One of the main functions of the state was collection of taxes. No scheme of conquest or defence or administration was possible without regular inflow of revenue. Muslim jurists divide the revenue of a Muslim state into two categories - religious and secular. The principal religious tax was Zakat and it was collected from the Muslims only. The secular taxes comprised Khams, Jiziyah and Kharaj; these were levied on the non-Muslims. So these were four major taxes - Khams, Jiziyah, Kharaj and Zakat. Besides these there were a few other sources of revenue. The importance of sound state finance was widely recognized by Muslim political thinkers and administrators. The financial system of the Muslim state was laid down by the Shariat and the Abbasid tradition. By the time the Muslim state was established in India, its revenue system had been carefully elaborated and its principles clearly set.
We shall take up Khams first. For there was conquest before setting up of any government or administration. In the age of Islamic conquests, Jihad was the most flourishing industry, and Khams flowed as a reward of military victory. Khams as the word indicates, was one-fifth share of the Muslim state of the war-booty (ghanima) obtained in Jihad. The remaining four-fifths was distributed among the warriors. The mal obtained from Kafirs without engaging in war was called fay. The law of one-fifth (khams) did not apply to it. The whole benefit of it went to Muslims at large - the orphans, the poor, travellers etc. The special thing about Khams is that it was obtained through war with Kafirs.1 Loot in war is common. It was common in the medieval period. What is special about Khams is that in Islam robbing of the infidel enjoys religious legitimacy. It was the command of God. Amir Timur in his Mulfuzat-i-Timuri declared: "Plunder in war is as lawful as mother's milk to a Musalman."
The early Arab Muslims belonged to the poor, economically 'scum' sections of the society. They had to be provided for. There were two ways of doing it. One was to urge the needy neo-Muslims to work hard and earn livelihood through honest means. The other was to prompt them to attack non-Muslims and rob them of their possessions, and distribute the same among the faithful. Muhammad took with him 315 men to the battle at Badr. They were on foot. They had no clothes and no food. He prayed to God to give them all these. God gave victory to Muslims. When they returned from Badr, there was no man who had not brought one or two camels. They got enough clothes and sufficient food.2 Khams provided an easy way of financially benefiting both the poor Muslims and their rich masters.3
Rules about Khams were laid down after the Battle of Badr. The Prophet's army had collected a motley spoil from the enemy camp. A diversity of opinion arose about its distribution. The contention was so sharp that Muhammad interposed with a message from heaven, and assumed possession of the whole booty. "It was God who had given the victory; and to God the spoil belonged." Shortly afterwards, the following ordinance which the Muslim law of prize recognises to the present day was given forth: "And know that whatsoever thing you plunder, verify one-fifth thereof is for God and for the Prophet, and for him that is of kin (unto the Prophet), and for the orphans, and the poor and the wayfarer "4 The procedure about distribution followed was like this. After an expedition, Muhammad used to ask his slave Bilal to announce three times to the faithful to bring whatever they had obtained in ghanaim. People brought their booty and Muhammad distributed the loot among Muslims as per the one-fifth rule. While surrendering the gains, no stealing or perjury was allowed. The Rasul, Abu Bakr and Umar used to beat the men who did not truthfully disclose their gains and set fire to their goods. Even thread and needle was to be surrendered and no embezzlement was allowed. There was fire of hell for such culprits, say many ahadis of Bukhari. Sometimes Muhammad used to give something extra to a Mujahid beyond his share, but one who disappeared from the battle got nothing. According to Abu Daud, no share was fixed for women, ghulams or bandis, but they were given something if they happened to be present at the time of distributions.5
In accordance with the divine command, the booty was divided in equal allotments, among the whole army, after the Prophet's one-fifth had been set apart. Muhammad obtained the camel of Abu Jahl and also selected the sword by the name of Zulfiqar, beyond his share according to a custom which allowed him, in virtue of his prophetic dignity, whatever thing might please him most before division.6 In short, in the early years of Islam, every believer was given a share in the booty accruing from new religious wars that were becoming the order of the day; they also had a share in the large revenues coming from a fast expanding Muslim empire. Every Arab was drafted as a soldier of Islam and his name was put on payroll. Umar regularized the system. Every Arab was a partner in the revenues derived from the loot and exploitation of the newly conquered lands Muslim brotherhood in action. The scales were fixed according to one's nearness to the Prophet. The widows of Muhammad received an annual allowance of 10,000 dirhams each every year; the famous Three Hundred of the Battle of Badr had 5,000 dirhams each; those of the Pledge of the Tree, received 4,000 each; every one who had converted to Islam before the Battle of Badr got annually 4,000 each, and their children 2,000 dirhams a year, and so they graduated downwards to 200 dirhams. Wives, widows, and children had each their share. Every Muslim had a share in this classification. Officers of the Arab Occupation Armies in different cantonment areas of the empire received yearly from 6,000 to 9,000 dirhams; and every boy, as soon as born, received 100 dirhams each; every Muslim had the title to be entered on the payroll, with a minimum allowance of ten pieces, rising with advancing age to its proper place.7
These stipends were hereditary and they created a class of people who lived on the fat of the land they occupied. It laid the foundation of a thorough imperialism which was more durable than any other the world had known in the past.8
The legitimacy of loot and provision of a share to the warrior attracted many volunteers for Jihad. it also encouraged the soldiers to follow their leaders unitedly through thick and thin. It formed the very basis on which Muslim brotherhood had been organised from the very beginning. Besides the soldiers and the rulers, sultans and nobles, the saiyads, sufis, ulema, poets, mullahs, maulvis, muftis, imams, qazis and hajis, who had been at one time or the other the warriors of Islam or sycophants at the courts also lived lavishly on war booty dished out to them in the forth of inams, pensions or madad-i-maash. All these sections in turn prompted their rulers to more and more Jihad to obtain more and more Khams.9 As a Zimmi the Hindu soldier had no share in the booty as he could not wage Jihad. Hindu women and children similarly had no claim. But Hindu troops were also paid something "in order to encourage them to fight and inferiority of their station be rendered manifest to them."10
Khams in India
The Muslim rulers of Hindustan followed the tenets and traditions of Islam. The one-fifth share, called Khams, of the Ghanimah obtained as booty in their campaigns, and one or two articles specially selected by the Muslim ruler, were also continued to be regarded as the share of the sultans of India. The rest was distributed to the army. it is another matter that the sultans tried to appropriate much more than their share of Khams. Another rule which became the norm in India was the general disposal of the acquisitions in war. It was also set in Arabia after an attack on the Jews. The expedition was against the Jewish tribe, the Banu Quraizah, which was led by Muhammad. The Jews were besieged and later compelled to capitulate. "Their fate was left to the decision of the Prophet's companion, Sa'd, whose sentence was that the male captives should be slain, the female captives and children sold into slavery, and the spoils divided among the army. The Prophet commanded the cruel judgement of Sa'd, as a decision according to the judgement of God..."11 in most campaigns in Hindustan after victory the Muslim sultans or their commanders also used to slay male captives, and enslave women and children. And like in early Islam, the Muslim rulers in India used the wealth obtained in war and through other means to the best of their enjoyment. They created a ruling class which lived on the fat of the land it occupied. They milked the people thoroughly and laid the foundation of Islamic imperialism which more or less survived for a thousand years.
In Hindustan, the income from Khams was considerable. An idea of the profits can be had from the account of the Arab invasion of Sindh by al-Biladuri. According to him Muhammad bin Qasim had forwarded to Hajjaj 120 million dirhams which represented only one-fifth of the total loot (of 600 million) which was paid into the Caliph's treasury according to the rule of Khams.
Economic historians are prone to believe that Muslim invaders of India were motivated mainly by material gains and they were not enthused by political motives or with zeal to spread Islam. It must be remembered that in human mind or human society social, political, and religious affairs cannot be separated from one another. All act and react upon one another. In the history of Islam, the three are interrelated and cannot be divided into watertight compartments. Still let us see how economic denudation of India led to its people losing their status in society and drifting into lower classes and castes.
From the sack of Debal to the end of Muhammad Qasim's stay in Sindh, the invaders had gained 600 million dirhams in money12 and thousands in slaves (especially women) and distributed them liberally among the Muslims from the Caliph to the common soldier.13 The economic life of Sindh had got completely unhinged during his campaigns. A large number of people and merchants had fled "to Hind" and abroad.14 Most others had been sucked dry. Such was the erosion of demography and prosperity that after the capture of Brahmanabad, "all people, the merchants, artisans and agriculturists were divided separately into their respective classes, and (only) ten thousand men, high and low, were counted. Muhammad Qasim then ordered twelve dirhams weight of silver (i.e., twelve silver coins or their equivalent) to be assigned to each man (for rehabilitation), because all their property had been plundered."15 The Brahmans, "the attendants of the temples were likewise in distress. For fear of the (Muslim) army, the alms and bread were not regularly given to them, and therefore they were reduced to poverty."16 From the destruction of Debal to the end of the campaign temples had been broken with the zeal of an iconoclast and their purohits and other dependents had no employment, no income. "It was ordained (by Qasim) that the Brahman should, like beggars, take a copper basin in their hands, go to the doors of the houses, and take whatever grain or other thing that might be offered to them, so that they might not remain unprovided for."17
Mahmud Ghaznavi also collected lot of wealth from Khams. A few facts and figures may be given as illustrations. In his war against Jayapal (1001-02 CE) the latter had to pay a ransom of 2,50,000 dinars (gold coin) for securing release from captivity. Even the necklace of which he was relieved was estimated at 2,00,000 dinars "and twice that value was obtained from the necks of those of his relatives who were taken prisoners or slain..."18 A couple of years later, all the wealth of Bhera, which was "as wealthy as imagination can conceive," was captured by the conqueror (1004-05 CE). In 1005-06 the people of Multan were forced to pay an indemnity of the value of 20,000,000 (royal) dirhams (silver coin). When Nawasa Shah, who had reconverted to Hinduism, was ousted (1007-08), the Sultan took possession of his treasures amounting to 400,000 dirhams. Shortly after, from the fort of Bhimnagar in Kangra, Mahmud seized coins of the value of 70,000,000 (Hindu Shahiya) dirhams and gold and silver ingots weighing some hundred maunds, jewellery and precious stones. There was also a collapsible house of silver, thirty yards in length and fifteen yards in breadth, and a canopy (mandapika) supported by two golden and two silver poles.19 Such was the wealth obtained that it could not be shifted immediately, and Mahmud had to leave two of his "most confidential" chamberlains, Altuntash and Asightin, to look after its gradual transportation.20 In the succeeding expeditions (1015-20) more and more wealth was drained out of the Punjab and other parts of India. Besides the treasures collected by Mahmud, his soldiers also looted independently. From Baran, Mahmud obtained, 1,000,000 dirhams and from Mahaban, a large booty. in the sack of Mathura five idols alone yielded 98,300 misqals (about 10 maunds) of gold.21 The idols of silver numbered two hundred. Kanauj, Munj, Asni, Sharva and some other places yielded another 3,000,000 dirhams. We may skip over many other details and only mention that at Somnath his gains amounted to 20,000,000 dinars.22 These figures are more or less authentic as Abu Nasr Muhammad Utbi, who mentions them, was the secretary to Sultan Mahmud, so that he enjoyed excellent opportunities of becoming fully conversant with the operations and gains of the conqueror.
Besides gold and silver, the Ghaznavids collected in loot and tribute and Khams, valuable articles of trade like indigo, fine muslins, embroidered silk, and cotton stuffs, and things prepared from the famous Indian steel, which have received praise at the hands of Utbi, Hasan Nizami, Alberuni and many others. For example, one valuable commodity taken from India was indigo. From Baihaqi, who writes the correct Indian word nil for the dyestuff, it appears that 20,000 mans (about 500 maunds) of indigo was taken to Ghazni every year. According to Baihaqi, Sultan Masud once sent 25,000 mans (about 600 maunds) of indigo to the Caliph at Baghdad for "the Sultans often reserved part of this (valuable commodity) for their own usage, and often sent it as part of presents for the Caliph or for other rulers."23
Khams was collected not only on wealth captured in war but on all items of loot like animals and humans. Khams on animals was fixed according to rules of barter and exchange. For example, in the early days of Islam, according to a hadis, twenty goats were considered to be equal to one camel.24 Of the humans captured, the policy was to kill all males who could bear arms and capture their women and children as per the rule laid down in Quran and Hadis.25 The non-combatant men were made slaves and put on sundry duties in the king's palace, distributed among the nobles or sold in the markets in India and abroad. Women and children were the prize of the warriors, and as early as the days of Qutbuddin Aibak "even a poor Muslim householder (who was also a soldier) became owner of numerous slaves."26 One-fifth, and often more of this item, was the share of the state or the monarch.
Women as Khams
An important item of Khams was women. "An idea of the number of slaves flooding the Muslim empire as a result of conquest may be gained from such exaggerated figures as the following: Musa took 300,000 captives from North Africa, one-fifth of whom he forwarded to the Caliph, and from the Gothic nobility in Spain he captured 30,000 virgins; the captives of one Muslim general in Turkestan alone numbered 100,000."27 In India from the days of Muhammad bin Qasim in the eighth century to those of Ahmad Shah Abdali in the eighteenth, enslavement, distribution and sale of Hindu women and children was systematically practised by Muslim invaders and rulers of India. A few lakh women were enslaved in the course of Arab invasion of Sindh. In the final stages of its conquest, "When the plunder and the prisoners of war were brought before Qasim... one-fifth of all the prisoners were chosen and set aside (to be sent to Caliph through his agent Hajjaj); they were counted as amounting to twenty thousand in number... (they belonged to high families) and veils were put on their faces, and the rest were given to the soldiers."28 In Muhammad Ghauri's invasion of Gujarat 20,000 prisoners were captured and in 1202 at Kalinjar 50,000 kaniz wa ghulam.29 Under the Khaljis and Tughlaqs thousands of non-Muslim women were captured in never-ceasing campaigns.
