Decline of Mughal Empire

The Mughal Empire declined rapidly after Aurangzeb's death in an early 18th century. The decline of Mughal was based on several causes and reasons that led to the downfall of mighty Mughal Empire.

Here we have listed the major reasons for the decline of Mughal Empire

Downfall and Decline of the Mughal Empire

1. Weak successors post-Aurangzeb rule

  • Bahadur Shah I was 63 years of age when he ascended the throne and did not possess the energy to perform the states duties.
  • Rulers like Jahandar Shah, Muhammad Shah, Ahmad Shah etc were other incompetent rulers.

2. Continuous war of succession

  • No law of succession was followed.
  • Hence there was a war for the throne.

3. Invasion of Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali

  • Nadir Shah looted Kohinoor

4. Mughals neglected the Development of the Navy

  • Coast-line completely undefended.
  • This was exploited by the European.

5. Empty treasury

  • The resources of Mughals were already drained due to policies of Aurangzeb.
  • Disintegration of empire followed thereafter.

6. Aurangzeb s faulty Deccan campaign.

  • Aurangzeb exposed to incessant raiding districts in the Deccan in his conquest for expansion and greed for power.
  • Aurangzeb was unable to effectively assimilate the Maratha, Bedar, Gond etc. unlike Akbar who assimilated Rajputs within his kingdom.

7. Degeneration of the Mughal Nobility

  • When the Mughals came to India, they were strong.
  • Too much of wealth and luxury made them lackadaisical.
  • Their harems became full and they had lot of wine for leisure.
  • They were not a match for the strong Marathas, Rajputs, and Sikhs etc.

8. Had lost support from almost all.

  • Bitter relations with Rajputs.
  • Even Jats, Sikhs, Marathas turned against them.
  • Huge disparity between rich and poor during 17th century and after.

9. Challenge from regional powers

  • Mughal Empire was too large but due to weak successors proved dismal for the Mughal rule.
  • The provinces became independent and challenged the Mughals.
  • Independent states rose like Awadh, Hyderabad etc.

10. Deterioration of land relations

  • Shahjahan and Aurangzeb opted for jagirs and Paibaqi instead of paying directly from state treasury to the officials.
  • Jagirs refer to temporary allotment of lands to officials for their services which may be according to the satisfaction of the Emperor.
  • Paibaqi refers to revenue from reserved lands which were sent to the central treasury.
  • There was a constant clash of interest between the nobles and zamindars.

11. Rise of the Marathas

  • Marathas consolidated their position in Western India
  • They started making plans for a greater Maharashtra empire.

12. Lack of control over the bankers of the state

  • In contrast to their earlier policies, the bankers extended trade and credit transactions to newcomers, e.g., the Dutch and the English.

13. Religious Policy of Aurangzeb

  • Aurangzeb alienated support of the Hindus by committing atrocities on them.
  • He imposed Jajiya on the Hindus.

14. There was no good education

  • There was no practical training of the Mughal Mobility.
  • India lagged behind the world in the field of science and technology and the Mughal Ruling class remained blind to this development.
  • There were no modern weapons too hence.

15. Widespread Corruption in the Administration

  • The nobles were short sighted.
  • Corruption and inefficiency entered almost all branches of the public service.

The decline of the Mughal Empire was due to social, economic, political and institutional factors. Aurangzeb was both a victim of circumstances and he also created certain circumstances of which he became a victim.

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