TN History Textbook: India Under The Delhi Sultanate Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC

UPSC: TN History Textbook: India Under The Delhi Sultanate Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC

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 Page 1


191 190
legal and political activities. There was no clear law of succession
during this period. All the sons had equal claim to the throne. Iltutmish
even nominated his daughter in preference to his sons. But such
nominations or successions were to be accepted by the nobles.
Sometimes ulemas played crucial role in accepting the succession
to the throne. However, the military superiority remained the main
factor in matters of succession.
Central Government
The Sultan was assisted by a number of departments and
officials in his administration. The post of Naib was the most powerful
one. The Naib practically enjoyed all the powers of the Sultan and
exercised general control over all the departments. Next to him was
the Wazir who was heading the finance department called Diwani
Wizarat.
The military department was called Diwani Ariz. It was
headed by Ariz-i-mumalik. He was responsible for recruiting the
soldiers and administering the military department. He was not the
commander-in-chief of the army. The Sultan himself was the
commander-in-chief of the army. The military department was first
set up by Balban and it was further improved by Alauddin Khalji
under whom the strength of the army crossed three lakh soldiers.
Alauddin introduced the system of branding of the horses and
payment of salary in cash. Cavalry was given importance under the
Delhi Sultanate.
Diwani Rasalat was the department of religious affairs. It
was headed by chief Sadr. Grants were made by this department
for the construction and maintenance of mosques, tombs and
madrasas. The head of the judicial department was the chief Qazi.
Other judges or qazis were appointed in various parts of the
Sultanate. Muslim personal law or sharia was followed in civil
Administration
The establishment and expansion of the Delhi Sultanate led to
the evolution of a powerful and efficient administrative system. At
its zenith the authority of Delhi Sultan had extended as far south as
Madurai. Although the Delhi Sultanate had disintegrated, their
administrative system made a powerful impact on the Indian
provincial kingdoms and later on the Mughal system of administration.
The Delhi Sultanate was an Islamic state with its religion Islam.
The Sultans considered themselves as representatives of the Caliph.
They included the name of the Caliph in the khutba or prayer and
inscribed it on their coins. Although Balban called himself the shadow
of God, he continued to practice of including the name of Caliph in
the khutba and coins. Iltutmish, Muhammad bin Tughlaq and Firoz
Tughlaq obtained mansur or letter of permission from the Caliph.
The office of the Sultan was the most important in the
administrative system. He was the ultimate authority for the military,
LESSON 17
INDIA UNDER THE DELHI SULTANATE
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Administration under the Delhi Sultanate.
2. Economic Condition under the Delhi Sultanate.
3. Social Life under the Delhi Sultanate.
4. Art and architecture of the Delhi Sultanate.
5. Literary Development.
Page 2


191 190
legal and political activities. There was no clear law of succession
during this period. All the sons had equal claim to the throne. Iltutmish
even nominated his daughter in preference to his sons. But such
nominations or successions were to be accepted by the nobles.
Sometimes ulemas played crucial role in accepting the succession
to the throne. However, the military superiority remained the main
factor in matters of succession.
Central Government
The Sultan was assisted by a number of departments and
officials in his administration. The post of Naib was the most powerful
one. The Naib practically enjoyed all the powers of the Sultan and
exercised general control over all the departments. Next to him was
the Wazir who was heading the finance department called Diwani
Wizarat.
The military department was called Diwani Ariz. It was
headed by Ariz-i-mumalik. He was responsible for recruiting the
soldiers and administering the military department. He was not the
commander-in-chief of the army. The Sultan himself was the
commander-in-chief of the army. The military department was first
set up by Balban and it was further improved by Alauddin Khalji
under whom the strength of the army crossed three lakh soldiers.
Alauddin introduced the system of branding of the horses and
payment of salary in cash. Cavalry was given importance under the
Delhi Sultanate.
Diwani Rasalat was the department of religious affairs. It
was headed by chief Sadr. Grants were made by this department
for the construction and maintenance of mosques, tombs and
madrasas. The head of the judicial department was the chief Qazi.
Other judges or qazis were appointed in various parts of the
Sultanate. Muslim personal law or sharia was followed in civil
Administration
The establishment and expansion of the Delhi Sultanate led to
the evolution of a powerful and efficient administrative system. At
its zenith the authority of Delhi Sultan had extended as far south as
Madurai. Although the Delhi Sultanate had disintegrated, their
administrative system made a powerful impact on the Indian
provincial kingdoms and later on the Mughal system of administration.
The Delhi Sultanate was an Islamic state with its religion Islam.
The Sultans considered themselves as representatives of the Caliph.
They included the name of the Caliph in the khutba or prayer and
inscribed it on their coins. Although Balban called himself the shadow
of God, he continued to practice of including the name of Caliph in
the khutba and coins. Iltutmish, Muhammad bin Tughlaq and Firoz
Tughlaq obtained mansur or letter of permission from the Caliph.
The office of the Sultan was the most important in the
administrative system. He was the ultimate authority for the military,
LESSON 17
INDIA UNDER THE DELHI SULTANATE
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Administration under the Delhi Sultanate.
