Mansabdari System of Akbar: In the History of Mughal Empire | UPSC

In this article, we will try to understand what was the Mansabdari System in the time of the Mughals, where did it originate, and what were its requirements. This is a very important topic that is asked in every exam whether it is UPSC or State PSC. Let’s start with the Mansabdari System of Akbar.

DefinitionThe system of ranking officials in the Mughal Empire was based on troops commanded
Introduced byAkbar
Meaning of MansabMilitary rank/position
Mansab levelsRanged from 10 to 5000
Calculation of rankThe system of ranking officials in the Mughal Empire based on troops commanded
Dual rank systemThe system of ranking officials in the Mughal Empire was based on troops commanded
Salary & perksPaid in cash/land grants, entitled to perks such as elephants/horses
Role in empireResponsible for army & law enforcement
Mansabdari System of Akbar

What is the Mansabdari System?

The Mansabdari System was a type of administrative system in which the military system was cooperatively integrated with the civil administration. Further, Mansabdari System was introduced by Akbar in 1571. But if seen, its roots in history can be seen in the time of Babur when he conquered Afghanistan.

With modifications after Akbar, this system was used in the Mughal administration for the military and became the pillar of civil services. Further, this Mansab was a kind of military rank that was not given to any religious person. Moreover, the pay of each rank and their civil and military duties were determined.

Also Read: Rajput Policy of Akbar

Need of Mansabdari System

  • There was no system to control the size and number of troops.
  • Military chiefs used to show the number of soldiers and the actual number was something else.
  • Rules for the appointment of state officials were not fixed.
  • Jagirs were first given and then military units were determined in proportion to the income from there.
  • Both the reduction and increase in the number of troops under any Mughal Amir were not in the interest of the state.
  • Akbar wanted that there should be promoted on the basis of ability.
  • Ranking System:
    • At the beginning of Akbar’s period, a single numerical rank (Single Ranking System) was prevalent, which showed how much cavalry was expected from that officer.
    • The officials of the rank above Hazari were called Umrah.
    • According to Bernier, it was not necessary for Umrahs to keep horses according to their position.
    • Those with a title below a thousand but above twenty were called Mansabdars, so Bernier called Mansabdars low-ranking Umrahs.
    • According to Abul Fazl, the practice of “Dagh” started in the eighteenth year of Akbar’s reign.
    • Dual Ranking SystemJat and Sawar were not operational yet.

Categories of Mansabdars: Zat & Sawar

  • The description of Badauni shows that the Mansabdar used to present common people in place of trained soldiers. due to which the post of rider was arranged.
  • Zat: The post of Mansab was now called Zat, which was the personal title of the Mansabdar, which indicated his salary and rank.
  • Sawar: Sawar indicated his rank according to which he had to keep horsemen and got a separate allowance for this.
  • Mansabdars were divided into three categories on the basis of the rank of Sawar.
    1. An equal number of Jat and Sawar.
    2. The number of Sawar is less than the number of Jat but more than half.
    3. The number of Sawar is less than half of the number of Jat.
  • If he did not get the title, then he was called Mansabdar of the third class.

Important facts of the Mansabdari System:

  • Abul Fazl has mentioned 66 Mansabs in Ain-e-Akbari, but in practice, only 33 Mansab were given.
  • All Mansabs, even 10/10 Zat and Sawar were provided by the emperor.
  • Further, Mir Bakshi presented them in front of the emperor.
  • Initially, the lowest rank number was 10 and the highest was 10,000.
  • Mansabs above 5000 and later above 7000 were given to princes.
  • The highest rank of ₹10,000 was exclusively given to his son Salim.
  • Later, however, Akbar raised the highest rank to 12,000.

Changes in Jahangir’s time:

  • During the time of Jahangir, when he was busy with his campaigns in the south, many more Mansabs were created.
  • The posts of “Do-aspa, Sih-aspa” were introduced.
  • A soldier with a Sih-aspa had to bring three horses, while a soldier with a Do-aspa had to bring two.
  • the Yak-aspa had to appear for the dag with his horse.
  • According to Abdul Aziz, Do-aspa and Sih-aspa were very rare posts that were available to lesser Mansabdars.
  • Recipients of this rank received a special allowance for keeping additional horsemen.

Changes in Shahjahan’s time:

  • Since the time of Akbar, there was a complaint that the real income (achieved) of the Mansabdars who were given jagirs in lieu of salary was less than the estimated income (deposited).
  • Shah Jahan divided the Jagirs into Sesmah and Semai Jagirs.
  • Sesmah – From whom the revenue collection was fifty percent.
  • Semai – From whom one-fourth was collected.
  • According to this, the jagir that Mansabdar got was reduced in proportion to his duties, but the dignity of the post remained.
  • Mansabdars were allowed to keep horsemen from 1/3rd to 1/5th of the number of horsemen without reducing the allowance, taking into account the distance from their jagirs.

Changes in Aurangzeb’s time:

  • Mashrut System – If the Mansabdars were appointed on an important post like Kiledar or Faujdar etc. or were being sent on a campaign, then a provision was made for an increase in the post, which was called Mashrut (Conditional).
  • Mashrut was withdrawn when the work was done.
  • Sometimes the post of Mashrut was included in the general Mansab of Mansabdar and in this case, it was not considered as mashrut.
  • Under this system, the salary of the recruited soldiers was the same as that of a normal soldier.

Characteristics of the Mansabdari System

  • From the time of Akbar, the Mansabdars were negligent in arranging the required number of animals.
  • That’s why at the beginning of the seventeenth century, the amount spent on this subject was deducted from the salary mentioned in his Jat post, which was called “fourth Ravasa“.
  • After 1681, the fourth “Ravasa” was abolished due to the implementation of the new table of pay rates.
  • This new pay rate was 25 to 30 percent less than during Akbar’s time.
  • After the expansion of the capacity of the royal stables, a deduction called “Khurke Falina” began to be made from the personal salaries of the Mansabdars.
  • If a Mansabdar was paid in cash, then two rupees were deducted from his salary.
  • For doing anything wrong, the Mansabdars had to pay a fine, which was known as Jarimana.
  • If a Mansabdar borrowed an advance from the state and died without repaying it, Mir-e-Saman used to recover that amount from his property and distribute the rest of the property to his family members – rule of confiscation.
  • In 1666, Aurangzeb issued a decree that if a Mansabdar died without an heir, his property should be included in the state treasury.

Importance of the Mansabdari System

  • The Mughal emperors considered it a good quality to be born into a high family, but even members of lowly families could rise to the highest position.
  • Many times writers, artists, and administrative officers were also made Mansab.
  • Integration is made possible in all types of services.
  • Peace and order were established in the vast areas of the empire.
  • The Mansabdari System played a major role in the expansion of the Mughal Empire.

So, this is all about the Mansabdari System of Akbar. If you like this article, please share it with your friends.

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Rajput Policy of Akbar

Rajput Policy of Akbar

Looking to deepen your knowledge of Akbar’s Rajput policy for the UPSC exam? Look no further! Click on the button below to access comprehensive resources and study materials that cover this topic in detail.

What was the Mansabdari System?

The Mansabdari System was a system of ranking and appointing officials in the Mughal Empire based on the number of troops they commanded.

Who introduced the Mansabdari System?

The Mansabdari System was introduced by Akbar, the third Mughal Emperor, in the late 16th century.

How were Mansab levels determined?

Mansab levels were determined by the number and quality of soldiers commanded by an official and ranged from 10 to 5000.

Related Links:

Rajput Policy of AkbarConquests of Akbar
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