Old NCERT Textbook (Satish Chandra): Government, Economic and Social Life under the Delhi Sultanat Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

UPSC: Old NCERT Textbook (Satish Chandra): Government, Economic and Social Life under the Delhi Sultanat Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

The document Old NCERT Textbook (Satish Chandra): Government, Economic and Social Life under the Delhi Sultanat Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC CSE.
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 Page 1


EIGHT
Government, and Economic and Social Life under
the Delhi Sultartat
The state set up by the Turks towards the end of the twelfth century in
northern India gradually developed into a powerful and highly centralized
state which, for some time, controlled almost the entire country extending as
far south as Madurai. The Delhi Sultanat disintegrated towards the beginning
of the fifteenth century, and a series of independent states were set up in
different parts of the country. However, the administrative system of the
Sultanat had a powerful effect on many of them, and also influenced the
Mughal system of administration which developed in the sixteenth century.
THE SULTAN
Although many of the Turkish sultans in India declared themselves
‘lieutenant of the faithful’, i.e., of the Abbasid caliph at Baghdad, and included
his name in the khutba in the Friday prayers, it did not mean that the caliph
became the legal ruler. The caliph had only a moral position. By proclaiming
his supreme position, the sultans at Delhi were only proclaiming that they
were a part of the Islamic world.
The sultan’s office was the most important in the Sultanat and supreme
political, military, and even legal authority, was vested in him. He was
responsible for the safety and security of the state. As such, he was responsible
for administration and was also the commander-in-chief of the military
forces. He was also responsible for the maintenance of law and justice. To
discharge this function, he appointed judges but the sultan acted as a court of
appeal from the judges. A direct appeal could be made to him against the
highhandedness of any of his officials. The dispensation of justice was
regarded as a very important function of any ruler. We have referred to the
Page 2


EIGHT
Government, and Economic and Social Life under
the Delhi Sultartat
The state set up by the Turks towards the end of the twelfth century in
northern India gradually developed into a powerful and highly centralized
state which, for some time, controlled almost the entire country extending as
far south as Madurai. The Delhi Sultanat disintegrated towards the beginning
of the fifteenth century, and a series of independent states were set up in
different parts of the country. However, the administrative system of the
Sultanat had a powerful effect on many of them, and also influenced the
Mughal system of administration which developed in the sixteenth century.
THE SULTAN
Although many of the Turkish sultans in India declared themselves
‘lieutenant of the faithful’, i.e., of the Abbasid caliph at Baghdad, and included
his name in the khutba in the Friday prayers, it did not mean that the caliph
became the legal ruler. The caliph had only a moral position. By proclaiming
his supreme position, the sultans at Delhi were only proclaiming that they
were a part of the Islamic world.
The sultan’s office was the most important in the Sultanat and supreme
political, military, and even legal authority, was vested in him. He was
responsible for the safety and security of the state. As such, he was responsible
for administration and was also the commander-in-chief of the military
forces. He was also responsible for the maintenance of law and justice. To
discharge this function, he appointed judges but the sultan acted as a court of
appeal from the judges. A direct appeal could be made to him against the
highhandedness of any of his officials. The dispensation of justice was
regarded as a very important function of any ruler. We have referred to the
stern manner in which Balban dispensed justice, not sparing even his
relations or high officers of state. Muhammad Tughlaq applied this even to
the religious classes (ulama) who had previously been exempted from harsh
punishments.
No clear law of succession developed among Muslim rulers. The Islamic
theory adhered to the idea of the election of the ruler, but accepted in practice
the succession of any son of a successful ruler. However, all the sons of a ruler
were considered to have an equal claim to the throne. The idea of
primogeniture was fully acceptable neither to the Muslims nor to the Hindus.
Some rulers did try to nominate one of the sons, not necessarily the eldest, as
the successor. Iltutmish even nominated a daughter in preference to his sons.
But it was for the nobles to accept such a nomination. While the Muslim
opinion generally adhered to the idea of legitimacy, there was no safeguard
against the usurpation of the throne by a successful military leader, as
happened more than once in the Delhi Sultanat. Thus, military strength was
the main factor in succession to the throne. However, public opinion could
not be ignored. For fear of public opinion, the Khaljis could not dare to enter
Delhi for a long time after deposing the successors of Balban, but built a new
town called Siri.
CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION
The sultan was assisted by a number of ministers who were chosen by him
and remained in office at his pleasure. The number, powers and functions of
the ministers varied from time to time. A definite system of administration
developed towards the end of the thirteenth century. The key figure in
administration was the wazir. In the earlier period, the wazir were primarily
military leaders. In the fourteenth century, the wazir began to be considered
more an expert in revenue affairs, and presided over a large department
dealing both with income and expenditure. Muhammad Tughlaq paid close
attention to the organisation of the revenue department. His wazir, Khwaja
Jahan, was widely respected, and was left in charge of the capital when
Muhammad Tughlaq went out to deal with rebellions. A separate Auditor
General for scrutinizing expenditure, and an Accountant
Page 3


EIGHT
Government, and Economic and Social Life under
the Delhi Sultartat
The state set up by the Turks towards the end of the twelfth century in
northern India gradually developed into a powerful and highly centralized
state which, for some time, controlled almost the entire country extending as
far south as Madurai. The Delhi Sultanat disintegrated towards the beginning
of the fifteenth century, and a series of independent states were set up in
different parts of the country. However, the administrative system of the
Sultanat had a powerful effect on many of them, and also influenced the
Mughal system of administration which developed in the sixteenth century.
THE SULTAN
Although many of the Turkish sultans in India declared themselves
‘lieutenant of the faithful’, i.e., of the Abbasid caliph at Baghdad, and included
his name in the khutba in the Friday prayers, it did not mean that the caliph
became the legal ruler. The caliph had only a moral position. By proclaiming
his supreme position, the sultans at Delhi were only proclaiming that they
were a part of the Islamic world.
The sultan’s office was the most important in the Sultanat and supreme
political, military, and even legal authority, was vested in him. He was
responsible for the safety and security of the state. As such, he was responsible
for administration and was also the commander-in-chief of the military
forces. He was also responsible for the maintenance of law and justice. To
discharge this function, he appointed judges but the sultan acted as a court of
appeal from the judges. A direct appeal could be made to him against the
highhandedness of any of his officials. The dispensation of justice was
regarded as a very important function of any ruler. We have referred to the
stern manner in which Balban dispensed justice, not sparing even his
relations or high officers of state. Muhammad Tughlaq applied this even to
the religious classes (ulama) who had previously been exempted from harsh
punishments.
No clear law of succession developed among Muslim rulers. The Islamic
theory adhered to the idea of the election of the ruler, but accepted in practice
the succession of any son of a successful ruler. However, all the sons of a ruler
were considered to have an equal claim to the throne. The idea of
primogeniture was fully acceptable neither to the Muslims nor to the Hindus.
Some rulers did try to nominate one of the sons, not necessarily the eldest, as
the successor. Iltutmish even nominated a daughter in preference to his sons.
But it was for the nobles to accept such a nomination. While the Muslim
opinion generally adhered to the idea of legitimacy, there was no safeguard
against the usurpation of the throne by a successful military leader, as
happened more than once in the Delhi Sultanat. Thus, military strength was
the main factor in succession to the throne. However, public opinion could
not be ignored. For fear of public opinion, the Khaljis could not dare to enter
Delhi for a long time after deposing the successors of Balban, but built a new
town called Siri.
CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION
The sultan was assisted by a number of ministers who were chosen by him
and remained in office at his pleasure. The number, powers and functions of
the ministers varied from time to time. A definite system of administration
developed towards the end of the thirteenth century. The key figure in
administration was the wazir. In the earlier period, the wazir were primarily
military leaders. In the fourteenth century, the wazir began to be considered
more an expert in revenue affairs, and presided over a large department
dealing both with income and expenditure. Muhammad Tughlaq paid close
attention to the organisation of the revenue department. His wazir, Khwaja
Jahan, was widely respected, and was left in charge of the capital when
Muhammad Tughlaq went out to deal with rebellions. A separate Auditor
General for scrutinizing expenditure, and an Accountant
General for inspecting income worked under the wazir. Although quarrels
between different officers hampered the smooth functioning of the
department, the revenue department under Muhammad Tughlaq was able to
cope with the affairs of the largest empire that had come into existence in
India since the break up of the Mauryan empire. Khan-i-Jahan, a converted
Tailang Brahman who was deputy to the previous wazir, was chosen by Firuz
Tughlaq as his wazir. He enjoyed full authority in the revenue department.
His long spell of 18 years as wazir is generally considered to be the high
watermark of the wazir’s influence. Khan-i-Jahan was succeeded as wazir by
his son, Khan-i-Jahan II. The attempt of Khan-i-Jahan II to play the king-
maker after the death of Firuz and the failure of the attempt resulted in a
setback to the wazir’s position. The importance of the wazir could revive only
under the Mughals.
