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The Delhi Sultanate [Indian History]

Delhi Sultanate

»  A Rajput king, Prithviraj Chauhan ruled towards the end of the 12th century.
»  The defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan in the second battle of Tarain in 1192 by Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori inaugurated an era of Muslim rule in India.
»  The sudden death of Muhammad Ghori in 1206 and his failure to specify succession procedures pitted his three slaves Tajuddin Yalduz, Nasiruddin Qubacha and Qutbuddin Aibek against each other. 
»  The Delhi Sultanate was a Muslim kingdom based mostly in Delhi that stretched over large parts of the Indian subcontinent for 320 years (1206–1526).
»  The period between 1206 and 1526 in the Indian history is known as the "Period of the Sultan Rulers".
»  During this period, five dynasties ruled over Delhi Sultanate sequentially, the first four of which were of Turkic origin:
1.       the Mamluk dynasty/Slave dynasty(1206–1290)
2.      the Khilji dynasty (1290–1320)
3.      the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1414),
4.      the Sayyid dynasty (1414–51)
5.      the Afghan Lodi dynasty (1451–1526).
»  The sultanate is noted for being one of the few states to repel an attack from the Mongol Empire, and enthroned one of the few female rulers in Islamic history, Razia Sultana, who reigned from 1236 to 1240.
»  Qutb-ud-din Aibak, a former slave of Muhammad Ghori, was the first sultan of Delhi and his dynasty conquered large areas of northern India.
»  Afterwards the Khilji dynasty was also able to conquer most of central India, but both failed to unite the Indian subcontinent.
»  The sultanate reached the peak of its geographical reach during the Tughlaq dynasty, covering most of the Indian subcontinent.This was followed by decline due to continuing Hindu-Muslim wars, states such as the Vijayanagara Empire asserting independence, and new Muslim sultanates such as the Bengal Sultanate breaking off.
»  In 1526 the Sultanate fell, to be succeeded by the Mughal Empire.

Mamluk dynasty/Slave dynasty(1206–1290)

»  Muhammad of Ghur continued his exploits in India even after the second battle of Tarain. However, he soon had to return to his kingdom and left behind his trusted lieutenant and former slave Qutbuddin Aybak to rule on his behalf. These were the beginnings of the Slave or the Mamluk dynasty in north India.
»  Qutb al-Din Aibak, a slave of Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad Ghori , was the first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate.
»  He reigned only for four years and died in 1210 due to falling from horse while playing Chaugan (Polo).
»  He was called Lakha Baksh Sultan due to his generosity. He laid the foundation of Qutub Minar, named after Sufi saint Qutb-ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki and also built Quvvat-ul-Islam mosque, now a UNESCO world heritage site.
»  Second ruler of Mamluk dynasty was Iltutmish (1211-1236), a son-in-law of Qutub-ud-din. He belonged to Ilabari tribe so some people called Slave dynasty as Ilabari dynasty also.
»  He did some experiments in Indian Administration. During his reign, the Ilabari elite called Chahalgani or Chalisa remained dominant in administration.
»  Some of the notable points about his reign are as follows:
·  During Iltutumish reign, Mongols attacked under Chengez Khan. His eyes were set on west, so he returned quickly from Punjab towards Sindh and Multan.
·  He built Hauz Shamshi in Delhi, completed the Qutub Minar works and also built India’s first Islamic Mausoleum Sultan Garhi in Delhi to bury his son Nasiru’d-Din Mahmud.
·  He organized iqta system of land revenue on salary basis. This system underwent changes in later times, which we would discuss later.
·  He introduced two coins viz. Silver Tanka and Copper Jital. The Silver Tanka was weighing 175 grams. Later Balban issued Gold Tankas of same weight. Prior to these, the invaders had issued cons engraved with Sanskrit characters. For example, Mohammad Ghori issued coins with seated Lakshmi in imitation to the Gahadwals.
·  Iltutmish became the first ruler to issue Arabic coins in India.
·  He was also the first Sultan to receive the investiture of “Sovereign Sultan of Delhi” from the Caliph of Baghdad. This investiture legitimized his rule.
»  The third rural of Mumluk dynasty was Raziyya. She reigned for a very brief period but her story is worth telling.
»  She was the daughter of Iltutmish, the son-in- law and successor of Qutbuddin Aybak.
»  Raziyya was said to be a fearless warrior and an efficient administrator. She was considered more accomplished than her brothers in managing the affairs of the empire and quelling rebellions within it.
»  She ruled for a period of four years until the year 1240. It was said that the nobles in the royal court were unhappy with her domination.
»  The fourth ruler was Balban (1266-1287) who took the advantage of feebleness of successors of Iltutmish and become top noble of the Chahalgani.
»  He introduced practice of Zaminbosi {to kiss the earth} and Paibosi {kiss the feet of Sultan} as per the Iranian theory of divine rights which believed that King / Sultan is God’s representative on Earth.
»  The successor of Balban was his grandson Kaikubad, a young boy of 17 years, who debauched himself soon.
»  He was killed by Jalal-ud-din Firuz Khilji aka Malik Firuz. Thus slave dynasty was put to an end and Delhi slipped in hands of Khilji dynasty.
»  Rulers of the Slave Dynasty

