Delhi Sultanate

India was invaded by the Muslim rulers of Middle East repeatedly between 1000 AD and 1200 AD before the foundation of Delhi Sultanate was formed.

Mahamud of Ghazni was son of Subuktgeen who came into power in 971 and reigned till 1030 AD. The first conflict was with Jayapala. After Jayapala committed suicide, his son Anandpala prepared an alliance with 6 rulers of Ujjain, Gwalior, Kalinjar, Kannauj, Delhi and Ajmer). This was known as Rajput Confederacy. The combined army of the Rajput Confederacy met in 1008 near Peshawar. The Rajput army was initially victorious but an elephant of Anandapala began to run away from the battle field. There was a stampede in the Rajput army and Mahmud won this fierce battle. He was now undisputed ruler of Punjab, Multan and Sindh.

Next raid of greedy Mahmud was on Nagarkot in 1009. The Hindus could not resist him and were looted and plundered. In 1011 he attacked and sacked Thaneshwar. In 1017 he looted and plundered Kannauj, Meerut, Mathura and while moving back along with heavy booty and tributes.

In 1021 the Mahmud attacked the last Shahi King Trilochanpala. The defeated Hindu king fled to Ajmer. Mahmud appointed first Muslim Governor in the east of Indus River.

Trilochanpala was later assassinated by his own people in 1023 AD. In 1024 Mahmud once again raided India. This time he sacked Ajmer, Kalinjar, Gwalior and Finally Somnath. The temple was destroyed. The Lingam was hammered and destroyed and its pieces were carted back to Ghazni where a Jama Masjid was built. He returned via Thar Desert to avoid the armies of Ajmer, though the Jats confronted him en route. During his last invasion he got Malaria and died in 1030 AD.

Objectives of Invasion on India

The main objective of Mahmud Ghaznavi’s invasion was the wealth of the Indians. But being an ardent Sunni Muslim, he was called the "Idol Breaker" and eagerly destroyed the temples of Jwalamukhi, Kangra, Mathura, Somnath etc. Each time he returned with enormous wealth but it is clear that there was no permanent impact of his attacks on India.

Why Rajputs failed?

The Rajputs, though patriotic, Courageous and zealous were suffering from the political myopia and could not estimate the dangers coming their way. They adopted and followed the epic era rules and customs of war such as not attacking the fleeing enemy, not attacking the enemy with no arms etc. The invaders took advantages of this lack of political foresight of the Rajputs and the result was that within a century, all the Hindu dynasties of the country were swept away by the torrent of the Muslims.

Muhammad Ghori, Medieval History of IndiaMuhammad Ghori

Sultan Shahab -ud -din Muhammad Ghori, also known as Muizzuddin Muhammad Bin Sam, was born in 1162 in a small region of Ghor located in the mountains between the old Ghaznavid Empire and Seljuk dynasty situated in the western part of the then Ghaznavid Empire. In the present times, the latter is known as Central Afghanistan. Unlike his predecessor Mahmud of Ghazni, Muhammad Ghori remains significant in the medieval history of India for his number of conquests as well as laying the foundation for Muslim rule in India as it was his slave Qutb -ud -din Aibak who was the founder of the first Turkish rule in India in the following years.

Muhammad Ghori began his expedition by first capturing Multan in 1175 AD and then building a fort in Uch. Muhammad's first battle was against the Muslim rulers of Multan in 1175 AD in which he came victorious. After his victory over Multan he turned to the south where he captured the region of Uch and established his base by building a fort in 1178 and proceeded towards Gujarat where he had a different fate.

In his battle of Kayadara Muhammad had to suffer severe defeat from Naikidevi who controlled the command of the Gujarat army. The state of Gujarat was under the rule of Raja Bhimdev II who due to his young age and inexperience had to take his mother under confidence.

Muhammad Ghori's next invasion was over Lahore which he captured in 1181 and constructed a fort at Sialkot. Muhammad's army then proceeded towards the city of Lahore which was the capital of old Ghaznavid empire .By capturing Lahore he brought the remaining of Ghanavid empire to an end and included the rest of Ghaznavid region under Ghorid rule in 1181. Muhammad's army then proceeded towards the northern part of India when they confronted the army of Prithviraj Chauhan and other Hindu rulers who could defeat Muhammad's army in the First Battle of Tarain in 1191 AD but had to face severe end in the Second Battle of Tarain in which Ghori came back with more vengeance in 1192.

Muhammad Ghori who came to India in 1175 through Multan, left India after the Battle of Tarain but continued to rule till 1206 till he was assassinated in an upsurge in the western regions of Ghorid Dynasty near Jhelum now located in Pakistan. His incessant invasions opened the doors of India to all foreign rulers in future.

