The rise of Mongols and their rapid conquests and expansion over Central Asia and the adjoining regions between the 10th and the 13th centuries, marks the beginning of a significant period in history.
The destruction caused by the Mongols left behind atrail of blood and gruesome massacre wherever their advance was resisted. Its consequences for India were direct, profound and far-reaching.
For the Delhi Sultans, control over Kabul-Ghazni-Qandahar line flanked by the Hindukush, was vital not only for stabilizing the scientific frontier but also for the fact that it connected India with the major silk-route passing from China through Central Asia and Persia. However, the developments in Central and West-Asia did not allow the newly founded Turkish state to do the job.
The situation arising out due to the Mongol attacks compelled the Delhi Sultans to take comfort along the Chenab, while the cis-Sutiej region became the cock-pit of confrontations. Thus, the “Indus remained only the cultural boundary of India,” and for all practical purposes the line of control was confined to the West of the Indus only.
Let us first form a mental picture of the regions comprising Central Asia and acquaint ourselves with some of their outstanding features of this region.
“Central Asia” is a loose geographical term that denotes the huge and varied territory bounded in the South by a vast chain of mountains of which the Himalayas form a part.
Its Northern limits may be placed around the Ural mountains; the Western along the Aral and Caspian Seas; and the eastern somewhere between the lakes Balkash and Baikal, perhaps around the river Irtysh.
The region of Central Asia is an extraordinary mosaic of mountains, deserts, oases, steppes and river valleys. The foothills and the valleys contain oases. Beyond the deserts are the Eurasian steppes-those limitless expanses of arid and patchy vegetation. Towards the North and East the Steppes once again disappear into the great Siberian desert. The steppes were very important in determining the course of history of Central Asia and indeed of the world. The environment of steppe could support only nomadic life.
However, the oases were the uniting points of settled existence. The history of civilized communities in Central Asia goes back to a few thousand years.
Periods of peace, occasionally broken by barbarians churning on the periphery, led to the extension of irrigation works and agriculture.
Towns came into existence with the growth of trade and handicrafts. Together these led to flourishing garden kingdoms and states. The oases were thus real counterpoints to the mass of deserts and steppes.
Due to them Central Asia could emerge as the centerpiece in a commercial highway connecting the far-flung civilizations of India, China, Mesopotamia, and Europe.
Central Asia was composed of distinct micro-regions or territorial units that owe their identity to a peculiar mix of geography and history.
Transoxiana is the region build up by the rivers Oxus and Jaxartes. Both flow into the inland Aral Sea and are the two most important Central Asian rivers.
The Arabs, who conquered Transoxiana in the 8th century CE called it Mawaraunnahr, literally meaning “that which is beyond the river”.
Along the middle of the Oxus-Jaxartes basin flows the Zarafshan river, after whose ancient name soghd and the region came to be known as Soghdiana.
Samarqand and Bukhara, the two most famous towns of Central Asia are located within this tract.
Khwarizm (modern khiva) is located in the South of the Aral Sea. A large centralized state arose here as early as the 7th or 6th century BCE. Khwarizm became part of the vast Kushan Empire at the end of the first century CE, which included the Hindukush and encompassed the whole of North India within its fold. Cultural contacts between India and Central Asia were greatly strengthened as a result.
The land-locked region of Khurasan is located to the West of Transoxiana. Its rivers peter out into lakes and swamps. But there are excellent pastures around its oases.
These have persistently attracted nomads to descend into its valleys from across the steep mountains that extend out into Central Asia from the Eurasian steppes. “Because of such movements of people, Khurasan inevitably became a cockpit….”
The Arabs used it as a foundation to conquer Central Asia. To the East of the Jaxartes lies Farghana–the ancestral home of Babur, the first Mughal ruler of India.
The Mongols were the product of deserts and steppes that surround Central Asia. More precisely, they descended from the mass of nomads who roamed in the area of the Altai mountains, South of Lake Baikal-regions that are now part of outer Mongolia.
Their civilization is based on tribal organization and ownership of herds of cattle, sheep and horses.
Furthermore, the tribes often possessed camels, mules and asses.
The animals supplied most of the essential needs of the nomad in the way of food, clothing and shelter.
Pastoral nomadism was governed by the urge for the search for grazing lands. This kept the nomads constantly on the move, from one place to another, with their flocks and herds.
In the absence of agriculture and fixed habitation, the nomads were least attached to the land.
When the tribes camped, each tent or household was allotted a piece of land for its exclusive use.
