http://www.annettebaypimentel.com/craft-belongs-authors-note/Why does it matter? Legacy?
How did I get interested?
I am fascinated by the Mughal Empire. Simply Fascinated. It all started in 5th grade when I insisted to know more about my ancestors because being a fully Bangladeshi girl wasn’t interesting enough, right? I was elated when my mom informed me that we were related to the Mughals, specifically to the Wazir of the third emperor, Akbar the Great. I spent hours and hours on the Internet doing research on my exotic ancestors at the mere age of 11, and it’s still what I do now to be quite honest. That’s what initiated my passion for Mughal history.
I spent a lot of time learning about their ups and downs during their reign in India. However, one thing has always held on to me; they were very powerful. Whether I’m reading a book or watching documentaries, they are portrayed as powerful, barbaric, and imposing people dominating South Asia. Yet, their legacy isn’t as grand or extravagant as I would have thought. How did such a puissant dynasty come to an end in the first place? This, my friend, is a question I’ll try to answer throughout this report.
The following pages will give you a throughout abstract of the Mughal Empire and its gradual decline. Slowly but surely, you will notice that history repeats itself and that in this case, mistakes repeats themselves. Indeed, we are where we are because what happened before, thus the importance of history. The Indian society barely acknowledges the impacts of Mughal reign yet South Asia gets international recognition from their legacies. Read the whole report, I assure you it will get clearer.
INSERT Mughal Empire in 1601 Map
Use of the term ‘India’ refers to the Indian subcontinent and includes areas that we now know as Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The Rise and Historic Reputation
It all began with the first battle of Panipat in 1526 where the Lodi Sultanate had the misfortune of falling to the founder of the Mughal dynasty, Babur. Born in Ferghana (present-day Uzbekistan), the emperor was not native to India. Descendant of Tamerlane, one of the last great Turkic conqueror, and the famous Genghis Khan, founder of the Mongol Empire, Zahir-ud-Din Mohammed Babur was without a doubt a military adventurer and a soldier of distinction. Thus, when he made his raid to Panipat, with no more than 12 000 soldiers against Ibrahim Lodi’s 100 000 soldiers, he won the battle with his use of artillery, unique Central Asian tactics, and ruling experience. Indeed, Babur ruled in Samarkand (present-day Uzbekistan) and Kabul before successfully invading Hindustan and so beginning the period of Mughal rule over India.
‘The chief excellency of Hindustan is that it is a large country and has abundance of gold and silver. … as far indeed as the great ocean the peoples are without break.’
-BaburnamaHe describes with fascination and detail in his memoir the country he was beginning to conquer. In fact, one of the reasons behind the invasion of India was specifically to utilize the country’s wealth and prosperity, India being at that time one of the richest lands in the world. This greatly favors the newly founded empire’s financial status and lightens the burden of establishing an elaborate system for its functioning.
It is recognized that India is home to the largest population of people following the Hindu faith and it was no different during Mughal rule. Reaction from the Hindu majority of the population towards the Muslim Mughal Sultanate was conventional to any newly established monarchy. It is an expected attitude considering the fact that the Mughals were not the first Muslims to rule significant parts of India as that honor goes to the Delhi Sultanate which started in 1206. Thus, the religious changes and its impacts on the new policies were not a matter of concern for the subject. The actual problems lied within the empire’s proximity to the Hindu Rajput kingdoms occupying northern India. Not only did Babur’s empire make way for expansion, it also made new enemies, particularly the Rajputs. The war of conquest in northern India had just begun.
Babur became king at a young age and died aged only 47, before he had securely established his dynasty, leaving his son a difficult inheritance.
Due to instability within the empire, Nasir-ud-Din Muhammed Humayun had difficulties with his succession. Rivalry with his half-brother Mirza Kamran for the throne, improper administration, and lack of experience encircled his empire with enemies. One of them, Sher Shah Suri, is widely known for being the reason of Humayun’s short reign. An officer of the Lodi dynasty, Sher Shah challenged the Mughal throne, seizing the opportunity because of the apparently weak Mughal emperor.
A British representative at one of the last Mughal darbars, Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe described some of Humayun’s intellectual and physical failures while fighting against Sher Shah Suri in his accounts of Delhi. He stresses on the emperor’s good luck and considers it the reason for which stayed alive.
‘… Before he could reach the opposite bank, the horse was exhausted and sunk into the stream, and the Emperor must himself have met with the same fate if he had not been saved by a water carrier who was crossing the river with the aid of the skin used to hold water and which inflated as a bladder, supported the King’s weight as well as his own.’
