Mughal Administration

Mughal Period was the most important episode in the history of India since the invasion of Aryans. It has changed the whole aspect of it so radically as no other event has yet done or is likely to do in future.

The foundations of Mughal empire were well and truly laid at Panipat, not in 1526 AD but in 1556 AD when Humayun defeated Hemu. After the death of Hemu, Mughal rulers of Delhi never faced any real danger till the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 AD.

The vast empire enjoyed fame for pomp, wealth, culture unparalleled in those times. Its system of governance and administration guaranteed peace and order over a vast region and offered unique opportunities of advancement in arts.

But the Mughal empire had shallow roots. Its existence depended mainly on the personal character of the reigning autocrat and on the degree of military power.

Mughal Govt. was highly centralised and emperor was the real pivot of the govt. No important administrative decision was taken without his full cognizance. There was no branch of administration which did not receive his attention. There was very little delegation of power.

The procedure adopted for the transaction of business was lengthy and involved endless paper work. This was true of Mughal Govt. at all levels. In spite of developing a rationalised system of administration, public works & revenue collection, the Mughals failed to penetrate the lower regions of Indian life, partly because of their alien nature which kept them by and large confined to urban areas.

The Mughal administration presented a combination of Indian and extra-Indian elements or more correctly it was the perso-Arabic system in Indian setting.
Govt. was military in origin and though in time it became rooted in the soil, it retained its military character to the last.

Land revenue system of Mughal India continued the old practice, procedure and even traditions of the country.

Mughal emperor loved to pose as the fountain of justice and followed open court trials.

Kaghazi Raz:
Mughal Govt. except in the actual conducting of campaigns, was a ‘Kaghazi Raz’ i.e. paper govt. The procedure adopted for the transaction of business was lengthy and involved endless paper work. Its officers had to maintain many books such as copies of correspondence, nominal rolls, descriptive rolls, history of the service of officers, newsletters and dispatched received as well as accounts in duplicate or triplicate, besides keeping an army of spies and courtiers for the information of central govt.

Kaghazi Raz is criticised by a historian as, ‘Akbar was a master of detail but here detail is pushed to extreme. It is everywhere assumed that the control of business depends on the compilation of appropriate registers.’ 

The classical Muslim writers divided the servants of the state into 3 main categories:
1. The fighters or the masters of the sword
2. The masters of the pen (clerk, accountant)
3. Men of the turban (Jurist)

The first two categories were in every sense members of public services. They were organised by Akbar into a single service in which they had a defined place, a mansab or a status.

Govt was military in nature. Every official of Mughal govt had to be enrolled in the army list. He was given a Mansab as nominal commander of so many horsemen which determined his pay and status. Civil servants , judges of canon law, superintendents of posts, excise or customs and even clerks & accountants of higher grades were ranked as mansabdars.

In order to ensure that each mansabdar maintains the correct number of horses, Akbar formulated a series of rules.

Military character of the Mughal Administration service by no means signified negation of bureaucracy. The functions of all civilians posts were well defined. The rules & regulations under which govt. functioned were also not of military nature. The Mughal govt. can be defined as a bureaucracy.

Mughal Administration summary:
• Mughal Emperor pivot of govt

• Considered himself shadow of God

• Highly centralised administration

• Very little delegation of power

• Highest office head of Deptt. (like secretaries, not ministers)

• Each one responsible to Monarch, no question of mutual consultation or joint responsibility.

• Wakil (head of Administration) was the emperor’s chief advisor, he was specially responsible for advising the emperor upon appointments, dismissals, promotions and demotions

• Wazir – Head of fiscal administration, imperial treasury was under his control.

• Mirbakshi – highly placed mansabdar and was responsible for the smooth working of the mansabdari system.

• Daroga-i-Dak Chowki – headed various chowkis but also functional as the head of the Imperial intelligence deptt.

• Paper work: The procedure adopted for transaction of business was lengthy and involved endless paper work and filing. Government sustained by files.

Empire  -> Provinces (Suba)-> Sarkars -> Mahals/Paragnas -> Mawda (group of villages)

• Boundary of each Mawda was clearly demarcated and each one of these was an administrative unit.

Some Appreciation Please!

  Posted on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015 at 8:44 AM under   Polity