Muslim Rule in India - Informative & researched article on Muslim Rule in India
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Home > Reference > History of India > Medieval History of India > Muslim Rule in India
Muslim Rule in India
Muslim Rule in India saw the emergence of a number of different ruling dynasties who ruled over the subcontinent at successive intervals. Of the various Muslim dynasties that managed to hold sway in the country, the Mughals were by far the most prominent and had a lasting impact on the life, art, architecture, culture and even administration of the country for centuries to come.
 
More on Muslim Rule in India (3 Articles)
 The Muslim Rule in IndiaMuslim rule in India brought about a transformation in the lifestyle culture of the people. Even though there have been many reasons for Muslim conquests in this part of the sub continent, such as, the wealth of the nation, the major reason was the spread of Islam. The fall of the country to the various conquering Muslim invaders at different points in time was further facilitated by the inter-rivalry and lack of unity between the different kingdoms in India. The result of all this was the establishment and consolidation of a new culture in the country, which brought along with a different way of living, different dressing style, food habits, architectural style, fighting technique and much more.

Early Muslim Invasions
The earliest Muslim foray into India was the Arab invasion of Sindh in 715AD. This attack was led by Mohammad Bin Qasim who managed to displace Raja Dahir who ruled Sindh from his capital Deval. After this attack, for a considerable period of time, some Indian kings like Raja Bhoja and other Gurjara Kings thwarted further Muslim attacks. After this, the next major invasion was made by the Turk Sabuktagin. He came into conflict with and defeated Raja Jaipal of Bathinda in 991 AD. Sabuktagin was succeeded by his elder son Mahmud of Ghazni in 997 AD. He had his eye on the enormous wealth of Inda. Propelled by this as well as his religious fanaticism in trying to spread Islam into the subcontinent, he attacked India. It is believed that he attacked India seven times between 1001 -1027 AD.Between 1009 A.D and 1026 A.D he invaded Kangra, Thaneshwar, Kannauj, Mathura, Gwalior, Kashmir and Punjab. His last invasion was believed to be in the year 1027 AD. The next major Muslim influence on India was Muhammad Ghori. He too is said to have invaded the country seven times.

Slave Dynasty
Mohammad Ghori had left a slave called Qutub-ud-din Aibak in charge of his Indian affairs. This slave went on to establish the foundation of a new Muslim dynasty called the Slave Dynasty in India. Following him, Iltutmish, his son in law ascended the throne and he spent his time furthering the area conquered by Qutub-ud-din. The Qutub Minar was completed during his reign. Iltutmish was succeeded by his daughter Razia Begum and on her death her brother Nasiruddin Mahmud came into power. After the death of Nasiruddin Mahmud in 1226 AD the power was taken over by Ghiyas-ud-din Balban who was his prime minister and an able administrator.

Khilji Dynasty
After Balban`s death the Sultanate became very weak and a number of revolts broke out. The Khilji dynasty now came into being with Jalal-ud-din Khilji being put up on the throne by the nobles. He was succeeded by his nephew Ala-ud-din Khilji. He added a number of new provinces to the kingdom including Ranthambhore, Malwa, Ujjain, Mandu, Dhar and Chanderi. He had captured almost the whole of North India by 1311 and his general Malik Kafur had captured a large part of South India. Ala-ud-din Khilji was succeeded by his third son Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah in the year 1316 AD. He proved to be an extremely incompetent ruler and with him the Slave Dynasty came to and end.

Tughluq Dynasty
Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, the governor of the north-western provinces assumed the throne in 1320. He was succeeded by his son Muhammad Bin Tughlaq. The Delhi Sultanate grew to its farthest territorial limits during the period of his reign. It ran from Peshawar in the north and Madurai in the South, and from Sindh in the west to Assam in the east. He did commit certain errors during his reign such as transferring the capital from Delhi to Devagiri and then back again to Delhi, establishing and removing token coins etc. and these blunders coupled with military failures and revolts greatly weakened the reign of the Sultan. He was succeeded by his cousin Firoz Shah Tughlaq. Though he did introduce certain positive changes such as reforms in the field of irrigation and the currency system, he was extremely intolerant towards other religions. Follwing him the dynasty collapsed and the last Tughlaq ruler to hold fort was Mahmud Nasiruddin. The invasion of Timur took place along this time and much of the wealth of the country was plundered and taken away by him. Muhammad Tughlaq ruled till 1413 A.D.

