About the Book
Book 1: India in the 16th Century
Book 2: Mughal Empire:
Book 3: Regional Powers and the Mughals
Political Ideas and Institutions
Book 5: State
Production and Trade
Book 7: Society
and Culture I
Book 8: Society
and Culture II
Book 9: India at
the Mid 18th Century
The present Block introduces you to the political and
economic contours of the Indian sub-continent and the states towards her
western borders, as a curtain raiser to the study of the Mughal Empire.
The first Unit deals with the geography, and,
political formations in Persia and Central Asia under the Safavis and the
The second Unit examines the Lodi and the Sur Empires
in North India in their political and administrative context. A rapid survey of
the economy is also offered in this Unit.
The third Unit proposes to study the polity and
economy in Deccan and South India.
The fourth Unit is concerned with the coming of the
Portuguese and the trading world of Asia. In Block 6 of EHI-03 we discussed the
Portuguese advent in the Asian waters, though very briefly. In this Unit, you
will learn the details of Portuguese trading activities.
Book 2: Mughal Empire: Polity
Block 1 of this course (India from 16th to mid-18th
century) put before you a rapid survey of the political, and economic situation
of India and her adjacent regions (Central and West Asia), including the advent
of the Portuguese, on the eve of the establishment of the Mughal Empire.
The present Block carries the story further. It
contains three units (5, 6 and 7). Unit 5 traces the background and growth of
the Mughal Empire upto 1556 (from Babur to the accession of Akbar). You will learn
about the difficulties of Babur in his homeland, the courses of his success in
north India and his relations with the Rajputs, Afghans, etc. Also, it deals
with the three main problems of his son Humayun, that is, confrontations with
Sher Shah, Bahadur Shah of Gujarat and his own brothers. It recounts the
circumstances that forced him to leave India for Persia and, then, it tells us
how he was able to re-establish himself at Delhi.
Unit 6 narrates the process of expansion and
consolidation of the Mughal power in different parts of India upto 1707.
Unit 7 examines the relations of the Mughal state with
the Safavi sovereigns of Persia and the Uzbeg rulers of Central Asia.
In Block 2 you read about the growth, expansion and
consolidation of the Mughal Empire as well as. the relations between the
Mughals and Persia and Central Asia. In the present Block, you would study
about the regional states in India and the policy of the Mughal Empire towards
There are four Units in Block 3. The first (No. 8)
narrates the story of the origin and growth of three Deccan states: Bijapur,
Golkonda and Ahmednagar. These three were "segmentary" states ruled
by Muslim dynasties (both sunni and shia). You would learn how a state comes into existence and grows through sheer
political chicanery, disgusting intrigues, unscrupulous defections, internecine
feuds and murders. But all this was not exclusive to the Deccan states: it was
true of the Marathas and the Rajputs also.
The second Unit (No. 9) examines the relationship between the Mughals and the Deccan states. It
seeks to discover the motives and objectives of the Mughals in their dealings
with them. Slowly but surely, the compulsion of circumstance pushed the Mughals
to exploit the situation and finally annex the three states into the Mughal
The third Unit (No. 10) traces the rise of the Marathas and the formation of a Maratha state
under the amazing leadership of Shivaji. The latter was a military adventure
who after a series of conflicts managed to carve out an independent Maratha
kingdom. However, the story of the Marathasduring the seventeenth century
cannot be appreciated properly in isolation from the Deccan states and the
The fourth Unit (No. 11) focuses on the rise of the
Rajput states in Rajasthan and elsewhere. The treatment is a very detailed one
to give you a broad understanding of the subject. You would come across some
unusual observations relating to the varying patterns of relationship between
the Mughals and the Rajput states. Who gained what and how much all this is for you to conclude.
Book 4: Political Ideas and Institutions
Every human settlement formulates some basic laws and
rules of conduct to sustain itself for long. These laws and rules are not
eternal: they go on changing according to the dew needs of the humans.
The Mughal polity, too, was the result of certain set
of laws, institutions and concepts with some occasional changes to cope with
ever emergent problems during the course of time.
The present Block (No. 4) is mainly concerned with the
two aspects of the Mughal polity - political ideas and institutions. The first
Unit (No. 12) in this Block explore the terrain of ideas in terms of the Mughal
perception of state and sovereignty. It first takes into account the Central
Asian traditions to understand its impact on the Mughal concept of sovereignty.
