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August 2017

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Godzilla, default

I have finished reading:

http://www.amazon.com/Mughal-Empire-Cambridge-History-India/dp/0521566037

http://www.amazon.com/The-Mughal-Throne-Indias-Emperors/dp/0753817586

These two books chronicle the history of the great Gunpowder Empire founded by the sons of Timur, specifically his descendant Babur. Babur invaded what is now Northern India and would build the foundations of the Mughal/Mogul system at the Battle of Panipat, a battle that ultimately proved decisive in beginning the process of installing the latest, apogee, and culmination of the Indo-Muslim imperial dynasties. However when Babur died his son Humayun was nearly overthrown by the rising power of Sher Khan, whose Suri Empire died without issue due to his short-lived son not even living to a ripe old age.

His grandson, Akbar, would be the one that fully built the Mughal system as a syncretism of Hindu and Islamic influence, backing this up by a continued string of military victories. Each Mughal faced a crisis of their reign, but it would be under Akbar that the empire found a great weakness. The power of the Mughals might become unshakeable in a sense due to careful establishment of a religious taboo, but this came at the price of alienating the influential Muslim elite, which might well lead an unscrupulous future heir to back this.

Jahangir's reign was the golden age of the Mughals, it was his sons that saw the destabilizing pattern emerge. Aurangzeb conquers but does so by appealing to the ulema, and becomes the most reactionary and zealous of all Muslim rulers of the Mughal state, in the process tying his regime right back to the Ulema, creating a further problem in fostering a Hindu cultural-military revival under the Marathas, a Deccan state where the continual wars and fighting between the Great Mughals and the Marathas helped pave the way for the start of the establishment of the Nawabates, where individual provinces became in practical reality self-governing, and furthering additionally the ultimate path to the Battle of Plassey and from there the Raj.

The Mughals represent IMHO the apogee of a particular cultural pattern, the growth of an imperial Indo-Muslim civilization based on the more intellectual-autocratic tradition of Perso-Islam, but this creates a problem for them they never overcome of basing power on the might of their legions, while trying to balance rule of a Muslim dynasty over a predominantly Hindu subject mass. The attempts to integrate Hindu nobles such as Rajputs worked only partially at an ultimately unsustainable cost, and the Mughal Empire's disintegration in this regard was indeed furthered by the British, but in practice they simply deepened already-existing problems to a degree Mughal Emperors never had chances to find ways around them.

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