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Rajput Policy of Akbar

Rajput Policy of Akbar

  • The Mughal policy towards the Rajputs contributed to the expansion and consolidation of the Mughal Empire. In fact, it was largely designed to serve the political needs for the empire.
  • The Mughal alliance with the Rajputs was not only determined by personal religious beliefs of the individual rulers. But, policy was governed by multiple forces and situation, e.g.: The struggle for supremacy or autonomy by the aristocratic elements, the socio-cultural factors and the geo-strategic context of the country.
  • The policy of seeking a special relationship with the Rajputs matured under Akbar, and was one of the most abiding features of Mughal rule in India, even though the relationship came under strain later on.
  • The relationship between local rulers and central authority had many ups and downs during the Sultanate period.
    • The Turkish rulers were always on the look out to reduce the power and influence of the local rulers (rais) many of whom were Rajputs.
    • In general, they demanded from them formal submission, a promise to provide military help when demanded, and payment of Peshkash.
    • Alauddin Khalji was the first ruler who postulated an active alliance with an autonomous raja, Ram Deo of Deogir.
      • The raja was invited to Delhi after his submission, loaded with presents and not only was his kingdom returned to him, Navsari, a district in Gujarat, was given to him in gift.
      • Alauddin also married his daughter, Jhatyapali, while his son and heir-apparent, Khirz Khan, was married to Dewal Devi, daughter of the former ruler of Gujarat.
      • But this policy came to an end with the death of Ram Deo, followed by that of Alauddin Khalji and Khiz Khan.
    • Bahlul Lodi and Sikandar Lodi tried to establish friendly relations with some of the Rajput rajas of the Gangetic doab and some of them were even given the position of amirs.
      • This seems to have helped in establishing friendly relations between the Afghans and the Hindu rajas which persisted for a long time even after the Mughal conquest of India.
  • Babur:
    • Rana Sanga has negotiated with Babur against the Lodi. As Babur progressed in accordance with the agreement, Sanga retraced his steps. Sanga was surprised by arrival of Babur in Gangetic valley.
    • Rana Sanga with alliances with Afghan tried to hold back the advance of Babur toward Delhi.
    • Conflict between Sanga and Babur was not religious in nature because of the very nature of the composition of Sanga’s coalition.
    • Though Babur proclaimed the contest against Sanga as Jihad but it was an attempt to meet the challenge by appealing to the religious sentiments of his soldiers. Rana Sanga was defeated by Babur at Khanwa and Chanderi.
    • During Babur’s time, the relations between the Mughals and Rajputs did not develop along definite and positive lines, rather it was in consonance with the political needs.
  • Under Humayun:
    • Humayun’s stance as regards Rajasthan was essentially defence oriented: an offensive policy was postponed for a later date. He realised that due to internecine warfare in Mewar its power was waning. Therefore, for Humayun, its military importance as an ally was inadequate.
    • After returning to India, Humayun embarked upon a policy of conciliating and winning over the zamindars — a term used in official documents to include the autonomous rajas, both Hindu and Muslim.
    • According to Abul Fazl, when Humayun was at Delhi, in order to soothe the minds of the zamindars, he entered into matrimonial relations with them.
      • Thus, in 1556, when Hasan Khan of Mewat, who was one of the great zamindars of India, came and paid homage, he had two beautiful daughters, one of whom was married to Humayun, and the other to Bairam Khan.
      • The attempt to establish special relations with the Rajputs was, thus, part of a broader policy towards the zamindars or the indigenous ruling sections in the country.
    • According to Shaikh Fakhruddin Bhakkari who wrote in the middle of the 17th century:
      • When Humayun was at the court of Shah Tahmasp, the ruler of Iran, the latter enquired from Humayun the causes of Mughal expulsion from India, and which class of people in India constitutes clans and were outstanding and brave.
      • When informed that these were Rajputs and Afghans, he advised Humayun to rear the Rajputs since without gaining control over the zamindars it is not possible to rule in Hind.
      • Humayun, at the approach of his death, advised Akbar that this qaum (the Rajputs) should be reared up because they are not given to transgression and disobedience but only obedience and service.
    • Mughal desire to conciliate the zamindars, i.e. the indigenous ruling class of India, and the reputation of the Rajputs of loyalty and service formed the basis of their alliance with the Rajputs.
