History of Bengal, II, 62. :. Ibid., IF. 67.
There is some doubl as to whether, as slated by Ibn Baltulah, Sultan Shams-uddin Firuz Shah was a direct descendant of Bughra Khan. It has been suggested (hat he was slave of Sultan Balban, but, in spile of this, his reign and that of his two successors are generally included in the period of the ’House of Balban,* during which ”Balbani” traditions were maintained.
R.C. Majumdar. History and Culture of the Indian People. VI, 193. Ibid., VI, 197.
E.G. Browne, A Literary History of Persian Literature under the Tartar Dominion (1st edn.), p. 287.
This is according to Riyad al-Salaiin, and is supported by contemporary letters of Makhdum Ashraf /ahangiri, and others. Firishlah absolves Ganesh of religious persecution.
Dr. A. H Dani, Journal oflht Royal Asiatic Society of Pakistan.
The Cambridge History of India, in, 270.
The rulers of Jaunpur were known as Sharqi (Eastern) kings, partly on account
of the situation of their kingdom, which was to the east of Delhi and partly on
account of the title of the founder of the dynasty , Malik at Sharq (King of the
The Cambridge History of India, in, 277.
In Majumdar, op. cit., VI, 378, he is also styled as Suhabhalla.
The Cambridge History of India, in, 216.
K.M. Panikkar, Malabar and the Portuguese, p. 71.
The Cambridge History of India, in, 317.
Ibid., Ill, 452.
V.A. Smith, Oxford History of India (3rd edn.), p. 330. J.R.Rowlandson, Tr., Tuhfal al-Miifahidin, pp. 113-14.
ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE OF THE DELHI SULTANATE
Early Indo-Muslim Literature on Administration and
Political Theory. The old histories of Medieval India, by
confining themselves to accounts of wars and conquests, have
created the impression that early Muslim rulers were only
rough and rude soldiers, with no cultural interests and without
well-developed views on the proper role of government. The
earlier chapters of this book, in which an attempt has been
made to trace administrative changes introduced in different
reigns and political views of rulers like Iltutmish and Balban,
would have removed this impression. Before, however, we
deal with the administrative structure evolved during the
Sultanate, it may be useful to refer to two works on
government and political theory, which have somehow
survived and which show that the newcomers had amongst
them thoughtful and well-read intellectuals who applied their
minds to the general principles and technique of public
administration and government.
The earliest work which is of special importance in the history of political thought of Muslim India, and was probably intended to be a blueprint for the first Muslim government at Delhi, was written by a contemporary of Iltutmish. Fakhr-i Mudabbir, whose father was a distinguished scholar of Ghazni and whose great-grandfather had served in a prominent position under Sultan Ibrahim (451-492/1059-1099) spent a considerable part of his life at Lahore, where he met Muhammad Ghuri, and was later presented to Qutb-ud-din Aibak in 602/1205. He was
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the author of a book of genealogies, and the historical introduction to this work, which he completed in 603/1206 and presented to Aibak, has been, edited and published by Sir, E. Denison Ross. A more important work, variously styled as Adab al-Muluk wa Kifayat al-Mamluk (”Rules for the Kings and the Welfare of the Subjects”) or Adab alllarab wa alShuja’ah (”Rules of Welfare and Bravery”) has not yet seen the light of the day. The first part of this book is a work of political theory, dealing with the privileges and responsibilities of kings, with separate chapters giving the qualifications and functions of different officers of State--HW/r, mustaufi, wakil, mushrif, amir-i hajib, amir-i dad and Sahib-i barid. In chapters dealing with different dignitaries, Fakhr has draw the administrative pattern set up at Ghazni-following the models of Baghdad and Bukhara,-on old historical works, books on statecraft and on theological works, to illustrate and elaborate his views. The remaining book is a manual dealing systematically and in some detail with the art of war and warfare. This book, in which a distinguished scholar-statesman of the age laid down the lines for the administrative and military organisation of Muslim India, was doubtless intended by the author to be a guide-book for rulers. It was presented to Iltutmish and, as the contemporary histories show, the government organisation set up by him corresponded very much to the structure visualised by Fakhr-i Mudabbir.
