which promoted peace and stability within the empire. This concept ensured the regulation of inter-state disputes and disputes among the Rajput rajas and sardars. Some key elements of Pax Mughalica include:

  • Control Over Territorial Expansion and Succession:
    • The Mughals claimed a form of paramountcy, restraining the Rajput rajas from raiding each other’s territories or resolving territorial disputes through warfare.
    • The concept of Mughal paramountcy also extended to the control of succession to the throne in Rajput states.
    • Traditionally, both Hindus and Muslims lacked a clear tradition of primogeniture, often leading to fratricidal civil wars during succession.
    • As the sovereign emperor, the Mughal ruler asserted the right to give concurrence to a succession, ensuring that the approval of the Emperor was necessary for succession to be considered legitimate.
    • By controlling succession, the Mughal ruler aimed to maintain stability and prevent internal conflicts within Rajput states.
  • Tika and Imperial Grace:
    • The Mughal Emperor had the prerogative of granting tika, the marks of sovereignty, to the sons, brothers, or nephews of a deceased raja.
    • The Mughal Emperor’s involvement in regulating succession could prevent civil wars and conflicts, as the issue of succession became a matter of imperial grace rather than an inherent right.
    • However, conflicts could arise if a Mughal ruler’s legitimacy or intentions were questioned.
    • Akbar, for instance, had declared that the grant of tika was solely the prerogative of the Mughal Emperor and could not be claimed as a matter of right.
  • Weakening the Aristocracy:
    • The Mughal policy of conferring honors on individuals aimed to weaken the aristocracy by empowering the middle and lower strata of society.
    • The Mughals enlisted minor feudatories of the Rajput rajas themselves into their imperial service, instigating the assertion of independence from the aristocracy.
    • This approach contributed to the broader goal of Pax Mughalica and the maintenance of peace and stability.

Emergence of a Composite Ruling Class: A Diverse Nobility in the Mughal Empire

The reign of Akbar the Great witnessed the emergence of a composite ruling class within the Mughal Empire. This period saw the induction of Rajputs, other Hindus, and various Muslim groups into the Imperial service, with their status being elevated to that of equality with other nobles. The composition of the ruling class underwent significant changes, as reflected in the list of nobles holding ranks of 500 and above during the period between 1575 and 1595, as documented in the Ain-i-Akbari. Let us explore the details of this diverse nobility and the efforts made to break clan-tribal ties.

The Induction of Rajputs and Other Hindus

  • The induction of Rajputs and other Hindus into the Imperial service played a pivotal role in the creation of a composite ruling class.
  • Out of the total 184 nobles holding ranks of 500 and above during the specified period:
    • Hindus comprised 30 individuals, with Rajputs accounting for 27 out of those 30.
  • This development was met with discontent by some individuals, such as Badayuni, who emphasized the growing influence of Rajput wives in shaping Akbar’s liberal religious policies.
  • Badayuni remarked, “…of Hindu infidels who are indispensable, and of whom half the army, and country, will soon consist, and of whom there is not among the Mughals and Hindustanis a quam so powerful, he (Akbar) could not have enough.

Diverse Backgrounds in Imperial Service

  • Akbar’s policy extended beyond powerful rajas and zamindars, as he opened the doors of Imperial service to individuals with talent and ability, irrespective of their social background.
  • Many individuals from ordinary backgrounds, both Hindus and Muslims, were recruited into service and achieved high positions.
    • Among the Rajputs, subordinate sardars (chieftains) of various rajas were enlisted into the Imperial service.
    • Revenue experts, particularly from the Khatri and Kayastha castes among Hindus, were given important roles in the revenue department.
      • Previously, these sections had primarily worked at lower levels in revenue affairs and served as financial advisors (peshkars) in the households of numerous nobles.
      • Notable individuals in this category include Todar Mal, who had previously served in the revenue department under Sher Shah Sur and rose to prominence during Akbar’s reign, undertaking military campaigns and implementing significant reforms in the revenue system.
      • Other figures, such as Rai Patr Das (later known as Raja Bikramajit) and Rai Purushottam, also made significant contributions to the administration.
    • Among the diwans (administrators) in the twelve subahs (provinces), eight belonged to the Khatri and Kayastha castes.

Muslim Groups in Imperial Service

  • The Mughals also inducted two sections of Hindustani or Indian Muslims into their service.
    • The Saiyads of Barha, known for their bravery, earned the right to serve in the vanguard of the Mughal army. However, none of them reached high positions.
    • The Shaikhzadas, including individuals from learned families or Shaikh backgrounds, were also part of the Imperial service.
      • Badayuni, himself a mullah (Muslim legal scholar), held a negative view of this group, referring to them as time servers and hypocrites.
      • The Shaikhzadas held revenue-free grants (madadd-i-maash) or were zamindars (landowners).
      • Akbar made special efforts to conciliate and include them in the Imperial service, particularly after his break with the Uzbek nobles.

