Suleiman vs. Shah Akbar

Posted: October 17th, 2013





Suleiman vs. Shah Akbar

Suleiman I of the Ottoman Empire and Shah Akbar of the Mughal Empire are two men who played a significant role in history, each in his own different way. Shah Akbar was the second-last Mughal empire ruler in India. He held office in the years 1806-1837, a period in which his power reduced significantly due to the growing control of the British in India. The British were frustrated with him due to his persistence in denying them audience on different matters other than those pertaining to sovereign and subject. Hence, they took measures to reduce his control, including encouraging other leaders from regions under the reign of Shah Akbar to take on royal titles (Bohra, 2000). They also converted the text on the East India Company from Persian to English and removed the emperor’s name from it. This made the company cease being the lieutenants of the Empire. In his reign, however, he achieved success in the cultural sector with growth being experienced in that sector. The British were gradually successful in diminishing the region he reined.

Suleiman I of the Ottoman Empire, in contrast with Shah Akbar, ruled for over 46years making him the longest ruling empire. His kingdom ruled from the 1520- 1566 where it seized following his death. In his reign, he was immensely powerful, and unlike Shah Akbar, his empire only grew larger and stronger by conquering most of the Middle East region, a great area of North Africa and a substantial part of Europe as well (Mansel, 1998). The fleet of ships he owned commanded the sea and his power was known worldwide. This military strength and superiority were a feature that was markedly lacking in Shah Akbar’s reign. Instead of expanding his territory, the Shah was losing his reign to other invading rulers. Suleiman I was a powerful leader who enjoyed considerable political strength, whose juniors could not defy his rule as it happened with Shah Akbar. In Shah Akbar’s reign, Nawab of Awadh took heed to British advice and went against the emperor seeking a royal title, hence assisting in reducing the Emperor’s influence and power.

Suleiman I transformed the legal system in Ottoman, the region he ruled hence he had power over the economic or legal affairs in the country. This control by Suleiman I is a notable contrast to the Mughal Empire leader Shah Akbar who had little control over the economic affairs of his empire, with the British having taken over most of the economic affairs of the Indian nation. This went as far as the emperor’s name being removed from the coin that was mainly used in substantial trading activities and the language in those coins changed from Persian to English (Bohra, 2000).

The Sultan Suleiman I was not only successful in the military and economic front but also in the agricultural sector. The empire was able to organize its agricultural sector hence providing stability in production of staple food, due to the efficient administrative organization (Ahmed, 2001). This ensured that all the members of the empire enjoyed stability as their well-being was catered for. Due to the organization of his administration, the Empire was able to enjoy stability and sustainability long after his death with a long list of succession of emperors. However, in Shah Akbar’s case, he was only succeeded by his son after his death, and the kingdom crumbled under the British surge with the next heir being killed in battle. Suleiman I also enjoyed immense cultural success by personally overseeing the growth in architecture and literature in his kingdom. He revolutionized art and philosophy in his era. Therefore, it is safe to proclaim Suleiman I as being a more successful leader than Shah Akbar was, based on the former’s successes.

Work Cited

Ahmed, Syed Z. The Zenith of an Empire: The Glory of the Suleiman the Magnificent and the Law Giver. A.E.R. Publications, 2001. Print.

Bohra, Qammaruddin. City of Hyderabad Sindh: (712 – 1947). Pakistan: Royal Book Company, 2000. Print.

Mansel, Phillip. Constantinople: City of the World’s Desire, 1453–1924. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1998. Print.

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