Short Answer Questions
Question 1: What were the duties of mansabdars?
Answer: Their military responsibilities included maintaining a specified number of sawar or cavalrymen. Their duty towards cavalrymen is:
- Bringing them for review
- Getting them registered
- Getting their horses branded and
- Paying their salary from the money received
Question 2: Write in brief about Ain-i Akbari.
Answer: Volume III about Akbar's reign written by Abul Fazl is the Ain-i Akbari. It deals with Akbar's administration, household, army, the revenues and the geography of his empire. It also provides rich details about the traditions and culture of the people living in India. The most interesting aspect about it is its rich statistical details about things as diverse as crops, yields, prices, wages and revenues.
Question 3: How did the idea of sulh-i kul come into existence?
Answer: He was interested in the religion and social customs of various people. His interaction with people of different faiths made him realize that religious scholars who emphasized ritual and dogma were often bigots. Divisions and disharmony amongst people was created by their teachings. Hence eventually this led Akbar to the idea of sulh-i kul or universal peace.
Question 4: Briefly describe Akbar's nobles.
Answer: They commanded large armies and had access to large amounts of revenue. Till they were loyal, the empire functioned very efficiently but by the end of the 17th century many nobles had built independent networks of their own. Their self interest was responsible for weakening their loyalties to the empire.
Long Answer Type Questions
Question 1: Write a note on Aurangzeb's reign with reference to mansabdars.
Answer: During the reign of Akbar, the jagirs were carefully assessed. This was done to ensure that their revenues were roughly equal to the salary of mansabdar. But during Aurangzeb’s reign, the actual revenue was less than the granted sum. The number of mansabdars increased exponentially. This meant they had to wait for long before they received a jagir. There was shortage of number of jagirs. As a result, many jagirdars tried to extract maximum possible revenue from their jagirs. Aurangzeb was unable to control these developmens and hence the peasants suffered a lot during the last years of his reign.
Question 2: What were salient aspects of the Mughal Empire in the seventeenth century?
Answer: There was great economic and commercial prosperity in the Mughal Empire due to the administrative and military efficiency. There were contradictory conditions during that time; on one hand there was so much prosperity that international travellers called it the fabled land of wealth and on the other hand, the same visitors were appalled at the state of poverty that existed parallelly. A mere 5.6 % of the total number of mansabdars received 61.5 % of the total estimated revenue of the empire as salaries for themselves and their troopers. This glaring inequality was revealed by the documents of the twentieth year of Shah Jahan’s reign. The major expenditure of the Mughal emperors was on salaries and goods. The poor peasants and artisans were struggling for survival.
Question 3: Describe the financial aspects during Akbar's reign.
Answer: Todar Mal, Akbar's revenue minister carried out a careful survey of crop yields, prices and areas cultivated for a 10-year period i.e. from 1570 to 1580. Based on this data, tax was fixed on each crop in cash. Each province was divided into revenue circles with each circle having its own schedule of revenue rates for individual crops. This revenue system is called zabt. It was prevalent in the areas where Mughal administrators could survey the land and keep very careful accounts. In provinces such as Gujarat and Bengal this was not possible. The zamidars exercised great deal of power in some areas.
Question 4: Who were the opponents of the Mughals? How did the Mughals behave with them?
Answer: For a long time the Sisodiya Rajputs refused to accept the authority of the Mughals. They were defeated by the Mughals but were not humiliated by them. They were given their lands (watan) back as assignments. The principle of defeating but not humiliating; followed by the Mughals was the main reason for enabling them to extend their influence over many kings and chieftains. But it was difficult to always keep the balance between defeating but not humiliating. For example we have an instance of Aurangazed insulting Shivaji when he came to accept Mughal authority.