Babur founded the Mughal Empire in India in 1526. He captured Delhi and Agra after defeating the Afgan Ibrahim Lodi.
His grandson Akbar extended the empire and made it secure and firm. Shahjalian’s region has been declared the golden age in the history of the Mughal Empire.
The Mughal Empire reached its greatest extent in the time of Aurangzeb, but such a vast and powerful empire also marched toward its downfall during his reign, and collapsed with dramatic suddenness within a few decades after his death. Bahadur Shall II was the last of the Shadowy emperors.
He jointed the sepoy mutiny for which he was arrested and deported to. Rangoon where he died in 1862. Thus ended the line of Babur. There are several causes that led to the down fall of the great Mughal Empire.
The Mughal Empire, though imposing, had shallow roots. To the vast majority of the people, it was essentially a foreign empire, and as much it never evoked that spontaneous popular support which is the basis of the stability of an empire. Besides, the government of the Mughals was a personal despotism and so its success depended on the personal character of reigning autocrat from Babur to Aurangzeb we have on the w hole a line of six able and competent rulers.
Aurangzeb was succeeded by Bahadur Shah a capable and wiser ruler. But his successors proved worth less. “The last Mughals were mostly worthless debackchees, who buried themselves in the seraglio, leaving the affairs of the government in the hands of unscrupulous minister.
This naturally gave rise to rivalries, intrigues and corruption which in their turn produced administrative chaos. The foundation of the empire was thus undermined.” Its responsibility was that of Aurangzeb. He never arranged for the proper schooling and education of princes.
Thus they passed most of their time in sensual pleasure, music and dance. With such a ruler the country was bound to meet its doom. The same unhappy result was also produced by the absence of any definite law of peaceful succession.
Among the Hindus, it was a rule that the eldest son would succeed his father; but there was so such fixed rule among the Muslims.
Their only rule was might is right. Hence, the close of almost every reign or the beginning of the next was disfigured by bloody civil wars.” such fratricidal or patricidal struggles for the throne had a very demoralising effect on the stability of the government. They fostered partisanship at the cost of patriotism. “This had naturally a bad effect on the state.
Amirs and nobles occupied a very important place in the state in the mediaeval age. But the degeneration of the rulers fed to the degeneration of the nobility under the early Mughals, the nobles performed useful functions and distinguished themselves in war and peace.
They also helped in the administration of the country. Nobles like Abdur Rahim and Mahabat-Sa-dullah and Mirjumla were a tower of strength to the Government, but that race had died out and “the nobility under the later Mughals were mostly selfish, parasitical and treacherous.” They formed their own groups and thus were lost in their self interest.
They were split up into three factions- Irani, Turani and Hindustani and these quarrelled with one another for self aggrandisement and personal ascendancy, quite heedless of the interests of the state. Thus during the crisis of Nadir Shah’s invasion, Saadat khan, an Irani, betrayed the master to invader for having promoted a Turani.
One of the most potent causes of the fall of the Mughal Empire was the deterioration of the army. As early as the reign of Shah Jahan, the military inefficiency of the Mughals was exposed by the failure of the quandahar campaigns.
The same inefficiency was also revealed during Aurangzeb’s struggle with the marathas. The mughal rulers after Aurangzeb were so weak that they could not properly organise the army – the backbone of the empire. A number of evils crept in due to mansabdari system. Hence, it failed to protect the empire.” In short”, as Iravine writes, “excepting want of personal caure, every other fault in the list of military vicco may be attituated to the degenerate Mughals – indiscipline, want of cohesion, luxurious habits, inactivity, bad commissariat and cumbrous equipments.” An empire lacking popular support and depending on military power is sure to crumble down if the sword is allowed to just.”
The Mughal Empire had become too big and unwieldy to be efficiently administered from a single centre under mediaeval condition of transport and communication.
The outlying provinces were difficult to manage and consequently they suffered form maladministration as testified to by the European travellers who visited Indus in the seventeenth century.
Under the degenerate Mughals the hold of the central government upon the provinces became weak and this let loose the forces of degeneration.
Aurangzeb’s religious policy was largely responsible for the downfall of the Timuried empire intolerance and seselss destruction of the Hindu temples definitely antagonised the vast majority of the Hindu population.
Earlier Akbar had realised the importance of the Hindus and the Rajputs. He there for established matrimonial alliances with them and thereby made them the trusted and devoted friends and well wishers of the empire.
