Alamgirnama: A Mughal Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Madhav Deval, Aug 29, 2018.

  1. Dan Yampton Well-Known Member

    Sep 30, 2018
    Really liking this. Btw I feel people are overestimation the effect of Muslim rule on India, traditional Hindus accept Muslim rule so long as their traditions are respected. Also the Mughals were so hinduized the lines were blurred. Sure, they were muslim, but hindu princes were in the nobility, they adopted hindu customs, compared to say, the delhi sultanate which was effectively a conquest dynasty of foreigners. Also i realize alot of tension rose when the independence question began. This would have an India evolve differently, a one that is not colonized. Mughal rule is very possible, and when they modernize further, Mughal rulers will be seen less as Muslim Sultans, but more as a secular Indian Emperor who can guide India in a positive direction.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  2. Threadmarks: 15. The Najaf Affair

    Madhav Deval Well-Known Member

    Jul 3, 2018
    The Changing Nature of the Mughal State in the Mid 18th Century
    Pataliputra Chatuspathi Press
    Varun Kapoor, 462 TI

    By 1740, Jahanzeb Shah was already 70 years old, and though his grandfather had lived much longer, there were those who began to wonder when this illustrious monarch too would commit himself to the grace of God. His reign had seen much change within the politics of the Mughal empire and the new breed of literati he created felt personally indebted to him as in many cases it was his schemes and programs that lifted them from potential poverty and educated them that they might go on to live successful lives, which perhaps explains why the ideas coming from Iran had such a profound effect on his semi-deification.

    His deft handling of the Najaf affair proves at least, that the emperor in life as well as death seemed almost immune to ill fortune- in 1741, during the conquests of Khiva and Bukhara, news reached Delhi that after Sikander Qoli's conquest of Astrakhan, he had begun the march back to Isfahan, accompanied up to Tabriz by the Ottoman army they had fought with against the Russians. Sikander Qoli's personality had become more and more erratic as time went past, and on one incident he executed fifteen Ottoman infantrymen under claims that they had been Russian spies, the evidence of which he failed to produce. Nevertheless, he too had an aura about him, the general triumphant personified and the Iranian army remained completely loyal to him- even after on October 12th 1741, when, while the two armies were in Tabriz, just before they were about to part ways, he walked into the Ottoman commanders rooms and slaughtered every single one of them before they had even realised what was happening. Shouts were heard from the room but Sikander Qoli had made sure the only people that would be in earshot would be his own handpicked men. He raised a cry that they must liberate the holy shrines of Karbala and Najaf in Iraq from the heretic Ottomans as well as Baghdad and it seemed all three eyalets of Basra, Baghdad and Sharazor, and with that, the two armies turned on each other. Whether Sikander Qoli really wanted to liberate the holy shrines of Shia Islam is debatable, considering he had previously exhibited considerable flexibility in religious matters and had prevailed upon Sikander Shah to ban the cursing of the first three caliphs, a ritual Shia practice that was particularly offensive to Sunnis. A view that is more widely held is that Sikander Qoli grew mad with jealousy and bitterness and was beset anyway with megalomania and many other psychoses that culminated into his declaration of sudden religiosity.

    The unprepared Ottoman army suffered many losses, estimated at around twenty thousand, before they decided to retreat from Iranian land and into Anatolia. Sikander Qoli then began his purges of his own command structure, declaring that any who disagreed with him were heretics and apostates- twenty one executions followed. The Mughal chronicler of the events, Zahir-ud Din Muhammad conveys how aghast he was at "the collective insanity that has suddenly set upon these braves, maddened by bloodlust and faith, devotion to their Imam mixing with devotion to their commander, as flowers are ground up with thorns until all that is left is mulch and dust". These comments were hidden from Sikander Qoli at the time and first came to light when read to Jahanzeb Shah in December 1741. The aged emperor was said to have wept upon hearing this terrible news, that threatened all out war between his brother and the Caliph, a war that would inevitably drag his own country in and exacerbate the sectarian tensions between the Shias and Sunnis in his governemnt. However, that very day, he issued an imperial farman declaring that he thanked his brother emperor of Rome, holy caliph of Islam and Gods shadow on earth for agreeing to sell the three eyalets, predominantly Shia by faith, to the Gurkani dynasty, that those governed may better love their governors and those that govern may better love the governed. In a private letter, he beseeched the Ottoman emperor to remember that the Mesopotamian eyalets were hardly productive, not worth fighting a war with two major powers on, and agreeing to pay 10 million rupees every year for the next ten years, if the emperor would only forgive this breach and allow Iran to take up rule over the disputed Eyalets. At the same time, he also issued a farman condemning Sikander Qoli for engaging in this reckless and evil course without being given the command from the Shah and commanding all the soldiers of Sikander Qoli's army to capture him and all his co-conspirators and deliver them to Isfahan to endure such justice as they deserved. One can only imagine the mood in the warcamp of Sikander Qoli, within sight of Baghdad, their loyalty to their commander being quickly overtaken by their guilt over their betrayal of the Ottomans and the massacre of all sunnis they had committed in the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf. At any rate, the guilt was strong enough that when the mutiny launched, it quickly and bloodily suppressed lingering loyalty to Sikander Qoli and the soldiers, maddened now by guilt that turned to hate as well as their previous bloodlust and devotion, cut out Sikander Qoli's tongue. When the twenty conspirators arrived in Isfahan, Jahanzeb Shah's suggested method of execution prevailed- taking a cue from his ancestor Jahangir, they were sewn up inside the skins of donkeys and paraded on horseback throughout Isfahan, so that in the hot Iranian sun, the skins dried and shrunk and all the traitors slowly suffocated.

