and the sultan was free to treat the royal treasury virtually as his privy purse.
Peasantry The peasantry, known as the balahars, paid one-third of their
produce as land revenue, sometimes even one-half of the produce. Besides
land revenue, they paid certain other taxes which prove that taxation during
this period was as much, if not higher than, as in the previous period. In other
words, the peasants were always living at the subsistence level which was
easily denied by the frequent wars, thus resulting in large scale, and not so
Muqaddams and Small Landlords They had a better standard of life, for
they readily misused their power in order to exploit the ordinary peasants.
Autonomous Chieftains They constituted the most prosperous rural
section. Though they were now a defeated ruling class, they were still
powerful in their respective areas and continued to live a luxurious life as in
the pre-Muslim period.
EVOLUTION OF THE IQTA SYSTEM
First Stage (1206–1290) The system started with the assignment of
different regions as iqtas (territorial areas or units whose revenues were
assigned to officials in lieu of salaries) to military commanders, out of
whose revenues they could maintain themselves and their troops as well.
Iqta in this stage stood for not only a revenue unit but also an
administrative unit. Transfer of iqtas from one person to another was done
rarely in this period.
Second Stage (1290–1351) Modification of the system was done under
the Khaljis and the early Tughluqs. They resorted to frequent transfer of
iqtas. They insisted on the submission of accounts of collection and
expenditure by the iqtadars or muqtis
(holders of iqtas) regularly and sending the balance (fawazil ) to the
treasury. Estimation of the revenue paying capacity of each area, fixation
of the salaries of the officers in terms of cash and assignment of the iqtas