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Economy and society, in the 16th and 17th Centuries

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Economy and society, in the 16th and 17th Centuries

Q1. The emergence of early capitalism in the Mughal period was primarily due to urbanization and commercialization.Comment. (2019)

Ans. The economy of the Mughal period was dynamic and supportive and facilitated its enterprising people. The major reason for this flourishing state of the economy was urbanization and commercialization.

During the Mughal period, different mercantile communities existed which find mention in Ain-I Akbari. According to it, the most dominant mercantile class was of the Banjaras. They used to procure foodgrains from the farm-gates and sell it in different parts of India at remunerative prices. This is even mentioned by Prof. Irfan Habib and Tapan Ray Chaudari. 

The movement of foodgrains indicates long distance trade and growth of commercialization in urban cities. The urban cities flourished with tradable items, food grains, spices, commercial crops which signify their importance. 

Thus, in due course of time, when the Europeans became frequent traders with India, the importance of these urban towns as well as the demand for materials increased. This increasing demand was facilitated with lucrative bullion by the Europeans; as a result, commercialization reached its zenith.

However, According to Irfan Habib and Tapan Ray Chaudari, the most important mercantile class was of the Sarrafs. These Sarrafs began to play multiple roles during the Mughal period. They not only continued the practice of lending money on interest (resulting into the Banking System) but also provided Bima or insurance cover. This further led to the development of the concept of Avog or Bottomry, whereby insurance over export items via ships was provided. 

The most important concept witnessed during the Mughal Empire among the mercantile classes was related to non- physical movement of currency or cash. This was ensured through the bills of exchange or letter of credit termed as Hundi. According to the document of Hundi, a trader could deposit the cash amount at any center to procure the letter of credit. This letter could be encashed at the desired destination to procure the deposited fund and purchase necessary articles for trade; hence, it facilitated cashless transactions leading to safety of the long distance trade. 

Hence, it could be said that the Sarrafs exhibited signs of early capitalists and in this way, they not only directed the economy but started expanding their own economy. 

Q2. "An important feature of' agriculture in Mughal India has been the large number of crops raised by the peasants".Illustrate by giving examples. (2018) 

Ans. It is correctly argued by a prominent historian Professor Irfan Habib that the most distinct feature of agriculture in Mughal India was the wide variety of flourishing crops raised by the peasants. 

According to the bookAgrarian System of Mughal India written by Irfan Habib on the basis of extensive research done over Ain - I - Akbari of Abu Fazl, he has emphasised that there were majorly two types of crops depending upon the Rabi and Kharif seasons. 

The summer season was the time for kharif crops in which rice, maize, grams etc. were grown.The winter season comprised of the rabi crops whereby wheat, mustard etc were grown. 

Apart from these crops, many other crops like jowar, bajra and ragi were also grown in Western India, though Abu! Fazl does not mention this, rather Irfan Habib mentions this.

Also, many cash crops were grown to fulfill the basic requirements like:

(i) Indigo was used for dying clothes. For egoBengal and Bihar. 

(ii) Tobacco and opium production was done also for exports. 

(iii) Cotton textile amt,even raw cotton were produced for export as well as for own use. For eg Patna, Banaras. 

(iv) The highly.developed!k. products made out of eri and muga. The Bafta, Taffeta and'~dari Sarees were also witnessed. In fact, Lahore became the prominent place for silk production along with Bihar and Bengal.

(v) Also,there was a specific production of gunpowder from saltpetre. In fact, Qandah&.rand Kabul became prominent centers for defense production. Overall, a great and large variety of crops was raised by the peasants and farmers which led to a highly developed economy of Mughal India.

Q3. Assess the condition of peasantry during 13th to 17thcenturies CEo (2017) 

Ans. The peasantry and its agrarian structure in the Indian villages have always received the attention of scholars. 

During the medieval period, many changes took place in Indian society but these did not affect the basic elements of the condition of the peasants. 

The Marxist tradition by close analysis has analyzed the peasantry in terms of a power relationship between the suppressed and exploiting producers of the pre capitalist society. 

In India, the writings on peasants in the medieval period center around two major issues: 

  • Agrarian structure 
  • Recognizing the peasants' roles and emerging agrarian classes. 

However, there is very little information about the peasantry in the Sultanate period. 

Prof. Irfan Habib has mentioned that the condition of peasants was not very good, though stable. Moreover, they faced oppression by the rulers and of the iqtadars who implemented it. At the village level, they had to face the wrath of the local officials and were forced to pay taxes. Even though the Sondhar loan facility was available but it was not placed on an equal footing. 

In the regions where the holdings of the Sultanate were less, they witnessed a consolidation of the power of small local chieftains with a proliferation in subordinate feudatories' tenure and rights. 

The surplus income and produce of the peasants was collected and distributed among the members of the ruling class. The 14th century saw the transformation of the old aristocracy into a new superior rural class, represented by Chaudharies, later replaced by the Zamindars in the Mughal period. 

During the Mughal period, the peasantry was economically highly stratified, with considerable difference in the size of holdings,the resources available for cultivation and,the produce obtained. There is a close association between the free peasant economy of Khud-Kasht and the tenant cultivator economy of the Pahi Kasht . 

The condition of peasants on a larger scale was better and there was even a sense of entrepreneurship among them. The reforms were done to aid the peasants. 

Though, the decay in the system started when it had outlived its utility. In addition to it, the State did not take any initiative to improve the condition of the peasants during the later part of the Mughals. As a result, the breakdown of the system became historically inevitable.

Q4. The religion of the Sikhs was the main force of their unity. Comment. (2016) 

Ans. The religion of Sikhs came into being with Guru Nanak Dev in the middle of the 15th century. 

The Sikh religion was later united as a military class by the 10th and last Guru - Guru Gobind Singh who brought the concept in the end of 17th century. 

Sikhs are considered to be followers of their Gurus and this has remained the biggest force for their unity. 

The Khalsa Panth of Sikhs clearly reflects their united forces to wage any battle against their enemies. It was evident during the reign of Guru Gobind in the Battle ofMakhawal or Anandpur whereby they fought with brave hearts against the force of Aurangzeb led by Wazir Khan.

When Guru GobindSingh stopped the fight on getting assurance from Aurangzeb, he asked his forces to line up outside Makhawal with the arms surrendered. 

Even though the Sikhs surrendered their arms but still Wazir Khan assaulted them and Sikhs did nothing just because of the orders of Gobind Singh. This clearly shows the unity and trust among Sikhs on themselves and for their Guru as well. This incident is even mentioned in the Zafarnama. 

Thus, it can be safely accepted that the biggest binding force of Sikhs has been their unity and trust among themselves and on their Guru. 

Q5. India had been for hundreds of years the Lancashire of the Eastern World. Critically examine. (2014) 

Ans. Lancashire, located in England, is considered to be the hub of cotton textiles and crafts in the world.Though, long before the emergence ofLancashire as a production town for cotton textile, India had been holding the crown for the production of clothes and cotton textiles in the world.

During the Medieval period in India, India was on an advanced stage in terms of cotton production and further reached its zenith during the Mughal period. 

