Q.1.Describe the characteristic feature of the Mughal chronicles.
Ans. The genre of texts written by the modern historians in English is known as a chronicle. These chronicles present a continuous chronological record of events and are an indispensable source for any scholar who wanted to write about Mughal history. On one hand, these chronicles give us information about institutions of Mughal Empire and on the other side, they convey meaning of those objectives which Mughal rulers wanted to impose on their domain. In this way, these give us a glimpse that how imperial ideas were created and implemented.
Q.2. Many consider Jalal-ud-din Akbar (1556–1605) as the greatest of all the Mughal Emperors. Support the statement with evidences.
Ans. Many consider Jalal-ud-din Akbar as the greatest of all the Mughal Emperors as he not only expanded but also consolidated his Empire, making it the strongest and the richest kingdom of all time. He spread frontiers of his Empire till Hindukush mountains. The annexation of Malwa and Gujarat brought Akbar in clear contact with the Deccan where the states were in constant war with each other. Envoys were sent to Golconda, Bijapur and Ahmednagar to persuade the Sultans to accept the overlordship of Mughal Emperor. He stopped the expansionist plans of Safavids of Iran and Uzbeks of Turan (Central Asia). He then arranged Mughal administration in proper way. Tolerance and liberalism were two main features of the administration. Judicial system adopted by him was ideal.
Q.3. How do you think that the chronicles commissioned by the Mughal Emperors are an important source for studying Mughal history?
Ans. Chronicles were an important sources for studying history of the Mughal rule. Chronicles were written to give the vision of an enlightened kingdom to all those who came under its umbrella. At the same time, they were also meant to convey that those who resisted the rule of the Mughals will fail. Moreover, the Emperors wanted to ensure that there was an account for their rule for posterity. The authors were usually courtiers. The histories were written and were focused on the lives of the king, his family, the courts, the nobles, the capitals and the administration. Titles like Akbarnama, Shahjahannama and Alamgirnama suggested that the views of the authors were the same with that of the court and the king.
Q. 4. Describe the process of manuscript production in the Mughal Court.
Describe briefly the various tasks involved in creating manuscript during the Mughal Empire.
Ans. All the Mughal books were manuscripts. In other words, they were hand-written. The centre where the world of manuscript production was taken was known as the imperial Kitabkhana. This Kitabkhana was like library and Scriptorium. In other words, it was a place where the Emperor kept his collection of manuscripts and provided manuscripts. A large number of people were involved in the creation of manuscript. The process included the following: Paper makers who prepared the folios of the manuscript, Scribes or calligraphers who copied the texts, Guilders who illuminated the pages of the manuscript, Painters who illustrated scenes from the text, Book binders who gathered the individual folios and set them within ornamental covers. In the end, all these manuscripts were considered very precious and invaluable. They were considered as work of beauty and intellectual wealth. Chronicles were written in Persian.
Q. 5 . Name the author of Padshahnama. Describe its content.
Ans. Once Emperor Shahjahan called Abdul Hamid Lahori and requested him to write history of his reign as was done in Akbarnama. As a result, Padshahnama was written by Abdul Hamid Lahori, a pupil of Abul-Fazl. It was considered is the official history of events which occurred during the reign of Emperor Shahjahan. It was written in three volumes (daftars). Each volume covered a period of ten years. Later on Sadullah Khan, the Wazir of Shahjahan, revised the first two volumes of Padshahnama. The Asiatic Society was the first to publish edited versions of Padshahnama in the nineteenth century. A few excerpts of this book had been translated into English.
Q.6. How was the ideals of Sulh-i-Kul implemented through state policies? Explain.
Abu’l Fazl has described the idea of Sulh-i-Kul of Akbar as the cornerstone of his enlightened rule. Justify.
Ans. According to Mughal chronicles, the Mughal Empire comprised of different ethnic and religious communities like the Hindus, the Jainas, the Zoroastrians and the Muslims. However, the Emperor was above all the ethnic and religious communities. He stood for peace, unity and stability. He mediated among all the groups to ensure peace, unity and justice. Abu’l Fazl has stated that the ideal of Sulh-i-Kul stood for an absolute peace between all the religious and ethnic groups. It was the cornerstone of enlightened rule of Akbar. All religions enjoyed full freedom of expression. But no one was allowed to ignore or decrease the authority of the State. Besides, the people belonging to different religious and ethnic groups were not allowed to quarrel among themselves. The idea of Sulh-i-Kul was implemented throughout the State. All religions were given positions and awarded purely on the basis of services and loyalty to the king. Akbar abolished the tax on pilgrimage in 1593 and Jizya in 1564 as it was based on religious discrimination. All Mughal Emperors gave grants for building and maintenance of temples.
Q.7. Analyse the reasons for the frequent shifting of the capital cities of the Mughals during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Ans. Reasons for the frequent shifting of the capital cities of the Mughals during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries :
(i) Agra – In the 1560s Akbar had the fort of Agra constructed with red sandstone quarried from the adjoining regions .
