Mamluk is an Arabic word meaning “owned”. It was used to distinguish the imported Turkish slaves meant for military service from the lower slaves used as domestic labour or artisan.
The earliest ruler of Delhi Sultanate were the Mamluks. They were also known as Slave kings because many of them were either slaves or were the sons of slaves who became sultans.
After the death of Ghori in 1206 AD, his dynasty was divided into multiple parts and Qutb-uddin Aibak became the Sultan of Delhi and founded the Slave Dynasty.
The Muslim Mamluk rulers ruled over India from AD 1206 to AD 1290.
Qutb-ud-din Aibak (1206-10 AD)
Aibak was one of the most skilled warrior who served the dynasty after Muhammad Ghori’s death in AD 1206. He had played a pivotal role in furthering his empire in India, especially after the second Battle of Tarain.
He is considered as the real founder of Delhi Sultanate and was the first independent Muslim leader from Northern India.
He was called as Lakha Baksh Sultan or giver of lakhs due to his generosity.
Qutb-ud-din Aibak was brave and faithful.
In 1210, Aibak died of injuries received in a fall from his horse while playing chaugan (polo).
Aibak was a great patron of learning and patronised writers like Hasan-Un-Nizami and Fakhruddin.
Qutb-ud-din Aibak initiated the construction of Qutb Minar (in the honour of famous sufi saint Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki), which was completed by his successor lltutmish after his death.
He also constructed Quwwat-ul-lslam mosque in Delhi and Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra in Ajmer.
Aram Shah (1210-1211 AD)
After the death of Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the Amir and Malik of Lahore put Aram Shah on the throne.
He served for a short duration and was considered to be a weak and worthless ruler.
The Governor of Badaun, lltutmish defeated Aram Shah and acquired the throne.
Shams-ud-din lltutmish (1211-36 AD)
lltutmish was the second most prominent ruler of the Mamluk dynasty. The caliph of Baghdhad titled him as “Sultan”.
During his tenure, he had to face multiple difficulties. Many important commander Ali Mardan Khalji, Nasir ad-din Qabacha and taj al-din Yildiz contested for independent territories. The rising power of Mongols under Genghis Khan possessed great threat to North-West Frontier of the Sultanate.
Despite of such great threat, he successfully overcame it with many achievements. He constituted a corp of forty (40) loyal Slave Amirs known as Turkan-i-Chihalgani also called as Chalisa.
In the field of administration, lltutmish made significant contributions such as ‘currency system’, ‘army’ and ‘Iqtas’.
He initiated ‘Iqta-dar System’ in which lands were granted to nobles and his officers instead of salary.
lltutmish completed the construction of Qutb Minar and also built a mosque.
lltutmish attempted to establish a centrally recruited army with a view to increase the military muscle of the Sultan.
He contributed by introducing the Silver Tanka and the billon Jital, the two coins in circulation during the period.
lltutmish’s tenure of twenty six years can be classified into three broad phases:
First Phase (1210-20 AD): When he was preoccupied with disposing off rival contender to his authority.
Second Phase (1221-27 AD): During this period, he dealt with Mongol Menace.
Third Phase (1228-36 AD): This was an important period during which he devoted himself in consolidating his dynasty.
He made Delhi the capital in place of Lahore.
He patronised Minhaj-Us-Siraj author of Tabaqat-iNasiri.
lltutmish was the first sultan of Delhi who introduced regular coins and declared Delhi as the capital of his empire.
lltutmish is also called as ‘Slave of a Slave’.
Mongol invader Genghis Khan came through northwest front of India during the reign of lltutmish.
The original name of Changez (Genghis) Khan was Temuchin (Temujin).
lltutmish defeated Hisamuddin Awaz. Awaz had accepted the subordination of lltutmish. lltutmish had appointed Malik-Jani as the new subedar of Bihar.
Ruknuddin Firoz: He was the son of lltutmish and was crowned by her mother, Shah Turkan, after death of lltutmish. He was deposed by Razia, daughter of lltutmish when he was out of capital to curb a rebellion in Avadh against him.
Razia Sultan (1236-40 AD)
Razia Sultan was the only woman ruler during the Sultanate and Mughal period. lltutmish considered all his sons ineffective for throne and entrusted her daughter Razia as his successor.
She was a great administrator as she maintained complete law and order during her tenure. Razia successfully defeated the rebellions of Multan, Lahore and Hansi.
She appointed Abyssinian slave, Jamal-ud-Din Yakut as Master of Horse (amir -i-akhur).
The Turkish noble nobles and clergy, who were primarily Turkish did not consider her as their ruler and conspired to kill her. Razia reign came to an end in 1240 AD.