2. Economic Condition under the Delhi Sultanate.
3. Social Life under the Delhi Sultanate.
4. Art and architecture of the Delhi Sultanate.
5. Literary Development.
193 192
taxes and always led a hand-to-mouth living. Frequent famines made
their lives more miserable.
However, Sultans like Muhammad bi Tughlaq and Firoz
Tughlaq took efforts to enhance agricultural production by providing
irrigational facilities and by providing takkavi loans. They also
encouraged the farmers to cultivate superior crop like wheat instead
of barley. Firoz encouraged the growth of horticulture. Muhammad
bin Tughlaq created a separate agricultural department, Diwani
Kohi.
During the Sultanate period, the process of urbanization gained
momentum. A number of cities and towns had grown during this
period. Lahore, Multan, Broach, Anhilwara, Laknauti, Daulatabad,
Delhi and Jaunpur were important among them. Delhi remained the
largest city in the East. The growth of trade and commerce was
described by contemporary writers. India exported a large number
of commodities to the countries on the Persian Gulf and West Asia
and also to South East Asian countries. Overseas trade was under
the control of Multanis and Afghan Muslims. Inland trade was
dominated by the Gujarat Marwari merchants and Muslim Bohra
merchants. Construction of roads and their maintenance facilitated
for smooth transport and communication. Particularly the royal roads
were kept in good shape. Sarais or rest houses on the highways
were maintained for the convenience of the travelers.
Cotton textile and silk industry flourished in this period.
Sericulture was introduced on a large scale which made India less
dependent on other countries for the import of raw silk. Paper
industry had grown and there was an extensive use of paper from
14
th
 and 15
th
 centuries. Other crafts like leather-making, metal-crafts
and carpet-weaving flourished due to the increasing demand. The
royal karkhanas supplied the goods needed to the Sultan and his
household. They manufactured costly articles made of gold, silver
matters. The Hindus were governed by their own personal law and
their cases were dispensed by the village panchayats. The criminal
law was based on the rules and regulations made by the Sultans.
The department of correspondence was called Diwani Insha. All
the correspondence between the ruler and the officials was dealt
with by this department.
Local Administration
The provinces under the Delhi Sultanate were called iqtas.
They were initially under the control of the nobles. But the governors
of the provinces were called the muqtis or walis. They were to
maintain law and order and collect the land revenue. The provinces
were divided into shiqs and the next division was pargana. The
shiq was under the control of shiqdar. The pargana comprising a
number of villages was headed by amil. The village remained the
basic unit of the administration. The village headman was known as
muqaddam or chaudhri. The village accountant was called patwari.
Economy
After consolidating their position in India, the Delhi Sultans
introduced reforms in the land revenue administration. The lands
were classified into three categories:
1. iqta land – lands assigned to officials as iqtas instead of
payment for their services.
2. khalisa land – land under the direct control of the Sultan and
the revenues collected were spent for the maintenance of royal
court and royal household.
3. inam land – land assigned or granted to religious leaders or
religious institutions.
The peasantry paid one third of their produce as land revenue,
and sometimes even one half of the produce. They also paid other
Page 3


191 190
legal and political activities. There was no clear law of succession
during this period. All the sons had equal claim to the throne. Iltutmish
even nominated his daughter in preference to his sons. But such
nominations or successions were to be accepted by the nobles.
Sometimes ulemas played crucial role in accepting the succession
to the throne. However, the military superiority remained the main
factor in matters of succession.
Central Government
The Sultan was assisted by a number of departments and
officials in his administration. The post of Naib was the most powerful
one. The Naib practically enjoyed all the powers of the Sultan and
exercised general control over all the departments. Next to him was
the Wazir who was heading the finance department called Diwani
Wizarat.
The military department was called Diwani Ariz. It was
headed by Ariz-i-mumalik. He was responsible for recruiting the
soldiers and administering the military department. He was not the
commander-in-chief of the army. The Sultan himself was the
commander-in-chief of the army. The military department was first
set up by Balban and it was further improved by Alauddin Khalji
under whom the strength of the army crossed three lakh soldiers.
Alauddin introduced the system of branding of the horses and
payment of salary in cash. Cavalry was given importance under the
Delhi Sultanate.
Diwani Rasalat was the department of religious affairs. It
was headed by chief Sadr. Grants were made by this department
for the construction and maintenance of mosques, tombs and
madrasas. The head of the judicial department was the chief Qazi.
Other judges or qazis were appointed in various parts of the
Sultanate. Muslim personal law or sharia was followed in civil
Administration
The establishment and expansion of the Delhi Sultanate led to
the evolution of a powerful and efficient administrative system. At
its zenith the authority of Delhi Sultan had extended as far south as
Madurai. Although the Delhi Sultanate had disintegrated, their
administrative system made a powerful impact on the Indian
provincial kingdoms and later on the Mughal system of administration.
The Delhi Sultanate was an Islamic state with its religion Islam.
The Sultans considered themselves as representatives of the Caliph.
They included the name of the Caliph in the khutba or prayer and
inscribed it on their coins. Although Balban called himself the shadow
of God, he continued to practice of including the name of Caliph in
the khutba and coins. Iltutmish, Muhammad bin Tughlaq and Firoz
Tughlaq obtained mansur or letter of permission from the Caliph.
The office of the Sultan was the most important in the
administrative system. He was the ultimate authority for the military,
LESSON 17
INDIA UNDER THE DELHI SULTANATE
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Administration under the Delhi Sultanate.
2. Economic Condition under the Delhi Sultanate.
3. Social Life under the Delhi Sultanate.
4. Art and architecture of the Delhi Sultanate.
5. Literary Development.
193 192
taxes and always led a hand-to-mouth living. Frequent famines made
their lives more miserable.
However, Sultans like Muhammad bi Tughlaq and Firoz
Tughlaq took efforts to enhance agricultural production by providing
irrigational facilities and by providing takkavi loans. They also
encouraged the farmers to cultivate superior crop like wheat instead
of barley. Firoz encouraged the growth of horticulture. Muhammad
bin Tughlaq created a separate agricultural department, Diwani
Kohi.
During the Sultanate period, the process of urbanization gained
momentum. A number of cities and towns had grown during this
period. Lahore, Multan, Broach, Anhilwara, Laknauti, Daulatabad,
Delhi and Jaunpur were important among them. Delhi remained the
largest city in the East. The growth of trade and commerce was
described by contemporary writers. India exported a large number
of commodities to the countries on the Persian Gulf and West Asia
and also to South East Asian countries. Overseas trade was under
the control of Multanis and Afghan Muslims. Inland trade was
dominated by the Gujarat Marwari merchants and Muslim Bohra
merchants. Construction of roads and their maintenance facilitated
for smooth transport and communication. Particularly the royal roads
were kept in good shape. Sarais or rest houses on the highways
were maintained for the convenience of the travelers.
Cotton textile and silk industry flourished in this period.
Sericulture was introduced on a large scale which made India less
dependent on other countries for the import of raw silk. Paper
industry had grown and there was an extensive use of paper from
14
th
 and 15
th
 centuries. Other crafts like leather-making, metal-crafts
and carpet-weaving flourished due to the increasing demand. The
royal karkhanas supplied the goods needed to the Sultan and his
household. They manufactured costly articles made of gold, silver
matters. The Hindus were governed by their own personal law and
their cases were dispensed by the village panchayats. The criminal
law was based on the rules and regulations made by the Sultans.
The department of correspondence was called Diwani Insha. All
the correspondence between the ruler and the officials was dealt
with by this department.
Local Administration
The provinces under the Delhi Sultanate were called iqtas.
They were initially under the control of the nobles. But the governors
of the provinces were called the muqtis or walis. They were to
maintain law and order and collect the land revenue. The provinces
were divided into shiqs and the next division was pargana. The
shiq was under the control of shiqdar. The pargana comprising a
number of villages was headed by amil. The village remained the
basic unit of the administration. The village headman was known as
muqaddam or chaudhri. The village accountant was called patwari.
Economy
After consolidating their position in India, the Delhi Sultans
introduced reforms in the land revenue administration. The lands
were classified into three categories:
1. iqta land – lands assigned to officials as iqtas instead of
payment for their services.
2. khalisa land – land under the direct control of the Sultan and
the revenues collected were spent for the maintenance of royal
court and royal household.
3. inam land – land assigned or granted to religious leaders or
religious institutions.
The peasantry paid one third of their produce as land revenue,
and sometimes even one half of the produce. They also paid other
195 194
or protected people for which they were forced to pay a tax called
jiziya. In the beginning jiziya was collected as part of land tax.
Firoz Tughlaq separated it from the land revenue and collected jiziya
as a separate tax. Sometimes Brahmins were exempted from paying
jiziya.
Art and Architecture
The art and architecture of the Delhi Sultanate period was
distinct from the Indian style. The Turks
introduced arches, domes, lofty towers
or minarets and decorations using the
Arabic script. They used the skill of the
Indian stone cutters. They also added
colour to their buildings by using
marbles, red and yellow sand stones.
In the beginning, they converted temples and other structures
demolished into mosques. For example, the Quwwat-ul-Islam
mosque near Qutub Minar in Delhi was built by using the materials
obtained from destroying many Hindu and Jain temples. But later,
they began to construct new structures. The most magnificent building
of the 13
th
 century was the Qutub Minar which was founded by
Aibek and completed by Iltutmish. This seventy one metre tower
was dedicated to the Sufi saint Qutbuddin Bakthiyar Kaki. The
balconies of this tower were projected from the main building and it
was the proof of the architectural skills of that period. Later, Alauddin
Khalji added an entrance to the Qutub Minar called Alai Darwaza.
The dome of this arch was built on scientific lines.
The buildings of the Tughlaq period were constructed by
combining arch and dome. They also used the cheaper and easily
available grey colour stones. The palace complex called Tughlaqabad
with its beautiful lake was built during the period of Ghyasuddin
QUWWAT-UL-ISLAM MOSQUE 
and gold ware. The nobles also aped the life style of Sultans and
indulged in luxurious life. They were well paid and accumulated
enormous wealth.
