Mughal Empire

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Gate of the Red Fort in Agra , capital of the Mughal Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries

The Mughal Empire was a state that existed on the Indian subcontinent from 1526 to 1858 . The heartland of the empire lay in the north Indian Indus - Ganges plain around the cities of Delhi , Agra and Lahore . At the height of its power at the end of the 17th century , the Mughal Empire spanned almost the entire subcontinent and parts of present-day Afghanistan . Between 100 and 150 million people lived on 3.2 million square kilometers. For the year 1700 its share in the world population was estimated at about 29 percent.

The Muslim rulers are now referred to in German as " Mogul ", "Great Mogul" or "Mogul Emperor". Similar terms can also be found in other, mainly Western, languages. In the state and court language Persian , which had replaced the original mother tongue of the Mughals - Chagataic , an Eastern Turkish language - was the title of ruler پادشاه pād (e) šāh ( padishah ). He was comparable to the title of emperor .

The first Mughal Mughal Babur (ruled 1526–1530), a prince of the Timurid dynasty from Central Asia , conquered the Sultanate of Delhi , starting from what is now the states of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan . The most important Mughal ruler is Akbar I (r. 1556–1605), who strengthened the empire militarily, politically and economically. Under Aurangzeb (ruled 1658–1707) the Mughal empire experienced its greatest territorial expansion. However, it was so overstretched financially and militarily by the territorial expansion that it sank into a regional power in the political structure of India in the course of the 18th century . Several severe military defeats against the Marathas , Persians , Afghans and British as well as internal dynastic power struggles to achieve rule and the intensification of the religious differences in the country between the Islamic “ruling caste” and the subjugated majority population of the peasant Hindus also favored his decline. In 1858 the last Delhi Grand Mughal was deposed by the British. Its territory became part of British India .

What has been preserved for posterity is rich evidence of architecture, painting and poetry shaped by Persian and Indian artists.

About the name

Le Grand Mogol ("The Great Mughal"), fantasy representation by the French scholar Allain Manesson-Mallet from 1683

The name "Mogul" as a name for the rulers of North India was probably coined in the 16th century by the Portuguese ( Portuguese Grão Mogor or Grão Mogol "Great Mughal" ), who set up a Jesuit mission at Akbar's court as early as 1580 , and later by other European travelers Taken in India. It derives from the Persian مغول mughul her and means "Mongol". "Mog (h) ulistan" originally referred to the Central Asian Chagatai Khanate . The latter was the home of Timur Lang , founder of the Timurid dynasty and direct ancestor of the first Mughal ruler Babur . The name thus correctly refers to the Mongolian ancestry of the Indian dynasty, but ignores the more precise relationship to the Mongol Empire. This comes in the Persian nameگوركانى gūrkānī of the Mughals, which is derived from the Mongolian kürägän "son-in-law" - an allusion to the marriage of Timur into the family of Genghis Khan . Accordingly, the Persian name for the Mughal dynasty isگورکانیان Gūrkānīyān . In Urdu , however, the Mughal emperor is called مغل باد شاہ Mughal Bādšāh .



Before the establishment of the Mughal Empire, the Sultanate of Delhi had existed in northern India since 1206 , which under Ala ud-Din Khalji (r. 1297-1316) experienced the peak of its power development. Ala ud-Din subjugated large parts of the Deccan , at the same time he repulsed the attacks of the Mongols from the northwest. Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq (r. 1325-1351) strove for the complete incorporation of the central and southern Indian empires. His plan failed, however, and with the relocation of the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad on the Deccan, he weakened the position of power of the sultans in the north Indian plain. The decline of the empire began, culminating in the conquest and sacking of Delhi by Timur in 1398. Timur withdrew quickly, but the sultanate was never able to fully recover from the devastating consequences of the defeat. All provinces gained their independence, so that the sultanate was now limited to the area around Delhi. Even a temporary expansion under the Lodi dynasty (1451-1526) could not restore the former size and power of the empire.

1504–1530: Originated under Babur

Expansion of the Delhi Sultanate at the beginning of 1526 and Babur's Indian campaign

The Delhi Sultanate finally fell in 1526 when Zahir ud-Din Muhammad, known as Babur ( Persian " beaver "), defeated the last sultan. Babur came from what is now Fergana in Uzbekistan , one of the many small Muslim principalities of Transoxania that were ruled by the Timurids . On his father's side, Babur was a direct descendant of Timur in the sixth generation, his mother even traced her ancestry in direct line to Genghis Khan . After he had inherited from his father in Fergana and had twice briefly come into possession of Samarkand , he had to flee from his homeland in 1504 from the strengthening Uzbeks under Shaibani Khan . He retired to Kabul , which he ruled from then on as a kingdom. Since the extinction of the last remaining Timurid court in Herat in 1507, he held the title Padeschah (Emperor), which is formally superior to a Shah (King), and thus claimed the leading position among the Timurid princes. From Kabul he made his first exploratory expeditions over the Chaiber Pass to north-west India (in the area of ​​today's Pakistan ), but then allied himself with the Shah of Safavid Persia , Ismail I , to regain Samarkand, which he actually took but did not could hold. In return for supporting the Shah, he had to publicly profess Shiite Islam, but later returned to the Sunni faith, of which he was probably also internally convinced. This is supported, among other things, by the fact that Babur raised his son Humayun in the Sunni faith. The renewed failure of the Samarkand enterprise finally seemed to give rise to the decision to turn to India, especially since Babur, thanks to his ancestor Timur, was able to claim the possessions of the Delhi Sultan. However, this refused to submit to Babur.

In preparation for his campaign in India, Babur introduced cannons and rifles based on the Ottoman model, which until then had never been used in a field battle in northern India. Kandahar fell in 1522 , and by early 1526 he had extended his rule far into the Punjab . There, on April 20 of the same year, there was a decisive clash with the numerically clearly superior army of Sultan Ibrahim II : the use of firearms, the high mobility of the mounted archers on the flanks and a defensive tactic inspired by the Ottoman army helped Babur in the Battle of Panipat to a superior victory over the last Delhi Sultan. After the occupation of Delhi and Agra , which two decades earlier had become the capital of the Lodi dynasty, he proclaimed himself Emperor of Hindustan and thus founded the Mughal Empire.

At the same time, Babur's rule was far from being consolidated, for a new enemy had arisen in the Rajput prince Rana Sanga of Mewar . He sought to restore Hindu rule in northern India and for this purpose had formed a confederation with other Rajput rulers. Babur had to persuade his soldiers, who were urged to return to Kabul, to stay with generous rewards from the defeated sultan's state treasury. Only with the victory over the Rajput Confederation on March 17, 1527 in the Battle of Khanua was his rule in Hindustan more or less secured.

As a result, Babur toured his new empire extensively, put down several revolts and distributed generous gifts to his subordinates and relatives, which put a heavy burden on the state treasury. He showed himself to be decidedly liberal and conciliatory towards his subjects, but kept the administrative structures of the Lodi dynasty based on the allocation of jagir (fiefs) and thus local loyalties almost unchanged. In 1530, Babur's son Humayun inherited an inwardly weak empire that stretched from the Hindu Kush to Bihar .

1530–1556: Humayun's reign and Surid interregnum

Humayun's time was marked by setbacks which temporarily withdrew control of his empire from the emperor and almost ended the rule of the Mughals in India after less than 15 years. According to the Timurid tradition, all rightful sons of a ruler were entitled to the succession to the throne. Humayun, who was considered compliant and superstitious, sometimes even childish, therefore found himself embroiled in arguments with his half-brothers. There were also external threats. In the southwest, Sultan Bahadur of Gujarat was expanding , while in Bihar, in the east, Sher Khan Suri was preparing a rebellion as the leader of a group of Pashtuns who had entered the military in the Lodi dynasty . Both had refused to swear allegiance to Humayun after his accession to the throne.

Humayun, who preferred to devote himself to the planning of a new capital, did not decide to launch a campaign against Gujarat until 1535, which was initially successful. The outbreak of the Sher Khan rebellion in Bihar forced him to return to Agra and to give up the conquered areas. In 1537 he moved against Sher Khan, who plundered the Bengali capital Gaur before the meeting and called himself Sher Shah from then on. At Chausa, east of Varanasi, Humayun was defeated in 1539 by Sher Shah, who had initially agreed to the withdrawal of his army, but then attacked Humayun's camp at night and drove his soldiers into the Ganges, where most of them drowned. Humayun almost died himself had it not been for a servant who saved his life. Meanwhile, his half-brother Hindal had unsuccessfully tried to usurp the throne. Nevertheless, the sibling dispute divided and demoralized Humayun's troops. The battle of Kannauj in 1540 sealed the loss of Hindustan. Humayun fled into exile in Persia, to the court of Tahmasp I. Only with the help of a Persian army could he regain Kabul in 1545.

Sher Shah founded the short-lived Surid dynasty as Sultan of Delhi. Extensive reforms in the areas of administration and finance were intended to consolidate the rule, but a dispute over succession plunged the Surides into chaos in 1554 and enabled Humayun to return to India a year later. Building on Sher Shah's reforms, Humayun planned to set up a new administrative system. His sudden death in 1556 prevented this project.

1556–1605: Consolidation by Akbar

Akbar (r. 1556–1605) on a drawing (around 1605)
Expansion of the Mughal Empire at Akbar's death (1605)

Humayun's eldest son Akbar was undisputed within the dynasty, but his empire was threatened by the descendants of the Surides. The Hindu Surid general Hemu used their division and the weakness of the newly restored Mughal empire to occupy Delhi on his own initiative and proclaim himself Raja in October 1556 , but was defeated by Akbar's army in the Second Battle of Panipat on November 5 . Within a year the remaining Surids were finally defeated. The Mughal Empire was thus militarily secured for the time being.

By means of numerous campaigns and political marriages, Akbar enlarged the empire considerably. In 1561 the central Indian sultanate of Malwa was subjugated. Gondwana fell in 1564, Gujarat in 1573 and Bihar in 1574. Bengal was administered by Suleiman Karrani for Akbar. After his death there were uprisings that Akbar put down in 1576. The areas were now formally added to the Mughal Empire and subordinate to provincial governors. Of great importance was the subjugation of the militarily strong Rajput states , whose full integration had not previously succeeded in any Islamic empire. With a clever marriage policy, Akbar gradually weakened the Rajputs. At the same time he took military action against the princes who were hostile to him. In 1568 Mughal troops took the strongest Rajput fortress Chittor after several months of siege and massacred the civilian population. Within a few years all Rajput princes with the exception of the Rana of Udaipur had finally recognized the supremacy of the Mughal empire. The Rajputs then represented an important pillar of the army, at least until Aurangzeb turned them against him with his intolerant policies.

