People, Taxation, and Trade in Mughal India

People, Taxation, and Trade in Mughal India

Product ID: 24383

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Author: Shireen Moosvi
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2008
Language: English
Pages: 304
ISBN/UPC (if available): 978-0-19-569315-7


India in the seventeenth century was one of the great economic power of the world- a position it later lost following the British conquest and the European Industrial Revolution. Bringing together four decades of intensive search, this unique collection examines the functioning of the economy within the political framework provided by the Mughal Empire.

Shireen Moosvi studies specific issues like state revenues, prices, interest rates, and maritime economy, using much new source material. She explores areas that have received little attention in the literature on Mughal history- ecology and settlement pattern, vital statistics as well as work and gender.

In the introduction, the author discusses issues widely debated among the historians of Mughal India. Wide-ranging and comprehensive, this book is essential reading for teachers, scholars and students of Mughal History. Generals readers keen to know what India was like before British rule will also find the book interesting.

Shireen Moosvi is Professor at the Centre of Advanced Study in History, Aligarh Muslim University, where she has been teaching since 1970. She is a leading member of what is now known as the Aligarh school of historians who aim at combining critical rigour with evolving visions of History.

With a background in both statistics and history, she has worked with primary documents for her wide-ranging researches in economic and social history of Mughal India. Her book Economy of the Mughal Empire,c.1595 –a statistical study (OUP , 1987)is an attempt at quantitative analysis of Mughal economy, while Episodes in the Life of Akbar ( 1994 ) brings history to life by giving extracts from contemporary sources.


‘Shireen Moosvi commands an enviable combination of statistical skills with a close study of the primary sources that has enabled her to explore a number of fields of the economic history of Mughal India, some of them little touched by previous research. The present collection of her papers should be of much interest to all who wish to know how our people lived and worked three to four hundred years ago.
-Irfan Habib
Professor Emeritus of History, Aligarh Muslim University

‘This comprehensive volume is characterized by a striking richness of source material, wealth of statistical data, and astute inquiries into a range of issues connected with Mughal Economic and social history. It indeed reflects the author’s prolonged and committed engagement with the subject.’
-Sabyasachi Bhattacharya
Chairman, Indian Council of Historical Research


Original Sites of Publication



1. The Indian Economic Experience, 1600-1900: A Quantitative Study
2. The Silver Influx, MoneySupply, Prices and Revenue-Extraction in Mughal India
3. A Note on Interest Rate in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries

4. Ecology, Population Distribution and Settlement Pattern in Mughal India
5. Data on Mughal-Period Vital Statistics, A Preliminary Survey of Usable Information
6. Urban Population in Pre-Colonial India
7. Work and Gender in Mughal India

8. Problems of Mughal Revenue Administration, Todarmal’s Original Memorandum, March 1582
9. Reforming Revenue Administration, Auranzeb’s Farman to Rasikas, 1665
10. A Programme of Reliefs for the people of Kashmir: An Imperial Edict of Shahjahan
11. Expenditure on Buildings under Shahjahan: A chapter of Imperial Financial History
12. The Mughal Empire and the Deccan Economic Factors and Consequences
13. Scarcities, Prices and Exploitation: ‘The Agrarian Crises’, 1658-70

14. Shipping and Navigation under Akbar
15. Mughal Shipping at Surat in the First Half of Seventeenth Century
16. Travails of a Mercantile Community, Aspects of Social Life at the Port of Surat ( Earlier Half of the Seventeenth Century
17. Gujarat Ports and their Hinterland: The Economic Relationship



Map 4.1(a): Uttar Pradesh: extent of Gross Cultivation in 1596 ( As % of
Gross Cultivation in 1909-10 )
Map 4.1(b): Gujarat: Extent of Gross Cultivation in 1595
( As % of Gross Cultivation in 1903-04)
Map 4.1(c ): Punjab: Extent of Gross Cultivation in 1595
( As% of Gross Cultivation in 1909-10)
Map 4.2 : Upper & Middle Gangetic Basin:
Forests & Scrub ( excluding Himalayan Forests), 17th Century
Map 4.3: Upper & Middle Gangetic Basin: Forests & Scrub
( excluding Himalayan Forests ) 1951
Map 4.4 : Wild Elephants and Cheetahs c. 1600
Map 17.1: Routes into the Hinterland


Fig.2.1: Mughal Ruppees ( North Indian Mints)
Quinquennial Histogram Based on U.P. Coin Finds

Fig.2.2: Mughal Rupees (North Indian Mints)
Quinquennial Histogram Based on catalogued coins (Aziza Hasan )

Fig.2.3: The Silver Value of Gold ( Rupees per Muhr)
Fig.3.1: Interest Rates
Fig.6.1: Circulation of the Rural Surplus
Fig.7.1: Women at well: women fetching water from well, Line-drawing
from Hamzanama painting, Victorial and Albert Museum, London
Fig.7.2: Woman Spinning
Fig.7.3: Women breaking stones and sieving material in lime-making,
Fatehpur Sikri
Fig.7.4: Women carrying bitumen, construction of Agra fort
Fig.7.5: A girl at school
Fig.7.6: A princess reading a poem
Fig.7.7: Women dancers performing at a Royal wedding