The system of coinage had also developed during the Delhi
Sultanate. Iltutmish issued several types of silver tankas. One silver
tanka was divided into 48 jitals during the Khalji rule and 50 jitals
during the Tughlaq rule. Gold coins or dinars became popular during
the reign of Alauddin Khalji after his South Indian conquests. Copper
coins were less in number and dateless. Muhammad bin Tughlaq
had not only experimented token currency but also issued several
types of gold and silver coins. They were minted at eight different
places. At least twenty five varieties of gold coins were issued by
him.
Social Life
There was little change in the structure of the Hindu society
during this period. Traditional caste system with the Brahmins on
the upper strata of the society was prevalent. The subservient position
of women also continued and the practice of sati was widely
prevalent. The seclusion of women and the wearing of purdah
became common among the upper class women. The Arabs and
Turks brought the purdah system into India and it became
widespread among the Hindu women in the upper classes of north
India.
During the Sultanate period, the Muslim society remained
divided into several ethnic and racial groups. The Turks, Iranians,
Afghans and Indian Muslims developed exclusively and there were
no intermarriages between these groups. Hindu converts from lower
castes were also not given equal respect. The Muslim nobles
occupied high offices and very rarely the Hindu nobles were given
high position in the government. The Hindus were considered zimmis
Page 4


191 190
legal and political activities. There was no clear law of succession
during this period. All the sons had equal claim to the throne. Iltutmish
even nominated his daughter in preference to his sons. But such
nominations or successions were to be accepted by the nobles.
Sometimes ulemas played crucial role in accepting the succession
to the throne. However, the military superiority remained the main
factor in matters of succession.
Central Government
The Sultan was assisted by a number of departments and
officials in his administration. The post of Naib was the most powerful
one. The Naib practically enjoyed all the powers of the Sultan and
exercised general control over all the departments. Next to him was
the Wazir who was heading the finance department called Diwani
Wizarat.
The military department was called Diwani Ariz. It was
headed by Ariz-i-mumalik. He was responsible for recruiting the
soldiers and administering the military department. He was not the
commander-in-chief of the army. The Sultan himself was the
commander-in-chief of the army. The military department was first
set up by Balban and it was further improved by Alauddin Khalji
under whom the strength of the army crossed three lakh soldiers.
Alauddin introduced the system of branding of the horses and
payment of salary in cash. Cavalry was given importance under the
Delhi Sultanate.
Diwani Rasalat was the department of religious affairs. It
was headed by chief Sadr. Grants were made by this department
for the construction and maintenance of mosques, tombs and
madrasas. The head of the judicial department was the chief Qazi.
Other judges or qazis were appointed in various parts of the
Sultanate. Muslim personal law or sharia was followed in civil
Administration
The establishment and expansion of the Delhi Sultanate led to
the evolution of a powerful and efficient administrative system. At
its zenith the authority of Delhi Sultan had extended as far south as
Madurai. Although the Delhi Sultanate had disintegrated, their
administrative system made a powerful impact on the Indian
provincial kingdoms and later on the Mughal system of administration.
The Delhi Sultanate was an Islamic state with its religion Islam.
The Sultans considered themselves as representatives of the Caliph.
They included the name of the Caliph in the khutba or prayer and
inscribed it on their coins. Although Balban called himself the shadow
of God, he continued to practice of including the name of Caliph in
the khutba and coins. Iltutmish, Muhammad bin Tughlaq and Firoz
Tughlaq obtained mansur or letter of permission from the Caliph.
The office of the Sultan was the most important in the
administrative system. He was the ultimate authority for the military,
LESSON 17
INDIA UNDER THE DELHI SULTANATE
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Administration under the Delhi Sultanate.
2. Economic Condition under the Delhi Sultanate.
3. Social Life under the Delhi Sultanate.
4. Art and architecture of the Delhi Sultanate.
5. Literary Development.
193 192
taxes and always led a hand-to-mouth living. Frequent famines made
their lives more miserable.
However, Sultans like Muhammad bi Tughlaq and Firoz
Tughlaq took efforts to enhance agricultural production by providing
irrigational facilities and by providing takkavi loans. They also
encouraged the farmers to cultivate superior crop like wheat instead
of barley. Firoz encouraged the growth of horticulture. Muhammad
bin Tughlaq created a separate agricultural department, Diwani
Kohi.
During the Sultanate period, the process of urbanization gained
momentum. A number of cities and towns had grown during this
period. Lahore, Multan, Broach, Anhilwara, Laknauti, Daulatabad,
Delhi and Jaunpur were important among them. Delhi remained the
largest city in the East. The growth of trade and commerce was
described by contemporary writers. India exported a large number
of commodities to the countries on the Persian Gulf and West Asia
and also to South East Asian countries. Overseas trade was under
the control of Multanis and Afghan Muslims. Inland trade was
dominated by the Gujarat Marwari merchants and Muslim Bohra
merchants. Construction of roads and their maintenance facilitated
for smooth transport and communication. Particularly the royal roads
were kept in good shape. Sarais or rest houses on the highways
were maintained for the convenience of the travelers.
Cotton textile and silk industry flourished in this period.
Sericulture was introduced on a large scale which made India less
dependent on other countries for the import of raw silk. Paper
industry had grown and there was an extensive use of paper from
14
th
 and 15
th
 centuries. Other crafts like leather-making, metal-crafts
and carpet-weaving flourished due to the increasing demand. The
royal karkhanas supplied the goods needed to the Sultan and his
household. They manufactured costly articles made of gold, silver
matters. The Hindus were governed by their own personal law and
their cases were dispensed by the village panchayats. The criminal
law was based on the rules and regulations made by the Sultans.
