THE MUGHAL EMPIRE(1556-1707)


1.MUGHAL POLITY:

Babur:

Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur, who defeated Ibrahim Lodi at Panipat in 1526, founded the Mughal empire in India.

Babur was a descendant of Timur on his father’s side and of Chengiz Khan on the side of his mother.
They called themselves Timurids.

On the death of his father Umar Shaikh Mirza, Babur inherited the ancestral kingdom of Farghana in 1494.
Invaded India five times.

The first real expedition took place in 1519 when he captured Bhera, and he fifth was the defeat of Ibrahim Lodi the first battle of Panopat in April 1526.

He defeatd the Rana of Mewar, Sangram Singh or Rana Sanga.

A decisive battle took place on March 16, 1527, at Khanua, a village some 60 km west of Agra, between the forces of Babur and Rana Sanga.

In his battle the latter was decisively defeated and Khanua confirmed and completed Babur’s victory at Panipat.

In 1528, he captured Chanderi from a Rajput Chief Medini Rai and a year later he defeated the Afghan chiefs under Mahmud Lodi in the battle of Ghagra in Bihar.

He died at Agra on December 26, 1530.

A detailed record of Babur’s career is found in his autobiography-Tuzuk-i-Baburi or Babumamah-which he wrote in his mother-tongue(Turki).

Humayun(1530-56):

Babur’s eldest son Humyun.

Humayun divided the empire inherited from his father among his three brothers.
Kamran, Hindal and Askari.

The Afghans, who had not yet been crushed, also reised their heads.

Of them, Sher Khan, known as Sher Shah Suri, proved to be the most formidable enemy of Humayun, and after defeating the latter at Chausa and Kanauj in 1540, completely shattered his prospects.

The Mughal empire in India was temporarily eclipsed and Humayun had to pass nearly fifteen years(1540-55) in exile.

Akbur (1556-1605):

Political Career: At the time of his father’s deth Akbar was merely 14 years old was under the guardianship of Bairam Khan who, on hearing of Humayun’s death, coronated Akbar at Kakanaur.

Within a few months of Akbur’s accession, Hemu, the energetic wazir of Muhammad Adil Shah of Bihar, occupied the country from Bayana to Delhi, including Agra, and assumed the title of Vikramadity.

In November 1556 the Mughal army under Bairam Khan moved towards Delhi and defeated Hemu in the second battle of Paniput.

During the next four years, Bairam Khan crushed the Afghan power in deifferent parts of Hindustan.

During these four years(1556-60) Bairam Khan enjoyed the supreme position in the state as the emperor’s gurdian and prime minister.

From the expendition against Malwa(1561)to the fall of Asirgarh-during a period of four decades-he played the role of a great conqueror and an empire builder.

Malwa was conqueror in 1561 from the musician Sultan Baz Bahadur.

The emperor later honoured his skill as a musician and enrolled him as a mansabdar in the imperical court.

The same year he conquered the strategic fort of Chunar.

The year 1562 was a turning point in the emperor’s life when on his first pilgrimage to the shrine of Khwaja Muinuddin Chisti at Ajmer, Raja Bharmal of Amber proposed his eldest daughter’s marriage with the emperor.

Thus the foundation was laid by Amber of the Mughal-Rajput alliance; other Rajput principalities, with the sole exception of Mewar, followed suit.

The strong fortress of Merta in Marwar was captured after a brief siege in 1562.

Chandrasen, the ruler of Marwar, submitted to Akbar in 1563.

Rulers of Bikaner and of Jaisalmer also made their submission to Akbur and enterd into matrimonial alliances with the Mughals.

By the end of 1570 all prominent princes of Rajsthan, except the Rana of Mewar, submitted to Akbar.

Rana Udai Singh of Mewar refused to accept the Mughal-Rajput alliance and further offended Akbar by giving shelter to Baz Bahadur of Malwa.

Mewar lay on the route to the rich province of Gujarat which could not be conquered without securing the submission of at least the fort of Chittor.

In 1567 Akbar himself conducted the siege of the fort of Chittor which fell next year(1568)after a desperate resistance.

The conquest of Chittor placed the plains obstacle to the conquest of Gujarat and hastened the fall of
Ranthambhor (1569)as also the submission of Marwar and Bikaner(1570).

But the Mughal-Mewar struggle did not end with the fail of Chittor.

After Rana Udai Singh’s death in 1572, his son Rana Pratap Singh continued it further, culminating in the famous battle of Haldighat(Khamnaur according to Badauni)on June 18, 1576.

The Mughal army which was led by Raja Man Singh of Amber won this battle, but Mewar was not subjugated.

Rana Pratap, till his death in 1597, continued the struggle and except Chittor and Mandalgarh he was virtually the master of the whole of Mewar.

In 1572, when Akbar invaded Gujarat, it was divided into “seven warring principalitics”over which the nominal King Muzaffar Shah III exercised little authority.

Akbar himself led an expendition to Gujarat in 1572 and completed it by the siege of Surat in 1573.

In 1574-75 Bihar and Bengal were conquered from the Afghan Chief Daud.

Raja Man Singh of Amber, who as Governor of Bihar conquered Orissa in 1592, was rewarded for his success by being appointed subahdar of Bengal as well.

The conquest of Bihar, Bengal and Orissa goes largely to the credit of Raja Man Singh.

The year 1581 is regarded as the most critical year in the reign of Akbar, whern his half-brother Muhammad Hakim, the ruler of Kabul , advanced to Lahore.

The plan was to replace the heterodox Akbar by the orthodox Muhammad Hakim on the throne.

Thereupon Akbar proceeded to Kabul and forced his half-brother to submit, but reinstated him.

After he death of Muhammad Hakim in 1586, Kabul was annexed to the Mughal.

While suppressing the Yusufzai and Mandar tribes, Raja Birbal was killed.

In 1586, Kashmir too was annexed to the empire, and in 1593, as a preclude to the conquest of Kandahar, the whole of Sindh was annexed.

In 1594 Knadhahar was conquered from Persian.

Of the five offshoots of the Bahmani empire Akbar was concerned about Ahmadanagar, Bijpur and Golcumda only.

Berar had been annexed by Ahmadnagar in 1574 and Bidar was too insignificant to attract his attention.

Besides,there was the Faruqi kingdom of Khandesh which was the outpost of the Mughal invasion into the south.

In 1591, four Mughal embassies were sent to the Sultans of Khandesh, Bijpur, Golcunda and Ahmadnagar to accept Mughal suzerainty.

Of these only Sultan Raja Ali Khan of Khandesh agreed to submit.

Meanwhile, the course of events in Ahmadnagar offered Akbar the casus belli which he had long waited for.

After the death of Sultan Burhan Nizam Shah(1591-95) of Ahmadnagar there was a dispute about succession in which Chand Sultana, daughter of a former Sultan Husian Nizam Shah I of Bijapur, championed the cause of the lawful heir, Bahadur, who was an infant; but a group of nobles imprisoned him and elevated another candidate to their throne.

