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Akbar’s Religious Views and His Policy

towards Hindus
Akbar’s Tolerant Religious Policy:
Akbar was very broadminded. He wanted to work out a synthesis of all religions. His treatment with
the Hindus was very tolerant.In fact he was so liberal in his religious outlook that he attempted to find
a new religion on the basis of good points of all religions. Of course he made no effort to force his
religion on his subjects.

Four pillars of Akbar’s religious policy:

Akbar’s religious policy was based on the following four pillars:
1. Pillar of amity,
2. Pillar of equity,
3. Pillar of kindness,
4. Pillar of tolerance.

Factors influencing Akbar’s Hindu Policy:

1. Influence of Bhakti movement:
The 16th century when Akbar was born, brought up and lived was marked
by a new awakening of broad- mindedness. The Bhakti Saints and Sufi
‘Peers’ had already been stressing upon religious toleration. So it was
natural for Akbar to be influenced by contemporary ideas and values.

2. Broadmindedness by nature:
Akbar by nature was broadminded,

3. Liberal influence of Hindu mother and tutors:

Liberal views of his mother Hamlda Banu, his regent Bairam Khan, and his
tutor Abdul Latif greatly influenced his mind to become broad minded.

4. Influence of Scholars:Three great scholars and liberal minded Sufis

i.e. Shaikh Mubark and his sons Faizl and Abdul Faizl exercised tremendous
influence on the religious outlook of Akbar.
5. Influence of Hindu wives:
Akbar’s Hindu wives also contributed to the change of his outlook.

6. Akbar’s contact with Rajput’s:

Akbar’s contact with the Rajput’s made him liberal.

7. Akbar’s desire to work independently:

Akbar wanted to free himself from the orthodoxy of the Muslim priestly

8. Pragmatic approach:
Akbar was an imperialist. He was convinced that he could not establish a
strong empire without the cooperation of the Hindus who formed the
majority of his subjects.

9. Desire to know truth:

It is said that Akbar would sit for hours together on a huge flat stone and
think of the mysteries of God and religion.

10. Akbar’s desire to experiment:

Akbar experimented in all departments from religion to metallurgy.

Measures adopted by Akbar to establish friendly relations with

the Hindus:
1. Freedom of worship:
Akbar allowed freedom of worship to people of all religions.

2. Abolition of Jizya:
Akbar quashed the Jizya tax on the Hindus.

3. Matrimonial alliances with the Hindus:

He established matrimonial relations with the Hindus. Akbar married Jodha
Bai, daughter of Bihari Mai of Amber. He also married Mani Bai, daughter
of the Kachwaha Raja Bhan Mai. He also married a princess from Jodhpur
and one from Bikaner. He married his son Jahangir to the daughter of Raja
Bhagwan Dass, son of Raja Bihari Lai.

4. High civil and military positions to Hindus:

He provided high positions to the Hindus. For example, Todar Mai was his
Finance Minister. Raja Bhagwan Das and Raja Man Singh were other
important ministers. Out of 12 Diwans, 8 were Hindus.

5. No religious conversion:
He put an end to religious conversions.

6. Abolition of pilgrim tax:

He abolished the pilgrim taxes on the Hindus.

7. Translation of Hindu scriptures:

He got translated the Vedas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and the
Gita from Sanskrit to Persian.

8. Establishment of Ibadat Khana. (House of Lordship)

He established Ibadat Khana (place of worship) where he used to have
religious discussions.

9. Issue of Infallibility Decree:

He issued the ‘Infallibility Decree’ which freed him from following the
authority of the Muslim Mullahs.

10. Founding a new religion:

He started a new religion called Din-i- Ilahi which included the good points
of all religions.

11. Reforms in Hindu Society:

Akbar tried to remove the evil practices like Sati prevalent in the Hindu

12. Freedom to construct temples:

Hindus were given full freedom to construct new temples and repair old

13. Land grants:

Akbar gave land grants to Hindu, Jain and Persian institutions.

14. Consideration for Hindu sentiments:

He banned the killing of cow.

Significance of Akbar’s Hindu Policy:

1. Extension and strengthening of Akbar’s empire:
The cooperation of the Hindus who formed the majority of Akbar’s subjects
helped him in the extension and strengthening of his empire.

2. Cultural unity:
Cultural unity between the Hindus and the Muslims was strengthened.
Culturally, The Hindus and Muslims came closer.

3. Promotion of scriptures:
Akbar established a Translation Bureau with the aim of translating Sanskrit
works into Persian.

4. Secular feelings:
Akbar’s religious policy encouraged a broad religious outlook.

5. Social reforms:
Akbar’s interest in the Hindu Society led to some awakening regarding the
evils of the Sati practice etc. Widow re-marriage was encouraged.

Summing up:
Akbar’s religious policy and his treatment towards the Hindus healed strife
and bitterness and produced an environment of harmony and goodwill
where there had been racial and religious antagonism of a most distressing
Religious Policy of Akbar 
The Religious Policy of Akbar was liberal. Akbar was born and brought up in comparatively liberal surrounding. Bairam 
Khan, who subsequently became Akbar’s guardian and protector, was a Shia Muslim. Bairam Khan is responsible for 
molding his conduct and shaping his early policy. Akbar’s most notable tutor, Abdul Latif, taught him the principle of 
universal peace which Akbar never forgot. Thus, the early environment influenced the Akbar’s religious views in the 
direction of liberalism. 

He never really gave evidence of narrow religious bigotry. 

Even before Akbar was twenty he abolished the pernicious practice of enslaving the prisoners of war and converting 
them to Islam. Profoundly religious in the correct sense of the term, he often pondered over the problems of life and 
death, and on completing his twentieth year he was seized with remorse caused by the difficulty of reconciling religion 
with politics. “On the completion of my twentieth year,” said Akbar, “I experienced an internal bitterness and from the 
lack of spiritual provision for my last journey, my soul was seized with exceeding sorrow.” 

The spiritual awakening became responsible for radical changes in the religious policy of Akbar. He first of all abolished 
the pilgrimage tax (1563) on Hindu Pilgrims visiting their holy shrines, in all parts of his empire. Next, he abolished the 
hated jiziya in 1564, and thus created a common citizenship for all his subjects. After this he gradually removed all other 
restrictions relating to public worship of non‐Muslims, including the building of temples and churches. He allowed his  
Hindu queens to install and worship images in his own palace. 

Mughal Emperor Akbar placed all the faiths in his empire on a footing of equality. In order to show respect to the 
religious sentiments of the Hindus who formed a vast majority of the country’s population, Akbar forbade the use of 
beef in the royal kitchen and prohibited animal slaughter for many days in the year. He personally almost gave up meat 

The emperor adopted many Hindu beliefs and practices, such as, the transmigration of Soul and the doctrine of Karma. 
He began to celebrate many Hindu festivals, such as Raksha Bandhan, Dushera, Diwali, Shivratri and Vasant. Sometimes 
he would put the Hindu paint‐mark (Tilak) on his forehead. He opened the highest services to non‐ Muslims. Thus, he 
inaugurated an era of complete religious toleration. 

Akbar, in his personal life, continued to be a good and tolerant, Muslim. Akbar say his daily five prayers and go through 
other observances of his religion. He sought the company of Muslim religious men and every year devoutly performed 
the pilgrimage to the mausoleum of Sheikh Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer. 

Akbar held discussions with the Brahmin scholars, Purushottam and Devi, and reputed theologians of other faiths in the 
balcony of his bedroom during the night. He had respect for all the faiths including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, 
Zoroastrianism and Christianity. 

Mughal Emperor Akbar was highly influenced by Hinduism. Akbar was acquainted with many Hindu beliefs and 
practices. But as Akbar was anxious to acquire first‐hand knowledge of the principles and doctrines, of that religion as 
given in the Shrutis and Smritis, he associated himself with prominent Hindu scholars, notable among them being 
Purushottam and Devi. They were drawn to the balcony of the private apartments of the royal palace during the night in 
order to explain to the emperor the mysteries of Hindu religion. 

The Hindus but their scholars and chiefs looked upon the great emperor Akbar as one of themselves. The religious policy 
of Akbar served the interests of all the religion and culture. 

Akbar ardently desired religious unity India, and, therefore, he founded a religion of his own, named Din‐i‐Ilahi. Din‐i‐
Ilahi was founded with the laudable object of bringing to an end religious bitterness and conflict. It is no wonder that 
Akbar failed to realize that both the Hindus and Muslims were so orthodox in that age that it was unthinkable for them 
to give up their hereditary beliefs and practices. 

Implications of Akbaris notion of Sulh‐i‐kul. 
Akbar ruled with a social and religious toleration that was relative, not absolute, and was based on his concept of sulh‐i‐
kul (for the general good of all people) which built on his liberal views of religion. 

Akbaris notion of Sulh‐i‐kul 
Akbar took the Sufi mystic notion of sulh‐i‐kul and transformed it to become a principle denoting amity‐ within a 
culturally pluralistic India. Muhammad Abdul Baki, in his history of Akbar’s reign, states: “Akbar extended toleration to 
all religions and creed, and would recognize no difference between them, his object being to unite all men in a common 
bond of peace. 

Sulh‐ i‐kul was to become his method of judging what was legally right or wrong within his empire and was created 
because Akbar understood that he was trying to build political institutions for predominately non‐Muslim society. Thus, 
in his empire, the beliefs and opinions of the orthodox mullahs were not to be the critical test for his rule because he 
wanted all of his subjects to be judged equally before the law. 

Akbar established separation of state and religion and opened government positions to members of all religions. He 
abolished the jizya on non‐Muslims and the forced conversion of prisoners of war to Islam. He converted the meetings 
of Muslim clerics into open discussions between Islam, Hindu, Parsi and Christian scholars and in 1579 issued an edict 
that made him the highest authority in religious matters. 

In the civil courts Akbar abolished laws that discriminated against non‐Muslims. He raised the Hindu court system to 
official status side by side with Muslim law and reformed the legislation with the aim to maximize common laws for 
Muslim and Hindu citizens. 

To begin with, Akbar first freed himself from existing methods of kingship. He chose to adopt a style which maintained 
Muslim beliefs while uniting Muslim and Hindu systems of governance. This sort and synergetic approach had been 
adopted in other lands by his Mongol forefathers to great effect. 

To separate himself from the filed past standards of Muslim rule, Akbar waged war against the mullahs (experts in 
Muslim religious matters) for control over social and political policy in his empire. In the past, orthodox mullah 
governments had imposed their version of orthodox Islamic polity, and their personal opinions, onto all of the subjects. 
Akbar’s drive to establish his full control over the mullahs demonstrates clearly his goal of a multi‐cultural state which 
would incorporate Hindus into all levels of government. 

Akbar’s Religious Policy with Special

Reference to Sule Kul
Akbar’s religious policy of harmony, reconciliation, and synthesis among all the
religions did not develop all of a sudden.

Between 1556 and 1562, Akbar remained a staunch Sunni Muslim. He practiced
the tenets of Islam as a devout Muslim—prayed five times a day, kept fast in the
holy month of Ramazan and honored the Ulemas of Islam.

He never hesitated to punish the opponents of Islam. However, gradually his

views changed after 1562.
‘Sule Kul’:
According to Dr. Tara Chand, his religion was the product of the synthetic effect
of the Vedanta and Sufism of the age. Akbar was deeply interested in religion and
philosophy and listened very carefully not only to the arguments of the Sufi and
Shia divines but also the scholars of other religions also.

He watched the good men professing different creeds and ‘Sule Kul’ i.e.
reconciliation seemed to him the only solution of developing harmony and
friendship among followers of different faiths. In fact some scholars equate ‘Din-
i-Ilahi’ with ‘Sule-Kul’.

Akbar’s ‘Sule-Kul’ or his policy of reconciliation and liberalism in religious

matters was greatly influenced by his Hindu mother, his guardian and tutor
Bairam Khan and Abdul Latif respectively, his contact with philosophers and
scholars like Sheikh Mubark and his sons Faizi and Abdul Fazal, his contact with
Rajputs, his contact with other religions and his political ambition to expand and
strengthen his empire with the cooperation of all religions.

Ibadat Khana (House of Worship):

With the help of Shaikh Mubark and his sons Faizi and Abdul Fazal, Akbar
collected a big library of books on history, religion, philosophy and sciences.
These were read out and explained to him by Faizi. The result was that Akbar’s
views on religion became very liberal and he wanted to go deep in religious
matters. For this he thought of providing a meeting ground.

In 1575, Akbar established Ibadat Khana at Fatehpur Sikri for the purpose of
conducting religious discussions and debates for a better understanding of deep
truth in religion. Akbar himself took part in these discussions. In the beginning,
Mullahs only participated.

Akbar addressed the following words to those assembled for discussion: “My sole
object, O. Mullahs is to ascertain truth, to find out and disclose the principles of
genuine religion and to trace it to the divine origin.”

In due course, exponents of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism and

Christianity began to be invited. All the scholars were given due respect. However
with the passage of time, Akbar found that the debates in the Ibadat Khana were
not helpful in leading to better understanding between different religions, rather
they created bitterness. Hence in 1582, he discontinued the debates.
Development of Akbar’s religious views and measures taken (in the
chronological order):
1. Akbar stopped the practice of converting the prisoners of war to Islam
2. He abolished the pilgrimage tax (1563)
3. He abolished Jizya — a tax levied on Hindus (1564) He established the
Ibadat Khana or House of Worship (1575)
4. He issued Infallibility Decree (1579)
5. He founded a new religion called Din-i-Ilahi (1581)
6. He forbade the killing of animals on certain days (1583)

Infallibility Decree (1579):

Akbar was in favour of weakening the powers of the Ulemas/Mullahs. He wanted
to combine in himself both political and spiritual powers. According to the
Decree, Akbar became the supreme arbiter in civil and religious affairs. This
declaration was signed by leading divines. Akbar himself began to read the
Khutba (earlier read by the Imam of the Mosque) from the pulpit of a Fatehpuri

‘Din-i-Ilahi’ or ‘Tauhld-Ilahi’:
After acquainted himself thoroughly with the principles and practises of different
religions through listening to the debates and discussions of religious
philosophers and scholars and watching their lives, Akbar founded a new religion
in 1581 which included the virtues of other religions and he named it Din-i-Ilahi.
Akbar tried to emphasise the ‘Sule Kul’ i.e. peace and harmony among religions.

Important principles of Din-i-Ilahi:

Some of the important principles of Din-i-Ilahi were:
1. God is great. He is One.

2. Akbar is His apostle or representative.

3. Every adherent of this faith should be willing to give away property, life,
religion and honour to the emperor.

4. Every member should take an oath of doing good to everybody.

5. No member should have blind faith.

6. The followers of this faith should not approve of child marriage as well as old
7. All should show respect to all religions.

8. Whenever the followers of this faith meet, one should say: Allah- hu-Akbar
(God is great) and in reply the other should say Jalla-Jallah – hu (God is
beautiful and merciful).

9. As far as possible, the followers of this religion should not eat meat.

10. The followers should not sleep with minor girls.

11. Every member should arrange a feast at his birth day and give charity.

Membership of the Din-i-Ilahi:

The number of the followers of the Din-i-Ilahi was not large. Probably it was a
few thousands only. Among the nobles, only eighteen are said to have accepted
this faith. Shaikh Mubark, his two sons Faizi and Abul Fazl and Raja Birbal
embraced the new faith. Akbar did not force anyone to accept Din-i-Ilahi. It was
sad and unfortunate that the new faith died with Akbar’s death.

Evaluation of Din-i-Ilahi:
Critics of Din-i-Ilahi: Monuments of Akbar’s folly. Budauni regards the founding
of Din-i-Ilahi as an un-Islamic act. Dr. Smith writes, “The whole scheme was the
outcome of ridiculous vanity, monstrous growth of unrestrained autocracy – a
monument of Akbar’s folly, not of his wisdom.” He further calls it “a silly

Admirers of Din-i-Ilahi:
According to S R. Sharma, Din-i-Ilahi was the crowning expression of Akbar’s
nationalism. Dr. Ishwari Prasad regards it very rational containing good points of
all religions. Havell thinks that with the new faith Akbar won an imperishable
name in Indian history.

The Divine Faith had far-reaching consequences. It totally changed the character
of Muslim rule in India. Malleson has also felt, “Akbar’s foremost aim was the
union of Hindustan under one head which was difficult to achieve had he
persecuted all non-Islamic religions. To accomplish such a union it was
necessary, first to conquer, Secondly, to respect all consciences, and all methods
of worshipping Almighty”.
Archaeology, or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The 
archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts, and cultural landscapes. Archaeology 
can be considered both a social science and a branch of the humanities.  

Archaeologists study human prehistory and history, from the development of the first stone tools at Lomekwi, 
eastern Africa, 3.3 million years ago up until recent decades. Archaeology as a field is distinct from the discipline of 
paleontology, the study of fossil remains. Archaeology is particularly important for learning about prehistoric 
societies, for whom there may be no written records to study. Prehistory includes over 99% of the human past, from 
the Paleolithic until the advent of literacy in societies across the world. Archaeology has various goals, which range 
from understanding culture history to reconstructing past lifeways to documenting and explaining changes in human 
societies through time. 
The discipline involves surveying, excavation and eventually analysis of data collected to learn more about the past. 
In broad scope, archaeology relies on cross‐disciplinary research. It draws upon anthropology, history, art history, 
classics, ethnology, geography, geology, linguistics, semiology, physics, information sciences, chemistry, statistics, 
paleoecology, paleontology, paleozoology, paleoethnobotany, and paleobotany. 

Archaeology developed out of antiquarianism in Europe during the 19th century, and has since become a discipline 
practiced across the world. Since its early development, various specific sub‐disciplines of archaeology have 
developed, including maritime archaeology, feminist archaeology and archaeoastronomy, and numerous different 
scientific techniques have been developed to aid archaeological investigation. Nonetheless, today, archaeologists 
face many problems, such as dealing with pseudoarchaeology, the looting of artifacts, a lack of public interest, and 
opposition to the excavation of human remains.  

Archaeological theories 
There is no one singular approach to archaeological theory that has been adhered to by all archaeologists. When 
archaeology developed in the late 19th century, the first approach to archaeological theory to be practiced was that 
of cultural‐history archaeology, which held the goal of explaining why cultures changed and adapted rather than just 
highlighting the fact that they did, therefore emphasizing historical particularism. 
Archaeological theory now borrows from a wide range of influences, including neo‐evolutionary thought,[35] 
phenomenology, postmodernism, agency theory, cognitive science, structural functionalism, gender‐based and 
feminist archaeology, and systems theory.  

I)Antiquarianism (antiquities collection) and Imperial synthesis (ancient times through c1880) 
People's interest of the past has existed since antiquity. During the Western world's Medieval period six main 
concepts were formed that would come to influence archaeological theory to some degree: 

1) The world is of recent, supernatural origin at best no more than a few thousand years old 

2) The physical world has degraded since God's original creation 

3) Humanity was created in the Garden of Eden 

4) Standards of human conduct naturally degrade 

5) History of the world is a sequence of unique events 

6) Culturally, socially, and intellectually the people of the past were identical to the present  

II) Cultural‐historical (Historical Particularism, National Archeology) archaeology (c1860‐present) 
After Darwin came the concept of cultural, or culture history; the idea group sites into distinct "cultures", to 
determine the geographic spread and time span of these cultures, and to reconstruct the interactions and flow of 
ideas between them. Cultural history, as the name suggests, was closely allied with the science of history. Cultural 
historians employed the normative model of culture, the principle that each culture is a set of norms governing 
human behaviour. Thus, cultures can be distinguished by patterns of craftsmanship; for instance, if one excavated 
sherd of pottery is decorated with a triangular pattern, and another sherd with a chequered pattern, they likely 
belong to different cultures. Such an approach naturally leads to a view of the past as a collection of different 
populations, classified by their differences and by their influences on each other. Changes in behaviour could be 
explained by diffusion whereby new ideas moved, through social and economic ties, from one culture to another. 