The department of correspondence was called Diwani Insha. All
the correspondence between the ruler and the officials was dealt
with by this department.
Local Administration
The provinces under the Delhi Sultanate were called iqtas.
They were initially under the control of the nobles. But the governors
of the provinces were called the muqtis or walis. They were to
maintain law and order and collect the land revenue. The provinces
were divided into shiqs and the next division was pargana. The
shiq was under the control of shiqdar. The pargana comprising a
number of villages was headed by amil. The village remained the
basic unit of the administration. The village headman was known as
muqaddam or chaudhri. The village accountant was called patwari.
Economy
After consolidating their position in India, the Delhi Sultans
introduced reforms in the land revenue administration. The lands
were classified into three categories:
1. iqta land – lands assigned to officials as iqtas instead of
payment for their services.
2. khalisa land – land under the direct control of the Sultan and
the revenues collected were spent for the maintenance of royal
court and royal household.
3. inam land – land assigned or granted to religious leaders or
religious institutions.
The peasantry paid one third of their produce as land revenue,
and sometimes even one half of the produce. They also paid other
195 194
or protected people for which they were forced to pay a tax called
jiziya. In the beginning jiziya was collected as part of land tax.
Firoz Tughlaq separated it from the land revenue and collected jiziya
as a separate tax. Sometimes Brahmins were exempted from paying
jiziya.
Art and Architecture
The art and architecture of the Delhi Sultanate period was
distinct from the Indian style. The Turks
introduced arches, domes, lofty towers
or minarets and decorations using the
Arabic script. They used the skill of the
Indian stone cutters. They also added
colour to their buildings by using
marbles, red and yellow sand stones.
In the beginning, they converted temples and other structures
demolished into mosques. For example, the Quwwat-ul-Islam
mosque near Qutub Minar in Delhi was built by using the materials
obtained from destroying many Hindu and Jain temples. But later,
they began to construct new structures. The most magnificent building
of the 13
th
 century was the Qutub Minar which was founded by
Aibek and completed by Iltutmish. This seventy one metre tower
was dedicated to the Sufi saint Qutbuddin Bakthiyar Kaki. The
balconies of this tower were projected from the main building and it
was the proof of the architectural skills of that period. Later, Alauddin
Khalji added an entrance to the Qutub Minar called Alai Darwaza.
The dome of this arch was built on scientific lines.
The buildings of the Tughlaq period were constructed by
combining arch and dome. They also used the cheaper and easily
available grey colour stones. The palace complex called Tughlaqabad
with its beautiful lake was built during the period of Ghyasuddin
QUWWAT-UL-ISLAM MOSQUE 
and gold ware. The nobles also aped the life style of Sultans and
indulged in luxurious life. They were well paid and accumulated
enormous wealth.
The system of coinage had also developed during the Delhi
Sultanate. Iltutmish issued several types of silver tankas. One silver
tanka was divided into 48 jitals during the Khalji rule and 50 jitals
during the Tughlaq rule. Gold coins or dinars became popular during
the reign of Alauddin Khalji after his South Indian conquests. Copper
coins were less in number and dateless. Muhammad bin Tughlaq
had not only experimented token currency but also issued several
types of gold and silver coins. They were minted at eight different
places. At least twenty five varieties of gold coins were issued by
him.
Social Life
There was little change in the structure of the Hindu society
during this period. Traditional caste system with the Brahmins on
the upper strata of the society was prevalent. The subservient position
of women also continued and the practice of sati was widely
prevalent. The seclusion of women and the wearing of purdah
became common among the upper class women. The Arabs and
Turks brought the purdah system into India and it became
widespread among the Hindu women in the upper classes of north
India.
During the Sultanate period, the Muslim society remained
divided into several ethnic and racial groups. The Turks, Iranians,
Afghans and Indian Muslims developed exclusively and there were
no intermarriages between these groups. Hindu converts from lower
castes were also not given equal respect. The Muslim nobles
occupied high offices and very rarely the Hindu nobles were given
high position in the government. The Hindus were considered zimmis
197 196
Amir Khusrau (1252-1325) was the famous Persian writer of
this period. He wrote a number of poems. He experimented with several
poetical forms and created a new style of Persian poetry called Sabaq-
i-Hind or the Indian style. He also wrote some Hindi verses. Amir
Khusrau’s Khazain-ul-Futuh speaks about Alauddin’s conquests. His
famous work Tughlaq Nama deals with the rise of Ghyiasuddin Tughlaq.
Sanskrit and Persian functioned as link languages in the Delhi
Sultanate. Zia Nakshabi was the first to translate Sanskrit stories into
Persian. The book Tutu Nama or Book of the Parrot became popular
and translated into Turkish and later into many European languages.
The famous Rajatarangini written by Kalhana belonged to the period
of Zain-ul-Abidin, the ruler of Kashmir. Many Sanskrit works on
medicine and music were translated into Persian.
In Arabic, Alberuni’s Kitab-ul-Hind is the most famous work.