After the resources were exhausted there, the tribes migrated in search of new pastures.
Thus, mobility was central to the nomadic society, and the horse was its most outstanding asset. One description of pastoral nomads rightly characterizes them as a people whose country was the back of a horse. In consequence, among the Mongols, for instance, no offence was greater than stealing a horse. It invited execution.
Horsemanship accompanied with skill in archery made the nomads a formidable fighting force. In the 13th century, the Mongols brought the art to perfection. They could rain arrows in every direction-forward, rear, and sideways-with deadly accuracy galloping at full speed. Opportunities for testing and strengthening these skills were provided in plenty by the steppe environment where struggle over grazing lands were normal occurrences. Periodically, these turned into large-scale bloody battles.
In the early decades of the 13th century, the Mongols invaded Asia and Europe. By the close of the 13th century, the Mongol empire covered a vast portion of the known world: China, Manchuria, Korea, North Vietnam, Tibet. Turkestan, Afghanistan, Iran, Mesopotamia, Southern Russia and Siberia.
Before rising to world dominion, the Mongols resided in the steppe region North of China and East of Lake Baikal. The sudden rise of Mongols to power seems to fall in line with an old pattern characteristic of the steppes. Long periods of internal conflicts between groups of nomads would throw up a leader of outstanding ability who after levelling out differences between the warring hordes unite them into a powerful coalition.
Chengiz Khan and the Steppe Aristocracy
Chengiz Khanbuilt the Mongols into an incredible striking force. He was born of a powerful Mongol chief and was also known as Chingiz or Chengiz Khan or Temuchin as he was originally called.
After 30 years of a bitter struggle within the steppes, Temuchin eventually emerged as the outstanding leader of the Mongols. During this time he developed his skill both as a warrior and a canny tactician who excelled in dividing and dodging his enemies.
Units of the Mongol army were put under command of generals drawn from it. Military mobilisation reached its zenith under Chengiz Khan. Using a deep-rooted nomadic tradition, he enrolled all adult males into mingghan, literally “units of ten thousand”.
The mingghan in turn were divided into smaller units of ten and hundred. Ten mingghans constituted a tuman and these were deployed for large-scale operations.
Each of these units was placed under the command of a seasoned general. The authority of the commander extended over the soldiers and their families.
Thus, administrative control and military mobilization were parts of a single mechanism.
Conquests and Expansion
Chengiz Khan first endeavoured to bring the pastoral tribes of the Eastern steppes under his control. He ruled over a vast confederacy of Mongol, Turkic and Manchurian tribes. He was the head of all their kibitki (tents) and his family held the conquered/hordes in patrimony. At a kurultai held in 1208 CE, Temuchin was declared “Qaghan of all Mongolia” and received the title of Chengiz Khan.
After the Mongols were consolidated internally, they Mongols burst out of the confines of Mongolia.
At the end of a series of annual campaigns beginning in 1211 CE, they penetrated the Great Wall of China and captured Peking.
Later on, they moved to Transoxiana and Khurasan which formed the dominions of the Khwarizm Shah. The Khwarizm Empire could not withstand the Mongol siege-craft which used battering rams, flame-emitting machines (using naphtha), mangonels or catapults (manjaniq), etc.
The Mongols caught hold of Bukhara and Samarqand in 1220 CE. A witness reporting on the state of Bukhara said: “They came, they sapped, they burnt, they slew, they plundered, they departed.”
The Mongols were able to complete the annexation of Transoxiana and Khurasan in only three years from 1219 to 1222 CE. Chengiz Khan died in 1225 CE.
By that time entire Northern China had been annexed. The empire was divided among his sons. In 1229 CE, his third son, Ogedei, was declared the Great Khan.
The second son, Chaghtai, received Turkestan, and Tolui, the youngest, got the Mongolian homeland.
Hulagu Khan, one of the successors of Chengiz Khan, attacked the Abbasid capital Baghdad in 1258 CE. It perished in blood and flame. According to an estimate, some 800,000 were savagely murdered. The Abbasid Caliphate himself met a violent end.
Finally, four great empires came into shape out of the Mongol conquests: The Golden Horde controlled the Volga Steppe land and Southern Russia; the Ilkhans ruled Afghanistan and Iran; the Chaghtai Empire which included most of Central Asia, and the empire of Kublai Khan which controlled over China and neighbouring territories. These empires lasted till the 15th century.
