Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India A. Pakistan 574
whom he paid out of his own pocket. He maintained a vakil at the imperial court.”4
Even with all the expenditure which mansabdars had to incur, their emoluments were very high, and it was also known that by their failure to maintain the proper number of horses, etc., the mansabdar defrauded the government. During the days of Shah Jahan the practice was introduced of paying salaries for a period less than full twelve months of the year. Sometimes only four months’ pay was allowed, with a view to neutralising the unauthorised profits of the mansabdars. Even with these safeguards, and allowing for the fact that the income from jagirs did not often correspond to expectations, the mansabdars were very highly paid. This led to an extravagant style of living, especially as on the death of a mansabdar all his property was taken over and sealed by the State, pending the satisfaction of the claims of the State, and there was, therefore, a reduced incentive to economy. The high scale of salaries, however, enabled the State to attract the ablest and the most ambitious individuals, from almost the whole of southern and western Asia
Recruitment to the ranks of mansabdars was made by the Emperor, who ”usually acted on the recommendation of the leaders of the military expeditions, the governors of the provinces and high officials of the court”. There were no public examinations or formal arrangements for selections. In addition to the mansabdars, who may be treated as gazetted officers, there was a class of ahadis, who, though holding no official rank, were employed in posts in proximity to the royal court or palace or important offices. They were usually young men of position and good family. Who were not fortunate enough to secure a mansab on their first application, but were given an opportunity to show their worth, and were promoted for good work to the ranks of mansabdars.
Provincial Administration. Provincial administration, was greatly improved by Akbar and in this respect the Mughal period differs subtantially form the Sultanate. The boundaries
of the provincial units were more definitely fixed and a uniform administrative pattern, with minor modifications to suit local conditions, was developed for all parts of the Empire. Further, drawing upon the experiments introduced by Sher Shah, the provincial administration was strengthened, and each province was provided with a set of officials representing all branches of State activities. By the introduction of an all-India cadre of mansabdars, liable to be transferred anywhere at the behest of the central government, and, by introduction of other checks, the control of the centre over the provinces was made more effective.
The principal officer was the governor, who was called sipah solar Akbar and nazim under his successors, but was popularly known as subahdar and later only as subah. Next to him in official rank, but not in any way under his control, was the provincial diwan, who was in independent charge of the finances of the province. Ke was usually a mansabdar of much lower status than the governor, but he was independent of the governor’s control and was directly under the imperial diwan.
Next important functionary was the bakhshi, or the paymaster. He performed a number of duties, including occasionally the functions of the provincial news-writer. The diwan-i buyutat was the provincial representative of the Khan-i Saman, and looked after roads and government buildings, supervised imperial stores and ran State workshops. The sadr and the qadi were entrusted with religious, educational and judicial duties.
Thefaujdar and the kotwal were the two other important officials. Thefaujdar who was the administrative head of the sarkar, roughly corresponding to the modern district, was appointed by the Emperor but was under the supervision and guidance of the governor. He combined in himself the responsibilities which were entrusted under the British to two . officers-the District Magistrate and the District Superintendent of Police. The kotwal were not provincial officers, but were appointed by the central government in the provincial capitals
Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 576
and other important cities, and performed a number of executive and ministerial duties similar to the modern Police commissioners in Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras. The important ports were in the charge of the Mir Bahr, corresponding to modern Port Commissioner but with powers over customs also.
The Mughals, like their predecessors, did not interfere with the local life of the village communities. These functioned practically like small village republics, and, as pointed out by Sir John Malcolm, were ”an establishment which had formed the basis of all Indian governments”. The Mughals had no resident functionary of their own in the village. The muqaddam was normally the sarpanch (head of the village panchayaf) and these panchayats, or village councils, continued to deal with local disputes, arrange for watch and ward, and perform many functions now entrusted to local bodies.
