• Qutubuddin Aibak established the Slave dynasty in 1206 AD. He was among the most important slaves of Muhammad Ghori. In 1192, Aibak had suppressed the revolt in Meerut in the absence of Ghori. Impressed by his qualities, Ghori awarded Aibak the title of ‘Malik’. Aibak was also known as ‘Lakh Baksh’ due to his habit of donating lavishly. Minhas Siraj called him ‘Hatimtai’.
  • Qutubuddin Aibak was succeeded by his son-in-law Iltutmish(1210-1236). He is regarded as the real founderof the Turkish Empire in northern India.
    • Iltutmish was Iqtedar (Governor) of Badaun, before becoming Sultan. Badaun was the most prominent Iqta (province) of the Sultanate at that time. Iltutmish made Delhi hiscapital.
    • He is also known as the founder and first Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate. He was also known as ‘Ghulam of Ghulam (slave of the slave)’, as he was a slave of Aibak, who himself was a slave of Muhammad Ghori.
    • Iltutmish is also credited for issuing regular currency for the first time during the Sultanate period.
  • The currency had inscription in chaste Arabic. Silver coins weighing 175 grain were known as ‘Tanka’. Copper coins were known as ‘Jital’.
  • Iltutmish established a group of 40 Turkish nobles at his court, who were known as ‘the forty’ or the turkan-e-chahalgani. These 40 Turkish nobles were loyal to Sultan Iltutmish.
  • After Iltutmish, Balban was the strong ruler of Delhi. He abolished the turkan-e-chahalgani and became the first to propound ‘The theory of kingship’ and ‘the divine origin of the king’ (niyamat-e-khudai). He started celebrations of the famous Persian festival ‘Navroj’ in India.
  • The Delhi Sultanate was ruled by a total of five dynasties, that is, the Slave dynasty, Khilji dynasty, Tughlaq dynasty, Sayyad dynasty, and the Lodi dynasty. The entire area of present Uttar Pradesh was part of the Delhi Sultanate.
  • Sultan Firoz Tughlaq of Tughlaq dynasty founded two important cities in Uttar Pradesh named ‘Jaunpur’ and ‘Firozabad’.
    • He built the city of Jaunpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh in memory of his paternal cousin Fakruddin Jauna Khan (Muhammad Bin Tughlaq).
    • He established Firozabad near Delhi on the banks of river Yamuna. The city of Firozabad is also known as ‘Firoz Shah Kotla’.
      • Firoz Tughlaq also brought one Ashokan pillar to Delhi from Meerut. He installed this pillar in his capital.
  • After the death of Firoz Shah, Jaunpur was made independent and a new ‘Sharqi Sultanate’ started here.
    • Sharqi Sultanate was established by ‘Malik Sarwar’ (Khawaja Khan), a eunuch, during the rule of Tughlaq Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud.
    • Malik Sarwar was given the title of ‘Malik-us Sharq’ (Lord of the east) by Sultan Muhammad Shah Tughlaq.
    • Emboldened by the title, Malik Sarwar established the Sharqi Sultanate, whose boundaries lay between Etawah (West) to Bengal (East) and Nepal (North) to Vindhyachal (South).
    • He independently ruled by making Jaunpur the capital.
  • During the rule of Ibrahim Shah, Jaunpur made great progress in the areas of education, culture, art, music, literatureand business. During this period, Raza Begum, the wife of Sharqi ruler Mahmood Shah, established a Madrasa (Islamic religious school) in Jaunpur which was known as ‘Raza Begum’s Madrasa’.
    • Construction of ‘Atala Mosque’ was started by Firoz Shah in 1393 which was completed by Ibrahim Shah in 1408. Jaunpur’s administration is unique for creating and protecting the harmony between Hindu and Muslim communities. Due to its qualities and development, Jaunpur was known as Shiraz-e-hind (Light of India).
  • Behlol Lodi, sultan of Delhi, captured Jaunpur in 1448 and ended Sharqi rule. The entire area of the Sharqi Sultanate once again became part of the Delhi Sultanate.
  • Another ruler of the Lodi dynasty Sikandar Lodi established the city of Agra in 1506 and made Agra as its second capital. Sikandar Lodi was well educated and an intellectual. He used to write poems using ‘Gulrukhi’ as his pet name.
    • He established mosques as centres of education by transforming them into cooperative societies. Jaunpur remained as a centre of education, art, literature and business during his rule.
    • The well-known poet, Sufi and author of Padmavat, Malik Muhammad Jayasi was educated in Jaunpur.
  • Sikandar Lodi was succeeded by his son Ibrahim Lodi in 1517. He took the title of ‘Ibrahim Shah‘. He divided his empire into two parts and appointed his brother Jalal Khan as ruler of Jaunpur.
    • However, later on, he again merged Jaunpur with the rest of the empire. This prompted Jalal Khan to revolt and annex Jaunpur. Jalal Khan took the title of ‘Jalaluddin’ and declared himself as an independent ruler.