Mongol Policy of Delhi Sultans
During the period of Delhi Sultanate, the Mongols threatened the security of India from towards the North-West and attempted to penetrate deep into the Indian territory. The Mongols made themselves the greatest power under the leadership of Chengiz Khan at the beginning of the 13th century.
The Delhi Sultanate was threatened, first, by a looming invasion of Mongols under Chengiz Khan himself when Sultan IItutmish had hardly consolidated his position in Punjab. Chengiz Khan had destroyed the Khwarizmi Empire.
Its Prince, Jalaluddin Mangbarni fled to India. Chengiz Khan chased the fugitive Prince up to the bank of the river Indus but when the Prince crossed to the other side he waited there and watched the attitude of the Delhi Sultan.
Jalaluddin sought shelter and assistance from Sultan IItutmish who was in a dilemma. He finally decided not to annoy the mighty foe Chengiz Khan. He put to death the envoy of Jalaluddin and declined to provide shelter to the Prince sending a diplomatic reply that the climate of Delhi would not suit him.
That diplomatic move of Iltutmish saved him from the wrath of Chengiz Khan. Chengiz Khan appreciated this wise move of IItutmish and turned back after leaving the task of capturing Jalaluddin to his officers.
Jalauddin too realized the futility of fighting against Iltutmish and therefore, withdrew towards lower Sind. Thus, the infant Turkish kingdom in India was saved from the wrath of the Mongols who would have certainly destroyed it.
Raziya Sultan also followed the policy of not annoying the Mongols like her father. Jalaluddin had left Hasan Karlugh as the governor of Ghazni and Baniyan. He was seriously pressed by the Mongols and therefore, sought the support of Raziya against them.
Raziya declined to help him and, thus, saved her kingdom from the onslaught of the Mongols. After the fall of Raziya, the understanding between the Delhi Sultanate and the Mongols came to an end.
In 1241 CE, the Mongols, under the command of Bahadur Tair, crossed the river Indus and besieged Lahore. They returned after plundering it. They attacked Multan under the command of Sali Bahadur, in 1247 CE and got an indemnity of one lakh dinars from its governor.
Then he attacked Lahore and forced its governor also to pay indemnity and accept his tutelage. The Mongols attacked Punjab and its neighboring territory during the reign of Sultan Nasiruddin several times.
They gradually seized Multan, Sindh and West Punjab. Sultan Nasiruddin and his Prime Minister Balban avoided hostilities against the Mongols and tried to befriend them. They even exchanged envoys with the Mongol chief, Hulagu Khan.
When Balban became the Sultan of Delhi, he took some effective steps against the Mongols. He recovered Multan, Sindh and Lahore were from the hands of the Mongols. During the early years of Balban’s reign, his cousin Sher Khan was appointed as the warden of the North-West frontiers.
Professor Habibullah and Dr. A.L. Srivastava have described Sher Khan as a great warrior who had terrorized the Mongols. However, K.A. Nizami does not agree with them. He contends that Minhaj-us-Siraj has not mentioned a single battle that was fought by Sher Khan against the Mongols. Instead, he described that Sher Khan had agreed to serve the Mongols.
Balban, therefore, desired to shift him from the North-West and gave him a jagir near Delhi. Sher Khan did not take up his new assignment.
As a result, Balban got him poisoned. Whichever view might be correct but the fact remains that the invasions of the Mongols did not take place during the early period of Balban’s reign or, perhaps they were repelled.
Balban went to Lahore in 1270 CE and ordered the construction of strong forts on the frontier. A series of strong forts were constructed there and strong armies were kept therein. After a few years, the North-West frontier was divided into two parts for defense purposes.
Multan, Sindh and Lahore were placed under the charge of Prince Muhammad Khan while the province of Sunam and Samana was handed over to Prince Bughra Khan. However, when Bughra Khan was appointed governor of Bengal, then the entire responsibility of defending the frontier fell on the shoulder of Prince Muhammad.
Balban’s defence measures proved successful. The Mongols failed to penetrate deeper into India.
When the Mongols attacked the territory of Delhi in 1279 CE, Prince Muhammad defeated them and forced them to withdraw.
In 1285 A.D., the Mongols, under Timur Khan of Afghanistan launched a major attack on Panjab. Prince Muhammad gave him a bold fight but lost his life in the battle and the town of Lahore and Dipalpur were plundered by the Mongols.
However, the provinces of Multan and Uchh were protected from the Mongol fury. Thus, the Mongols failed to break the defense measures of Balban and retreated.
