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Full text of "Akbar, The Emperor Of India"

A                            AKBAR, EMPEROR OF INDIA.
When we wish to understand a personality we are in
the habit of ascertaining the inherited characteristics, and
investigating the influences exercised upon it by religion,
family, environment, education, youthful impressions, ex-
perience, and so forth. Most men are easily comprehen-
sible as the products of these factors. The more inde-
pendent of all such influences, or the more in opposition to
them, a personality develops, the more attractive and inter-
esting will it appear to us. At the first glance it looks as
if the Emperor Akbar had developed his entire character
from himself and by his own efforts in total independence
of all influences which in other cases are thought .to deter-
mine the character and nature of a man. A Mohammedan,
a Mongol, a descendant of the monster Timur, the son of a
weak incapable father, born in exile, called when but a lad
to the government of a disintegrated and almost annihi-
lated realm in the India of the sixteenth century,—which
means in an age of perfidy, treachery, avarice, and self-
seeking,—Akbar appears before us as a noble man, suscep-
tible to all grand and beautiful impressions, conscientious,
unprejudiced, and energetic, who knew how to bring peace
and 'order out of the confusion of the times, who through-
out his reign desired the furtherance of his subjects' and
not of his own interest, who while increasing the privileges
of the Mohammedans, not only also declared equality of
rights for the Hindus but even actualized that equality,
who in every conceivable way sought to conciliate his sub-
unfairly in many places, but declares at the bottom of page 135. "The reign
of Akbar is one of the most important in the history of India; it is one of the
most important in the history of the world"); Mountstuart Elphinstone,
History of India, the Hindu and Mahometan Periods, with notes and additions
by E. B. Cowell, pth ed., London, 1905; G. B. Malleson, Akbar and the Rise of
the Mughal Empire, Oxford, 1890 (in W. W. Hunter's Rulers of India) ;
A. Muller, Der Islam im M or gen- und Abendland, Vol. II, Berlin, 1887; but
especially Count F. A. von Noer, Kaiser Akbar, ein Versuch uher die Gc-
schichte Indiens im sechsehnten Jahrhundert, Vol. I, Leyden, 1880; Vol. II,
revised from the author's manuscript by Dr. Gustav von Buchwald, Leyden,
1885. In the preface to this work the original sources are listed and described;
compare also M. Elphinstone, pp. 536, 537, note 45.