Bhakti Movement in Uttar Pradesh

  • The Bhakti Movement in Medieval India was a new attempt to counter Buddhism and Jainism which were founded in the sixth century BC as a reaction to the complexities of Vedic rituals. The movement was led by saints from Shaiva and Vaishnava sects.
  • In southern India, Vaishnava saints, propagating Vaishnava Dharma, were known as ‘Alvars’ and Shaiva saint, propagating Shaiva dharma, were known as ‘Nayanars’. Both Alvars and Nayanars used Bhakti (worship or personal devotion to God) as a medium to propagate Dharma. Ramananda brought the bhakti movement from the south to the north.
  • Ramananda- Ramananda, a disciple of Ramanuja, was born in Anusuiaya of Prayagraj. He enrolled disciples from all castes and preached in the local language. He emphasised on monotheism (principle of one God). He started worshipof Rama instead ofVishnu. Kabir, Raidas, Sena were his famous disciple. The popularity of the bhakti movement led to its dissection into Nirguna (God without attributes) and Saguna (God with attributes) sects. Kabir is the most prominent name in the Nirguna sect and the Saguna sect was led by Chaitanya, Tulsidas, Vallabhacharya, Surdas and Meera.
  • Kabir – Kabir was a contemporary of Sultan Sikandar Lodi and was bom in 1440 AD (the exact date is disputed).
    • Kabir himself has said about his birth: Kashi me pargat bhaye, Ramanand chaitaye (Born in Kashi and enlightened by Ramananda).
    • Kabir raised himself above the orthodoxies of caste and religion and raised his voice against all kinds of social evils in society. He was a true social reformer. He was against religious rituals, worldly pomp, anthropomorphism and idol worship.
    • He preached about Nirguna Brahma (God without attributes) based on the principle of one God. He even accepted Rama in Nirguna form. He believed that God resides in everyone’s heart instead of any place of worship such as temples, mosques, Kashi or Kaaba. Despite being illiterate, Kabir composed couplets based on his teachings. These couplets were an effective medium to spread his ideas among tthe masses. ‘Bijak’ is the collection of his couplets.
    • He challenged Brahmanical orthodoxy throughout his life and even in death, by dying in ‘Maghar’ (present-day Sant Kabir Nagar district) in 1510 AD.
      • In those days it was said that those who died in Maghar did not attain salvation. He wrote: Jo Kabira Kashi Mare to Hari ko kaun Nihora (Where will be the grace of God if Kabir attains salvation by dying in Kashi).
  • Raidas (Ravidas) – Raidas was born in Kashi in 1482 AD. He was a disciple of Ramananda. He worked as a cobbler.
    • He used to do social work and worship God in his spare time. He opposed worldly pomp, ritualism, caste system, anthropomorphism, etc.
    • He believed in the principle of one God without attributes, that is, Nirguna Brahma. His followers established the ‘Raidasi Sect’.
  • Tulsidas – Tulsidas was born in Rajpur village in the Banda district in 1523 AD. He was a contemporary of Akbar and the Mewar King Rana Pratap.
    • He was the most prominent saint-poet of the Saguna bhakti sect.
    • He composed the Ramcharita Manas praising and describing the life of Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu.
  • Vallabhacharya– Vallabhacharya is one of the most famous saints of the Krishna Bhakti sect. He was bom in 1479 AD in Kashi.
    • He believed in the philosophy of Shuddhadvaita (pure non-dualism). He founded Vaishnava Sampraday (Vaishnava sect) in the Vijaynagar Kingdom during the reign of Raja Krishnadevaraya.
    • He prescribed Krishna worship in the form of ‘Srinath Ji’.
    • He composed Subhodhni, Siddhant Rahasya and Anubhasya.
    • He lived most of his life in Kashi and Vrindavan. He never formally took the oath of Sanyas. His followers were known as ‘Asthachap’.
  • Surdas- Surdas, a disciple of Vallabhacharya, was bom in 1478AD at Runakta village on the Agra-Mathura road.
    • He was a contemporary of Akbar and Jahangir. He was a poet and a member of Asthachap.
    • He emphasised on Krishna worship and composed Sursagar, Sursaravali and Sahitya Lehari in Braj-bhasa.

