What Was Akbar's Mansabdari System?

The Mansabdari system of Emperor Akbar of the Mughal Empire was a ranking system for the officials of the empire. There were 33 "mansabdars," or ranks, in the system, held by aristocrats and non-aristocrats alike. Each mansabdar was determined by two factors: the "Zat" and "Sawar" of a rank.

The Zat of an official was his personal ranking, given solely by the emperor. His Sawar rank was the troop rank dependent on the ratio between the number of cavalry he was expected to provide to the Imperial army and the actual number he furnished. Inability to provide cavalry units resulted in a drop in Sawar rank, which in turn decreased mansabdar rank. The mansabdar rank was not hereditary; children of an official did not inherit the property of an official, and they had to work independently to achieve a mansabdar rank.