During the Sultanate period, the central administration played a crucial role in ensuring the smooth functioning of the government. The Sultan appointed ministers and assigned various departments to them. The Council of Ministers, known as ‘Majlis-e-Khalwat,’ played a pivotal role in the administration.
Sultanate Central Administration
Over time, the number of ministers in the Sultanate period evolved. Initially, during the Das dynasty, there were four ministers, but later this number increased to six. The key positions in the central administration included:
Functioning of the Central Administration
The ‘Majlis-e-Khalwat’ meetings took place in the ‘Majlis-e-Khas.’ During these gatherings, the Sultan, along with scholars, Mullahs, and Qazi, handled most of the state affairs in the ‘Bar-e-Azam.’ This space served as a platform for completing important tasks and making significant decisions for the Sultanate.
Wazir– Prime Minister and Administrator
The Wazir held a prominent position as the prime minister of the Sultanate, overseeing various departments such as rent, tax system, charity, and military affairs. Primarily, the Wazir served as the head of the revenue department, ensuring the smooth functioning of financial matters.
In the absence of the Sultan, the Wazir assumed responsibility for the administrative duties, effectively managing the affairs of the state. The Wazir also held key positions in departments such as ‘Diwan-i-Israf’ (Auditor’s Department) and ‘Diwan-i-Amir Kohi’ (Agriculture Department), further demonstrating their broad range of responsibilities.
Assisting the Wazirwere officials such as ‘Naib Wazir’, ‘Musrif-e-Mumalik’, ‘Majmuadar’, and ‘Khazin,’ who supported the Wazir in their administrative tasks, ensuring the efficient functioning of the government machinery.
Naib – Deputy and Significance
The position of Naib was established by the Sardars during the reign of Bahram Shah, and it held particular significance during the rule of weak Sultans. It was considered the second-highest position in the hierarchy, following that of the Sultan.
Over time, powerful Sultans would either abolish this post altogether or grant it as an honorary title to individuals deserving of recognition and honor. As a result, the significance and role of the Naib varied depending on the circumstances and the strength of the ruling Sultan.
Naib Wazir – Deputy Prime Minister
The Naib Wazir served as the deputy to the Wazir, fulfilling two primary roles. Firstly, in the absence of the Wazir, the Naib Wazir assumed the responsibilities and functions of the Wazir, effectively acting as a substitute or representative.
Secondly, in the presence of the Wazir, the Naib Wazir worked as an assistant, providing support and aid in the execution of the Wazir’s duties and tasks. The Naib Wazir played a crucial role in maintaining the continuity and efficiency of the administration, ensuring the smooth functioning of the government in both the absence and presence of the Wazir.
Musharif-e-Mumalik (Accountant General)
The Mushrif-e-Mumalik, also known as the Accountant General, was responsible for maintaining detailed records of income and expenditure received from provinces and other departments. During the reign of Firoz Shah, the focus of this department shifted primarily to recording income. The Mushrif-e-Mumalik received assistance from the Nazir in carrying out its duties.
Mustaufi-e-Mumalik (Auditor General)
The Mustaufi-e-Mumalik, or Auditor General, played a crucial role in auditing the accounts prepared by the Mushrif-e-Mumalik. This department conducted investigations and examinations of Mushrif’s records. Additionally, the Mustaufi-e-Mumalik sometimes inspected income and expenditure, similar to the Mushrif-e-Mumalik.
The Mazumdar department had the primary responsibility of monitoring and managing loans and determining income and expenditure. Its main objective was to ensure proper financial control and keep track of lending activities.
Established by Jalaluddin Khilji, the Deewane Waqf department was entrusted with the task of maintaining records and documents related to expenditures associated with religious endowments and charitable foundations.
Established by Alauddin Khilji under the finance department, the Deewane Mustakhraj department was responsible for maintaining accounts of income taxes.
This department, established by Muhammad Tughlaq, aimed to improve the agricultural sector and make the land cultivable. It focused on providing support and enhancements to agriculture. All of these departments fell under the control of the Wazir’s office known as ‘Deewane Wizarat.’ The term ‘Wizarat’ was derived from Persian and served as an institution, inspired by the Abbasi Caliphs.
Also known as ‘Deewan-e-Arj’ or ‘Deewane Arij,’ the Ariz-e-Mumalik department was responsible for the military administration. The head of this department oversaw tasks such as recruiting soldiers, maintaining records of their features, horse breeding, soldier training, and army inspections. Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban established this department.
Established by Nasiruddin Mahmud, the last ruler of the Tughlaq dynasty, the Vakil-e-Sultan department focused on the administration and military system. The ‘Vakil-e-Sultan’ was in charge of managing these affairs. However, this post was later abolished.
Under the ‘Varid-e-Khas,’ the Deewan-e-Insha department was responsible for drafting royal announcements and letters. This department had several Dabirs (writers) to assist in its tasks. All the Sultan’s orders were issued through this department.
The Deewan-e-Rasalat department handled correspondence with foreign ambassadors and managed foreign affairs. It also appointed ambassadors for diplomatic missions abroad. However, there is still some dispute regarding the exact functions and responsibilities of this department.
Sadr-Us-Sudur, the highest officer of the Department of Religion and State Charity, held significant authority. The position of Chief Qazi and Sadr-ham-Sudur was often bestowed upon the same person. Their main role was to enforce Islamic laws and regulations and ensure compliance with these rules in societal conduct.
They also managed the allocation of funds for the construction of mosques, madrasas, and other religious institutions. This officer had the authority over the collection of ‘Zakat’ (religious tax) from Muslims.
Qazi-ul-Qazat served as the highest officer of the judicial department after the Sultan. Many cases were initiated in their court. In their court, the decisions made by lower-level Qazis were reviewed and re-evaluated.
also known as the Royal Postal and Intelligence Department, encompassing a diverse range of roles and responsibilities within the palace and court. Some of the key positions held by its employees were as follows:
Vakil-e-Dar: This esteemed position was filled by individuals trusted by the Sultan. Their primary duties included overseeing the royal palace and managing the personal services of the Sultan. Additionally, they were responsible for disseminating and executing royal orders.
Barbarak: The role of the Barbarak was to safeguard the honor, rituals, and dignity of the royal court.
Amir-e-Hajib: This position involved investigating individuals who sought an audience with the Sultan, while also serving as a liaison between the Sultan’s lower-ranking officials and the public.
Ameer-e-Shikar: Ameer-e-Shikar’s main responsibility was to organize hunting expeditions for the Sultan.
Amir-e-Majlis: This state official was in charge of managing the festivals and feasts held within the court.
Sadar-e-Jahandar: As the officer overseeing Sultan’s bodyguards, the Sadar-e-Jahandar held a crucial role in ensuring Sultan’s security.
Ameer-e-Akhoor: This position involved heading the Ashwashala, which was responsible for managing the stables.
Shahna-e-Peel: The Shahna-e-Peel served as the head of the Hastishala, overseeing the care and management of elephants.
Diwan-i-Bandgan: Established by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, this department managed the affairs of slaves or servants.
Diwan-i-Istifaq: This position involved overseeing the pension department.
Diwan-e-Khairat: Established by Firoz Tughlaq, Diwan-e-Khairat was responsible for the administration of the charity department.
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