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India: From 16th mid-18th Century
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Q. 1. Analyse the Jagir System in Mughal India. How were Jagirdars different form Zamindars.
Ans. The system of iqta and iqtadar to appropriate the surplus from the peasantry and to distribute it
among the nobles, continued from the period of Delhi Sultans till Mughal emperors. These assignments
were made in lieu of cash salaries and the areas assigned were called jagir with its assignee called jagirdar.
Sometimes, iqta/iqtadar and tuyal/tuyuldar were also used for them, though very sparingly. However, under
this system, the revenue from the land/area and not the land were given to the jagirdars. After evolving over
a long period of time, it got stabilised. The basic framework of this system was developed during Akbar’s
The Early Phase

After the conquest, Babur either restored to the former Afghan chieftains or conferred upon them
approximately one-third of the conquered territories as assignments (wajh)—meaning remuneration) whose
holders were known as wajhdars. A fixed sum out of total revenue was assigned as wajh while the rest were
derived to be part of the khalisa. Though the zamindars continued to rule in their areas, but in rest of the
conquered areas Babur ruled through hakims (governors). The same pattern continued under Humayun.
After the conquest, Babur either restored to the former Afghan chieftains or conferred upon them
approximately one-third of the conquered territories as assignments (wajh)—meaning remuneration) whose
holders were known as wajhdars. A fixed sum out of total revenue was assigned as wajh while the rest were
derived to be part of the khalisa. Though the zamindars continued to rule in their areas, but in rest of the
conquered areas Babur ruled through hakims (governors). The same pattern continued under Humayun.
Organisation of Jagir System

During Akbar’s reign the entire territory was broadly divided between the two—khalisa and jagir.
while the revenue from the first went to imperial treasury, the second was assigned to the jagirdars in lieu of
their cash salary (naqd) according to their rank. The estimated revenue was called jama or jamadami as it



was calculated in dam (a small copper coin 1/40th of the silver rupaya on the average). This jama also
included land revenue, inland transit duties, port customs and other taxes which were called sair Jihat. Hasil
was an another term used by revenue officials which referred to the amount of revenue actually collected.
Besides baibaqi was an another term, applied to those areas, whose revenues were yet to be assigned to
mansabdars and hence its jama.
However, the ratio of jagir and Khalisa kept fluctuating. In 31st year of Akbar’s reign, it amounted to
less than 5% of the total revenue from Delhi, Awadh and Allahabad, while during Jahangir’s reign almost 9/
10 was assigned in jagir and 1/10th and 1/7th in the former while 1/5th in the latter. In the later part of
Aurangzeb’s reign, the pressure on khalisa rose with the increase in the number of claimants for jagir.
There was an another feature of shifting of jagir holders from one jagir to another for administrative
reasons, thereby checking the jagirdars from developing local roots. However, it also had a disadvantage as
jagirdars were now discouraged from taking long term measures for developing their areas and were now
interested merely in extracting as much revenue as possible in a short period of time.
Various Types of Jagirs
Generally, there were four types of jagirs:
(a) Jagir tankha i.e. given in lieu of pay or salary (transferable every 3 or 4 years)


(b) Mashrut jagirs i.e. given to a person on certain condition.

(c) In’ am jagirs i.e. that involved no obligation of service and were independent of rank.
(d) Watan jagirs i.e. those given to zamindars (chieftains) and al-tamgha i.e. those given to Muslim
nobles under Jahangir, resembling to watan jagir (hereditary and non-transferable).
Management of Jagirs

