Medieval Indian History (Part -2)


BABUR (1484-1530)

    • Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur descended from his father’s side in the fifth generation from Timur, and through his mother in the 15th generation from chenghiz Khan.
    • He was invited to attack India by Daulat Khan Lodi, Subedar of Punjab; Ibrahim Lodi’s uncle Alam khan Lodi and Rana Sanga.
    • He was successful in his fifth mission in the Battle of Panipat 20th April 1526, he finally defeated Ibrahim Lodhi.  
    • Babur was the first one to entitle himself as the ‘padshah’.
    • Wrote an autobiography, “Tuzuk-i-Babri” (Memoirs of Babur). Persian translation known as ‘Babarnamah’.
    • Used gunpowder in war for the first time at Bhira in 1518-19 and later at Sialkot in 1520-21.
    • Established a tradition of gardens with running water.
    • Died in Agra but buried later in Kabul in the terrace of a garden without any dome, as per his wish.
    • He patronised Naqshbandi Sufi Order. 
    • Battles fought:
    • Battle of Panipat (1526): Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodhi.
    • Battle of khanwa (1527): Babur defeated Rana Sanga.
    • Battle of Chanderi (1528): Babur defeated Medini Rai.


HUMAYUN (1530-40; 155-56)

    • Humayun was born to Mahin Begum and Babur.  
    • The throne inherited by Humayun was not a bed of roses. Babar practically had no time to consolidate his position and authority.  
    • He died before stabilizing the whole country. He did a blunder by dividing his empire among his three half brothers-Kamran, Hindal and Askari.
    • He built Dinpanah at Delhi as his second capital.
    • He defeated the Afghan forces at Daurah in 1532.
    • He faced formidable opponent in the Afgan, Sher Khan (shah) who in the successive battles of Chausa and kannauj defeated Huamayun and forced him to flee India.
    • Humayun saw the death of Sher Shah as an opportunity to regain the throne.  
    • Humayun had conquered Kandahar and re-established his control over Kabul with the help of the Safavid king of Persia. He could now use Kabul as his base for campaigns into India.
    • His sister, Gulbadan Begum, wrote his biography ‘Humayunama’ in Persian.
    • Humayun died while coming down the stairs of his library in 1556.


SHER SHAH (1540-1545)

    • He was born to Hasan (the Jagirdar of kwaspur, Sahasram and Hajipur Tanda) as Farid   Ibrahim Lodi transferred his father’s jagir to him in 1527-28.  
    • He joined Babur’s service and then returned to Bihar as deputy governor and guardian of the minor king Jalal Khan Lohani.  
    • He aided Mahmud Lodi at Ghagra.  
    • In 1530, he usurps throne as hazarat-i-aia.  
    • He gained Chinar by marrying the widow lad Malika.  
    • Humayun besieged Chunar again in 1539, and captured Chausa.  

He assumed the title Sher Shah as emperor; in 1540.  

    • Sultan Muhammad gave him the title ‘Sher Shah’ for his bravery.
    • He annexed kannauj and then Lahore.
    • He died in 1545 while conquering Kalinjar.

AKBAR (1556-1604)

    • Akbar was 14 years old when he was crowned at Kalanpur in 1556 but he could consolidate his position only after the second battle of Panipat (5th November, 1556), fought against Muhammad Adil Sur’s wazir-Vikramaditya (Hemu) Akbar ruled under Bairam khan’s regency during 1556-60.
    • Akbar’s erliest campaigns were against Durgwati of Garh Katanga (Gond and Rajput principalities) followed by chittor (Rana Udai Singh) and Ranathambor (Rao Surjan Hada).
    • The Mughals captured the two powerful forts of Rajasthan-Ranthambor and cittor (guarded by Jaimal).
    • Akbar’s Deccan campaign began with the siege of Ahmednagar (defended by Chand Bibi). Ahmednagar soon revived itself under the leadership of Malik Amber.  
    • Akbar’s last campaign was against Asirgarh, resulting in the annexation of kahndesh (1601). Akbar conquered kandhar in 1595.
    • Bharmal of Amber followed by Jaisalmer and Bikaner established marital relationships with Akbar.
    • Bhagwan Das (5000 Zat) and Man Singh (7000 Zat) enjoyed a privileged position in the Mughal court.
    • Akbar faced a rebellion in Gujrat in 1572, which was crushed and following which he built the Buland Darwaza at Fathepur Sikri.
    • Abolished the practice of enslaving of war prisoners (1562).
    • Abolished pilgrims tax (1563).
    • Abolished Jizya (1564).
    • Concluded first matrimonial alliance with the Rajput King Bharmal, ruler of Amber

(Jaipur). He was first Rajput King to accept the suzerainty of Akbar. (1562)

