MANSABDARI SYSTEM

1

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AIMS AND OBJECTIVES – The project essentially aims to find what mansabsari system meant and what was the importance of mansabdari system in the mughal era. Internet. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY . and articles.The researcher has used secondary sources of reference for the purpose of this project and the methodology used in this project is generally comparative and descriptive. 2 . The tool of comparison has been adopted wherever necessary and an attempt has been made to understand and resolve the problem involved therein. the researcher has tried to comparatively analyse mansabdari system and its effects in the reign of each and every mughal ruler. SOURCES OF RESEARCH – The major sources of our research includes Secondary source of data collected from Books. Moreover.

INDEX INTRODUCTION RANKING OF THE MANSABDARS ZAT AND SAWAR MANSABDARI OF AKBAR CHANGES IN MANSABDARI SYSTEM MANSABDARI OF AURANGZEB CONCLUSION BIBLIOGRAPHY PAGE 4 6 11 13 14 15 16 17 3 .

when Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi at the Battle of Panipat. ‘ashab-u’l-amamah’. Babur’s grandson.INTRODUCTION The Mughals ruled India from 1526 AD. up to the early rule of Akbar the Mughal armies consisted of contingents commanded by these adventurers. Persians. The status of the ‘ashab-u’s-saif (military) and ashab-u’l-qalam’ (clerical and administrative). was denoted by military rank. he awarded the leaders of these tribes and clans in accordance to their performance in the battle and many of them who had joined Babur for the booty. organized the ‘mansabdari’ system in the 19th year of his rule.com 4 . their place was taken by foreign adventurers. ‘ashab-u’s-saif’. it had its obligations. the court consisted of adventurers from different nations. some joined him later. heirs could not demand continuity of office. Since the Mughals were foreigners there were no hereditary nobles related to the rulers or ancient families to depend upon. chose to return to their homes. precedence and grade of pay. The system classified the functionaries of the kingdom as fighters. the ruler raised them to dignity or degraded them. When Babur invaded India to establish his kingdom his army consisted of tribes and clans that followed him from Kabul. after the Battle of Panipat. The ‘mansab’ denoted a rank of office. who ruled from 1556 to 1605. theologians. it was for life but it was not hereditary.1 Akbar. Every official of the empire above the rank of a sepoy or a servant held an army rank. (masters of the sword). After the tribes and the clans that had joined Babur for booty returned after the Battle of Panipat. Babur and Humayun ruled over territory that was not too far flung. the highest the commander of seven thousand. Arabs. originally 66 grades but later only 33 grades existed. Uzbeks. till 1707 AD when the Emperor Aurangzebdied and thereafter nominally till the Indian Rebellion of 1857. clerks ‘ashab-u’l-qalam’ (masters of the pen). Turks etc who thronged to the court with contingents of troops. 1 www.historytution. the lowest was the commander of twenty.

they were paraded for inspection.000 and 200. Compensation per annum started at rupees 350. these were known as ‘silladars’ and their men were known as ‘bagirs’. Those applying for a mansab with troops brought their retainers. 6. first class if the whole command was of ‘horse’. 7. these mansabdars were paid for the maintenance of horses and the salaries of the men. Men who could not be mansabdars but too good to be employed as soldiers were given the higher rank of a ‘ahadi2’.000. an area of land which was not given to the ‘mansabdar’ but he could use the revenue from the land for his expenses and compensation. second class if the ‘horse’ element was more than half and third class if less than half. intervals of 100 between 1. ‘Hazir-i-rikah’ present at court and ‘Ta-inat’ on duty elsewhere. the mansab of 20 received 1.‘Mansabdar’ office holder.RANKING OF THE MANSABDARS Mansabs were ranked as of 7.000. intervals of 500 between 5. 2.000 to 3.000 between mansabs of 7. The ‘mansab’ could be increased or decreased on the wishes of the ruler and reports of performance and two lists were maintained.000. 5. For a military mansab an application could be made for a mansab with troops or without troops.500 to 500 ‘Amir’.000 between mansabs of 5.) When a silladar brought his men.000 with intervals of 50.000.‘Amir-i-Azam’ the greater nobles.000 . Men considered fit to command but lacking resources were given money to purchase horses and received the salaries of the men only. Mansabs were of three classes.000 and 5.000 and 1.000. finally intervals of 20 between 100 and 20. 400 to 20 . rupees 250. (The system continued under the British till 1914.000.000 and 1. mounted and equipped at their expense. Commanders of higher ranks were of three classes according to the proportion of horsemen.000 with intervals of 25. 2 Ahadi is an Iranian surname 5 . Compensation was either ‘naqdi’ meaning cash compensation or by the revenue of a ‘jagir’. noble. their descriptive rolls were prepared and the horses were branded. intervals of 50 between 200 and 100.000.

