Why did the Mughal Dynasty decline?

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saintfester eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, the empire was caught up in a succession crisis. With one notable succession, none of the remaining emperors could hold onto power for more than a decade, making strong, consistent leadership a thing of the past. There were also successive invasions from both the Persian and Afghan Empires to the east. Eventually, the weakened empire agreed to “protection” from the powerful British East India Company, who used their influence to effectively rule certain parts of India while the ailing empire held only a few areas around New Delhi. The British were always courteous to the Mughal rulers, but there was no question about who really controlled the western parts of India.

When the Sepoy Rebellion broke out in 1857, the British government stepped in and all power was transferred to the crown, shoving the last Mughal emperor aside. The last deposed emperor died in Burma in 1862.

jojo56 | Student
The Mughal Empire, also known as the Timurid dynasty, was the dominant power of the Indian subcontinent from the early 1500s until its end in 1858. The decline of the Empire was gradual and had many causes. By 1725, the Mughal Empire began to weaken because of both internal and external pressures. Among the external pressures were the rise of the Sikh Misi, Hindu Maratha, and Durrani empires as foes, an invasion by Persia, and the arrival of the British East India Company. Internally, the Mughal Empire faced endless wars of succession; several agrarian crisises that led to food shortages and rioting; and the rise of the independent kingdoms of Oudh, Hyderabad, Mysore, and Bengal. In 1804, the weakened Empire was forced to accept the protection of the East India Co. The Empire, by 1857, had shrunk to include only Delhi and some of its surrounding areas. The Indian War of Independence (more commonly known in the West as the Indian Rebellion), fought in 1857, failed for two reasons: the Indians were outgunned and, more important, did not have a coherent ideology for how a free India would be organized. This lack of political planning caused many areas/kingdoms to not join in the rebellion. Although the East India Co. did quash the rebellion with help from the British military, the fact that any uprising occurred caused the British to dissolve the East India Co. and place India under direct British control. In 1858, the first British Raj was named and Emperor Bahadur Shah II was imprisoned and then exiled. With the fall of the Emperor and the appointment of the first Raj, the Mughal Empire ceased to exist.