NCERT Solutions For Class 12 History Chapter 9 Kings and Chronicles The Mughal Courts

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Q1. Describe the process of manuscript production in the Mughal court.

Answer: Process of manuscript production in the Mughal court included the following:
(a) Paper-maker’s responsibility was to prepare the folios of the manuscript.
(b) Skill writer, i.e. scribes or calligrapher copied the texts.
(c) Guilders, illuminated the pages of the manuscript.
(d) Miniature painter illustrated the scene from the text.
(e) The book binders gathered the folio and gave it to the original shape of a book.

Q2.In what ways would the daily routine and special activities associated with the Mughal court have conveyed a sense of the power of the emperor ?

Answer:In the Mughal court, the king was always the centre of all attractions during the daily routine and special activities. Every activity or festivity exposed the power of the king. The following examples can be cited in this regard:

(i) Discipline in the Court: There were precise rules to determine the status amongst the Mughal elites. The elites having proximity to the king were accorded an important place in the court. There was a perfect discipline in the court. Once the emperor sat on the throne, no one was allowed to move from his seat. Besides no one could leave the court without his permission.

(ii) Forms of Address and Courtesies : All had to follow norms in the court. They had to follow the norms of address, courtesies and speech which were acceptable in court. Even a slightest deviation in etiquettes fetched punishment on the spot.

(iii) The Forms of Salutation : There were many forms of salutation in the court. They indicated the status of the person in the hierarchy. The deeper prostration represented higher status. The complete prostration or sijda meant the highest form of submission. However, under the reign of Shah Jahan, these rituals were replaced with Chahar Taslirn and Zaminbos, i.e., kissing the ground.

(iv) Jharoka Darshan : The Jharoka Darshan was introduced by Akbar. He wanted to-broaden the popular faith in the imperial authority. After performing his devotional prayers, he would go to a small balcony facing the east. The crowd of people comprising of soldiers, merchants, peasants, craft persons and women had the view of the emperor. It was called as the Jharoka Darshan.

Q3. Assess the role played by women of the imperial household in the Mughal Empire

Answer: (i) The term “haram” is used to describe the domestic world of the Mughals. This word is taken from the Persian word haram, which means a sacred place.
(ii) The Mughal household consisted of the emperor’s wives and concubines, his near and distant relatives (mother, step- and foster-mothers, sisters, daughters, daughters-in-law, aunts, children, etc.), and female servants and slaves.
(iii) Polygamy was practised widely in the Indian subcontinent, especially among the ruling groups. Both for the Rajput clans as well as the Mughals marriage was a way of cementing political relationships and forging alliances.
(iv) The gift of territory was often accompanied by the gift of a daughter in marriage. This ensured a continuing hierarchical relationship between ruling groups. It was through the link of marriage and the relationships that developed as a result that the Mughals were able to form a vast kinship network that linked them to important groups and helped to hold a vast empire together.
(v) In the Mughal household a distinction was maintained between wives who came from royal families (begams), and other wives (aghas) who were not of noble birth.
(vi) The begams, married after receiving huge amounts of cash and valuables as dowry (maahr), naturally received a higher status and greater attention from their husbands than did aghas. The concubines (aghacha or the lesser agha) occupied the lowest position in the hierarchy of females intimately related to royalty.
(vii) The agha and the aghacha could rise to the position of a begam depending on the husband’s will, and provided that he did not already have four wives.
(viii) Love and motherhood played important roles in elevating such women to the status of legally wedded wives. Apart from wives, numerous male and female slaves populated the Mughal Household. The tasks they performed varied from the most mundane to those requiring skill, tact and intelligence.
(xi)Slave eunuchs (khwajasara) moved between the external and internal life of the household as guards, servants, and also as agents for women dabbling in commerce.

Q4.What were the concerns that shaped Mughal policies and attitudes towards regions outside the sub continent ?

Answer:Following were the main concerns that shaped Mughal policies and attitudes towards regions outside the subcontinents:
(i) Control over posts of military importance : Political relations between the Mughal emperors and neighbouring countries of Iran and Turan were dependent upon control of the frontier designed by Hindukush mountains. All conquerors who wanted to conquer the Indian sub-continent had to cross Hindukush to have an access to north India. That is why there was a constant policy of Mughals and that was to ward off this potential danger by controlling strategic outposts, i.e., Kabul and Qandhar.