Mughal Period

Babur (1526-1530AD)

  • Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur established Mughal rulein India. As per ‘Baburnama’, he was invited to attack India by the governor of Punjab Daulat Khan Lodi, Alam Khan and Rana Sanga. He defeated Sultan Ibrahim Lodi (an Afghan) in 1526 AD at the First Battle of Panipat.
  • Babur used ‘Tulgama tactics’ and ‘Usmani style’ of arranging artillery (firing cannonballs by placing them in between two wagons) for the first time in this battle, Babur’s artillery was led by two master-gunners Ustad Ali and Mustafa Khan in the Battle of Panipat. After the battle, Babur made Agra his capital.
  • Babur defeated Rana Sanga of Mewar in the Battle of Khanwa in March 1527. Khanwa is situated 40 kilometres from Agra. The reputation of Rana Sanga as a fierce warrior and his early successes demoralised Babur’s soldiers. To motivate his soldiers, Babur prohibited consumption and sale of liquor and abolished ‘Tamaga Tax’ (Customs tax) for Muslims.
  • He took the title of ‘Ghazi’ (a religious warrior in Islam) after victory in this battle. Babur was able to defeat the joint forces of Bengal and Bihar in the Battle of Ghaghara in 1529.
  • After this victory, Babur’s empire expanded and included the area from Sindhu in the west to Bihar in the east-west. Kannauj and Awadh were also a part of his empire.

Humayun (1530-1556AD)

  • Humayun, the eldest son of Babur, was crowned as emperor in December 1530 in Agra, after Babur’s death.
  • Afghans still posed a serious threat to the Mughals as they did during the reign of Babur. Forces of Mahmud Lodi of Bihar, who had already captured Jaunpur, Lucknow and Manikpur, met with Humayun’s forces at a place called Dadrah, in 1532. Mahmud Lodhi was defeated and fled.
  • However, Humayun was defeated by theAfghan noble Sher Khan in 1539. This battle was fought at a place called Chausa, at the north bank of river Ganga. Sher Khan took the title of ‘Shershah’ after this victory. He once again defeated Humayun in 1540 at the Battle of Bilgram and captured Kannauj, Bilgram, Agra and Delhi. Shershah died in 1545 during the Kalin jar campaign.
  • Humayun captured Agra and Delhi in 1555 but he could not live long to enjoy the fruits of his victory. He died from falling down the stairs of the library at Dinpanah in January’ 1556.

Akbar (1556-1605AD)