According to an eminent historian, Tapan Ray Chaudhary, India had a cluster of towns, which had small or cottage industries, developed out of the Dadni system. These towns like Dhaka and Hugli were famous all over the world for their Muslin production. The good quality Jute production centres that were Qasimbazar, Hugli, Chittagong, Balasore and Puri emerged to be prominent coastal towns. These cities imported and exported trade articles to South - East Asia and even to China. 

On the north-western part ofIndia, lay the towns ofKabul, Lahore and Ludhiana. These towns were pioneers in cotton production and were famous worldwide. This attracted a large number of mercantile Europeans to export raw cotton from these cities back to their countries. 

The cheap labour and enterprising people, on the whole, made India completely rich in terms of textiles. India was even famous for its silk work. Notable towns like Bhagalpur, Mysore, Guwahati were very prominent. 

Therefore, on account of the quality and level of production activities that India possessed in the medieval phase, it can be largely accepted that "Lancashire was India of the western world" rather than India was Lancashire of the eastern world.

Q6. Will it not be correct to say that the rural economy in Mughal India was relatively self-sufficient? (2015) 

Ans. The rural economy of Mughal India is often considered to be self _ sufficient as correctly propounded in Ain-i-Akbari of Abul Fazl. 

According toAin-i-Akbari,the rural economy was in surplus, especially with respect to agriculture in the Polaj land and to some extent Parti land and there was a perfect semblance between agriculture and craft activities which even made the Cachar and Banjar land of Mughal India self - sufficient. 

Abul - Fazl points out that the farmers were rich and produced grains especially in the Polaj and Khalisa land. These foodgrains were even exported, both inside to the deficient regions and even outside (in Asia). 

The developed Jajmani System, which later matured to form the Dadni System, lay at the core of the infertile regions of Mughal India. This not only helped the people of these regions to adopt different alternatives apart from food grain production but this also brought a sense of entrepreneurship among them. 

All these factors further boosted the Mughal economy, thereby, developing the economic market and attracting the mercantile traders into India.

Though, Prof. Irfan Habib, after analyzing the work Ain-i-Akbari, points out the flaws in it, in his work Economic History of Medieval India. He points out that after the reign ofAkbar; there were much administrative inefficiency that occurred in the rural economy, like increment of tax, moving away from Todarmal Bandobast etc.

Also. the increment in the  demand for commercial crops decreased the areas under food grain production.

The incentives given to farmers in calamities were reduced and taxation was increased. 

The deferment in paying taxes by farmers led to harsh punishments as well, which even led to the confiscation of their lands by the Zamindars. 

Hence, the picture of the rural economy after Akbar's reign and during Akbar's reign was different to some extent. But yes, it cannot be denied that the rural economy of Mughal India flourished by and large, but after Akbar, it was engulfed in some problems which even led to the downfall of the Mughal Empire in the form of agrarian crisis. 

Q7. Analyse the Mughal monetary system and examine their policy of minting of coins. (2014) . 

Ans. The Mughals had a well-organized and sophisticated monetary system. The imperial coinage was unprecedented both in quantity as well in quality. 

The Mughal Empire had a tri-metallic currency with a high level of purity and .uniformity throughout their vast empire. They coined gold, silver and copper, however, silver coins were the base of the fiscal and monetary system. 

Akbar continued the Rupaya (started by Sher Shah) as the basic currency with more or less the same weight, though, under Aurangzeb the weight of Rupaya was increased. The silver rupiya and other types of coins were also used. 

After the expansion of Mughals in Deccan, several mints were established in that region. 

Since all the land revenue assessments and calculations were done in Dams ( small copper coin), it became necessary to use it as.a national fractional unit of Rupaya. Silver coins of small fractions that were called Ana, were also used. They were 1I16thof a rupee. 

 

The Minting System

  • The Mughals had a free coinage system. 
  • One could take the bullion to the mint and get in coined. The final authority for this rested with the State. 
  • The State had the sole authority to issue coins and no other person could issue them.
  • A very strict standardization was followed to maintain the purity of coins. 
  • Attempts were made to establish these mints in big towns and ports so that the imported bullion could be taken to mints easily. 
  • Every coin carried the name of the issuing authority (mint), the year of minting and ruler's name. 
  • The newly minted coin in the current or previous years was called Taza Sikka. The coins issued and in circulation in the region of an emperor were called Chalani (Current). 
  • Apart from the factor of age (value of coins for successive years) used for deduction in the value of coins, a deduction in the value was made on account of the loss of weight of a coin. There was hence, a loss in the value of coins with time.

Abul Fazl mentions that if the loss of the weight was less than one ratti, it was to be overlooked and the coin was treated as a standard coin. 

  • A mint was headed by an officer called as Darogha-i-darul zarb for overall supervision of the mint.
  • Sarraf Was employed as an assessor in the mint to check its purity, make value deductions, and found the weight and age of the coin. Hence, light has been thrown upon the Mughal monetary system and the policy of minting coins. 

Q8. On the basis of the accounts of Europeans bring out the agrarian crisis of the 17th century CE India. (2013) 

Ans. Different European accounts throw light upon various aspects of the agrarian system in 17thcentury India. These accounts feature varied observations based upon the writer's travels and personal experiences during the reign of the ruler they witnessed.

Jean-Baptiste Tavernier: Six Voyages

Tavernier, a 17th-century French gem merchant and traveler, had made six voyages to India between 1638- 1663. His travel account covers the reigns of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. He mentions that the condition of riots was pathetic under the Mohammedan Government. He remarks that ''Youmay see India, whole provinces like deserts, from which the peasants have fled on account of the oppression of the Governors." This statement suggests Mughal oppression on the peasants

Niccolao Manucci : Storio Dor Mogor

Manucci, an Italian traveler who came to India during Aurangzeb's reign, stayed in India for a long time(1653-1708) and was deeply influenced by Indian things. He has been called as the 'mirror of seventeenth century India" on account of his in-depth personal observations regarding 17th century India. 

According to Manucci, there was no rain from 1702 to 1704 in the Dakhin provinces' ' but instead plague prevailed. In these two years, there expired "over two millions of souls; fathers, compelled by hunger, offering to sell their children for a quarter to half a rupee, and yet forced to go without food,finding no one to buy them."

Francois Bernier: 

Travels in the Mogul Empire, A.D. 1656-1668 Bernier, a French man, had visited the courts of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. He made interesting observations during his travel across the plains of north India. He mentions the dependence upon agricultural factors such as regular and timely occurrence annual monsoon rain over the subcontinent, soil fertility. He advocates that without these factors, the sustenance and viability of life in the area would be tough, due to the heat of the sun. 

Bernier also talks about the land system in Mughal India. According to him, the emperor and the nobles owned all the land. Bernier was a staunch supporter of private property. Bernier thought that the Mughal Empire held all the land and distributed it among its nobles. It had catastrophic consequences for the economy and society. He criticizes the land ownership system. According to Bernier, an important difference between Mughal India and Europe was the shortage of private property in land of the Mughal India. Bernier projected the Mughal state as despotic, his descriptions signal at a more complex social reality. He thought that artisans had no incentive to improve the quality of their manufactures as all the profits were enjoyed by the State.

 

Peter Mundy: The Travelsof Peter Mundy in EuropeandAsia, 1608-1667.