    This incident was a massive diplomatic stumbling block and mention of it in polite society of the Mughal realms was taboo, but it was justified by the Peacock Throne because betraying an ally like that was a heinous crime and deserved a fitting punishment that also dissuaded people from attempting anything like it again. It is also a reminder to the modern historian that although Jahanzeb Shah was a comparatively enlightened ruler, his world was not all that far removed from the medieval world of Jahangir. The Iranian army was at this point, an embarrassment of imperial proportions and upon Sikander Shah's own orders was disbanded in 1744. Until a new army could be recruited and trained, soldiers from India would form the defensive force of Iran, with the Iranian government paying the Indian for its defense. The incident could conceivably have broken the still new alliance between India and Iran, or worse forced war between India and the protector of the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina, and yet the 71 year old Jahanzeb Shah managed to turn it into an opportunity to expand Indian military borders, snatching a victory from the jaws of defeat as Babur had snatched India when pushed out of Samarkand or Akbar had retaken India after his father had lost it. Though he had acted commendably in preventing a war, the Najaf incident took an immense toll on Jahanzeb Shah and he announced in 1743 that having spent a lifetime in the business of politics, doing his duty as ordained by God, he now thought it appropriate to emulate the ancient Indian kings of old, and like Krishna in the Mahabharata, he would retire to his deer park and enter his Sannyasin phase, where he would talk to holy men, paint and contemplate God. From now until his death in 1746, the business of ruling would be taken up by his son who would take the name Prithvi Narayan Shah upon his accession to the throne. It was under his reign that the Mughal polity would truly embrace its Indian nature and scale up the theory of the Arthashastra to a subcontinental level.

    Sorry that took me a while- I had a funny feeling earlier that trying to churn out an update a week or so was hardly sustainable and it was making my work less than it could be. So I took a break, actually read the Arthashastra, and focused on brainstorming good ideas instead of writing down whatever, (which also let me revise for exams but shhh) so I hope you're all excited for the next update. It is one heck of an infodump- im talking numerous bullet pointed lists, im talking bureaucracy and big government.
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  3. Cregan Well-Known Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Prithvi Narayan? That’s a very Hindu name for a Mughal prince.

    Also, good update. Does this mean Iran is now effectively a vassal of the Mughals?
    EmperorBuaya, Sardar and Madhav Deval like this.
  4. Madhav Deval Well-Known Member

    Jul 3, 2018
    Well I’ve been trying to get across that people are now starting to think that there’s nothing more Islamic about Persian than Sanskrit and thus Indian names and traditions can meld just as well with Islam as Persian ones did before.

    And no, Iran is just temporarily borrowing the army of an ally for the few years it takes to get their house in order- but yes even to the casual observer now it’s very clear who’s the junior partner of the alliance.
  5. Sardar Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2018
    Probably something more like a joint protectorate while Reza Shah comes of age
    CountofDooku likes this.
  6. Emperor of Greater India Samraat of Bharatvarsha, Suzerain of all Asia

    Mar 21, 2016
    The Imperial Palace
    Well, quite a radical change with the name "Prithvi Narayan" being taken up by a Mughal ruler. The name's 'Prithvi' part might get acceptance, but taking up 'Narayan', a name of the Lord Vishnu, one of the Trimurti, might just imply the conversion of the Mughal ruler to Hinduism in the eyes of the Ulema.

    During this period (and even today) names do matter a lot, as they are a means of expressing your religious identity. No amount of Indianization could amount to a such a radical change of names and that too, for a Mughal emperor. Not even the Sufi went to such lengths.

    No amount of pressurizing is going to force the entirety of the Ulema into acceptance of this feat, and, nothing needs to be said about the influence religion has on the populace in this period. And these are the times when name change indeed implied a conversion of faiths.
    BootOnFace, Sardar and CountofDooku like this.
  7. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

    Oct 30, 2014
    I have to agree with this. While there is many a pre-Islamic name (Dariush, Kurush, Esfandiyar, etc.) among Iranians and Turks, both of those societies have long been Muslim-majority. Adopting a pre-Islamic name wasn't much of a threat, since Islam had no real rivals. But in India, where Hindus remain a majority, keeping your Muslim name remains a way to stand out and signal your affiliation, to keep from melting back into the majority. Switching it for a Hindu name would mean forsaking that. It would certainly invite controversy, and maybe even claims of apostasy.

    I have also never heard of a Pakistani or Indian Muslim today with a first name deriving from Indo-Aryan or Dravidian roots. The last names, maybe. But first and usually middle names are almost uniformly Arabic or Persian.

    Maybe young Prithvi could be Kabir instead. On its face, it would be a callback to Akbar-- but it would also reference the poet and mystic Kabir, who dwelled in Hindu and Muslim worlds.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
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  8. Xianfeng Emperor Amateur Iran-o-phile

    The Persian Napoleon was bound to overestimate himself at some point...But it's a good chance for the Mughal empire to flex her muscles--I can't imagine the Kayseri-i-rum is much amused at being talked down to by a damned Hindustani barbarian.

