Sultanate Period (1206-1526AD)
1. The Delhi Sultanate
The Background of Delhi Sultanate
▬ First Muslim Invasion-Mohammad Bin Qasim’s Invasion (712AD) : Mohammad Bin Qasim invaded India in 712 AD and conquered Sindh which became the province of Omayyad Khilafat.
▬ First Turk Invasion-Mahmud Ghaznavi’s Invasion (998-1030 AD) : Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni led about 17 expeditions to India to enrich himself by taking away the wealth from India. In 1025 he attacked and raided the most celebrated Hindu temple of Somnath that lies on the coast in the extreme south of Kathiwar. The temple was destroyed in 1026 AD.
▬ Second Turk Invasion-Mohammad Ghori’s Invasion (1175-1206 AD): Mohammad Ghori invaded India and laid the foundation of the Muslim dominion in India. He may be considered the ‘founder of muslim rule’ in India.
▬ Reasons for the Success of Turks in India: (i) Rajputas lacked unity and organisation and were divided by rivalries (ii) There was no central government (iii) The Rajput Kingdoms were small and scattered (iv) The Turks were better organised and took advantage of the lack of mutual co-operation among the Rajputas.
The Delhi Sultanate: 1206-1526 AD
▬ Mohammed Ghori’s conquests became the nucleus of a new political entity in India-the Delhi Sultanate. This period can be divided into 5 distinct periods viz. (i) The Slave Dynasty (1206-90) (ii) The Khilji Dynasty (1290-1320) (iii) The Tughlaq Dynasty (1320-1414) (iv) The Sayyid Dynasty (1414-51) (v) The Lodhi Dynasty (1451-1526).
The Slave Dynasty: 1206-90 AD
Outubuddin Aibak: 1206-10
▬ A Turkish slave by origin, he was purchased by Mohammad Ghori who later made him his Governor. After the death of Ghori, Aibak became the master of Hindustan and founded the Slave Dynas his generosity, he was given the title of Lakh Bakhsh (giver of Lakhs).
▬ He died in 1210 while playing Chaugan or Polo.
▬ He constructed two mosques-Qurat-ul-Islam at Delhi and Adhai din ka Jhonpra at Ajmer. He also began the constrction of Qutub Minar, in the honour of famous Sufi Saint Khuaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. Aibak was a great patron of learning and patronised writers like Hasan-un-Nizami author of ‘Taj-ul-Massir’ and Fakhruddin, author of
Shamsuddin Iltutmish: 1211-36
▬ He was a slave of Qutubuddin Aibak and occupied the throne of Delhi in 1211 after deposing Aram Bakhsh.
▬ He was a very capable ruler and is regarded as the ‘real founder of the Delhi Sultanate’. He made Delhi the capital in place of Lahore.
▬ He saved Delhi Sultanate from the wrath of Chengiz Khan, the Mongol leader, by refusing shelter to Khwarizm Shah, whom Chengiz was chasing.
▬ He introduced the silver coin (tanka) and the copper coin (jital). He organised the Igta Systemand introduced reforms in civil administration and army, which was now centrally paid and recruited.
▬ He set up an official nobility of slaves known as Chahalgani, Chalisa (group of 40).
▬ He completed the construction of Qutub Minar which was started by Aibak.
▬ He patronised Minhaj-us-Siraj author of ‘Tabaqat-i-Nasiri’.
▬ He was the son of Iltutmish and was crowned by her mother, ShahTurkan, after death of Iltutmish. He was deposed by Razia, daughter of Iltutmish when he was out of capital to curb a rebellion in Avadh against him.
Razia Sultana: 1236-40
▬ Though Iltutmish had nominated his daughter Razia as the successor, the nobles placed Ruknuddin Firoj on the throne. However, Razia got rid of Ruknuddin and ascended the throne.
▬ She was the ‘first and only Muslim lady who ever ruled India’.
