Q. 1. Explain the role played by women of the imperial household in the Mughal Empire.
Ans. The Role played by Women of the Imperial household :
(i) The Mughal household consisted of the Emperor’s wives and concubines, his relatives and female servants and slaves.
(ii) The term “harem” means a sacred place that was frequently used to refer to the domestic world of the Mughals.
(iii) Polygamy was practiced.
(iv) The gift of territory was often accompanied by the gift of a daughter in marriage.
(v) Hierarchical relationship between ruling groups continued.
(vi) A distinction was maintained between wives who came from Royal families (Begams), and other wives (Aghas) who were not of noble birth.
(vii) The begums, married after receiving huge amounts of cash and valuables as dowry (maher), naturally received a higher status and greater attention from their husbands than did Aghas.
(viii) The concubines (Aghacha or the lesser Agha) occupied the lowest position in the hierarchy.
(ix) They all received monthly allowances in cash, supplemented with gifts according to their status.
(x) The lineage-based family structure was not entirely static.
(xi) The Agha and the Aghacha could rise to the position of a begum depending on the husband’s will.
(xii) Love and motherhood played important roles in elevating status.
(xiii) Apart from wives, numerous male and female slaves populated the Mughal household.
(xiv) Slave Eunuchs (khwajasara) moved between the external and internal life of the household as guards, servants, and also as agents for women dabbling in commerce.
(xv) After Nur Jahan, Mughal Queens and Princesses began to control significant financial resources.
(xvi) Shah Jahan’s daughters Jahanara and Roshanara enjoyed an annual income often equal to that of high imperial Mansabdars.
(xvii) Jahanara received revenues from the city of Surat.
(xviii) Control over resources enabled important women of the Mughal household to commission buildings and gardens.
(xix) The Humayun-Nama was written by Gulbadan Begum on imperial household.
(xx) Gulbadan described in great detail the conflicts and tensions among the Prince and Kings and the important mediating role was played by elderly women of the family in resolving these conflicts.
(xxi) Jahanara designed the bazaar of Chandni Chowk, the throbbing centre of Shahjahanabad.
(xxii) Any other relevant point.
Q. 2. Identify the distinctive feature of the Imperial household of the Mughal Empire.
Ans. Imperial Household of the Mughal Empire:
(a) The imperial household of Mughal Empire was called Harem. The word has been derived from the Persian word Haram which means sacred.
(b) The imperial household had family, number of wives, slaves, etc. of king residing in it.
(c) This imperial household also had division about the social status: Begum — Agha — Aghacha
i. Begum, the wife of the Emperor who belonged to an aristocratic family was the head of the Haram. She was given that status for bringing dowry to the Empire.
ii. The Aghas, were concubines who had lower status than Begum. iii. Agchachs were the slave girls.
(d) The status of the women in the Harem would be changed by the Emperor according to his wish.
(e) There were women in the Harem who had interest in imperial affairs, they would be connected from the domestic world to the imperial world through Eunuchs, they moved in and out of the worlds and were connected with them, they gave information to the women in Harem.
(f) Women like Jahanara and Roshannara, daughters of the Emperors had interest in imperial affairs. They received salary equivalent to Mansabdar. Jahanara had planned the structure of Shahjahanabad.
(g) Nur Jahan, wife of Jahangir, had ruled the Empire with her husband.
(h) Gulbadan Begum, sister of Humayun and daughter of Babur, was well versed in Persian. She was requested by Akbar to write Humayunnama.
(i) The imperial household or the Harem was domestic world of the Emperor.
Q.3.Read the following excerpt carefully and answer the questions that follow:
The Accessible Emperor
In the account of all his experiences, Monserrate, who was a member of the first Jesuit Mission, says; it is hard to exaggerate how accessible he (Akbar) makes himself to all who wish audience of him. For he creates an opportunity almost everyday for any of the common people or the Nobles to see him and to converse with him; and he endeavours to show himself pleasant spoken and affable rather than severe towards all who come to speak with him. It is very remarkable how great an effect this courtesy and affability has in attaching him to the minds of the subjects.