As per the Hadis virgins were to be preferred30 but if a married woman with husband still alive was taken captive and introduced into the sultan's harem, conjugal felicity with her was permitted by law. One such case is that of Kamla Devi, the consort of Raja Karan Vaghela of Gujarat, who was captured by Alauddin Khalji's generals and introduced into his harem. Sexual relations with a married woman whose husband was living was taboo, but in an ayat received by the Prophet from Allah when women with husbands living are captured in war and "you are their master," it is allowed to have conjugal relations with them.31 Throughout the medieval period in the North, South, East and West women-capturing or purchasing was a major pleasure activity of the ruling class.32 No wonder that mainly through this activity 2,000 women were inducted into the harem of a nobleman (e.g. Khan Jahan Maqbul, Wazir of Firoz Shah Tughlaq), another 2,000 into the harem of a prince (e.g. Alam Shah, son of Aurangzeb), and 5,000 into that of a king (e.g. Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar). One example of such activity may be given to end the unhappy story. In the time of Jahangir, his general Abdullah Khan Uzbeg destroyed, in the Kalpi-Kanauj area alone, all towns and took all their women and children as slaves. He once boasted: "I made prisoners of five lacs of men and women and sold them. They all became Muhammadans. From their progeny there will be crores by the day of judgement."33 Kafir women had a special place in the Muslim psyche. Gloating over the pleasures of Paradise, Ibn Majah writes on the basis of appropriate ahadis, that a Jihadist will be married to seventy-two beauties in Paradise of whom two will be hurs and seventy Kafir women obtained in miras, transferred from hell for his pleasure's sake.34
Thus the glories of Kufa, of Baghdad and of Ghazni, the glories of the empires of Islam everywhere like in Agra, Lahore and Delhi, comprising of magnificent palaces, spacious audience halls adorned with costly rugs, silken curtains and embroidered cushions, with hundreds of young charming maidens with shoes studded with precious stones, dancing and gyrating in unison, thousands of slave girls running about at the bidding of their master, about which the Muslim historians, poets and minstrels sing ceaselessly, were gifts of Khams, the state's share of the loot and plunder of the infidels.
Wealth obtained through Khams
Alauddin Khalji wanted to keep his treasury full and people poor. He disliked people from growing opulent. Therefore, he appropriated four-fifths of the spoil as Khams. This proportion seems to have become the norm till Firoz Tughlaq changed this 'illegal' practice, as he calls it, and reverted to the sanctioned one-fifth of the loot of soldiers as share for the state treasury.35 Sometimes to enthuse the soldiers all the individual plunder from the rebels was left with them to enjoy.36 But one-fifth was the norm as per the law. Since Khams brought lot of wealth to the government and the soldiers it made both of them greedy. This situation led to many embezzlements and mutinies. The Prophet had repeatedly commanded the Muslims in the Hadis not to hide any gains in war and to declare their personal loot honestly.37 But human nature asserted itself against the Shariat's demand. Only one example of this would suffice. Gujarat was invaded by Khalji forces in 1299. The soldiers sacked dozens of towns and looted a number of monasteries, palaces and temples there. The social practice of the times and especially the use of various kinds of gold ornaments by the Hindu families had made gold a household commodity. The Arab traveller Abdurrazzaq who visited the Deccan in the fifteenth century writes that "all the inhabitants of the country, whether high or low, even down to the artificers of the bazars, wear jewels and gilt ornaments."38 Farishtah also says that even the poor in the Deccan put on gold ornaments and the high class people used to eat in gold and silver plates.39 This was about the time when people in the North had already been divested of much of their gold and silver by waves of invaders and dynasties of rulers. Still the old habits had continued. The people of Gujarat, a rich kingdom with a flourishing trade, were continually attacked and robbed. In the words of Abdullah Wassaf "the Muslim army plundered gold and silver to an extent greater than can be conceived, and an immense number of brilliant precious stones, such as pearls, diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, etc., as well as great variety of cloths, both silk and cotton, stamped, embroidered, and coloured. They (also) took captive a great number of handsome and elegant maidens, amounting to 20,000 and children of both the sexes, more than the pen can enumerate."40 They also exacted immense booty in bullion, jewels, and other valuables from the merchants and other rich men of the port-town of Cambay or Khambhat. Besides, "each soldier had plundered sufficient wealth for himself."41 In the course of the return journey dispute arose regarding the quantum of Khams and various kinds of brutal punishments were inflicted upon the soldiers to extort confession from them with regard to their individual gains. They wished to part with only one-fifth of their loot as required by the rules of Khams, but Alauddin's orders were for collecting four-fifths.
According to the contemporary chronicler Ziyauddin Barani, harsh enquiries Were made about the amount and items of loot. The commanders did not believe in the version of the soldiers and wanted to take the best out of everything from the lashkar of gold, silver, and other precious articles. There were many ticklish technicalities involved in the search operation. The army comprised of many "Hindus, Muslims, Amirs, and neo-Muslims (Mongols)."42 According to law there was no share in the loot for the Mushriks joining the Jihad.43 Then, according to Isami, the soldiers besides plundering what they could lay their hands on, dug out and carried away treasures hidden underground by the Gujarat people.44 Khams was due on it if it belonged to non-Muslims. In Gujarat, however, there were many rich Muslims who had their hidden treasures ransacked. Khams was also not due if the property belonged to a person who had been killed by a trooper. In such a case his whole belongings went to the killer; no Khams was due on it.45
The case of Gujarat shows how loot in war fed the greed of both the soldiers and the commanders of the king. Resistance of the soldiers sometimes took the form of rebellion. But during the whole of the Sultanate period of more than three centuries, immense wealth was gathered by Muslims through loot and Khams. Rizqullah narrates one incident which is worth reproducing. During Sher Shah's time Champaran in Bihar was attacked by his commander. The kingdom had escaped Muslim visitation during the last two hundred years, and all the riches and treasures which were amassed during that period were now looted by Mian Husain Farmuli's men. "The shoes of the infidels who lost their lives in this action... when melted down no less than 20,000 mohurs of gold were obtained from them."46
Khams during the Mughal Period
During the Mughal period, the quantum of such gains increased because of their exceptional success in war. Babur's gains were immense. As will be seen later on he distributed huge amounts of these to his ladies, princes and Begs. And if Humayun was not successful in this regard, Sher Shah and his successors made up for the deficiency. Akbar was victorious in almost every campaign and the extent of his success determined the quantity of loot, tribute and Khams during his reign of half a century. It is not necessary to catalogue all the monetary gains of Akbar through war. An example alone may suffice to give an idea of the same. In 1564 Asaf Khan I, the governor of Kara under Akbar, invaded the kingdom of Gondwana of Rani Durgawati on behalf of the emperor. "When the fort (of Chauragarh) was taken there fell into the hands of Asaf Khan and his men an incalculable amount of gold and silver. There were coined and uncoined gold, decorated utensils, jewels, pearls, figures, pictures, jewelled and decorated idols, figures of animals made wholly of gold, and other rarities. The coin was said to include a hundred large pots full of the gold ashrafis of Alauddin Khalji."47 If a small kingdoms like Gondwana could bring in so much wealth, how much more would have been collected in loot and Khams from larger kingdoms can only be imagined. But it is not possible to go into the gains from all the enterprises of Akbar and his successors.
Khams did not mean just material gain or loss in war. It meant ruination of the country as a whole as vouched by the Muslim chroniclers themselves. We have seen how immense were the gains of Muhammad bin Qasim and Mahmud of Ghazni in their campaigns. And Alberuni who was eye-witness to Mahmud's exploits in India, writes: "Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country (emphasis ours)... The Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions. This is the reason, too, why Hindu sciences have retired far away (to Kashmir, Benaras and other places)... Their scattered remains cherish, of course, the most inveterate aversion towards all Muslims."48 Abdullah Wassaf wrote about the exploits of Alauddin Khalji's generals in Gujarat campaign (1299) between March 1300 and 1310. He repeats in the beginning of the fourteenth century what Alberuni wrote in the beginning of the eleventh. "The Muhammadan army brought the country to utter ruin and destroyed the lives of the inhabitants and plundered the cities, and captured their offspring... (emphasis added)..."49 Similar was the result of Asaf Khan's sack of Gondwana.50 Collection of Kharaj was circumscribed by the fear of the peasantry abandoning cultivation if pressured too far. Collection of Jiziyah was possible only where non-Muslim residents were too weak to resist. The stream of income from Khams never got dry as there were always infidel lands to subjugate and destroy.
Destruction Wrought by the Islamic Way
In the seventeenth century Francois Bernier, the French physician-savant wrote that wherever Muslims went and ruled, ruin followed. In his time the "present condition of Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Palestine, the once wonderful place of Antioch, and so many other regions anciently well cultivated, fertile and populous, but (are) now desolate... Egypt also exhibits a sad picture..." So happened in India. About here, writing in the glorious days of Islamic Mughal rule, he says that "most towns in Hindustan are made up of earth, mud, and other wretched material; that there is no city or town (that) does not bear evident marks of approaching death."51 Hindustan reverted to British and Hindu rule and was by and large saved. But the once wonders of Hindu and Buddhist regions which remained with Muslims or got demographically dominated by them like Afghanistan and Kashmir set upon a path of decline. Once upon a time Afghanistan was a great centre of Gandhara art and culture. The sculptural art of Gandhara, under Kushan dynastic patronage, created the Bamiyan colossi of the Buddha carved from the living rock by nameless Kushan sculptors. The famous Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang, passing through Bamiyan, on his way to the court of Harshavardhan and the University of Nalanda in 629 CE praised it as a centre of art to which sculptors, architects and painters flocked. Bamiyan Buddha is the tallest statue in the world. There are (or rather were) many wonderful pieces of architecture and sculpture strewn all over Afghanistan. Here flourished poets like Ashvaghosh, physicians like Charak and philosophers like Nagarjun. Here flourished trade which provides wealth which in time pipelines facilities into all creative activity. The violence of Islam destroyed all this in Afghanistan in course of time. Today Afghanistan is being ruled by the Taliban in accordance with the Islamic Shariat. And the whole world knows how it is being ruled.
Kashmir too was a centre of Hindu and Buddhist art and learning in the ancient period. The background of Muslim penetration is given by Alberuni. He writes: "In former times, Khurasan, Persis, Iraq, Mogul, the country up to the frontier of Syria, was Buddhistic,52 but then Zarathustra went forth from Adharbaijan and preached Magism in Balkh (Baktra)... both by force and by treatise... The succeeding kings made their religion (i.e. Zoroastrianism) the obligatory state-religion for Persis and Iraq. In consequence, the Buddhists were banished from those countries east of Balkh..." India, as far as known to Alberuni was Brahmanic, not Buddhistic."53 "But then came Islam... Muslims began to make inroads into their (Hindus') country. Muhammad Ibn Elkasim Ibn Elmunabbih (Muhammad bin Qasim) entered India proper and penetrated even as far as Kanauj, marched through the country of Gandhara, and on his way back, through the confines of Kashmir... All these events planted a deeply rooted hatred in their (Hindus') hearts... Mahmud Ghaznavi utterly ruined the prosperity of the country." The process of ruination of Kashmir was continued. Kashmir was gradually bereft of this 'Science' as sultans like Sikandar Butshikan and sufis of his ilk began to Islamize the region. By Abul Fazl's time much of Hinduism was gone and a little of Buddhism remained. For writes he, "The third time that the writer accompanied His Majesty to the delightful valley of Kashmir, he met a few old men of this persuasion (Buddhism), but saw none among the learned [Brahmans?]."54 Emperor Jahangir found near Srinagar only "the remains of a place of worship for recluses: cells cut of the rock and numerous caves."55 Kashmir Valley is today experiencing the full blast of Islamic cultural tradition. But when all these regions were first sacked loot and Khams were the motives of attack. If Khams resulted in ruination, Jiziyah brought in both economic loss and moral as well as mental degradation to the victims.
