Nobility was regarded as an important pillar of kingship. Rulers selected those who were competent, intelligent and loyal. The favourites of the rulers were nobles who were originally from Central Asia. These nobles were closely associated with the royals and were considered good warriors.The second group consisted of Iranians, who were good administrators and diplomats. It was Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar (1542-1605) who brought the Rajputs within the circle of the nobility. Besides the Rajputs, the Kayath and Kshatriyas were also appointed on important posts. When Mughals conquered the Deccan states, Muslim nobles of the region were also inducted to the nobility.As Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun (1508-1556) had been defeated by the Afghans, so the Afghans were not trusted but in the later period of the Mughal rule, some of them were also admitted to the Mughal court.Akbar included all nobles in the Mansabdari system. Their rank was determined on the basis of the number of horsemen they kept. Those who maintained from 200 to 400 horsemen were called Mansabdar; nobles who kept 500 to 5000 horsemen were known as Amir; and those from 4000 to 7000 were elevated to the position of Umura’I azam or great nobles. The rank above 7000 was reserved for princes only.The rank holders either received cash as salary or landed property which was granted during the period of their service.Nobles, whose families were in the service from two generations were called Askhanazad nobles; they received great favours from Mughal rulers.When Mughal rulers were satisfied with the services of their nobles, they bestowed titles and robes of honour to them; even in case of a rebel noble, they would pardon and restored him to his old status. The outcome of royal patronage was that the nobility enjoyed all comforts of life — they resided in palatial buildings, kept a large harem, ate delicious food, wore expensive dresses and were served by a large number of servants.During the Mughal period, there was no concept of retirement. If a noble wanted to retire, he would submit an application to the emperor requesting retirement and grant of some land that would take care of his daily expenses. In some cases, the emperor also decided to retire some nobles in their old age and granted them stipend for the rest of their lives.It was the Mughal tradition that after the death of a noble, his property was confiscated in lieu of his debt. As nobles did not keep the record of their expenditure and income, they often failed to deposit the state’s share, therefore, after their death these were deducted from their property and rest was returned to their inheritors.Corruption was also prevalent in the nobility, for instance, the father of Nurjahan Begum (1574–1646), Mirza Ghiyas-ud-din or Ghiyas Beg, was involved in corruption. Even religious officials were not above corruption. The chief Qazi of Alamgir, Qazi Abdul Wahab, was famous for taking bribes.A Dutch merchant, Francisco Pelsaert, visited India and wrote about the greed and corruption of Mughal nobles. According to him, they wanted to collect money at all cost. They exploited local people and extorted money to increase their wealth. Their servants also followed in the footsteps of their masters and were greatly involved in corruption.