Categories Medieval India



Amils—revenue officers
Amir-i-akhur—amir or officer commanding the horse
Amir-i-hajib—officer-in-charge of the royal court
Amirul Mominin—Commander of the Faithful; the Caliph
Arz-i-mamalik—minister in charge of the army of the whole country
Abwab miscellaneous cesses, imposts and charges levied by zamindars and public officials
Adl justice
Afaqis foreigners (in the Deccan)
Ahadi gentleman trooper
Ahl-i-qalam a scribe
Amil, amalguzar revenue collector
Amu Darya The River Oxus
Arraba a wagon, a cart
Ashraf a person of noble birth, a gentleman
Ataliq guardian
Banduqchi musketeer
Bania, Baniya merchant; in some areas also refers to money-changer or banker; a caste traditionally
engaged in the above activities
Banjar waste or fallow-land, fit for cultivation
Banjara grain and cattle merchant; name of an itinerant tribe
Baqqal trader, grain-dealer
Barawardi a recruit on ad-hoc pay
Bargi, bargir an auxiliary soldier, a plunderer
Batai division of the crop between the cultivator and the landlord or the government; payments may be
in kind or cash
Bayutat House-hold expenses, especially royal karkhanas
Beg noble
Bidat innovations in matters of religion, heresy
Balahar—the lowest grade of the agricultural peasant
Banjara—a corn merchant
Barid—intelligence officer appointed by the state to collect information
Cartaz a permit given by the Portuguese to traders.
Chachar land out of cultivation for 3-4 years
Cha’uth or chauthai one-fourth of the land-revenue, Orignally a zamindari charge in Gujarat, demanded
by Shivaji as war expense.
Chetti, Chettiar merchant caste of South India
Charai—a tax on cattle
Chatr—royal umbrella
Dadni giving of advances (dadan) to artisans by merchants
Dagh System of branding of horses and animals
Dahsala Revenue settlement based on assessment of ten (dah) years revenue
Dalai, Dallal Broker
Dam A copper coin, considered 1/40* of a silver rupee for official purposes
Darogha a minor officer in charge of a local office
Dar-ul-harb Land not owing allegiance to Muslim rule, enemy land
Dastur rule, assessment circle
Dastur-al-amal Rule book
Dhimmi A non-Muslim client or subject
Diwan chief financial minister, a department, a book of verses
Doab land between the Jumna and the Ganges
Du-aspa sih-aspa A technical term meaning twice the number of sawars entertained otherwise
Dagh—mark of branding
Darogha—a minor officer in charge of a local office
Darul Adl—the market of Delhi or cloth and other commodities; literally, place of justice
Darul Mulk—capital
Doab—land between the Jumna and the Ganges
Farman a royal order
Farr-i-izadi Divine Light communicated to ideal rulers
Gazz-i-Sikandari—the yard of Sultan Sikandar Lodi
Gumashta—agent or representative
Gajnal A swivel gun born by an elephant (gaj)
Garhi A hill fort, mud fort made of thick clay
Ghalla-bakshi One mode of batai (q.v.)
Gharib Foreigners (in the Deccan)
Ghazi A hero, a soldier fighting against infidels
Ghusal-Khana Private audience hall near the bathroom
Gumashta agent or representative
Gunj; ganj Mart
Habshi Abyssinian, East African
Hadis acts or words of the Arabian prophet
Hakim A governor, a commander
Hakim A physician, a sage
Hammam Room for Bath of hot and cold water
Haram Forbidden
Harmandir The Sikh golden Temple at Amritsar.
Hasil Actual realization (of land revenue)
Hun A gold coin
Hundi bill of exchange
Ijara revenue-farming
Ijaradar farmer of any item of public revenue, mainly land
Imam supreme commander, leader; also the person leading the congregation Muslim prayers
Inam gift; benefaction; land held free of revenue or at low rates of revenue
Jagir income from a piece of land assigned to officers by the ruler
Jagirdar holder of a jagir
Jama total sum; total land revenue levied from an estate or division of country
Jamabandi settlement of the amount of revenue assessed upon an estate, village or district.