Mundy was a seventeenth-century British merchant trader, traveller and writer. He mentions that the reign of Akbar had witnessed a great scarcity, especially in Delhi. The most elaborate description of any famine of 1630 is made. It is a story of want and plague and war against which all the energy of Shahjahan was in vain. On the way to Burhanpur, Peter Mundy refers to a ''very grievous" famine. One direct consequence of the shortage was the exodus of people from their villages, trying to escape starvation and death. Due to starvation, "many died unwept and unsung and the river Jhelum became a common graveyard for all of them." 

Other eminent European travelers Hawkins (1611) and Manrique (1640-1641) mention the Jagirdari System. Thejagirdar, whose assignment could to be transferred any moment and who never held the same jagir for more than 3-4 years, had minimal or no interest in following a far -sighted policy for agricultural development. On the contrary, his personal interest would sanction any act of oppression that gave an immediate benefit upon him, even if it devastated the peasantry and hence ruined the revenue -paying capacity of the area for a long time. According to Manrique, the peasants who could not pay the revenue were beaten unmercifully and maltreated. The majority of the subjects lived on the verge of subsistence and any minute setback in their incomes could destroy them and their families. Oppressive jagirdars, famines, droughts pushed the poor people into the crisis of subsistence, resulting into crimes. 

Hence, on account of all these writings, it could be concluded that the agrarian crisis of 17th century India caused devastating and disastrous consequences for the people especially the peasants and the economy.

Q9. Give a sketch of Indian trade with Europe during the Mughal period. (2013) 

Ans. The major European powers had arrived in India till the middle of the 17th century and had a long term impact on India. 

The first major European power was the Portuguese, who established trade in western India but never tried to interfere in the administration of the Mughals rulers. The second major European power was Dutch, who came to India as traders and in less time shifted to the Malay Archipelago. The third and most prominent European power were the English or British who tried to maintain a good relationship with the Mughals.

Finally, the French came to India and focused on trade mostly in South India and in Eastern India to some extent. 

All these major European powers organized their trade in different ways based on their items of trade.

(i) Portuguese:

  • They remained as a trading company only in their initial phase but later acquired areas like Goa, Daman, Diu etc. 
  • They focused on spices of South India and hence were.mostly confined to the South- West and even gave the technique of gunpowder to India.

(ii) Dutch 

  • They remained only as a trading company and maintained India as only a buffer zone to control trade with the Malay Archipelago and Ceylon. 
  • They also remained mostly confined to the port city areas in the east and south- east and south- west as their motive was to import and export.

(iii) English

  • The British came as traders initially but started to maintain a friendly relationship with the Mughals. 
  • This helped them to build factories and have a proper mechanism of trade. 
  • In later course of time, they were the reason for bringing the Trade Revolution as they focused on mostly cash crops like opium, tobacco,cotton, jute etc. to boost their industrial revolution. 
  • This led to deindustrialization in India causing India to become a colony of the British.

(iv) French 

  • They arrived in India as a State sponsored company under Colbert and initially remained focused on the trade of spices and other minor products only. 
  • But later with their constant rivalry with Britain in Europe brought them at par with the English way of trade in India under Dupleix which led to a constant tussle between them.

Overall, from the above mentioned developments and changes, scholars identify the process of trade and their intention of trade with India, thereby boosting the Trade Revolution and making India a victim of their imperialist attitude.

Q10. Medieval Indian towns were merely an extension of villages. Comment. (2012) 

Ans. Abul Fazl in Ain-i-Akbari wrote that "people that are attached to the world, will collect in towns, without them, there would be no progress". 

The growth of towns became faster in the 18th century than the 16th and 17th centuries. 

The towns and town life are considered to be an index of the state of development and culture of a country. 

On account of peace, law and order established by the Mughals in North and Central India and the consequent growth of commerce and manufacturing, the period has been conceived as an eminent golden age of urbanization. 

The smallest towns in India, the Qasba have been defined as a village with a market. Gradually, this town became big. In Akbar's empire, there were 120 big cities and 3200townships or rural towns (Qasbas). Delhi was as popular as Paris. Lahore was bigger than Agra. 

The houses in town were entirely built of bricks and stones and several were made only of clay and straw, yet they were airy and pleasant, most of them had good furniture, courts and gardens.

In each town, there were one or two principal roads, which formed the Chawks. The city was divided into wards or Mohallas in which the people of a particular caste or profession lived. Hence, in this way, many villages grew into towns and now they are big cities of India than medieval times.

Q11. State the structure of medieval village society in Northern India. What were the passive forms of resistance of the peasants in the medieval period? (2012) 

Ans. Elaborate information about the structure of medieval times comes from Ain-iAkbari over which extensive research has been done by Prof. Irfan Habib. 

According to Prof. Irfan Habib, the Mughal Emperors laid due emphasis on the interests of peasants and subsequently on the rural society as a whole. 

The condition of the rural society varied according to the land fertility. The peasants in the Polaj areas were in a good condition, the society was self-sufficient, the peasants cultivated land themselves and hence were known as Khud - Kasht.

However, the rural society in the areas marked by Parti, Cachar and Banjar land was relatively affected. But the condition of women in these areas was better as agriculture was not very productive and therefore crafts became an important means and hence, it is quite evident that women participated in large numbers in the craft production. This marked the Jajmani System which later took the form of Dadni System with villages turning into urban areas. 

The structure of a medieval village society in Northern India was highly stratified. The stratification was a result of many factors like: 

  1. Resource base - Availability of seeds, oxen, agricultural implements, Persian wheel, wells for irrigation etc. 
  2. The factor of caste also intensified the stratification - The higher castes were assessed at lower rates and lower castes had to pay revenue at a much higher rate. 

Irfan Habib states that the claims on individual properties gave rise to the social hierarchy in the medieval period. 

According to Satish Chandra, monetization, cash nexus and natural calamities accentuated the process of social segmentation. But Chetan Singh opines that it definitely benefited the prosperity of small peasants in the Polaj land. 

The passive forms of resistance by the peasants in the medieval period are majorly discussed by Irfan Habib in his book Agrarian System of Mughal India. These include: 

  • Refusal to pay land revenue is taken by Habib as "the classic act of defiance" by the peasants. 
  • Sometimes, even armed resistance was visible especially near the tribal areas, though they were crushed brutally. 
  • The "dual exploitation, which the medieval peasantry was subject to, as: 
  1. He mentions land tax as the principal contradiction and proceeds to analyse the peasant revolt. 
  2. The money lent by Zamindars was also a tool to exploit them. 
  3. There are also evidence of peasants uprooting the crops and deliberately delaying or refusing the payments. 

Hence, it can be said that though the possibility of the passive variety of resistance remains unchanged, the peasantry had limited options to show resistance. \

Q12. Discuss different types of Karkhanas in Mughal India. How was the production organized in the Karkhanas? (2010) 

Ans. AKarkhana or a manufacturing center under State supervision during the Mughal period became a common term for a place of manufacture or assembling. In view of the rural setting and subsistence economy of India, the Mughals felt the need for maintaining the State-sponsored and State -controlled Karkhanas to supply the royal household and the departments of government with provisions, stores and equipment.

The Karkhanas were of different types which included:

(i) Metallurgy: 

With the growth in trade contacts of India and with the advent of European traders, metallurgy became a common work of the Karkhanas.

