Mughal and Sur Dynasty, Maratha State And Kingdoms of South India

Mughal Dynasty

The Mughal empire was extended over the large part of tho Indian sub-continent and it lasted for almost 181 years. The Mughals were the successors of Taimur, the ruler of Iran. Ira and modern day Turki. Important rulers of the Mughal Empire are as follows:

Babur (1526-1530) 

Babur laid the foundation of Mughal rule in India in 1526, after defeating Ibrahim Lodhi in the first Battle of Panipat (21st April, 1526).

He fought the series of battles which include Battle of Khanwa 1527 (Rana Sangha of Mewar was defeated), Battle of Chanderi 1528 (Medini Rai of Chanderi was defeated) and Battle of Ghaghra 1529 (Muhammed Lodhi was defeated).

He wrote his autobiography Tuzuk-i-baburi in Turki, compiled anthologies of poems (named Diwan and Mubiyan) and also wrote Risal-i-usaz (Letters of Babur).

 He died at Agra in 1530 and his tomb is at Kabul.

Humayun (1530-1540 and 1555-1556)

Humayun (the Son of Babur) ascended the throne in 1530. He defeated anmood Lodhi in the Battle of Dauhrua (1532) and was himself defeated by Sher Shah Suri (Sur dynasty) at battles of Chausa and Kannauj Bilgram.

Humayun went into exile for 12 years (after defeated by Sher Shah) and again became the ruler of India in 1555 after the death of Sher Shah.

He died in 1556 at Din Panah (his second capital) and was buried at Delhi.

His biography Humayunama was written by his sister Gulbadan Begum.

Akbar (1556-1605)

Akbar ascended the throne as Jalaluddin Muhammed Akbar Badshah Ghazi, at the young age of 14, at Kalanaur.

He consolidate his position as an emperor only after the Battle of Panipat II, in which Bairam Khan (Akbar’s regent) defeated Hemu (Hindu Commander of Muhammed Adil Shah).

Akbar proclaimeda new religion, Din-i-ilahi in 1581, and Birbal was the only hindu who followed this new religion.

His court was adorned by Navaratnas (nine jewels: Ministers), prominent among them were Tansen, Todarmal, Abul Fazal (author of Ain-i Akbari and Akbarnama).

Akbar built Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort, Lahore Fort, Allahabad Fort and Humayun’s tomb (Delhi). He also shifted his capital from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri in the honour of Saint Salim Chisti.

When Akbar died, he was burie at Sikandara near Agra.

Jahangir (1605-1627)

Jahangir (the son of Akbar) came to throne in 1605 and established the system of justice called Zanjir-i-Adal.

He got married to Mihar-un-nisa, who got the title of Nurjahan and she was made the official Badshah Begum.

He issued coins jointly in Nurjahan’s name and his own. He wrote Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri in Persian.

His son Khusrau, Khurram (1622-25) and his Military General Mahavat Khan revolted against him. When Jahangir died, he was buried in Lahore.

The representatives of East India Company, Captain William Hawkins and Sir Thomas Roe visited Jahangir’s court in 1608 and 1615 respectively.

Shah Jahan (1628-1658)

He ascended the throne in 1628, after the death of his father Jahangir. His mother’s name was Jodha Bai.

He faced revolts in Bundelkhand and the Deccan. He also organised three campaigns to recover Kandhar (Afganistan) under the prince Murad, Dara and Aurangzeb.

French travellers Bernier, Travernier and Italian traveller Niccolao Manucci described Shah Jahan’s reign. Whereas Peter Mundi (British traveller) described the situation of famine that took place during this time.

The Red Fort (Delhi), Jama Masjid (Delhi) and Taj Mahal (Agra) are some of the structures build during his reign. He was imprisoned by Aurangzeb, where he died in captivity in 1666 and was buried at Taj (Agra).

Aurangzeb (1658-1707)

Aurangzeb fought series of battles before assuming the throne at Delhi under the title Alamgir. These battles include Battle at Dharmat, 1658, (defeated his brother Dara), at Samugarh, 1658 (decisive battle) and at Deorai.

During this period, Aurangzeb came in conflict with Shivaji (Maratha), but failed to capture him.

Guru Gobind Singh (9th Sikh Guru) was captured and executed by Aurangzeb, when he refused to embrace Islam.

Mughal Administration

Mughal empire was divided into 4 administrative divisions called Suba (Province), Sarkar (District), Paugana (Taluka) and Gram (Village).

It also had some territorial units namely Khalisa (Royal Land), Inams (Gifted Lands) and Jagirs (Autonomous Rajyas).

Mansabdari system (Civil and Military ranks) was introduced by Akbar, which includes Zat (personal rank) and Sawar (number of horsemen to maintain).

Todarmal (Finance Minister of Akbar) introduced Dahsala or Zabti system of tax collection based on the assessment of past 10 years.

The causes of decline of the Mughal empire includes weak successors, factionalism among nobility, growth of Marathas, emergence of regional powers like Bengal, Avadh etc, foreign invasion by Nadirshah and Abdali, British conquest.

Sur Dynasty

During the rule of Mughal ruler Humayun, another dynasty under Sher Shah Suri flourished, which was Sur dynasty.

Sher Shah Suri (1540-1545)

He belonged to the Sur dynasty and took the throne as Hazarat-i-Ala. His conquests of Ranthambore, Kalinjar, Chittor, Raisin were the most remarkable ones.

During his brief period of 5 years, he introduced large number of measures which includes issuing of coins called Rupia, constructions of Grand Trunk (GT) road (from Calcutta to Peshawar), introduction of Patta (title dead) and Qabuliyat (deed of agreement) for peasants.

He built the Purana Qila (Delhi) and was buried at Sasaram.