‘… Hoomaioon must still have perished had not two soldiers who happened to have gained that part of the shore, tied their turbans together and by throwing one end to the Emperor, enabled him to make good his landing. Hoomaioon fled to Lahore and eventually to Persia.’
During his 15 years in Persia, the exiled emperor developed a friendly relation with the Safavid Shah Tahmasp, ruler of Persia. With his military aid, Humayun eventually recaptured Qandahar and Kabul, making way towards his goal. Taking opportunity of the running disputes between the Suri princes in Dehli, the Mughals were finally back in India.
After an unexpected and unfortunate death, Shah Humayun is succeeded by his 13-year-old son Jalal, later known as Akbar. Although the empire was ruled by his guardian, the Afghan general Bairam Khan, during the initial four years as regent, Jalal-ud-Din Muhammed took control quickly after. Akbar coming to power is one of the turning points of Mughal history. Indeed, Akbar’s reign is characterized by the organization of new conquests which lead to the beginning of the imperial expansion throughout India. There are particular issues which caused the consolidation of the Mughal empire under his reign. One of them would be the assumption of power by the Emperor. As Akbar took full control of the empire from Bairam Khan in 1560, he pursued conquests on the borders of his kingdom, which would include the region of Rajputana. By the end of his reign, he had expanded the Mughal Empire from Kabul (Afghanistan) to the West and Dacca (Bangladesh) to the east.
The consequences of imperial conquest are partially the cause of the Mughal’s negative image and reputation. For example, when Akbar laid siege to Chittor (Rajput province) in 1567, he had planned two methods of assault. The first one being the gradual destruction of the Chittor Fort before the beginning of the war by sending spies to install canons. The second one being the horrendous massacre of 30 000 captive unarmed Hindus with their heads displayed on a monument which left an indelible blot on his name. Even Abul Fazl, his own court minister, could not justify or defend the mass murder by the Emperor. The Jesuit Father Antonio Monserrate, who was invited to Akbar’s court in 1574, made some remarks on the Emperor’s austerity:
‘… all are afraid of his severity, and strive with all their might to do as he directs and desires. … Those who have committed a capital crime are either crushed by elephants, impaled, or hanged. Seducers and adulterers are either strangled or gibbeted.’
Thus, many conservative Hindu Rajputs conclude that Akbar, or even the Mughals in general, were tyrant rulers, cruel toward Hindus, and cowards.
This, however, won’t change the fact that Akbar’s rule is commemorated for his exceptional religious tolerance. His respect towards Hinduism and other faiths was demonstrated in different ways. Firstly, the Hindu queens he had married were not forced to convert to Islam, and Hindus were also prominent at court and occupying high ranking administrative positions. Furthermore, non-Muslims did not have to pay taxes that supported mosques and the Emperor also removed the jizya, a tax applied to Hindu pilgrims. Secondly, he held religious debates between Muslims, Hindus, Jains, Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians in order to carry out a dialogue about religion. Combining the similarities between the different religions, Akbar even created his own religion known as the Din-i-Ilahi (Faith of the Divine). These facts clearly highlight his aim of federating the different peoples constituting his Empire.
Patron of arts and architecture, Akbar made sure that his legacy shone throughout the remaining pages of history. He was the first great Mughal builder to showcase the essence of Indian culture in the Empire’s heritage. Indeed, his projects evolved a fusion of Hindu styles from Bengal and Gwalior with the traditions from central Asia. For example, his efforts to amalgamate the two styles are shown in the construction of the city of Fatehpur Sikri. The fort and the walls of this particular city include mythical Hindu paintings and motifs while mosques are decorated with Persian designs.
Whether it is his unexpected religious openness or the creation of the Hindustani style of art and architecture, Akbar’s aim of uniting the people of his Empire and of reconciling the differences that divided his subjects made him a remarkable historical figure. Moreover, the empire had a very large expansion under his reign and reached its highest point. He is not called Akbar the Great for nothing.
The challenge for the successors of the third Mughal emperor was certainly to maintain the Empire’s peak level. However, his son wanted the Mughal Sultanate to reach new heights. Indeed, the emperor Jahangir was fascinated by foreigners and initiated imperial alliances with the British royalty. The political reason being that the British represented superior economy and superior weapon technology. However, the consequences had showed its effects many years later.
