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BHIC-109: History of India –V (c. 1550 – 1605)

BHIC-109: History of India –V (c. 1550 – 1605)

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BHIC-109/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BHIC-109

Assignment Name: History of India-V (c. 1550 -1605)

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


There are three Sections in the Assignment. You have to answer all questions in the Sections.




Answer the following in about 500 words each. 20x2


Q1) Critically examine the nature of the Mughal state.

Ans) The study of the Mughal state's nature is a particularly fascinating topic, especially when viewed in the perspective of the study of India's pre-colonial state. There are a number of hypotheses put up by various historians to comprehend the Mughal empire:


Oriental Despotic State Theory

Karl Marx's writings first introduced the ideas of Asian despotism and the Asian Mode of Production in a distinct setting. Francois Bernier advanced his idea of Oriental Despotic Monarchies, which were fundamentally distinct in character from the European state, with regard to the nature of the precolonial state in India.


According to this notion, monarchy were those in which:

  1. King was the land's owner and the one who collected taxes.

  2. Tax collectors possessed short tenures instead of hereditary European lords, a structure that represented state ownership of the land.


In his book "The Oriental Despot," Francis William Buckler identified the Mughal dynasty as an example of "corporate kingship," where all the nobility were "members" rather than being servants. Due to this form of government, the populace's wealth and economic growth declined, and the peasants was exploited. The fact that there was no constraint used in tax collection gave the government a "despotic" air. It was said that the British introduced some freedom into the existing Oriental Despotic State.


Centralized State Theory

The centralised state idea asserts that through the intermediaries' influence, the state administration entered all spheres of society. The state was the only source of income for the intermediates, which included merchants, artisans, and peasants. State and society remained integral parts of the system as a result. Every phenomenon centred on the central point. According to the centralised state paradigm, society as a whole was observed from above. The chroniclers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, who mostly portrayed the Mughal state in a similar light, have had a significant influence on this theory. The systematisation of government undertaken by the emperor Akbar has received much attention, particularly the mansabdari system and regularity in the division of offices for various provinces. Under succeeding emperors, these offices and the centralised administration were maintained and strengthened.


Patrimonial-Bureaucratic State Theory

A patrimonial-bureaucratic empire is the term used to describe this patrimonial style of political organisation when it operates on a big scale throughout a vast territorial area. Since power is dispersed to control various regions through the deployment of a variety of strategies and policies, An array of armies that were loyal to the monarch were organised in order to ensure that the administration was carried out successfully. The massive army was divided into two groups: first, the soldiers who served the emperor directly, and second, the soldiers of the subordinates who were obligated to their commanders.


Similar to this, employees in other administrative spheres showed a certain amount of loyalty and dedication while serving at the emperor's pleasure. Such a class of politicians received a sizable amount of the state's revenue. The emperor's influence gradually diminished as a result of this structure throughout time. As a result, the emperor-maintained checks, and balances to limit this growth of power possessed by government officials.


Segmentary State Model

The segmentary state model proposes a hierarchical division of society with each segment or unit convergent into the next unit. Village, locality, supra-locality, and the bigger kingdom are a few examples. Due to the cultural and socioeconomic context, Burton Stein voiced concerns about the creation of a centralised state institution in India. He advocated the "segmentary state model" for South India. In this method of studying governance, institutions like caste, position, and religion were given weight in interpreting the policies of the federal, state, and local governments. Other historians who challenged this thesis in the context of South India did not entirely dismiss it.


Q2) Discuss briefly the village structure and nature of land rights in medieval South India.

Ans) South India's village organisation and the nature of land rights.


Village Structure and Agrarian Relations

British officials issued studies on South India's land tenure in the 17th and 18th centuries. The numerous sources that shed information on South India's land system include stone inscriptions, local village records, resolutions passed at the village level and preserved in Mackenzie collections, documents from Christian missionaries, and tales from foreign travellers.


The reports of the British officers mention communal land ownership in the villages of South India. Prior to the advent of modernity, farming and land ownership served as the foundation for production. In South India, there were brahmadeya and non-brahmadeya villages. The kings known as Brahmadeya gave the Brahmins villages. The Brahmins founded Sabha, a communal self-governing organisation, in these villages. Most of these settlements date back to the Pallava and Chola eras. Compared to brahmadeya villages, non-brahmadeya villages were older and larger in population.


The villagers' servants received manya, tax-free land, or leasehold property. Ekobhogam and devadana were the names of the land tenures for Brahmins and temples, respectively. Dasavanda or katku-kodage are terms used in Karnataka to describe a private right that results from higher production brought about by investments in agriculture. The 16th century saw a significant shift in the agrarian structure and landholding system. The Vijaynagara warrior chieftains infiltrated the kin-based peasant groups of the Tamil nation.


For a very long time, temples in the Tamil region had operated as independent landowners and corporate organisations. Temple administration was taken over by the chieftains of Vijaynagara. Since the temple lands were converted into contractual tenures, the agrarian economy has undergone a significant transformation. The chieftains changed into agrarian magnates by seizing control of these tenures.


Nature of Land Rights

The numerous agrarian rights (kaniyatchi) types that were present in rural life will shed important information on how the nayaks and the peasants interacted. The Vijaynagar state's power was based on the agrarian surplus that the peasants successfully extracted and the Telegu nayaks produced. Migrant Telegu warrior clans including Thottian, Panta Reddi, Naidu, and Kambalattar colonised the parched plains of the Tamil county. The area was turned into a peripheral zone by the Teleguspeaking communities, which were driven out by the old Tamil peasant elites and their groupings like nattavar and uravai.


Temple grounds were transformed into the semi-private landed estates of the military chieftains in the latter 15th century. An inscription from CE 1511 mentions the transformation of a peasant village with a temple tenure (tirunamathukkani) into a military chieftain's kaniparru. The grantee received the authority to cultivate and collect taxes. In these land transactions of the 16th century, several lands and fiscal rights were included. The nayak-created, dynamic agricultural political organisation supplanted the traditional peasant elites, uravar and nattar, as well as the traditional peasant assemblies like ur.


Kaniparru is the name of the nayaks' tenure over their land. It most likely relates to the ability to acquire and sell land without having the full right of ownership. Additionally, it alludes to various taxes. An inscription from CE 1522 attests to the nayak's receipt of the land and related rights that belonged to the temple.


The following were the rights:

  1. to obtain fees from the farmers.

  2. to settle people and cultivate the land

  3. to take prasadam from the temple, which is holy food.

However, the ownership of the land was not necessarily transferred when it was given to the nayak. The temples had the ownership rights, but the nayak may use the land and levy taxes on it.





Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. 10x3


Q1) Discuss in brief the problems faced by Humayun and how did he overcome it?

Ans) It is reasonable to assume that Emperor Babur established the Mughal empire as a conqueror rather than an administrator. Humayun, Babur's oldest child, was born into a prosperous environment. His first significant task came when he was twelve years old and appointed governor of Badakhshan. Humayun had a lot of difficulties to deal with once his father passed away and the treasury was empty. Many of these difficulties were difficult for him to overcome, but he did manage to restore Delhi's monarchy right before he passed away. His son Akbar's accomplishments and the grandeur he attained converted the father become an entity.


In terms of politics, factionalism made it difficult to build a strong empire. Due to challenges put forth by his siblings, Emperor Humayun forfeited his father's realm. Even Akbar had to negotiate with Turanis and Persian soldiers in the army and deal with political rivalries. The various factions were threatening to defect. His early education was similarly based on conventional ideas, allowing him to finally govern the entire region by mastering the technique of managing a portion. From Akbar's reign onward, this Timurid appanage system vanished and was never again observed in use. No explanation was given for this shift in entrance strategy. Additionally, the princely governorships were rotated.


In contrast to his father and forefathers, Humayun tended to be an introvert. In order to attain social cohesion, his father advised him to engage in regular social interactions with his friends and followers. The sovereign's involvement in the routine drinking events was justified politically. In keeping with this custom, Humayun blatantly acknowledged his opium addiction. The empire paid a price for this unlucky Timurid inheritance. Despite the political difficulties, Humayun established some magnificent ceremonies at his court after Babur had set the fundamental groundwork. When he was sent into exile, all of these endeavours that he had been making came to an end. His brief reign and untimely death prevented him from having much opportunity to develop the Mughal empire's kingship theory. It wasn't until Akbar came to power that the empire could be stabilised, and the notion of kingship dispelled.


Q2) Critically examine Akbar’s policy towards autonomous chieftains.