There as a serious rebellion in Bhatinda. Altunia, governor of Bhatinda refused to accept suzerainty of Razia. 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, Razia became the victim of a conspiracy and was assassinated near Kaithal (Haryana).
Nasir-ud-din Mahmud (1246-66 AD)
Nasir-ud-din Mahmud was the younger son of lltutmish who was proclaimed as the ruler of the Sultanate from 1246 AD -1266 AD.
He was considered to be kind hearted and God fearing ruler. He spent most of his times writing down verses of the Quran.
Unlike many of his predecessors and successors, Mahmud strictly followed monogamy. Nasir-ud-din Mahmud married daughter of Balban and placed all the power in the hand of his prime minister, Balban.
According to Ibn Battuta and Islami, Balban poisoned Nasir-ud-din and ascended the throne.
Ghiyas-ud-din Balban (1266-87 AD)
Ghiyas-ud-din Balban, a Turkish slave was also known as Ulugh Khan, seized the power of dynasty after the death of Nasiruddin Mahmud.
During Balban tenure, the law and order in Delhi and doab region was in poor state. The Rajput zamindars had set up forts in the eastern region of Awadh and Ganga-Yamuna doab. Balban worked hard to elevate the position of Sultan and maintain the autocratic rule.
Balban’s reign is known as a period of consolidation rather than expansion. The law and order situation in the area around Delhi and the doab had deteriorated. The roads were infested with robbers and dacoits, so much so that even communication had become difficult.
To deal with these elements, Balban adopted a policy of blood and iron. In Mewat area, many were mercilessly pursued and put to death. In the areas around Badayun, Rajput strongholds were destroyed, the jungles were cut down, and colonies of Afghan soldiers were stationed to safeguard roads. By these harsh methods, Balban controlled the situation.
Balban’s tenure brought many administrative and military changes:
Balban introduced the ritual of Sijadah (Prostration) and Paibos (Kissing the feet) in order to dignify the status of the Sultan.
Balban reorganised the army and maintained an efficient spy system.
Balban broke the power of Chalisa and resorted the prestige of the crown.
The growing authority of Balban alienated many of the Turkish chiefs. They, therefore, hatched a conspiracy (1253) and ousted Balban from his position. Balban was replaced by Imaduddin Raihan who was an Indian Muslim.
Balban’s heir was his older son Prince Muhammad Khan, but he died in a battle against Mongols in 1285.
After consolidating his power, Balban assumed the grand title of Zil-l-llahi.
Balban propounded the theory of Niyamat-e-Khudia (representative of God).
Balban had called himself as ‘Helper of Caliph’ in his inscription on the walls of the mosque at Garhmukteshwar .
Balban fortified his empire against Mongol invasion.
Balban ordered the noblesto stop the luxury living.
Balban introduced the Persian festival of Navroz to impress the Nobles and people with his wealth and power.
Balban patronized many Muslim scholars and gave shelter to many refugees from central Asia.
Balban reorganised the military department (diwan i-arz) and deployed army in different parts of the country.
Balban was considered to be the main architect of the Sultanate of Delhi mainly in terms of government and institutions.
After his demise in 1287 AD, his grandson Qaiqabad succeeded the throne. During this period, the government affairs fell into disorder and the Nobles began to form factions in order to seize power.
Jalaluddin Khalji, the Ariz-I-Mamalik (minister of war) gathered all the power in his hand and murdered Qaiqabad. This brought an end to the Slave dynasty in 1290 AD and the new dynasty of Khalji emerged under the leadership of Jalaluddin Khalji.
Theory of Kingship of Balban
Balban was the first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate to articulate a comprehensive theory of kingship. Balban’s theory of kingship was greatly influenced by Sassanid Persia. He asserted that the king was the shadow of God (Zillah). Balban’s belief that he was only accountable to the almighty and his actions were immune from public scrutiny.
Sijada and Paibos
He introduced Sijada (prostration) and Paibos, kissing of feet of the monarch. Balban believed in patriarchal despotism. His conviction was that only a despot could extract obedience from his subject and ensure the security of state.
The greatest contribution of Balban was to consolidate a standing army in the centre and established a department of army called as Diwan-i-Arz.
Balban was convinced that the glory of kingship was possible only by following the Persian tradition which he very carefully followed in his personal and public life. Balban laid great stress on Genealogy, claiming descent from the mythical Turkish hero, Afrasiyab.
The Balban theory of kingship coupled with his policy of blood and iron paid him good dividends. He enhanced the prestige of sultanate of Delhi.
The expansion of the Delhi sultanate led to the emergence of a powerful and efficient administration system. The sultan was the head of the administration and an independent sovereign of a certain territory. There were many officials to look after the royal household.
The wazir, as the head of the diwan-i wizarat, was the most important figure in the central administration.
