Who is the most successful Emperor among the Mughal rulers? Why?

Humayun’s son [Akbar](https://www.mughallibrary.com/images-1/akbar-hunting%2C-c.-late-16th-century) (reigned 1556–1605) is often remembered as the greatest of all Mughal emperors. When Akbar came to the throne, he inherited a shrunken empire, not extending much beyond the Punjab and the area around Delhi. He embarked on a series of military campaigns to extend his boundaries, and some of his toughest opponents were the[Rajputs](https://www.mughallibrary.com/images-1/akbar-hunting%2C-c.-late-16th-century), fierce warriors who controlled Rajputna (now Rajasthan). The Rajputs’ main weakness was that they were divided by fierce rivalries with each other. This made it possible for Akbar to deal with Rajput chiefs individually instead of confronting them as a united force. In 1568 he captured the fortress of Chitor (now Chittaurgarh), and his remaining Rajput opponents soon capitulated.

Akbar’s policy was to enlist his defeated opponents as allies by allowing them to retain their privileges and continue governing if they acknowledged him as emperor. This approach, combined with Akbar’s tolerant attitudes toward non-Muslim peoples, ensured a high degree of harmony in the empire, in spite of the great diversity of its peoples and religions. Akbar is also credited with developing the administrative structures that would shape the empire’s ruling elite for generations. Along with his skill at military conquest, Akbar proved to be a thoughtful and open-minded leader; he encouraged interreligious dialogue, and—despite being illiterate himself—patronized literature and the arts.

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