Delhi Sultanate – Administration, Art & Culture

delhi sultanate


  • Sultans considered themselves as representative of Caliphs (as inscribed on their coins & Khutba (Prayer)) & were of Islamic origin
  • Balban considered himself as shadow of god & of divine originality
  • Iltutmish, Muhammad bin tughlaq & Firoz tughlaq received Mansur or letter of permission from Caliphs
  • Sultans were most important administrators & had ultimate authority of the military (Commander in chief of military)
  • Greatest post was of Naib who practically enjoyed all the powers of sultan & exercised general control over all departments
Diwan – i – wazirat
  • Head of finance department
Diwan – i – Ariz
  • Military department headed by Ariz – i – Mumalik
  • Responsible for recruiting soldiers & administering military department
Diwan – i – Rasalat
  • Department of religious affairs headed by chief Sadr
Diwan – i – Insha
  • Department of correspondence, dealt with correspondence b/w rulers & officials


  • Head of judicial department of chief Qazi & Muslim sharia law was followed in civil matters
  • Hindus were governed by their own personal laws & their cases were dispensed by village panchayats

Delhi Sultanate

Local Administration

  • Provinces were called Iqtas under the charge of nobles
  • Mainly to maintain law & collect revenue
  • Later came under the charge of Governors called “Muqtis or Walis”
  • Iqtas were divided in Shiqs (districts) under Shiqdars
  • Shiqs were further divided into Pargana (no. of villages) headed by Amils
Village headman was known as Mukaddam or chaudhary & Village accountant Patwari



  • Land was mainly divided into 3 categories viz.


  • Iqta land         →  Land assigned to officials as iqtas instead of payments for their services
  • Khalisa Land → Land under direct control of sultan
  • Inam Land     → Land assigned / granted to religious leaders or religious institutions


  • Peasants paid 1/3 or even 1 / 2 of their produce as land revenue along with other taxes
  • Taxes + frequent famines Peasants always lived hand to mouth living
  • Cotton & silk industries flourished in this period along with paper industry
  • 1 silver Tanka = 48 jitals in Khalji time = 50 jitals in tughlaq time 


Social Life

  • Traditional caste system with Brahamans at the top
  • Prevalent sati & parda system for women
  • No intermarriage b/w Turks, Iranian, Afgans & Indian Muslims
  • Hindus were considered zimmis or protected people for whom they were forced to pay a tax called Jiziya
  • In beginning, Jiziya it was collected as a part of land tax but Firoz tughlaq separated it from land revenue & collected it as a separate tax


Art & Architecture

  • Quwwat ul islam mosque near Qutub minar was built using materials obtained from destroying Hindu & Jain temples
  • Buildings were constructed by combining Arch, Minarets & Dome
  • Muhammad bin tughlaq built the tomb of Ghiyasuddin tughlaq on a high platform



  • New music instruments such as Sarangi & Rabab were introduced in this period
  • Indian classical work Rangdarpan was translated to Persian during Firoz Tughlaq reign
  • Raja Man Singh (Gwalior) was a great music lover of this period & loved man Kautuhal
  • Pir Bhodan  famous Sufi Saint of this period


Amir Khusro (1252 – 1325)

  • Introduced Ragas like ghora & Sanam
  • Evolved Qawwali mixing Indian & Iranian music
  • Invented Sitar & Tabla


  • Barani’s “Tariq – i – Firoz – Shahi “ contains history of Tughlaq dynasty
  • Minhaj Us Siraj wrote “Tabaqat – i – Nasari” contains general history of Muslims dynasty upto 1260
  • Amir Khusro (famous Persian writer)


  • Created new style of Persian poetry called Sabaq – i – hind / Indian styled Persian poetry
  • Wrote Khazain – ul – Fatah about Alaunddin conquests
  • Wrote Tughlaq nama about the rise of Ghiyasuddin tughlaq


  • Zia Nakshabi    1st one to translate Sanskrit stories into Persian (1st one was Tuti nama or book of parrot)
  • Rajat Rangini written by Kalhana was also translated to Persian during this period
  • Chand Bharati  Famous Hindi poet of this time
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