The wizarat organised the collection of revenue, exercised control over expenditure, kept accounts, disbursed salaries and allotted revenue assignments (iqra) at Sultan’s order.
The diwan-i-arz or military department was headed by the ariz-i mumalik. He was responsible for the administration of military affairs. He inspected the troops maintained by the iqta-holders.
Art and Architecture
The Mamluk dynasty built multiple majestic monuments and buildings during their regime. Some of the important building which were built by Mamluk or Slave dynasty includes:
The qutb complex,
Tomb of lltutmish,
Tomb of Balban,
Quwwat ul-lslam mosque,
Tomb of Nasir-ud-din Mahmud,
Adhai Din ka Jhonpara etc.
Importance of Dynasty
The sultans of the Mamluk dynasty had the greatest contribution in the field of architecture. An Indo-lslamic style of architecture developed through a harmonious blend of Indian and Islamic traditions.
Politically, the Slave Dynasty laid the foundation on which subsequent dynasties like the Khaljis and the Tughlaqs established a mighty empire.
Khaljis (1290-1320 AD)
The slave sultans were succeeded by a new dynasty of kings called the Khaljis in 1290 AD. Their rebellion was welcomed by the non-Turkish sections in the nobles.
The Khalji dynasty was named after a village in Afghanistan but they were actually Turkish in origin. The Kings of Khalji Dynasty were known for their faithlessness and ferocity.
Jalal-ud-din Khalji (1290-96 AD)
Jalal-ud-din Khalji was the founder of Khalji dynasty. He was seventy years of age when he ascended the throne. He was the first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate who believed that the state should be based on the willing support of the governed, and that since the vast majority of Indians were Hindus, India could not be a truly Islamic state.
Jalaluddin tried to win the goodwill of the nobility by a policy of tolerance. Although Jalaluddin retained the earlier nobility in his administration, but the rise of Khaljis to power ended the monopoly of nobility of slaves to high offices.
Jalaluddin was a pious Muslim and desired to consider himself as Mujahid fi Sabilillah (fighter in the path of god).
He constructed his capital at Kilokhri, from where he ruled for nearly six years. Though he faced several attacks from the Mongols, his brave front and smart negotiations led to the defeat of the Mongols. He avoided harsh punishments, even to those who revolted against him. He not only forgave them but at times even rewarded them to win their support. However, people considered him to be a weak sultan.
The most significant event of Jalaluddin Khalji reign was the invasion of Devagiri by his son in law Alauddin Khalji who was also his nephew. Ala-ud-din Khalji successfully invaded Devagiri and accumulated surplus wealth. He killed Jalal-ud-din Khalji and ascended the throne.
Alauddin Khalji (1296-1316 AD)
Alauddin Khalji was second and most powerful ruler of the Khalji dynasty. He wanted to become a second Alexander and conquer the world. Alauddin had two victorious expeditions during the reign of Jalaluddin. The successful expedition proved that Alauddin was an able military commander and efficient organiser.
In July 1296 AD, he murdered his uncle and father-in-law Jalaluddin Khalji and crowned himself as the Sultan. Alauddin decided to revive Balban’s policies of autocratic governance. He also faced, a few rebellions in succession during the early years of his rule.
As per Barani, the author of Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi, Alauddin felt that there were four reasons for these rebellions:
The inefficiency of the spy system,
The general practice of the use of wine,
Social intercourse among the nobles and inter – marriage between them and
The excess of wealth in the possession of certain nobles.
He was the first Turkish sultan of Delhi who separated religion from politics. He proclaimed ‘Kingship Knows no Kinship’. ‘When he attained Kingship, he was fully independent from rules and orders of Shariat’ Barni made this statement for Alauddin Khalji.
Alauddin also built the palace of thousand pillars called Hazar sutun.
Realisation of land revenue in cash enabled Alauddin to pay his soldiers in cash. He was the first sultan to do so.
Alauddin Khalji assumed the title of Sikandar-e-Sani (Alexander the Great) and made if imprinted on his coins. Alauddin had ambition to introduce a new religion, but abandoned the idea on the advice of his faithful friend Alla-UI-Mulk.
In 1303, Alauddin attempted to conquer Warangal but army of Kakatiya dynasty defeated him. Ramchandra Dev was the ruler of Devagiri at the time of Alauddin Khalji’s invansion. Malik Kafur looted Devagiri (1307) and took Ramchandra Dev including his relatives to Delhi. Alauddin behaved well with Ramchandra Dev and gave him title of ‘Rai Rayan’.
During the regime of Alauddin Khalji, Khalisa land was developed on a large scale. Alauddin Khalji fixed land revenue to one-half of the produce. The public distribution system was introduced by Alauddin Khalji, during Sultanate period.
During Alauddin period Sindhu (Indus) river was the border between Delhi sultanant and Mongol.