    Team Hindustan: world police when?
    KidCabralista likes this.
  9. EmperorBuaya Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2016
    Nusantara and Down Under
    Well, this TL Hindustan is perhaps more populated than Persia and the lands held by the Sublime Porte altogether, meaning it'll probably be more powerful than even the Ottoman Caliph.
    Cregan likes this.
  10. Kaushlendra pratap singh Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2018
    In India my many muslim friend have a Hindu name like Suraj prithivi
  11. Celtic Bard Reality continues to ruin my life

    Aug 19, 2018
    Parlakhemundi, India
    Dude what? Why did you quote my post?? And, it's from an ASOIAF thread. Wow. Huh. You might want to change that.
  12. Emperor of Greater India Samraat of Bharatvarsha, Suzerain of all Asia

    Mar 21, 2016
    The Imperial Palace
    Last I checked we live in the 21st century. In the Republic of India nonetheless.

    Do any of your friends happen to be the ruler of a Muslim state, about whose name the state's Muslim priesthood care about?
    Sardar likes this.
  13. KidCabralista Cape Verde's Unofficial Wikipedia Meister

    Jan 25, 2019
    The Front Lines of the Second Aroostook War
    What a wonderful timeline! I just finished reading a biography of Babur and was wondering if there were any Mughal tls to be found here, when lo and behold, this appears on the front of Before 1900. I've learned a lot from reading through the TL (especially concerning Aurangzeb, who is a far more complex character than I initially thought) and am very excited to see where it goes. I wish I could comment more intelligently on facets of the TL itself, but this is sorta out of my West African wheelhouse o_O. In any case, thank you, @Madhav Deval for your work on this!

  14. agisXIV Digital Hoplite

    Oct 26, 2017
    Old Northumbria
    Which biography? I find Babur to be one of the most fascinating historical figures around, especially his struggles with alcoholism and extreme perseverance.

    His journal (though a translation) is one of my favourite reads of all time! It is rare to find such an intimate portrait of a man so influential, in a period so pivotal: founder of a gunpowder empire.
  15. KidCabralista Cape Verde's Unofficial Wikipedia Meister

    Jan 25, 2019
    The Front Lines of the Second Aroostook War
    The one I read is "The Garden of the Eight Paradises: Bābur and the Culture of Empire in Central Asia, Afghanistan and India" by Stephen Dale. It's a fascinating book about a fascinating man, but the book is rather pricy to buy from what I can see online (my mom teaches at Uni-CV and I often abuse that privilege to borrow more expensive books :p.)

    I couldn't agree more. His writings really gives you a view like no other into his life: a great soldier and ruthless campaigner, yes, but also a sensitive lover of the arts and someone with very complex (and often beautiful imo) thoughts on the nature of God and belief.

    If history truly does have "great men", Babur deserves a place amongst that pantheon as much as anyone else.
  16. Threadmarks: 16. Neo Mauryan State

    Madhav Deval Well-Known Member

    Jul 3, 2018
    The Changing Nature of the Mughal State in the Mid 18th Century
    Pataliputra Chatuspathi Press
    Varun Kapoor, 462 TI

    In 1695, Bidar Bakht, who would later become Jahanzeb Shah, sent news to his father in the Deccan and his Grandfather in Delhi that his wife, Shams un Nissa Begum had given birth to a son who they had named Muhammad Firuz Bakht. From there the young prince dips in and out of history with mentions made of his 9th birthday celebrations and he only becomes consistently traceable after turning sixteen and being given his first military post in 1711. For a Mughal prince, one child is never enough however, and Jahanzeb Shah would soon try again for a boy- however henceforth Shams un Nissa would only bear girls, or stillborn children. They had Nurunnissa in 1697, Aurangabadi Mahal in 1700, Azimabadi Mahal in 1702 and Jalal un Nissa in 1704. Bidar Bakht was always forgiving to his wife and treated her with love, going so far as to dedicate a mosque to her in Patna, but two facts weighed on his mind- first, another pregnancy could be seriously injurious to her health and second, he must have another son, or his own future may be compromised due to people seeing him as an unfit candidate for the throne because he couldnt secure the future of the dynasty in ways a more fertile brother might. Thus, in 1707, he married his second wife a Maratha princess named Savitribai, who took the name Jabalpuri Mahal upon her arrival at the Mughal durbar in Delhi, in accordance with the trend that a noblewoman would take as her new name something that meant palace of the city, with the city in question being wherever she had meant her husband. The couple were soon expecting and in 1708, Nasir-ud Din Muhammad Kabir was born along with a twin sister who was given the name Gulbadan Begum.

    Upon Jahanzeb Shah's accession to the Peacock throne, the expectation was, of course that Firuz Bakht would be made crown prince and be next in line to inherit. He seemed a promising candidate for the throne at the time, with no special military prowess or charisma but unwavering dedication to his family honour, good looks and a love of art. He inherited the Gurkani courage and while putting down the southern rebellion would often leap from horseback into the melee and sometimes swam across rivers with friends when dared. A certain melancholy is noticed even then, as he would sometimes without warning leap on a horse and ride off, not returning for days.

