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EARLY PHASE-CONTEST WITH THE NOBILITY(1556-67)
EARLY EXPANSION OF THE EMPIRE (1560-76)
Chittor fell (1568) after a gallant siege of six months. At the advice of his nobles, Rana Udai Singh had retired to the hills leaving the famous warriors, Jaimal and Patta, in charge of the fort. The rajput warriors died after extracting as much vengeance as possible. In honour of the gallant Jaimal and Patta, Akbar ordered that two stone statues of these warriors, seated on elephants, be erected outside the chief gate of the fort at Agra.
The fall of Chittor was followed by the conquest of Ranthambhor reputed to be the most powerful forteress in Rajasthan. Jodhpur had been conquered earlier. As a result of these victories, most of the Rajpur rajas, including those of Bikaner and Jaisalmer, submitted to Akbar. Only Mewar continued to resist.
In 1572, Akbar advanced on Ahmedabad via Ajmer. Ahmedabad surrendered without a fight. Akbar then turned his attention to the Mirzas who held Broach, Baroda and Surat. At Cambay, Akbar saw the sea for the first time and rode on it in boat. A group of Portuguese merchants also came and met him for the first time. The Portuguese dominated the Indian seas by this time, and had ambition of establishing an empire in India. Akbar’s conquest of Gujarat frustrated these designs.
While Akhar’s armies were besieging Surat, Akbar crossed the river Mahi and assaulted the Mirzas with a small body of 200 men which included Man Singh and Bhagwan Das of Amber. For some time, Akbar’s life was in danger. But the impetuosity of his charge routed the Mirzas. Thus, Gujarat came under Mughal control. However, as soon as Akbar had turned his back, rebellions broke out all over Gujarat. Hearing the news, Akbar marched out of Agra a ride traversed across Rajasthan in nine days by means of camels, horses and carts. On the eleventh day, he reched Ahmedabad. In this journey, which normally took six weeks, only 3000 soldiers were able to keep up with Akbar. With these he defeated an enemy force of 20,000 (1573).
After this, Akbar turned his attention to Bengal. The Afghans had continued to dominate Bengal and Bihar. Internal fights among the Afhans, and the declaration of independence by the new ruler, Daud Khan, gave Akbar the opportunity he was seeking. In a stiff battle in Bihar in 1576, Daud Khan was defeated and executed on the spot.
Thus ended the last Afghan kingdom in northern India. It also brought to an end the first phase of Akbar’s expansion of the empire.
Todar Mal was a brilliant revenue officer who had first served under Sher Shah. But he was only one of a team of brilliant revenue officials who came to the forefront under Akbar.
ORGANISATION OF GOVERNMENT
Recommendations for appointment to mansabs or for promotions, etc. were made to the emperor through the mir bakhshi. Once the emperor had accepted a recommendation, it was sent to the diwan for confirmation and for assigning a jagir to the appointee. The same procedure was followed in case of promotions.
The mir bakhshi was also the head of the intelligence and information agenceies of the empire. Intelligence officers (barids) and news reporters (waqia-navis) were posted to all parts of the empire. There reports were presented to the emperor at the court through the mir bakhshi.
It will thus be seen that the diwan and the mir bakhshi were almost on a par with, and supported and checked, each other.
The third important officer was the mir saman. He was in charge of the imperial houshold, including the supply of all the provisions and articles for the use of the in mates of the haremor the female apartments. The maintenance of etiquette at the court, the control of the royal bodyguard, etc, were all under the overall supervision of this officer.
The fourth important department was the judicial department headed by the chief qazi. It fell in to bad odoour due to the corruption and venality of Akbar’s chief qazi, Abdun Nabi.