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Full text of "Akbar, The Emperor Of India"

AKBAR, EMPEROR OF INDIA.                           15
dar Mai, who without possessing the title of vizier or min-
ister of state had assumed all the functions of such an
office.
It is easily understood that many of the higher tax
officials did not grasp the sudden break of a new day but
continued to oppress and impoverish the peasants in the
traditional way, but the system established by Akbar suc-
ceeded admirably and soon brought all such transgressions
to light. Todar Mai held a firm rein, and by throwing
hundreds of these faithless officers into prison and by mak-
ing ample use of bastinado and torture, spread abroad such
a wholesome terror that Akbar's reforms were soon vic-
torious.
How essential it was to exercise the strictest control
over men occupying the highest positions may be seen by
the example of the feudal nobility whose members bore the
title "Jagirdar." Such a Jagirdar had to provide a contin-
gent of men and horses for the imperial army correspond-
ing to the size of the estate which was given him in fief.
Now it had been a universal custom for the Jagirdars to
provide themselves with fewer soldiers and horses on a
military expedition than at the regular muster. Then too
the men and horses often proved useless for severe service.
When the reserves were mustered the knights dressed up
harmless private citizens as soldiers or hired them for the
occasion and after the muster was over, let them go again.
In the same way the horses brought forward for the muster
were taken back into private service immediately after-
wards and were replaced by worthless animals for the im-
perial service. This evil too was abolished at one stroke,
by taking an exact personal description of the soldiers pre-
sented and by branding the heads of horses, elephants and
camels with certain marks. By this simple expedient it
became impossible to exchange men and animals presented