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Name
Akbar the Great
Alternate Names
Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar
Shahanshah Akbar-e-Azam
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"Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar (جلال الدین محمد اکبر Jalāl ud-Dīn Muhammad Akbar), also known as Shahanshah Akbar-e-Azam or Akbar the Great (15 October 1542  – 27 October 1605), was the third Mughal Emperor. He was of Timurid descent; the son of Humayun, and the grandson of Babur, the ruler who founded the Mughal dynasty in India. At the end of his reign in 1605 the Mughal empire covered most of the northern and central India and was one of the most powerful empires of its age.

Akbar was thirteen years old when he ascended the Mughal throne in Delhi, following the death of his father Humayun. During his reign, he eliminated military threats from the powerful Pashtun descendants of Sher Shah Suri, and at the Second Battle of Panipat he defeated the newly self-declared Hindu king Hemu. It took him nearly two more decades to consolidate his power and bring all the parts of northern and central India into his direct realm. He influenced the whole of the Indian Subcontinent as he ruled a greater part of it as an emperor. As an emperor, Akbar solidified his rule by pursuing diplomacy with the powerful Rajput caste, and by marrying Rajput princesses.

Akbar's reign significantly influenced art and culture in the country. He took a great interest in painting, and had the walls of his palaces adorned with murals. Besides encouraging the development of the Mughal school, he also patronised the European style of painting. He was fond of literature, and had several Sanskrit works translated into Persian and Persian scriptures translated in Sanskrit apart from getting many Persian works illustrated by painters from his court. During the early years of his reign, he had an intolerant attitude towards Hindus and the other religions, but he exercised great tolerance after he began marriage alliances with Rajput princesses. His administration included numerous Hindu landlords, courtiers and military generals. He began a series of religious debates where Muslim scholars would debate religious matters with Jains, Sikhs, Hindus, Cārvāka atheists, Jews, and Portuguese Roman Catholic Jesuits. He treated these religious leaders with great consideration, irrespective of their faith, and revered them. He even founded a religion, the Din-i-Ilahi (Divine Faith), which included the teachings of major religions of the world, but it amounted only to a form of personality cult for Akbar and started dissolving after his death."

Source: Wikipedia, "Akbar", available under the CC-BY-SA License.

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