Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

McLeod, John Edmond

Author's Keywords

Mughal; India; Islam; Opium; Alcohol; Intoxicants


Mogul Empire--Social life and customs; Drinking of alcoholic beverages--India--History; Drug abuse--India


Intoxicant use in Mughal India was not only widespread, it also represented an important part of the empire's history and culture. The influence of intoxicants - specifically opium and alcohol - has often been overlooked in secondary literature, leading to several misconceptions in modern historiography. This is especially true in the case of the relationship individual emperors had with drugs and alcohol. During the formative years of the empire, intoxicant use was representative of both a peripatetic lifestyle and the Turko-Mongol cultural legacy. As the empire took on more elements of settled society, the roles and uses of intoxicants underwent a significant shift. Drinking practices became increasingly private leading to greater incidence of addiction, while opium use became much more habitual and ingrained in Mughal culture. Attempts to curb intoxicant use by Aurangzeb not only contradicted the precedents set by earlier emperors, but also served to weaken the emperor's authority and foster internal dissent.