Wazir

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Wazir in general terms mean the prime minister or chief minister. The institution of Wazir was there in the Abbasid period. During the sultanate of Delhi and in Bengal Wazir also played a very important part in the Sultani administration. His position and prestige was next to that of the Sultan and though he was appointed and could be dismissed by the sovereign, he was the chief advisor of the Sultan.

In the Mughal administration the Wazir was in charge of the revenue and financial administration and the post 'wazir' became as a revenue minister. In the 8th regnal year of Akbar, he appointed Muzaffar khan as the diwan-i-kul or Wazir. Akbar improved the method of assessment and collection and made suitable administrative mechanism, which could ensure the smooth working of the land-revenue administration. Revenue ministry or the diwan-wazirat worked at four different levels, namely the center, the province, the sarkar and the pargana. It was carried by a hierarchy of revenue officials headed by the Diwan-i-kul or Wazir, also known as Diwan-i-ala. Emperor Akbar created Wazirat or the Revenue ministry as a distinct ministry. In theory he was subordinate to the Wakil; actually, he had independent authority, and in this system the provincial Diwan was the direct representative of the land revenue administration. The Wazir had extensive powers and he was expected to send abstracts of financial statements to the Wakil. He had to seek his approval for his decision from the Wakil. He was consulted in all-important appointments; practically all-fiscal posts were under his patronage. Wazir kept a strict control over the provincial diwans and their offices and received detailed statements about the income and expenditure from the provinces. The imperial treasures also were under his control.

This administrative system continued to function till the middle of the eighteen century with a few modifications. By the time of Shah Jahan the development of the office of Diwan-i-kul or Diwa-i-ala had been completed. During the reign of Aurangzeb the head of the Revenue Ministry was described as Wazir or even as Wazir-i-azam and Wazir-i-mukamuazzam. Under Aurangzeb the Wazirs continued to have the status of the most important civil servants, who could be given a military or political assignment. [Nasrin Akhter]

Bibliography IH Qureshi, The Administration of the Mughal Empire, University of Karachi, 1966. JN Sarkar, Mughal Polity, Delhi, 1984.