BALLB 1st semester Indian history sample question answer on Akbar Administration

BA LLB first year first semester Indian history sample question answer Important Features of Akbar’s Administration
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BA LLB first year first semester Indian history sample question answer Important Features of Akbar’s Administration: In this article you will read about ADMINISTRATIONOF AKBAR,Critically describe the central administration under Akbar,Describe the Mansabdari system of Akbar, What were the demerits of the system ? Give a detailed account of the administration system, land revenue system, military under the Mughal Rule ?

Q. 1. Critically describe the central administration under Akbar.

Briefly describe the administrative system of Jalal-ud-din Mohammad Akbar.

Ans. : Akbar was only a brave soldier, a successful general and a great religious, reformer but also a great administrator., The administrative machinery’ which he founded continued to function properly throughout the Mughal period. The machinery of government sel up was derived from the practices prevalent in Islamic countries. adopted to Indian customs and condition. The administrative system of Sher Shah also supplied the ground plan upon which Akbar erected his elaborate structure. It was an improvement upon that of the Sultanate period.

The Emperor : The form of government was autocratic monarchy The king was the highest authority. He was the source of entire administrative law. The emperor’s decision was final. All the executive, judicial and legislative powers of the state were combined in him. But Akbar had always the welfare of his people in his mind. He was a benevolent despotism. Under the Delhi Sultans the whole organisation was rigidly feudal and military in character. The Mughal government was also military in character but it was organised on more rational and enlightend principles. Akbar set up a tolerately efficient civil administration and developed a revenue system which was much more scientific and humane.

The Mughal Court : The court was full of pomp and splendour. The emperor had an exacting daily routine. He had to show himself at

the Jhaikha shortly after sunrise. He spent about 2 hours in the audience hall hearing petitions and disposing of judicial cases. He inspected parades. Then he would go to the Diwan-i-khas to give private audience. There were also confidential consultations on political matters. Again from 4 P.M. to 6.30 P.M. there was another public audience followed by confidential work in the Shah burj. Strict adherence to eliquelte was demanded in court ceremonials. All had to remain standing. Akbar demanded Sijda.

Akbar was assisted by a number of ministers in the discharge of his duties. The Prime Minister (Vakil), Finance Minister (Diwan), Paymaster (Mir Munshi) and Chief Sadr (Sadar-i-Sadur) were the most important ministers. The Prime Minister maintained a general control over all the control departments and acted as the chief adviser of the Emperor. The Finance Ministers was incharge of finance and revenue. All money bills had to bear his signatures. He also recommended the appointments of Provincial Diwans to the king. The Paymaster general maintained the records of all the king. The Paymaster general maintained the records of all the mansabdars and distributed pay among the high officials. The Chief Sadar acted as religious adviser to the king, disbursed the royal charity and discharged the function of the Chief Justice of the empire. He recommended the appointment of the Provincial Qazis. There were some other ministers of lower rank such as Khan-i-saman incharge of household, Muntasils, Daroga-i-Dak chawki etc.

Administration of Justice or Judicial Reforms. Akbar laid much emphasis on reforming the judiciary. The Qazis dealt with all types of litigations, and appeals against them were heard by the Chief Qazi. No person could be sentenced to death without seeking the permission of the Emperor. Akbearls ways functioned according to principles and rules and himself used to hear the appeals. He introduced many.reforms to tone up the judicial machinery of the state. Before him the judges were generally Muslims and the cases against the Hindus were also decided according to the Muslim law. Akbar not only appointed the Hindu judges but also ordered to give decisions in the Hindu cases according to the Hindu law. In this way Akbar provided equal justice to all the people. To serve all the people without any discrimination was his main ideal.

 Provincial Administration : The whole Mughal empire was divided

into 15 provinces. Honest and efficient officers were appointed to run the administration of these provinces. In each Suba there was the Subedar, a Diwan, a Bakshi, a sadar, a Qazi, a Kotwal, a Mir Bahr and Waqu-i-Navis. The Governor or the Subedar was the head of the provincial administration. He generally belonged to the royal family or sometimes a faithful and loyal noble of high rank. He enjoyed vast power and was incharge of the provincial military, police, judiciary and the executive. He was like a miniature king. In order to check his rebellions intentions the emperor had employed special spires who kept a close watch and informed the king of every movement. There were news writers or Waqa-i-Nawis. They kept the central government informed of every thing going on in the provinces. They acted under the orders of the central government.

The provinces were further divided into Sarkars and Sarkars into Parganas. The head of the Sarkar was Faujdar who kept his own small force and maintained law and order in his area. He was assisted by a number of other officials.

