Akbar (Makers of the Muslim World) by Andre Wink

By Andre Wink

Extensively 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, elevated the Mughal empire, and left at the back of a legacy to rival his notorious ancestor Chinggis Khan. This lucid biography presents glimpses into Akbar's way of life and highlights his contribution to new equipment of imperial keep watch over.

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Manucci observed in 1700 that “it is now nineteen years that he [Aurangzeb] has been in camp without effecting anything against that rebellious people, the Marathas . . Owing to the immense expenditure forced upon him, and because the revenue-payers did not pay with the usual promptitude, he was obliged at Aurangabad to melt down all his household silver ware” (Manucci, II, 239). Much of the imperial traveling of Mughal times was prompted by the desire to keep recalcitrant officers – or brothers – on the side of loyalty, in other words to keep aspiring rebels from gaining too much traction in the areas of India yet to be subdued (or unsubduable) and thereby acquiring the ability to turn against the emperor.

If they did not have warhorses, none of the Hindu rulers that Akbar encountered, not even the pre-eminent Rajputs, appears to have possessed any artillery whatsoever, although some of the smaller Muslim rulers like the Arghuns of Sind and the Afghan warlords and their Hindu generals did (Sher Shah was killed by a malfunctioning artillery piece of his own), and the Sultans of Gujarat had a grand park of artillery and mortars, some of which had been obtained directly from the Ottoman Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent – this was another reason, in addition to their access to warhorses, why they were such formidable opponents.

Not Akbar, who went on by boat, cheerful and unperturbed, putting, as always, his faith in God – it appears that the boats reserved for his party were better built, and stormproof. At Cocakpur, the main army caught up with him and from then on started to pitch its tents opposite the stormproof royal barges. The worldconqueror, however, continued by river route in this season full of turbulence, and with constant rain and tempest, and reached his destination with a tranquil heart. The horrific noise wound its way into the brains of the darkened foe, and their gallbladders became as water” (AN, III, 135).

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