Posted: June 6th, 2021
MANSABDARI SYSTEM IN MUGHAL DYNASTY Mansab was the generic term for the military type grading of all imperial officials of the Mughal empire. The mansabdars governed the empire and commanded its armies in the emperor’s name. The term is derived from Mansab, meaning rank. Hence,Mansabdari literally means rank-holder. Basically,the mansabdar system was borrowed from Persia. It was prevalent during the reign of Babur and Humayun. Mansabdar was a title used in the armed services of the Mughal empire.
The term is derived from Mansab, standing for rank,mansabdar literally means a rank holder in military. A mansabdar was engaged in the service of the state and was obligated to render service. The mansabdars formed a military aristocracy which proved an admirable instant in the organization of Chengiz and Timur. The“ mansab” meant rank. 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.
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 mansabdar system was also an integrated part of the agrarian and the jagirdari system. This system introduced by Akbar . It was a unique feature of the administrative system of the Mughal Empire. The term mansab (i. e. officer,position,rank)in the mughal administrative indicated the rank of its holder(mansabdar) in the official hierarchy. It was of central Asian origin.
According to one view Babur brought it to North India. DEVELOPMENT OF MANSABDARI SYSTEM- During the reign of Akbar, the lowest rank was that of number ten and the highest was that of twelve thousand. The mansab above five thousand and later on that of seven thousand was given only to princes of royal blood. Jahangir and Shahjahan awarded mansab to their officers upto the number only three thousand while royal princes were given mansabs upto the number of forty thousand. Akbar introduced the mansabdari system in the mughal army which primarily meant the ranking of officers on decimal system.
Mansabdari system was the novelty of army organisation of the mughals. It was introduced by Akbar and was kept as it was with minor changes upto the reign of Aurangzeb. The later mughals gave mansabs upto number of fifty thousand. All officers below the rank of the mansab of five hundred were called mansabdars,the officers enjoying the mansab from five hundred to two thousand five hundred were called amir-i-azam and amir- i-umda. Some historians described,that the mansabdars were required to maintain soldiers equivalent to the number of rank awarded to them.
Classification of mansab which has been highlighted with chengiz khan who had divided his army 10-10000. In this matter any thing cannot be said how many horsemen were kept by any mansab,because Jama was being exaggrated. When state got information about the situation of the agriculture and economy. Akbar took decision to control the situation which was quite different from written statements in the office. The main motto behind this was to implement dagh system. It means every mansabdar had to got registered his documents for face.
Number of horses and their quality was checked and those who was not able to fulfill the criteria they were punished. According to badauni,who was also mansabdar of twenty rank. First mansab was given mansab of 20. So that he could serve the palace according to the situation. Aamir opposed dagh system and they were not ready for special sign which had been given to their horses. During dagh system create small aamir had taken power in their hand. Sometimes they used it to disturb reputted aamir, some shahi diwans who adopted hard ways due to this agitation happened in Bengal and Bihar in 1580 for which Akbar tried to remove this.
Day by day dagh system was going to strict but mansabdars did not keep actual number of horsemen during any ocassion of the demonstration they took horses of others and did the formality. In many respects,the basic features were first delineated by Moreland and Abdul Aziz but their views have been greatly refined and often substantially revised by M. Athar Ali and Irfan Habib. Mansabdari which had been brought by Mughals was unique system. By and large, it has been here,mansab was the rank by which a man used to get honour in his salary for promotion.
He was a appointed in administrative service or in the King’s court. Given mansab to aamir was pay to 10 to 5000. Although mansab word was used for all the mansabdars. Below 1000 all the persons were said mansabdars. It was assumed that time it is a system in which you have to promote yourself on the basis of your talent and wisdom. From 500 to 10000 mansab was reserved for shahi family but Akbar gave this mansab to his relative mansingh and brother Mirza Aziz Koka. There were tthirty-three grades of mansab ranging from commanders of 10 to commanders of 10000.
