The greatest flourishing of northern Indian culture, art, and imperial strength undoubtedly took place during the reign of the Mughal monarchs of the 16th and 17th centuries. The Mughals were Central Asian descendants of the great Mongol warriors Genghis Khan and Timur. They seized power and held on to it by using various methods. The system of government used by the Mughals was also efficient in helping them to hold on to their power.
But the Mughals didn’t flourish for too long after the new ruler Aurangzeb took control. The Mughals gained power and were able to hold onto it thanks to Akbar’s expert use of diplomacy. Akbar added new territory to the Mughal empire, which brought with it diverse ethnicities and problems. To prevent these problems, Akbar secured the allegiance of the diverse populations within his empire.
At the height of his political power, Akbar ended taxes on non-Muslims and permitted Hindus to build new temples, creating religious tolerance. He also secured Hindu support by negotiating peace treaties. The system of government used by the Mughals was very efficient in holding onto their power. Akbar divided his empire into provinces and districts, giving local governors salaries instead of land grants. This way, if the officials were dependent on the central government for income, they would probably not rebel.
Akbar set up an efficient tax collecting system and made an effort to ensure that it was applied fairly. However, in later years, when Akbar’s son and grandson ruled, they increased taxes to support military campaigns. The Mughal decline set in rapidly when Aurangzeb took leadership. Religious intolerance was at its height during Aurangzeb’s rule. His policy caused tension between Hindus and Muslims. Hindu rulers challenged Aurangzeb. He reacted by reinstating a tax on non-Muslims and destroying many Hindu temples.
Constant warfare weakened the empire, and corruption grew. The treasury was drained by corrupt officials, leaving the empire without the funds to support a strong military. As a result, heavy taxes were required.
The increased problems with peasants were addressed by Auranzeb. He tried to cut non-military expenses by dismissing artists, architects, and historians. This resulted in the growth of the Mughal culture being stopped. As a result, many Indian states withdrew their support or declared their independence. Auranzeb died in 1707, leaving his descendants to rule a weakened empire.