Other Influential Groups

  • The Kambohs, another section of Hindustanis, played a prominent role during this period.
    • Shahbaz Khan, a notable Kamboh, participated in various military expeditions, particularly against Rana Pratap and in Bengal.
    • As Mir Bakhshi (Paymaster General), he implemented the dagh system (branding of horses) with great rigor and was known for his piety and wealth.

Changing Composition of the Nobility

  • With the expansion of the Mughal Empire into the Deccan, Afghans and Marathas began to be recruited into the Imperial service during the reign of Jahangir.
  • The emergence of a composite nobility marked a diminishing dominance of the Turani nobles within the Mughal Empire.
    • Following the rebellion of the Uzbeks, Iranis from Khurasan, eastern Iran, were increasingly integrated into the nobility, as they were considered more suitable for administrative positions than the Turanis.
    • Between 1575 and 1595, out of the total 184 nobles holding ranks of 500 zat (personal rank) and above:
      • Turanis accounted for 34.78%,
      • Iranis for 25.54%,
      • Hindustanis for 18.48%,
      • Rajputs and other Hindus for 16.30%.

Breaking Clan-Tribal Ties

  • Akbar’s reign witnessed attempts to break clan-tribal ties within the army.
  • A rule was established that military contingents of nobles should consist of a mix of Mughals, Hindustanis, and Rajputs.
  • However, due to practical considerations, Mughal and Rajput nobles were allowed to maintain contingents exclusively composed of Mughals or Rajputs.
  • Consequently, a nobility with a balanced representation of ethnic and religious groups emerged under Akbar, fostering an army relatively free from narrow clan-tribal loyalties. This composition served as a counterweight within the ruling class.

Through the induction of Rajputs, other Hindus, and various Muslim groups into the Imperial service, Akbar successfully created a composite ruling class that reflected the diverse religious and ethnic fabric of the Mughal Empire. This inclusive approach not only brought together individuals from different backgrounds but also contributed to the stability and effectiveness of the Mughal administration. The reign of Akbar stands as a significant era in Indian history when a diverse ruling class played a crucial role in shaping the destiny of the empire.

Concept of Watan Jagir: Consolidation and Autonomy

The concept of Watan Jagir played a significant role in the evolution of a stable and centralized state structure during the Mughal period. This system, which replaced the previous practice of bhaibant (territorial divisions among brothers), granted Rajput rajas certain rights and territories within their ancestral lands. Let’s explore the concept of Watan Jagir and its implications for the Rajputs and the Mughal Empire.

The Meaning and Nature of Watan Jagir

  • When a Rajput raja joined the Imperial service, he was granted jagir against his mansab (rank), consisting of mahals or tappas where clan members resided.
  • The mahals were part of one or more parganas and often included a fort or garhi where the raja and his family resided. This region was considered the watan (homeland) of the raja, and the term was sometimes extended to encompass the entire territory held by the raja and his clansmen.
  • The term watan jagir gained popularity toward the end of Akbar’s reign, although it is not explicitly mentioned by contemporary historians like Abul Fazl.
  • Watan jagirs were generally granted for life within Rajasthan and were not transferable, except in cases of rebellion or exceptional circumstances. However, outside Rajasthan, jagirs could be transferred.

Evolution of a Stable and Centralized State Structure

The development of the watan jagir system played a crucial role in the transformation of the state structure in Rajasthan and contributed to the evolution of a stable and centralized political framework. This evolution can be observed through the following aspects:

  • Control over Territories:
    • Under the watan jagir system, the rajas gained control over areas held by their clan members and other clans.
    • This consolidation of territories allowed the rajas to strengthen their position vis-à-vis the pattayats (territorial divisions) and promoted a more centralized state structure.
  • Succession and Partitioning:
    • When a raja passed away, all the parganas under his control as watan jagirs were not automatically inherited by his successor.
    • Instead, the successor would receive only a few parganas based on his mansab rank, which was often lower than that of his predecessor. Thus, jagir rights in a pargana were partitioned.
    • This practice allowed the Mughals to exercise control over the Rajput rajas and prevent the consolidation of too much power under a single ruler.
  • Exploiting Internal Divisions:
    • The Mughals did not actively seek to create dissensions among the Rajputs. However, they were aware of existing divisions based on clan and personal holdings and strategically took advantage of these differences for their own benefit.
    • For instance, disputed parganas were occasionally transferred from one Rajput ruler to another, further leveraging internal divisions.
  • Autonomy within Principalities:
    • The Rajput rajas enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy within their own principalities.
    • While they were expected to refrain from imposing prohibited taxes such as rahdari (road tax), the Mughals allowed the rajas to govern their territories according to their own customs and traditions.
    • The Mughals emphasized the importance of maintaining trade routes and protecting commerce, particularly on key trade routes across Rajasthan to the sea ports.
  • Challenges in Revenue System:
    • The Mughals attempted to promote their revenue system of measurement (zabt) in Rajasthan. However, they faced challenges in implementing it as the Rajputs adhered to their own revenue assessment called rekh, which differed from the Mughal jama system.

The watan jagir system granted the Rajput rajas autonomy within their territories while providing a means for the Mughals to exert control and influence. It allowed for a balance between centralized authority and local governance, contributing to a more stable political structure within the Mughal Empire.