There dissensions offered Akbar an excellent opportunity for the conquest led by Akbar’s second son Murad against Ahmadnagar in 1595, Chand Sultana ceded Berar to the Mughals.

But the peace thus concluded proved a mere truce and led to fresh Mughal expenditions against Ahmadhnagar in 1597 and 1599, when Akbar himself supervised the siege of Ahmadnagar.

A large part of the kingdom remained in possession of influential Nizamshahi nobles,particularly Malik Ambar.

In 1601, the fort of Asirgarh was captured and Khandesh was annexed to the Mughal empire.

Ultimately Khandesh, Berar and the annexed portion of Ahmadnagar were combined as the viceroyalty of the Deccan and placed under prince Daniyal.

Asirgarh proved to be the last conquest of Akbar’s life.

He intended to deal with the kingdoms of Bijapur, Golcunda and Bidhar,but he had to leave the Deccan for the North where prince Salim had revolted.

Akbar’s Liberal Measures:

In 1562 he passed a decree that in course of war the Hindu non-combatants and the familes of combatants were not to be made prisoners, reduced to slavery or converted to Islam.

The next year he abolished the pilgrim tax.

In 1564 he abolished jezuyah.

The use of beef was forbidden and later, in 1583, killing of certain animals on particular dayas was forbidde.

From 1562, for eighteen long years, he made annual pilgrimage to the shrine of Shaikh Muinuddin Chisti at Ajmer.

His Hindu official like Todarmal,Birbal and Man Singh, scholars like Faizi and Abul Fazi and the Bhakti movement of the sixteenth century helped in moulding his religious.

Foundation fo the Ibadatkhana(Hall of Worship) at Fatehpur Sikri.

His religious discussions were held every Thursday evening.

In 1578, he converted the Ibadatkhana into a ‘Parliament of Raligious’.

He threw the Ibadatkhana open to Hindus, Jains, Zoroastrias and Christians.

In 1579 Akbar decided that it was necessary for him to take into his own hands all religious matters affecting his Muslim subjects, which led to drafting of a ‘Declaration’ or mahzar by Shaikh Mubarak.

It was signed by five ulema.

The comparative study of different religions of the age led Akbar to foumulate an order known as Din-i-Ilahi or Jauhind-i-ilahi(Divine Monotheism) in 1582.

The basic purpose of the foumualtion of Din-i-Ilahi was Sul-i-kul or universal harmony which governed all public plicies of Akbar, said: “His(Akbar’s)God was not the God of the Muslims alone.

He worshipped the God of all men.

He made continuous experiments in the field of a administration.

Akbar gave the Mughal India one official language (Persian).

Akbar abandoned the Islamic theory of taxation and adopted the one prevalent in India that taxation was essentially a consideration paid to the king for the protection given to the subjects.

In 1582the whole revenue system was overhauled under the supervision of Todarmal, the revenuee minister.

The revenue systerm introduced by him, known as Todarmal bondobust or zabti system, based on classification, measurement of land etc, was a pioneering measure.

The same year (1582)Dastur-al-amals or Code of Rules was issued for revenue officials.

Earlier in 1575-76, the empire was divided into twelve subahs (subas)or provinces, whose number increased to fifteen after the conquest of the Deccan.

Each subha was subdivinces, into sarkars and each sarkar into parganas or mahals.

After the conquest of Gujarat in 1573-74, the officers were classified into different ranks or mansabs,which led to the growth of the mansabdari system.

Last Years:

His eldest son Salim’s rebellion in 1602.

The Mughal court got divided into two groups, one favouring the succession of Salim and the other of Salim’s son Khusrau, who was also Akbar’s choice.

But shortly before his death in 1605, Akbar himself nominated Salim as his successor who ascended the throne with the title of Jahangir.

Jahangir(1605-27)

Jahangir’s reign opened with the promulgation of Twelve ‘Edicts’ or ‘Ordinanaces’ for the general welfare and better government of the country.

Rebellion prince of Jahangir’s son Khusrau at Lahore(1606).

Jahangir personally suppressed the rebellion.

The rebellion prince was captured, blinede, confined, and subsequently killed by Khurram in 1622.

The fifth Sikh Guru Arjan, with whom the rebel prince had stayed at Tarn Taran and also received his blessings, was at first fined by the government, but as he refused to pay the fine he was sentenced to death.

The execution of Guru Arjan sowed the seeds of bitter discored between the Sikhs and the Mughals.

The first military expedition undertaken by Jahangir was against Rana Ama Singh, son of Rana Patap of Mewar.

The Mughal expeditions sent against Mewar in 1606 and 1608-09 proved indecisive, but in 1613-14 the campaign led by prince khurram proved decisive and Rana Amar Singh came to terms with the mughls in 1615.

Jahangir offered most liberal terms to Mewar and thus ended a long drawn out struggle between Mewar and the Mughals.

Jahangir pursued his father’s plan of territorial expansion beyond the Narmada.

The first target was a half-conquered Sultanate of Ahmadnagar.

During the reign of Jahangir, however, the situation in Ahmadnagar had greatly improved as a result of the untiring efforts and ability of the Nizamshahi Prime Minister Malik Akbar.

The greatest failure of Jahangir’s reign was the loss of Kandahar to Persia.

Shah Abbas of Persia(1587-1629),outwardly professing friendship towards the Mughals, captured Kandahar in 1622.

The loss of Kandahar greatly affected the Mughal prestige in Central Asia.

But an account of th prevailing atmosphere of distrust at the court, mainly as a result of the politics of the Nur Jahan junta, no attempts were made to recover Kandahar.

The marriage of Jahangir with a young widow Mihrunnisa, daughter of a Persian Mirza Ghiyas Beg, was one of the most important happenings of the reign of Jahangir.

Four years after the murder of her first husband Sher Afghan, Jahangir married her and conferred on her the title of Nur Mahal (Light of the Place)which was later changed to Nur Jahan.

In 1613 she was promoted to the status of padshah Begum, coins were struck in her name and on all farmans her name was attached to the imperial signature.

Nur Jahan’s influence secured high positions for her father who got the title Itimaduddaulah and her brother, Asaf Khan.

A year after her own marriage, Asaf Khan’s Mumtaz Mahal, was married to Khurram, the ablest of Jahangir’s sons.

This comented an alliance between Nur Jahan.

Itmaduddaulah, Asaf Khan and Khurrarr.

For ten years ‘this clique or Junta of four persons practically ruled the empire”.

After 1620, there was a rupture in this cliqe when in 1620 Nur Jahan married Ladli Begum, her daughter by Sher Afghan, to Jahangir’s youngest son Shahryar.

Now Nur Jahan supported the cause of her son-in-law Shahryar as heir-apparent to the throne, while her brother
Asaf Khan supported his son-in-law Khurram(who had already been conferred the title of Shah Jahan).

Many of the events of the period, such as Khusrau’s murder, Mahabat Khan’s coup and Salim’s rebellion, were all results of this factional plitics.