Fiscal System. The Mughal fiscal system was based on a division of revenue and expenditure on an imperial or central and a provincial or local basis. The principal heads of central revenue were land revenue, customs, mint, inheritance of unclaimed property, presents, monopolies, and indemnities. Land revenue was the principal source of income and was estimated during Akbar’s reign at 363 crore dams, it rose to
880 crore dams during Shah Jahan’s reign. The Principal items of expenditure were defense services, general administration, including all grades of civil service, court and royal palace, and buildings and other public works. The provincial sources of income were the assignments of land revenue granted to the provincial governor and his officials as a remuneration for their services, miscellaneous taxes and cesses, transit dues and duties, fines and presents.
Land Revenue. The Mughal revenue system was based on the division of the Empire into subahs or governorships, sarkars or districts and parganahs, sometimes styled mahals, consisting of a number of village. The revenue staff had also to perform miscellaneous administrative duties. The revenue
[ Ch. 25
official ------- s in the rural areas were also entrusted with the task of
keeping - ^ public peace, and performing miscellaneous and emerge^- nt work. The revenue work in the sarkar was looked after b«9MMH»’ the ’amalguzar, who would correspond to the modern Afsar-i Mai (Revenue Officer).
Akbar1 revenu individ
levy of land revenue was based on ”survey ” calculated after a detailed measurement of the cultivat ed area and classification of the soil. The nature of the crops gr rown and the mean prevailing market prices were taken into qc - ~>nsideration in fixing the final assessment. This assessrna«««ent system, which was evolved after many experiments, became the basis of the survey settlement of the British period.
revenue system in most of the areas was rayatwari, the being assessed directly as far as possible on the cultivator, and was payable in cash. Akbar the system in the greater part of Northern India, while d iimmmuring the viceroyalty of Aurangzeb, it was extended to the Dec- can. The revenue system, as evolved under Akbar, was thoroug: ~~hly sound, but the government demand was heavy and amounte==*l to one-third of the total produce. Abu al-Fadl tried to justify BBBBit by referring to the abolition of many miscellaneous cesses ^sssmnd taxes, but it is not certain whether all the cesses abolishes-rd by the royal order were given up by the subordinate officials- . In the settlement of the Deccan during Aurangzeb ’s viceroys^^ity, the State share was reduced to one-fourth.5
Mu« _ ghal kings, particularly Akbar and Aurangzeb, continu^!=d to make cautious experiments and improvements in the lan< - 1 revenue system. The basic data was collected by detailed measurement of land and assessment of the yield and
estimate^- -- & of productivity of each pargandh or assessment circle. W”””-Vhen sufficient data had been collected, the system of group M««assessment was introduced, with the alternatives of measure -rrziment and sharing being held in reserve. ”Measurement being p« _ ’actised for a period long enough to furnish adequate data of ^i^^productive capacity and being then replaced by group based on those data, and continued until such time
Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 578
as economic changes should render them obsolete”6 was the usual practice.
Mughal rulers wanted the revenue system to operate fairly. ”One has only to read the rules for the guidance of Collectors of revenue included in the Ain-i-Akbari to realise that fact. The Collector was directed to be the friend of the agriculturist; to give remissions in order to stimulate cultivation; to grant every facility to the ryot, and never to charge him on more than the actual area under tillages; to receive the assessment direct from the cultivator and so avoid intermediaries; to recover arrears without under force; and to submit a monthly statement describing the condition of the people, the state of public security, the rate of market prices and rents, the conditions of the poor and all other contingencies.”7
In a predominantly agricultural area like the Indo-Pak subcontinent, the land revenue system is the touch-stone of a government’s efficiency and benevolence. The Mughal system has been studied in detail, and even critics like Edwardes and Garrett have had to admit ”without hesitation that the principles of the land revenue system were thoroughly sound, and were conveyed to the officials in a series of instructions which were all that could be desired.”