Military Administration : The standing army was not very large. For War the Emperor depended on four different classes of troops –(i) Contingents raised by hereditary Chiefs and Kings and commanded by them. (ii) Forces supplied by Mansabdars in accordance with their grades. (iii) Supplementary troops paid by the state and placed under the command of mansabdars and (iv) Shadis or gentlemen troopers who were youngmen of position and good family recruited individually. On fifth of the booty belonged to the soldier so that the monthly pay ranged from Rs. 3 to 7. Akbar paid special attention to the founding of cannon and the manufacture of guns. But the Indian artillery was inefficient compared with the Portuguese. In the artillery foreign experts were employed.

Navy: There was no navy in the modern sense of the term. The construction of boats was encouraged for purposes of transport and commerce. There was a fleet of 750 armed vessels and boats stationed at Dacca to protect the coast of Bengal against the Burmese.

Judicial Administration : Akbar had a very high sense of justice. In secular matters, the law was largely the same for all and were guilty of injustice act, I would rise in judgement against spoken very highly of Akbar’s regard for rights and justice. The Emperor was the fountain

of all justice. His court functioned as the highest appeallate court. Below im was the Sadr-u-Sudur highest judicial officer was the Quazi-ul-Quazat or the chief Quazi. He appointed subordinate Quazis n every provincial capital. The Quazis tried civil and criminal cases of both Hindus and Muslims and were arrested by Muftis who expounded the law and the Mir Adls who delivered judgement. There were no written code of law nor any professional layers. The Quran was the ultimate authority to which all questions had to be referred. Hadis or of the law. In cases (civil) in which parties were Hindus full regard was paid to their law and usages. The criminal law was the same for all. Punishments were often very severe and included amputation and mutilation. But no capital punishment could be inflicted without the Emperor’s sanction. There were no lower courts below those of the Quazis. In villages the people settled their disputes with the help of the Panchayats or caste courts by arbitration. The Quazis were expected to the honest, just and impartial and to hold trials in presence of the parties but in actual practice they were very haughty and corrupt and frequently abused their powers.

Land Revenue : Akbar effected considerable improvement in system of revenue administration. Under the Delhi Sultans there was no uniform system of land revenue and no fixed assessment. Their fiscal policy was based on Quranic injunctions but in practice the Sultans levied a number of extra taxes and ceases and to half the gross produce of the land and it was still higher under Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq.

Akbar paid special attention towards the organisation of his land revenue administration. With the help of his Revenue Minister Raja Todar Mal who had gained a good deal of experience under Sher Shah Suri, Akbar introduced many reforms in his revenue department.

(1) The land was properly measured into Bigkas with the help of bamboo jaribs joined together with iron rings so there was no danger of its contraction and expansion in summer or in winter.

(2) All the cultivated land was classified into four divisions (a) Polaj, (b) Parauti, (c) Chachar, and (d) Banjar. The polaj land wa always cultivated and was never allowed to be fallow; the Parauti was allowed to fallow for a year or two to recover its strength, the Chacha land had to be left uncultivated for three or four years; and Banja land had to be left fallow for five years or more

(3) Total produce of each Bigha of the first three kinds of land was determined separately.

(4) The share of the state was fixed at one third of the total produce. The cultivators were allowed to pay their dues in cash or kind but cash payments were preferred in the case of perishable commodities. For fixing prices of each commodity, an average of last ten year’s prices

was taken.

(5)For bringing the Banjar land under cultivation, loans were advanced to the cultivators so that they might employ extra-labour.

(6)In case of famine and drought or other unexpected calamity remission was granted and even loans were given for purchase of seeds and cattle. The revenue collectors were asked to be friendly towards the cultivators and not to oppress them on any account.

As a result of these measures, the revenue of the state greatly \increased, the cultivators became better off and the country became prosperous. The revenue system as applied to northern India Gujrat and with some modifications to the Deccan.

. Social Reforms : Akbar had welfare of his people always in his mind. In order to improve the general condition of his subjects he took steps to remove its glaring defects. He abolished the pilgrims tax on the Hindus in 1563. It gave much relief to the Hindus. Next year that is in 1564 he also removed Jazia another oppressive tax on the Hindus. The abolition of these two taxes went a long way in removing the long rooted betterness in the minds of the Hindus against the Muslims. The Hindu society suffered from many evil practices such as Sati and child marriage etc. Akbar tried to stop the practice of sati and proclaimed that no woman was to be burnt on the pyre of her husband against her will The child marriage was sorbidden and the practice of female

infanticide was stopped Akbar tried to regulate social usages in such – a way as to make the consent of both the bride and bride groom and

the permission of the parents necessary for marriage contracts. He also encourage widow remarriage.