Till the middle of Akbar’s reign , the highest rank an ordinary officer hold was that of a commanders of 5000 the more enalted grades between commanders of 7000 and 10000 were reserved for the royal princes. During the period following the reign of Akbar, the grades were increased upto 20000 or even more. There was no distinction between civil and military departments, officers both civil and military held mansabs and were liable to be transferred from one branch of the administration to another. Each mansabdars were expected to maintain prescribed number of horses,elephants,equipments etc according to his rank and dignity.
Senior mansabdar were awarded a jagir(personal fief) rather than a salary. The mansab was not hereditary and it automatically lapsed after the death or dismissal of the mansabdars. Khwandamir tells us that at the command of the emperor Hindu has the salaries of the military personnel and also the grades(maratib) of the he Imperial servants. The salaries of mansabdars were fixed according to their mansabs,while the rates for their troopers were sanctioned separately. Moreover the mansabdars were to maintain a separate stable of animals (elephants and horses) their own according to their mansabs.
Akbar organized the nobility and his army by means of the mansabdari system. The ranks normally given to top officers and nobles were valued from 10 to 5000 later raised to 7000. But the credit going 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. Consequently,the numerical strength of the mansabdars and their composition during different periods materially influenced not only politics and administration but also the economy of the Empire.
ZAT AND SAWAR-The mansabdars were differentiated by the Zat and Sawar rank. Mansabdar had a zat or personal ranking and a sawar or a troop ranking. The mansabdars belonged both to the civil and military departments. They were transferred from the civil side to the military departments. They were transferred from the the civil side to the military department and vice versa. The mughal mansab was dual , represented by one designated zat(personal rank) and the other sawar(cavalry rank). In Akbar’s reign the mansabs ranged from command of 10 to 5000 troops.
Subsequently, the highest mansabs were raised from 10000 to 12000 but there was no fixed number of mansabdars. During the reign of Akbar ,introduced the rank of zat and sawar in the mansabdari system was that ,every mansabdar was given the rank of sawar as well as that of zat. A mansabdar was paid rupees two per horse. In his period,the mansabdar were asked to keep as many horsemen as were indicated by numbers of their ranks of sawar. Every grade of his mansabdars holding the rank of five thousand or below it were divided into three categories.
If a mansabdar had equal ranks zat and sawar ,he was of first category among his grade of mansabdar . i. e. if a mansabdar enjoyed the rank of five thousand zat and five thousand sawar then he was of the first category among the mansabdars of five thousand. If a mansabdar had the rank of sawar lower than the rank of zat but not lower than half of it then he belonged to the second category. i. e. if a mansabdar enjoyed the rank of five thousand zat and three thousand or two hundred and five hundred sawar then he belonged to the second category among the mansabdars of five thousand.
And lastly, if a mansabdar enjoyed the rank of sawar which was less the half of his rank of zat then he belonged to the third category among his grade of mansabdars. A separate department was organized for the purpose of horses and elephants is called Dagh-Mahali. Akbar , of course ;deserved credit for imploring the army- organization of the Mughals. Akbar’s death mansab was explained in two numerical representatives:the first zat determined the holder’s personal pay and the status in the hierarchy ,the second sawar indicated the number of horsemen to be maintained by the holder and set the amount sanctioned to cover their pay.
Akbar introduced the sawar rank in his 11th regnal year (1566-67). Mansab as a single rank is further supported by the Tabaqat’s different way of expressing mansabs in terms of numbers of troopers(sawars or naukars). The sawars were distinguised in two classes- sih-aspa du aspa and barawardis. Irfan Habib to bring out the significance under Akbar of the term barawardis , as a pre-dagh uniform payment per unit of sawar rank ,which was intented to be adjusted after the dagh. Ain that clearly defines the term barawardi and implies that the final salary was fixed on the basis of the contingent of troopers actually brought to the brand(dagh).
