Mughal Empire In The Deccan & Akbar's Deccan Policy


Akbar's rule saw the beginning of the Mughal Deccan policy because Babur and Humayun were only interested in the logical consolidation of North India. Babar, the first Mughal emperor, was unable to communicate with Deccan because of his concerns in the North. Nevertheless, in 1528, his conquest of Chanderi placed the Mughal Empire close to the northern limits of Malwa. Humayun's interest in Gujarat, Bihar, and Bengal prevented him from devoting adequate attention to Deccan affairs, despite Burhan Nizam Shah I's persistent requests. Akbar was the first Mughal emperor to want to expand Mughal suzerainty over the Deccan nations in this manner. 


  • The Vindhyas, which divided the north and south, were not impassable.

  • Although each had its unique cultural characteristics, travellers, traders, pilgrims, and travelling saints have always crossed between the North and the South, fusing the two cultures.
    Mughal in deccan

  • Stronger economic and cultural linkages between the two were brought about by the Tughlaq conquest of the Deccan and increased north-south communication.

  • Many Sufi saints and others in search of work moved to the court of the Bahmani kings after the fall of the Delhi Sultanate.

  • The North and South were not divided politically either. As we've seen, the leaders of Orissa in the east, Gujarat in the west, and Malwa in the south were all actively involved in politics.

  • As a result, the Mughals could scarcely have ignored Deccan politics after conquering Malwa and Gujarat in the late 1560s and early 1570s. Khandesh was conquered by a Mughal army in 1576, which led to the king's capitulation.

  • But for pressing business elsewhere, Akbar was called. Akbar stayed at Lahore between 1586 and 1598, monitoring the situation in the northwest. The Deccan situation deteriorated in the meantime.


•    Politics was raging in the Deccan. Fighting frequently broke out between the several Deccani states.

•    When a ruler passed away, the nobility frequently engaged in factional fighting as each group sought to establish a new king.

•    In this environment, animosity grew between the native Deccanis and the invaders (afaqis or gharibs).

•    Among the Deccanis, the Habshis (Abyssinians or Africans) and Afghans created independent tribes. There was little interaction between these factions and the local populace and culture.

•    Before independence, there was little headway made in assimilating the Marathas into the political and military structures of the Deccani republics.

•    As a result, the populace showed little devotion to the kings and nobles. Controversies and sectarian disputes made the situation worse.

•    At the turn of the century, the Safavid dynasty, a new dynasty, made Shiism the official religion of Iran.

•    Shiism had long been a suppressed cult, and during the early stages of their enthusiasm, the new group's followers persecuted its former adversaries.

•    As a result, many illustrious families migrated to India and sought asylum at Akbar's court, which did not distinguish between Shias and Sunnis.

•    Some Deccani states, particularly Golconda, made Shiism their official religion. Although the Shiite faction was powerful in the courts of Bijapur and Ahmednagar as well, they rarely won. The conflict between parties grew as a result.


•    In the Deccan, Mahdawi's views had also gained widespread traction.

•    The Muslims had the belief that a member of the Prophet's family would manifest at each juncture to advance the faith and bring about the triumph of justice. The Mahdi was the name of this individual.

•    The conclusion of Islam's first millennium, which was due near the end of the sixteenth century, had boosted anticipation throughout the Islamic world even though several Mahdis had manifested in various nations at various times.

•    In the first half of the fifteenth century, Saiyid Muhammad, a Jaunpur native, proclaimed himself to be the Mahdi in India.

•    Saiyid Muhammad made extended travels throughout India and the Islamic world and generated a lot of fervour. He built his dairas (circles) all across the nation, including in the Deccan, where his concepts were particularly successful.

•    The orthodox elements were as passionately opposed to Mahdawism as they were to Shiism, even though there was no love lost between the two.

•    The idea of sulh-kul was first put forth in this context by Akbar. He was worried that the savage sectarian strife of the Deccani states would spread to the Mughal Empire.


•    Akbar wanted the Deccan kings to submit to his rule. 

•    During the operations in Gujarat in 1572–1573, after the north had been completely secured, Akbar decided to capture the Deccan states because the expelled rebels had previously sought refuge in Khandesh, Ahmednagar, and Bijapur.
Mughal in deccan

•    Additionally, Akbar wanted to adopt the rights of overlordship that the former kings of Gujarat held in connection to the Deccan nations after conquering Gujarat.