    • Fought battle of Haldighati against Maharana Pratap Singh of Mewar in 1576.
    • Learnt the principles of ‘Suleh-i-kul’ from his most notable tutor Mir Abdul Latif.
    • Erected “Ibadat Khana” (House of Worship) at Fatehpur Sikri (1575), to hold discussions on religious issues. 
    • Issued “Mahzar” (1579). 
    • Promulgated Din-i-llahi also known as Tauhid-i-llahi (Divine monotheism) in 1582. Birbal was the first Hindu to join it.
    • Some prominent Christian missionaries who visited the court of Akbar were Ridolfo Aquaviva, Antonio Monserrate and Jerome Xavier.
    • He was Burried at Sikandara near Agra.
    • Modified the Islamic basis of sovereignty and lay down the principle that the king was the father of all his subjects.
    • Found of horticulture.
    • Constructed three great forts Agra fort and Lahore fort.
    • The buildings of Akbar were mainly made up of red stone. 
    • Founded a new capital city, Fatehpur Sikri (1572-80) which contains edifices of high quality like Buland Darwaja, Diwan-i-am, Dowam-i-Khas, Turkish Sultan’s Palace, and Panch Mahal etc. Agra and Lahore also served as his capital cities.

Akbar designed his tomb himself that was constructed by Jehangir at Sikandara.

    • Some of the great musicians like Tansen, Baba Ramdas, and Baba Haridas adorned his court.
    • The mode of calligraphy favourite to Akbar was ‘Nastaliq’.
    • Some of the prominent Painters who were in the court of Akbar were Khwaja Abdus Samad, Dasawatnh & Basawan.
    • Made Persian translation of Mahabharata known as “Razm-Nama”, also Ramayana 

             Translated to Persian.

    • Muzaffar Khan, Todarmal & Shah Mansur were three most notable wazir in his time.
    • Compiled a code of education regulations.
    • Prohibited polygamy.
    • Assumed the title of Zill-i-llahi (Shadow of God).
    • Introduced Gaz-i-llahi, of 41 digits a new yard for land measurement (33 inches in length) in 1588. 
    • In 1573 introduced Karori experiment.
    • In 1581 introduced Dah-sala system (important role of Todar Mal)
    • Akbar’s empire was divided into 12 subas (1575). Later the number rose to 15 (1605).


JAHANGIR (1605-1627)


    • His wife, Nurjahan (daughter of Itimad-Daulah) exercised tremendous influence over the state affairs. She was made the official Badshah Begum.
    • Jahangir banned Slaughter of animals on Sunday and Thursday.
    • He established Zanjir-i-Adal at Agra Fort for the seekers of royal justice.
    • Jahangir also married Jodha Bai of Marwar, and Kachchwaha princes.
    • His son Khusrau, who received patronage of Guru Arjun Dev, revolted against Jahangir.  
    • The fifth Sikh guru Arjun Dev was sentenced to death for his blessings to the rebel price.
    • Khurram (Shahjahan) supported by his father in law, Asaf khan also revolted against Jahangir but soon reconciled.
    • His military general, Mahabat Khan revolted and abducted him but Nurjahan saved him due to her diplomatic efforts.
    • He was a well read and wrote his memories Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri in Persian.
    • On the refusal to pay the fine, Guru Arjun’s son, Hargovind was imprisoned in the fort of Gwalior.
    • Jahangir faced an ‘ormidable opponent in Malik Amber (an Abyssinian) in his expedition to Ahmednagar.  
    • Shahjahan’s military capacity was proved during the expeditions undertaken during Jahangir’s reign and Ahamednagar was annexed (1601).
    • John Hawkins resided at Agra for two years (1609-11). He was given the Mansab of 400.
    • Sir Thomas Roe (1615-18) was ambassador of Tames I.


SHAJAHAN (1628-58)


    • In 1612, he married Arzumand Banu Begun, who became famous as Mumtaj Mahal.
    • In 1632, he defeated Potuguese and annexed Ahmednagar in 1636.
    • French traveller Bernier and Tavernier and the Italian traveller Manuchi describe Shajahan’s reign. Perer mundi described the famine that occurred during Shajahan’s time.

Shahjahan succeeded to the throne on the death of Jahangir in 1628. The first thing that he had to face was revolts in Bundelkhand (Jujhar Singh Bundela of Orchcha) and the Deccan 9Khan-i-jahan Lodi, the Governor of Deccan).

    • He sent his armies to Balkand Badakshan in Central Asia I order to secure the defence of N-W India. Shahjahan who had recovered kandhar (1649) despite three compaigns under price Murad, Aurangzeb and Dara.
    • The war of succession took a notorious turn during Shajahan’s reign and his two daughter’s Jahan Ara and Roshan Ara supported his two sons, Dara and Aurangzeb respectively.



