Discuss the picture of urban centres that emerges from Bernier’s account.

From Francois Bernier’s account we see the picture of rapid emerging urban centres in the Mughal period. During 17th century 15% of the population was living in town.

Bernier described mughal towns as court towns. He meant that these towns were dependent upon the imperial court for their survival and existence; the court grant concessions and levy policies and opportunity; the imperial court governed the lives in the urban centres. These towns came into existence with the imperial court and decline with the impanels court when they moved to other places. In his travel account, Bernier described many big towns and cities and the life within it, comparing that with the European society. Towns and cities such as Delhi, Mathura, Kashmir, Surat, Masulipatnam and Golconda gained importance as manufacturing centres, trading towns and sacred towns. The merchant communities had deep authoritative control in these cities. These urban trading centre were known as “Mahajans” in western india. Their head was called “Sheth”. The chief of Merchant community was known as “Nagarsheth”. Besides these trading groups, musicians, lawyers, painters, calligraphist, etc. lived in the town. Hence, from Bernier’s account we can figure that urban town was in flux open with different opportunities for trade and talent.