Major Dynasties of Medieval India
Conquest of Sind (712 AD): The conquest of Sind by the Arabs under Mohammed Bin Qasim in 712 AD was a “triumph without result.” The administration was left mostly in the hands of the natives.
Suitan Mahmud of Ghazni (997-1030 AD): He was the son of Suhuktin, the Amir of Ghazni. He led as many as 17 expeditions into India, the most famous being that of Somnath in 1025.Alberuni and firdausi were very famous scholars in his court.
Mohammad Ghori (1175-1206 AD): Sahab-ud-din Mohammad Ghori invaded India and defeated local rulers. He laid the foundation of the Muslim dominion in India. He may be considered the real founder of Muslim rule in India.
The Sultanate of Delhi (1206-1526 AD): The period from 1206 to 1526 is known in Indian history as the Sultanate of Delhi or the Pathan Period.
Different dynasties ruled India during this period.
1. The Slave Dynasty (1206-1290AD): Founded by Qutab-ud-din Aibak, a slave of Mohammad Ghori. The other important rulers of this dynasty were Iltutmish, Razia and Balban.
2. The Khilji Dynasty (1290-1320AD): Sultan Jalal-ud-din Khilji (1290-1296) was the founder of the Khilji dynasty. Jalal-ud-din was murdered when he went to Kara to welcome his commander, Ala-ud-din. Ala-ud-din proved to be the ablest Khilji Sultan.
3. The Tughlak Dynasty (1320-1414 AD): (i) Ghiasuddin Tughlak (1320-1325) was the founder of the Tughlak dynasty. He was a very able and merciful king Mohammad Tughlak and Feroz Shah Tughlak were other important rulers of the dynasty.
4. The Sayyad Dynasty (1414-1450 AD): There were only four kings of this dynasty. The rule of this dynasty was confined to Delhi and a few surrounding districts. The last Sayyad king descended in favour of Bahlol Lodhi and himself retired.
5. The Lodhi Dynasty (1451-1526 AD): Bahlol Lodhi (1451-1488) was the founder of the Lodhi dynasty. Sikandar Lodhi (1488-1517) succeeded his fathther, Bahlol Lodhi. He transferred the capital from Delhi to Agra. Ibrahim Lodhi (1517-1526) was the last king of this dynasty.
The Mughal Dynasty: The Mughal dynasty had the following outstanding emperors:
Zahiruddin Babar (1483-1530AD). He laid the foundation of Mughal rule, in India by defeating Ibrahim Khan Lodi in the First Battle of Panipat in 1526. In 1527, Babar defeated Rana Sanga at Khanua near Fatehpur Sikri.
Humayun (1508-1556 AD): He succeeded Babar in 1540. He was defeated by Sher Shah Suri in the Battle of Kannuaj. He fled from the country and returned to power only in 1555, after Sher Shah Suri’s death and the battle of Sirhind.
Akbar (1556-1605 AD): He was the greatest Mughal ruler. He was crowned emperor of India at the age of 13. He defeated Hemu in the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556, and became the unquestioned master of the country. His empire finally extended from Bengal to Afghanistan, and from Kashmir to the Godavari in the South. His greatest achievement was the land revenue administration. Great scholars like Abul Fazl, poets like Faizi, statesmen like TodarMal, witty administrators like Birbai, and musicians like Tansen flourished in the court of Akbar. Tulsidas, who wrote Ramcharitmanas lived in this period. Akbar built Fatehpuri Sikri, the forts at Agra, Lahore and Allahabad, and Humayun’s Tomb at Delhi.
Jehangir (1605-1627AD): He is known for his strict administration of justice. His reign first witnessed the coming of European travellers such as Thomas Roe.
Shahjahan (1627-1658AD): His reign is known for promotion of art, culture, and architecture. Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Taj Mahal etc., were built by him.
Aurangzeb (1658-1707AD): His reign is marked by ruthless persecution and religious vendetta against Hindus. After his death, the Mughal empire isintegrated.
