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Traditions

Seven generations of the Mughal dynasty ruled over India from the early 16th to the mid-18th century. The rulers had an effective administrative organisation and attempted to integrate Muslims and Hindus to create a united Indian state. Patrons of art and of learning, the Mughals left a splendid heritage of buildings, paintings and literature. Humayun ruled after the first emperor Babur. He introduced Persian artists who worked with local artists to produce works in the classic Mughal artistic tradition. Akbar too was liberal-minded. He encouraged intermarriages between Mughal and Rajput aristocracy, re-marriage and did not approve of child marriage. The emperor directed the creation of the Hamzanama, an artistic masterpiece that includes 1,400 large paintings. Exceptional works of art were produced during Jahangir's reign and that of his son Shah Jahan. The Taj Mahal, a symbol of eternal love was built in Agra during Shah Jahan's reign as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The tenure of Aurangzeb was a dark patch on the Mughal era as he banished court musicians, dancers and singers. He even stopped the production of representational artwork and banned miniature paintings renowned during the Mughal dynasty. After Muhammad Shah died in 1748, the Marathas seized most of northern India. The Mughal empire survived until 1857, but its rulers became pensioners of the East India Company after 1803. The last emperor, the senile Bahadur Shah Zafar, was convicted for allegedly leading the rebels of the 1857 mutiny and fomenting sedition. He was then transported to Rangoon where he spent the remainder of his life on alien soil. Inter-religious and inter caste marriages was a normal affair among the Mughal Royal families.
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