Islamic empires in India


Islamic empires in India

During the late Middle Ages, several Islamic empires were established in South Asia.

Delhi Sultanate

During the last quarter of the twelfth century, Muhammad of Ghor invaded the Indo-Gangetic plain, conquering in succession Ghazni, Multan, Sindh, Lahore, and Delhi. Qutb-ud-din Aybak, one of his generals proclaimed himself Sultan of Delhi. In the 13th century, Shams ud din Iltumish (1211 - 1236), a former slave-warrior, established a Turkic kingdom in Delhi, which enabled future sultans to push in every direction; within the next 100 years, the Delhi Sultanate extended its way east to Bengal and south to the Deccan, while the sultanate itself experienced repeated threats from the northwest and internal revolts from displeased, independent-minded nobles. The sultanate was in constant flux as five dynasties rose and fell: the Slave dynasty (1206-90), Khalji dynasty (1290-1320), Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1413), Sayyid dynasty (1414-51), and Lodi dynasty (1451-1526). The Khilji dynasty, under Ala ud din (1296 - 1316), succeeded in bringing most of South India under its control for a time, although conquered areas broke away quickly. Power in Delhi was often gained by violence -- nineteen of the thirty-five sultans were assassinated -- and was legitimized by reward for tribal loyalty. Factional rivalries and court intrigues were as numerous as they were treacherous; territories controlled by the sultan expanded and shrank depending on his personality and fortunes.

Both the Qur'an and sharia (Islamic law) provided the basis for enforcing Islamic administration over the independent Hindu rulers, but the sultanate made only fitful progress in the beginning, when many campaigns were undertaken for plunder and temporary reduction of fortresses. The effective rule of a sultan depended largely on his ability to control the strategic places that dominated the military highways and trade routes, extract the annual land tax, and maintain personal authority over military and provincial governors. Sultan 'Ala ud-Din made an attempt to reassess, systematize, and unify land revenues and urban taxes and to institute a highly centralized system of administration over his realm, but his efforts were abortive. Although agriculture in North India improved as a result of new canal construction and irrigation methods, including what came to be known as the Persian wheel, prolonged political instability and parasitic methods of tax collection brutalized the peasantry. Yet trade and a market economy, encouraged by the free-spending habits of the aristocracy, acquired new impetus both inland and overseas. Experts in metalwork, stonework, and textile manufacture responded to the new patronage with enthusiasm. In this period Persian language and many Persian cultural aspects became dominant in the centers of power in India.

outhern dynasties

The sultans' failure to hold securely the Deccan and South India resulted in the rise of competing southern dynasties: the Muslim Bahmani Sultanate (1347-1527) and the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire (1336-1565). Zafar Khan, a former provincial governor under the Tughluqs, revolted against his Turkic overlord and proclaimed himself sultan, taking the title Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah in 1347. The Bahmani Sultanate, located in the northern Deccan, lasted for almost two centuries, until it fragmented into five smaller states, known as the Deccan sultanates (Bijapur, Golconda, Ahmednagar, Berar, and Bidar) in 1527. The Bahmani Sultanate adopted the patterns established by the Delhi overlords in tax collection and administration, but its downfall was caused in large measure by the competition and hatred between deccani (domiciled Muslim immigrants and local converts) and paradesi (foreigners or officials in temporary service). The Bahmani Sultanate initiated a process of cultural synthesis visible in Hyderabad where cultural flowering is still expressed in vigorous schools of deccani architecture and painting.

Founded in 1336, the Vijayanagara Empire (named for its capital Vijayanagara (Vijayanagar), "City of Victory," in present-day Karnataka) expanded rapidly toward Madurai in the south and Goa in the west and exerted intermittent control over the east coast and the extreme southwest. Vijayanagara rulers closely followed Chola precedents, especially in collecting agricultural and trade revenues, in giving encouragement to commercial guilds, and in honoring temples with lavish endowments. Added revenue needed for waging war against the Bahmani sultans was raised by introducing a set of taxes on commercial enterprises, professions, and industries. Political rivalry between the Bahmani and the Vijayanagara rulers involved control over the Krishna-Tungabhadra river basin, which shifted hands depending on whose military was superior at any given time. The Vijayanagar rulers' capacity for gaining victory over their enemies was contingent on ensuring a constant supply of horses--initially through Arab traders but later through the Portuguese--and maintaining internal roads and communication networks. Merchant guilds enjoyed a wide sphere of operation and were able to offset the power of landlords and Brahmans in court politics. Commerce and shipping eventually passed largely into the hands of foreigners, and special facilities and tax concessions were provided for them by the ruler. Arabs and Portuguese competed for influence and control of west coast ports, and, in 1510, Goa passed into Portuguese possession.

The city of Vijayanagara itself contained numerous temples with rich ornamentation, especially the gateways, and a cluster of shrines for the deities. Most prominent among the temples was the one dedicated to Virupaksha, a manifestation of Shiva, the patron-deity of the Vijayanagar rulers. Temples continued to be the nuclei of diverse cultural and intellectual activities, but these activities were based more on tradition than on contemporary political realities. When the rulers of the five Deccan sultanates combined their forces and attacked Vijayanagara in 1565, the empire crumbled at the Battle of Talikot.

Mughal era

The Mughal Empire ( _fa. مغل بادشاہ) was an empire that at its greatest territorial extent ruled most of the Indian subcontinent between 1526 and 1857. The empire was founded by the Mongol leader Babur in 1526, when he defeated Ibrahim Lodi, the last of the Delhi Sultans at the First Battle of Panipat. The word "Mughal" is the Indo-Aryan version of Mongol.

Asaf Jahi Deccan

Nizam ( _ur. نظام‌), a shortened version of Nizam-ul-Mulk ( _ur. نظام‌الملک), meaning "Administrator of the Realm", was the title of the native sovereigns of Hyderabad state, India, since 1719, belonging to the Asaf Jah dynasty. The dynasty was founded by Mir Qamar-ud-Din Siddiqi, a viceroy of the Deccan under the Mughal emperors from 1713 to 1721 and who intermittently ruled under the title Asaf Jah in 1724, and After Aurangzeb's death in 1707, the Mogul empire crumbled and the viceroy in Hyderabad, the young Asaf Jah, declared himself independent.

ee also

* The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period (Book)

References

*loc - [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/intoc.html India] , [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/pktoc.html Pakistan]

Literature

*Majumdar, R. C. (ed.), The History and Culture of the Indian People, Volume VI, The Delhi Sultanate, Bombay, 1960; Volume VII, The Mughal Empire, Bombay, 1973.
*Elliot, Sir H. M., Edited by Dowson, John. The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period; published by London Trubner Company 1867–1877. (Online Copy: [http://persian.packhum.org/persian/index.jsp?serv=pf&file=80201010&ct=0 The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period; by Sir H. M. Elliot; Edited by John Dowson; London Trubner Company 1867–1877] - This online Copy has been posted by: [http://persian.packhum.org/persian/index.jsp The Packard Humanities Institute; Persian Texts in Translation; Also find other historical books: Author List and Title List] )


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