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Khan-i-Saman


Khan-i-Saman an imperial officer at the Mughal Court. He was in charge of State furniture. He performed a large number of important household duties. Khan-i-Saman was previous designated as Mir-Saman (Mir-i-Saman), whose importance was recognised later by the award of the dignified nomenclature of Khan-i-Saman. Since the Mughals did not draw a sharp line between the household and public function, their personal needs and the needs of the state were all mixed up and were looked after by public officers. So the Mir-i-Saman was the custodian of all government properties, all sequestration of other property, and was responsible for arrangements made on the occasions of the weddings of the members of the royal family, the general supervision of the buyutat or the karkhana, and the certification of the salaries of the palace servants. He was assisted in the management of the buyutat by the diwan-i-buyutat, who was almost independent of him in financial matters. Later an officer called nazir-i-buyutat was added. Mir-i-Saman was subordinate in some respects to the diwan and many of his functions were related to public administration. But this was only a matter of precedence and formality. The Mir-i-Saman was dependent upon the wazir in financial matters only; he took all matters up to the monarch directly. His associates were subordinate to the wazir who also had direct access to the monarch. The Khan-i-Saman was not only responsible for the efficient working of the buyutat but had other important duties as well. The menial staff of the palace and such household officers as were not on the state payroll received their monthly or annual salaries on his certification. He appointed the superintendents, accountants, and cashiers of the various karkhanas and departments of the palace. He was responsible for seeing that the articles produced by the karkhanahs were properly listed and stocked. He had lists of the precious articles in the treasuries; he drew up statements about the income from royal gardens, shops, and houses; he fixed the daily rations of the various animals in the royal stables and was in charge of all celebrations of the wedding of the royal princes. The department of construction was also under the general supervision of the Khan-i-Saman or Mir-i-Saman. Khan-i-Saman was indeed a responsible post and was given only to trustworthy and efficient persons. Holders of this office were often promoted to be the Wazir or Prime Minister of the empire. [Nasrin Akhter]