Cause of the Decline / Downfall of the Delhi Sultanate

Cause of the Decline / Downfall of the Delhi Sultanate

Cause of the Decline / Downfall of the Delhi Sultanate
Cause of the Decline of the Delhi Sultanate

Just as birth and death are the processes of nature, in the same way rise and decline are natural phenomena and it is beyond the power of man to avoid it. In the Delhi sultanate five dynasties ruled and Iltutmish, Balban, Alauddin Khalji, Muhammad Tughluq, Firoz Tughluq and Sikandar Lodi were the significant rulers of these dynasties. They endeavored their best to organize and expand the territory, even the decline of Sultanate seems to be an incident of surprise but if we exercise our minx, it would not be impossible for us to find out the reasons of the downfall of Delhi Sultanate. The process of decline started during the reign of Tughluqs and it was completed in the regime of Sayyids and Lodis due to weaknesses of the Sultans and noncooperation of the subjects and the nobles. The following reasons chiefly led to the disintegration of the Sultanate in India.

 Political Causes

The Sultanate of Delhi was autocratic. The Sultans of Delhi acted as despots. They centered all the power of the Sultanate in their own hands and the Amirs held the reins of empire in their own hands. The people were deprived of taking part in the affairs of the kingdom. Thus, there was a wide gulf between the Sultan and the people which was widened all the more during the reigns of the latte unsuccessful Sultans, hence went on disintegrating with the passage of time.

 The ruler of Delhi Sultanate were neither properly educated nor had they administrative virtues. Moreover, their rule was based on the power of he army, but the organization of the army left much to be desired. The Sultans did not have any permanent army. They had to depend on the armies of the Governors at the time of war, which had no harmony amongst one another. Only a powerful ruler could maintain his sway over them but under the reign of weak and inefficient rulers, the unorganized army proved dangerous for the Sultanate and rebelled off and on.

The ruler of Delhi Sultanate did not pay the salaries in cash to their staff and awarded Jagirs which made everybody wealthy. The excess of money proved detrimental to the interest of the Sultanate and people often resorted to conspiracies. It harmed the power and prestige of the Sultanate.

The weak rulers of Sayyid and Lodi dynasties failed to exercise control over the political situation of the country. They adopted the feudal system which enhanced the power of the feudal lords to such an extent that it proved fatal for the survival of the Sultanate itself. When Sikandar Lodi and his successor tried to crush the power of these nobles they revolted. The unwise policy of IbrahimLodi annoyed them all the more. He imposed several restrictions over them and did not permit them to be seated in the court. Thus the high-handed policy of Ibrahim Lodi forced Alam Khan and Daulat Khan Lodi to invite Babur for an invasion on the country. His invasion was the last nail in the political coffin of the Sultanate.

Social Cause

The rulers of Delhi Sultanate adopted the policy of religious intolerance which engendered social distinctions and the Hindus and Muslims became staunch rivals of each other. The partisan policies of the Muslim rulers harmed the interests of the Hindu subjects which created jealousy and hatred between the two communities.

During this period casteism, untouchability and ‘class’ feeling emerged in the society. The Muslims used to call the Hindus ‘Kafirs’ whereas the Hindus named the Muslims ‘Mlechhas’. A feeling of mutual suspicion prevailed among the two communities, all this proved fatal for the survival of the Sultanate.

Religious Causes

Delhi Sultanate was a theocratic state and the administration was based on the principles of Islam. The Ulema and orthodox Muslims held a privileged position in the sultanate and they affected the policies of the Sultan. The majority of Hindus were not granted any favour by the Muslim rulers, hence they never cooperated with them.

The religious intolerance of the Sultans of Delhi also annoyed the majority of Hindus. Their act of demolishing Hindus temples and breaking idols of their gods and goddesses annoyed them all the more. Imposition of Jaziya and pilgrimage tax injured the tender feelings of the Hindus and their conversion on the points of sword offended them so much that they opposed the Sultanate and contributed to sit downfall.

Economic Caused

Economic solidarity is the backbone of the empire but the financial position of the rulers of Delhi Sultanate was not solid. No doubt, they amassed a lot of wealth during their invasions and plundered the temples, but they also spent a lot of money in the organization of the army and in checking the invasion of Mongols. Moreover, the preposterous schemes of Muhammad Tughluq emptied the royal treasury and no government could be stable without sound finance.

The sultanate of Delhi spent a huge amount on the upkeep of slaves, and the nobles and Amirs embezzled a greater part of the revenue of the Sultanate, thus the income of the state fell short of the expenditure. The rulers of Delhi sultanate did not try to improve their finances nor levied taxes properly. The Muslims were either exempted from the taxes or they were granted concessions and the trade and industry was underdeveloped. Hence economic weaknesses also contributed to the downfall of the Delhi Sultanate.

The invasion of Babur proved to be the last significant reason of the decline of the Sultanate of Delhi. Ibrahim Lodi failed to measured swords with the Mughal army and lay prostrate before it. The well-equipped and disciplined army of Babur uprooted Delhi Sultanate completely.


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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