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Social Scientist

Gunpowder and Empire: Indian Case Author(s): Iqtidar Alam Khan Source: Social Scientist, Vol. 33, No. 3/4 (Mar. - Apr., 2005), pp. 54-65 Published by: Social Scientist Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3518112 Accessed: 18-08-2014 00:54 UTC

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and Empire: Indian Case

The increasing useof firearmsfromthemiddleof the fifteenth century in

different parts of the worldis often seenasa crucialfactorin the riseof

centralizedmonarchicalstates.In Europe it

overall weakening of the position of gentry, as against the king. Thiswas

a direct consequence of the increasingvulnerability of signioral castlesto the field artillery maintained by the king andof greater effectivenessof

the musket-wielding infantrymen against mounted knights.' In

Islamic East, where the mounted archerswere the mainstay of the imperialauthority, this phenomenonappeared to havemanifesteditself in an alteredform.The highly centralized empires of sixteenth century like the Ottoman Empire, the Safavid Empire, the Uzbek Khanateand the MughalEmpire in Indiaarefor example characterized by Marshall G.S. Hodgson as the 'gunpowder empires'. According to him, the changespromotedby the introductionof firearmsin these stateswere not restricted to army organizations. The firearms also 'gave an increased advantage over local militarygarrisons, to a well organized central power which could afford artillery'.2 In this paper*, such an impact is examined in the context of state formation in India with a specialfocuson the MughalEmpire. A primitive type of gunpowderartillery was already in vogue in different parts of the India during the second half of the fifteenth century.Alreadyby the middleof the century, therewasknownin North Indiaa firearmwith designation Kashakanjirwhich threwballs 'by the extensiveforceof combustiblesubstances(darruha-iatishin)'.Itwasin all probability a cannon.A weaponresembling cannon is also reported in Kashmir.Srivararecordsthatthis weapon 'wascalled topa in Muslim language while in the Kashmiridialect it was called kanda'.He also alludesat its being madeof an alloy.3 Thisis also supportedby allusions in two other contemporarytexts, Ma'asir-iMahmudShahi by Shihab Hakim (1468) and Riyazu'l insha' by Mahmud Gawan(1470) to the presence in MalwaandDeccanof ra'd/kaman-ira'd (literally,lightening /lightening bow) which are identified by Firishtaas proper cannons. According to one criptic descriptionby ShihabHakim, it was 'made from an alloy of copper'.4

* Paperpresentedat the MedievalHistorySectionof the Indian History


was a manifestationof the


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and Empire: Indian Case

The destructive capacity of gunpowder artillery of fifteenth century,

nothwithstanding its primitive nature was vastly greater than that of the

mechanicaldevices of the earlier period. It

descriptions of sieges of Mandalgarh(1457) andMachal(1470)5aswell that of Champanir(1485) recorded by Firishta (possiblycopying, aswashis wont, an earliertext).6Thisshouldexplainwhy someof the fortsknownfortheirstrength and solidity sometimeshadto be redesigned in the fifteenthcentury. Aswasthe

case with Vijaymandirgarh fort of Bayana, this redesigning was aimed at enlarging the enclosed space which could havebeen with the ideaof making it difficultfora besieging forceto aimits cannonsatthebuilt-up areasof the fort. Other similar examples from the Aravali tract are those of the forts of Mandalgarh and Champanir.7 The artillerypieces in India during the fifteenth century being made uniformly of brassor bronze were naturallyverycostly. Thesewere generally beyond the meansof most of the zamindarsaswellasthe Rajput chieftains.The


weapons were possessed in appreciable numbers only by more prosperous regionalkingdoms likethoseof Gujarat, Malwa,Bahmanisand Vijaynagara. Each ofthemiscreditedwith overpowering localchiefsoftheir regionsbyreducing their fortslocatedin lessaccessibletracts.Thereductionof thesefortswas apparently facilitatedby the use of newly introduced gunpowderartillery whichwas as yet beyond the reachof most of thelocalchiefs.