The Australian archaeologist Vere Gordon Childe was one of the first to explore and expand this concept of the 
relationships between cultures especially in the context of prehistoric Europe. By the 1920s sufficient archaeological 
material had been excavated and studied to suggest that diffusionism was not the only mechanism through which 
change occurred. Influenced by the political upheaval of the inter‐war period Childe then argued that revolutions 
had wrought major changes in past societies. He conjectured a Neolithic Revolution, which inspired people to settle 
and farm rather than hunt nomadically. This would have led to considerable changes in social organisation, which 
Childe argued led to a second Urban Revolution that created the first cities. Such macro‐scale thinking was in itself 
revolutionary and Childe's ideas are still widely admired and respected. 

III) Historical Particularism (c1880‐c1940) 
Franz Boas argued that cultures were unique entities shaped by a unique sequence of events. As a result there was 
no universal standard by which one culture could be compared with another. This line of thought combined with 
John Lubbock's concept that Western civilization would overwhelm and eventually destroy primitive cultures 
resulted in anthropologists recording mountains of information on primitive peoples before they vanished. 

IV) National Archeology (c1916‐present) 
National Archeology used cultural‐historical concepts to instill pride and raise the moral of certain nationalities or 
racial groups and it many countries it remains the dominate method of archeology. 

V) Soviet Archaeology (1917‐present) 
Adapting some of the concepts of Darwinian natural selection for use outside of the discipline of evolutionary 
biology while employing the Marxist historical‐economic theory of dialectical materialism, Soviet archaeologists 
resumed the method of use‐wear analysis and, beginning in the 1930s, tried to explain observed changes in the 
archaeological record in terms of internal social dynamics.[citation needed] 

VI) Social Archeology (UK) (c1922‐present) 
Processual archaeology (New Archaeology) 
In the 1960s, a number of young, primarily American archaeologists, such as Lewis Binford, rebelled against the 
paradigms of cultural history. They proposed a "New Archaeology", which would be more "scientific" and 
"anthropological". They came to see culture as a set of behavioural processes and traditions. (In time, this view gave 
rise to the term processual archaeology). Processualists borrowed from the exact sciences the idea of hypothesis 
testing and the scientific method. They believed that an archaeologist should develop one or more hypotheses about 
a culture under study, and conduct excavations with the intention of testing these hypotheses against fresh 
evidence. They had also become frustrated with the older generation's teachings through which cultures had taken 
precedence over the people being studied themselves. It was becoming clear, largely through the evidence of 
anthropology, that ethnic groups and their development were not always entirely congruent with the cultures in the 
archaeological record. 

VII) Behavioural archaeology 
An approach to the study of archaeological materials formulated by Michael B. Schiffer in the mid‐1970s that 
privileged the analysis of human behaviour and individual actions, especially in terms of the making, using, and 
disposal of material culture. In particular this focused on observing and understanding what people actually did, 
while refraining from considering people’s thoughts and intentions in explaining that behaviour. 

VIII) Post‐processual archaeology 
The different approaches to archaeological evidence which every person brings to his or her interpretation result in 
different constructs of the past for each individual. The benefit of this approach has been recognised in such fields as 
visitor interpretation, cultural resource management and ethics in archaeology as well as fieldwork. It has also been 
seen to have parallels with culture history. Processualists critique it, however, as without scientific merit. They point 
out that analysing yourself doesn't make a hypothesis any more valid, since a scientist will likely be more biased 
about himself than about artifacts. And even if you can't perfectly replicate digs, one should try to follow science as 
rigorously as possible. After all, perfectly scientific experiments can be performed on artifacts recovered or system 
theories constructed from dig information. 

Post‐processualism provided an umbrella for all those who decried the processual model of culture, which many 
feminist and neo‐Marxist archaeologists for example believed treated people as mindless automatons and ignored 
their individuality. 
For archaeology, the trowel is probably the most iconic and most‐often used tool. It is the same tool that masons use 
to apply mortar to brick walls, though in archaeology it is used to excavate in a unit when the space no longer allows 
for the use of a shovel. There is a long‐standing (but usually good‐natured) debate in the archaeology community 
about whether a pointed or square‐ended trowel is better. Opinions vary among the archaeologists at New 
Philadelphia as well, but it really is all up to the personal preference of the user! 

Shovels, either rounded or squared, are used as the primary excavating tool, most especially in units where very few 
or no features or artifacts are discovered. They are used because they allow for more soil to be moved in a shorter 
time, as opposed to only ever excavating with trowels. Soil is shoveled either into buckets (usually 5‐gallon size) and 
then carried to the screen, or is shoveled directly into the screen itself. 

Screens are used to sift the soil that comes from each unit in order to search for and better spot artifacts. The most 
common screen varieties are the tripod and box (or personal) screen, both of which are used at New Philadelphia. 
Soil is poured into the screen from either a bucket or a shovel, then shaken back and forth to allow the lighter soil to 
fall through the screen mesh, while heavier artifacts will stay inside the screen box. 

Handbrooms and dustpans are used while excavating a unit in order to more effeciently move the soil out. 
Handbrooms help to keep the "floor" of a unit clean, especially before a photograph is taken of it. Dustpans help to 
move soil out of the unit at a faster pace when archaeologists have begun only using their trowels. Soil can be 
scraped into the dustpan then dumped into a bucket, instead of moving soil one trowelful at a time. 

Tape Measures 
Tape measures are used to make sure that the size of the unit and the depth of each level are as exact as possible 
according to our field manual's regulations. They are also used when creating maps of units, as knowing the distance 
between artifacts or layers of soil will make the map much more accurrate. Historical archaeologists use English 
Standard Measure in their work, either using the typical denominations (feet and inches) or using what is called 
engineer's scale (tenths of a foot). This is different than prehistoric archaeology, which uses the Metric System. 
Historical archaeologists use English Standard Measure instead of the Metric System because the people that are 
being studied used English Standard Measure when building their homes and creating maps to describe them. 

Line Levels/Plumb Bobs 
Line levels and plumb bobs are primarily used in mapping features and excavation units. Line levels are attached to 
the strings that are used to outline the units and the diagonal string in order to be able to better measure the depth 
of each level and any artifacts that may be found. Plumb bobs are used in conjunction with the measuring tape while 
mapping in order to provide a precise location for any feature boundary or artifacts that may be in the walls or floor 
of a unit. 
Film and digital cameras are used at New Philadelphia in order to take official images of the floor and walls of each 
level of each excavation unit, artifacts, and occasionally candid shots of the crew. 

Transit/Total Station 
A transit or total station is a computer‐like tool used in surveying an archaeological site (though architects and civil 
engineers use them as well). This equipment is used to create a map of the site, using GPS and spatial data which 
records exact locations and heights of specific points. 

Soil Cores 
A basic soil core is a small metal tube with a handle at the top that is used for probing specific areas in the soil in 
search of buried artifacts or features. Once a specific spot is marked for coring, the archaeolgist pushes the core into 
the ground using their body weight, then pulls it back out to inspect the soil within it. If artifacts or a significant soil 
change is present, that area may be a good prospect for excavation. Soil cores are also useful in locating sub‐soil 
foundations; if a number of cores in a row were stopped by hard resistance, it is likely there is a feature buried in 
that location. 

Tongue Depressors/Dental Picks 
Wooden tongue depressors and dental picks, just like the kinds you see at your doctor and dentists' offices, are often 
used at archaeological sites. These small tools allow for the removal of soil in very tight or small locations in a unit, or 
can be used to clean off larger or more sturdy artifacts. 

An archaeological investigation usually involves several distinct phases, each of which employs its own variety of 
methods. Before any practical work can begin, however, a clear objective as to what the archaeologists are looking 
to achieve must be agreed upon. This done, a site is surveyed to find out as much as possible about it and the 
surrounding area. Second, an excavation may take place to uncover any archaeological features buried under the 
ground. And, third, the data collected from the excavation is studied and evaluated in an attempt to achieve the 
original research objectives of the archaeologists. It is then considered good practice for the information to be 
published so that it is available to other archaeologists and historians, although this is sometimes neglected.[36] 

Remote sensing 
Before actually starting to dig in a location, remote sensing can be used to look where sites are located within a large 
area or provide more information about sites or regions. There are two types of remote sensing instruments—
passive and active. Passive instruments detect natural energy that is reflected or emitted from the observed scene. 
Passive instruments sense only radiation emitted by the object being viewed or reflected by the object from a source 
other than the instrument. Active instruments emit energy and record what is reflected. Satellite imagery is an 
example of passive remote sensing. Here are two active remote sensing instruments: 

Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) A lidar uses a laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of 
radiation) to transmit a light pulse and a receiver with sensitive detectors to measure the backscattered or reflected 
light. Distance to the object is determined by recording the time between the transmitted and backscattered pulses 
and using the speed of light to calculate the distance traveled. Lidars can determine atmospheric profiles of aerosols, 
clouds, and other constituents of the atmosphere. 

Laser Altimeter A laser altimeter uses a lidar (see above) to measure the height of the instrument platform above the 
surface. By independently knowing the height of the platform with respect to the mean Earth's surface, the 
topography of the underlying surface can be determined. [37] 

Field survey 
The archaeological project then continues (or alternatively, begins) with a field survey. Regional survey is the 
attempt to systematically locate previously unknown sites in a region. Site survey is the attempt to systematically 
locate features of interest, such as houses and middens, within a site. Each of these two goals may be accomplished 
with largely the same methods. 

Survey work has many benefits if performed as a preliminary exercise to, or even in place of, excavation. It requires 
relatively little time and expense, because it does not require processing large volumes of soil to search out artifacts. 
(Nevertheless, surveying a large region or site can be expensive, so archaeologists often employ sampling 
methods.)[41] As with other forms of non‐destructive archaeology, survey avoids ethical issues (of particular concern 
to descendant peoples) associated with destroying a site through excavation. It is the only way to gather some forms 
of information, such as settlement patterns and settlement structure. Survey data are commonly assembled into 
maps, which may show surface features and/or artifact distribution. 

The simplest survey technique is surface survey. It involves combing an area, usually on foot but sometimes with the 
use of mechanized transport, to search for features or artifacts visible on the surface. Surface survey cannot detect 
sites or features that are completely buried under earth, or overgrown with vegetation. Surface survey may also 
include mini‐excavation techniques such as augers, corers, and shovel test pits. If no materials are found, the area 
surveyed is deemed sterile. 

Aerial survey is conducted using cameras attached to airplanes, balloons, UAVs, or even Kites.[42] A bird's‐eye view 
is useful for quick mapping of large or complex sites. Aerial photographs are used to document the status of the 
archaeological dig. Aerial imaging can also detect many things not visible from the surface. Plants growing above a 
buried man made structure, such as a stone wall, will develop more slowly, while those above other types of 
features (such as middens) may develop more rapidly. Photographs of ripening grain, which changes colour rapidly 
at maturation, have revealed buried structures with great precision. Aerial photographs taken at different times of 
day will help show the outlines of structures by changes in shadows. Aerial survey also employs ultraviolet, infrared, 
ground‐penetrating radar wavelengths, LiDAR and thermography.[43] 

Geophysical survey can be the most effective way to see beneath the ground. Magnetometers detect minute 
deviations in the Earth's magnetic field caused by iron artifacts, kilns, some types of stone structures, and even 
ditches and middens. Devices that measure the electrical resistivity of the soil are also widely used. Archaeological 
features whose electrical resistivity contrasts with that of surrounding soils can be detected and mapped. Some 
archaeological features (such as those composed of stone or brick) have higher resistivity than typical soils, while 
others (such as organic deposits or unfired clay) tend to have lower resistivity. 

Although some archaeologists consider the use of metal detectors to be tantamount to treasure hunting, others 
deem them an effective tool in archaeological surveying. Examples of formal archaeological use of metal detectors 
include musketball distribution analysis on English Civil War battlefields, metal distribution analysis prior to 
excavation of a 19th‐century ship wreck, and service cable location during evaluation. Metal detectorists have also 
contributed to archaeology where they have made detailed records of their results and refrained from raising 
artifacts from their archaeological context. In the UK, metal detectorists have been solicited for involvement in the 
Portable Antiquities Scheme. 

Regional survey in underwater archaeology uses geophysical or remote sensing devices such as marine 
magnetometer, side‐scan sonar, or sub‐bottom sonar.[44] 

Archaeological excavation existed even when the field was still the domain of amateurs, and it remains the source of 
the majority of data recovered in most field projects. It can reveal several types of information usually not accessible 
to survey, such as stratigraphy, three‐dimensional structure, and verifiably primary context. 

Modern excavation techniques require that the precise locations of objects and features, known as their provenance 
or provenience, be recorded. This always involves determining their horizontal locations, and sometimes vertical 
position as well (also see Primary Laws of Archaeology). Likewise, their association, or relationship with nearby 
objects and features, needs to be recorded for later analysis. This allows the archaeologist to deduce which artifacts 
and features were likely used together and which may be from different phases of activity. For example, excavation 
of a site reveals its stratigraphy; if a site was occupied by a succession of distinct cultures, artifacts from more recent 
cultures will lie above those from more ancient cultures. 

Excavation is the most expensive phase of archaeological research, in relative terms. Also, as a destructive process, it 
carries ethical concerns. As a result, very few sites are excavated in their entirety. Again the percentage of a site 
excavated depends greatly on the country and "method statement" issued. Sampling is even more important in 
excavation than in survey.Sometimes large mechanical equipment, such as backhoes (JCBs), is used in excavation, 
especially to remove the topsoil (overburden), though this method is increasingly used with great caution. Following 
this rather dramatic step, the exposed area is usually hand‐cleaned with trowels or hoes to ensure that all features 
are apparent. 

The next task is to form a site plan and then use it to help decide the method of excavation. Features dug into the 
natural subsoil are normally excavated in portions to produce a visible archaeological section for recording. A 
feature, for example a pit or a ditch, consists of two parts: the cut and the fill. The cut describes the edge of the 
feature, where the feature meets the natural soil. It is the feature's boundary. The fill is what the feature is filled 
with, and will often appear quite distinct from the natural soil. The cut and fill are given consecutive numbers for 
recording purposes. Scaled plans and sections of individual features are all drawn on site, black and white and colour 
photographs of them are taken, and recording sheets are filled in describing the context of each. All this information 
serves as a permanent record of the now‐destroyed archaeology and is used in describing and interpreting the site. 

Once artifacts and structures have been excavated, or collected from surface surveys, it is necessary to properly 
study them. This process is known as post‐excavation analysis, and is usually the most time‐consuming part of an 
archaeological investigation. It is not uncommon for final excavation reports for major sites to take years to be 

At a basic level of analysis, artifacts found are cleaned, cataloged and compared to published collections. This 
comparison process often involves classifying them typologically and identifying other sites with similar artifact 
assemblages. However, a much more comprehensive range of analytical techniques are available through 
archaeological science, meaning that artifacts can be dated and their compositions examined. Bones, plants, and 
pollen collected from a site can all be analyzed using the methods of zooarchaeology, paleoethnobotany, and 
palynology), while any texts can usually be deciphered. 

These techniques frequently provide information that would not otherwise be known, and therefore they contribute 
greatly to the understanding of a site. 

Computational and virtual archaeology 
Computer graphics are now used to build virtual 3D models of sites, such as the throne room of an Assyrian palace 
or ancient Rome.[45] Photogrammetry is also used as an analytical tool, and digital topographical models have been 
combined with astronomical calculations to verify whether or not certain structures (such as pillars) were aligned 
with astronomical events such as the sun's position at a solstice.[45] Agent‐based modeling and simulation can be 
used to better understand past social dynamics and outcomes. 

Archaeologists around the world use drones to speed up survey work and protect sites from squatters, builders and 
miners. In Peru, small drones helped researchers produce three‐dimensional models of Peruvian sites instead of the 
usual flat maps – and in days and weeks instead of months and years. 
Drones costing as little as £650 have proven useful. In 2013, drones have flown over at least six Peruvian 
archaeological sites, including the colonial Andean town Machu Llacta 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) above sea level. The 
drones continue to have altitude problems in the Andes, leading to plans to make a drone blimp, employing open 
source software.[46] 

Rajatarangini (Rājataraṃgiṇī, "The River of Kings") is a metrical legendary and historical chronicle of the north‐
western Indian subcontinent, particularly the kings of Kashmir. It was written in Sanskrit by Kashmiri Brahman 
Kalhana in the 12th century CE.[1] The work consists of 7826 verses, which are divided into eight books called 
Tarangas ("waves") 

The Rajataringini provides the earliest source on Kashmir that can be labeled as a "historical" text on this region. 
Although inaccurate in its chronology, the book still provides an invaluable source of information about early 
Kashmir and its neighbors in the north western parts of the Indian subcontinent, and has been widely referenced by 
later historians and ethnographers. 

Little is known about the author Kalhana (c. 12th century CE), apart from what is written in the book. His father 
Champaka was the minister (Lord of the Gate) in the court of Harsha of Kashmir. In the first Taranga (book) of 
Rajatarangini, Kalhana expresses his dissatisfaction with the earlier historical books, and presents his own views on 
how history ought to be written:[2] 

Verse 7. Fairness: That noble‐minded author is alone worthy of praise whose word, like that of a judge, keeps free 
from love or hatred in relating the facts of the past. 

Verse 11. Cite earlier authors: The oldest extensive works containing the royal chronicles [of Kashmir] have become 
fragmentary in consequence of [the appearance of] Suvrata's composition, who condensed them in order that (their 
substance) might be easily remembered. 

Verse 12. Suvrata's poem, though it has obtained celebrity, does not show dexterity in the exposition of the subject‐
matter, as it is rendered troublesome [reading] by misplaced learning. 

Verse 13. Owing to a certain want of care, there is not a single part in Ksemendra's "List of Kings" (Nrpavali) free 
from mistakes, though it is the work of a poet. 

Verse 14. Eleven works of former scholars containing the chronicles of the kings, I have inspected, as well as the 
[Purana containing the] opinions of the sage Nila. 

Verse 15. By looking at the inscriptions recording the consecretations of temples and grants by former kings, at 
laudatory inscriptions and at written works, the trouble arising from many errors has been overcome. 

Despite these stated principles, Kalhana's work is also full of legends and inconsistencies (see Historical reliability 

Evaluation Literary 
Kalhana was an educated and sophisticated Sanskrit scholar, well‐connected in the highest political circles. His 
writing is full of literary devices and allusions, concealed by his unique and elegant style.[15] 

Historical reliability 
Despite the value that historians have placed on Kalhana's work, there is little evidence of authenticity in the earlier 
books of Rajatarangini. For example, Ranaditya is given a reign of 300 years. Toramana is clearly the Huna king of 
that name, but his father Mihirakula is given a date 700 years earlier.[16] Even where the kings mentioned in the 
first three books are historically attested, Kalhana's account suffers from chronological errors.[17] 

Kalhana's account starts to align with other historical evidence only by Book 4, which gives an account of the Karkota 
dynasty. But even this account is not fully reliable from a historical point of view. For example, Kalhana has highly 
exaggerated the military conquests of Lalitaditya Muktapida. 


