ramana wrote:I dont see how the Mughals financed their wars, after all the entire North India and parts of Deccan were already despoiled and looted of their wealth in a short period of two hundred and fifty years. We see the traders again in the post Mughal period financing the Maratha- Rajput wars.
Bankers and traders only provide loans when the military power's revenue collection has failed. Revenue collection fails with political fragmentation, treasury exhaustion, and uprisings. Because of the mansabdari system, the older ruling families were accommodated into the Mughal power structure, and no Muslim noble was permitted to pass on his lands and wealth to his children. This took care of the dangers of political fragmentation.
Revenue collection was mostly stable and the treasury kept growing under Akbar. The conquest of new areas, like the Deccan Sultanates, was initially devastating for the local revenue collection but after pacification it resumed again. But Shah Jahan's foolish campaign into Central Asia cost the treasury several crores, without any compensation accruing later. Similarly many crores were spent in the three big campaigns to recover the important fort of Kandahar.
With Aurangzeb treasury exhaustion reached it's peak, compounded by India-wide uprisings, and the beginnings of political fragmentation. And it is in the post-Mughal period that bankers and traders are noticed again and again as providers of loans.
Not all Mughal conquests produced devastation. For example Bengal and Orissa were suffering more under the previous Afghan chieftains, one of them heavily taxing pilgrims visiting the famous shrine of Jagannath Puri. With Man Singh's conquest the shrine was freed of the pilgrimage tax, and he ensured further stability by marrying into the local Hindu dynasty of Khurda.
In other areas of India, Mughal wars caused much devastation, but the resistance was equally fierce.
In the 16th century Mughal-Mewar conflict, the Mughals had a stable revenue source but Mewar's fertile eastern half was under enemy control, and Maharana Pratap had issued an order forbidding his subjects, on the pain of death, from raising crops or tending to their herds. So while he defeated the Mughal attempts to conquer Mewar by fighting a guerrilla war, after that success he needed financial assistance of his minister, the trader Bhama Shah, to rebuild his army and a new capital for his state.