Mughal Era

Topics: Mughal Empire, Jahangir, Shah Jahan Pages: 6 (1860 words) Published: November 20, 2012
The Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire
In seeking to determine the clothes worn by the wide range of people that entered India during the Mughal period, one has to take into account the geographical factors that influence their form of dress, the region they come from, how they lived, how the terrain, climate and their professional occupation affected what they wore.

In 1526, Babur established the Mughal Empire, which lasted for over 200 years. They ruled most of the Indian subcontinent by 1600. The Mughal emperors married local royalty, allied themselves with the local maharajas & attempted to fuse their turko-persian culture with ancient Indian styles.

The Mughal dynasty reached its peak during the reign of Akbar and it went into a slow decline after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 and was finally defeated during the war of independence in 1857.


The marketplace
The marketplace
The society of the Mughal period can roughly be categorized into the rich, middle and poor class. The difference between the richest sections of society and the poorest was very wide. At the top of the social and economic ladder was the king followed by his nobles. This class lived in extraordinary luxury with abundant resources at their disposal. They lived a life of reckless festivity, grand banquets, lavish homes and often had inflated egos. Their food and dress was very costly, and their homes were huge palatial structures. Both indoor and outdoor games were popular with this class, for they had the time and resources to be able to indulge in them. An unfortunate aspect was that as a result of their tremendous wealth, many of them squandered away their money and lives in vice and temptations. Towards the close of the Mughal Empire, many of the emperors were no longer interested in running the empire; instead they were keener on enjoying the wealth they possessed as kings.

Tyranny of the Emporer over the lower sections of the society Tyranny of the Emporer over the lower sections of the society The middle class was a relatively new development, one that would grow and become an important force during British India. They were usually merchants, industrialists and various other professionals. While not being able to afford the extravagance of the rich class, they led comfortable and perhaps more sensible lives. Many middle class families were also very well off and were able to indulge in some luxuries.

Purdah system was followed during Mughal Era
Purdah system was followed during Mughal Era
Below the middle class lay the poor class, the most oppressed and neglected part of the society. There was a major difference between their standard of living and that of the two preceding classes. They were usually without adequate clothing and in cases of famines even without food. They held very low paying jobs, where they were expected to put in long hours. Their condition can perhaps be described as voluntary slaves. They were often harassed by the officers of the king, who extorted money out of them by making false charges against them. The economic conditions of the peasants continuously declined, especially towards the close of the Mughal period when the tyranny of the provincial governors constantly troubled the peasants' lives.

The position of women in Indian society changed considerably with the coming of Islam. The Indian women now came to occupy an even lower status. Muslim inroads made strict enforcement of purdah and seclusion of women. Women’s education was not encouraged. The birth of a girl was not regarded as a happy event. On the contrary the position of the women of the noble and royal families was little better.

Miniature paintings of the Mughal era
Miniature paintings of the Mughal era
Miniature paintings: important source for Mughal costumes
Mughal painting is a particular style of South Asian painting, generally confined to miniatures, which emerged from Persian...
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