(ii) Mint: 

  • With a large number of coins in liquidity, minting work in the Karkhanas became a common feature. 
  • Silver coins were termed as Rupiya and gold coins were termed as Mohurs began to be produced.

(iii) Textile: 

  • The growth of textile Karkhanas was rapid. 
  • With an increment in the production of jute and silk (mainly eri and muga), the textile Karkhana reached its new height. 
  • Further, the demand for Indian textiles in the European market made it all very lucrative. 

A French traveler Bernier, in the late 17th century, noticed the richness of the karkhanas in the Mughal empire. According to him, Bengal was the hub of textile karkhanas and was world-famous. He also mentions about the effective organization of production in the karkhanas. At the time of Akbar, the karkhanas formed a regular department under Diwani-Buyutat and Mir Saman (Khan-i-Saman). During this time, greater attention was given to the training of apprentices in these karkhanas. These young apprentices made it sure that the effective organization ofKarkhanas continued. They were placed under an Ustad (master craftsman) to learn the art and become experts in themselves in the course of time. A high - standing royal officer,assisted by subordinates (Muta Serifs) on the spot headed these karkhanas. Though, with the advent of strengthening of the East India Company, the Karkhanas declined and finally disappeared.

Q13. Critically evaluate various approaches to study medieval Indian towns.(2010)

Ans. Medieval India witnessed the emergence of urban clusters in different parts of Indian territory.

In order to comprehend the nature of these urban centres different approaches have been adopted.

Political approach 

The Sultans ofDelhi and the Mughal Emperors ruled with their different political centers which highlighted the nature of their command. For example, the Sultans of Delhi Sultanate ruled with their capital at Delhi and Mughal Emperors ruled with capital at Agra. 

Stephan Blake mentions that in the Mughal Empire, the land was not only of economic importance. It was connected to prestige and status. Their capital was not fixed, but located wherever on their land they happened to be.

Administration

The Sultans of Delhi and Mughal Emperors kept on establishing different administrative centers according to the exigencies of the situation. For example: Mohd. Bin Tughlaq transferred the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad which was promoted as a prominent urban center. Similarly, the Mughal Emperor Akbar established the city of Fatehpur Sikri near Agra, to show his royalty. Moreover, Shah Jahan established the city of Shahjahanabad as an administrative headquarters of the Mughal Empire.

 

Military

The Sultans of Delhi and Mughal Emperors ruled over large parts of the Indian subcontinent with the help of a strong military force.The permanent stationing of the military soldiers resulted into diverse activities culminating into urban centres. For example:Multan and Lahore emerged as flourishing cities due to the permanent presence of the military forces

 

Economic 

During the medieval phase, diverse economic activities supported by surplus agricultural produce resulted in several urban centers. For example:Multan, Patna, Dhaka emerged as cloth producing urban centers.

According to the account of Manucci,Dhaka was a small city, inhabited by a large population. The ships were loaded with fine white cotton (probably muslin) and silk fabrics, every year. He also mentions that Shaista Khan had sent the revenue of Bengal (collected by his predecessor Mir Jumla) to Aurangzeb which was equivalent to three hundred cartloads of silver and fifty cart loads of gold (coins). Manucci saw these personally on his return to Delhi from Bengal. 

Ralph Fitch (a 16th century English traveler who came during Akbar's reign) remarks about Sonargaon ( in Bengal) that "there is the best and finest cloth made of cotton in all India." It could be derived that apart from a simple class of cotton, different varieties of cotton grew in Bengal along with cotton trees (salmali) and silk. There are two types of cotton, and the other having single seeds. Cotton by the name baiga (one with plaited seeds, originally belonging to Vanga (Bengal), was exported to Bihar. Baiga is the most popular type of cotton grown in Bengal. The prominent centre's of its production were Hajrapur, Barbakabad, Makhsusabad. Several urban cities emerge on flourishing trade routes. The cities like Delhi, Allahabad, Patna etc. emerged as connecting links in the trade artery. To some extent, certain port cities also developed to promote maritime trade in medieval times. For example, Surat and Bharoch emerged as prominent port urban centers. 

The approaches to the understanding of the urban centers of medieval times have been provided by scholars like Irfan Habib and Tapan Ray Chaudhary which have enriched the understanding of the medieval economy

Q14. Estimates of population of Mughal India. (2009) 

Ans.  The estimate of the population of Mughal India was a matter of research and many historians through their different analyses have tried to reconstruct the historiography of the population of Mughal India. 

The estimate of the population of Mughal India majorly has been done by three prominent historians: 

(i) According to the historian Moreland, there existed around 40 - 45 million people in the Gangetic Plains and 20 - 25 million in the other part of the Empire, thereby making the total population 65 million ( around). Also, to confirm his estimate, he has taken the reference ofAin - 1-Akbari whereby Abul Fazl had mentioned that for every 30 civilians, one officer was there. Therefore, the total number of military soldiers multiplied by 30 has given the estimated figure of 65 million people. 

(ii) The next prominent research has been done by A.V.Desai, who took the reference of the gross domestic produce and per capita income as stated by Abul Fazl and finally by dividing the GDPand per capita income,has concluded that the population was 65 million. 

(iii) Shireen Moosvi has also done research on the population of Mughal India. She took reference to land like Polaj, Parti, Cachar and Banjar. She concluded with a rough estimate that around 100million population lived in Polaj land (as they were cultivated regularly) and 40 million in other lands ( depending upon land fertility), thereby making it around 140 -145 million. Though there might be different views of historians on the estimate of population, it can be safely accepted that the Mughal Indian population was marked with high population density. 

Q15. Delineate the striking features of agricultural and craft production during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in India. How did they impact the social fabric of the country? (2008) 

Ans. The historiography of agriculture and craft production of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in India is based on Ain-i-Akbari. Based on this historical account, extensive research on agriculture and craft production has been done by Prof. Irfan Habib in his work Agrarian System of Mughal India. 

The agricultural crops were broadly divided into two categories depending upon the seasons of Rabi and Kharif. Apart from these, the peasants cultivated and produced other food crops like jowar and bajra, along with a different variety of pulses. 

The diversity of crops, based on scientific measurement through seasons and land made the production of crops become a surplus. Thus, it gave a sound economic base to the Mughals as they collected land revenue to maintain an elaborate administrative system. This was one of the striking features of agricultural production. 

The 16th and 17th centuries witnessed an abundant production of cash crops too, among which the most important was sugarcane. Sugarcane was used to produce sugar, wine and jaggery. Another important cash crop was indigo that was used for dying clothes and opium for export to the foreign market. Associated with opium, the production of tobacco and betel leaves took place on a large scale. The region of Malwa in Central India came to be known for the production of saltpeter, used for gunpowder. 

The Mughal period is remembered for the production of high-quality silk, like eri and muga which resulted in the production of fine quality clothes. In fact, different types of textiles began to be produced with the silk material, like Bafta, Taffeta and Zardari. These major textiles began to be produced in prominent towns like Lahore and Multan. 

In the field of craft, the most important development was related to the metallurgical sciences. The prominence of metallurgy was due to an abundant availability of bullion brought by the Europeans. Hence, it became a striking part of crafts in medieval history. India started using metals in the best possible way. Even gold calligraphy and gold crafts became prominent. These striking features had a sizable impact on the social fabric of the country. 

