Performance of Mansabdari System under the Successors of Emperor Jalal-Ud-Din Muhammad Akbar

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Bibliographic Information
Journal Grassroots
Title Performance of Mansabdari System under the Successors of Emperor Jalal-Ud-Din Muhammad Akbar
Author(s) Bilal, Fakhar, Shuja Ahmed Mahesar, Yasir Ali
Volume 53
Issue 1
Year 2019
Pages 85-99
Full Text Crystal Clear mimetype pdf.png
URL Link
Keywords Mansabadari System, Mughal Empire, Administration, Jagirdari System, Religious Faith
Chicago 16th Bilal, Fakhar, Shuja Ahmed Mahesar, Yasir Ali. "Performance of Mansabdari System under the Successors of Emperor Jalal-Ud-Din Muhammad Akbar." Grassroots 53, no. 1 (2019).
APA 6th Bilal, F., Mahesar, S. A., Ali, Y. (2019). Performance of Mansabdari System under the Successors of Emperor Jalal-Ud-Din Muhammad Akbar. Grassroots, 53(1).
MHRA Bilal, Fakhar, Shuja Ahmed Mahesar, Yasir Ali. 2019. 'Performance of Mansabdari System under the Successors of Emperor Jalal-Ud-Din Muhammad Akbar', Grassroots, 53.
MLA Bilal, Fakhar, Shuja Ahmed Mahesar, Yasir Ali. "Performance of Mansabdari System under the Successors of Emperor Jalal-Ud-Din Muhammad Akbar." Grassroots 53.1 (2019). Print.
Harvard BILAL, F., MAHESAR, S. A., ALI, Y. 2019. Performance of Mansabdari System under the Successors of Emperor Jalal-Ud-Din Muhammad Akbar. Grassroots, 53.


The aim of this paper is to analyze the performance of mansabdari system under the successors of Emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar. The paper is focused on the mansabdari system which was developed and strengthened during the reign of Akbar. It can be argued that the mansabdari was an integrated system of efficient and loyal servants on the disposal of Akbar for the large expansion of his empire. The successors of Akbar tried to capture the spirit of Akbar’s age and reign in all respects but without much success. The system remained intact with central authority during Akbar’s days. The paper indicates that after the death of Akbar, the mansabdars started defying the authority of governors as well as the successors of Akbar. In this research attempt the performance of mansabdari system under the successors of Akbar i.e. Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb will be analyzed.


Akbar was succeeded by his son, Salim, who assumed the title of Jahangir, meaning “Conqueror of the World” (Jagjiwan Mohan Walia, n.d.:119). He expanded the Mughal Empire by conquering Kangra and Kistwar. He also managed to consolidate the Mughal rule in Bengal by crushing the revolt in the province (Ibid:122). Rebels who tried to create trouble in Mewar were also suppressed by his forces (Ibid:124). Jahangir was known for administering impartial justice to his people, irrespective of their religious faith. It was also during his reign when European traders started coming to India. The English were able to find favour with Jahangir. The first ambassador to the Mughal court was Sir Thomas Roe (Nirmala Verma, 2006:262). He was able to secure many trading facilities for his countrymen.

The Mughal rule reached its peak during Jahangir’s reign. In the history of Mughal architecture, Jahangir’s reign marks the period of transition between its two grand phases, namely the phase of Akbar and that of his grandson, Shah Jahan. The system of pietra dura (Ibid:255), i.e. the inlaid mosaic work of precious stones of various shades, gained popularity towards the end of his tenure. The Mughal style of art was greatly developed during his reign. The most important feature of the paintings of this era was the decline of the Persian and enhancement of the Indian cultural influence. Mughal paintings lost much of their glamour and refinement after Jahangir’s death in 1627 (Jagjiwan Mohan Walia, n.d.:130).


The reign of Jahangir gave further support to mansabdari system. Following the foot-steps of his father Akbar, Jahangir enhanced the capacity of mansabdars from 12,000 to 40, 000 (Abdul Aziz, 2002:95).

The numerical strength of the mansabdars during Jahangir’s reign was following (Ibid:96).