Jahangir’s reign has been vividly portrayed by two representatives of King James I of England, namely,Captain Hawkins (1608-11) and Sir Thoms Roe(1615-19) who visited his court to India.

As a result of the efforts of Thomas Roe English factories were established at Surat, Agra Ahmedabad and Broach.

Shah Jahan(1628-58):

At the time of Jahangir’s death in October 1627, Shah Jahan was in the Deccan.

At Lahore, Nur Jahan proclaimed Shahryar as the emperor, while Asaf Khan put Dawar Baksh, son of
Khusrau,on the throne as a stop-gap arrangement till the return of Shah Jahan arrived at Agra in February 1628,
Dawar Baksh was deposed and Asaf Khan defeated. Captured and blinded Shahryar.

Now the Mughal throne at Agra in February 1628.

The first three years of Shah Jahan’s reign were disturbed by the rebellions of the Bundela Chief Juhar Singh and of khan Jhan Lodi.

He ousted the Portuguese from Hugli and occupied it in 1632, the Nizam Shahi kingdom of Ahmadnagar was finally annexed to the Mughal empire.

In 1636-37, Shah Jahan himself arrived in the Deccan and after a show of strength forced Bijapur and Golcunda to accept the Mughal suzerainty and pay annual tribute.

In 1636 Aurangzeb, son of Shah Jahan, was appointed the Mughal viceory in the Deccan.

During his first term, he occupied this position for eight years (1636-44).

The territories in his charge were divided into four subahs:(a)Khandesh with its capital at Burhampur and stronghold at Asirgarh, (b) Berar with its capital at Eclichpur,(c)Telengana with its capital at Nanded and (d)Ahmadnagar.

Kandahar no attempt was made to recapture it till 1638.

The opportunity, however, came in 1639, when Ali Mardan Khan, the disgruntled Persian Governor of Kandahar, delievered the fort to the Mughals without fighting.

Similarly,taking advantage of internal rebellions in Balkh and Badakhshan and the unpopularity of the ruler of these states, Shah Jahan sent an expedition under his son Murad in 1646 when the Mughal army occupied both these states.

But only after a year(1647) the territories had to be returned to the original ruler, Nazar Mahammad.

Taking advantage of this situation Shah Abbas II of Persia wrested Kandahar from the Mughals in 1649.

Subsequently, Shah Jahan sent three expeditions to recover Kandahar, but all proved to be miserable failures.

The second term of Aurangazeb’s viceroyalty in the Deccan began in 1653 and continued till 1658.

He secured the service of a very comptent revenue administrator named Murshid Quli Khan whom he appointed as his diwan.

For prupose of revenue administration Murshid Quli Khan divided the Mughal subahs into ‘low-lands’ and ‘high-land’.

Todarmal’s zabti system of survey and assessment was also extended to the Deccan with some changes suited to the local conditions.

These measures led to improvement in agriculture and increase in the revenue in a few years.

In 1656 Aurangzeb planned to annex Golcunda.

In this task Mir Jumla(whose actual name was Muhammad Sayyid),wazir of Golcunda, also colluded.

In February 1656, Aurnagzeb laid siege of Golcunda and pleaded with the emperor to permit its annexation.

Ultimately on the intervention of Dara Shikoh, urgent orders were issued to raise the siege of Golcunda.
Consequently, asecond treaty was concluded with Golcunda in 1656.

Mir Jumla, Aurangzeb’s principal associate in this adventure, joined the Mughal service.

In 1657, the Adilshahi kingdom of Bijapur was attacked, and on the intervention of Shah Jahan and Dara Shikoh peace was made with Bijpur too.

Meanwhile, Shah Jahan fell ill and a war of succession semed immient.

At the time of Shah Jahan’s sickness in September 1657, his eldest son Dara was at his bedside in Agra, Shuja was governor in Bengal, Aurangzeb was viceory in the Deccan .

The youngest Murad was governor in Gujarat.

In the closing weeks of 1657, when Shah Jahan was on the way to full recovery, Shuja crowned himself in Bengal.

Murad did the same in Gujarat and then formed an alliance with Aurangzeb who was already marching towards Agra.

In February 1658, the forces of Murad joined him near Ujjain.

The imperial forces sent to contain the combined forces of Murad and Aurangzeb were defeated in the battle of Dharmat, near Ujjain.

After Dharmat, Aurangzeb marched towards Agra and in the ensuing battle at Samugarh,near Agra, the Mughal forces under Dara were decisively defeated and he fled from Agra.

In June 1658, the fort of Agra also surrendered and Shah Jahan was made a prisoner.

The echo of the war of succession continued till 1661 and in between 1658 and 1661 all the remaining sons of Shah Jahan were killed or excuted.

Shah Jahan passed the remaining years of his life till 1666 in captivity.

Three most important factors responsible for the war of succession were: (a)Shah Jahan’s partisam attitude towards Dara; (b)old revalry between Dara and Aurangzeb; and(c)Dara and Aurangzeb led two factions of the Mughal court, Dara representing liberalism and Aurangzeb the conservative elements.
Mughal architecture under him reached its zenith.

A large trade developed between India and Western Asia and Europe, which greatly contributed to the travelers.

Two Frenchmen Bernier and Travenier an an Italian adventurer Manucci, the author of the Storio Dor Mogor, are specially noteworthy.

Aurangzeb Alamgir(1658-1707):

After the capture of Agra, Aurangzeb crowned himself as emperor in Delhi on July21, 1658, and assumed the title of Alamgir.

But his formal coronation took place on June5,1659, after the battles of Khanwa and Deorai.

After his second coronation Aurangzeb, in order to alleviate the economic distress of the people, abolished th inland transit duties(rahdari)and the octroi(pandari).

Many oppressive and burdensome abwabsi(cesses)over and above the regular land revenue were also withdrawn.

Aurangzeb had claimed the throne as the champion of Sunni orthodoxy.

In 1659 he issued a number of ordinances to restore the Muslim law of conduct according to the teachings of the Quran.

He discontinued the practice of inscribing the kalmia on the coins and abolished the celebration of the new year’s day(nauroz).

Censors of public morals(muhtasibs)were appointed in all big cities to enforce the Quranic law and put down
the practice forbidden in it.

The ceremony of weighing the emperor on his birthdays and the practice of jharokadarshan were also discontinued.

By an edict in April 1665, the customs duty on commodities brought in for sale was fixed at 2 per cent ad volorem for Muslim merchants and 5 per cent for the Hindu merchants.

In 1667, this duty, in case of the Muslim merchants, was totally withdrawn.

In 1668 the jeziah was imposed on the Hindus.

Aurangzeb appointed Mir Jumla as the governor of Bengal in 1660 with orders to punish the lawless zamindars of the provinces, especially those of Assam and Arakan.

In 1661 Mir Jumla invaded Cooch Behar and in 1662 he made extensive conquests in Assam including Guwahati.

During this difficult expedition Mir Jumla died in 1663.

In 1665 Mir Jumla’s successor in Bengal, Shaista Khan, conquered Chittagong.

