Nature of provincial administration:

According to J.N. Sarkar, the administration of a province “was an exact miniature of the Central Government.”

Dr. Ishwari Prasad calls ‘Suba’ as a “replica of the empire in every respect.”

The provincial administration was organised on the model of central administration.

The Boston Coffee House Magazine | The Emperor's Table

image source:


There were similar departments in the province under a governor who was appointed by the emperor. Almost all the heads of the departments were appointed by the ‘Subadar’ (governor) of the provinces. The provinces were divided into Sarkars (districts), parganas (Tehsils) and villages.

Number of provinces:

Before Akbar’s time, there were 12 units of administration. Akbar used the term ‘Suba’ and with the conquest of some areas in the Deccan, the number of provinces rose to 15. During Jahangir’s time, the number rose to 17 and Shah Jahan’s time it increased to 22.

Officers in a province:

Important officers of the province were: Subedar, Diwan, Bakshi, Waqa-i-Newis, Qazi and the Kotwal.

Subedar or Sipah-Salar or Nazim:

Known by different names from time to time, he was the head of a suba. He was the emperor’s representative. He possessed both civil and military authority. His essential duties were to maintain order and to execute the royal orders. Generally speaking Subedars were appointed from royal families.



The Diwan was incharge of revenue administration. He was the representative of the Imperial Diwan. Although his status was not equal to that of a subedar, he reported directly to the centre.


He was appointed by the Central Bakshi in accordance with the advice of the emperor. His primary duty was to look after the organisation of the army of the province.

The Waqa-i-Newis:

He recorded all the events of the provinces and submitted his reports to the centre. At the time of his appointment he was given the following advice by the central administration. “Report the truth, lest the Emperor should learn the facts from another source and punish you. Your work is delicate; both sides have to be served. In the words of most of the high officers, forbidden things are done. If you report them truly the officers will be disgraced. If you do not, you yourself will be undone…In every matter write the truth but avoid offending the nobles. Write after carefully verifying your statement.”


Every city had its own Qazi who administered justice to the people.



Every city had also a Kotwal. He was essentially a police officer who maintained peace and order in the city.

Sarkar and its administration:

(a) ‘Faujdar’ He was the executive and military head of the Sarkar. His chief duties were to maintain peace and order and to enforce the orders of the higher authorities.

(b) ‘Amal Guzar’. He was the finance officer of the district.

(c) ‘Bitikchi’. He assisted the ‘Amal Guzar’ in his work.

Administration of the Pargana:

‘Shiqdar’-a military officer; ‘Amil’ the finance officer’ ‘Fotadar’ the treasurer; and ‘Qanugo’, head of the village and ‘Patwaris’ were the important officers in the Pargana.

Village administration:

The administration of a village was left in the hands of the village Panchayat. Normally, the state officers did not interfere in the affairs of the village.