Malik Kafur who became general of the Alauddin Khalji’s army.
Alauddin Khalji launched two expeditions between AD 1302 and 1303, the first was against Warangal followed by Chittor.
Alauddin Khalji also won Siwana, the most important stronghold of Marwar and Jalor.
Alauddin Khalji went to southern India and drained the wealth of Madurai and Rameshwaram. He was the first ruler from North India who extended his kingdom to south of Narmada river .
Alauddin Khalji led the foundation of an efficient system of government. He firmly believed in non-interference of anyone in the affair of state matters. Even Ulemas (a body of Muslim scholars who are recognized for having specialist knowledge of Islamic sacred law and theology) were not allowed to interfere.
Alauddin Khalji introduced many reforms to make his empire strong and powerful. He issued orders that the nobles should not have social gatherings or inter-marriages without prior permission.
Market Reforms of Khalji Dynasty
Alauddin’s measures to control the markets was one of the great wonders of the world. Regulation of prices, especially foodgrains, was a constant concern of medieval rulers, because without the supply of cheap foodgrains to the towns, they could not hope to enjoy the support of the citizens and the army stationed there. But Alauddin had additional reason for controlling the market. There was a need to raise a long armyto check the threat from Mongols. But such an army would soon exhaust his treasures unless he could lower the prices and hence lower their salaries.
Alauddin Khalji appointed special revenue officer for collections. The revenue was based on the measurement of land.
Alauddin Khalji initiated various market reforms and established various markets in Delhi. These markets were the grain market (Mandi), the cloth market (Sarai Adil), the market for sugar , dried fruits and butter and the market for horses, slaves and cattles.
Each market was under the officer called as Shahna-i-mandi who was assisted by an intelligence officer.
Alauddin Khalji used to receive daily reports of market from two independent sources, the Munhiyans (secret spies) and the Barid (intellengence officer).
Alauddin Khalji was very strict with the rules and regulations of market and the violations were served with harsh punishments.
Alauddin Khalji organised very efficient spy system.
Alauddin Khalji was the first among the Delhi Sultanate to lay the foundation of standing army which was based on Turkish model to protect country from Mongol invasions.
Alauddin Khalji introduced the system of branding of horses and also maintained a list of soldiers.
Alauddin Khalji organised various workshop and factories were set up for the manufacture of weapons and other war material. The soldiers were equipped with horse and arms.
Alauddin Khalji repaired the fort constructed by Balban in Northwest frontiers and also constructed new forts, which were garrisoned and arrangement were made for regular supply of arms, food and fodder.
Alauddin Khalji himself administered the price of every commodity and ensured that there was a sustainable balance between demand and supply.
Alauddin Khalji followed strict rules so that farmers could not hoard grains or sell them privately. Price of commodities were maintained at nominal rate which could be afforded by all the people.
Alauddin Khalji ordered for whole land measurement and then fixed the share to the state.
Art and Architecture
The Khalji dynasty marked a new phase of history in medieval architecture. Most of the monuments during Khalji dynasty were built on Arabic style of architecture. Ala-ud-din constructed huge minar near Qutab minar but this ambition was incomplete due to his death.
Alai-Darwaza was another one of the noted construction of Islamic architecture. It was built with red stone and white surface over entire surface. Alai-Darwaza also contained calligraphic inscription and decorative patterns.
Alaud-din built the famous Hauz Khas near siri village. The significant and famous mosque Jaimat Khana was built within the enclosure of Nizam-ud-Din Aulia’s shrine.
Abul Hasan Yaminuddin Khusrau was known as Amir Khusrau. He was born at Patiyali in district Etah in 1253 AD. Khusrau called himself ‘Tuti-e-Hind’ (Parrot of India). Amir Khusrau played a pioneering role in the development of Khari Boli. Amir Khusrau is considered as the father of new persian poetry style ‘Sabak-e-Hind style. The musical instrument ‘Tabla’ was introduced by Amir Khusrau.
Tughlaqs (1320-1412 AD)
The Tughlaq dynasty was founded by Ghazi Malikwho ascended the throne as Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq in 1320 AD and this dynasty ruled till AD 1412. Ghiyas-ud-din rose to an important position in the reign of Ala-ud-din Khalji.
However, after a brief rule Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq died in AD 1325 and his son Muhammad Tughlaq ascended to the throne. Under the Tughlaqs, the Delhi Sultanate was further consolidated.
Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq (1320-25 AD)
Ghiyas-ud-din tughlaq or Ghazi Malik was the founder of Tughlaq dynasty. He was a good administrator and an efficient ruler. Though he was a devout muslim, he never persecuted the Hindus.
Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq is also known for the famous Tughlaqabad fort in Delhi. He improved the means of communication, transport and the postal system during his reign. He is known for subjugating Warangal and Bengal.
