Nine Gems of Akbar: Name, Work, Navratna of Akbar

By K Balaji|Updated : October 27th, 2022

The term “Navratnas, or nine gems of Akbar, indicates the nine greatest extraordinary and erudite individuals in the palace of the ruling emperor Akbar. Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great is not the first to start the practice of honouring erudite men, although the nine gems of Akbar, as well as jewels via his part of Indian culture, are certainly the most famous. The method was also employed during the rule of Raja Vikram Aditya and feudal lord Raja Krishna Chandra. Learning about Navratnas of Akbar is essential for UPSC preparation. UPSC aspirants looking for detailed information on this topic can download the Navratnas of Akbar notes PDF from the link below.

Table of Content

Before learning the names of the nine gems of Akbar, let us first go through the brief biography of Akbar. Jalal-ud-din Abu'l-Fath Muhammad Akbar was the third and best-known Mughal emperor, ruling from 1556 to 1605 after his dad, Humayun. As a monarch, he successfully expanded the Mughal Empire to the entire Indian Subcontinent south of the Godavari River. He was an outstanding military officer. He was a people's monarch who enacted policies to keep order and peace in a geographically multicultural empire.

Nine Gems of Akbar PDF

Despite being illiterate, Akbar was a benefactor of intellectuals and artists and strongly desired to learn. He amassed a huge collection of approximately 24,000 books in Sanskrit, Urdu, Persian, Greek, Latin, Arabic, and Kashmiri, including the contributions of several academics, linguists, artists, visual artists, scribes, recurves, among readers. His interest in various disciplines impacted his choice of members in the court, which is popularly known as the Navratna of Akbar.

In an era when many regarded women's right to education as a pipe dream, he built Fatehpur Sikri's library exclusively for women. He directed the building of schools for Muslims and Hindus throughout the Mughal empire. His court invited holy men of all faiths, poets, builders, and artisans from all over the world to learn & debate.

To reconcile religious differences in his kingdom, he proposed Din-i-Ilahi, a semicrystalline religion, in 1582 AD to replicate the ideas as well as best features of different religious traditions of the Indian Subcontinent. The bulk of the particular religious elements came from Hinduism and Islam, as well as Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism.

Nine Gems of Akbar

In the palace of the Akbar, there are nine nobles called "Nine Gems" or Navratnas of Akbar or Nauratans. King Akbar was interested in the arts and academia, which influenced his court choices. A group of artists, musicians, authors, finance ministers, poets, and warriors formed the Nine Gems of Akbar.

Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak:

Abu'l was the second child of Indian scholar & teacher Shaikh Mubarak, who had been educated in Agra. This child prodigy, who got an Arab education, can read and write by age 5. An event from his youth illustrates his intelligence, placing him in Navratnas of Akbar. When he stumbled through an Ishafani dictionary that white ants chewed, he cleaned the eaten bits and joined a blank sheet to it.

He completed the full copy of the dictionary upon finding the beginning and end of each piece. Only three changes differentiated the original report from Fazl's version.

He was introduced to Emperor Akbar's palace somewhere at the age of 23. Becoming a liberal philosopher personally, he expanded religious tolerance to the king and the empire. His initial job was as a military leader in the Deccan. He is well-known for writing Akbar Nama, a three-volume history of Akbar's life & reign, which made him one of the famous nine gems of Akbar.

Raja Todar Mal:

Todar Mal was born into a Hindu family in Laharpur, Uttar Pradesh, but his father died when he was very young. He struggled to remain afloat as a born-out-of-wedlock child. From his humble origins as a writer, he climbed the ranks to assume charge of the building of Sher Shah Suri's magnificent castle of Rohtas in Punjab.

Todar Mal stayed in Akbar's service after the Mughals defeated the Suri ruler and found his place in the Navratna of Akbar. He was later appointed head of Gujarat and in command of Agra. His greatest gift in India, which is still used in various parts today, is the revenue system, which included establishing a surveying and mapping system, standard weight and measures, and tax districts.

Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khanna:

He was a poet, dewan, and one of nine gems of Akbar. Khan Khanna, in Punjab's Nawanshahr province, is renamed after him. He is known for his Urdu couplets and Sanskrit astrology publications, including Khetakautukam and Dwatrimshadyogavali. He was Akbar's valued protector and tutor, Bairam Khan's son.

His mother and a young Rahim were safely transported to Akbar's royal court after their dad was murdered. The emperor conferred the title of 'Mirza Khan' on Rahim and planned for him to marry the daughter of Mirza Aziz Koka, son of Aga Khan, a renowned Mughal noble.

Raja Birbal:

Raja Birbal was another Hindu who was one of the most famous nine gems of Akbar. As just a Hindu adviser at Akbar's court, he had become a well-known figure in India via ancient folk stories that lauded his wit. He was a writer and singer who was closest to an Emperor. Birbal led an army to crush an uprising inside the northwest in 1586, in which he was killed along with eight thousand troops in an assault, the Mughal empire's biggest military loss just that time.

The emperor was so saddened by the death of his favourite courtier that he starved and demanded" for more than a couple of days. Raja Birbal was the sole Hindu to join Akbar's religion, Din-i Ilahi. Raja Birbal is most renowned for the 9 jewels of Akbar.

After Akbar's reign, several folk tales about her interactions with Birbal emerged, depicting the former as extremely intelligent and amusing. Birbal became legendary in India after several plays, films, and publications inspired by his wit were created, including child's comics and school textbooks.

Mulla Do-Piyaza:

He is regarded as Akbar's Secretary Ministry. This Navratna of Akbar controls the country's domestic security, particularly the law enforcement agency. Mulla Do-Piyaza is considered a fictional character by most researchers. He appears in a variety of folk stories. At the end of the 19th century, he first emerged in these folk stories.

Faizi:

He was the teacher to Emperor Akbar's sons, along with the Minister of Education in the kingdom. Also, Faizi was Abu'l Fazl Ibn Mubarak’s brother, who was a member of Akbar's judicature. The earlier life of Faizi includes his birth information (birthplace was Agra, birth year was 1547) and education. Faizi’s father (an Islamic theology scholar who also mastered Greek and philosophical literature) educated him. As a navratna of Akbar, he rose to prominence as both a writer and a scholar.

In 1566, Akbar engaged him to tutor the royal sons. He was afterwards appointed Sadr (religious authority) again for states of Agra, Kalin jar, when Kalpi, and was appointed poet of a tribunal in 1588.

Faizi is famous for his poetry, that number in the thousands. Bashir Al-Subh is a collection of poems representing one of his finest works.

Fakir Aziao-Din:

He was a mystic who acted as Emperor Akbar's chief advisor. His advice was valued highly by the king, who rightfully named them as one of the nine gems of Akbar, or Navaratnas. He advised the emperor on religious concerns.

Tansen:

Born into a Hindu family, he studied engineering in current Madhya Pradesh. He began his career under the sponsorship of Ram Chand of Rewa State and soon became a household name. When Tansen attracted Akbar's attention, he sent emissaries to Ram Chand, asking that the singer join the palace. While Tansen initially rejected, Ram Chand encouraged him to expand his audience and sent him to Akbar's court with gifts at the age of 60. The Emperor subsequently bestowed the name Mian, which means "intelligent person," on them.

Being one of the nine gems of Akbar, he was a writer, instrumentalist, and singer, as well as an accomplished musician, and he was one of contemporary music's greatest significant individuals in Hindustani music in India. He is best renowned for his epic Dhrupad works and the invention of several new ragas, including his music books, such as Sri Ganesh Stotra and Sangita Sara.

Raja Man Singh I

He became Amber's Rajput Raja (present-day Jaipur). Manorama Bai, one of Akbar's closest generals, married Crown Prince Dara Shikoh, Shah Jahan's oldest son.