The above account shows clearly that Akbar was a great administrator and the administrative machinery that he set up continued to function throughout the Mughal period.”

 In order to run the administration efficiently and smoothly the whole set up was divided into various departments. These were :

Akbar introduced many reforms for the betterment of his people (1) in 1563 A.D. he quashed the pilgrimage tax imposed on the Hindus. (2) Next year he abolished the Jazia and made the Hindus his permanent friends. (3) He provided full religious freedom to his people. (4) The child-marriage was declared unlawful. (5) The re-marriage of Hindu windows was encouraged. (6) He tried to put an end to the Sati system and several times he reached on the spot and saved so many widows from this evil practice. (7) He also discontinued the practice of treating the prisoners of war as slaves.

(i) Department of finance (ii) Royal family– was under the Khan-i-shamma (iii) Religion and charity (iv) Justice and crime. (Qazi-us-Kazat). (v) Department of Moral supervision (vi) Espionage and Postal Department (vii) Department Artillery.

Q. 2. Describe the Mansabdari system of Akbar. What were the demerits of the system ? .

Ans. Mansabdari System : The still frame of Akbar’s government both civil and military was the mansabdari organisation. By it he set up a bureaucracy which was half civil and half military in character. “The word Mansab means nothing beyond the fact that the holder of Mansab was an employee of the state.” (Irwin) By means of mansabdari Akbar set up a system which provided for a graduation of officers both civil and military. By mansab indicated an office or rank in the imperial service and the mansabdar was an official who out of his pay was excepted to furnish a certain number of his cavalry to the imperial army. They were graded into thirty three classes ranging from commanders of 10 to to commanders of 10,000. The numbers used for grading seldom corresponded to facts, the mansabdaries not being required to maintain the full number of troops indicated by their mansabs or ranks. Thus a mansabdar of 5,000 was not required to furnish more than 2,000 horseman although he received salary for the supply of 500 troops. The three highest grades were reserved for members of th royal family. The mansabdars formed the official aristocracy and i addition to their military duties they had to perform certai administrative functions. Hence the system has been described as th army the peerage and the civil administration all rolled into one”.

Classification of Mansabdars : (i) Umrah Mansabdar who was required to provide 1000 or above horsemen. (ii) Ordinary Mansabda

who was required to provide less than 1000 (iii) Hazir-j-Rikab those who were required to attend the court. (iv) Tainatiyan. Those who were appointed to execute certain functions. The officers were primarily soldiers although they had to perform the function of civil government.

Defects of Mansabdari Army. It was open to some serious defects. As the soldiers were recruited and paid by the mansabdars their loyalty and attachment were to their immediate masters rather than the emperor. This gap between the emperor and the bulk of his army was a source of serious danger to the government.

A mansabdars appointment, promotion, dismissal all depended on the sweet will of the emperor. There was no definate rules and regulation for this. The Mansabdars had to do both military and civil duties. On the death of the Mansabdar his property was confiscated by the state under law o Escheat. The Mansabdars generally did not recruit efficient persons. They were more loyal to the mansabdar than to the emperor. Corruption prevailed there. The total amount that was paid from the royal treasury to a a mansabdar was only partly used actually for the purpose. They even did not maintain the number of soldiers required by them. It is only as the time of inspection that the ordinary persons in soldiers uniform were presented before the Inspectors and supervisors. Instead of good horses very ordinary powers were kept. There was no discipline at the army, no provision for training and undergoing regular parades and drills. The mansabdars suffered from mutual jealousies and this evil adversely affected the organisation of the army and its efficiency.

Q. 3. Give a detailed account of the administration system, land revenue system, military under the Mughal Rule ?


Growth of Administration Akbar was an all-round genius. He founded an efficient system of administration and made some basic reforms. The characteristics of the Mughal administration are briefly discussed below :

Central Administration : The Mughal rulers were monarchs with unlimited powers. He was the centre of all administrative activity. The kings were greatly alive to their duty for the general benefit and weal of the people. Following were the basis of the Mughal administration S (a) The monarch : He was a despot and the source of all authority.

He was the head of the state, supreme commander of the military and

the chief executive of the civil administration. Even the religious and political authority was not beyond his reach. In spite of this, he never aad his way; was not uncontrollable; and did not misuse his authority. He was always anxious of the welfare of the people: Being a Muslim, he never ruled according to the dictates of the holy Kuran.

