Rajput Policy Of Akbar
The Rajpur policy of Akbar was the result of a deliberate policy and was based on the principles of enlightened self-interest, recognition of merit, justice and fair play.
The rebellions of those very people on whom depended the Mughal authority convinced Akbar, that the only way to perpetuate his power and dynasty was to seek the support of the Rajputs. The Rajput community was the important political elements in the in India.
Moreover, the Afghan opposition to the Mughals, had not died out. The Afgans still dominated Bihar, Bengal and Orissa. Sher Khan, son of the late Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah, was preparing to overthrow the Mughal power in the eastern parts of the modern Uttar Pradesh (1561), and Sulaiman Karrani was fast becoming the leader of the Afghans in India.
Akbar realized that the Rajputs, who held large areas in their possession and were skillful warriors and renowned for their valor and fidelity to their word, could safely be depended upon and converted into friends. Hence, Mughal Emperor Akbar decided to seek the cooperation of the Rajputs to exapand the Mughal Empire. In pursuance of this policy, he accepted the submission of Raja Bharmal (Raja Biharimal) of Amber (Jaipur) and welcomed a matrimonial alliance with that Kachhwaha ruling family in January 1562.
Akbar took Bhagwant Das and Raja Man Singh into his service, and soon discovered that they were very loyal and serviceable. It was, in fact, only after Akbar had tasted the Kachhwaha loyalty and devotion that he decided to invite other Rajput chiefs in the land to accept him as their suzerain and join his service on a footing of equality with the highest of his Muslim officials and commanders. He shrewdly guessed that, if left in the possession of their autonomous states and treated honorably, they would accept the offer. He was right. One after another, all the States of Rajasthan entered into alliance with him and their chiefs were enrolled as mansabdars.
But this result was not achieved without military demonstration and even fight. Merta fell in 1542 and Ranthambore in 1568. In 1570 Marwar, Bikaner and Jaisalmer submitted without resistance. Other States in Rajasthan and Central India followed suit. Mewar alone rejected the proposal. In spite of a prolonged siege, Chittor, was lost.
Mughal Emperor Akbar was generous enough to forget the resistance and even grim fighting offered by some of the Rajputs, and admits them to the same privileges and honors in his service as he had shown to those who had submitted without fighting. Being peculiarly free from religious fanaticism, he, did not brand the Rajputs as political inferiors. Nor did he, during the course of his campaigns in their lands, indulge in the policy of temple destroying and image breaking. The religious policy of Akbar towards Rajputs and Hindus was that of toleration.
In fact, he looked upon the highest among them, who had entered into matrimonial alliances with him, as his relatives. The result of Akbar’s enlightened Rajput policy based upon mutual understanding was that the Rajputs, who had not only held aloof but fought stubbornly and consistently against the Turko-Afghan Sultans of Delhi for more than 250 years, became staunch supporters of the Mughal throne and a most effective instrument for the spread of Mughal rule in the country. They contributed freely and richly to the military, political, administrative, economic, social, cultural and artistic achievements of Akbar’s reign. Their cooperation not only gave security and permanence to the Mughal rule, but also brought about an unprecedented economic prosperity and cultural renaissance in the country, and a synthesis of the Hindu and Muslim cultures which is a priceless legacy of the Mughal rule.