Lust, The Motive Of Conquest
Lust for wealth, women, territory and of course power was the driving force behind Akbar's conquests. In Arabic, it is expressed in the three z's: zar (wealth), zan (women) and zamin (land or territory). In the Ranthambhore treaty we have seen that the vanquished were always compelled to surrender their women to Akbar. In his campaign against Baz Bahadur we have observed how Akbar forced Adham Khan to surrender his harem to Akbar. With regard to Akbar's campaign against Bundelkhand's Rani Durgavati, Smith wails (Pp. 50-51): "Akbar's attack on a princess of a character so noble was mere aggression, wholly unprovoked and devoid of all justification, other than the lust for conquest and plunder... Akbar's annexations were the result of ordinary kingly ambition supported by adequate power. The attack devoid of moral justification on the excellent government of Rani Durgavati was made on the principles which determined the subsequent annexations of Kashmir, Ahmednagar and other kingdoms. Akbar felt no scruples about initiating a war, and once had begun a quarrel he hit hard without mercy...his proceedings were much the same as those of other ruthless kings."
Describing Akbar's wanton attack against Rana Pratap of Mewar, Smith remarks (Pg. 107): "It is not necessary to adduce any particular incident as supplying a motive for the attack on the Rana. The campaign of 1576 A.D. was intended to destroy the Rana, and crush finally his pretensions to stand outside of the empire...The emperor desired the death of the Rana and the absorption of his territory."
A proper understanding of the struggle between Rana Pratap and Akbar should by itself be enough for any judicious observer to condemn Akbar as a rank aggrandizer. Since the two were working at cross purposes and were opposed to each other in deadly combat, a student of history cannot escape the responsibility of adjudging one of them as representing the forces of injustice, tyranny and repression. Since Rana Pratap was a son of the soil fighting against unprovoked aggression, it automatically follows that Akbar must be charged with wanton man-slaughter and other crimes in attacking principality after principality. And yet, curiously enough, Indian history is heavily loaded with Akbar's eulogies representing him almost as an angel!