Akbar was one of the greatest rulers that ever governed India. He was only a boy of thirteen when his father, the Moghal Emperor Humayun, died, and he had to fight for his crown. But after a short struggle, his guardian, the veteran Bairam Khan, seated him firmly on the throne. For two or three years, Bairam Khan was the real ruler of the Empire; but in 1560 Akbar took the government into his own hands, and dismissed Bairam Khan. His pardon of Bairam Khan when he rebelled against him because of his dismissal is the first instance of Akbar’s chivalrous generosity.
The first part of Akbar’s reign was spent in war and conquest. His grandfather Babar, who founded the Moghal Empire, and his father Humayun, had not had time to conquer more than a part of Northern India. Akbar was a brave and accomplished soldier, and a born leader: and in many campaigns, he subdued the whole of the north of India, from Afghanistan to the shores of the Bay of Bengal.
But Akbar was no mere conqueror. He had a genius for government, and the remainder of his reign was spent in organizing the great Empire he had conquered. He was an able administrator and set up an efficient and just system of government throughout the land. He was a foreign conqueror ruling a people alien in race and religion; but by his tact, toleration, and justice he won the hearts of all classes. Though he was a Mussalman, he employed an able Hindu administrator, notably Todar Mal, who reformed the land revenue system. In fact, his policy was one of wise toleration.
Akbar was not a well-educated man, but he was naturally clever and thoughtful, and he took a great interest in religion and philosophy. In religion, he was very broad-minded and took a delight in listening to religious discussions between Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists, and teachers, of all faiths. Not being satisfied with any of these religions, he, with the help of the two clever brothers, Abu’l Faizi and Abu!
Fazal founded a new faith called the Din-i-Ilahi, which became the court religion. It was made up of what Akbar considered the noblest beliefs of all the religions. Akbar died in 1605 having reigned since 1556.