Saturday, November 28, 2009
MANSABDARI SYSTEM The Mughal emperors maintained a large and efficient army till the reign of Aurangzeb. The credit of organising the Mughal nobility and army systematically goes to Akbar. The steel-frame of Akbar's military policy was the mansabdari system. Through it he set up a bureaucracy which was half-civil and half-military in character. The term mansab means an office or rank in the imperial service, and the mansabdar was an official who, out of his pay, was expected to furnish a certain number of cavalry to the imperial army. They were graded into 39 classes ranging from commanders of 10 to 10,000. During the later years of his reign, Akbar introduced the ranks of zat and sawar in the mansabdari system. According to most historians zat indicated the status and salary out of which besides personal expenses, the mansabdar had to maintain a fixed quota of horses, elephants, carts, etc. Sawar stood for the number of horsemen under him. No one could have a higher quota of sawars than his zat status. Depending on the relation between the zat and sawar, there were three categories in every mansab. The mansab was not hereditary. There were also the stipulations that for every ten cavlarymen, twenty horses had to be maintained and that the contingents of the nobles should be drawn from various groups-Rajput, Pathan, etc. The mansabdars had jagirs assigned to them in lieu of cash payment.