 Slave Dynasty Rulers

1.  Qutub-ud-din Aibak  1206-1210
2. Iltutmish    1210-1236
3. Raziya Sultan    1236-1239
4. Bahram Shah    1240-1242
5.  Ala-ud-din Masud   1242-1246
6. Nasiruddin Mahmud  1246-1266
7.  Balban     1266-1285
8. Kaikubad     1286-1290

Khalji Dynasty – 1290 1320

The Khalji dynasty
»  After the decline of the Slave dynasty, the Sultanate became even more fragile and instable due to the numerous revolts and internal aggression.
»  The Khilji dynasty started with the crowning of Jalaluddin Khilji by the nobles.This was around the year 1290 A.D.
»  The founder of this dynasty was Jalauddin Khilji
»  But within a few years, he was killed by his nephew Alauddin Khilji under a conspiracy hatched by the latter.
»  Alauddin Khilji became the second Sultan of Khilji dynasty. He was illiterate but a great commander who became the first Muslim rural to cross Vindhyas, Satpuras and Narmada River to conquer Deccan.
»  Alauddin died in 1316
»  The last Khilji ruler was Ala-ud-din Khilji's 18-year-old son Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah Khilji, who ruled for four years before he was killed by Khusro Khan.
»  Khusro Khan's reign lasted only a few months, when Ghazi Malik, later to be called Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, killed him and assumed power in 1320, thus beginning the Tughlaq dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate.

Rulers of Khilji Dynasty

Jalal ud din Firoz Khilji
Son of Qaim Khan (Yulak Khan of Qunduz), and also the founder of the Khilji Dynasty.
Ala-ud-din Khilji
Nephew of Jalal ud din Firoz Khilji and the most powerful ruler of Khilji period.
Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah
Nasiruddin Khusro shah

Tughluq dynasty – 1320-1414 A.D.

»  The Tughluq dynasty was founded by Ghiyasuddin Tughluq who established his kingdom when the Khalji dynasty collapsed.
»  Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq ruled for five years and launched a town near Delhi named Tughlaqabad.
»  According to some historians such as Vincent Smith, Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq was killed by his son Juna Khan, who then assumed power in 1325.
»  Juna Khan rechristened himself as Muhammad bin Tughlaq and ruled for 26 years.
»  During his rule, Delhi Sultanate reached its peak in terms of geographical reach, covering most of the Indian subcontinent.
»  Muhammad bin Tughlaq ordered the transfer of his capital from Delhi to Deogir in Maharashtra (renaming it to Daulatabad), by forcing mass migration of Delhi's population.
»  The capital move failed because Daulatabad was arid and did not have enough drinking water to support the new capital. The capital then returned to Delhi.
»  Revolts against Muhammad bin Tughlaq began in 1327, continued over his reign, and over time the geographical reach of the Sultanate shrunk. The Vijayanagara Empire originated in southern India as a direct response to attacks from the Delhi Sultanate. The Vijayanagara Empire liberated south India from the Delhi Sultanate rule
»  In 1351 Mohammad bin Tughlaq died and was succeeded by his cousin Firoz Shah Tughlaq, who ruled as third Tughlaq Sultan from 1351 to 1388 AD.
»  Firozshah Tughlaq was half Muslim {his mother was a Hindu}. To prove himself equal to pure Muslims, he ruled strictly as per Shariat.
»  He abolished all taxes {such as Octroi} which were not as per Shariat; and imposed Jaziya on Hindus.
»  His reign is also known for plenty of public works. He established cities such as Firuzshah Kotla (Delhi), Hisar, Jaunpur (West Bengal), Fatahabad, Firozabad etc.
»  He moved one of the Asokan pillars from its original place and erected it in Delhi.
»  To support Hissar, he constructed a Double System of Canals from Yamuna to Sutlej (called rajwahas in the Indo-Persian historical texts). This canal was later repaired during times of Akbar.
»  Firuzshah did close to 845 public works during his regime.
»  iruzshah was gentle towards peasantry. He had destroyed all records of farmer debts ceremoniously to give clean chit to farmers. This was one of the major reasons that he saw no major revolt in 32 years of reign.
»  Death of Firuzshah brought an end to Turkish Sultans of Delhi.
»  ultan Mahmud Tughlak, who had fled to Gujarat during Timur's invasion, returned and nominally ruled as the last ruler of Tughlak dynasty, as a puppet of various factions at the court.