The Suri Dynasty (1540-1555 AD): The Suri dynasty is particularly noted for the administration and reforms brought about by Sher Shah Suri in the fields of central and provincial administration, land revenue, police, military and judicial spheres. Roads were made to encourage trade—the most important one being the Grand Trunk Road.
PROVINCIAL KINGDOMS IN MEDIEVAL INDIA
The Sikhs: The Sikh community was founded as a religious sect by Guru Nanak during the religious revival of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Guru Govind Singh (1666-1707), the tenth and the last Guru of the Sikhs, transformed the religious sect into a military brotherhood.
TEN SIKH GURUS
1. Guru Nanak (1469-1539) 2. Guru Angad (1539-1552)
3. Guru Amardas (1552-1574) 4. Guru Ram Das (1574-1581)
5. Guru Arjun dev (1581-1606) 6. Guru Har Gobind (1606-1644)
7. Guru HarRai (1645-1661) 8. Guru Har Kishan (1661-1664)
9. Guru Tegh Bahadur (1664-1675) 10. Guru Gobind Singh (1675-1708)
Bahmani Kingdom (1346-1526): It was the Muslim Kingdom established in the Deccan during the reign of Mohammad Tughlak. The kingdom was founded in 1347 by Zafar Khan, a brave soldier. The most important of this kingdom was Mahmud Gawan, a Persian.
Vijayanagar Kingdom (1336-1665): It was a Hindu kingdom in the Deccan, situated to the south of Bahmani kingdom from the Krishna to Cape Comorin. It was founded during the reign of Mohammad Tughlak by two Hindu brothers Harihar and Bukka in 1336. The most famous king of this kingdom was Raja Krishna Deva Roy. He was a very learned man, capable ruler and a great warrior, who often defeated the Muslims. The last king of this dynasty was Rama Raja. In 1564-65, the fierce Battle of Talikota ended the Vijayanagar kingdom.
The Marathas: Shivaji was the founder of the Maratha kingdom. The Maratha method of warfare was guerilla warfare. The Peshwas, who were also Marathas, ruled from 1701 to 1818 AD. Baji Rao was their ablest ruler.
Nirguna Bhakti Saints
(i) Ramananda: He was a pioneer Nirguna saint. Greatly influenced by Ramanuja, he gave his teachings in Hindi, the language of the common people. Kabir, Raidas and Dadu were his prominent disciples.
(ii) Kabir: He, a weaver, was perhaps the most outstanding mystic of his times (1398-1518). His songs are noted for their literary excellence, conveying a great spiritual and moral message to the world. He sharply condemned caste and religious distinctions.
(iii) Raidas: He was a contemporary of Kabir and a fellow-disciple of Ramananda. He was a cobbler. He composed songs brimming with love and devotion.
(iv) Dadu Dayala: A native of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, he was another great exponent of the Nirguna school.
(v) Sunderdasa: He was a great disciple of Dadu, and a vaisya by caste.
(vi) Guru Nanak: The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak was a great mystic of the Nirguna school. He was a wandering preacher of a castless, universal, ethical, anti-ritualistic, monotheistic and highly spiritual religion.
Saguna Bhakti Saints
(i) Ramanuja: In 11th century, Ramanuja tried to assimilate Bhakti to the tradition of Vedas. He argued that grace of God was more important than knowledge about him in order to attain salvation. The tradition established by Ramanuja was followed by number of thinkers such as Madhvacharya, Ramananda, Vallabhacharya and others.
(ii) Jnandeva: He was progenitor of Bhakti movement in Maharashtra.
(iii) Ekanath: He was opposed to caste distinction and evinced greatest sympathy for men of low caste.
(iv) Tukaram: He was a farmer’s son and a great devotee of Vitthal.
(v) Ramdas: He established ashramas all over India. It was from him that Shivaji received the inspiration to overthrow Muslim authority and found the kingdom.
(vi) Surdasa: He belongs to Saguna School. He was a disciple of famous religious teacher Vallabhacharya. He sang the glory of Krishna’s childhood and youth in his Sursagar.
(vii) Tulsi Das: He belongs to Saguna school of Hindu Mystics. He composed the famous Rammacharitamanas.