In addition to his campaigns of conquest, Akbar was the first Mughal ruler to devote himself extensively to the internal consolidation of the empire. One of the most important foundations was religious tolerance towards the Hindu majority of the population of the empire. Although there had been cooperation between the two faith groups under previous Muslim rulers on the Indian subcontinent, the extent of religious reconciliation under Akbar went far beyond that of the previous rulers. Under Akbar, more Hindus entered the civil service than ever before, and special taxes for non-Muslims were abolished. Akbar himself moved further and further away from Orthodox Islam and even proclaimed his own religion called din-i ilahi ("Divine Faith"). In addition, he continued the reform of the provincial administration and tax collection begun by Sher Shah by largely replacing the feudal system that was still common under Babur with a more rational, centralized bureau of civil servants. In the social field, Akbar tried, among other things, to abolish child marriages and widow burnings ( sati ), the standardization of units of measurement and an improved education system. However, many of his modern ideas had limited effect due to widespread corruption.

Akbar's policy of religious tolerance and the departure from orthodox Sunni Islam prompted some conservative religious scholars to call on his half-brother Hakim to rebellion in Kabul . The Mughal Empire found itself in a threatening position, as Hakim received support from the Pashtuns living in Bengal, who had once supported Sher Shah and who have now broken up an uprising. In the summer of 1581 Akbar moved into Kabul, put down the Hakim rebellion and thus restored the unity of the empire. The pacification of the western and eastern provinces was followed by the conquest of the Kashmir Valley in 1586, the Sindh in 1591/92 and Orissas in 1592/93. The entire north Indian lowlands as well as large parts of today's states Afghanistan and Pakistan were under the control of the Mughal Empire, which had natural borders with the Himalayas in the north and the peripheral mountains of the highlands of Dekkan in the south. In the west and northwest, Akbar secured the empire through a balanced foreign policy, which played Persia and the Uzbeks off against each other.

From 1593 Akbar undertook several campaigns to conquer the Dekkan, but with only moderate success. The Shiite Deccan sultanate Ahmadnagar could be defeated in 1600, but not fully integrated. After Akbar's death in 1605, it temporarily regained its independence.

Nevertheless, Akbar's rule had strengthened the Mughal empire internally and externally so that it could rise to the undisputed supremacy of South Asia . Akbar's centralized administrative system made the Mughal Empire one of the most modern states of the early modern period . No earlier empire in Indian history was able to administer such a large area permanently and effectively, although the ancient empire of the Maurya under Ashoka and the medieval Sultanate of Delhi under the Tughluq dynasty exceeded Akbar's Mughal empire in size.

1605–1627: phase of relative peace under Jahangir

Jahangir (r.) And Shah Abbas I of Persia (painting by Abu al-Hasan , around 1620)

Akbar's eldest son Selim ascended the throne in 1605 under the name Jahangir (Persian "Conqueror of the World"). Under him, the Mughal Empire experienced a period of relative peace that helped to consolidate it further. Jahangir's wife Nur Jahan and her family played a decisive role in this, as they increasingly influenced imperial politics. Jahangir's son Khurram, who later succeeded him as Shah Jahan , also gained an important position of power at court during his father's lifetime. Akbar's liberal policies continued, including the mitigation of inheritance laws and improved protection of property. In addition, Jahangir's reign was, according to the inclinations of the ruler, a phase of pronounced artistic creation.

In 1614 the final pacification of Rajputana was achieved through the subjugation of the last still independent Rajput state of Udaipur (Mewar). Khurram, who had been entrusted by Jahangir with the campaign against Udaipur, devastated and plundered the lands of the Rana of Udaipur and finally forced them to pledge allegiance to the Mughal Empire through diplomatic negotiations. Among the few military conquests, the Himalayan principality of Kangra (1620) was the most important. On the other hand, attempts made from 1616 to move the border on the Deccan to the south were not very successful. Above all, the guerrilla-like tactics of the general Malik Ambar , who was in the service of Ahmadnagar, prevented the Mughal Empire from expanding into the Deccan.

In the last years of Jahangir's reign, a power struggle between the unofficial ruler Nur Jahan and Khurram, who at that time already called himself Shah Jahan (Persian "King of the World"), led to unrest. When Kandahar was threatened by the troops of the Persian Shah Abbas I in 1622 , Shah Jahan and an army under his command rebelled on the Deccan. The use of the Mughal army against him exposed Kandahar, which soon fell to Persia. Shah Jahan's rebellion lasted four years.

After Jahangir's death in 1627, the vizier Asaf Khan disempowered Nur Jahan and helped Shah Jahan to the throne by assassinating all other pretenders to the throne.

1628–1658: Cultural prosperity under Shah Jahan / Shahdschahan

Shah Jahan (r. 1627–1657 / 58) during a darbar (audience) in the audience hall of his palace (miniature painting around 1650)

Shah Jahan is considered the most glamorous Mughal ruler, under whose rule the court attained the height of its splendor and the architecture in the mixed Indian-Islamic style reached its peak. The most famous Mughal building, the Taj Mahal in Agra , was built as a tomb for Shah Jahan's wife Mumtaz Mahal , as were a number of other outstanding architectural monuments. However, Shah Jahan's art funding was a heavy burden on the state treasury. Inflation was difficult to contain, and higher taxes on crop yields fueled rural exodus.

Costly military failures also had a negative impact on the empire's economy. The war on the Dekkan, which had been waged since Akbar, showed the first tangible successes - in 1633 Ahmadnagar was defeated and finally annexed, in 1636 Golkonda submitted , even if only symbolically, and in the same year the second still existing Deccan sultanate of Bijapur was able to contractually pay tribute forced - but the initial victories were followed by a series of setbacks. In 1646 riots in Transoxania prompted Shah Jahan to take to the field against the Uzbeks in order to regain the original homeland of the Mughals, particularly Samarkand , which his ancestor Babur was able to occupy three times for short periods. The campaign ended in defeat a year later. In addition, a dispute arose with Persia at the important trading city of Kandahar , which had regained possession of the Mughal Empire in 1638 through arbitrary negotiations between the Persian governor and the Mughals. In 1649 Kandahar fell again to Persia. Three successive sieges did nothing to change this, mainly because the Persian artillery was superior to the Mughal artillery . Persia became increasingly a threat to the Mughal empire, especially since the Shiite neighbor was on friendly terms with the Shiite Dekkan sultanates. The opposition to Persia and the associated declining Persian influence at the Mughal court was possibly also a reason for the increase in power of the Sunni ulama in the Mughal empire, although Akbar's and Jahangir's principle of religious tolerance was not completely undermined.

The rivalry between Shah Jahan's sons Aurangzeb and Dara Shikoh for the succession to the throne shaped the last years of his reign. Dara Shikoh intrigued to prevent progress on the Deccan, where Aurangzeb moved against Golkonda in 1656 and against Bijapur in 1657. When Shah Jahan became seriously ill at the end of 1657, his sons Shah Shuja - governor of Bengal - and Murad Bakhsh - governor of Gujarat - each proclaimed themselves emperor to prevent their eldest brother Dara Shikoh from seizing power. Aurangzeb, meanwhile, was able to convince Murad to hand over his army to march with united forces against Delhi. Shah Shuja was defeated in February 1658 at Varanasi Dara Shikoh, the latter was defeated on May 29, 1658 near Agra by Aurangzeb. In Agra, Aurangzeb captured his father, who died in prison in 1666. After Aurangzeb had his brother Murad arrested, he proclaimed himself emperor that same year.

1658–1707: Southern expansion and beginning decay under Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb (r. 1658–1707) in old age reading the Koran (miniature, 18th century)
The Mughal Empire around 1700 under Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb's rule was characterized by two opposing tendencies : on the one hand, he extended the Mughal Empire far south to almost the entire Indian subcontinent , on the other hand, through ongoing wars, he shook the economic foundation of the Mughal Empire. With a policy of religious intolerance, he damaged the symbiosis between the Muslim elite and Hindu subjects that his predecessors had promoted. The last third of his rule was determined by the struggle against the impending decline of the empire.

Aurangzeb consolidated his rule by executing his brothers and rivals Dara Shikoh and Murad Bakhsh . His third brother and adversary, Shah Shuja , fled into exile in Arakan after he was militarily inferior to Aurangzeb and was tortured to death there in 1660, along with his family and parts of his entourage. Aurangzeb used Islam to legitimize his rule, and in contrast to his predecessors, he strictly applied its laws to the empire. The most drastic measures were the reintroduction of the poll tax for non-Muslims ( jizya ), which Akbar had abolished in 1564, and the ban on the construction of new Hindu temples and places of worship of other religious communities in 1679. Numerous recently built temples were destroyed across the country. Aurangzeb's theocratic policies aroused tensions between Hindus and Muslims, which severely disrupted the internal peace of the Mughal empire and aroused resistance from Hindu royal houses. The invasion of the Hindu Rajput state of Marwar in 1679, whose ruler had died without an heir, sparked unrest among the Rajputs, which smoldered until Aurangzeb's death.

In addition to Bijapur and Golkonda, the Mughal Empire had a third strong enemy on the Deccan. The Hindu Shivaji had been able to unite the tribes of the Marathas under his leadership since the middle of the 17th century and was busy building a Hindu state. Like Malik Ambar half a century earlier, Shivaji employed guerrilla tactics and also made extremely successful use of diplomacy to play off his neighbors, including the Mughals, against each other. In 1664 he even succeeded in pillaging the most important port of the Mughal Empire, Surat . He was captured during a visit to Aurangzeb's court, but was able to escape and establish an empire in the western Deccan. In 1681 Aurangzeb's renegade son Akbar made an alliance with Sambhaji , Shivaji's successor. This caused Aurangzeb to concentrate all forces on the conquest of the Deccan. For this purpose he relocated the capital and thus the focus of the empire to Aurangabad . The Deccan campaign was initially extremely successful: Bijapur fell in 1686 and Golkonda fell a year later. Both states were incorporated into the Mughal Empire, which now comprised the entire subcontinent with the exception of the Malabar coast and the areas south of the Kaveri . In 1689, with the capture and execution of Sambhaji, control of the Deccan seemed to be finally secured. In fact, however, the Marathas had not been defeated, but merely split into smaller groups. Shivaji had stimulated a new spirit of resistance that could not be broken by individual military victories. Aurangzeb spent the rest of his life on the Deccan fighting against Marathic tribal leaders. Meanwhile, his authority in Hindustan, the actual heartland of the Mughal empire, declined noticeably. But uprisings such as those of the Jat in the Delhi and Agra area and the Sikhs in Punjab were also the result of overwhelming taxes that had become necessary to finance the campaigns.