(ii) Fatehpur Sikri – One of the reasons prompting this may have been that Sikri was located on the direct road to Ajmer, where the Dargah of Shaikh Muinuddin Chishti had become an important pilgrimage centre.
(iii) Lahore – I n 1585 the capital was transferred to Lahore to bring the north-west under greater control and Akbar closely watched the frontier for thirteen years.
(iv) Shahjahanabad – It was a new addition to the old residential city of Delhi, with the Red Fort, the Jama Masjid, a tree-lined esplanade with bazaars (Chandni Chowk) and spacious homes for the nobility. Shah Jahan’s new city was appropriate to a more formal vision of a grand monarchy.
Q.8. The heart of the Mughal Empire was its capital city. Explain with examples.
Ans. The heart of the Mughal Empire was its capital city, where the court assembled. The capital cities shifted during the 16th and 17th centuries. For instance, Babur took over Agra though during the four years of his reign, the court was frequently on the move. In 1560s, Akbar constructed the Fort of Agra with red sandstone. In 1570, he decided to build a new capital Fatehpur Sikri, the main reason being that Sikri was located on the direct road to Ajmer, where the Dargah of Shaikh Muinuddin Chisti had become an important pilgrimage centre. In 1585, the capital was transferred to Lahore to bring the northwest under control. Building activities, in the case of Muslim rulers, were considered an act of piety. Shah Jahan moved the court, army and household from Agra to Shahjahanabad in 1648. Shah Jahan had passion for buildings and he devised sound fiscal policies to accumulate resources for buildings. Shahjahanabad was a new addition to the old residential city of Delhi, with the Red Fort, the Jama Masjid, bazars and big homes for the nobles. Shahjahan’s new city was an appropriate treat to the vision of a grant monarchy.
Q.9. In what ways did the daily routine and special festivities associated with the Mughal court conveyed a sense of power of the Mughal Emperor? Explain.
Ans. The Royal throne depicted the high status of the Emperor which was decorated. The canopy was the symbol of Mughal Monarchy and was believed to separate the radiance of the sun from that of the sovereign. Each courtier had a definite place to sit. It reflected his close position to the king. When the King was seated on his throne, no courtier could change his seat or go outside without the permission of the Emperor. There were special norms for reception, courtesy and speech to regulate the system and control the court. Good conduct and courtesy was expected from diplomatic envoys. The colourful decoration on special occasions enhanced the power, and authority of the King.
Q.10. Granting of titles to men of merit was an important aspect of Mughal policy. Justify the Statement with suitable evidence.
Ans. Granting of titles was adopted by the Emperors during coronation or victory in a war and giving titles to deserving persons was an important aspect of the Mughal policy. Promotion of any person in Court hierarchy was known only by the titles he held. One of the titles of Asaf Khan, one of the topmost Ministers, was originated with Asaf, the legendary Minister of the prophet King Sulaiman. Aurangzeb gave the title of Mirza Raja to his topmost nobles like Jai Singh and Jaswant Singh. Titles could either be earned or were paid. Mir Khan offered 1 Lakh to Emperor Aurangzeb for the letter Alif means A, to be added to his name to change it to Amir Khan. Other words were also included. The robe once worn by the king and embibed with his benediction and sarapa and lotus blossom set of jewels was given at exceptional circumstances.
Q.11. Describe briefly how the Emperor began his day in the balcony and at Diwan-i-Aam.
Ans. Jharokha Darshan was introduced by Akbar. The Emperor used to begin his day at sunrise with few religious prayers. Then he used to appear on a small balcony, i.e., the Jharokha facing the east direction. Below, a crowd of people waited for a view of the Emperor. It was started with an objective to broadening the acceptance of the imperial authority or part of popular faith. After spending an hour at the jharokha, the Emperor walked to the public hall of audience (Diwan-i-Aam) to conduct the primary business of his government. State officials presented reports and made requests.
Q.12. Mughal rulers efficiently assimilated heterogeneous popularity within an imperial edifice. Support the statement.
Ans. The Mughal Emperor clearly assimilated heterogeneous populace within an imperial edifice. The physical arrangement of the court focused on the sovereign and mirrored his status as the heart of society. The centre was the throne, which gave physical form to the function of the sovereign as axis mundi. The canopy separated the radiance of the sun from that of the sovereign. Chronicles give a clear insight into the rules defining status amongst the Mughal elites. In court, status was determined by spatial proximity to the king. Once the king sat on the throne, no one was allowed to move from his position or to leave without permission. The forms of salutation to the ruler indicated the person’s status in the hierarchy; deeper prostration indicated higher status. The Emperor began his day at sunrise with personal religious prayers and then appeared on a small balcony, the Jharokha, and below a crowd of people waited for a view of the Emperor. Jharokha Darshan was started by Akbar with the aim of broadening the acceptance of the imperial authority as part of popular faith. On special occasions, the court was full of life.
Q.13. Identify the distinctive features of the imperial household of the Mughal Empire.