The levying of Jiziyah on non-Muslims has been regarded by most of the Muslim jurists as an important duty of the Muslim state as it was believed to be one of the most lawful taxes. The Quran prescribes Jiziyah in a verse revealed in the context of Jihad. Translated in English it reads thus: "Fight against such of those who have been given the scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day... and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low."56 The Quran recognizes only two communities, viz. Jews and Christians, as scriptuaries. According to Imam Malik, one of the four great jurists, the verse of the Jiziyah is applicable to all non-Muslims excepting apostates. Abu Hanifa applies it even to idolaters excepting the idolaters of Arabia. In brief Jiziyah is primarily a Jihadic impost, not a fiscal one, as sought usually to be made out. It is a penalty for kufr, and alternative to killing, plunder, enslavement, ransom, forcible conversion. It is a badge of humiliation for being a non-Muslim, of utter servility to Islamdom.57
Spirit of the Tax
According to the Encyclopedia of Islam the Muslim state was a theocracy in which the non-Muslims were given the status of Zimmis. "They are not citizens of the Muslim state but are suffered to live under certain disabilities." One of the chief disabilities was that "each adult, male, free, sane Zimmi must pay poll tax, Jaziyah".58 T.P. Hughes writes: "Theoretically, the inhabitants, together with their wives and children are considered as plunder and property of the state, and it would be lawful to reduce them to slavery. In practice, however, the milder course prevails, and by paying the stipulated capitation-tax the subdued people become, in the quality of Zimmis, free subjects of the conquering power, whose condition is but little inferior to that of their Muslim fellow subjects."59 Similar is the opinion of N.P. Aghnides, an authority on Muslim theory of finance. According to him, "In return for Jaziyah the Zimmi was entitled to protection for life and exemption from military service. The Jaziyah was levied as the cash equivalent to the assistance which they would be liable to give if they had not persisted in their unbelief, because living as they do in a Muslim state, they must be ready to defend it... Moreover, the main object in levying the tax is the subjection of the infidels to humiliations... and... during the process of payment, the Zimmi is seized by the collar and vigorously shaken and pulled about in order to show him his degradation."60 In its essence thus, Jiziyah was not just a tax. It was an instrument of humiliation of the non-Muslim. Its spirit kept the non-Muslim reminded that he was an inferior citizen of the Muslim state. If he felt the burden too great he could convert to Islam. Jiziyah was thus an instrument of conversion also.
In short, Jiziyah originated as an offshoot of Jihad. Jihad is to be fought with all resources, lives, possessions and tongues. It is said to have four forms - Jihad by heart, Jihad by tongue, Jihad by hand and Jihad by the sword.61 Jihad presupposes that the world is meant for and belongs to the Muslim to the exclusion of all others, and therefore the Muslims can indulge in virtual liquidation of Kafirs.62 But an alternative was offered by Jiziyah. Akida was a Christian king of the city of Duma. He was caught alive in Jihad. Muhammad asked him to pay Jiziyah. He paid it but later (because of economic pressure) converted to Islam.63 Jiziyah remained an instrument of conversion and exploitation throughout the history of Islam.
The Quran gives no guidance about the rate of Jiziyah. It was Umar, the second Caliph, who settled three grades of Jiziyah - for the rich, the middle class and the poor (who included cultivators and artisans). He also exempted women, children, beggars, insane, blind and monks from the payment of Jiziyah. Many ahadis describe the collection of Jiziyah, for example, from the Persian fire-worshippers.64 Muhammad's 'wasiat' gives the essence of Jiziyah. His command was: Do Jihad in the name of God and way of God and kill those who are Munkirs. Do not steal from ghanimat. From those who do not believe demand Jiziyah. If they refuse, fight them.65
A few things are obvious from the above discussion. Jiziyah is a Jihadist impost. It is penalty for kufr, an alternative to forcible conversion or killing. It was imposed to humiliate the non-Muslim and to keep him reminded of his inferior status (of Zimmi) in the Muslim state. From the statement of Qazi Mughisuddin in the fourteenth century to those of Mulla Ahmad, Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi and Shah Walliullah in later centuries, the burden of their assertion is the same -Jiziyah is meant for the humiliation of the non-Muslims. Of course, it is based on Islamic scriptures, the Quran and Hadis, so that the statement of one is repeated by the others. Here are some examples. Questioned by Sultan Alauddin concerning the position of the Hindu as a Khirajguzar, the Qazi of Bayana expounded the injunction of the Faith thus: "By the ecclesiastical law the term Khirajguzar is applicable to a Hindu only, who as soon as the revenue collector demands the sum due from him, pays the same with meekness and humility, coupled with the utmost respect. God Almighty himself (in the Quran) declares with regard to their being subjected to degradation... and thus he expressly commands their complete degradation in as much as these Hindus are the deadliest foes of the true Prophet. Mustafa, on whom be peace, has given orders regarding the slaying, plundering, and imprisoning of them, ordaining that they must either follow the true faith, or else be slain and imprisoned, and have all their wealth and properly confiscated. With the exception of the Imam-i-Azam (Abu Hanifa)... we have no other great divine as authority for accepting the poll tax (Jiziyah) from a Hindu; for the opinion of the other learned men is based on the hadis (Tradition) 'Either death or Islam'."66
According to Mulla Ahmad, "the main object of levying of Jiziyah on them (the Hindus) is their humiliation... God established (the custom of realising) Jiziyah for their dishonour. The object is their humiliation and the (establishment of) prestige and dignity of the Muslims."67 Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi (1564-1624), who proclaimed himself as Mujaddid-i-Alf Sani or Renovator of the Second Millennium of Islam, wrote many books and several letters to the courtiers of Akbar and Jahangir. In one such letter he wrote that "the honour of Islam lies in insulting kufr and kafirs. One who respects the kafirs dishonours the Muslims... The real purpose of levying the Jiziyah on them is to humiliate them to such an extent that they may not be able to dress well and to live in grandeur. They should remain terrified and trembling." So also said Shah Walliullah (1703-1762) and many other respected Muslim ulema and sufis.68 Those who blame the ulema for the cruelty and orthodoxy of Muslim rulers should remember that it was not possible for the ulema and sufis to give wrong interpretation of the scriptures before autocrats. They interpreted correctly and rendered correct advice. Muslim religion and its tenets are responsible for an iniquitous tax like Jiziyah and not its advocacy by the ulema. The denial to the entire non-Muslim people of the basic human right of freedom and equality of every man is internalised with Jiziyah. Muslims never tire of harping on equality of man in Islam, but this claim is belied by Jiziyah. This also refutes the claim of modem Muslim apologists that the Muslim state in India was a secular state.
Jiziyah in India
Jiziyah was imposed in India from the day the Muslims set foot in the country. After capturing Brahmanabad, Muhammad bin Qasim levied Jiziyah on the population according to three grades. The first was to pay silver equal to 48 dirhams, the second 24 dirhams and the lowest 12 dirhams.69 According to Farishtah the Hindu Shahiya king Jayapala, when defeated by Subuktigin, offered to pay Jiziyah and Kharaj to him. It was levied under the so-called Slave Kings, "but there seem good reasons to believe that the term Jiziyah was not used exclusively in the sense of a capitation tax," says Habibullah.70
Curiously enough, Barani himself on two occasions calls land revenue as Jiziyah.71 The earliest imposition of the tax in its true sense was by Firoz Shah Khalji (1290-96).72 In the time of Alauddin Khalji the conversation between Qazi Mughisuddin and the Sultan has been given above and is well-known. The Qazi emphasised that the Hindu is a Kharaji, that his degradation is necessary, that except for Abu Hanifa all other jurists say that the choice to be given to such idolaters is Islam or death. So far as Alauddin is concerned, independently of what Qazi Mughisuddin or Ziyauddin Barani advocated, he suppressed the Hindus to the utmost by collecting all legal (and some illegal) taxes from the Hindus, and earned the approbation of a visiting Maulana - Shamsuddin Turk. Jiziyah continued to be collected throughout the Sultanate period. In the reign of Firoz Tughlaq those who paid the Jiziyah were divided into three classes. The first had to pay 40 tankahs, the second 20 and the third 10. In his reign for the first time Jiziyah was imposed on the Brahmans also. The Brahmans represented that its incidence weighed heavily upon them. The Sultan lowered the rate for them, and they were assessed at ten tankahs and fifty jitals for each individual.73 K.R. Qanungo and R.P. Tripathi write on the authority of Abbas Sarwani that Sher Shah collected the Jiziyah and the pilgrim tax. The collection seems to have been continued by Babur and Humayun. Writing about the abolition of Jiziyah by Akbar, Abul Fazl says that in spite of its unpopularity it was imposed by Akbar's predecessors who "were girded up for the contempt and destruction of the opposite factions". Akbar considered Jiziyah as the greatest hurdle in the way of Hindu-Muslim integration and so abolished it in 1564. This was done "in spite of disapproval of the statesmen and of the (loss of) great revenue, and of much chatter on the part of the ignorant."74 Jahangir and Shahjahan continued the policy of Akbar. Akbar gave a common citizenship to all his subjects, Hindus and Muslims alike. For a hundred years after this step was taken, the Hindus felt that the Mughal empire was their own, but after about one century this feeling was once again shattered. Aurangzeb reimposed Jiziyah in 1679. His Fatawa-i-Alamgiri recognizes two systems of collection of this tax: (i) Lump sum payment of an agreed upon amount by the ruler of a territory or the people thereof and (ii) Payment by individual tax-payers of amounts individually assessed in territories directly under Muslim rulers, governors etc. Sri Ram Sharma reproduces Aurangzeb's order about the imposition and collection of Jiziyah dated 26th July, 1696. It says that "Jiziyah lapses on death and on acceptance of Islam". During the course of the year some people used to die and some used to convert, but the amount of Jiziyah for the place remained unaltered. In view of this the first type of payment was disadvantageous to Hindus. The last paragraph of the order reads: "The nonMuslim should himself bring the Jiziyah; if he sends it through his deputy it should not be accepted. At the time of payment the non-Muslim should keep standing, while the chief should keep sitting. The hand of the non-Muslim should be below and that of the chief above it and he should say. 'Make payment of Jiziyah, O! non-Muslim' and should not say, 'O! infidel'." Aurangzeb thus imposed it in the true spirit and letter of the tax.
Resentment against Jiziyah
Such a hateful tax in which insult was added to economic injury, was resented by the Hindus more than any other imposition. Originally, Jiziyah applied to non-Muslim scriptuaries like Jews and Christians. The bigoted and fanatically inclined jurists hold that the idolaters do not come within the purview of Jiziyah, and the only alternatives open for them are either conversion to Islam or death.75 However, the Sunni jurists Abu Hanifa and his disciple Abu Yusuf permit its imposition on the non-Muslims even if they be idolaters.76 India was inhabited by idolaters primarily. Application of Jiziyah to them was, in a way, a matter of kind concession, from the Muslim point of view. But the Hindus resented it throughout. They knew that it was meant to humble and humiliate them. When Firoz Tughlaq (1351-1388 CE) levied Jiziyah on the Brahmans, they represented to the Sultan that they had never before been asked to pay it land to put up with the indignity attached to it. The Sultan, writes Shams Siraj Afif, "convened a meeting of the learned Ulama and renowned Mashaikh and suggested to them that an error had been committed: the Jiziyah had never been levied from Brahmans; they had been held excused, in former reigns. The Brahmans were the very keys of the chamber of idolatry, and the infidels were dependent on them (kalid-i-hujra-i-kufr und va kafiran bar ishan muataqid una). They ought therefore to be taxed first. The learned lawyers opined that the Brahmans ought to be taxed. The Brahmans then assembled and went to the Sultan and represented that they had never before been called upon to pay the Jiziyah, and they wanted to know why they were now subjected to the indignity of having to pay it. They were determined to collect wood and to bum themselves under the walls of the palace rather than pay the tax. The Sultan replied that they might burn and destroy themselves at once for they would not escape from the payment. The Brahmans remained fasting for several days at the palace until they were on the point of death. The Hindus of the city then assembled and told the Brahmans that it was not right to kill themselves on account of the Jiziyah, and that they would undertake to pay it for them."77
The protest of the Brahmans did succeed in getting some concessions from the king. He fixed their Jiziyah at a low rate although in status they belonged to the upper class. Secondly, he permitted other Hindus (shopkeepers and traders) to pay the tax on their behalf. But Aurangzeb (1658-1707) was more adamant because he himself knew the law well. His imposition of the Jiziyah provoked repeated protests. "On the publication of this order (reimposing the Jiziyah) by Aurangzeb in 1679," writes Khafi Khan, "the Hindus all round Delhi assembled in vast numbers under the jharokha of the emperor to represent their inability to pay and pray for the recall of the edict... But the Emperor would not listen to their complaints." Thereupon the Hindus resorted to Satyagrah as it were. One Friday, when Aurangzeb went to public prayer in the great mosque, a vast multitude of the Hindus thronged the road from the palace to the mosque, with the object of seeking relief. "Money changers and drapers, all kinds of shopkeepers from the Urdu Bazar, mechanics, and workmen of all kinds, left off work and business and pressed into the way... Every moment the crowd increased, and the emperor's equippage was brought to a standstill. At length an order was given to bring out the elephants and direct them against the mob. Many fell trodden to death under the feet of elephants and horses. For some days the Hindus continued to assemble, in great numbers and complain, but at length they submitted to pay the Jiziyah." Abul Fazl Mamuri, who himself witnessed the scene, says that the protest continued for several days and many lost their lives fighting against the imposition. People's resentments against Aurangzeb was also expressed in incidents in which sticks were twice hurled at him and once he was attacked with bricks but escaped .78 There were organized protests against Jiziyah in many other places like Malwa and Burhanpur. In fact it was a countrywide movement "and there was not a district where the people... and Muqaddams did not make disturbance and resistance."79
People's demonstrations apart, protests came from higher quarters as well. During the reign of the stern Sultan Alauddin Khalji, the Hindu chiefs and landlords often did not care for the summons of the Diwan and did not call at his office. They were in no way inclined to show an attitude of servility. They evaded to pay any of the prevalent taxes including the Jiziyah.80 In Aurangzeb's time, this odious tax is said to have evoked a protest from Shivaji in his famous letter to Aurangzeb.81 In this letter Shivaji urged the impolity of the impost and appealed to Aurangzeb to think of the common Father of mankind and the equality of all human beings. A similar letter is said to have been written by Rana Raj Singh as well. These Rajas dealt with the emperor on their own level. Aurangzeb, on his part, became more stiff and made the collection obligatory. All this led to many awkward situations. On one occasion a Mansabdar killed the amin who had gone to collect Jiziyah. The only punishment that was meted out to the Mansabdar was that he was degraded. On another, in a rather comic incident, the beard and hair of an amin were pulled by the people who sent him back empty-handed."82
A tax which created so much agitation in the empire, was bound to create controversy and flutter in the court circles. References to the times of Khaljis and Tughlaqs point to an active role of the ulema in persuading the sultans to impose Jiziyah on the non-Muslims. For the reign of Aurangzeb the Mirat-i-Ahmadi suggests that the theologians as usual took the initiative in the matter. They represented to Aurangzeb the anomaly of the non-believers being exempted from the payment of the Jiziyah under a king of Aurangzeb's piety.83 But the ulema had a say during the reigns of weak kings; Alauddin and Aurangzeb were not weak monarchs. The fact was that Jiziyah was a regular Islamic (Jihadic) tax. Its importance in a Muslim state was well-known. The problem was that the Hindus were in such a great majority in India that here some thought was necessary before insistence on its imposition. That is why there were many in the court and palace who thought preservation of peace to be better than the enforcement of an explosive religious regulation which hurt the feelings of the majority of the population. Niccalao Manucci writes"84 that some highly placed and important persons at court opposed the imposition of Jiziyah. Jahanara Begum Sahib, the elder sister of Aurangzeb, opposed it. There was an earthquake some time after and some of the courtiers are said to have once again urged the emperor to retrace his step. "All the high-placed and important men at the court opposed themselves to this measure. They besought the king most humbly to refrain..."85 But to the imperial bigot Jiziyah was all important. Besides earning religious grace, he could also spread Islam through economic pressure.