Qandhar was a bone of contention between Safavids (Iran) and the Mughals. This fort city was initially under the control of Humayun. Akbar reconquered it in 1595 C.E. Although Safavids maintained their diplomatic relations with the Mughals but they continued to stake claim over Qandhar. Jahangir, in 1613, sent a diplomatic envoy to the court of Irani ruler Abbas Shah. His objective was to plead the Mughal right over Qandhar but this envoy failed to meet its objective. Safavid army besieged Qandhar in 1622 C.E. The Mughal army was not fully prepared for this. As a result it was defeated and had to surrender fort and city to the Safavids.

(ii) Ottoman Empire : Pilgrimage and trade : The main objective of Mughal’s relations with the Ottoman empire was to maintain a free movement for pilgrims and merchants in the territories under control of the Ottoman empire. This was true especially for the Hijaz i.e., that area of Ottoman Arabia where Mecca and Madina, important pilgrim centres were located.

Q5. Discuss the major features of Mughal provincial administration. How did the centre control the provinces ?

Answer: 1.The Mughal provincial administration was like the central administration as mentioned below :

i)There were diwan, bakhshi and sadr corresponding the central ministers – Diwan-i ala, mir-bakshi and sadr-us sudur.

ii)The head of the provincial administration was the governor (subadar) who directly reported to the emperor.

iii)A suba was divided into sarkars.

iv)Faujdars were deployed with contingents of heavy cavalry and musketeers in districts.

v)At the local level were parganas which were looked after by the qanungo (keeper of revenue records), the chaudhuri (in charge of revenue collection) and the qazi.

vi)There was clerks, accountants, auditors, messengers and other functionaries who were technically qualified officials. They functioned with standardised rules and procedures.

vi)Persian was the language of the administration but local languages were used for village accounts.

2.The Mughal emperor and his court controlled the entire administrative apparatus down to the village level. However, the relationship between local landed magnates, the zamindars, and the representatives of the Mughal emperor was sometimes marked by conflicts over authority and a share of the resources. Moreover, after the death of Aurangzeb the provincial governors became powerful and this led to the downfall of the Mughal Empire.

Q6.Discuss, with examples, the distinctive features of the Mughal chronicles.

Answer:The Mughal chronicles were dynastic histories. They had the following features :
(i) Court Historians : The chronicles were written by the court historians on the request of Mughal rulers. They give an account of the achievements of the Mughal rulers and recorded all major events.

(ii) Chronological Record of Events : The chronicles present a continuous chronological record of important events. They are an indispensable source of information about the Mughal history. They explain the true intentions of the Mughal emperors behind many of their decisions.

(iii) Pictorial Images : The chronicles include many images which describe an event in the visual form. The pictures give a visual expression to many events. They expressed what was otherwise difficult to be conveyed through the written medium.

(iv) Similarity between Court and History of the Emperor: The chronicles written during the reign of Akbar, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb were titled as Akbarnama, Badshahnama and Alamgirnama respectively. They indicate that in the eyes of the authors, the history of the emperor was synonymous to the history of the empire or royal court.

(v) Language : Most of the Mughal court chronicles were written in Persian. Akbarnama, the official Mughal history, was written in Persian. In the same way, the memories of Babur were translated from the Turkish into the Persian and was known as Baburnama.

(vi) Important sources of Mughal History :
The chronicles give the historians a glimpse into the Mughal history. They recorded all the important historical events during the reign of various Mughal rulers. They were a repository of factual information about the institutions of the Mughal Empire.

Q7.To what extent do you think the visual material presented in this chapter corresponds with Abu’l Fazl’s description of the taswir (Source 1)?

Answer: Abu’l Fazl held the art of painting in high esteem. Drawing the likeness of anything was called taswir. Many paintings were masterpieces which could be compared with wonderful works of the European painters. The minuteness in detail, the general finish and the boldnesss of execution observed in pictures were incomparable. Such was the observation of Abu’l Fazl about the taswir. The visual material presented in this corresponds to the above description to a great extent in the followings ways :

i)In the picture, ‘A Mughal Kitabkhana’, every work relating to the preparation of the manuscript has been shown minutely.

ii)In another painting by Abu’l Hasan, Jahangir has been shown dressed in resplendent clothes and jewels, holding up a portrait of his father Akbar. The emperors have been portrayed wearing halo.

iii)In another painting by the artist Prayag, Jahangir is presenting Prince Khurram with a turban jewel. It is a scene from the Badshah Nama. The artist has also used the motif of the lion and the cow peacefully nestling next to each other to signify a realm where both the strong and the weak could exist in harmony. It has been placed in a niche directly below the emperor’s throne.

