Mughal Army

The Mughal government was military in origin and it retained its military character. The emperor was the head of the army and its commander-in-chief. All the govt officials were enrolled in the army and were commanders of a specified number of horsemen. The Mughal force consisted of five branches of infantry, cavalry, fire-arms, elephants and war boats. The cavalry was the most important and was regarded as the flower of the army. Infantry was the largest branch of the army but it was ill paid and rugged branch. The firearms men consisted of gunners and musketeers.

The Mughals had no navy of their own. They delegated the navel defense of the western coast to the Abysinians and Sidis of Janjira. In lower Bengal the govt maintained a flotilla of boats of various types. These boats were placed under a darogha and were equipped with artillery. There was no regimental drill or discipline and no real training. The actual number of troops was only a fraction of the normal strength as recorded in Mir Bakshi’s register. There was no contract between the commander-in-chief and the individual troops who looked upon the Mansabdars as their immediate chiefs. The pay of the troops was generally in arrears.

During the time of the later Mughals sometimes their salaries for three years or more were not paid. Originally the strength of the Mughal army depended upon the mobility of the cavalry. This mobility was lost in the hills and deserts of Rajputana and Maharashtra.During the later days of Aurangzeb’s reign it became a prey to Marathas and in the 18th century it proved hopeless against the European trained battalions.