    Unfortunately, he had no mind for government nor interest in it at the time being. By the time he was twenty however, a worrying trait appeared in him- no matter how many candidates were brought before him, he refused to get married. His friends reported that in all the years they had known him, he had never once set eyes on a woman. While he was conducting a tour of provincial governments in 1724, on his twenty ninth birthday, he slipped on the stairs and fell into a coma. Because of his precarious condition it was deemed unsafe to move him to Delhi and so instead, Jabalpuri Mahal, Nurunissa and Jalalun Nissa came to stay with him in the Carnatic until he recovered, accompanied by one of his closest friends, Fateh Singh, the son of the Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. He awoke within a year, and recovery progressed, but for the rest of his life he would walk with a pronounced limp. Throughout this period he and Fateh Singh were nigh inseparable and the latter helped him through many a depressive period, something he had become more and more predisposed to over the years. Finally, the pair decided that Firuz Bakht's condition had improved sufficiently and they fled India. It is unknown if they even had any plan of where they were going, but Firuz Bakht had business connections in his capacity as a silk trader in China and so, they boarded a ship taking them beyond the reach of the Mughal imperium. Among the documents of his sister Jalal-un Nissa, two letters have been found, one from Firuz Bakht and the other from his father, both dated to 1726. An excerpt from the first is as follows:

    "My beloved Pari Begum,
    It pains me beyond all imaginable belief to leave you and never hear your sweet laugh again- I pray to God that I might not forget it. I wish you to know that it is not selfishness that forces me to take this course of action, but duty... Since I was born I have felt the gaze of our ancestors, watching me, making sure that I did not destroy our dynasty, so I tried to be perfection (the term used here was Imam e Adil, the perfect man, used to describe Mughal emperors Humayun and Akbar). The truth, dearest sister, is that I am as I have always been, broken, not just regarding my body but in my soul as well. I cannot rule. I hope you can prevail upon our illustrious father to forgive me, and upon Kabir Baba as well, for the burden I have placed upon him...."

    He finishes with an excerpt from Baburnama, the autobiography of the founder of Mughal rule in India:
    "In those leisurely days I discovered in myself a strange inclination, nay! As the verse says 'I maddened and afflicted myself for a boy in the camp-bazaar, his very name, Baburi, fitting in. Up til then I had had no inclination for anyone, indeed of love and desire, either by hearsay or experience, I had not heard, I had not talked. At that time, I composed Persian couplets, one or two at a time, and this is one of them:
    "May none be as I, humbled
    and wretched and love-sick,
    no beloved as art thou to me,
    cruel and careless"
    From time to time, Baburi used to come into my presence but out of modesty and bashfulness, I could never look straight at him, how then could I make conversation, and recital? In my joy and agitation, I could not thank him for coming, so how could I reproach him for leaving my side? To look straight at him or to put words together was impossible. With a hundred torments and shames, I went on."

    The letter from Jahanzeb Shah is somewhat shorter and in its entirety can be written as follows:
    "Burn it"

    We can be glad that Jalal- un Nissa did not in fact burn it, and even though she did her best to keep the letter secret, there were nevertheless enough clues for rumours to begin swirling. The official palace explanation is that the two princes were on a diplomatic mission to achieve greater friendship between the two ancient lands but mention of it in court was enough to make the palace take an interest in exactly how legal your activities were. Contact between Fateh Singh and his family in the Punjab never ceased, and neither did Firuz Bakhts trade, and neither in fact did they ever really manage to slip under the radar. The two at first settled in Canton for a few years, trying to learn enough classical chinese to gain the respect of the Yongzheng Emperor. The pair began to visit Buddhist monasteries and Fateh Singhs letters ended up widely circulated and eventually even published as they described a strange and yet in some ways familiar world. The pair were greatly impressed by confucian civilisation and obtained dispensation of the emperor to translate some into Sanskrit, as it was known in China as an important foundational language for Buddhism. Fateh Singhs commentaries on the Confucian Analects would become a special influence on certain Vaishnava sects in the future. In 1740, the pair were given leave to move inland by the Qianlong Emperor, a sign of special favour after Firuz Bakht dedicated a Chinese opera to him about the heroics of Nurhaci, who had laid the foundation of the Qing empire. The Sikh community in China owes its beginning to Fateh Singhs preaching as well.

    Thus we turn back to Nasir-ud Din Muhammad Kabir, the later Prithvi Narayan Shah. Born in 1708 to Bidar Bakht and his Maratha wife, the young child was exposed to all sorts of religious traditions and, as no one expected him to succeed to the throne was given a somewhat longer lease to pursue his childhood fancies. He was the first Mughal prince not to be given a military command before he turned eighteen, and spent that time reading voraciously- he soon was fluent in Sanskrit, Hindi, Persian and Marathi, with passable Chaghatai Turkic, Arabic and later as his readership of Fateh Singhs transmissions grew, he asked another ambassador to China to teach him and picked up enough classical chinese that in 1742 he could pen with his own hand a letter to the Qianlong Emperor whose meaning is mostly comprehensible. As an adolescent he spoke with as many learned people as he could find and was fascinated by Indian history and also the history of his own family. He seems to have truly believed that Babur's arrival in India had been divinely ordained for the benefit of India to unite the entirety of the subcontinent and his views on Islam seem to have been that it was simply one of many Indian religious traditions. One of his favorite people to talk to was Maharaja Jai Singh, with whom he kept a close and regular correspondence- a grand total of 1,057 letters over the course of 20 years has been documented and is kept in the archives. However, when the prince was just eighteen, his brother fled India and the weight of his responsibility suddenly fell upon him.

