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A Warning for Europe Bernier Warned that If European Kings Followed the Mughal Model : Their Kingdoms Would Be Very Far from Being Well-cultivated and Peopled, So Well Built, So Rich, So Polite and Flourishing as We See Them. Our Kings Are Otherwise Rich and Powerful; - History

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A warning for Europe

Bernier warned that if European kings followed the Mughal model : Their kingdoms would be very far from being well-cultivated and peopled, so well built, so rich, so polite and flourishing as we see them. Our kings are otherwise rich and powerful; and we must avow that they are much better and more royally served. They would soon be kings of deserts and solitudes, of beggars and barbarians, such as those are whom I have been representing (the Mughals). We should find the great Cities and the great Burroughs (boroughs) rendered uninhabitable because of ill air, and to fall to mine (ruin) without any bodies (anybody) taking care or repairing them; the hillocks abandon'd, and the fields overspread with bushes, or filled with pestilential marishes (marshes), as hath already intimated.

  1. In what ways did Bernier condemn Mughal rulers?
  2. What contrasts do you find in the account of Bernier and Abul Fazl's Ain-i-Akbari?
  3. Pride has its fall if power and negligence of duty rules any one'. Explain the statement in relevance to the Bernier's warning.
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Solution

  1. Bernier condemned the Mughal rulers because he thought that there is no concept of private property in land in India under the Mughals. He believed in the virtues of private property and he regarded the crown ownership of land as harmful for both state and people.
  2. Bernier criticised the Mughal rulers because he felt that the crown ownership of the land was harmful to both state and people. However, Abul Fazl in Ain-i-Akbari never mentioned state to be the sole owner of the land. He describes the land revenue as ‘remunerations of sovereignty’ claimed by the ruler for providing protection to his subjects.
  3. Bernier thought that the Mughal rulers owned all lands and distributed it among the people. Thus, there was an absence of the notion of private property. He thought that farmers will not make any effort to improve the land if they cannot pass it on to their children. This will ruin the economy of the state.
Concept: Alberuni, Ibn Batuta, Bernier -what These Travel Accounts Can Tell Us and Interpreted by Historians
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