Economic Life During Mughal Period
The economic life of people during the Mughal Period reflected wide separation between the producers from the consumers. The producers consisted of agriculturists, industrial workers and traders. The consuming classes during Mughal Period were the nobles and officers of the civil and military services, the professional and religious classes, servants and slaves, and beggars.
There was large number of officers and domestic servants. The State and the private households could have easily done with a lesser number of officials and servants. It was the fashion with rich people to be surrounded by a crowd of retainers and menial servants. Similarly, there were a large number of religious mendicants and beggars who performed no useful function, and consequently, a large portion of the state income was wasted on superfluous services, the cost of which had to be borne by the producing classes.
The nobles and officers of the Mughal government were paid very high salaries and they spent money lavishly on articles of luxury and display. They were fond of sumptuous dishes, costly dresses, precious jeweler, elephants and horses. They spent extravagantly on marriage of their sons and daughters, on buildings and on curious articles purchased from foreign countries. Their extravagant living led most of them into debt, and compelled them to extort money from the peasantry.
The economic life of the middle class people, consisting of professional classes and ordinary state employees, were fairly well off. The upper and middle class merchants were also economically prosperous, especially those who had the good luck to attack themselves to the imperial court or to some prominent nobles or officials. It seems that, during mughal period, skilled workmen earned sufficient to lead a decent life, but the condition of unskilled workers, peons and low shopkeepers was not good.
The economic life of the workmen and peons were attached with hardship. They were paid low wages and had to put up with ill treatment and even oppression. Thus, the lower class people were poor and denied even ordinary comforts. They resided in mud houses, as now, and had very few belongings.