Vincent Arthur Smith.

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of Hindustan, except Bengal, which he twice attempted to
subdue ; and was, of course, obliged to assert his authority in
Hindustan by expeditions in various directions. As he grew
old he left affairs of state almost entirely in the hands of his
ministers, a father and son, who both took the title of Khan-i-
Jahan. As early as 1359 he had associated his own son, Fath
Khan, with himself in the royal power, and long after the death
of that son he made another son, Muhammad Shah, his col-
league in 1387, but in the next year removed him and nomi-
nated a grandson in his place. Firoz Shah does not seem to
have been ever well fitted for his position by reason of strength
of will, but he was a man of lofty character and merciful dis-
position, and has deservedly left a good reputation behind him.

Firoz a bigot. The praises lavished by Muhammadan
historians on the personal character and comparatively peace-
ful reign of Firoz Shah must be qualified by recognition of the
fact that he was a thoroughgoing Sunni bigot, like Aurangzeb
in a later age. A brief tract written by the Sultan himself is
extant. In it he relates with pride how he caused a Brahman
to be burnt alive for practising Hindu rites in public. He
also tells us that he cut off the heads of certain Shia mission-
aries, and that he destroyed all new idol temples, executing the
builders as a warning that Hindus should not take liberties
' in a Musalman country '. He encouraged his Hindu subjects
to embrace the religion of the prophet by promising exemption
from the poll-tax (jizya), in consequence of which promise
' great numbers of Hindus presented themselves and were
admitted to the honour of Islam '. It is thus clear that he
regarded himself as the sultan of the Muslim minority, not
as the impartial sovereign of all races in his dominions.

Successors of Firoz Shah. The death of Firoz Shah in
September 1388, at the age of 79, was followed by a prolonged
struggle for the succession between various sons and grand-

FROM A. D. 1193 TO 1526 127

sons, the details of which have been related by the Muhamma-
dan historians, but are not worthy of remembrance. A series
of worthless or puppet sultans pass across the stage, without
doing anything deserving of record. The kingdom dwindled
almost to nothing, and at one time, for three years, from about
1394 to 1397, things came to such a pass that Sultan Mahmud
was known as king in Old Delhi, while his relative Nasrat Shah
enjoyed the same rank and title in Firozabad, a few miles
distant. 'Day by day', Badaoni says, ' battles were fought
between these two kings, who were like the two kings in the
game of chess.' 'And', he adds, 'all over Hindustan there
arose parties each with its own Malik ' (lord).

Timur. Towards the end of A. D. 1398 this squalid squabbling
was stilled by the irruption of another terrible chieftain from
Central Asia, Timur the Lame, the Tamerlane of tradition,
who entered India by way of Multan, and reached Firozabad
near Delhi, ' sweeping the greater part of the country with the
bitter whirlwind of rapine and pillage '. At his camp opposite
Delhi he butchered 50,000, or, according to some authorities,
100,000, prisoners, not even sparing the Indian-born Musal-
mans, although himself a Muhammadan, and found little diffi-
culty in occupying Delhi, which he sacked without mercy.
Happily he did not stay long. When departing, he made over
the charge of the city and its dependencies to Khizr Khan,
a reputed Saiyid, and then returned to Samarkand. At that
time Mahmud Tughlak, the last of his line, and always ' a very
shadow of a king ', was the nominal sultan of Delhi. He lived
until February, A. D. 1413. After the departure of Timur
' such a famine and pestilence fell upon the capital that the
city was utterly ruined, and those of the inhabitants who were
left died, while for two whole months not a bird moved a wing
in Delhi '.

Dynasty of the so-called Saiyids. Khizr Khan, whom Timur
had left in charge, died in A. D. 1421, after some seven years of
constant fighting. He was succeeded on the precarious throne
of his limited dominions in the neighbourhood of Delhi by


three members of his family, the last of whom, Ala-ud-dm or
Alam Shah, abdicated in 1451, and retired to Budaon, which
he was permitted to rule in peace by virtue of a friendly agree-
ment with Bahl5l Lodi, an Afghan noble, who had made him-
self the leading man in the state.

