Do you agree with the view that early medieval India witnessed the processes of agrarian expansion, peasantisation and proliferation of castes? Discuss.

    प्रश्नकर्ता A.k Siddiqui
    Participant
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    उत्तरकर्ता jivtarachandrakant
    Moderator

    Analysis of the various dimensions of urban processes in early medieval India: – The European studies available to us on Mughal cities in abundance look at medieval cities from a mostly European point of view.

    Its main capital cities are often referred to as ‘ camp cities’ . Max Weber distinguishes between the cities of the West and the East. The eastern cities were seen by Weber as an extension of the royal palace.

    Guardian. Weber’s concept of protected relations often resulted in the view of the empire as a ‘patriarchal bureaucracy’ and its capital cities embodied ‘patriarchal bureaucratic cities based on patron’ (prince) relations.

    According to Perry Anderson also Asian cities were subject to the ‘will’ and ‘powers’ of the princes. These studies have often presented medieval society as ‘a sedentary society’, ignoring the ‘vibrancy’ of medieval cities. The peace and tranquility prevailing in the Mughal Empire led to a rapid increase in urbanization.

    High level of monetization, centralization of Mughal power, the process of strengthening the road and communication network which was initiated by Sher Shah Suri and further progressed during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which made transport easier and more comfortable, leading to trade and commerce. got a lot of impetus and the process of urbanization also got a lot of impetus.

    Tavernier remarks that ‘a village in India is in fact considered very small if there is no sarraf in that village dealing with money. ‘, makes it clear that the monetization in Mughal India was of a high level.

    By the third half of the seventeenth century, almost the entire Deccan came under the influence of the Mughal rule. Cities like Bidar, Bijapur, Golconda, Burhanpur emerged as major urban centers where the influence of the Mughals was clearly visible.

    However, despite the distinct Mughal influence, the Deccan cities did not abandon their indigenous culture and integrated it, which can be clearly seen in the architecture and urban culture of these cities. The city appears to have been broadly divided into two divisions – Ashraf and Ajlaf.

    Despite this, there was a strong presence of the middle class. Despite religious and caste divisions with a rigid cultural ethos in cities, cities emerged with a transcultural ethos and assimilated various caste and religious traditions.

    It appears that festivities and celebrations were a common heritage. Prestige was of utmost importance which was often the cause of conflicts, but ‘communal conflicts were never part of the cultural ethos; It was a feature that rose to prominence as a colonial legacy.

    Its purpose is to focus primarily on specific cities, mainly to see to what extent the broader features of Mughal cities were evident at these specific centres. From this it would be readily known that such traits were widespread and often overlapped.

    Cities as Centers of Power and Power: – According to Catherine Escher, the choice of site for the construction of royal palaces marked a measure of control to some extent.

    Babur’s choice of his garden-residence at Agra, the site of his conquest, was a symbol of his own ability to capture and mold India.

    Similarly, Humayun’s decision to build Dinpanah at the site of Indraprastha, the mythical capital of the Pandavas, was to establish a connection to an ancient pre-Islamic past.

    The construction of the fort at Allahabad by Akbar was a clear symbol of Mughal authority over former traditions, and was also a way of connecting with the past.

    According to Aiba Kok , the balustrades and bungalow ceilings in the public auditorium of Shah Jahan’s Rajprasad in Delhi during Shah Jahan’s time are a conscious projection of agate imagination. Orientalists argue that the existence of Asian Islamic cities was dominated by the power and authority of the king.

    According to Perry Anderson , ‘The future of Islamic cities was generally determined by the state which reflected their prosperity (cited in Chenoy, 2015: 4).

    Their grandeur, power and dramatic expression of power were reflected in the capital cities built by the Mughals. Efforts were made to make Chandni Chowk, similar to Chaharbagh of Isfahan as well as Jama Masjid of Shahjahanabad superior to ‘Safavid Masjid.e Shah’.

    In the construction of the capital city, the idea of ​​planning a ‘splendour of majestic processions’, ‘prodigy displays’ and displays of ‘public gaiety’ was implied. Rajprasad used to play the role of ‘a stage’ and ‘Rangmahal’

    Around which the ‘aura’ of political, cultural, commercial and religious splendor, festivals and institutions flowed. ‘It was like a play within a play with a false courtesy relationship between the courtiers that appeared to be true.

    The Mughal cities ‘demonstrated and celebrated the divinity of the emperor’. Royal festivities, religious ceremonies, birth and death ceremonies, engagement ceremonies, etc. appeared to be ‘showy displays of power and splendor’ in which the whole city was symbolically appropriated.

    The sub-regional formations of provincial governors displayed pompous displays of power and authority at the provincial and local levels alike.

    Patriarchal.Bureaucratic Cities:- Blake begins with the concept that there was a difference in character between the universal Asian cities and the cities of the West.

    Blake depicted the Mughal Empire as ‘patriarchal, bureaucratic’ and the princely city as an ‘extension of the royal palace bound by personal ties with the emperor, who had a father and son relationship’.

    Even the way of life of the royal family and the nobility was reflected in all forms of production and exchange relations, modes of consumption and social interactions in the city; In the field of culture also the court culture dominated.

    The king and the nobility had a great influence on the urban landscape. Unlike the western cities, there was no existence of a voluntary municipality, nor was there any class consciousness among the city dwellers as a group.

    Blake argues that, as a sovereign city, Shahjahanabad should be viewed in the context of the patriarchal bureaucratic character of the Mughal Empire.

    The city was specifically associated with the state, and it was the state’s personal, family. was the oriented character that determined the urban layout and style. The city was dominated by royal buildings.

    Shahjahanabad was the urban core of the state’s patriarchal bureaucratic complex, and city dwellings had glimpses of state buildings.

    Although Kiyo Izuka does not directly discuss Blake’s thesis, while discussing the urbanization of Shahjahanabad, he does emphasize that urban forms and forms developed according to the emperor’s basic needs and ideas, including social The plans were not given much attention.

    Thus the city was more influenced by the activities of the emperor and his nobles. However, writing about the city, Abul Fazl completely ignores the monarchical influence of cities.

    Instead, he argues, ‘a city can be defined as a place where different types of craftsmen reside.

    If the architecture of Shahjahanabad city is seen carefully, we will find that apart from the presence of the hustle and bustle of the markets, separate enclosures were created for professionals, traders and artists.

    Chenay criticizes Blake, arguing that ‘the idea of ​​a patriarchal bureaucratic empire alone is not reflected in the construction of the city. The city of Shahjahanabad was not confined to palace palaces, a few havelis, clusters of huts, mosques and a few large bazaars.

    Rather people of middle income group also used to live here in large numbers like professionals, rich and small traders and lower class mansabdars, etc.

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