•    The Deccan states had been paying homage to the Sultans of Gujarat annually since 1417 and had recited khutbas in their honour.

•    The Deccan states' internal strife also prompted the Mughal monarch to step in.

•    Akbar's determination to defend the trade route to the Gujarat seaports and consolidate his supremacy there was one of the crucial elements that influenced his Deccan policy.

•    In addition, the Portuguese had established themselves as a powerful force along India's western coast.

•    Akbar sought to expel the Portuguese from India's western coast by establishing Mughal suzerainty over the Deccan provinces.


•    After 1561, when Akbar gave Pir Muhammad, the governor of Malwa, the command to conquer Asirgarh and Burhanpur, where Baz Bahadur, the former ruler of Malwa, had sought refuge, the Deccan states first came into contact with Akbar.

•    He moved on to Asirgarh after taking Bijagarh, where the Khandesh king Miran Mubarak Shah-II and the Malwa king Baz Bahadur were making preparations to fight the Mughals.

•    Tufal Khan of Berar, who joined Mubarak Shah, requested help. The allies attacked Pir Muhammad at Bijagarh and routed the Mughals.

•    To take charge of the issue, Akbar marched to Mandu. Miran Mubarak Shah was frightened by this and sent envoys to Akbar to apologize for his actions.
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•    He recognised Akbar's rule, wedded one of his daughters to the emperor, read the khutba in Akbar's honour, and gave his daughter Bijagarh and Handia as dowry.


•    Akbar had already seized control of Malwa and Gujarat. Because the frontiers of both of these kingdoms touched Khandesh and Ahmednagar, Akbar wished to wrest control of both of these nations.

•    Due to his imperialist and expansionist tendencies, Akbar could not accept the existence of a sovereign state close to his kingdom. He could only be content if he had established control of Deccan India.

•    The Deccan republics were exceedingly weak militarily and politically as a result of their frequent battles and disputes, which made it relatively simple for Akbar to defeat these fragile and unreliable kingdoms.

•    The Deccan states had accumulated significant wealth through lengthy savings.

•    Akbar was certain that, following the lead of early Muslim emperors, his treasury would be stocked with the proceeds of his victories against the Deccan states and that he would eventually take control of the Deccan treasury.

•    The Shia kingdoms of Khandesh, Golkunda, Ahmednagar, and Bijapur are thought to have been targets of Akbar's ambitions as a devoted Sunni.

•    Although Akbar publicly adored Christianity and had a close relationship with the Mughal court's priests, he had a vehement dislike for Portuguese colonies and sought to have them destroyed.

•    Due to their desire to increase their trade, territory, and religious influence, the Portuguese were cruel to the Deccan states.

•    Additionally, they turned to converting people to Christianity; as a result, Akbar decided it would be beneficial to seize control of the region around the ocean by fighting the Portuguese.

•    Akbar came up with a long-term plan to overthrow the Deccan kingdoms. First, he dispatched diplomats to the southern nations, pleading with them to submit to his rule without resistance, but everyone ignored him save Khandesh.

•    Akbar was compelled to fight battles with the Deccan kings as a result.


•    In his campaigns in the Deccan, Akbar was incredibly successful. Prince Daniyal was chosen as the governor of the Deccan after Khandesh, Berar, Ahmednagar, and the surrounding regions were taken over and incorporated into the Mughal Empire.

•    The Mughals firmly entrenched themselves in the South after the victories at Ahmednagar and Asirgarh, but Akbar's conquest of the Deccan was not complete.

•    Nothing could be done to overthrow the kings of Bijapur and Golkunda, and Ahmednagar's collapse was simply a passing phase as Malik Amber led it back to prominence. 


The rising influence of the Portuguese worried Akbar. The Portuguese had been impeding the flow of pilgrims to Mecca and had even detained royal ladies. In their lands, they engaged in proselytising operations, which Akbar detested. The timely arrival of a Mughal commander prevented them from taking Surat, which they had even attempted to seize in their relentless attempts to increase their mainland positions. 

Akbar reportedly thought that the Portuguese danger could be lessened, if not completely eradicated, by combining and pooling the resources of the Deccani nations under Mughal control. These were some driving forces behind Akbar's involvement in Deccani politics.

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