Jama-dami Assessed income in terms of dams
Jama-i-kamil Maximum assessment
Jamiat A military following
Jarib A measurement, land measurement or survey
Jharoka darshan Showing of the Emperor to the Public from the Palace
Jihad holy war
Jihat Extra cesses
Jizya has two meanings: (a) in the literature of the Delhi Sultanat, any tax which is not kharaj or land tax;
(b) in the shari’at, a personal and yearly tax on non-Muslims
Junglah Horses of mixed breed
Kafir non-Muslim (literally, one who is ngrateful to God)
Kankut Estimation of land revenue
Karinda Agent
Karkhanas royal factories or enterprises for producing or collecting commodities required by the state
Karori A revenue official
Khalifa Caliph, Commander of the Faithful, or successor of a sufi
Khalisa land land held and managed directly by the state
Khalsa The Sikh order set up by Guru Govind
Khanazad One born in the house, old (Turkish) employees
Khanqahs a house of mystics but more commodious than the jama’at khana
Kharif winter crop
Khil’at robe of honour
Khilafat Caliphate; commander of the faithful
Khiraj, kharaj tax; especially land revenue
Khud-kasht Owner of land who cultivates with his own ploughs and bullock and some hired labour,
resident cultivator
Kufr Disbelief
Kulkarni village accountant
Kunbi caste of cultivators in Maharashtra
Liwan Ante chamber
Madad- i-ma’ash assignment of revenue by the government for the support of learned or religious
persons, or benevolent institutions.
Madrasa an educational institution
Mahajan merchant, banker
Mahal a group of lands regarded as a unit for land revenue purposes
Mahawara-un-Nahart Transoxiana
Mahzar A declaration signed by ulama
Malik Owner
Malikana special allowance assigned to zamindar or landowner
Malikut-Tujjar literally, chief of merchants; a title given to one of the highest officer of the state
Mansab military rank conferred by the Mughal Government
Mansabdar holder of a mansab
Mapillah Muslim community in Kerala
Math Monastery
Mauza revenue term for a village
Mihrab High alter from which the priest prays.
Miras hereditary right
Mirasdar holder of miras lands
Mokasa Grant of land for military service, rent-free land.
Muhtasib an officer appointed to maintain regulations in a municipality
Mujannas Mixed breed of Arabi and Iraqi horses.
Mujtahid One entitled to interpret holy laws
Mulhid A heretic, one who renounces the faith.
Mullahs persons claiming to be religious leaders of the Musalmans
Muqaddam village headman; literally the first or senior man
Murid Disciple
Mustaufi An auditor of accounts specially of those collecting land revenue.
Mutasaddi A writer, a clerk
Nabud Remission of land revenue on account of natural disasters.
Nabuwat Prophethood
Naib deputy, assistant, agent, representative
Na-Khuda Commander or captain of a ship
Narnal Swivel gun carried by men
Nasaq A mode of assessment
Naukar, Nokar Servant, term used by Timurid rulers for their nobles
Nawab viceroy, governor; title of rank
Nazrana gift, usually from inferior to superior; forced contribution
Nilgai A kind of deer
Pahar One-eigth of a day i.e. three hours
Pahi A non-resident cultivator, temporary cultivator
Paibaqi Land reserved for allotment in jagir
Paibos kissing the feet, a ceremony generally reserved for God
Patar mistress, kept woman, common law wife.
Patel village headman
Patta document given by collector of revenue to the revenue payer stating terms on which the land is
held and the amount payable
Patwari village accountant
Peshkar Agent, manager of finances
Peshkash Tribute from subordinate rulers
Polaj Land constantly in cultivation
Qasba small town
Rabi the winter crop
Rahdari Protection money paid by travelers
Rai a Hindu chief, usually one having his own territory and army
Raiyat Subjects, payers of land-revenue
Raiyati Areas without a zamindar, or where cultivation of land-revenue was easy, productive.
Ray A schedule
Rekh Assessed land revenue in Rajasthan
Riyayati Sections assessed at a concessional rate
Sair, sayer taxes other than land revenue; transit duties
Sama music, some time accompanied by dance for the mystics
Saranjam Lane allotted in lieu of military service
Sardeshmukhi One-tenth of the assessed income
Sarrafs money-changers, bankers
Sayurghal Rent-free land
Shahbandar Official in charge of a port
Shariat Muslim religious law
Shroff banker and moneylender; moneychanger
Sijdah Prostration, theoretically before God
Sufis Mystics
Tappa small estate or a group of villages
Taqavi Advance of money for sowing or extend ing cultivation.
