Unit-5 State and Society in India

The title of the unit addresses two distinct issues - State and Society. Why have we taken these two distinct features together?

Examine nature of Akbar's theory of kingship.

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Learning Pundits Content Team

Written on Apr 16, 2019 3:39:29 PM

  • Under Akbar kingship achieved new watermark. Akbar is represented as infalliable, thus placed himself above humans. Faizi, court poet of Akbar, contends: , 'Although king;; are the shadow of God on earth, he (Akbar) is the emanation of god's light'.
  • How then can we call him a shadow? Mahzar of Akbar (1579) clearly placed the rank of the Sultan higher to a mujtahid (interpreter of Shariat)'. Akbar's inclination towards sun worship fits well with the stress on king's depiction as 'divine light' (farri zacti).
  • The composition of the nobility under the Delhi Sultans and even under Babur and Humayun was largely based on kin/clan/family ties. But Akbar faced an uphill task of amalgamating different groups of varied ethnic background into his bureaucracy as the empire expanded. He addressed them as bandagan-i-dargah (servants of the empire). Nobles were expected to surrender everything - life, property, religion, and honour.
  • Historians argue that the Mughal state was 'highly centralised-bureaucratic structure'. Mansabduri (system of distribution of ranks among the nobles) and jagirduri (system of distributing land grants in lieu of salary to the nobles) were its twin pillars. 

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