Between 1665 and 1675, there were a number of tribul uprisings in the North-west frontier.

To suppress these rebellions Aurangzeb adopted a forward policy and in 1674, when the situation became quite serious, he himself directed the operations.

In 1669-70 the Jat peasantry of the region of Mathura rose under the leadership of Gokala; in 1672, the
Satanami peasants in the Punjab; and the Bundelas under the leadership of Champat Rai and Chhatrasal Bundela in Bundelkhand.

These rebellions were the outcome of the agrarian tesion and the reactionary policies of Aurangzeb.

These rebellions were suppressed, but led to the rise of the autonomous Jat and Bundela states in the early eighteenth century.

Aurangzeb also caused serious rift in the Mughal-Rajput alliance by his policy of annexation of Marwar in 1679.

He wanted to annex Marwar after the death of Raja Jaswant Singh by derecognizing the claim of his posthumous son Ajit Singh to the Rathor throne.

The war against Marwar continued with fluctuating fortunes for nearly thrity years.

From ths side of Marwar the campaign was conducted by the Rajput chief Durgadas.

When Aurangzeb was conducting the campaign against Marwar, his son Akbar rebelled in 1681, united with the Rajputs, issued a manifesto deposing his father and crowed himself as the emperor.

From Marwar the rebel prince Akbar took shelter with the Maratha king Sambhaji.

Aurangzeb, suspecting an alliance between the Rajputs, the Marathas and the rebel prince, marched to the south, but never to return to the North.

Was against four generation of Maratha leaders consiting of Shivaji(1640-80), Sambhaji(1680-89), Rajaram (1689-1700) and his widow Tarabai(1700-7).

From his arrival in the Deccan (1682)till the execution of Sambhaji (1689),his years in the Deccan were most fruitful.

Bijapur and Golcunda were annexed to the Mughal empire, Samhaji, son and successor of Shivaji, was captured and executed (1689)and his son Sahu was made captive.

Aurangzeb died at Ahmadnagar on February 20,1707.

In 1675 he ordered the arrest and execution of the minth Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur, which led to the creation of Khalsa and the growth of Sikh military under the last Sikh Guru Govind Singh.

Bhim Sen, “all administration has disappeared.

The peasants have given up the cultivation, the jagirdars do not get a penny from their jagirs….

The mansabdars on account of the scanty forces under them, cannot gain control over their jagirs”.

The collaps of the jagirdari system which further resulted in disintegration of Mughal military powere and administrative authority.

II. MUGHAL ADMINISTRATION:

Theory of Kingship:

Akbar’s theory of kingship is thus stated by Abdul Fazi: “Kingship is a gift of God and is not bestowed till many thousand grand requisites have been gathered together in an individual”.

Nature of Mughal Administration:

The bifurcation of authority in the provinces-the division of power between the subahdar and the diwan-was based on the system prevailin 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 power in civil and military affairs.

During the early years of Akbar’s reign, Bairam Khan, as vakil,virtually served as regent for the minor sovereign.

After Bairam Khan’s fall the office of vakil, was not abolished, it was gradually shorn of all powers because it was not considered prudent to allow concentration of authority in a single person.

The all-important department of finance, taken away from the vakil, was placed in charge of the wazir(or diwan).

After the virtual disappearance of the vakil, the wazir became the emperor’s minister parexcellence’ i.e.prime minister.

Among the wazirs who have left their impress on the Mughal history are Raja Todarmal, Raja Raghunath, Sadullah Khan and Jalar Khan.

The minister who looked after the administration of the army was called mir bakshi.

Towards the end of Aurangzeb’s reign the expansion of the empire necessitated the appointment of four bakhshis:

The khan-i-saman held independent charge of the household department and the karkhanas.

The sadr-us-sudur had three important functions.

He acted as the emperor’s chief adviser in ecclesiastical matters.

He was in charge of the disbursement of imperial grants for religious, educational and charitable purpose.

He was the chief justice of the empire, and his judicial authority was subordinater to that of the emperor only.

High Officials:

The muhatasib(censor of public morals)

An ecclesiastical officer

Examination of weights and measures, enforcement of fair prices in the market,recovery of debts and restoration of fugitive to their owners.

A diwan of the khalisa in-charge of the crown lands.

Diwan-i-tan looked after matters relating to the jagirs.

Mustajfi or the auditor-general.

Daroga-i-dak chauki who was in charge of the imperial post.

Mir-i-arz¬ who was in charge of petititons.

Mir-i-mal or the officer in charge of the privy purse.

Mir tuzak or the master of ceremonies.

Public news-resporters and secret spies.

There were four classes of such agents:waqianavis(news-writer),swanith-nigur(news-writers),khufia-navis(secret letter-writer), harkarah(spy and courier).

Provincial Government:

Subahs:

The administrative division of the Mughal territories in the reigns of Babur and Humayun were districts rather than provinces.

Sher Shah appointed military governors in the Punjab,Malwa and Ajmer, but Bengal was divided into several sarkar which corresponded to districts.

In 1580, Akbar divided the empire into twelve provinces (subahs):Agra, Delhi, Allahabad, Awadh, Ajmer,Ahmadabad(Gujarat), Bihar, Bengal,Kabul, Lahore(Punjab), Multan and Malwa.

By the end of his reign the number of provinces had increased to fifteen with the addition of three newly annexed provinces in the Deccan:Bear, Khandesh and Ahmadnagar.

After the confall of Sambhaji(1689), the empire was divided into twenty-one subahs(one in Afghanistan, fourteen in North India and six in South India)as follows:Kabul,Agra,Ajmer, Allahabad,Awadh,Bengal, Bihar, Delhi, Gujrat,Kashmir,Lahore,Malwa ,multan, Orissa, Thatta(Sind), Khandesh, Berar, Aurangabad,
Bidar,Bijapur and Hyderabad.

Initially each subah had one governor who was officially called sipah salar(commander of the forces).
Abdul Fazi calls him the ‘Viceregent of the emperor’.

In later times, the designation was changed to nizam(regular of the province)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 subahdar was appointed by the Emperor.

He was usually a mansabdar of high rank.

Diwan:

This division of provincial administrative authority was a continuation of the early Arab system of government in Egypt.

He was responsibe for the collection of land revenue and other taxes, for accounting and auditing.

He appointed collectors(kroris and tahsildars).

He was directed to “cause the extension of cultivation and habitation in the villages”.

Fujdar and kotwal:

Chief assistants of the subahdar.

The kotwal was primarily the chief of the city police.

A part from the subahdar abd the diwan, the subah had its own high officials bakhshi,sadr quzi,buyutat,muhtasib,waqai-navis and mirbahr-who discharged the same duties in the province as officers bearing the same titles did for the whole empire.

The bakhshi was the paymaster of the provincial army.

The provincial buyutat was the keeper of government property and official trustee.

The muhtasib was the censor of public morals.

The mirbahr looked after bridges required for military use,port duties, customs, boat and ferry taxes.etc.

