Chapter 17: INDIA UNDER THE DELHI SULTANATE
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.
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.
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
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.