Saiyyid Dynasty
The Tughlaqs were followed by the Saiyyid dynasty in India and founded by Khizr Khan. The Sayyids ruled from about 1414 AD to 1450 AD. The last of the Sayyid rulers was Muhammad-bin-Farid and with his death in 1451 AD the Empire came to an end.

Lodhi Dynasty
Lodhi dynasty in India was founded by Bahlul Lodhi, who had been in the service of Khizr Khan. He was succeeded by his son Sikandar Lodi who managed to secure a firm position for the Empire and proved himself an extremely capable ruler. He cultivated friendly relations with neighbouring states, increased the geographical area of the kingdom, encouraged education and trade and was a skilled military leader as well. He was succeeded by the last great Lodhi ruler, Ibrahim Lodi. However, his relations with the Afghan nobles were rather strained and there were constant conflicts between them. Consequently, they invited Babur the ruler of Kabul to India. He managed to successfully defeat Ibrahim Lodhi`s army of 100,000 with a small army of 10,000 in the first battle of Panipat. Thus ended the Sultanate and a new chapter commenced in Indian history, that of the Mughals.

Mughal Dynasty
Babur was the founder of the Mughal dynasty. Babur`s Empire extended from Bhera and Lahore to Bahraich and Bihar and from Sialkot to Ranthambhor. During the course of his reign he had to face a lot of problems from the Rajputs and the Afghan chiefs. He continued with the policy of plundering Hindu temples and showing intolerance towards other religions. He was succeeded by his eldest son Humayun. He too faced a lot of problems on his ascension, mainly from the Afghans who were yet to be vanquished. He was defeated by Sher Khan in the Battle of Chausa and had to flee from India after being defeated by the King in the battle of Kannauj. He however managed to re assert his authority with the help of the support of the Shah of Persia. After his death he was succeeded by one of the greatest Emperors of India, Akbar. He came to the throne at the tender age of 14, aided and advised by Bairam Khan. Later he went on to strongly establish the foundations of the Mughal dynasty and followed a most balanced religious, military as well as administrative policy. He followed a greatly tolerant policy towards the Hindus as well. Akbar conquered Bengal, Gujarat, Kashmir, Kabul by 1589 A.D. and Sind and Qandhar by 1595 A.D. He attempted to establish a national religion called the Din-i-illahi which could be followed by both Hindus and Muslim alike. The emperor was also a patron of art and literature and his court was famous for the nine gems known as Nav Ratans, all of them talented artists. Jahangir succeeded his father Akbar. Jahangir was followed by Shah Jahan. This Mughal Emperor is best known for the construction of the famous Taj Mahal, a dedication to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. He was later in his life imprisoned and succeeded by his son Aurangzeb. The latter ascended the throne forcible after a war of succession with his brothers Dara Shikoh, Shah Suja and Murad. Aurangzeb possessed an empire that extended from Ghazni to Bengal and from Kashmir to the Deccan. He was the last great Mughal Emperor who took the empire to great heights. However, he was rather intolerant towards the Hindus and followed a number of unfair policies where they were concerned, such as forcible conversions and imposition of taxes. Aurangzeb faced a number of revolts during his lifetime from the Jats, the Satnamis, the Rajputs and the Sikhs. Bahadur Shah I succeeded Aurangzeb and he was unable to hold the reins of the kingdom together. Mughal rule in Delhi continued under a number of weak rulers after death of Bahadur Shah I in 1712 A.D. and the great Mughal Empire disintegrated. As the Mughal Empire gradually disintegrated there was rise of great Maratha power, Sikhs and arrival of British East India Company. The last of the titular Mughal Emperors Bahadur Shah II had taken part in the Sepoy Mutiny, 1857. After the failure of the revolt he was imprisoned and deported to Rangoon where he died in 1862. Thus the Mughal dynasty came to an end and with it ended the dominance of Muslim rule in India.

(Last Updated on : 04/09/2010)
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