A Handbook to Agra and the Taj eBook

Ernest Binfield Havel
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 98 pages of information about A Handbook to Agra and the Taj.
at Agra, but even attended a marriage service and interpreted the words of the sermon to the bride.  Badayuni says that “his Majesty firmly believed in the truth of the Christian religion, and wishing to spread the doctrines of Jesus, ordered Prince Murad (his son) to take a few lessons in Christianity by way of auspiciousness.”  The Jesuits, however, did not succeed in making Akbar a convert, for when his religious convictions were at last settled, he proclaimed as the state religion a kind of eclectic pantheism called Din-i-ilahi, or “Divine Faith,” with himself as the chief interpreter.  Dispensing with all forms of priesthood, he simply recognized One God, the Maker of the Universe, and himself as God’s vicegerent on earth.  He rejected the doctrine of the Resurrection, and accepted that of the transmigration of souls.  The Islamite prayers were abolished, and others of a more general character were substituted for them.  The ceremonial was largely borrowed from the Hindus.

The “Divine Faith” had no hold on the people, and its influence ceased with the death of its founder.  It is even said that Akbar, on his death-bed, acknowledged the orthodox Muhammadan creed, but the evidence on this point is unreliable.  Akbar’s religious system had an important political bearing, for the keynote of his whole policy was the endeavour to unite with a bond of common interest all the diverse social, religious, and racial elements of his empire.  He overlooked nothing which might further the object he had in view.  He chose his ministers and generals indiscriminately from all his subjects, without distinction of race or religion.  He allied himself in marriage with the royal Hindu families of Rajputana.  He sat daily on the judgment seat to dispense justice to all who chose to appeal to him, and, like the famous Harun-al-Rashid, he would at times put on disguises and wander unattended among the people, to keep himself informed of their real condition and to check the malpractices of his officials.

Though Akbar unavoidably had bitter enemies among the more bigoted of his Muhammadan subjects, his wise tolerance of all beliefs and the generosity of his policy for the most part disarmed hostility from all sides.  Certainly no ruler of India before or since succeeded so far in carrying out his object.  He is still one of the great popular heroes of Hindustan; his mighty deeds in war and in the chase, his wise and witty sayings, the splendour of his court, his magnanimity and his justice, still live in song and in story.

Akbar died in the Fort at Agra on October 13, 1605, in the fifty-first year of his reign, aged 63.  He was buried at Sikandra, in the mausoleum commenced by himself, and finished by his son and successor, Jahangir.

Akbar’s connection with Agra.

The modern city of Agra, as stated previously, was founded by Akbar in 1558, opposite to the old city on the left bank of the river.  He built the Fort, on the site of an old Pathan castle, and part of the palace within it.  Agra was the seat of government during the greater part of his reign.  He also built the great mosque and the magnificent palaces and public buildings of Fatehpur Sikri, which are among the most famous of the antiquities of India.

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A Handbook to Agra and the Taj from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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