Akbar’s Rajput Policy – 1
Akbar was a great statesman. Soon after his accession to the throne he came to the conclusion that the friendship of the Rajputs, a brave and fearless community, would be very valuable and that it would be disastrous to follow a policy of warfare and bloodshed against them. As the Rajputs were the military heads of the Hindu community and also the best fighting men of India he fully realized that there could be no empire without the Rajputs. He also came to the conclusion that no social or political synthesis without their intelligent and effective co-operation was possible in India. So he adopted the policy of reconciling the Rajputs to the Mughal rule. But wherever the method of friendship failed to win over Akbar did not hesitate to resort to warfare. But at the course of war if any Rajput state offered submission Akbar would not prolong the war and would accept the terms of peace.
Amber, Bikamer, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer were among those states that offered unsolicited submission and concluded friendly alliances with the emperor.
Ranthambore and Kalinjar offered some resistance but later on came to honourable settlement. Mewar was the important Rajput state that offered gallant resistance and could not be subordinated by the emperor. The chief features of Akbars Rajput policy may thus be studied as follows:
A] Matrimonial Alliance:
In the first instance, the emperor entered into a scheme of matrimonial alliance with the Rajput chiefs. The first Rajput who gave his daughter in marriage to the emperor was Bihari Mal, The Kachhwa Raja of Amber. In 1562, the Rajput chief along with his family waited upon the emperor at Sangmir, while he was on his way to Ajmer. He expressed his desire to join the imperial service. He also offered his daughter in marriage to the emperor which was gladly accepted. Bihari Mal was given command of 5000 while his son Bhagwan Dass and grandson Man Singh were also enrolled as mansabdars. This marriage is a momentous event in the history of India.
Realizing the advantages of a mughal alliance Bikaner’s ruler kalian Mal and Bhim Singh of Jaisalmer also submitted to the emperor and gave their daughters in marriage to the emperor.
B] Admission of Rajputs in royal service:
Hitherto all high posts were denied to the Hindus. Under Sher Shah some attempts were made to reconcile the Hindus, but under his successors the process was virtually discontinued. Akbar rising above the established Muslim traditions welcomed and appreciated the services of Rajputs in his empire. He granted them high posts of power and responsibility both in civil and military departments. Raja Todar Mal, Raja Bhagwan Das and Raja Man Singh were some of those Rajputs who enjoyed very high posts in the empire. Thousands of other Rajputs joined the imperial army and began to fight for the empire.
C] Freedom of worship to the Rajputs:
Akbar granted freedom of worship and liberty of conscience to the Rajputs. He abolished such discriminating taxes as Jaziya and pilgrim tax. He followed the policy of harmony instead of that of humiliation and could win with their co-operation.
D] Warfare against the Rajputs:
Whenever Akbar’s policy of conciliation failed, he would at once resort to the policy of warfare in order to subdue them. As Mewar had refused to acknowledge the over lordship of the emperor, he decided to subordinate it by force. In 1567, he marched with a big force towards Mewar. When Udai Singh, Rana of Mewar, heard about the approach of Mughals, he ran away into the hills entrusting the forts of Chitoor to the care of Jai Maland Phatta with 8000 brave Rajputs. The imperialists besieged the fort though the Rajputs tried to defend it gallantly but they were in the long run defeated. Chirtoor was conquered by the imperialists.
After the death of Udai Singh in 1572, Maharana Pratap ascended the throne of Mewar. He thought it disgraceful and disparaging for the Rajputs who had degraded themselves by joining the imperial service and married off their daughters and sisters to the emperor. Akbar could not tolerate this. In 1576, he sent a force under Man Singh and Asaf Khan against him. A battle was fought at Haldighat. The Mughals came out victorious and the Rana having been defeated, ran away to the hills. After some time Rana came out of the hills and re conquered some of his lost territories. Thus Akbar, in spite of his best efforts, could not subdue the Rana either by friendship nor by force.
Akbar’s Rajput Policy – 1