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1226 to 1526

Medieval India: The Delhi Sultanate

by Something Something




The Delhi Sultanate was an Islamic empire based in Delhi that stretched over large parts of the Indian subcontinent for 320 years (1206–1526). Five dynasties ruled over the Delhi Sultanate sequentially: the Mamluk dynasty (1206–1290), the Khalji dynasty (1290–1320), the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1414), the Sayyid dynasty (1414–1451), and the Lodi dynasty (1451–1526). It covered large swathes of territory in modern-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh as well as some parts of southern Nepal.






  Table of Contents / Timeline



CHAPTER   1

Prologue

1205 Jan 1 -

Western Punjab, Pakistan



By 962 AD, Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms in South Asia faced a series of raids from Muslim armies from Central Asia. Among them was Mahmud of Ghazni, the son of a Turkic Mamluk military slave, who raided and plundered kingdoms in north India from east of the Indus river to west of Yamuna river seventeen times between 997 and 1030. Mahmud of Ghazni raided the treasuries but retracted each time, only extending Islamic rule into western Punjab. The series of raids on north Indian and western Indian kingdoms by Muslim warlords continued after Mahmud of Ghazni. The raids did not establish or extend the permanent boundaries of the Islamic kingdoms. In contrast, the Ghurid Sultan Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad Ghori (commonly known as Muhammad of Ghor) began a systematic war of expansion into north India in 1173. He sought to carve out a principality for himself and expand the Islamic world. Muhammad of Ghor created a Sunni Islamic kingdom of his own extending east of the Indus river, and he thus laid the foundation for the Muslim kingdom called the Delhi Sultanate. Some historians chronicle the Delhi Sultanate from 1192 due to the presence and geographical claims of Muhammad Ghori in South Asia by that time. Ghori was assassinated in 1206, by Ismāʿīlī Shia Muslims in some accounts or by Khokhars in others. After the assassination, one of Ghori's slaves (or mamluks, Arabic: مملوك), the Turkic Qutb al-Din Aibak, assumed power, becoming the first Sultan of Delhi.


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CHAPTER   2

The Delhi Sultanate begins: Mamluk Dynasty

1206 Jan 1 -

Lahore, Pakistan



Qutb al-Din Aibak, a former slave of Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad Ghori (known more commonly as Muhammad of Ghor), was the first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. Aibak was of Cuman-Kipchak (Turkic) origin, and due to his lineage, his dynasty is known as the Mamluk (Slave origin) dynasty (not to be confused with the Mamluk dynasty of Iraq or the Mamluk dynasty of Egypt). Aibak reigned as the Sultan of Delhi for four years, from 1206 to 1210. Aibak was known for his generosity and people called him Lakhdata.


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CHAPTER   3

Iltutmish takes power

1210 Jan 1 -

Lahore, Pakistan



In 1210, Qutb al-Din Aibak died unexpectedly in Lahore while playing polo, without having named a successor. To prevent instability in the kingdom, the Turkic nobles (maliks and amirs) in Lahore appointed Aram Shah as his successor at Lahore. A group of nobles, led by the military justiciar (Amir-i Dad) Ali-yi Ismail, invited Iltutmish to occupy the throne. Iltutmish marched to Delhi, where he seized the power, and later defeated Aram Shah's forces at Bagh-i Jud. It is not clear if he was killed on the battlefield, or put to death as a prisoner of war. Iltutmish's power was precarious, and a number of Muslim amirs (nobles) challenged his authority as they had been supporters of Qutb al-Din Aibak. After a series of conquests and brutal executions of opposition, Iltutmish consolidated his power. His rule was challenged a number of times, such as by Qubacha, and this led to a series of wars. Iltutmish conquered Multan and Bengal from contesting Muslim rulers, as well as Ranthambore and Siwalik from the Hindu rulers. He also attacked, defeated, and executed Taj al-Din Yildiz, who asserted his rights as heir to Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad Ghori. Iltutmish's rule lasted till 1236. Following his death, the Delhi Sultanate saw a succession of weak rulers, disputing Muslim nobility, assassinations, and short-lived tenures.

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Kuttull Minor, Delhi. The Qutb Minar, 1805.


CHAPTER   4

Qutb Minar completed

1220 Jan 1 -

Delhi, India



The Qutb Minar was built over the ruins of the Lal Kot, the citadel of Dhillika. Qutub Minar was begun after the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, which was started around 1192 by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate.

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CHAPTER   5

Mongols Invasions of India

1221 Jan 1 -

Multan, Pakistan



The Mongol Empire launched several invasions into the Indian subcontinent from 1221 to 1327, with many of the later raids made by the Qaraunas of Mongol origin. The Mongols occupied parts of the subcontinent for decades. As the Mongols progressed into the Indian hinterland and reached the outskirts of Delhi, the Delhi Sultanate led a campaign against them in which the Mongol army suffered serious defeats.

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CHAPTER   6

Mongol conquest of Kashmir

1235 Jan 1 -

Kashmir, Pakistan



Some time after 1235 another Mongol force invaded Kashmir, stationing a darughachi (administrative governor) there for several years, and Kashmir became a Mongolian dependency. Around the same time, a Kashmiri Buddhist master, Otochi, and his brother Namo arrived at the court of Ögedei. Another Mongol general named Pakchak attacked Peshawar and defeated the army of tribes who had deserted Jalal ad-Din but were still a threat to the Mongols. These men, mostly Khaljis, escaped to Multan and were recruited into the army of the Delhi Sultanate. In winter 1241 the Mongol force invaded the Indus valley and besieged Lahore. However, on December 30, 1241, the Mongols under Munggetu butchered the town before withdrawing from the Delhi Sultanate. At the same time the Great Khan Ögedei died (1241).