Next, Prince Kaiqubad was appointed the warden of the North-Western frontier. Kaiqubad was not capable, yet two attacks of the Mongols which took place during his time were repelled. When Kaiqubad became the Sultan, he appointed Jalaluddin Khalji to look after the defenses of the North-West who was successful in repulsing some minor attacks of the Mongols.
Thus, the Mongols failed to advance further in the territory of the Delhi Sultanate. However, this was a limited success. Balban also could not dare to extend his influence beyond Lahore.
Besides, the Mongol danger greatly affected the domestic and foreign policy of Balban. He had to keep a strong army in the North-West and at Delhi at an enormous cost and also abstain from pursuing an imperialistic policy.
Thus, the Mongol attacks during the period of rule of the Mameluk Sultans failed in affecting the fortunes of the Delhi Sultanate adversely. It was both because of the successful diplomacy of its early rulers and the stringent defense measures of Sultan Balban during the later period.
Yet, another reason was that the power of the Mongols was weakened by the defeat of their leader, Hulagu Khan in Egypt.
Moreover, during this period, the Mongols had confined their activities merely to plunder. But, on the other hand, the Mameluk rulers also did not dare to dislodge the Mongols from the North-West. The territory West of the river Beas remained occupied by the Mongols.
Mongols and the Khalji Sultans
The first and the only Mongol invasion during the reign of Jalaluddin Khalji occurred in 1292 CE. The Mongols, under the command of a grandson of Hulagu Khan,Abdullah attacked Punjab and reached near Sanam.
According to Barani, the Mongols were defeated by Sultan Jalaluddin. But it was not so. The Sultan was successful in defeating an advance guard of the Mongols and in capturing some of their officers.
However, he never dared to face the main army of the Mongols and tried for peace. The Mongols agreed to withdraw.
However, Ulghu, a descendant of Chengiz Khan, accepted Islam with his 4000 followers and decided to stay in India.
They were called ‘New Musalmans’ and settled in the suburbs of Delhi.
Sultan Jalaluddin also married one of his daughters to Ulghu.
The Mongols threatened the security of India during the reign of Alauddin Khalji. Ghazni and Kabul formed their powerful bases to attack India and they had advanced as far as Sind and Punjab. During the reign of Alauddin, their attacks were more severe as compared to earlier ones.
Besides, they had a different purpose now. Earlier, they had attacked India mainly to gain booty and extend their sphere of influence. But now they attacked India with the purpose of either extending their empire or avenging their defeat and disgrace. Therefore, they endangered the security of not only Punjab but also Ganga-Yamuna Doab. The Khokhars and the Afghan tribes also used to join them because of the temptation of booty.
However, there was one saving grace for Alauddin. From among the different branches of the Mongols, India was attacked either by the Il-Khans of Persia or by the Chaghtais of Transoxiana at that time. But these two ruling dynasties of the Mongols contended against each other for the expansion of their empires not only in Central Asia but also in India and therefore, failed to unite their strength.
The first Mongol invasion during the reign of Alauddin Khalji occurred in 1297-98 CE.Dava Khan, the ruler of Transoxiana, sent an army of one lakh Mongols under the command of Kadar to attack India. They entered Punjab and started plundering the nearby places of Lahore.
Alauddin sent an army under Zafar Khan and Ulugh Khan which defeated the Mongols near Jullundhar and nearly 20,000 Mongols were slaughtered in the battle. A number of Mongol officers were taken prisoners who were killed afterward and their captured women and children were sent to Delhi as slaves.
Again in 1299 CE, the Mongols attacked under the command of Saldi, brother of Dava Khan, and occupied Sehwan. Alauddin sent Zafar Khan against the Mongols who recovered Sehwan from them and imprisoned a large number of Mongols including Saldi and his brother.
Towards the close of 1299 CE, Dava Khan sent a strong army of two lakh horses under the command of his son, Qutlugh Khwaja to avenge the defeat. This time the Mongols were determined to fight against Alauddin.
The battle took place on the plain of Kili near Delhi in which Alauddin emerged victorious primarily, because of the valor of Zafar Khan who broke the left flank of the Mongols by his fierce attack. He chased the escaping Mongols for eighteen kos but, while returning, he was ambushed and killed by them.
However, the Mongols had tested the strength of the Alauddin army. So they decided to retreat and withdrew. The fourth Mongol invasion took place in 1303 CE. Around 1, 20,000 Mongol horsemen under the command of Targhi moved so swiftly that provincial governors could not get time to reach Delhi to help the Sultan.
