The Magnificence of the Mughals

TAJ Mahal India

For almost 300 years, between 1526 and 1858, the Mughals, a Muslim dynasty, ruled most of the Indian subcontinent.

Their leaders came from Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It was a period that witnessed the coming together of Hindu, Islamic and Persian culture that resulted in a flourishing of art, architecture and literature, much of which remains today. By the beginning of the 19th century the power of the Mughals was reduced to little more than symbolic; the last Emperor, Bahadur Shah II being a virtual prisoner of the British within the confines of the Red Fort at Delhi.

In this talk we look at the rise of the Mughal Empire and the lives of the first six Emperors, from Babur to Aurangzeb, whose death signalled the beginning of a gradual decline. We also consider some of the reasons for its final collapse, particularly the Indian Uprising of 1857 followed by the death of the last Emperor, Bahadur Shah II, which marked the end of the Empire. This talk could easily be adapted for a Study Day.