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Medieval History / Mughal Sultanate

Mughal Administration


    If we talk about the administration of Mughal Empire, we have to consider their revenue administration and military administration. In Mughal land revenue system, the highest administrative division was Subah, which was headed by Subedar. The next level administrative division was Sarkar, which was further divided into Parganas. The last unit of revenue administrative division was Grama or Village. In the military administration of Mughals, we have to talk about Mansabdari system as it is an important feature.



    Mughal Land Revenue System

    In Mughal land revenue system, Zabti system is one of the important features of Mughal administration.

    Zabti System

    • A new land revenue system called Zabti system was introduced by Akbar's prime minister, Todar Mal in 1582. Zabti system is also called Bandobast or Ain-i-Dahsala or Dahsala system.

      In Zabti (Measurement) system, officers would go to the field while the crop was still standing and measure the land, based on which the share was paid to the State.

    • In Zabti system, the agricultural lands were classified into 4 categories based on crop gap (It was the criteria for this classification).

      • Polaj - Crop gap is zero.

      • Parauti - Crop gap is 1-2 years.

      • Chachar - Fallow period is 3-4 years.

      • Banjar - Fallow period is more than 5 years.

    Military Administration of Mughals

    Mansabdari system is an important feature of the military administration of Mughals.

    Mansabdari system

    • Though Mansabdari system was an old concept, but it was Akbar who introduced the concepts of Zat and Sawar in Mansabdari system. Mughal administration was based on this system.

    • In this system each officer, who used to work for the government, was a military officer. Each officer was responsible for recruiting and keeping his quota of horsemen. Every officer was given two ranks,

      (i) Zat - It was a personal rank in a hierarchy.
      (ii) Sawar - It was a military rank. It determined as to how much military/horsemen was to be maintained by an officer.

    • Zat rank was always greater than Sawar rank. For example, 5000/2000 (Zat/Sawar rank) was allowed but not 4000/5000. If two officers were having the same Zat rank, their superiority would be decided by Sawar rank. For example, 3000/2000 rank officer will be superior to 3000/1000 rank officer.

    • There were no hereditary recruitments in the Mansabdari system. There were two methods of payment of salary to the Mansabdars. Petty Mansabdars were paid in cash and Jagirdars were paid in terms of land (Jagir).

      The revenue of the land would go to the Jagirdar but not the land as a whole. All the Jagirdars were Mansabdars but not all the Mansabdars (who were paid in terms of cash) were not Jagirdars.

    Officers in Mughal Empire

    The following list enumerates the officers in the administration of Mughal empire

    • Wazir - Prime Minister

    • Diwan - Finance Minister

    • Mir Bakshi - Senapati or Incharge of Military

    • Mir-i-Saman - Incharge of royal household. All royal Karkhanas were under his control

    • Sadr-us-Sadr - Head of Religious department

    • Qazi-ul-Quzat - Head of Judiciary

    • Mir-i-Atish - Incharge of Artilleries

    • Mir-i-Arz - Incharge of Royal petitions

    • Mir-i-Mal - Treasury officer

    • Mir-i-Bahar - Incharge of Ports

    • Khufia Navis - Spy or Intelligence officer