Medieval Indian History - Akbar the Great


  • In 1542, Akbar, the greatest of the Mughal rulers, was born at Amarkot.

  • When Humayun fled to Iran, Kamran (brother of Humayun) captured young Akbar. Kamran treated the child well; however, Akbar was re-united with his parents after the capture of Qandhar.

  • When Humayun died, Akbar was in Punjab, commanding operations against the Afghan rebels.

  • In 1556, Akbar was crowned at Kalanaur at the age of merely thirteen years and four months.

  • When Akbar succeeded, the Afghans were still strong beyond Agra, and were reorganizing their forces under the leadership of Hemu.

  • Kabul had been attacked and besieged. Sikandar Sur, the defeated Afghan ruler, was forced to loiter in the Siwalik Hills.

  • Bairam Khan, the tutor of the prince Akbar and a loyal and favorite officer of Humayun, became the wakil (advocate) of the kingdom and received the title of ‘khan.i.khanan;’ . He united the Mughal forces.

  • The threat from Hemu was considered the most serious for Akbar. Further, the area from Chunar to the border of Bengal was under the domination of Adil Shah, a nephew of Sher Shah.

  • During Islam Shah’s reign, Hemu had started his career as a superintendent of the market, but soon promoted under Adil Shah. Surprisingly, Hemu had not lost a single one of the twenty-two battles in which he had fought.

  • Adil Shah had appointed Hemu as wazir, gave the title of ‘Vikramajit,’ and entrusted him with the task to expel the Mughals.

Second Battle of Panipat

  • Hemu first seized Agra, and with an army of 50,000 cavalry, 500 elephants and a strong park of artillery marched towards Delhi.

Second Battle of Panipat
  • In a well-contested battle, Hemu defeated the Mughals near Delhi and captured the city. But Bairam Khan took an energetic and smart step to meet the critical situation. Bairam Khan strengthened his army marched towards Delhi before Hemu could have time to consolidate his position again.

  • On 5 November, 1556, the battle between the Mughals (led by Bairam Khan) and the Afghan forces (led by Hemu), took place once again at Panipat.

  • Though Hemu’s artillery had been captured by a Mughal force, the tide of battle was in favor of Hemu. Meanwhile, an arrow hit in the eye of Hemu and he fainted. Hemu was arrested and executed. Akbar had virtually reconquered his empire.