|Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India A. Pakistan 562
or at least Italian artists,” while the other was a copy from Raphael’s picture of Orpheus charming the beasts.
Perhaps an even bigger loss was the destruction and dispersal of the royal library, where rare and illuminated works had been collected since the days of Babur and Akbar. It must have suffered during the ravages of the eighteenth century, but there is evidence to show that it was in existence in the beginning of the nineteenth century, and was being used by certain scholars of the capital.44 Its contents were so varied and comprehensive that religious teachers like Shah ’Abd al-Aziz and Maulana Nadhir Husain Muhaddith are stated to have utilised it for rare religious works, This library was looted and scattered to all corners of the earth so that we find some leaves of one royal album at Patna, a few in Berlin, some more in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris, though, of course, the major portion found its way to the public and private libraries of England.
What happened to the royal library is a matter of conjecture, but there is clear, contemporary evidence about the looting and destruction of other big libraries built up by rich nobles, interested in arts and sciences. For example, those who have seen the papers of Sir Henry Elliot in the British Museum are aware of the use which he made of Nawab Diya’-ud-din’s extensive library. The Nawab was a brother of the Nawab of Loharo and had spent of fortune in building up a library of rare historical and literary works. About this library (and another) Ghalib, who for some time suffered the nightmare of having lost his own works, wrote in a letter: ”I have a brother-in law, Nawab Diya’-ud-Nazir of the Mughal King. Ghalib also wrote about his and Diya’-ud-din houses: ”Both these houses were swept clean. Neither a book
The Twilight of the Mughals
[ Ch. 24
was left, nor chattel.” Another major library, whose plunder has been recorded, was that of Maulana Sadr-ud-din Azurdah, the famous scholar and Sadar al-Sudur.
The Hindu population was allowed to return to the city in January 1858, and Muslims, a few months later, but the destruction of buildings continued for long therafter. The large areas between the Jami’ah Masjid and the Fort, which are now covered by an extensive park were originally the principal residential quarters of the Mughal nobility, and contained the large Akbarabadi Mosque, where Shah Wali Allah used to teach. All these buildings were ploughed up and the entire area cleared, so that there should be a suitable field of fire beyond the walls of the Fort, which was to house the British garrison.
Perhaps the biggest loss was cultural. In this the most vital loss was that of the libraries, but buman beings also suffered grievously. Many scholars, poets, and men of letters (like Sahba’i Maikash and Maulana Muhammad Baqir) perished in the massacres. Others like Dagh, Hali and Azad had to seek refuge at Rampur, Hyderabad, and Lahore, and other distant places where they could keep body and soul together. The cultural importance of Delhi came, of course, to an end with the Mughal court, but it also ceased to be a place of learning.
In course of time peace and order returned. The civil authorities, many of whom were all along unhappy at what was happening, were at last able to assert themselves. Canning, the governor-general, who was nicknamed ”Clemency Canning,” was of a kindly disposition, and the extracts, we have quoted from the writings of Commissioner Saunders and his wife, would indicate their humane and gentle outlook. The AngloIndian press was, however, preaching vengeance, and the tradition of the blood thirsty Hodson did not die easily, ’out gradually good sense prevailed, and by slow stages a return to civil administration was affected. Even some arrangements for a partial payment of compensation for losses suffered by citizen were made. Delhi recovered but it was now a small appendage of the ”non-regulated” province of the Punjab. The grand
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edifices built by a succession of the Mughal monarchs remained as a reminder of what had existed once, but they were an empty shell. The Delhi of the Mughals had perished for ever.
Fruits of the Great Struggle. The sack of Delhi in 1857-58 was a human and cultural tragedy, but every cloud has a silver lining. Even the enforced dispersal of scholars and writers of the Mughal capital had its value. Lahore now replaced Delhi as the cultural centre of Muslim India, and this was possible-and Urdu became firmly rooted in the Punjab-because of the work of Mali and Azad, two migrants from Delhi. Similarly, although Delhi ceased to be a place of learning, those who had drunk at this fountainhead and had imbibed the spirit of Shah Wali Allah and Shah ’Abd al-Aziz established two great centres of learning at Deoband and Aligarh, not far from the old capital.