  • Akbar sat on the throne at the age of 13 after the death of his father Humayun. He defeated ‘Hemu’ (last Indian king to call him self Vikramaditya) in the second battle of Panipat in November 1556. This victory empowered him to have real control over the empire.
  • Akbar’s forces captured Gwalior in 1559 AD, Jaunpur in 1560, and Malwa and Chunar forts in 1561 AD.
  • Akbar defeated Raja Rama Chandra of Kalinjar (Banda) in 1569 and gave him Jagir near Prayag. Akbar changed the name of Prayag to Allahabad in 1583AD.
  • In 1572, Akbar constructed a new city named ‘Fatehpur Sikri’ to commemorate his Gujrat Victory. This new city was situated 36 kilometres from Agra. Another reason for constructing this city was to pay his respects to the famous Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chishti.
  • In Fatehpur Sikri, a fort-cum-palace complex was built together. One of the most attractive features of this palace is the 176-feet high Buland Darwaja (a Gateway).
  • Akbar constructed the Red Fort in Agra. He also constructed forts in the cities of Allahabad and Lahore.
  • Akbar had nine great scholars from different fields in his court. These scholars were collectively called as nine gems. Among these nine gems, two, Birbal and Todarmal, were from Uttar Pradesh.
    • Birbal was born in a Brahmin family in Kalpi ( present district Jaiaun). Akbar honoured Birbal with titles of ‘Raja’ and ‘Kaviraj’. He was the first and only Hindu king to accept Din-e-Ilahi.
    • Todarmal was born in a Kshatriya family in Sitapur near Lucknow. He was appointed as the Diwan of Gujrat and was later made prime minister. Todarmal pioneered several land reformsduring his tenure as Diwan-e-Ashraf (revenue minister).
  • Akbar was tolerant of all religions. He learned and tried to imbibe the good features of every religion. He abolished the Pilgrimage tax in August 1563 AD. He abolished Jaziya (a religious tax on every non-Muslim) in 1564.
  • In 1582, Akbar started a new religion named ‘Dine-ilahi’ (Tauhid-e-ilahi). He declared Din-e-ilahi as the state religion. Din-e-ilahi was based on the principle of one God.
    • As per Vincent Smith,‘The whole scheme (Dine-ilahi) was outcome of ridiculous vanity, a monstrous growth of autocracy.’
  • Akbar made alliances with several Rajput Kings and made them loyal to himself. This gave new vigour to the Mughal Empire.

Jahangir (1605-1627AD)

  • After the death of Akbar, his son Salim was crowned in the capital city of Agra on 16 November 1605. He took himself the title of ‘Nuruddin Muhammad Jahangir Badshah Ghazi’.
  • He issued 12 royal decrees known as ‘Ain-e-Jahangiri’ (dastur-e-amal) after ascending to the throne.
    • These royal decrees included the abolition of Tamga Tax, the prohibition on the manufacturing and sale of liquor, the construction of wells, inns and mosques on roadsides, a ban of the slaughter of animals on Thursday (day of Jahangir’s coronation) and Sunday (day of birth of Akbar), a ban on chopping nose and ears as a method of punishment, and others.
  • He installed pure gold chains of justice ( janjir-eadali) at Shahburz in Agra fort and on a pillar at the bank of Yamuna. The Janjir-e-adali had 60 bells in it. Jahangir also appointed a person named ‘Srikant’ as Judge for Hindus.
  • Jahangir’ son Khusro revolted against him, soon after he became emperor. Jahangir executed the fifth Sikh Guru Arjun Dev for his patronage to Khusro. Later, Khusro was killed by Jahangir’s other son ‘Khurram’ (Shahjahan).
  • The tomb of Khusro is situated at Khusro garden (Khusro Bagh) in Prayagraj.
  • Jahangir married a widow named ‘Mehrunnissa’. She was the daughter of Mirza Ghiyasbeg, a resident of Tehran. Jahangir gave Mehrunnissa the title of ‘Noormehal’. Later, she became popular as ‘Noorjahan’.
  • Jahangir wrote his biography Tujuk-e-Jahangiri in Persian. He wrote in his biography that the method of extracting perfume from roses was pioneered by Noorjahan’s mother Asmat Begum.

Shahjahan (1628-1658)

  • Shahjahan ascended to the throne in February 1628. On the path to the throne, he got many of his relatives killed. He sent Noorjahan to Lahore as a pensioner.
  • Shahjahan established a new department to convert Hindus into Islam. He lifted the ban on cow slaughter, though he had to reinstate it after some time. Shahjahan prohibited Hindus from having Muslims as their slaves.
  • Shahjahan was married to Arzumandbano Begum. She was later known as‘ Mumtaj Mehal’. Mumtaj died in 1631 AD. Shahjahan built the ‘Taj Mahal’ from 1631 to 1648 AD in her memory. Taj Mahal is world famous for its beauty and unique architecture.
  • Shahjahan’s period saw multi-dimensional developments in the fields of architecture, art, literature etc. He appointed Pandit Jagannath, who was the writer of Gangalehari and Gangadhar, as his Royal poet (Raj Kavi).
  • Due to great developments in fields of architecture, art, literature,Shahjahan’s period is regarded as the golden period of medieval history.
  • Many foreigners also visited India during Shahjahan’s reign. Tavernier (jeweller) and Bernier (Physician) of France, and Munichi and Mundi of Italy were chief among these foreign visitors. Munichi has given an account of his travel in his book Storia Do Mogor.