Jiziyah as a Means of Spreading Islam
It was Aurangzeb's intention to use Jiziyah for spreading Muslim religion among his subjects. Many writers on medieval Indian history find in the conversion of many low caste Hindus to Islam a hand of the oppression of Hindu upper castes, or the Hindu caste system itself, and the attraction of the "democratic spirit of Islamic brotherhood and equality". The fact is that the Hindus shunned conversion. But many among the poor classes turned to Islam in order to escape the Jiziyah. It was imposed on all non-Muslims - rich as well as poor - and collected in a humiliating manner. The poor sections of Hindus who mostly came from low castes and who could not afford to pay became Musalmans to escape both the economic burden and insults of the collectors. This is borne out by the delight expressed by Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq who writes in his Fatuhat-i-Firoz Shahi: "I encouraged my infidel subjects to embrace the religion of the Prophet. I proclaimed that every one who repeated the creed and became Musalman should be exempted from the Jiziyah. A great number of Hindus presented themselves day by day from every quarter and adopting the faith were exonerated from the Jiziyah."86 Similar was the achievement of many other Muslim rulers. Equally happy was Aurangzeb in his success in this area. As the contemporary European courtier Manucci observed, "Many Hindus who were unable to pay (Jiziyah) turned Muhammadan to obtain relief from the insults of the collectors... Aurangzeb rejoices."
Jiziyah was not a good or bad 'gesture' on the part of Aurangzeb. It was a regular and important Islamic tax. The problem was that the Hindus had enjoyed relief from it for more than a hundred years and were not willing to live with this oppressive imposition once again. The contention of M. Mujeeb that it was levied for economic reasons does not make Jiziyah a secular tax. And the question arises: What were the economic difficulties of Muhammad bin Qasim in Sindh? To sum up: There is a tendency to plead that people voluntarily converted to Islam without any resort to force. It would be rewarding to estimate the numbers who converted only to escape from the payment of Jiziyah. With Aurangzeb the Mughal empire started on a course of decline and fall. it would be interesting to make a critical study of how far Jiziyah was responsible for the fall of the Mughal empire.
Revenue from Jiziyah
As mentioned in the beginning, Jiziyah in India was meant to be applied to the Hindus only. it was imposed on the Hindus from the beginning of the Muslim rule. Their numbers were so large that the income from Jiziyah was substantial. But beyond this no further information is available about the rates applied to various sections of the people and the amount of revenue collected. Shams Siraj Afif tells us that the rates during the reign of Firoz Shah Tughlaq were forty, twenty, and ten tankahs from the rich, middle and poor persons respectively.87 Under Aurangzeb, the assessees were roughly divided into three classes according as their property was estimated at not more than 200 dirhams ("the poor") between 200 and ten thousand dirhams ("the middle class") and above ten thousand ("the rich").88 Shroffs, jewellers, money-changers, clothiers, land-owners, merchants, and physicians were placed in the high class. Tailors, dyers, cobblers, shoemakers and artisans in a hundred other crafts were counted as poor. Other sections and vocational groups formed the middle class. Women, children below fourteen, and slaves were exempted. Blind men, cripples and lunatics paid only when they were wealthy. But what was the total amount collected is not known.
What is known, and that in a general way, is that it brought good amount of revenue into the royal exchequer. Abul Fazl, writing about its abolition in the reign of Akbar, says that crores of rupees were lost, although he gives no exact figures. The quantum of Jiziyah according to Jadunath Sarkar was 4.42 per cent of the provincial revenues. The Mirat-i-Ahmadi suggests that it was 4 per cent in the province of Gujarat. Surely, its incidence on the people was not inconsiderable. "In violation of modem canons of taxation the Jiziyah hit the poorest portion of the population hardest, and annually took away from the poor man the full value of one year's food... as the price of religious indulgence. The tax yielded a very large sum. In the province of Gujarat, for instance, it was 5 lakhs of Rupees a year...".89 It has, however, to be admitted that we do not get satisfactory figures indicating the total amount of income from this source. Stray references that Gujarat yielded 500,000 rupees and Burhanpur about 850,000 rupees, do not provide sufficient data to warrant any definite conclusions, except that whenever it was collected it brought in handsome revenue. It was a good source of income to the Muslim state in India. However, the imposition of Jiziyah has not to be judged by the money it brought in. It is an indication of the nature of Muslim rule in India and an indictment of the apologists who claim that it was not only secular but also popular.
Kharaj was the land tax. In an agricultural country like India, it comprised the major source of the revenue of the state. The early Muslim invaders like the Arabs in Sindh and Turks in Hindustan were mainly soldiers. They were busy in conquest. They had neither the time nor the inclination to introduce any changes in the Hindu agrarian system prevailing in India. For about a hundred years of Muslim rule (c. 1200-1300), the- sultans appear to have continued with the prevailing land tax system.
Land tax in pre-Muslim India
It is difficult to assess exactly the portion of produce taken by the state during the Hindu period. The country was vast and divided into a number of states. There could not have been a uniform rate of tax or a uniform method of collection throughout the country. Modem research, however, has been able to give us a tolerably correct picture of the pre-Muslim times. In the early Hindu period the king charged 1/6 of the produce as land tax. The tax was not rigid but flexible. According to the Hindu theories of finance as expounded in the Smriti and Niti the state demand could vary from 1/12 to 1/6 of the produce. Kautilya advocates even 1/4 if there were irrigation facilities. The king was entitled to a tax as he protected the people. Thus it was not actually a tax but a wage (vetana) given to the king by the people for protecting them.90 But even those who did not pay anything were equally entitled to protection.91 One fact to be remembered in this connection is that in all Dharma Sutras great emphasis is laid on the duty of the king as a protector of the people.92
In later Hindu India, say between the death of Harshavardhan and the conquest of Muhammad Ghauri (c. 650-1200 CE), again the Hindu theories and practices of taxation continued to prevail. Medieval writers and commentators on Smriti and Niti like Medhatithi and Shukra, however, permit a higher portion of the produce as the share of the state. Shukra even permitted up to 50 per cent if the lands were irrigated by canals, tanks and wells.93 Chandreshwar, another medieval writer, says that the king should only take such an amount as is necessary for the needs of the government and may not be felt oppressive by the subjects.94 These figures and statements show that the incidence of taxation on the people seems to have grown with the passage of time, but 1/6 was the ideal and any divergence from it did not do credit to the ruler. Alberuni, who had made a thorough study of the conditions in India, also mentions 1/6 as the revenue of the state.95
The theoretical aspect apart, there are some definite data available about this period. Hiuen Tsang testifies to the low incidence of land tax in Harsha's time (d. 647).96 The Rashtrakutas (750-1000 CE) who ruled over a major portion of the Deccan peninsula and whose sphere of influence extended into the Malwa country stretching up to Prayag (Allahabad) in the north, took about 20 percent of the gross produce on land.97 This tax included the uparikara or bhogkara which may safely be identified with the khuti (or collection charges) under the Sultanate. A refreshing reference in this regard is that 15 per cent of this revenue was returned to the village for its own needs.98 Writing about the Rashtrakutas, al-Idrisi (12th century) says that the "Kingdom is vast, well-peopled, commercial, and fertile. It pays heavy taxes so that the king is immensely rich."99 It is not known whether al-Idrisi meant the land tax to be high or the customs duties, as then trade flourished well in the Deccan and we know from Ibn Battutah that duties in the first half of the fourteenth century were as high as 25 per cent of the commodity. Farther south, in the Chola kingdom, the land tax together with tolls and octrois was 4/15 or about 25 percent on the gross produce in Rajadhiraj's time( 1035-1053 CE).100
The above discussion focuses on a few salient features of taxation in the Hindu period. The fundamental principle was that the royal revenues should be collected diligently and prudently but without harshness, protecting the people and their welfare in every possible way. In the ancient or Hindu period there is no mention of peasants forsaking cultivation, abandoning their fields and escaping into forests because of excessive taxation as became common during the medieval period. Nor is there any evidence of people being reduced to such straits as to sell themselves and their families into slavery as bonded labourers, a phenomenon which had become common under Muslim rule.
Kharaj under early Sultans
The early invaders and rulers like Muhammad Ghauri, Qutbuddin Aibak and Shamsuddin Iltutmish carried on with the prevailing system of taxation. Iltutmish, however, divided the newly conquered kingdom into iqtas and distributed most of them among his nobles and soldiers for their maintenance keeping some portion for his personal expenses and that of his harem.101 At this stage of the history of the Sultanate much wealth was obtained through Khams or the state's share of war booty and tribute from vanquished princes, and there was hardly any financial problem.
Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban (1246-66-86) was faced with the task of encountering Mongol invasions. This menace on the one hand put a check on his expansionist ambitions curtailing income from war booty, and on the other his expenditure on the army was considerably increased. Balban used to say that "I have devoted all the revenue of my kingdom to equip my army, and I hold my forces ready and prepared to receive the (the Mongols)."102 Even then Balban did not feel the need to tax the peasants heavily. He followed a moderate policy regarding collection of land revenue. He ordered that "excessive (tax) should not be tried to be levied from obedient and submissive raiyyat In collecting Kharaj, a middle course should be adopted. Neither should the demand be so high that the agriculturists should become paupers, nor should it be so little that because of their easy life born of prosperity, they become prone to recalcitrance and disobedience... The king felt that the army and the raiyyat should be placed on equal footing so that, year after year, with the salary of the one class and cultivation by the other, they could live with frugality and contentment."103 The inference is difficult to resist that during the first hundred years of the Sultanate, "the Muslim was merely a tax receiver and took little direct part in the production and increase of the country's agricultural wealth."104
According to Muslim law land tax collected from Muslims was called Ushr and that collected from non-Muslim was Kharaj.105 The rate of Ushr was 10 per cent- of the produce and for Kharaj it was 20 per cent. However, we find very few recorded instances of Muslim cultivators. Kharaj could be raised up to 50 per cent.106 Under Qutbuddin Aibak land tax was 20 per cent.107 We have no figures for the reigns of Iltutmish and Balban, but taking into account the rates prevailing in the times of their predecessor Aibak (20 per cent) and successor Alauddin Khalji (50 per cent) it may safely be presumed that it was around 33 per cent in their reigns.
A Grinding Tax Structure
The Sultanate of Delhi had completed about a hundred years when Alauddin Khalji ascended the throne. His problems were many. Most parts of the country were independent. Hindu Rajas were powerful and unsubdued. Muslim nobles were rebellious. The Mongols were knocking at the gates of Hindustan time and again. Alauddin Khalji needed a large army to deal with these problems. To maintain a large army he needed money and so this Sultan raised the land tax (Kharaj) to fifty per cent. Under his predecessors, it does not seem to have been above one-third of the produce. Furthermore, under Alauddin's system all the land occupied by the rich and the poor "was brought under assessment at the uniform rate of fifty per cent". This measure automatically reduced the chiefs practically to the position of peasants. Since his aim was to strike at the major source of power, the wealth, of the Hindus,108 he also levied many other taxes like house-tax and grazing tax. According to the contemporary chronicler Ziyauddin Barani, all milk-producing animals like cows and goats were taxed. According to Farishtah, animals up to two pairs of oxen, a pair of buffaloes and some cows and goats were exempted.109 This concession was based on the principle of nisab, namely, of leaving some minimum capital to enable one to carry on with one's work.110 But it was hardly any relief, for trustworthy persons informed the chronicler Shams Siraj Afif that in former reigns (obviously a reference to Alauddin's days) if an Amil left one cow with the peasant (raiyyat), another used to take possession of that also.111 The payment of Kharaj, however, did not entitle the Hindu peasant to protection of the state. For protection and safety he had to pay an extra tax, Jiziyah, as we have seen before. So besides Kharaj, there were taxes like kari, (derived from Hindi word kar), charai and Jiziyah. Poll tax, tax on cattle etc. defy classification because they are entirely arbitrary.
