Navratnas of Akbar: Birbal, Tansen and More

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Navratana of Akbar

The Navratnas of Akbar were the Nine Jewels in the court of Emperor Akbar. Akbar, the great Mughal emperor, is known for his impressive administration, cultural patronage, and his court filled with talented individuals. Among these individuals, there were nine exceptional personalities who were collectively known as the “Navratnas of Akbar”. These navratnas, or nine gems, were masters in their respective fields and made significant contributions to Akbar’s empire. Let us delve into the lives of these extraordinary individuals and explore the achievements that shaped Akbar’s court.

Birbalpoet, musician, and advisor
Tansenmusician and vocalist.
Abul FazlHistorian and Scholar
Raja Todar MalFinancial Expert
Raja Man Singh IMilitary Commander and Diplomat
Abdul Rahim Khwaja KhanArchitect and Statesman
Fakir Azio-DinAstrologer and Astronomer
Mullah Do-PiyazaScholar, Poet & Soldier

Who were the Navratnas?

The Navratnas were a group of highly talented individuals handpicked by Emperor Akbar himself. They hailed from diverse backgrounds and fields, ranging from literature and art to administration and science. Each of the Navratnas had a distinct skill set, and together, they formed a brain trust that advised Akbar on various matters.

Image Source – Notes on Indian History

Here is a Brief Introduction to the Navratnas of Akbar 

In this blog, we will mention all the nine gems present in the court of Emperor Akbar as well as provide you with a brief description of each of these gems and their qualities.

Birbal: The Witty Advisor

Birbal, also known as Raja Birbal, was one of the most prominent Navratnas in Akbar’s court.

TenureHe served as a close advisor to Akbar from 1556 to 1586.
Achievements Birbal’s quick wit and wisdom made him an invaluable asset to the Emperor and helped in making strategic decisions. He was known for his problem-solving abilities and the ability to find unconventional solutions. Birbal is still remembered for his legendary wit and the collection of stories known as “Akbar-Birbal” tales.
SignificanceBirbal’s presence added a spark of humor and wisdom to Akbar’s court, providing a refreshing perspective in times of political and administrative decision-making.

Also Read – Mughal Emperor Jahangir: Life, Legacy, and Influence

Tansen: The Maestro of Melodies

Tansen, born Ramtanu Mishra, was a renowned musician and vocalist. His mesmerizing voice and mastery of Indian classical music enthralled both Akbar and the common people.

TenureHe was a part of Akbar’s court from 1556 to 1586.
Achievements – He composed numerous ragas and is credited with creating the musical genre “Dhrupad.”
– Tansen’s talent was so exceptional that legends of his musicals brought rain and thunder when he sang ragas.
SignificanceTansen’s presence brought soul-stirring melodies to Akbar’s court, transforming it into a cultural hub and infusing a deep appreciation for music in the Mughal dynasty.

Abul Fazl: The Imperial Chronicler

Abul Fazl, known as Shaikh Abu al-Fazl ibn Mubarak, was a highly regarded scholar and historian.

TenureHe served as a courtier from 1575 until his assassination in 1602.
Achievements – Abul Fazl penned the monumental work “Akbarnama,” an authoritative account of Akbar’s reign.
– He also authored the “Ain-i-Akbari,” a comprehensive record of the empire’s administration, culture, and society.
– Abul Fazl’s insightful writings shed light on the socio-political fabric of the Mughal Empire.
SignificanceAbul Fazl’s historical writings provided future generations with invaluable insights into the Mughal Empire’s governance, culture, and achievements.

Raja Todar Mal: The Mastermind of Finance

Raja Todar Mal, also known as Raja Todar, was a brilliant administrator and economist.

TenureHe served as finance minister from 1560 until he died in 1589.
Achievements – Raja Todar Mal introduced a systematic revenue system called “Dahsala” that revolutionized taxation in the Mughal Empire.
– He implemented land surveys and standardized units of measurement, ensuring efficient revenue collection.
– Raja Todar Mal’s financial reforms played a crucial role in stabilizing the empire’s economy.
SignificanceRaja Todar Mal’s financial acumen and reforms laid the foundation for a stable and prosperous Mughal Empire, serving as a model for future administrations.

