Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Jalaluddin Mohammed Akbar was a Moghul emperor who was born in 1542 and died in 1605. He is also sometimes referred to as Akbar the Great in honor of both his conquests and his insight into relations between people of different religions. Oddly enough, despite his great success as a ruler, he was the only Moghul ruler who was illiterate. This was due to his refusal to be educated. Although he was not formally educated, he encouraged the education of others and supported the arts during his reign.

Akbar was thirteen years old when he became emperor, although he did not begin ruling personally until he was twenty years old. To secure other territories, he would often make marriage treaties with the raja of the territory that allow them to maintain the status of royalty if they were willing to acknowledge Akbar as the emperor. He also allowed the sons of the rajas to be educated in his court, many of whom went on to be ranked highly and/or become trusted advisers to Akbar despite the differences in religion. He was the first known Muslim ruler known to treat Hindu population as equals instead of subordinates and to create a separation between religion and state.

In contrast to this show of benevolence towards those who were willing to bend to his will, he was merciless towards those who opposed him. For example, in the territory of Mewar, after laying a successful siege to its main city, Akbar lead the slaughter of all of the known defenders of the city. The count of those slaughtered was thought to be more than thirty thousand. While he was willing to shed blood to prove his dominance, he also ordered that children and women should not be harmed because the actions of their fathers or husbands.

Jalaluddin Akbar made his mark on the Moghul empire in many ways. He used unconventional methods to successfully grown and maintain a large empire despite having little formal education and being made emperor at a young age.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial