Indian Society, Culture and Economics in 13th and 14th Century

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The beginning of the medieval period is ordinarily taken to be the moderate breakdown of the Gupta Empire from around 480 to 550, closure the “old style” period, just as “antiquated India”, albeit both these terms might be utilized for periods with broadly various dates, particularly in specific fields, for example, the historical backdrop of workmanship or religion.

At any rate in northern India, there was no bigger state until maybe the Delhi Sultanate, or unquestionably the Mughal Empire.

Yet there were a few unique lines administering enormous territories for significant stretches, just as numerous different traditions administering littler regions, frequently paying some type of tribute to bigger states.

John Keay puts the typical number of dynasties within the subcontinent at any one time between 20 and 40, not including local rajas. In this article, we will be dealing with the situation of India in the later medieval period under the following topics.

  • Ghorian Invasions
  • Khilji Dynasty
  • Tughlaq Dynasty
  • Administration
  • Economic and Social life
  • Art and Architecture
  • Literature


Ghorian Invasions

  • Mu’izz ad-Din Muhammad Ghori was the Sultan of the Ghurid Empire alongside his brother Ghiyath ad-Din Muhammad from 1173 to 1202 and as the sole ruler from 1202 to 1206. He is credited with establishing the framework of Muslim guidelines in the Indian subcontinent, which went on for a few centuries. He ruled over a domain crossing over pieces of advanced Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Northern India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
  • Mu’izz ad-din took the city of Ghazni in 1173 to retaliate for the passing of his predecessor Muhammad ibn Suri on account of Mahmud of Ghazni and utilized it as a takeoff platform for the venture into northern India. After the passing of Ghiyath in 1202, he turned into the replacement of the Ghurid Empire and governed until his death in 1206.
  • A befuddled battle at that point followed among the remaining Ghuri pioneers, and the Khwarizmi had the option to assume control over the Ghurid Sultanate in around 1215. In spite of the fact that the Ghurids’ domain was fleeting, and frivolous Ghurid states stayed in power until the appearance of the Timurids, Mu’izz’s triumphs established the frameworks of Muslim principle in India. Qutb l-Din Aibak, a previous slave (Mamluk) of Mu’izz, was the first Sultan of Delhi.

First battle of Tarain(1191 A.D.)

  • He held onto the fortification of Bhatinda in 1189 A.D. and afterward advanced into the realm of Prithviraj Chauhan.
  • Muhammad of Ghori was vanquished by Prithviraj in the principal Battle of Tarain in 1191 A.D. furthermore, recuperated Bhatinda.

Second Battle of Tarain (1192 A.D.)

  • In the second battle of Tarain, the united Rajput rulers under Prithviraj were vanquished by Muhammad of Ghori.
  • Prithviraj was held as a prisoner and later put to death.
  • The Turkish rule started for the first time in India with the end of The Second Battle of Tarain.
  • Qutb-ud-din Aibak was named as the commander of Muhammad of Ghori.

Rajput Uprisings

  • There were numerous Rajput revolts somewhere between 1193 and 1198 A.D.
  • Qutb-ud-din Aibak vanquished them and brought numerous districts under his influence.
  • Muhammad of Ghori made Delhi as the capital.

Battle of Chandwar (1194 A.D.)

  • Muhammad of Ghori vanquished Jaichandra, the Rajput leader of Kanauj and executed him in the fight.

Conquest of Bengal and Bihar

  • Muhammad-bin-Baktiyar Khiljii, one of the commanders of Muhammad of Ghori crushed Vikramasila in 1202 and
  • Nalanda Universities in 1203A.D.

Death of Muhammad of Ghori

  • He was killed on 25th March 1206 A.D. in Central Asia by some Shia rebels and Khokhars.
  • He is viewed as the founder of the Turkish Empire in India in view of his different attacks and enslavements of the
  • Rajput domains in North India.

Khilji Dynasty

Jalal-ud-din Firoz Khilji (1290-1296 A.D.)

  • He was the founder of the Khilji Dynasty.
  • He was additionally called as “Clemency Jalal-uddin” as he kept harmony and lead without any violence.

Residential Policies of Jalal-ud-din Firoz Khilji

  • He suppressed Malik Chhajju’s revolt at Kara
  • He named Ala-ud-din Khilji as the Governor of Kara. Alauddin was his son-in-law and also nephew.