    • He was the eldest son of Shahjahan and his most favoured nominee for the throne.
    • He was liberal and possessed moderate views.
    • He was a devotee of Qadiri order of Sufis.
    • He was disciple of Miyan Mir and then his successor Mulla Shah Badakshi         He received the title of ‘Shahi-i-Buland Iqbal’ from Shahjehan.
    • He developed the Persian version of the Upainshads.
    • His famous works are :
      • Safinat-ul-Auliya: Biographies of Sufi saints.
      • Sakinat-ul-Auliya: Biographies of his two preceptors Miyan mir & Mullah Shah.
      • Hasanat-ul-Arifin: Contains his religious ideas.
      • Majma-ul-Baharain: Contains his religious ideas.
      • Sirr-i-Akbar: Translation of 52 upanishads.
      • Risala-i-Haq Nama



    • He defeated Dara (1659).
    • Took the title of ‘Alamgir’ in 1659.
    • Called as ‘Zinda pir’, the living saint.
    • In 1662, Mir Jumla, Aurangjeb’s ablest general led the expedition against Ahoms.
    • He forbade inscription of Kama on the coins.
    • He ended the celebration of Navroz festival.
    • Mutasib (Regulator of moral conduct) were appointed.
    • He forbade music in the court.
    • He ended Jharokha Darshan, use of almanacs and weighing of the emperor.
    • Aurangzeb compiled Fatwa-i-Alamgiri.
    • Jaziya was re-introduced. However, the Hindu mansabdars maintained their high proportion during his rule.
    • The Mughal conquests reached a climaz during his reign, as Bijapur and Golconda were annexed in 1686 and 1687 respectively.





Bahadur Shah I (1717-1712)


    • Aurangzeb died in 1707. A war of succession started amongst his three surviving sons viz. Muazzam, the governor of Kabul; Azarm, the governor of Gujarat; and kambaksh the governor of Bijapur, Muazzam defeated Azam and kambaksh and ascended the Mughal throne with the title of Bahadur Shah.

He pursued pacifist policy and was therefore, also called Shah Bekhaber.

    • He also assumed the title of Shah Alam I.
    • He made peace with Guru Gobind Singh and Chatrasal.  
    • He granted Sardeshmukhi to Marathas and released Shahu.  
    • He forced Ajit Singh to submit but later in 1709, recognized him as the Rana Marwar.
    • He defeated Banda Bahadur at Longarh and reoccupied Sirhird in 1711.


Jahandar Shah (1712-13)

    • Ascended the throne with the aid of Zulfikar Khan.  
    • His nephew, Farrukh Siyar, defeated him.  
    • He abolished Jaziya.


Farrukh Siyar (1713-1719)

    • Ascended the throne with the help of Sayyid brothers, Abdullah khan and Hussian Khan who were Wazir and Mir Bakshi respectively.  
    • The Sayyed brothers killed Farrukh siyar in 1719.  
    • Banda Bahadur was captured at Gurdapur and executed.


Mohhammad Shah (1719-48)

    • During his reign, Nadir Shah raided India and took away the peacock throne and the Kohinoor diamond.
    • He was a pleasure-loving king and was nick named Rangeela.
    • Nizam-ul-mulk was appointed Wazir in 1722 but he relinguished the post and marched to the Deccan to conquer the state of Hyderabad.
    • Bengal acquired virtual independence during the governership of Murshid Quli khan.
    • Saddat khan Burhan-ul-Mulk who was appointed goverenor of Awadh by him laid down the foundation of the autonomous state.


Ahmed Shah (174817540)  

    • During his reign, Ahmed Shah Abdali (one f the ablest generals of Nadir Shah) Marched towards Delhi and the Mughals ceded Punjab and Multan.


Alamgir (1754-1759)

    • During his reign, Ahmed Shah Abdali occupied Delhi. Later, the Marathas also plundered Delhi.


Shah Alam II (1759-1806)

    • During his reign, Najib Khan Rohilla became very powerful in Delhi so that Shah Alam II could not enter Delhi.  
    • The Battle of Buxar (1764) was fought during his reign.


Akbar Shah II (1806-37)

    • During his reign, Lord Hastings ceased to accept the sovereignty of Mughals and claimed an equal status.


Bahadur Shah II (1837-1862)

    • The last Mughal king, who was confined by the British.  
    • During the Revolt of 1857, he was proclaimed the Empereor by the rebellions.  
    • He was exiled to Rangoon following the Revolt of 1857.