    • During both Humayun and Babur, relation with Rajputs were largely deterred by Afghan problem and friendly relation could not be developed.

Akbar’s Rajput Policy

  • Akbar’s alliance with the Rajputs began as a political coalition but later, it developed into an instrument of closer relations between Hindus and Muslims which formed the basis for a broad liberal tolerant policy towards all, irrespective of faith.
  • Akbar’s policy can be perceived in 3 phases:
    • In the first phase, Akbar more or less continued with the policy followed by the Delhi Sultans;
    • In the second phase, Akbar tried to develop and extend the alliance with Rajputs but certain components of the earlier policy were retained;
    • The third and last phase is marked by Akbar’s break with Muslim orthodoxy.
  • The First Phase (till 1572):
    • The Rajputs had already made a favourable impression on Akbar when, in 1557, he was riding upon an elephant which had gone out of control, and everyone had fled away except a band of Rajputs under Bhara Mal, the ruler of the small principality of Amber, who had stood firm.
    • During the first phase, which lasted till about 1572, the Rajput rajas who submitted to him were considered loyal allies. They were expected to render military service in or around their principalities, but not outside.
      • Thus, Raja Bhara Mal, along with his son Bhagwant Das, was the constant companion of Akbar during the Uzbek rebellions, but there is no reference to his taking part in any military operations.
      • Nor was Man Singh required to take an active part in the siege operations against Chittor, though he was present in the Imperial camp throughout.
      • Inside Rajasthan, when the Mughal forces besieged Merta, in 1562, a Kachhawaha contingent served on the side of the Mughals.
      • When the Mughals besieged Jodhpur the following year, Ram Rai, the elder brother of Chandrasen, actively aided them.
    • Matrimonial alliances:
      • In a feudalized polity, a personal relationship was considered a better guarantee of loyalty. However, in such a society marriages between royal houses was both a bond and a mark of submission.
      • After his marriage with Bhara Mal’s daughter, Akbar emphasized in various ways his special relationships with the family.
        • Thus, during the Uzbek rebellion, Bhagwant Das, the son of Bhara Mal, was constantly in attendance with him.
        • Later, on a number of occasions, Bhagwant Das was assigned the responsibility of guarding the Imperial camp, including the royal ladies, a position which was given only to nobles who were related to the ruler, or enjoyed his close confidence.
        • The birth of Salim from the Kachhawahi princess in 1569 filled Akbar with a sense of thanksgiving, and drew him closer to the Kachhawaha ruling house.
        • In 1572, when Akbar left for the Gujarat campaign, Bhara Mal was placed in charge of the capital, Agra, where all the royal ladies were living.
      • In 1570, when Akbar was at Nagor, Rai Kalyan Mal of Bikaner presented himself before Akbar along with his son, Rai Rai Singh. A daughter of Kalyan Mal’s brother, Kahan, was married to Akbar.
        • Rawal Har Rai of Jaisalmer also submitted, and proposed that one of his daughter be married to the Emperor.
        • The kingdom of all these rajas were restored to them, and both Kalyan Mal and Rai Singh were admitted to the Imperial service.
      • Chandrasen of Jodhpur also waited on Akbar and offered his submission, and apparently one of his daughter was married to Akbar at this time.
        • But on account of the opposition of his elder brother, Ram Rai, and his younger brother, Uday Singh, Jodhpur which had been under Imperial control since 1563, was not restored to him.
        • In consequence, there was a long drawn out war with Chandrasen during which the kingdom remained under Imperial control or khalisa
      • There are many misconceptions about Akbar’s policy of establishing matrimonial relations with the Rajput rajas.
        • These marriages were in the nature of political compromise and did not imply conversion to Islam and break with Hindu traditions.
        • These also did not lead to any kind of special bond between Rajputs and Mughals. Nor were these alliances with Rajputs intended to be aimed at countering recalcitrant elements or using the Rajputs for military gains.
        • There is little reason to believe that these matrimonial alliances, and the earlier marriage of Bhara Mal’s daughter, were forced upon the Rajputs. It was more the force of circumstances, and a realization on the part of the rajas the benefits these marriages might confer on them.
        • Nor did Akbar treat such an alliance as a test of loyalty and submission.
          • Thus, no matrimonial relations were established with the Hadas of Ranthambhor.
          • Surjan Hada served in Gujarat and elsewhere and rose to the rank 2000.
