MANSABDARI SYSTEM- ASPECT OF MUDHAL EMPIRE(Part-3)

Shahjahan, aiming for a stricter administration and a more competent army, could not now hope to restore Akbar’s system, but was forced to move further along the path of compromise. There were many innovations which was done by him in Mansab system and many institutions were found under his reign which was not existed earlier. He kept the ranks as they were, but scaled down the total pay due to the ranks, sharply reducing the pay against the ranks of the Zat, while also reducing, albeit in a lesser proportion, the pay against the ranks of the Sagittarius[1]. Because he had reduced the pay due in ranks and because of political considerations inhibiting an insistence on fulfilling obligations exactly according to the number of ranks, he scaled down the obligation, demanding that the commanders maintain one-third, one-fourth or one-fifth of their sawar ranks in different circumstances. There was a substantial reduction in Zat pay which occurred during the reign of Shahjahan after his accession in 1628. the events of 1646. Under the laws then in force, a  Mansab holder serving in his Jagir region was to keep males equal to only one-third of his sawar rank ; if he served in another region within Hindustan, he was to keep only one-fourth ; but those serving in the Balkh and Badakhshan expeditions of 1646 and 1647 were to keep only one-fifth. The number of horses was to be much larger in the standard contingents. As Akbar set the ranks of Mansabdars from dakhbashi to the dah Hasari.

The list of grandees in Shahjahan time mentions a command of 900. As the command of 300 still not given under this list because no Mansab under 500 enumerated in that list. List of Shahjahan grandees in padshahnama gives 18 commands to 500. The commands detailed in padshahnamaas:- four commands of princes ( dara shikoh-20,000 ; shah shuja-15,000; aurangzeb-15,000; murad bakhsh-12000) commands of 9000, 7000, 6000, 5000, 4000, 3000, 2500, 2000, 1500, 1000, 900, 800, 700, 600, 500. At shah Jahan time Mansab under 500 did not entitle the holder to the title of AMIR. The title of Amir-ul-umara in Shahjahan time was given to only first living grandee (Ali Mardan Khan) unlike in Akbar time it was given to several persons.

The padshahnama give fourteen steps between the commander of 7000 and 500 and fixes the salary of a commander of 7000 at one crore of dams per annum or 2,50,000 Rs, stating at the same time that the salaries will decrease in proportion. In the padshahnama we likewise find that of the 115 leaders of 500 under Shahjahan just six has unexpected of 500, while the last had just 50 troopers. In Akbar time there was not only inferred a reduction in the size of contingents in relation to the sawar rank, but also expressed the view that not only the last but also the other two proportions should be fixed, described by Lahori , were the work of Shahjahan, who abolished what was by  now nominal obligation to replace it by a reduced but more effective one.

Under the Shahjahan administration, the Mansabdari system worked properly, as he had paid personal and meticulous attention to administration. Under Aurangzeb, the Mansabdars could be paid either in cash or by the grants of Jangirs. Toward the end of Aurengazeb’s period, there were around 15000 Mansabdars yet prior it was distinctly around 1800 in Akbar’s time. Under the Shah Jahan reign, the Mughal army consisted of about 200,000, excluding the men working in the districts and with faujdars. However, this number increased to 240,000 during the Aurangzeb period. Nature of doling out Mansabdars changed during Aurengazeb’s standard; Mansabdar task was never again an innate one. Another law called ‘Zabti’ was proposed, as per which the property of Mansabdar was seized by the ruler after the passing of Mansabdar. After Aurengazeb’s period, the Mansabdari framework was activated to destruction because of huge increment in the quantity of Mansabdars and lacking area to allot them with ‘Jagirs’. Jagir is the division of land in the head’s zone to be doled out to a Mansabdar.


[1]Irfanhabib,the mughal system, Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, Vol. 29, PART I (1967), pp. 221-242

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