he was required to parade his unit outside the palace and the emperor inspected it from a window in the palace. mansabdars usually borrowed money for expenses and when they died their private property was seized against any outstanding balances. mules. camels. their horses branded [DAG or CHEHRA)and got them registered with each and every detail (description role of the horse known as (HULIA)] Military command was at the will of the emperor. carts etc.3 Infantry was despised as drudges. they enjoyed the prestige of warriors. Akbar held that anyone could be a military commander and often appointed commanders who had no military knowledge or experience. practiced horsemanship. they exercised.org 6 . they were considered little more than watchmen to guard the baggage. but were unwilling to endanger their mounts because their salary depended on these.wikipedia. they maintained horses for their troopers and a prescribed number in their own stables. a ‘jagir’ whose revenue was to be used for maintaining troops. in the ratio of one matchlock man to four archers because of the greater rate of fire of the archers since both 3 www. The mansabdars were allowed to keep five percent of the income of the ‘jagir’ or five per cent of the salaries received. Mansabdars were given control over an area of land. laborers. Jagir was a piece of land held by the mansabdar which was granted by the Sultan. elephants. it was a normal practice to pay for only eight or ten months in the year. The accounting system was complex. The infantry consisted of matchlock men and archers. porters etc. When a mansabdar was ordered to take part in an expedition. with deductions for various things including ‘the rising of the moon’. Cavalry made up the bulk of the Moghal army.Military mansabdars were required to maintain troops according to the mansab including beasts of burden. if not given a ‘jagir’ they were paid in cash through a complicated accounting system. With a corrupt system of accounting and inspection very few mansabdars kept their units up to strength. they were personally brave and trained themselves for person to person combat. Individual troopers took great care to keep themselves fit. The Mansabdars got their cavalrymen(horse riders) for review. there was no training for units to act collectively. engaged each other in mock fights.

the cavalry first fired their matchlocks and arrows then closed with the sword. Once a formation was adopted there was very little capability for maneuver and there was no system of communicating between the parts. There was a theoretical pattern to which the army conformed in battle. the rest had to be Syeds or Sheikhs. Europeans as artillerymen were prized and were paid as much as ten times the amount paid to locals. this consisted of three divisions. each of these had an advance guard. fighting was series of skirmishes ending in individual combat. the heavy guns fired one round every three hours while the others about four rounds per hour. spear and the mace. right and left wing. Gunners were called ‘golandaz 4. the center. a term also used by the British till 1857. a screen of skirmishers and there was a rear guard to the whole force. they were paid directly from the treasury and were the most reliable part of the army. their pay was always kept in arrears to prevent desertion. the rate of fire was very low and the pieces were difficult to move. The recruitment of men was by ‘classes’. The Moghal army consisted of bands of horsemen. The ‘Mir Atish’. there was no infantry training. These soldiers of fortune depended on their commanders. When it was considered that the artillery had sufficiently demoralized the enemy. no discipline and very little reliance was placed on them.weapons had about the same effective range. The cavalry was not trained to act collectively on 4 ’ the bringer of round shot. The British adopted this system of recruitment by ‘classes’. 7 . Battle started with artillery fire. it was specified that an officer from Iran could not recruit more than one third Moghals. successive charges were delivered from one wing then the other. the ‘master gunner’. supply of ordnance and was the artillery commander. Afghans could not be more than one sixth or Rajputs more than one seventh of a force. The opposing armies deployed guns on a line protected by earthwork and tied together with chains or ropes to prevent cavalry riding through as Babur had done at Panipat. The efficiency of the Moghal artillery was poor. was responsible for the manufacture. Open country was necessary for successful action by a Moghal army because it was mostly cavalry. each band linked by some personal loyalty to its leader but without any loyalty to the emperor or any national or religious loyalty.