The pay sanctioned after dagh was determined by such factors as the number of horses mustered along with the troopers and the breed of horses. In other words, the 18-19 regnal years, we shows that- a. A single number was awarded as mansab. b. Each mansab indicated as per schedule ,a particular amount of monthly personal pay for the mansab-holder. c. Against each mansab,its holder was called upon to maintain different numbers of war and transport ,for which he was paid additional allowances at detailed rates laid down in official schedules. d. The mansab- holder was called upon to maintain horsemen equal to the number of the mansab. . An advance payment for the mansab was made at a rate called bar-awardi. Its the balance of full payment was made or at any rate became due after the contingent of the mansabdar was actually presented for inspection and brand(dagh). APPOINTMENTS AND PROMOTION OF MANSABDARS- Every candidate for a mansab had to provide a surely(zama) and this rule was extremely rigorously enforced. It appears that bankers or money lenders of standing were accepted as sureties by the administration. The mansabdar recuirement and promotion was gradually viewed as atedious job,especially when gaining a surety.
It was specially needed that soldiers should be capable and worthy. A record of every sawar was kept and the horses were branded. They invited the king to impact their soldiers. The procedure for the grant of promotions to mansabdars was similar to the procedure for the grant of the initial mansab. The recommendation for promotion was usually made by princes,commanders under whom. Gallantry in millitary service and merit occupied a pride place, at the oher end of the scale stood the promotions granted on acknowledgement of a handsome present or peshkash from a noble.
Promotion was also generally though not invariably, given when an officer was fixed to really deserve a superior post. In every cases, the ranks of mansabdars being increased. The mansabdears appointed during the reigns of the Mughal Emperors shows that some groups were more favoured category were the sons and close kinsmen of persons who were already in service. This group was called Khanazad. The rulers of autonomous principalities formed yet another group which received prefential treatment in rank and promotion. MAINTENANCE OF TROOPS AND PAYMENTS-
Mansabdars were asked to present their contingnents for regular inspection and physical verification. All the horses presented for inspection by a particular noble were branded with a specific pattern to distinguish these from those of other nobles through a real(dagh). It was a special procedure. The physical description of troops(chehra) was also recorded. The scale of salary was fixed for the zat rank but one rank had no arithmetical or proportionate relationship with the other. Under Akbar zat rank above 5000 was given only to the princes. It is an integral part of Mughal administration.
Jahangir started the system of Du-aspa and Sih- aspa. The full sawar rank of mansabdar was made du-aspa and sih-aspa. For example- If a mansab held a mansab of 4000 zat 4000 sawar he may be granted huma do aspa sih aspa (all two- three horses) in this case the original sawar rank would be ignored,and the mansabdar will maintain double the number of du- ispa sih aspa, then it would mean that out of the original sawar rank of 4000, tha bawardi troopers will be only 2000 and the additional rank of 2000 du aspa sih aspa will double itself to 4000 ordinary troopers.
Thus the total number of horsemen would be 6000. Generally, the sawar rank could not be higher than zat rank. Shah jahan gave the mansabdars the new pay scale, monthly ratio and framed new rules to assign the jagirs. He prepared the registers which containing the database of jagirs. The jagirs were not edtimated in rupee but in Dams. The estimate of the revenue in the jagir is called jama. It is always calculated till almost the death of Akbar in copper coins called Dam(48 dam equals 1 rupee). Therefore it was called Jama-dami.
Moreland mainly focussed rank. He has distinguish between the two kinds of rank,the original mansab,which governed the personal allowances,was known as the zat rank and the additional men were designated by the word sawar. Double rank had to maintain two contingents-(a. )some horsemen paid out of his personal salary , and (b. )some extra or additional horsemen paid from the allowance provided for this purpose. During Aurangzeb’s time the high class mansabdari increased in number and there were lack of jagirs to be given to them.
The kings and his ministers put a check on the recruitment of new mansabdars. Yet due to changed circumtances,the recruitment could not be stopped. The result was that the system cracked after Aurangzeb and came to an end. It was noticed that the actual revenue collection (hasil) always fell short of the estimated income. In such a situation,the mansabdars salaries were fixed by a method called month-scales. For examples-If a jagir yielded only half of the jama, it was called shashmaha(six monthly). If it yielded only one fourth , it was considered sihmaha(three monthly).