Fun fact: Inspired by the word “Mughal”, the term “mogul” entered the English dictionary to describe a rich and powerful person. By the time Jahangir occupied the Mughal throne, the empire’s wealth knew no boundaries. In fact, the British ambassador Sir Thomas Roe defined the Emperor as ‘the treasury of the world’. Also, he describes the practice that clearly shows their abundance of riches.
‘… he was weighed against bags of silver, then gold, then jewels in the other scales of the balance, and an amount equal to his weight was then distributed to the poor.’
‘The king at noone sat out at the Durbar, where the Prince brought his Elephants about six hundred richly traped and furnished … ten thousand Horses, many in cloth with heron-top feathers in their Turbans, all in gallantry.’
Shah Jahan’s early ascension to the throne was, once again, rather expected due to his father’s short reign and because he had been a favorite of his grandfather Akbar the Great. He indeed possessed many of the quality of the later which helped him maintain the empire’s position, state, as well as reputation. Over and above all that, the legacy he left with the construction of the Taj Mahal is simply history.
Aurangzeb the Great?
‘This prince was very different from the others being in character very secretive and serious, carrying on his affairs in a hidden way, but most energetically. He was of a melancholy temperament … He was extremely anxious to be recognized by the world as a man of wisdom, clever and a lover of the truth…’
The Venetian traveler’s description is indeed representative of the sixth Mughal Emperor. Muhi-ud-Din Muhammed Aurangzeb had always been thirsty for power and left no stone unturned to get it. First of all, he had executed all his brothers in order to be the only heir to the Mughal throne. Secondly, he had his father Shah Jahan imprisoned by taking over the throne forcefully. To add to the cruelty, not only had the rebel prince beheaded his elder brother Dara Shikoh, he then sent the head to his distraught father as a gift. In short, no matter if it were family or enemy, he had eliminated all obstacles blocking his way. His subjects were no exception.
A pious orthodox Muslim, not only did Aurangzeb follow a remarkably conservative and religious lifestyle, but led his Empire in a similar manner. As a matter of fact, he desired that his empire’s administration act in accordance with the guidance and laws of the Koran. He started by banning music, dancing women, and drugs such as opium. Little did he know that novelty is not always good, just like his new religious policy. Considering himself a Ghazi, Aurangzeb started transforming his empire into a completely Islamic state. The key here would be to understand that he will go to any length to get what he wants.
Things in the empire went out of control when the Emperor’s mission of eliminating the infidels became a priority. He destroyed Hindu and Sikh temples in order to replace them by mosques. Furthermore, religious festivals outside Islam were prohibited in the royal court. In contrary to his great grandfather who had won the non-Muslim’s hearts by removing the jizya, Aurangzeb brought the pilgrim tax back and even increased it. Throughout his 49 years reign, persecution of the non-believers became a norm. The most serious case would be the murder of the Sikh Gurus. Collecting an increasing number of devotees across northern India, the Sikh Gurus’ political influence started posing as a threat to petty kingdoms and the Mughal Sultanate. Thus, political rivalry combined with their infidel background was the justification behind Aurangzeb’s act of killing them. All in all, not only did the sixth emperor’s religious intolerance toward his subjects contribute enormously to the negativity surrounding the Mughal Empire, but it also affected his legacy in the same manner.
The 17th century in India is remembered for its continuous transformation and transition of power of the local ethnic and religious groups. Indeed, the main ones were the rapid rise of the Sikhs and the Marathas. Though Aurangzeb had managed to keep the Sikhs at bay by their persecution, the Marathas posed a considerable threat to the Mughal dominance. Indeed, after the assassination of the Peshwa Shivaji of the Maratha Empire by the Mughals in 1680, enmity between both empire had grown greatly. In fact, the successors of the Maratha Empire continued their incomplete mission of killing Aurangzeb and would have spent about 20 years defending against their attacks alone. Their resilience was something new for the Mughals to experience.
‘My armies have been employed against him for 19 years and nevertheless his Shivaji’s state has always been increasing.’