Ghiyas-ud-din tughlaq died in an accident after which his son Muhammad bin Tughlaq was ascended to the throne.
Muhammad Bin Tughlaq (1325-51 AD)
After the death of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq in 1325 AD, his son Muhammad bin Tughlaq or Jauna Khan came to power.
He was one of the most controversial ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. He introducedmany ambitious schemes and experiments but most of them proved to be a failure. He was a learned scholar of Arabic and Persian and possesed tolerance in religious affair.
Transfer of Capital:
Muhammad bin Tughlaq shifted his capital from Delhi to Deogir in the Deccan and renamed it as Daulatabad.
Many nobles, religious men and craftsmen shifted to the new capital. Muhammad bin Tughlaq built a road from Delhi to Deogir and also setup rest houses for the people.
Many people died because of rigourous travelling and heat. This caused great hardship and heavy financial loss to the people. Within five months, the whole scheme was given up as the capital was shifted back to Delhi.
Introduction of Token Currency:
Muhammad bin Tughlaq introduced Bronze coins or Jittal of the same value as Silver coins (Tanka) to overcome the shortage of silver in India. He ordered that Bronze coins to be accepted as equivalent to the Tanka.
According to Barani, the King was forced to introduce the token currency as the government’s treasury was empty due to Sultan’s policy of conquests and boundless generosity.
Muhammad bin Tughlaq did not keep a check or reserve the right to issue new coins for state and people began to mint token currency in their houses. The large scale of duplicate and forged coin came into market circulation. Consequently, the value of Bronze coins declined sharply and were rejected by the people which further resulted in loss of trade. The forged minting caused tremendous loss to the royal treasury. The bronze coinage remained in circulation for three years from AD 1329-1332. The government was finally forced to recall the bronze Jittal coins and issue gold and silver coins or Tanka for exchange.
Increase of taxes in Ganga Yamuna Doab:
Muhammad bin Tughlaq increased the land taxes in the Ganga and Doab region to meet the expenses of his army.
Many farmers revolted against Muhammad bin Tughlaq as they were not able to pay the increased revenue due to famine in the region. Finally, Muhammad bin Tughlaq nullified his order.
The Khorasan expedition was the controversial project of Muhammad bin Tughlaq which he undertook in 1330-31 AD. The exact geographical location of the expedition was unclear. However, Barani believed it was in Iraq. Muhammad bin Tughlaq raised huge army for the expedition in the region of Khorasan. It is said that the Khorasan expedition was abandoned as the friendly ties were established between Muhammad bin Tughlaq and Tarmashirin.
According to Barani, a part of Khorasan army was sent to Qarachil. The project began in 1337-39 AD. The region of Qarachil lies in mid of Himalayas in Kangra district.
According to Ibn Battuta, the expedition of Qarachil was mainly done to prevent Chinese encroachment in Rajput regions.
This expedition proved to another major failure of Muhammad bin Tughlaq which lead to immeasurable loss in resources and lead to discontent among the people and Sultanate army.
Muhammad bin Tughlaq established the all new Department of Agriculture known as ‘Diwan-i-Kohi’. He appointed the minister of Agriculture called Amir-i-kohi, to look after the entire range of issues related to the agriculture sector.
Muhammad bin Tughlaq ordered to provide agricultural loan ‘Takavi’ to farmer. Peasants were provided with financial support to help in arranging seeds for cultivation. The main objective of the Agriculture department was to increase the cultivation of land and enhance the productivity of farm produce.
Muhammad-Bin-Tughluq was the most learned ruler among all the sultans of Delhi sultanata.
Muhammad-Bin-Tughluq issued the new coins, which was called Dinar, by Ibn Battuta.
The detailed description of the postal system is obtained from chronicle journey of Ibn Battuta.
Muhammad-Bin-Tughluq was the first among all sultans of Delhi who participated in public celebrations of Hindus, especially Holl.
On the death of Muhammad-Bin-Tughluq, Badayuni wrote, the king was freed from his people and they from their king.
It was during the time of Firuz that Jizyah became a separate tax. Earlier it was a part of land revenue.
Feroz Shah Tughlaq (1351-88 AD)
After the demise of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, his cousin Feroz Shah Tughlaq became the next sultan of Tughlaq dynasty. Feroz Shah Tughlaq had the support of the nobles and the theologians. He was a kind man who did not favour harsh punishments. He cancelled the loans of peasants which had been advanced by his predecessor.
Feroz Shah Tughlaq established Diwan-i-Khairat (charity department) and Diwan-i-Bandagan (department of slaves) and also made Iqtadari system hereditary. He developed royal factories called Karkhanas in which thousand of slaves were employed.
