136 THE MUGHAL DYNASTY. India. Out of 415 mansahddrs, or commanders of horse, 51 were Hindus. Akbar abolished the jaziah, the hated tax on non- Musalmans, and placed all his subjects upon a political equality. He had the Sanskrit sacred books and epic poems translated into Persian, and showed a keen interest in the religion of his Hindu subjects. He respected their laws, but he put down their inhumane rites. He forbade trial by ordeal, animal sacrifices, and child marriages before the age of puberty. He legalized the re-marriage of Hindu widows ; but he failed to abolish widow-burning on the husband's funeral pile, although he took steps to ensure that the act should be voluntary. Muhammadan States reduced. — Akbar thus incorporated his Hindu subjects into the effective force, both civil and military, of his empire. With their aid he reduced the independent Mu- hammadan kings of Northern India. He subjugated the petty Hindu potentates from the Punjab to Behar. After a struggle, he wrested Lower Bengal in 1576 from its Afghan princes of the house of Sher Shah (see page 133). From the time of Akbar's conquest of Lower Bengal, it remained for nearly two centuries a province of the Mughal Empire, under governors from Delhi (1576—1765). In 1765, it passed by an imperial grant to the British. Orissa, on the Bay of Bengal, submitted to Akbar's armies, under his Hindu general, Todar Mall, in 1574. On the opposite coast of India, Gujar&t was reconquered from its independent Muhammadan king (1572-73), although not finally subjugated until 1593. Malvva had been reduced in 1572. Kashmir was conquered in 1586, and its last revolt quelled in 1592. Sind was also annexed in 1592 ; and by the recovery of Kandahar in 1594, Akbar extended the Mughal Empire from the heart of Afghanistan across all India north of the Vindhyas, eastward to Orissa, and westward to Sind. He removed the seat of government from Delhi to Agra, and founded Fatehpur Sikri as the future capital of the empire. From this project he was afterwards dissuaded, by the superior position of Agra on the great waterway of the Jumna. In 1566, he built the Agra fort, whose red sandstone battlements majestically overhang the river to this day. Akbar's Wars in Southern India. — Akbar's efforts to
Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/140
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