Regional languages also developed during this period. Chand Baradi
was the famous Hindi poet of this period. Bengali literature had also
developed and Nusrat Shah patronized the translation of Mahabaratha
into Bengali. The Bakthi cult led to development of Gujarati and Marathi
languages. The Vijayanagar Empire patronized Telugu and Kannada
literature.
Learning Outcome
After learning this lesson the students will be able to explain
1. Central government and Local administration under the
Delhi Sultanate.
2. Economic life of the people of India under the Delhi
Sultanate.
3. Social condition and the impact of Muslim rule on Indian
society.
4. Architectural contributions of the Delhi Sultanate.
5. Persian and other scholars lived during the Delhi
Sultanate and their contribution.
Tughlaq. Muhammad bin Tughlaq built the tomb of Ghyasuddin on
a high platform. The Kotla fort at Delhi was the creation of Firoz
Tughlaq. The Lodi garden in Delhi was the example for the
architecture of the Lodis.
Music
New musical instruments such as sarangi and rabab were
introduced during this period. Amir Khusrau introduced many new
ragas such as ghora and sanam. He evolved a new style of light
music known as qwalis by blending the Hindu and Iranian systems.
The invention of sitar was also attributed to him. The Indian classical
work Ragadarpan was translated into Persian during the reign of
Firoz Tughlaq. Pir Bhodan, a Sufi saint was one of the great
musicians of this period. Raja Man Singh of Gwalior was a great
lover of music. He encouraged the composition of a great musical
work called Man Kautuhal.
Literature
The Delhi Sultans patronized learning and literature. Many of
them had great love for Arabic and Persian literature. Learned men
came from Persia and Persian language got encouragement from
the rulers. Besides theology and poetry, the
writing of history was also encouraged. Some
of the Sultans had their own court historians.
The most famous historians of this period were
Hasan Nizami, Minhaj-us-Siraj, Ziauddin
Barani, and Shams-Siraj Afif. Barani’s Tarikh-
i-Firoz Shahi contains the history of Tughlaq
dynasty. Minhaj-us-Siraj wrote Tabaqat-i-
Nasari, a general history of Muslim dynasties
up to 1260.
AMIR KHUSRAU 
Page 5


191 190
legal and political activities. There was no clear law of succession
during this period. All the sons had equal claim to the throne. Iltutmish
even nominated his daughter in preference to his sons. But such
nominations or successions were to be accepted by the nobles.
Sometimes ulemas played crucial role in accepting the succession
to the throne. However, the military superiority remained the main
factor in matters of succession.
Central Government
The Sultan was assisted by a number of departments and
officials in his administration. The post of Naib was the most powerful
one. The Naib practically enjoyed all the powers of the Sultan and
exercised general control over all the departments. Next to him was
the Wazir who was heading the finance department called Diwani
Wizarat.
The military department was called Diwani Ariz. It was
headed by Ariz-i-mumalik. He was responsible for recruiting the
soldiers and administering the military department. He was not the
commander-in-chief of the army. The Sultan himself was the
commander-in-chief of the army. The military department was first
set up by Balban and it was further improved by Alauddin Khalji
under whom the strength of the army crossed three lakh soldiers.
Alauddin introduced the system of branding of the horses and
payment of salary in cash. Cavalry was given importance under the
Delhi Sultanate.
Diwani Rasalat was the department of religious affairs. It
was headed by chief Sadr. Grants were made by this department
for the construction and maintenance of mosques, tombs and
madrasas. The head of the judicial department was the chief Qazi.
Other judges or qazis were appointed in various parts of the
Sultanate. Muslim personal law or sharia was followed in civil
Administration
The establishment and expansion of the Delhi Sultanate led to
the evolution of a powerful and efficient administrative system. At
its zenith the authority of Delhi Sultan had extended as far south as
Madurai. Although the Delhi Sultanate had disintegrated, their
administrative system made a powerful impact on the Indian
provincial kingdoms and later on the Mughal system of administration.
The Delhi Sultanate was an Islamic state with its religion Islam.
The Sultans considered themselves as representatives of the Caliph.
They included the name of the Caliph in the khutba or prayer and
inscribed it on their coins. Although Balban called himself the shadow
of God, he continued to practice of including the name of Caliph in
the khutba and coins. Iltutmish, Muhammad bin Tughlaq and Firoz
Tughlaq obtained mansur or letter of permission from the Caliph.
The office of the Sultan was the most important in the
administrative system. He was the ultimate authority for the military,
LESSON 17
INDIA UNDER THE DELHI SULTANATE
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Administration under the Delhi Sultanate.
2. Economic Condition under the Delhi Sultanate.
3. Social Life under the Delhi Sultanate.
4. Art and architecture of the Delhi Sultanate.
5. Literary Development.
193 192
taxes and always led a hand-to-mouth living. Frequent famines made
their lives more miserable.
However, Sultans like Muhammad bi Tughlaq and Firoz
Tughlaq took efforts to enhance agricultural production by providing
irrigational facilities and by providing takkavi loans. They also
encouraged the farmers to cultivate superior crop like wheat instead
of barley. Firoz encouraged the growth of horticulture. Muhammad
bin Tughlaq created a separate agricultural department, Diwani
Kohi.
