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After a crushed rebellion which he nominally led in 185758, the last Mughal, Bahad

ur Shah Zafar, was deposed by the British government, who then assumed formal co
ntrol of the country.[35]Through warfare and diplomacy,trading companies. India
developed a strong and stable economy, leading to commercial expansion and econ
omic development. Akbar allowed free expression of religion, and attempted to re
solve socio-political and cultural differences in his empire by establishing a n
ew religion,Din-i-Ilahi, with strong characteristics of a ruler cult.[35] He lef
t his successors an internally stable state, which was in the midst of its golde
n age, but before long signs of political weakness would emerge.[35] Akbar's son
, Jahangir, ruled the empire at its peak, but he was addicted to opium, neglecte
d the affairs of the state, and came under the influence of rival court cliques.
[35] Dcuring the reign of Jahangir's son, Shah Jahan, During the reign of Muhamm
ad Shah, the empire began to break up, and vast tracts of central India passed f
rom Mughal to Maratha hands. The campaigns of Nadir Shah, who had reestablished
Iranian suzerainity over most of West Asia and Central Asia, ulminated with the
Sack of Delhi and shattered the remnants of Mughal power and prestige.[35] Many
of the empire's elites now sought to control their own affairs, and broke away
to form independent kingdoms.[35] The Mughal Emperor, however, continued to be t
he highest manifestation of sovereignty.
Not only the Muslim gentry, but the Maratha, Hindu, and Sikh leaders took part i
n ceremonial acknowledgements of the emperor as the sovereign of India.[36]The M
ughal Emperor Shah Alam II made futile attempts to reverse the Mughal decline, a
nd
cultimately had to seek the protection of outside powers. In 1784, the Marathas
under Mahadji Scindia won acknowledgement as the protectors of the emperor in De
lhi, a state of affairs that continued until after the Second Anglo-Maratha War.
the culture and splendour of the luxurious Mughal ourt reached its zenith as ex
emplified by the Taj Mahal.[35] The maintenance of the court, at this time, bega
n to cost more than the revenue.[35]Akbar was able to extend the empire in all d
irections and controlled almost the entire Indian subcontinent north of the Goda
vari river. He created a new class of nobility loyal to him from the military ar
istocracy of India's social groups, implemented a modern government, and suppor
ted cultural developments.[35] At the same time, Akbar intensified trade with Eu
ropean trading companies. India developed a strong and stable economy, leading t
o commercial expansion and economic development. Akbar allowed free expression o
freligion, and attempted to resolve socio-political and cultural differences in
his empire by establishing a new religion, Din-i-Ilahi, with strong characterist
ics of a ruler cult.[35] During the reign of Jahangir's son, Shah Jahan, During
the reign of Muhammad Shah, the empire began to break up, and vast tracts of cen
tral He left his successors an internally stable state, which was in the midst o
f its golden age, but before long signs of political weakness would emerge.[35]
Akbar's son, Jahangir, ruled the empire at its peak, but he was addicted to opiu
m, neglected the affairs of the state, and came under the influence of rival cou
rt cliques.[35] India passed from Mughal to Maratha hands. The campaigns of Nadi
r Shah, who had reestablished Iranian suzerainity over most of West Asia and Cen
tral Asia, culminated with the Sack of Delhi and shattered the remnants of Mugha
l power and prestige.[35] Many of the empire's elites now sought to control thei
r own affairs, and broke away to form independent kingdoms.[35] The Mughal Emper
or, however, continued to be the highest manifestation of
sovereignty. Not only the Muslim gentry, but the Maratha, Hindu, and Sikh leader
s took part in ceremonial acknowledgements of the emperor as the sovereign of In
dia.[36]
The Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II made futile attempts to reverse the Mughal decli
ne, and ultimately had to seek the protection of outside powers. In 1784, the
Marathas under Mahadji Scindia won acknowledgement as the protectors of the empe
ror in Delhi, a state of affairs that continued until after the Second Anglo-Mar
atha War. Thereafter, the BritishEast India Company became the protectors of the
Mughal dynasty in Delhi.[36]