Sher Shah as the Fore-runner of Akbar:
Akbar has been called “The Great” on account of his efficient administration, liberal religious policy and political insight.
A close study of Akbar’s policy would reveal that Akbar followed several policies of Sher Shah. Of course, he improved upon them in the new context.
Akbar followed the land policy of Sher Shah. He provided equal justice to all. He engaged himself like Sher Shah for the welfare of his subjects. There is no doubt that Sher Shah was the fore-runner of Akbar.
In the words of Dr. R P Tripathi, “He paved the way for the highly enlightened policy of Akbar.” Professor Kaliranjan Qanung has observed: “His reign was short, (only five years) but importance was almost as great as Akbar’s rule of half a century.”
Akbar, in general, followed Sher Shah in the following fields:
1. Ideal of kingship
2. Policy of extension of empire.
3. Division of empire into viable units.
4. Advice of the council of ministers.
5. Military reforms.
6. Land revenue reforms.
7. Judicial reforms.
8. Almost similar liberal policy although Sher Shah did not dispense with jizya.
9. Promotion of education.
10. Promotion of art and architecture.
11. Public welfare activities.
12. Currency reforms
‘Akbar the great’ but ‘Sher Shah not the great’, the observations made by Crooke deserve careful consideration, “In every aspect of administration, it is alleged, the Mughal king (Akbar) borrowed from the Afghan ruler (Sher Shah). Of course it will be unjust to say that Akbar lacked originality and that he was indebted entirely to Sher Shah for his greatness. Nevertheless it cannot be denied that the great Mughal emperor did follow Sher Shah in various fields of administration.
Sher Shah did not abolish ‘Zazia’. Sher Shah’s court was not adorned by ‘Navratnas’. Akbar ruled over a far larger empire than Sher Shah. Akbar tried to reconcile the teachings of different religions. He founded a new religion which, of course, vanished during his life time. Akbar took several measures for the emotional integration of India.
Dr. Qanungo in this regard has observed, “Sher Shah had ruled for five years and five days. In the history of medieval India he had proved to be a ruler second only to Akbar in greatness.” Further he has observed, “It is doubtful whether he would have done such deeds as Akbar if he had lived for fifty years more because Sher Shah had the drawbacks from which Aurangzeb suffered.