The jagirdars only collected the authorised revenue (mal wajib) in accordance with the imperial
regulations by employing his own officials (karkun) like amil (amalguzar), fotadar (treasurer) etc. who
acted on his behalf.
The jagirdars were kept under watch by imperial officials like diwan of suba, who prevented peasant’s
oppression. Amin ensured the application and implementation of imperial regulations regarding revenue
collection, Fauzdar helped jagirdars in difficulties in revenue collections etc.
Q. 2. Eunmerate the factors that led to the rise of Bhakti movement in India. What was its impact
on society.
Ans. Bhakti Movement: Despite the pantheistic philosophy of Sankaracharya, the intellectuals of the
Indian society by the time of the arrival of Muslims in India, had no faith in the prescribed form of action
(karma marg). They regarded the path of knowledge (gyan marg), an appropriate method for attaining
salvation. But this ultimately became the intellectual doctrine. It totally ignored the actual ethical behaviour
of man, improvement of his status in life and fulfilment of his dusting on earth. It taught the impersonal and
speculative fundamental principles. But the people who needed an ethical and emotional cult to find
satisfaction of heart and moral guidance understood nothing of it. Such a situation was favourable for the
path of Bhakti and devotion, blended with love of God to flourish.
The Bhakti doctrine helped the society in many ways. The Indo-Aryan dialects like Bhojpuri, Magadhi
and Maithili of Bihar, Avadhi of Avadh, Brij-Bhasa of Mathura and Rajasthani, Punjabi, Kashmir, Sindhi
and Gujarati assumed new forms and meanings. Tamil, Marathi and Bengali literature also progressed a lot.



Besides, the Bhakti doctrine also influenced the socio-religious concepts which prepared ground for
improved social condition. Bhakti cult also received impetus from Muslims and prepared meeting ground
for the devout men of both creeds. Preaching human equality and condemning ritualism and casteism it
sought to build a society based on justice and equality in which all men would be able to develop their full
moral and spiritual stature.
Q. 3. What was the nature of portuguese Trade in India during the 16th Century.
Ans. Nature of the Portuguese Trade with India: The Portuguese, since their arrival at Calicut had
demanded the ousting of Indian or foreign merchants and granting of complete monopoly. This was also
done by threatening other merchants and confiscating their merchandise and vessels by the armed Portuguese ships. By 1501, the Portuguese king assumed a grand title evincing his proprietory right over the
Indian Ocean region. The title proclaimed him ‘Lord of Navigation’ Conquest and Commerce of Ethiopia,
Arabia, Persia and India. In 1502, the Portuguese demand of exclusive right over trade at Calicut was denied
by the Zamorin the king of Calicut. A war was declared by Vasco-de-Gama on all ships plying in Indian
Ocean and Arabian Sea. He also introduced issuing of certificate (Cartaz) by duly signed by the Portuguese
authorities first in 1502, that signified that it could not be attacked. Everyone indulging in maritime trade,
whether they be Indian merchants or rulers had to take Cartaz from the Portuguese. At the time of issuing
such papers, it was specially written that certain items like pepper, horses, ginger, coir, ship, pitch, sulphur,
lead, saltpetre, cinnamon etc. were not to be loaded which constituted the monopoly items of the Portuguese. They even also controlled the routes and destinations of such ships. Rulers like Akbar and his successors Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar, Adil Shah of Bijapur, kings of Cochin, Zamorins of Calicut and the rulers
of Cannanore purchased passes to send their ships to various places.
Monopoly Trade


By the end of the 15th century, merchants from different parts of the world, were found on the coastal
regions of India, engaged in trade and commerce. As per the report of Vasco-de-Gama in 1498, the port of
Calicut had merchants from Mecca, Tenasseri, Pegu, Ceylon, Turkey, Egypt, Persia, Ethiopia, Tunis and other
parts of India; where the ‘Chinese merchants’ and the merchants from the Red Sea area used to frequent. Any
demand of exclusive right of trade or the attempt to declare a few or all commodities set apart for any body is
also not recorded anywhere. But the arrival of the Portuguese changed the whole state of affairs. The kings
were pressurised to forbid other merchants to trade in certain commodities. Thus in other words, the monopoly
of trade was demanded by the Portuguese which got a specific reference in the treaties. In order to establish
monopoly of trade in Asian water, the Portuguese set up fortresses at strategic places, the vessels were put into
patrolling mode and the keeping of passes was made mandatory for the ships indulging in maritime trade.
Q. 4. Discuss briefly the Mughal-Rajput relations during the 17th Century?

