Akbar is famous for his Rajput policy. He opened a new chapter in this direction. The Rajputs were the leaders of the Hindus in the military field and they were well-known for their bravery. No wonder Akbar, who wanted to found his Empire on the willing co-operation of the Hindus, decided to win over the Rajputs.
Many Rajputs were taken into the Mughal service. Many were created Mansabdars. The Jizya was abolished. Pilgrimage tax was also abolished. Everything was done to remove the feeling among the Rajputs that they were being discriminated against. It was this policy of reconciliation towards the Hindus in general and the Rajputs in particular which enabled Akbar to conquer the whole of Northern India and a part of the Deccan.
In 1562, Akbar married the eldest daughter of Raja Bihar Mai of Jaipur. As a result of this marriage Akbar took Raja Bhagwan Das and Man Singh into the Mughal service. Both of them occupied offices of trust and responsibility. They helped Akbar in many wars. They were entrusted with the most difficult jobs by him. In 1584, Akbar married Prince. Salim to the daughter of Raja Bhawan Das. In 1570, he married Rajput princesses from Bikaner and Jaisalmer.
In this way, Akbar was able to win over most of the Rajput states in Rajputana. However, the state of Mewar defied the might of Akbar. Consequently Akbar had to march against Chittor, Rana Udai Singh left the defence of Chittor into the hands of Jaimal. There was a lengthy siege and in 1568, Chittor was captured. After the death of Udai Singh in 1572 Maharana Pratap became the ruler of Mewar. He continued an unequal struggle for a quarter of a century.
In 1576, he was defeated in the Battle of Haldighati. In spite of this defeat he continued the struggle and was ultimately successful in recovering the whole of Mewar except Chittor, Ajmer and Mandalgarh. Maharana Pratap died in 1597. He was succeeded by Amar Singh, who continued the struggle against the Mughals even in the reign of Jahangir.
It is to be noted that in his fight against Mewar, Akbar was helped by Man Singh and other Rajput princes and generals. Thus, by a policy of conciliation. Akbar was able to win over the affection of the Rajputs and thereby solidify the foundations of the Mughal Empire in the country. It was the reversal of this policy in the time of Aurangzeb that proved to be undoing of his Empire.