This is because, with the surplus production, its storage became important and hence pots,jars and other crafts were utilized. These were mostly made by the women of India and hence, it also led to their upliftment especially in northern India. 

The birth of the Jajmani System whereby the members of one family gathered raw material and began to promote certain crafts through crude techniques gained prominence. 

In due course of time ,it led to the promotion of crafts like rope ~making, production of tanabs, sacks and even cots. This eventually brought the lower strata of society into prominence.

These crafts were sold in a weekly market called Ratt, whereby, the people irrespective of their caste / class went to the Hatt. 

Since the production of necessary items was promoted through the Jajmani System, the elite classes in rural areas like the Zamindars began to provide a sufficient amount of raw material to the family members and collected the produced articles to be sold in open markets. Hence, the Mughal period stands quite unique, as their ownZamindars supported local craftsmen and peasants. This, in general, helped to bring harmony and unity in the social fabric of the country.

Q16. Delineate the striking features of agricultural and craft production during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in India. How did they impact the social fabric of the country? (2008) 

Ans. The historiography of agriculture and craft production of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in India is based on Ain-i-Akbari. Based on this historical account, extensive research on agriculture and craft production has been done by Prof. Irfan Habib in his work Agrarian System of Mughal India. 

The agricultural crops were broadly divided into two categories depending upon the seasons of Rabi and Kharif. Apart from these, the peasants cultivated and produced other food crops like jowar and bajra, along with a different variety of pulses. 

The diversity of crops, based on scientific measurement through seasons and land made the production of crops become a surplus. Thus, it gave a sound economic base to the Mughals as they collected land revenue to maintain an elaborate administrative system. This was one of the striking features of agricultural production. 

The 16th and 17th centuries witnessed an abundant production of cash crops too, among which the most important was sugarcane. Sugarcane was used to produce sugar, wine and jaggery. Another important cash crop was indigo that was used for dying clothes and opium for export to the foreign market. Associated with opium, the production of tobacco and betel leaves took place on a large scale. The region of Malwa in Central India came to be known for the production of saltpeter, used for gunpowder. 

The Mughal period is remembered for the production of high-quality silk, like eri and muga which resulted in the production of fine quality clothes. In fact, different types of textiles began to be produced with the silk material, like Bafta, Taffeta and Zardari. These major textiles began to be produced in prominent towns like Lahore and Multan. 

In the field of craft, the most important development was related to the metallurgical sciences. The prominence of metallurgy was due to an abundant availability of bullion brought by the Europeans. Hence, it became a striking part of crafts in medieval history. India started using metals in the best possible way. Even gold calligraphy and gold crafts became prominent. These striking features had a sizable impact on the social fabric of the country. 

This is because, with the surplus production, its storage became important and hence pots,jars and other crafts were utilized. These were mostly made by the women of India and hence, it also led to their upliftment especially in northern India. 

The birth of the Jajmani System whereby the members of one family gathered raw material and began to promote certain crafts through crude techniques gained prominence. 

In due course of time ,it led to the promotion of crafts like rope ~making, production of tanabs, sacks and even cots. This eventually brought the lower strata of society into prominence.

These crafts were sold in a weekly market called Ratt, whereby, the people irrespective of their caste / class went to the Hatt. 

Since the production of necessary items was promoted through the Jajmani System, the elite classes in rural areas like the Zamindars began to provide a sufficient amount of raw material to the family members and collected the produced articles to be sold in open markets. Hence, the Mughal period stands quite unique, as their ownZamindars supported local craftsmen and peasants. This, in general, helped to bring harmony and unity in the social fabric of the country.

Q17. Evolution of the Khalsa Panth. Short note. 

Ans.  The Khalsa Panth or the Sikh Military Brotherhood was founded in 1699 by Guru GobindSingh but it evolvedina subtle manner due to the continuous friction between theSikh Community and the Mughal State. 

The first case of resentment was seen-during the rule of Shah Jahan and the Sikh Guru Har Gobind Singh when the Emperor did not allow the Guru to establish a city near the Beas river. Several repressions were carried out against the Sikh Community. 

However, the major conflict arose with the succession of the 9th spiritual Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur. There was some family feud with Tegh Bahadur becoming the 9th Guru and Aurangzeb was asked to intervene and resolve the matter. He interfered in the matter and asked Tegh Bahadur to step down but he refused. Thus, he gave orders of execution ofGuru Tegh Bahadur in 1675. 

The 10th Guru and successor was Guru Govind Singh sought to protect the Sikh community from the Mughals and with such intention, constructed a large fort at Makhawal( Anandpur) in Amritsar. He also began to provide them with military training to prepare them against any aggression. This resulted into the concept of military brotherhood among the Sikh community known as the Khalsa Panth in 1699. 

The Khalsa Panth of Sikhs clearly reflects their united forces to wage any battle against their enemies. It was evident during the reign of Guru Gobind in the Battle ofMakhawal or Anandpur whereby they fought with brave hearts against the forces of Aurangzeb led by Wazir Khan. Hence, the evolution of Khalsa Panth can be seen as a historic moment as till contemporary times, the Sikh Community practice their military skills and carry Kirpan as an essential part of their religion for self-defence purposes.

Q18. Give your opinion on the urban development in India during the Mughal times. (2005) 

Ans. The Mughal period was also a period of surplus agricultural production and vibrant trade activities with heterogeneous social fabric and infusion of aesthetic temperament.

All these reasons pave the way for urban development which has been studied by an eminent historiographer Prof. Irfan Habib. Also, the work of Abul Fazl, Ain - I - Akbari corroborates the historicity of urban development during the Mughal times. 

The first and foremost reason is the large number of crops produced in the Mughal Empire, which comprised of Rabi and Kharif crops along with cash crops like sugarcane, opium and betel leaves. On account of the diversity of agricultural and cash crops accompanied with diverse crafts, a large number of people could be sustained without agriculture. Hence, it pushed the people to look for other employment options like the production of artifacts and trading. 

With this, the Zamindars emerged and played a vital role whereby they started to provide raw material to the manufacturing families and started to sell finished products in the market which is termed as the "putting- out system" or Dadni system which further led to formation of small industries known as cottage industries. 

With this, the textile industry emerged as a big player whereby the production of silk like eri and muga were present in Lahore and other regions of the Mughal Empire. They started to produce cloth like Taffeta, Bafta and Zardari along with the use of gold plates on clothes which made them luxurious in nature. 

Along with this, in the region ofSrinagar, Kashmir people started to manufacture shawls which was in high demand and even demanded till the contemporary time by the people. 

Another player that emerged in urban trade was Sarrafs who were similar to the trade guilds that had emerged in the Magadhan period. 

Sarrafs started to work like banks and even provided credit for trading along with Bima insurance. The most prominent system started by sarrafs was the Bottomry system whereby they provided credit to traders and in return mortgaged their assets and promised insurance for their trade in case their ships sank. They won't ask for their money but if their ship completes its voyage, the owners had to give the mortgaged amount along with some percentage of their profit to the Sarrafs. This system included high risk and high profit at the same time which further boosted the urban trade. 

There were other players in the market likeBanjaras who travelled and sold different food crops in different regions and Dallas who helped Sarrafs and traders meet. 

