Greatest Monarchs of India

Greatest Monarchs of India are listed below.

Ashoka (304 BC - 232 BC)


The last emperor of Maurya dynasty, Ashoka was a patron of Buddhism. He helped a lot in the expansion of Buddhism throughout the country. In addition to his preachings Ashoka made the people known Buddhism by beautifully engraving the teachings on rocks and pillars fixed at suitable sites. These inscriptions are known as Rock Edicts. Ashoka conquered almost all the neighbouring countries and widened his empire. After the Kalinga war in the eighth year of his reign he was moved by the sufferings of the defeated people and thus withdrawn from armed conquests. Thereafter he led people along the path of dharma. Ashoka made many reforms for public utility.


Shivaji (1630-1680)


The founder of Maratha dynasty, Sivaji was a brave soldier and an ardent statesman. By the age of 19, he became a soldier, who was admired by the common people. He worked for the freedom of Hindus from the oppression and religious persecution by the then Muslim rulers of Bijapur. During a battle in 1659 Shivaji defeated the Bijapur Sultan and became a formidable war lord. Shivaji fought with the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb many times. Aurangzeb put Shivaji and his son under house arrest. He dramatically escaped from there and within 2 years Shivaji won back his lost territories and expanded his kingdom. He reorganised the army and instituted many reforms for the welfare of the people. Even enemies admired Shivaji's military skill.


Rana Prathap (1545-1597)


Rana Prathap Singh was the Rajput King of Mewar. He was the son of Rana Udar Singh. He successfully defended the attack of the Mughal emperor Akbar and thus honoured as a hero in Rajasthan. In 1576 the Mughal soliders under Raja Man Singh and Asaf Khan attacked Mewar and Rana Prathap was defeated. But refusing to surrender he fled to the hills. In concealment, he attacked back at times and won back many of his defeated lands. He struggled for the independence of his country from the Mughal rule until his death.


Rani Lakshmi Bai (1835-1858)


The great heroine of the war of independence during 1857. Lakshmi Bai was the wife of Gangadhar Rao, the king of Jhansi. When Jhansi was about to be attached to the British East India Company. Lakshmi Bai bravely led the people against the British. She brought back Jhansi and became the ruler. She bravely fought against the British in the war front with sword and rifle. She was killed by an English horse-man in the war front.


Babar (1483-1530)


Babar was the founder of Mughai dynasty in India and became its first emperor. At the age of 12 he was crowned as the ruler of Fergana. In 1504 he conquered Kabul and declared the King of Afghanistan. Then Babar turned to India and established his sovereignty in Punjab. In 1526 he defeated Sultan Ibrahim Lodi in the battle of Delhi. in the following years he conquered most of the places of north India and established his capital at Agra. Babar was also a talented writer and statesman.


Humayun (1508-1556)


The son of Babar, Humayun was the second Mughal emperor of India. He was crowned at the age of 23. Humayun was idle, tender-minded and luxurious by nature; so that he couldn't work for the prosperity and protection of his kingdom. He defeated the Afghans and Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. Later the Afghan leader Sher Khan defeated Humayun at Bilgram and expelled him from India. Humayun found shelter in Persia. He was granted military aid from Iran and he seized Kabul, Lahore. Delhi and Agra in due course. Humayun died in 1556 after an injury caused by falling down from the staircase of his library.


Akbar (1542-1605)


Son of Humayun, Akbar was the most famous Mughal emperor. He extended Mughal power over almost all places of India. He reformed and strengthened his kingdom and maintained the direct tax collection processes. He was a great man of secularism and allowed other religious meetings and discussions before him. In 1582, he founded a new religion 'Din Ilahi'. Akbar built forts at Agra, Lahore and Allahabad. He built 'Fatehpur Sikri', a beautiful city to express his courtesy towards his spiritual teacher Sheik Salim of Sikri and declared this city his capital. Akbar highly encouraged art, culture and literature and revered special personalities in these fields. 'Akbarnama' is a book written by Abul Fasal describing the reign of Akbar.


Jahangir (1569-1627)


Jahangir was the son of Akbar and the successor of Mughal dynasty. He was crowned at Agra in 1605. Jahangir followed his father's path. He accepted other religions and encouraged art, literature and culture. He also accepted the influence of his wife and her relatives and they dominated him in ruling. He tried to enforce many good reforms like establishing hospitals, put an end to unnecessary taxes, ban the sale of drugs and alcoholics etc, but failed. Though an idle and luxurious man in nature Jahangir was a scholar.