His reign is also known for plenty of public works. Feroz Shah Tughlaq constructed canals for irrigation and established four new towns – Jaunpur, Hisar, Fatehabad and Firozabad. About three hundred new towns in different locations were built during his reign. He did close to 845 public works during his regime.
He was gentle towards peasantry. He destroyed all public records of farmer debts to give clean chit to farmers.
Feroz Shah Tughlaq showed intolerance towards Hindu and further imposed the Jizya tax on the Brahmins. During his reign many Hindu temple and idols were destroyed.
Feroz Shah Tughlaq established free hospital called as lDar-ul-Shafa’ for the poor.
He moved one of the Ashokan pillars from its original place and erected it in Delhi.
Firuz Tughluq was the first ruler who took steps to have Hindu religious works translated from Sanskrit into Persian.
Firuz Tughluq was the first sultan of Delhi to have levied Haqq-i-Sharb or irrigation tax.
Firuz Tughluq was the first ruler to organize Haj pilgrimage from state exchequer.
Feroz Shah Tughlaq was the last great ruler of Delhi Sultanate. His policy of intolerance against Hindu made him less popular and unfavourable to the Hindu community.
The administration of Tughlaq was more of sustainable in nature. The method of administration vary from ruler to ruler.
The reign of Feroz Shah Tughlaq is considered to be a notable one. He followed the advice of ulemas for the proper functioning of administration. The nobles were assured heredity successionof their property. The famous Iqta system was redefined and made hereditary. The special taxes on more than twenty eight articles were abolished as they violated the Islamic law.
Tughlaq Art and Architecture
The Tughlaq dynasty made a major contribution in the field of art and architecture. The period marked as domination and rediscovery of Islamic architectures. Various experts and masters were called upon to build a new empire which was full of creativity in the Indo-lslamic style.
The Indo-lslamic style of architecture was the amalgamation of Islamic as well as Hindu style of architecture. The architecture of Tughlaq dynasty flourished in the reign of all three rulers of the dynasty. Each ruler added their architectural creativity during their regime.
Feroz Shah Tughlaq was great patron of Islamic architecture. He built the famous Feroz Shah Kotla which is also called as the fifth city of delhi.
Firuz Shah Tughluq constructed the fourth and fifth story of Qutub Minar, made up of red sandstone and makrana marble.
The tenure of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq saw the construction of the famous Tughlaqabad city based on Romans fashions. The tomb of Ghiyas-ud-din was constructed as artificial lake, which was connected with a citadel by an eminent path.
The another famous ruler of Tughlaq dynasty was Muhammed bin Tughlaq who contributed by building the Jaha-pana by linking first and second city by wall.
The first true arch in the sultanate memorial could be seen in Tomb of Balban.
India’s first tomb constructed in the Indo-lslamic style was Balbans Tomb.
The horse-shoe arch was first introduced in the Alai Darwazah.
Importance of Dynasty
Tughlaq were the third among the five dynasties of Delhi sultanate that ruled India. They were considered to be one of the strongest dynasties of Delhi sultanate. The Tughlaqs ruled India for approximately a century. The entire era of Tughlaq’s rule witnessed growth and prosperity. The Tughlaqs were responsible for consolidation of the entire kingdom and the protection of it from any foreign invasion.
On the other hand, the Tughlaqs also faced major economic downfall brought due to counterfeiting for token currency introduced by Monarch. The Tughlaq were also known for the integration or union of North and South in terms of exchange of idea and culture. The Tughlaq dynasty in its capacity was recognized as last of the mighty dynasties of entire sultanate of Delhi.
The political control of Delhi gradually weakened during the rule of Firoz’s successors. The invasion of Timur in 1398 AD left the sultanate desolate. By the end of Tughlaq rule (1412 AD), the Sultanate was confined to a small territory in north India. A number of regions proclaimed independent status during this time.
Sayyid Dynasty (1414-51 AD)
After the end of Tughlaq dynasty, the Sayyid Dynasty rose to power with four rulers ruling from 1414 to 1451. Timur, after defeating the army of Delhi, appointed Khizr khan as the governor of Multan.
According to Tarikh-i-Mubarak Shahi, the founder of Sayyid Dynasty was the descendent of Prophet Mohammad. The Sayyid dynasty had the a shortest tenure among all the dynasties of Delhi Sultanate.
Khizr Khan (1414-21 AD)
Khizr khan was the founder of Sayyid dynasty. He was considered to be ablest ruler with Timur. Khizr Khan defeated Sultan Daulat Khan, occupied Delhi and founded the Sayyid dynasty. He did not assume the title of Sultan but was comfortable with Rayat-i-Ala.
