Early life of Akbar

The birth place of Akabr is Amarkot and the date of his birth is October 14,1542. Akbar, known as Akbar the Great, was born at the house of Rana Virsal of Amarkot in the Thar Parkar district of Sindh. He was the son of Humayun and grandson of Babur.

His parents, Humayun and Hamida Banu Begam, fleeing back from the vicinity of Jodhpur, had taken shelter with the Rajput chief of the place, who generously assisted Humayun with men and material to enable him to lead an expedition against Thatta and Bhakkar.

Humayun started on the expedition in the second week of October 1542. On the way, Tardi Beg Khan brought him the joyful news of the birth of his son. Humayun, who was then in a destitute condition and could not reward his followers in a befitting manner, called for a china plate and broke on it a pod of musk and, distributing it among his men said:

“This is all the present I can afford to make you on the birth of my son, whose fame will, I trust, be one day expanded all over the world, as the perfume of the musk now fills this tent.”

The early life of Akbar was spent in adversity. His father, Humayun, could make little progress in the expedition against Thatta and Bhakkar. Humayun resolved to proceed to Persia to implore help from the king (Shah Tahmasp) of that country. As the party reached Mustan (Mustang), south of Quetta, news came that Askari was coming to attack them. Humayun, not being in a position to offer resistance, seated Hamida Banu Begam on his own horse and fled in the direction of Kandhar, leaving Akbar, then a baby of one year behind. Askari picked up the child and took him to Kandhar where he was well looked after by his wife.

After an adventurous journey Humayun reached Persia, and securing help from the Shah, attacked Kandhar and captured it from his brother, Askari, in September 1545. On November 15, he captured Kabul from Kamran and sent for his son, Akbar, who had been brought from Kandhar to Kabul during the winter of 1544-45. Akbar was then about three years old and, according to Abul Fazl, he recognized his mother at once and jumped into her lap.

As was usual with princes, Akbar had numerous nurses; some of them actually suckled him, while others only looked after him. The most important among his nurses was Jiji Anaga whose husband, Shams-ud-din, who had saved Humayun from drowning after the battle of Kanauj in 1540, was subsequently given the title of Atga (Atkah) Khan. Maham Anaga was his head nurse and her son was the notorious Adham Khan.

Humayun had suffered considerably owing to the unfriendly conduct of his brothers and had lost and recovered Kabul more than once.

In November 1547, when Akbar was about five years of age, arrangements were made for his education. One after another, tutors were appointed, but they failed to teach their pupil reading and writing. He was a truant boy, more fond of sports and animals such as camels, horses, dogs and pigeons, than of studies. From his very boyhood, he possessed a marvelous memory, but would not sit down to learn the alphabet. He, however, became an expert in riding, swordsmanship and other martial exercises. Humayun, who was a scholar of no mean repute, guided Akbar and advised him to spend his time in study. But the parental authoritative counsel proved to be of no avail.

On the death of Hindal, in November 1551, the assignment of Ghazni was conferred upon Akbar and he was betrothed to the daughter of the deceased, Ruqaiya Begam. Akbar took charge of Ghazni and remained, nominally, its governor till November 1554, when Humayun embarked on an expedition for the re-conquest of Hindustan.

A little while after Humayun had set out for the re-conquest of India, he appointed Munim Khan as Akbar’s guardian. On the defeat of Sikandar Suri, a nephew of Sher Shah and one of the claimants to the throne of Delhi, at Sarhind on January 22, 1955, Akbar was credited with the victory in the official records and was formally declared to be the heir-apparent. Within a few months of the reoccupation of Delhi by his father, he was appointed governor of Lahore. The famous Turkoman commander, Bairam Khan, became his guardian in place of Munim Khan. Akbar was then thirteen years of age.