Another early work connected with political theory, of which an incomplete copy has survived, belongs to a different category. Fatawa’-i Jahandari (”Rulings on Government”) which is in the nature of a political phantasy1 consists of a number of imaginary discourses supposed to have been addressed by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni to his successor. It was written after Barani had been ousted from the royal court with disgrace and is concerned more with general policies than with the structure of the State. The book reflects Barani’s bitterness against recent trends, his extremism and his acute class-consciousness. He is bitter, not only against the Hindus,
157 Administrative Structure ojthe Delhi Sultanate [ Ch. 10
but also against the Muslim lower classes, who, according to him, should be taught rules abouthajj, zakat, etc., but should not be ”taught reading and writing, for plenty of disorders arise owing to the skill of the low-born in knowledge.
. . . For on accounts of their skill, they became governors, revenue collectors, auditors, officers and rulers,” If the teachers disregard this edict and ”are discovered at the time of investigation that they have imparted knowledge or taught letters or writing to the low-born inevitably the punishment for disobedience will be meted out to them.”2
Pata\\a’-i Jahandari is of interest, like every thing else from the pen of a brilliant writer like Barani, but it represents an individual’s views and made no impression on the course of Indo-Muslim history or political thought. Indeed, it is not referred to by any later writer or historian, and is not included in the incomplete, but fairly full, list of Barani’s works given by his contemporary, Amir Khurd. The importance of the book is partly personal, as giving an insight into the mind of Barani, and partly topical, as it gives his views in the context of political and social situation then prevailing. In spirit and sentiments, Fatawa’-i Jahandari is in complete contrast with Fakhr-i Mudabbir’s book, which is throughout inspired by practical idealism, moderation, and good sense. The contrast between the outlook of two early writers on political theory and administration is manifest on many points, but can perhaps be seen most vividly with reference to their attitude towards non-Muslims. Fakhr-i Mudabbir sums up the position of dhimmis according to the Hanafi law. He indicates that efforts should be made to avoid confusion between the dhimmis and the Muslims in the Islamic cities (Shahrah’i Islam), but he is very emphatic about the protection to be given to the lives and properties of the dhimmis, once they have accepted this position and agreed to pay jizyah. ”If they consent to pay it,” he says, all conflict should cease ”for their blood and property is like the blood and property of the Mussalmans” and it is no proper to carry on conflict with them.3
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Barani is, on the other hand, most unhappy that by
”merely paying a few tankas and the poll-tax,” the Hindus were able to continue the traditions of their religion. He elaborates this point at one place:
”On the other hand, if the Muslim king, in spite of the power and position which God has given him, is ”merely content to take the poll -tax (Jizyah) and tribute (Khiraj) from the Hindus and preserves both infidels and infidelity and refuses to risk his power in attempting to overthrow them, what differences will there be in this respect between the kings of Islam and the Rais of the infidels? For the Rais. of the infidels also exact the poll-tax (Jizyah) and the tribute (Khiraj) from the Hindus, who belong to their own false creed, and fill their treasuries with money so obtained; in fact, they collect a hundred times more taxes.”4
Beside / utii\\a-i Jahandan Bamm has dealt at length uitli political philosophies of early Muslim rulers, statesmen and religious leaders in his well-know historical work, Tarikh-i Firuz Shahi. The long discourses on political affairs and statecraft contained in his book, like Nur-ud-din Mubarak Ghaznavi’s advice to Iltutmish on the responsibilities of a Muslim ”Defender of the Faith” (Din Panah), Balban’s views on kingship, and his long lecture to his son, Bughra Khan, the governor of Bengal, on the relationship between the central and the provincial governments, Ahmad Chap’s advice to Jalal-uddin Khalji, Kotwal,Ala’al-Mulk’s discourses at ’Ala’-ud-din’s consultative assemblies, Qadi Mughith’s views on major political and legal problems of the day and several others were dramatised and enlarged by the eloquent historian. They are presumably coloured by his own predictions, and should not be treated as authentic in every word, but the views attributed to different rulers and dignitaries are so distinct and so much ”in character” that they may be taken to generally represent the individual views of the persons to whom they are attributed. For an understanding of Muslim political thought during the
Admfhistratirt Structure of the Delhi Sultanate [ Ch
Sultanate, a study of fifMi-l Firuz Shahi is helpful although jt is not a work of political theory.
