Social Scientist. v 5, no. 49 (Aug 1976) p. 28.

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The Middle Classes in the Mughal Empire

THIS STUDY staits on the assumption that the cential featme of the pioduction relations in Mughal India was a pecultai form of feudalism as distinct fiom the "Asiitic Model5 suggested by Marx in his notes of 1857-58.z Such an assumption piesupposes the existence of feudal classes having contradictory economic interests. It does not lule out, however, the existence of social groups (other than peasants and attisans) whose means of sustenance were independent of feudal piopeity. In the context of Mughal India, the merchants and piofessional gioups could be supposed to have together constituted this category. A social stratum representing ^uch interests within the broad fiamewoik of Indian feudalism, in so fai as these were antagonistic to the feudal interests of jagirdars and ^amni^ars, should be i egai clod as repiesenting a potential antithesis of the feudal mode of production.

Most of the modern studies seeking to comprehend the direction and pace of social change in Mu^hal India are unanimous in discerning' (a.) widespread prevalence of money economy resulting fiom a giowmg fiend of production for market in agncultmal as well as non-agiicultural sectois; (b) linking of the internal market with weild commeice through long-distance trade in which commerce by the European trading companies became increasingly important; and (c)

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