Mughals : Sher Shah Shur

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Sher Shah Shur though an Afghan was a talented organizer as well as a skilful general. Sher Shah set up a bureaucratic organization while continuing his campaigns against Humayun's brother Kamran and the Rajputs. By the time of his death in 1545, before the Rajput fortress of Kalanjar from the effects of a Canon-ball shot, he had given his empire administrative form, established a vigorous center, and embarked on that essential of traditional Indian government, a reassessment of the land-tax.

He ruled for just five years but created the administrative blue-print from which Akbar and his ministers later profited. The great Grand Trunk road which joins Lahore with Calcutta is one of the remarkable creations of Sher Shah. After the death of Sher Shah his son Ismail Shah failed to keep his empire together. And within eight years the empire built by Sher Shah withered away.

It was at this point that a revived and chastened humayun reappeared in India. With the help of Persian Shah Ismail, Humayun recovered Kandahar and Kabul from his brother Kamran. The fight between brothers finally ended in 1553 when Humayun blinded his brother, in response to the treachery he did to him. After defeating one of the Afghan claimants in Punjab, Humayun reoccupied Delhi and Agra, but died within six months after falling from the stairs of his library.


After the death of Humayun, Mughal rule in India was again threatened. This time by none other than by enigmatic Hemu who, although Hindu by birth had won the respect of his Muslim masters due to his tremendous military skills. He was the general of great ability. He served under Sher Shah Shur as one of his trusted lieutenants.

An ambitious general he was, Hemu went along with his army to regain control over Delhi. A terrible and gruesome battle followed between Hemu's forces and Mughal forces lead by Bairam Khan in Panipat (known as the second battle of Panipat). At one time Hemu had a decisive edge, but personal injury to him, in the battlefield, lead to the ultimate downfall of his forces. Hemu was ultimately captured by the Mughal forces and killed in the presence of 13 year old Akbar.

Bairam Khan helped Akbar conquer Gwalior, and Jaunpur. But in 1560, Bairam Khan fell from the grace of Akbar, then an eighteen year old kid. He was murdered on his order by Adham Khan, who was later hurled over the palace walls. After this for nearly forty years, the government was Akbar's own.

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