The most important department of state, next to the wazir’s was the diwan-
i-arz or the military department. The head of this department was called the
ariz-i-mamalik. The ariz was not the commander-in-chief of the army, since
the sultan himself commanded all the armed forces. In those days, no king
could have survived on the throne if he entrusted the chief command of the
armed forces to someone else. The special responsibility of the ariz’s
department was to recruit, equip and pay the army. The office of the ariz was
an important one under the Seljukids, but we hear of it in India for the first
time under Balban as a separate department. He, and later Alauddin Khalji,
paid close attention to its working. Alauddin insisted upon a regular muster
of the armed forces. He also introduced the branding system (dagh) of the
horses so that the soldiers may not bring horses of poor quality to the muster.
A descriptive roll of each soldier was also maintained. The army was posted
in different parts of the country, a strong contingent remaining with the ruler
in the capital. Balban kept his army in good trim by making it march over
long distances on the pretext of undertaking hunting excursions. Of all the
Delhi rulers, Alauddin Khalji had the largest standing army. The strength of
his army is placed at 3,00,000 by Barani which appears to be an exaggeration.
Alauddin was also the first sultan who paid his soldiers fully in cash. Earlier,
the Turkish soldiers had been assigned a number of villages in the doab for
the payment of their salaries. These soldiers had begun to look upon these
assignments as hereditary, and were not prepared to give up their posts
Page 4


EIGHT
Government, and Economic and Social Life under
the Delhi Sultartat
The state set up by the Turks towards the end of the twelfth century in
northern India gradually developed into a powerful and highly centralized
state which, for some time, controlled almost the entire country extending as
far south as Madurai. The Delhi Sultanat disintegrated towards the beginning
of the fifteenth century, and a series of independent states were set up in
different parts of the country. However, the administrative system of the
Sultanat had a powerful effect on many of them, and also influenced the
Mughal system of administration which developed in the sixteenth century.
THE SULTAN
Although many of the Turkish sultans in India declared themselves
‘lieutenant of the faithful’, i.e., of the Abbasid caliph at Baghdad, and included
his name in the khutba in the Friday prayers, it did not mean that the caliph
became the legal ruler. The caliph had only a moral position. By proclaiming
his supreme position, the sultans at Delhi were only proclaiming that they
were a part of the Islamic world.
The sultan’s office was the most important in the Sultanat and supreme
political, military, and even legal authority, was vested in him. He was
responsible for the safety and security of the state. As such, he was responsible
for administration and was also the commander-in-chief of the military
forces. He was also responsible for the maintenance of law and justice. To
discharge this function, he appointed judges but the sultan acted as a court of
appeal from the judges. A direct appeal could be made to him against the
highhandedness of any of his officials. The dispensation of justice was
regarded as a very important function of any ruler. We have referred to the
stern manner in which Balban dispensed justice, not sparing even his
relations or high officers of state. Muhammad Tughlaq applied this even to
the religious classes (ulama) who had previously been exempted from harsh
punishments.
No clear law of succession developed among Muslim rulers. The Islamic
theory adhered to the idea of the election of the ruler, but accepted in practice
the succession of any son of a successful ruler. However, all the sons of a ruler
were considered to have an equal claim to the throne. The idea of
primogeniture was fully acceptable neither to the Muslims nor to the Hindus.
Some rulers did try to nominate one of the sons, not necessarily the eldest, as
the successor. Iltutmish even nominated a daughter in preference to his sons.
But it was for the nobles to accept such a nomination. While the Muslim
opinion generally adhered to the idea of legitimacy, there was no safeguard
against the usurpation of the throne by a successful military leader, as
happened more than once in the Delhi Sultanat. Thus, military strength was
the main factor in succession to the throne. However, public opinion could
not be ignored. For fear of public opinion, the Khaljis could not dare to enter
Delhi for a long time after deposing the successors of Balban, but built a new
town called Siri.
CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION
The sultan was assisted by a number of ministers who were chosen by him
and remained in office at his pleasure. The number, powers and functions of
the ministers varied from time to time. A definite system of administration
developed towards the end of the thirteenth century. The key figure in
administration was the wazir. In the earlier period, the wazir were primarily
military leaders. In the fourteenth century, the wazir began to be considered
more an expert in revenue affairs, and presided over a large department
dealing both with income and expenditure. Muhammad Tughlaq paid close
attention to the organisation of the revenue department. His wazir, Khwaja
Jahan, was widely respected, and was left in charge of the capital when
Muhammad Tughlaq went out to deal with rebellions. A separate Auditor
General for scrutinizing expenditure, and an Accountant
General for inspecting income worked under the wazir. Although quarrels
between different officers hampered the smooth functioning of the
department, the revenue department under Muhammad Tughlaq was able to
cope with the affairs of the largest empire that had come into existence in
India since the break up of the Mauryan empire. Khan-i-Jahan, a converted
Tailang Brahman who was deputy to the previous wazir, was chosen by Firuz
Tughlaq as his wazir. He enjoyed full authority in the revenue department.
His long spell of 18 years as wazir is generally considered to be the high
watermark of the wazir’s influence. Khan-i-Jahan was succeeded as wazir by
his son, Khan-i-Jahan II. The attempt of Khan-i-Jahan II to play the king-
maker after the death of Firuz and the failure of the attempt resulted in a
setback to the wazir’s position. The importance of the wazir could revive only
under the Mughals.
The most important department of state, next to the wazir’s was the diwan-
i-arz or the military department. The head of this department was called the
ariz-i-mamalik. The ariz was not the commander-in-chief of the army, since
the sultan himself commanded all the armed forces. In those days, no king
could have survived on the throne if he entrusted the chief command of the
armed forces to someone else. The special responsibility of the ariz’s
department was to recruit, equip and pay the army. The office of the ariz was
an important one under the Seljukids, but we hear of it in India for the first
time under Balban as a separate department. He, and later Alauddin Khalji,
paid close attention to its working. Alauddin insisted upon a regular muster
of the armed forces. He also introduced the branding system (dagh) of the
horses so that the soldiers may not bring horses of poor quality to the muster.
A descriptive roll of each soldier was also maintained. The army was posted
in different parts of the country, a strong contingent remaining with the ruler
in the capital. Balban kept his army in good trim by making it march over
long distances on the pretext of undertaking hunting excursions. Of all the
Delhi rulers, Alauddin Khalji had the largest standing army. The strength of
his army is placed at 3,00,000 by Barani which appears to be an exaggeration.
Alauddin was also the first sultan who paid his soldiers fully in cash. Earlier,
the Turkish soldiers had been assigned a number of villages in the doab for
the payment of their salaries. These soldiers had begun to look upon these
assignments as hereditary, and were not prepared to give up their posts
though many of them had become too old and feeble to serve. Balban tried to
resume these holdings, but modified his order due to the agitation created by
these soldiers and the pleading of his old friend, the Kotwal of Delhi. But
Alauddin abolished these holdings by a stroke of the pen. He paid 238 tankas
to a trooper and 78 tankas more to one who maintained two horses. The
efficiency of Alauddin’s army was the main factor in his ability to contain the
Mongol invasions while at the same time conquering the Deccan.
The Turks also maintained a large number of elephants which were trained
for war purposes. A corps of sappers and miners was attached to the army for
clearing the roads and removing the obstacles for the march of the army. The
Turks and Afghans predominated in the cavalry which was considered
prestigious. The Hindus were employed both in the cavalry and the infantry
at the time of the Ghaznavids. They continued to be employed but largely in
the infantry in the subsequent period.
There were two other important departments of state: the diwan-i-risalat
and the diwan-i-insha. The former dealt with religious matters, pious
foundations and stipends to deserving scholars and men of piety. It was
presided over by the chief sadr, who was generally a leading qazi. He was
generally also the chief qazi. The chief qazi was the head of the department of
justice. Qazis were appointed in various parts of the empire, particularly in
those places where there was a sizeable Muslim population. The qazis
dispensed civil iaw based on the Muslim law (sharia). The Hindus were
governed by their own personal laws which were dispensed by panchayats in
the villages, and by the leaders of the various castes in the cities. Criminal law
was based on regulations framed for the purpose by the rulers.
The diwan-i-insha dealt with state correspondence. All the
correspondence, formal or confidential, between the ruler and the sovereigns
of other states, and with his subordinate officials was dealt with by this
department.
There were a number of other departments in addition to these. The rulers
posted intelligence agents called barids in different parts of the empire to keep
them informed of what was going on. Only a nobleman who enjoyed the
fullest confidence of the ruler was appointed the chief barid. The ruler’s
household was another important department of state. It looked after the
Page 5


EIGHT
Government, and Economic and Social Life under
the Delhi Sultartat
The state set up by the Turks towards the end of the twelfth century in
northern India gradually developed into a powerful and highly centralized
state which, for some time, controlled almost the entire country extending as
far south as Madurai. The Delhi Sultanat disintegrated towards the beginning
of the fifteenth century, and a series of independent states were set up in
different parts of the country. However, the administrative system of the
Sultanat had a powerful effect on many of them, and also influenced the
Mughal system of administration which developed in the sixteenth century.
