(Online Course) History for IAS Mains: Mughal Empire in the Seventeenth Century – Components of Administration

Mughal Empire in the Seventeenth

Components of Administration

Seventy per cent of the Mughal officers were foreigners,
mainly Iranis from Persia and Turanis from Central Asia. They belonged to
families that had migrated to India with Humayun or had arrived after Akbar’s
accession. During the course of Akbar’s rule only twenty-one Hindus were
recruited into the ranks of the upper nobility. Of these, the overwhelming
majority (seventeen) were Rajputs. The other four included in this privileged
circle were Birbal Todar Mal, his son and another Khattri. After the dismissal
of Bairam Khan, he did away with the institution of the all-powerful wazir,
distributed the functions of that office among several officers and often kept
the post vacant.The diwan was responsible only for the functioning of the
finance ministry, while the mir bakshi was accountable for the military
department. The sadr us-sadur looked after ecclesiastical affairs, while the mir
saman was in-charge of the supply department.

Dear Candidate, This Material is from
History Mains Study Kit for Civil Services Main Examinations. For Details

Akbar abolished the post of all-powerful Wazir. He became the
head of the revenue department Also known as Diwan-i-ala. Diwan Responsible for
all income and expenditure and had control over Khalisa and jagir land. Mir
Bakshi Headed military department, nobility, information and intelligence
agencies. Mir Saman was Incharge of Imperial household and Karkhanas.
Diwan-i-Bayutat Maintained roads, government buildings etc. and worked under Mir
Saman. Sadr us Sadr Incharge of charitable and religious endowments Qazi id
Quzat Headed the Judiciary department Muhtasib Censor of Public Morals.

Wazir- Head of the revenue department

Mir Bakshi – Head of the military department

Barids- Intelligence Officers

Waqia navis- Reporters

Mir saman- In charge of imperial household

Qazi-  Head of the judicial department

Sadr-us-Sudur: Head of the Ecclessiastical Department
hence regulated the religious policy of the state; was also in charge of Public
Authorities and Endowments. Other Officials: (i) Muhtasibs (enforced public
morals), (ii) Waquia Navis (News reports), (iii) Khufia Navis (Secret
letterwriters), (iv) Harkarahs (spies and special couriers).

Organization of the Government

Parganas and Sarkar continued as before. Chief Officers of
the Sarkar were Fauzdar and Amalguzar. The former being in charge of law and
order and the later responsible for the assessment and collection of the land
revenue. Mughal Empire was divided into subas which was further subdivided into
sarkar, Parganas and villages. However, it also had other territorial units as ‘Khalisa’,
(royal land ), Jagirs (autonomous rajas) and Inams (gifted lands, mainly waste
lands). There were 15 territorial units (subas) during Akbar’s reign, which
later increased it) 20 under Aurangzeb’s reign. Akbar divided the empire into 12
subas. These were Bengal, Bihar, Allahbad, Awadh, Agra, Delhi, Lahore, Multan,
Kabul, Ajmer, Malwa & Gujarat. A Subbahdar, diwan, bakshi, sadr, qazi and a
waqia- navis were appointed each to of the provinces

Province (Suba)

  1. Sipahsalar—The Head Executive(under Akbar and later he
    was known Nizam or Subedar)

  2. Diwan—Incharge of revenue department

  3. Bakshi—Incharge of military dept.


  1. Fauzdar—Administrative head

  2. Amal/Amalguzar—Revenue collection

  3. Kotwal—Maintenance of law and order, trial of criminal
    cases and price regulation.


  1. Shiqdar—Administrative head combined in himself the
    duties of ‘fauzdar and kotwal’

  2. Amin, Qanungo—Revenue officials


  1. Muqaddam—Headman

  2. Patwari—Accountant

  3. Chowkidar—Watchman

Mansabdari System

Mansabdari system which was introduced in 1595-96, was a
combined status, showing a noble’s civil and military capacity. Twin ranks— Zat
and Sawar, were allotted. The former indicated a noble’s personal status, while
the latter, the number of troops he had to maintain. Mansabdari had three scale
gradations, viz

  1. Mansabdar (500 zat and below)

  2. Amir (between 500-2500 zat)

  3. Amir-i-Umda (2500 zat and above)

The salary of the Mansabdar was fixed on a Month Scale
system. During Jahangir’s reign, a du aspa siha aspa system was introduced
through which, a nobles’ sawar rank could he increased without affecting
his zat. Mansab was not an hereditary system. Mansabdars were paid through
revenue assignments (jagirs).

Addition by Jahangir

Introduction of the “duaspa-sihaspa” (23h) rank, literally
meaning troopers having 2 or 3 horses; and hence related to the sawar rank. This
rank doubled the ordinary sawar rank, and hence doubled the obligation, and the
previleges that went with it.

Changes by Shah Jahan

Rule of 1/3rd, 1/4th: It scaled down the obligations of the
mansabdars. If a mansabdar war serving in a province where his jagirwas, then
his contingent should be equal to 1/3rd of his sawar rank; if elsewhere then
only 1/4th. Month Scales: A mansabdar often found that the the “hasil” (actual
revenue collected from a Jagir) was less than the “jama”(stipulated or assessed
revenue from a Jagir), on which his salary was actually fixed. Thus the month
scale was a devise to express the ratio between the `jama’ and the ‘hasil’, and
hence gave some relief in service obligations to mansabdars.


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