All these vibrant trade activities helped the people to live a quality lifestyle which is an implication of an established urban centre.

Q19. Nur Jahan.·Short note. (1998) 

Ans. Nur Jahan was a cultured, educated, intelligent and dominating lady. She was fond of music, painting and poetry. She composed verses in Persian. She designed new varieties of cotton and silk fabrics. She suggested models of jewellery. Thus, she set the fashions of the age. She was married to Jahangir and later formed the Nur Jahan ``Junta" as the principal group behind the administration ofJahangir's court. Her character can be understood through the following:

  • Her positive traits: 

(i) Under the influenceofNur Jahan, Jahangir reduced his consumption of wine. 

(ii) Being a kind and compassionate lady, she greatly helped the poor, the orphan and                    the widows. 

(iii)Being a cultured lady, she patronized art and literature. She brought about a revolutionary change in the dresses and designs of ornaments. 

  • Her negative traits: 
  1. She did undue favours to her relatives. 
  2. She made efforts to reduce the influence ofPrince Khurram (Shah Jahan) resulting in his revolt. 

III.The strategic gateway of the north-west frontier of the Mughals i.e. Qandahar was lost by the Mughals finally in the year 1622 because of the lack of administrative efficiency. 

IV.Revolt by Mahabat Khan, a trusted officer ofJahangir. 

  1. She shattered the family ofJahangir by inducing hatred among the sons of Jahangir. 
  2. She wanted to make the less able Shahryar the emperor as he was married to Nur Jahan's daughter, Ladli Begum. 

Finally, with the plan ofAsaf-ud-Daulah she was sanctioned and sent to Lahore where she breathed her last.

Q20. Do you agree with the view that the advent of the Turks and the Mughals in India heralded many changes in the means of production? Give reasons in support of your answer. (1995) 

Ans. The arrival of Turks and the Mughals in India during the medieval phase led to significant changes in agriculture, trade, military affairs, literary activities and art and architecture. Such changes were accompanied with a major shift in the means of production. 

In the field of agriculture, the most scientific change was the concept of land measurement for proper assessment of the produce. During the phase of the Sultanate, Alauddin Khilji introduced a land measurement which was further improved during the reign ofAkbar in the Mughal phase.

Associated with agriculture, irrigation technology was improved. The Turks introduced the Persian Wheel to produce water for domestic and agricultural requirements. Such means of production led to surplus produce that sustained the clusters of urban centres during the Mughal period. 

The Turks and the Mughals promoted internal as well as external trade. The flourishing trade was facilitated through the means of transport. The ship- building industry in the port cities especially on the Western Coast was promoted by the Sultans of Delhi'and the Mughals. The Turks and the Mughals ruled with a strong military force. Several means of production were applied to manufacture arms and weapons. These rulers promoted the production of saltpeter that led to the production of gunpowder in India. 

The Mughal Emperor Akbar promoted the gun industry that led to the production of several guns like that of a match-lock gun. Moreover,highly sophisticated swords with a sharp edge indicate a change in the means of production. The Medieval Monarchs patronised literary activities which were accompanied with changes in the means of production. The art of paper- making and bookbinding was introduced as a means of production. 

These changes led to the preservation of several literary works of experts like Amir Khusrau, Abul Fazl, Dara Shikoh, etc. 

The medieval rulers, especially the Mughals, exhibited a high sense of aesthetic temperament. The Mughals promoted the fine art of painting and music that brought changes in the means of production. 

The concept of portrait making and book illumination led to the production of albums and frames which were innovative means. Besides, multiple colours began to be produced to depict the real sense. Several musical instruments like the Sitar and Tabla were invented.

In the field of architecture, the Turks introduced accurate designs to construct monuments. They began to construct arches and domes with keystone and squinches. This led to a major change in the means of production. Such means were carried forward by the Mughals to construct magnificent monuments like the Taj Mahal, which remains to be a wonder even in contemporary times. 

Therefore, it can be concluded that the Turks and the Mughals introduced distinct means of production that led to a synthesis with the existing means resulting into a composite culture .

Q21. Mughals and the British East India Company. Short note. (1994) 

Ans. The British East India Company,who came to India as a mere trader, later became the master of India. It began with Captain William Hawkins who came to Jahangir's court, though was unsuccessful in 1608. Later, Sir Thomas Roe (1615) (the architect of East India Company in India) finally succeeded in taking permission from Jahangir. 

The arrival ofEast India Company in India was set on the backdrop of lucrative trade being done by the Portuguese and the Dutch in India. 

The relations between Jahangir and East India Company became stable due to a regular exchange of gifts between them. This relationship continued even during Shah Jahan's reign. The East India Company took advantage of this and established many factories and expanded from West to Eastern Coast as well. For example Surat, Fort St. George(Madras) and Fort William (Calcutta) were pioneer factories. 

But later during the reign ofAurangzeb, the relations became hostile and it led to some battles between them. The East India Company till the period of Aurangzeb could not expand. 

But after 1707, the death of Aurangzeb and the weak successors paved the way for the East India Company to expand tremendously. Finally, with the grant of Dastaks to them by Faruksiyar, they got trade impetus and it resulted in huge corruption on part of the East India Company. 

Finally, with the Treaty of Allahabad after the Battle of Buxar (1764) in 1765, . the Mughals became mere pensioners at the hands of East India Company.

Q22. Analyse the distinguishing features of the land revenue system under the Mughals and point out its influence on the strength of the Mughal State. (1989) , 

Ans. The Mughal laid special emphasis on the land revenue system. This helped the Mughals enhance their economic prosperity. Initially, Akbar followed the policy initiated by Sher Shah Suri but this policy had certain shortcomings in it, therefore, Akbar began working from scratch which ultimately became the distinguishing feature of the land revenue system under the Mughals. These were the following:

(i) Initially, while following the policy of Sher Shah Suri, the average value was determined by measuring the agricultural land

Later Akbar felt that it needed a lot of time to fix the market price.

(ii) Determination of land revenue: 

  1. Zabti System: This policy was the brainchild ofRaja Todarmal. Under it, the tax was fixed by measuring the land. This system was implemented in Gujarat, Lahore, Malwa, Allahabad etc. 
  2. Ten Years' System: This system was a developed form of the Zabti System. According to this, an average of the last 10 years of production of crops and their value was taken out. 1/3rd was taken as revenue from the average produce as State's share. This system was also called the Dahsala System. 
  3. Batai System: Also known as Galla - Bakshi System. In this system, all of the total produce was divided in a definite proportion between the peasant and the State, Honest officials were required for the success of this system. d. Nasaq and Kankut System: A record of agricultural tax was kept in this 

(iii) Measurement of Land: During the reign ofAkbar, the land was measured via the Gaj-i-Elahi method. 

(iv) Fertility of Soil: The fertility of soil was always kept in mind while determining the land revenue. The land was called Polaj, which was cultivated every year; Parti, Cachar and Banjar were other categories. 

(v) Facilities to peasants: Special facilities were also given to the peasants in case of famine or drought, They were given certain relief in paying taxes in case of a natural calamity,

 

These overall distinguishing features of the land revenue system brought huge influence and strengthened the Mughal State by the following: 

(i) It led to a surplus producing economy. 