Aurangzeb made the same mistake as Muhammad bin Tughluq in the 14th century by neglecting his power base in the north and thus shattering the administration. The empire was overstretched and financially overstretched by the expansion on the rugged, difficult to control Dekkan, which also generated a much lower tax revenue than the fertile plains of the north. Only Aurangzeb's personal authority held the empire together, while the emperor mistrusted and even suppressed capable leaders - such as those possessed by previous rulers in the form of generals, ministers or relatives.

1707–1858: decline and fall

Muhammad Shah (r. 1719–1748), miniature, around 1720–1730
The Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II , as a prisoner British East India Company , 1781.
Bahadur Shah II at the age of 82 shortly before his conviction in Delhi in 1858. Photograph by Robert Christopher Tytler , possibly the only one ever taken by a Mughal emperor.
Studio portrait of a mogul with his children in Delhi by Sheperd and Robertson, circa 1860s

After Aurangzeb died in 1707, his son Bahadur Shah took the head of the state. He made peace with the Marathas and recognized their dominion on the western Deccan in order to use the Mughal army to suppress the Sikh rebellion in the north. The renegade Rajputs got increasingly out of control. His ambitious attempts to consolidate the empire through comprehensive reforms based on Akbar's model failed because the administrative structures had already deteriorated. Many civil servant positions had become hereditary, including the office of governor of Bengal , which made tax collection difficult. Bahadur Shah, who had ascended the throne at an advanced age, died in 1712 after only five years of reign.

Bahadur Shah's successors were no longer able to maintain imperial authority. His son Jahandar Shah was murdered after just a few months on the throne. Responsible for the attack were the Sayyids, two brothers who served as commanders at the Mughal court and who rose to become a major power factor at the court in the following years. Farrukh Siyar ruled only as a puppet of the Sayyids allied with the Marathas. During his reign from 1713 to 1719, the British East India Company , which had established itself as the leading European trading company on the Indian coast in the course of the 17th century, received extensive concessions as part of the lucrative trade in India . The hoped-for improvement in the financial situation by stimulating foreign trade did not materialize, however, as the British were able to exploit the increasing economic dependence of the Mughals on the Europeans' maritime trade. Even the provinces of the Mughal Empire could only be held by concessions that made them semi-autonomous states.

In 1719 the Sayyids also had Farrukh Siyar killed, who showed himself unable to restore the empire to its old strength. A bloody power struggle followed, from which Muhammad Shah (r. 1719–1748) emerged victorious. He had the sayyids executed, but otherwise left power to the other interest groups that had formed at the imperial court since Bahadur Shah. The administration was limited to the appointment of governors, whose provinces were only nominally subordinate to the emperor. In 1724 Muhammad Shah's vizier Asaf Jah I resigned. He de facto detached his province Dekkan from the imperial union and ruled it as the Nizam of Hyderabad . The empire thus lost a third of its state income and almost three quarters of its war material.

The Afjarid ruler of Persia , Nadir Shah , took advantage of the empire's weakness . In 1739 he defeated the Mughal army at the Battle of Karnal, north of Delhi, not far from the historic battlefields of Panipat , and entered Delhi peacefully by agreement . When an uprising broke out against him, he caused a massacre, sacked the entire city, including the Mughal treasury, and returned to Persia. In doing so, he finally dealt the death blow to the Mughal empire: the process of “ regionalization of power ” that had already started now continued rapidly and soon limited the actual territory of the Mughals to the region around Delhi and Agra . Bengal and Avadh actually achieved independence, even if they formally recognized the sovereignty of the Mughal emperor and paid symbolic tributes. The Persian border was moved to the Indus . At the same time the Marathas expanded to Malwa and Gujarat .

The Mughal Empire achieved its last military victory in 1748 near Sirhind, north-west of Delhi, over the Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah Durrani , but a few days later Muhammad Shah died, whose weak successors could no longer oppose the Afghans. These annexed the Punjab , Sindh and Gujarat . In 1757 they sacked Delhi. In the same year the British East India Company defeated the Nawab of Bengal in the Battle of Plassey and forced them to cede the area around Calcutta . This marked the beginning of British territorial rule in India, which in the following years was extended to all of Bengal and, after the victory at the Battle of Baksar in 1764, to Bihar . The British, expanding from the east into what was once Mughal territory, had become a serious threat to the Mughal empire. The Marathas also advanced rapidly northwards, but were defeated by the Afghans in the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761 .

It was not until 1772 that the Grand Mogul Shah Alam II (ruled 1759-1806), who lived in exile in Allahabad during the Afghan-Marathic War, was able to return to Delhi with Marathic support. Blinded by plundering Afghans under Ghulam Qadir in 1788 , in 1803 he had to accept the British East India Company, which two years earlier had forced a protection treaty on Avadh, as a protecting power. Although the Mughal still had formal rulers, the real power now rested with the British resident . The Mughal territory was limited to the Red Fort of Delhi.

The nominal rule of the Mughals also ended in 1858 after the British put down the Great Uprising that had broken out the previous year . Bahadur Shah II (r. 1838-1858), whom the insurgent soldiers had proclaimed against his will as the symbolic leading figure of the mutiny, was found guilty of complicity in the revolt by a court martial in March 1858, deposed and moved to Rangoon in the British-occupied part Banished to Burma , where he died in 1862. Its territory was transferred to the newly founded colony of British India on August 2, 1858, together with all other territories under the direct control of the British East India Company, with effect from November 1 . The British Queen Victoria assumed the title of Empress of India in 1876 ​​following the Mughal rule .

State and administration

Numerous elements that are typical of today's modern states, such as centralized administration, tax assessment based on an exact land survey or the existence of a state bureaucracy, can be observed for the first time in India in the Mughal Empire. For this reason it can certainly be compared with the contemporary absolutist states of Europe and how these are described as an "early modern" state. However, the Mughal empire showed some clear differences compared to today's, but also contemporary states in Europe: The Mughal empire was not a state with clearly defined borders, but rather a patchwork of different territories with - in terms of their way of life - very different population groups. Accordingly, the exercise of power was by no means uniform. Agricultural areas with a sedentary population could be controlled far more effectively than logistically difficult to control forest and wasteland with partly nomadic or semi-nomadic tribal populations. Between such tribal areas, such as those of the Gond , Bhil and other peoples in central India or those of the Pashtuns in today's Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the directly controlled parts of the empire existed flowing borders that internally subdivided the empire. At the same time, a dense network of roads and paths connected all regions, including the tribal areas, with the urban centers, thus enabling resources to be mobilized across internal borders.


The Mughals differed from the earlier Delhi Sultans with their administration, which was oriented towards continuity and which was primarily the work of Akbar. He, his ministers and successors (with the exception of Aurangzeb ) strove to rule from a political rather than a religious point of view, as had not yet been the case with the most powerful of the Delhi sultans. Accordingly, the Mughal Empire was also more stable.

The Lodi dynasty administered the Sultanate of Delhi by assigning conquered areas as military fiefs ( jagir ) to military followers, who could thus be quickly satisfied. This system made it possible for the Sultan to control the provinces allocated in this way to a certain extent, but at the same time entailed the danger that the fiefs would be converted into hereditary territories, which could then be decoupled from the central authority. In addition, only a relatively small proportion of the taxes levied was passed on to the central government. When Babur subjugated the Delhi Sultanate and thus established the Mughal rule, he took over the jagir system of his predecessors. His son Humayun organized the administration less systematically according to astrological point of view by assigning the state offices to the four elements earth (agriculture), water (irrigation), fire (army) and air (other departments, including religion). Politically, these approaches to a reformed administration remained meaningless.

It was only the comprehensive administrative reforms that Akbar implemented during his almost 50-year reign that ensured the long-term success of the Mughal rule. Akbar built on Sher Shah's tax system , which set property tax rates in the provinces based on local prices. Akbar also determined the tax rates, taking into account the sometimes considerable regional price differences, by drawing in all fiefs, having them re-measured and collecting tax and price data for the provinces over a period of ten years. Using the average values ​​determined, he had the tax rates measured and updated. Under Akbar, the harvest was taxed, a third of the production was to be delivered in cash or in kind. The advantage for the farmers was that no taxes had to be paid in the event of a bad harvest, the disadvantage was that the state could not do anything with the natural produce if there were a number of good harvests. Akbar's successors abandoned the taxation system at an unknown point in time: they reintroduced flat-rate taxation. In general, there were taxes on land - by far the most important source of income in the agrarian Mughal Empire -, customs duties , coin and inheritance taxes as well as the poll tax for non-Muslims ( jizya ). Akbar abolished the latter in 1564, and Aurangzeb only reintroduced it in 1679. It was later abolished and reintroduced several times, but at a time when the Mughals' tax system was no longer fully functional.

Since Akbar, the territorial division into tax districts showed not only the traditional jagirs but also crown lands ( khalisa ). The latter were under the direct administration of the Mughal emperor, the taxes levied there were added directly to the state treasury. The jagir was assigned to a military nobleman ( jagirdar ) who was responsible for collecting taxes. However, the land always remained the property of the state. The jagirdars were only allowed to withhold a fixed part of the resulting tax revenue as private income, everything else had to be paid to the state treasury under the supervision of imperial officials. In addition, the jagirdars were regularly exchanged in order to counteract the danger of a dynasty or house power building in the provinces. The downside of this procedure was that the jagirdars had little interest in their fiefs thriving as they could not keep it. Instead, they often tried to squeeze the highest possible tax levies for their own benefit before they were transferred to another part of the empire.

