Delhi Sultans

Extra Questions

Short Answer Questions

Write briefly about the attack by Mongols.

Answer: The north-eastern part of Iran, Transoxiana was invaded by the Mongols in the year 1219. Soon after, they attacked the Delhi Sultanate. During the reign of Alauddin Khalji and the early reigning period of Muhammad Tughluq, there was an increase in the attack on the Delhi Sultanate. Consequently, they had to mobilize a large standing army in Delhi which posed a huge administrative challenge.

Write in brief about the accountants under the reign of Khaljis and Tughluqs.

Answer: They were appointed by the state to check the amount of revenue collected by the muqtis. There was proper control regarding the muqti collecting only the taxes prescribed by the state and that he kept the required number of soldiers.

Write a note on the campaigns along the internal frontier.

Answer: These were aimed at consolidating the garrison towns of hinterlands. These included clearing of forests in the Ganga-Yamuna doab and expulsion of hunter-gatherers and pastoralists from their habitats. These lands were given to peasants, to encourage agriculture. The trade routes were protected and regional trade was promoted by establishing new fortresses and towns.

Who were the authors of tawarikh?

Answer: They were learned men- secretaries, administrators, poets and courtiers. They recounted events and advised rulers on governance, emphasizing the significance of just rule. They lived in cities (mainly in Delhi) and hardly lived in villages, wrote histories for the Sultans expecting rich rewards in return and advised rulers on the need to preserve an ‘ideal’ social order based on birthright and gender distinctions.

Long Answer Type Questions

How did Alauddin Khalji and Muhammad Tughluq deal with the Mongol attacks?


ParticularsAlauddin KhaljiMuhammad Tughluq
Period of attackTwice in 1299/1300 and 1302-1303. He raised a long standing armyIn the early years of his reign. He defeated the Mongols. He raised a long standing army. He was confident about the strength of his army and his resources to plan an attack on Transoxiana.
How they dealt with itHe constructed a new garrison town named Siri for his soldiers.Soldiers garrisoned in the oldest of the four cities of Delhi named Dehli-I Kuhna after emptying it of its residents. The residents were sent to the new capital of Daulatabad in the south.
FoodSoldiers were fed using the produce collected as tax from lands between the Ganga and Yamuna. Tax was fixed at 50 per cent of the peasant’s yield.Produce from the same area was collected as tax for feeding the army. Additional taxes were also levied to meet the expenses of maintaining such a large number of soldiers. This coincided with famine in the area.
MoneyHe paid the soldiers in cash rather than iqtas. He controlled the prices of goods in Delhi to prevent the merchants from inflating them due to the dependence of the soldiers on them for supplies.He also paid the soldiers in cash. He used a ‘token’ currency made out of cheap metals. But these coins were not trusted by the people of the fourteenth century. It could be counterfeited easily and also people saved their gold and silver coins and paid their taxes using token currency.
AdministrationHe had a successful administration and gained praise from chroniclers for cheap prices and efficient supplies of goods in the market. He withstood the threat of Mongol invasions.His administrative methods were a failure. His campaign into Kashmir was a disaster after which he decided not to invade Transoxiana and disbanded his large army.

Write a note on the expansion of the Delhi Sultanate.

Answer: The control of regions by the Delhi Sultans rarely went beyond garrison towns, in the thirteenth century. A garrison town is a fortified settlement with soldiers. The Sultans seldom controlled the hinterland of the cities and hence were dependent on trade, tribute and plunder for supplies. Rebellion, war and bad weather would snap the fragile communication routes. Consequently, it was very difficult to control garrison towns in Bengal and Sindh from Delhi. The attacks by Mongols of Afghanistan and the governors who rebelled at the slightest sign of weakness of the Sultan were a challenge for the sultans. The Sultanate hardly survived these challenges. The main expansion took place during the reigns of Ghiyasuddin Balban, Alauddin Khalji and Muhammad Tughluq. The expansion took place along the internal frontier (targetting the hinterlands of the garrison towns) and the external frontier (targetting the southern part of India).

Describe the consolidation and administration by the Tughluqs and Khaljis.

Answer: Reliable governors and administrators were needed for the vast kingdom of the Delhi Sultanate. The early Delhi Sultans chose to employ special slaves (whom they had purchased for military service) as governors, instead of employing aristocrats and landed chieftains. Especially, Iltutmish employed the slaves as mentioned above. These slaves were called bandagan in Persian. They were trained well to man some of the important political offices of the kingdom and their total dependence on the master ensured their reliability and dependability. People of humble birth were also raised to high political positions by the Tughluqs and Khaljis. These people were often their clients (i.e. someone who is under another person’s protection or is dependent on another person). These people were appointed as governors and generals. But this also led to some political instability creeping in. The slaves and clients were very loyal to their masters and patron. But they were not loyal to their heirs. New Sultans had their own servants and hence often there was conflict between the old and new nobility whenever there was an accession.

Military commanders were appointed as governors of different-sized territories by the Khalji and Tughluq monarchs. These territories were called iqta and their holder was called iqtadar or muqti. The muqtis performed the duty of leading military campaigns and maintaining law and order in their iqta. They collected revenues of their assignments as salary. The accountants were appointed by the state to check the amount of revenue collected by the muqtis. There was proper control regarding the muqti collecting only the taxes prescribed by the state and that he kept the required number of soldiers.

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