Causes of the Downfall of the Delhi Sultanate
No individual Sultan can be held responsible for the downfall of the Delhi Sultanate. Regional factors of disintegration were strong in medieval India. There were also numerous powerful Chiefs who either had a clan-following of their own or had strong links with particular areas. They were always ready to rebel when they found any weakness in the central Government. The Turkish Sultans tried to counter these elements first by collecting a corpse of slaves, create a nobility completely dependent on the Sultan. The main instrument of this device was the iqta system. However, the Sultans found it difficult to control the powerful and ambitious nobles even among this limited group, many of whom wanted to carve out their own independent spheres of authority. Thus, it was always difficult to control the governors of distant places such as Bengal, Sindh Gujarat, Daulatabad. etc.
The recruitment of the army also created a problem. Once the Sultans of Delhi had been cut off from the Western and Central Asia, they could no longer hope to recruit Turkish and other soldiers from that area. They had. therefore, to fall upon (a) Afghans, many of whom had settled in India; (b)
descendants of Turkish soldiers who had come to India, mainly at the time of occupation,(c) Mongols and Muslim converts and (d) Hindus belonging to what might be called the martial communities (Rajputs, Jats, etc ). Each of these sections had their own problems. Firoz tried to give preference to the descendants of Turks and Mongols by giving them a hereditary character He also recruited Muslims in his corpe corpseaves. Neither proved a success. The hereditary soldiers proved inefficient and the corpe of slaves selfish and disloyal. Each of these groups were also antagonistic to each other. Another problem facing the sultans was that of succession There was no rule whereby the eldest son could succeed. This led to struggles for succession in which ambitious nobles found an opportunity to further their own interests.
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