    The first order of business was of course to get married, preferably to a woman and even better a Muslim woman considering how suspicious the ulemma were of him- thus at eighteen he married Bakht-un Nissa Begum, the daughter of an Afghan mansabdar. The cries of apostasy in response to his interests still grew louder and for a time, he submitted to those demands completely- ironically one of his justifications for this was Rama of Hindu fame saying "if that great monarch was prepared to sacrifice his wife for his royal duty (rajadharma) then how can I hesitate to sacrifice my idle pursuit of mere reading?" in a letter to Jai Singh. So, he fell into complete orthodox Islam, attempted to grow out his beard and became an initiated member of the Chishti Sufi community and started correspondences with leading members of the Ulemma. He also became the first Mughal crown prince to undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in 1729, stopping off in his uncle Sikander Shah's capital in Isfahan and from there at the Sublime Porte. Even from within this position, his fascination with all things Indian did not completely abate, and after conversing completely in persian for four years (1726-1730), he suggested to his tutor, that perhaps the reason that India had proven resistant to Islam was that the only unifying factor in the disparate sects of idolatry was the use of Sanskrit, and were the respected ulemma to utilise this ancient language to spread the holy message of the prophet, the masses would better understand the superiority of said message that perhaps by the time my own reign has ended, there might not be a single polytheist left in this ancient country?". This innovation had been considered taboo for centuries but even Aurangzeb had struggled with the dilemma that even after five hundred years of Muslim rule in India, Muslims were still in the minority, and now this young charismatic individual had convincingly voiced a potential solution. In the end, though it took even them some time, his tutors Sayyid Kasim Ali Khan and Sayyid Mashkur Khan were swayed and in 1732 produced the first sanskrit translation of the Quran. As Kabir put it, even Al- Ghazali, the Hujjat ul Islam had noticed how written qurans, mosque carpets and a passage in the call to prayer were unquestionable in his era, before they were unthinkable taboos and said "strange as it may seem, accepted practices of today are the taboos of days gone by, and the taboos of today are the accepted practices of days yet to come".

    Upon the dramatic discovery of a Sanskrit copy of the Arthashastra in 1733, and in 1735, the release of the preliminary translation that swept the literate circles of India, Kabir immediately hired a team of fifty brahmins, and twenty qadis to examine the handbook and discover what secrets of statecraft could be teased from the past and applied in an Islamic way to India to increase the public welfare. In his public declaration he said "The most basic quranic injunction is to promote good and forbid evil- when Caliph al-Mamnun founded the House of Wisdom, he said Aristotle had spoken to him and told him of the three good things in this world- justice, public welfare and intellectual achievement. We are now realising that Hindustan had justice, public welfare and intellectual achievement in equal measure and to reclaim this, more to improve upon it by applying the holy sharia and its laws, it is possible solely through human endeavor to build a world of unparalleled harmony and righteousness."

    From then on, for the next ten years, debates would rage over proper translation, how permissible certain things described were under islamic law, what benefits would be wrought if a particular course of action was followed and the new information from the intellectual side reached the political side and started the whole process again. The developing political side of affairs is also here worth discussing. Aurangzeb's grand bargain had deprived mansabdars of their institutional power as vassal rulers or rulers of any sort. Now their power rested solely on their wealth, their heritage and their ability to make policy rested on their ability to communicate that efficiently to the emperor and convince him. In order to make this more official, mansabdars from across the Mughal imperium, lead by the Maratha Chattrapati formed a sort of parliament in a grand gathering in Delhi in honour of the occasion in 1728. In this body, any person who was given a share in one of the Mughal mansabdar ships and helped to run an imperially recognised mansabdar business was accorded one vote. Eventually it was decided that each Mughal subah would be given fifteen representatives in a single house, and each representative would be elected by the mansabdars in that subah, as there were a total of over 70,000 mansabdars. Just from that the differences caused by the debate are obvious but the most important difference of course was that this body had no authority beyond consultation (in theory the threat remained that they could move their base of operations to a different state and cease to pay mughal taxes or even rebel but these were kept firmly implicit) , followed by the fact that it was driven not by political ideology but by business interests and as such instead of political parties there were merely mansabdar trading consortiums.

    When Jahanzeb Shah went into his sannyasin period in 1743 following the Najaf Affair, Kabir began preparing for his assumption of the Peacock throne. His first challenge was getting people used to the regnal name he had picked out- Prithvi Narayan Shah could be seen by some as an odd addition to the khutba. Since 1732, it had become more and more common to see works of islamic philosophy translated into sanskrit, and as such they used the words in Sanskrit that would correspond to the Arabic originals. This meant that people were fairly used to seeing Sanskrit vocabulary in an Islamic context (and there was even a noticeable increase in conversions to islam among southern cities and certain tribal populations). Even so, he decided he would announce his intention to use this regnal name a few months before his actual coronation. In the year following his fathers death, leading up to the auspicious day, he left day to day government in the hands of his navazirat and embarked upon a pilgrimage tour, but not to Mecca and Medina, where he'd already been, but to the centres of power he wanted to associate his reign with. He started in the most prosperous city in Bihar Subah, that had once been home to the great Dharmic empire of Magadha across its many iterations and dynasties, from the Haryankas to the Guptas. From there he traveled west up the Ganga to Delhi, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri, and then further west to Kabul, and finally to the very reaches of his new empire in Samarqand, tracing the history of his dynasty all the way to Timur himself. Though he traveled simply, wearing plain white cloth, this was unmistakably a declaration of power not just because of the impressive armed escort but because of the security it implied. Far from worrying about rival claimants to the throne and defending his capital, the new emperor was powerful enough to leave it unguarded because even at the very reaches of his empire, he could extend his influence to its centre. With that, Prithvi Narayan Shah too ascended into the Mughal pantheon.

