Read this article to learn about the main cause of the decline of Mughal Empire in India !
On the whole the decline of the Mughal Empire can be attributed to many factors.
The process of its decay had begun from the time of Aurangzeb whose misguided policies weakened the stability of the Mughal polity.
He was ambitious and wanted to increase the geographical limits of his empire even though it cost him heavily in terms of men and money.
His hard headed attitude towards the Marathas, Rajputs and the Jats and the refusal to grant them regional autonomy broke the former loyalty that existed between them and the Mughal Empire.
Further he made the mistake of imposing the centralized system of governance in far-flung areas which were beyond his control. Aurangzeb mainly failed to make good alliances to safeguard his empire and went on making more and more enemies.
As a fanatic his religious policy alienated the Hindus and the Muslims. This certainly had an adverse effect on the stability of the empire. The wars of succession that plagued Delhi from 1707 to 1719 too weakened the empire. The trail of weak successors further damaged the integrity of the empire. None of them had the ability to overcome the centrifugal forces and to unite the empire.
Most of them were puppets in the hands of powerful nobles who ran the administration on their behalf. One more factor for the disintegration of the Mughal Empire was the infighting between the nobles and their internal divisions.
The Mughal court consisted of four groups of nobles, the Turanis, the Iranis, the Afghans and the Indian born Muslims. The accession of weak rulers at the center made them strong contenders for power. They fought amongst themselves for more jagirs and high offices which were limited in number. They weakened the military by amassing income from the jagirs for themselves and cutting down the number of troops.
The external invasions by Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali broke the remaining strength of the Mughal Empire. It took a heavy toll of the imperial treasury and property and laid open the inefficiencies of the military and political administration.
It left India vulnerable to disintegrating forces from within and outside. The precarious condition of Mughal rule is evident from the fact that it was the Marathas not the Mughals who fought the third battle of Panipat in 1761 with Abdali.
The causes for the disintegration of the Mughal Empire can be understood in two different terms. One, that the Mughal system of governance depended greatly on the effectiveness of the emperor’s personality. It was certainly one of the main imperial pillars especially capable enough to keep the decentralizing forces at bay.
The other one is strongly attributed to the so called crisis of the jagirdari system, caused by a shortage of jagirs and the over abundance of the jagirdars. It made the system exploitative and gave way to peasant’s revolts misbalancing imperial stability.