Medieval India History



ð Babur (1526-1530):

He was invited to invade Hindustan by Daulat Khan (an uncle of Ibrahim Lodhi) to get the throne of Delhi. Lodhi was defeated in the 1st Battle of Panipat in 1526. He defeated Rana Sangha in the Battle of Khanwa in 1527. He defeated the Afghan Chief under Mahmud Lodhi (Brother of Ibrahim Lodhi) in the Battle of Ghagra in 1529. Before he died in 1530, he was the master of Delhi, Punjab & Gangetic Plains as far as Bihar. He was buried in Aram Bagh near Kabul. His memoir, the Tazuk-i- Baburi in Turki language is a classic of world literature.

 ð Humayun (1530-40, 1555-56):

He inherited a vast unconsolidated empires & empty treasury & also had to deal with growing Afghan Power. Sher Shah Suri had Bihar under his control, at that time, he had won Bengal also. He had close contact with Bahadur Singh the ruler of Gujrat who gave heavy subsidies to Sher Shah, that helped Sher Shah to raise a large army to challenge Humayun. Humayun lost battles 1) The Battle of Chausa(1539)   2) The Battle of Kannoj, against Sher Shah. Thus, lost the newly founded empire & passed the next 12 years roaming in Exile. In 1555, he regained the empire from a weak successor of Sher Shah. In 1556, he died as a result of fall from the stairs in his library building (Sher Mandal, Delhi). Gulbadan Begum, his half-sister wrote Humayun-Nama

=>The Suri Saga: Sher Shah (1540-45):  

     His empire extended from Indus in the West & Brahputra in the East, from the Himalayas in the North & the Narmada in the South. Sher Shah dispensed Justice very sternly, later his son Islam Shah codified the laws. 

 ð Akbar(1556-1605):

Born in 1542, He was represented by Bairam Khan in the 2nd Battle of Panipat in 1556 against Hemu Vikramaditya. Hemu was defeated. He married Raja Bharmal’s Daughter Jodha Bai in 1562, that let to the friendship between the Rajputs (Except Mewar) & Mughals. Battle of Haldighati: Mughals led by Maan Singh & Rajputs led by Rana Pratap Singh. Rana was defeated. He used to visit the shrine of Sheikh Muinuddin Chisti at Ajmer regularly. Formulated a secular order called Din-i-Ilahi or Jauhind-i-Ilahi. In 1582. He led the Todar Mal Bandobast or Zabti System. He introduced the Mansabdari System to organize the nobility as well as the Army. He led to another Land Revenue system in 1582 called Dahsala under this new system the average produce of different crops & their average prevailing prices for the last 10 years were calculated & one-third of the average produce fixed in rupees per bigha was demanded as State’s Share. He built Agra Fort & Fateh Pur Sikri. 

 ð Jahangir (1605-1627):

He executed 5th Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun Dev. He had installed a chain of Justice (Zanzir-i-Adal) outside his palace in Agra. He married to Mehr-un-Nisa, the widow of Sher Afghani in 1611. He gave her the title of Nur Jahan. Captain Hawkins (1608-11) & Sir Thomas Roe (1615-19) represented East India Co. in his court. Due to the efforts of Sir Thomas Roe, English Factories were established at Surat & some other places. Painting reached its zenith during his reign.

 ð Shahjahan (1628-58):

His reign is considered as “Golden Age of Mughal Empire”. He Built Tajmahal, Moti Masjid at Agra, Jama Masjid, Red Fort at Delhi.

 ð Aurangzeb Alamgir(1658-1707):

His reign witnessed various rebellions like Jat Peasantry at Mathura, Satnami Peasantry in Punjab & Bundelas in Bundelkhand. In 1675, he arrested & Executed the 9th Sikh guru, Guru Teg Bahadur. In 1679, he reimposed Zaziya, also banned singing Nauraj in court &  the practice of Jharokha Darson.