Masab and Jagir Systems

Mansab System

  1. Meaning
    • Mansab (or rank) under the Mughals indicated the position of its holder (mansabdar) in the official hierarchy.  
    • Under the system, ‘mansabs’ (ranks) in terms of numbers were assigned to nobles and commanders, who were also placed in important administrative positions.  
    • Thus, the Mughal `mansab’ system included all public services (such as military, civil and financial),
  1. Main Features under Akbar
    • Daugh (branding of horses) and ‘chahra’ (descriptive roll of horses) which were meant to decrease the possibility of fraud, to fix rank according to the size of the contingent maintained, and to check evasion of military obligation. 
    • The ‘mansab’ system under Akbar was represented by the dual rank of ‘zat’ and ‘sawar’.
    • The former determined the personal pay and status in the official hierarchy. 
    • The latter determined the number of horsemen to be maintained and the salary for the maintenance of those horsemen.
    • Direct subordination of ‘mansabdars’ to the emperor. Hence contingents of big ‘mansabdars’ were not formed by adding those of the smaller ones.
    • ‘Mansab’ was not hereditary, but based on merit.
    • Possibility of the existence of a ‘zat’ rank without a ‘sawar’ rank, but never a ‘sawar’ rank without a ‘zat’ rank.
  1. Main addition by Jahangir
    • Introduction of the duaspa-sihaspa’ rank literally meaning troopers having two or three horses, and hence related to the ‘sawar’ rank. 
    • This rank doubled the ordinary ‘sawar’ rank, and hence doubled the obligations and the privileges that went with it.
  1. Further Changes by Shah Jahan        Rule of 1/3rd, 1/4th:  

It scaled down the obligations of the ‘mansabdars’. If a ‘mansabdar’ was serving in a province where his ‘jagir’ was, then his contingent should be equal to 1/3rd of his ‘sawar’ rank; if elsewhere then only 1/4th.

    • Month Scales:  

A ‘mansabdar’ often found that the ‘hasil’ (actual revenue collected from a ‘jagir’) was less than the ‘jama’ (stipulated or assessed revenue from a ‘jagir’), on which his salary was actually fixed. 

Thus the month scale was a devise to express the ratio between the’jama’ and the ‘hasil’, and hence gave some relief in service obligations to ‘mansabdars’.

Jagir System

    • ‘Jagir’ was a unit of land, whose revenues were assigned to a ‘mansabdar’ in lieu of his salary.  
    • Under the Mughals, apart from the ‘jagir’ lands, whose revenues went to pay the salaries of the ‘mansabdars’ for their services to the state, there were also the ‘khalisa’ lands, whose revenues were earmarked for the maintenance of the imperial court and the personal expenditure of the emperor.  
    • Hence, the ‘jagir’ of the Mughal times was similar to the ‘iqta’ of the Delhi Sultanate.
    • Like the ‘iqta’, the assignment of a ‘jagir’ to a ‘mansabdar’ did not confer any hereditary rights to that ‘jagir’ on the ‘mansabdar’.  
    • He could enjoy the revenues of the ‘jagr’ only as long as he held the ‘mansab’ or official rank and rendered services to the state.  
    • ‘Jagir’ system was closely related to the ‘mansab’ system. In fact, it was a subsidiary system of the all-in-one ‘mansab’ system.  
    • Some ‘mansabdars’ were paid in cash and not through the assignment of ‘jagirs’.


    1. Central Administration


      • Vakil or Regent: Representative of the king and hence exercised all powers on behalf of and in the name of the king.
      • Wazir or Diwan: In his capacity as ‘diwan’, he was the head of the revenue department; when there was no ‘vakil’, he acted as the P.M. also and hence called the ‘wazir’.
      • Mir Bakshi: Head of the military department, and became the paymaster general after the introduction of the ‘mansab’ system.
      • Sadr-us-Sudur: Head of the ecclesiastical department hence regulated the religious policy of the state; was also in charge of public charities and endowments.
      • Khan-i-Saman: Head of the royal household and the royal ‘karkhanas’ (workshops).
      • Other officials: 
      1. ‘Muhtasibs’ (censor of morals), 
      2. ‘Waqia navis’ (news eports), 
      3. ‘Khufia navis’ (secret letter writers), 
      4. ‘Harkarahs’ (spies and special couriers), etc.
  1. Provincial Administration
    • Subahs: Division and systematic organization of the empire into different provinces or ‘subahs’ by Akbar; establishment of a uniform pattern of administration in all the provinces.
    • Important Officials:

Governor, known as ‘sipah-salar’, and some times as ‘nayim’.

Provincial ‘diwan’, in charge of evenue administration of the province.

Provincial ‘bakshi’, directly responsible to the ‘mir bakshi’.

Other provincial officials were ‘qazi’, ‘sadr’, ‘muhtasib’. Etc.

  1. Local Administration
    • Division of a province into ‘sarkars’ or districts.
    • Division of a ‘sarkar’ into ‘paraganas’ or taluqs, which consisted of a group of villages.


  1. Main Agrarian Classes Peasants
    • Khudkashta: Those peasants living in their own villages, owning their own lands and implements.
    • Pahis: Those who were outsiders but cultivated the rented lands in a village either while staying in the neighbouring village or by staying in the same village.
    • Muzariyams: Those who belonged to the same village, but who did not have either lands or implements and hence were heavily dependent on the ‘khudkashta’ for their supply.