(ii) The internal and external trade got an impetus. 

(iii) It led to the beginning of a mercantile system. 

(iv) The trade helped in the commencement of the Balutedar System. 

(v) With excess money, land frontiers were strengthened. 

(vi) Also, it provided an opportunity for the building of aesthetics like building royal and grand monuments. 

Hence, light has been thrown upon the distinguishing features of the land revenue system under the Mughals and their influence on the strength of the Mughal State.

Q23. The Mughals and the European trading companies. Short note. (1989)

Ans. The 15th and 16thcenturies inIndia witnessed the arrival of major European trading companies which continued even in the 17th century till the reign ofAurangzeb. 

The first major European trading company to arrive in India was that ofPortuguese who never challenged directly the Mughal forces. .

They remained on the Western Coast of India and gave lots of gifts like glass watches, wrist watches and even gave the technique of making gunpowder to Akbar. 

The next major European trading company to arrive in India was Dutch, who too arrived at the Western Coast but slowly with the permission ofJahangir, even encroached in Eastern India and finally went to the Malay Archipelago. 

The next major company to arrive in India was that ofthe English. 

They came during reign ofJahangir. Captain Hawking first came to the court of Jahangir followed by Sir Thomas Roe and the English were granted permission to open their factories. Finally, the French company came in India but confined itself mostly to South India under Colbert and did not have any direct confrontation with any major Mughal ruler. 

Therefore, the arrival of European trading companies brought with them a new dimension of trade and had a long term impact on India in terms of Trade Revolution

Q24. Which were the major European Powers engaged in trade with India in the medieval period? How did they organise their trade and what were the chief items of trade? (1984) 

Ans. The major European powers had arrived in India till the middle of the 17th century and had a long term impact on India. The first major European power was Portuguese, who established trade in western India but never tried to interfere in the administration ofMughals or Vijayanagar rulers. The second major European power was Dutch, who came to India as traders and in less time shifted to the Malay Archipelago. The third and most prominent European power were the English or British who tried to maintain a good relationship with the Mughals. 

Finally, the French came to India and focused on trade mostly in South India and in Eastern India to some extent. 

All these major European powers organized their trade in different ways based on their items of trade.

Portuguese: 

  • They remained as a trading company only in their initial phase but later acquired areas like Goa, Daman, Diu etc. 
  • They focused on spices ofSouth India and hence were mostly confined to the South- West and even gave the technique of gun powder to India. 

Dutch: 

  • They remained only as a trading company and maintained India as only a buffer zone to control trade with Malay Archipelago and Ceylon. 
  • They also remained mostly confined to the port city areas in the east and south- east and south- west as their motive was to import and export. 

English: 

  • The British came as traders initially but started to maintain a friendly relationship with the Mughals. 
  • This helped them to build factories and have a proper mechanism of trade. 
  • In later course of time, they were the reason for bringing the Trade Revolution as they focused on mostly cash crops like opium, tobacco, cotton, jute etc. to boost their industrial revolution. 
  • This led to deindustrialization in India causing India to become a colony of the British. 

French: 

  • They arrived in India as a State sponsored company under Colbert and initially remained focused on the trade of spices and other minor products only. 
  • But later, their constant rivalry with Britain in Europe brought them at par with the English way of trade in India under Dupleix which led to a constant tussle between them. 

Overall, from the above mentioned developments and changes, scholars identify the process of trade and their intention of trade with India, thereby boosting the Trade Revolution and making India a victim of their imperialist attitude.

Q25. Review briefly the methods of land-revenue assessment adopted by the Mughals. (1983) 

Ans. The Mughals adopted a different system for the assessment of the land revenue. 

Initially, the Mughals continued with the land division ofSher Shah Suri, especially under Akbar, whereby the lands were divided as Polaj, Parti, Cachar and Banjar depending on their fertility. The land revenue assessment was done by Todarmal through a system called Todarmal Bandobast which continued even after Akbar. 

The Todarmal Bandobast highlighted important changes. 

(i) Bamboo along with Tanab (iron-rings) was used to measure the lands. This led to an effective and assured measurement of the land.

(ii) Based on land measurement, the revenue assessment was done by Amalguzars at provincial level and Amils at village level. 

(iii) The land revenue assessment was done by Qanungoh at provincial level and Patwari at village level. 

(iv) The Zabti system based on rough revenue assessment of land depending upon its fertility continued even after Akbar. 

(v) The Ain - 1- Dahsala which marked the Karori system was changed later by Shah Jahan for effective land revenue assessment. 

(vi) Shah Jahan introduced the concept of quarterly payments to support the effective use of land revenue based on perfect land assessment. 

All these methods of land assessment supported the population as there was a large chunk of population staying near the fertile Polaj regions. This is even confirmed by historiographical analysis presented by Moreland and A.V.Desai etc. 

Zamindars played a prominent part in supporting the land revenue assessment as they provided support to the agriculturalists who were not present in Polaj areas, consequently, helping them in craft production. Eventually, based on land productivity, crops were assigned to it and even commercial crops were sown accordingly. 

Though the level of taxation on land changed after Akbar, which remained a major problem for the peasants and farmers but overall there was an effective land revenue system in the Mughal Period.

Q26. Analyse the cause of the agrarian crisis of the Mughal Empire and briefly discuss the agrarian aspects of the peasant revolt against the Empire. (1982) 

Ans. The agrarian crisis of the Mughal Empire which ultimately proved to be one of the most important causes for the decline of the Mughal Empire was brought about by a number of factors, particularly by the evils of the Jagirdari system. 

The Jagirs were divorced from any rights to land and were essentially assignments of revenue. The tendency in the imperial revenue department was to pitch the revenue demand at the highest possible rate, so as to secure resources for the military operations of the empire. 

With the passage of time, the revenue demand kept on increasing. There was also conflict between the interests of the imperial administration and those of the individual Jagirdars. A Jagirdar, whose assignment was liable to be transferred any moment, and who never held the same Jagir for more than 3 or 4 years could never follow a far-sighted policy of agricultural development.

In the 17th century, the belief had become deep - rooted that the system of Jagir Transfers led inexorably to reckless exploitation of the peasantry. Moreover, the Jagirdars imposed and realized numerous other taxes from the peasantry. 

Frequently, the peasants were compelled to sell their women, children and cattle in order to meet the revenue demand. 

With the passage of time, the oppression increased, the cultivation declined and the number of absconding peasants grew. 

During the early years of Aurangzeb, Bernie records that "a considerable portion of the good land remains untilled for the want of labourers, many of whom perish in the consequence of the bad treatment from the governors, or are left with no choice, but to abandon the country". Beyond a point, there was no choice left for the peasants except for starvation, slavery and armed resistance. 

Religion also united the peasantry to fight for their common goals. The inspiration for the two powerful rebellions by the Satnamis and the Sikhs against the Mughals came from a common religious faith. 

The discontent of the Zamindars against the Mughals provided leadership to these agrarian uprisings. The peasants and zamindars thus frequently joined hands in their struggle against the Mughals. The Jat and Bundela rebellions, the Satnami uprising, the rise of Sikh and Maratha powers were all caused by the agrarian tensions. All these factors ultimately led to the collapse of the whole system.

