The Mughal society was like a pyramid on the top of which was the emperor and the nobility followed by the middle class whom was a very minute population and the last and most heavily concentrated was the poor class. The emperor though not belonging to the local community enjoyed the power of a despot with an unparallel status among the others. Followed by the Mughal king was the class of nobility who were the bearers of most important jobs of the state and usually they monopolized the important ranks for themselves. The nobility was the most beneficiary class of the state. They enjoyed privileges and led an extravagant life. Their dresses and food was the most expensive one and not only the officials but their families and the relatives also used to exploit the resources of the state for their mean. The nobility remained in control to some extent by the earlier emperors but with the passage of time as the interest of the rulers tilted towards their personal affairs rather than the state matters then the nobility became more extravagant.
The middle class consisted of the professionals and the traders and the merchants. They were the skilful class which was able to lead a successful if not luxurious life. They had good relations with the emperor and nobility and belonged to the indigenous population of the state. The lowest and the most deprived class of the social pyramid was the poor class. This section comprised of the major section of the population and was present in masses. This class was socially marginalised and had very scarce facilities of life. They had inadequate food and clothing. They were assigned with petty jobs which acquired heavy physical work with long work hours and very little wage. They were the peasants and used to remain financially deprived.
The Mughal rulers used to patronise education and many educational institutions were established India though it was merely confined to the royal court but the children of the middle class were also able to acquire knowledge. The educational institutes were also able to educate the girls of royal families and the middle class.
The Indian society under the Mughal rule used to live a moderate life and was not very extravagant as in the context of middle class. As Hindus were in heavy majority so the traditions like satti and jouhar were in vogue. The culture of child marriage, dowry and prohibition of second marriage was so strong that even the Muslims living in India were influenced by these trends. Jala-ud-din Akbar did make an attempt to bring social reforms in the society by synthesising good things of all existing religions of that time but the masses were reluctant to follow this reform better known as din-i-illahi. Aurangzeb also brought social reform in the state but it was based upon Sunni orthodoxy and targeted masses belonging to other religions.
The Mughals brought with themselves the Persian culture and Persian culture which was not known to the Indians. In the reign of Akbar many works were being done in Persian language such as Ain-i-akbari etc. the Persian literature after Akbar continued under Jahangir. The Hindi poetry also flourished during the Mughal rule during the reign of Jahangir and shah Jehan. However it was discouraged extremely in the rule of Aurangzeb. Music being the important feature of the religion of Hindus was given a lot of patronage by the Mughal rulers.
The Mughals also kept slaves which were taken from the locals or bought from the slave traders. This trend of slavery was inherited by the sultans of Delhi sultanate. The local population did not have a direct communication with the Mughal emperor and throughout the rule of Muslims in India; the masses recognised the ruler as the despot and the revenue collector. The society however got much influenced by new trends of arts and literature and religion. The Mughal architecture was a synthesis of local art with the foreign trends. The rulers also adopted the local Indian art of dance and music in their courts and the indigenous artisans were also very encouraged.
It may be observed that the Indian society under the Mughals was divided on the bases of religion and wealth but the local people did share some common traditions. The Mughals left a great impact on the society in terms of art, literature, food and dressing. With the advent of the Europeans in the sub-continent, whole society suffered a great set back in terms of economy as they were deprived of their former jobs. But the Europeans also adopted the Mughal administrative structure with some amendments hence it can be concluded that the Mughals left a great impact on the Indian land.