Aurangzeb (1658-1707AD)

  • Aurangzeb crowned himself emperor in 1658 after putting his father and emperor Shahjahan in the dungeon.
  • Aurangzeb showed religious intolerance and bigotry during his reign. He stopped celebrations of Navroj, banned Sun calendar (Surya Panchang ),and also forbade the kalma being inscribed on coins. He ordered the demolition of many Hindu temples including the famous ‘Kashi Vishwanath temple’ and ‘Keshav Rai temple’ in Mathura.
  • He reinstated the pilgrimage tax. He also banned the practice of Sati among Hindus.
  • He abolished the Pandari Tax (chungi ), Rahdari (road tax), and Awbab tax on farmers.
  • Aurangzeb had to face the fierce struggle of Marathas during his reign. The Maratha chief Shivaji’s brilliant tactics made him lose significant lives and property.
  • During his reign, Mughals had to face Sikh revolts as well. Aurangzeb captured and killed the ninth Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur in Delhi. This led to the organisation of Sikhs into a martial force known as Khalsa Panth by the tenth Guru Govind Singh. Khalsa Panth offered strong resistance to the Mughals.
  • Aurangzeb’s religious bigotry had initiated fractures in his vast empire. There was no other strong Mughal ruler after Aurangzeb who could keep the Mughal Empire intact. Soon after Aurangzeb’s death in 1707 AD, the Mughal Empire disintegrated.
  • Mughal rulers after Aurangzeb are known as Later Mughals. Some of the important later Mughal rulers are listed as follows:
    • Bahadur Shah (1707-1712 AD),
    • JahandarShah (1712-1713AD),
    • Farukhsiyar(1713-1719 AD),
    • Muhammad Shah (1719-1748 AD),
    • Ahmad Shah (1748-1754 AD),
    • Alamgir II (1754-1759 AD),
    • Shah Alam 11 (1759-1806 AD),
    • Akbar 11 (1806-1837 AD) and
    • Bahadur Shah II (1837-1857 AD).

Nawabs of Awadh

  • ‘Awadh’ in Uttar Pradesh was a province (suba) of the Mughal Empire. The Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah appointed Sadat Khan Burhan-ul-Mulk as governor of Awadh in 1722.
  • Soon, Sadat Khan declared Awadh as an independent state. Khan started a new revenue settlement in 1723 intending to curb corruption and give relief to fanners pressurised by loans of zamindars. Khan invited Nadir Shah to attack India in 1739 AD; however, he committed suicide as he was not able to pay Nadir Shah as promised.
  • After the death of Sadat Khan, his nephew and son-in-law Safdarjang became the Nawab. He was also Wazir in the Mughal court of emperor Muhammad Shah.
    • Allahabad was also under his control. Safdarjang died in 1754 AD and Shujauddala was made the Nawab.
  • Shujauddaula had a pact against the East India Company with the Mughal emperor Shah Alam II and Mir Kasim of Bengal who had to flee from Bengal due to fear of the East India Company.
    • This pact the angered East India Company and led to the Battle of Buxar in 1764 between the forces of the East India Company and the joint forces of Mughal emperor, Shujauddaula and Mir Kasim. The East India Company won the battle and the Treaty of Allahabad was signed.
    • Shujauddaula got his kingdom back but he had to pay 50 lakh rupees to the British as war indemnity.
  • Asafuddaula became nawab after Shujauddaula. Asafuddaula transferred his capital from Faizabad to Lucknow.
  • Wajid Ali Shah was the last Nawab of Awadh. Dalhousie annexed Awadh on the charges of maladministration and made it a part of the British Empire.

