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Subjects /Indian History / Medieval History / The Mughal Period from 1526AD to 1707AD Part III

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07 Mar 2021

The Mughals were originally Turks. They belonged to the Chagtai Tribe of the Turkish race. Original home of Mughals was Fergana in Central Asia.

Period of Mughal Empire is also known as Second Classical Age.

Jahangir from 1605AD to 1627AD

  • Prince Salim, later Jahangir, was born on 31 August 1569, in Fatehpur Sikri, to Akbar and Mariam-uz-Zamani.
  • Akbar's previous children had died in infancy and he had sought the help of holy men to produce a son. Salim was named for one such man, Sheikh Salim.
  • Jahangir married the extremely beautiful and intelligent Mehr-un-Nisaa (better known by her subsequent title of Nur Jahan) on 25 May 1611.
  • Before being awarded the title of Nur Jahan ('Light of the World'), she was called Nur Mahal ('Light of the Palace')
  • Her mausoleum Iti Madugula is in Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Jahangir died on the way back from Kashmir near Sarai Saadabad in Bhimber in 1627.
  • Jahangir's elegant mausoleum is located in the Shahdara locale of Lahore

Shah Jahan from 1628AD to 1658AD

  • He was the third son of Jahangir. Also known as Khurram .
  • He was born in Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Shah Jahan adopted the title of ‘Lord of the World’.
  • He transferred the capital of Mughals from Agra to Delhi.
  • He built red fort and Jama masjid (Biggest Mosque of India till date).
  • He was imprisoned by his own son Aurangzeb.
  • He died in 1666 in Agra fort, Agra.
  • He was buried in Taj Mahal, Agra.
  • Mumtaz Mahal was his wife.

Aurangzeb from1658AD to 1707AD

  • He was born in 1618 Dahod, Mughal Empire.
  • Aurangzeb was a notable expansionist during his reign, the Mughal Empire reached its greatest extent, ruling over nearly all of the Indian subcontinent.
  • During his lifetime, victories in the south expanded the Mughal Empire.
  • Under Mughal law, son cannot become ruler until his father’s death but Aurangzeb violated this law and became Badshah because he imprisoned his own father.
  • So, because of his guilt he tried to portray himself as champion of Islam.
  • He came with Anti- Hindu and Pro Muslim Policy.
  • Some temples of Hindus were destroyed.
  • He destroyed partially the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Banaras Temple and built a Mosque in place of it known as Gyan Vapi Masjid.
  • Idgah Masjid was built in Keshvarai, Mathura in place of a temple.
  • Hindu festivals of Holi & Diwali were banned by Aurangzeb.
  • He re-imposed the Jaziya tax on Hindus in 1679.
  • Anti-Islamic practices like Jharoka was banned.
  • To ensure that new laws are followed strictly, he appointed ‘Muhtasib’.

§  Aurangzeb appointed a large no of these moral officers.

§  Activities were banned like drinking alcohol, gambling, prostitution were wrong & unethical under Islam.

  • Most important monument built by him is Moti Masjid in Red fort, Delhi.
  • His wife Rabia Durani was buried in ‘Bur ka Maqbara' Mausoleum in Aurangabadh, Maharashtra.
  • Aurangzeb Mausoleum was built by his son Bahadur Shah 1st in Daultabadh , Maharashtra.
  • The Mughal Empire started to Disintegrate after the death of Aurangzeb.

Mughal Administration

  • The system of administration elaborated by Sher Shah had fallen into confusion after the death of Islam Shah. Akbar, therefore, had to start afresh.
  • Sher shah has instituted a system by which the cultivated area was measured and a crop rate (ray) was drawn up, fixing the dues of the peasants crop-wise on the basis of the productivity of land. But it was soon found that the fixing of central schedule of prices often led to considerable delays, and resulted in great hardships to the peasantry.
  • Akbar, therefore reverted to a system of annual assessment.

Qanungos: Who were hereditary holders of land

  • In 1580, Akbar instituted a new system called the Dahsala.
  • Under this system, the average produce of different crops as well as the average prices prevailing over the last ten (dah) years were calculated,
  • One-third of the average produce was the state share. The state demand was, however, stated in cash.
  • But on the basis of average prices, the state demand was fixed in rupee per bigha.