THE SULTAN
Although many of the Turkish sultans in India declared themselves
‘lieutenant of the faithful’, i.e., of the Abbasid caliph at Baghdad, and included
his name in the khutba in the Friday prayers, it did not mean that the caliph
became the legal ruler. The caliph had only a moral position. By proclaiming
his supreme position, the sultans at Delhi were only proclaiming that they
were a part of the Islamic world.
The sultan’s office was the most important in the Sultanat and supreme
political, military, and even legal authority, was vested in him. He was
responsible for the safety and security of the state. As such, he was responsible
for administration and was also the commander-in-chief of the military
forces. He was also responsible for the maintenance of law and justice. To
discharge this function, he appointed judges but the sultan acted as a court of
appeal from the judges. A direct appeal could be made to him against the
highhandedness of any of his officials. The dispensation of justice was
regarded as a very important function of any ruler. We have referred to the
stern manner in which Balban dispensed justice, not sparing even his
relations or high officers of state. Muhammad Tughlaq applied this even to
the religious classes (ulama) who had previously been exempted from harsh
punishments.
No clear law of succession developed among Muslim rulers. The Islamic
theory adhered to the idea of the election of the ruler, but accepted in practice
the succession of any son of a successful ruler. However, all the sons of a ruler
were considered to have an equal claim to the throne. The idea of
primogeniture was fully acceptable neither to the Muslims nor to the Hindus.
Some rulers did try to nominate one of the sons, not necessarily the eldest, as
the successor. Iltutmish even nominated a daughter in preference to his sons.
But it was for the nobles to accept such a nomination. While the Muslim
opinion generally adhered to the idea of legitimacy, there was no safeguard
against the usurpation of the throne by a successful military leader, as
happened more than once in the Delhi Sultanat. Thus, military strength was
the main factor in succession to the throne. However, public opinion could
not be ignored. For fear of public opinion, the Khaljis could not dare to enter
Delhi for a long time after deposing the successors of Balban, but built a new
town called Siri.
CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION
The sultan was assisted by a number of ministers who were chosen by him
and remained in office at his pleasure. The number, powers and functions of
the ministers varied from time to time. A definite system of administration
developed towards the end of the thirteenth century. The key figure in
administration was the wazir. In the earlier period, the wazir were primarily
military leaders. In the fourteenth century, the wazir began to be considered
more an expert in revenue affairs, and presided over a large department
dealing both with income and expenditure. Muhammad Tughlaq paid close
attention to the organisation of the revenue department. His wazir, Khwaja
Jahan, was widely respected, and was left in charge of the capital when
Muhammad Tughlaq went out to deal with rebellions. A separate Auditor
General for scrutinizing expenditure, and an Accountant
General for inspecting income worked under the wazir. Although quarrels
between different officers hampered the smooth functioning of the
department, the revenue department under Muhammad Tughlaq was able to
cope with the affairs of the largest empire that had come into existence in
India since the break up of the Mauryan empire. Khan-i-Jahan, a converted
Tailang Brahman who was deputy to the previous wazir, was chosen by Firuz
Tughlaq as his wazir. He enjoyed full authority in the revenue department.
His long spell of 18 years as wazir is generally considered to be the high
watermark of the wazir’s influence. Khan-i-Jahan was succeeded as wazir by
his son, Khan-i-Jahan II. The attempt of Khan-i-Jahan II to play the king-
maker after the death of Firuz and the failure of the attempt resulted in a
setback to the wazir’s position. The importance of the wazir could revive only
under the Mughals.
The most important department of state, next to the wazir’s was the diwan-
i-arz or the military department. The head of this department was called the
ariz-i-mamalik. The ariz was not the commander-in-chief of the army, since
the sultan himself commanded all the armed forces. In those days, no king
could have survived on the throne if he entrusted the chief command of the
armed forces to someone else. The special responsibility of the ariz’s
department was to recruit, equip and pay the army. The office of the ariz was
an important one under the Seljukids, but we hear of it in India for the first
time under Balban as a separate department. He, and later Alauddin Khalji,
paid close attention to its working. Alauddin insisted upon a regular muster
of the armed forces. He also introduced the branding system (dagh) of the
horses so that the soldiers may not bring horses of poor quality to the muster.