The authority of power under Khizr khan did not extend beyond Punjab and Doab. After Khizr Khan’s death Mubarak Shah and Muhammad Shah ascended to the throne one after another. All of these rulers tried to control rebellious regions like Katihar, Badaun, Etawah, Patiali, Gwalior, Kampil, Nagaur and Mewat but they failed due to the conspiracy of the nobles.
Alam Shah, the last ruler of the dynasty, proved to be incompetent and surrendered his throne to Bahlul Lodi who was the governor of Sind and Lahore during that period.
Lodi Dynasty (1451-1526 AD)
The Lodis were the last rulers of the Delhi Sultanate and the first to be headed by the Afghans. The Lodi kingdom was larger than that of Sayyids. They formed a large group of army in the sultanate. The Lodi’s dominated the region of Punjab and the upper Ganga valley. The Lodis were known for Behluli coins which continued till Akbar’s tenure.
Apart from this, the standard of measurement known as gaj-i-sikandari remained in force till Mughals.
The three main ruler of Lodi dynasty includes:
Bahlul Lodi (1451-89 AD)
Bahlul Lodi was the founder of the the Lodi dynasty in 1451 AD. He ruled Delhi sultanate till AD 1489. He was a great soldier and a capable General. He maintained good relations with the nobles.
The major achievement of Bahlul Lodi reign was the eventual annexation of the Jaunpur kingdom. Bahlul Lodi extended his territories over Gwalior, Jaunpur and upper Uttar Pradesh. He also annexed entire Sharqi kingdom and was known to issue the Bahluli coins.
After the death of Bahlul Lodi, Sikandar Lodi ascended to the throne.
Sikandar Lodi (1489-1517 AD)
After the death of Bahlul Lodi, Sikandar Lodi ascended the throne. He was second ruler of the Lodi dynasty and ruled from 1489 AD to 1517 AD.
Sikander Lodi’s real name was Nizam Shah and was also called as ‘Sultan Sikandar Shah’. He was considered to be a good administrator who laid roads and encouraged irrigation facilities. During his reign price of commodities were very cheap.
Sikandar Lodi considered the position of the Sultan as superior to the nobles. He compelled nobles and amirs to show formal respect to the Sultan in darbar and outside and treated them harshly.
He re-annexed Bihar, Dholpur, Narwar and some parts of Gwalior and Nagor to the Delhi Sultanate. He also introduced ‘Gaj-i-sikandari’ for measurement of land and abolished Octroi duty on grain.
Sikandar Lodi controlled the Ganga valley as far as western Bengal and moved his capital from Delhi to new town which later became famous as the city of Agra.
He was indulged in destruction of temples. He showed little tolerance towards Non-Muslims and re-imposed Jizya on them.
Sikandar Lodi composed poems with pen-name Gulrukhi.
He was succeeded by his son Ibrahim Lodi in 1517 AD.
Ibrahim Lodi (1517-26 AD)
Ibrahim Lodi was the last ruler of Lodi dynasty who succeeded his father, Sikandar Lodi in 1517 AD.
His tenure was dominated by several revolts by his officers and nobles. After his own brother Jalal Khan rebelled against him, Ibrahim Lodi got Jalal Khan murdered. The governor of Bihar declared his independence.
The battle of Khatoli was fought between Maharana Sanga and Ibrahim Lodi in 1518. Ibrahim Lodi was defeated badly by Maharana Sanga.
The governor of Punjab, Daulat khan invited Babur the ruler of Kabul to invade India. Babur accepted the proposal and marched towards Delhi. Ibrahim Lodi was defeated by Babur in the battle of Panipat in 1526. With his death, the Lodi kingdom came to end and the establishment of new dynasty better known as Mughal Empire began by Babur.
Thus, the Sultanate of Delhi, which originated on the battlefield of Tarain in AD 1192, breathed its last in 1526, a few miles away on the battlefield of Panipat.
The administration of Lodi dynasty was headed by Wazir who was also called as Chief Minister. The office of Wazir was responsible for the collection of revenue, maintenance of account and the regulation of expenditure. The office of Wazir was also known as Diwan-i-Wizarat. The wazir was assisted by the mushrif-i-mamalik (accountant) who maintained a record of the accounts and the mustauf-i-mamalik (auditor) who audited this account.
During the Lodi dynasty, the provinces were divided into Shiqs under the administration of Shiqdars. The provinces were further divided into Parganas (group of hundred village), headed by Chaudhary. Among all units, village was the smallest unit of administration.
Diwan-i-arz (military department) was another significant department of Lodi dynasty which was headed by Ariz-i-Mamalik who was responsible for the inspection, recruitment and payment of troops.
Lodi dynasty managed the royal correspondence headed by Dabir-i-insha under the office of Diwan-i-insha.