The Pat an (Pat ban), or Afghan, Lodi dynasty ; Sultan
Bahlol. Bahlol Lodi, who assumed the cares of sovereignty
in 1451, really was an Afghan or Pathan, and is the first person
entitled to be called a 'Pathan king of Delhi'. At that time
the kingdom of Jaunpur had been independent for more than
fifty years, and at the beginning of his reign Bahlol had to
accept the situation, the king of Jaunpur and he agreeing to
retain their respective possessions. Sultan Bahlol could not
endure this rival monarch, and presently engaged in wars, in
which he uniformly won, while Sultan Husain ' met with the
defeat which had become a second nature to him '. Ulti-
mately Bahlol annexed the Jaunpur kingdom, known as the
SharkI, or Eastern, and bestowed it on his son Barbak Shah.
In July 1489 (A. H. 894) Bahlol died in the Doab. He is
described as ' a man of simple habits, pious, brave, and
generous '.

Sikandar Lodi. On hearing of the death of Bahlol, one of
his sons named Nizam Khan, hastened to Delhi, and was pro-
claimed sultan under the title of Sikandar without serious
opposition. His elder brother, Barbak Shah of Jaunpur, after
a time came to terms, and tendered his allegiance. Sultan
Husain, the ex-king of Jaunpur, also tried to recover his
heritage, but was defeated as usual. Sultan Sikandar then
annexed Bihar and Tirhut, which had been held by the king
of Jaunpur, and occupied much time in bringing the territories
near Gwalior into subjection. He had an intense horror of
idolatry, and made a point of destroying all the temples and
images which he came across. Muhammadan writers give him
a good character, and praise his administration as having been
just and vigorous. We have no record of Hindu opinion.
After a prosperous reign of twenty-eight years, during which

FROM A. D. 1193 TO 1526 129

he had extended his dominions considerably, he passed away
in November, A.D. 1517.

Earthquake ; buildings at Agra. A notable event of his
time was the earthquake in A.D. 1505, which shook the whole
of Hindustan and Persia, so that ' men supposed that the day
of resurrection had arrived ', and believed that no such earth-
quake had been known since the days of Adam. Sikandar was
the first of the kings of Delhi to make Agra his occasional
residence. The village of Sikandra, where Akbar's mausoleum
stands, bears his name, and the building there known as the
Baradari is a palace built by him in 1495.

Ibrahim Lodl. The nobles selected Ibrahim, the third son
of Sikandar, to succeed his father as sultan of Delhi, bestowing
the kingdom of Jaunpur on the second son, Sultan Jalal.
This arrangement naturally led to friction, and a war between
Ibrahim and his brother of Jaunpur ended in the destruction
of Jalal. Ibrahim could not get on well with his nobles, and
was troubled continually with revolts, which he punished with
arrogant severity. Ultimately Daulat Khan Lodl, a governor
in the Pan jab, applied for help against his sovereign to
Babur, king of Kabul, who gladly seized the opportunity for
invading India. On the field of Panipat, to the north of
Delhi, and not very distant from the ancient battlefields of
Kurukshetra and Tarain, on April 21, 1526, Ibrahim met
Babur, and suffered a crushing defeat, which cost him his
throne and life.

Interruption of the narrative. The battle will be described
in connexion with the reign of Babur, but before we enter
on the history of the Mughal dynasty, it will be well to pause
and take note of the principal kingdoms which shaped them-
selves in various parts of India during the decay of the Sul-
tanate of Delhi following on the death of Muhammad bin
Tughlak. We shall also pass briefly in review the state of
society, religion, literature, and art during the period of the
Delhi sultanate (A. D. 1206-1526), commonly miscalled the
4 Pathan empire '.

1776 E


The Sultans of Delhi.

