Themes In Indian History - Important Questions

Book: Themes In Indian History - Important Questions

Chapter: 8. Peasants Zamindars and the State

Subject: History - Class 12th

Q. No. 13 of Long Answer (6 Marks)

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Explain the organisation of the administration and army during the rule of Akbar as given in Ain-i-Akbari.

The Ain-i-Akbari, written by Abu’l Fazl, who was one of the nine gems residing in the Mughal emperor Akbar’s court is considered as one of the most important sources of information of the time period. The book comprises of 5 different parts or daftars. The first three books are called manzil-abadi, sipah-abadi and mulk-abadi, and they explain about the administration. the last two books describe the religions, and the literary and cultural traditions prevalent in India during that time.

The manzil-abadi contains descriptions of the imperial household and its maintenance.

The sipah-abadi has descriptions of the military and civil administrations along with the establishment of servants. It also includes the biographical sketches of the mansabdars (imperial officials), learned men, poets and artists as well as notices issued in that era.

The mulk-abadi deals with the fiscal side of the empire. It catalogues the accounts for twelve provinces and thus provides valued quantitative information regarding the revenue rates. This book deals with statistical information and also includes the topographical, geographical and economic profile of all the subas. The administrative and fiscal divisions, the total measured areas and the assessed revenues of each suba is also mentioned in this part. Following the suba level, this part also provides a complete picture of the sarkars, who were below the subas. The description of the sarkars includes mahals, forts, measured area, revenue assessed in cash, revenue grants in charity and the zamindars under each Sarkar. Thus, this part provides a highly detailed view of the agrarian society of India during the Mughal era.

The book is limited to a certain extent as historians have felt that data regarding various aspects were not collected from all provinces. This makes the quantitative data inaccurate and presents a skewed picture of the era. In spite of these limitations, the Ain-i-Akbari provides a picture of the people, their occupation, trade and commerce and also the imperial establishment of the empire and thus, managed to become one of the most invaluable sources of information regarding the Mughal empire.


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