Delhi Sultanate Hot a Theocracy. The Muslim State >n India was not a theocracy. Writing about the Sultanate, D(- Ishtiaq Husain Qureshisays:
”The supremacy of the Shar’ has misled some into thinking that the Sultanate was a theocracy. The essential feature of a theocracy-the rule of an ordained priesthood-is, however, missing in the organization of the Muslim state; the jurists are all laymen who claim no sacerdotal immunity form error. ”5
Even apart from the general question whether in a society which does not recognise an ordained priesthood there can be 0 theocracy, especially in areas not under the direct control of the Khalifah, the historical factors, the declared policies of important early Sultans and presence of a large non-Muslim population ruled out the establishment of an Islamic theocracy in India. The Sultans of Delhi were practical men,and since their power rested largely on Muslim army and nobility, two of them strengthened their position in the eyes of the orthodox, by obtaining formal recognition from the contemporary Khalifahs and some others continued to designate themselves on their coinage as the ”Helpers” of a living or dead Khalifah. But this pious legal fiction did not alter the reality. By the time Muslim rule was established at Delhi, the temporal authority of the Khalifah at Baghdad had dwindled into a mere shadow even within his own territories, and the actual reality of the Indian ’inks with the Khalifah may be judged by the fact that occasionally a Khalifah would be dead for years before Delhi became aware of the event, and made any change in the Khutbah or the coinage. The patents obtained by the rulers from the Khalifahs meant so little that at one time the contemporary Khalifah sent such patents simultaneously to more than one independent Sultan in India, e.g. the rulers of Delhi and Bengal.
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Besides, the policy adopted by early Sultans under the stress of circumstances with which they were confronted could hardly permit the growth of theocracy. Iltutmish, practically the first Sultan of Delhi, pointed out the essentially secular nature of the Sultanate, and explained why, under conditions prevailing in India, it was not possible for him to be a ”Defender of the Faith” (Din Panah), except in some limited spheres. Balban, the next important ruler, dominated northern India for nearly forty years and built up the political and administrative pattern which was followed by the later Sultans, went even farther. Barani makes it clear that, in spite of Balban’s courtesy to the leading ulema and personal observance of religious practices, in matters of administration ”he carried into effect whatever he considered to be in the interest of the State, irrespective of whether it was in accordance with Islamic Law or not.”6 ’Ala’-ud-din Khalji followed the same policy. Barani writes about him: ”When he obtained kingship, it was firmly ingrained in his mind that government and administration were one thing, while the citations and injunctions of Islamic Law were another, and that while the government decrees were the concern of the king, the decisions of Islamic Law concerned the qadis and the muftis. Accordingly, in affairs of government, he did whatever appeared expedient to him, and in whatever way he saw the welfare of the State, whether it was allowed or forbidden by Islamic Law. In administrative matters he never asked for legal opinion and very tew learned men visited him.”7 It was under the Tughluqs, particularly under Firuz, that Muslim jurists received some recognition, but by then the pattern of Muslim rule in India had become firmly established.
The early ulema realised the complexity of the Indian situation and the need for strengthening the Muslim government. After a brief period of doubts and questioning, they accepted the course which Iltutmish wished them to adopt.8 The local needs and the spirit of the times encouraged this and a realistic modus operand! was evolved. The lack of
Administrative Structure of the Delhi Sultanate [ Ch. 10
rigidity shown by the ulema may be judged by the fact that Radiyah ascended the throne of Delhi, although Muslim legal opinion is firmly opposed to women rulers, and it was left to a much later scholar (Shaikh ’Abd al-Haqq Muhaddith-958-
1052/1551-1642), in the more legalistic days of the Mughals, to criticise the selection of Radiyah and express surprise at the action of the contemporary jurists and Shaikhs in accepting it. There was an equally glaring departure from the correct legal position in Qutb-ud-din Aibak’s being accepted as the Sultan, years before his manumission. Dr. Ashraf has correctly summed up the position regarding the early ulema:
”The Ulama whatever their spiritual significant did lend a hand, and perhaps not unsuccessfully, in helping the advancement of Muslim society in Hindustan, instead of harnessing all the religious passions of the Muslims to impede its progress.”9
With the good sense shown by rulers like Iltutmish and practical, broad-minded jurists like Qadi Minhaj al-Siraj, the
lines indicated by Fakhr-i Mudabbir \\ere followed From earh days the practice grew that so long as a Sultan undertook to safeguard the honour and the observances of Islam, did nothing in open defiance of the principles of the Shari’ah appointed Qadis and made arrangements for religious education and observance of religious practices, the ulema did not interfere in the affairs of the State, which the Sultan and his officers administered according to their lights.