          • Again, when the rulers of Sirohi and Banswara submitted, no matrimonial relations were established with them.
      • In fact, matrimonial alliance was not unique and such alliances were a common feature before Akbar’s time also.
        • In the Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta (5th Century A.D.), it is clearly mentioned that all the subordinate rajas were required to send a daughter to the Imperial house-hold.
          • This attitude persisted, though the early Turkish rulers did not demand that the subordinate Hindu rajas establish matrimonial relations with them.
        • However, in course of time, we see many instances of marriages between Muslim and Hindu ruling houses.
          • The marriage of Alauddin Khalji with a daughter of Ram Deo, the ruler of Deogir.
          • Firuz Shah Bahmani married the daughter of Deo Ray of Vijaynagar in 1406.
        • Marriages between Rajputs rajas and other Muslim rulers can also be recorded from this time.
        • Most of these marriages were due to special circumstances, such as an invasion or procuring help against an enemy. Such marriages had not led to any stable relationship between the two sides.
    • Akbar period also ushered in an era of personal fidelity.
      • Akbar was trying to establish intimate relations with those chieftains who submitted to him personally.
      • A personal relationship, it was felt, would best ensure political allegiance.
    • Although Akbar had adopted a number of liberal measures— forbidding soldiers to enslave the women and children of rebellious villagers, remitting pilgrim taxes and finally abolishing jizyah in 1564.
      • But these measures did not create an atmosphere of total peace between the Mughals and Rajputs.
        • e.g. during war of Chittor, the Rajputs offered firm resistance despite the presence of Bhagwant Singh with Akbar.
        • Akbar on the other hand proclaimed the conflict as jihad and martyrs as ghazis giving the whole affair a religious color, but it was again to raise the religious sentiment in soldiers for fight.
    • Thus, in the first phase Akbar’s attitude towards Rajputs softened.
      • Rajputs (e.g. Rao Dalpat Rai) were accepted in the imperial service and given jagir.
      • Marriage alliances also helped softening this relation.
      • Few Rajputs became close confidant of Akbar, e.g: when Akbar proceeded on the Gujarat campaign, Agra was placed under Bharamal charge.
    • However, Akbar’s religious views his public policies and attitude towards Rajputs developed along separate lines and coincided only at a later stage.
  • The Second Phase (From 1572-1578):
    • Akbar tried to develop and extend the alliance with Rajputs but certain components of the earlier policy were retained.
    • The second phase of Akbar’s Rajputs policy may be dated from his Gujarat campaign in 1572.
    • The Gujarat expedition of Akbar was an important landmark in ‘the evolution of Mughal-Rajput relations. The Rajputs were enlisted as soldiers systematically and their salaries were fixed for the first time.
    • During this period, apart from being loyal allies, the Rajputs begin to emerge as the sword-arm of the empire.
      • At the outset, Man Singh was appointed with a well-equipped army to chase Sher Khan Fuladi and his sons and got praised from Akbar.
      • The Kachhawahas were not the only ones to whom Akbar showed favour, or who fought on behalf of the Mughal state during this period.
        • Before leaving for the Gujarat campaign, Akbar had given Rai Rai Singh of Bikaner charge of Jodhpur and Sirohi, to guard against any incursions from the side of the Rana, and to keep the road to Gujarat open.
      • In 1576, Man Singh was appointed to lead the Mughal army against Rana Pratap.
    • The Rajputs were deployed outside Rajasthan for the first time and were given significant assignments and posts.
      • During the Gujarat insurrection of the Mirzas, Akbar depended largely or Rajputs (Kachawahas) Man Singh and Bhagwant Singh.
    • The Rana of Mewar did not agree to personal submission and wanted to regain Chittor. Akbar remained firm on the principle of personal homage.
    • Till the end of the second phase, Akbar’s Rajput policy had not acquired a shape which would be disapproved by the Muslim orthodox religious elements or which would be a threat to the Muslim character of the state.
  • The Third Phase (From 1578):
    • The third phase of Akbar’s relationship with the Rajputs may be dated from 1578 when Raja Bhagwant Das and Man Singh arrived at the Imperial camp at Bhera in western Punjab in preparation for campaigns in the north-west including Kashmir.
    • This development coincides with Akbar’s break with the orthodox clergy:
      • The expulsion of the sadr Shaikh Abdun Nabi.
