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Chapter 12. The Delhi Sultanate (Indian History Notes)




1. First Muslim Invasion – Mohamamd Bin Qasim’s invasion (712 AD) 2. First Turk Invasion – Mahmud Ghaznavi’s invasion (998-1030 AD).
3. Second Turk invasion – Mohammad Ghori’s invasion (1175-1206) AD 4. The success of Turks in India.
Dynasties of Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate was ruled by five dynasties.
Dynasty Period
The Slaves 1206 – 1290 AD The Khilji 1290 – 1320 AD The Tughlaqs 1320 – 1414 AD The Sayyids 1414 – 1451 CE The Lodhis 1415 – 1526 CE The conquests of Muhammad of Ghur led to the establishment of Turkish rule. A new political power, the sultanate of Delhi came into being. The period of 1206 to 1526 A.D. in Indian history is known as Sultanate period. The rulers of this period were Turks.
Highlights of the Delhi Sultanate:
• Taxes were not standardized and widely fluctuated.
• Peasants paid 1/3 -1/2 of produce in taxes plus other types of taxes.
• Canals and irrigation facilities were developed to expand agriculture.
• Ibn Battuta was sent by the Sultan as a representative to China.
• Sufi and Bhakti movements which believed in fundamental unity of all religions became popular.
• Facilitated trade in the Indian Ocean, exports flourished q Cotton & silk textiles q Paper industry q Leather making q Metal crafts q Carpet weaving • Protected India from being ravaged by the Mongols.
• Introduced new art and architectural styles into India.
• Ultimately failed due to constant rebellions of Muslim nobles and Hindu peasants.


Muhammad of Ghur left his Indian dominions in the care of his former slave Qutubuddin Aibak. On the death of Muhammad he tied up with Ghazni and founded a new dynasty called ‘mameluks’ or slave dynasty.
Slave Dynasty Timeline
Ruler Reign
Qutbu-ud-din-Aibak (1192–1210) Aram Shah (1210–1211) Shams-ud-din-Iltutmish (1211–1236) Razia Sultana (1236–1240) Nasiruddin Mahmud (1246–1266) Ghiyasuddin Balban (1266–1286) Qutub-ud-din Aibak
He was born of Turkish parents in Turkiestan. Aibak received the title of Sultan of Delhi from Ghiyas-ud-din Mahmud, the successor of Muhammad of Ghur. He built two famous mosques, Quwwat-ud-Islam and Adhai Din ka Jhonpara at Delhi and Ajmer. He believed in matrimonial alliances. He was an efficient and brave commander. When he became the Governor of India, he conquered Meerut, Kalinjar, Mahoba, Koel, Ranthambhore, Kannauj etc. He was entitled as Lakhbaksh or ‘giver of lakhs’. He started the construction of Qutub Minar in Delhi. He died as a result of fall from his horse while playing polo.
Aram Shah
After Aibak’s death his son Aram Shah was enthroned at Lahore. But the nobles of his court decided to enthrone Aibak’s son-in-law Iltutmish and after the conflict between both of them, Iltutmish conquered and became the successor of Aibak.
The full name of Iltutmish was Shams-ud-din Iltutmish.
He made himself secure as the sultan. He consolidated the Ghurid acquisition in India and proved it with a compact monarch. He completed the unfinished construction of Qutub Minar. He conquered Kannauj, Varanasi, Bahraich, Oudh, Gwalior, Bayana, Ajmer, Sambhal, Nagore etc. He was the first Turk Sultan to strike pure Arabian coins.
His governing class consisted of two groups. Turkish slave officers and Tazik. He organised the iqtas, army, currency to consolidate his sultanate. He reorganised the army of the sultanate and introduced the silver tanka and the copper jital.
He also organised the team of 40 loyal nobles, TurkhaniChahalgani to keep a watch over intriguers Razia Sultana
Iltutmish was succeeded by his daughter Razia but the nobles of his court disregarded his wishes and placed his son, Ruknuddin Firoz shah on the throne but he was not an efficient ruler. So Razia held the title of sultan. The intrigues of the Turkish chiefs called the forty or chahalgani increased against the monarchy. Razia was the only woman who ever sat on the throne of Delhi. She was murdered in 1240 A.D. near Kaithal.
Ghiyas-ud-din Balban
Balban who had all control over sovereignty sat on the throne of Delhi in 1266 A.D. and adopted the name of Ghiyasuddin Balban. For the defence from Mongols, Balban recognized the military department known as Diwan-i-Ariz. He introduced Pabos, touching the kings feet and sijda – bowing to the king in his court. He was the first ruler who believed in kingship.
Feroz Khilji killed the successors of Balban and captured the Delhi sultanate.
The most important institution that developed under the slave Dynasty was the institution of Turkan – i – Chahalgani. It was also called Chahalgan or the forty” Chahalgans were a group of highly placed and powerful officers, whom Iltutmish had organised as his personal supporters. However, during the days of civil war between the successors of Iltutmish, the Chahalgan started looking for personal gains and played on prince against the other. When Balban assumed charge as Sultan, he crushed their power and strengthened his rule.