▬ She was popular among the people but was not acceptable to the nobles and theologians. She further offended the nobles by her preference for an Abyssian slave Yakut
▬ Soon after her accession, the governors of Multan, Badaun, Hansi and Lahore openly revolted against her. There was a serious rebellion in tinda. Altunia, governor of Bhatinda refused to accept suzerainity kazia. Razia accompanied by Yakut marched against Altunia.
▬ However, Altunia got Yakut murdered and imprisoned Razia. Subsequently, Razia married Altunia and both of them marched towards Delhi.
▬ In 1240 AD, Razia became the victim of a conspiracy and was assassinated near Kaithal (Haryana).
Bahram Shah: 1240-42
▬ After Razia, Iltutmish’s third son Bahram Shah was put on the throne by the powerful turkish council Chalisa.
▬ He was considered only as de jure ruler, while Naib-e-mamlakat (the regent) was the de facto ruler.
▬ Bahram Shah lost his life after his failed attempt to assert his authority once on the throne.
Masud Shah: 1242-46
▬ He was the son of Ruknuddin but was deposed after Balban and Nasiruddin Mahamud’s Mother, Malika-e-Jahan, conspired against him and established Nasiruddin Mahamud as the new Sultan.
Nasiruddin Mahamud: 1246-66
He was the son of Iltutmish and was known as the Darvesi King as he was very pious and noble. He died in 1266.
Ghiyasuddin Balban: 1266-87
▬ Balban ascended the throne in 1266.
▬ He broke the power of Chalisa and restored the prestige of the crown. That was his greatest contribution towards the stability of the Sultanate.
▬ To keep himself well-informed Balban appointed spies.
▬ He created a strong centralised army to deal with internal disturbances and to cheek Mongols who were posing a serious danger to Delhi Sultante.
▬ He established the military department Diwan-i-Arz.
▬ The Persian court model influenced Balban’s conception of Kingship. He took up the title of Zil-i-Ilahi (Shadow of God).
▬ He introduced Sijda(prostration before the monarch) and Paibos(kissing the feet of monarch) as the normal forms of salutation.
▬ He destroyed the Mewati Rajputa brigandage in the doab, where forests were cut and forts built.
▬ In his last days he overlooked the Sultanate affairs due to the death of his eldest and most loving son, Muhammad, and rebellion by his closest and most loved slave, Tughril. Muhammad died fighting the Mongolians
in 1285 while Tughril was captured and beheaded.
▬ Agrandson of Balban was seated on the throne by Fakruddin, the Kotwal of Delhi who assumed high political authority during the last days of Balban. But Kaiqubad was killed by the Khiliji family, which saw the end of Slave dynasty and beginning of Khiliji dynasty at Delhi throne.
The Khilji Dynasty: 1290-1320 AD
Jalaluddin Khilji: 1290-96
▬ Jalaluddin Khilji founded the Khilji dynasty.
Alauddin Khilji: 1296-1316
▬ He was a nephew and son-in-law of Jalaluddin Khilji. Alauddin Khilji killed him and succeeded the throne in 1296. He was the first Turkish Sultan of Delhi who separated religion from politics. He proclaimed ‘Kingship knows no Kinship’.
▬ Alauddin annexed Gujarat (1298), Ranthambhor (1301), Mewar (1303), Malwa (1305), Jalor (1311). In Deccan, Aluddin’s army led by Malik Kafur defeated Ram Chandra (Yadava ruler of Devagiri), Pratap Rudradeva (Kakatiya ruler of Warangal), Vir Ballal III (Hoyasala ruler of Dwarsamudra) and Vir Pandya (Pandya ruler of Madurai).
▬ In order to avoid the problems created by the nobles, Alauddin issued 4 ordinances. TheIstordinceaimedat the confiscationofthereligious endowments and free grants of lands. By the lInd ordinance Alauddin reorganised the spy system. The IIIrd ordinance prohibited the use of wine. The IVth ordinance issued by Alauddin laid down that nobles should not have social gathering and they should not inter-marry without his permission.
▬ He introduced the system of Dagh (the branding of horse) and Chehra (descriptive roll of soldiers).
▬ Alauddin ordered that all land was to be measured and then the share of state was to be fixed.
▬ The post of special officer called Mustakharajwas created for the purpose of collection of revenue.