Mongol Invasion

  • In 1292 A.D. Jalal-ud-din crushed the Mongols who had come up to Sunam.

End of Jalal-ud-din

  • Jalal-ud-din was murdered by Ala-ud-din Khilji.
  • Jalal-ud-din ‘s approach of harmony was not loved by many.

Ala-ud-din Khilji (1296-1316 A.D.)

  • In 1296 A.D. Ala-ud-din Khilji (1296-1316 A.D.) succeeded Jalal-ud-din Firoz Khilji and ascended the throne.

Ala-ud-din Khilji’s Invasions in the North

  • His commanders specifically, Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan vanquished Gujarat.
  • He caught Ranthambore and executed Hamir Deva, its ruler.
  • He likewise caught Malwa, Chittor, Dhar, Mandu, Ujjain, Marwar, Chanderi, and Jalor.

Ala-ud-din Khilji’s Invasions in the South

  • He was the first Sultan who attacked South India.
  • He sent his compatriot and general Malik Kafur against the leaders of the south.
  • Prataparudra-II of Warangal, Ramachandra Deva, the Yadava lord of Devagiri, and Veera Ballala-III the Hoysala ruler were vanquished.
  • He built a mosque in Rameswaram.
  • The realms of the south recognized the intensity of Alauddin Khilji and paid his money related tributes.

The Mongol Invasion

  • Ala-ud-din successfully resisted the Mongol invasion more than 12 times.

Household Policies of Alauddin Khilji

  • Ala-ud-din followed the Divine Right Theory of Kingship.
  • He acquainted four laws with forestall rehashed revolts.
  • He impounded pious grants and free grants of lands.He rebuilt the government operative framework.
  • Also prohibited social gatherings and wine.
  • He presented a perpetual standing armed force.
    He started the system of branding of horses and the descriptive roster of individual soldiers to inhibit corruption.
  • Also fixed the costs of vital products which were beneath the typical market rates.
  • He strictly prohibited black marketing.
  • Revenue was collected in cash.
  • He followed discriminatory policies towards the Hindus and imposed the Jizya, a grazing tax and a house tax on the Hindu community.
  • Officials called Diwan-I-Riyasat were designated in the workplaces called Shahana-I-mandi to normalize the market.
  • Vendors ought to need to enroll themselves in the workplace (Shahana-I-mandi) before selling their products at the fixed rates.
  • Ala-ud-din-Khilji’s Estimate
  • He was the first to bring the standing armed force framework.
  • He built Alai Darwaza, the Palace of a thousand columns, and the Fort of Siri.

Successors after Ala-ud-din-Khilji

  • Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah (1316-1320 A.D.)
  • Nasir-ud-din Khusrav Shah (1320A.D.)
  • His successors were weak.

End of the Dynasty

  • Ala-ud-din Khilji died in 1316 A.D.
  • Successors of Ala-ud-din-Khilji were powerless rulers.
  • Inevitably, in 1320 A.D. The Governor of Punjab Ghazi Malik drove a gathering of aristocrats, vanquished Delhi, and caught the seat.
  • Ghazi Malik assumed the name ‘Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq’ at Delhi and founded the Tughlaq Dynasty, a dynasty of rulers.

Tuglaq Dynasty

Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq or Ghazi Malik (1320 – 1325 A.D.)

  • Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq or Ghazi Malik was the organizer of the Tughluq administration.

Local and Foreign Policies

  • Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq reestablished order in his realm.
  • He gave more significance to postal arrangements, judicial, irrigation, agriculture, and police.
  • In 1320A.D. he ascended the throne.
  • He brought Bengal, Utkala or Orissa, and Warangal under his influence
  • The Mongol chiefs who attacked North India were seized by him.

End of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq rule

  • In 1325 A.D Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq was crushed to death while attending an event for his victories in Bengal.
  • Junakhan, the crown prince succeeded him.


  • In 1325 A.D. Junakhan, the crown prince was titled Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq
  • Muhammad-bin Tughlaq represented the authoritative and political solidarity of India.
  • In 1327 A.D. the annexed Warangal.