      • The issue of Mahzar by Akbar which gave him the right to choose between different schools of law upholding the sharia.
      • But the reimposition of jiziya in 1575 as a step in preparation for war with Mewar, shows that Akbar had to rely on religion for serving political ends.
    • Till this time, Akbar had not moved out of the orthodox framework so that an orthodox mullah like Badayuni could say that although Man Singh had been placed in charge of both Hindu and Muslim troops at Haldighati, it was a case of “a Hindu wields the sword of Islam.”
    • In this third and last phase,
      • Rajputs emerge as partners in the kingdom, and a make-weight in the nobility against the others, especially the Turani nobles of whose loyalty Akbar was not certain following his break with the ulama.
      • Rajputs became the sword-arm of the Empire and became actively involved in Mughal administration.
        • It largely happened as consequence of Mirza Hakim’s invasion, during which Akbar heavily relied upon Rajputs and in return they displayed considerable valour and loyality (Trust on Rajputs can be seen as Rajputs were employed to fight even against Mirza Hakim, the emperor’s own half-brother).
        • Akbar rewarded them by making Bhagwant Das the governor of Lahore and Man Singh the commander of the Indus region.
        • Thus, the Rajputs not only emerged as dependable allies who could be used anywhere for fighting, even against princes of blood, they also began to the employed in tasks of governance.
      • Akbar also tried to forge close relations with the Rajput ruling houses by marriage alliances his prince Salim and Daniyal.
        • for e.g.
          • marriage of Salim with the daughter of Bhagwant Singh (1583).
          • Daughters of the ruling houses of Bikaner and Jaisalmer were also married to Salim.
          • Daniyal was married to a daughter of Raimal, son of Rai Maldeo.
        • These marriages reveal Akbar’s desire to compel his successor to the throne to carry on the policy of maintaining close relationship with the Rajputs.
      • In 1583-84, Akbar initiated a new policy of selecting loyal Muslim and Hindu nobles for performing administrative tasks. e.g:
          • Raja Birbal was a close associate of Akbar and was responsible for justice.
          • Rai Durga Sisodia of Rampura and Raja Todar Mal were assigned administrative tasks in the revenue department.
          • In 1585-86, when two sipahsalars or subahdars were appointed to each subah, Rajputs were appointed, as joint-governors of four subahs — Lahore, Kabul, Agra and Ajmer.
          • The most significant was the appointment of Man Singh and Raja Bhagwant Das to the two strategically important provinces of Kabul and Lahore.
          • Rajputs were also appointed faujdars and commanders of forts.
          • Later, Man Singh was appointed governor of Bihar and Bengal, and accorded the rank of 7000 which only one other noble, Mirza Aziz Koka, enjoyed.
          • The Kachhawahas remained the most powerful section under Akbar.
            • Thus, in the Ain-i-Akbari, prepared in 1593-94, out of the 27 Rajput nobles listed, 13 were Kachhawahas.
            • Although other Rajputs did forge ahead — Rai Rai Singh of Bikaner was appointed governor of Lahore in 1590-91, and his son, Suraj Singh, was made the effective governor of Gujarat.
            • But the excessive representation of the Kachhawahas in the service was only corrected when Jahangir ascended the throne.
        • It cannot be said with certainty to what extent this policy of deploying Rajputs for carrying out administrative tasks was successful. Abul Fazl gives the impression that it was not properly implemented.
      • By 1585-86, Akbar’s Rajput policy had become fully developed.
        • The alliance with Rajputs had become steady and stable.
        • The Rajputs were now not only allies but were partners in the Empire.
        • They not only emerged as dependable allies who could be used anywhere for fighting, even against princes of blood, they also began to the employed in tasks of governance.
    • The concept of Mughal Paramountcy implied controlling succession to the throne in Rajput states.
      • Akbar had pronounced that the grant of tika was the prerogative of the Mughal Emperor and could not be claimed as a matter of right
    • Akbar tried to promote heterogeneous contingents to cut across the ethic-religious distinctions.
      • Akbar tried to encourage nobles to maintain mixed contingents consisting of ethnic groups like the Mughals, Rajputs etc.
      • However, all these didn’t give much result and ethnic-religious ties could not be weakened.