History of India has witnessed innumerable erudite men in several times. But the man we are to
discuss about, was a rare combination of a profound scholar, a great munshi, a distinguished
historian, a brilliant administrator and a splendid statesman, ‘Abul Fazl Allami’.

Apart from being a prolific classical writer he is regarded as one of the most distinguished
historians of the court of Akbar and his 'Akbar Nama' and 'Ain-e-Akbari' bear testimony for his
profound scholarship and command over Persian prose. So, two most famous and enhanced
name in the field of Political science and history, Abul Fazl and The Ain-e-Akbari is our topic
of discussion.

Introducing Abul Fazl Allami

Abul Fazl's ancestors hailed from Yemen. He was a descendant of Shaikh Musa who lived in
Rel near Siwistan (Sehwan Sindh), until the close of the 15th century. His grandfather, Shaikh
Khizr, moved to Nagaur which had attained importance as a sufi mystic centre under Shaikh
Hamid-ud-din Sufi Sawali, a khalifa of Shaikh Muin-ud-din Chisti of Ajmer. At Nagaur Shaikh
Khizr settled near the tomb of Shaikh Hamid-ud-din. Abul Fazl was the second son of Shaikh
Mubarak. He was born in 1551 A.D.

Abul Fazl wrote about his own account in ‘Ain-e-Akbari’-

“ In the year 473 of the Jalali era, corresponding to the night of Sunday, the 6th of
Muharram 958 of the lunar reckoning (14 January 1551), my pure spirit joined to this elemental
body came forth from the womb into this fair expanse of the world.”

He came to Akbar's court in 1575 and was influential in Akbar's religious views becoming more
liberal into the 1580s and 1590s. He also led the Mughal imperial army in its wars in the
Deccan. His famous works are ‘The Akbarnama’, ‘Ruqaʿāt’ and ‘Inshā-i-Abu'l Fazl’.

Abul Fazl was assassinated while he was returning from the Deccan by Vir Singh Bundela (who
later became the ruler of Orchha) between Sarai Vir and Antri (near Narwar) in a plot contrived
by the Mughal Prince Salim, who later became the Emperor Jahangir in 1602, because Abu'l
Fazl was known to oppose the accession of Prince Salim to the throne. His severed head was
sent to Salim at Allahabad. Abul Fazl was buried at Antri.

“ Shaikh Abu al-Fazal ibn Mubarak (Persian: ‫ )ﺍﺑﻮ ﺍﻟﻔﻀﻞ‬also known as Abu'l-Fazl, Abu'l
Fadl and Abu'l-Fadl 'Allami (1551 – August 12, 1602) was the vizier of the great Mughal
emperor Akbar, and author of the Akbarnama, the official history of Akbar's reign in three
volumes, (the third volume is known as the Ain-i-Akbari) and a Persian translation of the

In a nutshell, The Ain-i-Akbari or the "Constitution of Akbar", is a 16th-century, detailed

document recording the administration of emperor Akbar's empire, written by his vizier, Abu'l-
Fazl ibn Mubarak. It makes the Volume III and the final part of the much larger document, the
Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, also by Abul Fazl, and it itself is in three volumes.

[ Ref: ]

The Ain-i-Akbari is the third volume of the Akbarnama containing information regarding
Akbar's reign in the form of, what would be called in modern times, administration reports,
statistical compilations, or gazetteers. It contains the ain ( mode of governing) of Akbar, and is,
in fact, the administration report and statistical Return of his government. The first volume of
the Akbarnama contains the history of Timur's family and the reigns of Babar, the Súr kings,
and Humayun. The second volume is devoted to the detailed history of the nearly forty-six
years of the Akbar's reign. Since it was written around 1590, it also contains details of Hindu
beliefs and practices as well as a history of India.

The Ain-i-Akbari is itself divided into five books. The first book deals with the imperial
household, and the second with the servants of the emperor, the military and civil services. The
third book deals with the imperial administration, containing the regulations for the judicial and
executive departments. The fourth book contains information about Hindu philosophy, science,
social customs and literature. The fifth book contains sayings of Akbar, along with an account
of the ancestry and biography of the author.

It is currently housed in the Hazarduari Palace, in West Bengal.

[ Ref: Blochmann, H. (tr.) (1927, reprint 1993). The Ain-I Akbari by Abu'l-Fazl Allami, Vol. I, Calcutta: The
Asiatic Society ]

Akbar’s Administration in Ain-i-Akbari

At first, the compact from speeches about Akbar’s Administration is discussed here,

the Mughal government of Akbar was divided divided into fifteen administrative units known
as Subhas, viz., Delhi, Agra, Ajmer, Lahore, Kabul, Multan, Ahmedabad, Ahmednagar, Malwa,
Khandesh, Berar, Allahabad, Oudh, Bihar and Bengal. He placed a governor named Subahdar
in charge of each Subah. He was to be held responsible to the Emperor for the maintenance of
peace and order within the Subah. Each Subah was again divided into a number of small
administrative units known as Sarkars. The officer in charge of a Sarkar was known as Faujdar.
Both in the centre and in the provinces there was an elaborate staff of bureaucratic officials. The
most prominent among them were the Dewar, in charge of revenue department, the Bakshi in
charge of pay department, the Mir Babar in charge of shipping, ports and ferries, the Wakia
Navis in charge of the Record Department, and Sadar, in charge of the Ecclesiastical Affairs.

The military administration of Akbar is also priseworthy. Mughal Akbar reformed the existing
military organization by introducing regular gradation of military officers called Mansabdars.
They were divided into 33 grades. They received fixed pay from the state and were required to
render such military duties as were entrusted to them from time to time.

As Abul Fazl described about the army of Akbar in chapter named ‘The Army’into his Ain-i-
Akbari, those are below.

01) The Divisions of the Army; (02) On the Animals of the Army.
(03) The Mansabdars; (04) The Ahadis [a special category of officers who are not formally
mansabdars]; (05) Other Kinds of Troopers; (06) The Infantry (The Banduq-chis, or
Matchlock-bearers; The Darbans, or Porters; The Khidmatiyyas; The Mewras; The Shamsher-
baz, or Gladiators; The Pahluwans, or Wrestlers; The Chelas, or Slaves; The Kuhars, or Palki
bearers; Dakhili troops).
(07) Regulations Regarding the Branding of Animals; (08) On the Repetition of the Mark.
(09) Rules About Mounting Guard.
(10) Regulations Regarding the Waqi'a-Nawis [news-writers]
(11) On Sanads [decrees] (The Farman-i sabti); (12) The Order of the Seals; (13) The Farman-
i Bayazi [an urgent or secret decree]
(14) On the Manner in which Salaries are Paid; (15) Musa'adat, or Loans to Officers; (16) On
Donations; (17) On Alms.
(18) The Ceremony of Weighing His Majesty.
(19) On Sayurghals [grants made to different categories of people]
(20) On the Carriages, etc., Invented by His Majesty.
(21) The Ten-Ser Tax (Dahseri).
(22) On Feasts; (23) The Khushroz or Day of Fancy Bazars.
(24) Regulations Regarding Marriages.
(25) Regulations Regarding Education.
(26) The Admiralty.
(27) On Hunting (Tiger Hunting; Elephant-catching; Leopard Hunting); (28) The Food
Allowed to Leopards; the Wages of the Keepers (Skill exhibited by hunting leopards; The
Siyah-gosh; Dogs; Hunting Deer with Deer; Buffalo Hunts; On Hunting with Hawks;
Allowance of Food; Prices of Falcons; Waterfowl; Frogs)
(27) On Amusements (The game of Chaugan (hockey); 'Ishqbazi (pigeon-flying); The
Colours of Khasa Pigeons; The game of Chaupar; The game of Chandal Mandal; Cards).
(28) The Grandees of the Empire (Note on the meaning of the title of "Tarkhan"; Note on the
title of "Asaf Khan"; Note on the battle of Takaroi, or Mughulmari, in Orisa; Note on the
Sayyids of Barha (Sadat-e Barha); Note on the Nuqtawiyya Sect; Note on the Death of
'Usman Lohani).

Further Abul Fazl discussed about administration in the chapter named ‘Imperial
Administration’. Those are conferred below.

A'INS: (1) The Provincial Viceroy; (2) The Faujdar; (3) The Mir 'Adl and the Qazi; (4) The
Kotwal; (5) The Collector of Revenue; (6) The Treasurer
(7) The Islamic land tax; (8) The Ilahi gaz [a measurement]; (9) The Tanab [a measurement];
(10) The Bigha [a measurement]; (11) Land, its classification, dues of the State; (12) Chachar
land [uncultivated land]; (13) Banjar land [barren land]; (14) The Nineteen Years' Rates; (15)
The Ten Years' Settlement.
ACCOUNT OF THE SUBAHS: The Subah of Bengal; The Subah of Bihar; The Subah of
Illahabad; The Subah of Oudh; The Subah of Agra; The Subah of Malwa; The Subah of
Khandesh; The Subah of Berar; The Subah of Gujarat; The Subah of Ajmer The Subah of
Delhi; The Subah of Lahore; The Subah of Multan; The Subah of Kabul.
(16) The Karoh or Kos [a measurement]

[ Ref: Abu'l-Fazl 'Allami, Ain-i-Akbari (3 vols.). Vol. 1 trans. H. Blochmann, 1927. Vol. 1 ]

From these discussion in Ain-i-Akbari, we can outline some points on the administration of

Central Administration: Akbar was the overall in-charge of the central government. All the
executive, judicial and legislative powers of the state were combined in him. There were no
limitations on his despotism and his word was law. Akbar was, however, assisted by a number
of ministers in the administration. Among others, the most important ministers were – the
Vakil, who maintained a general control over all the central departments and acted as the chief
adviser of the King; Diwan, who was in-charge of finance and revenue; Mir Bakshi, who
maintained the records of all the Mansabdars and distributed pay among the high officials;
Sadar-i-Sadur, who acted as a religious adviser to the king, disbursed royal charity and
discharged the function of the Chief Justice of the empire. Beside these four ministers, there
were other ministers of lower rank- Khan-i-Saman, who was in-charge of the royal household;
Muhtasib, who saw that the people (Muslims) led a highly moral life according to the Muslim
law; and Daroga-i-Dak Chowki, an officer who was in-charge of the postal and intelligence

Provincial Administration: Akbar divided his vast empire into fifteen (15) Subas or
provinces. In each suba or province there was a Subedar, a Diwan, a Bakshi, a Sadar, a Qazi, a
Kotwal, a Mir Bahr and Waqa-i-Nawis.
The Subedar or Governor was the head of the provincial administration. He enjoyed vast
powers and was in-charge of the provincial military, police, judiciary and the executive.

Military Administration: Akbar paid much attention towards the organization, equipment and
discipline of the army. For efficient military administration he introduced a new system known
as the Mansabdari System. The Mansabdars had to maintain soldiers according to his grade or
rank. There were thirty three grades of these Mansabdars who maintained soldiers ranging from
10 to 10,000. They were paid salaries in cash and the system of assignments of lands was
discouraged. They were directly under the charge of the emperor and were promoted, degrade
or dismissed at his will. He also revived the practice of taking the descriptive rolls of the
soldiers and branding the horses.

Land Revenue Administration: Land Revenue was the chief sources of income of the
Government. So, Akbar paid special attention towards the organization of the land revenue
administration. With the help of his Diwan (Revenue Minister), Raja Todar Mal, Akbar
introduced many reforms in his revenue department. First of all, the land was measured into
‘bighas’, secondly, all the cultivated land was classified into four divisions – Polaj, Parauti,
Chachar and Banjar.

Judicial Administration or Judicial Reforms: Akbar introduced various reforms in the

administration of justice. Before him almost all the cases were decided according to the Islamic
law. But now, for the first time, Hindu law was administered in deciding the cases where the
parties Hindus, but Islamic law continued to function where the parties involved were Muslims.
The king was the highest court of appeal. Capital punishment was given only in extreme cases
and that too by the emperor alone.

Social Reforms: Akbar had the welfare of his people always in his mind. He had taken several
measures to improve the general condition of his subjects. In 1563, the Pilgrim Tax, which was
a great burden on the Hindus, was abolished. In 1564, Jaziya, a tax which was imposed on non-
Muslims, was also abolished. Akbar tried to stop the practice of Sati. Child marriage was
discouraged and female-infanticide was forbidden. Widow-marriage was encouraged.

From the above account we got by Abul Fazl, it is quite clear that Ain-i-Akbari is a great and
undecayable book on the basis of administration of Akbar.

The "Memoirs of Babur" or Baburnama are the work of the great‐great‐great‐grandson of Timur (Tamerlane), Zahiruddin 
Muhammad Babur (1483‐1530). As their most recent translator declares, "said to 'rank with the Confessions of St. 
Augustine and Rousseau, and the memoirs of Gibbon and Newton,' Babur's memoirs are the first‐‐and until relatively 
recent times, the only‐‐true autobiography in Islamic literature." The Baburnama tells the tale of the prince's struggle 
first to assert and defend his claim to the throne of Samarkand and the region of the Fergana Valley. After being driven 
out of Samarkand in 1501 by the Uzbek Shaibanids, he ultimately sought greener pastures, first in Kabul and then in 
northern India, where his descendants were the Moghul (Mughal) dynasty ruling in Delhi until 1858. 

The memoirs offer a highly educated Central Asian Muslim's observations of the world in which he moved. There is 
much on the political and military struggles of his time but also extensive descriptive sections on the physical and human 
geography, the flora and fauna, nomads in their pastures and urban environments enriched by the architecture, music 
and Persian and Turkic literature patronized by the Timurids. The selections here‐‐all taken from his material on 
Fergana‐‐have been chosen to provide a range of such observations from the material he recorded at the end of the 
1490s and in the first years of the sixteenth century. It should be of some interest to compare his description of 
Samarkand with that of the outsider, Clavijo, from a century earlier. 

This translation is based on that by Annette Beveridge, The Babur‐nama in English, 2 v. (London, 1921), but with 
substantial stylistic revision to eliminate the worst of her awkward syntax. I have chosen to use Beveridge's indications 
of distances in miles rather than confuse the reader with the variable measure of distance provided in the original.   An 
elegantly produced modern translation is that by Wheeler M. Thackston, The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and 
Emperor (Washington, D. C., etc., The Smithsonian Institution and Oxford University Press, 1996).  I have consulted 
Thackston and occasionally used his readings and renderings of the place names where the Beveridge translation was 
obscure.   I would warn readers that my editing of the text has been done in some haste; further work would be needed 
to improve the style and standardize usages. 

Interspersed in the text are illustrations, some being contemporary views of places Babur describes; the others (which 
may be enlarged by clicking on the thumbnails)  taken from the miniatures of an illustrated copy of the Baburnama 
prepared for the author's grandson, the Mughal Emperor Akbar. (The title page is here on the right.)   It is worth 
remembering that the miniatures reflect the culture of the court at Delhi; hence, for example, the architecture of 
Central Asian cities resembles the architecture of Mughal India.  Nonetheless, these illustrations are important as 
evidence of the tradition of  exquisite miniature painting which developed at the court of Timur and his successors.  
Timurid miniatures are among the greatest artistic achievements of the Islamic world in the fifteenth and sixteenth 

Bāburnāma (Chagatai/Persian: ‫ﻧﺎﻣہ‬ ‫´;ﺑﺎﺑﺭ‬, literally: "Book of Babur" or "Letters of Babur"; alternatively known as Tuzk‐e 
Babri) is the name given to the memoirs of Ẓahīr‐ud‐Dīn Muḥammad Bābur (1483–1530), founder of the Mughal Empire 
and a great‐great‐great‐grandson of Timur. 

It is an autobiographical work, written in the Chagatai language, known to Babur as "Turki" (meaning Turkic), the spoken 
language of the Andijan‐Timurids. According to historian Stephen Frederic Dale, Babur's prose is highly Persianized in its 
sentence structure, morphology, and vocabulary,[1] and also contains many phrases and smaller poems in Persian. 
During Emperor Akbar's reign, the work was completely translated to Persian by a Mughal courtier, Abdul Rahīm, in AH 
998 (1589–90). 

Bābur was an educated Timurid and his observations and comments in his memoirs reflect an interest in nature,
society, politics and economics. His vivid account of events covers not just his life, but the history and geography of
the areas he lived in and their flora andfauna, as well as the people with whom he came into contact.
After some background, Bābur describes his fluctuating fortunes as a minor ruler in Central Asia – in which he took
and lost Samarkandtwice – and his move to Kabul in 1504.

There is a break in the manuscript between 1508 and 1519. By the latter date Bābur is established in Kabul and
from there launches an invasion into northwestern India. The final section of the Bāburnāma covers the years 1525
to 1529 and the establishment of the Mughal empire in India, which Bābur's descendants would rule for three

The Bāburnāma is widely translated and is part of text books in no less than 25 countries mostly in Central,
Western, and Southern Asia. It was first translated into English byJohn Leyden and William Erskine as Memoirs of
Zehir-Ed-Din Muhammed Baber: Emperor of Hindustan[4] and later by the British orientalist scholar Annette
Susannah Beveridge(née Akroyd, 1842–1929).

UNIT 3 :- Nature of Ashoka’s Dhamma = Responsible for the downfall of MaURYAN

What was the nature of Asoka's Dhamma?

Till very recently historians were confused as to the true nature of Asoka's Dhamma.
Some pointed that Buddhism and Asoka's Dhamma are one and the same. But after
a deep analysis of Asokan Edicts on Dhamma it has been found the these are two
different things and one should not be confused with the other.
Indeed, Asoka embraced Buddhism after the Kalinga war.

 According to Romila Thapar, Dhamma was Asoka's own invention.

 In his Dhamma, Asoka had suggested a moral life that was convenient to follow.
 Dhamma incorporated a way of life that included a number of ideals and
 Abstinence from killing, respect to elder moderation in behaviour, etc. were the
ideals that could be follow- by all people.

No matter to what religion they belonged. In conclusion it may be said that

Buddhism was the personal religion of Asoka while Dhamma was the way of life
that he wanted, as a king, the people in general to follow.

 Ashoka’s dhamma meant ‘righteousness’.

 The concept of dhamma is well discussed in Ashoka edicts which were the oldest
surviving documents of Indian history.
 The edicts found scattered all over the Indian subcontinent are basically official
pronouncement of policy, and instructions of Ashoka to his officials and
 Ashoka is said to have underwent a complete charge of heart after Kalinga war
during his eight regnal year and thus visualized ‘Dhamma’.

The traditional policy of territorial expansion was substituted by Dhamma. As

mentioned in Ashokan edicts, Dhamma calls for certain virtues to be possessed and
the negative traits to be abstained from. It gives a moral guidance to the subjects and
stresses on social harmony and religious tolerance.

 Respect to elders, parents teachers; equal treatment to all religious sects, ahimsa,
moderate accumulation of wealth and judicious spending etc, are dealt with in
detail in the Major Rock Edicts VII and III respectively.
 The major rock edict IX condemns rituals as ‘the source of ignorance’ and
Ashoka appeals for non-sacrifice of animals in ceremonies and food habits.

