The passing of Akbar

The death of Birbal, the murder of Abu'l Fazl, the uprising of Salim and the most recent loss of his mother together broke Akbar's heart. In 1605 he fell ill with dysentery, and this attack was to prove fatal.

During Akbar's last days, Prince Salim came to pay his respects to his father. In silence, Akbar motioned to his son to place the imperial turban on his head and take up the Emperor's sword which had belonged to Humayun. Then he signalled Salim to leave the room.

Only Akbar's thirteen-year-old grandson, Prince Khurram, and a few close friends remained with the dying monarch. When Khurram's mother tried to persuade him to go outside the room, he replied, "No! So long as there is a breath of life in Shah Baba [Akbar], nothing can induce me to leave him."

The indomitable Akbar died on October 27th, 1605 after a reign of almost fifty years. He bequeathed to Salim an empire that stretched from the doorstep of Persia in the west to Bengal in the far east of the sub-continent and southwards as far as the Deccan. It was one of the greatest and most glorious empires in the history of the world.