The Marathas’ rise of power and expansion would have begun with the rigid Islamic policies of the Emperor Aurangzeb. Naturally, the latter lost all the support of the Hindus and Hindu Rajputs who had been the backbone of preceding Mughal regimes. As a matter of fact, these communities joined the Maratha Empire to form a resilient belt of Hindu states across the Deccan (South India) specifically against the Mughals. Even though the expansion throughout the Deccan had been successful, Aurangzebs’ seemingly concerting campaigns to promote the Empire in the area would be seen as failure by his successors. The consequence of the Deccan campaigns and policies were indeed very remarkable. First of all, the major area of the Mughal empire and the capital were situated in northern and central India. By spending the rest of his life in the Deccan in order to subdue the Marathas and their rebellions, he started losing influence in the North. His 20 years absence was long enough for the administration of the country to be thrown off gear. Furthermore, the revenue sourced from different parts of the Empire were mostly wasted in the Deccan wars, significantly weakening the economy of his Empire. On the topic of the Deccan wars, the operations of the Imperial Armies caused deforestation which affected the population very negatively. Indeed, the destruction of forests and agriculture fields removed the source of income for the majority of the population.
‘He left behind him the fields of these provinces devoid of trees and bear of crops, their places being taken by the bones of men and beasts,’
-ManucciUltimately, the military conquests of the South did not only weaken the Mughal Empire’s administration politically and economically, but also reinforced ethnic groups and Kingdoms such as the Marathas, the Rajputs, and the Sikhs for future rebellions.
Nonetheless, despite the negativity surrounding his reign, Aurangzeb is considered as the sixth and last Great Mughal Emperor. The Mughal Empire was at its zenith: covering more than a million square miles with a population of approximately 150 million subjects. That represented about 25% of the world’s population at that time. Thus, it was sure to collapse unless good leadership could save it.
It was no surprise that the successors of the Mughal throne could not maintain the otherwise powerful empire of their forebears. As a matter of fact, as soon as the Emperor Aurangzeb died in 1707, history repeated itself. Just like the sixth Emperor eliminated his own family for the throne, a war of succession began amongst his own three sons. However, the difference was the fact that the empire they were fighting for was not for imperial expansion but rather to be maintained. It was a concept which was rather neglected by the future generations as they still searched for power. Bahadur Shah I was most probably the last emperor who had the ability to exercise power and to spread his influence throughout the country. In order to regain the lost loyalty of the different ethnic groups, he tried to establish peace treaties with them. However, the impacts his father Aurangzeb’s reign and mismanagement left on the society was practically impossible to fix. He even went to the extent of freeing Shahu Bhonsle from imprisonment, son of the same Peshwa Shivaji of the Maratha Empire his father had killed. Though the diplomatic outcome improved relations between both groups, little did the Emperor know that this plan of his would backfire later on.
As soon as Shahu Bhonsle took the title of Peshwa, the Maratha’s rise knew no bound. Unable to recover or forget all the years of insult from the Mughals, they had started what would be considered as claiming their annexed territories as well as a great revenge. Indeed, their first goal was to conquer Mughal territories, thus planning an expansion northward. Major Mughal-Maratha wars include their conquest of Multan (Pakistan), Kashmir (India), Punjab (India-Pakistan) as well as Bengal (India-Bangladesh). The special aspect about these specific provinces is the fact that they are the main economic capital of the Mughal Empire. Thus, by taking control of them, the Maratha’s removed their enemies’ main sources of revenue and had it for themselves. This meant that no matter what the Mughals did to defend themselves, the Marathas had more wealth and power for invasion during the numerous Mughal-Maratha wars. Their second goal was obviously to use their new resources in order to claim back their lost land. In the Mughal-Maratha war of 1737, the Maratha Confederacy successfully won their native land, previously known as the Deccan region of the Mughal Empire. By 1740, the Marathas controlled more territories than the Mughals.
Rise of Regional Powers and Independent States
As we all know by now, the Empire had reached its largest expansion once Aurangzeb died. Thereby, it was very difficult for any ruler to control the whole empire while physically remaining at the capital. The first successors of Aurangzeb had experienced this difficulty while trying to manage the vast Empire. Bahadur Shah I, in particular, had to tackle the different ethnic rebellions taking place in different regions of India. Though the Marathas were the most problematic for him, his successors had to face the stubborn Rajputs. These formerly loyal clans took advantage of the inefficient Mughal administration and declared themselves virtually independent. In 1748, the Mughal Emperor Mohammed Shah has sent troops after troops in order to deal with the sudden elevation of Rajput power but in vain. Indeed, Rajput warriors were proved to be more competent against the large quantity of Mughal soldiers.
Witnessing the increasing number of independent kingdoms forming from the Mughal Sultanate, other states get encouraged to do the same. Newer economic capitals of the Empire were most likely to do so due to their ability of self-sufficiency. For example, the Viceroy of the Deccan Qamar-ud-Din Siddiqi founded the State of Hyderabad. This state was the capital of the most wanted region of the Deccan because of its exclusive resources of diamonds, pearls, and steel for potential world leading markets. Predicting the lapse of the later Mughal Empire, the leader of Hyderabad declared the state independent in the late 18th century. The Mughal Sultanate lost the Province of Bengal, their largest financial capital, in a very similar manner and at the same. The difference was, however, the interference of the British.