The above and other paintings — Jahangir shooting the figure of poverty (Abu’l Hasan), Shah Jahan honouring Prince Aurangzeb at Agra before his wedding (Payag), Dara Shukoh’s wedding — meet the above description of Abu’l Fazl.

Q8.What were the distinctive features of the Mughal nobility ? How was their relationship with the emperor shaped ? Why has Mughal nobility been considered as an important pillar of the Mughal state ? Explain. (C.B.S.E. 2014 (O.D.))

Answer:According to the Mughal chronicles, more particularly the Akbarnama, the power to rule and govern solely rested with the emperor. All the people of the kingdom followed the orders of the king. However there were a lot of officers in the Mughal state. They were the pillars of the kingdom. The historians have collectively referred to them as the nobility.

Functions of Nobility : The nobility consisted of diverse ethnic and religious groups. They did not allow any one or any faction to challenge the authority of the State. They were like a bouquet of flowers held together by loyalty to the emperor. There were many Turani and Iranian nobles in the imperial service of Akbar. They performed the following functions :

i)They participated in military campaigns with their armies.

ii)They served as officers of the empire in the provinces.

iii)Each military commander recruited, equipped and trained the cavalry of the Mughal army.

iv)The troopers maintained superior horses.

Recruitment: The nobility rendered the imperial service. In this way, it acquired not only power but also wealth and the highest possible reputation. If a person wished to join this service, he petitioned through a noble. The noble presented a proposal (tajwiz) to the emperor in this regard. If the candidate was found suitable, he was granted a mansab. The Mir Bakshi (paymaster general) stood by the right side of the emperor in an open court. He presented appointment or promotion to all the candidates.

Advisory Body of Important Ministers : In the Mughal Court, two ministers were very important. The first was the Diwan-i-Ala (finance minister). The second was the Sadr-us-Sudur (minister of grants or Madad-i-maash). He was also the incharge of appointing local judges or qazis.

These three ministers never sat together as an advisory body. The Mir Bakshi, the Diwan-i-Ala and Sadr-us-Sudur were independent of each other. However they advised Akbar in all the fiscal and monetary matters and helped him in shaping his administrative institutions.

Reserve Nobles : A few nobles remained stationed at the court. They were called Tainat-i-rakab. They served as a reserve force to be sent to a province or military campaign. They were duty bound to appear before the emperor twice a day daily. Both in the morning and evening, they had to express submission and loyalty to the emperor in the public audience hall. ‘They guarded the emperor and his house-hold round the clock.

Relationship with the Emperor: The nobility was very loyal to the emperor. It was also very obedient and submissive. It served as officers of the empire. The emperor personally reviewed changes in their rank, titles and official postings. Akbar himself designed the mansab system. He also established spiritual relationships with a selected band of his nobility. He treated them as if they were his disciples {murid).

Q9. Identify the elements that went into the making of the Mughal ideal of kingship.

Answer: (i) According to Akbars court poet, Abu’l Fazl Mughal kingship as the highest station in the hierarchy of objects receiving light emanating from God (farr-i- izadi). According to this idea, there was a Hierarchy in which the Divine Light was transmitted to the king (Mughal Emperor) who then became the source of spiritual guidance for his subjects.

(ii) Mughal chronicles present the empire as comprising many different ethnic and religious communities – Hindus, Jainas, Zoroastrians and Muslims. As the source of all peace and stability, the emperor stood above all religious and ethnic groups, mediated among them, and ensured that justice and peace prevailed.

(iii) Abu’l Fazl describes the ideal of sulh-i kui (absolute peace) as the cornerstone of enlightened rule. In sulh-i kul all religions and schools of thought had freedom of expression but on condition that they did not undermine the authority of the state or fight among themselves The ideal of sulh-i kul was implemented through state policies – the nobility under the Mughals was a composite one comprising Iranis, Turanis, Afghans, Rajputs, Qeccanis – all of whom were given positions and awards purely on the basis of their service and loyalty to the king.

(iv) Akbar abolished the tax on pilgrimage in 1563 and jizya in 1564 as the two were based on religious discrimination. Instructions were sent to officers of the empire to follow the concept of sulh-i kul.

(v) All Mughal emperors gave grants to support the buildings and maintenance of places of worship. However, it was during the reign of Auranzeb, the jizya was re¬imposed on non-Muslim subjects.

(vi) Abu’l Fazl defined sovereignty as a social contract. According to him the emperor protects the four essences of subjects, namely, life (jan), property (mal), honour (narnus) and faith (din), and in return demands obedience and a share of resources from the people. Only sovereigns were thought to be able to honour the contract with power and Divine guidance

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