During the Mughal period-as during the period of the Sultanate-criminal justice was administered according to the Islamic law.

Even Akbar did not make any basic change in this system.

A comprehensive legal digest(fatwa-i-alam-giri) was prepared by a syndicate of theologians under Aurangzeb’s directive,

Punishments for crimes were of four kinds:

(a) hadd (censure,exposing the offender to public scorn,scourging,imprisonment, exile)
(b) qiyas (retaliation, killing of the offender by the murdered man’s next of kin)
(c) tashhir (shaving the offender’s head and parading him on an ass through the streets.etc)
(d) offences against the state-misappropriation of government funds, default in the payment of revenue,rebellion etc-were punished according to the emperor’s pleasure.

The emperor was the highest court of appeal and sometimes acted as a court of first instance as well.

Next to the emperor was the Chief qazi(qazio-ul-quzat) who held the office of Chief Sadr(sadr-us-sudur) as well.

Criminal and civil cases were generally dicided by the subahdar, the faujdars,the shiq-qdars and the kotwals on the basis of customary law, ordinances issued by the emperors and equity.

The diwndid not hear criminal cases.

Akbar took away from the subahdars the power of inflicting capital punishment.

Fiscal System:

The duties on foreign imports were levied at all ports.

The administrative officer of a port was called shahbandar.

Coins were made of gold,silver and copper.

A part from the imperial mint in Delhi ther were provincial mints.

The gold and silver used for coinage had to be inproted from abroad;gold from East Africa(through the
Portuguese settlements at Sofala and Mazambique) and silver from other countires.

There was a regular department of the state called bait-mai where the property of all nobles and officers of the state (as also the property of all persons dying without heirs)had to be kept in deposit after their death.

Army:

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:

(a) forces of the tributary chiefs
(b) the mansabdari contingents-chiefly cavalry-in accordance with the grade of the-mansabdars in the official hierarchy
(c) the ahadis, the gentlemen troopers who were young men of position and good family recruited by the emperor and owed allegiance to him directly.

They were placed under the command of an amir and had a separate bakhshi(paymaster).

The cavalry was the most important of these four branches and was regarded as ‘flower of the army’.

The artillery-men were paid by the state and administered as a Department of the Household.

The officer-in-charge of topkhanah.

The department which maintained sea and river flotillas was under mir-i-bahri.

There was no commissarint service and each man had to make his own transport arrangement.

The Mansabdari System:

Introduced by Akbar

The term mansab(i.e, office, position or rank)in the Mughal administration indicated the rank of its holder(mansabdar)in the official hierarchy.

The mansubdari system was of Central Asian origin.

According to one view Babur brought it to North India.

The mansubdars of the Mughal empire received their pay either in cash(naqd)or in the form of assignments of areas of land(jagir).

The mansabdari system was also an integral part of the agrarian and the jagirdari system.

Basic Features:

The mansabdari belonged both to the civil and military departments.

They were transferred from the civil side to the military department and vice versa.

The Mughal mansab was dual , represented by two members, one desigmated zat(personal rank)and the other sawar(cavalry rank).

In the early years of Akbar’s reign the mansabs(ranks)ranged from command of 10 to 5,000troops.

Subsequently the highest mansabs were raised from 10,000 to 12,000; but there was no fixed number of mansabdars.

From the reign of Akbar to Aurangzeb their number kept on increasing.

In or about 1595 the total number of mansabdars during the reign of Akbar was 1803; but towards the close of Aurangzeb’s reign their number rose to 14,449.

The mansabdars holding ranks below 500zat were called mansabdars, those more than 500 but below 2,500 amirs and those holding ranks of 2,500 and above were called amir-umda or amir-azam or omrahs.

The mansabdas who received pay in cash were known as naqdi and those paid through assignaments of jagirs were called jagirdars.

The watan-jagirs were the onlyexception to the general system of jagir transfer.

The watan-jagirs were normally granted to those z amindars who were already in possession of their watans(homelands)before the expansion of the Mughal empire.

The nansab was not hereditary and it automatically lapsed after the death or dismissal of the mansabdar.

The son of a mansabdar, if he was granted a mansab, had to beign afresh.

Another important feature of the mansabdari system was the law fo escheat (zabti),according to which when a mansabdar died all his property was confiscated by the emperor.

Gradual Changes in the Mansabdari System:

The reign of Jahangir saw an important innovation in the mansubdari system, namely the introduction of the du-aspah-sih-aspah rank(literally, trooper with two or three horse)which implied that a mansabdar had to maintain and was paid for double the quota of troopers indicated by his sawar rank.

Thus a mansabdar holding a zat rank of 3,000 and 3,000 du-aspah,silh-aspah would be required to maintain 6,000 troopers.

Fur du-aspah sih-aspah, both the pay and obligation of the mansabdars were doubled.

Under Shah Jahan we have new scales of pay, monthly retions 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(jama) of various areas, which was not inidicated in rupees but in dams,calculated at the rate of 40dams to a rupee.

This document was called james-dami or assessed income of an area based on dames.

During the reign of Shah Jahan the jama-dami or value of the jagir increased in accordance with the price rise during the period.

The Rulling Classes:

The khanazadas or sons and descendants of mansabdars.

Mansabdari ranks were also awarded to scholars. Religious divines, men of letters etc…

The Mughal nobility during the early years of Akbar came to consist of certain well-organised recial groups.

These were the Turanis, Iranis, Aghans, Shaikhzadas, the Rajputs etc.

Later on,in the seventeenth century, with the expansion of the Mughal power in the Deccan, there was an influx of the Deccans- the Bijapuris, the Hyderabadis and the Marathas-into Mughal nobility.

The Jagirdari System:

Jagirs were usually granted to the mansabdars and the governing class of the empire.

Hereditary zamindars were granted jagirs in their homelands which were known as watan-jagirs.

The Zamindars:

The zamindars had hereditary rights of collecting land revenue from a number of villages which were called his talluqa or zamindari.

In Bengal the zamindars paid the state a fixed sum as the revenue of a village.

Where the state demand reached the maximum that the peasant could pay, a deduction of 10 per cent was made from the total amount of revenue and paid to the zamindars as malikana either in cash or in the form of revenue-free land.

Zamindars.

According to Abul Fazi, their combined troops exceeded 44 lakhs.

Writing in Auranzeb’s reign Muncci says: “Usually ther is some rebellion of rajas and zamindars going on the Mughul kingdom.

Found all over the Mughal empire under different nemes, such as deshmukhs patils, nayaks,etc.

Agrarian Ralations:

Land revenue(mal,kharaj)

Mal essentially represented a claim on behlf of the state to a share of the actual crop.

Land Revenue Systems:

Akbar was the founder of the Mughal revenue system.

In the beginning, he adopted Sher Shah’s system in which the cultivated area was measured and a central schedule was drawn up fixing the dues of peasants cropwise on the basis of the productivity of the land.

