A group of persons who were compensated for their professional talents rather than a share in the feudal property was referred to as the middle class throughout the mediaeval era.
They were a class that had greater income and freedom than the peasantry, but without the political clout and land holdings of the nobility. They were positioned between the two of them. The middle class typically included traders, merchants, and store owners.
Middle Strata In Medieval Period: Characteristics
• Tradespeople and store owners were regarded as "middle class."
• There was a sizable class of affluent traders and merchants in India, some of whom were among the richest traders in the world at the time.
• Based on tradition, these traders possessed their own rights, including the protection of their property and the right to life.
• However, they lacked the power to rule over any of the towns.
• The Mughal administrative system required a vast army of clerks and accountants to serve the state, the aristocracy, and even businesspeople.
• Even wealthy artisans could afford to live well above the poverty threshold.
• A group of highly wealthy revenue officers was developed by some. Amils and Karkuns increased their money through forging account books, stealing land revenue, and engaging in corruption and bribery.
• They worked in side businesses like agriculture, usury, commodities speculation, horticulture, revenue farming, and management of rent-earning properties in towns among other things because many of them were from the Khatri and Bania castes or were Jains.
• In exchange for interest, we've heard of Karoris (treasurers) lending money to Mahajans for extended periods of time.
• These people owned sufficient wealth to purchase elegant homes in towns. Even some of them led lives that were on par with those of aristocrats.
• A small village was established in honor of Abdus Samad Khan's son, who served as Atnin and Faujdar of Jahanabad under the rule of Aurangzeb. On the property were orchards, a Sarai, and Turkish hammams.
• The amount of wealth amassed by these components can be inferred from the fact that the political leaders in Ahmedabad were able to obtain Rs. 5, 73,000/- from eight local authorities in 1725.
• Because of their poor reputations, tax officials were sometimes threatened with imprisonment and other forms of humiliation in order to get them to turn over their illegally acquired income.
• Smaller Mansabdars, merchants, dealers, urban professionals, as well as rich artisans were among the many groups that medical practitioners (Tabib) served.
• While some Tabibs practiced in public and obtained Mansabs from monarchs and the aristocracy, the majority of them did it in private.
• Although they occasionally received free land, which brought them closer to the feudal classes, writers, historians, and theologians were frequently picked from the urban middle-class intelligentsia.
• The ‘middle strata' thus included members of several castes and religious groups, and had a wide range of interests.
The middle class has historically exhibited significant regional variety, internal complexity, and vulnerability to shifting market cycles. The existence of a middle class in India throughout the middle Ages has been hotly contested. As part of the urban intelligentsia, we also find a sizable number of middle class professional and service groups in the towns.