Iqta System

  • Iqta system came in India from west Asia with the Turkish rulers of the Delhi Sultanate, lltutmish formalised the Iqta system in India. This system helped rulers to maintain a large standing army.
  • Under the Iqta system, Delhi Sultans divided their territory into tract of lands known as ‘iqta’, among nobles. These Iqtas later became Subas or provinces. Iqta-holders were called as ‘Muqti’ or ‘‘Walis’.
  • Iqta-holders were supposed to look after administration, collect revenues, and maintain an army.
  • Muqtis were supposed to pay the salary of soldiers from the Iqta’s revenue. They were almost independent and they were allowed to retain surplus revenue that remained after paying the soldier’s salaries.
  • Later, as Sultans became stronger, they tried to as certain the Iqta’s revenue and tried to fix the salaries of the soldiers and the Muqti. The surplus revenues were now to be submitted in the royal treasury.
  • It was not a hereditary system and the Sultan could transfer Muqti to any other Iqta. Under Firoz Shah Tughlag, Iqta system was made hereditary and punishment for accounting discrepancy became lessstringent.
  • During the Delhi Sultanate, a majority of the land was part of Iqtas. Land on which the Sultan exercised direct control and directly collected revenue was known as Khalisa land. Subas were the largest administrative unit. Below Subas administrative units were known as Shiqs and Pargana. A Pargana was headed by an Amil.


  • Mansabdari is a distinct feature of Akbar’s administration which was inspired by Mongol administration.
    Mansab’ was the rank assigned to government officials. This rank has two components: Zat’ and
    . Zat indicated personal status in administrative structureand specified salary. Sawar indicated the number of troops to be kept.
  • Mansabdars were assigned a Jagir through which he was able to generate revenue approximately equal to the salary due to him and his troops. This was not a hereditary system and a Mansabdar could be promoted, demoted, or expelled. Based on rank mansabdars were categorised into three:
    • Mansabdars ( below rank 500),
    • Amir (rank 500-2500) and
    • Amir-e-umda (rank of 2500 and above).
  • Jahangir brought in the ‘duh-aspah-sih-aspah’ system which meant that a mansabdar had to keep a fixed number of troopers.
  • The fundamental difference between Mansabdari and Iqta system was that most Mansabdars neither resided nor looked after the administration of their Jagirs. They used to provide service in other parts of empires, although they were entitled to revenue from their Jagir. The Muqti used to compulsorily stay and administer the Iqta.


  • Akbar had a deep interest in religion and philosophy. He adopted the policy of Sulh-kul which literally means peace to all.
  • He established Ibadat Khana in 1575 at Fatehpur Sikri.
    • He discussed religious and spiritual topics with scholars of different regions in the Ibadat Khana.
    • He was convinced that there was only one God with many forms.
  • He started Din-e-Ilahi in 1582. It was based on divine monotheism. Akbar had laid the foundation of Din-e-Ilahi by combining good thoughts of all religions.
    • He did not use any coercion for the spread of Din-e-ilahi. Din-e-llahi had no sacred place and book.
    • New’ members were initiated by Akbar himself on Sunday. Akbar used to give a formula to new members known as shast. Abul Fazl, Faizi and Birbal joined Din-e-Ilahi.
    • Din-e-Ilahi virtually died with Akbar. However, Jahangir continued the practice of taking new entrants and giving shast.

Islamic Taxation

  • There are following types of taxations as per Islamic law’.
    • Ushr- This was a tax on crop produce. It was levied only on Muslims. It was fixed as 10 percent of produce on irrigated land and 5 percent of produceon non-irrigated land.
    • Kharaj-This was a land tax levied on non-Muslims. It ranged between one-third and one-half under various sultans.
    • Khams – It was the tax on war booty and hidden treasures. Generally, it was divided as one-fifth to the ruler and four-fifth to the soldiers. Firoz Shah made the ruler’s part four-fifths.
    • Zakat-It w’asalso levied onlyon Muslims. It was used for the welfare of poor and needy Muslims. Its rate was fixed as two and a half percent of income.
    • Jiziya-It was the tax on non-Muslims who were called as zimmis under Islamic law. Jiziya was imposed in lieu of exemption from military service and for protection of the state. Women,children, handicapped and unemployed were exempt from it. It was imposed on Brahmins also, who were exempted earlier. Akbar repealed Jiziya which was again reimposed by Aurangzeb.

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