Ans) The chieftains and Akbar first met during battles and skirmishes. The chieftains frequently teamed up with the Afghan and Mughal insurgents. Akbar obtained the cooperation and submission of chieftains in the course of the conquests and consolidation of Mughal rule. There was no formal statement of Akbar's policy toward them. We have an understanding of the relationships between chiefs and the Mughals based on allusions in the documents from the time.


These can be distilled into the following:

  1. They were typically given free rein to govern their lands after being conquered or submitted. They also had the power to levy fees, collect taxes, levies, and transportation taxes, among other things. The chieftains typically adhered to regional customs rather than Mughal laws when collecting taxes.

  2. The Mughals enlisted these independent chieftains in their armies. They received mansabs and jagirs. According to A.R. Khan, during Akbar's rule, about 61 chiefs received mansab. Throughout the reigns of succeeding Mughal Emperors, the same pattern persisted.

  3. Chieftains are frequently encountered assisting the Mughal army in its operations against enemy regions or the quelling of rebellions in circumstances where they were not directly absorbed as mansabdars. They aided in the conquest of vast territories throughout the Mughal era, at times going up against members of their own clans.

  4. They were granted key administrative roles like subadar (governors), diwan, bakhshi, etc. in addition to giving military assistance.

  5. They frequently received their own, hereditary, non-transferable jagir holdings, known as the watan jagir.

  6. An intriguing aspect of their relationships was that, in the event of family disagreements, the Mughal Emperor retained the right to acknowledge the chieftain as the ruler. Military protection was also given to individuals who had acceded to Mughal suzerainty.

  7. The chieftains were required to give the Mughal Emperor a regular tribute known as peshkash. Determining the precise nature of this peshkash is challenging. This was sometimes paid for with cash and other times with rare items like elephants, jewels, or gold.

  8. The Mughal imperial family and the chieftains formed a variety of marriage relationships.


Q3) Write a note on the Mughal jagir system.

Ans) Under the Mughals as well, the system of allocating a specific territory's revenue to nobles in exchange for their assistance to the state persisted. The Mughals referred to the designated lands as Jagir and the people who held them as Jagirdars. The Mansabdari system, which was created under Akbar and underwent certain alterations during the rule of his successors, included the Jagirdari system as a crucial component. All of the territory was essentially split in two under Akbar's reign: Khalisa and Jagir.


The Indian subcontinent's Jagirdar system was built on a sort of feudal land grant known as a jagir, also written jageer. It emerged during the period of Islamic dominance over the Indian subcontinent, beginning in the early 13th century, when the state appointed a person to manage an estate and collect taxes from it. The tenants were viewed as being under the jagirdar's slavery. Jagir came in two flavours, one of which was conditional and the other unconditional. The conditional jagir mandated that the ruling family keep troops on hand and be prepared to serve the state when called upon. The land passed to the state following the death of the jagirdar and was granted as an iqta, which was typically a lifelong grant.


The Delhi Sultanate established the jagirdar system, which was maintained during the Mughal Empire although under different circumstances. During the Mughal era, the jagirdar was responsible for collecting taxes that funded his salary and the Mughal treasury, while a different Mughal appointee was granted control over the administration and troops. The jagir system was preserved by the Maratha, Rajput, Jat, and Sikh jat kingdoms after the fall of the Mughal Empire, and later in a form by the British East India Company.




Answer the following questions in about 100 words each. 6x5


Q1) History writing in Persian during the sixteenth century

Ans) Numerous chroniclers' accounts were created throughout the Mughal era, ranging from Zain Khan's Tuzuk-i Baburi and Khwand Mir's Qanun-i Humayuni to Munna Lal's Tarikh-i Shah Alam. But in this section, we'll only be talking about a handful of significant political writings and chroniclers, with a particular emphasis on Abul Fazl Allami.


Historical writing was created on an astonishingly vast scale throughout Akbar's reign. Tarikh-i Alfi was commissioned by Akbar to mark the Islamic millennium. It spans the years 632 through Akbar's reign. The book's production began in 1582 and ended in 1592. Tabaqat-i Akbari was written by Khwaja Nizamuddin Ahmad. The chronogram gives the dates 1592–1593 while the narrative covers the years 1593–1594. The writer passed on in October 1594. The nine regions that Nizamuddin broke up into in his Tabaqat are: Delhi, Gujarat, Bengal, Malwa, Jaunpur, Sind, Kashmir, and Multan. Each is dealt in a separate tabqa.


