Detailed Answers: Mains Marathon History Optional Test 4 – UPSC Mains 2017 History Optional Initiative



We are releasing the Answers of 4th Mains Marathon History Optional Test/Question Bank for History Optional.

History Optional Questions – Test 4

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Following are the suggested answers of Test-4 Questions:

Q1. Under Mohd bin Tughlaq, we witness the new orientation of state policy and administration. Discuss.


The state policy under Mohd.bin Tughlaq witnessed novel elements in terms of establishing the composite nobility and near secular outlook of state.

The approach towards nobility was not based on racial or narrow considerations. Sultan admitted to service persons from artisans or other castes despised by Turkse.g.Gardeners, barbers, cooks, weavers, wine distillers, musicians etc. Thus Mohd.bin Tughlaq’s nobility was very heterogeneous in character and could not be an instrument on which the sultan could lean in times of difficulty.

Alauddin Khilji had already set the precedent of segregating religion from politics. Mohd.bin Tughlaq with his enlightened mind and love for justice was equally determined to keep secular issues free from shackles of Ulemas. Sultan personally supervised the enforcement of justice and hence overruled the advice of Ulemas and Qazis whenever he found it divorced from the law. Moreover, whenever Ulemas were found guilty of embezzlement and rebellion, Sultan unhesitantly inflicted severe punishment upon them.

Under Mohd.bin Tughlaq the monarchial despotism was carried to the climax. He was the most powerful sultan in Delhi Sultanate. Sultan also followed the policy of direct rule over peninsular India.

Under administration the changes are witnessed in shifting of capital, introduction of token currency and changes in taxation. In 1327-28 AD, sultan transferred the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad in peninsular India so that the peninsular India could be controlled more easily. Introduction of token currency was also an innovative attempt to replenish the state treasury. In agrarian reforms new cesses were levied and old cesses such as charai and Gharai were collected in a rigorous manner. The cattle were branded and houses numbered. To cope up with the famines relief camps were opened at delhi. Sultan also advanced the agricultural loans i.e. Sondhar to dig wells and to buy seeds and implements.

Q2. Firoz shah Tughlaq is regarded as ideal Muslim king. Critically comment.


In Tarik-i-firozshahi, Afif outlinesthe attributes of an ideal Muslim king. According to him, an ideal Muslim king is the one who follows Shariat, promotes Islam, accords high status to Ulemas, takes care of welfare of Muslims, suppresses the heretic elements and avoids killings of Muslims.

These elements of ideal Muslim king could be seen in the policies of sultan Firoz shah Tughlaq. He followed shariat. After sitting on throne he abolished 21 taxes which were not present in Shariat law. Sultan promoted Islam by giving inducements and pressure. The converts were rewarded by issuing Jagir and giving appointments under the state. At times, strength of state was used to carry out conversion. The Ulemas were accorded high status. Not a single important decision was taken without consulting them. Numbers of measures were initiated by him for welfare of Muslims. Heretic elements were suppressed by him both within Islam and outside. Sultan abandoned the siege of Bengal just to avoid killing of Muslims. Afif regarded Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq as an ideal Muslim king.

Though the policies and works of Firoz shah Tughlaq appear to portrait him as an ideal Muslim king but closer examination of his reign and personal life brings different reality. Sultan didn’t followShariat honestly in his life because he was addicted to drinking, was fond of gambling. Sultan got large number of wives but Shariat permits only 4. The evils of drinking and gambling were widespread in empire. He did nothing to suppress them. The immigration tax Haq-i-shirk imposed by him was not in accordance with Islam. The Islam guarantees the protection of non-Muslims once they pay Jaziya according to Shariat. But, in spite of imposing Jaziya he demolished Hindu temples.

The holistic examination of policies and works of Firoz shah Tughlaq confirm that his idealism was in degrees. He cannot be accepted as an ideal Muslim king in absolute terms.

Q3. Do you agree with the view that sultan Firoz shah Tughlaq was overshadowed by Mohd.bin Tughlaq? Evaluate the significance of policies and actions of Firoz shah Tughlaq.


The modern historians have invested time and energy in either appreciating Mohd.bin Tughlaq for his efforts towardslearning, secular outlook and grand ideas or in criticizing sultan for failure of his experiments with various aspects of administrative policies. Inspite of the fact that reign of Firoz shah Tughlaq was far more successful than his predecessor his reign received little attention.

When Mohd.bin Tughlaq set on throne, there was peace, prosperity and stability in whole sultanate. He inherited an extensive empire. The mistakes committed by Mohd.bin Tughlaq pushed sultanate in deep crisis and when he died the sultanate was facing serious challenges to its existence. In this way Mohd.bin Tughlaq was a failure as a ruler.

When Firoz shah Tughlaq set on throne, sultanate was passing through a serious crisis. in spite of the fact that he lacked qualities of successful military commander and efficient administrator, he could counter the prevailing challenges quite successfully and could rule for 37 long years. He also maintained what he inherited.

