Akbar – Provincial administration – 3

Akbar – Provincial administration – 3

Provincial Administration

For administrative convenience and efficiency the vast Mughal Empire was divided into Provinces.

Sipah-Salar [The Governor]:
The head of provincial administration was the governor, officialy called as Sipah-Salar. In the time of Akbar’s successors he began to be called Nazim. His Chief functions were 1.to maintain order and peace in his province 2.to dispute justice 3.to take measures for public welfare 4.to help Diwan and other officers in the collection of land revenue 5. To encourage learning and education 6.to equip and maintain provincial forces. The Siph-Salar however could neither appear in jharokha nor could he give capital punishment nor make war and peace at his discretion. These were special prerogatives of king.
The Diwan: Next to Sipah-Salar the dawn was the most important officer of the province. Prior to 1579, he was appointed by Sipah-Silar but from 1579 onward the Diwan began to be appointed by the king on the recommendation of the imperial Diwan. His chief duty was to collect revenue of the province to keep a watch over the treasury, to examine the accounts, to encourage the growth of agriculture and to disburse the provincial officers. He also exercised supervision over the local land revenue officers.

The Sadr:
The provincial Sadr was also appointed by the central government. The king on the
Recommendation of Sadr-us- Sadur appointed him. His chief function was to supervise the lands granted by the king for religious and charitable purposes and he used to recommend deserving cases of the people for awards of royal stipends and scholarships. He could also grant lands on his own initiative.

The Qazi:
The Qazi was the head of judicial department of the province. He decided cases of his province and also exercised supervision over the Qazis of districts and towns.
The Bakshi:
Another important official of the province was the Bakshi. He was appointed by the emperor on the recommendations of Mir Bakshi. He was in charge of recruitment, organization and also that for maintaining discipline and efficiency on the provincial army.
The Waqia Nawis:
the Waqia Nawis was a very important officer of the central government in province.
Whenever a new appointment of the Waqia Nawis was made he was given the following advice:
‘’Report the truth, lest the emperor should learn the fact from another source and punish you. Your work is delicate; both sides have to be served.In the words of the most high officers, forbidden things are done. If you report them truly the officers will be disgraced. If you do not then you will be undone. In every matter write the truth but avoid offending the nobles. Write after carefully verifying your statements.
The Waqis Nawis posted news writers and spies in the offices of the Diwan Gazi and others.
The Kotwal:
In the capital of the province and all the cities there was Kotwal. He was appointed by the central government. He was essentially a police officer who maintained peace and order. He kept a vigilant watch over the bad characters of the Ilaqa.
He inspected the bazars and the markets and controlled trade and industry of the city. He also looked after the health and sanitary conditions of his area and made all arrangements for comfortable living of foreigners in the town.
Sarkar and its administration: Each province was divided into a number of units called Sarkars. The administration of a Sarkar was carried on by Faujdar.

The Faujdar was the executive and military head of Sarkar. Like the Chief Shiqdar of Sher Shah’s time his main duty was to maintain peace and order and to enforce the orders and regulations of the emperor. He kept and maintained a small army.
The Amal Guzar:
The next important officer of the Sarkar was the Amal Guzar ,who was in charge of revenue administration. He was to see that the lands properly surveyed, their produce correctly ascertained regarding the nature of the land and its produce, the arable and waste lands and the contracts made with the cultivators for payment of revenue and examined the records of the headman and patwaris.

The Khazandar:
The Khazandar was another assistant of Amal Guzar. He received the revenue and kept it in safe custody in the treasury. One key of the treasury was kept by him and the other was in the Amal Guzar. According to the instructions of the central government he sent the revenue to the imperial treasury
Pargana and its administration: Each Sarkar was subdivided into a number of units called Parganas. Its administration was carried on by The Shiqdar, The Amil, The Fotadar and
The Quango.

The Shiqdar:
Shiqdar was the executive head of the Pargana. His functions and duties were same as in the time of Sher Shah. He was to maintain peace and order to enforce the orders of the high ups and help the Amil in the collection of land revenues.
The Amil: His main work was the collection and assessment of land revenue. He was also to decide the cases of peasants. He would deal directly with the peasants and not with the headman of the village.
The Quango: He was the head of the Patwaris of a Pargana and kept all records pertaining to the produce of the land, the revenue demands, actual payment and arrears. He got one percent of the revenues collected in the Parganas as his commission. Akbar however paid them a fixed amount in cash.

Village Administration

It is generally believed that the Mughal emperors ignored the villages and also the village administration. But it does not appear to be correct. Though they left the village administration almost independent they did a lot for the cultivators by improving agriculture, by providing irrigational facilities to the cultivators and by digging canals and wells and also by helping the poor and needy peasants.
There was a council in every village called Panchayat. Its chief functions were watch and ward, sanitation, elementary education, irrigation, medical relief, public works, moral and religious welfare of the village. Besides in every village there were one or two watchmen, a priest, a school master, an astrologer, a carpenter, a blacksmith, a potter, a washerman, a barber, a physician and a patwari.