What were the gradual changes in the Mansabdari System made by Jahangir?


While the basic elements of Akbar’s mansabdari system were retained in the seventeenth century, certain new features appeared during the reign of his successors. The reign of Jahangir saw an im­portant innovation in the mansabdari system, namely the introduction of the du-aspah sih-aspah rank (literally, trooper with two or three horses) which implied that a mansabdar had to maintain and was paid for double the quota of troopers indicated by his sawar rank.

Thus a mansabdar holding a zat rank of 3,000, and 3,000 du-aspah sih-aspah would be required to maintain 6,000 troopers. Fur du-aspah sih-aspah, both the pay and obligations of the mansabdars were doubled. Under Shah Jahan we have new scales of pay, monthly rations and new regulations prescribing the sizes of contingents under various sawar ranks.

For the purpose of assigning jagirs the revenue department had to maintain a register indicating the assessed income (jama) of various areas, which was not indicated in rupees but in dams, calculated at the rate of 40 dams to a rupee. This document was called jama-dami or assessed in­come of an area based on damas.


During the reign of Shah Jahan the jama-dami or value of the jagir increased in accordance with the price rise during the period. During the reign of Aurangzeb there was a large increase in the number of mansabdars, specially of the higher grades.

The number of mansabdars became so large that there were com­plaints that no jagirs were left for being granted to them. The crisis became so acute that the emperor and his ministers repeatedly contemplated stopping all fresh recruitments, but the force of circumstances prevented them from doing so leading to the jagirdari and agrarian crisis which, in turn, precipitated the collapse of the mansabdari system after Aurangzeb.

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