▬ The peasants had to pay the produce as land revenue.
▬ Alauddin sought to fix cost of all commodities. For the purpose he set up three markets at Delhi: one market for food grains, the second for costly cloth and third for horses, slaves and cattle. Each market was under the control of a high officer called Shahna who maintained a register of the merchants and strictly controlled the shopkeepers and the prices. The check on market was kept by two officers- Diwan-i-Riyasat and Shahna-i-Mandi.
▬ All goods for sale were brought to an open market called Sara-i-Adal.
▬ Many forts were built by him and the most important of them was Alai fort. He also constructed the Alai Darwaja, the entrance gate of Qutub Minar. He also built the Palace of thousand Pillars called Hazar Sutun.
▬ He was a patron of art and learning. Amir Khusrau, the poet-musician Was his favourite court poet.
▬ In 1316, after death of Alauddin, Malik Kafur, called Hajardinari seized e throne. Before Kafur died, he nominated Shihabuddin (Alauddin’s 6 year old prince) as King but imprisoned the eldest prince Mubarak
Kafur was killed by the loyalists of the royal family of Alauddin.
Mubarak Khan: 1316-20
▬ After the death of Kafur, Mubarak khan was freed from prison worked as regent for Shihabuddin. He captured the throne at the opportunity he got, but could rule only for a years as he sank in debauchery and could not give up his dissipated lifestyle. He awarded his lover Mubarak Hassan authority over army and palace guards, who soon obtained full control over Sultan’s palace. Mabarak Hassan was given the title Khusrau Khan by the Sultan and within months Khusran killed Mubarak Khan and assumed the title of Nasirudin in mid-1320.
Khusrau Khan: 1320
▬ Khusrau Khan was killed by Ghazi Malik, governor of Dipalpur, when he tried to oppose a rebellion by Ghazi Malik and his son Fakhruddin Jauna. This brought the end of Khilji dynasty and established the Tughlaq
dynasty on the throne of Delhi.
The Tughlaq Dynasty: 1320-1414 AD
Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq: 1320-25
▬ Khusrau Khan, the last king of the Khilji dynasty was killed by Ghazi Malik. Ghazi Malik ascended the throne assuming the title Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq.
▬ He died in an accident and his son Jauna (Ulugh Khan) succeeded him under the title Mohammad-bin-Tughlaq.
Mohammad bin Tughlaq: 1325-51
▬ Prince Jauna, son of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq ascended the throne in 1325.
▬ He tried to introduce many administrative reforms. He had 5 ambitious projects for which he became particularly debatable.
(i) Taxation in the Doab (1326): The Sultan made an ill-advised financial experiment in the Doab between the Ganges and Yamuna. He not only increased the rate of taxation but also revived and created some additional Abwabs or cesses. Although the share of the state remained as in time of Alauddin, it was fixed arbitrary not on the basis of actual produce. Prices were also fixed artificially for covering the produce into money. It is said that the increase was twenty fold and to this were added Ghari or house tax and the Charahi or pasture tax. The Sultan created a new department of Agriculture called Diwan-i-kohi. The main object of this department was to bring more land under cultivation by giving direct help to peasants.
(ii) Transfer of Capital (1327): The most controversial step which Mohammad-bin-Tughlaq under took soon after his accession was so-called transfer of capital from Delhi to Devagiri Devagiri had been a base for the expansion of Turkish rule in South India. It appears th the Sultan wanted to make Devagiri second capital so that he might able to control South India better. Devagiri was thus named Daulatabue.
After a couple of years Mohammad-bin-Tughlag decided to abandori Daulatabad largely became he soon found that just as he could not control South India from Delhi, he could not control North from Daulatabad.
(iii) Introduction of Token Currency (1329): Mohammacl-bin-Tughlag decided to introduce bronze coins, which were to have some value as the silver coins. Mohammad-bin-Tughlaq might have been successful if he could prevent people from forging the new coins. He was not able to do so and soon the new coins began to be greatly clevalued in markets. Finally Mohammad-bin-Tughlaq decided to withdraw the token currency. He promised to exchange silver pieces for bronze coins.