Conclusion

  • Akbar’s alliance with the Rajputs began as a political coalition but later, it developed into an instrument of closer relations between Hindus and Muslims which formed the basis for a broad liberal tolerant policy towards all, irrespective of faith.
  • Akbar tried to promote heterogeneous contingents to cut across the ethic-religious distinctions. Akbar tried to encourage nobles to maintain mixed contingents consisting of ethnic groups like the Mughals, Rajputs etc. However, all these didn’t give much result and ethnic-religious ties could not be weakened.
    • The Rajput soldier was paid a salary lower than his Mughal counterpart but how far this encouraged nobles to employ Rajputs is not known.
  • Mughal-Rajput relations were seen as the beginning of a secular, non-sectarian state in which all sections of people would have some interest in its continuation. But this was not in accordance with the social and political reality.
    • The Rajputs were generally orthodox in their social and religious outlook. They refused to enroll themselves in Akbar’s tauhid llahi and also did not support Akbar in opposing sati.
    • Like the Rajputs, the Mughal elite was also generally orthodox, The Mughal elite and ulema feared,that a broad liberal policy would be detrimental to their dominant position.
  • Their opposition could be put down only by furthering the Mughal-Rajput alliance supported by powerful non-sectarian movements stressing common points between followers of the two religions.
  • These movements were limited in their influence and the Mughal-Rajput alliance having no powerful bulwark became strained and collapsed.

The Mughal-Rajput alliance was mutually beneficial

  • The alliance secured to the Mughals the services of the bravest warriors in India. The steadfast loyalty of the Rajputs was an important factor in the consolidation and further expansion of the Mughal empire.
  • On the other hand, service in the Mughal empire enabled the Rajput rajas to serve in distant places far away from their homes, and to hold important administrative posts. This further raised their prestige and social status.
  • Service with the Mughals was also financially rewarding. In addition to their holdings in Rajasthan, the Rajputs rajas were accorded jagirs outside Rajasthan in accordance with their mansabs.
    • Thus, the Kachhawahas at first held jagirs in Gujarat and then in Punjab when Bhagwant Das and Man Singh were posted there. Later, they were granted jagirs in Bihar and Bengal when Man Singh was governor there.
    • These jagirs formed a valuable source of additional income to the rajas. While these jagirs were transferable like any other jagirs, the Rajput rajas were granted their own homelands as jagirs: these were called watan jagirs. They were not transferred during the life-time of a ruler, but increased as his mansab increased.
  • As Abul Fazl says, the rajas entering into such alliances were considered distinguished among other zamindars.
  • Pax Mughalica:
    • The Mughal concept of paramountcy gave peace to the country, and established a kind of pax Mughalica (Mughal peace) which enabled peaceful development. It also enabled the Rajas to work in distant places without bothering about peace in their own dominions.
    • This meant regulation of inter-state disputes and disputes among the Rajput rajas and sardars.
    • No subordinate Raja could extend his territory without the consent of the Mughal emperor.
    • The Mughal policy of conferring honour on anyone was a part of the process of weakening the aristocracy by instigating the middle and lower strata to assert their independence from aristocracy. Therefore, the Mughals enlisted in the Imperial service many minor feudatories of the Rajput rajas themselves.
    • The Mughals claimed a kind of paramountcy which implied that:
      • The Rajput rajas did not raid each other’s territories, or try to resolve territorial disputes by resorting to war. Traditionally, there were a number of territorial disputes between the various Rajput states.
      • The concept of Mughal Paramountcy also implied controlling succession to the throne in Rajput states.
        • There was no tradition, either among the Hindus or the Muslim, of primogeniture, that is, of the eldest son succeeding a deceased ruler.
        • Tulsi Das, the famous Hindi poet who lived during Akbar’s time, declared that both scriptures and tradition accorded the right of tika i.e. choosing a successor to the ruler. Even this was not always accepted, and led to civil wars.
        • The issue of succession had invariably caused fratricidal civil wars in Rajput states.
        • As sovereign emperor, the Mughal ruler claimed the right of giving his concurrence to a succession.
          • Thus, when Rao Maldeo died, Akbar did not accept his nominee, Chandrasen, the younger son, as a ruler of Marwar, but gave it to his elder brother, Rao Ram. After his death, it was given to his younger brother, Mota Raja Udai Singh.
          • It was made clear that in the ultimate resort, the approval of the Emperor was necessary before succession could be considered legitimate. In other words, succession was a matter of Imperial grace, rather than right.