Jahangir and Shahjahan also followed his policy and gave full religious freedom to the people. But Aurangzeb was a staunch Muslim. He gave no religious freedom and treated them harashly.
The were not allowed to worship freely nor to celebrate their festivals and observe other their religious rites It resulted in the Hindus becoming hostile to him. As a consequence, The Rajputs, Sikhs, Jats and Marathas were roused against the mughal rule His unprovoked out rage of the Rajput sentiment deprived his of the willing services of the Rajputs whose valour and Idyalty had been the stoutest prop of the empire.
His jealous orthodoxy also estranged the Shiah Muslims from whom his ancestor had recruited some of their ablest administrative officers. The shias practically ceased to seek imperial service and so Aurangzeb lost the support of a very able professional class. The result was administrative inefficiency which was one of the potent causes of the downfall of the empire.
Akbar had created a powerful empire with the active cooperation of the Rajputs. His successors followed the same policy. Aurangzeb did not trust them; even then Raja Jaswant Singh and Raja Jaisingh remained loyal to him. Aurangzeb’s policy towards Mewar and Mewar turned the Rajputs hostile. They decided to sacrifice their all at the altar of their country’s freedom. Thus, this policy too proved fatal to the Mughal Empire.
The Deccan proved to be an ulcer for Aurangzeb. He passed most of the later part of his life there. His Maratha policy was equally disastrous. His long drawn out campaign against the marathas ruined his finances and undermined his prestige. Besides, it necessitated his prolonged absence from the capital and thereby weakened the very foundation of his government which rested mainly on too close personal supervision. Due to constant wars in the Deccan, the loyal treasury was almost empty.
There was chaos and disorder everywhere in the country because of the court intrigues. The general public followed the example of the Amirs. In the absence of any law and order, the empire could not prosper and soon it was broken into pieces.
There was very heavy taxation. All the wealth was being drained to the capital where it was being squandered like water on pleasurable pursuits. Thus it created a great dissatisfaction among the people.
None of the successors of Aurangzeb proved himself competent in any way. Most of them degenerated into ornamental figure heads and were entirely at the mercy of the intriguing, nobles of the court. They lost themselves flesh and wine. They paid no attention towards the public and did not thing for their welfare. Hence the public became indifferent towards the rulers.
The selfishness of the nobles and their constant rivalries made the central government hopelessly weak. They child not remain loyal and faithful to the empire. They were completely devoid of patriotic feelings. Hence, whenever they got an opportunity they turned hostile and thus helped in bringing the downfall of the country.
The Mughal government became weak so that the provincial governors and other tributary rulers declared themselves independent. It shook the foundation of the empire. These weaknesses led to internal disintegration and also invited external aggression. The fairest provinces began to fall away from the empire and became independent of the control of Delhi.
In the Deccan Shivaji consolidated the power of the marathas which was scattered till now. They began to plunder the Muslim states of the Deccan and ultimately Shivaji succeeded in establishing his empire. The Mughals sent a huge army to the Deccan but could not subdue him.
The Marathas worked from the south. Conquering one kingdom after another and carrying their terror the very gates of Delhi. It thus proved fatal to the Mughal empire in the long run. From the North-West came the invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Durrani which gave a death blow to the tottering empire.
At a time when the Mughal rulers were weak and incapable, when they were lost in pleasurable pursuits, the empire was called upon to face the invasion of Nadir Shah. The Mughal court became the centre of groupism.
The empires were busy fighting among themselves; hence they had no time and energy to look towards the foreign invaders. The soldiers were not paid in time and once they arrested even the Wazir.
The emperor was forced to sign a treaty with the Marathas with a certainty that they would help him in the hour of need. But as the time proved, the Mughals failed and miserably failed to save the country from the foreign attackers. These attacks shook the very foundation of the empire with the result that one day it troubled down.
In the meantime some foreigners came to the country and they soon became powerful. While the Mughals and the marathas were busy in saving the country from the hands of Ahmad Shah Abdali, Clive, on the other hand, was explaining his plan to establish the British rule in India. As Sardesai Writes.
While the two combatants, the Marathas and the Musalmans, were locked in deadly Combat on the field of ancient Kurukhetra. Clive the first founder of the British empire in India was on his way to England, to explain the feasibility of his dreams of an Indian empire to the great Governor, Lord Chatham, the then Prime Minister”.
These foreigners had new modern type of weapons with which they very easily defeated the Mughals. All these factors contributed to the downfall of the Mughal Empire.