History - Class 7

Our Past - II

Chapter 3: The Delhi Sultans

Intext Questions:

Question 1: What are the four stages in the preparation of a manuscript?

Answer: Four stages in the preparation of a manuscript are as under:

  1. Preparing the paper.
  2. Writing the text.
  3. Melting gold to highlight important words and passages.
  4. Preparing the binding.

Question 2: Do you think the circle of justice is an appropriate term to describe the relationship between the king and his subjects?

Answer: Yes, I think, the circle of justice is an appropriate term to describe the relationship between the king and his subjects.
The Circle of Justice
Fakhr-i-Mudabbir wrote in the thirteenth century

A king cannot survive without soldiers. And soldiers cannot live without salaries. Salaries come from the revenue collected from peasants. But peasants can pay revenue only when they are prosperous and happy. This happens when the king promotes justice and honest governance.

Question 3: Express Minhaj’s ideas in your own words. Do you think Raziyya shared these ideas? Why do you think it was so difficult for a woman to be a ruler?

Answer: Mirihaj expressed that women were subordinate to men. But due to her qualities, she (Rajiyya) gained and rose to the throne of Delhi.
Minhaj-i Siraj thought that the Queen’s rule went against the ideal social order created by God.
Raziyya did not share these ideas and on her inscriptions and coins, Raziyya mentioned that she was the daughter of Sultan Iltutmish.
It was difficult for women to be a ruler because women were considered the weaker sex. This was in contrast to Queen Rudramadzir who changed her name from Rudramadeviand pretended to be a man.

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Question: But how complete and effective was its control over such a vast territory?

Answer: The Sultanate did not have complete and much effective control over such a vast territory, except under the rule of Alauddin Khalji.

Question 4: Compare Figures 2, 3, 4, and 5. What similarities and differences do you notice amongst the mosques? The mosques in Figures 3, 4, and 5 show an evolution in an architectural tradition that culminates in Shah Jahan’s mosque in Delhi.

Answer: Similarities and differences in Figures 2, 3, 4, and 5 (See NCERT pages 36-37).

Fig 2. Quwwat al- Islam mosque and minaret

  • Built during the last decade of the 12th century in Dehli-i-Kuhna as a congregational mosque
  • Enlarged by Iltutmish and Alauddin Khalji
  • It has large spaces for Namaz unlike other mosques

Fig 3 Begampuri mosque

  • Built during Md. Tughluq’s reign in Jahanpanahsanctuary of the world’
  • It had a huge gate

Fig 4 Moti ki Masjid

  • Built during Sikander Lodi’s reign by his minister
  • It also has a huge gate

Fig 5 Mosque of Jamali Kamali

  • It was built in late 1520s
  • This too had a huge gate

Question 5: Can you think of any reason why a slave would be better than a son?


  1. Because slaves are more faithful and dedicated in comparison to sons.
  2. Sons are fed and when they are grown up they begin to defy their parents.

Question 6: Why do you think Barani criticized the Sultan?

Answer: Ziyauddin Barani Criticised Sultan for his loss of political judgment and incapacity to rule. He was not in favour of certain administrative appointments made by Md. Tughluq like Aziz Khummar, a wine distiller, Firuz Hajjam, a barber, Manka Tabbakh, a cook, Ladha and Pira, gardener.

Question 7: Describe the ways in which the chieftains arranged for their defence.


  1. Ibn Battuta, a fourteenth-century traveller from Morocco, Africa, explained that chieftains sometimesFortified themselves in mountains, in rocky, uneven, and rugged places as well as in bamboo groves.
  2. In India the bamboo was not hollow; it was big. Its several parts were so intertwined that even fire could not affect them, and they were on the whole very strong.
  3. The chieftains lived in these forests which served them as ramparts.
  4. Inside them were their cattle and their crops.
  5. There was also water for them within, except rainwater which collected there.Hence they could not be subdued except by powerful armies.


Question:  You are a peasant in Alauddin Khalji’s or Muhammad Tughluq’s reign and you cannot pay the taxes demanded by the Sultan. What will you do?

Answer: Peasants in:

  1. Alauddin Khalji’s Reign
    • If I were a peasant in Alauddin Khalji’s reign, I would try to save my life because I might have captured by Sultan’s men and would be severely punished.
  1. Muhammad-bin-Tughluq’s Reign
    • Heavy penalties will be imposed. So, If I were a peasant in Muhammad Tughluq’s reign, I would join the rebel against the Sultan.

