The Mughals were the most educated ruling class of their age. The Muslim aristocracy, and the ulema and Sufis, the first by choice and the later too by profession and inclination kept learning constant and continuing even in the midst of arms and political unrest or fluctuation. Although the state had no separate department for education, liberal sums were granted for the establishment and maintenance of educational institutions and ample grants were reserved for the teachers and scholars of repute. These grants were supplemented by generous donations by the nobles and the rich. Schools, madrissas and patshala were founded in villages. There were one hundred thousand elementary schools in Bengal and Bihar alone — a school for every four hundred persons during the fourth decade of the nineteenth century. For higher education there were 1800 colleges in Bengal. Akbar well-advanced of his age, built a girls’ school at Fatehpur Sikri. This development was observed even at the twilight of the Mughal Empire by the English, and it reflects the keen interest the Mughal rulers had taken in the promotion of education.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, Jan 04, 2006