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Mughal Society


Society in Mughal times was organized on a feudal basis and the head of the social system was Emperor. He enjoyed an unparallel status. He was the ultimate authority in everything. Next in rank were the nobility along the zamindars.The Mughal nobles monopolized most of the jobs in the country. Socially and economically the Mughal nobility formed a privileged class. There were men of every type and nationality among the Mughal nobles. Clan or family links were the most important considerations for recruitment and admission to the aristocratic class of the society.Zamindars or the chieftains also constituted the nobility. They had their own armed forces and generally lived in forts or garhis which was both a place of refuge and a status symbol. There was a large class of merchants and traders. They had their own rights based on tradition and protection of life and property. They also maintained a high standard of living.

During Mughal period the Indian society was in the process of developing into a common society for the religious groups of Hindus and Muslims.Inter-mixing and adaptation of each others culture was fairly common. Among the prevalent social practices the purdah system was one of that but it was practiced more by the women of upper classes. The child marriage was prevalent. Though polygamy was prevalent in upper sections of society the common people followed monogamy.

Dowry system was common in Hindu society. The sati was prevalent though Akbar tried to discourage sati by issuing orders but he could not forbid it altogether.Aurangzeb was the only Mughal who issued definite orders in 1664 forbidding sati. The Muslim society was also divided based on the place of origination. The widow remarriage was prevalent in the society. Economically Muslim woman was entitled to a share in the inheritance.

The Hindu society was divided into four castes. The coming of Muslims and their constant condemnation of the caste system made the system more rigid. The Hindu society in order to strengthen itself recasted the Smritis and tried to bring back from the Islamic fold those Muslims who were converts from Hinduism.

It was a common practice to maintain a large contingent of slaves both males and females. The prisoners of war were generally the main constituent of this system. They were supposed to perform every task free of cost. But they were not subject to torture.

The lower class comprised of the cultivators,artisans,small traders, shop-keepers ,household servants, slaves etc.Most of them were condemned to live a hard life. Their lives were simple and their belongings were meagre.