        • Controlling succession was not an easy task: it depended on the strength of the Mughal ruler.
        • Akbar had pronounced that the grant of tika was the prerogative of the Mughal Emperor and could not be claimed as a matter of right.
        • The fact that the Mughal Emperor could give tika to sons of the deceased raja or his brother or brother’s son could lead to conflicts. But, at least, the issue could be settled without a civil war due to Mughal intervention.
        • But the right to regulate succession contained within it the seeds of conflict under a Mughal ruler whose bonafides were, for one reason or another, suspect.

Concept of Watan Jagir

  • When a Rajput raja was enrolled in the Imperial service, he was given jagir against his mansab which consisted of mahals or tappas where the clan members lived.
  • The mahals were a part of one or more parganas with a fort or garhi where the raja resided with his family. This region was the real watan of the raja, but occasionally the term was extended to mean the entire tract held by the raja and his clansmen.
  • Jahangir refers to this as riyasat. The term watan jagir came into vogue only at the end of Akbar’s reign.
  • Watan jagirs were not transferrable except in case of rebellion, etc. These watan jagirs were granted for life within Rajasthan.
  • Outside Rajasthan, jaglrs were transferable.
  • The term watan jagir is not referred to by Abul Fazl and other contemporary historians.
    • The first reference to this is contained in a farman of Akbar to Raja Rai Singh of Bikaner.
    • The Rajput chronicles used a word utan which could be a corruption of watan.
  • How was it a step towards the evolution of a stable and centralized state structure:
    • The change in the state structure of Rajasthan and the evolution of the concept of watan jagir which replaced bhaibant is an interesting phenomena.
    • By Jahangir’s time the concept of watan jagir was firmly entrenched.
    • Areas held by clan member and other clans were brought under the control of the raja
    • Watan jagirs allowed the rajas to consolidate their position vis-a-vis the pattayats which was a step towards the evolution of a stable and centralised state structure.
  • When a raja died all the parganas controlled by him as watan jagir were not inevitably inherited by his successor.
    • His successor was given a few parganas according to his mansab which was lower than that of his predecessor. Thus, jagir rights in a pargana were partitioned.
    • This was a means of exercising control over the Rajput rajas.
  • The Mughals did not try to create dissensions among the Rajputs but they were aware of dissensions among the Rajputs on the basis of clan and personal holdings and took advantage of these differences for their own ends. e.g: they transferred disputed parganas from one to another.
  • The Rajput rajas were granted jagirs outside their watan in neighbouring subas or in subas where they served. The jagirs were situated either in productive areas or in zortalab (rebellious) areas.
  • The Rajput rajas were accorded broad autonomy within their own principalities, though they were expected not to levy prohibited taxes, such as rahdari or road tax.
    • The Mughals were keen to see that rahdari was not levied in order to protect trade on the important trade-routes across Rajasthan to the sea-ports.
    • The Mughals were also keen to promote the Mughal revenue system of measurement (zabt) to Rajasthan, but here they were less successful. The Rajputs had their own revenue-assessment called rekh, which was different from the Mughal assessment or jama.

Relations with Mewar

  • Akbar was able to resolve his relations with almost all the states of Rajasthan with the exception of Mewar.
  • Because of its size and its heavily wooded, hilly terrain, Mewar was ideally situated to stand out for independence, unlike the other Rajput states.
  • It was also conscious of its position as the leading state of Rajasthan, and its acknowledged leader. That is why it was the first to feel at Chittor the weight of the Mughal might.
  • After the Mughal conquest of Gujarat, the need to secure Mughal communications across the Mewar territories became even greater.
  • In 1572, when Maharana Pratap succeeded to the gaddi of Mewar, a series of diplomatic embassies were sent by Akbar to solve the outstanding issues with the Maharana.
    • The first of these embassies was led by Jalal Khan Qurchi, a favourite of Akbar.
    • This was followed by Raja Man Singh. Man Singh was received by the Rana in his characteristic courteous manner. However, Man Singh’s visit did not yield an diplomatic results, the Rana refusing to visit Akbar’s darbar.
    • However, the next visit by Raja Bhagwant Das had greater success.
      • The Rana put on the robe sent by Akbar, and the Rana’s son, Amar Singh, accompanied Bhagwant Das to the Mughal capital.
