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Causes of the Downfall of the Delhi Sultanate

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updated on September 3rd, 2019

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 utterly 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.
  • The hereditary soldiers proved inefficient and the corpe of slaves selfish and disloyal.
  • Each of these groups was 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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