Ghalib, sheltered behind the protecting walls of the court physician of the Sikh Maharaja of Patiala, saw the whole tragedy of Delhi enacted before his eyes. His letters contain a poignant account of these happenings, but he was too much of a robust Mughal to be permanently downcast. He had long foreseen the break-up of the old system, and his ”message” was:
”They gave me the glad tidings of the dawn in the dark night.
They extinguished the candle and showed me the rising sun. The fire-temple got burnt; they gave me the breath of fire. The idol-temple crumbled down and they gave me the
lamentation of the temple-gong. They plucked away the jewels from the banners of the
In its place they gave me the jewel-scattering pen. They removed the pearl from the crown, and fastened it to
whatever they took away openly, they returned to me in
The Twilight of the Mughals
( Ch. 24
To all appearances the nation-wide uprising was a dismal failure, bringing suffering and misery to the subcontinent and in particular to the leader of the movement and its participants. In reality, however, the struggle had far-reaching results. It led to a complete administrative overhaul, a reorientation of the British policy in religious and other matters, and developments in the political field which were to pave the way for the later political struggle and final independence. For one thing, the control of the subcontinent was transferred from the East India Company to the British government, which now for the first time took direct responsibility for the administration of the area. This meant the replacement of an indirect and even irresponsible rule by a direct system of administration. The old expansionist policy at the expense of the native administered territory was totally abandoned. No Indian state was later annexed, and Hyderabad which was marked for an early annexation in the days of Dalhousie, escaped that fate. In religious matters also, the British learned a bitter lesson and adopted a policy of tolerance and respect for local sentiments, which had not been visible in the first half of the nineteenth century.
In the political field a beginning was made, which was to have far-reaching consequences. Even before the embers of the Great Revolt had died down, and while Martial Law was yet in force. Sayyid Ahmad Khan, a sincere friend and fervent admirer of the British, whose loyalty had been tested in the Great Struggle itself, sat down to analyse the ”Causes of the India Revolt”. With his sturdy common sense and characteristic fearlessness, he pointed out that the basic cause of the revolt was that the government had no means of knowing the views of the vast population, which was directly affected by its legislative and administrative measures.This criticism, coming from a well-tried friend, was reinforced by the observations of many Englishmen who wrote books, pamphlets and articles analysing the causes of the revolt, and the British, with their characteristic ability to learn from experience, took remedial
Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India <& Pakistan 566
measures. In 1861, the Indian councils Act was brought into operation, which provided for the appointment of Indians to the Governor-General’s Council for the first time. It marked the beginning of the association of the native population with the upper administrative councils of the subcontinent, which gradually expanded under the pressure of public opinion, and ultimately led to the complete transfer of political control to India and Pakistan, in 1947.
The Twilight of the Mughals
1. W.W. Hunter, The Indian Mtisalmans (lit edn.),p,136.
2. Spear, Twilight of the Mughals, p 35.
3. Ibid., p. 38.
4. Ibid., pp. 82-83.
5. J.N. Hollister, The Shia of India, p. 161.
6. The Pioneer, Lucknow, 27 October 1936.
7. Percy Brown characterises the greatest masterpieces of Lucknow architecture as works of ”outward show and tawdry pretence” whose ”style has no spiritual values” (Indian Architecture [Islamic period], p. 123).
8. Graham Bailey, Urdu Literature, p.60. -
9. O. Caroe, The Pathans, p. 292.
10. Ibid., p.297.
11. /W12. Ibid., p. 314.
