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IAS Indian History Notes: Officers of the Delhi Sultanate

Last Updated - December 29, 2016

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 DepartmentFunction of the Department
Diwan-i-RisalatDepartment of appeals
Diwan-i-arzDepartment of Military
Diwan-i-IshtiaqDepartment of pensions
Diwan-i-MustakhrajDepartment of arrears
Diwan-i-kohiDepartment of agriculture
Diwan-i-inshaDepartment of correspondence
Diwan-i-BandaganDepartment of slaves
Diwan-i-Qaza-i-MamalikDepartment of justice
Diwan-i-KhairatDepartment 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 levelThe duty performed by the officer
WazirWazir was the Chief Minister and in charge of revenue and finances.
Ariz-i-MumalikHead of military department
QaziThe Legal Officer- dispensing Sharia law
Wakil-i-darController of Royal household
Barid-i-MumalikHead of state news agency
Amir-i-majlisOfficer in charge of Royal feasts & festivals
Majlis-i-amCouncil of friends and officers consulted on important affairs of the state
Dahir-i-mumalikHead of Royal correspondence
Naib wazirDeputy Minister
Mushrif-i-mumalikAccountant general
Amir-i-hazibOfficer in charge of the Royal court
Sadr-us-sudurDealt with religious matters and endowments
Sadr-i-jahanOfficers in charge of religious matters and endowments
Amir-i-dadPublic prosecutor
Shahna-i-pilSuperintendent of Royal Elephants
Amir-i-bahrOfficer in charge of police & transport naval port
Qazi-i-mumalikChief Justice
Qazi-ul-kazatHead of chief judicial department
Amir-i-AkhurOfficer 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 levelThe duty performed by the officer
AmirGovernor
Mukti or WaliResponsible for law and order and collection of taxes in their iqtas (province)
Nazir or WakufOfficials responsible for collecting revenue in the provinces
Sahib-i-diwanMaintained accounts of the provinces and sent them to central administration
ShiqdarOfficer in charge of land measuring a shiq

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