When Humayun conquered India, for the second time, he embarked upon a deliberate and diplomatic policy to win over these elements.
Abul Fazl has written in his work as “to soothe the minds of the zamindars, he (Humayun) entered into matrimonial relations with them.”
When Jamal Khan Mewati (one of the greatest zamindars of India), submitted to Humayun, he married one of his (Humayun’s) beautiful daughters and married his younger sister to Bairam Khan. Over a period of a time, Akbar also followed this policy.
Before the Akbar period, the girl once married, normally, was lost to her family, and never came back after her marriage. But, Akbar abandoned this policy. He gave religious freedom to his Hindu wives and gave an honored place to their parents and relations in the nobility.
Relation with Amber State
Bhara Mal, the ruler of Amber cemented the alliance (with Akbar) by marrying his younger daughter, Harka Bai, to Akbar.
Bhara Mal was given a high dignitary. His son, Bhagwan Das, rose to the rank of 5,000 and his grandson, Man Singh, to the rank of 7,000, which was accorded by Akbar to only one other noble, namely Aziz Khan Kuka (his foster-brother).
In 1572, when Akbar went on Gujarat expedition, Bhara Mal was placed as the in-charge of Agra where all the royal ladies were residing; it was a signal honor usually given only to nobles who were either relations or close confidants of the emperor.
Akbar had abolished the pilgrim-tax, and the practice of forcible conversion of prisoners of war. In 1564, Akbar also abolished the jizyah, which was (sometimes) used by the ulama to humiliate non-Muslims.
Relation with Mewar State
Mewar was the only state which had stubbornly refused to accept Mughal suzerainty.
In 1572, Rana Pratap succeeded Rana Udai Singh to the ‘gaddi‘ (throne) of Chittoor. Akbar sent a series of embassies to Rana Pratap asking to accept Mughal suzerainty and to do personal homage. All these embassies, including the one led by Man Singh, were courteously received by Rana Pratap. In return, Rana Pratap also sent Amar Singh (his son) with Bhagwan Das to do homage to Akbar and accept his service. But Rana never accepted or made any final agreement.
In 1576, Akbar went Ajmer, and deputed Raja Man Singh with a force of 5,000 to lead a campaign against Rana. In anticipation of this campaign, Rana had devastated the entire territory up to Chittoor so that the Mughal forces might get no food or fodder and fortified all the passes in the hills.
The battle between Rana Pratap and Mughal force (led by Man Singh) was fought at Haldighati in June 1576.
The powerful attack by the Rajputs, which was supported by the Afghans threw the Mughal force into disarray. However, because of the fresh reinforcements in Mughal’s forces, the tide of battle turned against the Rajputs. The Mughal forces were advanced through the pass and occupied Gogunda, a strong point which had been evacuated by the Rana earlier. Rana Pratap somehow managed to escape from the battle field.
The battle of Haldighati was the last battle that Rana engaged in a pitched battle with the Mughals; afterward, he relied upon the methods of guerilla warfare.
In 1585, Akbar moved to Lahore to observe the situation in the north-west which had become dangerous by that time. Because of the critical situation, he (Akbar) remained there for the next 12 years. Therefore, after 1585, no Mughal expedition was sent against Rana Pratap.
Akbar’s absence gave an opportunity to Rana Pratap and hence, he recovered many of his territories, including Kumbhalgarh and the areas nearby Chittoor. Rana Pratap built a new capital, namely Chavand, near modern Dungarpur.
In 1597, Rana Pratap died at the age of 51, due to an internal injury incurred (by himself) while trying to draw a stiff bow.
Relation with Marwar State
In 1562, after the death of Maldeo of Marwar, there was a dispute between his sons for succession. However, the younger son of Maldeo, Chandrasen, (son of the favorite queen of Maldeo), succeeded to the gaddi (throne).
Chandrasen opposed the Akbar’s policy; hence, Akbar took Marwar under direct Mughal administration. Chandrasen fought bravely and also waged a guerilla warfare, but after some time, he forced to escape. In 1581, Chandrasen died.
Relation with Jodhpur State
Akbar conferred Jodhpur to Udai Singh, the elder brother of Chandrasen. To strengthen his position, Udai Singh married his daughter, Jagat Gosain or Jodha Bai with Akbar. Jodha Bai is the mother of Akbar’s eldest son Salim (Jahangir).
In 1593, when the son-in-law of Rai Singh of Bikaner died due to a fall from his palki, Akbar went to the raja’s house to console him, and discouraged his daughter from performing sati (self-immolation) as her children were young.
Akbar’s policy towards Rajput was continued by his successions, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Jahangir, whose mother was a Rajput princess (Jodha Bai), had married with a Kachhawaha princess as well as a Jodhpur princess.
The Rana Pratap’s son, Karan Singh, who was deputed to proceed to Jahangir’s court was diplomatically received. Jahangir got up from the throne, embraced him in darbar and gave him gifts.
Prince Karan Singh was accorded the rank of 5,000, which had been earlier accorded to the rulers of ‘Jodhpur, Bikaner, and Amber.