Ans. The domestic world of the household was usually referred to as ‘Harem’, a Persian word meaning sacred place. The Mughal household consisted of the Emperor’s wives and concubines, his relatives, female servants and slaves. Polygamy was widely practiced among the ruling classes. Marriages were a social bridge to cement political relationships and forging alliances between the Rajput clan and the Mughals. In the Mughal household, a distinction was maintained between wives who came from Royal and Aristocratic families (Begums) and other wives (Aghas) who were not noble by birth. Other than wives; army of male and female slaves were living in the household. Slave eunuchs were the guards, agents and servants. Humayunnama written by Gulbadan Begum gives a glimpse of the domestic world of the Mughals and the conflicts and tensions that prevailed between the Kings and the role played by elder women in resolving these conflicts.
Q.14. Describe how the Humayunama of Gulbadan begum gives us the glimpses of the Mughal imperial household.
Ans. Gulbadan was the daughter of Babur, sister of Humayun and aunt of Akbar. She was a fluent writer in Turkish and Persian. When Abul Fazl was writing his Akbarnama about the history of the reign of Akbar, she was requested by Akbar to write her memories of earlier times under Babur and Humayun. Akbar felt that her memories could be useful for Abu’l Fazl. Gulbadan Begum wrote an interesting book entitled ‘Humayunama’. It gives us a glimpse into the domestic world of the Mughals. It was not merely an enology of the Mughal Emperors but, brings out the conflicts and tensions that existed among the kings. It also shows the important role played by elderly women who mediated to resolve some of the conflicts.
Q.15. Analyse the diplomatic and political relationship of the Mughals with the neighbouring Empires.
Ans. The diplomatic and political relationship of the Mughals with the neighbouring Empires.: (i) Iran and Turan hinged on the control of the frontier defined by the Hindukush mountains that separated Afghanistan from the regions of Iran and Central Asia.
(ii) A constant aim of Mughal policy was to ward off potential danger by controlling strategic outposts notably Kabul and Qandahar.
(iii) Qandahar was a bone of contention between the Safavids and the Mughals.
(iv) The relationship between the Mughals and the Ottomans was marked by the concern to ensure free movement for merchants and pilgrims in the territories under Ottoman control. This was especially true for the Hijaz, that part of Ottoman Arabia where the important pilgrim centres of Mecca and Medina were located.
(v) Akbar was curious about Christianity and dispatched an embassy to Goa to invite Jesuit Priests. The first Jesuit Mission reached the Mughal Court at Fatehpur Sikri in 1580 and stayed for two years.
Q.16. One important pillar of the Mughal administration was the nobility. Justify.
The nobility was recruited consciously by the Mughal rulers from diverse ethnic and religious groups.
Ans. One of the most important pillars of the Mughal State was its corpus of officers also called the nobility. The nobility was recruited from the diverse ethnic and religious groups which ensured that no group was large enough to challenge the authority of the State. The corps of the Mughals was described as a bouquet of flowers held together by loyalty to the Emperor. Iranian and Turani nobles were there in Akbar’s imperial service from the earlier period. Many had accompanied Humayun and others had migrated later to the Mughal Court. Two ruling Indian origin groups entered the imperial service from 1550 onwards namely the Rajputs and the Indian Muslims. Iranians joined high offices during Jahangir as his politically influential Queen Nurijahan was an Iranian. Aurangzeb appointed Rajputs to high positions and under him the Marathas accounts to sizeable number within the body of officers. The nobles participated in military campaigns and also served as officers of the Empire in provinces.
Q.17. “For member of the nobility under the Mughals, imperial service was a way of acquiring power, wealth and highest possible reputation.” Examine the Statement.
Ans. For members of the nobility, imperial service was a way of acquiring power, wealth and the highest possible reputation. A person wishing to join the service petitioned through a noble, who presented a Tajwiz or gift to the Emperor. If the applicant was found suitable then a Manasab was granted to him. Mir Bakshi was the Payment General. He used to stand in open court on the right side of the Emperor and presented all candidates for appointment or promotion. His office used to prepare orders bearing his seal and signature of the Emperor. There were two other important Ministers at the Centre. Diwan-i-Ala was the Finance Minister and Sadr-us Sudur was Minister of Grants or Madad-i Maash and incharge of appointing Qazia or Local Judges. All these three Ministers sometimes worked as an advisory body but generally were independent.
Q.18. The keeping of the exact and detailed record was the major concern of the Mughal administration. Support the statement with examples.
Ans. The keeping of exact and detailed records was a major concern of the Mughal administration. Mir Bakshi supervised the corps of Court’s writers (Waqia navis) who recorded all applications and documents to the courts and imperial orders. Also agents or Wakil of nobles and regional rulers recorded all under the heading ‘News from the Exalted court’ or Akhbarat-I-Mualia with the date and time of the court session (pahar) which contains all informations such as attendance of court, grants of offices and titles, diplomatic missions, presents received or enquiries made by the Emperor about the health of an officer. All these informations were useful in writing the history of the public and private life of Kings and Nobles.