Also ReadShah Jahan: The Taj Mahal and Beyond

Faizi: The Master of Poetry

Faizi, born Shaikh Abu al-Faiz ibn Mubarak, was a celebrated poet and scholar. Faizi’s expertise in Persian and Arabic poetry earned him recognition as one of the finest poets of his time

TenureHe was a courtier and occasional tutor to Akbar from 1562 to 1595.
Achievements – He translated Sanskrit works into Persian, enriching the Mughal court’s literary repertoire.
– Faizi’s poetic compositions, known for their depth and eloquence, captivated both Akbar and the court.
SignificanceHe translated Sanskrit works into Persian, enriching the Mughal court’s literary repertoire. Faizi’s poetic compositions, known for their depth and eloquence, captivated both Akbar and the court.

Raja Man Singh I: The Valiant General

Raja Man Singh I, born as Kunwar Man Singh, was a military commander and diplomat.

TenureHe served from 1562 until his death in 1614.
Achievements – Raja Man Singh I played a pivotal role in expanding the Mughal Empire’s territories and leading successful military campaigns.
– He commanded the imperial army and emerged victorious in battles, displaying exceptional military expertise.
– Man Singh, I was also a trusted diplomat, negotiating crucial alliances and maintaining diplomatic relations with the people of the Hindu Community.
SignificanceMan Singh I’s military brilliance ensured the Mughal Empire’s expansion and consolidation, securing its place as a formidable force in the subcontinent.

Abdul Rahim Khwaja Khan: The Architect

Abdul Rahim Khwaja Khan, commonly known as Khan-i-Khanan, was a renowned architect and statesman. His contributions left an indelible mark on the Mughal architectural development in the akbar’s era.

TenureHe served in the court from 1556 until his death in 1627.
Achievements – Khan-i-Khanan designed and constructed magnificent buildings, including forts, palaces, and mausoleums.
– His architectural marvels, such as the tomb of Emperor Akbar in Sikandra, showcased a fusion of design elements from different cultures.
SignificanceKhan-i-Khanan’s architectural genius added grandeur and aesthetic beauty to Akbar’s empire, leaving a rich legacy for future generations to admire.

Also Read Babur: The Magnificent History of the First Mughal Emperor

Fakir Aziao-Din: The Astronomer

Fakir Aziao-Din was an accomplished astronomer during Akbar’s reign.

TenureFakir served as a court astronomer and advisor from 1571 until his death in 1582.
Achievements – He made groundbreaking observations and calculations related to celestial bodies and contributed to the field of astronomy.
– His profound understanding of astronomy played a pivotal factor in any discussion of Akbar’s astronomical policies.
SignificanceFakir Aziao-Din’s expertise helped the emperor establish accurate calendars, celestial predictions, and astronomical instruments.

Mullah Do-Piyaza: The Persian Scholar and Poet

Mullah Do-Piyaza, a Persian scholar and poet, was known for his intellectual prowess.

TenureMullah served in the court from 1570 until his demise in 1584.
Achievements Mullah Do-Piyaza’s presence added a touch of finesse and intellect to Akbar’s court, making him an integral part of the intellectual circle.
SignificanceHe was a prolific writer and composed several Persian poems and ghazals. Mullah’s ability to blend humour, satire and wisdom made his writings highly acclaimed in Persian literature.

Also Read – Life & Accomplishments of Aurangzeb

In conclusion, the Navratnas of Akbar were not mere courtiers; they were luminous stars who illuminated the Mughal Empire’s corridors of power with their brilliance and talent. Through their varied contributions, they transformed Akbar’s reign into a golden era of culture, intellect and progress. Their legacy continues to inspire generations.


Who were 9 navratnas in Akbar court?

The Navratna of Akbar consisted of Birbal, Tansen, Abu’l-Fazl, Raja Todal Mal, Faizi, Raja Man Singh, Abdul Rahim Khawaja Khan, Fakir Aziao-Din and Mullah Do Piyaza. However, some historians credit other ministers too as one of the nine jewels.

Who was the Defence minister of Akbar?

Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana is believed to be the defence Minister of Akbar. He was a noble minister and a renowned poet in the court of Akbar.

Why are they called navratnas?

Legend has it that during the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar, there were nine intellectuals who were legends in their fields and skills, they were known as Navaratnas or the nine gems in his court. However, this tradition lacks historical evidence, similar to the case of Vikramaditya.

Who was hakim hukam?

Hakim Humam was a physician and is sometimes credited to be one of the nine jewels (nauratnas) of Akbar.

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