No. Rank- Holder Rank
1 Pervaz 40,000/ 30,000
2 Khurram 30,000/20,000
3 Shahryar 12,000/8,000
4 Dawar Bakhsh 8,000/3,000


No. Rank- Holder Rank
1 Mirza Shah Rukh 7,000
2 Itimadud Daula 7,000/7,000
3 Khan-i-Azam Mirza Aziz Koka 7,000/5,000
4 Mahabat Khan Khan Khanan 7,000/7,000
5 Khan Khanan Abdur Rehman 7,000/7,000
6 Asaf Khan 7,000/7,000
7 Qilij Khan 6,000/5,000
8 Murtaza Khan 6,000/5,000
9 Islam Khan 6,000/6,000
10 Khan Dauran 6,000/5,000
11 Khan Jahan 6,000/6,000
12 Abdullah Khan 6,000
13 Mumtaz Khan 6,000/5,000

The mansabdari system under Jahangir was lesser efficient because he was indulged in luxurious activities and he was least interested in state affairs. The statistics given in the above tables clearly indicate that Jahangir was good administrator and was able to follow the foot-steps of his father for strengthening his rule and empire. Jahangir increased the numerical strength of mansabdars just to shower his blessing on different castes and creeds but on the parallel ground he was ignorant of the disastrous outcome of this induction of mansabdars.


Jahangir was succeeded by his second son Khurram in 1628 (Nirmala Verma, 2006:272). Khurram assumed the title of Shah Jahan, i.e. “The Emperor of the World” (Jagjiwan Mohan Walia, n.d.:271). He further expanded his Empire by conquering Kandhar in the north and most of the areas in South India. The Mughal Empire was at its zenith in architecture during Shah Jahan’s rule. This was due to almost hundred years of unparalleled prosperity and peace provided by his predecessors. As a result, during his reign, history witnessed the unique development of arts and culture (Stanely Lane Poole, 1979:336). During the reign of Shah Jahan, Mughal architecture reached its supreme high spirits.

Shah Jahan built marble edifices at Agra such as the Diwan-i-Aam, the Diwan-i-Khas, the Shish Mahal and the Moti Masjid, which have been described as the most elegant buildings of their class to be found anywhere (Nirmala Verma, 2006:322). The Taj Mahal is the crowning glory and culmination of Mughal architecture. Its construction commenced in 1631 and was completed sometime around 1653 (Stanely Lane Poole, 1979:338). His son Aurangzeb led a rebellion when Shah Jahan became ill in 1657 and publicly executed his brother. Shah Jahan was put into prison by Aurangzeb. In January of 1666 (Ibid:355), Shah Jahan fell ill and died in the prison of his son Aurangzeb.


The reign of Shah Jahan was much celebrated and cherished. In the initial years of his reign, Shah Jahan strengthened his rule and mansabdari system further fortified its roots in the Mughal dynastic rule. Shah Jahan was able to grasp the spirit of mansabdari system but he distributed ranks without any discretion just to make happy his nobles and close associates.

The glance of this distribution can be shown in the following tables (Abdul Aziz, 2002:101).


No. Rank- Holder Rank

I Decade II Decade III Decade

1 Dara Shukoh 15,000/9,000 20,000/20,000 60,000/40,000
2 Shah Shuja 12,000/7,000 15,000/10,000 20,000/15,000
3 Aurangzeb 12.000/7,000 15,000/10,000 20,000/15,000
4 Murad Bakhsh ---- 12,000/9,000 15,000/12,000
5 Sulaiman Shukoh ---- ---- 15,000/3,000
6 Spihr Shukoh ---- ---- 8,000/3,000
7 Zainud Din ---- ---- 7,000/2,000
8 Sultan Muhammad ---- ---- 7,000/2,000


Rank I Decade Total Dead Alive II Decade Total Dead Alive
5,000 25 (10 15) 20 (5 15)
4,000 30 (12 18) 20 (10 10)
3,000 38 (12 26) 44 (10 34)
2,500 17 (5 12) 11 (6 5)
2,000 48 (9 39) 51 (10 41)
1,500 47 (17 30) 52 (17 35)
1,000 80 (34 46) 97 (27 70)
900 19 (5 14) 23 (5 18)
800 52 (15 37) 40 (10 30)
700 49 (13 36) 60 (8 52)
600 45 (14 31) 30 (5 25)
500 134 (25 109) 114 (14 100)

Source: Abdul Aziz, The Mughal Court and its Institution, Lahore: Al-Faisal, 2002:104.