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CHAPTER   7

Sultana Raziyya

1236 Jan 1 -

Delhi, India



A daughter of Mamluk Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish, Razia administered Delhi during 1231–1232 when her father was busy in the Gwalior campaign. According to a possibly apocryphal legend, impressed by her performance during this period, Iltutmish nominated Razia as his heir apparent after returning to Delhi. Iltutmish was succeeded by Razia's half-brother Ruknuddin Firuz, whose mother Shah Turkan planned to execute her. During a rebellion against Ruknuddin, Razia instigated the general public against Shah Turkan, and ascended the throne after Ruknuddin was deposed in 1236. Razia's ascension was challenged by a section of nobles, some of whom ultimately joined her, while the others were defeated. The Turkic nobles who supported her expected her to be a figurehead, but she increasingly asserted her power. This, combined with her appointments of non-Turkic officers to important posts, led to their resentment against her. She was deposed by a group of nobles in April 1240, after having ruled for less than four years.

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CHAPTER   8

Mongols destroy Lahore

1241 Dec 30 -

Lahore, Pakistan



The Mongol army advanced and in 1241, the ancient city of Lahore was invaded by 30,000-man cavalry. The Mongols defeated the Lahore governor Malik Ikhtyaruddin Qaraqash, massacred the entire population and the city was leveled to the ground. There are no buildings or monuments in Lahore that predates the Mongol destruction.

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CHAPTER   9

Ghiyas ud din Balban

1246 Jan 1 -



Ghiyas ud Din was the regent of the last Shamsi sultan, Nasiruddin Mahmud. He reduced the power of the nobility and heightened the stature of the sultan. His original name was Baha Ud Din. He was an Ilbari Turk. When he was young he was captured by the Mongols, taken to Ghazni and sold to Khawaja Jamal ud-din of Basra, a Sufi. The latter then brought him to Delhi in 1232 along with other slaves, and all of them were purchased by Iltutmish. Balban belonged to the famous group of 40 Turkic slaves of Iltutmish. Ghiyas made several conquests, some of them as vizier. He routed the Mewats that harassed Delhi and reconquered Bengal, all while successfully facing the Mongol threat, a struggle that cost his son and heir's life. In spite of having only a few military achievements, Balban reformed civil and military lines that earned him a stable and prosperous government granting him the position, along with Shams ud-din Iltutmish and the later Alauddin Khalji, one of the most powerful rulers of Delhi Sultanate.

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Amir Khusrow teaching his disciples in a miniature from a manuscript of Majlis al-Ushshaq by Husayn Bayqarah.


CHAPTER   10

Amir Khusrau born

1253 Jan 1 -

Delhi, India



Abu'l Hasan Yamīn ud-Dīn Khusrau, better known as Amīr Khusrau was an Indo-Persian Sufi singer, musician, poet and scholar who lived under the Delhi Sultanate. He is an iconic figure in the cultural history of the Indian subcontinent. He was a mystic and a spiritual disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, India. He wrote poetry primarily in Persian, but also in Hindavi. A vocabulary in verse, the Ḳhāliq Bārī, containing Arabic, Persian and Hindavi terms is often attributed to him. Khusrau is sometimes referred to as the "voice of India" or "Parrot of India" (Tuti-e-Hind), and has been called the "father of Urdu literature."

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CHAPTER   11

Battle of Beas River

1285 Jan 1 -

Beas River



The Battle of Beas River was a battle that took place between the Chagatai Khanate and the Mamluk Sultanate in 1285. Ghiyas ud din Balban arranged a military defense line across the Beas River as part of his "blood and iron" fortification chain strategy at Multan and Lahore as a countermeasure against the Chagatai Khanate invasion. Balban managed to repulse the invasion. However, his son Muhammad Khan was slain in battle.

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CHAPTER   12

Bughra Khan claims Bengal

1287 Jan 1 -

Gauḍa, West Bengal, India



Bughra Khan assisted his father, Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban, to crush the rebellion of the governor of Lakhnauti, Tughral Tughan Khan. Then Bughra was appointed the governor of Bengal. After the death of his eldest brother, Prince Muhammad, he was asked to take the throne of Delhi by Sultan Ghiyasuddin. But Bughra was indulged in his Bengal governorship and refused the offer. Sultan Ghiyasuddin instead nominated Kaikhasrau, son of Prince Muhammad. After the death of Ghiyasuddin in 1287, Bughra Khan declared independence of Bengal. Nijamuddin, the Prime Minister, appointed Nasiruddin Bughra Khan's son, Qaiqabad, as the Sultan of Delhi. But inefficient ruling of Qaiqabad spread anarchy in Delhi. Qaiqabad became a mere puppet in the hand of wazir Nijamuddin. Bughra Khan decided to bring an end to the anarchy in Delhi and advanced with a huge army towards Delhi. At the same time, Nijamuddin forced Qaiqabad to advance with a massive army to confront his father. The two armies met in the banks of Saryu river. But the father and the son reached an understanding instead of facing a bloody battle. Qaiqabad acknowledged Bughra Khan's independence from Delhi and also removed Najimuddin as his wazir. Bughra Khan returned to Lakhnauti.

