Babur and Humayun had come into contact with the rulers of Amber and Mewar, and had fought with them, but had not been able to subjugate them completely. They could not realize the importance of an alliance with the Rajputs and to appreciate the value of their friendship. It was left to Akbar to revolutionize the Mughal policy towards the Rajput chiefs.
Akbar entered into an alliance with the Kachhwaha ruling family in January 1562 and thereafter he made friendly relations with other Rajput rulers and appointed them to very high posts, such as governors and commanders, in the imperial service. The result was that the Rajputs who had not only stood aloof but had also fought stubbornly against the Turko-Afghan Sultans of Delhi for more than 350 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 the reign of Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. 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 the synthesis of the Hindu and Muslim culture, which is a priceless legacy of the Mughal rule.
Jahangir continued to follow Akbar’s policy of friendly alliance with the Rajputs. It must, however, be admitted that in his time the Rajputs did not enjoy that share in public services which they had enjoyed in the time of Akbar.
Even during the reign of Shah Jahan, the Rajputs continued to hold high positions during his reign. Besides being governors and high commanders, several Rajputs and other Hindus held high posts in the revenue department. Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur was the premier noble of the empire and Raja Raghunath was the imperial diwan towards the end of the reign.
But with the accession of Aurangzeb, the Mughal policy towards the Rajputs started changing. But, he took no important steps against them as long as Raja Jai Singh of Amber and Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Marwar were alive. On Jaswant Singh’s death in December 1678, the emperor made arrangements for the annexation of Marwar to the empire. He imposed the jiziya on the Hindus. The result was that the Rajputs, who had been instrumental in the expansion of the empire, decided to withheld their cooperation.
Aurangzeb’s immediate successors, Bahadur Shah I, Jahandar Shah and Farrukh-Siyar were obliged to fight some of the Rajput chiefs of Rajasthan. The consequence was that most Rajput chief of importance took did not took the side of the Mughals in their struggle against the Marathas, the Sikhs, the Jats and the foreign invaders like Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali.