The age of Akbar: statecraft and political ambitions
Çavuşoğlu, Naciye Zeynep (2016) The age of Akbar: statecraft and political ambitions. [Thesis]
This thesis focuses on the political discourse of Mughal Emperor Akbar Shah (r.1556-1605) and its application to his history, Akbarnāma, which was prepared by his statesman and ideologue Abu’l-Fazl. Through the family line designed for him, the sacredness attributes and light symbolism, the book covers a wide range of points which makes it more than just history and gives it a unique position in terms of its understanding of history. A new Mughal ideology of kingship is formulated throughout Akbar’s reign and gradually shaped in accordance with conjunctures. Akbar’s reign needs to be examined in the context of the 16th century and according to his sources of legitimization, policies, religiosity and ceremonial. It should also be considered in comparison with other empires of the time, all of which played a part in the formation of his rulership theory. Since one of the hallmarks of the Mughal Empire is its multiplicity, Akbar and Abu’l-Fazl use a wide range of notions from different traditions, philosophical ideas combining different cultures, symbols and ceremonies which have different religious backgrounds in order to provide one common discourse i.e. sacred and divine kingship ideology. This is an attempt to make sense of Akbar’s political discourse within a wider context while taking into consideration the different and common understandings of notions in Mughal India. It analyses the reign in terms of the challenges, concerns and expectations it faces and tries to see how they are resolved or whether they are resolved with the end-product i.e. Akbarnama.
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