chapter  4
11 Pages

The Mughal empire

State, economy and society
WithSugata Bose, Ayesha Jalal

The Mughals in any case were more reliant on cavalry in making their conquests, although artillery was also used in an innovative way for selective purposes. The choice of the term Mughal, derived from Mongol, appears to have been a nineteenth-century preference. The historiography of the Mughal era has been only recently freeing itself from the despotism of orientalist scholarship. The Mughal state typically entered into accommodations with the clan power of zamindars in the countryside, not only in the peripheral regions but also the environs of the capital. Bankers and merchants helped achieve a degree of economic integration which matched the political integration sought by the Mughal empire. Primarily an agrarian empire, the Mughal state was also linked to long-distance overland and oceanic trade. The empire could simply accrue benefits from the credit and insurance facilities provided by bankers and traders linking processes of inland trade and urbanization to wider networks of the Indian Ocean economy.