The policies of Mohd.bin Tughlaq also affected the reign of Firoz shah Tughlaq. High despotism of Mohd.bin Tughlaq was responsible for the discontent of Ulemas and nobility. The failures in administrative measures resulted in empty treasury and the experiments resulted in hardship of peoples resulting in discontent. This legacy of rule of Mohd.bin Tughlaq’s reign was important when considering role of Firoz shah Tughlaq’s reign

The policies and measures of Firoz shah Tughlaq are important. The revenue reforms initiated by sultan benefitted common people in his reign. The agrarian measures introduced by him gave a boost to agriculture and no scarcity of any kind was witnessed during his reign. Welfare measures brought relief to common people. His public works carried the progress in field of art and architecture to new heights. He was the only sultan of Delhi to pay attention to judicial reforms.

Education and learning witnessed remarkable progress during Firoz shah Tughlaq’s reign. Sultan established number of educational centers to spread learning among people. He built Madarasa-i-firozshahi. Hauj khas imparted learning to hundreds of disciples. Large numbers of scholars were patronized in his court. Barani and Afif dedicated their works to him. The men of learning received warm welcome in court. He issued Jagir to them. He translated number of Sanskrit works into Persian. Dalil-i-Firozshahi composed during his reign was translation of Indian works on philosophy. Astronomy witnessed progress during his reign. Astrological charts were constructed during his reign. New systems were developed to measure time. The sultan himself was finest scholar. He wrote Futuhad-i-Firozshahi.

Q4. Discuss the evolution of Iqta system and state the drawbacks of Iqta system


Iqta system was one of the most important features of Turko-afgan political system witnessed during period of Delhi Sultunate. It was originally an Arabian practice. Turks adopted it and it came to india with them. For the first time Iqtas were distributed in Punjab by Mohd. Ghuri and gradually the practice was extended to other territories.

The Iqta system was reorganized properlyby Iltutmish for the first time. He defined duties and responsibilities of Iqtedar for the first time. Under the reorganized system Iqtedars were responsible for the maintenance of fixed number of troops, looking after the administration of area under control, collection of revenue and depositing Fawazil in central treasury. Sultan Balban imposed greater central control over Iqtedars. He appointed an accountant Khwaja with every Iqtedar to check authentication of records maintained by them. Balban transferred Iqtedar from one Iqta to another so that they couldn’t develop any bond with people.

Sultan Aluddin Khilji abolished number of small Iqtas in doab region to carry out expansion of Khalisa land. He increased the revenue demands from Iqtedars. A new department i.e. diwan-i-mushtkahraj was created for collection of arrears of revenue with Iqtedars. Mohd.bin Tughlaq increased the central control on Iqtedars further. He separated the income and expenditure of Iqtedars. They were ordered to deposit entire revenue in central treasury and from there they were paid for salaries and other expenditures.

During the reign of Firoz Shah Tughlaq Iqta system was declared hereditary. After the death of Iqtedar his son or son in law or slave or widow was allowed to succeed. During Lodhi period, the concept of Fawazil was abolished. Iqtedar was allowed to retain the revenue collected from Iqta. This was an expression of Afgan kingship in Lodhi period in which sultan was considered as first among the equals. Name Iqta got changed into Pargana and Sarkar. Smaller Iqta came to be known as Pargana and bigger as Sarkar.

Although the Iqta system was an important feature of Sultanate and helped its continuation for centuries but the system was not without limitations.

Iqta system functions perfectly under strong sultan but a weak ruler on throne tended to cause trouble. After the death of powerful rulers many Iqtedarsused to declare their independence. New sultan had to struggle hard to regain the control.

Iqtedars always had immense resources both financial and military. They were always in position to defy the orders of weak ruler. When Iqta system got hereditary under Firoz shah Tughlaq the centrifugal force got dominant and it contributed majorly to decline of Tughlaq dynasty. Under Lodi’s, Iqta system became cause of further trouble as the practice of depositing Fawazil was abolished. Some of the Lodhi Iqtedars conspired with Babur to gain power and ended up in destroying Delhi Sultanate.

Q5. Give an account of contributions of Mahmud Gawan to Bahmani kingdom.


Mahmud Gawan was an Iranian by birth and was at first a trader. He was introduced to Sultan of Bahmani kingdomand soon became a favorite and was granted the title of Malik-i-Tujjar. He became prime minister and dominated the affairs of state.

The Bahmani kingdom gradually expanded and reached the height of its power and territorial limits during the prime minister ship of Mahmud Gawan. He extended the Bahmani kingdom by making annexations in the East. A deep raid into Vijaynagara kingdom up to Kanchi demonstrated the strength of Bahmani power. Mahmud Gawan’s major military contribution, however was the over running of the western coastal areas, including Dabhol and Goa. The loss of these ports was a heavy blow to Vijaynagara. Control of Dabhol and Goa led to further expansion of the overseas trade with Iran, Iraq etc. Internal trade and manufacturing also grew.

Mahmud Gawan also tried to settle northern frontiers of the kingdom. He had to wage a series of bitter battles against Mahmud Khilji of Malwa over Berar. He was able to prevail due to the active help given to him by the ruler of Gujrat.