(b) The cabinet of ministers : The shape of the cabinet of minister was not the same as we have it now. The duty of the cabinet ministers and counsellors was to advise the king on matters of state but the king was not bound by their advice. The affairs of the Central Government were run separately by a number of departments placed under the charge of the ministers.

(1) Vakil or the Prime Minister : The Prime Minister of the king was known as the Vakil and had no special department under his charge. He was responsible for supervising and liasioning the functions of various departments. On serious matters of State Akbar consulted him. Sometimes the VAkil had to lead the armies.

(2) Diwan : He was subordinate to the Vakil and kept an account of income and expenditure of the state.

(3) The Khan-e-Saman : He was responsible for running the imperial household; kept all the accounts and arranged for the kitchen of the king. This was a very delicate and sensitive responsibility and sometimes the Vakil served as also the Khan-e-Saman.

(4) Baxi : Baxi was the secretary of the defence department. His duties included the disbursement of salaries to the soldiers the arrangement of military hardware ammunition and to provide all necessary facilities to the commanders of the marching armies.

(5) Sadr-ul-Sadoor : The minister had the department of charity. He supervised the ‘wakfs’ (land and property given out in charity) and maintained their income and expenditure accounts as also of the charities: given by the king.

(6) Mohtasib : Mohtasib was responsible chiefly for the obedienc of the people to the state. He enforced the orders of the king regarding the abstinence of drinking, gambling and other moral vices.

(7) The Artillery : Mir-e-Atish or Darogha-e-Top Khana was  incharge of this department and his duty was to keep the entire årtille in readiness to arrange for the manufacture of new guns and the repair of the older ones.

(8) The Justice : Kazi-ul-Kuzzat or the chief Kazi looked after the functions of the justice department. He sat in judgement and constituted the court of appeals, next to the king. He appointed the

Kazis locally.

(9) The intelligence & dak department : Darogha-e-dak-vo-Choki was the official to whom the responsibility was given. He was the chief of the intelligence and supervised the speedy flow of the dak from one place to the other. The up-keep of the roads, sarais and the stables on the roadsides fell under the purview of his duty.

(10) The Mint : The Darogha-e-Taksal made arrangements for minting the coins. Rules were laid as to the size and weight of each coin-silver and gold alike-and to determine the relative values.

(c) The provincial administration : The empire divided into provinces for the purpose of smooth administration. Akbar did away with the jagirdari system and appointed governors from the centre and kept a strict watch on them. Akbar had fifteen or eighteen provinces. The provincial administration was similar to that of the centre. The chief of the province was the Subedar, or Nazim or Sipahsalar and ruled like the emperor in the provinces. He headed the provincial army and the civil administration of the province. His duties, chiefly, were to maintain peace, to do justice to the people of the province and to collect the land-revenue from them. He could not intervene into the religious matters. He also implemented the orders of the king in the province. Members of the imperial family or trusted men were posted as governors (Subedars) in the provinces.

Officially namely the Diwan, Baxi or Kazi assisted him in the discharge of his duties.

(d) Local administration : The empire was divided into the province, the province into the Sarkars or the districts, the district or sarkar into the mahals or pargnas, and the pargna into a number of villages. the village was the smallest unit of the Mughal adininistration. The sarkar was headed by a Faujdar who had the civil as well as military authority vested in him. As apparent from the name, his duties was more of military nature than those of civil. His duties were chiefly three

(!) to keep peace and maintain law toward the poeple of robbery, theft and loot; (2) to maintain a small and well-prepared army under:

his command; and (3) to help in the realization of the land revenue-tax nd to inspect other aspects of the civil administration of the district.

The other officials in the district were the Malguzar and his assistant Bitikchi (Land-revenue officer and his assistant the clerk), and

hazandar or Khazanchi who kept the account of the income and leposited it in the central treasury.

Similarly in the pargnas or mahals were the following four officials Shikdar, Amil, Photеdar and lastly the Karkun. Shikdar was the chief administrative officer of the pargna and kept the income-expenditure account. The Amil determined the land-revenue tax and realized it, Ohotedar was the treasurer of the pargna and Karkuns were the clerks who kept the revenue record. The cities were administrated by a kotwal and the villages had their village-panchayats. 

Mughal Army

The Mughals were the great imperialists, and in order to satisfy their ambitious nature they had to keep the army in the best possible trim. Akbar observed the defeats of the Jagirdari system so he replaced it with the Mansabdari system which was an improvement on the former. He organized the military system afresh which had five sections :

(1) The army of the lords : Many rajas, mostly Rajputs, submitted to the authority of the Mughal emperor and used to pay their annual tribute. The Rajas, in case of demand from the centre, helped the emperor with their troops.