These Muslim invasions into India resulted in the establishment of Various Dynasties of foreign origin from AD 1206 to 1526 before the onset of Mughal Dynasty. There were five dynasties in the Delhi Sultanate, The Slave dynasty, Khalji, Tuglaq, Sayyids and Lodis.

Slave dynasty of Delhi Sultanate(1206-90):

The Slave dynasty was also known as Mamluk dynasty. They were turkish in origin. Qutub-ud-din-Aibak established the slave dynasty. He was a slave of Mohammad Ghori. Other important rulers of this dynasty were:

  • Iltutmish
  • Razia Sultan
  • Ghiyassudin Balban

Qutub-ud-din-Aibak constructed 2 mosques, ‘Quwat-ul-Islam’ at Delhi and ‘Adhai din ka Johpra’ at Ajmer. He also commsioned the construction of Qutub Minar in honour of Sufi saint Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar.

Iltutmish was a slave of Aibak. He belonged to Ilbari tribe. Iltutmish is credited for shifting the capital of his empire to Delhi from Lahore. Iltutmish saved India from Mongol wrath of Chengiz Khan . Iltutmish issued silver Tanka, introducing arabic coinage in India. Various sufi saint Minhaj-us-Siraj, Taj-ud-din, Nizam-ul-mulk, Fakhrul-Mulk Isami. Iltutmish completed the construction of Qutb Minar at Delhi.

Raziya was nominated by Iltutmish as his successor. She was the first and only Muslim lady who ever ruled India. In 1240 AD, Razia was defeated and killed.

Ghiyasuddin Balban usurped the throne when the previous Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud, his son-in-law. He created a strong centralised army to handle internal disturbances. Balban introduced rigorous court discipline. He introduced the Persian festival of Nauroz. He established a separate military department known as diwan-i-arz.

The Khilji Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate (1290-1320 AD)

The Khilji dynasty was founded of Jalauddin Khilji.

Alauddin Khilji (1296-1316 AD) –

He killed his father-in-law to usurp the throne. He was the first Turkish Sultan of Delhi who separated religion from the State. He ordered the measurement of land. He established four separate markets in Delhi. There were separate department called Diwani Riyasat was created under an officer known as Naib-i-Riyasat. There were secret agents called munhiyans. He seized Chittor in Rajasthan. His greatest achievement was conquest of Deccan. He patronized poets like Amir Khusrau and Amir Hasan. He built Alai Darwaza and constructed a new capital at Siri.

The Tughlaq Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate (1320-1414):

Ghiyassudin Tuglaq was the founder of Tugalaq dynasty. He killed Khusrau Khan, the last king of Khilji dynasty.

Muhammad bin Tuglaq(1325-1351):

He is considered to be ahead of his time. He had relations with China, Egypt, Iran. He was the only Delhi Sultan who had received a comprehensive literary, religious and philosophical education.. Mohhamad-bin-Tuglaq shifted the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad. But then again shifted the capital back to Delhi after two years. He introduced copper based token currency, for the first time in India. But he was not able to prevent forging of the coins and the experiment had to be abandoned.He began the scheme of giving loans to farmers for cultivation known as takkavi loans.

Firoz Shah Tuglaq(1351-1388 AD):

Under his reign, Jaziya became a separate tax and was strictly imposed on non-muslims. He built Firozabad near Red Fort, popularly known as Firoz Shah Kota. He established a new department called Diwan-ikhairat to take care of widows and orphans. Firoz Shah was intolerant towards Shia muslims and Sufis.

After Firoz Shah: The Delhi Sultanate disintegrated. The final blow to the Tughlaq dynasty was by invasion of Timur in 1398. Timur sacked and plundered Delhi before returning back to Central Asia. Timur was a turk who left his nominee to rule.

Sayyid Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate (1414-1451 AD):

Timur’s nominee was Khizr Khan, who was the governor of Multan. He captured Delhi and tried to rule. After him, Mubarak Shah, Muhammad Shah ruled for a little while. The last Sayyid ruler descended the throne in favour of Bahlol Lodi.Delhi Sultanate

Lodis of Delhi Sultanate (1451-1526 AD):

The Lodis were Afghans, Bahlol Lodi founded the Lodhi dynasty. He was succeeded by Sikandar Lodhi.

Sikandar Lodhi was the greatest of the three Lodi sovereigns. He conquered Bihar, while also defeating many Rajput chiefs. He was a good administrator. He shifted the capital from Delhi to Agra. He was a bigot who destroyed many hindu temples.

Ibrahim Lodi succeeded Sikandar Lodi. He was defeated by the Afghan Mughal Babur in the 1st Battle of Panipat in 1526. He was the last king of Delhi sultanate.

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