Government and civil servants

One of the main features of the Mughals' administrative system was the high degree of centralization, in contrast to the loose structure of the Delhi Sultanate. The central government was subordinate to the provinces ( suba ), which in turn were divided into districts ( sarkar ), the subunits of which were called pargana . The central administrative apparatus was headed by the prime minister ( wakil ), whose main subordinate was the finance minister ( diwan-i kull or wazir-i mamalik ). The latter was responsible for coordinating the cooperation of several senior tax officials, mainly the diwan-i khalisa (responsible for state revenue), the diwan-i tan (salary payments), the mustaufi (auditing of accounts) and the mir saman (administration of the court and the imperial workshops). Another subordinate of the finance minister was the mir bakshi , who took care of army affairs and thus, since all officials had a military rank, also had to take care of the functionality of the administration. Sadr as-sudur , who was responsible for religious affairs and who always held the highest judicial office ( qadi al-qudat ) of the state, was directly subordinate to the emperor , because the jurisprudence was based on Islamic law, the Sharia .

This administrative structure was also reflected in the provinces headed by the governor ( sipasalar , nizam-i suba or subadar ). The provincial officials, however, were not subordinate to the governor, but to the imperial official of their respective department. The result was a pyramidal administrative hierarchy, which on the one hand enabled effective supervision of the provinces by the central government, but on the other hand greatly expanded the state apparatus due to the size of the Mughal Empire. The bureaucratic effort was enormous. Nevertheless, the administrative system under Akbar was extremely efficient, at least in the crown lands; it was only under his successor Jahangir that corruption and excessive ambition gradually spread: officers were increasingly rewarded with land, and generals and ministers fought for power in the administration.


Although Muslims of foreign origin or descent generally made up the Mughal upper class, the class of hereditary nobility, as it is known in Europe, did not exist in the Mughal Empire. A person's position depended solely on their position in the army, regardless of whether they were actually employed in military service or in civil administration. Even the artists at the Mughal court held a military rank. Official positions could therefore only be reached through a military career. Conversely, of course, not every military rank holder was also a holder of an office.

In accordance with the military character of the Mughal administration, the salary of higher and middle officials corresponded to their military rank ( mansab ), which in turn was dependent on the number of cavalry units supported . The bearer of a mansab was called mansabdar . However, the mansabdars reduced their military strength in peacetime more and more, so that their wages had to be increased in wartime in order to restore the old number of mounted units. To curb this inflationary development, Akbar introduced a double ranking system that regulated the grade ( zat ) independently of the strength of the cavalry to be maintained ( suwar ). Only the Mughal emperor could appoint, promote or demote a mansabdar ; the ranks were not hereditary. The mansabdars were rewarded either in cash or by a jagir . Their increasing number meant that under Akbar 75 percent, under Jahangir already 95 percent of the entire land was assigned as jagir .

The progressive scarcity of the arable land to be allocated as jagir made the expansion of the empire an economic necessity. The growing number of followers could only be indirectly satisfied through territorial gain by enriching themselves in the conquered areas. For Aurangzeb, when the dean was subjugated in 1686/87, the focus was not on economic but rather political considerations. The lack of fertile arable land in the Deccan highlands and the associated unprofitability of the jagir there increased discontent among the feudal lords and undermined their loyalty.

The loyalty of the mansabdars was indispensable for the Mughals mainly because the vast majority of all mounted and unmounted units of the army were distributed among them. There was also a small standing army, which consisted mainly of cavalrymen and represented the elite of the army. Presumably, however, his strength never exceeded 45,000 men. Including the contingents of the mansabdars, the empire was able to mobilize 100,000 to 200,000 cavalrymen at the height of its power. The total strength of the army, including all regional militias, is said to have comprised more than 4.4 million soldiers at the time of Akbar, an extremely considerable number when measured against the total population of 100 to 150 million people. However, like most of the great Indian empires, the Mughal Empire was purely a land power. The rulers were not interested in building a powerful navy. Akbar and Aurangzeb had some ocean-going gunboats built, but they were not on a par with the ships of the European sea powers represented in India.

Collapse of the civil servants' state

The collapse of the Mughal official state was initiated by Aurangzeb, who neglected the administration of the provinces and thus the central control of the periphery towards the end of his reign in favor of military goals. After his death in 1707, the regional forces strengthened more and more under weak rulers. The governors of Bengal , Avadh and the Deccan ( Hyderabad ) bequeathed their provinces to their descendants and thus founded dynastic regional empires without, however, openly breaking with the Mughals. The governors were still officially appointed by the emperor, in fact they only allowed their dynastic rule to be legitimized. The independence gained was expressed in the withholding of taxpayers' money and the refusal to provide military aid to the Mughal empire.

capital Cities

Akbar's throne stood on this pillar in the diwan-i khas , the private audience hall in Fatehpur Sikri

The capital of the Mughal Empire was the official residence of the respective ruler, where the imperial court and the imperial family also lived. For political and strategic reasons, the Mughals moved their rulers several times. A total of five cities served as capital at different times: Agra (1526–1540, 1556–1571, 1598–1648), Delhi (1540–1556, 1648–1682, 1707–1858), Fatehpur Sikri (1571–1585), Lahore ( 1585–1598) and Aurangabad (1682–1707).

At the beginning of the 16th century, Sikandar II relocated the capital of the Delhi Sultanate from Delhi, which gave the state its name, to Agra, which was around 200 kilometers south and until then insignificant, where Babur also resided as the first Mughal from 1526 . Humayun planned a new capital called Din-panah ("Refuge of Faith") on the southern outskirts of Delhi. The foundation stone was laid in 1533, but the city was not completed at the time of Humayun's expulsion from India by Sher Shah in 1540. Sher Shah moved the residence back to Delhi and had the fortress Purana Qila built on the site of Humayun's planned capital .

Akbar held court again in Agra until in 1569 he decided to build a new residence in the village of Sikri, 35 kilometers southwest of Agra. A member of the Muslim Chishti order lived in Sikri , with whom Akbar was on friendly terms. In 1571 construction was so advanced that Akbar moved his court there. The new capital was named Fatehpur Sikri, but lost its importance as early as 1585 when Akbar and his court moved to Lahore to be closer to the campaigns in the north-west of the empire. Only a small part of the city was still inhabited, presumably the lack of water worsened the living conditions. Lahore also remained the seat of power only temporarily. After the successful expansion of the Mughal Empire to the northwest, Akbar returned to Agra in 1598.

Shah Jahan founded a new city in Delhi in 1638 on the tenth anniversary of his accession to the throne. Shahjahanabad (now Old Delhi), named after him, was largely completed in 1648 and remained the residence of the Mughals until 1858, with an interruption from 1682 to 1707 when Aurangzeb stayed in Aurangabad to wage campaigns on the Deccan .

In fact, however, the Mughal rulers usually only stayed in their respective capital for a short time. As a modern study has shown, the Mughal rulers spent around 40 percent of their reigns in tent camps between 1556 and 1739, either because they were on trips, campaigns or extensive hunting trips. The mobile court of the Mughals was thus not just a relic of the nomadic way of life of their Turkic-Congolian ancestors, but a characteristic of the Mughal rule. In this way, not only could control be exercised on site, but loyalties could also be consolidated and the subjects could be suggested that the ruler was “ubiquitous”.

Kashmir has been a popular place to stay since Akbar, but the Mughals also paid regular visits to the north-west of the empire and the troubled Deccan for a few months each. Shah Jahan alone relocated 36 times during his 30-year reign. When traveling, the Mughals lived in extensive tent camps, the equipment of which was always carried in duplicate, so that a second, identical camp could be set up at the next intended location during the emperor's stay in the camp. They were accompanied by the entire court as well as a number of foot soldiers and mounted units, which fluctuated depending on the purpose of the trip. Camels, horses, oxen and elephants were used as pack animals. As European observers of the 17th century unanimously reported, the traveling Mughal court resembled a wandering city in which several hundred thousand people and as many animals could stay.


Market scene in Kand-i Badam, almonds are weighed and transported (illustration for the Baburnama of Sur Das, around 1598)

General economic system

The Mughal Empire was an agricultural state whose prosperity was based on agricultural production surpluses, which were skimmed off in the form of property taxes and added to the treasury. India around 1600 had sufficient fertile arable land and a labor productivity that roughly corresponded to that of a Western European farmer, so that a quarter to half of the harvest could be levied as tax, with the farmers having little more than they needed to survive. Under Akbar, cash payments increasingly replaced the previously customary levies in kind. The tax revenues were mainly used or hoarded for the military (including the military organized administration) and the court of the Mughals. Under Akbar's successors, especially Shah Jahan , the tax pressure on the peasants increased in order to be able to finance the increasingly splendid court rulings and costly war campaigns. Yet the average standard of living of an Indian farmer in Shah Jahan's time was still about a third higher than that of a European farmer.

Although Akbar had important trade routes repaired and encouraged the promotion of trade and handicrafts, for example through government bonds, government investments in productive economic sectors and infrastructure remained the exception. In the larger cities, there were highly specialized state factories (Urdu kār kh ānā , "workhouse"; cf. Persian kārchāne , "factory, factory, factory") for metal processing and the manufacture of textiles, jewelry and various luxury goods, their overall economic importance however, was minor. In the countryside, artisans used the simplest means to produce utensils, which they often exchanged for natural produce. Most of the village communities were thus more or less self-sufficient , and the economic cycles were small-scale.


The vast majority of the population earned their living in agriculture. The most important crops were, as they are still today, wheat , rice (especially in the east of the empire), millet and legumes, as well as cotton and jute (in Bengal ). Since the second half of the 16th century, many new crops were introduced from America , including tobacco , paprika , potatoes , corn, and a number of fruits such as guavas , pineapples, and netannons . Grapes , which were first cultivated under Jahangir, and honeydew melons , introduced in the time of Shah Jahan, come from Persia . The cultivation methods, however, hardly changed during the entire Mughal period. The farmers were not serfs , but worked for a liege lord ( jagirdar ) or a noble landowner ( zamindar ) who collected a certain part of the harvest as a tax. The level of taxation depended on the crop in question. Commercial crops, such as indigo or opium poppy , were taxed much more heavily than food crops. The processed clods were on average very small, and droughts often led to famine.


The artisanal production took place mainly in the cities, where the artisans mostly worked directly in their shops and displayed the finished goods either in the shop itself or in the bazaar. Larger private workshops with permanent employees were only available for high-priced luxury goods. In addition, there were the aforementioned state-owned factories ( karkhana ). By far the most important craft was the manufacture of textiles. The stronghold of cotton weaving was Gujarat , which was considered one of the richest provinces and also held a leading position in the manufacture of weapons, perfumes, dyes and furniture as well as in shipbuilding. Bengal produced jute and raw silk . The processing of wool was concentrated in Lahore and cashmere . Carpets were mainly knotted in the provinces of Agra and Lahore as well as in Sindh . Agra was also famous for gold and silver work. In the wider area there were rich deposits of ore and saltpetre . Salt was mined near Jhelam in Punjab and Ajmer in Rajasthan . Bihar made wood and paper.