The state’s share was one-third of the produce:

In the tenth year of his (Akbar’s)reign, prices of crops prevailing in different regions were substituted for the uniform schedule and the emperor reverted to a system of annual assessment.

In 1573, the annual assessment was given up and karoris were appointed all over North India to collect a crore of dams as revenue and to check the facts and figures supplied by the qanungos regarding the actual produce, state of cultivation, local prices etc..

These karoris were also known as amils or amalguzars.

On the basis of the above facts and figures, a new system was developed in 1580 called the dahsala system.

This system was an improved version of the zabti system which was the standard system of revenue assessment during the greater part of the Mughal empire.

The credit for developing this system goes to Todarmal who became the head of the wizarat or revenue ministry.

During the reign of Akbar and his succession four main systems o revenue assessment were prevalent:

(a) zabti or dahsala system

(b) batai,ghallabakshi or bhaosli

(c) kabkut and

(d) nasaq

Zabti or dahsala system:

Dahsala was an improvement on the zabti system.

For the purpose of assessment the land was classification in Akbar’s reign in four categories;polaj(land which was cultivated every year and never left fallow);parati or parauti(land which had to be left fallow for a time to enable it to recover fertility);chachar(land which had to be left fallow for three or four years); and banjar (land which remained uncultivated for five years or more).

Polaj and parauti lands were classified into three categories-good, middling, and bad-and the average produce per bigha of these three categories was taken as the normal produce of a bigha.

Parauti land , when cultivated, paid the same revenue as polaj land.

The chachar and banjar lands were charged a concessional rate which was progressively increased to full or polaj rate(i.e one-third of the produce)by the fifth or the eighthyear.

The state demand was given in maunds;but for the conversion of the state demand from kind to cash, a separate schedule of cash revenue rates(dasturu’lamals)for various crops was fixed.

For a period of the past ten years, 1570-71 to 1579-80, information on yields, prices, and area cultivated was collected for each locality.

On the basis of the average prices of different crops in each locality over the past ten years the state demand was fixed in rupees per bigha.

Each revenue circle had a separate schedule of cash revenue rates(dasturu’l amal)for various crops.

The dahsala was neither a ten-years nor a permanent settlement, and the state had the right to modify it.

Since this system was associated with Raja Todarmal, it is also known as Todarmal’s badabust or settlement.

This system prevailed from Lahore to Allahabad and in the provinces of Malwa and Gujarat.

A major extension of it occurred in the later year of Shah Jahan’s reign, when it was introduced in the Deccan by Murshid Quli Khan.

Batai,ghalla-bakhshi or bhaoli:

Very old system which continued during the Mughal period.

This was a simple method of cropsharing in which the produce was arranged into heaps and divided into three shares,one of which was taken by the state.

Under this system the peasant had the choice to pay in cash or kind.but in the case of cash crops the state demand was mostly in cash.

Kankut:

This system was already in use in the foutenth century.

Under the method, instead o actually dividing the grain(kan), and estimate(kut)was made on the basis of an actual inspection on the spot.

One-third of the estimated produce was fixed as the state demand.

It was a rough estimate of produce on the basis of actual inspection and past experience.

Nasaq:

Prevalent in Bengal.

In this system a rough calculation was made on the basis of the past revenue receipts of the peasants.

It required actual measurement,but the area was ascertained from the recods.

The zabti system was the standard system.

In the subahs of Ajmer, Kashmir and southern Sind,crop-sharing and in Bengal nasaq were prevalent.

Land Grants:

The jagirs,were temporary assignments,

Certain other grants were of a permanent nature, such as the madad-i-ma’ash (also called sayurghal)or grant one the Central Asian model.

Such a grant could be annulled only by order of the emperor.

Another type of grants,namely aimma grant of land, was made to Muslim religious leaders.

Khalisa:

The revenue-yielding land administered directly by the imperial Revenue Department was known as khalisa.
Jahangir reduced the extent of khalisa lands, but Shah Jahan increased it.

Again in the later years of Aurangzeb’s reign lands were released from the khalisa area for jagir assignments.

In the Mughal agrarian system there were a number of intermediaries such as the zamindars,the muqaddams or the mukhiyas,the chaudhuris, the talluqdars etc..

Agricultural Production:

During the Mughal period was the large number of food and non-food crops.

The Ain-i-Akbari gives revenue rates for sixteen crops of the rabi(spring)harvest, and twenty-five crops of the kharif(autumn)season.

The seven-teenth century saw the introduction and expansion of two major crops-tobacco and maize.

Sericulture also witnessed enormous expansion during this century, making Bengal one of the great silk-producing regions of the world.

An interstin feature of agriculture during the Mughal times was the mobility peasantry.

In this connection we find two terms,-the khudkasht and the paikasht or pahikasht.

Khudkasht was a peasant proprietor who was “directly exercising proprietor rights over land either as a peasant proprietor or as a person cultivating his lands or as a person who either cultivated the lands in other villages or took uo cultivation of others’ lands as tenant farmers.

Agrarian Crisis of the Mughal Empire:

The evils of the jagirdari system.

During the early years of Aurangzeb, Bernier records that “ a considerable portion of the good land remains untilled for want of labourers, many of whom perish in consequence of the bad treatment from the governors,or are left with no choice but to abandon the country”.

Rebellions of the Satanamis and the Sikhs against.

The peasants and zamindars thus frequently joined hands in their struggle against the Mughals.

The Jat and the Bundela rebellions, the Satanami uprising, the rise of the Sikh and the Maratha powers, were all caused by agrarian tensions.

III.ART,ARCHITECTURE AND CULTURE UNDER THE MUGHALS

The Mughals Age is called the “Second Classical Age”, the first being the Gupta Age in northern India.

Three most important aspects of cultural developments during the Mughal period were”

(a) the Mughal culture was largely secular and aristocratic

(b) in the growth and enrichment of this culture people from different parts of India and outside contributed equally; and

© the cultural norms which the Mughals introduced in India in the field of architecture, painting, music etc..deeply influenced the future course of Indian culture during the subsequent centries.
Architecture:

The history of Mughal architecture begins with Babur, who is said to have undertaken many building projects at Agra, Dholpur, Gwalior and other places.

Humayun:

In the early years of his reign, he built a city at Delhi,called the Dinpanah(World Refuge).

Thus the contributions of both Babur and Humayun to the growth of Mughal architecture are almost negligible.

Akbar:

The mausoleum of Humayun in Delhi heralded the new movement.

In spirit the structure of Humayun’s tomb stands as an example of synthesis of two great building traditions of Asia, namely the Persian and the Indian;

Akbar was the founder of several fortified royal residences, each of which served as his capital during the period.

The first of such royal residences to be erected was the fortress palace at Agra which was completed in eight years(1567-73).

Abul Fazi writies in the Ain-i-Akbari: “Within the fort the emperor built upwards of five hundred edifices of red stone in the five styles of Bengal and Gujarat.

Among those that have escaped destruction, mention may be made of two place buildings known as Akbari Mahal and Jahagiri Mahal.