Mahmud Gawan carried out many internal reforms also. He divided the kingdom into eight provinces or Tarafs. Each Taraf was governed by Trafdar. The salaries and obligations of each noble were fixed. The salary could be in cash or by assigning Jagir. Those who were paid by means of Jagir were allowed expenses for the collection of land revenue. In every province a tract of land was set apart for the expenses of the sultan. Efforts were made to measure the land and to fix the amount to be paid by the cultivator to the state.

Mahmud Gawan was a great patron of arts. He built magnificent Madarasa in Bidar. This three storey building was decorated with colored tiles and had accommodation for one thousand teachers and studentswho were given free clothes and food. Some of the most famous scholars of the time belonging to Iran and Iraq came to madarasa at the instance of Mahmud Gawan.

Q6. Do you think that the Vijaynagara Empire symbolizes resurgence of Hindu elements?  Discuss the nature of polity of Vijaynagara Empire.


Vijaynagara state has been described by many historians in different ways. Historians like Nilakantha Shastri describe it as War state. Likewise many historians opined that the state symbolizes the political resurgence of Hindu elements.

But there are no clear evidences to support political resurgence of Hindu elements on the parts of rulers. The rulers exhibited a catholic political approach. Muslim soldiers were appointed in army and other sects also enjoyed autonomy. It is true that the Brahmins were supported by state but it was done only to counterbalance the increasing power of the kannada Nayaks and also as the Brahmins had powerful contacts with the people. They served as a link between king and the people.

Temples played an important role in Vijaynagara polity too. Temples were institutions through which significant political control was established but they also acted as link between king and people and served a quasi-political function. The dominant role of polity was seen in south Indian states and Vijaynagara was not the exception.

The Vijaynagara rulers were the center of power polity and their authority could not be questioned. But the existing customs, ancient texts along with the duty of public welfare had a restrictive influence on the monarchical power. At the provincial level there was not a unique form of administrative system. The governors, nayakas and subordinate rulers enjoyed a great freedom under their dominion but it was granted by king. At the local level the Sabha, Ur and other village organizations of the Chola period were still playing very dominant administrative role but their autonomy was weakened by imposing more powerful bureaucracy and Ayagar system. In Vijaynagara administration therefore centralizing tendency emerged.

Vijaynagara was described as war state by K.A.N.Shatri as its political organization was dominated by its military needs. This should be conceived in the light of political condition of the medieval times when war was a common feature and consolidation of state was of paramount importance.

It was a centralized state in essence but the centralization received setback in the emergence of Nayakas as semi-autonomous power centers in the later period. Sovereignty was symbolic and ritual in nature. Kings political hegemony was established over vast areas through the instrument of religion.

Q7. Discuss the development of temple architecture during Vijaynagara period. Give essential features of Provida style.


The Vijaynagara period witnessed the development of temple architecture to considerable levels. First datable shrine has been found in Hampi built during Sangama dynasty and was devoted to Jainism. This shows continued importance of Jainism in early period and also the allegiance of early kings to Jainism. The earlier style was influenced by simpler deccan style ie. Style of Chalukyas of Vatapi was discernable to some extent e.g. Vidyashankara temple.

By 1400 AD, we witness evolution of distinctive Vijaynagara style. The core design was derived from Tamil country and late Chola shrines. Some important examples are Ramachandra temples and Shiva temple.

The Vijaynagara style matured further under Krishna Dev Raya. Chola forms continued but chola elements raised to great monumentality never seen before e.g. Hajara Temple, Virupaksha Temple.

Last phase of building the temples was during 17th century nayaka period. The temples displayed even greater monumentality and more elaborate motifs of sculpted animal pillars. General trend suggests temples in northern domain in Deccan, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka region retain Chalukyas, Hoysalas, Kaktiyas inspiration and temples in southern domain in Tamil Nadu and southern Kerala displayed norms of Pallava, Chola and Pandya architecture.

Vijaynagara temple represents Provida style. This marks the beginning of a new tradition. Soft stone tradition came to an end and hard stone tradition began to emerge. Style was monumental and the most conspicuous aspect of the temples was their massive size. Temples were elaborate structures and process of horizontal elaboration continued. Special feature of temples was carved pillars. Horse was most common animal for carving. Motifs of sculpted animal pillars became popular. Horizontal elaboration continued with addition of new features like Amman Shrine, Kalyan mandapam and thousand pillar mandapam. Gopuram assumed massive size. Distinctive towering gateways come to be known as Raya Gopuram. Many of these have portrait statues of kings and another important patrons. This shows personal iconographic connection established between the shrines of great figures like king and patrons.

Q8. Enumerate the distinguished characteristics of Vijaynagara state system


Vijaynagara has been described as war state by Nilakantha Shastri. But the needs for military preparedness were a must for the very existence and survival of the state. It was a centralized state but the centralization received setback in the wake of emergence of Nayaks as semi-autonomous power centers in the later part. This system was known as Nayankara system where a piece of land called Amaram was given by the king to military commanders. They were not the representatives of the king but enjoyed a greater degree of autonomy and saw their loyalty and service to the king and paid a part of their revenue to the king.

The rulers exhibited catholic approach. Muslim soldiers were appointed in the army and other sects enjoyed autonomy. It is true that the Brahmins were supported but it was only to counterbalance the increasing power of Kannada Nayaka and also as the Brahmins had powerful contacts with the people, they served as a link between the king and the people.