Q2) Sur Administration

Ans) Sher Shah carried on the Delhi Sultanate's central administration. The Empire was divided into Sarkars by him. Each Sarkar contained three key officers: the Chief Shiqdar, also known as Shigdar-i-Shiqdaran, the Chief Munsif, also known as Munsif i-Munsifan, and the Poddar. Parganas were created through the further division of Sarkars. Shiqdar, Munsif, and Khazanadar, 3 officers, were present in this location as well.


The village is the final administrative level. The Patwari was in charge of the local government. He established the Patta System into the revenue system. He was the first king of India to grant peasants property rights. He adopted the name Nyaya Simha and provided the populace with unbiased justice. He improved the system of transportation and communication and constructed a network of highways. Highways had Sarais erected on them. Some Sarais were transformed into Dak Chowkis. He introduced the Gold Mohar and Silver Rupaiya new coins. Rupaiya continued under the British and the Mughals.


Q3) Town and port administration of the Mughals

Ans) The Mughals had separate administrative apparatus to run the towns and ports.



The imperial court appointed kotwals for urban areas, whose main responsibility was to protect the lives and property of town residents. He may be similar to the modern police officers that patrol towns and cities today. The kotwal was required to keep a registry of those entering and leaving the town as well. Before entering or departing the town, any stranger was required to obtain a permit from him. The kotwal was tasked with making sure that no illicit alcohol was produced in his region. He served as the shopkeepers' and merchants' weights and measures superintendent as well.


Port Administration

Given that seaports were the hubs of lively commercial activity, the Mughals were cognizant of the economic significance of these locations. The provincial authority had no influence over the port administration. Mutasaddi was the title of the Emperor's personal choice to lead the ports. The position of the Mutasaddi was occasionally put up for sale and awarded to the highest bidder. The Mutasaddi ran a customhouse and collected taxes on goods. Additionally, he oversaw the mint house at the port. His underling, the shahbandar, was principally focused on the customs office.


Q4) Allison Busch on Medieval Indic Literary Tradition

Ans) In the context of riti poetry, Allison Busch makes an effort to draw a connection between the literary traditions of the Imperial and sub-Imperial eras. She claims that Keshavdas steadily modified his poetry to meet the political requirements of his patrons, the Orchha monarchs, while conveying the poet's creative brilliance. She says that Keshavdas tried to elevate the status of the Orchha monarch in the Mughal "court" by emulating his patron, the Orchha king, as the "divine" ruler "Rama."


Even Keshavdas composed a panegyric in honour of Jahangir, the emperor. According to Busch, the sub-imperial, and imperial ties of Brajbhasha riti poetry were the secret to power. Raja Birbal is envisioned by her as a potential conciliator with the Mughal court. She says that Brajbhasha poets were employed by the Mughal court's "penumbra." The writings of Keshavdas had a significant influence on his followers, especially Pravi, a female courtesan devotee.

Despite mainly relying on lengthy "topai" and phrases, Riti poets made a deliberate choice to construct an Indic language register that was separate from the Persian register. Keshav deliberately chooses to utilise colloquial counterparts; for example, he uses "puhumi" for earth in place of the vernacular term "bhumi."


Q5) Akbar’s Attitude towards Religion

Ans) Akbar appears to have remained a devoted Muslim and continued to offer five prayers daily. According to Shaikh Farid Bhakhari, he even cleaned the mosque by hand and carefully adhered to Sharia law. He held the Prophet in the highest regard. Akbar travelled several miles on foot to receive the relic bearing the imprint of the Prophet's foot that Abu Turab brought upon his return from the Hajj pilgrimage.


Akbar even promoted and provided funding for the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and named a distinct Mir-i Hajj for that purpose. Even he contributed to the cost of building a khanqah for pilgrims performing the Hajj in the Hijaz. Gulbadan Begum and a number of other royal ladies of the Harem were given permission to travel to Mecca for the Hajj in 1575.


On the basis of the decrees, he issued and the actions he occasionally took, researchers typically divide Akbar's attitude toward religion and religious communities into a number of phases. According to K. A. Nizami, Akbar's religious beliefs evolved from "hereditary faith" to "orthodox rigidity" then "enquiry and scepticism," "synthesis and universalism," "secularism," and lastly "religious leadership."

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