fifty camels and a hundred carts carried the emperor’s and his ladies wardrobe. in two battles. these could never be parted from the emperor. eventually the princes and commanders learnt to ride horses instead of elephants and not to prominently show themselves. the whole apparatus of government moved with it. a square enclosure was roped off and 5 www. on eighty camels. the battle objective was usually the elephant of the opposing commander and around it raged the fiercest battle. this was because the remuneration of the army was from individual princes. one hundred loaded with gold. either on the battlefield or after a siege. once dispersed it could not be formed again but since cavalry was the bulk of the army. usually riding an elephant. Aurangzeb when fighting his brothers for succession. the decisive event of a battle was the death or disappearance of the leader. a hundred camels carried water and kitchen utensils. the rival to the throne was induced by treacherous advice to dismount and their armies automatically dispersed. the main strength of the army. a hundred cooks. two hundred with silver. each a specialist in a dish. when the army moved out to war with the emperor in command. official records. The Emperor usually did not personally command the army unless it was a very large force in an important campaign. the object of the Moghal commander was to engage the enemy on an open plain where he 5 could deliver a massed charge of mail clad warriors. Aurangzeb’s army on the move included camels bearing treasure.com 8 . thirty elephants and twenty carts. the Moghals fielded much larger armies than their opponents and usually managed to defeat their enemy.command. if he was known to have been killed or could not be seen the troops dispersed and sought their own safety. with hawks and cheetahs. During battle the overall commander or the king had to prominently show his presence on the battlefield. thirty elephants carried the women’s jewellery and presents for successful commanders. fifty milch-cows. a rear guard largely of infantry brought up the tail. then the way was leveled for the emperor and his women. The British used this custom to their advantage by knocking off the commanders with a four-pounder artillery piece and causing the dispersion of the opponents. When the army halted the emperor’s camp was about a mile long. the emperor’s hunting establishment. The mass of the cavalry. led.intelzone. Up to the time of Aurangzeb.

did not improve on the weapons. when they fought the princes who had seized bits and pieces of the Moghal Empire. camels. The two opposing armies would camp on the battlefield and for several days negotiations would be conducted to entice commanders to change sides before the battle. Akbar made some important changes to the system and made it more efficient. Basically the Mansabdari system was borrowed from Persia. divided into four courts with the entrance facing the direction of the next day’s march. on a daily basis from ‘banyas’ who erected their shops in the camps. organization and tactics. Either side did not attack the ‘banjarahs’ and the grain taken was paid for. there was no loyalty owed to the ruler or the state.surrounded by a ditch. The armies of the Moghal times consisted of bands without military training and discipline. treachery and desertion were therefore negotiable. which moved at two miles an hour. 9 . mansabdari was a system common to both the military and the Civil department. bullocks. the emperor’s tent was in the center. to refuse to act at a critical moment or to desert with their commands during a battle. half hearted support during battle. Fodder was taken from the countryside and foragers looted the villages in the path of the army. Mansabdar was referred to as the official. band leaders could be bought. rank. Insulated by the mountains and the seas. Supplies of grain were brought to the camp by ‘banjarahs’ on bullocks. The army transport consisted of elephants. The British successfully exploited this mercenary soldiering. though locally successful. in its worst form. bullock carts and porters. or the dignity. heavy artillery defended the approaches. It was prevalent during the reign of Babur and Humayun. Instituted by the Mughal emperor Akbar. Every man provided for himself by buying for his needs. they formed a square in the evening with bags of grain. packhorses. failed miserably when it clashed with the European military system of the period. the Moghals developed a military system which.

