for the first time. Under Shah Jahan it was reopened from its mouth at
Khizrabad to serve Delhi and came to be known as the Nahr-i-Bihisht
(Channel of Heaven). It was also used for irrigation.
Slow Growth Agriculture was carried on in the same way as in the ancient
times, there being little change in the methods of cultivation and agricultural
implements. Despite the expansion in the area under cultivation, the growth
in agricultural production was quite slow, i.e. it was not able to keep in pace
with the growth in the needs of the people as well the state.
Causes This slow growth or near stagnation in agricultural production (in
comparison with the rapidly increasing requirements of the time) was due to
certain factors—lack of any new methods of cultivation to counter the trend
of declining productivity of the soil; increased amount of land revenue; the
attempts of the zamindars and the upper caste and rich peasants to prevent the
lower castes and the rural poor from settling new villages and thus acquiring
proprietary rights in land; the jajmani system, a reciprocal system that existed
in rural India, encouraged production mainly meant for local consumption
and not for the market.
Growth of Crafts and Artisanal Activities
Condition of Rural Crafts Accounts of foreign travelers reveal that a
number of industries flourished in India before the British conquered it.
Though agriculture was the chief occupation of the majority of the people in
Mughal India, it is evident that India was a rich manufacturing nation which
catered to both internal and external demand. This is because of the vast non-
agricultural production both in rural and urban areas. Manufacturing in
Mughal India was predominantly a rural activity.
In the country side, the artisan’s family was the basic unit of production.
There is no reason to doubt that the bulk of rural manufactures were produced
by hereditary artisan castes and occupations. It seems that the real
demarcation line between agriculture and manufacture did not exist, as it is
evident that most of the artisans had agriculture as their primary occupation.
Weaving, for example, was taken up by women in the households.
The main rural manufactures were carpentry, weaving, dyeing, smithery,
etc., which more or less were taken up for domestic needs. Indigo and