Rank Number of Rank Holder
5.000 32
4,000 31
3,000 57
2,500 24
2,000 66
1,500 72
1,000 128
900 31
800 81
700 76
600 57
500 180

Source: Abdul Aziz (2002:105).

Shah Jahan can be counted in the list of good administrators because he tried his level best to organize the system in the initial two decades of his rule. To the end of his rule, he lost control over the territory and mansabdars because of ill health. The abundance of wealth in Deccan in shape of gold and silver became a cause for his downfall and strength of mansabdars and mansabdari system.


Aurangzeb ascended the throne on July 21, 1658 and ruled till 1707 (Zahiruddin Faruki, 1977:57). Thus Aurangzeb ruled for 50 years. His rule can be compared with Akbar’s reign in terms of the length of the rule. He kept all his sons away from the royal court with the result that none of them was trained in the art of governance. This proved to be damaging for the Mughal Empire and resulted in the beginning of the downfall of the house of the Mughals. Aurangzeb had three brothers. His father Shah Jahan favoured Dara Shukoh to be his successor (Jadunath Sarkar, 1981:167). Shah Jahan fell seriously ill and all his sons proclaimed succession. A war of succession broke out among all the brothers and eventually resulted in the victory of Aurangzeb. Since Shah Jahan was in absolute favour of Dara, Aurangzeb no longer trusted him, and Shah Jahan was placed under restraint in his own palace.

Aurangzeb, a staunch Muslim, gave many grants for the restoration of Hindu temples during his reign. He also appointed Hindus to leading and commanding positions in his government. His chief architectural achievement is the Badshahi Mosque at Lahore, the largest mosque in the world at the time it was built (Ibid:384). In his 50 year, Aurangzeb tried to fulfill his ambition of bringing the entire Sub-continent under one rule.

It was under his rule that in 1687 Bijapur and Golkonda, the last of the two Shia states surrendered to the Mughal Empire (Stanely Lane Pooloe, 1979:397). The last 26 years of Aurangzeb were devoted to his relentless Deccan campaign for the purpose of which he had moved his court to Deccan. Under Aurangzeb’s rule, the borders of the Mughal Empire spread out farther than ever before. But due to lack of communication and poor infrastructure, it became difficult to hold the empire together (Zahiruddin Faruki, 1977:578). Though he ruled longer than any of his predecessors, yet he could not stop the decline of the Mughal Empire, which hastened after his demise as none of his sons was trained to rule.


The performance of mansabdari system under Aurangzeb shows his competency but he has lack of interest in state affairs. Aurangzeb provided mansabs to Muslims due to his religious blend and strictness. Aurangzeb for the first time in Mughal history established a large contingent of troopers in shape of mansabdars. He offered many lucrative facilities and services to Muslim nobles.

His discriminatory distribution of mansab can be seen as following:

a. Sons

No. Rank- Holder Rank
1 Muhammad Muazzam Shah Alam 40,000/40,000
2 Muhammad Kam Bakhsh 40,000/40,000
3 Muhammad Sultan 20,000/10,000
4 Muhammad Azam 20,000/9,000
5 Muhammad Akbar 10,000/2,000

Source: Abdul Aziz (2002:107).

b. Grandsons

No. Rank- Holder Rank
6 Bedar Bakht 15,000/12,000
7 Muhammad Muizzud Din 12,000/10,000
8 Muhammad Azim 10,000/2,000
9 Rafiul Qadar 8,000/7,000
10 Muhyius Sunnat 7,000/2,000

Source: Abdul Aziz (2002:107).

Aurangzeb was busy in his campaign of Deccan where he lost almost half of his total tenure. He was not present in the centre to look after the state affairs which showed his weakness as well as least interest in state affairs and on the other hand mansabdars and mansabdari system went out of his control.