He was around eight years junior to Akbar and ten years junior to Rana Pratap. He is born to King Bhagwant Das and his princess Bhagawati of Amber. Those three predecessors created the historical and political underpinnings of sixteenth-century India.

After the father's death at the hand of Akbar, he is given the name of Mirza (Raja), and the man sab (rank) of five thousand. He later rose to the position of man Sardar of 7,000 cavalries and was known locally as 'farzand' (meaning son) by the emperor, who fought across several important campaigns.

9 Navratnas of Akbar and their Work

Navratna is a Sanskrit combination of the words that refer to "nine gems of Akbar" or "ratans." Many southern and south-eastern Asian cultures consider this jewellery style a sign of wealth, rank, and other alleged talismanic benefits to health and wellbeing.

The 9 gems of Akbar are believed to have mystical powers related to astrology and folklore and are inexorably tied to the Indian religions of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Have complete knowledge of who were 9 Navratnas and their works through the following table:

S. No.

Name

Work of Nine Gems of Akbar

1

Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak

Emperor Akbar's Prime Minister or Grand Vizier

2

Raja Todar Mal

Akbar’s Finance Minister

3

Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana

Akbar’s Defence Minister

4

Raja Birbal

Akbar’s Foreign Minister

5

Mulla Do-Piyaza

Akbar’s Home Minister

6

Faizi

Akbar’s Education Minister and Shahzadas’ Mentor

7

Fakir Aziao-Din

Akbar’s Religious Minister

8

Tansen

Akbar’s Culture Minister and Singer

9

Raja Man Singh I

Staff Chief in Emperor's Mughal Army

Nine Gems of Akbar UPSC

All the 9 gems of Akbar were renowned ministers of his kingdom as well as examples of amazing talent. Navratnas of Akbar is an important topic from the Medieval Indian History subject; the topic is very crucial for UPSC prelims and mains exams. UPSC aspirants need to focus on the detail of this topic as per the syllabus for excellent preparation.

Q1. In context with Akbar’s Navratnas, which one of these became Din-i-Elahi’s member?

  1. Tansen
  2. Todarmal
  3. Raja Birbal
  4. Raja Man Singh

Answer: Option C.

Q2. Which Navratnas of Akbar managed the empire’s financial affairs?

  1. Raja Todarmal
  2. Tansen
  3. Faizi
  4. Birbal

Answer: Option A.

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FAQs on Nine Gems of Akbar

  • The Navratnas of Akbar made his courtroom famous. Faizi was a Persian interpreter of the Panchatantra, Ramayana, and Mahabharata. Todar Mal is Sher Shah Suri's tax minister, a post he maintained in Akbar's court. He created standard weights as well as measures, as well as tax districts and officials.

  • At twenty-eight years old, Birbal was one of Akbar's first officers, possibly as early as 1556. Birbal is also a naturally giving person, and the confluence of these character traits, repartee, wealth, and lyrical talent made him one of the nine gems of Akbar.

  • Osman Ali Khan is the correct answer. He was the chronicler of Akbar's rule. He authored Akbar Nama, Akbar's biography. For seven years, Abul Fazl meticulously documented the history.

  • The nine navratnas of Akbar’s court and their work (roles) are as follows:

    1. Abul Fazl - The chief advisor and Prime Minister of Akbar
    2. Faizi - poet laureate; He was also the Education Minister plus Mentor of Shahzadas
    3. Tansen - Singer; He was the Culture Minister
    4. Birba - The witty member. He was also the Foreign Minister
    5. Todar Mal - Finance minister
    6. Raja Man Singh - Chief of Staff and trusted general
    7. Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana - Defence Minister
    8. Fakir Aziao-Din - Religious Minister
    9. Mullah Do Piaza - His Home Minister
  • Akbar had a group of extraordinary people in his court. Those were known as his gems. The nine gems of Akbar were:

    1. Abul Fazl
    2. Faizi
    3. Tansen
    4. Birbal
    5. Todar Mal
    6. Raja Man Singh
    7. Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana
    8. Fakir Aziao-Din
    9. Mullah Do Piaza

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