In general charcter, the fort ar Agra greatly resembles the fortress at Gwalior.

The forts that Akbar built almost at the same time at Lahore and Allahabad appear to have been executed on the same grand scale.

The new capital city that he built on the ridge at Sikri, 36km west of Agra.

To commermorate Akbar’s conquest of Gujarat in 1572, the city was subsequently named Fatehpur(city of victory).

The monuments of Fatehpur Sikri may be divided into two classes, one religious and the other secular.

The secular monuments, such as palaces, office buildings, sarais,pavilions,etc.

Are by far the most numerous and theyillustrate various designs and shapes.

Undoubtedly the most impressive creation of this new capital city is the grand Jami Masjid which had been described as the glory of Fatehpur Sikri.

The southern entrance to the Jami Masjid is an impressive gateway known as the Buland Darwaza.

The total height of this gateway, including that of the supporting terrace,is 53metres.

Like most other buidings at Fatehpur Sikri, the fabric of this impressive gateway is of red sandstone which is relieved by carving and discreet inlaying of white marble that gives and emphasis to the bold lineaments of the composition.

Two other additions were later made within the mosque enclosue.

One of these if the tomb of Shaikh Salim Chisti, the patron saint of Sikri.

It is a small,square and attractive building in marble.

The piereed screens of the corridor of this tomb are very finely worked.

Close by and to the east of the tomb of the Shaikh stands the mausoleum of Islam Khan, a grandson of the sain, built in 1612.

Daftar Khana or the office and the other Diwan-i-khas or the hall of private audience.

In the latter, the arrangement of a hanging throne platform connected with hanging galleries by radiating passages represents a novel and original conception.

Jodha Bai’s palace, houses of Birbal and Mariam and the Panch Mahal, which is alfantastic five-storeyed pillared structure.

Jahangir:

Jahangir’s chief interst lay in painting rather than in architecture.

He was also fond of laying gardens.

One of the most famous gardens laid by him was Shalimar Bagh in Kashmir.

One of the earlist building projects of Jahangir was the completion of the tomb of his father at Sikandra near Agra.

The most important feature of this period is the substitution of red sandstone by white marble.

Jahangir also loved colour and theis was imparted to the buildings of his period by encaustic tiling and the system of pietra dura,ie the inlaid mosaic work of hard and precious stones of various hues and shades, which began towards the end of his reign.

Jahangir’s own tomb was bilt on smilar lines at Shahdara near Lahore.

It has lavish colour imparted through inlaid marbles, glazed tiles and paintings.

Nur Jahan was responsible for the construction of her husabad’s tomb as also the tomb of her father Itmaduddaulah at Agra, which its rich ornamentation in pietra dura and may be regarded as heraldin the days of Shah Jahan.

The tomb of Akbur Rahim Khan-o-Khana at Delhi, built towards the or less a copy of Humayun’s tomb, but in certain respects it anticipates the Taj Mahal.

Shah Jahan:

Marble of a pure white texture was procured from the quarries of Makrana in Jodhpur.

The architectural elements also register certain significant changes in the marble phase.

“There is predilection for curved lines, in place of the rectangular aspect of the buildings of curved outlines of the roofs and cornices.

The preference for bulbous domes with constricted necks, pillars with tapeing outlines and with voluted brackets and foliated basis, foliated shape of arches, all reflect the emphasis on curved lines”.

Shan Jahan, by demolishing some of the earlier buildings, built marble editices at Agra, such as the Diwan-i-Am, the Diwan-i-Khas, the Khas Mahal, the Shish Mahal, the Musamman Burj(or Jasmine Palace), the Anguri Bagh, the Machhni Bhawan and the Moti Masjid (Peart Mosque)which has been described as ‘one of the purest and most elegat’ buildings of its class to be found anywhere.

Similar construction was provided to the buildings in the interior of the fort of Lahore.

In 1638 Shah Jahan began at Delhi the construction of a new capital city Shahjahanabad.

The palace fortress, the Red Fort as it is known because of the red sandstone fabric of its rampart walls, with its halls, palaces,pavilions and gardens was completed in 1648.

The Diwan-i-Khas(also called Imtiyaz Mahal) and the Rnag Mahal(also called Imtiyaz Mahal or Palace of Distinction) are the two most conspicuous buildings inside the Red Fort.

The grand Jami Masjid at Delhi, the largest and the most well known in the whole of India, also forms part of the scheme of the city of Shahjahanabad.

Mausoleum of his wife, Arjumand Banu Begum(better known as Mumtaz Mahal)at Agra.

It is called the Taj Mahal after the title of the empress.

The belief that the Taj owes its design to a Ventian, Geronomo Verroneo, is misleading.

The Taj is the crowning glory and culmination of Mughal architecture.

It was commence in 1631 and completed some time around 1653.

Aurangzeb:

Two mosques erected during his reign the Moti Masjid within the Red Fort in Delhi and the Jami or Badshahi mosque at Lahore.

The tomb fo Aurangzeb’s queen Rabaud Daurani at Aurangabad illustrates the rapid deterioration fo the Mughal architectural style.

Erected in 1679 it is a frank imitation of the Taj Mahal at Agra.

But compared to the Taj, this tomb is a very mediocre production which, as Fergusson says, “narrowly escapes vulgarity and bad taste”.

Mughal School of Painting:

Mughal painting was largely influenced by the Persian school of Painting, which again was an amalgam of theChinese,the Indian, the Buddhist, the Bactrian and the Monogolian influences.

Mughal school of painting is broadly represented in two forms-the portraiture and miniature in the form of book illustrations.

The foundation of Mughal painting was laid by Humayun who during the years of his exile in Persia and Afghanistan secured the services of Persia’s two greatest masters, Mir Sayyid Ali and Abdus Samad.

Both these masters followed Humayun to Delhi when he was able to work in the art establishment of Akbar.

The most important work produced in the Mughal studio,one of the earliest and most important work of Mughal painting, is an unusual manscript, Dastan-i-Amir Hamza, better known as Humzanama, which has nearly 1,200 paintings.

During the reign of Akbar there was a fusion of Persian and Indian style of painting.

A large number of Hindu painters were employed by Akabr, and of seventeen eminent artists of Akbar’s reign, no less than thirteen were Hindus, including Daswant, Basawan, Lal and Mukund.

Mughal painting witnessed a rapid change and reached its logical culmination during the reign of Jahangir.

The most important feature of the history of painting in Jahngir’s reign is the decline of Persian influence, which made way for a style that was essentially Indian.

Some impact of European art also became clearly visible in the paintings of the period.

In the early years of his reign he was keenly interested in miniature, but later on he became interested in portraits and got a large number of them prepared.

The most important of all Jahangiri painters were Ustad Mansur and Abul Hasan.

The former was a great expert in painting of miniatures.

During the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it migrated to regional centres of painting where it prospered under different styles, such as Pahari and Rajput(particularly Jaipur, Bikaner and Bundi)styles.

The subjects of Mughal painting were mainly derived from court life and nature.