Silver rupee , minted in 983 AH (1575/76 AD) under Akbar

The increasing importance of the money economy under Akbar required a functioning currency system. Already Sher Shah had the silver rupee introduced with a weight of approximately 11.5 grams, under Akbar finally accepted to commonly silver coin of the realm was. One rupee was divided into 40 copper dams . Akbar also introduced the golden mohur with a value of eight rupees. Fluctuating precious metal prices temporarily led to changed coin values. There were dozens of mints all over the country. Even after the fall of the Mughal Empire, numerous Indian states including the British East India Company (in Bengal since 1717) took over the currency system and minted Mughal-style coins.

Foreign trade

Since India itself is poor in silver and gold deposits, foreign trade had to secure a steady flow of precious metals for coinage. The most important export product was textiles, initially silk fabrics, which were mainly in demand in Europe (again mainly in the Netherlands ), but also in Southeast Asia , Japan and East Africa . In Jahangir's time , two thirds of the world's silk production came from the Mughal Empire. At the same time, cotton fabrics were also increasingly entering the European market. Furthermore, spices, cane sugar , ivory , tea , opium and dyes such as ultramarine , indigo and Indian yellow were important export goods. In addition to precious metals, horses and coffee from Arabia , textiles, carpets and wine from Persia , Chinese porcelain, ebony from East Africa and luxury goods from Europe were imported. The slave trade with East Africa, which flourished until the early 16th century, was forbidden since Akbar.

Since the Mughals did not have a state merchant fleet, the Portuguese dominated the sea trade between Europe and the Mughal Empire in the 16th century (see India trade ). In the 17th century, other European sea powers, above all England and the Netherlands, destroyed the Portuguese trade monopoly. The land trade was mainly carried out through Afghanistan . One of the most important trade routes led from Delhi via Lahore and Kabul to Central Asia and from there to the Chinese Empire , another via Lahore, Multan and Kandahar to Persia. In an easterly direction, a trade route ran along the Ganges via Allahabad and Varanasi and through Bengal to Burma . The connection between Agra and the main port of Surat, which led in two alternative routes via Burhanpur and Gwalior , was of the utmost importance for the connection to overseas trade .

The close involvement in world trade made the Mughal Empire dependent on internal developments in its main market, Europe. While the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War initially caused a surge in saltpetre exports, its devastating economic consequences for Central Europe were increasingly having an impact on the Mughal trade balance: from 1640 the volume of foreign trade decreased and by 1653 the export of cotton was around 20 Percent as well as spices and colorings by 15 percent compared to the pre-war level. In the 18th century, when the Mughal Empire lost a large part of its property tax revenue as the most important source of money due to the progressive loss of control over its provinces, the British East India Company took advantage of the empire's growing dependence on foreign trade by demanding far-reaching concessions from the Mughals.

Religious policy

The two Jesuit fathers
Rodolfo Acquaviva and Francisco Henriques (top left) take part in a religious debate in Akbar's assembly hall (Ibadat Khana) in Fatehpur Sikri . Illustration for Akbarnama by Nar Singh, around 1605.

The geographical distribution of the major religions Islam and Hinduism in India at the beginning of the Mughal period largely corresponded to the current situation. In the northwest (roughly on the territory of the modern states of Afghanistan and Pakistan ), Islam had firmly established itself as the leading religious denomination at various times in the Middle Ages. In the central Ganges plain , Muslims were only the numerically small urban elite, while the rural population and a large part of the simple urban population adhered almost exclusively to Hinduism. Eastern Bengal (corresponds to today's Bangladesh ) was gradually Islamized during the 16th and 17th centuries, i.e. during the Mughal period, albeit without state control. Hinduism was clearly dominant in central and southern India, but there were also significant Muslim minorities there. Since public life in India was shaped to an extraordinarily high degree by religion and is still partly to this day, the religious policy of the Mughals has a special place in the historical perspective.

Religious tolerance among Akbar

Akbar was the first Mughal to recognize that a compromise between the two great religions of India would strengthen the authority of the Muslim Mughals. In doing so, he not only tried to satisfy the Hindus, but also to integrate them inseparably into the Mughal state structure. The policy of religious tolerance introduced by Akbar is therefore to be seen above all in the context of a balanced state policy aimed at securing permanent power, although it can in part be traced back to Akbar's personal views. This is reflected in Akbar's politically motivated marriages with Hindu Rajput princesses and the awarding of high posts in the army and administration to Rajputs and other Hindus. This procedure was by no means a novelty in Indian history - for example, the first minister of the Sultanate of Malwa was a Hindu in the early 16th century - but it went much deeper than under previous Islamic rulers. The most important measure is the abolition of special religious taxes: the pilgrimage tax levied at Hindu pilgrimage sites in 1563 and, one year later, the poll tax for non-Muslims ( jizya ) laid down in the Koran . Akbar also allowed Hindu rites to be practiced at the Mughal court. He replaced the Islamic calendar with a new system that began with his accession to the throne. In 1582 he even founded his own syncretic religion called din-i ilahi ( Persian “divine belief”), which, however, did not find any noteworthy following. Akbar's personal and political departure from Orthodox Islam happened against the will of the influential Sunni ulama at the Mughal court, whose power he sought to limit by a decree in 1579, according to which the Mughal emperor had the final right to decide on theological legal issues.

Islamization through Aurangzeb

The first signs of a departure from Akbar's liberal religious policy came during the reign of Shah Jahan . Gradually, the orthodox Muslim legal doctrine strengthened, favored by the diminishing Hindu and Shiite family influence on the emperor. Nevertheless, measures against the Hindu majority, such as the destruction of all recently built Hindu temples ordered in 1632, remained the exception. It was only the devout Aurangzeb who finally broke with the concept of approximate equality between Muslims and Hindus. He insisted on strict observance of the laws of the Koran, especially the moral laws. Numerous customs at the Mughal court were abolished, such as music and dance performances or the Mughal emperor's practice, introduced under Akbar, of showing himself to the people on a balcony. More important, however, were the attempts to enforce Islamic- Hanafi law in public. Aurangzeb had an extensive collection of laws ( fatawa-i alamgiri ) created to support Islamic jurisprudence and, according to Islamic legal understanding , abolished inadmissible taxes. In return, he had the jizya collected again from 1679 ; Hindus also had to pay customs duties that were twice as high as Muslims.

Aurangzeb's religious policy aimed to strengthen the Islamic component in the Mughal state. It inevitably brought the Hindus at a disadvantage - many Hindus were removed from civil service or downgraded in rank - but not targeted persecution. Although a law was directed against the construction of new Hindu temples, and indeed many newly built Hindu churches were destroyed, temples that had already existed for a longer time were under the protection of the state. Disputes among Hindus continued to be settled according to their own law, not Islamic law. Aurangzeb's measures to Islamize the empire affected not only those of different faiths, but also Muslims who deviated from the commandments of the Hanafis. Religious justifications often served only as a pretext for power-political decisions, as in the case of the execution of Aurangzeb's brothers or the curtailment of power of the Rajput princes. Aurangzeb's attempts to consolidate the empire through a strictly Islamic orientation were not the main reason for the internal breakup of the Mughal empire after his death, but the negative perception of these measures by the majority of the Hindu population contributed to economic, social, regional and military factors to the erosion of the Mughal position of power.

Arts and Culture

The era of the Mughals had a lasting impact on Indian art and culture, particularly in the areas of architecture, painting, language and literature. Some of the most important architectural monuments on the Indian subcontinent date from that time. The original language was Chagataic , in which Babur also wrote his autobiography . The tradition of miniature painting, taken over from Persia, was cultivated at court, as was poetry in the Persian language , later also in Urdu . Since the courtly culture was promoted to varying degrees by the Mughal emperors, the individual preferences of the rulers had a strong influence on the art of their respective epoch. The early Mughals Babur and Humayun were still deeply rooted in the Persian-influenced culture of their Central Asian homeland, but from around the middle of the 16th century an independent Mughal style emerged in the visual arts , merging Persian and Central Asian Islamic art with Indian, especially Hindu, elements and the development of its own design language. The numerous artists and scholars of foreign origin at the Mughal court reflect the various cultural influences, as well as the ethnic composition of the nobility: There were Persians ( Iranis ), Turks ( Turanis ) of various, mostly Central Asian origins, Muslim Indians, Pashtuns (Afghans) and Hindu Rajputs .


The era of Islamic architecture on the Indian subcontinent began towards the end of the 12th century when the Ghurids gained a foothold in northern India. Already in later pre-Mughal times , a strongly Hindu mixed style emerged in some peripheral regions of India, especially in Gujarat , in which Indian elements - such as the plastic facade design and the use of pillars and columns - loosened up the conception of Islamic architecture. The pre-Mogul Indo-Islamic architecture of the north is nevertheless dominated by strict ideas based more on surface than on form, which are mainly based on Arab-Near Eastern models. Many of the surviving buildings from the reign of Sher Shah (1540–1545), including the fortress Purana Qila in Delhi and Sher Shah's tomb in Sasaram ( Bihar ), already show strong indigenous features; they anticipate individual features of the later Mughal architecture. The most important building forms of Mughal architecture are the mosque ( masjid ), the mausoleum or monumental tomb ( maqbara ), the palace ( mahal ) and the fortress ( qila ).

Early Mughal style

First milestone of the Mughal style: Humayun's tomb (1562–1570) in Delhi

At the time of Akbar (reigned 1556–1605) the Indian as well as the Persian influence increased to such an extent that the Mughal style was able to develop, which is by no means just an eclectic mixed style, but is based on both a playful will to form and a Hindu tradition an idiosyncratic penchant for decorative luxury sets it apart from earlier buildings. The dainty palace complexes in Akbar's capital Fatehpur Sikri , based on the palace of the Rajas of Gwalior, bear an unusually strong Indian character . They were not taken up again later, but reflect Akbar's tolerant mindset in artistic matters as well. Humayun's tomb in Delhi, erected between 1562 and 1570 in red sandstone , is considered to be the first building that points the way for further development . In contrast to the flatter domes that were previously common in India, its high, dominant dome clearly has Persian features, as does the arched niches ( Iwane ) that are open to the outside around the octagonal main and substructure . The small vaulted pavilions ( chhatri ) on the roof, which are characteristic of almost all Mughal buildings, are of West Indian origin ( Rajasthan ) . The inlay work on the walls make use of both abstract, geometric patterns from Islamic tradition and plant motifs created under the influence of India.

