Merciful Tyrants: why did the Mughals follow a policy of rebel forgiveness?

Author(s): Safya Morshed

Type: Poster

Department: Department of Economic History

Exhibit no: 24

The Mughal State was a highly militaristic and expansive empire which faced numerous rebellions and wars over the dynasty. Paradoxically, however, a significant proportion of Mughal rebels were forgiven, sometimes multiple times, instead of being executed or imprisoned as would be expected from autocratic pre-modern regimes.

My research asks the question why the Mughals adopted this unusual policy of forgiveness and what this can teach us about state formation. To answer this, I have compiled and analysed the first ever Mughal rebellion database which records major rebellions, participants and consequence information for each rebellion.