Taqlid Religious show without real piety, hypocricy
Tasawwuf Mysticism
Tauhid unity of God
Upari temporary occupant; tenant-at-will
Usar barren land
Vatan, watan hereditary lands
Wahdat-al-Wajud Unity of God and the beings
Wajh money, salary
Wajhdar a salaried officer
Wali governor, guardian
Wali Successor
Wali-ahad heir-presumptive
Wazir-i-mutlnq wazir with full powers, who could administer without interference by the king
Yassa Regulations or code book of Chingiz
Zabtjzabti System of assessment based on measurement
Zawabit Secular laws
Zimmi, dhintmi protected non-Muslim
Zor-talab Areas of turbulence often held by powerful zamindars.
Hadis—acts or words of the Arabian Prophet
Imam—supreme commander, leader; also the person leading the congregational Muslim prayers
Inam—gift; reward
Iqta—a governorship; or grant of revenues of a piece of land
Iqtadar—governor or a person in whose charge an iqta has been placed
Jagir—a piece of land assigned to a government officer by the state
Jama’at’ Khana—a house of mystics
jitals—Copper coins of the Delhi sultanat
Jizya—has two meanings: (a) in the literature of the Delhi sultanat, any tax which is not kharaj or land
tax; (b) in the shari’at: a personal and yearly tax on non-Muslims
Kafir—non-Muslim (literally, one who is ungrateful to God)
Karkhanas—royal factories or enterprises for producing or collecting commodities required by the state
Khalifa—Caliph, Commander of the Faithful, or successor of a sufi
Khalisa—income which went directly went to the king
Khanqahs—a house of mystics but more commoditous than the jama’at khana
Kharif—a winter crop in India
Khil’at—robe of honour
Khilafat—caliphate; commander of the faithful
Kharaj—land revenue; also tribute paid by a subordinate ruler
Khuts—class of village headmen
Madad-i-Maash—grant of land or pension to religious or deserving persons
Madrasa—an educational institution
Malikut-Tujjar—literally, chief of merchants; a title given to one of the highest officers of the state
Mohalla—a section or part of a town; quarter of a city
Muhtasib—an officer appointed to maintain regulations in a municipality
Mullahs—persons claiming to be religious leaders of the Musalmans
Muqaddam—village headman; literally the first or senior man
Mushrif-i-mamalik—accountant for all provinces
Naib—deputy, assistant, agent, representative
Paibos—kissing the feet, a ceremony generally reserved for God
Pir—spiritual guide
Qalandars—a class of Muslim mendicants, generally uneducated, who did not believe in private
property and wandered about from place to place and lived by persistent begging
Qazi—a Muslim judge
Rabi’—the winter crop in India, as opposed to the kharif or rainy season crop
Rai—a Hindu chief, usually one having his own territory and army
Rai Rayan—the Rai of Rais; the title given by Alauddin Khalji to Rama Deo of Deogir
Sadah—literally, one hundred; the term sadah amirs meant officers controlling territory containing
about a hundred villages
Sadr-i jahan—title of the central officer of the Delhi sultanat, who was in charge of religious and
charitable endowments
Sama—an audition party of the mystics
Sarrafs—money-changers, bankers
Sarai-Adl—name given to Alauddin Khalji’s market in Delhi for the sale of cloth and other specified
Shahr—city, used for the capital, Delhi
Shari’at—Muslim religious law
Shiqdar—an officer-in-charge of an area of land described as a shiq
Shuhna—head of the police, mayor, provost
Shuhna-i mandi—officer-in-charge of the grain-market
Tanka—silver coin of the Delhi sultanat
Tauhid—unity of God
Ulema—Muslims of religious learning; plural of alim
Umara—Plural of amir; amir means ruler or commander
Usar—saline land
Wajh—money, salary
Wajhdar—a salaried officer
Wazir-i mutlaq—wazir with full powers, who could administer without interference by the king
Zawabits—state laws

Zimmis—protected non-Muslims

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