Akbar: The Great Mughal by Ira Mukhoty is a first-rate twenty-first-century biography of a sixteenth-century monarch. The book not only weaves the well-analyzed political and intellectual personas of the emperor but also explores the eccentric side of the man. The book hit the shelves on 10 April 2020.
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Akbar was born on 15 October 1542 and after a harrowing childhood and a tumultuous struggle for succession following the death of his father, Humayun, became emperor at the age of thirteen. He then ruled for nearly fifty years, and over the course of his reign established an empire that would be hailed as singular, both in its own time and for posterity.
In this book, acclaimed writer Ira Mukhoty covers Akbar’s life and times in lavish, illuminating detail. The product of years of reading, research, and study, the biography looks in great detail at every aspect of this exceptional ruler—his ambitions, mistakes, bravery, military genius, empathy for his subjects, and path-breaking efforts to reform the governance of his empire. It delves deep into his open-mindedness, his reverence towards all religions, his efforts towards the emancipation of women, his abolishing of slavery and the religious tax—jiziya—and other acts that showed his statesmanship and humanity. The biography uses recent ground-breaking work by art historians to examine Akbar’s unending curiosity about the world around him, and the role the ateliers played in the succession struggle between him and his heir, Prince Salim (who became Emperor Jahangir).
Beautifully written, hugely well-informed, and thoroughly grounded in scholarship, this monumental biography captures the grandeur, vitality, and genius of the Great Mughal.
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