of Sawar = 1/2 the No. of Sawar = No. they were graded on the number of armed cavalrymen. and a sawar. if satisfied. or sawars. equipment. The categories are shown below: -No. etc. of Zat => 3rd Class Mansabdar A Mansabdar was in the service of the state and was bound to render service when asked. There were thirty-three grades of mansabdars ranging from 'commanders of 10' to 'commanders of 10. Both civil and military officers held mansabs and were liable to be transferred from one branch of the administration to another. Additionally.. whether in the civil or military departments were graded in this system. It was dependent on whether the king ordered the mansabdar to maintain more horses than his rank. though initially strictly enforced. a mansabdar's children had to begin life anew. or personal ranking. the grades were increased up to 20. of Zat => 2nd Class Mansabdar -No. There was no distinction between civil and military departments. the more exalted grades between commanders of 7000 and 10. which each had to maintain for service in the imperial army. Till the middle of Akbar's reign. Each mansabdar was expected to maintain prescribed number of horses. Appointment.000 were reserved for the royal princes.000'. of Sawar < 1/3 the No. No portion of a mansabdar's property was hereditary. of Zat => 1st Class Mansabdar -No. or a troop ranking. All servants of the empire. These rules. were later slackened. elephants. could and did grant higher or even the highest grade to any person. 10 . The emperor. A mansabdar did not always begin at the lowest grade. Thus all mansabdars had a zat. suspension or dismissal of mansabdars rested entirely with the emperor. The Zat referred to the number of troops maintained by the mansabdar and the Sawar referred to the number of horses maintained by the mansabdar. promotion.000 or even more generally rs. During the period following the reign of Akbar. the highest rank an ordinary officer could hold was that of a commander of 5000.ZAT AND SAWAR The Mansabdars were differentiated by the Zat and the Sawar Rank. according to his rank and dignity.20-25 per horse were paid to a mansabdar.

Any other info. if the jagirdar6 extracted more than the specified yield. If their specified yield came to more.. he kept it. which included both the mansabdar's salary and so much per sowar. Rates of remuneration. the surplus was due to the imperial treasury. were matched by jagirsaffording a similar aggregate yield.Senior mansabdars were awarded a jagir (personal fief) rather than a salary. can link into any other 6 a jagir was a small territory granted by the ruler to an army chieftain in fairly short terms usually of three years 11 .

The number of mansabdars rose from 2069 at the time of Jahangir’s accession in 1605 to 8000 in 1637 during Shah Jahan’s reign and to 11. The mansabdars were assigned a jagir in lieu of cash payment. camels. elephants. 12 . For every sawar.Zat means personal where by the status and salary of the individual was fixed. Although modifications in the system were made from time to time this remained the basic structure as long as the Empire held together.The mansab was not hereditary. he had to maintain a stipulated quota of horses.This was intended to weaken the spirit of tribal and ethnic exclusiveness. The other rank indicated the number of cavalrymen (sawar) a mansabdar was required to maintain. Every officer was assigned a rank valued in terms of a certain number of mounted soldiers. a mansabdar was paid at a rate of Rs 240 per annum over and above his salary.Mughal. The ranks normally given to top officers and nobles were valued from 10 to 5000 later raised to 7000. Thus there were three categories in every rank. Out of this salary in addition to meeting his own personal expenses. northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. mules and carts.No one could have a higher quota of sawars than his zat rank.546 during the latter half 7 A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of central.MANSABDARI SYSTEM OF AKBAR Akbar organized the nobility and his army by means of the Mansabdari system. Hindustani and Rajput7. The sawar rank was distinguished by two special features: For every 10 cavalrymen the mansabdar had to maintain 20 horses and a provision was made that the contingents of the nobles should be mixed ones that is drawn from all the groups.The ranks were divided into two: zat and sawar. if he maintained less than half then in the third category. Pathan. A person was required to maintain as many sawars as his zat rank was placed in the first category of that rank.