Vijaynagara rulers established high ideals of kingship as is evident from Amuktamalyada by Krishna Dev Raya where he presents certain duties and responsibilities a king is required to fulfill. Another unique aspect of Vijaynagara sovereignty was that it was symbolic and ritual in nature and king’s political hegemony was established over vast areas through the instrument of religion. For instance, during Mahanavami Festival, it was the king and not the Brahmins who performed the rituals. Chiefs and military commanders participated from far flung areas participated which was symbolic of their recognizing king’s sovereignty.

The Brahmins played a political and secular role.They were appointed as Durgadaniks meaning in charge of forts. They also shouldered the responsibility of constructing the forts for which they were given a share of the revenue of crown land called Bhandarvada. A large number of Brahmins were appointed in the imperial secretariat and were known as Telugu Niyogis.

Temples played an important role in Vijaynagara polity. They served as a link between king and people. Temples emerged as powerful institutions because of various land grants and cash endowments made to them. They performed functions like tax collection, promoting development etc. Thus they played quasi-political role.

Vijaynagara state system can be conceived to some extent as incorporative regime ie one that sought to win itself the loyalty and military capability of a large number of warriors throughout the peninsula. It was a kind of courtship by Vijaynagara kings and the aim was to strengthen the empire.

Village assemblies of Cholas were replaced by the Ayagar system consisting of 12 members like Gauda, Senavhova etc. Thus, Vijaynagara state system not only adopted various old traditions and practices but also evolved some of its own, which were unique to it with a distinct character and form.

Q9. Critically examine the factors responsible for the decline of Tughlaq dynasty.


Tughlaq ruled for longest period in history of Delhi sultanate. Under the leadership of early Tughlaq rulers, the power and prestige of Delhi sultanate reached its climax but very soon sultanate entered in a phase of decline. This process destroyed Tughlaq dynasty and resulted in emergence of Sayyids at the throne of Delhi.

The factors responsible for the decline of Tughlaq dynasty were varied. The process of decline was long drawn out. It commenced during the reign of Mohd.bin Tughlaq in around 1335 AD and got completed in 1414 AD when Sayyids established their rule over Delhi.

The first factor responsible for decline was Mohd.bin Tughlaq’s failure. When Mohd.bin Tughlaq set on throne the sultanate was extremely strong and effective. The failure of his experimental policies gave a serious blow to the strength of sultanate and when he died there was disorder everywhere. In this way Mohd.bin Tughlaq was responsible for initiating process of disintegration of Tughlaq dynasty.

2nd factor for the decline of Tughlaq dynasty was Firoz shah Tughlaq. Firoz shah inherited the empire facing serious challenges. The sultanate required a king of exceptional ability to reverse the process of decline but the sultan was neither efficient administrator nor a successful military commander. He responded prevailing challenges with the policy of appeasement. This approach based on appeasement could halt the process of decline for time being but the inner strength of sultanate continued to degenerate gradually. These forces of degeneration were active beneath the carpet in reign of Firoz shah Tughlaq and immediately after his death these forces became visible on surface. As a result of this process of decline Tughlaq dynasty failed to recommence with much great momentum after the death of Firoz shah Tughlaq.

Another factor that contributed for the decline was the responsibility of weak successors of Firoz shah Tughlaq. The death of Firoz shah Tughlaq was followed by a number of weak rulers on throne of Delhi. None of them were capable enough to guide sultanate to come out of prevailing crisis. Had there been a strong and worthy successor of sultan Firoz shah Tughlaq the process of degeneration could have been reversed.

The invasion of foreign rulers was also a factor for the decline of Tughlaq dynasty. Invasion of Taimur in 1398 AD gave a death blow to Tughlaqs. This Mongol invader captured Delhi and Sultan Nassiruddin Mohd. Tughlaq saved his life by fleeing the capital. This invasion exposed the hollowness of politico-military system of Delhi sultanate. The prestige of Tughlaq dynasty got shattered beyond point of recovery. The downfall of Tughlaq dynasty and replacement by new one was mere formality.

Q10. How far it is correct to say that the reign of Sher shah Suri was transitional period between sultanate of Delhi and Mughal Empire?


Sher shah Suri was an Afgan by origin but the politico-administrative system established by him was quite different when compared with Afgan polity of Lodhi age. Some of the elements of Sher shah’s politico-administrative system could be seen as continuation of Afgan polity but many of the fundamental features were similar to those of Mughal period.

Sher shah’s polity was monarchical like that of Lodi’s but his emphasis was on power and prestige of crown similar to the Mughals. Lodis believed in Afgan theory of kingship in which sultan was considered first among equals. Sher shah emphasized on superior status of crown. The nobility was treated as ordinary servants of state.

The highly centralized character of Sher shah Suri’s political system was reflection of Mughal policy because Lodhi believed in idea of confederacy. The Sher shah Suri’s policy was secular as Mughal. The elements of welfare in Sher shah Suri’s political system were also similar to Mughals.

Sher shah continued provincial and sub provincial administration developed by Lodhi. Sarkar and Pargana were the administrative units during Sher shah’s reign. These units emerged for the first time under Lodhi rulers.