    • Autonomous Zamindars or Chieftains:  

They were the hereditary rulers of their respective territories.  

Economically and militarily, they formed a formidable class.  

    • Intermediary Zamindars: Those who had ownership rights over his personal lands but had only ‘zamindari’ rights, i.e. hereditary right to collect revenue from the peasants for the state, over a wider area.
    • Primary Zamindars: Those who had ownership rights over his personal lands and ‘zamindari’ rights over his ‘zamindari’, but did not perform the hereditary function of collecting revenue for the state.
  1. Towns and Commerce
  1. Main Urban Classes Traders  and Merchants

Wholesale traders, retail traders, ‘banjaras’ or those specialized in the caravan or carrying trade, ‘shoroffs’ (sarrafs) or those specialized in banking, etc. The ‘shroffs’ developed the institution of ‘hundis’ or bills of exchange.

    • Others:  

Officials, ranging from big ‘mansabdars’ to ordinary soldiers and clerks; artisans and handicraftmen; and other professional classes like teachers, doctors, etc.

  1. Items of Trade and Commerce Exports:  

Textiles especially various kinds of cotton fabrics, indigo,  raw silk, sugar, salt petre, pepper, opium and various kinds of drugs and miscellaneous goods.

    • Imports:  

Bullion horses, metals, China goods especially porcelain, China silk, African slaves and European wines.

    1. Coins of Surs and Mughals      Sur Coinage: 

The reform of the coinage, thought completed by Akbar, was in a great measure due to Sher Shah’s genius. His innovations lay chiefly in two directions:

      1. The introduction of a new standard of 178 grains for silver, and one of about 330 grains for copper, with its half, quarter, eighth and sixteenth parts. These two new coins were subsequently known as the ‘rupee’ and the ‘dam’.
      2. A large increase in the number of the mints. At least twently three mint names appear on the Sur coins.
        • Mughal Coinage:
      1. The standard gold coin of the Mughals was the ‘muhar’, the equivalent of nine ‘rupees’.
      2. The ‘rupee’, adopted from Sher Shah’s currency, is the most famous of all Mughal coins. Halves, quarters, eighths and sixteenths were also struck.
      3. The Mughal copper coinage is based on Sher Shah’s ‘dam’ with its half, quarter and eighth.











Mughal Culture

A. Architecture

  1. Chief Characteristics
    • Combination of the Persian elements of grandeur and originality with the grace and decoration of Indian architecture.
    • Uniformity in the architectural character and structural principles all over the empire.
    • Construction of tombs in the cente of large park like enclosures.
    • Construction of a double dome.
    • Other features like the cupolas at the corners standing on slender pillars, magnificent palace halls and lofty vaulted gateway.
    1. Development Fort building:


        • Construction of a series of forts, the most important being the Agra fort; other forts at Lahore and Allahabad.


Shah Jahan:  

        • Climax of fort building seen in the Red Fort at Delhi.


Palace building:  

      • Akbar’s palace-cum-fort at Fatehpur Sikri; most magnificent building in it is the mosque (Jami-Masjid) and its gateway (Buland Darwaza).          Other important buildings at Fatehpur Sikri are:
      1. Jodha Bai’s Palace (influence of Hindu style),
      2. Palaces of Mariyam and Sultana,  
      3. Birbal’s House,  
      4. Diwan-i-Am and Diwan-i-Khas, and  
      5. Panch Mahal (a pyramidical structure in five storeys – influence of Buddhist Vihara).


Building of Tombs:


    • Humayun’s tomb at Delhi was the first Mughal tomb placed in the centre of a large parklike enclosure and it marked the beginning of the use of white marble by the Mughals. 
    • Tomb of Salim Chisti at Fatehpur Sikri is another important one.



    • Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra near Agra was started by Akbar himself, but was completed by his son. 
    • Tomb of Itimad-ud-daula at Agra, built by NurJahan for her father, was constructed wholly in white marble with ‘pietra-dura’ (decoration of walls with floral designs made of semi-precious stones).
    • It is regarded as a precursor or forerunner to the Taj Mahal.


Shah Jahan: 

    • Large-scale use of ‘pietra-dura’ in his buildings, especially Taj Mahal, which was supposedly, planned by Ustad Isa and cost Rs. 50 lakhs at that time.



    • The tomb of his wife Dilras Banu Begum at Aurangabad is considered as a replica of the Taj Mahal.


Building of Mosques or masjids:


    • Four mosques, one each at Sambhal, Panipat (in Kabul Bagh), Agra (old fort) and Ayodhya.



    • Jami-Masjid at Fatehpur Sikri is one of the most magnificent buildings.


