Delhi Sultanate (1206 – 1526) : Socio-Economic & Political condtions

  • Defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan in the second battle of Tarain in 1192 by Ghori opened an era of Delhi Sultanate in India.

  • Sudden death of Muhammad Ghori in 1206 and his failure to specify sequence processes pitted his three slaves Tajuddin Yalduz, Nasiruddin Qubacha and Qutbuddin Aibek against each other.

  • The period between 1206 and 1526 in the Indian history is known as the Period of the Sultan Rulers.

  • During this period, rulers belonging to five different dynasties

1.Slave dynasty (1206-1290)

2.Khijli Dynasty (1290-1320)

3.Tughlaq Dynasty (1320-1414)

4.Sayyid Dynasty (1414-1451)

5.Lodhi Dynasty (1451-1526)

  • Not only they extended their rule over North India, but also they entered into the Deccan and South India.
  • Their rule in India resulted in far-reaching changes in society, administration and cultural life.Delhi Sultanate

Administration of Delhi Sultanate

  • Delhi Sultanate was an Islamic state with its religion Islam.

  • Sultans considered themselves as representatives of the Caliph.

  • 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 Caliph in the khutba and coins.

  • Iltutmish, Muhammad bin Tughlaq and Firoz Tughlaq obtained mansur or letter of permission from the Caliph.

  • Sometimes ulemas played crucial role in accepting the succession to the throne.

Central Government of Delhi Sultanate

  • Sultan was assisted by a number of departments and officials in his administration.

  • Post of Naib was the most powerful one & practically enjoyed all the powers of the Sultan and exercised general control over all the departments.

  • Sultan himself was the commander-in-chief of the army.

Important Central Departments

Department Function Head/Founder
Diwan-i-Risalat Department of requests Babir-i-mulk
Diwan-i-Ariz Military department Ariz-i-Mumalik
Diwan-i-Bandagan Department of slaves Firuz shah Tughluq
Diwan-i-Qaza-i-Mamalik Department of justice Qaza-i-Mamalik
Diwan-i-Isthiaq Department of pensions Firuz shah Tughluq
Diwan-i-Mustakhraj Department of arrears Alauddin Khilji
Diwan-i-Khairat Department of charity Firuz shah Tughluq
Diwan-i-Kohi Department of agriculture Mohammed bin Tughluq
Diwan-i-Insha Department of correspondence Dabir-i-Mulq
Diwan-i-Wizarat Department of Finance Wazir

Important Central Officials

Wazir Cheif Minister of the State & Charge of revenue and finances
Ariz-i-Mamlik Head of Military department
Qazi Legal Officer (dispensed civil law based on Muslim law Shariat)
Wakil-i-dar Controller of the royal house hold.
Barid-i-mumalik Head of the state news agency
Amir-i-majlis Officer-in-charge of royal feasts, conference and festivals.
Majlis-i-am Council of friends and officers consulted on important affairs of the state.
Dahir-i-mumalik Head of the royal correspondence.
Sadr-us-sudur Dealt with the religious matters and endowments.
Sadr-i-jahan Officers-in-charge of religious and charitable endowment.
Amir-i-dad Public prosecutors
Naib wazir Deputy Minister
Mushrif-i-mumalik Accountant general
Amir-i-hazib Officer-in-charge of the royal court
Kazi-i-mumalik Chief Justice
Kazi-ul-kazat Head of the Central Judicial department
  • 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.

  • Hindus were governed by their own personal law and their cases were dispensed by the village panchayats.

  • But 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 of Delhi Sultanate

Administration Unit


Iqtas (i.e Province)

muqtis or walis

shiqs(i.e District)


Pargana (i.e Taluka)

Chudary & Amil

Gram (i.e Village)

Muqaddam or Khut


Reforms in the land revenue administration & classifications of lands into three categories:

1.iqta land – allotted to officials as iqtas instead of payment for their services.

2.khalisa land – land under the direct control of the Sultan.

3.inam land – allotted or granted to religious leaders.

  • Peasantry paid one third of their produce as land revenue, and sometimes even one half of the produce. Sultans like Muhammad bi Tughlaq and Firoz Tughlaq took efforts to enhance agricultural production by providing irrigational facilities and by providing takkavi loans.

  • Firoz encouraged the growth of horticulture.

  • Muhammad bin Tughlaq created a separate agricultural department, Diwani Kohi.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Muhammad bin Tughlaq had not only experimented token currency but also issued several types of gold and silver coins.

Social Life in Delhi Sultanate

  • Traditional caste system with the Brahmins on the upper strata of the society was prevalent.

  • Practice of sati was widely prevalent.

  • Wearing of purdah became common among the upper class women.

  • Hindus were considered zimmis & protected people for which they were forced to pay a tax called jiziya. Sometimes Brahmins were exempted from paying 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.Sultanate

Art and Architecture of Delhi Sultante

  • Turks introduced arches, domes, lofty towers or minarets and decorations using the Arabic script.

  • 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.

  • Most magnificent building of the 13th century was the Qutub Minar which was founded by Aibek and completed by Iltutmish.

  • Alauddin Khalji added an entrance to the Qutub Minar called Alai Darwaza.

  • The palace complex called Tughlaqabad with its beautiful lake was built during the period of Ghyasuddin Tughlaq.

  • Muhammad bin Tughlaq built the tomb of Ghyasuddin on a high platform.

  • Kotla fort at Delhi was the creation of Firoz Tughlaq.

  • Lodi garden in Delhi was the example for the architecture of the Lodis.


  • 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.

  • Invention of sitar was also attributed to him.

  • Indian classical work Ragadarpan was translated into Persian during the reign of Firoz Tughlaq.


  • Mostly Arabic and Persian literature.

  • Barani’s Tarikhi- 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 (1252-1325) wrote Alauddin’s conquests. His famous work Tughlaq Nama deals with the rise of Ghyiasuddin Tughlaq. S

  • anskrit and Persian functioned as link languages in the Delhi Sultanate.

  • Zia Nakshabi was the first to translate Sanskrit stories into Persian.

  • Tutu Nama or Book of the Parrot became popular and translated into Turkish and later into many European languages.

  • 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.

  • Chand Bardai was the famous Hindi poet of this period.

  • Nusrat Shah patronized the translation of Mahabaratha into Bengali.

  • Bakthi cult led to development of Gujarati and Marathi languages.

  • Vijayanagar Empire patronized Telugu and Kannada literature.

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