Imperialistic state system witnessed during Sher shah’s reign was reflection of Mughal policy because Lodhi didn’t focus on imperialism. Sher shah initiated number of innovations and reforms during his reign. The innovations and reforms were further witnessed during Mughal period.

Therefore the reign of Sher shah could be stated as transitional period between sultanate and Mughal Empire.

Q11. Discuss the evolution of theory of kingship under Mughal Empire.


The Turko-Mongol theory of kingship was introduced in India by the capture of Delhi throne by Babur.

Babur and Humayun continued Turko-mongol theory without much alteration. The special element of theory of kingship during their reign was to emphasize on the fact that sovereignty was the personal property of the king. It could be divided by king or it could even be transferred to anybody else. Babur divided his empire among his four sons. Humayun transferred the sovereignty of some part to water carryman who saved his life during battle of Chausa. Another prominent deviation from Turko-mongol practice was emphasis on highest prestige of crown. Babur adopted the title of Padshah. Comparatively the title of Changez khan was just that of Khan and Taimur adopted title Amir.

Abul Fazl in his book Ain-i-akbari explained in details fundamental ideals and principles of Akbar’s theory of Kingship. It was characterized by elements of continuity and change. Akbar emphasized on divine origin of Kingship. He claimed himself to be descendant of Sun and adopted the title of Zill-i-ilahi. The idea of Farr-i-izadi was also important component of Akbar’s theory of Kingship. Its literal meaning is divine light. According to Abul Fazl the heart of emperor is a special repository of the grace of god. This divine light enables the king to differentiate right and wrong. It raises the status of crown much above the ordinary people. Sulh-i-kul was another essential feature of Akbar’s theory of kingship. Its literal meaning is universal peace or tolerance. This idea was the basis of Akbar’s state system. He adopted nondiscriminatory approach towards all communities. The policy of Sulh-i-kul influenced Akbar’s relationship with Rajput. His religious approach was based on same.Akbar’s state system was secular in nature. The followers of different religions, faith and practices were free to pursue their ideas and beliefs.

Akbar was strong imperialistic ruler. He emphasized power and prestige of crown within the empire and organized regular military campaigns for territorial expansion. Akbar emphasized on welfare of his subjects. He initiated a number of welfare measures for benefit of his subjects without any discrimination between Hindus and Muslims. Abolition of Jaziya, prohibition on enslaving prisoners of war, prohibition of forceful sati and steps against child marriage were some of the welfare measures initiated by Akbar. Emphasis on dynastic succession was another important feature of Akbar’s theory of Kingship. The roots of Babur’s dynasty were strengthened to such an extent that no noble could dare to claim his right over crown even on single occasion. Institutionalization of administration was also emphasized upon. Akbar created Mansabdari system. Mansabdars were appointed in all civil and military positions. They were directly accountable to crown.Centralization of administration was also emphasized upon. Firm control was maintained over the provincial and sub provincial administration. The officers were regularly transferred from one place to other to ensure the effective control of king.

Jahangir continued the politico-administrative ideas of his father. Under Shahjahan the relations with central Asia got prominence. The influence of Turani-Irani nobels increased enormously because these nobles were appointed in large numbers. As a result of this the Islamic elements gained prominence during Shahjahan’s reign but fundamental elements of state system developed by Akbar continued.

Aurangzeb emphasized Islamic character of polity. UnIslamic practices were prohibited by him. He abolished the practices like Zarokha darshan and Tuladan.

Q12. In what ways Mansabdari system contributed to the Mughal Empire. Discuss the limitations of system if any.


The Mansabdari system was most remarkable feature of Mughal state system. It was established by Akbar and it evolved under his successors.

Mansabdari system helps in strengthening the foundation of Mughal Empire in India. Since Mansabdars were central officers, system helped in maintaining effective central control on entire Mughal Empire. The Mansabdars were appointed on the basis of merit. Therefore it enabled to get services from most meritorious candidates. As a result, efficiency of administration and strength of Mughal administration increased enormously. The system helped in widening the social base in Mughal Empirebecause anybody could be Mansabdar without religious or social status. Mansabdari system played important role in painting secular character of Mughal Empire becauseHindus and Muslims were appointed. Mansabdars were appointed by emperor and thus used to counter the balance of orthodox elements, as witnessed during Akbar’s reign.

Mansabdari system played important role in success of Akbar’s Rajput policy because Rajput nobles could be easily appointed as Mansabdars. The system encouraged officers to perform best because good performance was always rewarded through promotion. System imparted institutional characters to Mughal state system as a result of which even the weak ruler like Jahangir could rule successfully. The Mansabdari system enabled ruler to implement their policy of checks and balances because Jahangir used to counter balance Subhedars.

Mansabdari system had integration of Mughal civil and military administration because civil as well as military officers were granted Mansab ranks. It helped in imparting uniformity in Mughal Empire because Mansabdars were appointed in everywhere and all were bound by the same rule. The system played important role in expansion and consolidation of Mughal Empire. It was because of the success of this system the Mughal Empire could survive for more than a century.

But by the beginning of Aurangzeb’s reign the system developed stress and by the middle of 18th century system collapsed completely. This failure of Mansabdari system was outcome of inherent limitations of system itself.

