Mughal India Social


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Mughal India


- Patriarchy

-Status of women remained low (except for the wives and concubines of rulers)

-Sati (the burning of widows) still practiced even with Akbar and Shah Jahah outlawing it

-Purdah strictly enforced for upper class women (though Akbar tried to remedy this by encouraging markets to have certain days just for women)

-Muslim women were veiled

-Sharia (Islamic law) restricted women’s rights

-Non Muslims were subject to jizya (or a tax)


-Persian was the language of Akbar’s court

-Common people spoke Hindi which is a mixture of Persian and a local language.

-Urdu was spoken among the Mughal armies which were a blend of Arabic, Persian and Hindi.

-Arts flourished in the Mughal court

-A revival of Hindu literature such as a retelling of the epic love story Ramayana in Hindi called Ramcaritmanas.

-Architecture style had massive yet graceful structures decorated with intricate stone work depicting Hindu themes

-The Taj Mahal was built as a tomb for Sha Jahan’s wife, Nur Jahan.

-Fatehpur Sikri, the capital city of the Mughals was famous throughout the Muslim world for its beauty.


-10-15% Muslim

-Majority Hindu

-Minorities of Sikh, Jewish and Christian

-Sikhs rose and originally wanted to bridge the differences between Muslims and Hindu

-Persecution of Sikhism led to it becoming very anti-Muslim

-Akbar created the “Divine Faith” (or Din-i-Ilahi) that combined Islamic, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Christian and Sikh beliefs.

-Akbar ended the ban on the building of new Hindu temples and ordered Muslims to respect cows.

-Akbar wanted religious tolerance and to put an end to sectarian divisions.


-1498: Babur fights the Ozbeg tribes for control of his homeland and is driven back to present day Afghanistan

-1526: Baber enters India and crushed the Muslim Lodi dynasty

-1527: Babur’s forces defeat a confederation of Hindu warrior-kings at Khanua

-Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan’s son conquered most of the Indian subcontinent by 1707.

-The English built a fortified trading post at Madras and Fort William.

-The Portuguese, Dutch, English and French all traded in India.

- Trade goods were brought from throughout Asia to exchange for Indian cotton cloth and clothing.

-The western port of Bombay was ceded to the British East India Company.


-The Mughals centralized power in India under one ruler (autocratic).

-A great deal of the power was based on military might and religious zeal.

-Princes fought with one another to become heir to the throne, causing much political turmoil.

-Aurangzeb conquered most of the Indian subcontinent by his death in 1707.

-Babur’s reasons for conquest were not religious. He only wanted to retrieve his original kingdom.

-The government contained a bureaucracy that changed little from that of the previous Lodi dynasty.

-The bureaucracy eventually became bloated and corrupt.

-Persian and Afghan warrior bands constantly skirmished with the Mughals.

-While Aurangzeb was conquering India, Muslim and Hindu princes revolted.

- Local leaders’ autonomy grew and started to divert more and more resources towards their own personal savings.

-Hindu poor resisted because of the head tax that was reinstated in later regimes.

-Sikhs became anti-Muslim due to persecution by the Mughals.

- Muslim kingdoms in central and east India continued to resist the Mughals.

-Islamic invaders plundered once it was clear that the Mughals could no longer hold them off.


-Gun carts, movable artillery and cavalry tactics were used to rout the Lodi army.

- As a gunpowder empire they used military force and advanced weaponry to maintain power.

-They liked to scare the elephants that their enemies used to create a distraction.


-Land revenue was granted to military officers and government officials in return for their service.

-Many grew wealthy through revenue from various economic activities on their land grants such as farming and trade and the taxes they collected helped the central government as well.

- The Mughals controlled more commercial networks based on cotton, indigo and silk as they conquered more territory.

- The Mughals had highly sought after cotton cloth and clothing that the Europeans

-Economy thrived because of a boom in the Indian cotton trade.


-The Mughals’ most important agricultural crop was cotton that was used to create their famed cotton cloth and clothing.

-The Mughals also had important crops of silk and indigo

-Most of the Indian subcontinent was conquered by 1707


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