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CHAPTER   13

The Khalji dynasty

1290 Jan 1 -

Delhi, India



The Khalji dynasty was of Turko-Afghan heritage. They were originally of Turkic origin. They had long been settled in present-day Afghanistan before proceeding to Delhi in India. The name "Khalji" refers to an Afghan town known as Qalati Khalji ("Fort of Ghilji"). They were treated by others as Afghan due to adoption of some Afghan habits and customs. The first ruler of the Khalji dynasty was Jalal ud-Din Firuz Khalji. He came to power after the Khalji revolution which marked the transfer of power from the monopoly of Turkic nobles to a heterogeneous Indo-Muslim nobility. The Khalji and Indo-Muslim faction had been strengthened by an ever-increasing number of converts, and took power through a series of assassinations. Muiz ud-Din Kaiqabad was assassinated and Jalal-ad din took power in a military coup. He was around 70 years old at the time of his ascension, and was known as a mild-mannered, humble and kind monarch to the general public. As a Sultan, he repulsed a Mongol invasion, and allowed many Mongols to settle in India after their conversion to Islam. He captured Mandawar and Jhain from the Chahamana king Hammira, although he was unable to capture the Chahamana capital Ranthambore.

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CHAPTER   14

Raid on Bhilsa

1293 Jan 1 -

Bhilsa, India



Alauddin Khalji was the governor of Kara in Sultan Jalaluddin's Delhi Sultanate. Although he feigned allegiance to the Sultan, he was determined to dethrone Jalaluddin, and sought to raise money for a successful coup. Towards this objective, he decided to target Bhilsa, a wealthy city in the Paramara kingdom of Malwa. By the 1290s, the Paramaras had been weakened by Chahamana, Vaghela, and Yadava invasions. In late 1292 CE, Alauddin Khalji obtained the Sultan's permission to raid Bhilsa. In 1293 CE, Alauddin marched towards Bhilsa via the Chanderi-Ujjain road. His sudden attack took the city's residents by surprise. The town had several richly-endowed Hindu temples, from which Alauddin obtained a large amount of wealth, including precious metals and cattle. At Bhilsa, Alauddin came to know about the immense wealth of the southern Seuna (Yadava) kingdom, and about the routes leading to their capital Devagiri.

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CHAPTER   15

Raid on Devagiri

1296 Jan 1 -

Daulatabad Fort, India



In 1296, Alauddin Khalji (then known as Ali Gurshasp) raided Devagiri, the capital of the Yadava kingdom in the Deccan region of India. At the time, Alauddin was the governor of Kara in Delhi Sultanate, which was ruled by Jalaluddin Khalji. Alauddin kept his march to Devagiri a secret from Jalaluddin, because he intended to use the wealth obtained from this raid for dethroning the Sultan. When Alauddin reached Devagiri, the Yadava king Ramachandra retreated to the hill fort, and Alauddin's army thoroughly ransacked the lower city. Simhana soon arrived in the capital and engaged Alauddin in a battle. Alauddin emerged victorious, and forced the Yadavas to agree to a peace treaty. This time, the Yadavas were forced to pay a much larger war indemnity, and had to offer the revenues of the Achalpur province to Alauddin as tribute.

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CHAPTER   16

The Assassination of Jalal-ud-din

1296 Jul 19 -

Kara, Uttar Pradesh, India



In July 1296, Jalal-ud-din marched to Kara with a large army to meet Ali during the holy month of Ramazan. He directed his commander Ahmad Chap to take the major part of the army to Kara by land, while he himself journeyed down the Ganges River with 1,000 soldiers. When Jalal-ud-din's entourage came close to Kara, Ali sent Almas Beg to meet him. Almas Beg convinced Jalal-ud-din to leave behind his soldiers, saying that their presence would frighten Ali into committing suicide. Jalal-ud-din boarded a boat with a few of his companions, who were made to unbuckle their weapons. As they rode the boat, they saw Ali's armed troops stationed along the riverbank. Almas told them that these troops had been summoned to accord a worthy reception to Jalal-ud-din. Jalal-ud-din complained about Ali's lack of courtesy in not coming to greet him at this point. However, Almas convinced him of Ali's loyalty by saying that Ali was busy arranging a presentation of the loot from Devagiri and a feast for him. Satisfied by this explanation, Jalal-ud-din continued his journey to Kara, reciting Quran on the boat. When he landed at Kara, Ali's retinue greeted him, and Ali ceremoniously threw himself at his feet. Jalal-ud-din lovingly raised Ali, gave him a kiss on cheek, and chided him for doubting his uncle's affection. At this point, Ali signaled his follower Muhammad Salim, who struck Jalal-ud-din with his sword twice. Jalal-ud-din survived the first blow, and ran towards his boat, but the second blow killed him. Ali raised the royal canopy over his head, and proclaimed himself the new Sultan. Jalal-ud-din's head was put on a spear and paraded across Ali's provinces of Kara-Manikpur and Awadh. His companions on the boat were also killed, and Ahmad Chap's army retreated to Delhi.

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Sultan Alauddin Khalji


CHAPTER   17

Ala' ud-Din Khalji

1296 Jul 20 -

Delhi, India



In 1296, Alauddin raided Devagiri, and acquired loot to stage a successful revolt against Jalaluddin. After killing Jalaluddin, he consolidated his power in Delhi, and subjugated Jalaluddin's sons in Multan. Over the next few years, Alauddin successfully fended off the Mongol invasions from the Chagatai Khanate, at Jaran-Manjur (1297–1298), Sivistan (1298), Kili (1299), Delhi (1303), and Amroha (1305). In 1306, his forces achieved a decisive victory against the Mongols near the Ravi riverbank, and later ransacked the Mongol territories in present-day Afghanistan. The military commanders that successfully led his army against the Mongols include Zafar Khan, Ulugh Khan, and his slave-general Malik Kafur. Alauddin conquered the kingdoms of Gujarat (raided in 1299 and annexed in 1304), Ranthambore (1301), Chittor (1303), Malwa (1305), Siwana (1308), and Jalore (1311).