Let’s recall:

Question 1: Which ruler first established his or her capital at Delhi?

Answer: Ananga Pala from the Tomara dynasty of Rajputs first established his capital at Delhi.

Question 2: What was the language of administration under the Delhi Sultans?

Answer: The language of administration was Persian.

Question 3: In whose reign did the Sultanate reach its farthest extent?

Answer:  The Sultanate reached its farthest extent during the reign of Muhammad bin Tughluq.

Question 4: From which country did Ibn Battuta travel to India?

Answer: Ibn Battuta travelled to India from Morocco, Africa.

Let’s understand:

Question 5: According to the circle of justice’, why was it important for military commanders to keep the interests of the peasantry in mind?

Answer: Military commanders provided protection and secure the peasants who could pay taxes only if they were prosperous and happy. And taxes resulted in salaries of military commanders. This shows that both peasants and commanders were interdependent on each other.

Question 6: What is meant by the ‘internal’ and ‘external’ frontiers of the Sultanate?

Answer: Internal frontiers: Hinterland of the garrison towns.
External frontiers: Areas beyond the hinterland of the garrison towns that included the unconquered territories especially in the southern parts of India.

Question 7: What were the steps taken to ensure that muqtis performed their duties? Why do you think they may have wanted to defy the orders of the Sultans?

Answer: The steps taken are given below:

  • Accountants were appointed by the state to check the amount of revenue collected.
  • Care was taken that the muqti collected only the taxes prescribed by the state and not more than that.
  • It was also taken care that he kept only the required number of soldiers.

The muqtis may have wanted to defy the orders to the Sultans because their appointment was not hereditary. Also, their job was transferable. What is more, the conditions of service were severely imposed on them which they did not like.

Question 8: What was the impact of the Mongol invasions on the Delhi Sultanate?


  1. It led to military and market reforms under Alauddin Khalji.
  2. A vast standing army was established under Alauddin Khalji and Muhammad Tughluq to confront Mongol forces.
  3. The areas laying in the north-west frontier, from where Mongols invaded saw the building of garrison towns and numerous strategic forts.
  4. The revenue was increased upto 50% of the produce.
  5. Soldiers were paid cash salaries instead of iqtas or land grants as salary.
  6. The administrative system was made more efficient due to Mongol invasions.
  7. Muhammad Tughluq built Daulatabad, a new capital city and introduced the “token” currency in order to mobilise resources to fight Mongol army.
  8. He also planned to invade Mongol capital in Transoxiana, but plan was aborted.

Let’s discuss:

Question 9: Do you think the authors of tawarikh would provide information about the lives of ordinary men and women?

Answer: No, the authors of tawarikh would not provide information about the lives of ordinary men and women because they lived in cities and were not in touch of the people living in villages. They mainly wrote in expectation of rewards by the sultan. They had nothing to do with common people.Actually, these authors were appointed by the Sultans to write about their political carriers.

Question 10: Raziyya Sultan was unique in the history of the Delhi Sultanate. Do you think women leaders are accepted more readily today?

Answer: Yes, the women leaders are accepted more readily today. Actually, due to the spread of education, now people have started realising the potential of women. Not only in cities, but also in villages, women are being elected as Sarpanches and Councillors

Question 11: Why were the Delhi Sultans interested in cutting down forests? Does deforestation occur for the same reasons today?

Answer: The Delhi Sultans cleared the forests in the Ganga-Yamuna doab and gave these lands to peasants in order to encourage agriculture. They also established new fortresses and towns in these lands to protect trade routes and to promote regional trade.
No, deforestation does not occur for the same reasons today. Nowadays, vegetation cover is being reduced due to over-population, urbanization, and commercialization.

Let’s do :

Question 12: Find out whether there are any buildings built by the Delhi Sultans in your area. Are there any other buildings in your area that were built between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries? Describe some of these buildings, and draw sketches of them.

Answer: Yes, there are several. Some of them are Buildings built between 12th and 15th century

  • Jamali-Kamali Mosque.
  • Sirifort.
  • Begumpuri Mosque.
  • Moth Ki Masjid.
  • Raziyya’s Tomb.
  • Qutb Minar.
  • Tugalakabad Fort
  • Firuz Shah Kotla
  • Purana Quila

Sketches: Do this yourself.

Other Buildings

  • Lai Quila, Jama Masjid.