The Mughals were descendants of two great lineages of rulers. From their mother’s side they were descendants of Genghis Khan (died 1227), ruler of the Mongol tribes, China and Central Asia. From their father’s side they were the successors of Timur (died 1404), the ruler of Iran, Iraq and modern-day Turkey. For IAS exam, the topic Mughal Dynasty is of very much importance as questions for prelims as well as mains come from here. Students need to have factual as well as conceptual knowledge of the Mughal dynasty topic, so that they can solve the UPSC prelims and UPSC mains exam questions easily.


  • Babur (AD 1526-30) Babur was the first Mughal Emperor of India. He was from the princely family of mixed Mongol and Turkish blood.
  • He defeated Mewar ruler Rana Sanga in the Battle Of Khanwa in 1527 and Medini Rai in the Battle of Chanderi (1528).
  • He died in 1530.
  • Babur wrote   his   biography Baburnama which is also known as Tuzk-e Babri.


  • Humayun succeeded Babur at the young age of 23 in 1530.
  • He was defeated in the Battle of Chausa (1539) and Battle ofKanauj (1540) by Sher Shah Suri who became the ruler of Agra and Delhi.
  • The Humayun's Tomb was built by his widow Haji Begum in Delhi.
  • Humayun's sister Gulbadan Begum wrote
  • He died in 1556.
  • The real name of Sher Shah was Farid.
  • During the siege of the fort of Kalinjar one of the cannons accidentally went off killing him on 26th of May 1535.
  • He was buried in Sasaram [Bihar).
  • He built Purana Qila in Delhi.
  • He constructed important roads:
  • Grand Trunk (G.T.) road from Sunargaon to Peshawar.


  • Akbar was crowned at Kalanaur at the age of 13 years in 1556.
  • Akbar reoccupied Delhi and Agra in the second battle of Panipat with Hemu, a general ofAdil Shah in 1556.
  • Akbar’s armies had conquered Kashmir, Sindh, Orrisa, Central India and also conquered Gujarat (1572- 1573) and Bengal (1574-1576).
  • Akbar's last campaign was against Asirgarh, resulting in the annexation of Khandesi (1601).
  • He built the Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri.
  • Bhagwan Das and Maan Singh enjoyed a privileged position in the Mughal court.
  • Akbar built many buildings like Agra Fort (1565), Lahore Palace (1572), Fatehpur Sikri, Buland Darwaza and Allahabad Fort (1583).
  • He died in 1605.


  • The real name of Jahangir was Salim.
  • jahangir married Mehr-un-Nisa who assumed the title of' Nur Jahan' (Light of the world)
  • jahangir's most irksome foe was the Rana of Mewar, Amar Singh who finally capitulated in 1613 AD to Khurram's forces.
  • He conquered three Kingdoms - Mewar, Kangra and Abmadnagar in South India.
  • His wife Nur Jahan built Itimad-ud- Daula's (another name ofMirza Ghiyas Beg] Marble tomb at Agra.
  • He built Moti Mahal in Lahore and his own Mausoleum at Shahdara (Lahore).
  • He crushed the rebellion of his own son Khusro and made him blind.
  • His son Khurram (Shah Jahan) rebelled against him at the end of his reign.


  • Shah Jahan became emperor in 1627 and exhibited modernization as a ruler.
  • He faced revolts in thq Deccan and Bundelkhand by Jujhar Singh, the son of Bir Singh Bundela.
  • He was married to the daughter of Asaf Khan named Arjumand Bano Begum, also known as Mumtaz Mahal.
  • He built the Taj Mahal in Agra and the jama Masjid (sand stone) in Delhi.
  • Ustad Isa was the master architect under whose guidance the Taj Mahal was designed and constructed in Agra.
  • He built the Red Fort and Taqt-i-Taus (Peacock Throne) in Shahjahanabad.