Ans. Mughal-Rajput Relations in the Seventeenth Century: The political requirement of the 16th
century of Mughals and Rajputs shaped their relations. However, this suffered a setback in 17th century on
account of steady expansion of the empire, internal conflicts among the Rajputs and proclaimation of principle of regional autonomy by different sections.
Jahangir and Shah Jahan

Despite a few minor irritants, the Mughal-Rajput relations established by Akbar strengthened during
the reign of these rulers. Jahangir’s apt policy of not demanding personal submission of Rana of Mewar and



becoming contended with his son’s service to the emperor, brought significant changes. This did away the
need of establishing matrimonial relations, a policy initiated by Akbar, hence only a few marriages took
place after Mewar’s submission, which served a fixed political aim. Contracted mostly in anticipation of
imminent contest for power, these marriages brought amicable relations between Mughals and Rajputs.
During Jahangir’s reign, the Kachhawahas lost their dominant position and Rajputs of Mewar, Marwar,
Amber and Bikaner held the dominant position with a mansab of 5000 zat or above—more than Akbar’s
time. The Khusrau’s rebellion during the first decade of Jahangir’s reign saw a sharp fall in the total mansabs
granted to the Rajputs which were mainly type cast, on the basis of ethnic origin, caste etc. The Rajputs were
mainly employed as qiladars of forts or as faujdars, but this type casting was not inflexible or based on
communal considerations, as Jahangir was moderate in matters relating to the religion.
During Shah Jahan’s reign the Rajputs were continued to be granted high mansabs and posts of qiladar
and fauzdar. Caste and ethnic origin still served the basis of differentiation between civil and military.
However, the role of Rajputs in administration during Jahangir’s and Shah Jahan’s period remained very
negligible. Besides this, Shah Jahan also discontinued the Jahangir's policy of not granting subedari to the
Rajput rajas of leading houses.
Due to the conflicting interpretation of concept of paramountcy and suzerainty, two conflicts took
place during Akbar’s reign against Bundelas and Mewar. Rajputs also indulged in military raids for expanding
their territory at the cost of their neighbours and extorted money from their subordinate powers having the
potential to rebel.


A common interest of collecting land revenue and maintaining law and order were under the domain of
both–Rajputs and Mughals (these subordinates were entitled to seek protection from Mughals, whenever
they needed) but they had different rights and privileges, which could be sorted out through a process of give
or take. These subordinates were permitted to extend their territory on the promise of parting with the gains
of conquest. This best reflects the class nature of the struggle between Mughals and Rajputs.
Conflict with Mewar during Akbar’s reign were on account of the assertion of independence by Mewar.
Hurting the concept of Mughal paramountcy, in 1615, however, the overlordship of Mewar over these
states, territories was recognised, but the assertion of independence and attempt of expanding into neighbouring
areas vitiated the atmosphere. The pretext for war was provided by the Rana of Chittor, who tried to refortify,
breaching the agreement. This led to the destruction of the fort and sequestering of many paraganas in
Chittor by Shah Jahan.

Aurangzeb’s policy towards Rajputs from 1680’s caused tension not to the Rajputs only, but to a
section of Mughal nobility also which becomes evident from Rajput-Mughal nobles complicity in the rebellion
of prince Akbar. In the second half of the 17th century, Aurangzeb became lukewarm, but did not give
important assignments to Rajputs, interferred in their matrimonial alliances. However, it did not mean a
complete breach of relations with the Rajputs in general, and Amber, Bikaner, Bundi and Kota continued to
receive Mansabs without high ranks or important positions during Aurangzeb’s reign.
These conflicts should be seen as conflicts between the policies of alliance with the Rajputs and the
broader policy of winning over the local ruling elites–the zamindars. The gradual loosening of dominant
powers by Rajputs should be viewed in the growing importance of Marathas for southward expansion
during the second-half of the 17th century, which shaped Aurangzeb’s Rajput policy. Now Rajputs needed
alliance with Mughals.