The Khilji (Khalji) Dynasty
(Omitting some minor names):'

Jalal-ud-dln (Firoz Shah) ace. 1290

Famine ,1291

Annexation of Elichpur ..... 1294

Ala-ud-dln (Muhammad Shah) ..... ace. 1296

Massacre of Mongol converts .... 1297

Southern campaigns of Malik Kafur . . . 1302-11

Mongol raid 1303

Kutb-ud-din Mubarak ...... ace. 1316

Destruction of Harapala yadava .... 1318

[Khusru Khan (Nasir-ud-dln), usurper . . . 1320]

TugUak Dynasty.

Ghiyas-ud-dm ....... ace. 1320

Muhammad Adil (Fakhr-ud-din-Juna) . . . ace. Feb. 1325

Firoz Shah ace. Mar. 1351

died 1388

Struggle for the succession 1388-1451

(Including the so-called Saiyid dynasty) . . . 1414-51)

Sack of Delhi by TImur 1398

The Lodi Dynasty.

Bahlol ........ ace. 1451

Sikandar (Nizam Khan) ...... ace. 1489

Earthquake . . . . . . . 1505

Ibrahim 1517

Battle (first) of Panlpat 1526


The Muhammadan kingdoms of Bengal, Jaunpur, Gujarat, Malwa, and
the Deccan : the Hindu kingdoms of Vijayanagar, Mewar, and Orissa ;
literature and architecture ; the Urdu language ; spread of Muhammadan-
ism ; Hindu religious sects.

The Muhammadan kingdom of Bengal. From the time of
the successful raid by Muhammad, the son of Bakhtyar, in
A.D. 1199 (ante, p. 115), Bengal was considered to be a province
of the sultanate of Delhi, and its rulers were regarded officially
as the deputies of the sultans. But the control of Delhi was

FROM A. D. 1193 TO 1526 131

little more than nominal, and the governors of Bengal, twenty-
five in number, between 1193 and 1338, usually could do what
the} T liked. The Muhammad an province of Bengal, or Lakh-
nauti, ordinarily consisted of the territory bounded by the
Sundarbans on the south, by the Brahmaputra on the east, by
Kuch Bihar and the Tarai on the north, and by the Kosi river
on the west. But at times Tirhut and South Bihar were added
to the kingdom, which did not include either Orissa or Chutia
Nagpur. The three ancient capitals, Gaur or Lakhnauti,
Pandua or Firozabad, and Tanda were all situated in the
Malda District.

Iliyas Shah and his successors. During the reign of Muham-
mad bin Tughlak (ante, p. 125) Iliyas Shah established himself
as independent king, and was formally recognized as such by
Sultan Firoz in 1355. He was reputed to be a vigorous and
successful ruler. His son, Sikandar Shah (1358-89), equally
capable, is famous as the builder of the Adlnah mosque
at Pandua, apparently copied from the great mosque at
Damascus, and regarded as the finest building in Bengal.

Husain Shah and Nasrat Shah. Husain Shah (1493-1518)
is considered to have been the best and greatest of the Mu-
hammadan kings of Bengal. He gave shelter and a residence
to Sultan Husain of Jaunpur, when that prince was turned out
of his kingdom by Bahlol LodI (ante, p. 128). The occupation
by the LodI sultan of Bihar, which had been held by the kings
of Jaunpur, brought the sultans of Bengal and Delhi into
direct touch with one another. Nasrat Shah of Bengal (1518-
32) annexed Tirhut, and consequently was attacked by Babur,
but peace was made.

Sher Shah and his Afghan successors. After Babur's death
in 1530 a long struggle ensued between Sher Shah, the Afghan
governor of Bihar, and Babur's son Humayun. In the course
of this struggle Sher Shah made himself sultan of Bengal, and
a little later (1520) became for a time also the king of Delhi.
Sher Shah's dynasty soon came to an end, and another line
of Afghan chiefs obtained the sultanate of Bengal. The


last of this line, Daud Shah, was defeated and executed by
Akbar's general in 1576, from which time Bengal became a
province or Suba of the Mughal empire. Subsequently Orissa
was nominally included in the Suba of Bengal, but was never
thoroughly mastered by the Musalman governments.