 The Major Rock Edict V speaks about the welfare activities undertaken and the
appointment of Dhamma Mahavratas to propagate Dhamma. Ashoka strived for
the moral and spiritual development of his subjects. He even undertook
pilgrimages and sent his kith and kin as missionaries to propagate Dhamma

1. Ashoka's creation of the institution of the Dhammamahamattasconvincingly proves

that Asoka's Dhamma did not favor any particular religious doctrine. Had that been
case, then there would have been no need for such an office, as Ashoka could have
utilized the organisation of Samgha to propagate Dhamma.
2. A careful study of Rock Edicts depicts that Ashoka wanted to promote tolerance and
respect to all religions sects and duty of the Dhammamahamattas included working for
the Brahmans and Sarmans.

 In totality, Dhamma was not a religion but a ‘way of life.’

Relevance in the current Society ?

 Ashoka’s Dhamma holds good even in the present society.
 Dhamma is distinguished by several characteristic doctrines and philosophical
 Tolerance was insisted upon as an absolute duty, which is very much necessary
for multi-religious country India.
 Dhamma is completely cosmopolitan and has universal applicability.
 It can act as a panacea for the religious and social unrest currently prevailing in

In conclusion, Dhamma being secular in nature and advocates humanitarian approach,

making it a very practical solution. Dhamma promotes social equality and is realistic.
So, Dhamma is the need of the hour of the present India. Ashoka’s Dhamma has all-
time applicability in a divergent Indian society.
Was Ashoka's Dhamma responsible for the downfall of
his empire?
 According to the historians, the sole cause behind the decline of the Mauryas
after Ashoka was his weak successors.
 After Ashoka`s demise, there was none among his heirs to equal the gigantic task
of maintaining unity within the vast Empire.
 Moreover the successors of Ashoka had been reared in the tradition of non-
violence and the policy of Dharma Vijaya.
 To them, aggressive imperialism initiated by Chandragupta Maurya was a dim
 As a result they had neither will nor the strength to bridle the process of
disruption within the Empire.
 None of Ashoka`s successors except Dasharatha could really understand and
implement the Dharma Vijaya policy inaugurated by the enigmatic man.
 The later Mauryas followed the policy of Dharma Vijaya only by forbidding any
armed resistance against the invaders and internal revolutionaries. As a result the
very foundation of the Mauryas was shattered.

However downfall of the Mauryan Empire cannot solely be attributed to Ashoka's

Dhamma..infact der were many other genuine reasons due which the EMPIRE could
not STAND as follows :-
1. The Partition of the Mauryan Empire:

 An immediate cause for the decline was the partition of the Mauryan Empire into
two halves .
 "Had the partition not taken place, the Greek invasions of the north-west could
have been held back for a while. The partition of the empire disrupted the various
services as well."

2. Weak later-Mauryan Rulers:

 The succession of weak Mauryan rulers after Asoka completely disrupted the
Mauryan administration.
 The weakness of these rulers can be imagined from the fact that as many as six
rulers could rule only 52 years over the eastern part of the empire and finally the
last Mauryan King was assassinated by his own commander-in-Chief Pusyamitra
Sunga. These weak later-Mauryan rulers could also not continue the traditional
policies of the Mauryas.
3. Asoka's Responsibility for the Decline:

 Many scholars have accused Asoka as being directly responsible for the decline
of the Mauryan Empire.
 H.C. Raychaudhuri maintains that Asoka's pacifist policies were responsible for
undermining the strength of the empire.
 He says: "From the time of Bimbisara to Kalinga war the history of India was the
story of the expansion of Magadha from a tiny state in South Bihar to a gigantic
empire extending from the foot of the Hindukush to the borders of the Tamil

4. Pressure on Mauryan Economy:

 D.D. Kosambi has expressed the opinion that there was considerable pressure
on Mauryan economy under the later Mauryas.
 This view is based on the increase of taxes and debasement of later- Mauryan
punch- marked coins.
 But contrary to the above, the foreign accounts and the material remains of the
period give a picture of an expanding economy

5. Highly Centralized Administration:

 Prof. Romila Thapar is of the view: "The machinery of the Mauryan

administrative system was so centralized that an able ruler could use it both to his
own advantage and that of his people, to the same degree it could become
harmful to both under a weak ruler who would lose its central control and allow
forces of decay to disintegrate and wreck it."
Art, Literature and Science in Gupta
The Gupta period is called the Golden Age of ancient India. This may not be true
in the economic field because several towns in north India declined during this

However, the Guptas possessed a large quantity of gold, whatever its source, and
they issued the largest number of gold coins.

Princes and the rich could divert a part of their income to support those who were
engaged in art and literature. Both Sam udragupta and Chandragupta II were
patrons of art and literature. Samudragupta is represented on his coins playing
the lute (vina), and Chandragupta II is credited with maintaining in his court
nine luminaries.

In ancient India, art was largely inspired by religion. Survivals of non- religious
art from ancient India are few. Buddhism gave great impetus to art in Maurya
and post-Maurya times and led to the creation of massive stone pillars, the
hewing of beautiful caves, and the raising of high stupas or relic towers. The
stupas appeared as dome-like structures on round bases, principally of stone.
Innumerable images of the Buddha were sculptured.

During the Gupta period a life-size copper image of the Buddha of more than 6
feet was made. It was discovered at Sultanganj near Bhagalpur, and is now
displayed in Birmingham. During the Gupta period beautiful images of the
Buddha were fashioned at Sarnath and Mathura, but the finest specimens of
Buddhist art in Gupta times are the Ajanta paintings.

Although these paintings covered the period from the first century BC to the
seventh century ad, most of them relate to Gupta times. They depict various
events in the life of Gautama Buddha and the previous Buddhas whose birth
stories are related in the Jatakas. These paintings are lifelike and natural, and the
brilliance of their colours has not faded even after fourteen centuries. However,
there is nothing to show that the Guptas were the patrons of the Ajanta paintings.

As the Guptas supported Brahmanism, images of Vishnu, Shiva, and some other
Hindu gods were fashioned for the first time during their period. At many places,
the entire pantheon is portrayed with the chief god at the centre surrounded by
his retainers and subordinates. The leading god is represented as large in size,
with his retainers and subordinate gods drawn on a smaller scale. This reflects
clear social hierarchy and discrimination.

The Gupta period was poor in terms of architecture. All that we find .ire a few
temples made of brick in UP and a stone temple. The brick temples of Bhitargaon
in Kanpur, Bhitari in Ghazipur, and Deogarh in Jhansi may be mentioned. The
Buddhist university at Nalanda was set up in the fifth century, and its earliest
structure, made of brick, relates to this period.

The Gupta period is remarkable for the production of secular literature, which
consisted of a fair degree of ornate court poetry. Bhasa was an important poet in
the early phase of the Gupta period and wrote thirteen plays. He wrote in
Sanskrit, but his dramas also contain a substantial amount of Prakrit. He was the
author of a drama called Dradiracharudatta, which was later refashioned as
Mrichchhakatika or the Little Clay Cart by Shudraka.

The play deals with the love affair of a poor brahmana trader with a beautiful
courtesan, and is considered one of the best works of ancient drama. In his plays
Bhasa uses the term yavanika for the curtain, which suggests Greek contact.
However, what has made the Gupta period particularly famous is the work of
Kalidasa who lived in the second half of the fourth and the first half of the fifth
century. He was the greatest poet of classical Sanskrit literature and wrote
Abhijnanashakuntalam which is very highly regarded in world literature.

It relates the love story of King Dushyanta and Shakuntala, whose son Bharata
appears as a famous ruler. Shakuntalam was one of the earliest Indian works to
be translated into European languages, the other work being the Bhagavadgita.

The plays produced in India during the Gupta period have two common features.
First, they are all comedies; no tragedies are found. Secondly, characters of the
higher and lower classes do not speak the same language; women and shudras
featuring in these plays use Prakrit whereas the higher classes use Sanskrit. We
may recall that Ashoka and the Satavahanas used Prakrit as the state language.

This period also shows an increase in the production of religious literature. Most
works of.the period had a strong religious bias. The two great epics, namely the
Ramayana and the Mahabharata, were almost completed by the fourth century
Although the epics and Puranas seem to have been compiled by the brahmanas,
they represent the kshatriya tradition. They are replete with myths, legends, and
exaggerations. They may reflect social developments but are not dependable for
political history. The Ramayana relates the story of Rama, who was banished by
his father Dasharatha from the kingdom of Ayodhya for fourteen years on
account of the machinations of his stepmother Kaikeyi. He faithfully carried out
his father’s orders and went to live in a forest, from where his wife Sita was
abducted by Ravana, the king of Lanka.

Eventually Rama with the help of Sugriva succeeded in rescuing Sita. The story
has two important moral strands. First, it idealizes the institution of family in
which a son must obey his father, the younger brother must obey his elder
brother, and the wife must be faithful to her husband under all circumstances.
Second, Ravana symbolizes the force of evil, and Rama the force of righteousness.
In the end, righteousness triumphs over the forces of evil, and a good order over a
bad order.

The story of Rama had a much wider social and religious appeal than the main
narrative of the Mahabharata. There are many versions of the Ramayana in all
the important Indian languages and also in those of Southeast Asia.

The Mahabharata is essentially the story of conflict between two groups of

cousins, the Kauravas and the Pandavas. It shows that kingship knows no
kinship. Although the Pandavas were entitled to their share in the kingdom ruled
by Dhritarashtra, the Kauravas refused to give them even a single inch of
territory. This led to a prolonged fratricidal war between the Pandavas,
patronized by Krishna, and rhe Kauravas fighting on their own.

Eventually the Kauravas were worsted in the battle, and the Pandavas emerged
victorious. This story too symbolizes the victory of righteousness over the forces
of evil. The Bhagavadgita forms an important part of the Mahabharata. It teaches
that a person must carry out the duties assigned to him by his caste and rank
under all circumstances without any desire for reward.

The Puranas follow the lines of the epics, and the earlier ones were finally
compiled in Gupta times. They are full of myths, legends, sermons, etc., which
were meant for the education and edification of the common people. The period
also saw the compilation of various Smritis or the lawbooks in which social and
religious norms were written in verse. The phase of writing commentaries on the
Smritis begins after the Gupta period.
The Gupta period also saw the development of Sanskrit grammar based on the
work of Panini and Patanjali. This period is particularly memorable for the
compilation of Amarakosha by Amarasimha, who was a luminary in the court of
Chandragupta II. This lexicon is learnt by heart by students learning Sanskrit in
the traditional way.

Overall, the Gupta period was a bright phase in the history of classical literature
and one that developed an ornate style that was different from the old simple
Sanskrit. From this period onwards we find a greater emphasis on verse than on
prose, and also a few commentaries. Sanskrit was undoubtedly the court
language of the Guptas, and although the period produced much brahmanical
religious literature, it also gave birth to some of the earliest pieces of secular

Science and Technology:

In mathematics, the period saw, in the fifth century, a work called Aryabhatiya
written by Aryabhata who belonged to Pataliputra. It appears that this
mathematician was well versed in various kinds of calculations. Aryabhata
displays an awareness of both the zero system and the decimal system.

A Gupta inscription of AD 448 from Allahabad district suggests that the decimal
system was known in India at the beginning of the fifth century. In the field of
astronomy, a book called Romaka Sidhanta was compiled, its title indicating that
it was influenced by Greek and Roman ideas.

The Gupta craftsmen distinguished themselves by their work in iron and bronze.
Bronze images of the Buddha began to be produced on a considerable scale
because of the knowledge the smiths had of advanced metal technology. With
regard to iron objects, the best example is the iron pillar found at Mehrauli in

Manufactured in the fourth century ad, the pillar has not gathered any rust over
the subsequent fifteen centuries which is a great tribute to the technological skill
of the craftsmen, although the arid conditions in Delhi may also have contributed
to its preservation. It was impossible to produce such a pillar in any iron foundry
in the West until about a century ago. It is a pity that the later Indian craftsmen
could not develop this knowledge further.
Unit 4:- The Agrarian and Economic
Reforms of Alauddin Khalji and How
did it Strengthen the Sultanate
The agrarian and economic reforms done by Allauddin was for strengthening the state.
But it left a big question mark on the utilitarian aspect.

The tax collectors were instructed to extract money from every kind of pretext and with
regard to Hindu chiefs and revenue collectors, special economic pressure (banned
Kismat-i-Khote) was applied so as to grind them down to abject poverty. He ordered strict
enquiry, audit and control on the accounts of the Iqtadars and they were put under
constant surveillance. He also levied Kharaj, Jazia, Karai-Gharia-Charai on peasants,
which in itself was a harsh measure on already suffering peasants.

He asked the peasants to sell the surplus on the thrashing itself. The merchants were
forced to settle on the banks of river Yamuna and they were to buy from the peasants at a
fixed price and sell them to the state mandi at a fixed price. He also introduced
measurement of land (Zabita) as the basis for the assessment and Biswa was the
standard unit of measurement. Alauddin maintained a large army. But how would he pay
such a large army? One way was to increase the salary, which was not possible. Hence
he pursued with his market reforms.

To make his soldiers happy, he administered the price of all market goods. He created a
new ministry- Diwan-i-Riyasat to overview reforms and Malik Kafur was made its head. He
issued three set of regulations- grain market (Sahna-i-mandi), cloth and groceries market
(sarai adl) and horses, cattle and slave market. His policies were highly successful as no
revolt took place against them.

But there is other side of the coin too. It was an artificial policy which interfered in the
production of goods and manipulated the market forces. By administering the prices, he
mitigated the dividends of every strata of the society viz peasantry, artisans, nobles,
merchants. By affecting their purchasing power, it made them weak and powerless, so
that they never think of revolting.

By providing cash salaries to the soldiers he monetized the economy to a lesser extent but
it also put the masses in a state of deprivation, as the granaries were full, but they could
not buy the food. All this impoverished the peasants so much that there is doubt, even
soldiers would have benefitted from his policies, as most of them had a agrarian link.

Market Regulation and Price Control

Policy of Alauddin Khilji
Alauddin was motivated to adopt the market regulations and price control policy due to the following
factors and considerations:

1. Alauddin Khalji had organized a vast army in order to check the incessant invasions of the Mongols
and to attain victories for the expansion of his territory. As the number of soldiers reached 4,75,000,
the expenses in the army were enormous. No doubt, the Sultan had increased his income by
introducing reforms in the revenue system and reduced the salaries of the soldiers but it too proved
insufficient to meet the entire expenses of the Sultanate. Besides this, it was essential to make the
lives of the soldiers comfortable to avoid revolts out of frustration. Hence he fixed the prices for the
satisfaction of the soldiers. Barani writes in this context, “If Alauddin would have paid even ordinary
salaries to his soldiers and their officers, the treasury of the State would have exhausted within five or
six years. Therefore, Alauddin reduced the salaries of his soldiers with a view to limiting the
expenditure on the army. But because he desired that his soldiers should live comfortably, he
reduced and fixed prices of all articles.”

2. Along with territorial expansion, the administrative expenditure had enhanced a lot. The Sultan
wanted to lessen this financial burden, so he resorted to the policy of price control.

3. No doubt, the Sultan had gathered immense booty from the victories over Rajasthan, Gujarat and
Southern India but he distributed this booty among his supporters and Jalali nobles lavishly which
devalued the currency in the market. Hence the prices of things began to shoot up and Alauddin was
forced to introduce his system of price control and market regulation.

4. Some historians opine that he introduced price control in the interest of his public. Dr. Ishwari
Prasad has written, “Alauddin did much to relieve human want and miseiy by his control of market.”
Once Alauddin said to one of his officials, “Even if I give wealth to the people, they will not be
pleased, therefore I have decided to bring down the prices of the things.” Dr. K. S. Lai writes in this
context, “It was simple arithmetical calculation and simple economic principle, since he had decided
to reduce and fix the salary of the soldiers, he also decided to reduce and fix the prices of articles of
common use.” But he further writes, “In these circumstances the control of price was the outcome of
an imperative necessity rather than of philanthropic motives.” Barani, the contemporary historian, has
also mentioned that he had not introduced the price control system for the benefit of the people but it
was the dire necessity of the time.

Dr. U. N. Dey holds an altogether different opinion about his price control system. He remarks plainly
that his chief aim was to check the shooting prices. In his words, “As for the amount of salary we find
that Alauddin gave 234 tankas per year, i.e., 19-5 tankas per month. This amount certainly was not a
small sum for the first decade of the 14th century when we find that Akbar calculated the salary of a
tabinan at the rate of Rs. 240 per annum while during the reign of Shah Jahan it was Rs. 200 per
annum. Thus, Alauddin paid a soldier only Rs. 6 per annum less than what Akbai paid and Rs. 34 per
annum more than what Shah Jahan paid. We cannot, therefore, say that Alauddin paid a low salary to
his soldiers.”

It is also evident from the accounts of the contemporary historians that the prices fixed by Alauddin
Khalji were not very low. We know that during the reign of Firoz Tughluq the rates were quite low and
people had not to suffer the tortures and torments which were exercised on them during the reign of
Alauddin Khalji. Hence, Dr. Dey’s opinion is quite correct that there was some margin of profit for the
businessmen in the prices fixed by the Sultan of Delhi.”

The Impact of the Market Reforms of

Alauddin Khilji on Contemporary
Economy and Society
The market reform of Alauddin Khilji was one of the most effective and far reaching
economic regulations of the Sultanate period. It did not remain confined to rural economy
but extended to urban market as well. He issued a set of seven regulations which came to
be known as market control measures.
These measures were enacted to regulate the activities of the traders who brought grain
to Delhi. The Sultan fixed the prices of all commoditions from grain to cloths, slaves, cattle
etc. A controller of market (shahna-i-mandi) intelligence officers (barids) and secret spies
(munhiyan) were appointed. The grain merchants were placed under the Shahna-i-mandi.
Regrating (ihtikar) was prohibited.

While ensuring strict control in the market, the Sultan did no? Overlook the regular supply
of grains and other things at lower prices. For controlling the food prices, Alauddin Khilji
tried to control not only the supply of food grains from the villages, and its transportation to
the city by the grain – merchants (Karwanis or banjaras) but also its proper distribution to
the citizens.

His first effort was to see that there were sufficient stocks of food grains with the
government so that the traders did not try to hike up prices by creating an artificial scarcity
or indulging in profiteering (regarding). For this purpose royal stores were set up at Delhi.

Perhaps significant and lasting impact of these reforms was the furthering of the growth of
a market economy in the villages and bringing about a more integral relationship between
the town and the country, the furthering of the process of the internal restructuring of the

Though Alauddin Khilji’s market reforms were oriented more towards administrative and
military necessities than internal restructuring but he adopted a holistic approach to see
the reform working properly. That is why he did not control the price of essential
commodities only, for those meant for direct use by the military.

Instead he tried to control the price of everything from caps to socks, from combs to
needles, vegetables, sweet meats to chapatis etc. Such widespread centralised control
was found to influence every section of the society.

The price, control system affected trade severely. The merchants were unable to realise
sufficient profits. The rule was enforced so rigidly that no corn-dealer, farmer or anyone
else could hold back secretly a mound or half a mound of grain and sell it far above the
fixed price.

