Though they were usually aristocrats, they did not form a feudal aristocracy , for neither the offices nor the estates that supported them were hereditary. The system was organized by the emperor Akbar reigned — , who shaped a loose military confederation of Muslim nobles into a multiethnic bureaucratic empire integrating Muslims and Hindus. There were 33 grades ranging from 10 to 5, the highest for a subject in a complicated system. The system provided an outlet for ambition and ability within the imperial service and formed the framework of the Mughal administration. They had therefore little opportunity to build up either local connections or financial resources for raising private armies. The remaining 30 percent were divided about equally between Muslims and Hindus, of which the latter were mainly Rajputs.
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Mansabdari was a system of army and civil services introduced by Akbar in place of the Jagirdari system. Strictly speaking Akbar was not the originator of this system. Akbar introduced several changes in this system.
This system was the pillar of the Mughal administration. By abolishing the jagirdari system, the mansabdari system was introduced. It proved quite effective. Thus Mansabdari was a system in which the rank of a government official was determined.
Different numbers which could be divided by ten were used for ranking officers. It was also meant for fixing the salaries and allowances of officers. Abul Fazl has mentioned 66 grades of mansabdars but in practice there were not more than 33 mansabs. During the early reign of Akbar, the lowest grade was ten and the highest was Towards the end of the reign it was raised to According to Badauni it was fixed at 12, Higher mansabs were given to princes and Rajput rulers who accepted the suzerainty of Akbar.
Different views have been expressed regarding these terms. Irvin expressed the view that Zat indicated the actual number of cavalry under a mansabdar besides other soldiers while sawar was an additional honour. According to Dr. Tripathi, the rank of sawar was given to mansabdars to fix up their additional allowances. A mansabdar was paid rupees two per horse. Therefore, if a mansabdar received the rank of sawar he was given rupees one thousand additional allowance.
Abdul Aziz is of the opinion that while the rank of zat fixed the number of other soldiers under a mansabdar, the rank of sawar fixed the number of his horsemen. Srivastava has opined that while the rank of zat indicated the total number of soldiers under a mansabdar, the rank of sawar indicated the number of horsemen under him.
During the reign of Akbar, the mansabdars were asked to keep as many horsemen as were indicated by numbers of their ranks of sawar.
But, the practice was not be maintained by other Mughal emperors. The king himself appointed the mansabdars. He could enhance the mansab, lower down it or remove it. There were 33 categories of the Mansabdars. The lowest mansabdar commanded 10 soldiers and the highest 10, soldiers. Only the princes of the royal family and most important Rajput rulers were given a mansab of 10, The salary due to the soldiers was added to the personal salary of the mansabdar.
Sometimes for paying the salaries to the soldier, a jagir was given to the mansabdar. But the revenue was realised by officers and necessary adjustments made. A mansabdar holing a rank of had to maintain horses, elephants, camels, mules and carts.
Handsome salaries were paid to a Mansabdar. A mansabdar with a rank of 5, got a salary of Rs. For every ten cavalry men, the Mansabdar had to maintain twenty horses for horses had to be provided rest while on march and replacements were necessarily in times of war. After Akbar, higher mansabs were introduced. Shah Jahan reduced the number of soldiers kept by a mansabdar.
Now each mansabdar was required to keep one-third of the original number. Sometimes, it was even reduced v one-fourth or one-fifth. The Mansabdari system proved very helpful in removing the defects inherent in the jagirdari system as such.
Now the mansabdars got their salaries from the emperor, they were more loyal to him. The chances of their revolt were minimised. By regulating the maintenance of the horses and horsemen, the military efficiency of the army was increased. Now the entire land became state land. The state officials realised the revenue. Earlier this was done by jagirdars. Mansabdari system was not hereditary. A mansab was given to an official on merit.
It could be enhanced or lowered down. The mansabdars got their salaries from the emperor and paid themselves the salaries to their troops. This made the troops more loyal to the mansabdars than to the king. Dishonest mansabdars and officials used to ally together during inspection, borrowed horses from one another and showed their full quota.
Since the property of a mansabdar was confiscated after his death, he used to spend it lavishly during his life time. This made the nobles luxurious and it led to their moral degradation which had an adverse effect on their efficiency.
Mansabdari System in Mughal Administration
Mansabdari System was the bureaucratic administration system of the Mughal Rulers in India. The bureaucratic administration of Mughals in India was based on a system called Mansabdari System. One of their postings is as collectors. They are in charge of revenue administration at the district level. You can compare the collectors of the modern era with the Mansabdars of the Mughal era.
Medieval Indian History - Mansabdari System
The Mansabdari System was introduced by Mughal emperor Akbar as new administrative machinery and revenue system. The term mansab literally means position, status or rank, but in context of the structure of the Mughal administration it indicated the rank of mansabdar- that is holder of mansab - in the official hierarchy. The origins of the Mansabdari system, however, can be traced back to Changez Khan. Then, it was first introduced by Babur in North India. The mansabdars constituted the ruling section in the imperial structure. The Mansabdars were said to be the pillars of the Mughal administration; the entire nobility, in fact belonged to mansabs; among them one or the other held a mansab.