      • However, no a greement could be arrived at because the Rana refused Akbar’s insistence on his personal submission. There may also have been some differences between the two regarding Chittor.
    • A final visit by Todar Mal also failed to resolve the issues.
  • Negotiations having broken down, all out war between Mewar and the Mughals was inescapable. However, Akbar gave his attention first to the conquest of Bihar and Bengal.
  • In the meantime, he created a new machinery of administration, and began his quest for seeking a unity behind the multiplicity, first of sects within Islam, and then of all religions.
  • Akbar also gave attention to the unrest created within Marwar due to the activities of Chandrasen from his headquarters at Siwana.
    • Chandrasen was relentlessly hunted from place to place, finally seeking shelter in Mewar.
    • The powerful fort of Siwana was also captured (1575).
    • Akbar then turned towards Mewar.
  • Early in 1576, Akbar moved to Ajmer, and deputed Raja Man Singh with a force of 5000 consisting of Mughal and Rajput warriors to lead a campaign against Rana Pratap.
    • In anticipation of such a move, the Rana had devastated the entire region upto Chittor so that the Mughal forces could get no food or fodder.
    • He had also fortified the passes leading up to the hills. The Rana advanced with a force of 3000 from his capital at Kumbhalgarh, and took a position near Haldighati, at the entrance of the defile leading to Kumbhalgarh.
    • Apart from a contingent of Afghans under Hakim Khan Sur, there was also a small contingent of Bhils whom the Rana had befriended, and whose help was invaluable to him in the days to come.
  • The battle of Haldighati (18 Feb. 1576):
    • It was mainly fought in the traditional manner between cavalrymen and elephants, since the Mughals found it difficult to transport any artillery, except light artillery over the rough terrain.
    • The Rana, it seems, had no firearms, either because he disdained them, or because he lacked the means to manufacture or procure them.
    • In the traditional fight, the Rajputs were at an advantage. The impetuosity of their attack led to the crumbling of the Mughal left and right wings, and put serious pressure on their centre till Mughal reserves, and a rumour of Akbar’s arrival turned the tide.
    • The bravery of the Rajputs, the heat, and the fear of ambush in the hills prevented pursuit, and enabled the Rana to retreat into the hills in order to continue the fight.
    • Thus, the battle failed to break the existing stalemate.
    • In the battle the Rana was supported in the main by contingents drawn from his subordinates, a notable exception being Ram Shah, an ex-ruler of Gwaliyar, and an Afghan contingent led by Hakim Sur which played a distinctive role.
    • The Mughal forces were commanded by Kr. Man Singh.
    • With both the Hindus and the Muslims divided, the battle of Haldighati can scarcely be considered a struggle between Hindus and Muslims. Nor can it be considered a struggle for Rajput independence, influential sections of the Rajputs already having cast their lot with the Mughals.
    • The struggle can be regarded at best as an assertion of the principle of local independence.
    • Sentiments of local and regional patriotism were strong in India during the 16th century and could always be buttressed by appeal to tradition and custom.
    • However, such a slogan could not be carried very far. The experience of the Rajputs states was that lacking a regionally or nationally dominant power, Rajasthan was always prone to internecine warfare, with its attendant consequences.
  • Akbar followed up the battle of Haldighati by coming back to Ajmer, and personally leading the campaign against Rana Pratap.
    • In the process, Goganda, Udaipur and Kumbhalmir were occupied, forcing the Rana deeper into the mountainous tract of south Mewar.
    • Mughal pressure was also exerted upon the Afghan chief of Jalor, and the Rajput chiefs of Idar, Sirohi, Banswara, Dungapur and Bundi.
    • These states, situated on the borders of Mewar with Gujarat and Malwa, had traditionally acknowledged the supremacy of whoever was the dominant power in the region, despite close marriage and clan ties with Mewar. The rulers of these states had no option but to submit.
  • Thus, Rana Pratap was isolated. Although the Rana continued to wage a valiant, unequal fight against superior Mughal forces which were sent against him, and performed feats of valour under trying circumstances, he was marginalized in Rajput affairs.
  • The Mughal pressure on Mewar relaxed after 1579, following rebellion in Bengal and Bihar, and Mirza Hakim’s incursion into the Punjab.
    • In 1585, Akbar moved to Lahore, and remained there for the next twelve years, watching the situation in the north-west.