The horse merchants were so tightly controlled that, they were fed up with their lives and
wished for death. The severe punishments given to erring merchants made many to stop

The cultivators most certainly would have been affected adversely by the low price of
food-grain and the high land-revenue. It seems they lost on the other hand what they
gained from one. Alauddin Khilji’s policy was to leave the cultivator with so little as to
barely enough for carrying on cultivation and his food requirements.

As a result they were unable to take home the surplus produce even after paying 50 per
cent of their produce as land revenue. They were compelled to sell their grain at a low
price to the merchants who were permitted to purchase grain. The fear of the government
was such that the cultivators would sell even their wives and cattle to pay the land-
revenue so many had lost interest in agriculture.

The impact of Alauddin Khilji’s market reforms on the contemporary society was immense.
The fact that articles were sold at cheap rates in Delhi made many to migrate to Delhi.
Among them were learned men and excellant craftsmen. As a result the fame of Delhi

The people of Delhi were happy. They were prepared to follow the rules prescribed by the
state. They became more disciplined. Hence crime decreased. They benefited the state
very much.

This created an environment of socio-cultural development. Literature, the mirror of a

society, took a new life. A distinct type of literature was born in the khanqah (hospice) of
Nizamuddin Auliya. It is known as Malfuz (sufi) literature which gives mystic version of the
history between 1308 to 1322.
Fawaid-ul-Fuwad, the first mulfuz literature, was compiled by a disciple of Nizamuddin
Auliya, Amir Hasan Sijzi. Amir Khusro and Ziauddin Barni also belonged to the same

The reforms of Alauddin Khilji even touched the fate of the lowest rank of his officials –
Khuts, muqaddams and chaudharis. They were deprived of their Khuti charges for
collecting land-revenue to maintain the royal stores. They were brought at par with other
citizens. Thus, in exaggerated language of Barni, they were reduced to the level of the
balhar, or the lowest of till ‘”age society, the manila. It was a very significant orange in the
social structure of the society.

Alauddin Khilji’s military strength had increased on account of the price control system. It
not only provided strength and stability to the administration but also provided employment
to the people. Through employment he checked the social unrest on the one hand and on
the other hand he saved the people from the Mongol menace,’ controlled the revolts of
local chiefs and led the successful expedition to South India.

The South Indian expedition enabled Alauddin to replenish the treasury, which obviously
benefited the citizens of Delhi. The autocracy of Alauddin also was unchanged because it
gave the people, at least the citizens of Delhi, a comfortable living.

Because of the price control people from adjoining areas flocked to Delhi to purchase
grain at the fixed rates. The benefit of the reforms not only trickled down to other areas but
it also paved the way for the cultural inter course among the people of the Delhi Sultanate.
It resulted into what is now called, a composite culture. .,

The task of transporting food grains from the country side was generally carried out by
karwans and banjaras. They were ordered to form themselves into one corporate body,
giving sureties for each other. They were settled on the banks of the river Jamuna with
their wives, children, goods and cattle.
In the normal times they brought so much food-grain into the city that it was not necessary
to touch the royal stores. In this process they became, though unconsciously, the carrier
of different ideas and notions into the territory of Delhi, which further enriched the evolving
socio- cultural life of Delhi.

The regulations also provided for the rationing of grain in times of drought or famine. A
quantity of corn sufficient for the daily supply of each mohalah to the capital was
consigned to local corn dealers (baqqals) everyday from the government stores. Half a
maund was allowed to the ordinary purchaser in the market. We do not hear of any large
scale famine and death or starvation during the reign of Alauddin Khilji.

Such a successful food and social security could have been possible only by the wise
economic reforms and strict control of the market by the government.

Brief notes on some of the failed reforms, plans and

experiments implemented by Muhammad bin Tughluq
After the death of Ghias-ud-Din Tughlaq (1320-25) who was the founder of the
Tughlaq dynasty, his eldest son Juna Khan ascended the throne of Delhi. It is
generally held that Juna Khan was responsible for the murder of his father.

After ascending the throne, he assumed the name of Muhammad Tughlaq. His
rule lasted for about 26 years (1325-1351).

A much maligned ruler:

On account of his Utopian schemes and their failures, Muhammad Tughlaq has
been often given bad epithets like ‘blood thirsty’, a ‘visionary’, a ‘lunatic’ and a
‘tyrant’. He has been called a ‘mixture of opposites’ and a ‘complex person.’

Visionary Schemes:
Most of the plans of Muhammad Bin Tughlaq failed because these were ill-timed,
ill-planned and badly executed.
Muhammad bin Tughluq tried to bring about many reforms but most of his plans failed because he was not practical
in his thinking. Some of his plans or experiments that failed are given below:

1. Taxation in Doab (A.D 1326):

Doab is the fertile land between the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. Ghiyas-ud-din had reduced the land revenue to one-
tenth, but Mohammed tried to raise the revenue once again.

Unfortunately, that very year the rains failed and the region came under the grip of famine. The farmers therefore
could not pay the taxes. Many of the farmers were caught and punished while others left their lands and ran off to the
jungles to escape the tyranny of the Sultan’s officers. When Mohammed realized this, he ordered his officers to spare
the farmers and sanctioned financial help to them. But it was too late as the families of many farmers had already died
of starvation and lands had also become barren.

2. Transfer of Capital (A.D 1326-1327):

In A.D 1326, the Sultan decided to shift his capital to Devagiri (renamed Daulatabad), because he felt, that Daulatabad
was more centrally located than Delhi. Since the Empire included many portions of the Deccan, he thought it would
be easier to control the southern territories.

The plan as such was not faulty because Daulatabad was equidistant from from other parts of the country. But his folly
lay in the manner he set about to execute his plan. Instead of shifting only his government, he ordered the entire
population of Delhi to move to Daulatabad. Roads were built and food and shelter provide to all. But the people of
Delhi were not happy and they looked upon this as an exile. Many people died on the way .Once the Sultan settled in
Daulatabad, the Mongols began to renew their raids. The Sultan now realized his folly and ordered the capital to be
shifted back to Delhi.

3. Token Currency (A.D. 1330):

The failure of the earlier plans of Muhammad bin Tughluq caused a great loss to the treasury. Being badly in need of
money, he tried another novel experiment. This was the introduction of token (copper) currency. He ordered that the
copper coins should be considered equal in value to the gold and silver ones. This experiment also failed because every
goldsmith started minting fake coins at home. People started paying their taxes in these coins. Foreign traders refused
to accept these fake coins and as a result, there was a huge loss of revenue. He then announced that all the copper
coins could be exchanged with the gold and silver coins. The people came out with their copper coins and took away
the gold and silver ones. This resulted in a great loss to the government.

1. Heavy taxation in the Doab:

In the beginning of his reign, the Sultan increased the rate of taxes in the Doab—a
very fertile area located between the Ganga and Yamuna rivers.

The taxes were increased on account of the following reasons:

(1) The Sultan wanted to raise a strong army for conquests.
(2) The people of Doab were rich and were in a position to pay the increased

Mistakes made by the Sultan:

There was nothing wrong in increasing the tax on land i.e. land revenue. But the
time of the increase in the land revenue was not appropriate. The rains had failed
and there were near- famine conditions. The government officials acted
ruthlessly and persisted on the payment of the tax.

The farmers suffered heavily. They left their lands. Riots broke out. Rebellions
became common. When the Sultan came to know about the real situation, he
withdrew his order and arranged help for the farmers. But it was too late.
Damage had already been caused. This made the Sultan unpopular among the
farmers and the common people. Even the normal revenue could not be collected
from the Doab. The State Treasury suffered heavily.

2. Transfer of the Capital:

The plan of the transfer of capital from Delhi to Devagiri which was renamed as
Daultabad misfired.

Following reasons are assigned to this transfer:

(i) Devagiri was made the capital according to Barani as the new place was
centrally located. The new capital had equal distance from Delhi, Gujarat,
Lakhnauti, Tellanga, Dwarasamudra etc.

(ii) Ibn Batuta is of the view that the people of Delhi wrote abusive letters to
Muhammad Tughlaq. The Sultan, therefore, wanted to teach them a lesson by
depriving them of the capital. The above view is also supported by Isami.

(iii) Gardner Brown ascribes the reason of the transfer of capital as the constant
danger of the Mongol’s attack at Delhi.

(iv) There was a revolt of a great magnitude in the South and accordingly the
Sultan desired to strengthen his position there.

(v) it is stated by some historians that poets like Khusro had created a great
fascination in the mind of the Sultan for the beauty of Devagiri.

(vi) The Sultan wanted to create an other major administrative centre so that
Muslim population could be increased in the Deccan.
Mistakes committed by the Sultan while transferring capital:
The most important error the Sultan made was that the entire population of
Delhi was asked to move and cover a distance of about 700 miles. According to
Barani, ‘So complete was the ruin that not a cat or a dog was left in the buildings
of the city.”

Ibn Batuta writes, “In the night the Sultan mounted the roof of his palace and
looked around Delhi. When neither a light not even a smoke or lamp came into
sight he remarked, “Now my heart is pleased and my soul is at rest.” He further
wrote, “A search was made and a blind man and a cripple man were found. The
cripple man was put to death while the blind man was dragged to Daultabad
where his only one leg reached.”

Isami also wrote, “Muhammad Tughlaq ordered that the city (Delhi) should be
set on fire and all the populace should be turned out of it.” The Sultan arranged
all possible facilities for the people’s forty days’ journey from Delhi to Daultabad.
However the scheme flopped. A large number of people died on the way.

Criticism of the Scheme:

The Sultan committed a great blunder when he asked the people or even the elite
of Delhi to go to Daultabad. He ought to have shifted his court. Some sections of
the population must have followed voluntarily.
Secondly Daultabad was no good choice to be the capital of the empire. From this
place it was not possible to check effectively the Mongol invasions.
Thus, the Sultan’s choice of the new capital was not judicious. At the same time
he did not use the appropriate methods in shifting the capital.
Even assuming that the statements of some historians were exaggerated, it is
concluded that this action of the Sultan was not a rational one.

3. Use of token currency:

The Sultan needed more money on account of various reasons. He wanted to
raise a huge army as he is said to have thought of conquering the whole world. He
had also distributed a lot of money among nobles to please them when he
ascended the throne after the death of his father which had occurred on account
of his participation in a conspiracy. Muhammad Tughlaq issued token currency
because there was a shortage of gold coins and the Sultan on the other hand
needed money.

Mistakes made by the Sultan:

The Sultan issued copper coins and kept their value at par with the gold and
silver coins. The Sultan did not exercise a strict check to ensure that the people
did not make their own coins which we call ‘jali’ or fake. The citizens began to
melt coins in their homes and paid their taxes in fake coins. People also began to
hoard silver and gold coins in their houses. The token currency remained in
circulation for about three years.
The Sultan realized the failure of the scheme and withdrew the entire new
currency. People were asked to return the token coins and in exchange were paid
back gold and silver coins by royal treasury. This put a heavy loss to the treasury.
The people who minted fake coins were not punished.
Now-a-days all governments in the world use token currency that has a face value
only and not any real value. The currency notes we use have a value printed on
them but by themselves they are worth nothing. Similarly is the case with the
coins that we use.
During the days of Muhammad Tughlaq only gold coins were used and they had
the face value almost equal to the real value. Use of token coins can be successful
when the government alone makes them and takes people into confidence. At the
same time strict checks are exercised to ensure that fake coins are not circulated
by private parties. Mughammad Tughlaq failed to do so.
The token currency had an adverse effect on the foreign trade also. The foreign
merchants stopped bringing their merchandise in India. According to some
scholars Muhammad Tughlaq wanted to follow the footsteps of the Emperor of
China who had issued paper currency in China in the 13th century and also the
Persian emperor who had made a similar experiment.
Jainism In Indian History 
Jainism is an ancient religion of India. Jains trace their history through twenty‐four tirthankara and revere Rishabhanatha 
as the first tirthankara (in the present time‐cycle). The last two tirthankara, the 23rd tirthankara Parshvanatha (c. 872 – 
c. 772 BCE)[1][2] and the 24th tirthankara Mahavira (c. 599 – c. 527 BCE)[3] are historical figures.[4][5] There is limited 
historical evidence for the 22nd tirthankara Neminatha[6] who was the cousin brother of Krishna.[7][8] Jainism is a 
philosophy of eternity and Jains consider their religion to be eternal.[9] According to Heinrich Zimmer, Jainism can be 
traced back as far as third or fourth millennium BC, due to the discovery of a series of great late Stone Age cities in the 
Indus Valley. 

In the second chapter we traced the history of Jainism in its earlier centuries. The story is not complete for, 
even if we had much more space and time, historians are still only slowly unraveling the confused history of 
ancient India. In this chapter we shall sketch a few of the developments in Jainism in the history of India. 
Obviously we can only touch on this subject. One of the reasons why it is difficult to trace the history of 
Jainism quickly is that India for much of the past 2000 years was not a single state but a large number of small, 
and some large, states with shifting frontiers each with its own history. 
The major event, of course, was the gradual extension of Jainism from its homelands in eastern India into the 
south, and then into western India, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Unfortunately we know little about how this 
actually happened. Doubtless Jain Monks, traveling as always on foot, crossed India and made converts in the 
lands they passed through. Probably Jain businessmen, then as now, took their faith to distant parts. Other 
travelers also might have helped. Certainly Jainism had reached Gujarat more than 2000 years ago. 
From the early fourth century A.D. until around 600 A.D. northern India, down as far as modern Bombay, was 
under the control of the emperors of the Gupta dynasty. Doubtless the unified control facilitated contacts 
across India. In the Gupta period Gujarat seems to have become the most important center of Jainism in India 
if we are to judge from the fact that the great council, when the holy scriptures were finally put into writing 
around 460 A.D., was held at Valabhi in Gujarat. Some sixty or seventy years later Jain scriptures were read at 
a ceremony of mourning for the death of the king's son even though the king himself was not a Jain. Apart 
from Gujarat, Jainism was well established in many parts of India by the Gupta period: it was certainly already 
present in Rajasthan by then. 
An unusual account of India was given by a visitor from China who traveled there in the earlier seventh 
century A: D . He has many references to Jains and it does appear that, at least in the places which he visited, 
the Digambara were at that time the stronger section. However the Svetambara were beginning to increase in 
Gujarat and Rajasthan, particularly because they gained the support of the kings of Gujarat. Many great Jain 
scholars contributed to Jain learning as well as to many other subjects. One of the greatest was the famous 
Acharya Hemacandra from Gujarat (1089‐1172 A.D.). The king of Gujarat, Kumarapala, was his staunch 
follower. Hemacandra wrote very widely on a range of scientific and literary subjects, commentaries on 
ancient texts, poetry, works on logic, yoga and grammar, and a lot more. He wrote a major work on the duties 
of both lay people and monks. 
Large number of sects developed amongst the Svetambara from the seventh century A.D. onwards, 
traditionally they numbered eighty‐four, though not many of them survive today. They certainly attest to the 
vitality of Jainism in these centuries, a golden age for the faith. 
In south India, from the fifth century onwards for some seven hundred years, Jains also received the 
patronage of royalty and many kings favored them in one way or another. Great poets and writers flourished. 
Under royal patronage Jinasena wrote a great unfinished epic which was completed by his pupil Gunabhadra 
in the year 897 A.D. This long work includes much moral teaching on the duties of a Jain and is much 
respected by the Digambara scholars. In the south one of the great centers of Jainism was Sravana Belgola, 
noted for its colossal Jain image, still an important center of pilgrimage today, and in earlier times a center for 
Jain influence across the southern regions. Jainism flourished during this period with large numbers of 
adherents in all classes of society. 
However Jainism began to lose ground eventually. The development of popular personal religious movements 
in Hinduism with a warm devotion to a god led many away from the religion of Mahavira. The Hindu followers 
of both Vishnu and Siva increased in numbers and the contest between the newly revived Hindu cults and the 
Jains became strong, then bitter and finally in some cases led to violence against the Jains. Although we must 
not overstress this (for Hinduism and Jainism have coexisted happily nearly always), Jainism in south India did 
suffer a decline from which it never recovered, at least to its earlier strength. Dedicated and faithful Jains 
continued to practice their religion with enthusiasm, as they do today, but their numbers were fewer. 
In the north, too, Jainism lost ground. From the thirteenth century A.D. the Muslim conquests in north India 
affected Jains badly. At times Jain temples (and Hindu ones as well) suffered damage or destruction by the 
conquerors. At the same time there seems to have been a decline in religious fervor and practice. Numbers 
declined and Jainism became confined mainly to the merchant and business class. However, again we must 
not overstress the decline.; Jainism did decline in numbers, and at times in standards, Jains continued to 
produce great scholars and many devoted saints. Jains, as a pacific group in society, valued for financial and 
business acumen, enjoyed a fair measure of tolerance and, indeed, were not infrequently employed in 
important government positions. Temple building and the arts continued to flourish. In the sixteenth century 
the Mogul emperor Akbar, the greatest Mogul ruler, although a Muslim, had close contacts with a Jain monk 
Hirvijaya Suri. Akbar called Hirvijaya to his court in 1582 and the monk and the emperor had long 
conversations on questions of religion and philosophy. Inspired by these the emperor was moved to impose 
restrictions on the killing of animals in his domains and himself gave up his favorite sport of hunting. 
While the Muslims dominated north and central India, in the south the great Hindu empire of Vijayanagar 
ruled from the early fourteenth century to the late sixteenth century A.D. Here the Jains were protected by 
the rulers and many took an important part in public life, in government and the army, as well as in finance, 
trade and learning. In view of the Jain insistence on non‐violence, it may become as a surprise to some to 
learn that Jain laymen have sometimes been prepared to hold military positions. The question whether the 
rules of ahimsa, non‐violence, permit the necessary defense of one's country is usually answered by the 
argument that a measure of necessary harm is unavoidable for the lay person, though of course strictly 
precluded for the monk or nun. In all honesty, however, we may well question whether the military exploits of 
some Jain rulers in Indian history have not strayed beyond the bounds of unavoidable violence. 
The building of temples and the installation of images has long been a tradition of Jainism but one 
development has been the emergence of a branch of the Svetambara Jains which does not accept the worship 
of images. The Sthanakvasi sect originated in the late seventeenth century, though its roots are traced back as 
far as 1394 in another group which rejected images. Although the majority of Jains adhere to the ancient 
rituals and images, the Sthanakvasi, who meet in plain meditation halls, have attracted many adherents and 
have produced many learned and pious members. 
Kautilya and Arthashastra
Much of our knowledge about state policy under the Mauryas comes from
the Arthashastra written by Kautilya (more popularly known as Chanakya), who was a Brahmin
minister under Chandragupta Maurya. Though it was written at the end of the fourth century BC, it
appears to have been rediscovered only in 1905, after centuries of oblivion. The treatise in its
present form is most likely not the text written by Kautilya, though it is probably based on a text
that was authored by Kautilya; and in no case can the text in its entirety be ascribed to Kautilya, on
account of numerous stylistic and linguistic variations.
The book, written in Sanskrit, discusses theories and principles of governing a state. It is not an
account of Mauryan administration. The title, Arthashastra, which means "the Science of Material
Gain" or "Science of Polity", does not leave any doubts about its ends. According to Kautilya, the
ruler should use any means to attain his goal and his actions required no moral sanction. The only
problems discussed are of the most practical kind. Though the kings were allowed a free rein, the
citizens were subject to a rigid set of rules. This double standard has been cited as an excuse for the
obsolescence of the Arthashastra, though the real cause of its ultimate neglect, as the Indian
historian Romila Thapar suggests, was the formation of a totally different society to which these
methods no longer applied.

