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New political empires

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University of Toronto St. George
Ritu Birla

October 3 rd The delhi sultanate Land revenue 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 authority. 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. Cultural developments The development of bhakti devotionalism, the idea that access to god can be through devotion and faith rather than Brahmins. At the same time there is a development in islam in Sufism. Most south Asian muslims are sunnis but in parts of north india and Punjab there is a shea influence coming through Persia and the seat of high culture in indo-islam, from which Sufism develops. It comes to prominence in Persia since the 10 c. Many in Persia convert to islam, that is in delhi and the ganja valley, its influential in the north west. It develops the mystical aspect of islam, the idea being that you experience god, you don’t need to know about how him (going into trances etc. ) Intelect is a bondage, faith liberator etc. Losing the consciousness of being, complete mystical oneness, emphasis on devotionalism. There are also women sufi saints that are very focused on the love for god. The idea that the divine is a feeling rather than a knowledge that can only be expressed as the higher love. Sufism also spreads bhakti, the practices of being outside this world etc. Sufism in this way helps to build the popular culture of Hinduism. You have sufi poets and saints that are from the lowest castes, spread
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