Military Reforms of Sher Shah Suri

Military Reforms of Sher Shah Suri

Military Reforms of Sher Shah

Sher Shah realized the importance of maintenance of a powerful and well-organized army at the very outset of his reign. He knew it very well that no empire can prosper on the basis of his civil administrative reforms only, hence military administration was the need of the day during medieval period. Hence he not only maintained a vast army at the center like his predecessor Alauddin Khalji, but also introduced some significant reforms in the army.

SherShah’s army consisted of 1,50,000 cavalry, 25,000 infantry, 5,000 war elephants and a huge artillery. As he had occupied the throne by the help of his army so he paid proper attention towards its maintenance. However, his artillery was not as powerful as his cavalry. His cavalrymen, the Afghans, were trusted soldiers but he also employed soldiers from Hindus and other communities. Sher Shah used to pay personal attention to the employment, training, discipline and payment of the salaries of the soldiers. Sher Shah also appointed a military officer known as Bakshi-e-Lashkar for his help in the military administration. His rights and duties were like those of Ariz-i-Mumalik. There were several Bakshis in the empire to look after the army. The soldiers were provided matchlocks or bows and they were commanded by trusted young officers appointed by Sher Shah himself.

Generally, salaries were paid to the soldiers in cash while Jagirs were allotted to the officers instead of salaries. Although Sher Shah was not a fanatic, however, he appointed Afghans and Muslims from Central Asia on the higher ranks in the army.

The subordinate rulers, provincial governors and nobles were also required to maintain their armies. They had to supply their forces at the demand of the center at any time. In order to avoid cheating by the feudal lords, Sher shah introduced the practice of branding the horses and maintaining the descriptive rolls of the soldiers. Troops were stationed in almost all the forts and cantonment areas which were situated all over the territory. Sher Shah paid special attention towards maintenance of discipline among the soldiers.

Historians are not unanimous on the question of Mansabdari system. Most of them opine that it did not exist during the reign of Sher Shah, but Dr P. Saran opines that references of Mansabdars of 5000 to 20000 are available during the Sur regime. Dr. P Saran does not agree with the view of Dr. Qanungo that the emperor was the pay Master General besides the supreme commander. He writes that there is no doubt about the efficiency of Sher Khan but there is limit to every person. His empire was so vast that it could not be possible for him to do all the work himself. The existence of Bakshis also proves that futility of the opinion of Dr. Qanungo.

Although no separate police department was organized by Sher Shah, yet he made very good arrangement of police as duties of police were undertaken by military officers. Abbas Sarwani writes that it was the duty of the local officers to maintain law and order in their respective regions. In case, they did not discharge their duty properly, they were liable to be punished for slackness. In case of theft in any area, it was the duty of the local officials to get the thief arrested and in case they failed, they would have to make the loss good from their own resources. The stern law and severe punishment not only terrifies the criminals but it also alarmed the local officials to be vigilant towards their duties otherwise they could be punished for their negligence. Elliot has written about the safety of the roads during the reign of Sher Shah; “in the time of Sher Shah, an old woman might place a basket of ornaments on her hands and go on journey.”

Besides the military and police administration, Sher Shah maintained an efficient spy system in his empire. The in charge of this department was known as Darogha-i-Dak Chauki and the spies were appointed at private places and public places so that nothing could happen in the empire without the knowledge of the Emperor. The persons of intelligence department were required to report every event immediately to the emperor failing which they were also liable to be punished for negligence of their duty.


Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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