Shah Jahan (1592-1666)


Shah Jahan was the son of Jahangir and the fifth Mughal emperor of India. He was best known as the builder of Taj Mahal one of the architectural wonders of the world. After the death of Jahangir in 1627, Shah Jahan proclaimed himself as the emperor at Agra. During his reign he conquered the Deccan states. In 1648 Shah Jahan transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi and made up a new city called Shahjahanabad. In 1658, his son Aurangzeb declared himself emperor and confined Shah Jahan in the fort at Agra until his death.


Aurangzeb (1618- 1707)


The third son of Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb was the sixth emperor of the Mughal dynasty. During his reign the Mughal empire reached its widest extent. He was a brilliant ruler and statesman. But, as an orthodox Muslim he abandoned the religious tolerance of his forefathers and ruled the Hindus by ruthless force. He also executed the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, Tejh Bahadur. The enemity of Hindus and Sikhs led to many problems and they caused the collapse of the Mughal empire. Aurangzeb died in 1707 after a reign of about 49 years.


Bahadur Shah (1643-1712)


The second son of Aurangzeb, Bahadur Shah ascended the throne of the Mughal empire in 1707 after destroying his two brothers. In 1663, he was sent to the Deccan plateau region to represent his father. He lead an army against the Marathas in 1683, but failed. Later in 1699 he was appointed the Governor of Kabul (Afghanistan) by his father. During his reign he faced the opposition from the Marathas and Rajputs. He drove the followers of the Sikh religion into the Punjab hills.


Sher Shah (1486-1545)


Sher Shah in original name Farid Khan was the emperor of Sur (Afghan) dynasty in North India. He was given the name Sher Shah by the King of Bihar, for his bravery. He defeated Humayun in two battles and drove his enemies from the neighbouring states. He conquered almost all places of North India. With an intention to expand the Sultanate of Delhi, he captured Gwalior and Malwa, but during the siege of Kalinjar he was killed. Sher Shah was one of the efficient muslim rulers of India. Sher Shah's tomb, a magnificent work, is built at Sasaram.


Hyder Ali (1722-1782)


Hyder Ali was the Muslim ruler of Mysore. He was also the military commander who played an important part in the fight against British encroachment in India during the 18th century. He displaced Nanjaraj, the Prime Minister of Mysore confined him in his own palace and declared himself ruler of Mysore. The Marathas, Nizam Ali Khan of Hyderabad and the British together allianced against Hyder Ali. But he defeated them. Then he joined in a confederacy with the Marathas and Nizam against the British. In 1780 Hyder Ali seized Arcot by destroying a British detachment of 2800 men. The British detached the Marthas and the Nizam from Hyder Ali and defeated him three times. In 1782 he fought dead in the battle of Porto Novo.


Tipu Sultan (1749-1799)


The son and successor of Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan was the Muslim ruler of Mysore. He fought against the British in his father's campaign and concluded the war successfully. In 1782 he entered the throne as Sultan of Mysore. In 1784 he concluded peace with the British but it lasted only for about 3 years. In 1789 he attacked the Raja of Travancore who was a supporter of the British and this provoked them to an invasion. By the Treaty of Srirangapatanam in 1792 Tipu was forced to cede half of his dominions. During the 4th Mysore war in 1799 the British captured Srirangapatanam, Tippu's capital and Tipu died fighting with the British. Tipu was a talented administrator and ruler. Though a Muslim, he was tolerent to his subjects of other religions


Alauddin Khilji (1266-1316)


Juna Khan in other words Alauddin Khilji was the second ruler of the Khilji dynasty, which is the second ruling family of the Muslim Sultanate of Delhi. The first Khilji Sultan was Jalaluddin Firuz Khilji. Alauddin was his nephew. In 1296 Alauddin murdered Jalaluddin and conquered his throne. Alauddin ruled for 20 years. He conquered and annexed many places like, Ranthambhor, Chitor, Mandu and the Hindu Kingdom of Devagiri. In 1308 Malik Kafur, Alauddin's Lieutenant was sent on an expedition to the south, but it was a total failure and he returned in 1311. Thereafter the Khilji dynasty declined and Alauddin died in 1316.


Sultana Raziyya (1205-1240)


Raziyya was the daughter of Iltutmish, the third and greatest ruler of the Slave dynasty. Iltutmish was a wise and patient statesman and administrator. Iltutmish's eldest son had died earlier. His other sons were not so efficient. So he gave excellent education to his daughter Raziyya in the desire of seeing her on his throne. After the death of Iltutmish his brave and able daughter ascended the throne as the Sultana of Slave dynasty. But the Turkish slave nobles opposed and defeated her. Sultana Raziyya succeeded only a short period and from there started the decline of the Slave dynasty.

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