(2) The ‘Dakhli’ army : The provinces enlisted the troops and paid them the salaries. The ‘Mansabdars’ commanded them.

(3) The ‘Abadi’ army: This was the army recruited by the emperor and comprised of horsemen who served as king’s body-guards. They had the privileged distinction and drew their salaries from ac independent department headed by a Baxi. The army was under the direct control of the king.

(4) The standing army : The standing army of the Mughals wa very large and had the infantry, artillery, cavalry, navy and elephant in it.

The infantry, during the Mughals, had little significance. Th cavalry, the important part of the army, was divided into two types (1) Bargiri – those who received their horses and arms from the government, and (2) Siledar – those who had their own arms and horse

The artillery consisted of the musketeers and the gunners. The navy was not powerful. The importance of elephants was still realized. The commander, generally, rode an elephant. the elephants helped in crossing the rivers. The horses were branded and the ‘identification of the soldiers was written in a register.

(5) The army of the Mansabdars : The jagirdari system was replaced by the Mansabdari system by Akbar. During the tenure of Shahbaz Khan as the Mir Baxi the mansabdars were allowed to keep the troops according to their ranks and send them to serve the state. The lowest Mansabdar could keep ten and the highest ten thousand soldiers.

Shahbaz Khan, during his tenure as Mir Baxi, introduced the Mansabdari system. Akbar understood the defects of the Jagirdari system and replaced it with the Mansabdari system which contiaued to remain in force even after him. He observed that the powerful Jagirdars were the potent danger to the central authority so he divested them of all authority and strengthened the centre.

The appointment : Mansab’ (Arabic) means rank, Office or degree. Every official of the state belonged to a certain class of the Mansabdars. The emperor appointed or dismissed them. The office was not hereditary and any man could claim it according to his merit. They received a fixed salary out of which they had to spend a portion on the equipment and the maintenance of the troops under them.

In the beginning, the highest mansab was of ten thousand trops but late Akbar raised it twelve thousand. The members of the imperial family could only receive a mansab of more than five thousand but exceptions were there. Mirza Man Singh and Mirza Aziz were raised to the rank of seven thousand. The practice, with some modifications was also followed by the later Mughals.

Zats and Sawars : In the early stages the system worked in a single line but in the middle of the reign of Akbar, he placed the mansabdars, lower than ‘live thousand’, into three categories and most of them received two of the three categories. Historians differ on the definition of the Zats and Sawars. Irwin says that Zat represents the actual number of troops that a mansabdar kept and the ‘sawar’ was the prefix of honour for him. Dr. Tripathi supports the opinion of Smith

with the exception that a mansabdar was not bound to keep a fixed

number of troops. Abdul Aziz, however, gives a varied interpretation. The mansabdar was required to keep a fixed number of elephants horse, and goods carriers represented by the word ‘Zat and the “Sawar’ refers to the number of cavalry that a mansabdar had. The words, Zat and Sawar do not refer to the number of infantry that a mansabdar kept. Dr. Ashirwadi Lal also supports the opinion of Abdul Aziz.

The three categories : The mansabdars, lower than five thousand, were placed into three categories :

(1) The first category had such mansabdars as had equal numbers of in Zats and Sawars. He had 5000 Zats and more than 2500 Sawars.

(2) The second category had such mansabdars as had Sawars more than half of the number of Zat e.g. 5000 zats and more than 2500 Sawars.

(3) The third category comprised of mansabdars who had Sawars less than half of the number of Zats e.g. 5000 xats and less than 2500 sawars.

– The defects : The mansabdari system was however not free of defects and many defects crept in with the passage of time.

(1) The mansabdars drew the money from the king and paid the troops their salaries with the result that the troops were more loyal to mansabdars than to the king. ‘

– (2) Few mansabdars kept the number of troops in accordance with their ranks and misappropriated the money. They neglected the proper training of the troops. The defect was also observed during Akbar’s period.

(3) There was no correlation among the troops of various mansabdars. Every one of them had his own notions. The disunity in the Mughal army was obvious.

(4) Mansabdars drew salaries and spent the larger part in the persuits of pleasure. The lowered the financial condition of the state. 