Muslim jurists knew that if the collectors were not satisfactorily paid they would resort to corrupt practices. Therefore Islamic scriptures made a provision for a fair payment to them. As per the Hadis an Amil (collector) could obtain from the bait-ul-mal (treasury) expenses of one wife, one servant if he did not have one of his own and a house (if he did not already possess one). Besides this if he took anything more "it is theft, embezzlement."112 But the Amils in Hindustan collected much more than was actually due. The land revenue system was exceedingly complex. There was no uniformity either in the period for which the tax was assessed or in the basis of assessment. The basis of assessment in some cases was the "total assets" of an estate; in others, it was the economic rent, the net produce etc. The local official was allowed considerable discretion. The rent was always enhanced. It was common for jagir owners to exact miscellaneous payments and services from the peasants.
In short, a substantial portion of the produce was taken away by the government as taxes and the people were left with the bare minimum for sustenance. For the Sultan had "directed that only so much should be left to his subjects (raiyyat) as would maintain them from year to year... without admitting of their storing up or having articles in excess". It is from this point of time that the Indian peasant was made to maintain himself and his family from one harvest to the next. In the coming years and centuries, there is repeated mention in the chronicles about the rulers' directives to protect the peasant from undue exactions which seems to have become the common practice. Sultan Alauddin's rigorous measures were taken note of by contemporary writers both in India and abroad. In India contemporary writers like Barani, Isami and Amir Khusrau were inclined to believe him to be a persecutor of the Hindus. Foreigners also gathered the same impression. Maulana Shamsuddin Turk, a divine from Egypt, was happy to learn that Alauddin had made the wretchedness and misery of the Hindus so great and had reduced them to such a despicable condition "that the Hindu women and children went out begging at the doors of the Musalmans."113 The same impression is betrayed in the writings of Isami and Wassaf.114 While summing up the achievements of Alauddin Khalji, the contemporary chronicler Barani mentions, with due emphasis, that by the last decade of his reign the submission and obedience of the Hindus had become an established fact. Such a submission on the part of the Hindus "has neither been seen before nor will be witnessed hereafter". In brief, not only the Hindu Zamindars, who had been accustomed to a life of comfort and dignity, were reduced to a deplorable position, but the Hindus in general were impoverished to such an extent that there was no sign of gold or silver left in their houses, and the wives of Khuts and Muqaddams (Zamindars) used to seek sundry jobs in the houses of the Musalmans, work there and receive wages.115 The poor peasants (balahars) suffered the most. The fundamentalist Maulana Ziyauddin Barani feels jubilant at the suppression of the Hindus, and writes at length about the utter helplessness to which the peasantry had been reduced because the Sultan had left to them bare sustenance and had taken away every thing else in Kharaj (land revenue) and other taxes.116
But there was much greater oppression implicit in this measure. it was difficult to collect in full so many and such heavy taxes. "One of the standing evils in the revenue collection consisted of defective realization which usually left large balances,"117 and unrealised balances used to become inevitable. Besides, lower revenue officials were corrupt and extortionate. To overcome these problems, Sultan Alauddin created a new Ministry called the Diwan-i-Mustakhraj. The Mustakhraj was entrusted with the work of inquiring into the revenue arrears, and realizing them.118 We shall discuss about the tyranny of this department a little later; suffice it here to say that in Alauddin's time, besides being oppressed by such a grinding tax-structure, the peasant was compelled to sell every maund of his surplus grain at government controlled rates for replenishing royal grain stores which the Sultan had ordered to be built in connection with his Market Control.119
The contemporary chronicler Ziyauddin Barani writes that Alauddin Khalji was an ill-tempered and tyrannical king. He had no learning and he did not associate with the ulema. Sultan Balban respected the ulema and used to consult them often. After returning from Bengal he went to their houses personally and informed them of his success.120 Firoz Tughlaq also used to visit them in their houses. But Alauddin Khalji did not associate with the clerics. 121 When necessary, he consulted with his nobles but not with the ulema.122 Barani wrote in old age. Though his memory remained unimpaired, a little confusion with regard to chronology in his narrative was natural in advanced age. Alauddin's three most trusted nobles and counsellers, namely, Nusrat Khan, Zafar Khan and Ulugh Khan had died by 1301, while his draconian measures, euphemistically called "reforms" were brought into operation mainly between the siege of Ranthambhor and expedition to Chittor (1301-1303).123 Therefore, he surely deliberated with the ulema in matters of law. A few scholars like Qazi Ziyauddin of Bayana, Maulana Zahir Lang and Maulana Mushayyad Kuhrami were nominated to be present at dinner time. Qazi Mughisuddin of Bayana also used to come occasionally.
During the days when taxes were being assessed and collected with great strictness. Alauddin once inquired of Qazi Mughisuddin about the status of the Hindus in a Muslim state, whether they were Kharaj-guzar of Kharaj-deh, payers or givers of Kharaj. The Qazi expositioned their legal status thus: "By the ecclesiastical law the term Kharajguzar is applicable to a Hindu only, who as soon as the revenue collector demands the sum due from him, pays the same with meekness and humility, coupled with the utmost respect... and should the collector choose to spit into his mouth, opens the same without hesitation, so that the official may spit into it. The purpose of this extreme humility on his part and the collector's spitting into his mouth, is to show the extreme subservience incumbent on this class, the glory of Islam and the orthodox Faith, and the degradation of the false religion.124 God Almighty himself (in the Quran) expressly commands their complete degradation, in as much as these Hindus are the deadliest foes of the true Prophet. Mustafa, on whom be peace, has given orders regarding the slaying, plundering, and imprisoning of them, ordaining that they must either follow the true faith, or else be slain or imprisoned and have all their wealth and property confiscated. With the exception of the Imam-i-Azam (Abu Hanifa)... we have no other great divine authority for accepting the poll tax (Jiziyah) from a Hindu; for the opinion of the other learned men is based on the hadis 'Either death or Islam'."
Kharaj was originally applied to a land tax or tribute realised from non-Muslim tribes.125 After the defeat of Jews at Khaibar (628 CE) they became "the first Zimmis, or members of a subject caste, whose lives were to be guaranteed, but whose earnings were to support the Believers."126 These Jews were the first Kharajguzars in Islam. Later on Kharajguzars were found in whatever countries the arms of Islam conquered. The Kharajguzars were Zimmis who had submitted to absolute obedience to the Islamic state. As non-Muslims they were Kafirs who could not be accorded any rights. But as Kharajguzars they were/are granted some minimal rights solely in view of their accepting and submitting themselves to the suzerainty of Islam. Thus Qazi Mughisuddin described the status of Kharajguzars fairly correctly."127
This exposition of the Quranic injunctions happened to square so much with the steps which the Sultan had already taken, albeit totally in ignorance of the law, that he burst out into a laughter of approval of the Qazi's views and informed him with great gusto that "I have established laws... so that under the fears of my command they would all escape into a mouse hole; and now you tell me that it is inculcated in the Divine law that the Hindus should be made obedient and submissive in the extreme... Rest assured, that the Hindu will never be submissive and obedient to the Musalmans until he becomes destitute and impoverished..." So, as mentioned before, the Sultan made them destitute. Destitute to the extent that the peasants sometimes paid Kharaj by selling their wives and children.128 It is one thing to raise taxes and be happy. But to gloat over the impoverishment of the Hindus, both by the kings and chroniclers, is because of the ideology which advocates degradation of non-Muslims. Barani is the first and probably the only Muslim chronicler in the fourteenth century to mention the sale of families for defraying land tax. As we shall see, in later centuries foreign travellers were so shocked at this inhuman cruelty that they mention the fact repeatedly. The sale of peasants meant that they were reduced to the position of bonded labourers as slaves for life. When they we're free (whatever the extent of their freedom), the government got 50 to 75 per cent of their produce. When they became bonded labourers the sultan got cent per cent of the produce earned by their exertions. Of course some coarse grain was given to them to keep them alive to continue to work in the fields.
After Alauddin's death (CE 1316) most of his measures seem to have fallen into disuse, but the peasants got no relief, because Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq who came to the throne four years later (CE 1320) continued the atrocious practice of Alauddin. He also ordered that "there should be left only so much to the Hindus that neither, on the one hand, they should become arrogant on account of their wealth, nor, on the other, desert their lands in despair".129 In the time of Muhammad bin Tughlaq even this latter fear turned out to be true. The Sultan's enhancement of taxation went even beyond the lower limits of "bare subsistence". For the people left their fields and fled. This enraged the Sultan and he hunted them down like wild beasts.130 Still conditions did not become unbearable all at once.
The reign of Muhammad bin Tughlaq started off well so far as the collection of Kharaj was concerned. The contemporary chronicler writes with satisfaction that Kharaj of far-flung regions like Gujarat, Malwa, Devagiri, Telang, Kampila, Dwarsamudra, Malabar, Tirhut, Lakhnauti, Satgaon, Sunargaon was collected with as much ease as that of Doab and brought (after deduction) to the treasury located in Hazar Situn in Delhi. The walls, iqtadars and administrators were kept under strict watch so that they collected the Kharaj from Rais and Raigans in full. The officers and retainers of the latter were treated with rigour and not a kouri or dirham was condoned. In three or four years, however, the situation changed because of the dislike of the people for the Sultan so that except Devagiri and Gujarat no other region remained under full control. Kharaj could not be realised in full. There was rebellion everywhere. This was due mainly to the enhancement of Kharaj in the Doab to ten or twenty times, which obviously means 10 or 20 per cent. Production and realisation went down. The rich became recalcitrant and the poor became destitute. People of other regions, fearing the fate of Doab people, fled and hid themselves in the jungles.131
It is difficult to surmise if the condition of the peasants was better or worse when the ruler at the centre was strong or weak. Under strong kings like Alauddin Khalji and Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the people of course suffered. But their condition was no better, say, under the weak Saiyyads (C. 1400-1450) when revenue was regularly or irregularly collected through military expeditions.132
Kharaj under the Mughals
If Sher Shah was "considerate" to the agriculturists, Babur and Humayun, could give little time and attention to agrarian and fiscal matters. Like Alauddin Khalji in the Sultanate period, Akbar was the first Mughal emperor to introduce novel principles and improved practices in land revenue administration. During his fifty years of reign a number of measures were adopted from time to time. Some important ones were Todar Mall's settlement of Gujarat which was later extended to most of Northern India, the introduction of the institution of Karoris - the principles of ten years settlement, classification of lands (into polaj, parauti, chachar, banjar) for assessment of revenue and so on - but that was to get maximum from the peasantry. For in the Mughal period the condition of the peasantry became more and more miserable; if there was any progress it was in the enhancement of taxation. According to W.H. Moreland, who has made a special study of the agrarian system of Mughal India, the basic object of the Mughal administration was to obtain the revenue on an ever-ascending scale. The share that could be taken out of the peasant's produce without destroying his chances of survival was probably a matter of common knowledge in each locality. In Akbar's time, in Kashmir, the state demand was one-third, but in reality it came to two-thirds.133 The Jagirdars in Thatta (Sindh) did not take more than half. In Gujarat, according to Geleysen who wrote in 1629, the peasant was made to part with three-quarters of his harvest. Similar is the testimony of De Laet, Fryer and Van Twist.134 During Akbar's reign, says Abul Fazl, evil hearted officers because of sheer greed, used to proceed to villages and mahals and sack them.135 But they alone were not to blame. The policy of the government was to exact land tax in full whatever the circumstances. There were no remittances, no concessions. For example, "When either from excessive rain or through an inundation, the land falls out of cultivation the husbandmen are, at first, in considerable distress. In the first year, therefore, but two-fifth of the produce is taken: in the second three-fifth; in the third, four-fifth and in the fifth, the ordinary revenue. According to difference of situation, the revenue is paid either in money or in kind. In the third year the charges of 5 per cent and one dam for each bigha are added."136 Tables of various harvests in provinces meticulously prepared by Abul Fazl confirm his above statement. The burden of arrears went on multiplying and the peasant was crushed under it. Conditions became intolerable by the time of Shahjahan when, according to Manucci, peasants were compelled to sell their women and children to meet the revenue demand.137 Manrique (1628-43) writes that the peasants were "carried off... to various markets and fairs, (to be sold) with their poor unhappy wives behind them carrying their small children all crying and lamenting..."138 Bernier too affirms that the unfortunate peasants who were incapable of discharging the demands of their rapacious lords, were bereft of their children, who were carried away as slaves.139 Here was also confirmation of the practice of bonded labour in India.
Collection of Kharaj was accomplished through many other objectionable methods, some leading to great suffering to the people. From the allotment of Jagirs to ijaradars to the actual collection of taxes it is an unmitigated story of sordid corruption and tyranny for which both the tax collector and the king were equally responsible. Manucci describes the process thus: "When any hungry wretch takes it into his head to ruin the kingdom, he goes to the king and says to him: 'Sire; if your majesty will give me the permission to raise money and a certain number of armed men, I will pay so many millions. The king then asks how it is intended to raise the money. It is by nothing else than the seizure of everybody in the kingdom, men and women, and by dint of torture compelling them to pay what is demanded. Such financiers are hateful and avaricious men. The king generally consents to their unjust proposals, as he thereby satisfies his own greed; he accords the asked-for permission, and demands security bonds."140 Elsewhere Manucci adds that "If the tax contractor pays twenty-five thousand rupees to the crown, he must have at least recovered one hundred thousand. They always keep back three-fourths for themselves and pay in one-fourth only to the royal treasury."141
On the allotment or transference of a jagir on the above lines, the allottee officer carried the royal farman to assume his charge. The farman bore the royal seal with the counter mark of the chief Wazir,142 but by the time of Aurangzeb such farmans appear to have lost authority. For, when the allottee carried the letter of conferment, he was not given charge of the jagir until and unless a present or bribe was given to one already in possession of the land. Needless to say that the giver of the bribe collected the amount from the cultivator in course of time. As has been well said, the essence of imperialism is exploitation. It protects vested interests. The only interest that it does not protect is that of the masses, of the peasantry and the workers. To protect them can only mean to protect them against exploitation. Imperialism, of which the essence is exploitation, cannot afford such protection.
