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to be carried away by too great an enthusiasm for the extraordinary man whose name sheds an imperishable lustre on the pages of the Mogul conquest of India. His conquests were more extended than those of his grandfather, and were more complete and durable. And yet Akbar was induced to undertake them, not for the mere sake of war or military glory, for he loved peace and the arts which flourish in times of peace; but he was too keen-sighted a statesman not to realize, as his British successors were themselves forced to do, that there could be no lasting peace in India so long as the various petty States throughout the great continent were not all brought into submission to acknowledge the supremacy of a single Lord Paramount. It was his aim and ambition to fill that rôle, and he practically succeeded in doing so before he died. But if in prosecution of this policy, matured and consistently carried out with the highest political wisdom, his armies were ever on the march of conquest, he, nevertheless, took infinite pains to secure that these marches should be accomplished with the least possible injury to non-combatants. In a century when wars were not conducted even in Western countries on those principles of humanity which have in more recent times served to a considerable extent to lessen the horrors of war, it is surprising to find an Oriental monarch organizing a practical system for compensating owners and cultivators of the land who suffered damage by the movements of his troops or of his own camp following. Assessors were appointed to examine the various encamping-grounds occupied by troops in their march, immediately on their vacating the same, and to assess the damage caused, which was either paid in cash to the landlords or raiyots concerned, or was deducted from the revenue assessments.
Again, the empire which Akbar aimed at establishing was not a Moslem empire to be conducted according to the principles of the Koranic law. It was to be universal in the sense of embracing all India, and it was to be cosmopolitan in the sense that it was to be governed by principles anv given system. but by such as might
command the obedience of all men, whether Moslem, Brahmin, Mahratta, Rajput, or Sikh. With this view, he selected for his principal officers, civil and military, men of well-reputed merit, and in making his selection creed and race were factors which he discarded. What Thurloe said of Cromwell might be said with equal truth of Akbar, that "he sought out men for places, and not places for men." Thus, Hindus occupied some of the most important offices in the State, and were included, like Rajas Todar Mull and Jai Mall, amongst his most confidential advisers. Nor had he ever cause to regret the trust he placed in them, for they served him well and loyally. Amongst professing Moslems, the two men for whom he had the most sincere affection were the two famous brothers, Abul Fazl and Shaikh Faizi. These men, liberal-minded like himself, free from all bigotry, accomplished scholars, and patrons of learning, were the Maecenases of this Augustan age of Indian literature. It was under their influence that Akbar finally cast aside even a formal observance of the religion of the Koran.
A universal empire like his, administered on broad cosmopolitan principles, required a religion also which could appeal to mankind on high moral grounds—a re ligion, in fact, which could keep the moral conscience, or inner light of the human body, alive and shining, which was not intended merely to promote Islam, but to respect all consciences. What Akbar aimed at establishing was one of those forms of universal religion which was to unify mankind into a common brotherhood, and although, like other similar attempts, his also failed in its purpose, this need not prevent us from paying a generous tribute to the monarch whose mind was tolerant enough to conceive and to proclaim it. Akbar, indeed, appears in matters of faith and religion to have had a perfectly open mind, and as he was convinced that there was some truth in every religion, perhaps on Carlyle's principle that otherwise men would not have been found to take it up, he resolved to adopt that which was good, no matter in what religion it was to be found, and to discard the bad. Under the guidance of
his two most intimate friends, Abul Fazl and Shaikh Faizi, he carved out a religion for himself based upon the above principles, which he styled "The Divine Faith (Din-i-Ilahi), admission to which was open to all, but which no one was to be compelled to adopt. The spirit of aggressive proselytism was not Akbar's spirit. The consciences of men were to be overcome by reason, and not by the sword. "My sole object," Akbar was wont to say, "is to ascertain truth, to find out and disclose the principles of genuine religion, and to trace it to its Divine origin." Influenced as he was by such lofty motives, it was not surprising that religious toleration was as much respected in his reign as it is now in any Western country; and the magnificent hall he built at Futtehpur Sikri, which he set apart for religious discussions in which professors of every faith were cordially invited to take part, not only proves the religious tendency of Akbar's mind, but his liberality of sentiment and freedom from bigotry. In fact, as the author of the "Zubdatu-t Tawarikh" tells us, tells us, "His Court became the centre of attraction to all sects, persuasions, and people, to the learned of Khurásán, Irak, Máwaráu-n Nahr, and Hindustan, to doctors and theologians, to Shíahs and Sunnis, to Christians and philosophers, to Bráhmans and professors of every existing religion." So that we would not be far wrong if we said that his attitude towards other religions might, perhaps, be best expressed in the words of one of the last of the great Roman pagans, Symmachus, that "the Great Mystery cannot be approached by one avenue alone"; while St. Augustine's notion of a future state, "of which the King is truth, the law is love, and eternity the bourn," would undoubtedly have received Akbar's cordial assent.
