Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 9 Kings and Chronicles: The Mughal Courts
Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 9 – 4 Marks Questions
“The granting of titles to the men of merit was an important aspect of Mughal polity”. Explain. (All India 2017)
The granting of titles to men of merit was an important aspect of Mughal polity as:
- A man’s ascent in the court hierarchy could be traced through the titles he held.
- The title Asaf Khan for one of the highest ministers originated with Asaf, the legendary minister of the prophet king Sulaiman (Solomon).
- The title Mirza Raja was accorded by Aurangzeb to his two highest ranking nobles, Jai singh and Jaswant Singh.
- Titles could be earned or paid for. For e.g. Mir Khan offered ? 1 lakh to Aurangzeb for the letter ‘Alif’ that is ‘A’, to be added to his name to make it Amir Khan.
How do you think that the chronicles
commissioned by the Mughal emperors are an important source for studing Mughal history? (HOTS; All India 2017)
Chronicles are an indispensable source for any scholar wishing to write a history of the Mughals. At one level, they were a repository of factual . information about the institutions of the Mugal state, painstakingly collected and classifed by individuals closely connected with the court (especially courtiers). They were written in order to project a vision of an enlightened kingdom to all those who came under its umbrella.
On the other hand, they were meant to convey to those who resisted the rule of the Mughals that all resistance was destired to fail. The rulers wanted to ensure that there was an account of their rule for posterity. The histories that the authors wrote focused on events centred on the ruler, his family, the court and nobles, wars and administrative arrangements.
Their titles such as the Akbar Nama, Shah Jahan Nama, Alamgir Nama i.e. the story of Akbar, Shah Jahan and Alamgir (a title of the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb), suggest that in the eyes of their authors the history of the empire and the court was synonymous with that of the emperor.
How do you think that Qandahar remained a bone of contention between the Mughals and the Safavids? Explain.
The following points in this regard are discussed below:
- The political and diplomatic relations between the Mughal kings and the neighbouring countries of Iran and Turan hinged on the control of the frontier defined by the Hindukush mountains that separated Afghanistan from the regions of Iran and Central Asia.
- Qandahar was a bone of contention between the Safavids and the Mughals. The fortress town had initially been in the possession of Humayun, reconquered in 1595 by Akbar. While the Safavid court retained diplomatic relations with the Mughals, it continued to stake claims to Qandahar.
- In 1613 Jahangir sent a diplomatic envoy to the court of Shah Abbas to plead the Mughal case for retaining Qandahar but the mission failed.
- In the winter of 1622 a persian army. besieged Qandahar. The ill-prepared Mughal garrison was defeated and had to surrender the fortress and the city to the safavids.
“Mughal rulers efficiently assimilated heterogeneous populace within an imperial edifice”. Support the statement. (All India 2016)
Mughal rulers efficiently assimilated heterogeneous populace within an imperial edifice.
This statement can be justified in the following ways:
- Mughal chronicles described that the Mughal empire was comprised of many different ethnic and religious communities i.e. Hindus, Jainas, Zoroastrians and Muslims.
- As the emperor gathered knowledge about all religions and sects, he stood above all religious and ethnic groups, mediated among them and ensured justice and peace for all.
- Akbar accepted the ideal of Sulh-i-kul i.e. all religions and schools of thought had freedom of expression, but they did not undermine the authority of the state.
- Akbar abolished tax on pilgrimage and Jizya. AH Mughal emperors gave grants to support the building and maintenance of the places of worship, when temples were destroyed during war. Later grants were given to repair these at the time of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb.
“The keeping of the exact and detailed record was the major concern of Mughal administration”. Support the statement with examples. HOTS; (All India 2016)
The keeping of exact and detailed records was a major concern of the Mughal administration. This can be justified in the following ways:
- The Mir Bakshi supervised the corps of court writers (Waquia navvis), who recorded all applications and documents presented to the court, and all imperial orders i.e. farman.
- Agents (Wakil) of nobles and regional rulers recorded the entire proceedings of the court under the heading ‘News from the Exalted court’ with the date and time of the court session (pahar).