    Though the debate on the Arthashastra raged on between the Brahmins and Qadis, and would continue to do so amongst historians until the present day, by his accession to the Peacock Throne, Prithvi Narayan Shah had secured assurances from the Rajsangha that his proposals would be accepted by them and his neo- Mauryan reforms based on the Arthashastra included:

    • Administrative separation of city and country: The needs and taxable capacity of the empire's urbanised population were completely different to its rural population. In order that any undue burden might not fall on one segment of the population more than the other, all cities within the empire with a population greater than 75,000 would become their own individual subahs and taxation rates would be tailored in the city for what they could afford and in the country for what the could afford. This could also be used to extract more taxes in a fair manner.
    • With foreigner being defined as someone from outside the realms under the rule of Delhi,Isfahan, or Ferghana, an outsider tax is imposed for foreigners upon their entry in Mughal ports. Any entry not at a port or registered border checkpoint is illegal and a fine is payable of the middle standard penalty as defined later on. This tax can be reclaimed after six months if the claimant has proof that they have entered the country to practice a craft or art, teach, or advance scientific knowledge.
    • Travel is restricted for individuals with a criminal record, who are not allowed to leave their subah if so unless they pay for a permit. Each individual must carry papers showing their criminal records and permits or lack thereof at all times and must leave subahs at registered border checkpoints if they have a criminal record. A highway police force can stop any individual and ask for papers at any point.
    • Foreign merchants are only allowed to do business in India if they are frequent visitors or have been vouched for by a merchant based in India or who is registered as a frequent visitor.
    • A regular, government operated ferry service is set up across all major river crossings and between India and the Island Subahs on Sarandip, Sumatra and Java. The ferry's tolls are collected on the shores and the government ferry service is operated as a for profit business, run by a mansabdar on behalf of the government which compensates him with a salary but is ultimately completely accountable to imperial orders. Pregnant women may use ferries free of charge.
    • In all subahs a chief superintendent of temples is set up to maintain and further refurbish all mosques, mandirs and stupas. This proved to be a major item of contention amongst the more conservative qadis as it violated the previously held custom that though Hindus still have freedom of religion they cannot make new temples or repair old ones, however the future and current emperors refused to back down, citing the example of Akbar as a guiding precedent that he sought to emulate. In the end, strict laws were drafted and passed regulating how a chief superintendent can act to prevent misappropriation of government funds or the unfair promotion of one religion over the other. The personal religion of the chief superintendent shall not disqualify them from this position, unless a judge has found it has prevented them from carrying out their duties impartially for the benefit of the community.
    • The system of spies is greatly expanded upon. Spies/secret police are employed in foreign courts to learn of foreign events, and are used to test responsiveness, effectiveness and quality of civil servants. Information on government accounts is available to any secret police member bearing the imperial seal and must be up to date with no discrepancies. Secret police must thus be good mathematicians as well. They are also used to keep an eye on local governments especially pargana level governments.
    • Grazing charges must be paid to the pargana's local government in general at a rate that is set by the sarkar. The Chief Superintendent of Pastures for that sarkar was responsible for organising pastures in the regions between villages by clearing land and ensuring the safety of travelers. Pasturelands within village boundaries are the responsibility of the pargana level government, who collect fines payable to the state and was liable if cattle strayed and damaged property in any of the villages under his jurisdiction.
    • The Superintendent of Forests in a Subah was appointed by the Subahdar to supervise the extraction of natural products from the forests.
    • In each subah is established a leisure forest which is for the emperor exclusively if he is in that Subah and otherwise is open to all mansabdars, stocked with sweet fruit, tame deer and tame elephants.
    • Dirtying public areas is an offence punishable by the lowest standard penalty fine. As according to islamic tradition, multiple eyewitness accounts are needed before a judge can decide on the case and as such this is punished on state initiative on the sarkar or city level if the dirtying of public areas is great enough to be noticed. eg. large animal corpses. Passing urine or faeces in a public place is not punished if due to illness or medication.
    • The pargana level government is appointed by sarkar level governments from amongst the village elders of that pargana. The sarkar level government is appointed by the subah level government which is appointed by the emperor. While the emperor can appoint anyone he chooses as subahdar, subahdars are restricted in their choice of sarkar level government, in that the sarkar level governors must be from the mansabdar class and qualified for their job eg. have been to a government military and administrative academy, or have relevant experience, pass a minimum standard of responsiveness when tested by the secret police etc.
    • The pargana level government is responsible for fairly controlling grazing rights, helping police find criminals and giving asylum to women running away from abuse if they have not been disobedient. Pargana level governments also collect fines for the crime of failing to help a neighbour in need to the satisfaction of a judge, or interfering in a neigbours business, they bear responsibility for the safety of travellers and traders inside the village and are fined if there is a theft, unless they personally compensate the victims.
    • The sarkar level government is responsible for conducting rural censuses to determine income tax.
    • If the pargana level government produces a signed document from all the village headmen that a certain activity is beneficial to all, they can submit an application to the sarkar level government, which if approved, is sent to the subahdar and if approved there is either approved for that pargana specifically or is applied to all parganas in that subah, depending on how beneficial it is.
    • In each urban subah, there is a chief superintendent of warehouses who is responsible for making sure that rotten food is responsibly disposed of, and that if a merchant leaves any amount of goods unsold by accident, these are sold. The profit goes to the city government.
    • The city government is headed by a governor general appointed by the emperor or navazirat, who controls the city police and conducts censuses to determine income tax. He is also responsible for charitable lodging houses and ensuring that visitors stay where they are meant to, ensuring fire safety rules are observed and control of the fire fighting department, control of the prison system, lost property and the cleanliness department. Each of these departments employed a fair number of people. The governor general also had to make anyone who worked with fire live in one locality near a source of water.
    • Entertainers are legally allowed to make fun of the customs of the region, castes or families and the practices of any individual. However, any insulting of religion is an offence punishable by the highest standard penalty, lashings or execution, as is demanded by the offended.
    • In order to ensure that gambling is conducted under controlled conditions, playing in places other than government licensed gambling halls is prohibited. The penalty for playing elsewhere is twenty rupees, the lowest standard penalty. Any muslim who enters a gambling hall, will be charged the highest standard penalty.
