Lodi Dynasty (1451 – 1526 AD) – Medieval India History Notes-The Lodi dynasty was an Afghan dynasty that ruled the Delhi Sultanate from 1451 to 1526 AD. It was the fifth and last dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, founded by Bahlol Khan Lodi, when he replaced the Sayyid dynasty. The Lodi dynasty is sometimes referred to as the “First Indo-Afghan Empire”. In this article, we will discuss the Lodi dynasty (1451-1526) which will be helpful for UPSC exam preparation.
Lodi Dynasty (1451 – 1526 AD) – Medieval India History Notes
Lodi Dynasty – Historical Background
- The Afghan Ghazali tribe established the Lodi kingdom. Bahlol Lodi acted wisely and captured Punjab before entering Delhi and took advantage of the weak position of the Sayyid ruler.
- In 1451, he assumed control of India from the throne of Delhi, assuming the title of “Bahlol Shah Ghazi”. His coronation brought an end to the Sharqi dynasty (Sayyids).
- On July 15, 1489, Bahlol Lodhi was succeeded by his second son, Sikandar Lodhi, who was engaged in a power struggle with his elder brother Barbak Shah.
- Sikandar Lodhi was a staunch Sunni ruler who destroyed Indian temples in Mathura and the Naga port. He imposed jizya tax on Hindus to demonstrate the supremacy of Islam.
- Sikandar Lodi attempted to conquer the Gwalior Fort five times but was defeated by Raja Man Singh each time.
- After a war of succession with his elder brother Jalal-ud-din, he died in 1517 and was succeeded by his son Ibrahim Khan Lodi. But he was constantly in a state of confusion.
Rulers of the Lodi Dynasty
1- Bahlol Lodi (1451-1489 AD)
- Bahlol Khan Lodi (AD 1451–1489) was the nephew and son-in-law of Malik Sultan Shah Lodi, governor of Sirhind in India (Punjab), and served as governor during the reign of the Sayyid dynasty ruler Muhammad Shah. ,
- Muhammad Shah elevated him to the rank of Tarun-bin-Sultan. With his strong personality, he held together a loose and weak confederation of Afghan and Turkish chiefs.
- He punished the corrupt chiefs of the provinces and revived the government.
- Bahlol Khan Lodi ascended the throne of the Delhi Sultanate on April 19, 1451, after the last Sayyid ruler of Delhi, Alauddin Alam Shah, voluntarily abdicated in his favor.
- The conquest of Jaunpur was the most important event of his reign. Bahlol spent most of his time fighting against the Sharqi dynasty, which he eventually took over.
- In 1486, he succeeded his eldest surviving son Barbak to the throne of Jaunpur.
2-Sikandar Lodi (1489-1517 AD)
- Sikandar Khan Lodi (AD 1489–1517) (born Nizam Khan), Bahlol’s second son, succeeded him after his death on 17 July 1489 and assumed the title of Sikandar Shah.
- His father nominated him for his successor and he was crowned Sultan on July 15, 1489. He founded Agra in 1504 and built mosques.
- He shifted the capital from Delhi to Agra. He was a supporter of trade and commerce. He was a famous poet who wrote poems under the name Gulruk.
- He was also a patron of education and translated Sanskrit medical texts into Persian.
- He controlled the personal tendencies of his Pashtun nobles by requiring them to submit their accounts to the state audit.
- As a result, he was able to instill vigor and discipline in the administration. His most notable achievement was the conquest and annexation of Bihar.
- The last Lodi Sultan of Delhi was Ibrahim Lodi (AD 1517–1526), the eldest son of Sikandar. He possessed the qualities of a great warrior, but his decisions and actions were rash and indecent.
- His attempt at imperial absolutism was premature, and without measures to strengthen the administration and increase military resources, his policy of repression was considerable to fail.
- Ibrahim faced several rebellions and kept his enemies in trouble for almost a decade.
- During most of his reign, he was at war with the Afghans and the Mughal Empire, and was eventually killed while trying to save the Lodi dynasty from destruction.
- In 1526, Ibrahim was defeated in the battle of Panipat. This marked the end of the Lodi dynasty and the foundation of the Mughal Empire in India by Babur (AD 1526–1530).
Administration of the Lodi Dynasty
- Sultan Sikandar Lodi is also credited with establishing a strong administrative system.
- He established auditing to examine the accounts of Mukta and Wallis (governors). The governor of Jaunpur, Mubarak Khan Lodi (Tuji Khal) was the first amir to examine his accounts in 1506.