Alauddin was not in a position to face the Mongols in an open battle. He retired to the fort of Siri and took up defensive position. The Mongols plundered the environs of Delhi and besieged the fort for two months. But as they were unaware of the art of siege-warfare they failed to capture the fort and withdrew.
The invasion of Targhi awakened Alauddin to the necessity of frontier defense. He made Siri his capital, strengthened its fortifications, repaired the fort of Delhi and those in the North- West, constructed some new ones there kept standing armies in them, kept a separate and permanent army for the defense of the North-West, appointed a separate governor for the same and increased the number and efficiency of his army.
In 1305 CE, the Mongols attacked again under the command of Ali Beg and Tartaq. Targhi also joined them in the way. However, the Mongols were comprehensively defeated. In 1308 E, the Mongols attacked again to take revenge for the defeat of Ali Beg and Tartaq. Alauddin’s generals Ghazi Malik and Malik Kafur defeated the Mongols so crushingly that they fled away.
According to Zia-ud-din Barani, the Mongol invasions occurred even after 1308 CE. But Isami and Amir Khusrav regarded the invasion of 1308 CE as their last invasion. Dr. K.S. Lal and Dr. S. Roy have agreed with Barani while Dr. A.L. Srivastava has opined that the last Mongol invasion took place in 1307-8 CE.
Thus, Alauddin’s reign witnessed most fierce invasions of the Mongols. Yet, he succeeded in repulsing them all. Therefore, the Mongols did not dare to attack India during the last years of his reign.
According to Barani and Firishta, Ghazi Malik Tughluq, who was appointed governor of the North-West Frontier in 1305 CE, even attacked Kabul, Ghazni, Kandhar and plundered the territories of the Mongols there. This aggressive policy of Ghazi Malik broke up the capacity of the Mongols to invade India.
The Last Phase of Mongol Attacks
The Mongols made some feeble attempts to plunder India even after Alauddin Khalji’s reign. One such attempt was made during the reign of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughluq in 1324 CE.
However, they were badly defeated by the Sultan and many of their leaders were brought to Delhi as captives and then put to death.
The Mongols attacked only once during the reign of Sultan Muhammad-bin-Tughluq. The Chaghatai Chief, Alauddin Tarmashirin of Transoxiana attacked India in 1327 CE at the head of a powerful army.Dr. M. Hussain believes that Tarmashirin was defeated by Amir Ghoban near Ghazni in 1328 CE and therefore, came to India as a refugee. Muhammad gave him five thousand dinars by way of help and then Tarmashirin returned. But this argument of Dr. Hussain has not been accepted by the majority of modern historians. They all agree that the Mongols came as aggressors and ravaged the country from Multan and Lahore to the vicinity of Delhi. However, these historians also differ as to how Muhammad dealt with them. According to Isami, the Mongols were defeated by Sultan’s army near Meerut and forced to retreat. Sir Wolseley Haig also accepted this version.
Firishta differed with Isami and opines that the Sultan gave the Mongols huge presents and, thus, bribed them to turn back.
Dr. A.L Srivastava and Dr Iswari Prasad have supported the viewpoint of Firishta. Considering the fact that the Mongols could reach the vicinity of Delhi without any resistance and turned back without fighting a battle, their contention seems to be more correct. It showed the weakness of the Sultan and also his neglect towards the defense of his North-West frontier. However, he took preventive measures to safeguard his North-West frontier after the return of the Mongols.
According to Isami the Sultan occupied Peshawar and Kalanaur in Punjab and made arrangement for their defense.
Later, during the second half of the 14th century, the Sultanate of Delhi remained free from the Mongol menace. The Mongols in Central Asia embraced Islam. Amir Timur also broke up the remaining power of the Mongols in Central Asia, Afghanistan and other regions and succeeded in establishing a powerful empire with its capital at Samarqand. Therefore, there existed no Mongol chief to attack India.
Causes of the Failure of Mongol Invasions
The Mongols proved to be unsuccessful in capturing permanently even a part of the territory of the Delhi Sultanate. Their only success was in the North-West region of India and that too mostly remained confined to plunder. A number of factors were responsible for the failure of Mongol invasions in India.
Chengiz Khan, the founder of the Mongol empire and the ablest Mongolian chief, did not attack India. He returned from the banks of the river Indus on his own otherwise he could destroy the Delhi Sultanate with one single powerful stroke.
After the death of Chengiz Khan the Mongol chiefs in Central Asia revolted against their chiefs in China and carved out independent kingdoms for themselves. It weakened the power of the Mongols. The attacks of the Mongols in India were not carried out by their great Khans of Mongolia and China but by the Il-Khans of Persia or the Chaghtais of Transoxiana who were weak and had less resources.