    • Gambling halls are managed by gambling masters, responsible for providing true and undoctored equipment, accommodation and water. They are legally permitted to collect an entrance fee, hire charges for equipment and charges for their expenses. Since betting beyond their means is common among gamblers, they are also permitted to collect and sell articles as pledges. It is a criminal offence to hire out loaded dice or false equipment, which cheats the customer of winnings and cheats the government of revenue.
    • The state collects revenue from the 10% tax on all winnings as well as fines collected by the Chief Controller of Gambling and Betting, appointed by the Governor General of the city or the subahdar in the rural government.
    • The manufacture and sale of alcohol is a state monopoly, with strict limits placed on private manufacture and import. Drinking outside of a government authorised drinking hall is prohibited. Drinking halls must have many rooms, as specified by the local authorities, with beds and seats in separate places. Leaving the drinking hall while drunk is prohibited. The owners of drinking halls are legally required to stop Muslims from getting drunk, and will be prosecuted if a Muslim is known to have gotten drunk on their premises; however it is the responsibility of Muslim customers to make their faith known to the owners, otherwise they are prosecuted. This, while skirting the boundary was permissible for the Hanafi qadis of India, for whom general scholarly consensus was that Muslims are allowed alcohol as long as they dont get drunk.
    • Like the Geisha of Japan, Indian tradition since the time of Akbar had featured the tawaif, a courtesan who sings, dances and recites poetry. Sex is also a possibility, though not assured for every tawaif. They were in general considered authorities on etiquette and many young men and women went to learn from them. It had become an integral part of courtly culture in north India and was now penetrating the south as well, aided by the Mughal support as described herein:
    • The state enables the setting up of such establishments by providing a lump sum of 10,000 rupees to the head tawaif if she can provide a viable business plan, so that they can buy jewellery furnishings, musical instruments and other tools of the trade. The madam of the establishment had to render full accounts to the Chief Controller of Entertainers to insure that net income is not diminished by her extravagance. It is essentially a state run business and the madam is paid from the surplus earnings to the minimum wage the state takes.
    • Independent tawaifs are neither given a grant nor scrutinised so closely had to pay a tax of one fifth their earnings.
    • In a state of emergency declared by the emperor, both groups have to give half their earnings.
    • Training is given to a tawaif by another at state expense on a range of subjects- singing, playing instruments, conversing, reciting poetry, dancing, acting, writing, painting, discerning personalities (the original text said mind reading, but this was deemed a mistranslation), preparing perfumes and garlands, shampooing and if she chose, the art of lovemaking, though the state would not cover that expense. Any male children a courtesan had were also trained as actors, singers, dancers and playwrights.
    • The Chief Controller of Entertainers must also protect all tawaifs, government funded and independent from abuse. Though they were legally required to attend any client that paid, and be pleasant and not injure them, clients too were not allowed to cheat or rob, abduct, force themselves upon, confine or disfigure tawaifs with a variety of very strict penalties being prescribed for offenders.
    • Tawaifs weren't allowed to sell or entrust any jewellery given by the madam except to the madam.
    • Although going against the some clear Quranic injunctions and Hindu traditions, these marriage laws were passed:
    • A girl whose father is indifferent about her marriage for three years after reaching puberty could find herself a husband, of what social station or religion as she chooses. This clearly goes against the endogamy prescribed by the Brahmanical caste system and had been one of the most hotly debated between Hindus. The case for varna not limiting marriage, nor being hereditary, as the two were tightly bound up, through backing from the Mahabharata and Upanishads won in the group of cosmopolitan north Indian, urban Brahmins that were being consulted, and thus made its way into imperial law. The qadis on the other hand were mainly accepting of this part however, as Islam is silent on what to do if a father is indifferent, and only a fanatical purist would say that as its not mentioned there, its not worth mentioning here. The marriage laws by which the legality of a particular relationship is judged weren't decided by the religion of those in the relationship but by the type of marriage they registered it as.
    • A father lost his rights if he prevented his daughter's husband from approaching her for seven periods.
    • A wife can refuse intercourse if she has already given him sons. Apart from that, marital rape is considered a subset of domestic abuse.
    • Not being a virgin at the time of marriage was an offence punishable by a fine of 1,000 rupees, or 100 lashes for Muslims, though it required four eyewitness testimonies to prove.
    • Any man falsely accusing a girl of not being a virgin lost the right to marry her and had to pay an equal fine.
    • Only women were allowed to work in textiles factories
    • The physical punishment a man could inflict on his wife was limited to three slaps.
    • If ill treated, a woman was legally allowed to seek asylum with the pargana level village leader, or her own family. It was illegal to prevent a woman from visiting her own family.
    • Divorce was allowed for Muslim marriages as before and for Hindu marriages in four of the eight forms of marriage, which were reintroduced as a binding concept that all hindu marriages must count as one of.
    • The Chief Controller of State Trading was an officer on the Subah level government responsible for the maintenance of buffer stocks against famine and sale of crown commodities at stateowned retail outlets.
    • Those who brought untended land under cultivation were given five year tax cuts as well as those who built or renovated irrigation works. The second of these was a concession to the mansabdars for certain other things as it was only the rich who could afford irrigation projects.
    • On the other hand, it was a punishable offence to abandon fields apart from just leaving them fallow.
    • One fifth of the earnings, or if demanded by the emperor, the produce is reserved for the state
    • It is a punishable offence to sell agricultural produce apart from in a designated market within a settlement.
    • Nationalisations of various industries was discussed but given the strong capitalist interests of the mansabdar class were instantly shot down even when it was a matter of national security like a monopoly on production of weapons. A state monopoly on hemp cloth was then made as not many mansabdars had interests in that underdeveloped area of the economy.
    • The Chief Controller of Shipping was a post set up independent from any particular subah but with its own divisions in all major ports. It was responsible for ensuring the seaworthiness of all vessels that left Indian ports, rescuing vessels in distress, and eliminating piracy. This branch of the government had to pay compensation if any vessel was lost due to lack of seamen or because it was unseaworthy.
    • Thus, it is illegal to leave any Mughal port without proper clearance from the Controller of Shipping for that port.
    • This pattern is upheld in all areas- the state is held responsible for failure to protect the public. If a thief isn't apprehended or the stolen property not found, the government must repay the victim, with interest, as decided by a judge according to the degree to which the state is responsible for not providing adequate protection.
    • The state must also provide for at state expense, orphans, the old, the destitute, children of destitute women and unmarried childless women separated from their families.
    • Immediately upon accession to the throne, the emperor issued laws and began employing thousands of workers to regulate road widths as follows:
    • 54 ft- Royal Highways, roads leading to subah cities, roads in the countryside or pastureland, roads in port towns and cantonments, roads leading to villages
    • 27 ft- Forest roads, roads within cities
    • 3.75 ft- Cattle paths
    • 2 ft- footpaths
    • The crown takes a sales tax for all goods sold.
    • Sanctuaries are set up for all auspicious animals and their slaughter forbidden. Hunters were required to pay for a permit.

