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Last updated on June 21st, 2023 at 11:44 am

The Mughal period is one of the most famous periods in the history of India. It is a mixture of hate and love. Although this hatred is more religious than tyranny or injustice. But in this blog, we will study about the Mansabdari system, which is called the backbone of the administrative system of the Mughal period. must read the blog till the end.

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What was the Mansabdari system? - Mughal History

Mansabdari system-Meaning of Mansab

Mansab is a Persian language word that means ‘Post’ or Rank. It had two parts – Jat and Sawar. Jat meant individual rank (army) while Sawar meant the number of horsemen.

Who started the Mansabdari system?

The word ‘Mansabdar’ was used for the official and this whole system was called the Mansabdari system. Akbar started the Mansabdari system during the Mughal period.

Origin of Mansabdari System

Mansab or rank was determined through marks. It was based on the decimal system of the Mongols. The Mansabdari system originated in Central Asia. Its origins can be traced to the system of Genghis Khan who organized his army on the decimal system. The Mansab could be given to any soldier or civilian. This system was transferable, not genetic.

Mansabdari system during Akbar’s time

Akbar- Akbar started the Manbasdari system during the Mughal period. Under this system, Akbar divided the three major organs of his administration-

  • Knight, ( Samant)
  • Army and
  • Bureaucracy

Organized into a common system. The minimum Mansab score was 10 and the maximum was 10,000. The highest Mansab of 10,000 was given to Prince Salim, which was later increased by Akbar to 12,000.

How much Mansab was given to Raja Man Singh

Normally appointments were made only up to the Mansab of 5000. Only special persons were given Mansab of 7000 by Akbar like- Mirza Aziz Koka and Raja Man Singh were given Mansab of 7000 by Akbar.

At the time of Akbar, the Mansab of Raja Mansingh was higher than the Mansab of Abul Fazl. Akbar had divided the entire Mansabs into 66 categories. Although Abul Fazl has mentioned only 33 categories.

After Akbar, the Mansab increased during the reign of Jahangir and Shah Jahan. In this period, Sardars were given Mansabs up to 8000 and princes up to 40,000 mansabs.

According to the historian Padshah Lahori, during the time of Shah Jahan, his sons were given Mansabs from 12000 to 60,000 and nobles from 6000 to 9000.

In the last period of Akbar’s reign, the rich class of 500 castes and above had been dominated by mainly Rajputs and other Hindu classes and gradually their number increased in later times.

  • Mansabdars below 500 were called Mansabdars.
  • Mansabdars from 500 to 2500 were called Amir.
  • Mansabdars above 2500 were called Ameer-e-Azam.

The post of highest prestige among the military officers was that of Khanejama and then Khanekhana. Qazis and Sadas were not included in this system.

Who started the system?

Akbar started the ‘Jat’ system in 1577 AD. In the fortieth year of his reign, he introduced the posts of Sawar in the Mansabdari system. Historians have different views regarding caste and Sawar- According to Block Man, caste meant military rank and Sawar meant the number of horsemen that the Masabdar had to maintain.

Each Mansabdar was given the rank of Jat and Sawar together like 5000/5000 or 2000/2000 etc. In this, the first digit of the pair was called Jat Mansab and the second digit was called Sawar Mansab.

Jat Mansab determined the place or preference of a person among the officers. According to this, his salary was also fixed. The military responsibility of a person was determined by the Sawar Mansab. The ratio between caste and rider was also fixed. In each case, the number of Sawar Mansab was not more than the number of Jat Mansab. This number was either equal to the caste Mansab or half or less than half of it.

On this basis, the categories of Mansabdar were determined. After including the category of caste and rider, each category of Mansabdars was again divided into three categories-

In the first class Mansabdars, the number of Jat and Sawar posts were equal, ie- 5000 Jat, 5000 Sawar. If the rider Mansab was half of the caste Mansab.

The second class had Mansabdars like 5000 castes and 3000 Sawars. If the Sawar Mansab was less than half of the Jat Mansab, then the Mansab was of the third class.

Third class – like 5000 castes, and 2000 riders.

Only in special circumstances, a higher number was given in the Sawar Mansab than the Jat Mansab, which was called ‘Mashrut Mansab’. But this system was abolished when the need was over. Akbar had prescribed the rule of Dahvisti (10-20) to maintain the efficiency of the army.

According to this, twenty horses had to be compulsorily kept on every ten soldiers so that horses were available for the soldiers when needed.

Stain custom | Daag Pratha

In 1579 AD, in the 18th year of his rule, Akbar started the practice of ‘Dag’ and Tasheeha (face). Under the Daag system, horses were marked with the royal seal and the mark of a Mansabdar. Each mansabdar’s mark was marked separately so that they could not change each other’s horse. For this, Akbar established a separate department Daag-Mahali.

Under Tasheeha (face) the Huliya of each soldier was kept. During the reign of Akbar, every year one month’s salary was deducted from the salary of the Mansabdar for the equipment of the horse. In the period of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, the salary was deducted in the name of Dosh-e-Dabab or Rasad-e-Khurakhi.

Mansabdari system at the time of Jahangir

After the death of Akbar, Jahangir, and his successors made two important changes in the Mansabdari system. Jahangir started a new system called Do Aspa and Singh Aspa in his time.

Do Aspa – means two horses while –
Sih Aspa – meant three horses.

Jahangir first gave this post to Mahavat Khan. Under this, the number of soldiers under him was increased without increasing the fixed number of Sawar Mansab.

Mansabdari system at the time of Shahjahan

Shah Jahan – Shah Jahan introduced monthly salaries in the Mansabdari system. Now salary is being given at least in four months and a maximum in eight months. Therefore, the Mansabdari system started functioning in the best way during the entire Mughal period.

During the time of Shah Jahan, the highest Mansab of the entire Mughal period was given to Dara Shikoh 60,000. In the time of Shah Jahan, two new Jagirs Shishamaha and Seemaha came into existence. 50 percent of the fixed income was collected from Shishamaha Jagir, while 25 percent was collected from Seemaha.

Mansabdari system during Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb – Aurangzeb introduced Mashrut in the Mansabdari system. Under this, there was a sudden increase in riders. It was based on certain conditions. During Aurangzeb’s reign, Mansabdars were given Mansabs for appointment to any important post or for increasing the rank of Sawar during any important campaign.

The maximum number (33 percent) of Hindu Mansabdars was in the period of Aurangzeb. In the period of other rulers, this percentage was- Akbar-22.4 percent, Jahangir at 13.03 percent, and Shah Jahan at 24 percent.

In the time of Aurangzeb, the number of Mansabdars increased so much that there was no jagir left to give them. This condition was called Bojagiri. During the time of Aurangzeb, the Khalsa lands were also given to the Mansabdars. As a result, the difference between Jamadami (fixed income of Jagir) and Jama Hasil (actual income received) increased due to which the Mansabdari system collapsed.

Famous historian Dr. Satish Chandra considers this defect in the Mansabdari system to be the main reason for the downfall of the Mughal Empire.

The Mansabdari system was the backbone of the Mughal administrative system. Through this uniformity came the administrative system of the state, which paved the way for political integration.

Source-S.K. Pandey – Medieval India – Page- 574-576, Prayag Academy Allahabad

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