Besides, both these ruling dynasties were competing each other for power which further reduced their strength and did not leave anyone of them capable enough to gain success in a distant place like India.
Thus, the Mongols had lost their mobility and fighting vigor. They had also started bringing their families with them to the battlefield which must have also adversely affected their fighting strength. Besides, the severest attacks of the Mongols occurred in India under the rule of most capable military commander organizer of the army at Delhi, viz., Alauddin Khalji.
Undoubtedly, Alauddin Khalji and his powerful permanent standing army was responsible for the failure of Mongol invasions against India.
Effects of Mongol Invasions
The Mongol invasions of India had sweeping effects. It affected the domestic and foreign policy of the Delhi Sultans. Some portions of Indian territory were temporarily lost by the Delhi Sultans. The political frontiers of India receded from the base of the Hindukush to the banks of the river Ravi or Beas in the North and the lower course of the river Indus in the South.
Most of Sind and the region between the Ravi and the Indus were under the control of the Mongols. The Mongol invasions also impeded the process of expansion and consolidation of the Delhi Sultanate.
The danger from Mongol invasions did not leave the Sultans any time to conquer other parts of India. The rulers of Malwa and Rajputana continued to challenge the Sultans of Delhi. Hindu resistance in the Doab could not be successfully liquidated in spite of many efforts.
Another effect of Mongol invasions was the weakening of the central authority. The Delhi Sultans had to depend upon the nobles to fight against the Mongols and as a result they could not afford to take action against them. The Sultans were aware that their very existence may be threatened if they decided to take action against those who alone could be expected to support them.
Although it was realized that the Iqtadari system resulted in strengthening the hands of the nobles, yet it was not abolished due to fear of opposition from the nobles. The Sultans were forced to give adequate power to their commanders who were appointed to guard the frontiers against the Mongols.
It is noteworthy that the two dynasties of the Delhi Sultante, viz., Khalji and Tughlaq, were founded by military officials who were Wardens of the Western Marches. As the nobles were very strong, the authority of the Central Government was bound to be weak.
The Mongol invasions also affected the administrative set up of the Delhi Sultans. The threat of the Mongols was always there. All the efforts of the Sultans were to protect their kingdom from their attacks.
It is not surprising that the administrative set up of the Sultans was to be such which could bear the Mongol’s threat. Consequently, the military aspect of the administration was given foremost attention and its civil aspect was practically neglected.
The administration of Sultans retained the form of military occupation rather than that of a settled Government. Before Alauddin Khalji introduced his land-revenue system, there was no revenue organization worth the name.
The task of collecting revenue was left to the free will of the individual officers who either used local agencies like the village headmen or resorted to punitive measures.
As the Delhi Sultans faced a continued military emergency, they were not able to devote themselves to the problem of civil administration whose success alone could ensure the welfare of the people.
The Mongol invasions had very unhappy consequences in the economic field too. The Mongols isolated India from the rest of Central Asia. They obstructed the traditional overland trade routes. A lot of money had to be collected to fight against the Mongols and that could be had by more and more taxes on the people. This must have affected adversely the conditions of the people.
The market reforms of Alauddin Khalji imposed an additional burden on the peasantry as they were compelled to sell their commodities at a very low cost.
However, the Mongol invasion also benefitted India. The Mongols conquered Afghanistan and Iran and thereby isolating the Sultans of Delhi from the rest of the Muslim world.
As a consequence, the Sultans of Delhi could not depend on any help from the Muslims in other parts of the world. As a result, they were forced to think in terms of India alone. They did not treat their Indian possessions as colonies.
They were compelled to make India their homeland and ultimately they absorbed and adopted the Indian traditions.
Their political and cultural outlook and also their institutions became more and more Indianised.
Thus, the Mongol invasions contributed to the slow but gradual process of Indianisation of the alien Muslim conquerors of India.
Another advantage which India derived from the Mongol invasions was that art and culture developed under the Sultans of Delhi. The Mongols had destroyed all the important centres of Islamic culture and learning.
Delhi was the only place that could give refuge to all those who wanted scope for the development of their talents.
As a result many saints, scholars, artists and artisans, famous for their achievements in varied fields, flocked to Delhi and Delhi became one of the largest cities of the world.
Ziauddin Barani has rightly pointed out that Delhi became the equal of Baghdad and the rival of Cairo and Constantinople.