overlordship of the Mughals over them—those who joined Mughal imperial
service and were granted mansabs and jagirs; those who did not join Mughal
service and hence were not given mansabs and jagirs, but had the obligation
of rendering military service to the Mughals when called upon to do so; and
those who never rendered military service but paid tributes and personal
homage to the Mughals. The Mughals normally did not interfere in the
internal affairs of these autonomous zamindars.
Intermediary Zamindars Those who had ownership rights over his
personal lands but had only zamindari rights, i.e. hereditary right to collect
revenue from the peasants for the state, over a wider area. For this service to
the state, they were entitled for a portion of the surplus produce. They formed
the back-bone of Mughal revenue administration.
Primary Zamindars Those who had ownership rights over his personal
lands and zamindari rights over his zamindari, but did not perform the hered-
itary function of collecting revenue for the state. He got only his malikana or
customary share of the surplus produce, but not the nankar or additional
share of the surplus produce, which he could have got if he had performed his
hereditary function.
Thus, the rights of the zamindars co-existed with those of the state and the
actual producer. The economic condition of the zamindars as a class was
much better than that of the peasantry. Bigger zamindars led as ostentatious a
life as the nobles, but the smaller zamindars lived more or less like the
State of Agriculture
Main Crops Foreign travellers’ accounts as well as the Ain-i-Akbari show
that cereals, millets, oil-seeds, sugarcane, cotton, hemp, indigo, poppies and
betel were grown extensively. Ajmer sugarcane was perhaps the best in
quality in the 16th century. European demand resulted in a tremendous
increase in indigo production in India, centered in Sarkhij (Gujarat) and
Bayana (near Agra). Tobacco, which was brought to the Mughal court from
Bijapur during Akbar’s reign and the smoking of which was prohibited by
Jahangir, became a very valuable crop and was extensively cultivated. Chilli
as well as potato were introduced      in India by the Portuguese, while Babur