Shah Jahan: 

    • Climax seen in the Moti Masjid at Agra (built entirely in white marble) and Jama Masjid at Delhi (built in red sand stone).


B. Painting  Development  Akbar:

  • Revival of the old Indian tradition of painting and the introduction of new themes, new colours, and new forms.
  • Organisation of painting in the imperial ‘karkhana’ under the leadership of two Persian master-painters.
  • Participation of both Hindus and Muslims in the work.
  • Illustration of the Akbar Namah, Mahabharata and other Indian themes.
  • Use of Indian colours and the replacement of the flat effect of Persian style by the roundedness of Indian style.
  • Introduction of European painting by the Portuguese priests.



  • Apex of painting due to his keen interest.
  • Practice of painting different parts of the body by different persons.    Special progress in portrait painting and painting of animals.
  1. Salient Features of Mughal School
    • The Mughal pictures were small, and hence are known as ‘miniature paintings’.
    • Mughals art neither represented the Indian emotions, nor are the scenes from the daily life of the Indians. It was mostly courtly and aristocratic.
    • A keen appreciation of nature as seen in landscape paintings.
    • Remarkable excellence achieved in portrait painting.        Excellence in colour composition.
    1. Differences between Mughal and Rajput Schools
        • The Mughal School was aristocratic and realistic, while the Rajput school was democratic and chiefly mystic.
        • The former dealt with the materialistic aspect of the animal life, while the latter dignified these creatures by giving them external forms of Hindu deities.
        • If the former was more realistic, the latter was spiritual. One aimed at the entertainment, the other at reflecting the serenity of Indian life.

C.  Literature


      • Historical works: Ain-i-Akbari and Akbar Namah by Abul Fazl.
      • Translations: 

Translation of different sections of the Mahabharata into Persian by many scholars under the title of Razm Namah.


Poetry: Faizi, Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, etc. were the famous poets.


  • Wrote his autobiography, Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, famous for its style, frankness and sincerity of views.
  • Patronised many scholars and learned men.

Shah Jahan

  • Patronised many writers and historians like Abdul Hamid Lahori (Padshah Namah).
  • His son, Dara Shikoh, besides writing a treatise on the technical terms of Hindu pantheon, wrote a biography of the Muslim saints and got the Hindu scriptures translated into Persian.


  • He was a great scholar of Islamic theology and jurisprudence.
  • Many important historical works were also written – Muntakhab-ul-Lubab by Khafi Khan, Futuhat-i-Alamgiri by Iswar Das, etc.

In Fact, Persian language and literature was so developed and widespread that Akbar dispensed with the practice of keeping revenue records in the local languages in addition to Persian.




Gulbadan Begum       

Humayun Namah

Abul Fazl                  


Abul Fazl                  

Akbar Namah





Abdul Hamid Lahori  

Padshah Namah

Dara Shikoh              

Safinat-ul-Auliya (Biographies of Sufis)


Raqqat-i-Alamgiri (Collection of letters)

Khafi Khan                





Translated into Persian by Abdur Rahim Khan Khana.


Translated into Persian by Abdul Qadir Badayuni Naquib Khan and Shaikh Sultan. It is known as Razm Nama in this from.


Translated into Persian by Abdul Qadir Badayuni, Naquib Khan and Shaikh Sultan.


Translated into Persian by Haji Ibrahim Sarhindi.

Pancha Tantra

Translated into Persian by Abul-Fazl. This book is known as Anwarl-Shuhaili in Persian form.


Translated into Persian by Mulla Shah Muhammad.


Translated into Persian by Faizi.


Nal Damayanti

Translated into Persian by Faizi.


             Hasht Bahist

lay out by Babar at Agra, now known as Ram Bagh.

             Shalimar Bagh

lay out by Jehangir at Srinagar.

             Nisat Bagh 

lay out by Asaf Khan at Srinagar.

             Shalimar Garden

lay out by Shahjehan near Lahore.

Hayat Bakhsh

lay out by Shahjehan inside the Red Fort.

Shalimar Bagh

lay out by Shahjehan in Delhi.

             Wazir Bagh 

lay out by Dara in Kashmir.

            Chahar Burji Bagh  



lay out by Zeb-un-nisa near Lahore.

             Sind            

Cotton, silk, wooden article, ivory, Bangles, Saltpetre, Mattresses.

            Gujarat        

Silk-weaving, velvet, Needlework, Embroidery, Jewellery, Furniture, Weapons, Gold & silver embroidery.

             Delhi/Agra 

Paper, Glasseare, Copper & Brass rtensils.

             Avadh         


             Bihar           

Glass Vessels, Wooden articles

             Bengal         

Muslin, Cotton, Silk, Embroidered quilts.