It is, therefore,understandablethatthe appearance of gunpowderartillery synchronized with a distinctphase of internalconsolidationleading to a limited territorial expansion in the case of more prosperous regional kingdoms of

fifteenth century. Internal consolidation was always marked by

strengthening of king's control overthe

suppression of the local chiefs some of whom hitherto enjoyed autonomous

theirlarge casteor tribalfollowing and fortsheld by them This is evident from the history of Gujarat and Bahmani

Empire underMahmudBegarha(1459-1511)9andMuhammadShah(1463-82) respectively."' In the case of Vijayanagara Empireagain the use of firearmsis consideredto be the most important factorbehinditssuccessesnot only against the Bahmanis,but also 'against the enemieswithin',such as powerful chiefsof Tamil region." These developments in a way tendedto conformto MarshallG.S. Hodgson's view that the introduction of relativelyexpensive artillery would often,leadto the growth of'a well organized central power'. The impact of Europeangunnery introducedin Indiaon a large scalein the beginning of the sixteenth centurywas,however,a muchmore complexprocess which I propose to examine herewith referenceto the rise and decline of the


statuson accountof in peripheral zones.

is indicated by the contemporary

Mewarwas perhaps one of the fewexceptionsamong them.8Thesenew


nobles and, more importantly,by the






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Social Scientist

C) During the sixteenth century, the heavy mortars produced in India

?C4 registered a striking advance.Thiswas a directresultof improveddesigns and casting methods learntfrom the west through contact with the Portuguese as

also throughexpertisebrought withhim by Babur.'2However, the problems like

lack of mobility, proneness to accidents, slow rate of firing and large consumption of gunpowder persisted causing a decline in their over all




popularity.Alreadyby the middleof the sixteenth century thesehadcome to be

treatedas impressive exhibits probably meantto overawethe common people

Z-- with the militaryprowess of the Empire thanfor actualuse in warfare.'3

mn It is of interestto rememberthatin Babur'sown descriptions of the battles

o of Panipat (1526) and Kanwah (1527) where he experimented with the deployment of firearmsin the battlefieldwith some success, heavy mortars, (kazans)arenot mentioned. ThoughHumayun had deployed 21 mortarsin the Battleof Kanauj (1540) these did not prove to be of much help.'4Similarly, in 1553,IslamShahfound it difficultto carry his mortarsto Punjabfor checking Humayun'santicipated advancethither.'5In 1556,the entire park of AdilShah Sur'sslow moving mortarswas capturedby the Mughals beforethese could be deployedagainst them at Panipat.16 Under Akbar,heavy mortarsdid not figureprominently in the process of territorial expansion.Apart fromthe sieges of Chittor(1568) andRanthambhor (1570), militaryoperationsleading to territorial acquisitions in the early decades of Akbar's reign did not involve prolongedsiegesrequiring the use of mortars. MughalEmpire'sexpansionduring this phase wasachievedprimarily with the use of mounted archers supportedmarginallyby light artillery and musketeers. In the second phase of territorial expansion underAkbar,during 1585-1601,

againartillery wasused sparsely whichwas seemingly on accountof the difficulty of transportation.'7This eclips in the popularity of mortars in the Mughal Empiretemporarily ended during the decades Aurangzeb was frequently faced with the taskof attacking numeroushill fortsin Deccan.'8Acquisition of a large number of siege mortarsin the Deccan towardsthe end of the seventeenth century, however, did not prove to be of much strategic advantage for the

Mughals.They continuedto be vulnerableto

hit and runtactics. From the above it is quite evident that the siege artillery of the Mughal Empire did not command'thefateful significancepolitically' that is ascribedto the same category of firearms in a gunpowder empire of Hodgeson's conception. Abu'lFazl,no doubt,goes out of his way in characterizingartillery as an instrument of empire building'9 in words remnicent of the theory of gunpowderempires but the history of Akbar's militarycampaigns recorded by him does not bearout this characterization.

56 Two otherfirearmsintroducedfromEurope in the sixteenth century were:

Maratha lightcavalryresorting to

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Gunpowder and Empire: Indian Case

(a) light cannons mounted on carriages and (b) matchlockmuskets.These,no doubt,were easilyintegrated in the prevelant formof warfarebasedon the useof mounted archeryby adopting variable patterns of the battle-plan of 'theGhazis of Rum'introducedin India by Babur(1526). In this battle plan,light artillery

and musketry were protectedby a barricade carryinggapes to facilitatethe free movementof cavalry.2) Bothof thesefirearms appear to havecontributedto the growth of Mughal Empire as a centralized state. The matchlock musket

particularly seemsto

itsusecameto acquirespecial relevanceto centre'scontrolof internalresources.2:

During the seventeenth century, on the otherhand, disseminationof muskets amongpeasant communitiesalsobecamea factorcontributing to the militancy of disaffectedrural population.22 Itwould,perhaps, be usefulto dilate separately

on the statusof each one of them in the Mughalsystem. There was a distinct improvement in the basic design and general performance of the light artilleryduring the firsthalf of the sixteenth century whichfacilitatedtheir deployment andeffectiveusein the siegeoperations aswell as open battles.Theearliest specimens of these light cannons(zarb-zan)used by Babur(1526-30)were,in all probability, miniaturereplicas of his heavy mortars (kazans).Subsequently in 1540s,the sizeof an averagelight cannonwasreduced considerably. Thiswas possibly aimedatimproving the quality of casting within the constrantsimposedby the useof manualbellows.It alsoeconomisedon the quantity of gunpowder consumed.23 Theintroductionfrom Europe of the artof making less costlywrought iron barrels naturally contributedto makinglight cannonsmuch cheaper. Besidesa considerableincreasein the total number of light cannons possessed by the

Mughals andtheir Afghan adversariesin NorthIndia,many of

overthe countrybegan to possess themin limitednumbers.These light cannons whencombinedwith musketry were generallypercieved aseffectivein defending fortified positions. The enhanced military clout of the Rajput chieftains, controllingstrongholds on the outer periphery of the Gangeticplainduring the firsthalfof the sixteenth century,mayperhaps be linkedto this development.24 The exceptionally favourabletermsoffered by Akbarto the Rajput chieftainsto inducethem to join his service may be viewedfromthis perspective aswell. The Mughalresponse to the increasedeffectivenessof the light cannonswas representedby their attempt from the very beginning, to enforce imperial monopoly on the production anduse of every kindof firearms.25It alsoled to a driveon their part to increasemanifoldthe numberof light cannons in their arsenal.UnderAkbartherewasaconcertedattempt to further improve andalso to addto their variety. These improvements seemsto haveled to the divisionof light cannons cast in bronze/brassas well as those forged from wrought iron into two broad categories:(a) zamburakscarriedwith king in the so-called

have emerged asaninstrumentof centralizationin so faras








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'artillery of stirrup'; and(b) still lighterpieces likenarnalsand gajnals distributed for deployment on the ramparts of the fortslocatedin different provinces.26 Perhaps, the most important innovation relating to military use of firearms


in the Mughal Empire during seventeenth century was the placing of light






likely thatthenotion

of a light cannon fittedto a swivelon the backof a camel, the shaturnal (camel barrel), came to India from West Asia some time in the beginning of the

o seventeenth century. Thiscannonis described by Bernierasa 'smallfield piece'.

- Being better tuned to the requirements of battles fought with fast moving

than the

o 'artillery of strirrup'representedby a comparatively smallnumberof medium sizecannonsmountedon horsedrawn carriages. Theshaturnalswere seemingly Indianand West Asiansubstitutesfor the latestcast-ironfield guns of Europe with the significant differencethat these, instead of rendering obsolete the dominant form of mounted cambate,tendedto give it added support.Despite theconstraints imposed by the necessity of camelto kneelon the ground to open fire,the shaturnalsoften proved to be moreeffectivethanthecannonscarriedon slow moving carriages. The speed with which severalhundred pieces of light cannon,capable of keeping up fairlyrapidfire,couldbe moved fromone point to another during the battle would, on many an occasion, be crucial to the outcome of a sharplycontestedaction.28Thisis for example borne out by Mirza Nathan'saccountof the Battleof Daulabapur(1612)29andthose of the Battleof Samugar(1658) by BernierandManucci.-' The shaturnalswereof coursenot out of the reachfor many of the rebellious Rajput chiefsandMarhattasardars defying the Mughalsduring the second half of the seventeenth century. But the rebelswere certainly not in a position to deploy them in a matchingstrength. To thislimitedextent,it would appear, the increasingpresence of the shaturnalsin the field artillery, contributed to the MughalEmpire'sholding on itsown in the faceof mounting rebellionsdown to the end of Aurangzeb'sreign. Matchlock maskets present in India from the early phase of Mughal conquest (1526-56)3' came to be regarded as effective weapons of general combat.As wasthe caseat Panipat in 1526,thesecameto be used frombehind barricadesformed by bullock-cartstied together in pairs for harassing the on rushingcavalry. Themusketeerswouldsometimealso provide cover during the battle to artillery carts on the move which appears to have been their role at Knwah(1527).32This had a parallel in muskets' singular contribution to the Ottomanvictoriesover ShahIsmailat Chaldiran(1514) and over Mamluksin 1517.33Fromthe history of MughalEmpire in India many moreinstancescanbe cited to illustratethat sometimes a skilfuluse of musketscould prove to be of

