The nobility comprised people who were either assigned large jagirs and mansabs or appointed subahdars of Mughal subas and given the responsibility of maintaining these. To this class belonged many Rajput rulers, subahdars and mansabdars. Mughal rule has often been defined as “the rule of the nobility”, because these nobles played a central role in administering the empire. Although Akbar had provided a well-knit organisation for them, there was divisiveness among the nobility on the basis of religion, homeland and tribe, and each category formed a group of its own. Mutual rivalry, jealousy and contest for power among the various groups during the rule of the later Mughals (in the absence of a strong central leadership) not only reduced the prestige of the emperor, but also contributed to the decline of the empire.

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