Contributions of the Mughals to Indian Culture and Polity: An Introduction

Mughal Period

The Mughal Age in India

Throughout Indian history, events and developments in Central Asia had a deep and abiding impact on India. As we have seen, during the 10th and the 12th centuries, led to a new Turkish incursion into India, this time in shape of Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur.
Conflicting trends of liberalism and catholicity on the one hand and rigid exclusiveness and
conservatism, on the other, were noticeable both within the Hindu religion and Islam during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Nanak, whose teachings led to the establishment of the Sikh religion, had many similarities with the nirguna saints in opposing the caste system, and was a part of the liberal, syncretic tradition.

 Islam and India

The struggle between the trends of liberalism and catholicity and rigid exclusiveness and

conservatism was even more intense among the Muslims than the Hindu. The strife between Shariat (Muslim law) and Tariqat (Sufism) which had started in West Asia with the rise of sufism was very much in evidence in India also. The best epitome of cultural assimilation was when Dara, eldest son of Shah Jahan with the help of Brahmanas of Kasi, he got the Gita translated into Persian. But this most significant work was the Majma-ul-Bahrain, an anthology of the Vedas in the introduction to which Dara declared the Vedas to be heavenly books in point of time and ‘in conformity with the holy Quran’, thus underlining the belief that were no fundamental differences between Hinduism and Islam.

Mughal Art and ArchitectureMughal Art

The Mughal period saw an outburst of cultural activity in the fields of architecture, painting, music and literature. The Mughals brought with them Turko-Mongol cultural traditions which mingled the rich cultural traditions existing in the country. The Mughals absorbed these rich cultural traditions, so that the culture which followed was the contribution of people of different ethnic groups, regions and faiths. Such a culture could be called Indian or national in broad sense. The Mughals built magnificent forts, palaces, gates, public buildings including sarais, hamam, mosques, baolis (water tank or well), etc. They also laid out many formal gardens with running water.

The Mughal Administration in India

Mughal Administration

Mughal Administration

A few special features of this administrative system may be noted at the outset. First, the Mughals imported certain foreign elements into their administrative system. They came to India from Central Asia where they had their own system of administration. In India, they modified the same according to Indian traditions and setting. Thus, the Mughal administration presented a combination of Indian and extra-Indian elements. More correctly, it was a Parso-Arabic system in Indian setting. In the Mughal system of governance, the emperor enjoyed real sovereignty which was indivisible and inalienable. Within his realm, he stood supreme as the symbol of unity and preserver of peace. He
actively performed all the major functions of the government.


Thus, the Mughal history’s  milestone was on the road of development. Their set-up and administrative machinery was mixture of Hindu, Mughal and Persian elements. Although the Mughal state was Islamic one, no discrimination seemed to have been made in the selection of personnel. Finally, it must be conceded that the world view of the Mughal and the Hindu ruling classes was the product of a long tradition which was shaped by religion. This assimilation was happen due to tolerance of Indian society and ruler.

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