Q27. Discuss the patterns of land revenue systems developed in Medieval India and examine their significant features. (1980) 

Ans. Different patterns of the land revenue system which developed in medieval India can be broadly divided into 4 land revenue systems of four kingdoms:

The land revenue system of the Sultanate period

There were 4 categories of land:

Iqta:

  • For the purpose of administration and revenue collection, the State was parceled into tracts called as Iqtas.
  • The Iqtadars were expected to collect the revenue and deduct from it it amount granted to them and the balance was to be remitted to the centre.

Khalisa:

  • It was directly under the supervision and control of the royal government
  • It was probably managed through agents or armies.

 

Zamindar lands:

  • This was left with the traditional Rajas or Zamindars.
  • They continued to enjoy autonomy within their jurisdiction.

 

lnam Ildrarat I Waqf Lands:

These were given as rewards or gifts or pensions or religious endowments and

they could be made hereditary.

 

The land revenue system of the Mughal period

  • Till the 10th year ofAkbar's reign (1566),no change was made in Sher Shah's crop rate (ray) which was converted into cash rate called Dastur-ul-amal by using a single price list. 
  • Akbar soon after resorted to the system of annual assessment. 
  • In 1580,Akbar introduced a new system called Dahshala or Zabti System (to curb the problems arising out offixingthe prices every year). Under this system, the average produce of different crops as well as average prices prevailing over last ten years was calculated. 1I3rdofthe total produce was the State's share. 
  • For the purpose of fixing the land revenue, both continuity and productivity of the cultivation were taken into account and land was divided into 4 partsPolaj, Parti, Cachar, Banjar. 
  • Another major system was Galla - Bakshi in which crop sharing was done through mechanisms like khet batai, lang batai, batai etc. 
  • The Karori system was placed for Khalisa lands. 
  • The Kankut and Nasdaq system of measurement was prevalent

 

The land revenue system during the Maratha period 

Shivaji greatly concentrated his attention on the revenue administration. 

  • Abolished the Jagirdari system and the Zamindari system. 
  • Got the whole land measured and divided it. 
  • Fixed the State's share at 2/5th of the total produce to be given in cash or kind. 
  • During famine/calamities, the State gave subsidies in the form of loans to the peasants. 
  •  Chauth and Sardeshmukhi were taken as a tax

The land revenue system during the Vijayanagar period

  • The chief source of income was revenue from crown lands. 
  • Land revenue varied from lJ6th to lJ4th of the gross yield. 
  • It was levied very carefully after the measurement of dry soil and fertility of soil and irrigation facilities. 
  • It was known as Raya Rekha or the Royal line. 
  • Reliefwas provided to the cultivators during any calamity.

 Hence, light has been thrown upon the patterns of the land revenue system developed in Medieval India and their significant features.

Q28. Examine the factors which were responsible for opening and development of Europeantrade in India during the 16th and 17th centuries. (1981)(2006) 

Ans. The 16th and 17th centuries marked the beginning of a new mercantile group in India, these were the Europeans. They came into India, with the beginning of commercialization and the new age of discovery.

The factors which were responsible for opening and development of European trade in India are the following:

(i) The finding of a direct sea route to land led to booming up of the European trade with India which increased in volume later on. This began with the coming ofVascoda Gama in 1498on the Calicut Coast. 

(ii) The most important factor in this regard was that the European economy was growing rapidly, with the rise of towns and increase in trade (both internal and external). 

(iii) Moreover,since Roman times, there had been a steady demand for Oriental goods in Europe. These included spices from India and silk and porcelain from China.

(iv) The discovery of an all-new sea route to India by the Europeans also contributed. This was quite necessary after the attack on Constantinople by the Ottomans. The expansion ofTurkish powerforced the Europeans to look for alternative trade routes to India. The lead in this task was taken up by the Iberians. 

(v) A critical role in the expansion of trade was played by certain path - breaking inventions notably the Mariner's Compass and astrolabe for navigation. 

(vi) The new spirit of daring enterprise displayed by the Europeans acted as a catalyst to spread trade. 

(vii) The important intellectual stirring called Renaissance fostered the spirit of independent investigation rather than satisfying oneself with the revealed world and the wisdom enshrined in Church.

(viii) Besides, the prospect of huge profit offered by trade with Asia in general and India, in particular, acted as a motivating aspect in the expansion of trade. Thus Vascoda Gama returned after his first voyage with a profit amounting to 60 times on account of the spices he had bought from India. 

(ix) Moreover,the important ruling dynasties such as Bijapur and the Vijayanagara Kingdom also accorded favour to the Portuguese. Similarly, the Mughal Emperors accorded great honours and granted several concessions to the European Companies. 

(x) Lastly, India during this period had a well-developed trading network both inside the country and outside. There were several rich merchant families who owned ships and transported merchandise. Moreover, the commercial practices, the Monetary System and the Banking System too were well - developed. Many ports like Surat were flourishing.

Hence, the factors responsible for the opening and development of European trade in India during the 16th and 17th centuries have been thoroughly examined

Q29. Examine the economic condition of the rural agricultural classes and of the urban artisans and traders during the Mughal period. (1979)

Ans. The Mughal Empire that flourished during the 16th and 17th centuries was broad based upon the development of rural agriculture classes and also, urban trade and artisans were in a flourishing state.

 

Rural agriculture classes

The historiography of agriculture is based on the historical account Ain-i-Akbar by Abdul Fazl. Based on it, extensive research over the rural agricultural classes is done by Prof.Irfan Habib in his work Agrarian System of Mughal India.

According to Irfan Habib, the rural agricultural classes were producing surplus Rabi and kharif crops. Especially, rice was extensively cultivated in Eastern India and wheat in northern India in the upper Gangetic Plains. They exported these crops which indicate their surplus capacity. Also, they grew many cash crops like sugarcane and sold sugar, wine and jaggery, indigo for dying clothes and even opium.

The opium from Bayana was used for domestic use, whereas opium of Sarkhej was exported, which again donates their surplus production.

  • Also, eri and muga (types of silk) were produced. The European of historians like Moreland specify that though the production was in surplus but in the later period, they were exploited by Zamindars and hence their savings decreased.

 

Urban artisans and traders

Artisans:

  • The art and craft was highly developed, especially for metallurgical science
  • This is largely attributed to the bullion that was exchanged with European traders.
  • According to Irfan habib and Tapan Ray Chaiudhary, based on the understanding of Ain-i-Akbari specify that the circulation of cash was high, indicating economic prosperity. Art and craft got further glorified during the reign of Shah Jahan, whereby gold calligraphy and gold craft production became common.
  • The Jajmani system and Balutedaras were helping hands for the artisans.

 

Traders:

  • Elaborate information about different mercantile communities during the mughal phase is mentioned in the Ain-i-Akbari
  • Accordingly, the most dominant mercantile class was of the food grain merchants termed as Banjaras.
  • According to Prof.Irfan Habib and tapan Ray Chaudhary, there was a clear transmission of foodgrains from north India to the Deccan by the Banjaras.
  • The  mercantile class - called Sarrafs was flourishing and even the insurance cover began with the concept of Avog or Bottomry.
  • The Hundi System developed at good pace. 

Hence in this way, the Mughal economy proved to be a well accounted economy leading to economic prosperity.