Thus these wars burdened the treasury but not very seriously, and the overland trade continued more or
less, the same way. However, this still shows the incompetence of Aurangzeb’s Rajput policy to deal effectively
with the issues, affecting the prestige of the empire. This also led to a political and religious discord that
demonstrated the lack of political acumen. All this encouraged rebellions by the Mughal princes in league
with Rajputs.
Jahangir and Shah Jahan continued the establishment of good relations, between Mughal and Rajputs,
which were initiated by Akbar, but Jahangir’s decision of not being rigid on Mewar, Rana’s personal
submission, restoration of conquered territories, freedom from imposing matrimonial alliances, etc. led to a
decline in contraction of matrimonial alliances. The Rajputs continued to be given high mansabs and important
posts and positions, but they showed to be type cast especially on the basis of ethnic, origin, caste etc.
Rajputs and Mughals both had a concern of collecting land revenue and maintaining law and order as the
subordinates, though their relations, could have demanded protection from Mughals, whenever necessary.
During Akbar’s conflict with Mewar these subordinate chieftains had asserted their independence after
accepting Mughal overlordship in 1615. The war was sparked by the refortification efforts of Rana against
the breach of the agreement.
However, this policy got strained during Aurangzeb’s reign from 1680 onwards, which best got reflected
in Rajput-Mughal noble’s complicity in the rebellion of Prince Akbar. However, this should be viewed
under the context of changing political scenario, when the Mughal needed Maratha’s might for their southward
expansion, hence, a gradual tilt on their favour and biasness against the other.


Thus, it was the political necessity of the period that marked the shaping of Mughals policy towards
Q. 5. Write a brief note on the establishment of European tradintg companies in India.
Ans. European trading Companies in India: 1600–1750 The Dutch East India Company: Having
been formed in 1602, through a charter, the Dutch East India Company was mainly interested in spice trade,
hence concentrated on Far East. India was just a trading depot for them. They established their first factory
in 1606 at Petaputi in North Coromandal, followed by another at Masulipatam. In the process, somehow
they realised that Indian textiles could be the best commodity for exchange with spice island (Indonesian
Archipelago), which required expansion of network in India. They therefore established their factories at
Pulicat (1610), Cambay (1620), Surat and Agra (1621), Hariharpur (1633), Patna (1638), Dacca (1650),
Udaiganj (1651), Chinsura (1653), Qasimbazar, Baranagore, Balasore, Negapatam (1659-60).
Dutch had established two factories in the interior of Golkunda–one at Nagalavancha and another at
Golkunda in 1670 and 1662 respectively, but had to abandon them due to political disturbances. Some other
factories of Dutch were also abandoned owing to some reasons.
On the other hand, English felt threatened by the Dutch’s rising power, but in 1619, they worked out a
truce and agreed to become co-partners in Indian trade. However, this truce didn’t last long provoking
English to defeat them at Bedara (1759), in league with the Portuguese, and finally expelled them in 1795
from their Indian possessions.
Q. 6. Discuss the salient features of the Mughal style of painting?
Ans. Antecedents Painting in the Fifteenth Century

Until recently, the growth of art of painting during the rule of Delhi Sultans was not believed and the
illuminated manuscripts of the Mughals, in fact, were considered a revival of painting after a long time.
However, lately its existence is suggested in the light of following evidences:



(i) a lively tradition of murals and painted cloths during 13th and 14th centuries.
(ii) a simultaneous tradition of Quranic calligraphy, lasting upto the end of 14th century.
(iii) a tradition of illustrated Persian and Awadhi manuscripts, originating in the 15th century.
While from the last, many illustrated manuscripts and works were commissioned by independent—
patrons in the Sultanate outside the court, whereas, from the former category, mention may be made of
(a) the Bostan of S’adi, illustrated by artist Hajji Mahmud.
(b) Ni’mat Nama (a book on cookery).
(c) Miftan al Fuzala by Muhammad Shadiabadi.
These manuscripts were illustrated at Mandu (Malwa) during the second half of the 15th century. Laur
Chanda of the latter category is a finer example of the latter category.
Thus, it is evident that at the time of Mughal advent in India, the tradition of painting existed, that
focussed mainly upon illuminating manuscripts.
Painting Under Early Mughals
In a short span of 4 years, Babur could not contribute anything to the growth of painting. Humayun, too
remained engaged due to the eluding political uncertainties and was forced out of India by Sher Shah in
1540. However, it was during his refuge at the court of Shah Tahmasp of Persia that he developed the love
for the art of painting and commissioned Mir Syed Ali and Khwaja Abdus Samad to illustrate manuscript for
him who joined him on his return to India.


