NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 8 - Peasants, Zamindars and the State Agrarian Society and the Mughal Empire

Q. What are the problems in using the Ain as a source for reconstructing agrarian history? How do historians deal with this situation?

Ans. Some of the limitations of the Ain-i-Akbari are:

  1. There have been evidence of number of totaling errors in the book.
  2. The collection of the date is not appropriate and not comprehensive. The data was collected from very limited province.
  3. The data on wages and prices has not been incorporated properly.

Q. To what extent is it possible to characteriseagricultural production in the sixteenth-seventeenth centuries as subsistence agriculture? Give reasons for your answer.

Ans. During the sixteenth and seventeenth century, there was abundance of land, labour and capital that expanded the agricultural activities. Due to this reason, agriculture cannot be said to have a subsistence nature.

  1. Crops such as sugarcane and cotton was grown that were considered as the perfect crops. The Mughals promoted the cultivation of these crops for increasing their revenue.
  2. Some of the cash crops like oilseeds and lentils were also grown.
  3. Some of the crops from the new world like potatoes, tomatoes and chillies were introduced in India.

Q. Describe the role played by women in agricultural production.

Ans. The role played by women were:

  1. Women worked in the agricultural fields and made similar efforts to that of the men.
  2. Women generally sowed and threshed the harvest.
  3. Both Hindu and the Muslim women had the right to inherit the zamindaris.

Q. Discuss, with examples, the significance of monetary transactions during the period under consideration.

Ans. The Mughals provided the political stability and an efficient administration. This helped in improving the trade relationship with several
nations like Ming (China), Safavid (Iran) and Ottoman (Turkey).

  1. There was flourishing trade with the Europe due to which large amount of silver entered the country.
  2. The efficient influx of the silver in India increased the availability of the silver rupaiya.
  3. There was establishment of trade links between the villagers and the merchants in the towns. This led to the increase in the monetary transactions.
  4. The labourers was paid in cash due to the increase in the monetary transactions.

Q. Examine the evidence that suggests that land revenue was important for the Mughal fiscal system.

Ans. Land revenue was the main source of income for the Mughal Empire.

  1. There was an efficient administrative system to maintain the affairs related to the land revenue. There was diwan who managed the fiscal system of the empire.
  2. The information about the agricultural production was collected before the fixing of the revenue.
  3. Amil-Gulzar was the revenue collector who gave the choice to the farmers to pay in cash or kind.

Q. To what extent do you think caste was a factor in influencing social and economic relations in agrarian society?

Ans. There was division of the cultivators on the basis of the castes. The peasants who worked a agricultural labourers were not allowed to live in the villages. They generally lived in the outskirts of the cities.

  1. The Muslim communities also has a group who used to perform scavenging activities. They were stricken with poverty.
  2. Some of the castes like Ahirs, gujjars and Mallis enhanced their status in the society.

Q. How were the lives of forest dwellers transformed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?

Ans. The forest dwellers were represented by the name of “Jungli.’

  1. Their primary activities was hunting, shifting cultivation and utilising the forest produce.
  2. These communities also ensured the supply of the elephants to the Mughal army.
  3. Some of the forest products like gum, lac and honey were in huge demand in the society.
  4. Some of the forest tribes also traded their products with other regions as well.

Q. Examine the role played by zamindars in Mughal India.

Ans. The role played by the zamindars are:

  1. They enjoyed the high status in the society as they possessed the agricultural land.
  2. They had the right to sell, give and mortgage their property.
  3. They enjoyed several social and economic privileges in the society.
  4. They generally belonged to the upper castes due to which had high status.
  5. They had the right to collect the revenue on the behalf of the state.
  6. They also kept a close monitor on the military resources of the state.
  7. They lended money to the peasants for agricultural production.

Q. Discuss the ways in which panchayats and village headmen regulated rural society.

Ans. The village panchayat was the assembly of the elders of the elder people of the villages. These people generally had hereditary rights over their property.
The village panchayat was headed by the muqaddam. Some of its functions were:

  1. The caste boundaries within the village were maintained.
  2. It had the right to levy taxes and fines.
  3. It could punishment like expulsion from the village or community.
  4. It also served as the court of appeal in various matters.
  5. It also dealt with the matters related to the revenue.

Q. Which one of the following statement is not appropriate about Ain-i-Akbari ?

(a) It was written by Abul Fazl.
(b) It was a gazetteer of the empire.
(c) It was sponsored and commissioned by Akbar.
(d) Its data was uniformly collected from all the provinces.

Ans. (d) Its data was uniformly collected from all the provinces.

Q. State any two features of Akbar Nama.

Ans. The two features of Akbar Nama are given below:

The author of Akbar Nama (the chronicle of a King), Abul Fazl who was a court historian in the reign of Akbar. This Mughal chronicle is based on a range of sources including actual records of events, official documents and oral testimonies of a knowledgeable person.

The Akbar Nama is divided into three books, of which, the first two are chronicles and the third book is the Ain-i-Akbari. The Akbar Nama provides a detailed description of Akbar’s reign in the traditional diachronic sense of recording politically significant events as well as synchronic picture of all aspects of Akbar’s empire–geographic social administrative and cultural without reference to chronology.

Q. State the role of Jati Panchayats in the Mughal agrarian society.

Ans. Panchayats played a very important role during the Mughal agrarian society. In addition to the village panchayat, every caste or jati in the village had its own Jati Panchayat. These panchayats wielded considerable power in rural society. They mediated in contested claims on lands, decided whether marriages were performed according to the norms laid down by a particular caste group, determined who had rituals precedence in village functions, and so on. The state respected the decisions of Jati Panchayats in most of the cases.

Q. Explain how the chronicle ‘Ain-i-Akbari’ is the major source to understand agararian history of sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Also,
explain the method of irrigation and technology used during that period.


Explain the role played by Zamindars during sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in India.

Ans. ‘Ain-i-Akbari’ can be supplemented by descriptions contained in sources emanating from regions away from the Mughal capital. These include detailed revenue records from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan dating from  eventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is a storehouse of information regarding agricultural aspects of Mughal rule. It recorded meticulously the arangements made by the state to ensure cultivation. The aim of Ain was to present a vision of Akbar’s empire where social.