The monthly scale was applied to cash salaries also. The largest deductions were from the Deccans,who had to pay a fourth part(chauthsi). There were other deductions known as khurak dawwah belonging to the Emperor. THE SYSTEM OF ESCHEAT-Especially, those of the European travellers,refer to the practice wherby the Emperor took possession of the wealth of the nobles after their death. The practice is known as escheat(zabt). The reason was that the nobles often took loan from the state which remained unpaid till their death.
It was duty of the khan saman to take over the nobles property and adjust the state demand,after which the rest of the property was given to the heirs or sometimes distributed by the Emperor among the heirs himself without any regard for the Islamic Inheritance laws. In 1666,Aurangzeb issued a farman that after the death of a noble without heirs his property would be deposited in the state treasury. It seems that is most cases it depended on the power of the Emperor. THE EVOLUTION OF MANSABDARI SYSTEM-The Mansabdar came from all castes such as-Mughal,Pathans,Rajputs.
Humayun did not continue this system. The first stage starts from 1556 and this stage remains more or less stagnent for the last ten years. i. e. from the accession of Akbar till 1566-67 in which there is practically no rule of the mansab. The second stage starts from 1567 onwards when an attempt was made to fix up the size of the contingent according to the salary of the mansabdar and on the basis of the collection of the revenue of the jagir assigned to him. The third stage which is the most important one starts from 1573-74 when a mansabdar was given a certain number.
The last stage which finalised or formalized the mansabdari system came in 1595-96. This suggest that the mansabdari system has finally around 1595-96,it is not a sudden one , it has developed through long period of experiment in which there was a struggle between the crown and nobility. But by 1595-96 the struggle was over. COMPOSITION OF MANSABDARS-The Mansabdars, in practice considered heredity as an important factor. It appears that the khanzads (house-born,descendants of mansabdar) had the first claim.
Out of a total number of 575 mansabdars holding the rank of 1000 and above during the reign of Aurangzeb,the khanzads numbered about 272. Apart from the khanzads , a number of mansabdars were recruited from the zamindars. Out of 575 mansabdars in 1707,therewere 81 zamindars. The mughals also welcomed Persian. Chagatai,Uzbeks as well as the Deccanis in the mansabdari. CONCLUSION- Mansabdari was the main institution of the Mughal Empire,which embraced both civil and military sectors of administration. Mansabdars and their large forces were used to expand the empire and administer if effectively.
It is true that mansabdars had been role player in the development of mughal states,became they had compailed mughal emperor to think about new challenges. There diplomatic policy regarding horsemen and other job had given new challenges to the emperor. Especially ,Akbar had been founder of mansab system. In his reign of 11th year Moreland and Abdul Aziz had studied a lot that’s why their contribution is corregiable. On the basis of Ain-i-Akbari as a quisar,had not supported it. According to him zat and sawar had been enforced in 1573-74. And Irfan Habib had supported it.
Again,Shireen Moosvi has not supported it due to muntqab-ubd-qabai(badauni) and Ikbal nama-e-jahangir(mutmid khan). According to Abul –fazl mansab was related to mansabdar . As a quisar has written about this in the regime of 18th years. That system was “dagh system”was collection of animals and a chart was prepared for it”;Abul fazl said. Khurake philas(fooder of elephants) and irmas were system by which salary was deducted in order to by fooder and horses. The salaries and obligation of maintaining troops were governed by a definite set of rules which underwent changes from time to time.
For revenue purposes,all the land was divided into two main types-The Jagir and Khalisa. The number of mansabdars rose from 2069 at the time of Jahangirs accession in 1605 to 8000 in 1637 Shahjahan’s reign and to 11,546 during the latter half of the Aurangzeb’s reign. REFERENCES- 1. The Evolution of the Mansab System under Akbar until 1596-7-SHIREEN MOOSVI. 2. Rank Mansab in the Mogul State Service-W. H. MORELAND. 3. Medieval India(1526-1761)-SATISH CHANDRA. 4. Medieval India(750-1540)-HARISHCHANDRA VERMA.
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