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Akbar, one of India's greatest Mughal emperors, was touted as one of the most open to diverse religious points of view. But he also used this position of tolerance as a way of consolidating his imperial control over vast regions of the Indian subcontinent. His policy of sulh-i-kul (“universal tolerance”) did not discriminate against persons on the ground of religion. At the same time, Akbar's thirst for theological knowledge was proverbial, and he participated in lively discussions with religious scholars from a variety of traditions.

Abul Fazl Allami (1551–1602), his court historian, enumerated the emperor's divine right theory of kingship. The emperor was regarded as being farri i-izdi (“a light emanating from God”). The mahzarnama (“doctrine of infallibility”) was drafted in 1579 to contain the influence ...

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