The Sultan. The title Sultan signifies a sovereign rule and marks the transition from the quasi-theocratic Khilafah to a secular institution.10 Although the process was implicit in the establishment and administration of the Umayyad caliphate, it was strengthened by the Persian ideas regarding ”the Divine right of kings”. These influences, which had gradually become dominant in Baghdad under the later Abbasids, were even more marked at Bukhara and Ghazni. ”At Ghazni~to which we may look for the source of the political ideas of the Sultans of Delhi-even the official titles of some of the heads of
Bk. IJ History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 162
departments were the same as those at the ancient Persian court.” At Delhi ”in the early days of the Turkish rule, there was some opposition to the idea (of the Divine right of kings) in every orthodox circle of Muslim thinkers” and the piousminded Iltutmish was almost apologetic about his kingly role. The position completely changed with Balban who was a great advocate of Persian ideas, he modeled his court after the Persian style, assumed the title of Zjllulah and introduced Persian etiquette, court ceremonial and festivities. With him Persian ideas of monarchy became dominant. The process was facilitated by the fact that Hindus were already used to regarding the king as a representative of Divine powers.
These theories, based on Persian political ideas and antecedents, gave medieval kings powers which occasionally were used arbitrarily, but there were a number of checks on the absolute exercise of authority by the Sultan. For one thing , Islamic theory curtails the law-making power of a ruler, and, although there was nothing to stop an autocratic ruler from becoming a law unto himself, he could do so only in defiance of the system which gave him power, and usually the Sultans found it unwise to do so. Even an autocratic and worldlyminded ruler like ’Ala’-ud-din Khalji admitted that administration of justice was the concern of Muslim jurists and rewarded Qadi Mughith-ud-din fpr his bold criticism of his own actions, for which he could even offer some justification.
Equally important was the opinion of the nobility. Dr. Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi says: ”No feudal lord in Europe exercised a greater check on royal power than the nobles in India.”11 This may not have been true in all cases, but there is plenty of evidence to show that the Sultans consulted their chief nobles on important occasions and the rpirtiae affairs of the State were left to them. Minhaj refers to-a dignitary, Amir-i Majlis, whose duties were tp arrjtn|e,nie«tings ft* the Council of Advisers consisting of his mot -wtimate advi$ff«. According to Dr Qureshi, these meetings were ”private partSss, where the Sultan met his friends” and were ”just social and cultural”.
Administrative Structure of the Delhi Sultanate [ Ch. 10
Barani, however, repeatedly refers to Majlis-i Khalwah as a place where affairs of the State were also discussed. Depending on this, Professor Day says:
”The Sultan generally discussed all important matters of state in a council, Majlis-i-’Am or Majlisi-Khalwat, in which the most trusted and highest officers were allowed to sit. The four high ministers of the state were also present in the deliberations of the Majlis-i-Khalwat. But this council had neither any constitutional sanction nor could it enforce the Sultan to call it; besides, the Sultan was not bound to follow its decisions. It was only consultative in character.”12
Barani has left a graphic account of some important discussions which took place in ’Ala’-ud-din’s Majlis-i Khalwah. In these meetings, important questions were discussed freely, and some of his pet schemes (like his desire to establish a new religion) were ruled out. These factors, together with the influence of public opinion, and the natural desire of the Sultan to maintain his position, exercised a check on the theoretical absolutism enjoyed by him.
According to Muslim theory, particularly of the Sunnis who formed the bulk of Muslim population in India, election is the accepted method for selecting the amir. Both Turko-Iranian ideas of kingship and the Hindu conception of sovereignty were opposed to this principle, and even at the seat of the Khilafah, the original Muslim theory had since long given way to the practice of nomination, but, as Tripathi points out, ”In spite of the fact of the nomination the theory of election was not abandoned. The gulf between the two principles was bridged by the leading officials and men cors^./ed to his election.13 The acceptance of the governors of the provinces, the principal nobles of the capital and of the chief theologians, was taken as the indirect consent of the mass of the people.