The rulers of Lodi dynasty gave pivotal importance to the Literature. Literature was produced not only in Persian and Sanskrit but also in other religious languages. The rulers of sultanate provided shelter to different scholars who produced historical and religious literature. The books were written in the form of prose, drama and poetry.
Art and Architecture
The design of arch and the dome was the special feature of Lodi dynasty which became predominant in the North India.
The decorations were done by using geometrical and floral designs with verses from Quran. The Lodi dynasty constructed several monuments dedicated to their dead leaders. The Lodi dynasty period was also known as the period of Macabre.
A large number of tomb and parks were constructed around capital. The tomb of Sikandar Lodi was constructed within the Lodhi garden.
Other famous architecture of Lodi dynasty include Bade Khan ka Gumbad, Chhote Khan ka Gumbad, Bada Gumbad, the tomb of Shihab-ud-din Taj Khan, poli ka Gumbad.
The tomb of Lalitpur popularly known as Jama Masjid was one of the iconic Islamic architecture of the Lodi dynasty.
Delhi Sultanate: Challenges
The Sultanate of Delhi which ruled India for more than three hundred years were succeeded by Mughal Empire who established their strong hold over India. The sultanate of Delhi went through many successes and failures but finally survived as a political force.
Inner Conflict among Nobility
The Sultanate of Delhi was ruled by five dynasties who ruled for about three hundred years. The constant struggle between Sultan and Nobility was the main factor for change of dynasties and deposing of rulers.
Iltutmish emerged victorious in war of succession after the death of Qutbuddin Aibak. Iltutmish created a group of loyal nobles called as Turkan-i-Chihalgani (The forty).
After the death of Qutbuddin Aibak, the throne was ascended by Nasir-ud-iin Mahmud. Another most powerful ruler, Balban was considered as de-facto Sultan. He succeeded Nasir-ud-din Mahmud after his death.
Since there was no fixed law to govern the succession of ruler, so the nobles tried to either crown themselves or support their favourite heir.
Finally, Afghans replaced the Turks with the accession of Bahlul Lodi.
Attack by the Mongols and Others
The Mongol invasion possessed serious threat the Delhi sultanate. Mongols formed a huge nomadic empire under Genghis Khan in 12th century.
Balban and Alauddin Khalji confronted them with full military might. During Khalji regime, Mongols led by Qultlug Khwaja even besieged Delhi which caused a huge damage.
Another important attack which shook the foundation of Delhi Sultanate was by Timur in AD 1398.
Timur was the son of Chief of Chagtai branch of Turks. Timur ordered general massacre and large number of Hindus and Muslims including children and women were murdered.
The downfall of Delhi sultanate began after the invasion of Timur.
Resistance by Indian Chiefs
The Delhi sultanate was considerably weakened after the Khaljis and the Tughlaqs. The Delhi sultanate had to face the resistance from Indian chiefs at regular intervals. After the Khalji and Tughlaqs assumed power, the sultanate of Delhi was considerably weakened.
The invasion of Babur in 1526 finally brought sultanate of Delhi to an end.
Emergence of Provincial Kingdoms
The reign of Muhammad bin Tughlaq had started the process of disintegration of Delhi sultanate. Though Firoz Shah Tughlaq tried to control the situation but failed.
During this period, some of the provincial rulers declared their independence from the rule of the Sultanate, to be dealt in detail in next chapter .
Firoz Shah Tughlaq
Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq Shah II
Alauddin Alam Shah
Jay Singh Suri
Varman Bhatta Bana
Ganga Das Pratap
Pratap Rudra Kalyan
Department of appeals
Department of slaves
Department of justice
Department of pensions
Department of arrears
Department of charity
Department of agriculture
Department of correspondence
Mongolian Invasions During Delhi Sultanate
Genghis Khan came up to the bank of Indus.
Tair Bahadur entered Punjab looting & killing at Lahore.
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.
Tarmashirin Khan was able to reach the outskirts of Delhi but was defeated by Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq.
Literature of Delhi Sultanate
Alberuni was an Arabian scholar who wrote about the Slave dynasty
Gives account of lltutmish’s reign
Court poet of Alauddin Khalji
Describes conquests of Alauddin Khalji
Gives account of Ghiyasuddin’s reign
Poetic description of Alauddin Khalji
Gives an account of his reig
Gives an account of Firoz Shah’s reign
Gives an account of his reign
About Indian sciences
About astronomy; Dedicated to Al- Masud
About mineralogy, gems
Arabic words dictionary
History of llbaris, the slave dynasty
History of Sindh region
Zahiriddin Nasr Muhammad Aufi
Literature and Poems
About Mohmud Ghazni’s reign
A travelogue with stories
Jalaluddin’s conquest and life
History of Tughlaqs
About Bahmani Kingdom
Provincial Kingdoms During and after the Sultanate