AMALGUZAR. A revenue collector,
usually the head
of a district or pargana (q.v.)
AMIL. Under the Mughals, a revenue
but the term had more general application during the sultanate.
AMIN. A revenue assessor, who decided
share of the produce of the land.
AMIR. During the sultanate, a
officers of the third rank. Later, amir and the plural, umara, were
for "noblemen" in general, and to indicate officials of high rank.
AMIR-I-AKHUR. Commander of the cavalry.
AMIR-I-DAD. The law officer who
carried out the
decisions of the judges. Appeals from a qazi's (q.v.) judgment could be
made to him, and he investigated complaints made against high officials.
AMIR-I-HAJIB. An official of great
superintended all court ceremonies, regulated protocol, and controlled
contacts between the ruler and his subjects. "Lord Chamberlain" is the
AMIR-I-MAJLIS. The official who
arranged the social
and cultural contacts of the sultan.
AMIR-UL-UMARA. Literally, chief of
was a title conferred by a ruler, rather than an office.
ARIZ (or diwan-i-arz). The department
under the sultanate concerned with maintaining the army. Usually
"War Office" or "Ministry of War."
ARIZ-I-MUMALIK. The official during
responsible for the administration of the army, including recruiting,
of salaries, supplies, and transportation. The office was similar to
of the mir bakshi under the Mughals. See "bakhshi."
BADSHAH. See padshah.
BAKHSHI. Under the Mughals, the
official who kept
the army records and paid the troops. The chief paymaster in the
administration was known as the mir bakhshi, and there were subordinate
bakhshis in the provinces.
BARID. Official in charge of
newsgathering. The barid-i-mumalik was the head of the central office,
and his agents sent in reports from all over the country. This system
of great importance in controlling local governments.
BHAKTI. In Hinduism, devotion offered
to a deity,
with an emphasis on love and self-surrender.
CALIPH (khalifa). A representative or
the title adopted by the rulers of the Islamic community indicating,
as successors of Muhammad, they were both spiritual and temporal
After the destruction of the Abbasid caliphate in 1258, the title was
by various rulers, including the Ottoman sultans. The office is
to as the caliphate or khilafat.
CRORE (kror). Ten millions or one
DAR-UL-HARB. "Abode of War." A land
ruled by infidels
that might, through war, become the "Abode of Islam," dar-ul-Islam. In
the nineteenth century, some Muslims argued that India had become
because of British rule.
DAR-UL-ISLAM. "Abode of Islam." A
Islamic laws are followed and the ruler is a Muslim.
DECCAN. India south of the Vindhya
but more particularly the interior plateau.
DIWAN. 1. A ministry or department;
the Mughals it meant specifically the financial or revenue ministry
2. In the provincial administration, the diwan had judicial power in
cases as well as having control of revenue collection. 3. The term was
also applied to the royal court and the council that advised the ruler.
4. The word is also used for the collected works of a poet.
DIWAN-I-ARZ. See ariz.
DIWAN-I-KHALSA (khalisa). The office
of the lands reserved as sources of revenue for the state.
DIWAN-I-MAZALIM. A court presided over
ruler in which petitions were received, complaints against officials
heard, and to which appeals could be made from other courts.
DIWAN-I-TAN. The office responsible
DOAB. "Two rivers." The land lying
rivers, particularly the area between the Ganges and the Jamna.
DURBAR (darbar). The court of a ruler,
or an audience
granted by him.
FARMAN (firman). An order issued by a
FAUJDAR. In the early period, the word
to a military officer, but under the Mughals, it meant the head of a
Later it was used for a police official.
FIQH. Islamic jurisprudence, or the
interpreting the Shariat (q.v.). There are four orthodox schools:
Hanbali, Maliki, and Shafii. The sources of fiqh are the Quran, hadith,
ijma, and quiyas (q.v.).
GADDI (gadi). The cushion or seat on
which a ruler
sits, hence, "throne."
GHANIMAH. The spoils of war. In
practice, four-fifths of all the captured goods went to the army, and a
fifth was taken for pious purposes. Under the sultanate, the state took
four-fifths and one-fifth was given to the soldiers.
GHAZAL. A short poem, usually on a
HADITH (hadis). A saying or reported
Muhammad that is not found in the Quran, but that is accepted as a
of fiqh (q.v.).
HAJJ. Annual pilgrimage made to Mecca;
is supposed to make the journey at least once in a lifetime.