Departments of the State. Fakhr-i Mudabbir lists the following principal dignitaries of the State: (1) Waiir; (2)
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Wakil-i Dad; (3) Amir-i Dad; (4) Amir-i Hajib, (5) Mushrif, (6) Mustaufl; (7) Sahib-i Barid. According to Di Qineshi, the Mushrif-i Mumalik was the Accountant-General of the empire, while Mustaufl (Mustaufi-i Mumalik) was the Auditor-General. In Firuz Tughlug’s reign, the A/w.s/?/v/was the accounts officer dealing with income, and the Alustuufi dealt with expenditure. Amir-i Hajib (or the Barbek) is often designated as the Chief Chamberlain, but this does not fully connote the functions and importance of this officer. Amir-i Ilujib was the master of the ceremonies at the court and nobody could enter the royal presence without being introduced by one of his assistants. All petitions were presented to the Sultan through the Amir-i Hajib or his subordinates. The post, therefore, was one of great prestige and was reserved for trusted nobles. At least one holder of this post (Balban) was the most powerful noble of the day. Wakil-i Dar (not to be confused with the Wakil-i Sallunat of the Sayyid dynasty and the Wakil-i Mulliq of the Mughals) was the Controller of the Household, while SV//?//?-/ /^//vr/was incharge of the royal post, communications and intelligence.
History of Wizarah. The chief minister of the Sultan was called the Wazir F’akhr-i Mudahhirconsidered the \\azir a ”Partaker in sovereignty” and recommended that, in his own technical domain, he must be left free by the monarch. He describes the normal functions of the \\,azir in the following passage: ”The kings know well how to lead expeditions, conquer countries, give rewards, and shine in the assembly or battlefield; but it is the domain of the wazir to make a country prosperous, to accumulate treasures, to appoint officials, to ask for accounts, to arrange for the stock-taking of the commodities in \hzkarkhana*;, and the census of horses, camels, mules and other animals, to assemble and pay the troops and artisans to keep the people satisfied, to look after the men of piety and fame and to give them stipends, to take care of the widows and the orphans, to provide for the learned to administer the affairs of the people, and organise the business of the state.”14 This was the position in early days, when the wa. ’ used to be in
Administrative Structure of the Delhi Sultanate [ Ch. 10
charge of the entire government, both civil and military departments and functions which were later entrusted to the Sadr-i Jahan, but this arrangement underwent drastic changes in the light of practical experience. In view of the importance of the office and to illustrate the administrative experiments that we carried on under the Sultanate, it will be useful to sketch the history of wizarah.
Few details are known about administrative arrangements during the brief rule of Qutb-ud-din Aibak, but presumably the practice of combining civil and military offices (which was introduced by the Ghaznavids at Lahore in Mas’ud’s reign, and was continued under the Ghuris) remained in operation. This was also the position under Iltutmish. His first wazir, Nizam al-Mulk (Kamal-ud-din Muhammad) Junaidi was in charge of all sections of the government, and, in addition to his civil duties, was occasionally entrusted with military commands (e.g. the operation against Nasir-ud-din Qabacha). He held this office during the brief reign of Iltutmish’s immediate successor, but as he refused to take the oath of allegiance to Radiyah, she promoted his deputy, Khwajah Muhadhdhab-uddin to the wizarah. During the troubled reign of Radiyah and her successors, Khwajah Muhadhdhab-ud-din played an ambitious and dangerous game. He used his influence with weak rulers and his own capacity for intrigue to consolidate his position and ”took all power out of the hands of the Turkish amirs” At first an attempt was made during the brief rule of Bahram to curb the wazir’s (and the king’s) powers by the creation of the post of the Na’ib (the Deputy of the Realm), but this did not work and the wazir continued to be all-powerful. Muhadhdhab’s opponents,therefore joined hands and had him assassinated on 28 October 1242.