KHILJI DYNASTY (1290 A.D. – 1320 A.D.)

They were originally Turkish but traditionally became Afghan.
Jalaluddin was the founder of this dynasty. He defeated Mongols in 1292 A.D. He was succeeded by his nephew Alauddin Khilji. He ruled from 1296 to 1316 A.D.
• He inscribed himself as Alexander II on his coin and adopted the title of YasminulKhilafatNasiriAnurul Muminin.
• He conquered over North India, Chittor, Ranthambhore, Telangana, Hoysals, Pandyas and Devgiri.
• He was a great administrator who carried out many useful reforms.
• He introduced new market regulation to provide essential commodities at reasonable rates to raise resources for making cash payment to the army.
• He appointed DiwaniRiyasat and ShahnaiMandi to regulate the fixed price market.
• He declared all land in the area from Lahore to Karu to be state land.
• He constructed monuments like AlaiDarwaza and Sirifort in Delhi.
• He prohibited the use of wine and organisation of parties among soldiers.
• The most important contribution of Alauddin Khilji was the introduction of price controls covering almost the entire market so that the cost of living would not be high. Grain was rationed and the price was fixed. There was restriction on sale and purchase of high quality cloth.
• Though Alauddin was illiterate, he was a patron of learning and art. He died in 1316 A.D. and Qutubuddin Mubarak Khilji ascended his throne and after him Nasiruddin Khusro succeeded him.
• After Alauddin’s death, kings followed a quick succession till Giyasuddin Tughlaq proclaimed himself the Sultan of Delhi in 1320 A.D.
Khilji Dynasty Timeline
Ruler Reign

Jalal-ud-din Firuz Khilji 1290–1296 Alauddin Khilji 1296–1316 Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah 1316–1320 TUGHLAQ DYNASTY (1320 A.D.-1414 A.D.)

Giyasuddin Tughlaq was the founder of the new dynasty known as Tughlaq dynasty. Historians say that Tughlaq was the name of neither a race nor a family and that Ghiyasud-din’s name was either Ghazi Tughlaq or Ghazi Beg Tughlaq. He extended his empire upto Madurai. As he was an Indian Muslim, the Turk nobles opposed him. He ruled upto 1325 A.D. He charged 1/5 of the produce and during famines exempted them from the taxes. He died in 1325 A.D.
Tughlaq Dynasty Timeline
Ruler Reign
Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq 1321–1325 Mohammad bin Tughlaq 1325–1351 Firoz Shah Tughlaq 1351–1388 Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq II 1388–1389 Nusrat Shah 1394–1399 Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah 1399–1413 Mohammad-bin-Tughlaq
He was the son of Giyasuddin Tughlaq. He has been referred to as an ill starred idealist whose experiments ended in failure.
Mohammad Tughlaq organized agriculture department and called it as Diwan-i-Amir Kohi. He decided to shift his capital to Devgiri in the south for security reasons and named it as Daulatabad. He was a great patron of Philosophy, Arithmatic and Astrology. He was a lover of literature and poetry.
Ibanbatuta was the chief Qazi of his empire. He died in 1351 A.D. during the invasion of Sindh.
Experiments of Mohammad Tughlaq
• Raising the taxes in Doab • Transfer the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad • Introduction of the token currency • Expeditions into Khurson and Qurachil.
Firoz Shah Tughlaq
He ascended the throne at Thatta in 1351 A.D. He was Muhammad’s cousin and chosen by the nobles as a sultan.
He reduced taxation prescribed by the Quran. He established DiwaniKhairat, a charitable department. He established new towns like Firozpur, Firozabad, Hissar-Firoza and Jaunpur.
His death was followed by a civil war among his descendants.
The last ruler of Tughlaq dynasty was Nasiruddin.
The Sultanate after the Tughlaqs
After the Tughlaqs, the Sayyid and the Lodi Dynasties continued to rule from Delhi and Agra until 1526 but the control of the Delhi Sultans was only over a small region neighbouring Delhi.
Regions like Jaunpur, Bengal, Malwas, Gujrat, Rajasthan and the entire South India had independent rulers.

