Old Mughal Provinces: Awadh

Learning Goals:

The Old Mughal Provinces: Three states stand out very prominently amongst the states that were carved out of the old Mughal provinces in the 18th century. These states were founded by members of the high Mughal nobility who had been governors of large provinces. These states and their founders are as under:

  1. Awadh: Sa’adat Khan
  2. Bengal: Murshid Quli Khan
  3. Hyderabad: Asaf Jah

All the above founders had occupied high mansabdari positions and enjoyed the trust and confidence of the emperors. The founders of Hyderabad and Bengal held a zat ranking of 7000 each, whereas Sa’adat Khan, the founder of Awadh had a zat ranking of 6000.

Awadh

The founder of Awadh, Burhan-ul-Mulk Sa’adat Khan was appointed its subadar in 1722. It was one of the most important states to emerge out of the break-up of the Mughal Empire. It had the following features:

Burhan-ul-Mulk also held the combined offices of political (subadari), financial (diwani) and military (faujdari) affairs of the province of Awadh.


Methodology to reduce Mughal influence

He managed to reduce the Mughal influence by:

The accounts of the jagirdars were strictly checked to prevent cheating and the revenues of all districts were reassessed by the officials appointed by the Nawab’s court. He also seized a number of Rajput zamindaris and also the agriculturally fertile lands of the Afghans of Rohilkhand.


Mutual interest: state and land collectors

The state was dependent on local bankers and mahajans for loans. The right to collect tax was sold to the highest bidders. These ‘revenue farmers’ (called ijaradars) agreed to pay the state a fixed sum of money. The local bankers guaranteed the payment of this contracted amount to the state. In turn, the revenue-farmers were given considerable liberty in the assessment and collection of taxes.

These developments led to new social groups like the moneylenders and bankers influencing the management of the state’s revenue system for the first time.



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