The end of Khwajah Muhadhdhab-ud-din marks the close of a period in the history of Wizarah. The way he used his proximity to the king and his authority in the military sphere to secure unlimited power frightened the nobles. The provincial governors and other administrative officers representing the
History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan
backbone of the government would not permit an individual, selected for his ability in office work, to obtain so much power, Not only did Muhadhdhab’s overwhelming ambition bring about his own violent end, but it also led to a change in the character of the wizarah. His successors were selected for their docility. Balban, even before he became Deputy, was more powerful than the wazir, and when he became king, he took away the military functions of this functionary. He made the Rawat ’Ard his muster-master, who was originally in charge of the financial side and of records of military personnel only independent of the wazir, and raised him to the rank of the War Minister. Actually in Barani’s list of high dignitaries. Balban’s venerable Rawat’Ard comes before Khwajah Hasan, the wazir,15 possibly on account powerful wazir, the wazir-i Mutliq advocated by Fakhr-i Mudabbir.Khan Jahan, originally a Hindu from Telingana who had accepted Islam at the hands of Hadrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya, exercised both civil and military powers. His position may be judged by Firuz’s frequent remark that Khan Jahan was virtually the king of Delhi. After his death in 774/1372, his son became wazir, and maintained his father’s traditions over a long period, but this led to jealousy, and in 789/1387 he lost his life while in opposition to a prince of the royal family. This also marked the end of the power of Firuz Tughluq and the decline of the dynasty. Khwajah Jahan Sarwar al-Mulk, the wazir of Muhammad Shah, commanded great power both in civil and military spheres, but realising that the Sultan was tottering to its fall, he had one of the military leaders made Wakil-i Saltanat, and himself left for the eastern provinces, where he carved out a kingdom for himself in Jaunpur.
The vicissitudes of the wizarah under the Sayyid Dynasty are not very important, and Bahlul Lodi, true to his tribal conception of kingship, did not establish an organised wizarah. Sikandar Lodi, however, saw the impossibility of successfully applying this tribal conception to a huge territory, and had a regular diwan and a wizarah. His wazir, however, seems to
167 Administrative Structure of the Delhi Sultanate [ Ch 10
have confined himself to civil work, ”mainly in relation to the treasury”. Mian Malik Bhowa, the second wazir of Sikandar, continued to hold office under his son, Ibrahim. He was not a young or energetic officer, but was pious and upright and was a great patron of literature. He compiled a book on medicine and sponsored another on music According to Waqi’at-i Mushtaqi, he obtained books from Khusrau and gave them to scholars.16 Once when Ibrahim asked him to pay a large sum of money to a chief, the old minister violently objected saying that ”the monarch accumulates treasure as a matter of policy and spends it on proper objects. It is not desirable that money should be spent without of his personal eminence. This change marked the end of the dual-civil and military-role of wizarah so dear to Muslim political theorists, and remained in operation till the days of Firuz Tughluq. Under the pleasure-loving Kaiqubad, Nizam-ud-din Dadbak gained ascendancy and contributed to the ruin of the young king. When Jalal-ud-din Khalji came to the throne, wizarah was entrusted to Khwajah Khatir, who had been Deputy Wazir in Balban’s days. He was confirmad in his office by ’Ala-ud-din Khalji, whose Deputy Wazir Sharaf Qai is also praised for efficiency, but during the last days of the king, Malik Kafur, the royal Deputy, wielded real power. During the shortlived rule of Khusrau Khan, Malik Wahid-ud-din Quraishi, who had proved successful as provincial Wazir in Gujarat, became Wazir al-Mumalik. Ghiyath-ud-din Tughluq made an even more interesting experiment. He created a board of three ex-wazirs, with the seniormost having the high title of Malik al-Wuzara’ (the Chief Minister). Ghiyath ”honoured them by permitting them to sit in his presence, and not only consulted them in all matters, but gave full weight to their opinions”. The routine work of the Wizarah was carried on by Malik Shadi, the son-in-law of the King. Muhammad Tughluq entrusted the wizarah to Khawaja Jahan Malik Ayaz, who had been in charge of the Public Works Department under his father. The wazir could not sway the self-willed Sultan, but was considered competent and continued to hold his office till the end of the reign.
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With Tughluqs’ general policy of approximating to standard Muslim practice in all matters and Muhammad Tughluq’s personal preference for Arab and Persian ways, we notice the beginning of a change in the character of the Wizarah. Khwajah Jahan, thought essentially a civil servant was occasionally entrusted with military duties. This change is more marked under Firuz, whose wazir fully approximated to the Arab notion of an all-good reason.”17 The youthful Sultan was so enraged at this blunt reply that he ordered the arrest of the Wazir with whom he was even otherwise unhappy, but the office of the Wizarah was entrusted to his son.
Ibrahim Lodi lost his throne to Babur in 932/1526, and the developments which took place under the Mughals will be described elsewhere Essentially, however, the wizarah followed the lines laid down by Balban, and the holder of the office was confined to civil duties. This became the normal arrangement in Muslim India. The arrangements, by which the wazir enjoyed the comprehensive powers assigned to him by Muslim political theorists, did not work badly under Firuz, but he was a mild, if not a weak, ruler, and the normal tradition in Muslim India was to have strong, active monarchs under whom the system evolved by Balban worked best. Even popular opinion favoured this. Hindus and Muslims knew only monarchical government, and ”on the whole people tolerated an absolute ruler rather than an absolute wazir”.