Arthashastra remains unique in all of Indian literature because of its total absence of specious
reasoning, or its unabashed advocacy of realpolitik, and scholars continued to study it for its clear
cut arguments and formal prose till the twelfth century. Espionage and the liberal use of
provocative agents is recommended on a large scale. Murder and false accusations were to be used
by a king's secret agents without any thoughts to morals or ethics. There are chapters for kings to
help them keep in check the premature ambitions of their sons, and likewise chapters intended to
help princes to thwart their fathers' domineering authority. However, Kautilya ruefully admits that
it is just as difficult to detect an official's dishonesty as it is to discover how much water is drunk by
the swimming fish.

Kautilya helped the young Chandragupta Maurya, who was a Vaishya, to ascend to the Nanda
throne in 321 BC. Kautilya's counsel is particularly remarkable because the young Maurya's
supporters were not as well armed as the Nandas. Kautilya continued to help Chandragupta Maurya
in his campaigns and his influence was crucial in consolidating the great Mauryan empire. He has
often been likened to Machiavelli by political theorists, and the name of Chanakya is still
reminiscent of a vastly scheming and clever political adviser. In very recent years, Indian state
television, or Doordarshan as it is known, commissioned and screened a television serial on the life
and intrigues of Chanakya.

The Arthashastra is the title of a handbook for running anempire, written

by Kautilya (also known as Chanakya, c. 350-275 BCE) an Indian statesman and
philosopher, chief advisor and Prime Minister of the Indian Emperor Chandragupta, the
first ruler of the Mauryan Empire. The title Arthashastra is a Sanskrit word which is
normally translated as The Science of Material Gain,although Science of
Politics or Science of Political Economy are other accepted translations for Kautilya’s
The Arthashastra summarizes the political thoughts of Kautilya. This book was
lost for many centuries until a copy of it, written on palm leaves, was
rediscovered in India in 1904 CE. This edition is dated to approximately 250 CE,
many centuries after the time of Kautilya, but the main ideas in this book are
largely his. The book contains detailed information about specific topics that are
relevant for rulers who wish to run an effective government. Diplomacy
and war (including military tactics) are the two points treated in most detail but
the work also includes recommendations on law, prisons, taxation,
irrigation, agriculture, mining, fortifications, coinage, manufacturing,trade,
administrations, diplomacy, and spies.


The ideas expressed by Kautilya in the Arthashastra are completely practical and
unsentimental. Kautilya openly writes about controversial topics such as
assassinations, when to kill family members, how to manage secret agents, when
it is useful to violate treaties, and when to spy on ministers. Because of this,
Kautilya is often compared to the Italian Renaissance writer Machiavelli, author
of The Prince, who is considered by many as unscrupulous and immoral. It is fair
to mention that Kautilya's writing is not consistently without principles in that he
also writes about the moral duty of the king. He summarizes the duty of a ruler,
saying, “The happiness of the subjects is the happiness of the king; their welfare
is his. His own pleasure is not his good but the pleasure of his subjects is his
good”. Some scholars have seen in the ideas of Kautilya a combination of
Chinese Confucianism and Legalism.
Kautilya’s book suggests a detailed daily schedule for how a ruler should structure
his activities. According to his view, the duties of a ruler should be organized as

 First 90 minutes, at sunrise, the ruler should go through the

different reports (revenue, military, etc.).
 Second 90 minutes, time for public audiences.
 Third 90 minutes for breakfast and some personal time (bath, study, etc.).
 Fourth 90 minutes for meeting with ministers.
 Fifth 90 minutes for correspondence.
 Sixth 90 minutes for lunch...
Kautilya goes on to describe an exhausting schedule in which the king has
roughly four and half hours to sleep and the rest of the time is almost entirely
involved in running the kingdom.

The Arthashastra offers a list with the seven components of the state: The king,
the ministers, the country (population, geography and natural resources),
fortification, treasury, army, and allies. Kautilya goes on to explain each of these
individual components and stresses the importance of strengthening these
elements in one’s kingdom and weakening them in the enemies’ states by using
spies and secret agents.

One of the most interesting ideas presented by Kautilya is the “Mandala theory
of interstate relations”. A mandala is a schematic visual representation of the
universe, which is a common artistic expression in many Asian cultures. Kautilya
explains that, if we can imagine our kingdom in the centre of a circular mandala,
then the area surrounding our kingdom should be considered our enemies’
territory. The circle surrounding our enemies’ territories belongs to our enemies’
enemies, who should be considered our allies since we will share many interests
with them. The circle surrounding our enemies’ enemies territory will be the allies
of our enemies. Kautilya then goes on analysing twelve levels of concentric circles
and offers detailed advice on how to deal with each state according to the layer
they belong to in the mandala construct.
The various types of foreign policy are also explained in the Arthashastra: peace,
war, neutrality, preparing for war, seeking protection and duplicity (pursuing war
and peace at the same time with the same kingdom).

Kautilya was a pioneer in diplomacy and government administration. His
merit was based not only on coming up with very important practical advice for
government, but also in organizing his theories in a systematic and logical
fashion. Kautilya’s political vision had a heavy influence on Chandragupta, the
first Indian ruler who unified Northern India under a single political unit for the
first time in history. Even today, the Arthashastra is the number one classic of
diplomacy in India and, within this category, it is one of the most complete works
of antiquity. A number of institutions in India such as universities and diplomatic
offices have been named after Kautilya in honour of his work. Even important
political figures like Shivshankar Menon, who became the National Security
Advisor of India in 2010 CE, have been influenced by Kautilya’s ideas.
SHER SHAH'S ADMINISTRATION Great as a con‐queror that he was, Sher Shah was greater still as a ruler. He 
was the first Muslim ruler of India who displayed a real aptitude for civil government. His short rule was 
marked by many beneficent reforms in every branch of administration. For administrative convenience Sher 
Shah divided his whole empire into 47 divisions called sarkars (Sher Shah did not divide his kingdom into 
provinces), and these were again subdivided into smaller administrative units called parganas. 
The extent of his empire 
Sher Shah had a vast empire for administration. Before Sher Shah Suri conquered Delhi he had brought the 
provinces of Bengal and Bihar under his possession. 

In the field of central administration, Sher Shah fol‐lowed the Sultanate pattern. There were four main 
central departments, which were as follows: 
(i) Diwan‐i‐wijarat: The department was related with financial matters such as collecting taxes and maintaining 
accounts of the state exchequer. 
(ii) Diwan‐i‐arz: Headed by ariz‐i‐mamalik, it was a military department. 
(iii) Diwan‐i‐insha: Working as a secretariat, it issued royal orders. The head of this department was called 
(iv) Diwan‐i‐Rasalat: Headed by sadr, this department dealt with the religious and foreign affair matters. 
Diwan‐i‐Kaza, headed by qazi, worked W1der this department. The qazi looked after judicial administration. 
Besides them there were minor officers, two of whom (the chief qazi and the head of the news department) 
enjoyed fairly high rank and are placed by some writers in the category of minister. It will, thus, be seen that 
the machinery of the central government under Sher Shah Suri was exactly the same as under earlier sultans 
of Delhi from the time of the so‐called Slave kings to the end of those of the Tughluq’s. 
First comes the Revenue and Finance Administration. The head of the Diwan‐i‐Wazarat may be called the 
Wazir. He was the minister of revenue and finance administration and was, therefore, in charge of the income 
and expenditure of the empire. Besides, he exercised a general supervisory authority over other ministers. As 
Sher Shah had intimate knowledge of the working of revenue department, he took an enlightened interest in 
the affairs of the department. Sher Shah daily looked into the abstract of income and expenditure of his 
kingdom and made enquiries about the state of finances and the arrears due from the Parganas. 
Next comes the Sher Shah Suri Military administration. The Diwan‐i‐Ariz was under the Ariz‐i‐Mamalik  who 
was the army minister. He was not the commander‐in‐chief of the army but was in charge of its recruitment, 
organization and discipline. He had to make arrangements for payment of salaries of the troops and officers 
and to look after the disposition of army on the field of battle. But, as Sher Shah was personally interest in the 
military department, he very often interfered with the work of Diwan‐i‐Ariz. We are told by the chronicles of 
the time that he present at the enlistment of fresh recruits and he fixed the salary of individual soldiers and 
looked after their welfare. 
The third ministry was the Diwan‐i‐Risalat or Diwan‐i‐Muhtasib. The minister in charge of this department may 
be called foreign minister. His duty was to be in close touch with ambassadors and envoys sent to and 
received from foreign states. He must also have been in charge of diplomatic correspondence, and sometimes 
the charity and endowment department too, was placed under him. 
The fourth ministry was known as Diwan‐i‐Insha. The minister in charge of this department had to draft royal 
proclamations and dispatches. His duty was also to communicate with governors and other local executive 
officers. Government record, too, were in his charge. The other departments which were sometimes reckoned 
as ministers were Diwan‐i‐Qaza and Diwan‐i‐Barid. The chief qazi was the head of the first. He had to 
supervise the administration of justice besides deciding cases, whether in the first instance or appeals from 
the courts of provincial qazis.  
The Barid‐i‐Mamalik was the head of the Intelligence department, and it was his duty to report every 
important incident to the king. He had a host of news writers and spies who were posted in towns, markets 
and in every important locality. He also made arrangements for the posting of new‐carriers at various placed 
to carry the royal dak. 
There seems to have been a high official in charge of the royal household and the various workshops attached 
to it. His duty was to administer the king’s household department and to keep watch over crowds of servants 
attached to it. He was very near the royal person and therefore, enjoyed a high prestige. 
There were two important officials at the sarkar level: (i) shiqdar‐i‐shiqadaran to maintain law and order; and 
(ii) munshife‐i‐munshifan to supervise the revenue collection. Three important officials at the paragana level 
were: (i) shikdar to maintain law and order; (ii) amin to collect revenue; and (iii) munsif to look after judicial 

Provincial administration of Sher Shah 
Dr. Saran maintains that Sher Shah did have large military governorship. Throughout the Sultanate period, 
including the reign of Sher Shah and his son Islam Shah, there were administrative divisions corresponding to 
provinces, but they were not uniform in size or income. They were not called subas or provinces, but were 
known as iqtas which were assigned to important chiefs. Besides these, there were numerous of vassalage 
under the sultans of Delhi. Such states and the iqtas did not enjoy a uniform political status and were not 
governed by the same system of administration. But while during the reign of earlier sultans of Delhi the 
control of the central government over them was nominal, under Sher Shah it was substantial and strict. It 
will, thus, be seen that there were military governorships in the time of Sher Shah, such as those of Lahore, 
the Punjab, Malwa and Ajmer. The officials in charge of these provinces were commanders of large armies. 
At the same time, Sher Shah established a new type of provincial administration in Bengal, which he divided 
into a number of sarkars, placing each in charge of an Afghan officer. At the head of the entire province he 
placed a civilian with a small army under his command. His principal duty was to supervise the work of the 
officers of the sarkars and to settle their disputes. This was done to guard against rebellions. 
All other provinces had governors and a few other officers who seem to have enjoyed the same designation in 
various provinces, barring which there was no uniformity in their administrative machinery or method. In fact, 
we have not means of ascertain the names and number of officers appointed to various provinces; nor do we 
know whether the governor was authorized to appoint his colleagues or they were appointed by Sher Shah 
himself. In short, the provincial administration under Sher Shah was not so  much organized as that under 
Akbar. But it was definitely a good step forward. 
Sher Shah's land revenue policy is an important land‐mark in the history of Indian agrarian system. After a 
survey of the lands (tinder the supervision of Ahmad Khan) according to a uniform system, Sher Shah settled 
the land revenue directly with the tillers of the soil and fixed the state demand at one‐third of the gross 
produce payable either in cash or kind depending on the productivity of land and crop. For measurement of 
the land, sikandari gaja (32 points) was made the base. To prevent the tenants from being W1duly harassed, 
their rights and liabilities were clearly defined in documents known as pattas (title deeds) and kabuliyats (deed 
of agreement). Each peasant thus knew what he had to pay. 
Sher Shah abolished the system of landlords and middlemen in his revenue administration. His revenue 
management is compared with the modem Ryotwari settle‐ment. Todar Mal contributed greatly in the 
development of the revenue policy of Sher Shah. During the rule of Sher Shah, peasants had also to pay 
jaribana (survey charge) and muhasilana (tax collection charge). The rates of these charges were 2.5 per cent 
and 5 per cent respectively. Sher Shah's land revenue system was scientific. This is why Akbar also adopted the 
same revenue policy, albeit with some amend‐ments. 
Keen on increasing the efficiency of his army, Sher Shah personally supervised the recruitment of the soldiers 
and paid them directly. He revived Ala‐ud‐din Khalji's system of branding the horses (daag) and keeping a 
descriptive roll of soldiers (chehra). 
Sher Shah introduced a regular postal service. He attempted to fix standard weights and measures. Sher 
Shah's currency reform deserves high praise. He issued a large number of silver coins (dam) and abolished all 
old and mixed metal currency. His silver rupia after elimination of its inscription .was current till 1835 and 
formed the basis of the later British Indian currency. He promoted the cause of trade and commerce by 
reducing the number of the customs duty collection points to just two. Goods produced in Bengal or imported 
from outside had to pay customs at Sikrigali, at the border of Bengal and Bihar, while goods from West and 
Central Asia paid customs duty at the Indus. Sher Shah improved communications by building roads. Four 
important roads constructed by him were as follows: (i) Grand trunk road from SW1argaon to Peshawar; (ii) 
road from Agra to Multan via Burhanpur and Delhi; (iii) road from Multan to Lahore; and (iv) road from Mandu 
to Agra. Of these four roads, the first was the most important. The roads built by Sher Shah are called 'the 
arteries of the empire'. The roads were lined with trees, wells and rest houses.  
Sher Shah was also a great builder. The stately I mausoleum which he built for himself at Sasaram is one of the 
finest in India. It is considered as a culmination of the Sultanate architecture and a starting point for the 
Mughal architecture developed later. The Old Fort (Purana Qila) in Delhi is another important architectural 
creation of Sher Shah. But the Afghan resurgence was short‐lived. 

Land Revenue System of Sher Shah Suri 
The historical importance of land revenue system of Sher Shah Suri (Sher Khan) lies in the fact that they 
formed the starting point of the series of experiments what marked the first half of Akbar’s reign. 
Land Revenue System of Sher Shah: Before Sher Shah, the land rent was realized from the peasants on the 
basis of estimated produce from the land but this system did not seem to be faultless as the produce was not 
constantly the same. It increased or decreased year after year. Sher Shah introduced a number of reforms in 
the fields of revenue. These are as follows. 
Sher Shah was the first Muslim ruler who got the whole of the land measured and fixed the land‐tax on it on 
just and fair principles. 
The land of each peasant was measured first in “bighas” and then half of it was fixed as the land tax. According 
to More land  in certain portions of the empire such as Multan the land tax was however one‐fourth of the 
total produce. 
The settlement made between the Govt. and the peasant in respect of the land revenue was always put in 
black and white. Every peasant was given as written document in which the share of the Govt. was clearly 
mentioned so that no unscrupulous officer might cheat the innocent peasant. This is known as ‘Patta’. 
Each and every peasant was given the option to pay the land‐tax either in cash of in kind. The subjects of Sher 
Shah used to Kabul (Promise) that they should pay taxes in lieu of Patta.  
The peasants were required to credit the land‐tax direct into the Govt. treasury, to be on the safe side, so that 
the collecting officers might not charge them any extra money. 
Strict orders had been issued to the revenue authorities that leniency might be shown while fixing the land 
tax, but strictness in the collection thereof should be the inevitable rule. 
But suitable subsidy was granted to the farmers in the time of drought, famine or floods from the royal 
Special orders were issued to soldiers that they should not damage the standing crops in any way. According 
to Abbas Khan, the cars of those soldiers, who disregarded these orders, were cut off. Even when Sher Shah 
led an expedition to the territory of his enemy, he was very particular about it that no harm shall come to the 
farmers in any way from the excesses of his soldiers. 
In case of damages compensation was granted to the former by the Govt. This arrangement of Sher Shah was 
as reasonable as was adopted not by Akbar only but was followed by the British Govt. also. The well‐known 
‘Ryatwari System’ which has been in vague till now, was not founded by Akbar but by Sher Shah. 
Sher Shah saved his country from the ill‐effects of the arbitrary land revenue system and he laid the 
foundation of the policy of co‐‐operation between the Govt. and the peasants. 

However, some historians and scholars point out certain defects in the revenue system of Sher 
Firstly, it is pointed out that he could not completely root out the Jagirdari system which had taken deep roots 
in the Afghan society. 
Secondly, it is said that as the land revenue was fixed on the average produce of each bigha of good, average 
and inferior land, the owner of good land always stood to gain while owners of inferior land was always the 
Thirdly, it is said that as the convention of land revenue from kind to cash always depended on the Central 
Government, it always led to delay in the collection of land revenue. 
But we must not forget that Sher Shah had ruled only for five years. During this short period he had not as yet 
tested his reforms when the cruel clutches of death ended his life. If death had spared him more years, Sher 
Shah would have certainly won that renown which Akbar got for his land reforms. 
The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) was a Bronze Age civilisation (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900
BCE) mainly in northwest South Asia, extending from what today is northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and
northwest India.[3] Along with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia it was one of three early civilisations of the Old World,
and of the three most widespread.[4] It flourished in the basins of the Indus River, one of the major rivers of Asia, and
along a system of perennial, mostly monsoon-fed, rivers that once coursed in the vicinity of the seasonal Ghaggar-
Hakra river in northwest India and eastern Pakistan.[5][6][7] Aridification of this region during the 3rd millennium BCE
may have been the initial spur for the urbanisation associated with the civilisation, but eventually also reduced the
water supply enough to cause the civilisation's demise, and to scatter its population eastward.[8][9][10]

At its peak, the Indus Civilisation may have had a population of over five million.[citation needed] Inhabitants of the ancient
Indus river valley developed new techniques in handicraft (carnelian products, seal carving) and metallurgy (copper,
bronze, lead, and tin). The Indus cities are noted for their urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage
systems, water supply systems, and clusters of large non-residential buildings.[11]

The Indus Valley Civilisation is also known as the Harappan Civilisation, after Harappa, the first of its sites to be
excavated in the 1920s, in what was then the Punjab province of British India, and now is Pakistan.[12] The discovery
of Harappa, and soon afterwards, Mohenjo-Daro, was the culmination of work beginning in 1861 with the founding of
the Archaeological Survey of India in the British Raj.[13] Excavation of Harappan sites has been ongoing since 1920,
with important breakthroughs occurring as recently as 1999.[14] There were earlier and later cultures, often called
Early Harappan and Late Harappan, in the same area of the Harappan Civilisation. The Harappan civilisation is
sometimes called the Mature Harappan culture to distinguish it from these cultures. As of 1999, over 1,056 cities
and settlements had been found, of which 96 have been excavated,[15] mainly in the general region of theIndus and
Ghaggar-Hakra Rivers and their tributaries. Among the settlements were the major urban centres
of Harappa, Mohenjo-daro (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Dholavira, Ganeriwala in Cholistan and Rakhigarhi.[16]

The Harappan language is not directly attested and its affiliation is uncertain since the Indus script is still
undeciphered. A relationship with the Dravidian or Elamo-Dravidian language family is favoured by a section of

Early Harappan[edit]
The Early Harappan Ravi Phase, named after the nearby Ravi River, lasted from circa 3300 BCE until 2800 BCE. It
is related to the Hakra Phase, identified in the Ghaggar-Hakra River Valley to the west, and predates the Kot
Diji Phase (2800–2600 BCE, Harappan 2), named after a site in northern Sindh, Pakistan, near Mohenjo Daro. The
earliest examples of the Indus scriptdate to the 3rd millennium BCE.[50][51]

The mature phase of earlier village cultures is represented by Rehman Dheri and Amri in Pakistan.[52] Kot
Diji represents the phase leading up to Mature Harappan, with the citadel representing centralised authority and an
increasingly urban quality of life. Another town of this stage was found at Kalibangan in India on the Hakra River.[53]

Trade networks linked this culture with related regional cultures and distant sources of raw materials, including lapis
lazuli and other materials for bead-making. By this time, villagers had domesticated numerous crops,
including peas, sesame seeds, dates, and cotton, as well as animals, including the water buffalo. Early Harappan
communities turned to large urban centres by 2600 BCE, from where the mature Harappan phase started. The
latest research shows that Indus Valley people migrated from villages to cities.[54][55]
Mature Harappan[edit]
By 2600 BCE, the Early Harappan communities turned into large urban centres. Such urban centres
include Harappa, Ganeriwala,Mohenjo-Daro in modern-day Pakistan,
and Dholavira, Kalibangan, Rakhigarhi, Rupar, and Lothal in modern-day India.[56] In total, more than 1,052 cities
and settlements have been found, mainly in the general region of the Indus Rivers and their tributaries.

