• Issues Analysis 360o

Legacy of the Mughal rule in Punjab

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The mughals ruled the Punjab for about two centuries and consequently left some permanent marks in the form of their legacy in this province.

1.Land Revenue System : During the Mughal rule, Emperor Akbar reorganized the revenue system for the first time.He appointed Raja Todar Mal to supervise the work of measurements, survey and classification of land. For the first time, the measurements of land was undertaken by Todar Mal. He reorganized the whole revenue system in the Punjab in 1581. For the first time the measurement of land was undertaken in the Punjab. The entire land under cultivation was surveyed and measured. In order to avoid inaccuracy in survey, a new type of Jarib made of bamboos and joined by iron rings was introduced in place of a Jarib of hampen rope. After the measurements had been carried out, the land was classified according to its quality. The state share from the various kinds of land was fixed on logical basis. Todar Mal earned a great name as a reformer in revenue administration.

2.Development of irrigation : The methods of irrigation of land were considerably improved during the Mughal period in the Punjab. Akbar directed his provincial governors to be energetic in the “making of reservoirs, wells, watercourses, gardens, rest-houses and other plous foundations.” Wells and reservoirs were made usually for the convenience of townsmen and travellers rather than for the needs of ordinary peasants. In 1639, in the rule of Shah Jahan, Ali Mardan, the governor of Lahore province indeed showed some constructive ideas. Under his supervision, a small canal bought water from the Ravi to irrigate the neighbourhood of Lahore. He also remodelled the Western Jamuna Canal, originally constructed by Firoz Shah and afterwards renovated by Akbar with the object of irrigating Hissar district. Ali Mardan Khan constructed a new branch of this canal to supply water to the fountains of the imperial palace and to adorn the streets of the rising city which Shah Jahan was creating at Delhi. The canal from the Ravi was further improved in the time of Maharaj Ranjit Sigh who linked it with sacred tank of Amritsar. During the British rule, this was converted into a great irrigation work- namely Upper Bari Doab Canal which irrigated vast tracts of land in the modern districts of Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Lahore.

3.Development of city of Lahore : During the mughal rule, Lahore and Multan prospered much. Lahore became an important centre for the overland trade with Kabul, Kandhar, Persia and other countries. It was famous for its carpet manufacturers. The presence of the Mughal Emperors at Lahore made it the “second seat”of the Mughal Empire.A European traveller Manrique who visited Lahore on 1581-82 found grand palaces, fine gardens and orchards full of fruit there. He suggests that there was hardly any art or craft useful to himan life that was not practised at Lahore. Some of the important manufacturers of Lahore were cotton and silken cloth, carpets, shawls and other woollen stuffs, tents, saddles, boots and shoes, swords, bows and arrows. It is probable that Lahore had started growing in size and importance during the time of Humayun. Some of the travellers paid a good deal of attention to the citadel of Lahore which was believed to have a circumference of nearly three miles in the late 17th century. The city has a whole had 12 gates.

4.Roads : The city of Lahore was linked by roads with distant places. The most important roads were from Lahore to Agra via Delhi, Lahore to Kabul, Lahore to Srinagar and Lahore to Multan.A special officer had been appointed to look after the roads. In the times of Akbar, qasim Khan was appointed to this job, Jahangir planted trees on the roads from Delhi to Lahore, constructed mile stones on the Kos Minars some of them have survived to this day. He also built Serias at many places.

5.Architecture : The Mughals were great builders. They generally built palaces, tombs and mosques. Most of Babur’s magnificent monuments have perished. The only one that has survived in the Punjab in the Kabuli Bagh at Panipat.After Babur, Pesian influences on Indian art increased and continued to the end of Akbar’s reign. In the hands of Akbar’s successors. Indian architecture and paintings became essentially Indian in character.The best specimen of Mughal architecture in the Punjab is Jahangir’s mausoleum at Shahdara (Pakistan). The building is a single storey and is in the form of a square terrace 22 feet high.The monument is characterised by profuse decoration, glaed tiles and painted patterns.On the other side of Lahore on the road to Amritsar are the Shalimar Gardens laid out by Shah Jahan and on same pattern garden at Panipat 15 miles north of Chandigarh.The Lahore fort was built by Akbar but the Shish Mahal in it was added by Shah jahan and was completed by Aurangzeb.In the reign of Akbar, Guru Ram Das laid the foundation stone of Amritsar.Guru Arjan laid the foundation stone of Harmandir Sahib.

6.Literature : During the reign of Akbar, many notable works of Sanskrit were translated into Persian. Haji Ibrahim translated the Atharv Veda. Raja Todar Mal translated Bhagvad Purana into Persian.Guru Gobind Singh wrote Zafarnama in Persian during this time.During the rule of Mughals, Urdu language also made much progress.It was due to the intellectual, commercial and social intercourse of the various communities and Akbar’s liberal education policy.Urdu language is offspring of Hindi and Persian language which in due course time became lingua franca.Guru Arjan Dev successfully compiled the Adi Granth during this time.

Conclusion : Thus, the Mughal rule greatly contributed to the development of art, literature and architecture in the Punjab. The province also made some economic progress. New roads linking the important cities of the Punjab were constructed. Many new towns were also founded which have survived till this day.

Harman Sandhu By - Harman Sandhu
Posted On - 8/14/2018 9:27:55 PM

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