‘Princes of the House of Timur’ (1550), executed on both of 1.15 m square is one of the important
paintings of Humayun’s period as so large paintings were not even made in Persia.
Within the fifteen years of the setting up of royal atelier under Akbar, the Mughal style became
recognisable and acquired a distinctive form by about 1590, which were marked by
(i) naturalism and rhythm

(ii) clothing objects of daily use assuming Indian forms

(iii) picture space having subsidiary scene set in background.
(iv) extraordinary vigour of action and violent movement
(v) luxurient depiction of foliage and brilliant blossoms.

The identity of the Mughal paintings under Akbar was both of an original style and of the fusion of the
Persian and Indian traditions. The mention of depiction of action and movement be made, which is not
found in either pre-Mughal art of India or the art of Persia.
The two most commonly used themes in the painting are:
(a) daily events of the court and

(b) portraits of leading personalities.

While portrait painting was known in Persia, painting as a chronicle of actual events was certainly a
new emphasis. Besides, the specific illustrated events are frequently reworkings of scenes ‘recordings’
which possibly were conceived according to repertoire of types.
Some of the most famous illustrated manuscripts of this period were:






c. 1562–1580




c. 1570–80

Tarikh-i-khandan-i Timuriya



c. 1570–90


c. 1570–1600

Tarikh-i Alfi

c. 1570–1600



Q. 7. (a) Watan System in Deccan
Ans. Watan System: Being an Arabic word, watan system originated in Deccan during on Muslim rule.
It referred to a hereditary grant made by government to an office-holder in village in return for his services
to the community. These officers were permanent residents of the village (desaks) and were granted land
along with rights and immunities by the state for their services to the village. These desaks were also called
watandars (deshmukh, desai, deshpande, kulkarni etc.), who were exempted from payment of land revenue.
Vrittis, according to Smritis were variant of watan who received emoluments called nibandhas.


Patel was the chief hereditary officer of the village, who was also called gava patel or mokaddam patel
in contemporary Marathi records. His main duty was revenue collection and remitting the government share
to the state treasury. He performed several duties as village headman and received certain privileges (haq)
and perquisites (lazims) which were mentioned in his watan deeds. The former consisted a share of total
revenue collection in cash or kind, fixed by the state while the latter was a voluntary payment such as phaski
(a handful of corn), pasodi (garment) etc. free services from mahars and artisans, seniority rights (man pan)
that enabled him to preside over the village festivities. Besides the patel, kulkarni, chaugula etc. also enjoyed
perquisites and rights for their services.
Deshmukh and despande were the hereditary officers of a pargana. The former was the head and was
paid in kind from land and services and goods from village servants, merchants etc. The deshkulkarni
supervised the work of Kulkarni’s in his pargana, though he was subordinate to deshpande. He was paid
through rent-free land and through cash and kind that usually amounted to half of what deshmukh received.
Seth and Mahajan were hereditary officials of qasba or peth (village market) who received emoluments
in cash or kind. A taraf or karyat consisted of a few villages smaller than pargana. Naik was the hereditary
officer of this unit who was responsible for tax collection. Later on, he was replaced by the havaldar in
Muslim ruled states.
Deshmukhs and Deshpandes were zamindars, who did not possess proprietory rights over all lands
under their jurisdiction. They sold their lands only under desperation, but the rights, privileges attached to
their office could not be sold separately. Their position remained unchanged even during political upheavels.
As regards mirasi and watan rights, there was a sharp distinction while the former was a hereditary
proprietorship right in land, the latter was transferrable. A mirasdar could be a watandars, but a watandar
need not necessarily be a mirasdar. A watandar however held inam lands on a hereditary basis.



(d) Chishti Sufi Silsila
Ans. The Sufis were divided into fourteen Silsilas by the 13th century. Disciples of Shaikh Shihabuddin
Migrated to India but Shaikh Bahauddin Zakaria was the real founder of the Suhrawardi order in India. He
associated himself with court and got appointed in 1228 by Iltutmish as Shaikh-ul-Islam. From hereafter the
saints of this order remained in active touch of political activities. He was followed by Shaikh Ruknuddin,
Syed Jalaluddin Bukhari, Qutub Alam and Shah Alam.
An another order called Firdausia of Shaikh Sharfuddin Ahmad Yahya developed by 14th century.
However the most popular order was Chisti Silsilah founded by Khwaja Chisti (d. 966) and introduced
into India by Khwaja Muinuddin, who though born in Seistan in 1143 reached India in 1190 and settled at
Ajmer where he died in 1234.
It appears from the teachings of Muinuddin that the mission of his life was to inculcate piety, humility
and devotion to God. After his death, this Silsilah made notable progress under his able disciple, Khwaja
Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, who died under the spell of music in a state of ecstasy.
He was succeeded by Khwaja Fariduddin Masud who kept himself away from political personalities
and rich and powerful people. He died at the age of 93 in 1265.
Shaikh Nizamuddin, his chief disciple, saw seven Sultans at Delhi, but visited none of them. His
liberal outlook made him to be denounced by orthodox Ulemas. Stress on the motive of love, which leads to
the realization of God was the main feature of his teachings. He preached the love of humanity more important
than love of God. He died in 1325, but still command tremendous respect.