selected nobles could be allowed to maintain a large quota of soldiers. (ii) Month-ratio or Month-scale system It was a new scaling device under which the salaries of mansabdars were put on a month scale: ten months. The obligations of the mansabdars for maintaining a quota of sawars were brought down accordingly. They were paid accordingly. The mansabsari system was not without defects. their loyalty and attachment were to their immediate master rather than to the emperor.CHANGES IN MANSABDARI SYSTEM Changes in Akbar's Mansabdari System Jahangir and Shah Jahan introduced new systems into the original mansabdari system of Akbar. the one brought out by Shah Jahan was the month-ratio or month-scale system. This gap between the emperor and the bulk of his army was a source of serious danger to the government. It implied that a mansabdar or noble holding du-aspah sih-aspah rank had to maintain double the quota of troopers indicated by his sawar rank. six months or even less. 13 . without making any change in their Jat rank. (i) Du-aspah sih-aspah system The term du-aspah sihaspah literally means trooper with two or three horses. The month-scale system was applied to both jagirs and those who were paid in cash. Under this system. eight months. As the soldiers were recruited and paid by the mansabdars. While the system introduced by Jahangir was called du-aspah sih-aspah.

which is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. as is his father before him. This action by the emperor. other contenders for power emerged and clashed. During his reign. In 1679. Land rather than cash became the usual means of remunerating high-ranking officials. Sikhs. Moti Masjid inside Delhi's Red Fort was also finalized by him. 14 . and divisive tendencies in his large empire further undermined central authority. thus preparing the way for the eventual British takeover. the Mughal empire reached its greatest extent (the Bijapur and Golconda Sultanates which had been reduced to vassalage by Shah Jahan were formally annexed). effective control by Aurangzeb's successors weakened. Aurangzeb reimposed the jizyah tax on Non-Muslims. He also constructed the Alamgiri Gate of the Lahore Fort. in which high-ranking officials took on the appearance of aristocracy who were hereditary land barons with powers of collecting rents. Mughal fiscal and military standards declined as security and luxury increased. Aurangzeb. and Rajputs forces in the north and Maratha forces in the Deccan. which lasted twenty-six years until he died in 1707 at the age of seventy nine. As Delhi's control waned. The mansabdari system gave way to the zamindari system. Aurangzeb was compelled to move his headquarters to Aurangabad in the Deccan to mount a costly campaign against Maratha guerrilla fighters led by Shivaji and his successors.MANSABDARI SYSTEM OF AURANGZEB Aurangzeb. In the century and a half that followed. It was not only the largest mosque ever built by a Mughal emperor but was at that point the largest mosque in the world. was known for aggressively expanding the empire's frontiers and for his acceptance of orthodox Sunni Islam. The emperor managed to crush the rebellions in the north." by his father. Although he was an outstanding general and a rigorous administrator. who was given the title "Alamgir" or "world-seizer. incited rebellion among Hindus and others in many parts of the empire notably the Jats. The Badshahi Masjid (Imperial Mosque) in Lahore was constructed in 1673 on his orders. is remembered as a builder-emperor.

Thus mansabdari system proved to be very useful for the mughal empire which was followed till centuries. Since the Mughals were foreigners there were no hereditary nobles related to the rulers or ancient families to depend upon. Uzbeks. The ranks normally given to top officers and nobles were valued from 10 to 5000 later raised to 7000. After the tribes and the clans that had joined Babur for booty returned after the Battle of Panipat. up to the early rule of Akbar the Mughal armies consisted of contingents commanded by these adventurers. he had to maintain a stipulated quota of horses.The ranks were divided into two: zat and sawar. Turks etc who thronged to the court with contingents of troops. 15 . mules and carts.CONCLUSION Babur and Humayun ruled over territory that was not too far flung. camels. elephants. their place was taken by foreign adventurers. Out of this salary in addition to meeting his own personal expenses. the ruler raised them to dignity or degraded them. Every officer was assigned a rank valued in terms of a certain number of mounted soldiers.Zat means personal where by the status and salary of the individual was fixed. Akbar organized the nobility and his army by means of the Mansabdari system. Arabs. Persians. the court consisted of adventurers from different nations.

E M. Carr. E.google. www. Medieval history Goyal Publication 3.historytution.wikipedia. www. What is History 2.BERN. V. Medieval History S.org 16 .D MAHAJAN .BIBLIOGARPHY BOOKS: 1.com 2.com 3. www.H. Chand and Publication INTERNET RESOURCES: 1.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful