Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 March 2008
A useful starting point for the necessary background material would be the Cambridge Economic History of India, vol. i (Cambridge, 1982) edited by T. Raychaudhuri and Irfan Habib. Part 1 of vol. 11 (Cambridge, 1983) edited by Dharma Kumar would also be found useful. A concise history of Mughal India is now available in John Richards' The Mughal Empire (Cambridge, 1993) in the New Cambridge History of India series. Richards' earlier Mughal Administration in Golconda (Oxford, 1975) is the standard work on the subject. Irfan Habib's The Agrarian System of Mughal India (Bombay, 1963), with its detailed discussion of the fiscal structure of the empire, continues to be indispensable. Also see Shireen Moosvi, The Economy of the Mughal Empire c. 1593 (Delhi, 1987). For south India, Burton Stein's Vijayanagara (Cambridge, 1989) in the New Cambridge History of India series may be used profitably. Frank Perlin's 'Proto-industrialization and pre-colonial South Asia', Past and Present, No. 98 (1983), is valuable in as much as it raises a number of important issues.
The nature of economic change in the subcontinent during the eighteenth century consequent upon the collapse of the Mughal empire has been the subject of a lively debate over the past two decades or so. Many of the issues raised in that debate are of direct interest for our field of enquiry.