Land-Revenue System

Akbar was a veritable genius and left his mark in many areas of administration. His land-reform is worthy of special mention, wherein he made many significant changes. Khawaja Abdul Majeed, Muzaffar Turbati and Raja Todar MAI helped him in this direction. The first change appeared during the tenure of Khawaja Abdul Majeed as the

Diwan. He tried to determine the land revenue tax on the basis of the estimates made in the districts.

For the second time, Muzaffar Turbati as Diwan, reorganized the system and redetermined the land-revenue tax on sound basis.

Akbar sent Raja Todar Mal to Gujarat in 1573 for the land organization. Raja Todar Mal had served Sher Shah as Revenue Minister and had enough experience to his credit. The system immensely pleased Akbar who ordered to implement it in all the provinces except Bengal and Bihar. The entire empire was divided into 182 pargnas which had a revenue-officer called ‘Karori’ because the state exchequer drew an income of rupees one crore from each pargna. The system had however some innate defects which demanded more reforms. Reforms of Todar Mal

Todar Mal was posted as Diwan-e-Ashraf in 1582, who implemented his modified land-revenue system : 

(1) The measurement of land : The land was measured with rope measure made of san which grew during the wet season and shrank in summer. He used a new measure called jareeb made of bamboos joined with iron fixtures, to prevent the defects of the rope-measurement. The jareeb measurement was permanently recorded in the revenue-record of the patwaris. . (2) The classification of land : Todar Mal put the land into four categories to facilitate the fixing of the land-revenue tax on the farmer. They were :

(a) Polaj land : This was the most fertile land which gave two crops a year and never left un-tilled.

(b) Paravti land : This was the second category of the land. After · sometime, the land lost its fertility and was therefore left untilled for such time as to recover its fertility.

(c) Chachar land : The fertility of this land was low and had to leave it untilled for three to four years at a stretch to recover the fertility.


(d) Banjar land : The.growth in this land was meagre and the fertility very low. It was left unused for a period of six years or more to recover its fertility.

(3) The average growth : The above categories were further Sub-divided into good, medium and bad. The average produce of all

the three categories of land was assessed and the state-share was determined.

(4) The state-share : (lagan) Todar Mal fixed one-third of the produce of the land as the state-share (lagan).

(5) The state share in cash or in kind : The farmers were at liberty to deposit the state-share in cash or kind. The state, however, preferred to receive in cash. For this purpose, the average of the rates for the last ten years was recognised the standard rate. The state-share calculated at the standard rate was recorded in the revenue record of the patwaris. .

In times of famine, drought or natural calamities the concessions were allowed in state shares. In abnormal circumstances the state share was remitted and the Taqavi-loans were given.

(6) Realisation of the land revenue tax : Having the jagirdari system abolished, the state appointed its officials to realize the land-revenue taxes. They were the Amins, assisted by the Bitikchis, Fotedars, Kanangos, Patwaris and Muqaddams etc.

: Strict orders were issued to the officials to be police and respectful to the farmers. The farmers could also deposit the tax direct in the treasury. The patwaris issued the receipts to the farmers. He recorded the area of the land, its type, rate of tax, and the amount of tax on the receipt. No body was permitted to drew a single piece than due from the farmers.

· The benefits of land reforms : Several benefits were drawn from the land-reforms. Chief of them are :

(1) There was a direct contact between the farmers and the State.

(2) The income of the state was per-determined and little scope was left for dishonesty.

(3) The officials could not levy arbitrary land-tax and therefore could not maltreat the farmers.

(4) The farmers could directly deposit the tax in the treasury to the enhancement of his honour.

(5) The people were relieved of many taxes and the farmers were given the ownership rights.

(6) The agriculture developed. The farmers became prosperous. The people felt relieved owing to cheap rates of the grain. Dr. Vincent Smith praises Akbar’s revenue system and says that

he had lofty ideals and orders issued to the government officials were

satisfactory. Judicial System

• The Mughals never accepted the islamic political system but allowed the system of justice to function the way it did during the period of the Sultanate kings. They made some necessary minor changes. Badayuni writes that Akbar however, limited the scope of the islamic laws. Besides Muslims, the Hindus and Christians were not sentenced to death for the change of religion. The cases of the Hindus were tried by the Hindu judges. The department of justice, in the first half of the seventeenth century worked likewise :

(1) The Emperor : The emperor was the supreme judge and the highest court of appeal. He spared time to listen to the grievances of the people daily; passed decisions on important cases on every Thursday. The death sentence was finally approved by the king.

(2) The Chief Qazi : The Chief Qazi was the highest office after the king. He was appointed by the king and was paid his salary in cash from the state-treasury. He was also given some land. The chief qazi, in consultation with the king, appointed qazis in provinces, cities, districts and parganas.