The Muhammadan kingdom of Jaunpur. The history of
the kingdom of Jaunpur is short, extending over less than
a century. The present city was founded by Firoz Shah of the
Tughlak dynasty in A. D. 1360, on the site of a Hindu town.
In 1394 the powerful noble Khwaja Jahan was appointed by
Mahmud Tughlak to be the Lord of the East (Malik-us-shark),
with his head -quarters at Jaunpur. The troubles ensuing on
the sack of Delhi by Timur in A. D. 1398 (ante, p. 127) enabled
Khwaja Jahan's adopted son to sever the slight bond of allegi-
ance which bound him to Delhi, and to set up as a king with
the style of Mubarak Shah Shark!.

Ibrahim and his successors. He was succeeded by his
younger brother Ibrahim, the most famous of the Jaunpur
kings, who reigned prosperously from 1400 to 1440. He is
described by Abul Fazl, from the Muhammadan point of view,
as ' an active and good prince, equally beloved in life, as he
was regretted by all his subjects '. Perhaps the Hindus may
have thought otherwise, for Ibrahim is also described as ' a
bigoted Musalman, and a steady if not a bloody persecutor'.
Unluckily, no Hindu version of the story of the sultanate of
Delhi and other kingdoms exists. All our information comes
from Muslim writers who believed in the merit of sending
Hindus ' to hell ' to use their habitual language. Ibrahim's
son Mahmud was equally able, and conducted his wars with
success. The last independent king of Jaunpur was the un-
lucky Sultan Husain, who was driven from his throne by
Bahlol Lodi in 1476, and took refuge with his namesake in
Bengal (ante, p. 127). Bahlol appointed his own eldest son
Barbak to be viceroy of the Jaunpur kingdom in 1486. Bahlol 's
successor, Sikandar Lodi, completed the reduction of the
Jaunpur dominions, including Bihar.

FROM A. D. 1193 TO 1526 133

Literature and art under the kings of Jaunpur. All the

members of the Shark! dynasty were patrons of Persian and
Arabic literature, and Sultan Husain, although unfortunate
in war, was distinguished as a musician and composer. The
reputation of Jaunpur stood so high that the city was described
as ' the Shiraz of India '. The great mosques of Jaunpur, the
Atala, built by Ibrahim, the Lai or Red, built by his son, and
the Jami, built by Husain, are among the most notable monu-
ments of the miscalled ' Pathan ' architecture. These mosques
have no minarets and are characterized by their massive and
imposing gateways with walls sloping inwards.

The Muhammadan kingdom of Gujarat. Gujarat, the fine
province corresponding to the northern parts of the Bombay
Presidency, with Baroda and the southern portion of Rajput-
ana, was annexed by Sultan Muhammad of Ghor in 1196,
and thenceforward continued to be more or less subject to
the rulers of Delhi until the invasion of Timur in 1398. At
that time the governor, like his colleague in Jaunpur, set up as
an independent king under the title of Muzaffar Shah. His
grandson, Ahmad Shah (1411-43), founded Ahmadabad, which
replaced Anhilwara as the capital, and waged many wars with
Malwa and other neighbouring states.

Mahmud Shah and Bahadur Shah. The best and most
renowned of the kings of Gujarat was Mahmud Shah Bigarha,
who came to the throne as a boy of thirteen, and reigned for
fifty-two years (1459-1511). He carried on a long war with
the Rana of Mewar, and was victorious in many conflicts with
his neighbours. He was less successful in his resistance to the
Portuguese, who were now becoming a power in Western India,
and lost his fleet in a battle fought with them off Diu in 1509.
At about the same time Sikandar Lodi, the sultan of Delhi,
recognized the independence of the kingdom of Gujarat.
Bahadur Shah, fourth son and successor of Mahmud, annexed
the kingdom of Malwa in 1531 and three years later besieged
and took the famous fortress of Chitor from the Rana of Mewar.

The last sultan of Gujarat was crushed in 1572 by Akbar,


who annexed the kingdom to his empire, completing the con-
quest in 1592-3.

