Saturday, November 28, 2009

POLITICAL EXPANSION

POLITICAL EXPANSION Akbar, who was now growing into manhood, publicly announced in 1560 his intention of taking the reins of the government into his own hands. He dismissed Bairam Khan from office and ordered him to take a pilgrimage to Mecca. This made Bairam Khan revolt against Akbar but the revolt failed. Akbar pardoned him and sent him to Mecca. Bairam Khan reached Patan in Gujarat where he was stabbed to death by an Afghan whose father had been executed by his order. The initial phase (AD 1558-1560) of conquest began during Bairam Khan's re­gency. Gwalior, Ajmer and Jaunpur were occupied.

After overcoming Malwa, then ruled by Baz Bahadur, in 1561, Akbar took up arms against Garh Katanga, a kingdom in Gondwana, ruled by the heroic Rani Durgavati
as the regent of her minor son, Bir Narayan. The Rani was defeated by the army of Asaf Khan, after a strong resistance. She committed suicide. The kingdom thus became part of the Mughal empire. The storming of the fortress of Chittor was one of the most famous military feats of Akbar. Rana Udai Singh was its ruler. The independent attitude of his principality proved too much for Akbar's ambition and he laid siege of Chittor in AD 1567. Jai Mal, the brave general of Udai Singh, offered stout resistance to the attackers but died fighting in the battlefield. The fall of Chittor was followed by the submission of the chiefs of Ranthambhor and Kalinjar. But still a formi­dable enemy remained in Rana Pratap, the son of Udai Singh. He defied Akbar and refused to acknowledge his supremacy. Akbar sent a strong army under Man Singh and Asaf Khan to subdue the Rana.

A fierce battle was fought at the pass of Haldighati near. Gogunda in 1576. Rana Pratap was defeated after a stubborn contest. However, the Rana succeeded in recovering the greater part of his kingdom and founded the new capital of Udaipur. He died in 1577, leaving his son Amar Singh as his heir. Despite Akbar's success in other regions of Rajasthan his object in Mewar remained unfulfilled. Rajasthan was merely a 'suba' or province with its headquarters at Ajmer.

In 1572, Akbar personally headed an expedition to Gujarat. Ahmedabad was cap­tured. Surat fell in 1573. It was in order to commemorate his victory of Gujarat that Akbar got the Buland Darwaza constructed at Sikri. Akbar personally marched against Bihar as well and drove out Daud in 1574 from Patna and Hajipur. Bengal was also captured. Orissa, which was under the Af­ghans, fell to Man Singh in 1592. In 1591 Akbar began his attempt to conquer the Deccan. But while Khandesh offered submis­sion, Ahmadnagar was gallantly defended by Chand Bibii Akbar a1111exed parts of Ahmadnagar in 1600. Berar was also annexed. The captur? of Asirgarh in 1601 marked the climax of Akbar's career of conquest. At his death in 1605, his empire included Kashmir, Sind, Kandahar, and extended as far as the Godavari in the Deccan.

Akbar proved successful in his empire-building not merely because of his military prowess but also because of his enlightened religious policy and his attitude towards the Rajputs.

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