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Rebellions of 1581

 According to V. A. Smith, ‘The year 1581 may be regarded as the most critical time in the reign of Akbar, if his early struggle to consolidate his power be not taken into account’.

According to V. A. Smith, ‘The year 1581 may be regarded as the most critical time in the reign of Akbar, if his early struggle to consolidate his power be not taken into account’. After the conflict of nobility which had lasted till 1567, now again serious conflicts came to surface in Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat and in the north-west. At the root of these conflicts was the discomfort of Afghans who were overthrown everywhere by the Mughals. Akbar’s policy of strict administration of jagirs was also responsible for this. By this new policy, the jagirdars were asked to submit the accounts of their jagirs and a cut was enforced in the military expenditure. The governor of Bengal enforced these regulations ruthlessly, giving rise to revolt. Soon the rebellion spread to Bihar. Masum Khan Kabuli, Roshan Beg, Mirza Sharfuddin and Arab Bahadur were the main leaders of rebels. Muzaffar Khan, Rai Purshottam and other imperial officers tried to crush the rebellion but failed. Akbar immediately sent a large force under Raja Todar Mal and Shaikh Farid Bakhshi. A little later Aziz Koka and Shahbaz Khan were also sent to help Todar Mal. Meanwhile, the rebels declared Akbar’s brother Hakim Mirza, who was in Kabul, as their king. The Mughal forces crushed the rebellion in Bihar, Bengal and adjoining regions. A few rebel leaders escaped and took shelter in the forest region of Bengal. They had lost all following but for a few years they continued to harass Mughal officers with their small bands without much success. Mirza Hakim, to put greater pressure on Akbar, attacked Lahore. Akbar also marched towards Lahore. Hakim Mirza, after hearing the news of Akbar’s march, immediately retreated. Hakim Mirza was expecting a number of Mughal officers to join him but all his calculations failed. Akbar after organizing the defence of North-West frontier, sent an army to Kabul. Akbar also marched towards Kabul. By the time he reached there, Hakim Mirza had left Kabul and Akbar occupied it. Akbar gave the charge of Kabul to his sister Bakhtunnisa Begam and left for Agra (1581). After some time, Mirza Hakim came back and continued to rule in his sister’s name. Mirza Hakim died after four years and Raja Man Singh was appointed governor of Kabul. Gujarat also witnessed some rebellion at around the same time when Bihar, Bengal and North-West regions were in trouble. Here the ex-ruler Muzaffar Shah escaped from captivity and organized a small force. He started attacking the Mughal territories in Gujarat. I’timad Khan was deputed as the governor of Gujarat. Nizamuddin Ahmad in the capacity of bakhshi helped him in his operations against the rebels. In 1584, Muzaffar Shah was defeated at Ahmadabad and Nanded. He escaped towards the Kutch region. Nizamuddin Ahmad followed him there also. In whole of the Kutch region, a number of forts were erected and Mughal officers were appointed. Muzaffar kept brewing some trouble in that region till 1591-92 when he was finally captured.

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