Life Under Delhi Sultanate


Sources of Delhi Sultanate

The important sources of information about the Delhi Sultanate are:
1. Inscriptions: They are found on coins, monuments, milestones and tombstones.
2. Monuments: The rulers of Delhi built many monuments which reveal not only the cultural trends of the period but also the living conditions, faiths and beliefs and the socio-cultural outlook of the rulers. One such monument is the Qutub Minar.


Administration of the Delhi Sultanate

The Sultan was the supreme executive, legislative, judicial and military authority. He kept an eye on revenue and expenditure. He was assisted by a number of ministers. During the Sultanate, the empire was divided into provinces called 'iqtas.' During the Sultan's rule, various taxes such as kharaj (land tax), zakat (property tax), jizya (religious tax), etc. were the main sources of income.


Art and architecture of the Delhi Sultanate

They introduced a new style of architecture known as 'Indo-Islamic.' Arches, domes and minarets form the main features of this style. They constructed forts, mosques, palaces, public buildings, madrasas. Examples of Indo-Islamic style are Qutub Minar, Alai Darwaza at Delhi.


Contribution to literature by Delhi Sultanate

Foreign writers and historians enjoyed the patronage of the Sultan. Their works are in Arabic and Persian languages. Amir Khusro wrote six prominent works giving details about Hindu and Muslim culture. Ziauddin Barani wrote 'Tariq-E-Firozshahi' and Firoze Tughluq wrote 'Futuhat-E-Firozeshahi.' A scholar called Utbi wrote 'Tariq-E-Yamini' in Arabic.


Economy of the Delhi Sultanate

People were taxed heavily. Agriculture was the main source of income. The Sultans owned factories in Delhi. Manufacture of gold and silver jewellery, embroidery, textiles and dyeing were the major industries.


Society during the Delhi Sultanate

There were religious restrictions on Hindu and Shia subjects under the rule of the Sultans. Only Muslim sardars were appointed to high posts. Slavery flourished during the reign of the Sultans. Prisoners of war were made slaves. Women did not enjoy a good status. Purdah system and child marriage were in practice. Upper class women were well versed in fine arts.


Delhi Sultanate in 15th-16th Centuries

The period extending from 1206- 1526 is referred as the Delhi Sultanate period. Five different dynasties ruled over Delhi region during this period. The dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, the Lodhis (1151-1526), were involved in the incessant civil order. By the 15th- early 16th centuries the borders of the Delhi Sultanate were reduced. Between 1518 and 1526 Babur invaded India five times. Finally, he defeated Ibrahim Lodhi in 1526 at the battle of Panipat. Delhi came under the Mughal rule.