During the Sultanate period, the process of urbanization gained
momentum. A number of cities and towns had grown during this
period. Lahore, Multan, Broach, Anhilwara, Laknauti, Daulatabad,
Delhi and Jaunpur were important among them. Delhi remained the
largest city in the East. The growth of trade and commerce was
described by contemporary writers. India exported a large number
of commodities to the countries on the Persian Gulf and West Asia
and also to South East Asian countries. Overseas trade was under
the control of Multanis and Afghan Muslims. Inland trade was
dominated by the Gujarat Marwari merchants and Muslim Bohra
merchants. Construction of roads and their maintenance facilitated
for smooth transport and communication. Particularly the royal roads
were kept in good shape. Sarais or rest houses on the highways
were maintained for the convenience of the travelers.
Cotton textile and silk industry flourished in this period.
Sericulture was introduced on a large scale which made India less
dependent on other countries for the import of raw silk. Paper
industry had grown and there was an extensive use of paper from
14
th
 and 15
th
 centuries. Other crafts like leather-making, metal-crafts
and carpet-weaving flourished due to the increasing demand. The
royal karkhanas supplied the goods needed to the Sultan and his
household. They manufactured costly articles made of gold, silver
matters. The Hindus were governed by their own personal law and
their cases were dispensed by the village panchayats. The criminal
law was based on the rules and regulations made by the Sultans.
The department of correspondence was called Diwani Insha. All
the correspondence between the ruler and the officials was dealt
with by this department.
Local Administration
The provinces under the Delhi Sultanate were called iqtas.
They were initially under the control of the nobles. But the governors
of the provinces were called the muqtis or walis. They were to
maintain law and order and collect the land revenue. The provinces
were divided into shiqs and the next division was pargana. The
shiq was under the control of shiqdar. The pargana comprising a
number of villages was headed by amil. The village remained the
basic unit of the administration. The village headman was known as
muqaddam or chaudhri. The village accountant was called patwari.
Economy
After consolidating their position in India, the Delhi Sultans
introduced reforms in the land revenue administration. The lands
were classified into three categories:
1. iqta land – lands assigned to officials as iqtas instead of
payment for their services.
2. khalisa land – land under the direct control of the Sultan and
the revenues collected were spent for the maintenance of royal
court and royal household.
3. inam land – land assigned or granted to religious leaders or
religious institutions.
The peasantry paid one third of their produce as land revenue,
and sometimes even one half of the produce. They also paid other
195 194
or protected people for which they were forced to pay a tax called
jiziya. In the beginning jiziya was collected as part of land tax.
Firoz Tughlaq separated it from the land revenue and collected jiziya
as a separate tax. Sometimes Brahmins were exempted from paying
jiziya.
Art and Architecture
The art and architecture of the Delhi Sultanate period was
distinct from the Indian style. The Turks
introduced arches, domes, lofty towers
or minarets and decorations using the
Arabic script. They used the skill of the
Indian stone cutters. They also added
colour to their buildings by using
marbles, red and yellow sand stones.
In the beginning, they converted temples and other structures
demolished into mosques. For example, the Quwwat-ul-Islam
mosque near Qutub Minar in Delhi was built by using the materials
obtained from destroying many Hindu and Jain temples. But later,
they began to construct new structures. The most magnificent building
of the 13
th
 century was the Qutub Minar which was founded by
Aibek and completed by Iltutmish. This seventy one metre tower
was dedicated to the Sufi saint Qutbuddin Bakthiyar Kaki. The
balconies of this tower were projected from the main building and it
was the proof of the architectural skills of that period. Later, Alauddin
Khalji added an entrance to the Qutub Minar called Alai Darwaza.
The dome of this arch was built on scientific lines.
The buildings of the Tughlaq period were constructed by
combining arch and dome. They also used the cheaper and easily
available grey colour stones. The palace complex called Tughlaqabad
with its beautiful lake was built during the period of Ghyasuddin
QUWWAT-UL-ISLAM MOSQUE 
and gold ware. The nobles also aped the life style of Sultans and
indulged in luxurious life. They were well paid and accumulated
enormous wealth.
The system of coinage had also developed during the Delhi
Sultanate. Iltutmish issued several types of silver tankas. One silver
tanka was divided into 48 jitals during the Khalji rule and 50 jitals
during the Tughlaq rule. Gold coins or dinars became popular during
the reign of Alauddin Khalji after his South Indian conquests. Copper
coins were less in number and dateless. Muhammad bin Tughlaq
had not only experimented token currency but also issued several
types of gold and silver coins. They were minted at eight different
places. At least twenty five varieties of gold coins were issued by
him.
Social Life
There was little change in the structure of the Hindu society
during this period. Traditional caste system with the Brahmins on
the upper strata of the society was prevalent. The subservient position
of women also continued and the practice of sati was widely
prevalent. The seclusion of women and the wearing of purdah
became common among the upper class women. The Arabs and
Turks brought the purdah system into India and it became
widespread among the Hindu women in the upper classes of north
India.
