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This important book provides a new perspective on the decline of the Mughal empire, departing from the existing appraisement of Aurangzeb, the functioning of the Mughal nobility and the crisis of the jagirdari system. It re-examines the first half of the eighteenth century, which was a period of growing anarchy and cultural stagnation. The post-Aurangzeb period has been presented as one in which struggle for liberal and orthodox policies was linked with the struggles to make the wazir a key player. The author studies the role of the nobility in the downfall of the Mughal empire- a subject of unresolved conflict- with special reference to the position of various ethnic and religious groups in the nobility after the death of Aurangzeb, the basis of the rise and struggle of parties at the court and its impact, the rise of the Marathas, Jats and other indigenous elements, and developments in the field of administration. In a new preface to this edition, he contends that the core of the crisis of the Mughal empire is linked to the collapse of the jagirdari system with a deepening social crisis and increased factionalism in the ruling classes leading to a breakup of a central polity. In this classic work, Professor Chandra revisits the political history of this period by using for the first time valuable records, letters and a number of monographs hitherto unavailable to other researchers. First published in 1959, the present edition will continue to be an invaluable resource for historians and students of medieval and late-medieval India.
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