    That is just a sample of the ambitious, some would say impossible challenge that the young emperor had set himself, a complete transformation of his government, unprecedented in scale that even Akbar wouldn't have dreamed of.

    Right so.. i did a thing.... take as long as you need to digest all this information, I sure know that Im gonna need a while to recover. Also, hope you like the gay, i thought it was quite cute. I really want to hear more about their life in china, hell i'd read a whole novel based on that. But i dont particularly want to write it so.. :/
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019 at 12:13 PM
  17. LunazimHawk Your Friendly Neighborhood Bengal Sultan

    Feb 3, 2018
    Great update. It'd kind of interesting seeing how the Mughals incorporated Islamic, Hindu, and Persian ideals into their government.
  18. souvikkundu25140017 Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    West Bengal, India
    i am surprised no mention of sati and more elaboration of what sort marriages widow marriage is applicable. Is he using the same text of parasara Smriti as Vidyasagar used?

    what about The Ganga Sagar Mela and Child Sacrifice?

    what sort widow can inherit after her husband's death?

    is the kalapani concept now truly dead?

    Are there any laws regarding untouchability?
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  19. Madhav Deval Well-Known Member

    Jul 3, 2018
    Widow marriage is applicable in all forms of marriage, and remarriage is allowed for non widows as well in case of domestic abuse or the husband being absent for many years as determined by a judge. This is all from the Arthashastra. Sati, like all forms of suicide is completely illegal.

    As for the Ganga Sagar, it’s a matter of religion and sulh i kul, so it’s an internal matter as for now. I’m sure he wasn’t really considering it when he drafted up these laws so it’ll be interesting to see which superintendent of temples is willing to use government money to fund child sacrifices.

    Women who do not expect to remarry shall receive, on the death of the husband, the support endowment, her jewellery, the balance of dowry (if any) and whatever had been given to her by her husband in his lifetime.A widow without sons, who remains faithful to her husband’s deathbed, shall enjoy, to the end of her life, her property, under the protection of the elders of the husband’s family.

    If a widow remarries after receiving all the above, she shall forfeit what was left to her by her [previous] husband and shall also be obliged to return the rest with interest. If, however, a widow marries someone from the late husband’s family with a view to begetting a son, she shall retain whatever was given to her by her late husband and father-in-law. If the remarriage is without the consent of the father-in-law, she shall forfeit whatever was given to her by him and her late husband. If a widow remarries outside her late husband’s family, her new family shall be obliged to return all her property by the previous marriage to the previous husband’s family, except that, when the later marriage is agreed to in a proper manner, the new husband shall safeguard her property by the earlier marriage. If a widow with sons remarries, she shall forfeit the rights to her property by the previous marriage and this shall pass on to her sons by that marriage. If, however, she continues to look after these sons, she shall endow the property in their names. Even if the remarrying widow has full rights of enjoyment and disposal, she shall settle the property on her sons, and if there are many sons, born of different fathers, the property shall be divided among them according to the share in it of the respective fathers.

    The kalapani is pretty much dead at this point, many people have been to temples in Bali and now people are beginning to look further.

    Untouchables are equated to Arthashastran Chandalas and severe penalties are imposed on them if they touch women or Brahmins. They are forbidden from living within cities but are employed as police in areas between villages. They are fined less than others for theft but are fined higher for assault or defamation. Censuses mean that you can’t just pretend you were never untouchable and move somewhere else as any future employer will want to see your papers.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  20. Hegemon of words and thoughts

    Sep 4, 2017
    Ribeirao Preto, World State
    I like the gay. I thought it was quite cute.

    Also nice update. Very detailed.
    KidCabralista likes this.