‘…anarchy has arisen, and everyone proclaims himself a sovereign in his own place … the strong prevailing over the weak … In this age of delusion and deceit His Majesty places no dependence on the service or professions of loyalty of anyone but the English chiefs.’
-Letter from Emperor Shah Alam to the East India Company
The global expansion of trade and conquests by European powers marked the beginning of colonialism. In the early 16th century, exotic spices such as cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and exquisite refined fabrics like silk and cotton were of high demand in Europe. What other place than India would carry these luxuries? Indo-British trades had just started. In fact, the flourished Mughal Empire of the time of Jahangir was the British’s main economic market. Hence, merchants began their journey towards India through sea routes which lead them to the Bay of Bengal and eventually to the Mughal province of Bengal. A group of English merchants then founded the East India Company in 1599 (Bengal is located in eastern India) for gaining more opportunities in the international spice trade. Later on, though, other resources of the province (silk, muslin) spark their financial interests.
The third Mughal Emperor Jahangir was fascinated by foreigners and found them to be great economic and financial aids. The British were no different to him. They were warmly welcomed by Mughal officials for trade purposes, hence giving them the opportunity to create a large variety of products and a potential international market.
The East India Company would have witnessed, like many others, the decline of the Mughal Empire within the next century. They would have also seen the rise of the Maratha Empire. The changing monarchy meant that they had to protect their own economy before it also gets taken away. Thus, just like the way the Marathas defeated the Mughals, the British ended up defeating the Marathas. The East India Company had started taking over India. That would mark the initial trials of colonialism.
The Mughal Sultanate had shrunk to basically the modern-day state of Delhi under the reign of the Emperor Shah Alam II in the late 18th century. This particular emperor had a different game plan: instead of defending his small empire against his existing enemies, he went as far as to conquer Afghanistan in a war against the Durrani dynasty in 1759. Obviously, his small troop of soldiers could not stand against the opponent’s large army. However, his plan backfired when Ahmad Shah Abdali, the independent ruler of Afghanistan, marched towards Delhi for invasion in 1761. Fortunately, Delhi was then under the influence of the Marathas. Regardless, his persistent desire of conquering territories while leaving his own empire unattended made way for the British to interfere the Mughal administration. This time though, they took control for good, but unofficially. Shah Alam, was considered as the puppet Emperor, following orders given by the British authority. Indeed, the British were not yet strong enough to claim sovereignty on their own if we consider the dangers surrounding them from small Indian kingdoms. Nonetheless, it did not stop them from ruling and benefiting of the profits of the Mughal kingdom.
‘The descendant of the great Akbar and Awrangzeb was found blinded and aged, stripped of authority and reduced to poverty, seated under a small tattered canopy, the fragment of royal state and the mockery of human pride,’
Bahadur Shah Zafar was a mere figurehead. A captive emperor in the Red Fort of Dehli. He did not have the power to lead the kingdom of his ancestors. The title of being an Emperor was purely symbolic. He knew, for a fact, that he was destined to be the last Emperor of the 331 years old Mughal dynasty. As a matter of fact, Sir Thomas Metcalfe, Shah’s British minder, was ordered to get rid of the Mughals from the fort as soon as Zafar breathes his last. In spite of the obvious end of the Empire, Indian troops formed around northern India around May 1857. Their goal was to restore the Mughal Empire by freeing them from the British and to occupy high positions at the court. Sooner or later, chaos was ensued by the rebellion; the British were being killed across Delhi by the Indian troops. Needless to say, the powerful British won. Bahadur Shah, along with his Empire, was destined to end right then and there.
‘The sun of our life has already reached its evening. These are our last days. All I wish for is retreat and seclusion’
-Bahadur Shah II to the rebels, May 1857
Ghalib, Zafar’s former court poet was witness of the end of the Mughal royal family: ‘… helpless I watch the wives and the children of aristocrats literally begging from door to door …’ The last Emperor surrendered to the British on the 20th of September 1857. He was then forced to attend the execution of his sons and grandson while other royals were imprisoned throughout India. As for himself, he was sentenced to be exiled in Burma (Myanmar) with his wife. He died in Rangoon on the 7th of November 1862.
