Decline of Mughal Empire

  • Huge Empire
  • Mughal State was a war state.
    • War was one of the ways for revenue collection.
    • Being a war state also meant for regular military reforms — which unfortunately didn’t happen.
  • The Policies of Aurangzeb
    • Aurangzeb’s expansionist military campaigns
      • Weakened economic state of the empire.
      • He chose wrong opponents to handle, specially those of Bijapur & Golconda — these two were strong regional powers and the war costs weakened the economic state of the empire.
    • Religious Conservative towards Hindus
      • Imposed Zaziya on non-muslims.
      • This alienated Hindus which were major part of the population.
    • Shifting Allegiance of Zamindars
      • Zamindars were owner of lands and very powerful. They became very powerful during the reign of Aurangzeb. Soon after the demise of Aurangzeb — they started using power to control areas.
      • They also shifted their allegiances towards Foreign entities and/or local states.
      • Many local zamindars supported nobles (the other powerful faction) and helped nobility establish their own rule.
  • Competition among the powerful factions to establish their own ruler on the throne
    • Irani, Turani & Hindustani were three classes in the court.
    • Turani faction was led by Sayyid brothers.
    • Irani assumed themselves of pure bread.
    • Hindustani assumed themselves of pure origin.
    • Nizam-ul-Mulk — combined Iranis and Hindustanis to overthrow Turanis.
      • Killed Sayyid Brothers
  • Successor’s disputes
    • See timeline.
  • Jagirdari/Mansabdari Crisis
    • Mughal State was a war state.
      • War was one of the ways for revenue collection.
    • Jagirdars were the appointed officers to collect taxes from won areas (Jagirs or Mansabs).
    • It was based upon patron-client relationship.
    • Jagirdars kept most of the revenues but they also kept army ready.
      • Revenue Collection + Military Control = More autocratic in nature — but the position was transferrable.
    • Everything Jagirdars had, was decided by Emperor.
      • This was not hereditary at first unlike Zamindars.
      • Jagirdars were transferred to various Jagirs.
    • All Jagirs were not of equal size. This became matter of discord.
    • Jagirdars will have grudge against other Jagirdars due to two reasons:
      • Size & Location
      • The Faction.
    • After the death of Aurangzeb, there was no expansion in the rule but the number of competitors for Jagirs increases.
    • There was no powerful ruler who could control Nobles. In fact, Nobles controlled the rulers. The Factions with more impact appointed more Jagirdars than other.
    • In short, too many jagirdars chasing for limited jagirs with inequality & huge size issues.
  • No fresh technological inputs.
  • Increased taxation caused dissent among peasants.
    • Recurrent Peasant Revolts.
    • The zamindars/intermediary classes constituted a centrifugal force in mughal structure and pulled out the power from the centre.
    • The tussle was against the centre.
  • Successor states were formed by powerful nobles & jagirdars.
  • Entry of foreign powers. In fact entry of foreign powers happen due to the decline of Mughal Empire.
  • Weakening of military might due to Jagirdari crisis (corruption and personal greed)


  • 1707 – Death of Aurangzeb // Succession Disputes
  • Succession disputes — 1707
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Gaurav Tiwari
Gaurav Tiwari is a professional graphic & web designer from New Delhi, India. is his personal space where he writes on blogging, digital marketing, content writing, learning and business growth. Gaurav has contributed in developing more than 325 brands worldwide and while you are reading this, he's busy building a couple more.

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