HANAFI. A school of Islamic
HANBALI. A school of Islamic
HINDUSTANI. 1. Any native of North
2. The term was applied to the Indian converts to Islam. 3. As an
is used to describe the products of the fusion of Islamic and Hindu
e.g., Hindustani music.
IJMA. The consensus of the Islamic
a source of law. See fiqh.
IMAM. A leader of the Islamic
the Shias (q.v.), the descendants of Ali.
INAM. A gift or reward; particularly
lands which were granted rent-free.
IQTA. A form of grant made by the
grantee had rights of revenue collection but not property rights, which
were retained by the state. This tenure corresponded to the jagir
of the Mughals.
JAGIR. The term used during Mughal
rule for iqta
tenures. The holder of land under the jagir system was known as a
The assignment of land was usually made for a lifetime, and it was not
inheritable. Jagir tenures were different from inam (q.v.) in that they
carried an obligation to perform services for the state.
JIHAD. A righteous war against
JIZYA. Tax paid by zimmis (q.v.) in a
KAVI RAI. "Prince of Poets," or
A title used by the Mughals.
KHALIFAH. See caliph.
KHALSA. See diwan-i-khalsa.
KHAN. A Turkish title. Under the
designated a particular rank in the military service, but it was
used to indicate ethnic affiliations (e.g., the Pathans) or by anyone
its connotation of "brave and heroic."
KHARIJ. Originally, the tribute paid
populations, but in India it came to mean simply the land tax, or the
of the produce claimed by the state.
KHUTBA. Sermon delivered in the mosque
Mention in it of a ruler's name was a declaration of a claim for
KHWAJA. A Persian title of respect. In
it was used for the official in each province who kept the revenue
KOS. A land measure, varying in
of India from one mile to two.
KOTWAL. A term applied to various
but usually to the officer who was responsible for police functions in
a town or rural area.
LAKH. One hundred thousand.
MADRASA. A school for Islamic studies,
associated with a mosque.
MALIK. Under the sultanate, a title
a military rank, but later used as a general title of honor. Also used
for a person who owns land.
MALIKI. A school of Islamic
MANSAB. A rank in the Mughal army
based on the
number of horsemen the officer was supposed to bring into the field.
the holders of the rank, were graded from those responsible for ten
up to those who were responsible for ten thousand.
MAUND. A measure of weight, roughly
equal to eighty
pounds, but varying greatly in different areas.
MIR BAKHSHI. See bakhshi.
MIR SAMAN. The official in charge of
household stores, the workshops for producing goods for the palaces,
MLECCHA. Sanskrit term for a
"barbarian"; often used for the Muslim invaders.
MOHALLA. A subdivision of a city.
MUHTASIB. The overseer of public
MUJTAHID. A man who through learning
is able to undertake the interpretation and application of the Islamic
law in such a way that his judgments should be followed by others.
MULLAH. A teacher of the law and
MUSHRIF. The officer responsible for
account of state income during the sultanate.
MUSTAUFI. The official responsible for
and for the auditing of accounts.
NAIB. A deputy, lieutenant, or
assistant, as in
the title, naib wazir.
NAWAB. Originally used for the viceroy
of a province of the Mughal empire, but later used simply as a title.
NAZIM. Term used for a provincial
indicating his function as administrator of the criminal law.
NIZAM. A governor, particularly the
PADSHAH. King, emperor. A title used
by the Mughal
PANCHAYAT. A traditional Indian
(made up of five elders) that judged petty cases and controlled local
PARGANA. A subdivision of the basic
unit, the sarkar, made up of a number of villages.
PESHWA. The Chief Minister of the
The office became hereditary, and in the eighteenth century the peshwa
was virtually an independent ruler.
PIR. The head of a Sufi order; later,
a Sufi saint.
QASIDA. A long, usually panegyric,
poem, or ode.
QAZI. The judge who administered
Qazi-i-mumalik was the chief judge of the kingdom.
QIYAS. One of the sources of fiqh
process of applying hadith (q.v.) to new situations by the use of
QURAN (Koran). For Muslims, the Word
of God. The
fundamental source of fiqh (q.v.) and all rules governing human
RAIYAT (ryot). Cultivator, peasant.
RAIYATWARI. A system of revenue
collection in which the government officials dealt with the actual
not an intermediary.
