Sources of Information
- The Ain-i-Akbari of Abul Fazl is a mine of information but it “does not give us much help in drawing a correct and detailed picture of the administrative machinery” (Sarkar)
- Some information is given by the Dastur-ul-Amals or official handbooks which were prepared in the time of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb.
- The so-called “Manual of Duties of Officers” found by Sir Jadunath Sarkar from Patna also gives useful information.
- “The iqbal-Namah Jahangiri by Mutamad Khan, the Padshah-namah of Abdul Hamid Lahori, the Tazuki-Jahangiri, the Tabaqat-i-Akbari of
Facts To Be Remembered
- “If there were similar portraits finished by several artists, I could point out the painter of each”.
- “There are many that hate painting, but such men I dislike. It appears to me as if a painter had quite peculiar means of recognising god”.
- “I know of Islam and I respect it. I know of Hinduism and I am proud of it. But I know nothing of this new faith and I cannot accept it.”
—Man Singh on Tauhit-i-Ilahi
- “Hindustan is a country that has few pleasures to recommend it. The people are not handsome. They have no idea of the charms of friendly society, of frankly mixing together...They have no genius, no comprehension of mind, no fellow felling, no ingenuity or mechanical invention...”
- By his 24th regnal year, Akbar completed a series of revenue reforms, which are together known as the ‘Ain-i-Dahsala’.
- Akbar dispensed with the practice of keeping revenue records in the local languages, in addition to Persian.
- Finch came during Akbar’s reign.
- The most important Hindu historiographer of the reign of Aurangzeb was Pandit Iswardas Nagar, author of Futu hat-i-Alamgiri.
- A valiant Rajput chief who saved Marwar from being annexed by Aurangzeb was Durga Dass.
- Travernier was a jeweller and has left an expert’s description of the Peacock Throne.
Nizam-ud-Din and Muntakhabut-Tawarikh of Badauni also give useful information.
- The writings of foreigners like Sir Thomas Roe, Bernier, Hawkins, Manucci, Terry, etc., also throw welcome light on certain aspects of Mughal Administration.
- The contemporary factory records of the English Company are useful in many ways.
Nature of Mughal
- The Mughal administration presented a combination of Indian and extra-Indian elements, or more correctly, it was the Perso-Arabic system in Indian setting”.
- The Mughal empire was a centralised disposition based on military power.
- He determined the rank of every mansabdar and allotted jagirs for the maintenance of the mansabdars.
- The bifurcation of authority in the provinces—the division of power between the subahdar and the diwan—was based on the system prevailing under the Arab rulers in Egypt.
- The revenue system was a resultant of two forces-the time honoured Hindu practice and the abstract Arabian theory.
- The mansabdari system was of Central Asian origin.
- In the days of Babur and Humayun there was a Prime Minister, known as Vakil, who was entrusted with large powers in civil and military affairs.
- The office of the Vakil seems to have come into prominence when Akbar was a minor and Bairam Khan acted on his behalf as Deputy.
- The minister who looked after the administration of the army was called mir bakshi.
- The salary bill of all mansabdars had to be calculated and passed by his office.
- The Khan-i-saman held independent charge of the household department and the Karkhanas.
- The Sadr-us-sudur was the chief justice of the empire.
- The Muhataib was primarily an acclesiastical officer whose duty was to regulate the lives of the people.
- The diwan-i-tan looked after matters relating to the Jagirs.
- The mir-i-mal was the officer in charge of
Facts To Be Remembered
- The worst political failure of the reign of Shah Jahan was the recovery and loss of Kandahar to Persia.
- The most famous poet of Akbar’s court was Ghizali.
- Aurangzeb banished singing from his court, but not performance of musical instruments.
- Aurangzeb was an accomplished Veena player.
- Akbar is reputed to have been a good player of Nakkarah.
- During Akbar’s period fresco painting developed (on the wall of Fatehpur Sikri).
- The mansabdari system was the “army, the peerage, and the civil administration, all rolled into one”.
- Shahjahan drastically reduced the number of sawar a mansabdar was required to maintain.
- Those holding ranks below 500 were called mansabdars and those holding 2,500 and above were known as amir-i-umda or umda-i-azam.