The use of red sandstone as a building material, which gives the facades a special color, is one of the distinguishing features of early Mughal architecture. It even gives its name to the red forts of Delhi and Agra . Since Jahangir (r. 1605–1627), white marble was also increasingly used for decorative purposes. An early example of this is Akbar's tomb, built between 1612 and 1614, in Sikandra near Agra. The protruding, towering portal ( pishtaq ) of the otherwise flat sandstone building is decorated with marble inlay, and the numerous chhatris are also made entirely or partially of white marble. In addition, the entrance gate to the surrounding garden is crowned by four marble minarets - a feature that is again more based on Persian models, which was often imitated in later building projects.

The heyday and late period of the Mughal style

The highlight of Mughal architecture: Taj Mahal (1632–1648) in Agra
Jama Masjid (around 1650) in Delhi

The Mughal style of the Shah Jahan period (1628–1657) is less experimental, but more mature than Akbar's architecture. Islamic-Persian elements come to the fore again - a tendency that was already indicated under Jahangir - without, however, imitating the Persian architecture of the epoch, because the Indian component remains omnipresent even under Shah Jahan. The use of stucco is new . At the beginning stands the tomb of the minister Itimad ud-Daulah in Agra , built between 1622 and 1628 . It consists mainly of white marble and now also has four minarets at the corners of the main building. In its dimensions it is still relatively modest, in contrast to the Taj Mahal , which is 73 meters high, including the podium , which is again a tomb with which the Mughal style achieved the highest level of harmony and perfection. Shah Jahan had it built in marble for his wife Mumtaz Mahal in 1632–1648 . It consists of a square central hall surmounted by an onion dome, around which four smaller, completely symmetrical halls with one large and four smaller ivans are arranged. There is a free-standing minaret at each corner of the square platform. The facade is decorated with reliefs and mosaics made of precious and semi-precious stones. The north-western regional style, which is mainly represented in Lahore, is a secondary development, overlaid by the Persian style. Instead of marble and sandstone, bricks are used as building material, and multicolored glazed tiles are used for wall cladding. The Wasir Khan Mosque (1634/35) in Lahore is representative of this style .

In the time of Aurangzeb (r. 1658–1707), sacred buildings dominate. This circumstance arose on the one hand from the personal inclinations of the Mughal Emperor, who was considered to be strictly religious, and on the other from the economic difficulties that made it impossible to continue construction for secular, representative purposes on the previous scale. Secular architecture therefore did not achieve the splendor of earlier buildings. The Bibi-ka Maqbara in Aurangabad , the tomb of a wife of Aurangzeb, looks similar to the Taj Mahal, but is much smaller and does not have expensive decorations. In contrast, the delicate pearl mosque in the Red Fort of Delhi and the imposing Badshahi mosque in Lahore, next to the Jama Masjid in Delhi, built under Shah Jahan, are among the highlights of the Mughal sacred architecture.

Nawabi style

The beginning of the decline of the Mughal Empire towards the end of Aurangzeb's reign favored the development of regional styles, among which the Nawabi style in Avadh stands out. It is mainly connected with the name of the city of Lucknow , where the most important examples of this style can be found, including the Bara Imambara , a monumental, three-story assembly hall for the Shiites from 1784. It is part of a building complex that includes a mosque and include several gate structures. Although the Bara Imambara did not fulfill any defensive function, it took up elements of the Mughal fortress architecture, for example battlements. European influences intensified in the 19th century. Conversely, the Mughal style encouraged the emergence of eclectic colonial architecture.

Garden architecture

Shalimar Gardens, laid out in Lahore by Shah Jahan around 1641

The Mughals' preference for spacious, walled gardens ( rauza ), which are usually part of a building complex, and more rarely stand-alone, stems from the Central Asian tradition . Babur had gardens laid out during his stay in Kabul, some of which have been preserved to this day. From a schematic point of view, two types of Mughal gardens can be distinguished. The first type, called char bagh (garden of four), is square and crossed by stone watercourses that divide the site into four symmetrical sections and also serve as visual axes. The best known example is the Shalimar Garden of Srinagar in Kashmir . Palace and tomb complexes are often supplemented by a char bagh . The second type is the terrace garden, which is outstandingly represented by the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore.


Girl with a parrot, illustration from the “Book of Parrots” ( Tutinama ) in Mughal style, around 1580
Turkey, miniature by Mansur , 1612

Although the Koran does not contain an explicit ban on images , the figurative representation of living beings has been avoided in various ways in Islamic art to this day. Nevertheless, in the Mughal Empire there was a high level of painting that is derived from Persian ( Safavid ) and Timurid painting traditions, but has also absorbed Indian elements. The courtly painting school of the Mughals came into being under Humayun , who, on his return from Persian exile in 1555, introduced two Persian painters, Mir Sayyid Ali and Khwaja Abd as-Samad , to the Indian Mughal court for the first time . The painting of the Mughal period was limited to miniatures , which were mostly created in portrait format to illustrate books. The topics are mostly secular. Common motifs are depictions of the court, hunting scenes, images of animals and plants, illustrations of chronicles and poetry and - for the first time in Indian art history - portraits of leading figures of the state including the rulers themselves.

Dating the miniatures can be difficult because many paintings, including artist names and dates, were copied by artists of later periods. One of the earliest datable works is a manuscript of the Hamzanama written between 1558 and 1573 during the reign of Akbar (1556-1605) , which originally contained around 1400 miniatures. Of the approximately 150 surviving illustrations, some follow the Persian painting tradition: lines of text are integrated into the flat, rather static-looking images. Most of them, however, show clear Indian influences: the image composition is far more flexible, the arrangement of the figures is extremely dynamic, and image and text are usually placed side by side. Unlike earlier Jain and Hindu manuscripts, however, each folio is provided with an illustration. In fact, the students of Akbar's painting school, run by Persian artists, were almost exclusively Hindus. In the further development the dynamics and liberalism of Indian painting merge more and more with Persian-Timurid painting techniques to an independent Mughal style, which is characterized by the use of the gentleman's perspective , predominantly point-symmetrical compositions and color areas loosened up by internal drawings. Many of the miniatures from Akbar's time illustrate historical events: Akbar not only had his own biography but also the chronicles of Babur and Timur illustrated in abundance. The miniatures of the "Parrot Book" ( Tutinama ) enjoyed a high status in the art of the Akbar period . Well-known artists of the era were Daswanth , Basawan and his son Manohar .

Mughal art received new impulses under Jahangir (r. 1605–1627), who had an extraordinary personal interest in painting and promoted it to the best of his ability. Jahangir placed little emphasis on mass representations, as they were common under Akbar. Instead, he demanded the most realistic possible representations of people and things. This is expressed, among other things, in numerous naturalistic images of the Indian flora and fauna as well as in extremely detailed portraits that have been collected in albums. Indian landscapes also replace the previously usual stylized Persian picture backgrounds. The color scheme, however, remains Persian: bright colors and gold dominate. While several artists had often worked on one painting before, most paintings from the Jahangir period were individual works. As a result, fewer works of art were created, but they achieved a higher artistic level. Even European influences are noticeable, if only to a minor extent. European paintings were first brought to Akbar's court by Portuguese missionaries in 1580 , but it was only Jahangir who ordered his court painters to study European works of art and to copy their style. As a result, miniature portraits based on European models found their way into Mughal art, as did halos taken from Christian depictions of saints , which adorned the ruler's head. Overall, the era of Jahangir is considered the heyday of Mughal painting. Many names of famous artists have survived from that time, including Abu al-Hasan , Mansur , Bichitr and Bishandas .

The painting style under Shah Jahan (r. 1627–1657 / 58) hardly differs from that of the Jahangir period. Mainly courtly scenes in which the emperor is the focus and moral images were created . Aurangzeb (reigned 1658–1707) neglected painting. Many artists left the Mughal court, but contributed to the flourishing of regional schools in the 18th century elsewhere, for example in Rajasthan , where the Rajput style had developed parallel to the Mughal style as early as the 16th century. The courtly Mughal style itself died out towards the end of the 18th century.

Language and literature


In the early days of the Mughals, Persian , which was already used as an official language in the Sultanate of Delhi , and Chagataic (at that time still known as turki , "Turkish"), the mother tongue of the founder of the empire, Babur , competed for the status of the court. and official language, while the majority of the population of the Mughal Empire used an Indo-Aryan language in everyday life . At the latest after the end of Humayun's long exile in Persia, Persian had fully established itself and Akbar elevated it to the language of administration at all levels. From then on, Persian became the language of the king, the royal family and the high nobility ( Fārsī-e Darī , "Persian of court society"). This is not only due to Akbar's unusual interest in the Persian language and literature and the close cultural ties between the Mughals and Persia, but also to the generally high recognition that Persian was recognized as the lingua franca in a large part of the Middle East and Central Asia in the 16th century Century enjoyed. This development was undoubtedly also favored by the simultaneous decline of the Chagatan among the Uzbeks . However , for generations, Türki was cultivated as the private language of the imperial family. The emperors' interest in turki varied and varied. Akbar and his son Jahangir were not particularly well versed in it, while Aurangzeb showed significantly more interest in the language of his ancestors, although he also preferred Persian in everyday use. Azfari, who died in 1819, was probably the last Mughal prince to really speak the language. In the Mughals' army camps , due to the ethnically extremely heterogeneous composition of the followers, a mixed language of Persian, Arabic, Turkish and Indo-Aryan elements developed, the name Urdu of which goes back to the Turkish word ordu "army, armed force". Urdu replaced Persian as the court language in the first half of the 18th century and is still used today as a variant of Hindustani in Persian-Arabic script by many Muslims in India and Pakistan . Urdu has been the national and state language of Pakistan since 1947.


The Persian language also dominated literature well into the 18th century. Babur brought Persian poets to India, and later rulers followed suit. While the Safavid dynasty in Persia showed only moderate interest in the maintenance of literature, some of the most important works of Persian literature of that era were created in the Mughal Empire. At the time of Akbar, a complex, richly pictorial style emerged which is known as sabk-i hindi ("Indian style"). Early representatives were Faizi (1547–1595) and Muhammad Urfi (1555–1591), who were employed at Akbar's court. The Indian style reached its climax with the philosophical, ambiguous Ghazeln of Abdul Qadir Bedil (1645–1721), who was close to the tolerant ideas of Sufism . A particularly popular form of poetry was the chronogram , in which each letter was assigned a specific numerical value. Taken together, these resulted in a year in which the event described took place.

