IAS Indian History Notes: Officers of the Delhi Sultanate

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Dec 29, 2016

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Swati Mishra

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The dynasties of Turkic and Afghan origin that spoke Persian language and managed India under their control from India from 1210 to 1526 were the Delhi Sultanate. The majority of these dynasties ruled from Delhi thus named Delhi Sultanate. This dynasty included five major dynasties which ruled India right from 1206 to 1526.The five major dynasties were:

  1. The Slave Dynasty: This dynasty ruled India from 1206-1290
  2. The Khilji Dynasty: This dynasty ruled India from 1290-1320
  3. The Tughlaq Dynasty: This dynasty ruled India from 1320-1413
  4. The Sayyid Dynasty This dynasty ruled India from 1414-1451
  5. The Lodi Dynasty: This dynasty ruled India from 1451-1526

After the rule of over 300 years, the Delhi Sultanate was overtaken by the Mughals and thus the control of India came into their hands.

This article deals with the most important Central Departments and the officers involved under the Delhi Sultanate.

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The Central Departments under the Delhi Sultanate

The administration system of the Delhi Sultanate were governed and directed by the Quranic injunctions. The empire considered the Quranic law as the supreme law of the empire. The supreme sovereign ruler according to the Islamic theory of sovereignty was the Caliph. All the Muslim kings throughout the world were his subordinates. During the great Sultanate period, the power of the Caliph was at its zenith.

The Sultanate government was a centralized one inspite of the fact that it had the original democratic nature of an Islamic State. The Sultans were in a way forced to make the Government centralized one because during their ruling period the all the Hindu chiefs were not suppressed altogether. Some of them were always rebellious. The Sultans feared the repeated dander of Mongol invasion and thus   were compelled to keep a very large army and a centralized government system.

The Sultan had to keep quite a good number of ministries in his administration. The members of these ministries were varied from time to time. The important departments along with their main function/duty are tabulated below:

Name of the Central Department Function of the Department
Diwan-i-Risalat Department of appeals
Diwan-i-arz Department of Military
Diwan-i-Ishtiaq Department of pensions
Diwan-i-Mustakhraj Department of arrears
Diwan-i-kohi Department of agriculture
Diwan-i-insha Department of correspondence
Diwan-i-Bandagan Department of slaves
Diwan-i-Qaza-i-Mamalik Department of justice
Diwan-i-Khairat Department of charity

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Main officers of the Delhi Sultanate at Central Level

The main officers of the Delhi Sultanate at Central Level who managed the different ministries and the functions of the Sultanate are given below:

Officer at the Central level The duty performed by the officer
Wazir Wazir was the Chief Minister and in charge of revenue and finances.
Ariz-i-Mumalik Head of military department
Qazi The Legal Officer- dispensing Sharia law
Wakil-i-dar Controller of Royal household
Barid-i-Mumalik Head of state news agency
Amir-i-majlis Officer in charge of Royal feasts & festivals
Majlis-i-am Council of friends and officers consulted on important affairs of the state
Dahir-i-mumalik Head of Royal correspondence
Naib wazir Deputy Minister
Mushrif-i-mumalik Accountant general
Amir-i-hazib Officer in charge of the Royal court
Sadr-us-sudur Dealt with religious matters and endowments
Sadr-i-jahan Officers in charge of religious matters and endowments
Amir-i-dad Public prosecutor
Shahna-i-pil Superintendent of Royal Elephants
Amir-i-bahr Officer in charge of police & transport naval port
Qazi-i-mumalik Chief Justice
Qazi-ul-kazat Head of chief judicial department
Amir-i-Akhur Officer commanding Royal Horses

Officers of the Delhi Sultanate at the Provincial Level

The officers of the Delhi Sultanate at the Provincial Level and their main duties/functions are given below:

Officer at the Provincial level The duty performed by the officer
Amir Governor
Mukti or Wali Responsible for law and order and collection of taxes in their iqtas (province)
Nazir or Wakuf Officials responsible for collecting revenue in the provinces
Sahib-i-diwan Maintained accounts of the provinces and sent them to central administration
Shiqdar Officer in charge of land measuring a shiq

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.

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