It. is necessary to do this exercise since the Mughals came from the Central
Asian culture-area. It is a rather tough Unit, but we hope you will enjoy to
learn about the funny human ego as to who was the "the strongest of
all". This laughable trait still continues in the world. Just ponder over
what is happening in our own courtyard!
The second Unit (No. 13) deals with the Mughal ruling
class: Its composition, its status in the polity and the lifestyle of its elite
members. Apparently it was an 'international' (7) feudal-bureaucracy, but the
undercurrents of ethnic strife and jealousies started undermining the so-called
centralised Mughal Empire.
The Unit 14 goes into some detail of the Mughal
Administration at the central, provincial and local levels. You will come across
numerous important officers upon whose efficiency depended the stability of the
The fourth Unit (No. 15) is concerned with the two
most basic institutions of the Mughal Polity: mansabdari and jagirdari. The
Mughal ruling class owed its existence to both the institutions. In fact, the
Units 13, 14 and 15 are interrelated and, therefore, these three should be
studied at one go.
Book 5: State and Economy
You have already read Block 4 ('Political Ideas and
Institutions') wherein we have presented material relating to the concept of
Mughal Sovereignty composition of the ruling groups, Mughal central and
provincial administration including the working of the mansab system.
The mansab system
was an integrate part of the Mughal land revenue policies and administration.
In fact, land revenue system was the foundation of the Mughal power, pomp and
splendour as long as it worked in a rational manner. A crisis in this system
generated a crisis in its superstructure, that is, mansabdari as well as the military strength of the Empire'.
The present Block offers you five Units. The Unit 16
deals with the various aspects- of the Mughal land revenue system-methods of
assessment, fixation of the revenue amount to be paid by the peasants, mode of
payment (cash or kind), personnel connected with- revenue collection, relief
In Unit 17, you would learn about the position of the
agrarian groups and their mutual relations. You will meet the zamindar, chaudhuri, muqaddam and patwari. You will also read about the
peasants' rights and the village community.
The Units 18 and 19, deal with the lane revenue policy
of the Marathas, Deccan and South Indian States, and also the agrarian
relations that existed in these territories.
In Unit 20 some aspects of fiscal and monetary, system
as well as prices have been discussed.
Book 6: Production and Trade
Like Block 5, this Block, too, is very important. It
carries five Units.
In Unit 21, you would learn about the various crops, etc.
that were raised in the agricultural sector. Some new crops were introduced
into India by the Europeans (for example: tobacco). Old crops like indigo got a
boost because of its great demand in Europe.
Non-agricultural production is taken note of in Unit
22. It is interesting to discover that many commodities produced in the
"non-agricultural" sector of economy had their base in agricultural
production (cotton for textiles, blue dye from indigo, sugar from sugarcanes,
oil from oil-seeds, etc). This Unit also deals with diamond, saltpetre and
The Unit 23 dwells upon inland trade (regional and
interregional) and foreign trade (overland and sea-borne). This Unit is further
elaborated on the next one, that is, Unit 24 wherein the role and functions of
the diverse mercantile groups are described (moneylender, sarraf, broker, small
and big merchants). You would also come to know about the commercial practices
or institutions like usury and rate of interest, insurance, and bottomry.
The last Unit (25) to this Block presents you with
glimpses of the European trading Companies that came to India during the 16th
and 17th centuries. It dears with" their formation, objectives, internal
organization and their role in the commercial and political World of India.
Book 7: Society and Culture I
This Block deals with many aspects of the social and
cultural life in Medieval India. -The first Unit (26) tries to explore the
demographic contours by the end of the sixteenth century. Since we do not
possess any direct data on population in Medieval India; scholars adopted
strategems to use other data to yield some information on this problem. From
Moreland to Irfan Habib, this exercise has been going on. Each scholar has
worked out hislher own estimate of the number of people in A.D. 1600. -In this
debate you will notice that Abul Fazl's Ain-i Akbari has become a great focus of attention. You will also
note that in the course of this debate scholars have been trying to establish
the validity of their individual methodology and results.
Units 27 and 28 are less controversial, they deal with
the rural and urban classes and their life-styles. Studies on urbanisation in
Medieval India is a recent trend which is very welcome.
Religious ideas and movements are taken into account
in Unit 29. You get an opportunity for observing the panorama of sectarian
ideas, especially of the mystics- both' the Hindus and Muslims. What prompted
them to launch separate groups of their own cannot be explained satisfactorily.