The great lords and petty contractors (iqtadars, jagirdar, faujdars, and ijaradars) collected the land revenue through their retainers. These retainers or troopers were hired by the nobles for a temporary period and were known as sib-bandis (or irregular levy) under the Mughals.143 They were not considered eligible for musters and were generally regarded with some contempt when compared with the regular soldiers or tabinan. These quasi-troops behaved like modem dadas employed by their dons and they went to any length in perpetrating atrocities on the peasants and the common people. They entered the houses of the ryots and in many cases occupied them. Often through them girls of the family were abducted and forcibly married to their masters. This marriage also entitled the master to inherit the property and thereafter he cultivated (another man's) land on his own behalf. Their cruelties were a common knowledge. Even the royal scribe Jahangir describes this process in Tarikh-i-Salim Shahi.144 On accession to the throne emperor Jahangir promulgated his famous twelve ordinances. One of these said that a government collector or Jagirdar should not without permission intermarry with the people of the pargana in which he might be; that the Jagirdars should not forcibly take the ryot's lands and cultivate them on their own account and that they should not take possession of any one's house.145 In candid language girls of the ryots were non-chalantly abducted mainly through the exertions of hired retainers. This was also possible because the Jagirdar sometimes paid his own soldiers and retainers by allotting them a share of his revenue. In a note in the English translation done by Henry Elliot, he says that "these perpetual repetitions of the same edicts shows either the very weak authority of the original promulgators or the vain-glory of their descendents, in assuming to themselves credit to which they were not entitled."146 For as Manucci observed, the king knew how the money was intended to be raised. The retainers or sih-bandis were employed with his knowledge and permission, and the collection helped satisfy the king's own greed.
Zakat or "Zakah" or alms tax can be defined as that portion of a man's wealth which is designated for the poor. The term is derived from the Arabic verbal root meaning "to increase", "to purify" and "to bless". It finds its origin in Allah's command to "take sadaqah (charity) from their property in order to purify and sanctify them (at-Taubah:103)... In this ayat "Purify means to purify them from stinginess, greed, and meanness... As an obligation upon Muslims, zakah is one of the essential requirements of Islam. If somebody disputed its obligation, he would be outside of Islam, and could legally be killed for his unbelief unless he was a new Muslim and could be excused for his ignorance." And as is usual in injunctions of the Quran and Hadis, there is a threat held out to those who refrain from paying Zakat. Both Bukhari and Muslim relate from Abu Hurairah that the messenger of Allah said: "No owner of a treasure who does not pay zakah will be spared, for his treasure will be heated in the Fires of Hell and then made into plates. His flanks and his forehead will be branded with them until Allah pronounces judgement on His servants during a day lasting fifty thousand years."147
In short, Zakat is a religious tax levied on the Muslims. By paying Zakat and thereby sharing his property with the needy a Muslim purifies himself of avarice. Generally speaking Zakat amounted to one-fortieth or two-and-half per cent of the property. But since it is an act of piety to pay Zakat, and since it is based on a clear injunction of the Quran, it must be realized by the imam. In fact it is the ruler's duty to take Zakat from the defaulter and rebuke him if he refrains from payment. Zakat is not levied on primary necessities of life like dwelling houses, clothes, utensils, slaves and animals used for ploughing or riding."148 It is charged only on "apparent property" such as gold and silver, herds and merchandise, and only when such property exceeds a certain taxable minimum (nisab).
There are three conditions which qualify a man to pay Zakat. First, he must have reason and maturity, for there can be no responsibility without them. Second, he must live in Dar-ul-Islam, because the payment of Zakat is an act of worship and as such it can be rightly performed by Muslims only. Third, he must be a freeman, because a slave is not supposed to own property.149 These conditions exempt infants, non-Muslims, lunatics, slaves and even debtors, that is, insolvent persons, from payment of Zakat tax.150 The Zakat on the apparent property was collected by the state according to the fixed rate, but the Zakat on non-apparent property was given to the beneficiaries directly by the property owner according to his own discretion and judgement.151 As explained in the article in the Arab Times referred to above, "Zakah must be paid by every Muslim who has a nisab, which is the minimum of one's holdings liable to zakah." The nisab is conditioned by the following:
1) Zakah should be paid on any amount of money remaining after meeting the expenses for such necessities as food, clothes, housing, vehicles and craft machines.
2) A complete year of Islamic calendar should pass, starting from the very day of the nisab's possession, without any decrease during the year. in case of its decrease (being less than nisab), the year count (hawl) starts from the day of the nisab to completion.
Commenting on the issue, an-Nawawi said: "In our view and the views of Malik, Ahmad and the majority of scholars, the amount of property liable for payment of Zakah, such as gold, silver, or cattle, is tied to the completion of nisab through the turn of a whole year. If the nisab decreases in any time of the year, (the counting of) the year discontinues."
Zakat was perhaps the most difficult to assess and still more difficult to realize. It was levied on "apparent property". Now, we know that in the medieval times people used to hide their possessions lest the sultan should come to know of their wealth. Zakat could not be realized forcibly since "compulsion-vitiates its character". Again, it could only be applied to a property held in possession by the owner for at least one year.152 If a person just to avoid payment transferred his taxable property to someone else including his own wife, even a day before the date of payment, he escaped from paying.153 On the other hand pious Muslims sometimes paid Zakat in advance for two or three years.
The Muslim jurists divide the revenue of a Muslim state into two categories - secular and religious. The secular taxes, consisting mainly of Khams, Kharaj, and Jiziyah were levied on non-Muslims.154 The religious tax was Zakat levied on Muslims. In India it seems to have been shared by Hindus also as it included customs duties. The revenue derived from Zakat was expended for charitable purposes and the other taxes were earmarked mostly to satisfy secular demands.
There is a desire to equate Zakat with Jiziyah to emphasise the fairness of the Islamic fiscal system. The Muslims pay Zakat and the non-Muslims Jiziyah. But the analogy is fallacious. The rate of Zakat tax is as low as 2½ per cent and that on the apparent property only. All kinds of concessions are given in Zakat with regard to nisab or taxable minimum. In its collection no force is applied because force vitiates its character. On the other hand the rate of Jiziyah is very high for the non-Muslims - 48, 24 and 12 silver tankahs for the rich, the middling and the poor, whatever the currency and whichever the country. Besides, what is central to Jiziyah is the humiliation of infidel always, particularly at the time of collection. What is central in Zakat is that it is voluntary; at least it cannot be collected by force.
In India Zakat ceased to be a religious tax imposed only on the Muslims. Here Zakat was levied in the shape of customs duties on merchandise and grazing fee on all milk-producing animals or those which went to pasture, and was realized both from Muslims and non-Muslims. According to the Islamic law, "import duties for Muslims were 5 per cent and for non-Muslims 10 percent of the commodity." For, Abu Hanifa, whose Sunni school of law prevailed in India, would tax the merchandise of the Zimmis as imposts at double the Zakat fixed for Muslims.155
Besides the four regular taxes, there were various kinds of local imposts levied. Alauddin Khalji imposed house tax and grazing tax (ghari and charai). He also levied a tax on all milk producing animals. These and many others like tax on selling flowers, on betel leaves, octroi duty on sale of grain and pottery, stall tax (tah bazari), tax on gambling, amusements and dancing girls mentioned by Afif continued till the time of Firoz Tughlaq. They were collected in the capital city and some other important cities. Firoz Tughlaq ordered their abolition in 777 H/1375 CE as they were considered to be not in accordance with the Shariat. This resulted in a loss of 30 lakh tankahs annually,156 which shows that income from such imposts was not inconsiderable.
Such imposts, however, used to grow like mushroom; these were regularly pruned but also regularly collected from time to time so that with Jiziyah and Pilgrim Tax, Akbar also abolished duties on gao-shumari (each head of oxen), sar-i-darakhti (on each tree), peshwar (vocational tax on artificers), darogha's fees, tehsildar's fees, treasurer's fees, lodging charges, hasil bazar (market duties) and many more. These imposts were "equal in amount to the income of Hindustan."157 So also did Jahangir. He also issued instructions forbidding levy of many such cesses. He writes in his memoirs that he prohibited collection of imposts "under the names of tamgha and mir bahri (river tolls), and other burdens, which the jagirdars of every province and district had imposed for their own profit."158 Similarly a farman of Aurangzeb preserved in Mirat-i-Ahmadi "directed the jagirdars of the province of Gujarat not to realise cesses such as rahdari, mahi, mallahi, tarkari, tab bazari, etc., which had been abolished, from traders and merchants."159 "Zekhaut, Sermohary and Tumgha had yielded to Akbar sixteen hundred Hindustani manns of gold, equal to sixteen thousand manns of Iraq," says Jahangir at another place.160 These imposts brought profit to local officials if they did not always add revenue to the royal exchequer.
The discrimination and humiliation for non-Muslims in the Muslim state was not confined to the collection of Kharaj or other major taxes only. It extended to tamgha or customs duties also. These levies on Hindus used to be high, on Muslims often reduced or wholly rescinded. The government was unduly keen to exempt Muslims from the levy. Prior to the Battle of Khanua against Rana Sanga, Babur abolished "throughout all the territories" the customs duties or tamgha on Musalmans - though its yield was large and though it had been established and maintained by former rulers. "For it is a practice outside the edicts of the Prince of Apostles (Muhammad)."161 Naturally in an Islamic state Muslims were treated with special favour. For Jahangir writes: "As I had remitted in my dominions customs duties amounting to krors, I abolished also all the transit dues (sair-jihat) in Kabul. From the provinces of Kabul and Qandahar large sums used to be derived every year from customs (zakat), which were in fact the chief revenue of those places. I remitted these ancient dues, a proceeding that greatly benefited the people of Iran and Turan."162
Jahangir also writes, "I had done away with the whole of the customs dues and charges of Kabul, and whichever of my descendants and successors should do anything contrary to this would be involved in the wrath and displeasure of God. Up to the time of my accession these were fixed and settled, and every year they took large sums on this account from the servants of God (the Muhammadan people in general). The abolition of this oppression was brought about during my reign."163 Similarly, customs duties at Cambay were abolished. The Royal scribe writes that "in the time of the Sultans of Gujarat the customs of this part came to a large sum. Now in my reign it is ordered that they should not take more than one in forty," i.e. 2½ per cent. In other parts they collected 10 to 16 per cent. "In Jeddah, which is the port of Mecca, they take one in four (25 per cent) or even more." Jahangir claims to have "the grace to remit the whole of the customs dues of his dominions, which came to a countless sum, and the very name of customs (tamgha) has passed away from my empire."164 But all this was Jahangir's wish and his good intentions. The customs duties were collected by officers who were corrupt and unrelenting. In fact, customs duties were also a source of oppression and exaction. Still as Edward Terry notes, the customs duties were "not high, that strangers of all nations" may have greater encouragement to trade with the Mughals.165
In conclusion a few points may be noted about the tax system in the Muslim state. Of the four major taxes sanctioned by Canon Law, viz. - Zakat, Khams, Jiziyah and Kharaj, only Zakat was obligatory on Muslims, while the other three were due from non-Muslims. The rate of Zakat was light. It was just two-and-a-half per cent or one-fortieth of taxable property. Besides, force could not be used in the collection of Zakat. On the other hand, in the collection of the other three major taxes taken from non-Muslims force was freely used. Medieval chronicles are replete with stories of oppression and torture in the- collection of taxes from non-Muslims realised through war and terror. The Muslim state was run on the dictates of Islamic scriptures. Their main plank was discrimination between Muslims and others. In matters of taxes all concessions were given to the Muslims and all strictness and humiliation extended to the non-Muslims.
