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- Social Science
Emergence of new states
Through the eighteenth century, the Mughal Empire gradually divided into a number of independent,regional states. These Independent states can be divided into 3 groups-
(1) States that were old Mughal provinces like Awadh, Bengal and Hyderabad.
(2) States that had enjoyed considerable independence under the Mughals as watan jagirs. These include several Rajput principalities.
(3) States under the control of Marathas, Sikhs and others like the Jats.These had seized their independence from the Mughals after a long-drawn armed struggle.
The old Mughal provinces
Amongst the states that were carved out of the old Mughal provinces in the eighteenth century, three stand out very prominently. These were Awadh, Bengal and Hyderabad.All three states were founded by the members of high Mughal nobility who had been governors of large provinces, Sa’adat Khan(Awadh), Murshid Quli Khan(Bengal) and Asaf Jah(Hyderabad). All these three had occupied high mansabdari positions and enjoyed the trust and confidence of the emperors.
Founded by Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah(1724-1748) was powerful member at the Court of the Mughal emperor Farrukh Siyar.He was entrusted first with the governorship of Awadh, and later given charge of the Deccan.Governor of the Deccan provinces, during 1720-22 Asaf Jah already gained control over its political and financial administration.Asaf Jah broughtskilled soldiers and administrators from northern India who welcomed the new opportunities in the South. He appointed mansabdars and granted jagirs.Although he was still a servant of the Mughal emperor, he ruled quite independently without speaking any direction from Delhi or facing any interference.The state of Hyderabad was constantly engaged in a struggle against the Marathas to the west and with independent Telugu warriors chiefs(nayakas) of the plateau. The ambitions of the Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah to control the rich textile producing areas of the Coromandel coast in the East were checked by the British who were becoming increasingly powerful in that region. The Nijam has a sawari of 400 elephants, several thousands of horsemen near his person who receive upwards ₹100 as nominal pay and are extremely well mounted and richly caparisoned.
Burhan-ul-Mulk Sa’adat Khan who was appointed as subadar of Awadh in 1722 and founded a state which was one of the most important to emerge out of the breakup of Mughal Empire.Awadh was a prosperous region, controlling the rich alluvial Ganga plain and the main trade route between north India and Bengal.Burhan-ul-Mulk also held the combined offices of subadari, diwani andfaujdari. He was responsible for managing the political, financial and military affairs of the province of Awadh.Sa’adat Khan tried to decrease Mughal influence in the Awadh region by reducing the number of office holders appointed by the Mughals.He also reduced the size of jagirs,and appointed his own loyal servants to vacant positions.The account of jagirdars were checked to prevent cheating and the revenues of all districts were reassessed by officials appointed by Nawab’scourt. He seized a number of Rajput zamindaris, and the agriculturally fertile lands of the Afghans of Rohilkhand.The state depends on local bankers and mahajans for loan.It sold the right to collect tax to the highest bidders.These revenue farmers(ijaradars)agreed to apy the state a fix amount of money. Local bankers guaranteed the payment of this contracted amount to the state. In turn, the revenue-farmers were given considerable freedom in the assessment and collection of taxes.This allowed new social groups like moneylenders and bankers, to influence the management of the state’s revenue system, something which had not occurred in the past.
Founded by Murshid Quli Khan. He very quickly seized all the power that went with formal subadar office.Like the rulers of Hyderabad and Awadh, he also commanded the revenue administration of the state.In an effort to reduce Mughal influence in Bengal, he transferred all Mughal Jagirdars to Orissa and ordered a major reassessment of the revenues of Bengal.Revenue was collected in cash with great strictness from all zamindars. As a result, many zamindars had to borrow money from bankers and money lenders. Those unable to pay were forced to sell their land to large zamindars.Under the rule of Alivardi Khan(1740-1756), the banking house of Jagat Seth became extremely prosperous.
The three common features among these states are:
First, many of the largest states were established by erstwhile Mughal nobles. They were highly suspicious of some of the administrative systems that they have inherited,in particular the jagirdari system.
Second, method of tax collection differed.Rather than relying upon the officers of the state, all three regimes contracted with revenue farmers for the collection of Alivardi khan holding court revenue.The practice of ijardari thoroughly disapproved by the Mughals, spreads all over India in the eighteenth century.
The third common feature in all these regional state was there emerging relationship with rich bankers and merchants. Those people lent money to revenue farmers, received land as security and collected taxes from these land.Through their own agents.Throughout India, the richest merchants and bankers were gaining a steak in this new political order.
The Watan Jagirs of the Rajputs
Many Rajput kings were permitted to enjoy considerable autonomy in their watan jagirs. In the eighteenth century these rulers attempted to extend their control over adjacent regions. Ajit Singh, the ruler of Jodhpur, was also involved in the functional politics at the Mughal court.Rajit Singh of Jodhpur held the governorship of Gujarat and Sawai Raja Jai Singh of Amber was governor of Malwa.These offices were renewed by Emperor Jahangir Shah in 1713.They tried to extend their territories by seizing portions of imperial territories neighbouring there watans. Nagaur was conquered and annexed to the house of Jodhpur, while Amber seized large portion of Bundi.Sawai Raja Jaisingh founded his new capital at Jaipur and was given the subsidiary of Agra in 1722.Maratha campaigns into Rajasthan from the 1740s put pressure on these principalities and checked their further expansion.
Many Rajput rulers has accepted the suzerainty of Mughals, but Mewar was the only Rajput state which dified Mughal authority. Rana Pratap ascended the throne at Mewar in 1572, with Udaipur and large part of Mewar under his control. A series of envoys were sent to the Rana to persuade him to accept Mughal suzerainty but he stood his ground.
Many Rajput chieftains built a number of forts on hilltops, which became centres of power. With extensive fortifications these majestic structures housed urban centres, palaces, temples, trading centres, water harvesting structures and other buildings. The Chittorgarh Fort contains many water bodies wearing from talabs(ponds) to kundis(wells), baolis(stepwells) etc. Sawai Jai Singh, the ruler of Amber, constructed 5 astronomical observatories, one each in Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Mathura and Varanasi, commonly known as Jantar Mantar.These observatories has various instruments to study heavenly bodies.