RUPEE (rupiya). A silver coin
introduced by Sher
Shah in 1542 which became the standard unit of the Indian currency
In 1800 it was worth about two shillings.
SADR (sadar). Chief or supreme. A term
used in connection with the chief religious offices. The sadr-ul-sadur
advised the Mughal emperor on religious matters, controlled religious
and had oversight of educational institutions.
SAHIB. An honorific applied to titles
e.g., Sahib-i-barid was the chief barid (q.v.), or intelligence officer.
SANAD. A charter or grant.
SARKAR (sircar). A subdivision of a
subah or province.
The word is also used to mean simply “ the government.”
SARPANCH. The head of a panchayat
SATI. "A true wife." By extension, the
used for a woman who immolated herself on her husband's funeral pyre.
SAYYID (said, syed). A chief. Also a
by those who claim descent from Husain, the son of Muhammad's daughter,
SEPOY (sipahi). A soldier.
SHAFII. A school of Islamic
SHAIKH. “ Old man.” A term used for a
who guided disciples. Also used to denote a caste or class among Indian
SHARIAT (Sharia). The law of Islam,
all the rules that govern life.
SHIA. The Muslim sect that asserts the
of Islam is hereditary in the descendants of Ali, the son-in-law of the
Prophet. It is the dominant group in Iran, and is well represented in
SHIQQ. In the sultanate, the
corresponding to the later sarkar (q.v.).
SIPAH-SALAR. A military rank during
but under Akbar the name was used for a provincial governor.
SUBAH. The term for the provinces into
Mughal empire was divided. The subadar was the governor. This word was
later used for the administrator of a smaller district.
SUFI. An Islamic mystic. Sufism, with
on the possibility of unity with the divine, was of special importance
in winning converts to Islam in India.
SULTAN. King, ruler. In its early
usage, the term
implied dependence on the caliph (q.v.). The Delhi sultans sought
from the Abbasid caliphate, and even after its destruction they
a nominal connection with the Egyptian ruler who claimed to be the
SUNNI. An inherent of the majority, or
Islamic sect that accepted the Abbasid rulers as caliphs, in contrast
the Shias (q.v.). "Sunna" means the custom or traditions
with Muhammad, and its usage implies that the Sunni follow the
TAFSIR. Explanation. The commentaries
on the Quran
and the science of its interpretation. Tafsir was an important branch
learning in the madrasas (q.v.).
TALUKA (Taluq). A name for a
subdivision of a
province in the late Mughal empire.
TAWHID. "Asserting oneness." A
that refers to the oneness of God.
TEHSIL (tahsil). The collection of
Later applied to a subdivision of a district.
ULAMA. Learned men, plural of alim.
for those learned in Islamic studies, or for the theologians who were
of Islamic custom.
UMARA. Nobles. Plural of amir (q.v.).
URDU. Literally, camp. The
grew up through an infusion of Persian, and some Arabic and Turkish,
into Hindi, the language of the Delhi region.
VAKIL. See wakil.
WAHHABI. Follower of the community
Abdul Wahhab (1703-1787) in Arabia. The aim of the Wahhabis is to
Islam of all innovations and to return to the strict observances of
law. It is the dominant sect in Saudi Arabia. The beliefs of the
especially the strong emphasis on the removal of all non-Islamic
had considerable influence in India in the nineteenth century.
WAKIL (vakil). The office of the wakil
under the sultanate was concerned with the management of the royal
In the Mughal period, however, the wakil or wakil-i-sultanat, was the
minister, the post formerly held by the wazir (q.v.).
WAQF. An endowment, usually in the
form of lands,
for the upkeep of a mosque, madrasa, or some other religious enterprise.
WAZIR. The chief minister of the Delhi
Under the Mughals, the title was sometimes used for the official in
of revenue and finance.
WIZARAT. The office of the wazir.
ZAKAT. A tax collected from Muslims
ZAMINDAR. Literally, "a landholder,"
land. Under the Mughals, he was a revenue official who had no
rights in the land from which he collected taxes.
ZIMMI (dhimmi). A non-Muslim living in
state. According to a strict interpretation of the Islamic law, only
and Christians were eligible for the status of zimmi. Each adult male
had to pay jizya (q.v.). In practice, when Muslims conquered a country
they tolerated others than the "Peoples of the Scripture." This was
true in India, where the Hindus were treated as zimmis.