(iv) Proposed Khurasan Expedition (1329): The Sultan had a vision of universal conquest. He decided to conquer Khurasan and Iraq and mobalised a huge army for the purpose. He was encouraged to do so by Khurasani nobles who had taken shelter in his court. Moreover, there was instability in Khurasan on account of the unpopular rule of Abu Said. This project was also abandoned.
(v) Qarachil Expedition (1330): This expedition was launched in Kumaon hills in Himalayas allegedly to counter Chinese incursions. It also appears that the expedition was directed against some refractory tribes in Kumaon-Garhwal region with the object of bringing them under Delhi Sultanate. The first attack was a success but when the rainy season set in, the invaders suffered terribly.
▬ His five projects led to revolts. His last days were spent in checking the revolts (altogether 36 revolts in 25 years).
1335 – Mudurai became independent (Jalaluddin Ahsan Shah)
1336 – Foundation of Vijayanagar (Harihar and Bukka), Warangal became independent (Kanhaiya)
1341-47 – Revolts of Sada Amirs and Foundation of Bahamani in (Hasan Gangu)
▬ He died in Thatta while campaigning in Sindh against Taghi, a Turkish slave.
Firoz Shah Tughlaq: 1351-88
▬ He was a cousin of Mohammad-bin-Tughlaq. After his death the nobles and theologians of the court selected Firoz Shah as the next Sultan.
▬ After his accession Firoz Tughlaq was faced with the problem of preventing the imminent break up of Delhi Sultanate. He adopted the policy of trying to appease the nobality, army and theologians and of asserting his authority over only such areas, which could be easily administered from the centre. He therefore made no attempt to re-assert his authority over South India and Deccan.
▬ He decreed that whenever a noble died his son should be allowed to Succeed to his position including his Iqta if he had no sons, his son-inlaw and in his absence his slave was be succeed.
▬ Firoz extended the principle of heredity to the army. Soldiers were wowed to rest in peace and to send in their place their sons. The soldiers were not paid in cash but by assignments on land revenue of (Vajeha). This novel technique of payment led to many abuses.
▬ Firoz tried to win over the theologians proclaiming that he was Muslim king and the state under him was truly Islanic. In onde keep the theologians satisfied a number of them were appointed to high offices.
▬ He tried to ban practices which the orthodox theologians considered a non Islamic. Thus he prohibited the practice of Muslim women goin out to worship at graves of saints.
▬ It was during the time of Firoz that Jizia became a separate tax, Firo refused to exempt the Brahmanas from payment of Jizya since this was not provided for in Shariat.
▬ The new system of taxation was according to Quran. Four kinds of taxes sanctioned by the Quran were imposed. These taxes were Kharai Zakat, Jizya and Khams, Kharaj was the land tax, which was equal to 1/10 of the produce of the land, Zakat was 2% tax on property, Jizya was levied on non-Muslims and Khams was 1/5 of the booty captured during war.
▬ In order to encourage agriculture, the Sultan paid a lot of attention to irrigation. Firoz repaired a number of canals and imposed Haque-i-Sharb or Hasil-i-Sharb (water tax).
▬ He was a great builder. The cities of Fatehabad, Hisar, Jaunpur and Firozabad stand to his credit.
▬ The two pillars of Ashoka, one from Topra (Haryana) and other from Merrut (U.P.) were brought to Delhi.
▬ The Sultan established at Delhi a hospital described as Dar-ul-Shifo.
▬ A new department of Diwan-i-Khairat was set up to make provisions for the marriage of poor girls.
▬ Another step which Firoz took was both economicend political in nature. He ordered his officials that whenever they attacked a place they should select handsome and well-born young boys and send them to Sultan as
▬ However, his rule was marked by peace and tranquility, and the credit for it goes to his Prime Minister Khan-i-Jahan Maqbul.
▬ He died in 1388.
After Firoz Shah Tughlaq: 1388-1414
▬ The Tughlaq dynasty could not survive much after Firoz Shah’s death. The Malwa, Gujarat and Sharqi (Jaunpur) Kingdoms broke away from the Sultanate.