‘The name of the great Timurid emperors is still alive, but soon that name will be completely destroyed and forgotten’.
-Bahadur Shah Zafar
Descendants of the son of Zafar and his wife Zeenat Mahal were traced in Rangoon. Many of them were also found in Bengal. As a matter of fact, the last Emperor’s brother escaped Delhi during the 1857 Rebellion and went to Bengal. Most of his descendants live in Bangladesh. Some of them are dispersed around the globe: the USA, Canada, and the Middle East.
Let’s say that today’s Indian society is not fond of the Mughals. As covered in the previous pages, the consequences of Akbar the Great’s Chittor Massacre left an undeniable feeling of disgust towards this operation of his. There is also Aurangzeb’s religious intolerance which left a permanent scar on the Non-Muslims, including the Hindu and Sikh communities. Furthermore, they are thought to be weak and cowardly in character and associate that with the easy arrival of the British in India. It is important to note that independence from British colonialism has always been a matter of pride for people of the Indian Subcontinent. However, many consider the Mughals as colonizers just like the British. It is a fact that the first Mughals were not native to India and that they conquered a foreign land and began Persian cultural influence. Though, it is also a fact that all the successors of the third emperor Janhangir were partly native to India due to their Rajput ancestor. All in all, these are the main factors which have created a negative reputation of the Mughal dynasty.
This leads us to the disliked Mughal descendants. These successors demand ancestral rights from the Indian government, but all their efforts go in vain. For example, The Tucy family of Hyderabad who has been proved to be direct descendants of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar is not recognized by the Indian government. However, they are officially recognized as royalty by the government of Uzbekistan. Indeed, the founder of the Empire Babur was born there and is also considered as a national hero.
‘We have visited Tashkent twice for commemorative events of Babar and the Uzbek government has given our children grants of Rs. 1.2 per year per child to study there.’ Masihuddin Tucy, 50, says in an interview with Vinita Bhardwaj.
This fact was subject to many debates. Indeed, some says that India is renown worldwide thanks to Mughal legacy. Yet, they can’t officially recognize the descendants and the historic owners of these patrimony. If a country like Uzbekistan who is not directly linked to the Mughal Empire could respect them, why can’t India?
The answer does not have much to do with the concept of respect, but rather the concept of economy. The field of tourism is growing very rapidly in India and is a very important source of revenue for the country. In fact, India is the world’s 7th largest tourism economy. Ever heard of the Taj Mahal? Well, the magnificent monument generates an annual revenue of Rs 25 crore or 5 million USD. Though the Taj Mahal is one of the most exceptional monuments in the world, many other Mughal master pieces are economically exploited. Royal tombs of emperors and empresses such as the tomb of Akbar the Great, Humayun, Marium-Uz-Zmani, etc. are great spots for tourism. Coming back to the Tucy family, they claim a part of the income from the large field of tourism. During the interview with Bharadwaj, they enumerate two of them:
Land by virtue of their bloodline. “Even 1,000 sqaure meters per family will be enough,” says Masihuddin.
” And it even includes handing over monuments that are currently under the purview of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).” However, they know that it Is very unlikely for it to be granted. For instance, they just don’t want to be obliged to pay for a ticket to visit the Taj Mahal.
Surpringly, the point of view of the impacts of Mughal rule on today’s youth is very diverse. Unlike the generation preceding them, they seem to be more open minded to the historical context and tend to keep that in mind while forming an opinion. Furthermore, they have different views on the impact of the Mughal Empire on the society. Here are some extracts from Meena Bhargava’s book named “The Decline of the Mughal Empire” where she inserts the attitude and position of two teenagers while keeping them anonymous. The first one is Muslim and he thinks that the Mughals were rude with the Hindus which is the reason why he gets bullied at school. The second one is Hindu and he thinks that the Mughals are India’s pride because they get internationally recognized thanks to them. It is interesting to note that both of them have opposite opinions and different religions. This show that the difference of religion is not a matter of concern for today’s youth and that they judge by reflecting upon facts.
This is how a grand and powerful empire gradually came to an end. With the six Great Mughal Emperors bringing out the days of glory and the later ones struggling to keep it together, this chapter of history had to eventually come to an end in order to make space for new ones. Indeed, then came British colonialism and the contemporary world. In both, the presence of Mughal history is essential to understand the state of India today. Whether the impacts are economic and social, the Mughal history is recent, so it blends seamlessly with the issues of the current times. Thus, Mughal rule will always remain one of the most fascinating period of Indian History.