Architecture in Gujarat. Many very beautiful Hindu and
Jain temples, erected in the time of Siddharaja and Kuma-
rapala (ante, p. 105), served to a large extent as materials and
models for the equally beautiful architecture of the Muham-
madan kings. Ahmadabad was made the handsomest city in
India, and still deserved that epithet at the end of the sixteenth
century, its buildings being unsurpassed for elegance, grace,
and profuse decoration. Architecture is still a living art in
Gujarat, which is almost the only province where modern
architects retain the early traditions of their craft and to a
considerable extent the skill of the ancients.

The Muhammadan kingdom of Malwa. Malwa, which had
been conquered by Ala-ud-dm Khilji, and then administered
by governors for about a century, became independent shortly
after Timur's invasion. The most famous of its kings was
Hoshang Shah (1405-35), who made Mandu the capital. The
buildings of that city rivalled those of Ahmadabad. For
a short time (1531) Malwa was absorbed by Gujarat, and in
1564 it was annexed to the empire of Delhi by Akbar.

The Muhammadan kingdom of Khandesh. The small king-
dom of Khandesh in the valley of the Taptl became indepen-
dent, like so many other provinces, in the closing years of the
fourteenth century, and continued to exist under the govern-
ment of a family of Arab descent until A. D. 1610, when Akbar's
son, Prince Daniyal, took the fortress of Asirgarh, which com-
manded the road to the Deccan. The prince was made gover-
nor of the conquered province, to which in compliment to him
the emperor gave the name of Dandesh.

The Muhammadan kingdoms of the Deccan : the Bahmani
kingdom. The numerous independent states formed in the
Deccan can be noticed only very briefly. An Afghan officer
named Hasan, and surnamed Gangu Bahmani, established
during the reign of Muhammad bin Tughlak (1347) an exten-
sive kingdom with its capital first at Gulbarga, in the south-


136 FROM A. D. 1193 TO 1526

west of the territory now constituting the Nizam's dominions,
and afterwards at Bidar, sixty miles distant. 1 The dynasty
became known as the Bahmani from the surname of its founder.
For more than a century (1374-1482) the Bahmani kingdom
stretched right across India from sea to sea, including a large
part of what is now the Bombay Presidency, as well as the
Nizam's dominions, and the ' Northern Circars ' of the Madras
Presidency. The kings were mostly engaged in war with the
powerful Hindu state of Vijayanagar on the south, which then
dominated the whole of the Tamil territory. After 1482 the
kingdom was split up, and the later Bahmani kings had merely
nominal rank. A Turkish officer founded a small independent
principality, which is known to history as the kingdom of
Bidar, and lasted for more than a century. The rulers of this
principality are called the Barid Shahis.

Other Muhammadan kingdoms : Bijapur. The Bahmani
dynasty, which saw its best days in the early part of the
fifteenth century, was no longer able to control the more
distant territories in the time of its decline. In 1490 a Turkish
governor of Bijapur threw off his allegiance, and set up as an
independent king. The dynasty so founded, known as the
Adil Shahi from the title of its founder, lasted until 1686,
when Aurangzeb put an end to it. The ancient city is said to
measure thirty miles round, and impresses all visitors by the
grandeur of its ruins. The great mosques and tombs of the
Adil Shahi kings, which differ much in style from those at
Agra and Delhi, are pronounced by a good judge to be
' scarcely, if at all, inferior in originality of design and boldness
of execution '.

Ahmadnagar. The Nizam Shahi dynasty of Ahmadnagar
was founded at about the same time as the Adil Shahi by
another rebellious governor, Ahmad Shahi, son of Nizam-ul-
mulk. The details of its history are not of general interest,
and it will be sufficient to note that a gallant lady, Chanel Bibi,
had the good fortune to repulse Akbar in 1596. Four years
1 Mr. Scwcll spells ' Kulburga ', but Gulbarga seems to be correct.