- The akhbarat contained all kinds of information like attendance at the court, grant of offices and titles, diplomatic missions, presents received or the enquiries made by the emperor about the health of an officers.
- All these informations is valuable for writing the history of the public and private lives of kings and nobles.
‘One important pillar of Mughal administration was the nobility’. Justify. (Delhi 2015)
One of the most important pillar of the Mughal state was its corps of officers. Historians called them as nobility. The main features of this class were:
- The nobility was recruited from diverse ethnic and religious groups. It ensured that no group was large enough to challenge the authority of the king.
- The nobility was described as a bouquet of flowers (guldasta) held together by loyalty to the emperor.
- In Akbar’s time, Turani and Iranian nobles played a significant role in administration. Many of them accompanied Humayun, some migrated later to join the Mughal Court.
- From 1560 onwards, two ruling groups of Indian origin, viz. the Rajputs and the Indian Muslims (Shaikhzadas) entered the imperial service.
“Abu’l Fazl has described the ideal of Sulh-i-kul of Akbar as the corner-stone of his enlightened rule”. Justify. (Delhi 2015)
The ideal of Sulh-i-kul i.e. absolute peace was described by Abu’l Fazl as the corner stone of enlightened rule.
This can be justified in the following ways:
- Mughal empire had many different ethnic and religious communities like, Hindus, Jainas, Zoroastrians and Muslims. Thus, the emperor stood above all religious and ethnic groups to ensure justice and peace for all.
- In Sulh-i-kul, all religions and schools of thought had freedom of expression but on one condition that they did not ignore the authority of the state or fight among themselves to capture power.
- The ideal of Sulh-i-kul was implemented through state policies in which nobilities were comprising Iranis, Turanis, Afghans, Rajputs and Deccanis. All of them were given positions and awards on the basis of their service and loyalty to the emperor.
- In 1563, Akbar abolished the tax on pilgrimage and in 1564 he abolished Jizya. Both of these were based on religious discrimination.
- All Mughal emperors gave grants to support the building and maintenance of places of worship.
Identify the distinctive features of the imperial household of the Mughal Empire. (All India 2015)
The distinctive features of the imperial household of the Mughal Empire can be explained in the following ways:
- The household of the Mughals consisted of the emperor’s wives and concubines, his mother, step and foster mothers, sisters, daughters, daughter-in-law, aunts, children, etc and female servants and slaves.
- Polygamy was practised widely by Mughal emperor. The term ‘harem’ is used to refer to the domestic world of the Mughals. Persian word ‘haram’ means sacred place. Slave eunuchs (Khwajasara) were appointed as guards or servants in the harem.
- In the Mughal household, a difference was kept between wives come from royal, aristocratic families (begums) and other wives (aghas) who were not so noble by birth. The concubines (aghacha) occupied the lowest position. They all received monthly allowances and gift according to their status. The agha and aghacha could rise to the position of a begum depending on the husband’s will and in case where the husband did not already have four wives. Love and motherhood are considered here in acquiring such position for a legally wedded wives.
- Apart from wives, numerous male and female slaves were there in the Mughal household. They performed various types of works from regular work to specialised work which requires skill, tact and intelligence.
- Many Mughal queens and princess like Nur Jahan, Jahanara, Roshanara enjoyed significant power and financial status. Often elderly women of Mughal household played significant role in resolving tension among princes and kings.
“Historians have provided accounts of diplomatic relationships and conflicts with the neighbouring political powers of the Mughal Empire.” Elaborate. (All India 2015)
The Mughal emperors took many high-sounding titles like Shahenshah, Jahangir, Shah Jahan to reiterate their claims on territorial and political control. They had diplomatic relationships and conflicts with the neighbouring political powers. This can be explained in the following ways:
- The political and diplomatic relations between the Mughal rulers and the neighbouring countries of Iran and Turan were based on the control of the boundaries marked by the Hindukush mountains that separated Afghanistan from the regions of Iran and Central Asia.
- The conquerors who wanted to make their way into the Indian sub-continent had to cross the Hindukush to have access to North India. The central
objective off the Mughal policy was to ward off this potential danger. For this purpose outposts like Kabul and Qandahar were strictly regulated.
