Growth in Trade
Urbanisation The Mughals, forming the main part of the ruling class and
being outsiders, found it convenient to settle down in towns and cities, rather
than in villages where they would be treated as aliens. Unlike the British of
the later period, they made India their home and spent all their income in
India itself particularly in the towns and cities, by encouraging handicrafts,
art and architecture, literature, and the like.
Traders and Merchants Economically and professionally, this was a
highly stratified class. Economically, they could be divided into big business
magnates owning hundreds of ships, rich merchants and traders of towns, and
petty shopkeepers. Professional specialisation was prevalent in the form of
wholesale traders, retail traders, banjaras or those specialised in the carrying
trade, shrofjs or those specialised in banking, etc. The shroffs developed the
institution of hundis or bills of exchange. Big and rich merchants lived in an
ostentatious manner and aped the manners of the nobles. But small merchants
lived a simple life.
Though European novelties were very popular with the Mughal
aristocracy, the same cannot be said about their mechanical inventions. But
what is interesting is the request made by Bhimji Parikh, a broker of the
English East India Company, for a printing press possibly to print his bills.
Though a printer was accordingly sent in 1671, the experiment was not a
success and no further information on Parikh’s pioneering efforts at printing
in India are available.
Others The class of officials ranged from big mansabdars to ordinary
soldiers and clerks. Other urban groups or classes included those of the
artisans, handicraftsmen, teachers and doctors.
Causes for Growth of Trade
Political and economic unification of the country under Mughal rule and the
establishment of law and order over extensive areas.
Improvement of transport and communications by the Mughals.
Encouragement given by the Mughals to the monetisation of the economy or
the growth of money economy.