Relations with Mewar: Struggles and Resolutions

The relationship between the Mughal Empire and the state of Mewar, located in present-day Rajasthan, was characterized by tension, diplomacy, and intermittent conflict. While Akbar successfully resolved his relations with most of the Rajput states, Mewar stood as an exception due to its strategic position and its commitment to independence. Let’s delve into the complex dynamics between the Mughals and Mewar, exploring diplomatic efforts, the Battle of Haldighati, and subsequent campaigns.

Diplomatic Efforts

  • In 1572, after Maharana Pratap ascended the throne of Mewar, a series of diplomatic embassies were sent by Akbar in an attempt to resolve the outstanding issues.
    • The first embassy was led by Jalal Khan Qurchi, a favorite of Akbar.
    • Raja Man Singh’s visit followed, but despite the Rana’s courteous reception, no diplomatic breakthrough was achieved as the Rana refused to visit Akbar’s court.
    • Raja Bhagwant Das’s visit showed more promise, with the Rana accepting a robe sent by Akbar and his son accompanying Bhagwant Das to the Mughal capital. However, an agreement could not be reached due to the Rana’s refusal to personally submit to Akbar’s authority.
    • Todar Mal’s final visit also failed to resolve the issues.

The Battle of Haldighati

  • With negotiations breaking down, all-out war between Mewar and the Mughals became inevitable. However, Akbar initially prioritized the conquest of Bihar and Bengal.
  • In early 1576, Akbar moved to Ajmer and assigned Raja Man Singh, leading a force of 5,000 Mughal and Rajput warriors, to campaign against Rana Pratap.
    • Anticipating the Mughal move, the Rana had devastated the region up to Chittor, depriving the Mughal forces of food and fodder.
    • The Rana advanced with a force of 3,000 from his capital at Kumbhalgarh, taking a position near Haldighati, the entrance to the defile leading to Kumbhalgarh.
    • The battle, mainly fought between cavalrymen and elephants due to the difficult terrain, initially favored the Rajputs. However, Mughal reserves and a rumor of Akbar’s arrival turned the tide.
    • Although the Rajputs displayed bravery and the heat of battle prevented pursuit, the battle failed to break the existing stalemate. The Rajputs were supported by contingents from their subordinates, including the Bhils and an Afghan contingent led by Hakim Khan Sur.

Subsequent Campaigns and Resolutions

  • Akbar followed up the Battle of Haldighati by returning to Ajmer and personally leading campaigns against Rana Pratap.
  • The Mughal forces occupied Goganda, Udaipur, and Kumbhalmir, forcing the Rana deeper into the mountainous region of southern Mewar.
  • Mughal pressure was also exerted on the Afghan chief of Jalor and the Rajput chiefs of Idar, Sirohi, Banswara, Dungapur, and Bundi, who were traditionally subordinate to the dominant power in the region.
  • As a result, Rana Pratap found himself marginalized in Rajput affairs, though he continued to resist Mughal forces and performed acts of valor.

Jahangir’s Efforts and Peace Agreement

  • After Rana Pratap’s death in 1597, he was succeeded by his son, Amar Singh.
  • Jahangir took a more energetic approach to resolve the conflict with Mewar, launching successive campaigns led by Prince Parvez, Mahabat Khan, Abdullah Khan, and finally arriving at Ajmer in 1613 to direct the campaign personally.
  • The relentless Mughal pressure, combined with the depopulation of the region and the ruin of agriculture, led to the Mewar sardars pressing for peace and opening negotiations with the Mughals.
    • The Rana reluctantly consented to negotiations, and Jahangir authorized Prince Khurram to engage in talks. Jahangir did not insist on the Rana’s personal submission, a concession Akbar had been unwilling to make.
    • A cordial meeting between Khurram and the Rana took place, and the Rana’s son, Karan Singh, visited Jahangir at Ajmer. Karan Singh was accorded a warm reception and granted a significant mansab (rank) and jagir (land grant).
    • The territories belonging to Mewar, including Chittor, were restored to the Rana, and the principalities of Dungarpur and Banswara were once again placed under Mewar’s overlordship.
    • Jahangir exempted the Rana of Mewar from personal attendance and service at the Mughal court, while maintaining the tradition of a son or brother of the Rana serving the Emperor.
    • Jahangir also refrained from insisting on matrimonial relations between the Mughals and Mewar, a departure from his policy of establishing such alliances with other Rajput states.

The relationship between the Mughal Empire and Mewar was marked by a series of diplomatic efforts, military conflicts, and eventual resolutions. While Akbar’s attempts to negotiate a settlement were unsuccessful, the Battle of Haldighati and subsequent campaigns gradually weakened Mewar’s position. It was under Jahangir’s reign that a peace agreement was finally reached, granting Mewar a degree of autonomy and maintaining the state’s independence, albeit with certain conditions. The struggles and resolutions between the Mughals and Mewar reflect the intricate dynamics of power and diplomacy during the Mughal era in Rajasthan.

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