- He was convicted of embezzlement and eventually fired. Khwaja Asghar, a non-Afghan officer in charge in Delhi, was also imprisoned on corruption charges.
- To keep himself aware of the state of the empire, the Sultan reorganized the intelligence apparatus.
- As a result, the Amirs were afraid to discuss political issues among themselves for fear of upsetting the Sultan.
- For the good of the general public, the Sultan established charitable departments both in the capital and in the provinces for the benefit of the poor and the disabled. These charitable organizations provided financial assistance to deserving people.
- Scholars and poets were patronized, and educational institutions received financial support throughout the empire. He prohibited the use of any language other than Persian in government offices.
- This inspired many Hindus to learn Persian, and they became proficient in the language in a short time.
- As a result, he started managing and supervising the revenue administration.
- When Babur came to India, he was astonished to see that the revenue department was entirely staffed by Hindus.
- Sultan Sikandar Lodi was deeply interested in ensuring fair justice for all. His efforts resulted in peace and prosperity throughout the empire.
Administration of the dynasty
The economy of the Lodi Dynasty
Sikandar Lodhi is historically known as a true staunch Sunni ruler who destroyed Indian temples in Mathura and Naga port.
He imposed the Jizya tax on Hindus to demonstrate the superiority of Islam.
He introduced the 32-digit Gaj-e-Sikandari, which helped farmers measure their agricultural fields.
In 1504 he founded the city of Agra and built magnificent tombs and buildings.
He was instrumental in facilitating imports and exports and boosting the economy.
Farmers were exempted from grain tax.
Alexander was a staunch Sunni ruler who promoted education and lacked religious tolerance.
Religion and Architecture of the Lodi Dynasty
The Lodhi sultans, like their predecessors, represented themselves as representatives of the Abbasid caliphates, recognizing the authority of a united caliphate over the Muslim world.
He gave cash money and revenue-free land (including entire villages) to Muslim ulema, Sufi sheikhs, claimed descendants of Muhammad, and members of his Quraysh tribe.
Muslim subjects of Lodi had to pay zakat tax for religious merit, while non-Muslims had to pay jizya tax to obtain state security.
In some parts of the Sultanate, Hindus had to pay an additional pilgrimage tax. Nonetheless, several Hindu officials worked in the revenue administration of the Sultanate.
Sikandar Lodi, whose mother was Hindu, used strict Sunni conservatism as a political ploy to demonstrate his Islamic credentials.
He destroyed Hindu temples and, under pressure from the ulema, allowed a Brahmin to be hanged, who declared Hinduism to be as true as Islam.
They also barred women from entering the tombs of Muslim saints and banned the annual procession of the spear of the famous Muslim martyr Salar Masood.
They also established Sharia courts in several cities with Muslim populations, allowing Qazis to enforce Islamic law on both Muslim and non-Muslim subjects.
The Bada Gumbad at Delhi’s Lodhi Gardens is believed to be the oldest completed dome of any building in Delhi, built in 1490 AD, most likely by Sikandar Lodhi.
‘Sheesh Gumbad’ is the tomb of the Lodhi dynasty which was built between 1489 and 1517 AD.
Sikandar Lodi built the Rajon Ki Baoli Baori in 1516.
Fall of the Lodi Dynasty
- By the time Ibrahim ascended the throne, the political structure of the Lodi dynasty had collapsed due to abandoned trade routes and dwindling treasury.
- The Deccan was a coastal trade route, but by the end of the fifteenth century, supply lines had failed.
- The decline and eventual failure of this specific trade route cut off internal supplies from the coast, where the Lodi kingdom resided.
- The Lodi dynasty was unable to defend itself when war broke out on the trade routes; As a result, they did not use those trade routes, and their trade and treasury declined, leaving them vulnerable to internal political problems.
- To avenge Ibrahim’s humiliation, Daulat Khan Lodi, the governor of Lahore, requested that Babur, the ruler of Kabul, invade his kingdom. Thus Ibrahim Lodi was killed in battle with Babur.
- The Lodi dynasty ended with the death of Ibrahim Lodi.
Ibrahim Lodi’s harsh rule gave him several secret rivals, chief among whom was his uncle, the governor of Lahore who betrayed Ibrahim and invited Babur to invade Lodi’s kingdom in retaliation for the humiliation inflicted by Ibrahim. Babur defeated Ibrahim at the First Battle of Panipat, thereby finally ending the 75-year rule of the Lodi dynasty in 1526.