Differing both in structure and operation from its parent Mughal model, the political system which came to be known as Hyderabad State developed in the Deccan in the second half of the eighteenth century. The major structural difference lay in the great power of two hereditary daftardars, the keepers of the central revenue records—these men could usurp the Diwan's (Chief Minister's) traditional control of government finances. Without overemphasizing contrasts with the Mughal model, for few behavioral studies have been made of Mughal administration, other apparent differences lay in Hyderabad's complete reliance on private contractors for revenue collection, the customary treatment of jagirs (land grants) as inheritable, and clear functional distinctions within the mansabdari system. Loosely structured patron-client relationships and the use of vakils or intermediaries characterized the operation of the system. The participants—nobles, local rulers, military men, bankers, record-keepers—were of diverse origins. The recruitment and composition of the Hyderabad nobility reflected the flexibility of the political system, as illustrated by an examination of the career patterns of the acknowledged “ten leading families” of the Hyderabad nobility.

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