His message of love was carried to different parts of the country–Bengal by Shaikh Sirajuddin Usmani
followed by Shaikh Alaudin Ala-ul-Haq, Shaikh Burhanuddin at Daulatabad, by Shaikh Syed Hussain, Shaikh
Husamuddin and Shah Barkatullah in Gujarat.
A noteworthy thing in the Muslim mystics is that they did not lose touch with the realities of life in
spite of their speculative beginning. They also did not hesitate in boldly criticizing the authorities. The
music party (Sama) of the Sufis was justified by pointing that Sufi is a lover of God and stands in different
relation to God from others, who are merely abd or slaves. As music inflames the fire of love and helps in
creating the supreme state of ecstasy, it was permissible.
After Baba Farid’s death, the Chisti order was divided into Nezamia and Sabiria, the latter was founded
by Makhdum Alauddin Ali Sabri, who isolated himself from the world and lived the life of a recluse.
Shaikh Abdul Quddus Gangohi (d. 1537) was a mystic of the Sabiria order, who was a great exponent
of the doctrine of Wahadat-ul-Wujud.
The Qadiri Silsilah was founded by Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani of Baghdad (d. 1160) which helped in
spreading Islam to Western Africa and Central Asia. Shah Niamatullah and Makhdum Mohammad Jilani
introduced it to India, towards the middle of the 15th century.
Prince Dara Shikoh was a great devotee of this order, who visited Miyan Mir (1550–1635) at Lahore
with Shahjahan and was impressed by his saintly personality. The works of prince–Safinat-ul-Auliya, Sakinatul-Auliya, Risala-i-Haq Numa, Majma-ul-Bahrain, exhibit the influence of Wahadat-ul-Wuzud.
Thus Chisti order again rose into prominence during Akbar’s period. Shaikh Kalimullah of Delhi and
his disciple Nizamuddin Chisti were prominent personalities in 18th century.
Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshbandi (1317-1389) founded the Naqshbandi order and was introduced into
India by Khwaja Baqi Billah (1563-1603). The mystics of this order stressed upon the observance of law



(Shariat) and denounced all biddat (innovations). However, Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi furiously attacked this
doctrine and expounded the doctrine of Wahadat-ul-Shuhud (apparentism). He maintained that the relation
between man and God is of slave and master, or worshipper or worshipped, but not of a lover and a beloved,
as the Sufis generally hold. He also maintained that the mystery of the Divine existence can only be realized
through the Shariat. Thus he tried to harmonise the doctrines of mysticism with the teachings of orthodox
Islam. That is why, he is called Mujaddid (the renovator) of Islam.
Shah Waliullah (1702-1762) a saint and scholar of this order tried to reconcile the two doctrines of
Wahadat-ul-Wujud and Wahadat-ul-Shuhud, contending that there exists no difference between the two.
Khwaja Mir Dard, the famous Urdu poet and a mystic of this order criticized Wahadat-ul-Wuzud in the light
of his inner experiences. He accused the expounder of this doctrine to be in a state of intoxication. He
maintained that one can attain closeness to God only through slavery to him.
The Sufis had established their Khanqahs (centres) in almost all parts of India, where spiritual discussions
were held under the supervision of a mystic preceptor (Pir). Till the end of the 17th century, the mystic
discipline continued to progress after which the deterioration set in. But in the 18th century, there were still
some Khanqahs which were centres of spiritual culture. Khwaja Mir Dard’s Khanqahs was among one of
them which was often visited by Emperor Shah Alam.