Rulers of Tughluq Dynasty

Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq
Muhammad binTughluq
aka Muhammad Shah II
Mahmud Ibn Muhammad
1351 (March)
Firuz Shah Tughlaq
Cousin of Muhammad bin Tughlaq.
Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughluq II
Abu Bakr Shah
Nasir ud din Muhammad Shah III
Ala ud-din Sikandar Shah I
1393 (March–April)
Mahmud Nasir ud din
Sultan Mahmud II (real name). Ruled in Delhi.
Nasir-ud-din Nusrat Shah Tughluq
Grandson of Firuz Shah Tughlaq, controlled the west from Firozabad.
Nasir ud din Mahmud
Son of Mahmud Nasir-ud- din, controlled the east from Delhi.

The Sayyid Dynasty (1414-50 AD)

Sayyid Dynasty: Khijr Khan (Founder)
»  The Sayyid dynasty was a Turkic dynasty that ruled the Delhi Sultanate from 1415 to 1451. The Timur invasion and plunder had left the Delhi Sultanate in shambles, and little is known about the rule by the Sayyid dynasty.
»  Khijr Khan founded Sayyid dynasty by taking over Delhi as a deputy of Timur in India. Four kings of this dynasty remained in perpetual struggle to retain control. The last ruler of this dynasty Alauddin Alam Shah voluntarily abdicated the throne in favour of Bahlol Lodi
»  Khijir Khan (1414-1421):Timur's nominee captured Delhi and was proclaimed the new Sultan and the first of the Sayyid Dynasty. They ruled over Delhi and surroundings districts.
»  Mubarak Shah (1421-1434):He succeeded Khizr at the throne after his successful expeditions against Mewatis, Katehars and the Gangetic Doab area. He was killed by the nobles in his own court.
»  Muhammad Shah (1434-1443):The nobles put Muhammad Shah on the throne, but could not survive the in-fighting among the nobles in the court. He was authorized to rule a meagre area of around 30 miles and rest of the Sultnate was ruled by the nobles.
»  Alam Shah (1443-1451):The last Sayyid king descended in favour of Bahlol Lodhi and himself retired. Thus began the Lodhi dynasty, which confined to Delhi and a few surrounding areas.

Rurals of Sayyid Dynasty

Khizr Khan
Mubarak Shah
Muhammad Shah
Alam Shah

Lodi Dynasty – 1451-1526 A.D.

Lodi Dynasty
»  The Lodi dynasty had its origins in the Afghan Lodi tribe
»  The Lodi dynasty was the last of the Delhi Sultanate and was founded by Bahlul Lodi. He was the governor of Sarhind in Punjab under the Sayyid dynasty.
»  Bahlol Lodi began his reign by attacking the Muslim controlled Kingdom of Jaunpur to expand the influence of Delhi Sultanate, and was partially successful through a treaty. Thereafter, the region from Delhi to Benares (then at the border of Bengal province), was back under influence of Delhi Sultanate.
»  After Bahlol Lodi died, his son Nizam Khan assumed power, rechristened himself as Sikandar Shah Ghazi Lodi and ruled from 1489-1517.
»  The famous Lodi gardens in Delhi has the tomb of Sikandar Lodi.
»  Sikandar Lodi died a natural death in 1517, and his second son Ibrahim Lodi assumed power.
»  Ibrahim did not enjoy the support of Afghan and Persian amirs or regional chiefs.
»  Ibrahim attacked and killed his elder brother Jalal Khan, who was installed as the governor of Jaunpur by his father and had the support of the amirs and chiefs. Ibrahim Lodi was unable to consolidate his power.
»  After Jalal Khan's death, the governor of Punjab - Dawlat Khan Lodi - reached out to the Mughal Babur and invited him to attack Delhi Sultanate.
»  Babur defeated and killed Ibrahim Lodi in the Battle of Panipat in 1526. The death of Ibrahim Lodi ended the Delhi Sultanate, and the Mughal Empire replaced it.

Rulers of Lodi Dynasty

Behlol Lodi
Founder of the Lodi Dynasty
Sikander Lodi
Most prominent ruler of the Lodi Dynasty who founded Agra city
Ibrahim Lodi
Defeated by Babur in the First battle of Panipat (in 1526) and thus ending the Delhi Sultanate. He was the only ruler of the Delhi Sultunate to die in battle. All others, either died of health issues or accidents

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