The successors of Akbar gave a severe setback to mansabdari system in multi-layered factors. Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb all the three emperors one by one created problems for themselves in the realm of state affairs by introducing various policies and practices for strengthening their rules. Mansabdari system is also one of the causes for the gradual downfall of the Mughal dynast. Mansabdari system proved a slow poison for Mughal aristocracy as well. All the leading nobles and mansabdars became prey of their own established system. In the forth coming chapter, all pros and cons of mansabdari system in addition to financial crisis in shape of expenditure and salaries, numerical strength of mansabdars under various Great Mughals and their influence over different territories has been analyzed. Contribution of mansabdars in the making and destruction of the Mughal Empire is being focused.


The word mansab has been derived from the Arabic term mansib which means a post, an office, rank or status. The word mansab, in technical sense of a rank, had been used prior to Akbar’s reign; it was in use in Central Asia; but it did not imply an elaborate organization the mansabdari system. The idea of paying some civilian officers by putting them on the military payroll was also not unknown. In main cases, the establishment of an organization wherein all superior officials should have their status defined in military terms was Akabr’s own idea (Qureshi, 1966:89-90). Mansabdari system under Akbar was a unified state service of officers arranged in a hierarchy of military (cavalry) rank but performing both civil (mainly financial) as well as military functions (Peter N. Stearns, 2001:369).

The mansabdari system had various stages of transformation and broadly speaking, one can divide them into five phases (W.H.Moreland, 1936:648).

  1. The numerical rank appears as a military fact.
  2. The effective strength of mansabdar fell below the nominal strength.
  3. Double rank was introduced for the first time in Indian history.
  4. The rank of the soldier or trooper was only a military fact. And it was the revision of second phase.
  5. The last phase was the reorganization of the institution by the successors of Akbar.

The mansabdari system of the Mughals had countless merits and demerits in it. In this chapter, an analysis of all the positive and negative factors had been discussed one by one. Each rise has a fall which is ultimate. Mansabdari system of the Mughals was no exception. Mansabdari system has following merits of organization.

The mansabdari system of the Mughals was systematic and progressive system in the Indian subcontinent. The mansabdars system was an amalgamation of feudal aristocrats and tribal chieftains (Abdul Aziz, 2002:128). The system was on more humanitarian grounds as compare to the barbaric and old fashioned jagirdari system. The system no doubt was unique and unmatchable in the Mughal history. Mansabdars were the core pillars of the system on the basis of zat and sawar which were in shape of infantry and cavalry under their control.

The second merit of the system was the recruitment of the soldiers and troops according to the sweet will of mansabdar. The mansabdars always tried to recruit their soldiers on the basis of the caste, creed, religion and tribe (W.H.Moreland, 1936:660). The tribal and religious consideration gave a sense of relaxation and faith to the mansabdars for the recruitment of the soldiers. The mansabdars were responsible for their allegiance and loyalty to the emperor as well as to the central government and the troopers and soldiers were expected to do the same.

Under the Mughal mansabdari system, there were two types of soldiers who were recruited through two different processes (Leonard, Karen, 1979:153). The first type was mansabdar’s troops and soldiers directly recruited by the mansabdar and the second type were those who were on the disposal of the jagirdar and these jagirdars were responsible to provide their military strength to the emperor on demand (Abdul Aziz, 2002:129). The mansabdari system with the passage of time merged with these vassal troops and the Jagirdari system started moving towards gradual decline (W.H.Moreland, 1936:663).

Another merit of the system was that there was no hereditary office (Moosvi Shireen, 1987:206). Once the mansabdar was appointed, he was responsible for his assigned duties and functions till his death. But the day mansabdar died, his office was shifted to any other or new mansabdar by the emperor. This practice also shows that the emperor was the sole representation for all type of appointment and the mansabdars were the only class or type of employees who were appointed by the Emperor but without any appointment letter and notification.

All the mansabdars were responsible and answerable to the emperor. This factor has eliminated all the chances of disaffection and revolts by military and civil officers (W.H.Moreland, 1936:644). This factor further elaborated that emperor was the shadow of God on earth and all the imperial servants, officials and workers were his loyal and subordinates. This factor, no doubt, strengthened the spirit of the system to be run on the efficient grounds.