A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture is evident in the Indus Valley Civilisation making them
the first urban centres in the region. The quality of municipal town planning suggests the knowledge of urban
planning and efficient municipal governments which placed a high priority on hygiene, or, alternatively, accessibility
to the means of religious ritual.

As seen in Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and the recently partially excavated Rakhigarhi, this urban plan included the
world's first known urbansanitation systems: see hydraulic engineering of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Within the
city, individual homes or groups of homes obtained water from wells. From a room that appears to have been set
aside for bathing, waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets. Houses opened only to
inner courtyards and smaller lanes. The house-building in some villages in the region still resembles in some
respects the house-building of the Harappans.[57]

The ancient Indus systems of sewerage and drainage that were developed and used in cities throughout the Indus
region were far more advanced than any found in contemporary urban sites in the Middle East and even more
efficient than those in many areas of Pakistan and India today. The advanced architecture of the Harappans is
shown by their impressive dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms, and protective walls. The massive
walls of Indus cities most likely protected the Harappans from floods and may have dissuaded military conflicts.[58]

The purpose of the citadel remains debated. In sharp contrast to this civilisation's
contemporaries, Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, no large monumental structures were built. There is no conclusive
evidence of palaces or temples—or of kings, armies, or priests. Some structures are thought to have been
granaries. Found at one city is an enormous well-built bath (the "Great Bath"), which may have been a public bath.
Although the citadels were walled, it is far from clear that these structures were defensive. They may have been built
to divert flood waters.

Most city dwellers appear to have been traders or artisans, who lived with others pursuing the same occupation in
well-defined neighbourhoods. Materials from distant regions were used in the cities for constructing seals, beads
and other objects. Among theartefacts discovered were beautiful glazed faïence beads. Steatite seals have images
of animals, people (perhaps gods), and other types of inscriptions, including the yet un-deciphered writing system of
the Indus Valley Civilisation. Some of the seals were used to stamp clay on trade goods and most probably had
other uses as well.

Although some houses were larger than others, Indus Civilisation cities were remarkable for their apparent, if
relative, egalitarianism. All the houses had access to water and drainage facilities. This gives the impression of a
society with relatively low wealth concentration, though clear social levelling is seen in personal adornments. [clarification
The prehistory of Indo-Iranian borderlands shows a steady increase over time in the number and density of
settlements. The population increased in Indus plains because of hunting and gathering
Cities and Context

The Harappans used the same size bricks and standardized weights as were used in other Indus
cities such as Mohenjo Daro and Dholavira.These cities were well planned with wide streets, public
and private wells, drains, bathing platforms and reservoirs. One of its most well-known structures is
the Great Bath of Mohenjo Daro.

There were other highly developed cultures in adjacent regions of Baluchistan, Central Asia and
peninsular India. Material culture and the skeletons from the Harappa cemetery and other sites
testify to a continual intermingling of communities from both the west and the east.Harappa was
settled before what we call the ancient Indus civilization flourished, and it remains a living town

Ghaggar-Hakra River
There may have been another large river that ran parallel to and east of the Indus at some time in
the past. The northern part of its now usually dry bed is called "Ghaggar" in India and "Hakra" in
Pakistan. This group of channels is sometimes referred to as "Saraswati" and is associated by some
with the Saraswati River of theRg Veda).

Its lost banks are slowly being traced by researchers. Along and within its dry bed, archaeologists are
discovering a whole new set of ancient settlements.

Ancient Mesopotamian texts speak of trading with at least two seafaring civilizations - Magan and
Meluhha - in the neighborhood of South Asia in the third millennium B.C.E. This trade was conducted
with real financial sophistication in amounts that could involve tons of copper. The Mesopotamians
speak of Meluhha as a land of exotic commodities. A wide variety of objects produced in the Indus
region have been found at sites in Mesopotamia.

This site tells the story of the ancient Indus Civilization through the words and photographs of the
world's leading scholars in the US, Europe, India and Pakistan. It starts with the re-discovery of
Harappa in the early 19th century by the explorer Charles Masson and later Alexander Burnes, and
formally by the archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham in the 1870's. This work led to the the first
excavations in the early 20th century at Harappa by Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni, and by R.D.
Banerji at another Indus Civilization city, Mohenjo Daro.

HARP and Indian excavations

Since 1986, the joint Pakistani American Harappa Archaeological Research Project (HARP) has been
carrying out the first major excavations at the site since before independence in 1946. These
excavations have the shown Harappa to have been far larger than once thought, perhaps supporting
a population of 50,000 at certain periods. These continuing excavations are rewriting assumptions
about the Indus Civilization, as isrecent work by archaeologists in neighboring India. New facts,
objects and examples of writing are being discovered every year in India and Pakistan.

 Siddartha Gautama: c.430 BC 
At the age of twenty‐nine Siddhartha Gautama, prince of a ruling house in Nepal, abandons the luxuries of home, and 
the affections of a wife and a young son, to become a wandering ascetic. He is following a pattern not uncommon in 
India at this time, when the rigidities of a priest‐dominated Hinduism are causing many to seek a more personal religion. 
Only a few years previously, in a nearby district, a young man by the name of Vardhamana has done exactly the same ‐ 
with lasting results in the form of Jainism. (The conventional dates for both men, revised by modern scholarship, have 
been a century earlier.) 
Gautama differs from Vardhamana in one crucial respect. He discovers that asceticism is almost as unsatisfactory as 
luxury.   According to the traditional account (first written down in the 3rd century BC) Gautama follows an ascetic life 
for six years before deciding that a middle path between mortification and indulgence of the body will provide the best 
hope of achieving enlightenment.  
He resolves to meditate, in moderate comfort, until he sees the light of truth. One evening he sits under a pipal tree at 
Buddh Gaya, a village in Bihar. By dawn he is literally buddha, an 'enlightened one'. Like any other religious leader he 
begins to gather disciples. He becomes known to his followers as the Buddha. 

The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path: c.424 BC 
Gautama preaches his first sermon at Sarnath, about 5 miles (8km) north of the sacred Hindu city of Varanasi. In this 
sermon, still a definitive text for all Buddhists, he proposes a path to enlightenment very different from the elaborate 
ceremonies and colourful myth attached to the Hindu deities.  
Gautama's message is plain to the point of bluntness, at any rate when reduced to a simple list ‐ as it usually is in 
primers on Buddhism. He states that enlightenment can be achieved by understanding Four Noble Truths; and that the 
pain of life, with which the Noble Truths are concerned, can be avoided by following an Eightfold Path.  
The four Noble Truths are that pain is inextricably part of mankind's everyday life; that our cravings of all kinds are the 
cause of this pain; that the way off this treadmill is to free oneself of these cravings; and that this can be achieved by 
following the Eightfold Path.  
The Path encourages the Buddhist to live a virtuous life by following the 'right' course of action in eight contexts. Many 
of these are moral evils to be avoided (as in the Jewish Commandments). But the eighth step, 'Right Concentration', 
goes to the heart of the Buddhist ideal.  

Right Concentration is described in Buddhist scripture as concentrating on a single object, so as to induce a special state 
of consciousness through deep meditation. In this way the Buddhist hopes to achieve complete purity of thought, 
leading ideally to nirvana.  

Nirvana means 'blowing out', as of a flame. It is common to Hinduism and Jainism as well as Buddhism. But in the two 
older religions it leads to moksha, release from the cycle of rebirth, total extinction. In Buddhism it is a blissful 
transcendent state which can be achieved either in life or after death ‐ and which is achieved by anyone who becomes 

The spread of Buddhism: c.380‐250 BC 
By the time of his death, at about the age of eighty, the Buddha's followers are established as communities of monks in 
northern India. Wandering through villages and towns with their begging bowls, eager to describe the path to the truth, 
they are familiar figures. But so are many other such groups, including the Jains.  

The advance of the Buddhists beyond the others is largely due to the enthusiastic support of a king of the 3rd century 
BC. Asoka rules over much of the Indian subcontinent. His inscriptions, carved on pillars and rocks throughout his realm, 
bear witness both to the spread of Buddhism and to his own benevolent support of the Buddha's principles.     
During Asoka's reign, and with his encouragement, Buddhism spreads to south India and into Sri Lanka. The latter has 
remained to this day a stronghold of the earliest form of Buddhism, known as Theravada (meaning the 'school of 

By the time of Asoka there is already a rival tendency within Buddhism, involving an elaboration of the Buddha's 
essentially simple message of personal salvation. The difference is similar to that between Protestants and Catholics at 
the time of the Reformation in Christianity. Compared to the puritan standards of Theravada Buddhism, the other sect ‐ 
which later becomes known as Mahayana ‐ introduces a catholic profusion of Buddhist saints.     

Mahayana and Theravada 
Mahayana means the Great Vehicle. Its adherents argue that this form of Buddhism can carry a greater number of 
people towards the truth than Theravada Buddhism, which they dismiss as Hinayana ‐ the little vehicle.  

The main distinction is that in Theravada the Buddha is a historical figure who by his example shows the way towards 
nirvana; the cult is essentially a human system of self‐discipline, with no trace of a god. In the younger but larger sect 
there is still no god, but there are a great many supernatural beings. 

In Mahayana the historical Buddha, Gautama, becomes the latest in a long line of past Buddhas. They exist in some place 
beyond this world, from which they can offer support. Also in that place are the Bodhisattvas, who have yet to begin the 
final human life in which they will attain enlightenment as Buddha. They too can help mortals who show them devotion.  

In Theravada the nearest approach to worship is the veneration of relics of the historical Buddha, whose hair or tooth is 
made the central feature of a temple. In Mahayana, with its many semi‐divine figures, there is opportunity for more 
varied, more popular and more superstitious forms of worship. It is well suited to become what it claims to be ‐ the 
greater vehicle.  

 A religion for east Asia: from the 1st century AD 
Buddhism is the first of the world religions to expand from its place of origin. It does so by two distinct routes.  

Theravada Buddhism is carried eastwards into southeast Asia, in an upsurge of Indian trade from the 1st century AD. The 
merchants and sailors are either Buddhist or Hindu, and missionaries take advantage of the new opportunities for travel. 
As a result the kingdoms of southeast Asia, much influenced by the more advanced civilization of India, variously adopt 
Buddhist and Hindu religious practices. Which of the two prevails is often the result of the preference of a ruling 
dynasty. The areas which eventually choose Buddhism are Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.  

 Mahayana Buddhism travels by a land route. In the 2nd century AD northern India and Afghanistan are ruled by the 
Kushan dynasty, one of whose kings, Kanishka, is a devotee of this form of Buddhism. His encouragement of it has 
special significance, since his kingdom occupies a central position on the Silk Road ‐ at one of its busiest times, when its 
caravans effectively link China with Rome.  

The western influence on the Kushan region (also known as Gandhara) is seen in the famous style of sculpture which 
portrays Buddhist figures with the realism of Greece and Rome. Eastwards from Gandhara the trade route is soon 
dignified with spectacular Buddhist centres, such as Yün‐kang.  

Buddhism is well established in China by the 2nd century AD and coexists there, with varying fortunes, alongside China's 
indigenous religions ‐ Daoism and Confucianism. By the 6th century its influence has spread through Korea to Japan. 
Here too it coexists, in a shifting pattern, with the earlier Japanese religion, Shinto.  

The region which develops the most distinctive form of Buddhism lies between India and China, and receives its first 
Buddhist influences from both directions in the 7th century. This is Tibet. It will evolve an element of Buddhism unique 
to itself ‐ that of a succession of reincarnating lamas, with the Dalai Lama as the senior line.  
In India Buddhism flourishes alongside Hinduism for many years, but from about the 8th century it declines (though 
Theravada Buddhism finds a lasting home in Sri Lanka). The Mahayana version of the faith becomes gradually 
submerged by the older and more vigorous Hinduism. It has perhaps been too willing to accomodate new themes, 
influenced by India's bustling inclination to worship everything.  

A weakened Buddhism proves no match for the arrival in northern India in the 10th century of rulers professing another 
vigorous faith, Islam. Buddhism becomes no more than a faint devotional presence at a few classic shrines. It is the only 
world religion to have withered in its birthplace.     

Buddhist murals: 5th ‐ 8th century 
 Monks and pilgrims play an important part in the practice of Buddhism. Both are attracted to caves in remote places. 
And the profusion of popular stories in Mahayana Buddhism (on topics such as the adventures of Buddha in his previous 
lives on earth) provides a rich source of material for narrative paintings on the walls of the caves.  

Two places suggest more vividly than any others the vitality of Buddhist cave painting from about the 5th century AD. 
One is Ajanta, a site in India long forgotten until discovered in 1817. The other is Dunhuang, one of the great oasis 
staging posts on the Silk Road.  

At Ajanta there are about thirty architectural spaces cut into a steep cliff flanking a ravine. Some are viharas, or 
monasteries, with cells for the monks around a central hall. Others are chaityas, or meeting places, with a small central 
stupa as an object for worship and contemplation.  

The paintings range from calm devotional images of the Buddha to lively and crowded scenes, often featuring the 
seductively full‐breasted and narrow‐waisted women more familiar in Indian sculpture than in painting. The latest 
images are from the 8th century, after which the decline of Buddhism in India causes these remote and beautiful places 
to become gradually abandoned and then entirely forgotten.  

 Dunhuang, on one of the world's greatest trade routes, is an altogether busier place than Ajanta. Rather than thirty 
caves, Dunhuang has nearly 500 ‐ known collectively as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas. The murals span three 
centuries, from the 5th to the 8th AD. The images in the earlier caves (hollowed from the soft rock, as at Ajanta) show 
the influence of central Asia and even India ‐ the regions from which Buddhism travels on its way to China ‐ but the later 
paintings are fully Chinese in style.  

Dunhuang, unlike Ajanta, is never lost. But one particular cave is sealed against intruders. Rediscovered in 1899, this 
cave is found to contain fine examples of Chinese painting on silk and the world's first known printed book 

Printed Buddhist texts in Korea and Japan: 750‐768 

The invention of printing is a striking achievement of Buddhists in east Asia. Korea takes the lead. The world's earliest 
known printed document is a sutra printed on a single sheet of paper in Korea in750.  

This is closely followed in Japan by a bold experiment in mass circulation (precisely the area in which printed material 
has the advantage over manuscript). In768, in devoutly Buddhist Nara, the empress commissions a huge edition of a 
lucky charm or prayer. It is said that the project takes six years to complete and that the number of copies printed, for 
distribution to pilgrims, is a million. Many have survived.  

The first printed book: 868 
The earliest known printed book is Chinese, from the end of the T'ang dynasty. Discovered in a cave at Dunhuang in 
1899, it is a precisely dated document which brings the circumstances of its creation vividly to life.  

It is a scroll, 16 feet long and a foot high, formed of sheets of paper glued together at their edges. The text is that of the 
Diamond Sutra, and the first sheet in the scroll has an added distinction. It is the world's first printed illustration, 
depicting an enthroned Buddha surrounded by holy attendants. In a tradition later familiar in religious art of the west, a 
small figure kneels and prays in the foreground. He is presumably the donor who has paid for this holy book 

The name of the donor, Wang Chieh, is revealed in another device which later becomes traditional in early printed books 
in the west. The details of publication are given in a colophon (Greek for 'finishing stroke') at the end of the text. This 
reveals that the scroll is a work of Buddhist piety, combined with the filial obligations of good Confucian ideals: 'Printed 
on 11 May 868 by Wang Chieh, for free general distribution, in order in deep reverence to perpetuate the memory of his 

The printing of Wang Chieh's scroll is of a high standard, so it must have had many predecessors. But the lucky accident 
of the cave at Dunhuang has given his parents a memorial more lasting than he could have imagined possible.  

 Buddhist banners and scrolls on silk: from the 9th c. 

The cave discovered in 1899 at Dunhuang contains many Buddhist paintings on silk. The larger ones (mostly showing 
Buddha seated in paradise with attendant figures) are designed for hanging out on poles on special occasions. Some are 
almost two yards in height and more than a yard wide.  

Narrower vertical images of dramatically painted figures from Buddhist mythology are intended as banners, to be 
carried in procession with silk streamers attached. Painting on silk remains a central theme of Chinese art. But this 
flamboyant public use of images, characteristic of Buddhism, subsequently gives way to the more discreet and private 
art of the Confucians.  

New sects of Buddhism in Japan: 12th ‐ 13th century 
One of Japan's most famous monuments is a vast bronze sculpture at Kamakura. Known as Daibutsu, and cast in 1252, it 
depicts Buddha. But this figure seated in peaceful meditation is not the historical Gautama Buddha. He is Amitabha 
Buddha, known and revered in Japan as Amida.  
The cult of Amida, also called 'Pure Land' Buddhism, is one of several new sects in Japan, mostly arriving from China, 
which become naturalized during the Kamakura shogunate. It is based on a sutra in which Amida, who has achieved 
enlightenment as Buddha, assures all those who adore him that they can live with him for ever in a pure land ‐ a Promise 
made in the Sukhavativyuha Sutra.  
Another foreign sect of Buddhism, which the Japanese make very much their own, is known in China as Chan and in 
Japan as Zen (both derive from a Sanskrit word meaning 'meditation'). Zen, reaching Japan from China in the 12th 
century, lays great emphasis on intuition, or finding the truth within oneself, but it also stresses the importance of 
It appeals to the new samurai class (several Zen masters teach sword fighting), and at periods during the shogunate it 
becomes almost the state religion. Zen masters encourage some of the most distinctive cultural aspects of Japanese life, 
including the Tea Ceremony (closely linked with the tradition of Japanese ceramics).  
The most aggressive of the Buddhist sects is the only one to have its roots entirely in Japan. It follows the teaching of 
Nichiren, a fiery prophet who spends much of his life in exile for his criticism of the shoguns in Kamakura. They favour 
the rivals on whom he pours scorn, the devotees of Pure Land and Zen Buddhism.  
Like Old Testament prophets, Nichiren foresees disaster befalling his misguided compatriots. The Mongol invasion of 
1274 is seen by many as the fulfilment of his prophecies. His passion inspires a sect which still has a considerable 
following in 20th‐century Japan.  

