NCERT Textbook - Kings And Chronicles, Class 12, History | EduRev Notes

History Class 12

Created by: Rajni Sharma

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - Kings And Chronicles, Class 12, History | EduRev Notes

 Page 1


223 PEASANTS, ZAMINDARS AND THE STATE
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


223 PEASANTS, ZAMINDARS AND THE STATE
© NCERT
not to be republished
 THEMES IN INDIAN HISTORY – PART II 224
Kings and Chronicles
The Mughal Courts The Mughal Courts The Mughal Courts The Mughal Courts The Mughal Courts
( ( ( ( (c c c c c. sixteent . sixteent . sixteent . sixteent . sixteenth h h h h -- -- -seventeenth centuries) seventeenth centuries) seventeenth centuries) seventeenth centuries) seventeenth centuries)
THEME
NINE
The rulers of the Mughal Empire saw themselves
as appointed by Divine Will to rule over a large
and heterogeneous populace. Although this
grand vision was often circumscribed by actual
political circumstances, it remained
important. One way of transmitting
this vision was through the
writing of dynastic histories. The
Mughal kings commissioned court
historians to write accounts. These
accounts recorded the events of the
emperor’s time. In addition, their
writers collected vast amounts of
information from the regions of the
subcontinent to help the rulers
govern their domain.
Modern historians writing in
English have termed this genre
of texts chronicles, as they
present a continuous chronological
record  of events. Chronicles are
an indispensable source for any
scholar wishing to write a history
of the Mughals. At one level
they were a repository of factual
information about the institutions
of the Mughal state, painstakingly
collected and classified by
individuals closely connected with the court. At
the same time these texts were intended as
conveyors of meanings that the Mughal rulers
sought to impose on their domain. They therefore
give us a glimpse into how imperial ideologies
were created and disseminated. This chapter will
look at the workings of this rich and fascinating
dimension of the Mughal Empire.
Fig. 9.1
The mausoleum of Timur at
Samarqand, 1404
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


223 PEASANTS, ZAMINDARS AND THE STATE
© NCERT
not to be republished
 THEMES IN INDIAN HISTORY – PART II 224
Kings and Chronicles
The Mughal Courts The Mughal Courts The Mughal Courts The Mughal Courts The Mughal Courts
( ( ( ( (c c c c c. sixteent . sixteent . sixteent . sixteent . sixteenth h h h h -- -- -seventeenth centuries) seventeenth centuries) seventeenth centuries) seventeenth centuries) seventeenth centuries)
THEME
NINE
The rulers of the Mughal Empire saw themselves
as appointed by Divine Will to rule over a large
and heterogeneous populace. Although this
grand vision was often circumscribed by actual
political circumstances, it remained
important. One way of transmitting
this vision was through the
writing of dynastic histories. The
Mughal kings commissioned court
historians to write accounts. These
accounts recorded the events of the
emperor’s time. In addition, their
writers collected vast amounts of
information from the regions of the
subcontinent to help the rulers
govern their domain.
Modern historians writing in
English have termed this genre
of texts chronicles, as they
present a continuous chronological
record  of events. Chronicles are
an indispensable source for any
scholar wishing to write a history
of the Mughals. At one level
they were a repository of factual
information about the institutions
of the Mughal state, painstakingly
collected and classified by
individuals closely connected with the court. At
the same time these texts were intended as
conveyors of meanings that the Mughal rulers
sought to impose on their domain. They therefore
give us a glimpse into how imperial ideologies
were created and disseminated. This chapter will
look at the workings of this rich and fascinating
dimension of the Mughal Empire.
Fig. 9.1
The mausoleum of Timur at
Samarqand, 1404
© NCERT
not to be republished
225
1. The Mughals and Their Empire
The name Mughal derives from Mongol. Though today
the term evokes the grandeur of an empire, it was
not the name the rulers of the dynasty chose for
themselves. They referred to themselves as Timurids,
as descendants of the Turkish ruler Timur on the
paternal side. Babur, the first Mughal ruler, was
related to Ghenghiz Khan from his mother’s side.
He spoke Turkish and referred derisively to the
Mongols as barbaric hordes.
During the sixteenth century, Europeans used the
term Mughal to describe the Indian rulers of this
branch of the family. Over the past centuries the
word has been frequently used – even the name
Mowgli, the young hero of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle
Book, is derived from it.
The empire was carved out of a number of regional
states of India through conquests and political
alliances between the Mughals and local chieftains.
The founder of the empire, Zahiruddin Babur, was
driven from his Central Asian homeland, Farghana,
by the warring Uzbeks. He first established himself
at Kabul and then in 1526 pushed further into
the Indian subcontinent in search of territories and
resources to satisfy the needs of the members of
his clan.
His successor, Nasiruddin Humayun (1530-40,
1555-56) expanded the frontiers of the empire, but
lost it to the Afghan leader Sher Shah Sur, who drove
him into exile. Humayun took refuge in the court of
the Safavid ruler of Iran. In 1555 Humayun defeated
the Surs, but died a year later.
Many consider Jalaluddin Akbar (1556-1605) the
greatest of all the Mughal emperors, for he not only
expanded but also consolidated his empire, making
it the largest, strongest and richest kingdom of
his time. Akbar succeeded in extending the frontiers
of the empire to the Hindukush mountains, and
checked the expansionist designs of the Uzbeks of
Turan (Central Asia) and the Safavids of Iran.
Akbar had three fairly able successors in Jahangir
(1605-27), Shah Jahan (1628-58) and Aurangzeb
(1658-1707), much as their characters varied. Under
them the territorial expansion continued, though at
a much reduced pace. The three rulers maintained and
consolidated the various instruments of governance.
KINGS AND CHRONICLES
Fig. 9.2
An eighteenth-century depiction of
Humayun’s wife Nadira crossing
the desert of Rajasthan
© NCERT
not to be republished
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