In the early 18th century the Indian style had passed its zenith. Persian literature declined noticeably, although it was still cultivated in isolated cases into the early 20th century. Instead, the rise of Urdu literature, which had previously been neglected by the Mughals and which had already produced considerable achievements during the Deccan , began. During the Deccan campaigns of Aurangzeb , the works of Muhammad Wali, called "Wali Dekkani", came to northern India and contributed significantly to the popularization of Urdu poetry. This adopted the Persian verse and rhyme schemes - especially the ghazel - as well as many of the traditional metaphors, but turned to simpler subjects and forms of expression. The center of Urdu poetry was initially the Mughal capital Delhi , and after its decline, Lucknow in particular . The most important Urdu poet of the 18th century, Mir Taqi Mir (1723–1810), worked in both cities . Mirza Ghalib (1797–1869), who was active in the circle of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah II - himself the author of many famous poems - is considered one of the greatest Urdu poets of all .

The chronicles and biographies of the Mughal emperors have a special place in historiography. Babur's autobiography, the Bāburnāma , is also an important testimony to the Chagata language and was translated into Persian by Akbar. Akbar's own memoirs ( Akbarnāma ), which he dictated to the chronicler Abu 'l-Fazl , are among the most extensive chronicles of rulers ever written. The Āin-i-Akbari , a collection of imperial edicts, which also contains historical records, also came from the pen of Abu 'l-Fazl . The official chronicles of Akbar contrast with Badauni's critical remarks . The Dabistān-i-Mazāhib ("School of Religions") provides a historically significant insight into the religious diversity of India around the middle of the 17th century .

However, literary works were not only created under the auspices of the Mughals. Mughal nobles and regional rulers also contributed to the development of regional linguistic literatures in Bengali , Hindi , Kashmiri , Punjabi , Pashto and Sindhi, among others . In addition, the relative peace and prosperity that the Mughals brought at least to the cities of the Indian subcontinent at the height of their power favored the development of poetry in the numerous regional languages ​​of India in general. The Hindu reform movement of the bhakti was widespread throughout northern India in the 16th and 17th centuries. Tulsidas (1532–1623) processed Hindu topics in Hindi. His main work, the Ramacharitamanasa , a version of the classic Sanskrit epic Ramayana , was written at the time of Akbar. The latter had a number of ancient Indian works translated from Sanskrit into Persian, including the Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana and the Panchatantra collection of fables , as well as Chagataic and Latin scriptures.


Akbar (left) and his court musician Tansen (center) visit the musician Swami Haridas in Vrindavan , miniature in the Rajasthani style ( Jaipur / Kishangarh ), around 1750

Akbar showed great interest in the music, as did Shah Jahan. Both promoted the musical culture at the Mogulhof. Aurangzeb, however, had musical performances at court forbidden because they contradicted his religious views. In orthodox Islam, music plays a minor role, whereas in Sufism devotional songs are an important part of religious practice. The courtly music of the Mughals was primarily for entertainment and is therefore secular. Most of the court musicians were Hindus, so the Mughal music received an exceptionally strong Indian influence. Characteristic is the originally Hindu raga , the melodic framework that often relates to certain times of the day or seasons and the associated mood. Chants increasingly gave way to pure instrumental music, with Persian instruments such as the sitar as well as native ones . The courtly music of the Mughals forms the basis of the classical music ("Hindustani music") which is cultivated in northern India to this day. The Hindu Tansen (1506–1589) is considered to be the most important musician of the Mughal era . The classical dance Kathak , which is particularly popular today in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh , was also decisively shaped by courtly culture .


Elephant carriage of the Maharaja von Rewa on the Delhi Durbar from 1903 on the occasion of the coronation of Edward VII as Emperor of India. At the Delhi Durbars of 1877, 1903 and 1911, the British monarchs, personally or by
proxy by the viceroy , received homage as emperors of India by Indian princes. With the magnificently staged ceremonies and the term durbar , they linked to the darbars (gatherings of the court, audiences) of the Mughals.
Silver rupee of the Madras presidency of the British East India Company in the name of Mughal Mughal Alamgir II (r. 1754–1759), year: 1172 AH (1758/59 AD), actually minted between 1817 and 1835

Although the central power of the Mughals quickly declined after Aurangzeb's death, none of the newly emerging regional states declared their independence. The de facto independent dynasties continued to rule formally in the name of the emperor, whose ritual power served them as legitimation for rule. A decisive part in this was played by the fixed ideal anchoring of the regional elites in the Mughal power structure and the associated strong penetration by the Indo-Persian culture. In the 18th century a real “ Mughal myth ” emerged, to which even the British had to submit. They used Mughal titles and took part in formal expressions of respect for the emperor until the British East India Company was able to establish itself as his protector in Delhi. The mogul's ritual standing now stood in the way of the company's pursuit of hegemony. In 1814 it failed with the attempt to have the Nawab of Avadh recognized as sovereign ruler instead of the emperor by the other dynasties that had emerged from the Mughal empire. The fact that Avadh finally declared his independence a few years later was ignored by the other ruling houses. They continued to regard the pad (i) shah of Avadh as a nawab wazir under nominal Mughal suzerainty. During the uprising of 1857 against British rule, the de facto powerless last Mogul Bahadur Shah II played an important role as a symbolic leader of the rebellious Indians. With the acceptance of the title “Empress of India” by Queen Victoria in 1877, not only the equality of the British monarchy with the German emperor should be underlined, but also the authority of the Mughal emperors in India should be consciously linked. Likewise, the Delhi Durbars , the magnificently staged celebrations on the occasion of the coronation of British monarchs as emperors of India, took up the tradition of the Mughal darbars (gatherings of the court).

In the area of ​​administration, the Mughals' civil servants were largely taken over by both the regional dynasties and the British in the 18th century. The division of the large administrative units into districts with a senior tax officer at the top still exists in India , Pakistan and Bangladesh . Until the first half of the 19th century, the majority of Indian civil servants were recruited into the service of the colonial rulers from Muslim civil servant families who had already served the Mughals. Mughal Mughal Shah Alam II gave the British in 1765 the diwani , i.e. the right to collect taxes and exercise civil jurisdiction, in Bengal and Bihar. The Mughal tax system continued until in 1793, with the Permanent Settlement, the company made the Zamindars , who originally only collected taxes on behalf of the Mughals, the de facto owners of the land they administered and the farmers who lived there as tenants.

While ownership and taxation were reorganized according to British ideas, the monetary system did not experience any significant changes. The company minted silver coins in the name of the Mughal emperor until 1835. The gross weight of the rupee was taken over by the Mughals and remained unchanged until the silver currency was abolished in 1945. This shows the lasting standardizing effect of the Mughal Empire. The reform of the coinage went hand in hand with the standardization of weights and measures, some of which are still used today in South Asia in addition to the official metric units , such as the weight units ser (0.933 kilograms) and tola (11.66 grams). Terminological definitions also have an effect to this day: The unified political and administrative vocabulary of the Mughal period helped shape the modern usage of North Indian languages. At the same time, the Mughals created permanent new local identities by standardizing place names (regions, cities, streets). Titles and official titles from the Mughal era have often become modern family names.

The cultural aftermath of the Mughal rule is omnipresent to this day. In architecture, elements of the Mughal style found their way into eclectic colonial architecture. Above all, the British-Indian pavilion and country house style borrowed a lot from the Mughals, as did the garden and park design. Characteristics of Mughal architecture shape the perception of architectural monuments as “typically Indian”, especially in the western world. Particularly noteworthy is the mediating role of the Mughal Empire in the cultural exchange between India and Persia. Although the Persian language had to give way to English as the school and official language in the sphere of influence of the British East India Company in 1835, its dominant position as court, official and literary language of the Mughals is still manifested today, among other things, in the high proportion of Persian loanwords in North Indian languages ​​and the maintenance of traditional forms of poetry. Classical Hindustani music makes use of various instruments of Persian origin that found their way to northern India during the Mughal period. The North Indian cuisine (Mughlai cuisine) also shows Persian and Near Eastern influences in the use of certain ingredients (meats such as lamb and mutton; yeast for baked goods; almonds, pistachios and raisins as spices) and in the names of many dishes (especially meat and desserts ) on.

See also


  • Hans-Georg Behr: The Mughals. Power and splendor of the Indian emperors from 1369–1857. Econ Verlag, Vienna / Düsseldorf 1979; New edition: Heyne, Munich 1982 ISBN 3-453-01515-0
  • Stephan Conermann: The Mughal Empire. History and Culture of Muslim India. CH Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-53603-4 .
  • Ainslie T. Embree , Friedrich Wilhelm : India. History of the subcontinent from the Indus culture to the beginning of English rule (= Fischer Weltgeschichte . Volume 17). Fischer Taschenbuch, Frankfurt am Main 1967, pp. 225–269.
  • Michael H. Fisher: The Mughal Empire (IBTauris Short Histories). IB Tauris, London 2015.
  • Heinrich Gerhard Franz: Ancient India. History and culture of the Indian subcontinent. Bertelsmann Verlag, Munich 1990, ISBN 3-572-00852-2 .
  • Bamber Gascoigne: The Mughals. Splendor and greatness of Mohammedan princes in India. Prisma Verlag, Gütersloh 1987, ISBN 3-570-09930-X .
  • Jos JL Gommans: Mughal Warfare. Indian Frontiers and high roads to Empire, 1500-1700. In: Jeremy Black (Ed.): Warfare and History. Routledge, London 2002, ISBN 0-415-23989-3 .
  • Aziz Ahmad: India . In: Gustav Edmund von Grunebaum (ed.): Islam II. The Islamic empires after the fall of Constantinople (= Fischer Weltgeschichte . Volume 15). Fischer Taschenbuch, Frankfurt am Main 1971, pp. 226–287, especially pp. 240–278.
  • Gordon Johnson: World Atlas of Ancient Cultures. India. Christian Verlag, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-88472-271-9
  • Hermann Kulke , Dietmar Rothermund : History of India. From the Indus culture to today. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-406-43338-3 .
  • Hermann Kulke: Indian history up to 1750 ( Oldenbourg floor plan of the story ) . Oldenbourg, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-486-55741-6 .
  • David Ludden : History of India. Magnus-Verlag, Essen 2006, ISBN 3-88400-440-9 .
  • Michael Mann: History of India from the 18th to the 21st Century. Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2005, ISBN 3-8252-2694-8 .
  • Annemarie Schimmel : In the realm of the Mughals. History, art, culture. CH Beck, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-406-46486-6 .