The mansabdari system was an insightful system. It brought for the first time in the Indian history an organized structure of administration on the pattern of modern day bureaucracy. This systemization of bureaucracy (M.Athar Ali, 1975:385) helped the Mughal emperors in organizing and managing their campaigns within India against rebellions, revolts and enemies. This bureaucratic structure served the civil and military offices on the parallel grounds (Ibn-i-Hassan, 1967:358). On one hand, this system helped in collection of revenue and running the provincial administration and on the other it gave a platform for the recruitment of army and safeguarding the Indian Territory against the foreign invaders and internal rebels.

Last but not the least factor which can be counted as strength of the mansabdars system and a feather in Akbar’s cap was that this system helped to unify Indian subcontinent (Moosvi, Shireen, 1987:183). The mansabdars were contributing towards the state services in two folds; on the one hand mansabdars were providing troops and soldiers for imperial army and services and on the other hand mansabdars were paving the way for the political unification of the Mughals Empire in particular and the Indian peninsula in general.

Despite all the above mentioned positive factors and elements, the mansabdari system had numerous pitfalls. Nevertheless, the defects of the mansabdari system were too glaring to be brushed aside on any pretext.

The first and foremost cause of the decay of the mansabdari system was that there was lack of national army’s spirit in Mughal territory under mansabdari system (Ibn-i-Hassan1967:359). The basic reason for this was the inclusion of foreigners into mansabdari system by the Mughals. 2/3rd majority of mansabdars were of foreign races consisting of Irani, Turani, Afghani, Turks, and Central Asians (Moosvi Shireen, 1981:175). This factor did not give birth to the spirit of a national army of the Mughals. The army and troops were most of the time loyal to their own tribes and castes which has a negative impact on the integrity and solidarity of the Mughal Empire.

The next important factor of the decline of the system was that in spite of the liberal, rather, secular policy adopted by Akbar in the matter of recruitment, the Hindus constituted hardly about 9% of the aggregate of the imperial cadre of the Mughal services (M.Athar Ali, 1985:36). Akbar gave the Hindus their due share in all services but his successors were not too much in favour of the Hindus to give them high portfolios and positions in state affairs. Therefore, this proportion of Hindu, Muslim and foreign races further created vacuum in the system’s growth, progress and prosperity.

Non- regimentation of the army was another factor of the downfall of the system. There was no proper division of army into regiments. Therefore the system was a total failure of organization on the part of the Mughal emperors.

The large standing army was a permanent threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the Mughal Empire because the army was stationed at the center and if the Commander-in-Chief (Sipah Salar) revolted against the Emperor, it would have been difficult for emperor to crush it single handedly. This mansabdari system had its own needs and requirements for meeting the criterion of the systematic bureaucracy and standing army but large standing army proved a decisive factor for the Mughals and skirmishes within army on the basis of caste, creed, colour, tribe and region became a customary observance which showed the way towards the catastrophic end.

The imperial central government was hesitant to recruit all of the soldiers of mansabdars in central standing army. The reason of this reluctance of recruitment of the soldiers of mansabdars was lack of training and warfare tactics. Another reason for this disinclination was that the emperor was not in position to recruit these soldiers because of the lack of financial resources.

The mansabdars were given full freedom for the recruitment of the soldiers and troopers on the basis of tribe, race, caste, religion and region. This act gave an impression of heterogeneous type of army men. This factor also increased the chances of corruption and inefficiency in the mansabdar ruling class.

The mansabdari system was lagging in proper systematic training of the soldiers which was a drawback of the large standing army. There were no training exercises for soldiers to keep them active and in motion. Also there were no physical drills for the soldiers to be trained in modern warfare techniques. These soldiers and troopers of mansabdars were also not having quality weapons and ammunition for their exercises and battle field.

Another bleak factor of the system was that all the recruited soldiers were only loyal to their immediate rulers who were mansabdars as they were responsible for their payments and expenditures. This element gave severs set back to the central authority of the emperor and his powers who was actually paying the whole amount for their payments and expenditures and the recruits were loyal to the mansabdar only. In fact, the emperor was the real employer and patron of these soldiers of mansabdars and the mansabdar were just nominal in charge of these soldiers on the behalf of the Emperor.

