HIS282Y1 Lecture Notes - Imperial House Of Japan, Guru Nanak, Bahmani Sultanate
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The delhi sultanate
Vast expanse of land and loads of local authority, so how do you create an
administrative structure that functions, while also being attentive to local customs
and changes? Are the onse that allow for local autonomy but at the same time there
is administration, and the delhi sultanate sets up the pattern. Agrarian surplus is
needed to fund commerce. The place of india in a growing world economy, with
arab traders and others coming overseas.
The land revenue system is based on the sultanate being divided into provinces,
with governors called mucti, who collect land revenue from from peasants and
manage the territory itself. Each one is required to keep a quota of riders and
footsoldiers, however its not a permanent assignment and he’s liable to be
transferred at any given time. That’s how the sultan keeps them in control. His
salary is a fixed share of the revenue of the land that he has collected, so each get a
land grant called iqta. The rest gets submitted to the sultan. Every mucti is also a
landgrant holder, called iqtadar, but he is also assisted by officials, the people who
actually asses the land as in how big it is and how much taxes it will bring, and
officials responsible for collecting the revenue. They are also landgrant holders, but
their revenue is smaller. Besides efficiency this can also produce breaking up of
The land is available to the emperor to give to his subjects, and it has also existed
before the emperor system, the difference is that it is more comprehensive. The
land grant is not hereditary, the sultan can choose not ot continue it, being given a
grant doesn’t mean you own it, just that you collect the revenue.
All iqtadars are land grant holder and slowly there is the development of land grant
farming, sometimes agreeing on fixed amount to give yearly to the sultan, which
was more profitable in some cases. This becomes the basis for a layer system of
land grant farming, smaller officials having an eventual right to collect from smaller
pieces of land. On the one hand this produces a great deal of flexibility, for example
by giving the ability to make deals with chieftans that aren’t part of the empire. At
the same times this makes the threat of things falling apart constant. It means
being able to incorporate people at the ground level but the very systems that
enable this threaten to pull it apart.
Two meachanisms that are important for control were that he could move governors
overnight to different land grant places.
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