cannonson some kindof swivelsmountedon camels.27Itis

cavalry, shaturnalsoften played a far more important role in action


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and Empire: Indian Case

critical significance in deciding the outcome of abattle.Thisroleof musketeers _n would oftentend to get enhancedin localisedsmallscaleconflicts." c

InthiscontextWilliamIrvin'sviewthatdownto themiddleof the eighteenth

century, the bow and arrowwas consideredin India a

instrument of combate than the musket35meeds to be viewed in its proper perspective. Thisviewseemsto be mainly basedon a statementof Bernierwhere

he is comparing the 'astonishingquickness' with which the mounted archers

discharged their arrowswith the slownessof

were obliged to dismount for firing a volley. Thereis no denying the factthat

much more time would pass between each matchlockshot than between the shooting of successivearrows.But the simple point is that the matchlockfire couldhit muchharderwitha pelet andbe effectiveupto a much longerdistance; andthus frequency alonecouldnotbe thedecisivefactor.Themusketfittedwith matchlockwhen used fromthe ground in a skilfulmannercould prove to be a devastating instrumentof war.Evena smallnumberof matchlockmenfighting fromthe ground, if deployedinnovatively, could contributeto breakingup the

onslaught of a much

The recognition of musketsas an increasingly effectivefactorin warfareis reflectedin the anxiety of the Mughalimperialauthority to retaina largebody of musketeers.The strength of foot-musketeersin the serviceof Mughalking rose from roughly 1200 in 1526 to 35,000 around 1595.37Abu'l Fazl accordingly classifiesmusketeers (banduqchis) as part of the royal household(manzilabadi) andnot as part of the army (sipah abadi)."It is understandablethat along with

artillery (involving heavy expenditure) comparatively affordable muskets shouldhavebeen controlled exclusivelyby the Emperor. Thiswould suggest that the musketstoo wereconsidereda major instrumentof power.Leaving muskets entirely to the careof the nobleswas evidently not consideredsafe. Under Akbar'smansab system, fromthe verybeginning, the officerswere allowedto havein their contingentsamong dakhilifoot-soldiersa partly of foot- musketeerswhose strength would be 121/2 per cent of the total number of horsemen in the contingent. In other words, there would be present in each contingent one musketeer for eight horsemen. But, on paper, these dakhili musketeersalsoweretreatedas personnel in the direct employ of the Emperor and were paid their stipends not by the officersconcernedbut by the central treasury.39 This systemappears to havecontinuedin theseventeenth century in a modified form. The term dakhilifell in disuse,but the officersoften came to maintaina larger numberof musketeersthan prescribed underthe rulesframed during Akbar's reign. An inventory(siyaha) of the detachmentcommanded by BahramandKhanin 1689 shows a ratio of one musketeerto five horsemen.4" Sometimesunder Aurangzeb, selectnobleswerealsoallowedtherare privilege of

much more effective

horsemencarrying musketswho

largerbody of horsemen.3







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O recruiting foot-musketeers directly in their contingents who would again be




treatedas being in Thereis some

the foot-musketeerscame to partlyreplaceordinarycavalry asthe instruments of localcontrol.Theuseof musketeersin village level operations couldhavebeen a much less costly affairthanthe cavalrytroops of anyvariety asis suggestedby the salariesof the two type of troopers. The deferencebetween the salariesof

