New Publication: THE MUGHAL EMPIRE

 

image 1 jpgIn 1526, a Turkic-Mongol warlord named Babur invaded Hindustan and established the Mughal Empire. For some two hundred years, from 16th Century to the 18th Century, a minority Islamic elite, the Mughals, ruled large swathes of Northern and Central India, which had a majority Hindu population. From the 18th Century onwards, the Mughal Empire went into decline, losing much of its power and territory to the Hindu Marathas and the British East India Company. When the last Emperor, Bahadur Shah II, came to the throne in 1837, Mughal power was confined to the city of Delhi and he was nothing more than a symbolic figurehead for the once powerful Empire. The British finally deposed Bahadur following the Indian Uprising in 1857. This marked the end of the Timurid Dynasty and the beginning of the British Raj.

The Mughal Emperors were enthusiastic patrons of the arts and literature. Most were accomplished calligraphers and poets. Two Emperors, Babur and Jahingir, wrote autobiographies. Under Mughal rule, magnificent monuments and mausoleums were commissioned, incorporating both Hindu and Islamic features in a unique Indo-Islamic style of architecture. Some of these monuments, for example the famous Taj Mahal and Humayan’s tomb, are now popular tourist sites. Others, particularly in Delhi, were either destroyed during the Indian Uprising in 1857, or converted into military buildings by the British.

Much has been written about the final years of Mughal rule from a British perspective. This ranges from military accounts, British Government and East India Company documents as well as private diaries and letters, many of which are still hidden away in dusty archives. More recently, primary source material has been made available to the public with the help of translations and digital technology. This material includes the biographies and autobiographies of the Emperors and also reports and accounts of European travellers, traders and missionaries.

The aim of this book is to provide an overview of this fascinating and complex history that should appeal to the non-academic. As with other books in the ‘In Brief’ series, this book is aimed at the general reader who wants to understand a particular historical topic but does not have the time or inclination to read a heavy academic tome. With this mind, footnotes have been omitted. Should the reader be inspired to further reading on the subject, a small selection of the main works that have been consulted is provided at the end of the text. Where possible maps and family trees are provided which should help the reader follow the story. Furthermore, because the text contains so many names that may be unfamiliar, a ‘Who’s Who and What’s What’ is also provided.

Available at Amazon UK as ebook and paperback.


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