             Agra           

Bayana indigo (Costlier)

             Ahmedabad 



Sarkhej indigo

             Pat             

A coarser kind of cotton cloth used by the poor.

             Kirpas (Calico)

A superior variety of cotton cloth than Pat.

             Shirinbaft     

A variety of muslin.

             Salahati       

A variety of muslin obtained from Sylhet.

             Devgiri        

A fine & expensive variety of muslin obtained from Devagiri.

             Patola          

A kind of silk.

             Chitrapat      

Painted or printed cloth.

            Tafetas        

Silk embroidered with gold.

             Toti             

Matting cloth for wrapping merchandise.

             Tatband       



Jute cloth.

             Dam/Paise/Fulus

Chief copper coin of 323.5 grains (21 Grams) (40 DAM = 1 Rupee)

             Jital             

Lowest copper coin (25 JItal = 1 DAM)

             Rupee         

Rounded silver coin of 172 grains

             Hasil            

actual collection from land

             Dhenkli        

Wooden scoop, used for lifting water from wells into field channels

            Charas         

Method for lifting water from wells in a leather bucket and drawn over by yoke of oxen

             Saqiya         

Sophisticated device for lifting water by Persian wheel

             Paikasht/Pahikasht

Peasants who cultivated land in villages other than their own

             Dasturs       

Cash revenue rates

  • Jama Dami 
  • Khud–Kashta/

Assessed revenue in terms of dam

             Malik–l-Zamin    

Owners of land in the official documents or resident cultivators 

  • Taqavi            
  • Madad-l-Maash/

Advance loans to peasants


     Sayurghal                   Grant of land to men of learning for their subsistence for life time

  • Karkhanas     Workshops for the production of luxury goods




The land where revenue was reserved for the sultan’s treasury



New yard for land measurement, consisting of 41 dighits (approx

33 inches), introduced by Akbar





Corp sharing


Estimated revenue of Jagir which was equal to the pay given to the





Term used for jagirs


Grants for religious and educational institutions


An administrative division (District) during Delhi Sultanate


1/20 part of bigha


A sermon, recited in mosques on Fridays wherein the name of the ruler was included




The muslim brotherhood (Entire Muslim Population)


Religiions decree issued by Akbar


Head of the patwaris who as the field officer constituted the land



revenue establishment at pargana level

Ain – i – Dahsala

A system where the average produce of different cropes as well as the average prices prevailing over the last ten years were calculated (introduced by Akbar)


Revenue assignees


Paper to be signed by peasants.  A mark of acceptance of state’s 



demand of land revenue


Area where there was objection


Branding of horse


Muster roll

Watan Jagirs

Jagirs which were assigned to zamindars in their homelands

Al- tamgha  

Jagirs given to Muslim nobles (Introduced by Jehangir)


The new years day of the zoroastrian calendar introduced by



Bill of exchange


A Mughal rank that determine the number of cavalry-men


A Mughat rank that determined the position of a Mughal mansabdar in the hierarchy as well as his personal pay 


News writer


Commander of ten thousand horsemen or more 


Commander of thousand horsemen


Commander of hundred

Sipah Salar  

Commander of less than one hundred


Efficient troops which were not placed under the control of emperor


Later on in the Mughal decline of the the 18th century it came to mean Idler


Public censors


Police chief

                Amalguzar               Head of the revenue establishment at local level 

Karoris                             Senior revenue collectors who collected crores of rupees from the people of the crown lands

  • Qanungo                  Head of the patwaris who as the field officer constituted the land                     revenue establishment.


































SHIVAJI (1627-80)

  • Born at Shivneri to Shahji Bhonsle and Jija Bai, he inherited the Jagir of Poona from his father in 1637.  
  • After the death of his guardian, Dadaji Kondadev, in 1647, he assumed full charge of his Jagir. Before that, at the age of 18, he conquered Torna, built forts at Raigarh and Pratapgarh (1645-47).
  • Afzal Khan was deputed by the Adil Shah ruled to punish Shivaji, but the latter murdered Afzal in 1659.
  • Later Shaista khan, governor of Deccan, was deputed by Aurangzeb to put down the rising power of Shivji in 1660.  
  • Shivaji lost Poona and suffered several defeats till he made a bold attack on Shaista’s military camp and plundered Surat (1664) and later Ahmednagar.
  • Raja Jai Singh of Amber was appointed by Aurangzeb to put down shivaii (1665) and Jai Singh succeeded in besieging Shivaji in the fort of Purandhar.  
  • The treatly of Purandhar (1665) was signed according to which Shivaji ceded some forts to the Mughals and pay a visit to the Mughal Court to Agra in 1674.
  • He was coroneted at Raigarh and assumed the title of ‘Haindave Dhamodhark’ (Protector of Hinduism).  
  • Shivaji died in 1680.