138 FROM A. D. 1193 TO 1526

later the capital fell temporarily into the hands of the emperor,
who formally constituted a Suba, or province of Ahmadnagar,
but an Abyssinian minister named Malik Ambar recovered
possession of the city, and the final annexation of the kingdom
did not take place until 1637.

Golkonda. The kingdom of Golkonda (more accurately,
Gulkandah), another fragment of the Bahmam dominion, sepa-
rated in 1512. The dynasty, known as the Kutb Shahi, lasted
until 1687, when it was suppressed by Aurangzeb. Golkonda is
close to Hyderabad, now the capital of the Nizam's dominions.
The ancient fortress, which contains some magnificent tombs,
is used by the Nizam as a state prison and treasure-house.

Berar or Elichpur. Yet another revolted governor set up
a small kingdom in Berar, with its capital at Elichpur, which
lasted for about eighty-four years, until 1574, when it was
annexed by Ahmadnagar. The kings are spoken of as the
Imad Shahi dynasty.

The five sultans of the Deccan : summary. Thus it appears
that on the ruins of the Bahmam kingdom arose five distinct
Muhammadan sultanates, namely :

(1) the Barld Shahis of Bidar ;

(2) the Adil Shahis of Bijapur ;

(3) the Nizam Shahis of Ahmadnagar ;

(4) the Kutb Shahis of Golkonda ; and

(5) the Imad Shahis of Berar or Elichpur.

The history of Southern India between A. D. 1400 and 1565
may be summed up as that of a conflict between the Hindu
kingdom of Vijayanagar and the five sultans of the Deccan,
which ended in the decisive victory of the Musalman powers,
who in their turn were forced to bow before the might of the
Mughal emperors of Delhi.

The Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar. Shortly after the
destruction by Muhammad bin Tughlak of the Hoysala power
(ante, p. 95) five brothers, feudatories of that state, began to
create an independent kingdom to the south of the Krishna
and Tungabhadra rivers. Two of them, Harihara I and Bukka


(A.D. 1336-76) are counted as the first two kings of Vijaya-
nagar. The new kingdom grew so quickly that during the
lifetime of the brothers the Muhammadans were driven from
Madura, the old Pandya capital, and the Chola kingdom also
was absorbed in the dominions of the new-born state. The
learned Brahman Madhavacharya, and his brother Sayana, the
famous commentator on the Vedas and other sacred literature,
were ministers of the first three kings.

The city. The capital was established at Vijayanagar, now
represented by the extensive ruins at Hampi and the neigh-
bourhood in the Bellary District of Madras. The kings, who
were Kanarese by birth, assumed the Kanarese title of Raya.
Under their care the city progressed with such rapidity that
when it was visited in 1443 by a Persian ambassador named
Abdur Razzak, it was one of the most magnificent cities in Asia.
Its ruins, which have been surveyed recently in detail, are
crowded with fine Hindu buildings, and cover many square
miles. The city was protected, like ancient Kanauj and Delhi,
by seven distinct lines of fortifications, and its bazaars swarmed
with dealers in all the commodities of the eastern world.

A few sentences from Abdur Razzak's detailed description
may be quoted :

' The city is such that the pupil of the eye has never seen
a place like it, and the ear of intelligence has never been in-
formed that there existed anything to equal it in the world.
It is built in such a manner that seven citadels and the same
number of walls enclose each other. Around the first citadel
are stones of the height of a man, one half of which is sunk in the
ground, while the other half rises above it. These are fixed
one beside the other in such a manner that no horse or foot
soldier could boldly or with ease approach the citadel. . . .

' Above each bazaar is a lofty arcade with a magnificent
gallery, but the audience-hall of the king's palace is elevated
above all the rest. The bazaars are extremely long and broad.

' Roses are sold everywhere. These people could not live
without roses, and they look upon them as quite as necessary
as food. . . . Each class of men belonging to each profession
has shops contiguous the one to the other ; the jewellers sell

140 FROM A. D. 1193 TO 1526

publicly in the bazaars pearls, rubies, emeralds, and diamonds.

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Online LibraryVincent Arthur SmithThe Oxford student's history of India → online text (page 10 of 27)