There was no need of the Qazis in the villages because here the village panchayats decided the cases. To assist the Qazis there were Muftis who interpreted the Muslim law and passed the decrees (fatwa).

(3) The Courts : There was no well-defined correlation between the courts. In High Courts and the Imperial Court, the Qazis or the king not only listened to the appeals but tried the cases from their initial stage. There was no specisic process of forwarding of appeals to higher courts. An appeal could be made to the district, provincial or royal court. Besides the Qazis, the Mire-Adl or the provincial governors tried the criminal cases. The department of justice and the administration were not separate identities.

(4) The Sentence : The sentence was severe, which included the mutiliation of limbs, and heavy fines. Generally, death sentence was awarded for murders and revolt and imprisonment for these crimes was rare.

Socio-Economic Conditions under The Mughals

Having closely studied the political conditions of the reign of the

Mughals upto the middle of the seventeenth century, it is naturally evident that we should also study the society of the period and make our assessment of its socio-economic conditions. The rule of the Mughals in comparison to that of the Sultanate was a period of relative peace. During this time the Indian society made an all-round development and the basis for national political unity was firmly laid. We learn about the society of the period from the accounts in Persian and other Indian languages, of the contemporary historians. (a) Social Condition

(1) The nobility: The nobility comprised of the king. His sirdars, mansabdars etc. They were the privileged class and led a life of luxury and plenty. The state used to acquire the property of the manasabdar after his death so they spent it lavishly, during their life, on luxuries. The harems of the emperor and Amirs were full of hundreds of women. The regarded them instruments of lusts.’Akbar had such a large number of women in his harem that a separate department operated for the purpose.

The nobility lived in abundance and had no direct contact with the common people and in fact, hated them. The abundance and exhuberance of money was the cause of the development of art, literature, sculpture, music, painting and beautiful architecture.

(2) The middle class : This included the state servants and the business-men. Their standard was not as high as that of nobility but their financial condition was better. They did not lead the life of luxury, abstained from drinking. They feared the taxes that might be levied on them. In general, their life was simple and easy.

(3) The poor : This category included the farmers, artisans, workers, small employees and vendors. Their condition was miserable. The nobility looked down upon them. They were so poor that they failed to afford the essentials of bare existence viz. food clothes and houses. They lived in thatched mud huts, and walked bare-footed and lived the life of slaves. The condition of the labourers was even worse. Their wages were very small and besides had to do the begar (work without wages). The lofty buildings of the Mughals conceal the hard-work of these labourers. “The workmen received low wages. They were subject to the oppressions of the nobles and the royal officers and were Sometimes force to work for them receiving insufficient remuneration

or nothing at all in return. They lived on poor food and took one meal a day for which they got nothing but a little khichri made of green pulse mixed with rice.”-Sarkar and Dutta the life of the small shopkeepers was a little better, but the administration cruelly exploited


The Women : The condition of women was poor. Among the nobility they were the instrument of pleasure and lust and were confined to the four-walls of the houses. No education was provided to them. The Purdah system in the Muslims was strictly observed. Polygamy and divorce were common. The king and the lords kept hundreds of wives. The Hindus respected their women but child marriages was common with them. Akbar tried hard to abolish the child marriages and sati but could not succeed.

The women of the nobility lived with great pomp and show; wore jewels, and silk and travelled in the palanquins with their maids. The ladies of the middle classes led the life of purity and simplicity, but the women of low worked as hard as their menslok and were not happy. (b) Economic Condition

No record is available of the economic condition of the country during Babar and Humayun, but whatever insufficient information meets the eyes of the historians indicates that the people were poor. The things were cheap but the people had no purchasing power. Sher Shah’s reform brought some improvement in the economic condition of the common men but the laxity of his successors undid it. Akbar’s efforts improved the conditions bul during. Jehangir period of plenty and considerable prosperity. The condition of the lower category of the people remained stagnant and they continued to lead a life of poverty as before. The monarch and nobility enjoyed all the benesits of prosperity.

The Economic condition of the Mughal period is studied below

(1) Agriculture : Agriculture was the chief vocation of India. No attention was paid to it during the reign of Babar and Humayun, Sher

Shah made plans to better the condition of farmers. Akbar advanced “the work still further with his land reforms. His successors also took

interest in the improvement of agriculture but economic condition of the farmer did not improve. He was poor as before. They reaped two crops : in rabi and kharif, during a year which consisted of wheat, rice,

barley, gram, pea, sugar-cane, millet (Bajra), maize, jawar, oil-seed and cotton. The main source of irrigation were ponds, wells and canals.