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CHAPTER   18

Battle of Jaran-Manjur

1298 Feb 6 -

Jalandhar, India



In the winter of 1297, Kadar, a noyan of the Mongol Chagatai Khanate invaded the Delhi Sultanate ruled by Alauddin Khalji. The Mongols ravaged the Punjab region, advancing as far as Kasur. Alauddin sent an army led by his brother Ulugh Khan (and probably Zafar Khan) to check their advance. This army defeated the invaders on 6 February 1298, killing around 20,000 of them, and forcing the Mongols to retreat.

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CHAPTER   19

Mongol invasion of Sindh

1298 Oct 1 -

Sehwan Sharif, Pakistan



In 1298–99, a Mongol army (possibly Neguderi fugitives) invaded the Sindh region of the Delhi Sultanate, and occupied the fort of Sivistan in present-day Pakistan. The Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khalji dispatched his general Zafar Khan to evict the Mongols. Zafar Khan recaptured the fort, and imprisoned the Mongol leader Saldi and his companions.

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CHAPTER   20

Alauddin Khalji's conquest of Gujarat

1299 Jan 1 -

Gujarat, India



After becoming the Sultan of Delhi in 1296, Alauddin Khalji spent a few years consolidating his power. Once he had strengthened his control over the Indo-Gangetic plains, he decided to invade Gujarat. Gujarat was one of the wealthiest regions of India, because of its fertile soil and the Indian Ocean trade. Moreover, a large number of Muslim traders lived in the port cities of Gujarat. Alauddin's conquest of Gujarat would make it convenient for the Muslim merchants of north India to participate in international trade. In 1299, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji sent an army to ransack the Gujarat region of India, which was ruled by the Vaghela king Karna. The Delhi forces plundered several major cities of Gujarat, including Anahilavada (Patan), Khambhat, Surat and Somnath. Karna was able to regain control of at least a part of his kingdom in the later years. However, in 1304, a second invasion by Alauddin's forces permanently ended the Vaghela dynasty, and resulted in the annexation of Gujarat to the Delhi Sultanate.

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CHAPTER   21

Battle of Kili

1299 Jan 1 -

Kili, near Delhi, India



During Alauddin's reign, the Mongol noyan Kadar raided Punjab in the winter of 1297-98. He was defeated and forced to retreat by Alauddin's general Ulugh Khan. A second Mongol invasion led by Saldi was foiled by Alauddin's general Zafar Khan. After this humiliating defeat, the Mongols launched a third invasion, with full preparations, intending to conquer India. In late 1299, Duwa, the ruler of the Mongol Chagatai Khanate, dispatched his son Qutlugh Khwaja to conquer Delhi. The Mongols intended to conquer and govern the Delhi Sultanate, not merely raid it. Therefore, during their 6-month long march to India, they did not resort to plundering cities and destroying forts. When they encamped at Kili near Delhi, the Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khalji led an army to check their advance. Alauddin's general Zafar Khan attacked a Mongol unit led by Hijlak without Alauddin's permission. The Mongols tricked Zafar Khan into following them away from Alauddin's camp, and then ambushed his unit. Before he died, Zafar Khan managed to inflict heavy casualties on the Mongol army. The Mongols decided to retreat after two days. The real reason for the Mongol retreat appears to be that Qutlugh Khwaja was seriously wounded: he died during the return journey.

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Sultan Alau'd Din put to Flight; Women of Ranthambhor commit Jauhar, a Rajput painting from 1825


CHAPTER   22

Conquest of Ranthambore

1301 Jan 1 -

Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan, I



In 1301 Alauddin Khalji, the ruler of the Delhi Sultanate in India, conquered the neighbouring kingdom of Ranastambhapura (modern Ranthambore). Hammira, the Chahamana (Chauhan) king of Ranthambore, had granted asylum to some Mongol rebels from Delhi in 1299. He refused requests to either kill these rebels or hand them over to Alauddin, resulting in an invasion from Delhi. Alauddin then himself took control of the operations at Ranthambore. He ordered the construction of a mound to scale its walls. After a long siege, the defenders suffered from a famine and defections. Facing a desperate situation, in July 1301, Hammira and his loyal companions came out of the fort, and fought to death. His wives, daughters and other female relatives committed Jauhar (mass self-immolation). Alauddin captured the fort, and appointed Ulugh Khan as its governor.

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CHAPTER   23

Siege of Chittorgarh

1303 Jan 1 -

Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, Indi



In 1303, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji captured the Chittor Fort from the Guhila king Ratnasimha, after an eight month long siege. The conflict has been described in several legendary accounts, including the historic epic poem Padmavat, which claims that Alauddin's motive was to obtain Ratnasimha's beautiful wife Padmavati; this legend is considered historically inaccurate by most historians.

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CHAPTER   24

Mongol invasion of India (1303)

1303 Jan 1 -

Delhi, India



In 1303, a Mongol army from the Chagatai Khanate launched an invasion of the Delhi Sultanate, when two major units of the Delhi army were away from the city. The Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khalji, who was away at Chittor when the Mongols started their march, returned to Delhi in a hurry. However, he was unable to make adequate war preparations, and decided to take shelter in a well-guarded camp at the under-construction Siri Fort. The Mongols, led by Taraghai, besieged Delhi for over two months, and ransacked its suburbs. Ultimately, they decided to retreat, having been unable to breach Alauddin's camp. The invasion was one of the most serious Mongol invasions of India, and prompted Alauddin to take several measures to prevent its recurrence. He strengthened military presence along the Mongol routes to India, and implemented economic reforms to ensure adequate revenue streams for maintaining a strong army.