Shivaji’s Administration

  • Shivaji divided his territory into three provinces, each under a viceroy.  
  • Provinces were divided into Prants, which were subdivided into Pargans or Tarafs.  
  • The lowest unit was village headed by Headman or Pate.
  • The Astapradhan (eight ministers) which was unlike a Council of Ministers for there was no collective responsibility helped Shivaji. Each minister was directly responsible to Shivaji.

These were:

    • Peshwa or Mukhya Pradhan (Prime Minister)
    • Majumadar or Amatya (Finance Minister)
    • Mantri or Waqianavis (Personal safety of king)
    • Sachiva or Surnavis (In charge of royal secretariat)
    • Samant or Dabir (Foreign Minister)
    • Senapati (commander in Chief)
    • Pandit Rao (Chief Religious Advisor)
    • Nyayadhish (Administration of justice)
  • Most of the administrative reforms of Shivaji were based on Malik Ambar’s (Ahmednagar) reforms.


Shivaji’s Revenue administration

  • Assessment of land revenue was based on measurement. The kathi of Ambar was adopted as the unit of measurement.
  • Share of the state was fixed at two-fifths of the gross produce.
  • Chauth was one-fourth of the land revenue paid to the Marathas, so as not be subjected to Maratha raids.
  • Saredeshmukhi was an additional levy of 10 per cent on those lands of Maharashtra over which the Marathas claimed hereditary rights, but which formed part of the Mughal Empire.






Sambhaji (1680-89)

  • Sambhaji the younger son of Shivaji defeated Rajaram in the war of succession.  
  • He provided protection and support to Akbar, the rebellious son of Aurangzeb.  
  • He was captured at Sangamesvar by a Mughal noble and executed.


Rajaram (1689-1700)

  • He succeeded the throne with the help of the ministers at Raigarh.  
  • He fied from Rajgarh to Jinji in 1689 due to a Mughal invasion in which Rajgarh was captured along with Sambhaji’s wife and son (Shahu) by the Mughals.  
  • Rajaram died at Satara, which had become the capital after the fall of Jinji to Mughals in 1698.
  • Rajaram created the new post of Prathindhi, thus taking the total number of ministers to nine.


Shivaji II and Tarabai (1700-1707)

  • His minor son Shivaji II under the guardianship of his mother Tarabai succeeded Rajaram.


Shahu (1707-1749)

  • The Mughal Emperor Bahdur Shah released Shahu.  
  • Shahu at the Battle of Khed (1700) defeated Tarabai’a army and Shahu occupied Satara.  
  • However, the southern part of Maratha kingdom with its capital at kohlapur continued to be under the control of the descendants of Rajaram.  
  • Shahu’s reign saw the rise of Peshwas and transformation of the Maratha kingdom into an empire based on the principle of confederacy.  


















THE PESHWAS (1713-1818)


  • He began his carrier as a small revenue official and was given the title of ‘Sena karte’ (marker of the army) by Shahu in 1708.  
  • He became Peshwa in 1713 and made the post important and powerful as well as hereditary.  
  • He played a crucial role by wining over almost all side of Shahu.  
  • He concluded an agreement with the Sayyid brothers (1719) by which the Murghal Emperor (Farukh Siyar) recognized Shahu as the king of the Swarajya.



  • Baji Rao, the eldest son of Balaji Vishawanath succeeded him as Peshwa at the young age of 20. He was considered the greatest exponent of gurrilla tactics after Shivaji and Maratha power reached its zenith under him.
  • Under him several Maratha families became prominent and got themselves entrenched in different parts of India :(a)The Gaekwad of Baroda(b)The Bhonsles of Nagpur
  1. The Holkars of Indore
  2. The Scindias of Gwalior   
  3. The Peshwas of Poona  
  • After defeating and expelling the Siddhis of Janjira form the mainland (1722), he conquered Bassein and Salsette from the Portuguese (1733).  
  • He also defeated Nizam-ul-Mulk near Bhopal and concluded the treaty of Duraisaria by which he got Malwa and Bundelkhad from the latter (1737).  
  • He led innumerable successful expeditions into North India to weaken the Mughal Empire and to make the Marathas the supreme power in India.  
  • He said, “Let us stir at the trunk of the withering tree and the branches will fall themselves.


  • Popularly known as Nana Sahab, he succeeded his father at the age of 20.  
  • After the death of Shahu (1749), the management of all State affairs was left in his hands.  
  • In an agreement with the Mughal Empire form internal and external enemies in return for the chauth.  
  • The Battle of Panipat (January 14, 1761) resulted in the defeat of the Marathas by Ahmed Shah Abdali and the death of Viswas Rao (son of Nana Saheb).  Nana Saheb died in 1761.



  • Madhav Rao (1761-72),  
  • Narayan Rao (1772-73),  
  • Sawai Madhav Rao (1773-95) and  Baji Rao II (1795-1818).