Chapter 17: INDIA UNDER THE DELHI SULTANATE

Introduction 

The Delhi sultanate had a powerful administrative system. The authority extended as south as Madurai. It had an impact on the provincial kingdoms and also the Mughal administration. The sultans ran an Islamic Empire and believed themselves to be the caliph’s representative. The conditions of Non Muslims were poor here. The Ulemas paid an important role here.


The succession wasn’t of the eldest son and all children had equal rights. But the stability of the Empire depended on support of the nobles. The military superiority was the main factor in succession matters.



Administration: 


The administration had many posts and departments. The advisors of the sultan controlled all activities. The civil courts worked on Islamic law for Muslims and personal law of Hindus for their cases. The criminal system worked on procedures made by the sultan.


1.   The sultan had issued districts to nobles instead of payment by cash. The peasants had to pay one third of produce to sultan as tax. Besides this they also had to pay other taxes and lived a hand to mouth existence.


2. Urbanisation increased and many towns were built. Trade and commerce to increase and links were established with Arabs, south East Asian.  Roads and highways were maintained in a good manner. Guesthouses were created for travelers.


3. Cotton and silk textiles became popular. Large scale sericulture made India less dependent on outsiders.


4. Paper industry, leather industry, crafts making, carpet weaving and manufacture of gold, silver was popular.


5. The caste system was dominant in Hindus. The practices like sati continued. They were treated like second class citizens and had to pay jiziya. They were not given high posts. Arabs, Turkish and Afghanistan residents came to India. They didn’t mix with the Indian Muslims. The foreigners brought the system of Purdah System in India. 


Art and Architecture: 


1. The Turks introduced arches, domes, minarets and decorations in Arabic script. Marbles and red, yellow sandstone's were used to bring colour to buildings.


2. Sarangi and Rabab were introduced during this period. New music qawwalis were also started.


3. The Delhi sultans were patrons of learning and literature. Arabic and Persian literature was promoted. Theology and poetry was popular. Amir Khusrau, the Persian writer and poet was during this period.


4. Literature movement led to development of Sanskrit books in medicine, music.  Bhakti cult led to improvement in Gujarati and Marathi. Vijayanagar Empire patronized Telugu and Kannada.