The Mughal administration was quite different from those of their predecessors i.e. the sultans. The Mughal emperors bore the title “Padshah” meaning the emperor. This was evident that they wanted to practice an unanswerable authority over their subjects. Jalal-ud-din Akbar declared himself as an arbiter while Aurangzeb Alamgir acted as an strong orthodox Muslim ruler. The Mughal administration was basically divided into three types which are as following:
1. The central administration
2. The military administration
3. The revenue administration
In the central administration the emperor was the head of the state having unlimited power of formulating laws, he was the Chief Executive and the military commander. The emperor was the final despot and his law or order was the final rather he was considered as the shadow of God on earth as in the case of Jala-ud-din Akbar. Though the emperor enjoyed unlimited powers and authority yet he used to take into consideration the advices given by the court officials or nobility which had great influence over the state politics. The Mughals were quite sensible in terms of using the loyalties of their nobility unlike the sultans mostly came under the influence of their nobility and usually lost their power into their hands.
Under the emperor were the ministers who were appointed for different state tasks and assisted the ruler. Each state department had its minister who was further the head of junior ministers and assistants. There was the prime minister who was responsible for the overall state running. Then there was a Mir Bukhshi who was the in charge of the military. He was supposed to function for the recruitment, maintaining huliya, branding of the horses and supplies to the army. Then there was a minister called Sadar-us-Sudur who was responsible for religious matters. Chief Qazi was another main minister who was the highest judicial authority in the state. For keeping a moral status of the society and to prevent social evils like drinking and gambling there was a minister called the Muhtasib. For the fulfillment of the personal needs of the ruler and the royal family there was Khan-e-Saman. In the provincial administration, the state was divided into some provinces with the head of the province called the Nizam or the Subedar. The Subedar, the Diwan, the Sadar, the Qazi, the Qotawal and the Waqiya Navis were the important officers in every province. The Subedar had full authority over the province as the emperor had over the state, he had a Mansab and a bigger Jagir, kept a large army at his deposal and was accountable for the maintenance of law and order in the province. Then there was a provincial minister called the Nizam who managed the finances, the Bakhshi was responsible for the organization of the royal army. The Waqiya Navis was the head of the spy system. The Kotawal was a keeper of peace in the province, for the maintenance of religious harmony there were the Qazi and the Sadr.
For a convenience in administration the provinces were being divided into several Sarkars or districts which had the Foujdar (military officer), the Amal Guzar (finance minister), the Bitikchi (assistant of the Amal Guzar), the Khazandar (treasurer) of the district. The districts were further divided into Parghanas. The important officials were the finance minister, the treasurer, the village Patwaries and the clerks. The city administration was run by a Kotwal, whereas the village was administered by the local villagers.
The Military administration or the Mansabdari system was the backbone of the Mughal Empire which started in its crude form from Zahir-ud-din Babur till its refined form in the reign of Akbar. The Mughal army was divided into three types. The first category was of the Mansabdars and their soldiers. Each Mansabdar kept his own army according to his rank and managed the recruitment, training and salaries of the soldiers. The second category was of the Ahadi soldiers and they were the soldiers of the ruler. The third type was of the Dakhili soldiers who were being appointed by the ruler himself but were put under the charge of the Mansabdars. The Mughal army was divided into infantry, the cavalry, the war elephants and the navy. Akbar is known for his most efficient Mansabdari system. It was encountered by many defects in the later Mughal era due to inefficiency of the later rulers and the corruption of the officials.
The finance administration was heavily concentrated upon the collection of the revenues which were basically the loot of the war, the trade taxes, the annual tributes and the land revenues. The largest source of income was in fact the land revenue which was initiated by Babur and strengthened by Akbar. The taxes were being imposed on the land owners according to the type of lands they possessed and they were supposed to pay in cash. Bamboos were used instead of ropes to measure the land. The government kept an annual account of the quantity and quality of land and the revenue was not fixed every year. The cultivators were facilitated for the better production. This system ran very efficiently under Akbar who had even abolished the Jizya from the non-Muslims. The spirit was lost among the later Mughals who were more concerned with the personal luxury rather than state prosperity.
The Mughal administration was a very new experience for the locals of India who had never undergone such system before. The emperors were very enthusiastic about introducing new policies in their kingdom. Akbar is said to be a great emperor among the Mughals who had focused on every state institution including the defence, finance, religion and the society. His policies were carried out by his son but the later Mughals were not so enthusiastic as their ancestor and yet their power continued to decline and ultimately the Europeans were able to grab power from Mughals and they also carried out the same state policies of Mughals but with certain modification.