12th Class History Solved Paper - History 2012 Outside Delhi Set-I

  • question_answer
    Explain how the Amara-Nayaka system was a major political innovation of the Vijayanagara Empire. Why did strain begin to show within the imperial structure after the death of Krishnadeva Raya in 1529?
    Explain the organisation of the administration and army during the rule of Akbar as given in 'Ain'.


    The Amara-nayaka system was a major political innovation of the Vijayanagara Empire. Most probably many features of this system were derived from the iqta system of Delhi Sultanate.
                Nayakas of Vijayanagara were warriors holding an office bestowed on them by the central government on the condition of rendering military service.
                The Nayakas had political aspirations which at times conflicted with the aims of the rulers. They were the agents of the rayas. They were given territories called amaram to govern by the rayas.
                These nayakas possessed revenue and administrative rights over these territories. They collected taxes and other dues from peasants, craftsman and traders in the area. They used part of the revenue for personal use. Some of the revenue was also used for the maintenance of temples and irrigation work. They deposited the rest with the state treasury. Amara-nayaka was a designation conferred on a military officer or chief who had under his control a specified number of troops. They were required to maintain elephants, horses and soldiers in certain numbers, which were included in the royal army during wars.
                Part of the revenue collected by them was used in maintaining a stipulated contingent of horses and elephants. They sent tribute to the king annually and personally appeared in the royal court with gifts to express their loyalty. Kings occasionally asserted their control over them by transferring them from one place to another.
                In course of time, nayakas began to assert their military, administrative and economic powers, which later became a major cause of the decline of the Vijayanagara empire after the death of Krishnadev Raya.
                Krishnadeva Raya was one of the most successful rulers India has seen. He maintained a good army and exploited natural resources and made a big and prosperous empire. But after him there were internal strains among the successors and finally the empire was ruined by external invaders.
                His successors were opposed by the rebellious nayakas and military chief. Since there was no able ruler after the death of Krishnadeva Raya, the power was no more centralized and on the other hand nayaks had immense power to even oppose the central authority.
                By 1542 control at the centre had shifted to another ruling lineage of the Aravidu, which remained in power till the end of the seventeenth century. During this period the military ambitions of the rulers of Vijayanagara as well as those of the Deccan Sultanates resulted in shifting alignments and this led to the Battle of Talikota which was the major factor in the destruction of Vijayanagara.
                A very rare alliance of the Deccan sultanates led to a crushing defeat, in which Vijayanagar was completely routed. The Sultanates? army later plundered Vijayanagara and reduced it to the ruinous state.
                The empire went into a slow decline after this, although trade with the Portuguese and British continued. The empire was finally conquered by the Sultanates of Bijapur and Golkonda.
    The Ain-i-Akbari is the third volume of the Akbarnama containing information regarding Akbar?s reign in the form of, what would be called in modern times, administration reports, statistical compilations, or gazetteers. It contains the ain (i.e. mode of governing) of Akbar, and is, m fact, the administration report and Statistical Return of his government.
    Political government: Akbar?s system of central government was based on the system that had evolved since the sultanate but the functions of various departments were carefully reorganised by laying down detailed regulations for their functioning:
    (i) The revenue department was headed, by a wazir, responsible for all finances and management of jagirs and inam lands.
    (ii) The head of the military was called the mir-bakshi, appointed from among the leading nobles of the court. The mir bakshi was in charge of intelligence gathering, and also made recommendations to the emperor for military appointments and promotions.
    (iii) The mir saman was in charge of the imperial household, including the harems, and supervised the functioning of the court and royal bodyguard.
    (iv) The judiciary was a separate organization headed by a chief gazi who was also responsible for religious beliefs and practices.
    Taxation: Akbar set about reforming the administration of his empire?s land revenue by adopting a system that had been used by Sher Shah Suri. A cultivated area where crops grew well was measured and taxed through fixed rates based on the area?s crop and productivity. However, this placed hardship on the peasantry because tax rates were fixed on the basis of prices prevailing in the imperial court, which were often higher than those in the countryside. Akbar changed to a decentralized system of annual assessment, but this resulted in corruption among local officials and was abandoned in 1580, to be replaced by a system called the dahsala. Under the new system, revenue was calculated as one-third of the average produce of the previous ten years, to be paid to the state in cash.
                In order to organize his military personnel, Akbar devised a system of ranks, or mansabs, based on the "decimal" system of army organization used by the early Delhi sultans and the Mongols. Although they fell under the jurisdiction of the mir bakhshi, each owed direct subordination to the emperor.
                The nobles participated in military campaigns with their armies and also served as officers of the empire in the provinces. Each military commander recruited, equipped and trained the main striking arm of the Mughal army, the cavalry. The troopers maintained superior horses branded on the flank by the imperial mark. The emperor personally reviewed changes in rank, tides and official postings for all except the lowest-ranked officers. Akbar, who designed the mansab system, also established spiritual relationships with a select band of his nobility by treating them as his disciples.
                Thus Under Akbar, for members of the nobility, imperial service was a way of acquiring power, wealth and the highest possible reputation.

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