The State demand-at least on paper-was high, but anyone who studies the procedure for giving relief to the ryot in case of hardships, the general instructions to the collectors and the details of the system of assessment and mode of recovery is, bound to be struck, not only by the professional competence of men like Todar Mai. Shah Masur, and Amir Fathullah Shirazi, but aiso by the statesmanlike benevolence motivating the basic policy of the State. The British paid special attention’ to. revenue administration, and introduced many improvements, but it can be said without injustice that on certain important points the Mughal system was superior to that which was evolved over a long period. As an example, one may take the assessrrei. of lands newly brought under cultivation or
reclaimed after having fallen out of cultivation. ”Some additional light is thrown on the policy of development by the chapters in the Ain dealing with the assessment of land which had fallen out of cultivation, and then been broken up afresh. Three scales of assessment were recognised, to be applied according to circumstances. In the first of these, the assessment began at two-fifths of the ordinary rates, and rose to the full amount in the fifth year. In the second, and more favourable scale, a very low charge in grain was made for the first year, rising by degrees until the full demand was taken in the fifth; while under the third scale, applicable to land which had been uncultivated for five years or more, the initial charge was nominal, rising to one-sixth, one-fourth, and finally one-third of the produce. A collector was thus in a position to contribute materially to the recovery of villages which had been impoverished by the calamities.”*
These well-considered concessions applied aiso to ”the improvement in the class of the crops”. The collector was ”authorised to reduce the standard rates on the more remunerative corps, when this was necessary in order to secure an increase in the area under them; he could make temporary reduction in the schedules of rates in case of land which had gone out of cultivation, so as to stimulate its reclamation; for extension of village in waste land he could agree to almost whatever terms the peasants offered; and when the village headmen exerted themselves successfully with this object he could allow them a substantial commission by way of reward” 9 It is very doubtful whether the corresponding provisions under the British system were half as liberal or flexible.
The British revenue organisation was essentially based On the Mughal system, but with one important difference. ”The village accountant (l.elpatwari) who throughout the Mughal period was a servant of village and not of the State”10 became now a servant of the government. Those who are acquainted with conditions in the village know the far-reaching consequences of this one measure. Not only did it nullify much
Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 580
of the reduced government demand in modern times, but it destroyed at one stroke the autonomy of the ancient small selfcontained village republics.
Military Organisation. Mughal rulers did not maintain a large centrally recruited standing army. They depended for the purposes of war and defence upon four different classes of troop: (a) soldiers serving under the mansabdars who were expected to bring to the field a certain number of soldiers indicated by their sawar rank or otherwise specified in their warrant of appointment; (b) contingents raised and commanded by autonomous but tributary chiefs; (c) dakhili or supplementary troops paid by the state and placed under the command of the mansabdars ;(d) ahadis, or a body of gentlemen trooper. The pay of an ahadi was higher than that of an ordinary trooper. According to Ain-i ’Akbari, several ahadis drew more than Rs 500 a month, while an ordinary trooper drew nominally Rs 7 or Rs 8 a month after deduction of the maintenance charges for his horse and equipment.11
The cavalry was the mainstay of the Mughal army. The infantry was very numerous on paper but his only effective section consisted of the musketeers. The artillery was wholly paid out of imperial treasury. Akbar gave it special attention, but his efforts to secure from the Portuguese some of their better pieces were unsuccessful. Later on European gunners were employed in appreciable numbers but no permanent improvement was effected, and during the eighteenth century the Mughal army, considerably weakened during the period of decline, was outclassed by the Jazari or swivel-guns manned by Nadir Shah’s disciplined gunners.
The exact strength of the Mughal army cannot be correctly ascertained. Sir Jadunath Sarkar estimates Shah Jahan’s army in 1058/1648 at 440,000 infantry, musketeers and artillery men and 185,000 cavalry commanded by princes and nobles. The effectiveness of the army depended on the personal vigour and martial qualities of the commander of the individual contingent, but pitted against the disciplined European soldiers, or hardy,
[ Ch. 25
resourceful Maratha horsemen, it did not prove effective. The Italian writer and adventurer, Manucci, who himself was a gunner in the Mughal army for some time, wrote during the reign of Aurangzeb that 30,000 good European soldiers could easily sweep away the authority of the Mughals and occupy the whole Empire. A similar opinion had been expressed by Bernier during the last days of Shah Jahan. This may be an exaggeration, but basically it was true. The loose composition of the army, the paucity of officers, the failure to build up a well-knit and active pyramedial organisation reduced military efficiency. There were no uniforms, and discipline was poor, particularly in lower ranks. The cavalry was the only branch which was considered respectable and fit for a gentleman to join, while the ordinary Indian foot soldier ”was little more than a night watchman and guardian over baggage, either in camp or on the line of march”. The Mughal practice of taking a huge number of camp followers, including occasionally the families of the soldiers and the royal harem, made the army a very cumbersome, slow-moving, organisation.