Web links

Commons : Mogul  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. Johnson, p. 85.
  2. Thomlinson (1975, Tabla 1).
  3. In today's Persian this term is used for "king" (cf. Shah ).
  4. Annemarie Schimmel : In the Empire of the Mughals. History, art, culture. Munich 2000, p. 7.
  5. ^ Franz, p. 134.
  6. Annemarie Schimmel: In the Empire of the Mughals ; Pp. 14-15; about Babur: “His [Babur] father was Mirza Omar Shaykh, descended in direct line from the great Timur. […] Babur's mother was the daughter of Yunus Khan Mogul, a descendant of Chingiz Khan ”. JB Harrison, P. Hardy: BĀBUR, Ẓāḫīr al-Dīn Muḥammad ; in: Encyclopaedia of Islam , digital edition
  7. ^ Stephan Conermann: The Mughal Empire. History and Culture of Muslim India. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-53603-4 , p. 7.
  8. Schimmel, p. 372 f.
  9. ^ Aziz Ahmad: India . In: Gustav Edmund von Grunebaum (ed.): Islam II. The Islamic empires after the fall of Constantinople (= Fischer Weltgeschichte . Volume 15). Fischer Taschenbuch, Frankfurt am Main 1971, pp. 226–287, here p. 241.
  10. ^ Bamber Gascoigne: The Mughals. Splendor and greatness of Mohammedan princes in India. Prisma Verlag, Gütersloh 1987, ISBN 3-570-09930-X , p. 23.
  11. Babur also tried to demoralize Ibrahim's army by executing some prisoners of war (Bamber Gascoigne: Die Großmoguln. Splendor and greatness of Muslim princes in India. Prisma Verlag, Gütersloh 1987, ISBN 3-570-09930-X , p. 24 f. ).
  12. Hans-Georg Behr : The Mughals. Power and splendor of the Indian emperors from 1369–1857. Econ Verlag, Vienna / Düsseldorf 1979, p. 71.
  13. Bamber Gascoigne: The Mughals. Splendor and greatness of Mohammedan princes in India. Prisma Verlag, Gütersloh 1987, ISBN 3-570-09930-X , p. 36.
  14. Hans-Georg Behr : The Mughals. Power and splendor of the Indian emperors from 1369–1857. Econ Verlag, Vienna / Düsseldorf 1979, p. 79 ff.
  15. Bamber Gascoigne: The Mughals. Splendor and greatness of Mohammedan princes in India. Prisma Verlag, Gütersloh 1987, ISBN 3-570-09930-X , p. 77 f.
  16. Bamber Gascoigne: The Mughals. Splendor and greatness of Mohammedan princes in India. Prisma Verlag, Gütersloh 1987, ISBN 3-570-09930-X , p. 104.
  17. Kulke / Rothermund, p. 257.
  18. ^ Ainslie T. Embree , Friedrich Wilhelm : India. History of the subcontinent from the Indus culture to the beginning of English rule (= Fischer Weltgeschichte . Volume 17). Fischer Taschenbuch, Frankfurt am Main 1967, p. 234.
  19. ^ Ainslie T. Embree , Friedrich Wilhelm : India. History of the subcontinent from the Indus culture to the beginning of English rule (= Fischer Weltgeschichte . Volume 17). Fischer Taschenbuch, Frankfurt am Main 1967, p. 246.
  20. It is possible that Aurangzeb, Murad and Shah Shuja had already agreed in 1652 to join forces against Dara Shikoh on occasion. In any case, there was an agreement between Aurangzeb and Murad in 1657, according to which Aurangzeb was to receive two thirds of the empire including Delhi and Agra and thus presumably also the imperial title (cf. Bamber Gascoigne: The Great Mughals. Splendor and Greatness of Mohammedan Princes in India. Prisma Verlag, Gütersloh 1987, ISBN 3-570-09930-X , p. 202).
  22. Bamber Gascoigne: The Mughals. Splendor and greatness of Mohammedan princes in India. Prisma Verlag, Gütersloh 1987, ISBN 3-570-09930-X , p. 232.
  23. Kulke / Rothermund, p. 263 ff.
  24. The suspicion that Aurangzeb brought to his surroundings, whether by way of example illustrates the use of his own children: three of his five sons spent some time in prison, where one of them died in captivity, another son died in the Persian exile (cf.. Hans -Georg Behr : The Mughals. Power and splendor of the Indian emperors from 1369-1857. Econ Verlag, Vienna / Düsseldorf 1979, p. 241. and Bamber Gascoigne: The Great Mughals. Splendor and greatness of Muslim princes in India. Prisma Verlag, Gütersloh 1987 , ISBN 3-570-09930-X , p. 236).
  25. William Dalrymple : The Anarchy. The Relentless Rise of the East India Company. London et al. 2019.
  26. Hans-Georg Behr : The Mughals. Power and splendor of the Indian emperors from 1369–1857. Econ Verlag, Vienna / Düsseldorf 1979, p. 254.
  27. The massacre allegedly killed more than 30,000 people. The booty that Nadir Shah's troops carried with them, which allegedly included Shah Jahan's famous peacock throne, is said to have been worth a billion rupees. Stanley Wolpert, A New History of India , New York 1982 (2nd edition), p. 173.
  28. Kulke / Rothermund, p. 284.
  29. India
  30. Gommans, p. 201 f.
  31. Kulke / Rothermund, p. 256.
  32. Bamber Gascoigne: The Mughals. Splendor and greatness of Mohammedan princes in India. Prisma Verlag, Gütersloh 1987, ISBN 3-570-09930-X , p. 102.
  33. ^ Stephan Conermann: The Mughal Empire. History and Culture of Muslim India. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-53603-4 , p. 51.
  34. Ludden, p. 92.
  35. ^ Ainslie T. Embree , Friedrich Wilhelm : India. History of the subcontinent from the Indus culture to the beginning of English rule (= Fischer Weltgeschichte . Volume 17). Fischer Taschenbuch, Frankfurt am Main 1967, p. 237.
  36. Gommans, p. 74.
  37. Gommans, p. 101, refers here to the study by Stephen P. Blake: Shahjahanabad: The Sovereign City in Mughal India, 1639-1739. Cambridge 1991, p. 97. Gommans himself comes to almost the same conclusions for the reigns of Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb.
  38. ^ Stephan Conermann: The Mughal Empire. History and Culture of Muslim India. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-53603-4 , p. 96 f.
  39. The French doctor and traveler François Bernier (1625–1688) stayed, for example, in the tent city of Aurangzeb when he marched into the Punjab. According to his estimate, the ruler was accompanied by well over 300,000 people and almost as many animals. Gommans, p. 107.
  40. Dirk Bronger: India. Largest democracy in the world between caste and poverty. Justus Perthes Verlag, Gotha 1996, p. 247.
  41. Hans-Georg Behr : The Mughals. Power and splendor of the Indian emperors from 1369–1857. Econ Verlag, Vienna / Düsseldorf 1979, p. 203.
  42. ^ Stephan Conermann: The Mughal Empire. History and Culture of Muslim India. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-53603-4 , p. 103.
  43. ^ Schimmel, 115 ff.
  44. Hans-Georg Behr : The Mughals. Power and splendor of the Indian emperors from 1369–1857. Econ Verlag, Vienna / Düsseldorf 1979, p. 173.
  45. Schimmel, p. 113 f.
  46. Hans-Georg Behr : The Mughals. Power and splendor of the Indian emperors from 1369–1857. Econ Verlag, Vienna / Düsseldorf 1979, p. 213.
  47. Richard M. Eaton : The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760. Univ. of California Press, Berkeley 1993, pp. 305-316.
  48. ^ Ainslie T. Embree , Friedrich Wilhelm : India. History of the subcontinent from the Indus culture to the beginning of English rule (= Fischer Weltgeschichte . Volume 17). Fischer Taschenbuch, Frankfurt am Main 1967, p. 258 ff.
  49. Dilip Hiro : Babur Nama: Journal of Emperor Babur . Penguin Books India, Mumbai 2006, ISBN 978-0-14-400149-1 , p. Vii.
  50. Heinz Mode: The Art of the Mughal Era. In: Art in South and Southeast Asia. Verlag der Kunst / Verlag Iskusstwo, Dresden / Moscow 1979 (joint edition), p. 135.
  51. ^ Bamber Gascoigne: The Mughals. Splendor and greatness of Mohammedan princes in India. Prisma Verlag, Gütersloh 1987, ISBN 3-570-09930-X , p. 99 f.
  52. Joachim K. Bautze: The transportable painting from the 13th century. In: India. Culture, history, politics, economy, environment. A manual. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 1995, p. 265 f.
  53. Bamber Gascoigne: The Mughals. Splendor and greatness of Mohammedan princes in India. Prisma Verlag, Gütersloh 1987, ISBN 3-570-09930-X , p. 146 ff.
  54. BF Manz, WM Thackston, DJ Roxburgh, Golombek L., L. Komaroff, RE Darley-Doran: timurids ; in Encyclopaedia of Islam ; Brill; digital edition
  55. ^ Sheldon I. Pollock: Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia ; University of California Press, 2003, p. 162.
  56. a b c d Muzaffar Alam: The languages ​​of political Islam: India, 1200–1800 ; University of Chicago Press, 2003, p. 124 ff.
  57. ^ Prof. Annemarie Schimmel: In the realm of the Mughals. History, art, culture. Munich 2000, p. 9.
  58. Schimmel, p. 286.
  59. Ludden speaks in this context of an “ imperial elite society ” on a regional level, whose “ imperial identity ” persisted even after the fall of the Mughal central power and which for legitimation “ referred to that force that was a legacy of Mughal rule ” (p . 96 ff.). This is reflected, among other things, in the takeover of Mughal titles by the regional rulers. The title nawab, for example, came up in the 17th century for the provincial governors ( subadar ) of the Mughal Empire and was continued in the 18th century by the de facto independent rulers of Bengal , Avadhs , Bahawalpur and some other states.
  60. Mann, p. 33.
  61. Mann, p. 79 f.
  62. Ludden, p. 93.
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on June 14, 2007 in this version .