The Mughal rulers maintained a large and efficient army till the reign of Aurangzeb.

This was necessary to do so for they conquered several parts of the country and were accordingly required to maintain law and order and check revolts.

Three categories of armies:

(1) Mansabdari system:


Every military officer and chief was given a mansab (rank) and was expected to maintain the required number of soldiers, horsemen, horses and elephants etc. Every mansabdar was usually paid a salary which also included the maintenance expenditure of his army. Recruitment was made by the Mansabdars.

(2) The ‘Ahadi’ army:

This was the army maintained by the emperor. The ‘ahadi’ soldiers received higher salaries than other categories of soldiers. Their number was not fixed. They were extremely loyal to the emperor.

(3) ‘Dakhili’ Soldiers:


They were recruited on behalf of the emperor but were but under the charge of mansabdars.

Permanent army:

The permanent army of the Mughals was very large. The total army was of the order of about forty lakhs. It included all types of armies, including the armies maintained by the mansabdars and the feudatory chiefs.

Army units:


The army was divided into the following five units:

(1) Cavalry:

It had two types of horsemen:

(i) ‘Bargir’ were those soldiers who received horses, arms, dress etc. from the state

(ii) Siledar’ were those soldiers who brought their own horses and arms.

The Mughal cavalry mostly had ‘Turki’, ‘Tazi’, ‘Arabi’ and ‘Parsi horses.

(2) Infantry:

Infantry was organised into two units namely (i) Bandukchi’ (Riflemen) and ‘Samshirbaz’ (Swordsmen)

(3) War elephants:

The elephants were used for fighting as well as for carrying load.

(4) Artillery:

According to Dr. R.P. Tripathi, “Excepting the Turkish artillery, Akbar’s was second to none in Asia, for in Akbar’s time, it had reached the high point of efficiency possible.”

(5) Navy:

The navy of the Mughals was very weak as compared with the Europeans.