The Navy. The Mughals coming from land-locked Trukistan were even less effective on the sea. They had no large fighting vessels and the ships that they maintained were primarily for the furtheranc& of the commercial operations of the State. After the conquest of Gujarat, the Mughal army reached the shores of the Indian Ocean, but Akbar failed to build a navy and tacitly acquiesced in Portuguese supremacy by making no effort to challenge it, and by taking out licences from them for the ships which he sent to the Red Sea.
There was not much of a Mughal navy, but to deal with pirates in the Bay of Bengal and also for the purpose of communication over the vast river system of Bengal, a river flotilla was maintained at Dacca. Under Akbar it consisted of
786 small armed vessels and boats, and was estimated to cost about Rs, 29,000 a month. It was not effective against the Magh and Portuguese pirates, but under the efficient administration of Mir Jumlah and Sha’istah Khan, it was
Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 582
reorganised, and in 1075/1664 the latter was able to inflict a decisive blow on piracy in these regions.
Shortly thereafter, an opportunity offered itself to Aurangzeb to make some naval arrangements on the West Coast. The Sidi of Janjira, who was originally in the service of the Sultan of Bijapur guarding the course of shipping with his fleet, found that the Sultan was either unable or indisposed to assist him when he was attacked by Shivaji, and in 1081/1670 offered his services to the Mughal Emperor. Aurangzeb welcomed the offer. The Sidi was placed under the Mughal governor of Surat and was subsidised out of the imperial exchequer. In 1093/1682, an additional fleet was fitted at Surat to co-operate with the Sidi against Marathas. The Mughal government treated him as part and parcel of its organisation, but, owing to the poor organisation of its naval side, the Sidi was very much of an independent power and in course of time his descendants founded the modern State of Janjira near Bombay.
Judiciary. The judicial system of the Mughals was practically on the same lines as that of the Delhi Sultanate. It became more systematic, particularly under Aurangzeb, but as compared with the judicial structure of British India, it was very simple, being based on a different approach to many categories of disputes and even in judicial procedure. Normally, no lawyers were allowed to appear.12 Disputes were speedily settled, primarily on the basis of equity and natural justice, though, of course, in the case of Muslims the injunctions and precedents of Islamic Law applied, where they existed Many crimes - including murder -- were treated as individual grievances rather than crimes against society. The complaints in such cases were initiated by the individuals aggrieved, rather than by the police, and could be compounded on payment of compensation (qisas). The aim of the judicial system was primarily to settle individual complaints and disputes-the criminal court was normally called the diwan-i
[ Ch. 25
mazalim, i.e. the court of complaints-rather than enforcement of a legal code.
AH foreign travellars have commuted on the speedy justice of the Mughal courts and the comparative paucity of cases coming before them. The latter position was due partly to the general prejudice against litigation, but even more to ^e fact that a large number of disputes, particularly those affecting the Hindus, were settled by the village ^nd caste panchayats, did not come before the official courts Hindus were not debarred from taking cases before the The judicial courts provided by the Mughals were principally of two types-the secular and the ecclesiastical. Except during the reign of Aurangzeb, tlie principal courts for settlement of disputes were presided fyer by the king, the governor, and other executive officers, \kbar used ”to spend several hours of the day in the disposal of judicial cases and appeals and sometimes would order thj transfer to his own tribunal of original civil suits of import%ce” Terry speaks of Jahangir ”moderating (i.e. mediating) jn an matters of consequence which happened near his %«, for the most part judging secundum allegata el probata shah Jahan held his court every Wednesday in the Diwan-i-Khas, and after hearing the plaints reported by his judicial off%s jn the presence of the parties, and ascertaining the law ftom the ulama (canon lawyers), pronounced judgment on the fjcts submitted to him. Aurangzeb likewise dispensed justice daily in his private chamber.”14 Manucci and others have tiiiogised Shah Jahan’s justice and commented on the admiiye character of his
Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 584
judicial administrator.15 The governors followed the same procedure in provinces and in the A’in-i Akbari we find the instructions issued to the governor of a province detailing the judicial procedure he should follow.