Residential Policies of Muhammad-bin Tughluq

  • To fill the vacant treasury, he raised taxes in the Doab area.
  • Numerous individuals fled to the forests to maintain distance from these taxes because of which development was disregarded and serious food deficiency happened.
  • He moved his capital from Delhi to Devagiri and requested the citizens and government authorities to move to
  • Devagiri, after numerous challenges, he requested them to come back to Delhi.
  • He presented the copper money framework.
  • The values of coins dropped; henceforth he needed to pull back the copper money.
  • To vanquish Khurasan, Iraq, and Transoxiana, he raised an army of 3,70,000 men.
  • Mohammed-bin Tughluq’s policies were acceptable however because of the flawed way of implementation, the policies failed.
  • The decline of the Delhi Sultanate is claimed due to his hasty decisions and defective policy implementation.

Firoz Tughlaq (1351-1 388 A.D.)

  • In 1351A.D. Firoz Tughlaq, the son of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq’s younger brother succeeded to the throne.

Administrative Reforms

  • He pulled back all Taqavi (horticultural) loans allowed by Mohammed-bin Tughlaq.
  • He raised the salary of revenue officials and finished all unlawful and vile taxes.
  • Also He gathered four important taxes, which are:
  1. Kharaj- 1/10 of the produce of the land
  2. Khams- 1/5 of the war bounty
  3. Jizya-Poll Tax
  4. Zakat-Tax on Muslims for specific religious purposes
  • He developed 150 wells, 100 extensions, and 50 dams, and furthermore burrowed numerous water system channels.
  • He developed towns like Firozabad, Hissar, Jaunpur, and Fatehabad.
  • Firoz banned all kinds of damages and torture.
  • He levied Jizya on the Brahmins..
  • He set up emergency clinics (Dar-ul-shafa), Marriage Bureau, (Diwan-I-kherat) and an Employment Bureau.
  • Likewise  he settled Diwan-I-lstibqaq to give financial support to poor people.

End of Tughlaq Dynasty

  • The successors of Firoz were not solid or skilled.
  • Before the end of the fourteenth century, a large portion of the regions got autonomous.
  • Only Punjab and Delhi stayed under the Tughlaqs.
  • Timur’s intrusion occurred during the Tughlug time frame.


  • The Delhi Sultanate period extended from 1206 A.D. to 1526 A.D. for almost 320 years.
  • The administration was based on Islamic laws (Sharia).
  • A Theocratic and a Military State.

Ministers to Sultan

  1. Wazir – Prime Minister and Finance Minister
  2. Diwan-I-Risalt – Foreign Affairs Minister
  3. Sadr-us-Sudur – Minister of Islamic Law
  4. Diwan-I-lnsha – Correspondence Minister
  5. Diwan-I-Ariz – Defence or War Minister
  6. Qazi-ul-quzar – Minister of Justice

Central Administration

  • The Sultan was the head of the empire.
  • He possessed vast powers.
  • Also, other officials were appointed to take care of the administration.

Provincial Administration

  • The empire was divided into a number of Iqtas.
  • Iqtadars administered the Iqtas.
  • Iqtas further were divided into smaller units called Parganas, Shiqqs, and the villages.
  • Amil or Munsif – an important official of the Pargana.

Local Administration

  • Village was the smallest unit of administration.
  • The village administration was carried out by local hereditary officers and the Panchayats
  • Panchayat looked after education, sanitation, justice, revenue etc.
  • The Central Government did not interfere in the village administration.

Economic and Social Conditions

  • The Sultan was the most noteworthy legal power.
  • Qazi-ul-quzar was the Chief Judicial official.
  • A Quasi was delegated in each town.
  • Criminals were severely punished.
  • The Sultan was the Commander of the military
  • The four divisions of the military were
  1. The Royal army
  2. Provincial or Governor’s army
  3. Feudal army and
  4. War Time army
  • The individuals in the general public were isolated dependent on their nationality and they are:
  1. Foreign Muslims
  2. Indian Muslims
  3. Hindus
  • The individuals were chiefly engaged with horticulture and industry
  • The textile industry was the main business.
  • Paper Industry, metalwork, pearl diving, ivory and sandal works, stone cutting, Sugar industry were the other industries of this period.
  • Indian textiles had incredible interest in remote nations.
  • Bengal and Gujarat were well known for their quality textures.
  • Cotton, woolen, and silk of various assortments were created in huge amounts.
  • The garments had gold, jewels, pearls, silver, and stone works.