4.5. OTHER SOURCES OF INCOME
Taxes were collected from the people. From defeated Rajas and Zamindars huge amounts were extorted as war indemnities. When the capital city of a Raja or any other important city of his kingdom was attacked, the people were robbed, the temple treasures were raffled and the Rajas fleeced. Full advantage was taken of their helpless state. The wealth collected from these sources filled the treasuries of the sultans and badshahs. Punjab and Gujarat had surrendered wealth and treasure on many occasions to Mahmud Ghaznavi, Qutbuddin Aibak and Shamsuddin Iltutmish. But Alauddin Khalji's coffers overflowed with the wealth obtained from defeated princes. Before attacking Devagiri in 1296, Alauddin, as yet a prince, had learnt during his raid on Vidisha that Raja Ram Chandra of Devagir had inherited a huge treasure accumulated by his ancestors.166 Marco Polo describing the treasures of the South says that "when the king dies none of his children dares to touch his treasures. For they say, 'as our father did gather together all his treasure, so we ought to accumulate as much in our turn'. And in this way it comes to pass that there is an immensity of treasure accumulated in this kingdom (Maabar)." The Venetian traveller describes at length the jewellery the king wore about his person as well as the ways in which they used to obtain "very fine and great pearls". The king desires to reserve all pearls for himself "and so in fact the quantity he has is something almost incredible."167 About the Vijayanagar kingdom Abdurrazaq says that "In the king's treasury there are chambers with excavations in them, filled with molten gold, forming one mass."168 Thus, the treasuries of the Deccan kingdoms were full of precious metals and precious stones. Ram Chandra was defeated in a surprise attack, and Alauddin collected from him "six hundred man of gold (a man was equal to 14 the then ser), seven man of pearls, two man of precious stones like rubies, sapphires, diamonds and emeralds, one thousand man of silver and four thousand pieces of silk and sundry articles the details of which are beyond computation". This detailed account is given by Farishtah; he is indirectly supported by the contemporary writers Barani and Amir Khusrau. Barani says that Alauddin brought so much money from the Deccan that despite the squandering of it by his successors much of it remained till the time of Firoz Tughlaq.169 It is said that the wealth turned his head and he began to conceive of "absurdities and impossibilities", but in the end settled on furthering his conquests. Through these his treasuries got filled with gold to such an extent that his coins became standard currency even for future. After about a century, the invader Timur demanded from the Raja of Jammu a hundred thousand gold tankahs (asharfis) of Alauddin.170 In Akbar's reign, when Asaf Khan attacked Gondwana, he lay hold on a hundred large pots full of the asharfis of Alauddin. His silver coin has been found in far-off Nepal.171
In the Warangal campaign (1310), its Raja Pratap Rudra Deva finding himself helpless consented to the terms of the treaty forced upon him and surrendered all the treasures which had been accumulated during the course of many generations. According to Barani, Pratap Rudra Deva gave 100 elephants (Farishtah has 300 elephants), 7,000 horses and many precious articles and promised to send an equal amount of tribute in future years. Among the precious stones which the Raja surrendered was the famous Koh-i-Nur, which according to many writers, including Khafi Khan, was brought by Malik Kafur from the Deccan.172 During the Dwarsamudra expedition, Alauddin's general Malik Kafur's gains consisted of 512 elephants (Barani has 612), 5,000 horses of various breeds like Arabi, Yamani and Syrian, and 500 mans of jewellery of every description (Barani has 20,000 horses and 96,000 mans of gold).173 In another expedition against the Kakatiya king, Pratap Rudra Deva, promised to give to Khusrau Khan, the commander of Qutbuddin Mubarak Khalji, a large sum and tribute comprising of 100 elephants, 12,000 horses, gold, jewels and gems beyond compute.174
Akin to the gains through expeditions, were dowries collected during marriages of relatives of defeated Rajas with the victorious king or his son. Dowry is a word of the English language, qarardad is Persian and jahez (corrupted as dahej) is Arabic. There is perhaps no Hindi or Sanskrit word for dowry. But it was and is an established custom to give good amount of money to a girl at the time of her marriage. Although dowry is not a must in Islam, the marriages of the daughters of the vanquished rulers would have brought lot of wealth into the palaces of the sultans and badshahs who entered into innumerable matrimonial alliances. It would be euphemistic to term the Muslim royalty and nobility in India as polygamous. "Polygamy" does not convey the idea of the large number - one to two thousand, even more - of women which was the norm of a harem in medieval India. The medieval Muslim view was that a large and magnificent harem would inspire awe and respect for the king and enhance his prestige in the minds of the people.175 In pre-Mughal Hindustan a large harem was the trend of the times and emperor Akbar followed the fashion. "His majesty," writes Abul Fazl, "forms matrimonial alliances with princes of Hindustan and of other countries, and secures by these ties of harmony the peace of the world." Whether peace was actually achieved or bitter memories survived, is beside the point. What is important is that Akbar had 5,000 women in his harem, many of whom were actually married to him. They all brought impressive dowries. For instance, Raja Bihari Mal "made the arrangements for the marriage of his elder daughter to the Mughal emperor Akbar in the most admirable manner and gave substantial dowry."176
Each matrimonial contract brought a lot of wealth. Each Rajput princess brought a lot of dowry. The marriage settlement of Man Bai, the daughter of Raja Bhagwan Das, with Prince Salim was fixed at two krors of tankahs. "The dowry bestowed by Bhagwan Das, included a hundred elephants, several strings of horses, jewels, numerous and diverse golden vessels set with precious stones, utensils of gold and silver, 'and all sorts of stuffs, the quantity of which is beyond computation'. The imperial nobles were presented with Persian, Turkish and Arabian horses, with golden saddles, etc. Along with the bride were given a number of male and female slaves, of Indian, Abyssinian and Circassian origin."177 A hundred years later, the amount paid by Raja Ajit Singh in the marriage of his daughter with Farrukh Siyar amounted to a kror of rupees because when Ajit Singh took her back to jodhpur after Farrukh Siyar's death, she carried "with her all her jewels and valuables, amounting to a kror of rupees in value."178 Rajput princes vied with one another in providing rich dowries to their relatives married in the Mughal house. Muslim rulers and nobles seeking alliance with Mughal royalty too gave rich and handsome treasures in the form of gifts in gold and jewels and pearls. These marriages thus were a source of economic gain to the emperor and the empire, and wealth of many kingdoms, provinces and individual rulers used to be sucked into the imperial treasury because of the harem system.
Soldiers' loot, tributes and dowries brought in treasures directly and in bulk. In short, India's vastness rendered waging of warfare a perennial phenomenon and in consequence enrichment of Muslim rulers through Khams, and imposed terms of treaties. By the time of Jahangir the coffers of the Mughals were bursting with wealth, precious metals and precious stones so that every other day emperor Jahangir was distributing awards and rewards to his nobles. This information is contained on almost every page of his memoirs. On the other hand, the resources of the Rajputs, who were at the receiving end, had gone on dwindling proportionately. Jahangir himself recounts the straits of the Mewar royal house and other royal houses who were sometimes forced to sell their heirlooms to meet financial stringency. Emperor Jahangir writes that "on the first day he paid his respects he (prince Khurram) laid before me a celebrated ruby of the Rana, which... he had made an offering of to my son, and which the jewellers valued at 60,000 rupees... it was formerly in the possession of Ray Maldeo (Rathore)... his son Chandar Sen, who, in the days of his wretchedness and hopelessness, sold it to Ray Uday Singh. From him it went to Rana Pratap, and afterwards to this Rana Amar Singh. As they had no more valuable gift in their family, he presented it on the day that he paid his respects to my fortunate son Baba Khurram, together with his whole stud of elephants..." (italics added). Interestingly enough, the rich gifts Jahangir bestowed on Mahabat Khan and the Persian ambassador Mustafa Beg are recorded by him on these very pages.179
4.6. TRADE IN SLAVES
In addition to the gains through loot, tribute and dowries obtained during wars, the Muslim state in India found and created many other sources of income like state trading, collection of octrois on sale and purchase of commodities by private traders, transit duties on movements of goods on land and rivers and many other cesses collected centrally or locally. Besides levying taxes on the grains, cloths, articles of food and medicine, slaves, horses and camels and other animals, the royalty and nobility itself traded in these articles.
In the categories of articles in which the regime carried on trade, the sale of slaves may be taken up first. For, the early Muslim invaders and rulers captured slaves in large numbers and sold them in India and abroad and made considerable profit. From the day India became a target of Muslim invaders its people began to be enslaved. Many of them were sold to make a profit. Muslim rulers were no different from Muslim invaders so far as the capturing and selling of slaves was concerned. Slaves was the first commodity Muslims found in India to make profit by sale. The Arab invader of Sindh Muhammad bin Qasim sent to the Khalifa Walid I, his (one-fifth) share of captives of both sexes. The latter sold many of them and distributed the others among his officers.180 Mahmud Ghaznavi took captive men and Women in all his campaigns in India. He took 50,000 slaves in one campaign, 53,000 in another and 200,000 in a third one. He sold them for two to three dirhams (silver coin) each in the slave markets of Ghazni, Khurasan and other places. All the proceeds from such sales were deposited in the Amir's treasury. Under Aibak, Iltutmish, and Balban the captives were sold after every campaign. For example, when Muhammad Ghauri and Qutbuddin Aibak mounted a combined attack on the Salt Range, a large number of captives were taken "so that five Hindu (Khokhar) slaves could be bought for a dinar."181 Many more were also sold in "Khurasan, not long after".182
Slavery in Islam was institutionalised from the very beginning. Ibn Ishaq mentions a transaction of the Prophet which set a precedent for Islamic slave trade later on: "Then the apostle sent Sa'd b. Zayd al-Ansari... with some of the captive women of B. Qurayza to Najd and he sold them for horses and weapons."183 The women had been made captive after their menfolk had been slaughtered en masse in the market place at Medina. Thereafter there was no let up in the policy of slave-taking by the Muslims. Minhaj Siraj writes that "Ulugh Khan Balban's taking of captives, and his capture of the dependents of the great Ranas cannot be recounted". Such was the scale of slave-taking by Muslims in Hindustan that information about it travelled abroad, so that Wassaf writes that in the sack of Somnath in 1299 the Muslim army "took captive a great number of handsome and elegant maidens, amounting to 20,000 and children of both sexes". Like Wassaf, Shihabuddin Ahmad Abbas also did not visit India but he was informed about the exploits of Muhammad Tughlaq in this field as Wassaf was for Alauddin Khalji. At home Amir Khusrau, the sufi poet, writes in his Nub Sipehr that "the Turks, whenever they please, can seize them, buy them and sell them at will... The Hindu happens to be a (wretched) slave in all respects."184
The sale price of slaves in the fourteenth century was like this. The standard price of a working girl was fixed at from 5 to 12 tankahs, and that of a good looking girl suitable for concubinage from 20 to 30 and even 40 tankahs. The price of a man slave (ghulam) usually did not exceed 100 to 200 tankahs. The prices of handsome boys were fixed from 20 to 30 tankahs; the ill-favoured could be obtained for 7 to 8. The price of a child slave (ghulam bachchgan naukari) was fixed at 70 to 80 tankahs. The slaves were classified according to their looks and working capacity. In the case of bulk purchases by traders who had ready money and who had the means to carry their flock for sale to other cities,185 prices were fixed accordingly.
No rules about the sale price could be laid in special cases where the catch was big or a very beautiful slave ("man or woman/boy or girl") of very high price, say, 1,000 to 2,000 tankahs was brought for sale in the market. Even then slaves were sometimes purchased for high amounts. The poet Badr Chach claims to have bought a slave named Gul-Chehra (Rose Face) for 900 tankahs. The title Hazardinari (of a thousand gold coins) for Malik Kafur shows that a skilled slave could have cost anything. It may therefore be contended that except in the reign of Alauddin when prices were fixed, prices of slaves and concubines were uncertain, varying according to fortunes of war and famine, looks of the person, bargaining talent of the auctioneer, shrewdness of the buyer and fluctuations in the market through influences of demand and supply.
Writing about the days of Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq (1325-51), Shihabuddin al-Umari writes: "The sultan never ceases to show the greatest zeal in making war upon the infidels... Every day thousands of slaves are sold at a very low price, so great is the number of prisoners .... (that) the value at Delhi of a young slave girl, for domestic service, does not exceed eight tankahs. Those who are deemed fit to fill the parts of domestic and concubine sell for about fifteen tankahs. In other cities prices are still lower... " Probably it was so because Ibn Battutah while in Bengal says that a pretty kaniz (slave girl) could be had there for one gold dinar (or 10 silver tankahs). "I purchased at this price a very beautiful slave girl whose name was Ashura. A friend of mine also bought a young slave named Lulu for two gold coins." It is very difficult to establish a relationship between the prices of Delhi market and those of the provinces. Umari continues, "but still, in spite of low prices of slaves, 20000 tankahs, and even more, are paid for young Indian girls. I inquired the reason... and was told that these young girls are remarkable for their beauty, and the grace of their manners."186 All evidence point to the fact that it was the Muslim ruler who profited from the sale of these slaves. Isami in his Futuh-us-Salatin states that when Mahmud of Ghazni defeated Raja Jayapala of the Hindu Shahiya dynasty, he "carried him to the distant part of the kingdom of Ghazni and delivered him to an agent (dalal) of the slave market... (and) at the command of the king Mahmud they (the Brokers of the Market, Muqiman-i-Bazar in the original) sold Jayapal as a slave for 80 dinars and deposited the money realised by the sale in the Treasury." Hodivala adds that "it would be difficult to get better evidence than this of the ruler making the profit."187
From the fifteenth century onwards, we have some more information about the sale of slaves at home and abroad. Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur writes in his memoirs that "there are two trade marts on the land route between Hindustan and Khurasan; one is Kabul, the other, Qandhar... from Hindustan, come every year caravans... bringing slaves (barda) and other commodities, and sell them at great profit..." The Mughal emperor Akbar disapproved of the custom of enslaving women and children in times of war.188 He also prohibited enslavement and sale of women and children of the peasants who had defaulted in the payment of revenue. He knew, as Abul Fazl says, that many evil hearted and vicious men used to proceed to villages and mahals and sack them. According to W.H. Moreland, "It became a fashion to raid a village or group of villages without any obvious justification and carry off the inhabitants as slaves." In short, there was never an abjuration of the policy of enslavement as mainly it was not the Mughal emperors but the Mughal nobility who must have taken the lion's share of enslavement, deportation and sale by the state. It was not only Jahangir, a comparatively kind-hearted emperor, who used to capture poor people during his hunting expeditions and send them to Kabul in exchange for dogs and horses; all Muslim rulers and governors collected slaves and exploited them in the manner they pleased. In any case, warfare went on as usual even under Akbar and Jahangir and Mughal Generals went on with their usual ways. Abdulla Khan Uzbeg's force destroyed in the Kalpi-Kanauj area alone, all towns, took all their goods, their wives and children as slaves. No wonder he once boasted that "I made prisoners of five lacs of men and women and sold them. They all became Muhammadans. From their progeny there will be crores by the day of the judgement.189
Conditions became intolerable by the time of Shahjahan as attested to by Manucci and Manrique. Peasants were compelled to sell their women and children to meet the revenue demand. Manrique writes that "the peasants were carried off... to various markets and fairs (to be sold) with their poor unhappy wives behind them, carrying their small children all crying and lamenting to meet the revenue demand". Bernier too affirms that "the unfortunate peasants who were incapable of discharging the demand of their rapacious lords, were bereft of their children who were carried away as slaves."190
In brief, slave trade was mainly carried out by Muslim royalty and nobility throughout the medieval period and it brought them considerable gains.