THE SAYYID DYNASTY (1414 A.D. – 1451 A.D.)

Sayyid dynasty was short lived and was limited to Delhi.
Khizr Khan was a Sayyid and his dynasty is called the Sayyid dynasty. The last ruler Alauddin Shah transfered the kingdom to Bahlol Lodi.

THE LODI DYNASTY (1451 A.D. -1526 A.D.)

Ruler Reign
Bahlol Lodi 1451–1489 Sikander Lodi 1489–1517 Ibrahim Lodi 1517–1526 Bahlol Lodi was the founder of Lodi dynasty. The most important Lodi Sultan was Sikandar Lodi who controlled the Ganga Valley. He shifted his capital from Delhi to Agra. He conquered Bihar and Tirhut. He was a bigot and demolished many Hindu temples. He introduced the measurement of land known as ‘Gaz’. The eldest son of Sikandar Lodi was Ibrahim Lodi who ascended his throne. His relation with his nobles were not coordial. Ibrahim Lodi was defeated by Babur in the first Battle of Panipat in 1526 A.D. Thus the reign of Delhi Sultanate ended for 320 years.
Causes of the decline of the Delhi Sultanate
(i) Weak system of government.
(ii) The invasion of Taimur.
(iii) Lack of clear cut succession policy.
(iv) Ibrahim Lodi was a foolish emperor.
(v) Greed for wealth and luxury among nobles.


The iqtadari was a type of land distribution and administration evolved during the Sultanate period. The muqtis had the right to collect and appropriate taxes. The sultan from Iltutmish started the practice of transferring muqtis from one iqta to another.
The sultans were the head of the state. He considered himself the deputy of the khalifa. He was the chief law giver and the Commander-in-chief. Other important officials were Barid-i-mumalik, Wakil-i-dar, Amir-i-hazib, Sadr-i-Jahan, Amiridad, Amiriakhur, Shahnaipil, Shiqdar, AmuriMajlis, Majlisian. Each province was divided into a number of shiqs which were headed by shiqdars who maintained law and order. The village was the smallest unit of administration.
Law and Order
The head of the judicial department was the chief qazi who was responsible for the enforcement of Islamic law.
According to Islam, the sources of justice are four-Quran, Hadis, Ijma and Qayas. Ijma was the collection of laws which were obtained from the Mujatahid. There were four types of courts at the provincial level.
(i) The court of Governor (ii) Qazi-e-Suba’s court
(iii) Court of Diwan-i-Suba (iv) Court of Sadar-i-suba
Agriculture and Land Revenue System
During the regime of Mohammad-bin-Tughlaq and Firoz Tughlaq, there was a marked development of gardens. These gardens led to the improvement of fruits, especially grapes for the preparation of wine. Canals was set up by Firoz. Items of import were horses, armoury, slaves, dry fruits etc. Iron, arms, cotton, grains, sugar, spices, herbs, fruits and indigo were exported.
There were five types of taxes.
(i) Ushra (ii) Kharaj (iii) Khams
(iv) Jazia (v) Zakat Ushra was the land tax taken from non-muslims on the total production from 5% to 10%. Khams was 1/5 of the total property. Zakat was 2.5% religious tax of the total income.
Jazia was levied on non-muslims.
Batai was a method of fixing the land tax. It was of three types- Khet Batai, Lank Batai, Ras Batai.
Rabab and Sarangi were introduced by the Turks. Amir Khusro is credited for introducing Qawali. The Indian classical work of Rag Darpan was translated into Persian.


After the decline of Sultanate, many other kingdoms arose.
Music was patronised, regional languages were stimulated and provincial style of architecture developed. Gujarat, Malwa and Rajasthan came into power. The Muslim rulers became friendly with the Rajputs. Gujarat style of architecture was extraordinary. Tomb of Shaikh Farid, Tanka mosque, Jama Mosque of Khambhat, Mosque of Muhafiz Khan, Sidi Saiyyad were built in early 16th century. Bengal, Kashmir, Mewar, Bahmani state’s rulers were the patrons of art, science and education.


Slave Dynasty Khilji Dynasty Tughlaq Dynasty Sayyid Dynasty Lodhi Dynasty
• Started by Qutab-ud
din Aibak.

