The empire that ruled North India from AD 1206 to AD 1526 was known as the Delhi Sultanate because Delhi was their capital (the seat of their empire) and the kings were Sultans. Now read Administration of the Delhi Sultanate in detail.
Administration of the Delhi Sultanate
- The administration under the Turks was highly centralized as all executive, legislative and judicial powers were centered in the hands of the king.
- The Sultan was assisted by several ministers. Wazir was the Prime Minister who supervised the works of various ministers.
- The minister in charge of the army was known as ‘Ariz-i-mumalik’. His main responsibility was to recruit, equip and pay the army men. The king was the commander-in-chief of the army.
- Some important departments were the diwan-i-risalat and the diwan-i-insha. While the former dealt with religious matters, the latter dealt with state correspondence.
- The empire during the Sultanate Period was divided into various provinces known as ‘iqtas’. Each province was placed under a ‘muqti’. The provinces were further divided into paranganas or districts.
- The muqaddam was a village headman who looked after the affairs of the village. The ‘patwari’ maintained the land records, and the ‘mushrif’ was the village accountant. Each village had a panchayat to settle local disputes.
- During this time, the practice of giving grants of revenues in the form of territory came to be known as the ‘iqta system’. The persons to whom iqtas were given were known as ‘iqtadars’. They also maintained troops of soldiers to be used by the Sultan during wars. They paid salaries to soldiers through the revenues received by them from the iqta which was granted to them by the king.
Social Life of The Delhi Sultanate
- There were deep inequalities of income during the Sultanate Period. While the rich and the noble lived luxurious life, the poor lived a life of hardships.
- There were no changes in Hindu society. They followed a rigid caste system where all privileges were enjoyed by the Brahmins. Kshatriyas occupied the second position in society; their main responsibility was to protect the kingdom and the people.
- Vaishyas were basically engaged in farming. Shudras occupied the lowest position in society and had to do all menial works. They were ostracised and oppressed.
- Muslims in India were divided into various ethnic and racial groups. There were Turkish, Iranian, Arab, Afghan, and Abyssinian Muslims. They were further divided on the basis of origin, religion, and occupation.
- According to many contemporary accounts, child marriages were in existence. Many travelers made reference to the evil practice of sati. According to Ibn Battuta, the permission of the Sultan had to be taken for performing sati. The women of the upper caste practiced the purdah system.
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Monuments and coins are an important source of information about the Delhi Sultanate. Literary Sources (4 Points) and Archaeological Sources (5 points)