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CHAPTER   25

Conquest of Malwa

1305 Jan 1 -

Malwa, Madhya Pradesh, India



In 1305, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji sent an army to capture the Paramara kingdom of Malwa in central India. The Delhi army defeated and killed the powerful Paramara minister Goga, while the Paramara king Mahalakadeva took shelter in the Mandu fort. Alauddin appointed Ayn al-Mulk Multani as the governor of Malwa. After consolidating his power in Malwa, Ayn al-Mulk besieged Mandu and killed Mahalakadeva.

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CHAPTER   26

Battle of Amroha

1305 Dec 20 -

Amroha district, Uttar Prade



Despite Alauddin's measures, a Mongol force led by Ali Beg invaded the Delhi Sultanate in 1305. Alauddin sent a 30,000-strong cavalry led by Malik Nayak to defeat the Mongols. The Mongols launched one or two weak attacks on the Delhi army. The Delhi army inflicted a crushing defeat upon the invaders. The Battle of Amroha was fought on 20 December 1305 between the armies of the Delhi Sultanate of India and the Mongol Chagatai Khanate of Central Asia. The Delhi force led by Malik Nayak defeated the Mongol army led by Ali Beg and Tartaq near Amroha in present-day Uttar Pradesh. Alauddin ordered some of the captives to be killed, and others to be imprisoned. However, Barani states that Alauddin ordered all captives to be killed by having them trampled under elephants' feet.

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CHAPTER   27

Mongol invasion of India (1306)

1306 Jan 1 -

Ravi River Tributary, Pakist



In 1306, the Chagatai Khanate ruler Duwa sent an expedition to India, to avenge the Mongol defeat in 1305. The invading army included three contingents led by Kopek, Iqbalmand, and Tai-Bu. To the check the invaders' advance, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji dispatched an army led by Malik Kafur, and supported by other generals such as Malik Tughluq. The Delhi army achieved a decisive victory, killing tens of thousands of the invaders. The Mongol captives were brought to Delhi, where they were either killed or sold into slavery. After this defeat, the Mongols did not invade the Delhi Sultanate during Alauddin's reign. The victory greatly emboldened Alauddin's general Tughluq, who launched several punitive raids in the Mongol territories of present-day Afghanistan.

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CHAPTER   28

Siege of Siwana

1308 Jan 1 -

Siwana, Rajasthan, India



In 1308, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji captured the Siwana fort located in present-day Rajasthan, India. Alauddin's forces had been besieging the fort for several past years, but had been unsuccessful in capturing it. In August-September 1308, Alauddin personally arrived from Delhi, and took charge of the operations at Siwana. The Delhi army breached the fort after a few months. Faced with a defeat, Sitala Deva, the ruler of the Siwana, tried to flee, but was captured and killed.

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CHAPTER   29

Malik Kafur capture Warangal

1308 Jan 1 -

Warangal, India



In the early 13th century, the Deccan region of southern India was an immensely wealthy area, having been shielded from the foreign armies that had ransacked northern India. The Kakatiya dynasty ruled the eastern part of Deccan, with their capital at Warangal. In 1296, before Alauddin ascended the throne of Delhi, he had raided Devagiri, the capital of the Kakatiyas' neighbours Yadavas. The plunder obtained from Devagiri prompted him to plan an invasion of Warangal. After his conquest of Ranthambore in 1301, Alauddin had ordered his general Ulugh Khan to prepare for a march to Warangal, but Ulugh Khan's untimely death put an end to this plan. In late 1309, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji sent his general Malik Kafur on an expedition to the Kakatiya capital Warangal. Malik Kafur reached Warangal in January 1310, after conquering a fort on the Kakatiya frontier and ransacking their territory. After a month-long siege, the Kakatiya ruler Prataparudra decided to negotiate a truce, and surrendered a huge amount of wealth to the invaders, besides promising to send annual tributes to Delhi.

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CHAPTER   30

Conquest of Devagiri

1308 Jan 1 -

Daulatabad Fort, India



Around 1308, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji sent a large army led by his general Malik Kafur to Devagiri, the capital of the Yadava king Ramachandra. A section of the Delhi army, commanded by Alp Khan, invaded Karna's principality in the Yadava kingdom, and captured the Vaghela princess Devaladevi, who later married Alauddin's son Khizr Khan. Another section, commanded by Malik Kafur captured Devagiri after a weak resistance by the defenders. Ramachandra agreed to become a vassal of Alauddin, and later, aided Malik Kafur in the Sultanate's invasions of the southern kingdoms.

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CHAPTER   31

Siege of Warangal

1310 Jan 1 -

Warangal, India



In late 1309, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji sent his general Malik Kafur on an expedition to the Kakatiya capital Warangal. Malik Kafur reached Warangal in January 1310, after conquering a fort on the Kakatiya frontier and ransacking their territory. After a month-long siege, the Kakatiya ruler Prataparudra decided to negotiate a truce, and surrendered a huge amount of wealth to the invaders, besides promising to send annual tributes to Delhi.

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CHAPTER   32

Invasion of the Pandya kingdom

1310 Jan 1 -

Tamil Nadu, India



During 1310-1311, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji sent an army led by Malik Kafur to the southernmost kingdoms of India. After subjugating the Hoysalas, Malik Kafur invaded the Pandya kingdom (called Ma'bar in Muslim chronicles) in present-day Tamil Nadu, taking advantage of a war of succession between the Pandya brothers Vira and Sundara. During March–April 1311, he raided several places in the Pandya territory, including their capital Madurai. He was unable to make the Pandya king a tributary to the Delhi Sultanate, but obtained a huge plunder, including elephants, horses, gold and precious stones.