- Between the Safavids and the Mughals, Qandahar became a bone of contention. First it was under Humayun’s control, later it was captured by Akbar in 1595. But the Safavids continued to stake claims to Qandahar.
- Jahangir sent a diplomatic envoy to the court of Shah Abbas to plead the Mughal case for hiring Qandhar in 1613. However, the Mission failed. A Persian army captured Qandhar in 1622. The Mughal garrison which was ill-prepared was defeated. It had to surrender the fortress and the city to the Safavids.
Describe how the ‘Humayun Nama’ of Gulbadan Begum gives us the glimpses of the Mughal Imperial household. (All India 2013)
The book ‘Humayun Nama’ was written by Gulbadan Begum, the daughter of Babur. It gives us interesting glimpses of the Mughal Imperial household in the following ways:
- Gtdbadan’s book was not an eulogy of the Mughal emperors. Rather she described in great detail the conflicts and tensions among the princes and kings.
- Gulbadan also wrote about the significant role played by the elderly women of the Mughal household in resolving some of the conflicts of the Mughal empire.
- Gulbadan Begum recorded her memories of earlier times under Babur and Humayun, which was considered as a very important document of Mughal era.
Describe briefly the expansion and consolidation of Mughal Empire under Jalaluddin Akbar (1556-1605). (Delhi 2011)
Many historians think Jalaluddin Akbar is the greatest of all emperors. Akbar (1556-1605) not only expanded the empire but also consolidated it in the following ways:
1. Akbar became the emperor in 1556. He checked the expansionist designs of Uzbeks of Turan (Central Asia) and the Safavids of Iran. Qandahar was a bone of contention between the Safavids and the Mughals. Akbar reconquered it in 1595. He succeeded in extending the frontiers of the empire to the Hindukush mountains.
2. Akbar not only secured the frontiers of the empire, but he also expanded his empire to the Deccan. In Deccan, various states were constantly on war with each other. Akbar established his empire in Deccan and resolved the internal conflicts and persuaded the sultans to accept his supremacy.
3. Akbar consolidated the various instruments of governance. An effective method of taxation and administration was introduced. He abolished the tax on pilgrimage in 1563 and Jizya in 1564 as these two were based on religious discrimination. Instructions were sent to officers to follow the precept of Sulh-i-kul (absolute peace) in administration. All the Iranis, Turanis, Afghans, Rajputs, Deccans nobles were given positions and awards purely on the basis of their service and loyalty to the king. In this way, expansion and consolidation of Mughal Empire under Akbar took place.
Describe briefly how the emperor began his day in the balcony and at Diwan-i-am.
All Indio 2011
Jharoka darshan or appearance from the small balcony was introduced by Akbar with the objective of broadening the acceptance of the imperial authority as part of popular faith. The emperor began his day at sunrise with personal religious devotions or prayers and then appeared on a small balcony. The small balcony was known as the Jharoka and it faced the east. Below a crowd of people waited for a view or darshan of the emperor.
After spending an hour at the Jharoka, the emperor went to the public hall of audience (Diwan-i-am) to conduct the primary business of the government. Here state officials presented reports and made requests to the emperor. The emperor spent two hours here and then left for Diwan-i-Khas to discuss confidential matters.
Name the author of ‘Badshah Nama’. Describe its content. (All India 2011)
Abdul Hamid Lahori, a follower of Abu’l Fazl is known as the author of Badshah Nama.
On hearing about his talents, emperor Shah Jahan commissioned him to write a history of his reign on the pattern of Akbar Nama.
Badshah Nama is an official history which is divided in three volumes i.e., daftars, of ten lunar years each. Lahori wrote the first and second daftars which included the first two decades of the emperors reign (1627-47). These volumes were later improved by Sadullah Khan who was the wazir of Shah Jahan. Infirmities of old age prevented Lahori from writing the third volume, which was later chronicled by the historian Waris.
During the colonial period, the British administrator started the study of Indian History to establish an archive of knowledge about the sub-continent to help them for better understanding of the people and the culture of the empire they sought to rule. The edited text of Badshah Nama were first published by the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 19th century.