Zabit system: The peasants were given remission in the land revenue if crops failed on account of drought, floods etc.

  • The system of measurement and the assessment based upon it is called the Zabit system.
  • It is associated with Raja Todar Mal, and is sometimes called Todar Mal’s Bandobast,
  • The most common and perhaps, the oldest was called batai or ghalla-bakshi.
  • In this system, the Produce was divided between the peasants and the state in fixed proportion.

Batai system: Under this system, the peasants were given the choice of paying in cash or in kind though the state preferred cash.

  • Third system which was widely used in Akbar’s time was Nasaq.
  • It seems that it meant a rough calculation of the amount payable by the peasant on the basis of what he had been paying in the past.
  • It is also called as Kankut or estimation.
  • Land which remained under cultivation every year was called polaj.
  • When it remained uncultivated it was called parati(fallow).
  • Land which has been fallow for one or three years was called chachar,and if longer than that, banjar.
  • Amil were the moneylenders.
  • Loans were called as Taccavi.

Organisation of the government

  • Hardly any changes were made by Akbar in the organisation of local government.

Pragana: Local administrative unit of Sarkar.

  • The chief officers of the Sarkar were the ‘faujdar’ and the ‘amalguzar', the former being in charge of law and order, and the latter responsible for the assessment and collection of the land revenue.
  • The territories of the empire were divided into jagir, khalisa and inam lands.
  • Income from khalisa went straight away to the royal exchequer.
  • The inam lands were those which were allotted to learned and religious men.
  • Jagirs were allotted to nobles and members of the royal family including the queens.
  • Akbar reorganised the central machinery of administration on the basis of the division of power between various departments, and of checks and balances.
  • The diwan was responsible for all income and expenditure, and held control over khalisa, jagir and inam lands.
  • The head of the military department was called as ‘Mir bakhshi’.
  • He was the Mir Bakhshi and not the diwan who was considered the head of the nobility.
  • The mir bakhshi was also the head of the intelligence and information agencies of the empire.
  • Intelligence officers (‘barids‘and news reporters (waqia-navis) were posted to all parts of the empire.
  • The third most important officer was the ‘mir saman ‘.
  • He was the in charge of the imperial household, including the supply of all the provisions and articles for the use of the inmates of the haram or the female apartments.
  • Many of these articles were manufactured under supervision in royal workshops called ‘Karkhanas’.
  • The fourth important department was the judicial department headed by the chief Qazi.
  • This post was sometimes combined with that of the chief sadr who was responsible for all charitable and religious endowments.

Diwan –i– Aam: The petitions of the common people were immediately, or in the open darbar were solved.

Organisation of Trade and commerce

  • Some Indian trading classes were specialised in long distance, inter-regional trade, and some in local, retail trade.
  • The former was called seth, bohra, modi, while the latter were called beoparis or banik.

Banjaras: They used to move long distances carrying bulk goods.

  • Bengal exported sugar and rice as well as delicate muslin and silk.
  • The coast of Coromandal had become a centre for textile production, and had a brisk trade with Gujarat, both along the coast and across the Deccan.
  • Gujarat was the entry point for foreign goods.
  • It exported fine textiles and silks (patola) to north India, with Burhanpur and Agra as the two nodal points of trade.
  • It received food grains and silk from Bengal, and also imported pepper from Bengal.
  • North India imported luxury items and also exported indigo and food grains.
  • Lahore was another centre of handicraft production.
  • The movement of these goods was made possible by a complex network, linking wholesalers with merchants down to the regional and local levels through agents(gumashtas) and commission agents (dalals).

Hundi: It was a letter of credit payable after a period of time at a discount.

Sarrafs(shroffs): Who specialised in dealing with hundis. In the process, they also acted as private banks; they kept money in deposit from the nobles and lent it.

  • Each community of merchants had its leader or nagarseth who could have interceded with the local officials on their behalf.
  • Road cesses were called rahdari which was a uniform tax levied on goods at the point of their entry into the empire.
  • It was declared illegal, though it was collected by some of the local rajas.