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CHAPTER   33

Conquest of Jalore

1311 Jan 1 -

Jalore, Rajasthan, India



In 1311 Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji dispatched an army to capture the Jalore Fort in present-day Rajasthan, India. Jalore was ruled by the Chahamana ruler Kanhadadeva, whose armies had earlier fought several skirmishes with the Delhi forces, especially since Alauddin's conquest of the neighboring Siwana fort. Kanhadadeva's army achieved some initial successes against the invaders, but the Jalore fort ultimately fell to an army led by Alauddin's general Malik Kamal al-Din. Kanhadadeva and his son Viramadeva were killed, thus ending the Chahamana dynasty of Jalore.

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CHAPTER   34

Siege of Dwarasamudra

1311 Feb 1 -

Halebidu, India



In late 1310, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji sent his general Malik Kafur on an expedition to the southernmost regions of India. In February 1311, Malik Kafur besieged the Hoysala capital Dwarasamudra, and the defending ruler Veera Ballala III surrendered without much resistance. Ballala agreed to pay the Delhi Sultanate an annual tribute, and surrendered a great amount of wealth, elephants and horses.

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CHAPTER   35

The Tughlaq dynasty

1320 Jan 1 -

Delhi, India



The last Khalji ruler was Ala ud-Din Khalji's 18-eventYear-old son Qutb ud-Din Mubarak Shah Khalji, who ruled for four years before he was killed by Khusro Khan, another slave-general with Hindu origins, who reverted from Islam and favoured his Hindu Baradu military clan in the nobility. Khusro Khan's reign lasted only a few months, when Ghazi Malik, later to be called Ghiyath al-Din Tughlaq, defeated him with the help of Punjabi Khokhar tribesmen and assumed power in 1320, thus ending the Khalji dynasty and starting the Tughlaq dynasty. The dynasty expanded its territorial reach through a military campaign led by Muhammad bin Tughluq, and reached its zenith between 1330 and 1335. It ruled most of the Indian subcontinent. The main achievement of the Tughlaq's was the introduction of a monetary economy in the provinces (sarkars) and districts (parganas) that had been established and founded; a network of market centers through which the traditional village economies were both exploited and stimulated and drawn into the wider culture. State revenues remained based on successful agriculture, which induced Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq (1325-51) to have village wells dug, offer seed to the peasants and to encourage cash crops like sugar cane.

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CHAPTER   36

Ghiyas ud-Din Tughluq

1320 Jan 1 -

Tughlakabad, India



After assuming power, Ghazi Malik renamed himself as Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq - thus starting and naming the Tughlaq dynasty. He was of mixed Turko-Indian origins; his mother was a Jatt noble and his father was likely descended from Indian Turkic slaves. He lowered the tax rate on Muslims that was prevalent during Khalji dynasty, but raised the taxes on Hindus. He built a city six kilometers east of Delhi, with a fort considered more defensible against the Mongol attacks, and called it Tughlakabad. In 1321, he sent his eldest son Ulugh Khan, later known as Muhammad bin Tughlaq, to Deogir to plunder the Hindu kingdoms of Arangal and Tilang (now part of Telangana). His first attempt was a failure. Four months later, Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq sent large army reinforcements for his son asking him to attempt plundering Arangal and Tilang again. This time Ulugh Khan succeeded. Arangal fell, was renamed to Sultanpur, and all plundered wealth, state treasury and captives were transferred from the captured kingdom to Delhi Sultanate. His reign was cut short after five years when he died under mysterious circumstances in 1325.

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CHAPTER   37

Muhammad Tughluq

1325 Jan 1 -

Tughlaqabad Fort, India



Muhammad bin Tughlaq was an intellectual, with extensive knowledge of the Quran, Fiqh, poetry and other fields. He was also deeply suspicious of his kinsmen and wazirs (ministers), extremely severe with his opponents, and took decisions that caused economic upheaval. For example, he ordered minting of coins from base metals with face value of silver coins - a decision that failed because ordinary people minted counterfeit coins from base metal they had in their houses and used them to pay taxes and jizya.

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Ibn Battuta and the Sultan


CHAPTER   38

Capital relocated to Daulatabad

1327 Jan 1 -

Daulatabad, Maharashtra, Ind



In 1327, Tughluq ordered to move his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad (in present-day Maharashtra) in the Deccan region of India. The purpose of transferring the entire Muslim elite to Daulatabad was to enroll them in his mission of world conquest. He saw their role as propagandists who would adapt Islamic religious symbolism to the rhetoric of empire, and that the Sufis could by persuasion bring many of the inhabitants of the Deccan to become Muslim. In 1334 there was a rebellion in Mabar. While on his way to suppress the rebellion, there was an outbreak of bubonic plague at Bidar due to which Tughluq himself became ill, and many of his soldiers died. While he retreated back to Daulatabad, Mabar and Dwarsamudra broke away from Tughluq's control. This was followed by a revolt in Bengal. Fearing that the sultanate's northern borders were exposed to attacks, in 1335, he decided to shift the capital back to Delhi, allowing the citizens to return to their previous city.

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Muhammad Tughlak orders his brass coins to pass for silver, A.D. 1330


CHAPTER   39

The Token Currency Failure

1330 Jan 1 -

Delhi, India



In 1330, after his failed expedition to Deogiri, he issued token currency; that is coins of brass and copper were minted whose value was equal to that of gold and silver coins. Barani wrote that the sultan's treasury had been exhausted by his action of giving rewards and gifts in gold. As a result, the value of coins decreased, and, in the words of Satish Chandra, the coins became "as worthless as stones". This also disrupted trade and commerce. The token currency had inscriptions in Persian and Arabic marking the use of new coins instead of the royal seal and so the citizens could not distinguish between the official and the forged coins.