centrally maintained yakaspa sawars and foot-musketeers (sair piyada

banduqchi) ranged from41/2:25 to 6:25.42Moreover,the total cost of equipping a cavalrytrooper, even of the meanestorder,inclusivecost of a horse (with its apparel),weapons and armour, wouldbe quite considerable.Thiscostwouldbe much higher thanthe cost of a musketandammunitionneededfor equipping a musketeer.43UnderTodarMal's regulations of 27thR.Y./1582-3, the jagirdars as well as the officials of the territoryyielding revenues for imperial treasury (khalisa)couldtakethe help of the imperial musketeersstationedin everylocality underthe command of an amir-ichakla(commandantof a chakla,a territorial unit within a province). Forthis assistancethey weremade'responsible forthe collection of one dam per bigha of cultivated land for the maintenance (nigahdasht) of the musketeers.Thatthis system wasactually enforcedin some of the provinces is borne out by the extant text of one of Akbar'sorders

appointing a faujdar in the province of Lahore.44 Many instancescanbe citedto illustratethe effectiveuse of muskets by

Mughalsagainst defiantruralpopulace as well as rebelliouschiefs during the seventeenth century.45 These go to clearly indicate that down to the end of Aurangzeb'sreign the matchlockmusket played a conspicuouslysignificant role asan instrumentof local control. Rapid disseminationof musketsin the countrysideduring the firsthalf of theseventeenthcentury madethetaskof exercising localcontrolandof ensuring the smooth flow of landrevenuemoreonerous.Evena marginalimprovement in the fighting efficiency of the disaffected peasants and zamindarsas a consequence of their access to muskets of even most primitive type would become a matterof grave concernto the Mughal authorities.One response of the Mughal imperial system to this new situation was the creation under Jahangir(1605-1627) of a corps of mounted musketeers called barqandaz among the centrally maintainedahdihorsemen.46A fewdecadeslater,some of the seniornobles,for example Mirza Raja JaiSingh alsocameto enrol,possibly with the tacit approval of the imperialauthority, in their contingents musket carrying horsemen.47Down to 1658,one knowson Bernier's testimony, most of these barqandaz troops were yak aspa horsemenridingyabu or stillmoreinferior

the central government's service(naukar-isarkar-iwala).4 evidenceindicating thatfromthe latter part ofAkbar's reign



60 This attempt at combining horsemanship with the use of musket was

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and Empire: Indian Case

obviously aimedat enhancing the strikingpower of the musketeers against the ruralrebels for whose suppression they are known to have been frequently employed in localized militaryoperations sinceAkbar'stime. Theperformance of mounted musketeersin a large scale action like Battleof Samugar(1658)

would no doubt appear to be rathernot veryimpressive as compared to thatof mounted archers forming the bulk of opposing armies. This should not, r however,blur one's view of the effectiverole that the barqandaz troops often played in scatteredoperations.They cameto be frequently usedin the Deccanas well as in other regions against dispersed resistanceof the local authorities particularly that of the Marhatta sardars.The effectiveness of mounted musketeersin dispersedfighting isborneout by a numberof episodes recorded in waqa'i' sarkar Ajmer wa RanthambhorandMazhar-i Shahjahani.49 Though the number of mounted musketeersin the contingents of select nobles(the Kachchwahachiefof Amber being one of them) may haveincreased appreciablyduringAurangzeb'sreign, but the musketsused by them asalso by most of the barqandaz ahdiscontinuedto be unwieldy matchlockswhich could be fired only after dismounting. On the other hand, during the same period, some of the rural insurgents in North India,likeJatsof Mathura region started using matchlocks5'whichwere in-any-case moreefficientthanthe crudely made arquebuses availableto them till then. It could havebeen partly in response to this situation that there was createdin the Mughalarmy a body of mounted musketeerspossessing the skill of firing their musketswithout dismounting. IslamKhanRumi's barqandaz retainerswere perhaps one suchgroup.They are reported to havebeen the experts of Ottomanstyle of fighting basedon the use of musket(madar-i jang-i Rumibar banduq bud).' It is likely thatthesenew type of musketeerhorsemen were armedwith the Turkishversions of European flintlocks. Specimendiscription of a flintlock reproducedby AnandRamKayath in Siyaq-nama(1696)52 indicatesthat this musketwas known in the Mughal military establishment during Aurangzeb'sreign. But, as is evident from Bhimsen's description of Islam Khan Rumi's clumsy method of supplying gunpowder to his horsemen during an skirmishwith Marathas,the rigidity of the Mughalmilitaryorganization basedon a contractsystem did not suit this new form of warfare. Apparently, the new systemrequired a more centralized organization of production, distributionand supply of firearmsof different types whichwas practically ruledout in the mansab system of the Mughals.5 Itis, therefore,understandablethat,despite there beingstrong reasonsfor shifting to thisnewformof musketeering, theflintlockmusketandtheskillof using it from horsebackdid not findwide acceptance in theMughalEmpire. While concluding this discussionone may reiteratethatof allthe different type of firearmsintroduced by Baburin India, the wide use of matchlock musket, perhaps, had particular relevance to centre's control of internal 61