13. Abbot recorded in his diary that at Peshawar ”the Durrani* were more detested than the Sikhs”. For their part the Pathan tribes felt it impossible to detect any sense of national fcvour or patriotism in a family which at that time was notorious for its own short-term interest than the overriding need” (ibid., p. 311)
14. Jai Kiahen, Tarikh-i Sarhad, p. 104.
15. The Calcutta Review, Vol, 50(1870), pp. 80, ff.
16. Al-Furaan, Breli, ”Shah Wali Allah Number,”pp. 91-92.
17. THUS, Indian Islam, p. \M.
18. Article on ”Fara’idi Sect” in Encyclopaedia of Islam, D, 57-59.
19. ”History of Wahabys in Arabia and India,” in Journal of the Bombay Branch of Royal Asiatic Society, 1880, pp. 354 ff.
20. Vide Journal of the Bombay Branch of Royal Asiatic Society, 1880, pp. 354 ff. (Based on Hujjat-i Qali’ by Maulvi Karamat ’AH Jaunpuri.
21. Mr.Mu’in-ud-din Ahmad Khan, M.A. (McGill), Research Scholar, in Appendix B to his (unpublished) Report No. I addressed to the Secretary, Asiatic Society of Pakistan, Dacca, says: ”Special stress was put on the regular performance of daily prayers preferably at Jama’at Ghar.”
22. Early British writers often used the expression Faraizi or Wahabi to loosely denote what, in the District Gazetteer of Dinajpur, have been designated as ”Naya Mussulmans’. Actually the preachers, whose work was most fruitful in Bengal--M»Mlvi K»«mat ’Ali, Maulvi ’Inayat ’Ali, Haji Nur Muhammad of Cbittagong, Maulvi Imam-ud-din-were neither ”Far’aidi” nor ”Wahabi,” but followers of the tradition of Shah Wali Allah, through Ssyyid Ahmad Brelvi.
23. Noakhali District Gazetteer, p. 39.
Bk. II ) History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 568
The Calcutta Review, C, 9^
Tilui, op. cil., 187.
Wiae, Muisalmans of Bengal, p 3*
A. Yuauf All, A Cultural History of India During the British Period, p. 31.
R.K. Wilion, A Cultural History of British India, p 41.
A reprint of Hamilton’s Hidayah was published at Lahore in 1959. .
Wilson, op. cit., p 45
Op. cit., pp. 80-81.
F.E. Kaye, Hindi Literature, pp. 88-89.
G.A Groerson, Linguistic Survey of India, ix, i, 46.
Halhed wrote in 1778- ”At present those persons are thought to speak the compound idiom (Bengali) with most elegance who mix with (he pure Indian verbs the greatest number of Persian and Arabic nouns” (Vide Preface to his Bengali Grammar)
K. M Panikkar, A Survey of Indian History, p 245. R. Wilson, op. cit., p. 27.
The manner in which this reprehensible act of the mutineers had «fleeted even the most responsible people may be judged from a communication addressed to Sir Herbert Edwards by Sir John Nicholson He wrote: Let us propose a bill for the flaying alive, impalement or burning of the murderers of the women and children at Delhi This idea of simple hanging for the perpetrators of such atrocities is maddening. I wish I were in that part of the world that, if necessary, I might Uke the law into my own hands...If I had in my power today and knew that I were to die tomorrow, I would inflict the most excruciating tortures I could think of on them with a perfectly easy conscience.” See Nicholson’s letter to Edward, quoted in Edward Thompson’s the Other Side of the Medal, pp.