The Mughals observed great precaution not to destroy crops while their armies marched from one place to another, still the officials harassed the farmers. Good crops mainly depended on rains as enough irrigation facilities were not available. The failure of rains often brought famine in its train.

(2) Trade : Foreign and internal trade were highly developed during the Mughals. The roads were repaired, sarais were constructed along the roads; shady trees were planted on both sides of the roads; and adequate protection was provided along the roads. This greatly developed the internal trade.

India exported cotton, silk, fruit, shawals, opium, sulpher, weapons, rice and spices to other countries and imported wines, precious stones, gold, silver, and copper. Indian goods reached as far as European markets and attracted the European traders to India. .

(3) Industry : India was famous for its cotton. Dacca, Agar, Banaras, and Patna were the famous centres of cotton industry. The dyeing and printing of cotton cloth was specially the best. Besides cotton, the industries in leather, paper and potteries also flourished. Shawals and the woolens from Kashmir and flower-decked carpets from Multan were in great demand. 

(c) Religious Condition

The Mughals were tolerant in religious matters. They did not adopt the intolerant and bigotted policies of the kings of the Sultanate period and favored the policy of religious co-existence. The Hindus worshipped in their temples and held their religious fairs. The Jizya and pilgrimage taxes were abolished. The Islam was, however, the

predominant religion but it was not allowed to flourish at the expense of hate for

other faiths. During the Mughals, however, the retrogress in policy was sometimes observed . The hindus were discriminated against idols broken, and the temples demolished. The Mughal rulers were by the large tolerant and large – hearted people.

(1) Islam : Islam had a predomina position during   the entire Mughal period. It was enjoyed upon the king to proagate and to defend its followers. One of the duties of the state was to build

and maintain mosques in the kingdom.

Inspite of this, the Mughals followed the policy of tolerance and religious co-existence. The puritanism and bigotry of the Sultanate period were alien to them. Akbar is praised for his religious policy because during his reign neither the temple were demolished nor the idols broken. The Hindu did not feel that a foreigner ruled over them. Jehangir followed the policy of Akbar but Shah Jahan appeared to be inclined towards puritanism..

(2) The Vaishnava dharma : The eleventh century saw the religious renaissance. The Bhakti-marg saints openly preached their thoughts. Swami Lallanacharya, Vithalnath, and Sant Surdass were devoted to Krishna. Tulsidas worshipped Ram. Similarly the followers of Chetan Mahaprabhu in the south sang in praise of Lord Krishna. Sant Eknath preached for the emanicipation of the Shudras and women. Sant Tuka Ram of the Maharashtra sang of attaining moksha through ‘devotion’. Shivaji’s spiritual Guru Sant Ramdass was a vaishnavite who inspired the people. Besides them others also spread the message of spiritual unity.

(3) Other religions : The birth place of Jainism was Gujarat. The Sikh religion was in the making. The Sikh community started arming themselves as a military force after the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur, Guru Govind Singh fought against the Mughals – Banda Beragi marched far and wide. The Sikhs rose with the fall of the Mughals. The Christianity was also preached.

Akbar’s Din-e-Ilahi is worth mentioning and is a proof of his tolerant religious policy. Din-e-Ilahi has been discussed in details in the previous chapter. (d) Educational Systems

The education was not the state-subject, however, much development is observed in this field. The education was in the hands of individuals and was a part of religion. The mosques were the centre of education. The state granted financial aids to them.

Babar created a department, Shohrate Aye, for the construction of buildings for schools. Humayun also founded a school in Delhi. Akbar was an improviser in the field of education because changes were made in the syllabus during his time. He founded schools at Fatehpur Sikri and Agra where even Hindus received education along with Muslims. Jehangir re-started old schools and ran new ones.

There were separate schools for the Hindus and the Muslims which are described as below :

(1) Schools for the Hindus : Brahmin teachers were appointed to teach Hindu children. The rich and wealthy helped liberally in opening the schools. Sanskrit schools were opened at the holy places of pilgrimage. Free higher education, with free boarding and lodging was provided at these places. 

 (2) Schools for the Muslim : Each mosque had maktab where! elementary instruction was arranged in Perisan and Arabic. The holy Quran was learnt by rote-memory. Higher education was arranged in big cities where Hindu children could also read. The educational institutions, in rare cases, were provided grants-in-aid. Most of them were run on the charities of the people. No special arrangements was made for the education of women. The women of the royal household and nobility could, however, receive some degree of education

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