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resources in the Mughal Empire. That is why muskets were considered 'honourable'not only when carried by cavalry but alsoin the handsof ordinary musketeers firing fromthe ground.54 The high statusof musketwasreflectedin

< Humayun's establishing in 1535 a rule that his leaving the Diwan would be







announced by firing of a musket.55 Significantly, Abu'lFazlmakesit

mention his heroAkbar'sinterestin this weapon andhis being unsurpassed in making and handling it. In A'in-i Akbarione of the three military skills

prescribedfora commandant administering a province is that of shooting with

musket. It is put at par with horsemanship and archery.56 It is, therefore,not

surprising thatthe foot-musketeers,thoughpoorlypaid as compared to cavalry

troopers, wereallowedcertainconcessionslike,for example,payment in advance a part of salarieswhich was not deducted during campaigns.57 Their average stipends were always higher than those of ordinary foot-soldiers of other


A similarsituationobtainedwith regard to mountedmusketeers.As early as 1636 sih aspa (3 horse) and chahar aspa (4 horse) ahdi barqandaz staioned in Deccanwere allowedto maintainone horselessthanthe numberindicated by their ranks(du aspa). Till then this privilege was not allowedto ordinary ahdi horsemen.59 Again additional payment to some of the horsemen in the contingent of the KachchwahachiefofAmber duringAurangzeb'sreign, on their equipping themselveswith muskets (azafa ba-shart-i banduq) also appears to point to musket's special status as a weapon of war in the Mughal Empire.6" Although, as IrfanHabibstresses,the main strength of the Mughalslay in their mountedarchery,6'the matchlockmusket appears to havecontributedfromthe verybeginningsignificantly to the exerciseof imperial control over disaffected localitiesor tracts.

a point to

Iqtidar AlamKhanwasformerlyProfessorofHistoryatthe Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.


1 Cf. Carlo M. Cipola, Guns and Sails in the Early Phase of EuropeanExpansion, 1400-1700, London, 1965, p.28; Geoffrey Parker, The Military Revolution:Mili- tary Innovationand Rise of the West,1500-1800,Cambridge, 1988, p.8.

2 Marshall, G.S. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam: The GunpowderEmpires and

Modern Times, Vol.III, pp.17-18,


3 Ibrahim-i QawamFaruqi,Sharafnama-i AhmadMunnairi(1457-75), MS entitled


62 Farhang-i Ibrahimi, AMU,






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Gunpowder and Empire: Indian Case

Kashakanjir. See also Jonaraja,Rajatarangini (1459) tr. by T.C. Dutt, Kings of Kashmir,Delhi, 1968, pp.105-6 and Srivara,Jaina Rajatarangini, (1486), tr. by KashiNath Dhar, New Delhi,1996, p.39.

4 ShihabHakim, Ma'asir-iMahmudShahi(1467-8), ed. Nurul HasanAnsari,Delhi,

1968, pp.56, 87; Mahmud Gawan, Rayazu'l Insha (1470), 1941-9, p.72. See also Iqtidar A. Khan, Gunpowder and MedievalIndia, New Delhi, 2004, p.42.

ed. M. Shafi, Lahore, Firearms: Warfare in








5 Ma'asir-iMahmudShahi,pp.85-9 and Rayazu'lInsha,pp.72-4.

6 MuhammadQasim Hindu ShahFirishta,Tarikh-iFirishta(1607), Vol.II, Kanpur, 1884, pp.202, 251.

7 Cf. Gunpowder and Firearms,pp.48-9.

8 Ma'asir-iMahmudShahi,p.56. The chief of Mewaris reported to have supplied two kaman-ira'dsmade of an alloy of copper (haft-josh) to the rulerof Gagaraun in


9 See Gunpowder and Firearms,pp.50-2.

10 Haroon KhanSherwani,TheBahmanisof Deccan,Hyderabad,1953,pp.296, 323- 4. Bahamani Kingdom is describedas attaining 'a heightunequalled in the whole of its history'during the 'premiership' of MahmudGawanunder Muhammad Shah Bahmani. Cf. Rayazu'l Insha, p.72. Mahmud Gawan is reported to have used kaman-ira'd.