P Spear, op cit., p. 218 *
Quoted in N.K. Nigam, Delhi in 1857, p. 151. ” *
Frrgiissiin, llittnrr of India and Eastern \rcliitecttire. II, 3ffl-ljt;1’ ll-Harat lia’dal-Mumat (VrAn), p. 65. , ’•
The administrative history of Muslim India rtain unbroken continuity. In the disturbed conditions Mughal India, dynastic changes were frequent, but have a strong sense of historical tradition and it would een surprising if the results of administrative experir»i»iments in one generation had not been passed on to the next. TWHBhe administrative structure which goes under the name of ”Mufr ^hal Administration” and which the British took over in the eigh««i»teenth century was the culmination of the experience
gained ’Ala’-u system like A historic heritage actions” prove ir that has the fie! due to particui promine=
uring centuries of Muslim rule, and owed not a little to in Khalji, Sher Shah Suri, and even to pre-Muslim f government. The histories dealing only with rulers bar ”have not been able to bring Akbar in proper perspective with the result that they have ignored the of the past and the forces that were responsible for his . Professor Qanungo, on the other hand, has tired to i his study of Sher Shah Suri ”that most of the credit gone to Akbar should have been given to Sher Shah in of administrative reforms”. These controversies are Jie narrow compass within which writers studying a r ruler or an age have dealt. By describing the nt and permanent features of administrative
organisasinsuiiiiktion of all periods, we have tried to steer clear of this
difficult y, but it may be useful to reiterate that, although in this
chapter we shall deal mainly with the administration of the
Mughals=5, that administration had drawn heavily on the past.
Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 570
The Central Government. The organisation of the Mughal central government was essentially on the same lines as that of the Sultanate. The Principal officers of the central government, having ranks similar to the ministers, were four: (1) Diwan; (2) MirBakhsi (3) Mir Saman; and (4) Sadr.
The first dignitary was often called the Wazir. He was mainly concerned with the revenue and financial administration, but as he had a say in all matters involving expenditure, the work of other departments also came under his supervision, and he functioned as the king’s minister par excellence. All the imperial orders were first recorded in his office before being issued, and the provincial governors, district faujdars, and leaders of expeditions came to him for instructions before proceeding to the assumption of their duties. All the earning departments were under his direct control, and the Bakhshi, the Khan-i Saman and the Sadr could spend only the revenues which the Diwan raised.1 Occasionally a higher dignitary, designated the Vakil, was also appointed and functioned like the Na’ib (Deputy) of the Sultanate period, but creation of this office, as of the corresponding post under the Sultanate, was sporadic, and depended on the wishes of the monarch and the requirements of the situation.
The Mir Bakhshi performed duties which were the responsibility of the ’Arid-i Mumalik during the earlier period. Owing to the organisation of the civil services on military lines, his power extended far beyond the War Office, and some foreign travellers have called him the Lieutenant-General or the Captain-General of the realm.
Sadr-i Jahan (or briefly Sadr) was, as in the earlier period, head of the religious department, charities and endowments. The main departure from the Sultanate was in respect of the fourth minister. Work relating to State karkhanahs, stores, ordnance and communications was now so important that the dignitary dealing with it, and called Mir Saman, ranked as an important minister often senior in rank to the Sadr.
Wazir or Diwan. The splendour and stability of the Mughal rule was due to a succession of very capable rulers, but they attempted to build up an efficient administrative system, and chose their principal officers with care and on the basis of merit. The most famous Diwan under Akbar was Raja Todar Mai, who for a time acted as the chief minister of the realm, but the contribution of Khwajah Mansur and Mir Fathullah Shirazi to the building up of Akbar’s revenue administration was perhaps equally great. Under Jahangir, I’timad al-Daulah, the father of Nur Jahan, who was a Diwan even before the king’s marriage with his daughter, remained the chief Wazir and Diwan till his death. He was succeeded by his son Asaf Khan, who became the Vakil just before the death of Jahangir. In course of time, I’timad al-Daulah and Asaf Khan became connected with the throne on account of family ties, but both were able, efficient officers, and held high positions in the State even before Jahangir’s marriage to Nur Jahan. In the next reign, Asaf Khan maintained his position until his death, but his successors were selected on the basis of their scholarship and technical efficiency. ’Allami Afdal Khan remained Shah Jahan’s Diwan for ten years, and the office was held from the nineteenth to the thirtieth year of Shah Jahan’s reign by the celebrated Sa’dullah Khan, who, like his predecessors, had risen from the ranks on the strength of his learning, wisdom, character and resourcefulness.