Objects of Indian natue like pipal, mango,banyan trees etc..

Animals like deer,lion, percock etc. and Indian dresses and ornaments were faithfully represented;but the life of the people was sadly neglected.

A keen appreciation of nature was a remarkable characterstic of theMughal artists.

Not only birds and animals were painted after close observation, but broad borders of foliated designs were common in Mughal miniatures; and in the jungle scenes landscape was rendered with great feelingand accuracy.

The Mughal portrait painter was noted for his rich colouring,sympathetic outline drawig, decorative treatment and the delineation of actual features.

The Mughal artists excelled in colour composition which was generally a beautiful mosaic of reds,blues and gold.

Literature:

Some of the Mughal rulers like Babur, Humayun, Jahangir and many Mughal princes and princesses were themselves great literary personalities.

Some other rulers like Akbur and Shah Jahan, whor were themselves not great authors, were, however, great patrons of literature.

The greatest literary development during the period took place not only in the field of Persian literatue, which was the court language, but also in several Indian and non-indian lanuage like Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Urdu and Arbic which brought forth a vast treasure of literary compositions.

Persian:

It has been said that ‘the Summer of Persian Poetry’,brought about by the patronage of Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan, is one of the brightest features of the Mughal rule in India.

They, along with literary men born in India,evolved a distinct Indian style(Sabk-i-Hindi)of Persian poetry.

The salient features of this style were puns,chrograms. Satires,original similes and concepts.

The reign of Akbar was a period of ‘renaissance’ of Persian literature in India.

The Ain-i-Akbar gives the names of fifty-nine great Persian poets of Akbar’s court.

Abul Faizi, the poet laureate of Akbar, was the greatest poet of Persian in India since the days of Amir Khusrau.

The Persian works of the period may be classified into three parts:

(a) literary and theological works

(b) translations and

(c) histirical works

In the second category, many books of Sanskrit and other language were translated into Persian.

Different parts of the Mahabharata were translated by several Muslim scholars and put together under the title of Ramzanama.

Badauni translatedthe Ramayana.

Haji Ibrahim Sirhindi translated the Atharva Veda.

Faizi translated the well-known work of Hindu Mathematics, Lilavati.

Mahammad Khan Gujarati translated a work of Gujarat under the title Jahan-i-Zafar.

Todarmal translated the Bhagavata purana into Persian.

Some Greek and Arabic works were also translated into Persian.

History was the most important branch of Persian prose literature.

Abul Fazi’s Akbamama and Ain-i-Akbari are complementary works.

His Insha (collection of official dispatches sent by Akbar to foreign rulers)and Raqqat(collection of his own private and personal letters)are important from hisrorical as well as literary points of view.

Among other noble works of history were Nizamuddin Ahmad’s Tabqat-i-Akbari, Gulbandan Begum’s Humayun-namah,Abbas Khan Sherwani’s Tuhfa-i-Akbarshahi alias Tarikh-i-Sher.

Mulla Daud’s Tarikh-i-Alfi(with an introduction from Abul Fazi)etc.

Among the unofficial histories written during the period, notable were Abdul Qadir Badyuni’s Mintakhab-ul-Tawarikh,Nizamuddin Ahmad’s Tabqat-i-Akbari and Faizi Sarhindi’s Akbarnama.

Persian literature continued to flourish under Akbar’s successors.

Jahangir, himself a scholar and critic, wrote his own uataobiography in imitation of his great grandfather Babur and named it Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri.

Among important historical works are Kamgar Khan’s Maasir-i-Jahangiri and Mutamad Khan’s Iqbalnama-i-Jahangiri.

Literature and scholarship enjoyed Shah Jahan’s patronage in full measure.

Court historian Abdul Hamid Lahori wrote padshnama.

Another scholar of repute, Amini Qazwini produced another padshnama.
Inayal Khan wrote Shahjahanama.

Shah Jahan’s eldest son Dara was a great scholar of many works on Sufi philosophy and on the biographies of Muslim Saints.

His most original work was Majm-ul-Bahrain or the Mingling of the Oceans, in which he attempted to show that Hiduism and Islam were two paths to one goal.

Aurangzeb had no taste for poetry and was opposed to the writing of the histories of his period.

Yet several important histories were written during his time.

Some of these were Khafi Khan’s Muntakhab-ul-lubad,Mirza Muhammad Qazim’s A’lamgimama, Ishwar Das Nagar’s Maasir-i-Alamgiri,Bhim sen’s Nushkha-i-Dilkusha and Sujan Rai’s Khulsa-ut-Tawarikh.

The most authoritative and elaborate digest of Muslim law,known as Fatwa-i-Alamgiri,was produced by a syndicate of theologians under the orders of Aurangzeb.

Sanskrit:

Akbar was the first Mughal emperor to extend patronage to Sanskrit and many scholars and poets of Sanskrit adorned his court.

During his reign the first Persian-Sanskrit lexicon, called Parsi Prakasha,was compailed.

Mahesh Thakur of Darbhanga worte a history of Akbar’s reign in Sanskrit.

A Jain scholar named Padma Shankar wrote Akbar-Shahi Srinagar Darpan.

Siddhi Chandra Upadhyaya wrote Bhanu Chandra Charitra which gives an account of the Jain mission to Akbar’s court.

Jahangir and Shah Jahan also patronized Sanskrit scholars.

Jagannath Pandit, the author of Ras Gangadhar and Ganga Lahari,was court poet of Shah Jahan.

Hindi:

The reign of Akbar constitutes the golden age of Hindi poetry.

Many first-rate Hindi poets produced poetic works which have become classics.

The most notable luminaries of Hindi were Tulsi Das, Sur Das, Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khara, Ras Khan and Birbal.

Ras Khan, though a Musli, was a devote of Lord Krishna and an author of a large number of first-rate poems on Krishna’ s life.

A number of great Hindi poets also flourished during the reign of Jahangir and Shah Jahan.

Of these Keshav Das, Chintamani, Mati Ram, Bihari and Bhusan (1613-1712)who wrote on Shivaji’s struggle against Auragnzeb, are the most noteworthy.

Other modern Indian languages, including Urdu, also received impetus during the Mughal period .

After numerous superb works were produced.

After Persian and Hindi, Bengali language and literature recorded the greatest progress during the perod.

Music:

Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan greatly contributed to the decelopment of Indian music.

Akbar, who had a profound knowledge of music, took first step in this direction .

Tansen was the most accomplished musician fo the age and according to Abul Fazi, “a singer like him had not been in India for the last one thousand years”.

Ain-i-Akbari gives the names of thirty-six first-rate musicians of Akbar’s court where Hindu and Muslim systems of music mingled freely.

Jahangir and Shah Jahan also equally patronized music.

The national music which had its birth at Agra in the time of Akbar holds the field even today.

9 comments:

  1. Get piece of summarization..hattz off Fr d spendid work.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A comprehensive summary. Good for revision.

    ReplyDelete
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  5. Cant find better summary than this.splendid work.every point covered. Thanks a lot

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