A descriptive roll of each soldier was also maintained. The army was posted
in different parts of the country, a strong contingent remaining with the ruler
in the capital. Balban kept his army in good trim by making it march over
long distances on the pretext of undertaking hunting excursions. Of all the
Delhi rulers, Alauddin Khalji had the largest standing army. The strength of
his army is placed at 3,00,000 by Barani which appears to be an exaggeration.
Alauddin was also the first sultan who paid his soldiers fully in cash. Earlier,
the Turkish soldiers had been assigned a number of villages in the doab for
the payment of their salaries. These soldiers had begun to look upon these
assignments as hereditary, and were not prepared to give up their posts
though many of them had become too old and feeble to serve. Balban tried to
resume these holdings, but modified his order due to the agitation created by
these soldiers and the pleading of his old friend, the Kotwal of Delhi. But
Alauddin abolished these holdings by a stroke of the pen. He paid 238 tankas
to a trooper and 78 tankas more to one who maintained two horses. The
efficiency of Alauddin’s army was the main factor in his ability to contain the
Mongol invasions while at the same time conquering the Deccan.
The Turks also maintained a large number of elephants which were trained
for war purposes. A corps of sappers and miners was attached to the army for
clearing the roads and removing the obstacles for the march of the army. The
Turks and Afghans predominated in the cavalry which was considered
prestigious. The Hindus were employed both in the cavalry and the infantry
at the time of the Ghaznavids. They continued to be employed but largely in
the infantry in the subsequent period.
There were two other important departments of state: the diwan-i-risalat
and the diwan-i-insha. The former dealt with religious matters, pious
foundations and stipends to deserving scholars and men of piety. It was
presided over by the chief sadr, who was generally a leading qazi. He was
generally also the chief qazi. The chief qazi was the head of the department of
justice. Qazis were appointed in various parts of the empire, particularly in
those places where there was a sizeable Muslim population. The qazis
dispensed civil iaw based on the Muslim law (sharia). The Hindus were
governed by their own personal laws which were dispensed by panchayats in
the villages, and by the leaders of the various castes in the cities. Criminal law
was based on regulations framed for the purpose by the rulers.
The diwan-i-insha dealt with state correspondence. All the
correspondence, formal or confidential, between the ruler and the sovereigns
of other states, and with his subordinate officials was dealt with by this
department.
There were a number of other departments in addition to these. The rulers
posted intelligence agents called barids in different parts of the empire to keep
them informed of what was going on. Only a nobleman who enjoyed the
fullest confidence of the ruler was appointed the chief barid. The ruler’s
household was another important department of state. It looked after the
personal comforts of the sultan and the requirements of the large numbers of
women in the royal household. It also looked after a large number of
karkhanas or departments in which goods and articles needed by the king and
the royal household were stored. Sometimes, these articles were
manufactured under royal supervision. Firuz Tughlaq had set up a separate
department of slaves, many of whom were employed in these royal
‘workshops’. The officer in charge of all these activities was called wakil-i-dar.
He was also responsible for the maintenance of proper decorum at the court,
and placing nobles in their proper order of precedence at formal receptions.
Firuz also set up a separate department of public works which built canals
and many of his public buildings.
LOCAL ADMINISTRATION
When the Turks conquered the country, they divided it into a number of
tracts called iqtas which were parcelled out among the leading Turkish
nobles. The holders of these offices were called muqtis or walis. It were these
tracts which later became provinces or subas. We are told that under
Muhammad Tughlaq there were twenty-four provinces stretching upto
Mabar in the south. At first, the muqtis were almost independent; they were
expected to maintain law and order in their tracts, and collect the land
revenue due to the government. Out of the money they collected they were
expected to meet the salaries due to the soldiers and keep the balance. As the
central government became stronger and gained experience, it began to
control the muqtis more closely. It began to try to ascertain the actual income,
and to fix the salaries of the soldiers and the muqti in cash. The muqti was
now required to remit to the centre the balance of the income after meeting
the expenditure. The auditing of the accounts, which took place after a couple
of years was often accompanied by harshness, including torture and
imprisonment of the muqti. These were relaxed by Firuz Tughlaq towards the
end of the Sultanat.
Below the provinces were the shiqs and below them the pargana. We do
not know much about the administration of these units. We are told that the
villagers were grouped into units of 100 to 84 (traditionally called chaurasi).
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