There was central organization to look after and manage Mansabdari system. It depended for its successful functioning on personality of emperor and when Mughal emperors couldn’t pay proper attention towards system, it collapsed. The system resulted in division of loyalty of soldier between the emperor and Mansabdars. The soldiers were of crown but they were maintained by Mansabdars.  Since Mansabdar was the permanent commander the soldiers were loyal to him as well. The difference between Jama and Haasil was permanent challenge faced by Mansabdari system because shortfall of salaries made Mansabdars to avoid full responsibilities. When Aurangzeb conferred Faujdari power on Mansabdars, they started misusing power to exploit peasants so as to collect maximum possible revenue. As a result peasants suffered immensely and serious agricultural crisis had developed during latter half of 17th century.

Aurangzeb appointed very large number of Mansabdars during his reign. These Mansabdars could not get Jagir on time and whoever got the Jagir got bad Jagirs as good Jagirs were few. As a result Mansabdars started forming groups and alliances so that they could get best Jagir on time. Such grouping seriously affected efficient functioning of entire system. During the reign of Aurangzeb, most of appointments were from Deccan. This adversely affected homogeneity of system. Aurangzeb was busy in Deccan for 25 years. He couldn’t pay attention to functioning of Mansabdari system. All these factors gave rise to a very serious Jagirdari crisis and this crisis played a very important role in disintegration of Mughal Empire.

Q13. Akbar’s Rajput policy was the outcome of vision of pragmatic ruler who was aware of challenge and opportunities standing in front of Mughal Empire. Discuss.


Akbar’s religious policy was highly successful. He could maintain friendly and cordial relationship with Rajput. The degree of warmth and trust in Mughal Rajput relations increased with passage of time. The success of Akbar’s Rajput policy enabled him to win over support and services of most loyal and chivalrous group of India. During discussions with Humayun, Akbar understood strategic significance of Rajputs and this understanding reflected in the steps taken by him after taking the reign in his hand from his regent Bairam Khan.

Geographical proximity of the Mughal capital of Agra and Rajput state compelled Akbar to take steps for effective subjugation of Rajputana. The independent status of Rajput could have threatened Mughal capital anytime.

Akbar conquered Gujrat in 1572 AD. Gujtat region had immense significance for Mughal Empire. For the safety of routes connecting Agra and Gujrat, the subjugation of Rajputana was must because these routes were passing through territories controlled by Rajput. Akbar’s Rajput policy was deeply influenced by its outlook of Sulh-i-kul. He was aware of significance of wide social base and to win over the support of Rajput nobles Akbar formulated his Rajput policy.

Q14. How far it is correct to say that the Sher Shah was forerunner of Akbar?


The term forerunner refer to the ruler whose ideas are continued, perfected upon and carried to new heights by other rulers. This kind of relationship could be seen between Sher shah Suri and Akbar.

Akbar was far greater than Sher shah in many aspects but many of ideas, principles as well as reforms initiated by Sher shah were carried further by Akbar. Sher shah was a secular ruler and secularism was hallmark of Akbar’s theory of kingship. Akbar abolished Jaziya, pilgrimage tax and many other discriminating practices to earn epithet of national monarch.

Sher shah’s political system was centralized but the centralization was of greater degree during reign of Akbar. Imperialistic outlook was another common feature of Sher shah and Akbar’s reign. But Akbar was far greater and far more successful in his imperialistic policies.

Sher shah was a welfare oriented ruler because he initiated number of measures for benefit of men of learning and religion and people in adversity. The welfare outlook reached climax under Akbar because he focused not only on economic welfare but also politico-administrative,socio-cultural welfare.

Sher shah’s emphasized on power and prestige of crown but the prestige of crown was much more during reign of Akbar. Both had similar outlook towards status of crown. Number of reforms which were initiated during Sher shah’s reign continued and carried foreword by Akbar. Akbar’s land revenue reforms were based on tradition started by Sher shah Suri.

Q15. Trace the evolution of Akbar’s religious views.


On the basis of contemporary references the process of evolution of Akbar’s religious policy can be broadly divided into three phases.

First phase starts with early years till 1575. During this phase Akbar initiated number of liberal and progressive measures in accordance with his religious thinking. Akbar was a man of liberal and progressive views from very beginning of his life. In 1562 he assumed direct control over the affairs of the state and initiated liberal measures. Practice of enslaving the prisoners of war was stopped in 1562. In 1564, Jaziya was abolished as tax was hated by Hindus. Though Akbar enforced Jaziya in Agra due to strong demand of orthodox Ulema, it remained abolished in other parts of empire. During this period Akbar used to indulge in discussion on religious matters with scholars. He used to listen to their views so that he could understand the truth behind religion.

The period from 1575 to 1578 AD constitutes second phase of evolution. With the passage of time religious curiosity of Akbar increased and informal discussions with scholars were not helping him in understanding of truth. During 1575-76, Akbar held discussions on religious views in Ibadat Khana at Fatehpur Sikri. Initially the Islamic scholars and Ulemas were invited but when their views were failing to satisfy Akbar, he opened the doors of Ibadat Khana to Scholars belonging to other religion. During these discussions, Akbar could understand that truth was not limited to any particular religion and different religions were basically different paths to reach same destination. He lost faith in the interpretation put forth by Ulemas and moved away from their influence.