    • No Mughal expedition was sent against Rana Pratap during this period.
    • Taking advantage of the situation, Rana Pratap recovered many of his territories, including Kumbhalgarh and the areas near Chittor. But he could not recover Chittor itself.
    • During the period, he built a new capital, Chavand, near modern Dungarpur.
  • Rana Pratap died in 1597 at the young age of 51, due to an internal injury incurred by him while trying to draw a stiff bow.
  • It is difficult to say whether a more relaxed policy on the part of Akbar by not insisting on personal submission by the Rana would have been able to avert the blood-shed and human misery which took place during this period.
    • By the time Rana Pratap died, the Mughal empire had been consolidated and brought under strict centralized control.
    • The Rajputs too, had become firm allies and partners in the kingdom.
    • Hence, Akbar could have adopted a more flexible policy about personal submission. However, both in the case of Kashmir, and Sindh which was being ruled by a Timurid, Mirza Jani Beg, Akbar continued to insist on personal submission, and sent armies to conquer them when the rulers refused to do so.
  • Rana Pratap was succeeded by his son, Amar Singh.
    • A series of expeditions were sent by Akbar against Rana Amar Singh between 1598 and 1605.
    • Prince Salim was sent against the Rana in 1599, but achieved little.
    • He was again deputed for the purpose in 1603, but he had no heart in the enterprise.
  • During Jahangir:
    • After his accession, Jahangir took up the matter more energetically.
    • Successive campaigns were lead by Prince Parvez, Mahabat Khan, and Abdullah Khan, but could not make any impression on the Rana.
    • Hence, in 1613, Jahangir arrived at Ajmer to direct the campaign personally. A large army was appointed under Prince Khurram to invade the hilly areas of Mewar.
    • The relentless Mughal pressure, the heavy toll of life among the Rajputs, the depopulation of the country and the ruination of agriculture at last produced their effect.
    • The Mewar sardars pressed for peace and opened negotiations with the Mughals through Prince Khurram.
      • The Rana reluctantly gave his consent.
      • The mild and statesman-like attitude adopted by Jahangir facilitated an agreement. He authorised Prince Khurram to negotiate with the Rana to whom he sent a most gracious farman.
      • The Rana came and waited upon Khurram, and deputed his son, Karan Singh, to wait upon Jahangir at Ajmer.
      • In order to safeguard the Rana’s prestige, Jahangir did not insist upon his personal submission—a concession which Akbar had been unwilling to make.
      • Karan Singh was accorded a very cordial reception and was loaded with gifts. He was accorded the mansab of 5000 zat, 5000 sarwar, and granted a jagir.
      • Sagar, the son of Rana Udai Singh, who had joined Akbar during the rule of Rana Pratap, and granted the title of Rana and installed at Chittor by Jahangir, was set aside, and all the paraganas of Mewar, including Chittor were restored to the Rana.
      • The principalities of Dungarpur, Banswara, etc. which had been granted an independent status in the time of Akbar were also placed once again under the overlordship of the Rana.
      • The jagir granted to Kunwar Karan Singh was in addition to the territories belonging to the Rana.
    • Jahangir established a tradition that the Rana of Mewar would be exempted from personal attendance and service at the Mughal Court, though it was insisted upon that a son or a brother of the Rana would wait upon the Emperor and serve him.
      • Thus, Prince Bhim, the younger son of Rana Amar Singh, served with Khurram in the Deccan.
    • Nor did Jahangir insist upon the Rana entering into matrimonial relations with the Mughal Emperor.
    • Both these traditions were maintained throughout the Mughal rule.
    • The only condition Jahangir imposed upon the Rana was that the walls of Chittor fort would never be repaired.
      • The Chittor fort was an extremely powerful bastion, and the Mughals were apparently reluctant to see it restored to a state in which it might once again be used to defy Mughal authority.
      • Perhaps, they also regarded its ruined battlements as a symbol of Mughal victory over Mewar’s claim of independence.
    • Jahangir continued Akbar’s policy of establishing personal relations with the Rajput rajas by entering into matrimonial relations with them.
      • All these marriages were contracted while Mewar still defied the Mughals.
      • Once Mewar had submitted and the alliance with the Rajputs had attained a measure of stability, matrimonial relations between the Mughals and the leading Rajput states became rare.
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