Why did Abu’l Fazl describe the land revenue as ‘remuneration of sovereignty’? Explain. (HOTS; Delhi Board 2009)
Abu’l Fazl described the land revenue as ‘remuneration of sovereignty’. He defined sovereignty as a social contract. Abu’1 Fazl’s view can be explained in the following ways:
- The Mughal emperor following the ideal of Sulh-i kul (absolute peace) protected the four essences of his subjects, viz. life (jan), property (mal), honour (namus) and faith (din).
- As the emperor protected his subjects, in return he demanded obedience and a share of resources.
- Only those sovereigns who had Divine guidance and power could honour the contract.
Describe the variety of tasks involved in creation of manusripts during the reign of the Mughal. (Delhi 2009)
The process of manuscript production in Mughal court are as follows:
- All books of Mughal India were in the form of manuscripts i.e. these were handwritten. Royal kitabkhana was the main centre of manuscripts’ production. Although, the term kitabkhana can be translated as the term library, actually it was a scriptorium. It was a place where the manuscripts of empire were collected and the new manuscript were fabricated.
- Various multi-tasking people were included for the fabrication of manuscripts. Paper makers were needed to prepare the folios of the manuscript calligraphers or scribes to copy the text, gilders to illuminate the pages, painters to illustrate scene from the textbook binders collected the individual folio’s and set them within the ornamental covers.
- Prepared manuscript was taken as precious object, an intellectual property and work of beauty. Such books were seen as examples of the power of Mughal emperors.
- Among the different persons involved in the production of manuscripts, calligraphers and painters hold a high social position, but paper makers or bookbinders have remained common artisans.
Describe briefly the relationship between the Mughals and the Ottomans. (All India 2009)
The relationship between the Mughals and Ottomans was dependent on some factors. These factors are:
- Their relationship was marked by the concern to ensure free movement for merchants and pilgrims in the territories under Ottoman control.
- This was especially true for Hijaz, that part of Ottoman Arabia where the important pilgrim centres of Mecca and Madina were located.
- The Mughal emperor usually combined religion and commerce by exporting valuable merchandise to Aden and Mokha, both Red Sea ports.
- The gross collection of sales was distributed among people as charity to the keepers of Shrines and among the religious men (Fakir).
Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 9 Source Based Questions
The Accessible Emperor:
In the account of his experiences, Monserrate, who was a member of the first Jesuit mission, says: It is hard to exaggerate how accessible he (Akbar) makes himself to all who wish audience of him. For he creates an opportunity almost every day for any of the common people or of the nobles to see him and to converse with him, and he endeavors to show himself pleasant-spoken and affable rather than severe towards all who come to speak with him. It is very remarkable that how great an effect this courtesy and affability has in attaching him to the minds of his subjects.
- Who were Jesuits? How did they establish their network in India?
- How did Monserrate accord his experience about the Akbar?
- How had Akbar’s courtesy brought affability for his subjects? Explain. (Delhi 2016)
1. Jesuits were the missionaries of the society of Jesus who were interested in the propagation of Christianity Akbar was curious about Christianity and dispatched an embassy to God to invite Jesuit priests. The high respect shown by Akbar towards the members of Jesuit mission impressed them and they gradually establish their network in India.
2. According to Monserrate, a member of the first Jesuit mission, Akbar was accessible to all who wished audience of him. Akbar created an opportunity everyday for any of the common people or for the nobles to see him and to converse with him.
3. Akbar’s courtesy brought affability for his subjects in the following ways:
- Mughal emperor Akbar was curious about Christianity. The high respect shown by Akbar towards the members of Jesuit mission impressed them deeply.
- Akbar created opportunity almost everyday for any of the common people or of the nobles to see him and converse with him.
- Akbar tried to show himself pleasant-spoken and affable towards all his native and foreigner subjects.
Abu’l Fazl gives a vivid account of Akbar’s darbar.
Whenever his Majesty (Akbar) holds court (darbar) a large drum is beaten, the sounds of which are accompained by Divine praise. In this manner, people of all classes receive notice. His Majesty’s sons and grandchildren, the grandees of the court, and all other men who have admittance, attend to make the kornish, and remain standing in their proper places. Learned men of renown and skilful mechanics pay their respects; and the officers of justice present their reports. His Majesty, with his usual insights, gives orders, and settles everything in a satisfactory manner.