(i) Who were Jesuits? How did they establish their network in India?
(ii) How did Monserrate share their experience about the Akbar?
(iii) How had Akbar ’s courtesy brought affability for his subjects? Explain.
Ans. (i) The jesuits are the people who spread Christianity. Akbar was curious about Christianity and he sent an embassy to Goa to invite the Jesuits Priests. The first set of people came to Mughal Court at Fatehpur Sikri in 1580 and stayed for 2 years.
(ii) Akbar was accessible to all subjects. Akbar created an opportunity almost everyday for any of the common people or Nobles to see him and to converse with him. He was pleasant to all of them.
(iii) The highest respect was shown by Akbar towards the members of Jesuits impressed them deeply. Monserrate remarked that the King (Akbar) cared little that in allowing everyone to follow his religion, he was in reality violating all. Abul Fazl described the idea of Sulh-i-Kul (absolute peace) as the cornerstone of Akbar ’s enlightened rule.
Q. 4. Explain why the nobility was recruited from different races and religious groups by the Mughal rulers in India.
Ans. Nobility was recruited from different races and religious groups by the Mughal rulers in India
(i) The Nobility was recruited from diverse ethnic and religious groups.
(ii) This ensured that no faction was large enough to challenge the authority of the State.
(iii) The officer corps of the Mughals was described as a bouquet of flowers (guldasta) held together by loyalty to the Emperor.
(iv) In Akbar ’s imperial service, Turani and Iranian Nobles were present from the time of Humayun.
(v) People from many races have sought refuge in the imperial court.
(vi) Men with knowledge and skills as well as warriors were the part of Nobility.
(vii) Rajputs and Indian Muslims entered the imperial services during the time of Akbar.
(viii) Iranian gained high offices under Jahangir.
(ix) Aurangzeb appointed Rajputs to highest position.
(x) Rajput clans as well as the Mughals marriage was an another way of cementing political relationships and forging alliances.
(xi) The Marathas accounted as an officer in a sizeable number.
(xii) The ideal of Sulh-i-Kul was implemented through State policies.
(xiii) The Nobility under the Mughals was a composite one comprising Iranis, Turanis, Afghans, Rajputs, Deccanis – all of whom were given positions and awards purely on the basis of their service and loyalty to the king.
(xiv) The Nobles participated in military campaigns with their armies and also served as officers of the Empire in the provinces.
(xv) The Nobles were Mansabdars of Mughal rulers.
(xvi) The Mansabdars had two numerical designations: Zat which was an indicator of position in the imperial hierarchy, and Sawar.
(xvii) For members of the nobility, imperial service was a way of acquiring power, wealth and the highest possible reputation. For example Mirbakhshi, Diwan-i-Ala, and Sadr-us Sudur.
(xviii) Members of Hindu castes inclined towards education and accountancy were also promoted, a famous example was Akbar’s Finance Minister, Raja Todar Mal, who was a khatri by caste.
Q.5. How Akbar ’s faith in religion was different from his contemporaries?
Ans. Akbar ’s quest for religious knowledge led to interfaith debates in the Ibadat khana at Fatehpur Sikri between learned Muslims, Hindus, Jainas, Parsis and Christians. Akbar’s religious views matured as he queried scholars of different religions sects and gathered knowledge about their doctrines. Increasingly, he moved away from the orthodox Islamic ways of understanding religions towards a self-conceived eclectic form of divine worship focused on light and the Sun. Akbar created a philosophy of light and used it to shape the image of the king and ideology of the State. In this, a divinely inspired individual has Supreme sovereignty over his people and complete control over his enemies. These ideas were in harmony with the perspective of the Court chroniclers who give us a sense of the processes by which the Mughal rulers could effectively assimilate such a heterogeneous populace within an imperial edifice. The name of the dynasty continued to enjoy legitimacy for a century and a half, even after its geographical extent and the political control it exercised had diminished considerably.