Apart from secular courts and panchayats, the principal agency for the settlement of disputes was the qadi’s court. The qadi, being the repository of Muslim Law, attended the hearing of cases by the executive authority, whether governor, faujdar or kotwal, and assisted them in arriving at decisions consonant with the Quranic precepts. Presumably the civil disputes of Muslims were, as a rule, left to the qadi to be settled according to the canon law. Where both the disputing parties were Hindus ”the point was referred to the judgment of the Pandits or Hindu lawyers”.16 According to Baillie, ”Non-Muslim subjects of a Muslim state are not subject to the laws of Islam. Their legal relations are to be regulated, according to the principles of their own faith.”17 Baillie bases this principle on the Fatawa’-i ’Alamgiri, the authoritative digest of Islamic Law prepared under the instructions of Aurangzeb. The great latitude given to non-Muslims under Islamic system can be seen by the relevant entry in this authoritative work to which Baillie refers (Fatawa’-i ’Alamgiri, II, 357) and which he sums18 up by saying: ”Zimmees or infidel subjects of a Mussalman Power do not subject themselves to the laws of Islam, either with respect to things which are of a religious nature such as fasting or prayer, or with regard to such temporal acts as-though contrary to the Muhammadan religion, may be legal by their own, such as the sale of wine or of swine’s flesh, because ’we’ have been commanded to leave them at liberty in all things, which may be deemed by them to be proper, according to the precepts of their own faith”.1’ These provisions presumably related to the areas wholly or mainly populated by the Dhimmis. In case of Muslims, the secular types of criminal suits went to the kotwal while the religious and civil cases, such as concerning inheritance, marriage, divorce and civil disputes went to the Qadis’ courts.20
[ Ch. 25
The ”»utch resident of India states that fines represented the normal r*-i*.o de of settling all disputes in Mughal India. Capital punishme=:nits and mutilations were, however, not rare and were occasionsea*_ll y enforced with cruelty. There are even records of impaling ,_ dismemberment and other cruel punishments, but they wer~«»^=5 limited in number, as they were inflicted only under royal orcrU ears, and were confined to those occasions where an example was to be made of the individual concerned.
Imprisora_^jBTLent was not a method of punishment that appealed to
the Mug though L Whippim. parading seems to«»-
a_ls. It was seldom used as a sentence in private cases, •was sometimes resorted to for preventive purposes, was more largely used. The Muslim punishment of the offender in an ignominious condition (tashhir)
have been frequently resorted to as it coincided with
the Hinci.- mi tradition as well.
Au«-^angzeb had a Digest of Islamic Law, covering several volumes __ prepared to facilitate the task of the qadis. He was, perhaps., the first ruler to appoint a separate Chief Qadi, the previous-- practice having been generally to treat the Sadr, in charge •eczDf religious endowments as the qadi of the Realm. Under /^^^S^urangzeb the number of qadis was greatly increased. Previou ^s- to him many cities were without qadis. In the early days of ...Uahangir, even a big city like Sirhind remained without a qadi, ^Aurangzeb, believing that the appointment of qadis to adminis~«Bt_er Islamic Law in all towns was a major responsibility of a V”Mt nslim King, took steps to secure this. There were howeve=««r-, frequent complaints of the corruption of the qadis under /”ssa^u-rangzeb and later rulers. This was probably due, as pointed out by Ibn Hasan, to the fact that the qadis were paid
inadeqim stely. The qadi, for example, of the capital was in the mansaba ~*tr1ari grade of only five hundred dhat.n The presum BrrrDtion with regard to qadis and teachers in Muslim society^ Jias been that, although they should be provided with e, they perform their functions out of a sense of