The troopers and soldiers of the mansabdari system were not transferable from one mansbadar’s contingent and territory to the other mansbadar’s jurisdiction which was another cause of the destruction of the system. All the mansabdars and their soldiers were well aware of the fact that they will be commanding their own troops and they will be serving the same mansabdar and area till their death and in this way they became bold and started neglecting their duties assigned to them.

One of the indicators which helped the mansabdari system to move towards their downfall was the fraudulent practices of the mansabdars for payment of salaries and allowances to their subordinates (Moosvi Shireen, 1981:180). The imperial central government was regularly providing salaries and allowances for the contingents but the false record of the mansabdars was not transparent for the payment of salaries to the soldiers (W.H.Moreland, 1936:660). The mansabdars became habitual corrupt in these type of activities for destroying state finances.

The mansabdari system was providing higher ranks, salaries and lucrative benefits to the mansabdars for lifetime. No doubt, the Mughal Empire was in formative stage when mansabdari system came into existence and heavy loss of finances was not tolerable (Leonard, Karen, 1979:152). Mansabdari system was one of the costly systems run by the Mughal emperors without any pre conceive methodology, organization and planned finances. This heavy loss of finances granted many unseen and unimagined grave problems for the new dynastic rule. This concern of profound wastage of state finances destabilized the Mughal Empire.

The mansabdari system was also an equal opportunity provider to the soldiers for lavishness and extravagant activities. Lack of co-ordination among the troopers of various mansabdars and non-transferable appointments also paved way for the deterioration of character and martial qualities of the soldiers. The mansabdars who were considered as the constituent steel-frame of the Mughal Empire were not capable to meet standard stable character and discipline army on the equal footings. With the passage of time soldiers became inefficient which finally led to the factional fighting within soldiers and later on amid mansabdars for getting autonomous powers in their own regions.

Another element on the acclaim of the system can be that the mansabdars did not keep the prescribed number of soldiers under their supervision and command (Moosvi Shireen, 1981:175-77). Each mansabdar was responsible for recruiting a specific number of zat and sawar for his contingent. But the mansabdars were unreliable and at the time of annual inspection, they use to collect ordinary people in military uniform just to get regular monthly salaries and remunerations from the central authorities and Emperor (Ibid:185).

Last but not the least, the mansabdars of the Mughal emperors started questioning the authority of their rulers during Aurangzeb’s tenure and this diversion from the main stream politics and challenging nature of mansabdars gave birth to many revolts and rebellions in various parts, provinces and segments of the empire. The only reason for this distraction from the central authority and system was because of mansabdars own recruited loyal troops. The troopers considered their mansabdars their rulers and commanding authority and this rationale turn into incurable rebellions and revolts.

The mansabdari system was having numerous structural weaknesses and flaws in it including wastage of wealth and revenue, problems with recruitment, confinement of wealth in few hands, non-transfer of jagirs, lack of training and less trained in war fare tactics etc. Mansabdari system posed serious threats to the Mughal Empire and finally became a cause of its gradual downfall.


Nations as well as individuals have their infancy, adolescence and old age. The inscrutable laws of nature do take their course, yet human intellect try to trace the causes that lead to a nation’s fall. In enumerating the diverse causes that brought the decline of the Mughal Empire, Mansabdari system, its nature, growth, performance and impacts has its own distinctive contributions. The study of any institutions, systems or policies is not merely a study of facts, narration, events, actions, deeds and colourful gloomy pictures of one’s reign but the purpose of the study should be to present a clear and faithful picture of system in addition to situational analysis, motives, causes, limitations, mechanism, critique and logical interpretation. All the pros and cons of the system should be given equal consideration and treated on fair grounds. Rational, coherent and logical interpretations of any system or institution provides a synthesized and balanced harmonious approach for better understanding of contributing factors either they are constructive or destructive.

The Mughal administration is still considered as valuable and significant. Most of the political, social, economic and religious institutions established under the Mughals performed well during the reign of Great Mughals starting from Babur till Akbar and in colonial era. The Mughal state, society and administrative structure was a blend of all these institutions which merged into each other for promotion of welfare and spirit of co-operation unlike the institutions in modern day states, which normally works in isolation used to work in collaboration with each other. The Mughal rulers were less innovative in ideas because they introduced old fashioned and ancient reforms and institutions taken from Central Asia and other parts of the world.