By and large, the mystics thought and 'spoke in terms of human values in the
backdrop of the belief in a Supreme Being. However, you would realise that
"truth" is not the monopoly of anyone group. In the midst of diversities
of religious ideas and movements, the goal of peace and harmony cannot be
missed by you.
30, a very sensitive aspect has been taken up. The theme "State and
Religion" has generated much heat amongst the modern scholars of Medieval
Indian history" The debate over it has even percolated to the common
people today. The religious policy of the Mughal rulers is one clear example of
the past penetrating into the present. Scholars have been surveying this theme
often with emotional and ideological overtones, thereby causing confusion and
tumult in the society. Attempt has been made here to put before you some relevant facts, pertaining to this 'topic. Youare free to draw
your 9wn conclusions.
Book 8: Society and Culture II
In Blocks 5 and 6, you were introduced to the agrarian
system, production and trade, etc. that is, the economy of Medieval India. Now,
in this Block (8), you would learn about Society and Culture. A part of this
theme has already encovered in Block 7.
There are four Units in this Block. The first deals
with the development of diverse Indian languages and literature that took place
in various regions of India. You would realize that the stimulus came from the
numerous sections of the society; the scholars, the mystics and the common people.
The second Unit offers glimpses of the level of
Science and Technology in Medieval India. While no breakthrough was made in
science, we ftnd some improvements and innovation in matters concerning
technology. A special note has been taken of the Indian response to European
In Unit 33, you will read about the numerous facets of
Architecture and regional variations with examples of the extant monuments.
and Fine Arts have been examined in Unit .34. You would come to know how the Mughal
school of painting originated, evolved and came to maturity. The impact of
European Art on Mughal School has also been discussed. Also, the main features
of regional schools (Rajput and Deccan) have been highlighted.
Book 9: India at the Mid 18th Century
This is the final Block of your course EHI-04. There
are only three Units in it.
Unit 35 critically surveys the question of the fall of
the Mughal Empire. You would come to know that scholars do not agree with each
other when they engage themselves in an in-depth exploration of the causes of
the decline. Many expound their own hypothesis in tune with their ideological
constraints and personal perceptions. It is a very important theme, and we hope
you would enjoy reading it.
Unit 36 picks up the thread from where Unit 35 leaves
by looking into the emergence of regional powers as a result of the weakening
of the Mughal Empire and other factors.
In Unit 37, you are introduced to another intensely
debated theme, that is, whether the Medieval Indian economy possessed the
capacity of capitalist development; in other words, whether Medieval India
could have on its own replaced its feudal bureaucratic structure by a new Capitalist
Block 1 India in The 16TH Century
Political Formations in Central and West Asia
Polity and Economy in North India
Polity and Economy in Deccan and South India
The Trading World of Asia and the Coming of the
A Note on Sources
Some Useful Books for this Block
Block 2 Mughal Empire: Polity
Growth of Mugbal Empire: 1526-1556
Expansion and Consolidation: 1556-1707
Relations with central' Asia and Persia
Some Useful Books for this Block
Block 3 Regional Powers and the Mughals
Ahmednagar, Bijapur and Golkonda
" The Deccan States and the Mughals
Rise of the Marathas in the 11th Century
Political Ideas and Institutions
Mughal Theory of Sovereignty
Mughal Ruling Class
Mughal Administration: Central, Provincial and
Mughal Administration: Mansab jagir
Block 5 State And Economy
Mughal Land Revenue System
Agrarian Relations: Mughal India
Land Revenue System: Maratha, Deccan and South India
Agrarian Relations: Deccan and South India
Fiscal and Monetary System, Prices
Some Useful Books For This Block
Block 6 Production and
Inland and Foreign Trade
Personnel of Trade and Commercial Practices
The European Trading Companies
Some Useful Books for This Block
Block 7 Society And Culture-I
Population in Mughal India
Rural Classes and Life-style
Urbanisation, Urban Classes and Life-style
Religious Ideas and Movements
State and Religion
Block 8 Society And Culture-II
Indian Languages and Literature
Science and Technology
Painting and Fine Arts'
Block 9 India in the Mid-18th Century
Decline of the- Mughal Empire
Rise of Regional Powers
Potentialities of Economic Growth: An Overview
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