ð Cultural Development During The Mughal Era:

The Mughal Era is Called the “2nd Classical Age”. Here, the Indian Traditions were amalgamated. With the Turko-Iranian culture brought to the country by the Mughals.  Let’s start with:


They built magnificent monuments.  Several gardens with running water in the neighborhood of Agra & Lahore, for example like The Nishant Bagh in Kashmir, the Shalimar in Lahore, The Pinjore Garden in Punjab. Akbar built a series of forts like Agra Fort in red stone, Fatehpur Sikri Fort.  The Mosque & Buland Darwaja to Commemorate Akbar’s victory in Gujrat. Humayun’s tomb in Delhi built in Delhi by Akbar. During Jahangir Era, they adopted Pietra Dura, a method of decoration with building putting entirely of Marble & decorating walls with flora. Taj Mahal is the most pleasing structureUnder Shah Jahan architecture reached to its climax. He built Moti Masjid in Agra fort & another masjid was Jama Masjid in Delhi. All the mentioned buildings were in red stone except the Taj Mahal.

            By the time of Aurangzeb’s reign, the decline had set in & Mughal architecture was no longer impressive or innovative as it has been, Even Hindu rulers got influenced by Mughal’s, e.g. The Govind Dev Temple at Brindavan. Even the Golden Temple of Amritsar has the feature of Arch & Dome principle & incorporates many features of the Mughal Architecture.

2) The Painting:

The Mughal made a distinctive Contribution in Painting, introduced new themes depicting the court, battle scene & the chase, new colors & forms. The revival began with Akbar. He organized painting as Imperial established (Karkhanas). Akbar has Jaswant & Dasawan, the two famous painters in his court. European painting was introduced at Akbar’s court by the Portuguese Priests. Mughal painting reached a climax under Jahangir. He patronized many of the best artists of the time like Bishan Das, Murad, Mansur & Behzad.                                                                                                                                              At that time, another school of painting was The Deccan School, which was encouraged by Bijapuri Sultans.


     Tansen adorned the court of Akbar. Who enriched the Hindustani School or North Indian Style of Music by Composing many melodies or Ragas Like Darbari raag. The Hindustani School of Music had taken many features from Persian Music. Jahangir & Shah Jahan continued patronizing Music. However, Aurangzeb banished singing in his court in his later days. Khayal was developed in Mughal Court & Thumri became Popular. But, Queens of Aurangzeb kept patronizing Music Artists. More development in Music during Muhammad Shah(1720-48). Abdul Hamid Lahori was a notable chronicle & poet of his time.  



  Persian prose & poetry reached a Climax under Akbar(Who has Abul Fazl & his brother Faizi Utbi in his Court). Most of the composition in Sanskrit was under the patronage of local rulers. Brahmans were employed in the translation department of the emperors. Medieval Hindi was in Brij form, & was patronized by Mughal emperors & Hindu Rulers. Abdur Rahim, a Hindi poet was in the court of Akbar. Similarly, Tulsidas, Surdas both were in the Mughal era. A no. of poets started writing in Urdu, Delhi & Lucknow were to become the centers of Urdu Poetry.

 Babar came to India and defeated Ibrahim, the last Lodi Sultan in 1526. Babar was succeeded by his son Humayun but he was ousted from Delhi by Sher Shah, an Afghan chieftain. 


Though Sher Shah (1540-55 AD) ruled only for a brief period of almost five years yet he showed great administrative skills. He is remembered as the builder of the Grand Trunk road and also for reforms in the revenue system. Though Humayun was successful in regaining Delhi but he was not destined to rule Delhi for long and died the same year. With this began the reign of one of the most glorious rulers of India, Akbar the great. Akbar (1556-1605 AD) consolidated political power and extended his empire over practically the whole of north India and parts of the south. Akbar was a great ruler and very well realized that if the empire was to attain stability, enough attention should be paid to all the subjects. Keeping this thing in mind he sought cooperation from the Rajputs. 

Jehangir (1605-27), the son of Akbar was a pleasure loving man of refined taste. Contemporary historians have recorded that during his reign the Persian nobility related to his wife Nur Jahan had become very powerful at the royal court. Jehangir was followed by his son Shah Jahan (1628-58 AD). Shah Jahan was a great lover of buildings of whom the Taj Mahal is the most famous. Other notable buildings built by Shah Jahan are the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid at Delhi. 

Aurangzeb (1658-1707 AD) was a brave general and an able administrator but these virtues were overshadowed by his religious dogmatism and fanaticism. The Mughal Empire reached its zenith during the reign of Aurangzeb. But at the same time he wasted his energy and resources in his long drawn out conflicts with the Marathas and other local rulers and principalities. After the death of Aurangzeb the mighty Mughal Empire started to totter. His successors were weak and incapable of holding the far-flung empire together. The imperial authority was challenged from all corners and the provincial governors began to assert their independence.