During the Sultanate period, the Muslim society remained
divided into several ethnic and racial groups. The Turks, Iranians,
Afghans and Indian Muslims developed exclusively and there were
no intermarriages between these groups. Hindu converts from lower
castes were also not given equal respect. The Muslim nobles
occupied high offices and very rarely the Hindu nobles were given
high position in the government. The Hindus were considered zimmis
197 196
Amir Khusrau (1252-1325) was the famous Persian writer of
this period. He wrote a number of poems. He experimented with several
poetical forms and created a new style of Persian poetry called Sabaq-
i-Hind or the Indian style. He also wrote some Hindi verses. Amir
Khusrau’s Khazain-ul-Futuh speaks about Alauddin’s conquests. His
famous work Tughlaq Nama deals with the rise of Ghyiasuddin Tughlaq.
Sanskrit and Persian functioned as link languages in the Delhi
Sultanate. Zia Nakshabi was the first to translate Sanskrit stories into
Persian. The book Tutu Nama or Book of the Parrot became popular
and translated into Turkish and later into many European languages.
The famous Rajatarangini written by Kalhana belonged to the period
of Zain-ul-Abidin, the ruler of Kashmir. Many Sanskrit works on
medicine and music were translated into Persian.
In Arabic, Alberuni’s Kitab-ul-Hind is the most famous work.
Regional languages also developed during this period. Chand Baradi
was the famous Hindi poet of this period. Bengali literature had also
developed and Nusrat Shah patronized the translation of Mahabaratha
into Bengali. The Bakthi cult led to development of Gujarati and Marathi
languages. The Vijayanagar Empire patronized Telugu and Kannada
literature.
Learning Outcome
After learning this lesson the students will be able to explain
1. Central government and Local administration under the
Delhi Sultanate.
2. Economic life of the people of India under the Delhi
Sultanate.
3. Social condition and the impact of Muslim rule on Indian
society.
4. Architectural contributions of the Delhi Sultanate.
5. Persian and other scholars lived during the Delhi
Sultanate and their contribution.
Tughlaq. Muhammad bin Tughlaq built the tomb of Ghyasuddin on
a high platform. The Kotla fort at Delhi was the creation of Firoz
Tughlaq. The Lodi garden in Delhi was the example for the
architecture of the Lodis.
Music
New musical instruments such as sarangi and rabab were
introduced during this period. Amir Khusrau introduced many new
ragas such as ghora and sanam. He evolved a new style of light
music known as qwalis by blending the Hindu and Iranian systems.
The invention of sitar was also attributed to him. The Indian classical
work Ragadarpan was translated into Persian during the reign of
Firoz Tughlaq. Pir Bhodan, a Sufi saint was one of the great
musicians of this period. Raja Man Singh of Gwalior was a great
lover of music. He encouraged the composition of a great musical
work called Man Kautuhal.
Literature
The Delhi Sultans patronized learning and literature. Many of
them had great love for Arabic and Persian literature. Learned men
came from Persia and Persian language got encouragement from
the rulers. Besides theology and poetry, the
writing of history was also encouraged. Some
of the Sultans had their own court historians.
The most famous historians of this period were
Hasan Nizami, Minhaj-us-Siraj, Ziauddin
Barani, and Shams-Siraj Afif. Barani’s Tarikh-
i-Firoz Shahi contains the history of Tughlaq
dynasty. Minhaj-us-Siraj wrote Tabaqat-i-
Nasari, a general history of Muslim dynasties
up to 1260.
AMIR KHUSRAU 
199 198
c) Inam land is the land assigned to soldiers for their services in
wars.
d) Diwan-i-Kohi was the department of Land Revenue.
V. State whether the following statements are True or
False.
1. The finance department under the Delhi Sultanate was called
Diwani Wizarat.
2. The Indian classical work Ragadarpan was translated into
Sanskrit.
3. The Hindus were considered zimmis and they were forced to
pay a tax called jiziya.
VI. Write short notes (Any three points).
1. Diwani Wizarat
2. Coinage under the Delhi Sultanate.
3. Amir Khusrau
4. Qutub Minar
VII. Answer briefly (100 words).
1. Give a brief account of local administration under the Delhi
Sultanate.
2. Trace the economic condition under the Delhi Sultanate.
VIII. Answer in detail (200 words).
1. Examine the administration of the Delhi Sultanate.
2. Evaluate the cultural contributions of the Sultans of Delhi.
MODEL QUESTIONS
I. Choose the correct answer.
1. The governors of the provinces in Delhi Sultanate were called
the
(a) Shikdars (b) Muqtis
(c) Patwaris (d) Chaudris
2. The Kotla fort at Delhi was the creation of
(a) Firoz Tughlaq (b) Iltutmish
(c) Alauddin Khalji (d) Sikkandar Lodi
II. Fill in the blanks.
1. The military department under the Delhi Sultanate was called
……
2. New ragas such as ghora and sanam were introduced by …….
III. Match the following.
1. Minhaj-us-Siraj a) Rajatarangini
2. Amir Khusrau b) Tabaqat-i-Nasari
3. Kalhana c) Kitab-ul-Hind
4. Alberuni d) Sabaq-i-Hind
IV. Find out the correct statement. One statement alone is
right.
a) Iqta land is the land assigned to officials instead of payment
for their services.
b) Khalisa land is the land under the direct control of village
councils.
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