Buddhism today 
Buddhism in its various forms remains the most widespread of the ancient religions in east Asia, where it numbers some 
300 million adherents. The greatest concentration is in the historic lands of Theravada Buddhism ‐ Sri Lanka and the 
three countries, adjacent to each other, of Burma, Thailand and Cambodia. Buddhists still practising in Mahayana 
regions (China, Tibet, Mongolia) have suffered greatly from the atheist creed of Communism. In Japan a majority still 
adheres to various forms of Buddhism. During the 20th century the faith has also begun to spread to entirely new 
regions. There is now a significant minority of Buddhists in the United States and in Europe. 
Jainism In Indian History 
Jainism is an ancient religion of India. Jains trace their history through twenty‐four tirthankara and revere Rishabhanatha 
as the first tirthankara (in the present time‐cycle). The last two tirthankara, the 23rd tirthankara Parshvanatha (c. 872 – 
c. 772 BCE)[1][2] and the 24th tirthankara Mahavira (c. 599 – c. 527 BCE)[3] are historical figures.[4][5] There is limited 
historical evidence for the 22nd tirthankara Neminatha[6] who was the cousin brother of Krishna.[7][8] Jainism is a 
philosophy of eternity and Jains consider their religion to be eternal.[9] According to Heinrich Zimmer, Jainism can be 
traced back as far as third or fourth millennium BC, due to the discovery of a series of great late Stone Age cities in the 
Indus Valley. 

In the second chapter we traced the history of Jainism in its earlier centuries. The story is not complete for, 
even if we had much more space and time, historians are still only slowly unraveling the confused history of 
ancient India. In this chapter we shall sketch a few of the developments in Jainism in the history of India. 
Obviously we can only touch on this subject. One of the reasons why it is difficult to trace the history of 
Jainism quickly is that India for much of the past 2000 years was not a single state but a large number of small, 
and some large, states with shifting frontiers each with its own history. 
The major event, of course, was the gradual extension of Jainism from its homelands in eastern India into the 
south, and then into western India, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Unfortunately we know little about how this 
actually happened. Doubtless Jain Monks, traveling as always on foot, crossed India and made converts in the 
lands they passed through. Probably Jain businessmen, then as now, took their faith to distant parts. Other 
travelers also might have helped. Certainly Jainism had reached Gujarat more than 2000 years ago. 
From the early fourth century A.D. until around 600 A.D. northern India, down as far as modern Bombay, was 
under the control of the emperors of the Gupta dynasty. Doubtless the unified control facilitated contacts 
across India. In the Gupta period Gujarat seems to have become the most important center of Jainism in India 
if we are to judge from the fact that the great council, when the holy scriptures were finally put into writing 
around 460 A.D., was held at Valabhi in Gujarat. Some sixty or seventy years later Jain scriptures were read at 
a ceremony of mourning for the death of the king's son even though the king himself was not a Jain. Apart 
from Gujarat, Jainism was well established in many parts of India by the Gupta period: it was certainly already 
present in Rajasthan by then. 
An unusual account of India was given by a visitor from China who traveled there in the earlier seventh 
century A: D . He has many references to Jains and it does appear that, at least in the places which he visited, 
the Digambara were at that time the stronger section. However the Svetambara were beginning to increase in 
Gujarat and Rajasthan, particularly because they gained the support of the kings of Gujarat. Many great Jain 
scholars contributed to Jain learning as well as to many other subjects. One of the greatest was the famous 
Acharya Hemacandra from Gujarat (1089‐1172 A.D.). The king of Gujarat, Kumarapala, was his staunch 
follower. Hemacandra wrote very widely on a range of scientific and literary subjects, commentaries on 
ancient texts, poetry, works on logic, yoga and grammar, and a lot more. He wrote a major work on the duties 
of both lay people and monks. 
Large number of sects developed amongst the Svetambara from the seventh century A.D. onwards, 
traditionally they numbered eighty‐four, though not many of them survive today. They certainly attest to the 
vitality of Jainism in these centuries, a golden age for the faith. 
In south India, from the fifth century onwards for some seven hundred years, Jains also received the 
patronage of royalty and many kings favored them in one way or another. Great poets and writers flourished. 
Under royal patronage Jinasena wrote a great unfinished epic which was completed by his pupil Gunabhadra 
in the year 897 A.D. This long work includes much moral teaching on the duties of a Jain and is much 
respected by the Digambara scholars. In the south one of the great centers of Jainism was Sravana Belgola, 
noted for its colossal Jain image, still an important center of pilgrimage today, and in earlier times a center for 
Jain influence across the southern regions. Jainism flourished during this period with large numbers of 
adherents in all classes of society. 
However Jainism began to lose ground eventually. The development of popular personal religious movements 
in Hinduism with a warm devotion to a god led many away from the religion of Mahavira. The Hindu followers 
of both Vishnu and Siva increased in numbers and the contest between the newly revived Hindu cults and the 
Jains became strong, then bitter and finally in some cases led to violence against the Jains. Although we must 
not overstress this (for Hinduism and Jainism have coexisted happily nearly always), Jainism in south India did 
suffer a decline from which it never recovered, at least to its earlier strength. Dedicated and faithful Jains 
continued to practice their religion with enthusiasm, as they do today, but their numbers were fewer. 
In the north, too, Jainism lost ground. From the thirteenth century A.D. the Muslim conquests in north India 
affected Jains badly. At times Jain temples (and Hindu ones as well) suffered damage or destruction by the 
conquerors. At the same time there seems to have been a decline in religious fervor and practice. Numbers 
declined and Jainism became confined mainly to the merchant and business class. However, again we must 
not overstress the decline.; Jainism did decline in numbers, and at times in standards, Jains continued to 
produce great scholars and many devoted saints. Jains, as a pacific group in society, valued for financial and 
business acumen, enjoyed a fair measure of tolerance and, indeed, were not infrequently employed in 
important government positions. Temple building and the arts continued to flourish. In the sixteenth century 
the Mogul emperor Akbar, the greatest Mogul ruler, although a Muslim, had close contacts with a Jain monk 
Hirvijaya Suri. Akbar called Hirvijaya to his court in 1582 and the monk and the emperor had long 
conversations on questions of religion and philosophy. Inspired by these the emperor was moved to impose 
restrictions on the killing of animals in his domains and himself gave up his favorite sport of hunting. 
While the Muslims dominated north and central India, in the south the great Hindu empire of Vijayanagar 
ruled from the early fourteenth century to the late sixteenth century A.D. Here the Jains were protected by 
the rulers and many took an important part in public life, in government and the army, as well as in finance, 
trade and learning. In view of the Jain insistence on non‐violence, it may become as a surprise to some to 
learn that Jain laymen have sometimes been prepared to hold military positions. The question whether the 
rules of ahimsa, non‐violence, permit the necessary defense of one's country is usually answered by the 
argument that a measure of necessary harm is unavoidable for the lay person, though of course strictly 
precluded for the monk or nun. In all honesty, however, we may well question whether the military exploits of 
some Jain rulers in Indian history have not strayed beyond the bounds of unavoidable violence. 
The building of temples and the installation of images has long been a tradition of Jainism but one 
development has been the emergence of a branch of the Svetambara Jains which does not accept the worship 
of images. The Sthanakvasi sect originated in the late seventeenth century, though its roots are traced back as 
far as 1394 in another group which rejected images. Although the majority of Jains adhere to the ancient 
rituals and images, the Sthanakvasi, who meet in plain meditation halls, have attracted many adherents and 
have produced many learned and pious members. 
Main Features of Mansabdari System 
Mansabdari system was of Central Asian origin. Some of the features of Mansabdari System were in vogue during the 
reigns of Alauddin Khalji and Sher Shah. The Mansabdari system was formally organized and introduced by Akbar in his 
administration. This system formed the foundation of military and civil administration of Mughal Empire. 
Mansab meant rank or status. Akbar disliked jagir system as the same caused unnecessary loss to the central treasury. 
On the contrary he introduced Mansabdari system. Mansabdars or office holders were divided into 33 classes and were 
paid in cash according to their respective grades. Each of them had to maintain a certain number of horses and troops. 
These troops were used by the Mughal Emperor in times of crisis and wars. 

The lowest mansab was 10; at the end of the reign the highest mansab was raised to 12,000. Mansabdars were generally 
assigned jagirs in line of pay in cash. Some mansabdars commanded troops recruited not by themselves but by the state 

Most Mansabdars were foreigners or descendants of foreigners Central Asian, Turks, Persians and Afghans. The number 
of Indian holding this rank was relatively small. Consequently Mansabdars who raised then own troops preferred men of 
their tribe or race. 
The Mansabdars System in India constituted imperial bureaucracy. They were said to be the pillars of the Mughal 
administration. In fact they formed the ruling class in the Mughal Empire. 

The mansabdari system introduced by Akbar was a unique feature of the administrative system of the Mughal Empire. 
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 mansabdari system was of Central Asian origin. According to one view Babur brought it to 
North India. 

But the credit of giving it an institutional framework goes to Akbar who made it the basis of Mughal military organization 
and civil administration. The mansabdars formed the ruling group in the Mughal Empire. Almost the whole nobility, the 
bureaucracy as well as the military hierarchy, held mansabs. 

Conse‐quently, the numerical strength of the mansabdars and their composition during different periods materially 
influenced not only politics and ad‐ministration but also the economy of the empire. 

Since the mansabdars of the Mughal empire received their pay either in cash (naqd) or in the form of assignments of 
areas of land (jagir) from which they were entitled to collect the land revenue and all other taxes sanctioned by the 
emperor, the mansabdari system was also an in‐tegral part of the agrarian and the jagirdari system. 

Basic Features: 
The mansabdars 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 desig‐nated zat 
(personal rank) and the other sawar (cavalry rank). The chief use of zat was to place the holders in an appropriate 
position in the offi‐cial hierarchy. 

In the early years of Akbar's reign the mansabs (ranks) ranged from command of 10 to 5,000 troops. 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 in‐creasing. In or about 1595 the total numbers of 
mansabdars during the reign of Akbar was 1803; but towards the close of Aurangzeb's rein their number rose to 14,449. 

In theory all mansabdars were appointed by the emperor, who also granted promotions on the basis of gallantry in 
military service and merit. The mansabdars holding ranks below 500 zat were called mansabdars, those more than 500 
but below 2,500 amirs and those holding ranks of 2,500 and above were called amir‐i‐umda or amir‐i‐azam or omrahs. 
The mansabdars who received pay in cash were known as naqdi and those paid through assignments of jagirs were 
called jagirdars. 

The jagirs were by nature trans‐ferable and no mansabdar was allowed to retain the same jagir for a long period. The 
watan‐jagirs were the only exception to the general system of jagir transfers. The watan‐jagirs were normally granted to 
those zamindars who were already in possession of their watans (homelands) before the expansion of the Mughal 

The mansab 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 begin afresh. Another important feature of the mansabdari system was 
the law of escheat (zabti), according to which when a mansabdar died all his property was confiscated by the emperor. 
This measure had been introduced so that the mansab‐dars did not exploit the people in a high‐handed manner. 

The Mansabdari system was the core foundation of administrative system of the Mughal Empire introduced by Akbar in 
1595‐96 CE. The word mansab is of Arabic origin meaning rank or position. The system, hence, determined the rank of a 
government official. Every civil and military officer was given a ‘mansab’ and different numbers which could be divided 
by ten were used for ranking officers. It was also meant for fixing the salaries and allowances of officers. 

It was a system whereby nobles were granted the rights to hold a jagir, which meant revenue assignments (not land 
itself) for services rendered by them but the authority bestowed upon them was not unbridled but with the direct 
control of these nobles in the hands of the king. Abul Fazl has mentioned 66 grades of mansabdars but in practice there 
were not more than 33 mansabs. During the early reign of Akbar, the lowest grade was ten and the highest was 5,000. 

Towards the end of the reign it was raised to 7,000. According to Badauni, it was fixed at 12,000. Higher mansabs were 
given to princes and Rajput rulers who accepted the suzerainty of the emperor. 

The system was common to both the military and the civil department and is believed to have originated in Mongolia. It 
was prevalent during the reign of Babur and Humayun as well. Akbar made important changes to the system and made 
it more efficient. 

The 'mansab' of a noble implied the following: 

(a) Salary of the officer 

(b) Status of the officer 

(c) Number of soldiers, horses and elephants etc., maintained by an officer. 

Two grades delineated the mansabdars. Those mansabdars whose rank was one thousand or below were called the 
Amir, while those above 1,000 were called the Amiral Kabir (Great Amir). Some great Amirs whose ranks were above 
5,000 were also given the title of Amir‐al Umara (Amir of Amirs). 

Zat & Sawar 
During later years of his reign, Akbar introduced the rank of ‘Zat’ and ‘Sawar’ in the Mansabdari system. Different views 
have been expressed regarding these terms. According to Blochmann, every mansabdar had to maintain as many 
soldiers as were indicated by his rank of Zat’ while the rank of ‘sawar’ indicated the number of horsemen among them. 
Irvin expressed the view that Zat indicated the actual number of cavalry under a mansabdar besides other soldiers while 
sawar was an additional honour. 

According to R.P. Tripathi, the rank of sawar was given to mansabdars to fix up their additional allowances. A mansabdar 
was paid rupees two per horse. Therefore, if a mansabdar received the rank of 500 sawar he was given rupees one 
thousand additional allowance. Abdul Aziz is of the opinion that while the rank of zat fixed the number of other soldiers 
under a mansabdar, the rank of sawar fixed the number of his horsemen. 

A.L. Srivastava has opined that while the rank of zat indicated the total number of soldiers under a mansabdar, the rank 
of sawar indicated the number of horsemen under him. During the reign of Akbar, the mansabdars were asked to keep 
as many horsemen as were indicated by numbers of their ranks of sawar. But, the practice was not be maintained by 
other Mughal emperors. 

‐No. of Sawar = No. of Zat => 1st Class Mansabdar 

‐No. of Sawar = 1/2 the No. of Zat => 2nd Class Mansabdar 

‐No. of Sawar < 1/2 the No. of Zat => 3rd Class Mansabdar 

Main Features 
1. The king himself appointed the mansabdars. He could enhance the mansab, lower it or remove it. 

2. A mansabdar could be asked to perform any civil or military service. 

3. There were 33 categories of the mansabdars. The lowest mansabdar commanded 10 soldiers and the highest 10,000 
soldiers. Only the princes of the royal family and most important Rajput rulers were given a mansab of 10,000. 

4. A mansabdar was paid his salary in cash. 

5. The salary due to the soldiers was added to the personal salary of the mansabdar. At times, for paying salaries to 
soldiers, a jagir was given to the him. But the revenue was realised by officers and necessary adjustments made. 

6. The mansabdari system was not hereditary. 

7. In addition to meeting his personal expenses, the mansabdar had to maintain out of his salary a stipulated quota of 
horses, elephants, camels, mules and carts. A mansabdar holding a rank of 5,000 had to maintain 340 horses, 100 
elephants, 400 camels, 100 mules and 160 carts. 

8. Handsome salaries were paid to a mansabdar. A mansabdar with a rank of 5,000 got a salary of 30,000 rupees per 
month, one of 3,000 could get 17,000 rupees, while a mansabdar of 1,000 got 8,200 rupees. 

9. The horses were classified into six categories and the elephants into five. 

10. For every ten cavalry men, the mansabdar had to maintain twenty horses for horses that had to be provided rest 
while on a march and replacements were necessary in times of war. 

11. A record was kept of the description (‘huliy’) of each horseman under a mansabdar and of branding (‘dag’) horses to 
prevent corruption. 

12. The troops raised by the emperor but not paid directly the state and place under the charge of mansabadars were 
known as Dakhili 

Mansabdars were graded on the number of armed cavalrymen, or sowars, which each had to maintain for service in the 
imperial army. Thus, all mansabdars had a zat, or personal ranking, and a sowar, or a troop ranking. All servants of the 
empire, whether in the civil or military departments, were graded in this system. 

There were thirty‐three grades of mansabdars ranging from 'commanders of 10' to 'commanders of 10,000'. Till the 
middle of Akbar's reign, the highest rank an ordinary officer could hold was that of a commander of 5,000. The more 
exalted grades between commanders of 7,000 and 10,000 were reserved for the royal princes. During the period 
following Akbar's reign, the grades were increased up to 20,000 and 20‐25 rupees per horse was paid to a mansabdar. 

Additionally, there was no distinction between the civil and military departments. Both civil and military officers held 
mansabs and were liable to be transferred from one branch of the administration to another. Each mansabdar was 
expected to maintain prescribed number of horses, elephants, and equipment, according to his rank and dignity. These 
rules, though initially strictly enforced, were later slackened. 

Changes introduced by Jahangir and Shah Jahan 
1. Difference in the highest mansab: After Akbar, higher mansabs were introduced. During Jahangir and Shah Jahan’s 
reigns, the mansab of a prince was raised to 40,000 and 60,000 respectively as against of 12,000 during Akbar’s reign. 

2. Reduction in the number of soldiers: Shah Jahan reduced the number of soldiers kept by a mansabdar. Now each 
mansabdar was required to keep one‐third of the original number. Sometimes, it was even reduced v one‐fourth or one‐

3. Difference in the categories of mansabdars: During the time of Jahangir and Shah Jahan, the number of categories”of 
mansabdars was reduced to 11 as against 33 mentioned by Abul Fazl in his book Akbarnama. 

4. Relaxation in control: With Akbar’s death, the control exercised over mansabdars became a bit slack. 

Merits of the Mansabdari System 
1. Removal of the chief defects of the jagirdari system: The Mansabdari system proved helpful in removing the defects 
inherent in the Jagirdari system. With mansabdars receiving salaries from the emperor, they were more loyal and 
chances of their revolt were minimised. 

2. Increased military efficiency: By regulating the maintenance of the horses and horsemen, military efficiency increased. 

3. Extra revenue to the state: The entire land became state‐land and officials realised the revenue drawn from it. 

4. Merit as the basis of selection: Initially the system was not hereditary, a mansab was given to an official on the basis 
of merit and could be enhanced or lowered. But eventually it did became hereditary. 

Demerits of the Mansabdari System 
1. The mansabdars got their salaries from the emperor and paid themselves the salaries to their troops. This made the 
troops more loyal to the mansabdars than to the king. 

2. The system proved very expensive. 

3. Dishonest mansabdars and officials used to ally together during inspection, borrowed horses from one another and 
showed their full quota. 

4. Caste system prevailed in the mansabdari system. 

5. Since the property of a mansabdar was confiscated after his death, he used to spend it lavishly during his lifetime. This 
made the nobles luxurious and it led to their moral degradation which had an adverse effect on their efficiency.