Art and Architecture

  • The Indo-Islamic design showed the tasteful legacy of the new kings that incorporates both strict and mainstream structures. While the indigenous design is Trabeate for example space is spread over by means of pillars laid evenly; the Islamic structure is Arcuate, whereby curves are utilized to connect a space. The arch is the noticeable element of the mosque as opposed to the Sikhar of Hindu sanctuaries.
  • Arch and dome method which dispensed with the need for a large number of pillars to support the roof and enabled the construction of large halls with a clear view.
  • They used superior mortar to hold the stones.
  • They used slab and beam methods.
  • Decorative exuberance, such as the use of geometrical shapes, calligraphy, inspirational art, etc were used.
  • Synthesize of indigenous motifs such as ball motif, lotus, etc was done.
  • The three well-developed styles were
  1. Delhi or Imperial Style
  2. Provincial Style
  3. Hindu architectural style
  • Qutub Minar is a transcending 73-meter high pinnacle established by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak and finished by Iltutmish in the memory of the Sufi Saint Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. The last two stories were finished by Firoz Shah Tughlaq.
  • Qutub-ud-Din Aibak built the city of Dilli, Iltutmish built the city of Sultan Garhi and Balban built the city of Kailasagiri.
  • Alauddin Khilji built a new fort and imperial township of SIRI. In Siri, he built the Mahal Hazar Satoon, the palace of thousand pillars, Hauz-i-illahi, a water tank, and the Jamaat Khana mosque at the Dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya.

Architecture during the Mamluk Period

  • Qutub Minar
  • Quwat-ul-Islam mosque
  • The tombs of Nasir-ud-din Muhammad
  • Balban Siri the new town in Delhi

Architecture during the Khilji Period

  • Dargah of Hazrat Nizam – ud – din Aulia
  • The Alai Darwaza

Architecture during the Lodi Period

  • The Lodi Garden
  • Moti Masjid in New Delhi, and
  • The tomb of Sikandar Lodi


The Sultanate of Delhi period witnessed some great scholars and some are:

  1. Alberuni
  2. Amir Khusrau
  3. Zia-ul-Barani

Many Sanskrit works were translated into Arabic and the Urdu language originated during the Sultanate period.


  • He is an Arabic and Persian Scholar belittled by Mahmud of Ghazni.
  • He learned Sanskrit and made an interpretation of two Sanskrit works into Arabic.
  • Also He was intrigued by the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita.
  • In his work Tarikh-ul-Hind, he had referenced the financial states of India.

Amir Khusrau

  • He was a great Persian poet who has written four lakh couplets.
  • He was a great singer and was given the title ‘Parrot of India’.


  • Ẕiyāʾ al-Dīn Baranī dwelled for a long time at Delhi as Nadim of Sultan Muḥammad bin Tughluq.
  • Baranī in 1357 composed the Tārīkh-e Fīrūz Shāhī, an educational work setting down the obligations of the Indian ruler toward Islam.
  • In his Fatawā-eye jahāndārī (“Rulings on Temporal Government”), impacted by Sufī enchantment, he clarified a strict way of thinking of history that saw the occasions in the lives of extraordinary men as appearances of perfect fortune.
  • As per Baranī, the Delhi rulers from Ghiyās̄ al-Dīn Balban to Fīrūz Shah Tughluq who had followed his rules for the great Islamic ruler had succeeded, while the individuals who had deviated from those precepts had failed.


The decline of the Delhi Sultanate had started during the Tughluq time frame. The intrusion of Timur and the incompetent and intolerant nature of the Sayyid and Lodi rulers prompted the falling of the Delhi Sultanate.

The leaders of the Vijayanagar and Bahmani Kingdom in the South were the first to break from Delhi. Different locales like Assam, Bengal, Khandesh, Gujarat, Gauripur, Kashmir, Multan, Malwa, Sind, and Orissa likewise got free.

Babur finished the Lodi Dynasty by vanquishing Ibrahim Lodi in the main Battle of Panipat in 1526 A.D., which brought the defeat of the Delhi Sultanate in India.

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