The history of Marathas can be divided into two well marked periods namely Maratha State and Maratha
Confederacy. These are as follows

Maratha State

Shivaji (1627-1680) : He was born in 1627 at Shivneri Fort to Shahji Bhonsle and Jijabai. His guardian was Dadaji Kondadev and his religious teacher was Samarth Ramdas.

Treaty of Purandhar (AD 1665) was signed between the Mughals and Shivaji, under which Shivaji added some forts to the Mughals.

He was coronated at capital Raigarh in 1674 and assumed the title of Haindava Dharmodharak (Protector of Hinduism).

Shivaji was assisted by eight ministers (Ashtapradhan). He also introduced new torms ot land revenue nameiy Chauth (1/4th of the land revenue was paid to Marathas for not being subjected to Maratha raids) and Sardeshmukhi (10% additional levy on lands o Marathas have hereditary claims. 

Sambhaji (1680-1689) and Rajaram (1689-1700)

Sambhaji (elder son of Shivaji) deteated Rajaram (younger son of Shivaji) in the war ot succession. He also provided support to Akbar II (rebellious Son of Aurangzeb).

Rajaram succeeded the throne with the help of ministors at Rajgarh. He created the new post of  AShtapradhan (taking total number of Ministers to Ashtapradhan+ Pratinidhi).

Rajaram was succeeded by his son shivajl II under the gaurdianship of Tarabai (Shivaji’s II mother), who was deteated by Shahu in the battle of Khed (1700).

Peshwas (AD 1718-1719) Maratha Confederacy

Balaji Vishwanath: He was the first Peshwa and got the title of Sena Karte (Organiser of the Army). He concluded an agreement with Syed brothers (king maker) in 1719, under which the Mughal Emperor
Farukh Siyar recognised Shahu as the King of Swarajya.

Baji Rao I: He was the eldest son of Balaji Vishwanath and was considered as the chief exponent of Guerilla tactics. He defeated the Nizam-ul-Mulk near Bhopal and concluded the treaty of Doraha Sarai (Baji Rao I acquired Malwa and Bundelkhand). He conquered Salsette and Bassein from Portugese.

Balaji Baji Rao : He was the son of Baji Rao I and was popularly known as Nana Sahib. He was succeeded by Madhav Rao, Narayan Rao, Sawai Madhav Rao and finally Baji Rao II.

The Maratha power finally came to an end with the third battle of Panipat (14th, January, 1761) in which they were defeated by Ahmad Shah Abdali (Afghan Chief).


The term ‘Sikh’ means instructions. The religion of Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak (1469-1439). Oher important Sikh gurus are as follows

Guru Angad (1539-1552) Started Gurumukhi Script.

Guru Amardas (1552-1574) Began the practice of Langar.

Guru Ramdas (1574-1581) Built Har Mandir Sahib, founded Amritsar.

Guru Arjan (1581-1606) Wrote Adi Granth, completed the construction of Golden Temple.

Guru Har Govind (1606-1645) Built Akal Takht, fortified Amritsar.

 Guru Harrai (1645-1666) Established Headquaters at Anandpur.

Guru Tegh Bahadur (1664-1675) Executed by Aurangzeb.

Guru Gobind Singh (1675-1708) Established Khalsa,compiled Daswan padshah ka Grantha, he was the last in the series of Sikh Gurus.

Vijayanagar Empire and Bahmani Kingdom

Vijayanagar Empire  Harihara I and Bukka I, of angama dynasty, laid the foundation of the Vijayanagar empire.

Deva Raya II was the greatest ruler of the Sangama dynasty who got the title of Gajabhetaka. Dindima was his Court poet. Abdur Razzak (Persian) visited his court.

Saluva Narsimha founded the Sauva aynasty a Narsimha founded the Tuluva dynasty.

Krishnadevaraya, of Tuluva dynasty, was the great ruler of Vijayanagara Empire. He took the titles of Yavanasthapnachrya and Abhinava Bhoja.

His court was adorned by the Ashtadiggajas (eight Telugu poets) prominent among them were Tenali Ramakrishna, Timmaya and Peddanha.

He built the Vijaya Mahal, Hazara Ram temple, Vithal Swami temple and also wrote Amuktamalyada (work on polity) and ‘Jambavati Kalyanam (Sanskrit play).

Battle of Talikota was fought on 23rd January, 1565 between an alliance of Ahmednagar, Bijapur, Golkonda and Bidar on one side and Ram Raja (Son of Vijayanagan King Sriranga I) on the other hand. It resulted in the defeat of Ram Raja.

The Aravidu dynasty was the last one to rule.

Bahmani Kingdom

Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah, also known as Ha Gangu, founded the Bahmani kingdom with its capital at Gulbarga.

Other importance rules of this kingdom include Ibrahim Adil Shah (introduced Dakhini), Muhammad Adil Shah (constructed Gol Gumbaz), Quli Qutub Shah (built Golconda Fort), Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah (built Charminar and city of Hyderabad).

Other Kingdoms

Other than the Vijayanagar kingdom and Bahmani kingdom, several independent kingdoms emerged in
different parts of Northern, Western and Eastern India.

These kingdoms include the following

Kingdom of Malwa was founded by Hoshang Shah (AD 1406-35) with Capital at Dhar/Mandu. He founded the city of Hoshangabad.

Kingdom of Mewar was founded by Rana Kumbha (AD 1433-68) with capital at Chittor. He constructed the famous Kirtistambha, after defeating Mahmud Khiljiot Malwa.

Kingdom of Amber or Amer was founded by Hammir Deva.

Kingdom of Bengal was founded by Alauddin Hussa Shah. He was the founder of the Hussain Shahi dynasty.

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