The third phase of evolution of religious views extends from 1579 till the end of reign in 1605. By 1579, Akbar had understood that every religion had elements of truth in it and no religion is bad. So after stopping Ibadat khana discussions he propelled Mehzar i.e. declaration or opinion in September 1579. This decree was prepared by Sheikh Mubarak and through it Akbar adopted title of Imam-i-adil i.e. supreme priest of Islam and Mujtahid i.e. final interpreter of holy Islamic law. After assuming title of Imam-i-adil, Akbar started leading Friday prayer in main mosque of Fatehpur Sikri. The title Mujtahid empowered Akbar to choose any of the two conflicting interpretations of law presented by Ulema.

In 1581, Akbar proclaimed Din-i-ilahi also known as Tauhid-i-ilahi. It was not a religion founded by Akbar as interpreted by some historians like V.A.Smith. It was just a pantheistic set. The intention behind Din-i-ilahi was to bring different followers on a common platform so that bonds of unity could be strengthened among people. Din-i-ilahi failed not because it was a bad move of Akbar but because he didn’t enforce it even in his own countries. The climax of Akbar’s religious thinking could be seen in the form of permissions given by him to Christian missionaries in 1603 to convert even members of royal family in their faith.

Q16. Discuss the factors that shaped Akbar’s Deccan policy? How did it affect the Mughal Empire?


Akbar was the first Mughal ruler to pay attention to Deccan. His Deccan policy paved entry of Mughal Empire into peninsular India.

Akbar’s Deccan policy was influenced and directed by number of politico-economic-military and cultural factors. The safety of Mughal rule in Gujarat required the wiping out of rebellious activities being organized by Guajarati rebels from Deccani states. When Akbar conquered Gujarat in 1572, a number of Guajarati nobles took shelter in Deccani state Khandesh and Ahmednagar. Subjugation of these Deccani states was essential to eliminate the rebellious activities.

The ports located on west coast of Maharashtra were enjoying immense economic significance. Akbar wanted to establish Mughal control over these ports so that Mughal external trade could be increased. It was possible only by establishing Mughal sovereignty over Deccan states. The rising power of Portuguese was assuming threatening proportions. The Deccani states were small. The Deccani rules didn’t have strength to stand against Portuguese so Akbar had turned his attention towards Deccan.

The sultan of Gujarat used to enjoy a number of ceremonial rights over Deccani states. The rulers of this Deccani states used to read Khutba in name of sultan of Gujarat. After conquering Gujarat in 1572, he demanded the transfer of these ceremonial rights but Deccani rulers refused to comply. To ensure the Mughal sovereignty was accepted by rulers of Deccan, Akbar turned his attention towards Deccan.

Akbar was an imperialistic ruler. He was extremely powerful and after completing conquest of north India it was quite expected that Akbar must turn his attention towards Deccan. In 1591, Akbar completed the conquest of Sindh. There was hardly any other territory left in North India to be subjugated.

Akbar’s Deccan policy was guided by limited objectives. He was a pragmatic ruler and because of that Akbar didn’t over stretched Mughal resources by pursuing a very ambitious Deccan policy. Akbar was successful in his Deccan policy because state of Khandesh could be annexed and Ahmednagar could be subjugated. This prestige enhanced the power and prestige of Mughal Empire. The empire also benefitted financially. The success of Deccan policy helped Mughal Empire under Akbar in wiping out the challenge of Guajarati rebels, countering the growing threat of Portuguese and expanding empire in peninsular India. The Mughal control over ports of Deccan helped in safeguarding Mughal economic interest. The foreign trade got boost. The success of Akbar’s Deccan policy prepared a solid platform from which future Mughal ruler could pursue much more aggressive Deccan policy. In this way Akbar’s Deccan policy strengthened foundation of Mughal Empire and raised its power and prestige.

Q17. Bring out the essential features of land revenue system under Alauddin Khilji. What was its impact on state agriculture and peasantry?


Sultan Alauddin Khilji was the first ruler of Delhi to pay attention towards revenue system. He introduced Masahat system. This system was based on survey and measurement of land. Bigha and Biswa were used as units of land measurement. Bigha was bigger unit. 20 units of Biswa would form one Bigha. The total production was estimated by sample cutting. 50 percent of total estimated production was demanded as land revenue.

The peasants were free to pay revenue either in cash or in kind. From doab region at least 50 percent of total revenue was demanded in kind. The revenue collection was carried out directly at level of individual peasants. The role of intermediaries in collection process was removed. They were asked to pay revenue for their own land at normal rates. Other Zamindari rights were also taken away.

The revenue reforms initiated by Sultan Alauddin Khilji were guided by needs of state. Alauddin was despotic ruler, his only intention was to collect maximum possible amount as land revenue. No offer of any kind was made to improve cultivation or to have peasantry in help for better life.