The Diwan, who can perhaps well be called the Finance Minister, had under him two principal officers, called Diwan-i Tan and Diwan-i Kahlsah, who were in charge of salaries and State lands, respectively. It is interesting to note that all the assistants of the Diwan-i Khalsah in Shah Jahan’s reign were Hindus, and five out of the seven heads of Diwan-i Tan (salaries) Division belonged to the same community. Raja Raghunath Rai, who had been Diwan-i Khalsah for some years, became sole Diwan in the thirty-first year of Shah Jahan’s reign, and maintained this position until his death, during the reign of Aurangzeb.
BK. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 572
Aurangzeb’s principal Wazir, who held this office for thirty-one years, was Asad Khan, originally his Mir Bakhshi. Apart from him, the most famous Mir Bakhshi of the Mughal period was Shaikh .Farid, who played a decisive role in the enthronement of Jahangir.
Organisation of Public Services. While the departments of the central government under the Mughals were organised broadly on the same lines as under the Sultanate, Mughal rule saw a far-reaching development in the domain of public services. This was the building up of a graded mansabdars’ cadre of picked, well-paid officers, who were appointed by the Emperor, and manned all important offices in the Empire.
Percival Spear has compared the higher mansabdars of the Mughal period to the British civil service which ruled India in the nineteenth century, and adds: ”In fact the British officials may be called their reincarnation in Anglo-Saxon form. They inherited their prestige and much of their power, their aloofness and some of their pride, their subordination and something of their wealth. There is even a curious correspondence in their numbers.”2 There is no doubt that a centrally recruited and centrally controlled corps of officers, who could be transferred anywhere within the Empire, contributed greatly to the cohesion of the Mughal rule, and to the administrative unification of the country.
Under the Mansabdari system, every important officer of State held a tnansab or an official appointment of rank and emoluments. In 981/1573-74, Akbar classified the office holders in thirty-three grades, ranging from commanders of ten to commanders of ten thousand. The principal categories of Mughal mansabdars were, however, three: (1) those in command of ten to four hundred were commonly styled mansabdars; (2) those in command of five hundred to two thousand and five hundred were amirs; and (3) those in higher ranks belonged to the category of umara’-i kibar or umara’-i ’izam. The highest amir in the third category was honoured with the title of amir al-umara’. Till the middle of Akbar’s
[ Ch. 25
reign, the highest rank which any ordinary officer could hold was that of a commander of five thousand; the more exalted grades between commanders of seven thousand and ten thousand were reserved for princes of the royal blood. Towards the end of Akbar’s reign and under his successor these limits were relaxed.
Originally each grade carried a definite rate of pay, out of which the holders were required to maintain a quota of horses, elephants, beasts of burden and carts. But even in Akbar’s day and, in spite of safeguards introduced by him, the number of men actually supplied by a mansabdar rarely corresponded to the number indicated by his rank, and under Akbar’s successors greater latitude was allowed. The mansabdars were paid either in cash or by temporary grant of jagirs. Theoretically, the mansabdars received fabulous salaries, which appear all the more excessive when it is realised that they were not normally maintaining all the troops they were expected to keep. The salaries of the mansabdars in highest grade, for example, ranged from Rs 12,000 a month to Rs
30,000. As against this the highest salary of a provincial governor in British India before 1947 was Rs. 10,000 a month, but, as pointed out by Sri Ram Sharma, the comparison is misleading:
”The salaries of the Mughal governors represented their total cost to the State and a part of it returned to the State in the excess of the value of the presents governors made to the emperor over the gifts which they received from him. No extra travelling allowances and no entertainment money were sanctioned, no extra staff provided for and no amusement arranged for. Further, out of his salary the governor was expected to maintain a certain number of beasts of burden and carts.3 This was only a part of the monthly charge. The whole staff of the provincial governor was to be maintained by him. The governor had a diwan, a bakhshi, sometimes a wazir, a chief-secretary, a news-writer, a personal assistant, a reader and a mir-i-saman; besides a host of minor officials of his own