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Rajput Policy of the Mughals

Rajput Policy of the Mughals

Babur:

  • Babur arrived in India at Rana Sanga’s invitation. His desire to stay back in India after the 1st battle of Panipat brought him in conflict with Rana Sanga of Mewar whom he defeated in the battle of Khanwa in 1527.
  • Babur then defeated Medini Rai of Chaderi in a battle in 1528.
  • The Rajput resistance could not be minimized because of their defeats, but if not Babur, the Rajputs would have established their hegemony over north India.

Humayun:

  • When Bahadur Shah, the ruler of Gujarat invaded Mewar, Rani Karnavati ruling on behalf of her minor son Rana Vikramaditya requested Humayun for help, a call to which Humayun responded.
  • During Humayun’s reign, many Rajput chiefs became practically independent as Humayun had to contend with Sher Shah.

Akbar:

  • Akbar realized the need for a complete revision of policy and attitude. He understood that there could be no Indian empire without Rajput participation and no social or political synthesis without their involvement.
  • Being the prudent statesman he was, he rose above the petty prejudices of the age and evolved a policy which speaks of his political acumen.
  • So he entered into matrimonial alliances with the Rajputs, the first of which was his marriage with Bharmal’s daughter in 1562.
  • He also married his son Salim to Rajput princesses. Akbar followed a liberal religious policy, in 1562 he stopped forceful conversions of prisoners of war, in 1563 he abolished pilgrim tax and in 1564 he abolished Jajiya.
  • He granted Rajputs equality of status with Muslim nobility, gave them important posts. Todar Mal was made revenue minister, Bhagwan Das and Man Singh were given high mansabs.
  • He used Rajputs in the Gujarat insurrection, battle of Haldighati and the rebellion of Mirza Mohammed Hakim.
  • He initiated progressive social measures, such as, ban on cow slaughter, abolition of sati, child marriage, infanticide and also legalized widow remarriage. Being an imperialist by instinct and concerned about political unification of India, he was ruthless against Rana Pratap.
  • All these measures ensured peace in Rajputana. Also, Mughals paramountly implied controlling succession to the throne in these states.    Rajput Policy of the Mughals
  • The Rajputs rendered valuable services to the empire by acting as its sword arm and also professed personal loyalty to the emperor as he was now their blood relation. His Rajput policy also ensured control over Rajputana which opened up vital trade routes with Gujarat and also with Cenral Asia.
  • Rajputs loved art and literature and contributed to the development of composite culture. Also, acceptability of Mughal rule among the Hindus increased, giving it the much needed social legitimacy.
  • The state was secular and non-sectarian in nature and the inclusion of Rajputs also broad based the composition of the ruling elite. It also improved Akbar’s position vis-a-vis the Muslim nobility.

Jehangir:

  • Was born to a Hindu Rajput lady. He was also a friend of Rajputs. He married Rajput princesses and continued Akbar’s policy in good faith as is evident from the favourable terms dished out to Rana Amar Singh in the Mughal — Mewar treaty of 1614, brought about by the efforts of Prince Khurram (Shah Jahan).
  • According to the treaty, Prince Karna, the son of Rana Amar Singh was given the mansab of 5000 Jat and 5000 Sawar.
  • Amar Singh was freed from the Mughal court personally and the fort of Chittor was given back to Mewar state on the condition that it would not be repaired.

Shah Jahan:

  • In his time, there was a partial reversal of his father’s and grandfather’s policy as is evidenced by his turning a blind eye to the destruction of some temples by Aurangzeb.  Rajput Policy of the Mughals
  • Even then, there was no radical change in the Rajput policy.

Aurangzeb:

  • He came to power with the help of orthodox Sunni clerics. He reversed Akbar’s policy towards the Rajputs.
  • In the early years though, he used much of the Rajput diplomatic and military strength of Maharaja Jaswant Singh Rathod of Marwar and also of Maharaja Jai Singh of Amber who brought Shivaji to his knees.
  • But Aurangzeb got Jaswant Singh Rathod involved in fighting against the tribals in the north­west frontier where he fell fighting at Jamrud in 1678.
  • Harsh treatment was meted out to Jaswant Singh’s family after his death. Also the destruction of temples, the re-imposition of Jajiya in 1679 against Hindus as also his public proclamation of Jehad against Hindus in 1679 made the Rajputs raise the banner of revolt.
  • The Rajputs of Marwar under Durgadas, Ranchor Singh and Raghunath Rai Bhatti took up arms against the Mughals in the name of Ajit Singh of Marwar and then Mewar also for some time supported the cause of Marwar.
  • The Mughals suffered reverses. Prince Akbar, offended by his father Aurangzeb’s behaviour rebelled. So, Aurangzeb with his art of making enemies, alienated the Rajputs. The Rajputs showed that if they could support the empire, they could weaken it as well.
  • This was realised by Aurangzeb’s successors who courted the Rajputs and their demands for high mansabs and restoration of their homelands had been accepted within half a dozen years of Aurangzeb’s death so much so that the Rajputs ceased to be a problem for the Mughals.  Rajput Policy of the Mughals
  • The Rajputs played no active and organised role in the subsequent disintegration of the empire.

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