Revenue reforms of Alauddin Khilji were highly successful from the point of objectives behind it. Sultan could take away at most surplus amount from peasantry. Hardly anything was left as reserve to peasantry. State treasury remained full but peasants got impoverished. The land reforms helped sultan in tackling the challenges of  revolts and rebellions. The reforms weakened the class of intermediaries. According to Barani, intermediaries were so much weakened and impoverished that they could not ride a horse, chew betel leaves and their women worked in Muslim houses. Revenue reforms of sultan demoralized peasantry. They lost zeal to work hard. The long time consequences were fatal to Indian agriculture.

Q18. Critically examine the revenue administration of Sher Shah Suri.


Sher shah was successful military conqueror but at the same time he was a great administrator as well. During his short reign of five years he initiated number of reforms and among them land revenue reforms were most significant.

Sher shah’s land revenue system represented a significant advancement over the revenue administration of Alauddin Khilji. In Masahat system of Alauddin, the sample was cut from the part of the field where crop was best. As a result of this actual burden of land revenue on peasants was much more than provided by law. By dividing the land into three categories of good, middling and bad, this problem of overestimation got significantly reduced.

Sher shah didn’t allow the intermediaries to exploit the peasantry. He clearly instructed the intermediaries not to collect anything more than the amount prescribed by the law.

Sher shah’s revenue system contained provisions for emergency time. Concession, loans and revenue remissionswere provided to peasants during difficult times. Since the scope of using discriminatory power had got reduced significantly, peasants could live in peace in reign of Sher shah. Sher shah Suri was a trend setter in the field of revenue administration because the system was carried forward and reformed further by Akbar in future.

The system had some demits also. Though the land as divided into three categories on the basis of fertility of soil to rationalize the burden of land revenue but the peasants having more quality land were still overburdened. The revenue system required annual measurement of land. This process was extremely tedious. The delays were frequent as peasants had to face lot of difficulties because they couldn’t harvest farm before measurement. The peasants paying revenue in cash were overburdened because prices prevailing in capital were taken into consideration which was higher than prices in local market. In case of failure of crop, response of state was not swift. There were delays in granting concessions, loans and revenue remission.

Q19.Ain-i-Dahsala system was significant development over the revenue systems developed by previous rulers. Examine.


Ain-i-Dahsala system introduced by Akbar was significant development over the revenue systems developed by previous rulers. In this system many of the limitations of Sher shah’s Zapti system was successfully rectified. Because of this peasants as well as state were significantly benefitted.

In the new system there was no need to measure yield per Bigha every year because reference was standard yield developed by state. Only the land under the plough was measured and total production was easily estimated. Thus Ain-i-dahsala was easy to implement. The problem associated with delay with measurement of land was tackled to large extent because land could be measured any time from sowing of seeds to harvesting. In Sher shah’s Zapti system. Land was measured only when crop was ready to harvesting. Any delay in measurement resulted in extreme difficulty to peasantry because entire crop could get lost.

Ain-i-dahsala system enabled state as well as peasantry to understand the amount of income or burden of land revenue. With measurement of field, the peasant could come to understand the amount of revenue to be paid to state after harvesting the crop. In the same way state used to know approximate income from land revenue for the year.

The system was progressive because it inspired the peasants to bring more land under cultivation. In the system local prices were used in price list. The peasants preferring to pay land revenue in cash were not overburdened. Ain-i-dahsala system contained provisions for emergency time. It was based on elements of foresight.

The positive impact of this system brought peace and stability in medieval india in long run because everybody’s interest were taken care of. There was hardly any scope of peasant exploitation by the hands of officials because of use discriminatory power was negligible.

Though the system was far better than any system developed by Akbar’s predecessors it must be emphasized that the system wasn’t perfect. It had number of limitations. The process of measurement of land was quite cumbersome. The peasants were required to pay for measurement of land over and above burden of Land revenue.

Peasants were required to pay other taxes over and above land revenue because of this burden on peasantry was quite high. In case of failure of crops, the revenue remission, concessions and other state assistance were often delayed.Becauseof this, sufferings of peasantry continued. These sufferings manifested in form of massive revolt in the doab region in 1584-85. It was found that the main reason behind the revolt was differences in measurement of standard.

Q20. Give an account of Cartaz system of Portuguese trading company.


Cartaz was the pass or permit issued by Portuguese trade company to any non-Portuguese ship entering in sea. Portuguese trading company enjoyed naval supremacy during 16th century. Arabs were dominating Indian external trade for thousand years. This Arab monopoly was shattered by Portuguese and monopoly was maintained by Cartaz system. The ships entering without Cartaz were confiscated.

Even the Mughal ships got Cartaz from Portuguese trading company to carry out their external trade. The Cartaz clearly mentioned that ship could not carry pepper and spices.

Acceptance of Cartaz system by Mughal Empire clearly reflected the naval weaknesses of Mughals. On land, Mughal army was invincible but their presence in sea was negligible. The system was beneficial to Portuguese. It was an expression of Portuguese mercantilism and because of this system Portuguese continued unchallenged supremacy of trade overseas for century.

Acceptance of Cartaz system by Mughals imparted legitimacy to Portuguese dominance. They could successfully thwart many attempts of Europeans to participate in trade to east. It was because of this Portuguese dominance, Britishémigrés such as William Hawkins and Thomas Roe had returned empty handed from Mughal court.

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