Sher Shah Suri

Sher Shah Suri

Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri

The early name of Sher Shah was Farid. He was the grandson of Ibrahim Sur and the name of his father was Hassan Khan Sur. His grandfather came to Hindustan from Afghanistan in search of employment and settled in the pargana of Bajwara. It was situated about two miles southeast of Hastinapur in  Punjab. At this very place a wife of Hasan Khan Sur gave birth to Farid in A.D. 1472. There is great controversy about the dated of birth of Farid. A few days after the brith of Farid his grandfather Ibrahim sur joined the service of Jamal Khan Saranglani and was employed with Khan-i-Alam Umar Khan. After some time Hasan went in the service of Jamal Khan and when Siander Lodi transferred Jamal Khan to Jaunpur, during the reign of Sikander Lodi, he took with him Sher Shah’s father Hasan Khan as he was much pleased with his devoted services.  His master gave him the parganas of Sasaram, Khawaspur and Tanda near Banaras.

Hasan was undoubtedly a successful and worthy soldier but he lacked domestic arrangements. He had four wives and eight sons. Farid Khan and Nizam Khan were born of an Afghan mother whereas Sulaiman and Ahmad were born of another wife and the rest were born of slave girls. Hasan had no love for the mother of Farid but he loved very much the mother of Sulaiman and Ahmad. Therefore, Farid and his mother could not enjoy the love of Hasan Khan. As there was a great tension between father and son, hot words often passed between the two. Being rebuked by his father and feeling offended, Farid went to Jamal Khan at Jaunpur.

As during this period Jaunpur was a centre of education and learning, he employed himself to the study of Arabic and the biographies of most of the kings of ancient times. He had got by heart the Sikandar-Nama, Gulistan, Bostan, etc. He also had interest in Hindi, History and Arithmetic. Soon he earned fame and name in entire Janupur due to his politeness, labour, manly activities and extraordinary wisdom. Jamal Khan, the master of his father, was also one of his fans. During his stay in Jaunpur Farid Khan also received practical knowledge of civil and military affairs of the state. His ability and capability impressed Jamal Khan so much that he took initiative and brought about reconciliation between father and son.

When father and son were reconciled, Farid was given charge of two parganas of Sasaram and Khawaspur. He continued to make arrangements of these Jagirs from A.D. 1497 to 1518 very efficiently. He did not allow any noble or Zamindar to raise his head high, and established law and order in the country. He gave unmistakable evidence of his executive abilities and genius in the field of revenue. Abbas Khan Sarwani quotes his views, “I shall devote myself to increase the prosperity of the district and that depends on a just administration.” While fixing the land revenue, measuring the land and at the time of classification of land, he paid proper attention to the interests of the peasants. He punished the corrupt officers if they tried to cheat the peasants. The Afghans also were not spared in this matter.

The successes of Farid enhanced the jealousies of his stepmother and she along with his sons began to pour venom against Farid as a result of which once again in A.D. 1518 he had to leave Bihar for Agra. He appealed to Sultan Ibrahim Lodi that the Jagirs of his father be given to him but the Sultan did not agree to his request, rather he did not like his attitude for he went to the Sultan against his father Hasan. But Hasan did not survive long and now Sultan Ibrahim Lodi had no hesitation in granting the Jagirs of Hasan Khan to Farid. Thus, armed with the authority of the royal Firman, Farid returned to Sasaram in A.D. 1520-21 and established his control over Sasaram, Khawaspur and Tanda.

In spite of the fact that the Jagirs of his father were allotted to him by sultan Ibrahim Lodi, the dispute of succession did not end and conflicts went on. His step-brother Sulaiman who was looking after the Jagirs of his father prior to him, invite Muhammad Khan Sur of chand in shahpur district to interfere in this issue of succession. Muhammad had bad blood with Hasan and so he advised the division of the Jagir but Farid did not agree to it and joined the service of Behar Khan Lohani who was the Governor of sourth Bihar. Behar Khan was very pleased with the efficient services of Farid. One day he went with his master on a hunting expedition and killed a lion with one stroke of his sword. Behar Khan was much pleased with his bravery and bestowed the title of Sher Khan on him. After some time, he was appointed teacher of Behar Khan’s infant son Jalal Khan as well as the deputy governor of the province.