Turning to the internal administration of the country, the point which mostly interests a modern student is the system of land revenue which was introduced during the reign of the great Mogul Emperor. It is true that under the immediately preceding administration of the usurper Sher Khan, who had risen to power in the troublesome
days of Húmayún, and had assumed the royal dignity under the title Sher Shah, Sultan-i-Adil, some laudable efforts had been made to protect the agriculturist, and that an assessment had been introduced based on a measurement of the cultivation and an appraisement of the various crops. But Sher Shah's brief term of power, followed by the weak reign of an incompetent son, had not sufficed to cause his excellent measures to take any permanent root in the country; while the anarchy which more or less prevailed between the year 1545 A.D. (when Sher Shah was killed) and the year 1556 A.D. (when Akbar gained his decisive victory at Panipat) produced its natural effect in driving the agriculturist from the pursuit of his peaceful occupation. It was thus reserved for Akbar to recall the ploughshare to its work, and he early set himself to introduce a system which would promote the cultivation of the land which was then lying neglected. It is this system, as described in the "Ayin-i-Akbari," which, with certain modifications, was eventually adopted, or at least formed the groundwork of that introduced, by the British Government in effecting a land settlement in the various provinces of our great Empire in the East. Previous to Akbar's day the cultivator had been robbed to a large extent of the fruit of his labour, with the natural result that this labour was grudgingly given. To encourage agriculture, which Akbar had observed in his various warlike expeditions to be largely neglected, it was above all things needful, in the first instance, to fix the Government demand, which had hitherto been of a fluctuating character, dependent on the necessities of the imperial treasury, on a basis which would leave a sufficient margin to the occupier of the land to repay him for the labour he was required to spend upon its cultivation.* Fortunately for the Emperor, he had in his service a Hindu Prince who was well qualified to undertake the task of introducing a land settlement, which he entrusted to his hands. This was the famous Raja Todar
* Akbar fixed it at one-third, which could be paid, at the option of the
wither in kind no in sech by appraisament
Mull, a native of Laharpur in Oude, though the "Maásirul-Umara" erroneously says he was born in Lahore. He
is described in the "Akbarnama as an honest, sincere man, and devoid of avarice. It was said of him that he was a bigoted Hindu, incapable of transacting his duties. unless surrounded by his household idols. And Abul Fazl adds, "Would that he had been free from hatred and revenge, and that harshness had not been so conspicuous in his character!" Be this as it may, he proved himself a good general and an expert in matters of revenue administration, and his system of making ten yearly assessments, based on the average production for a period of nineteen years of soils of different varieties, with a complete record of each land-holder's rights and liabilities, a liberal provision for remissions in bad seasons, and for the supply of seed-grains from royal storehouses, placed the agriculturist in a far better position than he had ever previously enjoyed. But in two important respects this system will not compare favourably with that which prevails under British rule. In the first place, Akbar did not succeed in elevating the position of the individual tiller of the soil, or in securing him rights independently of the land-owner or farmer, such as he now enjoys. In the next place, the assessments were relatively much higher than those which are now enforced, and it cannot be doubted that, despite the excellent instructions issued to collectors of revenue, there were fewer effective checks against exaction than exist under our improved methods.
Nor in the administration of civil and criminal laws do we find Akbar less zealous for the proper vindication of justice in his dominions. It is true he did not imitate the crude attempt of Sultan Sher Shah to frame a distinctive code of laws of his own, which he was doubtless aware had irritated both Moslems and Hindus alike. As the former were accustomed to regard the Koran and the latter the Shastras as containing Divine ordinances, which no human. legislation, however wise or beneficent, could improve,