Thursday, October 23, 2014

Military strength of various muslim rulers of India

Alauddin Khilji

According to Farishtah Alauddin Khalji's regular army consisted of 4,75,000 horsemen well equipped and accoutered. There were two separate forces. One was meant to repulse Mongol invaders while the other was sent out on the conquest of newer regions 1. The annual salary paid to a cavalrymen by the Sultan was 234 tankahs. In addition 78 tankahs were paid to a do aspa or to one who possessed an additional horse because maintenance of an extra mount added to the soldier's efficiency.

Muhammad Tughlaq
Muhammad Tughlaq's cavalry is said to have consisted of 900,000 horsemen, 2 double the size of that of Alauddin Khalji.


Sher Shah Suri

Sher Shah always kept 150,000 cavalry, and 25,000 footmen, either armed with match-locks or bows, present with him, and on some expeditions took even more with him. There were also 5,000 elephants in his elephant-sheds. 3

Strength of the Mughal Army
V.A. Smith says that Akbar did not maintain a large standing army. According to him the strength of Akbar's army "equipped by the State and paid directly from the Treasury", could not have exceeded 25,000 men. However, on the testimony of Monserrate he himself writes that at the time of his expedition to Kabul (1581), Akbar had 45,000 cavalry, besides 5000 elephants and an unnumbered host on foot.4 The military character of the Mughal government of Akbar is vouched by all, and yet the estimates of the standing army of the Mughal emperors from Akbar to Aurangzeb have wide variations. Had it been so large as has been made out by some scholars, "we should arrive at so huge an army that it should have been impossible for the country, however heavily taxed, to meet such an expense". 5  The standing army was not large because, according to Abul Fazl, "the zamindars of the country furnish more than four million, four hundred thousand men, as shall be detailed below".6 These details are given in the Third Book of the Ain-i-Akbari. From the detailed Tables provided - a laborious work only a scholar like Abul Fazl could produce - it appears that a quota of troops to be provided to the Mughal emperor on demand by every Raja or Zamindar was fixed in the same manner as was the revenue amount. The Rajput forces were thus completely merged with the Mughal army. Or, it was like the Subsidiary Alliance of the Raj days. Jahangir writes that from "this Subah (of Ajmer) in time of war 86,000 horses and 304,000 Rajput foot are provided". From Malwa, "when needful there are obtained from it about 9,300 horse and 4,70,300, footsoldiers, with 100 elephants". 8    This system continued under Jahangir and Shahjahan making the Mughal empire the strongest empire in the world till Aurangzeb alienated the Rajputs and weakened the Mughal army and the empire.
The actual armed strength of the empire at the close of Shahjahan's reign (1647) was 2 lakhs of troopers brought to the muster and branding, 8 thousand Mansabdars, 7 thousand Ahadis and Barqandaz, 1,85,000 Tabinan or additional troopers of the princes, Umara and Mansabdars, and 40,000 foot musketeers, gunners, and rocket-men. These numbers underwent a still further increase with Aurangzeb's fresh warfare in the Deccan, for "the total amount of pay claims generated by grant of mansabs pressed directly upon the empire's revenue resources".10



1.Ibid., P. 326.
2  Al-Umri, Masalik-ul-Absar, E.D. vol. III, p. 576.
3. . Qanungo, op. cit., pp. 361-63. 
4 bSmith, Akbar the Great Mogul, pp. 261-62.
   Irvine, The Army of the Indian Moghuls, pp. 58, 61-62.
Ain., vol. I, p. 241, also Tables in Ain., Vol. III.
7 Tuzuk, vol. I, p. 341 and n. Ain., Jarret, II, p. 277.
Tuzuk, vol. I, p. 349. Jarret, Ain., vol. II, p. 198 has 29, 668, which appears to be correct.
9 Athar Ali, The Apparatus of Empire, Introduction and also pp. 36, 90, 345.
10 Ibid., p. 478.