▬ Timur’s Invasion: 1398-99-Timur, the lame, a Turkish Chief and cruel conqueror from Mangolia and descendant of Chengiz Khan, invaded India in 1398 during the reign of Muhammad Shah Tughlag, the last ruler of Tughlaq dynasty. Taimur’s army mercilessly sacked and plundered Delhi. Timur returned to Central Asia, leaving a nominee named Khi Khan to rule to Punjab. In 1404 he died while on his way to conquer
The Sayyid Dynasty: 1414-50 AD
▬ Khizr Khan (1414-21) : Timur’s nominee captured Delhi and was proclaimed the news new Sultan. IHe was the first of the Sayyid dynasty which ruled over Delhi and surrounding districts.
▬ Mubarak Shah (1421-34): He succeeded Khizr at the throne after his uccessful expeditions against Mewatis, Katehars and the Gangetic Doab area. He was killed by the nobles in his own court.
▬ Muhammad Shah (1434-43): The nobles put Muhammad Shah on the Throne, but he could not survive the in-fighting among the nobles in the court. He was authorised to rule only a meagre area around 30 miles, and rest the of the Sultanate was ruled by nobles.
▬ Alam Shah (1443-51): The last Sayyid king descended in favour of Bahlol Lodhi and retired. Thus began the Lodhi dynasty which was confined to Delhi and a few surrounding areas.
The Lodhi Dynasty: 1451-1526 AD
Bahlol Lodhi: 1451-88
▬ Bahlol Lodhi was one of the Afghan Sardars. He established himself in Punjab after the invasion of Timur.
▬ He founded the Lodhi dynasty.
Sikandar Lodhi : 1489-1517
▬ Sikandar Lodi was the son of Bahlol Lodhi who conquered Bihar and Western Bengal.
▬He shifted his capital from Delhi to Agra, a city founded by him.
▬ Sikandar was a fanatical Muslim and broke the sacred images of the Jwalamukhi Temple at Nagar Kot and ordered the temples of Mathura to be destroyed.
▬ He took a keen interest in the development of agriculture. He introduced the Gaz-i-Sikandari (Sikandar’syard) of 32 digits for measuring cultivated fields.
Ibrahim Lodhi : 1517-26
▬ He was the last king of the Lodhi dynasty and the last Sultan of Delhi.
▬ He was the son of Sikandar Lodhi.
▬ The Afghan nobility was brave and freedom-loving people but it was because of its fissiparous and individualistic tendencies that the Afghan monarchy was weakened. Moreover, Ibrahim Lodhi asserted the absolute power of the Sultan. As a result, some of the nobles turned against him.
▬ At last Daulat Khan Lodhi, the governor of Punjab invited Babur to overthrow Ibrahim Lodhi. Babur accepted the offer and inflicted a ushing defeat on Ibrahim Lodhi in the first battle of Panipat in 1526. rahim Lodhi was killed in the battle Normal and with him ended the Delhi Sultanate.
Causes of Decline of Delhi Sultanate
The main causes were : (i) Despotic and military type of government which did not have the confidence of the people (ii) Degeneration of Delhi Sultans (esp. the wild projects of Muhammad-bin-Tughlag, Incompetence of Firoz Tughlaq) (iii) War of succession as there no fixed law for succession (iv) Greed and incompetency of the nobles (v) Defectivemilitary organisation(vi) Vastness of empire and poor means of communication (vii) Financial instability (viii) Number of slaves increased to 1,80,000 in Firoz Tughlaq’s time which was a burden on the treasury (ix) Invasion of Timur.
Mongolian Invasions During Delhi Sultanate
Regime of Sultan
Chengiz Khan came up to the bank of Indus.
Tair Bahadur entered Punjab. Towards the end of the 1245 AD, Balban fought back the Mongolians and recovered Multan which was captured by the Mongols.
Prince Muhammad of Multan, Bughra Khan from Samana and Malik Mubarak of Delhi combined together to defeat the Mongols.