4.7. TRADE IN GRAIN, CLOTH AND OTHER ARTICLES
As the Muslim government gained in stability, it embarked on trade of many other commodities. The enterprises of the Muslim government today would be called 'public sector undertakings' as against private business. The Muslim state traded in animals, corn and cloth, as it did in slaves. Under Alauddin Khalji the grain market was taken under the control of the government. He ordered that the travelling merchants (caravaneers) should get themselves registered with the Superintendent of the Grain Market. They were required to take up residence with their families in villages bordering on the river Jumna. They were made to sign agreements, collectively and individually, to maintain a regular supply of grain to the market. Similar undertaking was obtained from the magistrates and collectors (shahnagan and mutsarrifan) in the Doab and regions near the capital to the effect that they would try to obtain as much grain from the cultivators as possible. They were ordered to realize fifty per cent of the product as land-tax from the agriculturists with the utmost vigour as well as to compel them to sell their surplus stock to the travelling merchants on the fields at rates fixed by the King. Thus all the available grain flowed into the market which remained well-stocked. The Sultan established Government Grain Stores. There was scarcely a mohalla, says Barani, where two or three royal stores filled with foodstuffs did not exist. They were godowns where grain was stored in reserve to be released in times of emergency.
Alauddin Khalji advanced money from the treasury to the roving merchants to bring grain into the city; in lieu whereof he gave them commission to support their families. As hinted by Ibn Battutah, Alauddin advanced money to the Sindhi merchants for bringing and selling foodstuffs and other goods in Delhi to have a share in the profits of the trade. His contemporary rulers in some West Asian countries also indulged in such a practice. They introduced market control and took over wholesale trade in grain so that profits accrued to them instead of to private traders.191 Throughout the medieval period, part of the Kharaj or land-tax was taken in kind. Even when it was calculated in terms of cash, the levy or recovery was often made in the form of grain, partially if not wholly. During the Mughal period Jagirs were allotted to Amirs and Mansabdars. They collected their share of the revenue and traded in grain which was surplus with them. Thus the government and nobles earned profit by doing business in foodstuffs. It may be noted that foodgrains were cheap in the medieval period. Medieval chroniclers of the Khalji and Lodi period take pride in mentioning that grains were cheap in their times. In Akbar's camp, Father Monserrate was astounded at the low prices of foodstuffs notwithstanding the immense numbers of men and animals. How much burden of this cheapness was shared between the agriculturists, private traders and royal traders is difficult to determine. But the government did participate in trade in corn and grain and advanced money to caravaneers to bring grain for sale and shared in the profit.
This becomes all the more clear in the case of trade in cloth. Sultan Alauddin advanced about two million tankahs to Multani or Sindhi merchants to bring merchandise and sell it on behalf of the King. According to Ibn Battutah he advanced money to the merchants and told them: "With this money buy bullock and sheep, and sell them; the price that they will fetch must be paid to the treasury, and you shall receive allowance for selling them." Devagiri silks, horses of foreign breed, swords and many other articles were brought from far off places.
Internal and external trade, royal workshops and private manufactories provided for the requirements of royalty and nobility and their harems. Silk was imported from many foreign countries like China and Persia as well as produced indigenously. Manucci and Bernier talk in general terms, but Abul Fazl gives specific names of cotton, silk and woolen fabrics, Indian as well as those imported from "Turkey, Europe and Portugal".192 Vincent Smith quoting Monserrate's Commantarious says that "Akbar himself was a trader, and did not disdain to earn commercial profits."193 By the time of Shahjahan more and more foreign stuffs had begun to be imported.194 Woolen carpets or qalins were also imported from Iran and Central Asia.
When the State made purchases advances were offered to the suppliers. Jahangir introduced night-time marketing at his residence. The imperial government traded in articles produced in its karkhanas spread out in many places like Lahore, Agra, Fatehpur, Ahmadabad, Burhanpur and Kashmir. Shahjahan even held the monopoly (sauda-i-khas) in cash-earning articles like indigo and saltpetre. "Extensive trading operations were carried on not only by the Emperor and the Princes, governors and imperial nobles, such as Asaf Khan and Mir Jumla, but also by Nur Jahan."195 The principal trade from India to Europe in the seventeenth century consisted of silk and cotton fabrics, indigo, saltpetre, pepper and spices. "Khafi Khan mentions that the imperial ship, Ganj-i-Sawai, which on its way back from pilgrimage was attacked by the English pirates, was bringing fifty-two lacs of rupees in silver and gold, the produce of the sale of Indian goods at Mocha and Jedda."196
In brief, internal and external trade by the State provided a good source of income to the exchequer. It is significant that the memoirs of Jahangir as well as his Tarikh-i-Salim Shahi repeatedly mention rates of exchange between the Mughal rupia and currencies of Iran and Turan.197 Which would point to continuous Mughal government's trade with these countries. Pietro Della Valle saw a great number of Banians and Indian Gentiles in Isfahan (in Iran), where (they) reside constantly celebrating the festival of Holi with éclat and gaiety.198 In the pre-industrial Revolution era, Indian goods and merchants flooded foreign markets and Indian kings made good profit through their trade. The toy trade with Europe was also profitable. It was loaded with curios, presents and bribes to Mughal royalty from the West. However, trade with England had not been established before Akbar's death. From the East China came porcelain in considerable quantities for the use of the Mughal emperor and his nobles. According to Peruschi, Akbar's dinner used to be brought to him in porcelain dishes imported from China. "When he died in 1605, he left in Agra alone more than two million and a half of rupees worth of the most elegant vessels of every kind in porcelain and coloured glass. The glass probably came from Venice."199 It is not necessary to give a catalogue of imports and exports and an index of balance of trade. Two factors need to be kept in mind in this regard. One, the trade was profitable to the Mughal royalty and nobility; else it would have dried up. Two, traders were strictly forbidden to send out silver. Silver was largely imported; its import benefited the Mughals.
Where the ruling elite itself was not the trader, it collected imposts on manufactures and customs on sale. Duty on manufacture of high quality products was called jihat, and the remainder was known as sair-jihat, a term used in the Ain-i-Akbari for all kinds of sundry taxes other than land revenue.200 Sair-jihat formed an important source of income of the Mughal state as it included taxes on sale of cloth, oil, grains, articles of food, horses, camels and animal skins. There was a regular staff of police and revenue officials to guard and protect the markets and to collect taxes in them. So far as the rate of customs duty is concerned, Akbar charged at the rate of 2½ per cent. This rate seems to have continued during the reigns of Jahangir and Shahjahan and also Aurangzeb, but under him for Muslims only. From 1665 Hindu merchants paid 5 per cent and the Muslim 2½ per cent. Thevenot who arrived in 1666 found that the Christians paid 4 per cent and the Hindus (Banians) 5 per cent.201 In 1667 the Muslim merchants were exempted from the payment of customs duties altogether.
The duty on gold and silver was 2½ per cent, says Thevenot. Any one was free to bring gold, silver or copper to the royal mint and get it converted into coins. The commission earned by the state can be imagined from the statement of Manucci who says that the government derived eleven lakhs of rupees every year from the new coins struck at Surat alone. Mints were owned by the state and merchants were allowed to dig and work out the mines on payment of a fee. Minerals and metals like lead, saltpetre, indigo and even salt were sometimes declared the monopoly of the state.
Merchants in India generally carried their goods by carts and boats. They had to take a 'passport' (dastak or farman) from the place of their departure and show it at check posts on the journey in order to be allowed to pass without further payments. Manucci says that "if they chance to loose this paper, or it is stolen they are made to pay again either in the same or another province."202 Tavernier informs us that four rupees were charged on every wagon load of merchandise and one rupee on every chariot, but a different rate was charged for boats. Inland trade was flourishing and the Mughal government made a lot of money through these levies.
Speaking of the income from the ports Manucci says "these seaports also yield him (the Mughal) a large revenue". The port towns were entered in revenue records as mahals. The Mughal emperors took sufficient interest in the administration and proper management of their customs offices. "Among them are those of Sind, Broach, Surat and Cambay. Surat alone. brings him in usually thirty lakhs, besides the eleven lakhs derived from profit on new coins struck there."203 At times the income from customs duty of a port was granted as Jagir. For example, the customs of Surat was granted by Shahjahan to his daughter Jahanara "to meet her expenditure on betel".204
As Abul Fazl rightly remarks: "In every country such demands are troublesome and vexatious to the people. His majesty (Akbar) in his wise statesmanship and benevolence of rule carefully examined the subject and abolished all arbitrary taxation..."205 But corruption and harassment remained common at least under his successors. The person and goods of the traders in transit were systematically searched. Thevenot says that "men may wait sometimes a month before they can get out their baggage and specially they who have Merchant goods."206 The evil effects of this system were widely known. Besides abolishing many such taxes in port towns, Jahangir ordered that "Merchants travelling through the country were not to have their bales or packages of any kind opened without their consent."207 Sometimes religious persecution added to the woes of merchants who closed or threatened to close their business.208 But royal regulations could not stop extortion. As a modem economic historian points out, "It is mentioned that Mir Jumla once demanded Rs.50,000 from the merchants of Dacca. On refusal they were threatened with death by being trampled by elephants and compromised for Rs.25,000 while the bankers of the city appeased his wrath by paying Rs.30,000 without much ado. Occasionally, however, the mercantile community could protest successfully against the exactions of a governor or high administrative officer by hartal or suspension of business."209 In any case, as mentioned by Jadunath Sarkar, "Foreign trade... occupied a negligible position in the economics of the Mughal empire, on account of its small volume - the total yield of the import duty being probably less than 30 lakhs of Rupees a year, while the land revenue brought to the State one hundred and eleven times that amount."210 As mentioned earlier, in other Muslim countries customs duties were regularly collected but in Muslim state in India, Muslim traders were granted liberal exemptions. Besides, income from such sources was shared by the king and his officers. And this income was subsidiary or auxiliary. The main sources of income of the Muslim state were the four regular taxes - Khams, Kharaj, Jiziyah and Zakat. It is on these four pillars that the economic structure of the Muslim government rested.
4.8. ESTIMATE OF INCOME OF THE STATE
An estimate of the income of the Muslim state in India has been attempted by a number of scholars. They are aware of the deficiencies in their calculations because contemporary chroniclers give figures of such incomes but rarely. Boundaries of 'empires' were also constant y changing. The currency too was changing - ratios and weights of coins. Even so estimates of the income of the state have been attempted by some indefatigable scholars like Edward Thomas, W.H. Moreland and Jadunath Sarkar, and their findings are being reproduced here.
Edward Thomas has arrived at the following figures of the income during the reigns of monarchs from Firoz Tughlaq to Aurangzeb:
Aurangzeb's total revenue from various sources (was) 77,43,88,000 silver tankahs (or rupees)."211
Shams Siraj Afif's figure of the income of Sultan Firoz Tughlaq is 67,500,000 tankahs.212 p. Saran writes that Firoz Tughlaq's total income from land revenue, canals, and gardens was nearly 8 crores of tankahs. He rightly adds that income from other sources like Zakat, Jiziyah, Khams, octrois, tolls, was also there but it is impossible even to make any rough estimates of the same. He estimates the income of Sher Shah's empire at 16 crores of silver tankahs or rupees (about half the income of Akbar's reign).213
Jadunath Sarkar makes the following statement on the subject: "Excluding Afghanistan, Mughal empire had a revenue of Rupees 13 krores and 21 lakhs under Akbar and 33 krores and 25 lakhs under Aurangzeb. The figure stood for land revenue alone but the amount was never fully realised. It did not include proceeds of taxes like Zakat and Jiziyah. A rough idea of the state-income can be formed from the figures of Gujarat in Aurangzeb's reign: land revenue Rupees 113 lakhs, Jiziyah 5 lakhs, customs duties of Surat port 12 lakhs per annum (the other ports did negligible trade). The amounts of land held as military Jagir and Crown lands (khalsa) can be judged from the following figures (circa 1690): land revenue assessed on jagirs 27.64 krores and on khalsa 5.81 krores of Rupees (for the whole empire)."214 Stanley Lanepoole, an expert on numismatics and fiscal subjects, also says that the figures of income of the state "represents only the land revenue, including, however, the tribute which took the place of the land-tax in half-subdued States "215