nobility, as had already been seen in all the
emperor and nobles had shifted noticeably. Nobles gained the upper hand.
Rebellions in the provinces could not be quelled. Yet, regions of the empire
remained imperial provinces under Mughal authority long after the emperor’s
power to enforce subordination had disappeared.
Survival and Continuity of Elite Imperial Society Regions of Mughal
authority lasted longer than the empire itself. This resilient authority came
from the fact that regions had changed fundamentally as political territories,
under Mughal supremacy. The process of change combined elements drawn
from many sources. Most importantly, however, an elite imperial society
imbued with Indo-Persian culture had emerged in all the Mughal regions.
This imperial society not only survived, but even continued to flourish and
spread after Aurangzeb’s death left the later Mughals without a single
supreme commander for all its armies.
Combination of Military, Administrative and Cultural
Elements Mughal imperial society combined personnel as well as material
and cultural elements drawn widely from circuits of mobility in India.
Its military features included Mongol and Turkish techniques and
technologies that were already widespread when Babur began his career.
Babur added Uzbek cavalry and the artillery, muskets and infantry that
circulated around regions of Ottoman expansion.
New fighting skills, strategies and equipment arrived with each wave of
migrants from Central Asia, and also from Europe after Vasco da Gama
arrived in 1498. Military innovations from all over Eurasia arrived in Delhi
and in regions along the coast with increasing regularity.
Turkish influence was also important in revenue administration, beginning
with Timur’s adaptation of iqta assignments of land to support military
commanders, which the Ottomans and the Delhi Sultans adapted.
Under the Mughals, Persian influence became predominant, however, as
Akbar recruited Persian administrators, judges, sufis, artists and others to
expand, stabilise and refine the empire. Even so, Mughal administration was
The mansabdari system was a combination of Mongol ideas about warrior
dignity, Turkish techniques for allocating taxes to military commanders,
Persian bureaucratic formalities that separated military, revenue and legal