  • Aurangzeb was also called as Zinda Pir [the living saint). '
  • He had to face many problems such as problems of the Marathas in the Deccan, the )ats, and Satnamis and Rajputs in north India, and that of Chip Khans and Sikh in the north-west.
  • His direct attention was concentrated on the affairs north India but during 1681, the affairs of the South Central around the rise of the Marathas power under Shivaji.
  • The Mughul conquest reached a climax during his reign.
  • The second coronation of Aurangzeb took place when he defeated Dara [1659).
  • He forbade inscription of Kalma on the coins and banned music in the court.
  • He ended Jarokha Darsha , celebration of Navroz but Jaziya (tax on non- Muslims) was reintroduced by him.
  • Prince Azam Shah built Bibi Ka Makbara, which is the tomb of his mother Rabbia-u'1-Daurani at Aurangabad (1651-1661 AD).
  • He died in 1707 AD.

Mansabdars and Jagirdars

The term mansabdar refers to an individual whoholds a mansab, meaning a position or rank. It was agrading system used by the Mughals to fix (1) rank, (2) salary and (3) military responsibilities. Rank and salary were determined by a numerical value called zat. The higher the zat, the more prestigious was the noble’s position in court and the larger his salary. The mansabdar’s military responsibilities required him to maintain a specified number of sawar or cavalrymen. The mansabdar brought his cavalrymen for review, got them registered, their horses branded and then received money to pay them as salary. Mansabdars received their salaries as revenue assignments called jagirs which were somewhat like iqtas. But unlike muqtis, most mansabdars did not actually reside in or administer their jagirs.

Mansabdars received their salaries as revenue assignments called jagirs which were somewhat like iqtas. But unlike muqtis, most mansabdars did not actually reside in or administer their jagirs. They only had rights to the revenue of their assignments which was collected for them by their servants while the mansabdars themselves served in some other part of the country.

Zabt & Zamindari

The main source of income available to Mughal rulers was tax on the produce of the peasantry. In most places, peasants paid taxes through the rural elites, that is, the headman or the local chieftain. The Mughals used one term – zamindars – to describe all intermediaries, whether they were local headmen of villages or powerful chieftains. Akbar’s revenue minister, Todar Mal, carried out a careful survey of crop yields, prices and areas cultivated for a 10-year period, 1570- 1580. On the basis of this data, tax was fixed on each crop in cash. Each province was divided into revenue circles with its own schedule of revenue rates for individual crops. This revenue system was known as zabt. It was prevalent in those areas where Mughal administrators could survey the land and keep very careful accounts. This was not possible in provinces such as Gujarat and Bengal. In some areas the zamindars exercised a great deal of power. The exploitation by Mughal administrators could drive them to rebellion. Sometimes zamindars and peasants of the same caste allied in rebelling against Mughal authority. These peasant revolts challenged the stability of the Mughal Empire from the end of the seventeenth century.

Akbar Nama and Ain-i Akbari

Akbar ordered one of his close friends and courtiers, Abul Fazl, to write a history of his reign. Abul Fazl wrote a three-volume history of Akbar’s reign, titled Akbar Nama. The first volume dealt with Akbar’s ancestors and the second volume recorded the events of Akbar’s reign. The third volume is the Ain-i Akbari. It deals with Akbar’s administration, household, army, the revenues and the geography of his empire. It also provides rich details about the traditions and culture of the people living in India. The most interesting aspect about the Ain-i Akbari is its rich statistical details about things as diverse as crops, yields, prices, wages and revenues.

Akbar's Policies

  • The empire was divided into provinces called subas, governed by a subadar who carried out both political and military functions.
  • Subadar was supported by other officers such as the military paymaster (bakhshi), the minister in charge of religious and charitable patronage (sadr), military commanders (faujdars) and the town police commander (kotwal).
  • Akbar’s nobles commanded large armies and had access to large amounts of revenue.
  • Akbar’s discussions on religion with the ulama, Brahmanas, Jesuit priests who were Roman Catholics, and Zoroastrians took place in the ibadat khana.
  • He realised that religious scholars who emphasised ritual and dogma were often bigots. Their teachings created divisions and disharmony amongst his subjects. This eventually led Akbar to the idea of sulh-i kul or “universal peace”.
  • Abul Fazl helped Akbar in framing a vision of governance around this idea of sulh-i kul.
  • This principle of governance was followed by Jahangir and Shah Jahan as well.


This article of speakes about Mughal dynasty and its administration. The topic of mughal dynasty is very much important for the upsc 202 mins syllabus . to read more History related articles click here