A Comprehensive History of India
Lecture – 9
February 26, 2012
Sultanates of Delhi
Beginning of the Medieval Age
Maharaj Mukherjee
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Different Eras of History
• Pre historic Ages – Time before the recorded history (15000 BC –
700 BC)
– Hunter Gatherer, Indus Valley, Aryans, Time of the Epics
• Ancient Ages – Time of initial recorded history (700 BC – 900 AD)
– Buddha, Alexander, Ashoka, Gupta, Harsha, Pala
– We just finished studying the ancient ages
• Middle Ages – (900 AD – 1750 AD)
– We will start from here today
• Modern Ages (1750 AD – 2012 AD)
– Time we are living in now
– What happened in or around 1750??
• Think about it and I will ask the question again in next class.
• (HW – for next class 03/03/12)
• Hint: There is no single answer.
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Map of the Known World
(Around 900 AD)
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Around 900 AD
(View of the Eurasia)
America-s (North and South) were not known
Australia was yet to be discovered
Most of Africa was not known
Rest of the World was well populated and
divided into small and big empires, kingdoms,
principalities and duchies, sultanates etc.
• And they were all fighting with each other
• This lasted for almost 500 years.
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Map of the Known World
(Around 900 AD)
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Why were they fighting
• The same reason people migrate
• Basic Needs for Survival
Food and Water
Climate and Weather
Population pressure and Competition
• Pursuit of Happiness – Fight over an Idea
– We can be happier in the future
• But there were no more places left to migrate – so they would fight
– And that would happen for almost 500 years
• We will study Medieval history in two parts
– 900 AD – 1400 AD
– 1400 AD – 1850 AD
• Please remember as in any periods of history the transitions do not
happen over night.
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Fight for Ideological Reasons
• Fight over an Idea
– Religion – Our religion is better than yours
– Race – Our race is superior to yours
– Social Norms or Structure – Our form of government is better
than yours
• Why do people fight over an idea?
– Because ideas define how the future is going to be
– If the present is not good enough you can at least hope that
future will be good
– Ideas can move larger groups of people than the basic needs
• Medieval Time is the first time when many wars started
over Ideas only – without the basic need for foods etc.
• In the present times – most wars are essentially fought
over ideas
• Even in a democracy an election is fought over idea-s
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
The Instruments of Wars
• Horses – Cavalry – Used for Offensive or
Attack purposes
• Forts and Castles – Used for Defensive or
Protection Purposes
• They both remained important instruments
of war until 1920-s (after World War – 1)
– The advent of Tanks, Airplanes as well as
rockets made both cavalry and forts obsolete
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
War Horses
• Arabian Horses do not come from Arabia
– They are a breed of horse originally came from Iraq –
by the valley of Tigris and Euphrates
– Iraq if you remember was part of the original
civilization of mankind that extended from the Fertile
Crescent to Indus Valley
– Though horses were used in warfare for a long time
(Remember Aryans) there came a improved variety of
horses around 700 AD
– Increasingly they decided the results of war because
of their speed, strength, size and intelligence
– They were used in every wars since 900 through
1900 in every continent including Americas
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Arabian Horses
From the latest movie “War Horse.”
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Castles and Forts
• In many city states castles/forts were built
to protect the peasants and farmers and
all the people around it.
• They were the primary instruments of
defense in a war in Medieval Ages
– Why Forts have become obsolete in modern
– What do people use as defense in modern
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Medieval Forts and Castles
Agra Fort
A Medieval Fort with Moat
Jodhpur Fort in Jodhpur, Rajasthan
The work of angels, fairies and
giants... built by Titans and coloured
by the morning sun... he who walks
through it loses sense of being among
buildings. It is as though he walked
through mountain gorges...
By Rudyard Kipling
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Rise of Islam
• Most of the Rulers of India during the Medieval times
were followers of Islam
• Islam is the newest major World Religion
• It is one of the three major religions coming from the
Middle East
– Christianity
– Islam
– Judaism
• All three religions are based on teachings of prophets
– Similar to Avatars in Hinduism
– Tirthankaras in Jainism
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
About Islam
Sacred Text: QUORAN
Teachings and stories by Jesus
Recorded by 4 of his followers
Prophets: Abraham, Issac,
Jacob, Moses, Jonah et al
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Influence of Islam in Medieval Time
• Islam rejects human, plant or animal forms
of symbolisms
– Gave rise to Geometry and Algebra
– Islamic arts are the first form of abstract arts
based on purely geometric design
• The most beautiful palaces were built
during the Islamic periods
Typical Islamic Art
Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Alhambra Palace, Spain
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Islamic Empires in India
Empires of India
% of India Ruled
Common Era
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Sultanate of Delhi
• Most of the Islamic Rulers
came either from Afghanistan
or Iran
• Some of them have originally
come from Turkey
• There had been several wars
between 900 – 1100 AD
between Afgan/Iran Sultans
and Hindu Indian kingdoms
• Mohammed Ghori of
Afghanistan established the
Sultanate of Delhi in 1191
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Different Dynasties of Delhi Sultanate
Alauddin Khilji: 1294 – 1316
Qutbuddin Aibak: 1206 – 1210
Muhammud Bin Tughlak 1325 – 1351
Iltutmish: 1211 – 1236
Tughlaq and Sayyid Dynasty 1352 -1451
Balban: 1266-1287
Lodhi Dynasty 1460 - 1527
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Qutub Minar
• Constructed during
the rule of Qutub Ud
Din Aibak
– He was a slave of
Muhammad Ghori
– Then he became his
personal body guard
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
Further Reading
• Parents – Please help here:
– Prithwi Raj Chowhan and Muhammad Ghori
– Alauddin Khilji and Rani Padmini
– Razia Sultana: The empress of India
– Qutubuddin Aibak, Iltutmishand: the Slave
– Bakhtiar Khilji and Sen Dynasty in Bengal
– Muhammad Bin Tughlaq – The crazy emperor
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
• What are the three major religions came from
the Middle East?
– Islam, Christianity, Judaism
• What is the Sacred Text of Islam?
– Quoran
• What are the major war instruments of the
Medieval Time?
– Forts and Horses
• Name a major architecture of the Medieval Time
in India
– The Taj Mahal and the Qutab Minar
© 2012 Maharaj Mukherjee
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