- The troops raised by the emperor but not paid directly by the state and placed under the charge of mansabdars were known as Dakhili.
- Walashuhis were royal bodyguards.
- Barwardis were skilled soldiers who had no resources to maintain horses.
the privy purse and the mir-tuzuk was the master of ceremonies.
- Akbar divided the empire into twelve provinces.
- After the conquests of Bijapur and Golconda (1686-87) and the fall of Sambhaji (1689), the empire was divided into twenty-one subahs (One in Afghanistan, fourteen in North India and six in South India)
- Initially each subah had one governor who was officially called sipah salar.
- In later times, the designation was changed to nazim but usually known as subahdar.
- In 1586 Akbar made an important change; the governing authority in every subah was bifurcated and the office of provincial diwan was created.
- The faujdars were the chief assistants of the subahdar in the discharge of his executive functions and in the maintenance of peace.
- The Kotwal was the chief of the city police.
- The bakshi was the paymaster of the provincial army.
- The provincial bayutat was the keeper of government property and official trustee.
- The mir bahr looked after bridges required for military use, port duties, customs, boat and ferry taxes etc.
- The major heads of imperial revenue were land revenue, customs duties, mint, inheritance, tribute paid by feudatory princes, presents, monopolies and indeminities.
- Of these the most important was land revenue.
- A considerable revenue was derived from customs and inland transit duties.
- The duties on foreign imports were levied at all ports.
- The administrative officer of a port was called Shah bandar.
- Coins were made of gold, silver and copper.
- There was a regular department of the State called bait-ul-mal where the property of all nobles and officers of the state had to be kept in deposing after their death.
- The emperor was the head of the army and its commander-in-chief.
- The troops available for purposes of war and internal defence were divided into four categories:
(i) Forces of the tributary chiefs;
(ii) The mansabdari contingents;
(iii) Dakhili troops, directly managed by the state and paid from the imperial treasury; and
(iv) The Ahadis, the gen-Hemen troopers.
- The department which maintained sea and river flotillas was under mir-i-bahri
- The mansabdari system introduced by Akbar was a unique feature of the administrative system of the Mughal empire.
- The mansabdars belonged both to the civil
Facts To Be Renembered
- Kumakis were auxillaries.
- Mufti was responsible for expounding Muslim law.
- Mr. Adils drew up and pronounced judgement.
- During the Mughal period Bengal produced large quantities of high quality sugar.
- Akbar was the first Mughal ruler who organised some sort of distress relief during the famines.
- Sayurghal land did not yield any land revenue to the state.
- Nasasystem of revenue assessment meant a rough calculation of the amount payable by the peasant on the basis of what he had been paying in the past.
- Holding of revenue-free land or grant of cash allowance was known as malikana in North India. The rate was one-tenth. It was also known as nankar.
and military departments.
- The mansabdars holding ranks below 500 Zat were called mansabdars. Those more than 500 but below 2,500 amirs and those holding ranks of 2500 and above were called amir-i-umda.
- The mansab was not hereditary and it automatically lapsed after the death or dismissal of the mansabdars.
- The reign of Jahangir saw an important innovation in the mansabdari system, namely the introduction of the du-aspah sihaspah rank.
- The above term implied that a mansabdar had to maintain and was paid for double the quota of troopers indicated by his sawar rank.
- A mansabdar holding a zat rank of 3,000 and 3,000 du-aspah sih-aspah would be required to maintain 6,000 troopers.
- Under Shah Jahan there were new scales of pay, monthly rations and new regulations prescribing the sizes of contingents under various sawar ranks.
- For the purpose of assigning jagirs the revenue department had to maintain a register indicating the assessed income (Jawa) of various areas, calculated at the rate of 40 damas to a rupee. This document was called jawa-dami or assesed income of an area based on damas.
- Khanazadas were the sons and decendents of mansabdars.
- Mansabdari ranks were also awarded to scholars, religious divines, men of letters etc.
- The Zamindar was not the owner of the land and peasants could not be dispossessed of land as long as they paid land revenue.
- They were a powerful class and were to be found all over the Mughal empire under different names, such as deshmukhs, patils, nayaks etc.
- Zamindari was divisible among legal heirs and could also be freely bought and sold.