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CHAPTER   40

Vijayanagara Empire

1335 Jan 1 -

Vijayanagara, Karnataka, Ind



The Vijayanagara Empire originated in southern India as a direct response to attacks from the Delhi Sultanate. The Vijayanagara Empire liberated southern India from the Delhi Sultanate. In 1336 Kapaya Nayak of the Musunuri Nayak defeated the Tughlaq army and reconquered Warangal from the Delhi Sultanate. In 1338 his own nephew rebelled in Malwa, whom he attacked, caught and flayed alive. By 1339, the eastern regions under local Muslim governors and southern parts led by Hindu kings had revolted and declared independence from Delhi Sultanate. Muhammad bin Tughlaq did not have the resources or support to respond to the shrinking kingdom. By 1347, Bahmanid Sultanate had become an independent and competing Muslim kingdom in Deccan region of South Asia.

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CHAPTER   41

Bengal Sultanate

1342 Jan 1 -

Pandua, West Bengal, India



During the governorship of Izz al-Din Yahya in Satgaon, Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah took service under him. Following Yahya's death in 1338, Ilyas Shah took control of Satgaon and declared himself as a Sultan, independent of Delhi. He then waged a campaign, defeating both the Sultans Alauddin Ali Shah and Ikhtiyaruddin Ghazi Shah of Lakhnauti and Sonargaon respectively by 1342. This led to the foundation of Bengal as single political entity and the start of the Bengal Sultanate and its first dynasty, the Ilyas Shahi.

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CHAPTER   42

Firuz Shah III

1351 Jan 1 -

Delhi, India



He succeeded his cousin Muhammad bin Tughlaq following the latter's death at Thatta in Sindh, where Muhammad bin Tughlaq had gone in pursuit of Taghi the ruler of Gujarat. Due to widespread unrest, his realm was much smaller than Muhammad's. He faced many rebellions, including in Bengal, Gujarat and Warangal. Nonetheless he worked to improve the infrastructure of the empire building canals, rest-houses and hospitals, creating and refurbishing reservoirs and digging wells. He founded several cities around Delhi, including Jaunpur, Firozpur, Hissar, Firozabad, Fatehabad. He established Sharia across his realm.

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CHAPTER   43

Attempts to reconquer Bengal

1353 Jan 1 -

Pandua, West Bengal, India



Sultan Firuz Shah Tughluq started the second invasion of Bengal in 1359. The Tughlaqs declared Zafar Khan Fars, a Persian noble and son-in-law of Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah, as the legitimate ruler of Bengal. Firuz Shah Tughluq led an army consisting of 80,000 cavalry, a large infantry and 470 elephants to Bengal. Sikandar Shah took refuge in the fortress of Ekdala, in the same way his father did earlier. The Delhi forces besieged the fort. The Bengal army strongly defended their stronghold until the start of the monsoon. Eventually, Sikandar Shah and Firuz Shah reached a peace treaty, in which Delhi recognized Bengal's independence and withdrew its armed forces.

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CHAPTER   44

Civil Wars

1388 Jan 1 -

Delhi, India



The first civil war broke out in 1384 AD four years before the death of aging Firoz Shah Tughlaq, while the second civil war started in 1394 AD six years after Firoz Shah was dead. These civil wars were primarily between different factions of Sunni Islam aristocracy, each seeking sovereignty and land to tax dhimmis and extract income from resident peasants. While the civil war was in progress, predominantly Hindu populations of Himalayan foothills of north India had rebelled, stopped paying Jizya and Kharaj taxes to Sultan's officials. Hindus of southern Doab region of India (now Etawah) joined the rebellion in 1390 AD. Tartar Khan installed a second Sultan, Nasir-al-din Nusrat Shah in Ferozabad, few kilometers from the first Sultan seat of power in late 1394. The two Sultans claimed to be rightful ruler of South Asia, each with a small army, controlled by a coterie of Muslim nobility. Battles occurred every month, duplicity and switching of sides by amirs became commonplace, and the civil war between the two Sultan factions continued through 1398, till the invasion by Timur.

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CHAPTER   45

Timur sacks Delhi

1398 Jan 1 -

Delhi, India



In 1398, Timur started his campaign towards Indian subcontinent (Hindustan). At that time the dominant power of subcontinent was Tughlaq dynasty of Delhi Sultanate but it had already been weakened by the formation of regional sultanates and struggle of succession within imperial family. Timur started his journey from Samarkand. He invaded the north Indian subcontinent (present day Pakistan and North India) by crossing the Indus River on September 30, 1398. He was opposed by Ahirs, Gujjars and Jats but Delhi Sultanate did nothing to stop him. The battle between Sultan Nasir-ud-Din Tughlaq allied with Mallu Iqbal and Timur took place on 17 December 1398. Indian forces had war elephants armored with chain mail and poison on their tusks which gave difficult time to Timurid forces as Tatars experienced this first time. But within a passage of time Timur had understood that elephants were easily panicked. He capitalized on the subsequent disruption in the forces of Nasir-ud-Din Tughluq, securing an easy victory. Sultan of Delhi fled with remnants of his forces. Delhi was sacked and left in ruins. After the battle, Timur installed Khizr Khan, the Governor of Multan as the new Sultan of Delhi Sultanate under his suzerainty. Delhi's conquest was one of the greatest victories of Timur, arguably surpassing Darius the Great, Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan because of the harsh conditions of the journey and the achievement of taking down the richest city of the world at the time. Delhi suffered a great loss due to this and took a century to recover.