The rise of Sher Khan was not appreciated by the Lohani nobles and other Pathans, so they created a rift between Behar Khan and Sher Khan. As a result, Sher Khan, leaving the services of Lohani Khan, joined Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire in India. He was planning to get back his Jagir with the help of the Mughal emperor and with this end in view he made contacts with Junaid Barlas, an officer in Mughal services. Sher Khan was recruited in the army of the Mughals in A.D. 1520. He rendered efficient and significant services to his master when he invaded the Afghans of Bihar. In A.D. 1528, he received back his lost Jagir but he could not remain in the employment of the Mughals for a long time.
 Once again he went back in the court of Behar Khan alias Muhammad Shah in south Bihar where after the death of Behar Khan, his son Jalal Khan a minor, was enthroned under the regency of his mother. The widow mother of Jalal Khan appointed Sher Khan his Vakil and helper. He served the infant Sultan with great sincerity and made utmost efforts to remove the military weaknesses in order to strengthen the position of the Sultan. Sher Khan was also not careless towards his own existence and consolidated his own position and formed a group of his well tested Afghans. Most of the members of this group belonged to Sur clan. He appointed them to higher and lucrative posts.

 No doubt, Sher Khan had achieved prominence but he had yet to surpass some impediments before establishing his existence as national leader of the Afghans. Just after a year with the coming of Mahmood Lodi, the younger brother of Ibrahim Lodi, in Bihar, his stars began to fade. He was a staunch contender to the throne of Delhi. Though he was defeated twice yet he did not give up his hope altogether. After reaching Bihar he wanted to bring all the Afghans under his flag in order to establish Afghan rule in India once again. Sher Khan also had to associate with him in the battle of Ghaghara in A.D. 1529. Soon after the collapse of the Afghans, Sher khan submitted to Babur. He was restored to his previous position but was liable to pay annual tribute to the Mughal Emperor. Sher Khan once again devoted himself to the work of administration and established law and order in his territory. After the death of Dadu Bibi, the mother and regent of the infant ruler, Sher Khan became the regent and the de facto ruler of south Bihar.
The honorable position of Sher Khan once again offended the Lahore and Fermuli Afghans and they moved heaven and earth to uproot him from his prize position but by this time Sher Shah had established himself quite firmly. However, in order to please his co-religionists, he agreed to share the responsibility of the state with them but they did not accept his proposal. Not only this, they captured the infant Sultan and ran away to Bengal, so that they might secure the support and cooperation of the ruler of Bengal against Sher Khan whom they took to be a usurper.

After the departure of Jalal Khan from South Bihar he became the virtual ruler of Bihar but he did not assume the royal title and contented himself with the little of Hazrat-i-Ala. As Taj Khan the Mughal Governor of Chunargarh fort, was put to death by his own son, Sher Khan married his widow Lad Malka and received the fort of Chunar as well as a huge amount of wealth in dowry. It cemented his military and economic position and accelerated his ambitious for further conquests. Abbas Sarwani writes that besides the fort Sher Shah received as a gift “150 exceedingly valuable jewels, seven maunds of pearls, 150 maunds of gold and many other articles and ornaments” from his queen. Historians hold different opinion regarding the date of coronation of Sher Khan. Dr Qanungo refers to two coronation ceremonies of Sher Shah. The first was performed in March A.D. 1538 when he was waging war against Humayun and second was performed in A.D. 1539, when he reached Gour after the battle of Chausa.

Sher Shah was quite old, almost sixty-eight, when he became the emperor of India. So he could not enjoy the fruits of his hard Labour for a long time. He often used to lament that God had made him king “In the evening  of his life.” He could rule only for five years but he was still quite powerful. He paid personal attention to the organization of the army and training of is soldiers. He not only commanded his army efficiently but also fought bravely if the occasion demanded. He made some significant victories during his reign and introduced efficient administration for his empire. Sher Shah breathed his last on 22nd May A.D.  1545.


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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