Delhi Sultanate: Administration, Society, Culture, Art, Architecture YouTube Lecture Handouts Part 1

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Delhi Sultanate: Administration, Society, Culture, Art, Architecture|Medieval History ICSE Class 7

Title: Delhi Sultanate Administration, Society & Culture

India ruled by Turkish Sultans of Ilbari Turkish Clan for 320 years under 5 dynasties.

Classes in Society



Officials & Merchants

Common People/Peasantry

  • Aristocrats – nobility, high officials, rich and luxurious life
  • Ulema/Hindu Priest- advised on administration to Sultan under sacred law – lived on land grants by Sultan & gifts by common people
  • Town Dwellers – officials, merchants & artisans – economically well to do
  • Peasantry – poor and not had enough – paid heavy tax, land revenue and had to bear suffering of natural calamities
Classes in Society
  • Rigid caste system in Hindus
  • Denial of education for women and had to be in purdah
  • Ibn Batuta quotes instances of sati – woman being burnt alive on the funeral pyre of husband with beating drums
  • Women in seclusion and had to cover their face when an outsider entered and was widespread amongst upper caste women




No open violation of Islamic Laws

Also not allowed Muslim Divines to Dictate

  • Sultan had to supplement Muslim law by framing own regulations – historian Barani refused to consider state as truly Islamic and was one based on worldly considerations
  • Sultan՚s office was most important – political, legal, military authority – responsible for administration, security and maintenance of law and order
  • Power based on military force. Administration was feudal and military
  • Government under various departments and each under a high official

Administrative Departments

  • Diwan-i-Wazarat
  • Diwan-i-Ar
  • Diwan-i-Risalat
  • Diwan-i-Insha
  • Diwan-i-Wazarat – revenue Department – Headed by Wazir (Chief Minister)
  • Diwan-i-Arz – Military department – headed by Ariz-i-Mumalik – recruit, equip and pay army
  • Diwan-i-Risalat – religious matters – by Chief Sadr or chief Qazi (justice department)
  • Diwan-i-Insha – domestic & foreign correspondence
  • Muqaddam – managed village administration; sometimes Hindu officers were also appointed
  • Munsif – supervised accounts of village
  • Patwari – kept local records
  • Taxes
  • Jazia – tax on non-muslims
  • Zakat – tax on muslims
  • Kharaj – land tax
  • Khams – th spoil of war

Iqta System

  • Grant revenue from piece of land to an officer rather than paying cash salary is iqta
  • Iqtadar would collect revenue from his iqta or province – keep certain amount with himself and pay remaining to Sultan to maintain soldiers
  • Also pay a fixed amount annually to Sultan
  • Officer keeps a note of income and expenditure and maintains law and order in the territory


  • Delhi, Daulatabad, Lahore, Lakhnauti – trading centers
  • Trade with Malaya, China, Tibet, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Persia, Tibet and Bhutan
  • Roads and coins flourished trade
  • Tanka – Silver coin by Iltutmish
  • Goods were bought and sold at market place in towns
  • Agriculture was the mainstay of economy – 50 % tax on produce during Muhmmad-bin-Tughlaq and Ala-ud-din Khilji
  • Main industries – textile, sugar, hardware, paper

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