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CHAPTER   46

The Sayyid dynasty

1414 Jan 1 -

Delhi, India



Following Timur's 1398 Sack of Delhi, he appointed Khizr Khan as deputy of Multan (Punjab). Khizr Khan captured Delhi on 28 May 1414 thereby establishing the Sayyid dynasty. Khizr Khan did not take up the title of Sultan and nominally, continued to be a Rayat-i-Ala (vassal) of the Timurids - initially that of Timur, and later his grandson Shah Rukh. Khizr Khan was succeeded by his son Sayyid Mubarak Shah after his death on 20 May 1421. The last ruler of the Sayyids, Ala-ud-Din, voluntarily abdicated the throne of the Delhi Sultanate in favour of Bahlul Khan Lodi on 19 April 1451, and left for Badaun, where he died in 1478.

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CHAPTER   47

The Lodi dynasty

1415 Jan 1 -

Delhi, India



The Lodi dynasty belonged to the Pashtun Lodi tribe. Bahlul Khan Lodi started the Lodi dynasty and was the first Pashtun, to rule the Delhi Sultanate. The most important event of his reign was the conquest of Jaunpur. Bahlul spent most of his time in fighting against the Sharqi dynasty and ultimately annexed it. Thereafter, the region from Delhi to Varanasi (then at the border of Bengal province), was back under influence of Delhi Sultanate. Bahlul did much to stop rebellions and uprisings in his territories, and extended his holdings over Gwalior, Jaunpur and upper Uttar Pradesh. Just like the previous Delhi Sultans, he kept Delhi the capital of his kingdom.

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CHAPTER   48

Sikandar Lodi

1489 Jan 1 -

Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India



Sikandar Lodi (born Nizam Khan), the second son of Bahlul, succeeded him after his death on 17 July 1489 and took up the title Sikandar Shah. He founded Agra in 1504 and built mosques. He shifted the capital from Delhi to Agra. He abolished corn duties and patronized trade and commerce. He was a poet of repute, composing under the pen-name of Gulruk. He was also patron of learning and ordered Sanskrit work in medicine to be translated into Persian. He curbed the individualistic tendencies of his Pashtun nobles and compelled them to submit their accounts to state audit. He was, thus, able to infuse vigor and discipline in the administration. His greatest achievement was the conquest and annexation of Bihar. In 1501, he captured Dholpur, a dependency of Gwalior, whose ruler Vinayaka-deva fled to Gwalior. In 1504, Sikandar Lodi resumed his war against the Tomaras. First, he captured the Mandrayal fort, located to the east of Gwalior. He ransacked the area around Mandrayal, but many of his soldiers lost their lives in a subsequent epidemic outbreak, forcing him to return to Delhi. Sikandar Lodi's tried to conquer Gwalior fort for five times remained unfulfilled as each time he was defeated by Raja Man Singh I.

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CHAPTER   49

End of the Delhi Sultanate

1526 Jan 1 -

Panipat, India



Sikandar Lodi died a natural death in 1517, and his second son Ibrahim Lodi assumed power. Ibrahim did not enjoy the support of Afghan and Persian nobles or regional chiefs. The governor of Punjab, Daulat Khan Lodi, Ibrahim's uncle, reached out to the Mughal Babur and invited him to attack the Delhi Sultanate. Ibrahim Lodi had the qualities of an excellent warrior, but he was rash and impolitic in his decisions and actions. His attempt at royal absolutism was premature and his policy of sheer repression unaccompanied by measures to strengthen the administration and increase the military resources was sure to prove a failure. Ibrahim faced numerous rebellions and kept out the opposition for almost a decade. He was engaged in warfare with the Afghans and the Mughal Empire for most of his reign and died trying to keep the Lodi Dynasty from annihilation. The Lodi Dynasty fell after the First Battle of Panipat in 1526 during which Babur defeated the far larger Lodi armies and killed Ibrahim Lodi. Babur founded the Mughal Empire, which would rule India until the British Raj brought it down in 1857.

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CHAPTER   50

Epilogue

1526 Dec 1 -

Delhi, India



Key Findings: - Perhaps the greatest contribution of the Sultanate was its temporary success in insulating the subcontinent from the potential devastation of the Mongol invasion from Central Asia in the thirteenth century. - The Sultanate ushered in a period of Indian cultural renaissance. The resulting "Indo-Muslim" fusion left lasting monuments in architecture, music, literature, and religion. - The Sultanate provided the foundation for the Moghul Empire, which continued to expand its territory.

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References



  • Banarsi Prasad Saksena (1992) [1970]. "The Khaljis: Alauddin Khalji". In Mohammad Habib; Khaliq Ahmad Nizami (eds.). A Comprehensive History of India: The Delhi Sultanat (A.D. 1206-1526). 5 (2nd ed.). The Indian History Congress / People's Publishing House. OCLC 31870180.
  • Eaton, Richard M. (2020) [1st pub. 2019]. India in the Persianate Age. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-141-98539-8.
  • Jackson, Peter (2003). The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-54329-3.
  • Kumar, Sunil. (2007). The Emergence of the Delhi Sultanate. Delhi: Permanent Black.
  • Lal, Kishori Saran (1950). History of the Khaljis (1290-1320). Allahabad: The Indian Press. OCLC 685167335.
  • Majumdar, R. C., & Munshi, K. M. (1990). The Delhi Sultanate. Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
  • Satish Chandra (2007). History of Medieval India: 800-1700. Orient Longman. ISBN 978-81-250-3226-7.
  • Srivastava, Ashirvadi Lal (1929). The Sultanate Of Delhi 711-1526 A D. Shiva Lal Agarwala & Company.



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