Tamar invaded India. Prince Muhammad was killed in the battle, and was decorated with the Khan-i-Shahid title.
Abdullah came to the Northern part of India. About 4,000 Mongols got converted to Islam and became the famous ‘New Musalman’.
Zafar Khan defeated the Mongols at Jalandhar and Saldi, their leader was taken prisoner. Zafar Khan was killed in the battle.
Ali Beg and Tash were defeated.
Muhammad bin Tughlaq
Tarmashirin Khan was able to reach the outskirts of Delhi but was defeated by Muhammadbin-Tughlaq.
Administration under Delhi Sultanate
▬ The Turkish Sultan in India declared themselves Lieutenant of the faithful i.e. of the Abbasid caliphate of the Baghdad and included his name in Khutba, it did not mean that the caliph became the legal ruler. The caliph had only a moral position.
▬ Political, legal and military authority was vested in the Sultan. He was responsible for administration and was also the commander-in-chief of the military forces.
▬ No clear law of succession developed among Muslim rulers. Thus military strength was the main factor in succession to the throne.
Head (Founded by)
Diwan-i-Wizarat (Department of Finance)
Diwan-i-Ariz (Military Department)
Diwan-i-Insha (Department of Correspondence)
Diwan-i-Risalat (Department of Appeals)
Diwan-i-Mustakharaj (Department of Arrears)
(Founded by Alauddin Khilji)
Diwan-i-Riyasat (Department of Commerce)
Diwan-i-Kohi (Department of Agriculture)
(Founded by Md-bin-Tughlag)
Diwan-i-Bandgan (Department of Slaves)
(Founded by Firoz Tughlaq)
Diwan-i-Khairat (Department of Charity)
(Founded by Firoz Tugulaq)
Diwan-i-Isthiaq (Department of Pensions)
(Founded by Firoz Tughloq)
Iqta (i.e. Province)
Muqti or Wali
Shiq (i.e District)
Paragana (i.e. Taluka)
Chaudhary and Amil
Gram (i.e. Village)
Art and Architecture Under Delhi Sultanate
▬ The new features brought by the Turkish conquerors were : (i) the dome (ii) the lofty towers (iii) the true arch unsupported by beam (iv) the vault.
▬ They also brought with them an expert knowledge of the use of concrete and mortar, which had hitherto been little used in India.
▬ The Adhai-din ka Jhonpra at Ajmer has a beautiful prayer hall, an exquisitely carved Mehrab of white marble and a decorative arch screen.
▬ The first example of true or voussoired arch is said to be the tomb of Ghiyasuddin Balban in Mehrauli (Delhi).
▬ In the Khilji period the usage of voussoired arch and dome was established and for all. Famous examples is the tomb of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia at Delhi.
▬ The Tughlaq buildings show stark simplicity and sobriety, probably indicating less financial resources as well as puritanical tests.Slopping walls and a dar alls and a dark appearance characterise the buildings. Some notable Tughlaq monuments were the fort of Tughlaquabad, the tomb of Jiuyasuddin Tughlag which marked a new phase in Indo-Islamic architecture by serving as a model for later tombs and the fort of Adilabad.
▬ The Sayyid period was too short to allow construction of elaborate buildings.
▬ The construction of double domes was the main feature of Lodhi Architecture. One building worth noting is the Moth ki Masjid erected by the prime minister of Sikandar Lodhi.
Literature of Delhi Sultanate
Alberuni was an Arabian scholar who wrote about the Slave dynasty.
Gives an account of IItutmish’s reign
Court poet of Alauddin Khilji
Describes conquests of Alauddin Khilji.
Gives account of Ghiyasuddin’s reign
Poetic description of Alauddin Khilji
gives an account of the Tughlaq dynasty
Gives an account of Firoz Shah’s reign
Gives an account of his reign
About Indian sciences
Arabic words dictionary
History of Ibaris, the slave dynasty
History of Sindh region
Literature and Poems
About Mohmud Ghazni’s reign
A travelogue with stories
Jalaluddin’s conquest and life
History of Tughlaqs
About Bahmani Kingdom