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Akbar, the great lover of Hinduism and Hindus

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Akbar, the great lover of Hinduism and Hindus Empty Akbar, the great lover of Hinduism and Hindus

Post by Guest Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:33 pm

Foremost among these was his treatment of the Hindu population. For understanding the significance of his policy of toleration, it is important, however, to see his actions against the background of previous movements in the same direction, and not as a complete innovation. Hindus had long been employed in positions of responsibility—even Mahmud of Ghazni, the great "destroyer of idols," had a contingent of Indian troops under Indian officers—and no Muslim ruler had succeeded in dispensing with the services of Hindu officials on the level of local administration. There were, however, great difficulties to be overcome before general participation was possible. From the side of the early Turkish rulers, there had been prejudice not only against Hindus, but even against Indian converts to Islam. Under the Khaljis a change took place, and henceforth converts found employment in high office. This change led to a more general employment of Hindus, and during Sher Shah's reign (1538–1545) a number of Hindus held important military posts. But this exclusion of Hindus had not been entirely the result of Islamic attitudes: many Hindus had strong objection to service under a Muslim ruler. Furthermore, until Hindus were willing to learn Persian, the court language, their widespread employment in government was not possible. By the fifteenth century, when it was apparent that the Muslim rule was permanent, many Brahmans had begun to learn Persian, and their movement into government service began.

Thus by Akbar's time many of the traditional difficulties had been removed, and he was able to take full advantage of the changes in outlook on both sides. One example of this was his enunciation of the principle of sulah-i kul, or universal tolerance, by which he accepted responsibility for all sections of the population, irrespective of their religion. Through his marriages with leading Rajput families, Hindus became members of the ruling dynasty, and Hindu women practiced their faith within the palace confines. The abolition of jizya was a more widespread indication of his policy, making the common people aware of the changing climate of opinion. That two of his most famous officials, Man Singh, viceroy of Kabul and Bengal, and Todar [[149]] Mal, his revenue minister, were Hindus, was an indication not of his desire to show his tolerance but his freedom to choose able associates wherever they might be found. Beyond these administrative acts, Akbar showed his sympathies with Hindu culture by patronizing the classical Indian arts, providing scope once more for painters, musicians, and dancers of the old tradition. Perhaps the most striking of his activities in this area is the creation of the post of kavi rai, or poet laureate, for Hindi poets. The adaption of Hindu elements in architecture is demonstrated in many of Akbar's buildings, notably at Fathpur Sikri. There and elsewhere he showed regard to Hindu religious leaders.


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