Mansabdari system was no exception. It was a system primarily followed by the Central Asian rulers and was later imported by Akbar for the Indian subcontinent. Mansabdari system not only provided good political structure to the state during Akbar’s reign but also strengthened civil-military institutions in the country.

Mansabdari system under the Mughals strengthened its roots in the Indian territory under the emperor Akbar during the last days of his reign in 1595-96. No doubt, Mansabdari system was helpful for Akbar in gaining political advancement in attaining his religious policy, Rajput policy, and Deccan policy etc. Akbar got popular support of the local Indian rulers and petty kingdoms under the titular guardianship of Mansabdari system which helped him to strengthen his rule over the whole of the subcontinent for a long time. This system was a political paw for the local Indian rulers and ruled to get hegemonic control over their heart and soul and Akbar remain successful in targeting his goal till his death in 1605. Akbar portrayed this mansabdari system as a force of the loyal servants those who were loyal to the emperor as well as to the Mughal cause, state policies and expansions. Therefore, the theoretical framework of the mansabdari system and Akbar’s bent of mind tailored this system into patrimonialism or patrimonial bureaucracy. This factor of patriotism and loyalty maneuvered the spirit of an age and the Mughal Empire became dependant on these Indian rulers and vassals.

The historians have given different interpretations, assumptions and theories of the rise and fall of the administrative structure of the Mughals. This research intends to emphasize on two major theories: Theory of patrimonial bureaucracy given by Stephen Black (Stephen P. Blake, 1979:77-94) and Great Firm theory given by Karen Leonard (Ibid).

Stephen Blake’s theory and interpretation of the Mughal Empire and dynastic rule as a patrimonial bureaucratic empire has a broader spectrum and context which covers causes of the Mughal downfall in India and mansabdari system is also one off-spring of the same structure. The prevailing view that the Mughal Empire was a kind of unfinished, unfocused prototype of the British Indian Empire of the late 19th and 20th century is a wrong and mistaken assumption which has none roots. The Mughal empire as an example of the patrimonial bureaucratic empire is clearly evident from the major document of the Mughal government Ain-i-Akbari of Abul Fazal which not only reveals the weakness of the established interpretation but shows the remarkable congruence between the state Akbar organized and the patrimonial bureaucratic empire analyzed by Max Weber in his book Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. The core resemblance between the both depicts of the emperor as divinely-aided patriarch, the house hold as the central element in government, members of the army as dependant on the emperor, the administration as loosely structured group of men controlled by the imperial household and travel as significant part of emperor’s activities (Ibid:94). Ain-i-Akbari of Abul Fazal also supports the argument that Akbar’s state and authority was a patrimonial bureaucratic empire.

The Great Firm theory which is second to the patrimonial bureaucratic empire of Max Weber also supports the argument from another angle. This theory emphasizes and points out the financial and economic factor was the main reason for the downfall of the Mughal Empire. This theory has further indirectly elaborated Blake’s notion of patrimonialism and waste of capital by the imperial central government for mansabdari system.

The view of the state has countless implications for one’s understanding of the Mughal India. The first and foremost concept which comes to one’s mind is the Mughal political organization and it remained my main focus throughout the research but only restricted to the mansabdari system in detail. The new light of reinterpretation focused on the various aspects of political system like transfer of officials, revision of administrative structure, mansabdari system’s pitfalls etc. There are incalculable issues in Mughal politics besides Mansabdari system like the rebellion of princes, the causes of decline, role of masses in disturbances, various resistant movements and their trace out of history which calls for exploration and excavation of the real truths for the better understanding of the Mughal history, politics and society. I have tried to apply one model and theory on the single aspect of the administration which is Mansabdari system. Mansabdari system on the whole was only one aspect of the whole Mughal Indian history of administration and economy but there is a dire need for revealing other hidden realities to the students and researchers of the Mughal history in general and medieval history in totaling with colonial and post-colonial studies as well as the most recent approaches towards the study of history as a discipline for clarity of concepts and understanding of their past heritage.


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