Finance. The financial arrangements, of which the wazir was in charge, were in accordance with normal Islamic theory and practice, as inherited from the Ghaznavids, and modified in the light of local needs and usages.
The land revenue was, as in Hindu India, the mainstay of the government finance. As the Muslims had to pay zakat, which was fairly high, and were subject to military duty from which non_Muslim were exempt, Islamic practice often authorised a variation of the incidence of taxation between Muslim and non-Muslims.18 In India, however ordinarily no
Admimsttative Structure of the Delhi Sultanate [ Ch. 10
such distinction was made in regard to the main source of the State revenue, the revenue from land.
Qut-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler, fixed the State demand (Kharaj) at one-fifth of the gross produce. In land revenue, as in other spheres, Balban laid down the administrative pattern for the Sultanate. ”With regard to assessment, he advised a middle course: Over-assessment would result in the impoverishment of the country, but underassessment would render the peasants lazy and insubordinate: it was essential that they should have enough to live in comfort, but they should not have much more.19 According to Moreland, ”it may be fairly said then that Balban had grasped the main principles of rural economy in an Indian peasant-state, at a period when the environment afforded little scope for individual advance; he aimed at a peaceful and contented peasantry, raising ample produce and paying a reasonable revenue; and he saw that it was the king’s duty to direct the administration with this object in view.”20 ”When under ’Alaud-din Khalji, owing to need for building up a large army, additional funds were needed, the State demand was raised to one-half of the produce, the uppermost limit allowed by Muslim Law in respect ot Kharaj, but in the following reign ”the heavy Kharaj and heavy demands” were lowered. There is a difference of opinion about the scale of demand in the reign of the first Tughluq king. According to the Cambridge History of India (VIII, 128), Ghiyath-ud-din Tughluq limited the land tax ”to one-tenth ot one-eleventh of the gross produce” while, according to Moreland, the relevant reference in the contemporary history refers only to the limit of increase being one-tenth or one-eleventh. Dr Qureshi is of opinion that ”except for a few well-defined areas, which paid the half or single tithe, the general charge on land was a fifth of the produce, which was maintained from the earliest days of the sultanate until, at least till the end of Firuz Shah’s reign; the only exception was ’Ala-ud-din Khalji’s special demand of a half.” Under the Mughal rulers who followed the precedent of
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 170
Timur in charging a third of the produce as land revenue, the scale was raised and Sher Shah, who had seen the increase in the State demand under Babur and Humayun, followed their example.21
Apart from land revenue, there were a number of local imposts. Orthodox Muslims considered them illegal and the two Muslim monarchs who made an attempt to run the State in accordance with Islamic Law, Firuz Tughluq and Aurangzeb, abolished these extra-Shara’i taxes. But these imposts were of alicient origin and raise their head again and again. Most Sultan permitted them, as they were sanctioned by custom, and at times when the State abolished them, they were realised by corrupt officials or even by panchayats.
During the early period, when the subcontinent was being conquered and new areas were being occupied, the ghanimah (the spoils of war) provided an important source of State income. According to Islamic Law, all booty should be collected and a fifth (Khums) set apart for the State, the rest being distributed among the soldiers. Later, the practice was reversed and four-fifth of the booty was appropriated by the State treasury. Firuz Shah’s ulema considered it illegal and the king ordered the adoption of the share fixed by Shara’. A tax which gained importance during Firuz’s reign was the charge levied for use of canal water. Firuz was not the first to dig canals, but he was the first monarch to ask Muslim jurists whether an irrigation tax was lawful. The reply of the jurists was in the affirmative, and so a 10% and addition was made to the land revenue demand for using canal water for irrigation.
Zakat and Jizyah. With regard to the religious taxes, contemporary historians do not record that zakat was levied by the Sultans of Delhi, but their silence has been taken by some historians to mean that the normal procedure of the levy of zakat was followed. At any rate, there were arrangements for the receipt of zakat paid voluntarily by Muslims as a religious duty, and Fiqh-i Firuz Shahi mentions a separate treasury for zakat Towards the end of the Sultanate, Sikandar Lodi