05 August, 2021

Fringes Of The Empire

Rethinking the Mughal era

Fringes Of The Empire
THE Mughal Empire remains a hotbed of controversy. At the heart of the debate is the definition of Indian tradition and culture. Do we include in it the Mughal legacy? And if we view the Mughal rule as integral to the making of our tradition, how do we come to terms with the Islamic politico-cultural imprint it left on society? Over the years Mughal studies have ranged from describing the state as a bigoted Islamic theocracy to Marxist-influe-nced efforts to marginalise religion and culture and emphasis economic functioning.

This debate stems from the fact that researches on the subject remained narrow in vision, working within the paradigm of administrative-fiscal history. Here, the class analysis of the empire dominated in which the exploitative character of the centralised Mughal state was emphasised. The exploitation theory was extended to explain imperial decline in the early 18th century. The empire was said to have collapsed due to a general institutional and economic crisis triggered by the inherent class contradictions in its functioning.


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