During the whole time, skilful gladiators and wrestlers from all countries hold themselves in readiness, and singers, male and female, are in waiting. Clever jugglers and funny tumblers also are anxious to exhibit their dexterity and agility.
- Explain main activities taking place in Darbar of Akbar,
- Explain different forms of salutation to the ruler.
- How did Emperors begin his day? Explain. (Delhi 2009)
1. The main activities took place in darbar of Akbar were:
- A large drum was beaten, the sounds of which were accompanied by Divine praise.
- The emperor’s son, grandchildren, the grandees of the court and all other men attended the court made Kornish and remained standing in their proper places.
- Learned men of renown and skilful mechanics paid their respects and the officers of justice presented their reports.
- The Emperors gave orders and settled disputes in a satisfactory manner.
- Gladiators, wrestlers, singers, jugglers, funny tumblers waited anxiously to show their dexterity and agility.
2. The different forms of salutation to the ruler were:
- Sijda (Complete prostration)
- Chahan (Taslim (Submission)
- Zaminbos (Kissing the ground)
3. The emperor began his day at sunrise with personal religious devotions and then he appeared on small balcony (Jharoka) facing to the east for his subjets.
Important Questions for Class 12 History Chapter 9 Value Based Questions
Read the following passage and answer the question that follow:
Abu’l Fazl placed Mughal kingship as the highest station in the hierarchy of objects receiving light emanating from God (Farr-i-izadi).
Here he was inspired by a famous Iranian sufi, Shihabuddin Suhrawardi (d. 1191) who first developed this idea. According to this idea, there was a hierarchy in which the Divine Light was transmitted to the king who then became the source of spiritual guidance for his subjects.
Paintings that accompanied the narrative of the chronicles transmitted these ideas in a way that left a lasting impression on the minds of viewers. Mughal artists, from the
17th century onwards, began to portray emperors wearing the halo, which they saw on European painting s of Christ and the Virgin Mary to symbolise the light of God.
- Explain the idea that inspired Abu’l Fazl to place Mughal kingship at the top of the objects receiving divine light?
The idea that inspired Abu’l Fazl to place Mughal kingship as the highest station in the hierarchy fo objects receiving light emanating from God (Farr-i-izadi) was developed by a famous Iranian sufi, Shihabuddin Suhrawardi.
According to this idea, there was literarily , in which the divine light was transmitted to the king who then became the source of spiritual guidance for his subjects. These idea depicted by the paintings accompanied the narrative of the chronicles. Mughal artists, from the 17th century onwards, began to portray emperors wearing the halo, which they saw on European paintings of Christ and the Virgin Mary to symbolise the light of God.
Read the following passage and answer the question that follow
Akbar’s quest for religious knowledge led to interfaith debates in the ibadat khana at Fatehpur Sikri between learned Muslims, Hindus, Jainas, Parsis and Christians. Akbar’s religious views matured as he queried scholars of different religions and sects and gathered knowledge about their doctrines.
Increasingly, he moved away from the orthodox Islamic ways of understanding religions towards a self-conceived eclectic form of divine worship focused on light and the sun. We have seen that Akbar and Abu’l Fazl created a philosophy of light and used it to shape the image of the king and ideology of the state.
In this, a divinely inspired individual has supreme sovereignty over his people and complete control over his enemies.
- How did the quest for religious knowledge lead emperor Akbar towards a self-conceived eclectic form of divine worship? Discuss.
For religious knowledge of Akbar there were many debates took place in the ibadat khana at Fatehpur Sikri between learned Muslims, Hindus, Jainas,
Parsis and Christians. After querying scholars of different religions and sects and gathering knowledge about their doctrines, Akbar’s religious views got matured.
Gradually, he moved towards a self-conceived eclectic form at divine worship focused on light and the sun. Then Akbar and Abu’l Fazl together created a philosophy of light and used it to shape the image of the king and ideology of the state. In this philosophy, a divinely inspired individual has supreme sovereignty over his people and complete control over his enemies.