• Succeeded byIltutmish, his son
• Efficient ruler, great
builder, completed
Qutab Minar started by
Qutab-ud-din Aibak.
• Iltutmish defeated
Rajput rulers.
• He also averted Mongol
• Razia, his daughter,
succeeded him. She
was an efficient ruler
but orthodox nobles did
not accept her, killed in
AD 1240.
• Nasir-ud-din Muhammad
next ruler. Youngest
son of Iltutmish, very
• Reign of government in
the hands of Balban,
his father-in-law.
• Balban was Prime
Minister for 20 years.
• Became king after
Nasir-ud-din’s death.
• Very efficient ruler,
controlled nobles and
empire efficiently.
• Peace and prosperity
reigned during his rule.
• Jalal-ud-din Khilji

ascended the throne,after killing Balban’s
• He was murdered by
his nephew Ala-ud-din
• Ala-ud-din became king
in AD 1296.
• Ala-ud-din was a great
king who conquered
Gujarat, Chittor, Malwa,
Ujjain, Dhar, Mandu,
Chanderi in the north.
• He defeated the rulers
of Devagiri, Warangal,
Dwarsamudra, Madurai.
• He converted the rajas to
vassals and took annual
tribute from them.
• This was deliberate as
Deccan was far away
from his capital and
thus, difficult to control.
• Equipped his kingdom
against the Mongols.
• Controlled power of
• Introduced revenue
reforms such as price
control of essential
• He was also a great
builder and a patron of
art and architecture.
• After Ala-ud-din’s
death the nobles raised
Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq to
the throne in AD 1320.
• After his death
ascended the
throne. He was a man
of vision but his reforms
failed through want of
adequate planning.
• His three schemes
– shifting of capital
– token currency
– taxation in the doab
failed miserably.
• Firoz Shad Tughlaq
– not a good general
– lost Bengal and Deccan
– himself a scholar,
patronised scholars
– great builders, built
many towns
– improved irrigation,
built canals and wells.
Built many hospitals
– banned corporal
– Timur invaded India
and plundered it. The
weak Tughlaq dynasty
came to its end.
• After Muhammad
bin-Tughlaq died
Timur’s deputy
marched into India.
He occupied the
throne of Delhi.
• The Sayyid dynasty
was founded.
• Weak rulers gave
up throne of Delhi
to Bahlol Lodhi.
• Bahlol Lodhi, an
Afghan noble, founded
the Lodhi dynasty.
• Sikandar Lodhi the
most efficient ruler.
• Annexed the whole of
the Gangetic plain
• Ibrahim Lodhi could
not get the support of
his nobles.
• Daulat Khan invited
Babur to invade India.
• Ibrahim Lodhi defeated
by Babur in the first
battle of Panipat 1526.
• Arabs were great
explorers and mariners
of their time.
• They used the compass
and the astrolabes

Points to remember • Delhi became important under the Delhi Sultanate.
• The important dynasties of the Delhi Sultanate were the Slave Dynasty, Khilji Dynasty, Tughlaq Dynasty, Sayyid Dynasty and Lodhi Dynasty.
• The foundation of the Salve Dynasty was laid down by Qutab-ud-din Aibak. Dynasty introduced the market control and administrative measures in order to maintain a large standing army.
• Among the Tughlaqs, Muhammad-Bin-Tughlaq introduced three projects – shifting of capital from Delhi to Daulatabad, introduction of token currency, raising of land tax in the Doab region to fifty percent – all of which failed and weakened his position.
• After the Tughlaq dynasty, the disintegration of the Delhi Sultanate set in, though the Sayyids and Lodhis continued to rule till 1526.
• In the medieval period two new religious movements gained popularity: (i) Sufism (ii) Bhakti • Sufism was Islamic mystic tradition while Bhakti was the devotion towards a God or his various forms.
• Sufism introduced many popular orders or Silsilahs of which the most widespread were the Suhrawardi and Chisthti silsilahs.


Dynasties that ruled over Vijaynagar include Sangama, Saluva, Tuluva and Aravidu Dynasty.
Sangama Kings
Harihara I (1336 – 1356)
He is known as Hakka and Vira Harihara I. He was the founder of Vijaynagar Empire. He was Bhavana Sangama’s eldest son, belonged to the Kuruba and was the founder of the Sangama dynasty.
He built a fort at Barkuru which is at the west coast of present day of Karnataka. It is concluded from the inscriptions that he was administering the northern parts of Karnataka at Gutti, Ananthpur district from his seat.
Bukka Raya (1356-1377)

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