Emperor Akbar And His Navratnas: The Nine Gems And Their Talents

Photo: jamesmys.blogspot.com

Akbar the great was the third Mughal emperor in the Mughal dynasty reigning from 1556 to 1605. Today, let’s know more about his Navratnas.

Samyak Sheth

Akbar succeeded his father Humayun, enlarging the Mughal empire. He had a strong personality and had a successful general by his side as he ascended to the crown at a very young agee.. Akbar subsequently inhibited the power to influence and extend his rule in the entire country (his empire extended far beyond the current boundaries of India) through his military, political, cultural and economical dominance over the expanse of the land.

Akbar won the support of non-Muslim rulers in the country by adopting their policies. The opinions of the current historians differ on how human Akbar was as a ruler.

Photo: cultureindia.net

He was the first ruler who appointed non-Muslims to a high post in civil and military. He won the trust and loyalty of his subjects and believed in maintaining a balance among all castes. He was majorly considered to be very different from the other Mughal rulers but different scholars have different thoughts on the issue.

Akbar had his nine gems or the Navratnas which he was very famous for. Navratnas translates into English as ‘nine gems’. These nine gems were nine extraordinary people in his court. One of his nine gems was Birbal – who is famous amongst adults and kids alike. 

Akbar was an illiterate ruler but he respected and possessed great passion for arts and intellect. These Navratnas were the true geniuses in his court as Akbar had love for learning new things. Here we know more about them:

1) Raja Man Singh 1:

He was a Rajput, and a king of a place called Amber, which is now in Jaipur. Man Singh was very much trusted by Akbar. Man Singh was a great worshiper of Lord Krishna and his devotion led him to building a seven-storied building for Lord Krishna. He was a great poet, breathing his last on 6th July 1614.

2) Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak:

He was the Grand Wazir (Vizier) of the Mughal emperor Akbar. Mubarak’s famous works were Akbarnama, which describes the history of King Akbar in three volumes. Out of the notable works of Mubarka, the third volume describing Akbar is known as Ain-i-Akbari which has been referred to endlessly. He was assassinated when returning from Deccan by Vir Singh Bundela, plotted by Prince Salim, Akbar’s son (later known as Jahangir), as Mubarak opposed the accession of Salim to the throne.

3) Faizi:

His real name is Shaikh Abu al-Faiz ibn Mubarak, Faizi being his pen name. He was a great poet and a scholar, who was appointed by Mughal King Akbar in his nine gems getting the status of poet laureate. Faizi was smart and a genius. He was so recognized by Akbar and was appointed as a tutor for his sons. Faizi was the eldest son of Shaikh Mubarak. Faizi was notable for his great Persian works. Faizi died in 1595 due to asthma in Lahore.

4) Raja Birbal:

Birbal was the advisor in Akbar’s court, known for his folk tales which mainly focus on wit. Birbal was appointed as a poet and a singer by Akbar. Birbal served for Akbar for 30 years advising him on religious and  militarymatters. He was also a very close friend to the emperor. Birbal was the first and only to adopt Din-i-llahi religion adopted by Akbar. Birbal died in 1586 when he was sent with reinforcements from his new fort Attock, near the swat valley(nearby the river Indus now in Pakistan) to fight the Afghan Yousafzai tribes. Birbal was Akbar’s favourite Navratna and very famous even today through stories.

5) Raja Todar Mal:

He was the Finance Minister in Akbar’s court and helped  the Mughals in financial matters. Todar Mal was a capable warrior. He introduced systems like Zabt, a revenue system and a taxation system called as Dahshala. Todar Mal died in Lahore on 8th November in 1585.

6) Fakir Aziao-Din:

Fakir was the sixth gem or the navratna in Akbar’s court. Fakir was a chief advisor and a mystic in the emperor’s court. Aziao-Din use to give advices to Akbar on religious matters, and his advises were considered in high esteem in the court.

Photo: gktricks.com

7) Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana:

He was a poet, and known for his famous couplets in the Urdu language, also for his books and works in astrology. Rahim belonged from Khan Khana which is named after him now in Punjab. He was Akbar’s trusted guardian and mentor. Rahim had a strong command in Sanskrit, he wrote various dohas. Rahim also translated the Baburnama from the Chagatai language to Persian. Prince Salim (Jehangir), son of Akbar killed Rahim’s two sons as they opposed him. Rahim’s tomb was built by his wife in 1598 and body was placed in it 1627.

8) Mulla Do-Piyaza:

Piyaza was also a witty courtier and a rival to Birbal on the matters of wit. Piyaza is a character from the series of folk tales featuring the Mughal emperor Akbar and his witty rival Birbal. Piyaza is depicted as a Muslim counterpart rival to Birbal. There is no record of Piyaza in the records of Mughal era. A modern scholar, Hafiz Mahmood Shirani claims that Piyaza was a historical personality and his original name was Abdul Momin. There are many speculations over the character of Piyaza as to whether did he exist or not.

9) Tansen:

Tansen had immense musical abilities. Tansen was a musician, composer and vocalist. Tansen’s work was loved by Akbar a lot and thus he had garnered space for himself in the Nine Gems or Navratnas. Tansen was a Vaishnava. The year of death of Mian (the title given by the Mughal emperor Akbar) Tansen is not sure, as it is different as per the Muslims and Hindus.

It is stated that Kings Vikramaditya and Krishnachandra also had 9 scholars in their respective courts. Some scholars say that there is no mention of the nine gems of Akbar anywhere in history and it might just be folklore.


Heer Khant
Heer Khant

Traveller | Writer | Photographer | Maverick | Social Worker | Lawyer | A freedom-loving woman for whom words are like wings to her soul. She believes in aliens, hates boundaries and lives like the first human on Earth.


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