Agriculture has been mainstay of economy in India since time immemorial. During Mughal time also it was not only the largest source of income to state but it was also the source of livelihood to the large majority of people in India. Main crops that were grown were cereals, millets, oilseeds, sugarcane, cotton, hemp, chilli, indigo and betel.
Tobacco and potato were introduced by Portuguese in India during Jahangir’s reign. Ajmer was famous for the best quality of sugar cane. Gujarat and Agra was famous for indigo cultivation.Babur introduced many central Asian fruits to India. During Akbar’s reign Firoz Shah’s Yamuna canal was repaired for the first time. In the reign of Shah Jahan,Nahr-i-Bihisht was built by opening the canal at Khizrabad for irrigation purposes.
The Muslim ruling class preferred to settle in the towns and cities. The artistic life style of Mughal ruling clan encouraged handicrafts, art and architecture and trade in India. The merchants and trader class was divided into big business magnates owing hundreds of ships, rich merchants and traders and petty shopkeepers. Hundi system was developed by shroffs for carrying out large transactions. Trade both intra country and outside India grew tremendously during the Mughal period particularly because of the following factors:
The political and economic unification of India under the Mughal rule and establishment of law and order over extensive areas created the favorable environment for trade and commerce. The improvement of transport and communications by the Mughals.Encouragement given by the Mughals to the monetization of economy. Arrival of European traders from the beginning of 17th century onwards and the growth of the European trade. Decca was the famous centre of muslin and textiles. Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Lahore were the main centers of silk weaving. Surat, Cambay, Braoch in Gujarat was the main ports for foreign trade.