Burton Stein in

The Cambridge Economic History of India, eds.,

Raychaudhuri and IrfanHabib,Vol.1,c.1200-1750,Cambridge,1982,p.119.

12 See Iqtidar A. Khanin Journalof Royal Asiatic Society,April 1999,pp.27-34.

13 Gunpowder and Firearms,pp.94-5.

14 MirzaHaidar Doghlat, Tarikh-iRashidi,MS,AMU,Aligarh,UniversityCollection, No.34, f.351a.

15 'Abdul Qadir Badauni, Muntakhab-ut-tawarikh,(1596), ed. Ahmad 'Ali and others, Vol.I, Calcutta, 1869, p.412.

16 Abu'lFazl,Akbar-nama,ed. Agha Ahmad'Aliand 'Abdal-Rahim,Vol.11,Calcutta, 1873-87, p.36; Nizam al-Din Ahmad, Tabaqat-i Akbari, ed. B. De, Vol.11, Calcutta, 1913, p.131.

17 Cf. W.H. McNeill, ThePursuit of Power,Technology, ArmedForceand Society since A.D. 1000,Chicago, 1982,pp.95, 98. Attributesthe 'precarious' nature of Mughal controlin the Deccanto the difficultyof movingsiegegunslong distanceoverland'.

18 Gunpowder and Firearms,pp.97-7.

p.82. See also Journalof Royal Asiatic Society,

19 A'in-i Akbari,(1598), Vol.1, 1893, April 1999, p.27.

20 Cf. A.S. Beveridge, Babur-namain

21 Gunpowder and Firearms,pp.85 f.n. 46, 150.

22 Op.cit., pp. 164-5.

English,reprint,London, 1969, pp.550, 568-9.


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Op.cit., pp.74-9.




Op.cit., pp.103, 120-21 f.ns. 43 & 44.





pp.91-2. Compare A'in-i Akbari,Vol.I, p.82 and Babur-namain English,



I p.117.




A'in-i Akbari,Vol.1, p.82.


FrancoisBernier, Travelsin theMogulEmpire,1656-58,tr. A. Constable, revised


by V.A. Smith, London, 1916, p.254.



Compare, Gunpowder and Firearms,pp.107-10.


J.N. Sarkar,MilitaryHistoryof India,reprint,Delhi, 1970, p.89.




Bernier,p.49; Nicolao Manucci, Storiado Mogor,1656-1712,tr. William Irvine, Vol.I (London, 1907-8), reprintCalcutta,1965, p.254.


For an arguement that muskets brought to India by Babur were matchlocks of Ottoman origin see Gunpowder and Firearms,p. 143.


Babur-namain English,pp.468-9, 473-4, 557-8, 568-9.


Devid Ayalon, Gunpowder and Firearmsin theMamluk Kingdom,London, 1962, pp.60, 88-9.


Yusuf Mirak, Mazhar-i Shahjahani (1634), ed. Pir Hasamuddin Rashidi, Part 2, Karachi,1961,pp. 139-40.Thereis describeda skirmishbetween a party of Mughal horsemen using muskets and a large band of Nahmardi tribesmen of pargana Sehwan(Sind).


William Irvine, The Armyof theIndian Moghuls, reprint New Delhi, 1962, p.103.


Cf. Sidi Ali Reis, Travelsand Adventuresof the TurkishAdmiralSidiAli Reis,tr. A.


Vamberey,London, 1899,pp.37. A bandof of Rajput horsemen to retire.

30 foot-musketeersforceda largebody



Gunpowder and Firearms,p. 150.


Ain-i Akbari,Vol.I, pp.84-5.


Op.Cit., Vol.I, pp.121, 134. Compare ShireenMoosvi, The Economyofthe



Empire, c.1595: A Statistical Study,O.U.P., 1987, p.223. She interpretes here differently.

the text



SelectedDocuments of Aurangzeb'sReign, ed. Yusuf Husain Khan, Hyderabad, 1958, pp.200-1.


ForMaha Singh Bhadoria's request to be allowedsucha privilege see Waqa'i'Sarkar Ajmer wa Ranthambhor,(1678-80), MS, AsafiaLibrary,Hyderabad, Fan-i Tarikh,





Irvin, The Armyof the Indian Moghuls,p.173. Compare R.A. Alvi, Studiesin the Historyof MedievalDeccan,Delhi, 1977, p.30.


The lowest cost of the musketas givenby Abu'lFazlis /2a rupee while the price of a horse is set at Rs.2 Again an ordinaryhandgun could be obtained for halfthe cost


of an ordinary sword. Cf. A'in-iAkbari,Vol.1,p.82.

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and Empire: Indian Case

44 Abu'l Fazl, Akbar-nama, Vol.III, ed. Agha Ahmad 'Ali and 'Abd al-Rahim, Calcutta, 1887, p.382. Cf. Abu'l Qasim Namakin, Munshat-i Namakin, MS, AMU, University Collection 26, f.675b.

45 Cf. Gunpowder and Firearms,pp. 153-4.

sawarssee Tuzuk-i Jahangiri, ed. Saiyid Ahmad,

46 For a reference to


Ghazipur and Aligarh,1863-4,p.238.

47 Fora referenceto a barqandaz sawarserving in the contingent of a Rajput noble in subaDeccan in the year 1636,see SelectDocuments ofShahjahan'sReign, ed. Yusuf Husain Khan,Hyderabad,1950,p.25. Compare,Gunpowder and Firearms,p. 152.

48 Bernier,p.217. For musketeers participating in the Battleof Samugar(1658) he mentions three rates of payment: Rs.20/- Rs.15/- and Rs.10/- per month. These obviously are not the scales of foot-musketeerswho were never paid more than Rs.6/- per month. Cf. ShireenMoosvi, The Economyof the MughalEmpire, c.1595, p.227. yak aspa ahdiswere paid Rs.20/- per month.

49 This is borne out by a perusal of Jaipur RecordNo.3833: 'ulufa sipahian, in the Rajasthan StateArchives,Bikaner.

50 Manucci, Storia do Mogor, 1656-1712, tr. W. Irvine, Vol.11,(London, 1907-8), reprint, Calcutta, 1965, p.131.

51 Bhimsen, Nuskha-iDilkusha,MS., Br. Library,Or. 23, f.66a.

52 Nand Ram Khayasth, Siyaq-nama, Lucknow,1879,p.154.

53 Athar Ali, The Mughal Nobility under Aurangzeb, revised edition, Delhi, 1997, p.xx) was firstto make this point.

54 Fora contrary view see StewartGordon, 'Thelimited Adoption of EuropeanStyle Military Forces by the Eighteenth-century Rulersin India', TheIndian Economic and Social HistoryReview,Vol.xxxv, No.3 and Jos Gommans, Mughal Warfare, London, 2002, p.161.

55 KhawarShah bin Qibad al-Husaini (d.1565), Tarikh-iIlchi-i Nizam Shah, MS, British Library,Add. 23513, ff. 228b-229a.

56 A'in-i Akbari,VOl.I, p.83, 196; See also, 'Ali Ahmad Khan, Mirat-i Ahmadi,ed. Nawab Ali, Vol.I, Baroda, 1928, p.167.

57 Cf. Ruqq'a-i Hakim Abu'l Fath Gilani,ed. Muhammad BashirHusain, 1968, p.128.

58 A'in-i Akbari,Vol.1, pp.82, 134; Shireen Moosvi, The Economy of the Mughal Empire,pp.229-30. Compare, Irvine, The Army of the Indian Moghuls,pp.167,



SelectDocuments of

59 ShahJahan'sReign, ed. YusufHusain Khan,pp.24-25.

60 Severalsuch orders areto be found in the bundle, Siyahaziayadti wa kami daftar-







i bakhshi,farsi, 1129H/ 1774 Sambat:in Rajasthan State Archives,Bikaner.

61 Irfan Habib, The AgrarianSystemof MughalEmpire,1556-1707,second, revised edition, New Delhi, 1999, p.364.


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