Sikandar Lodhi


Bahlul Lodi was succeeded by his son Sikandar Lodi on 17th July 1489. He successfully quelled most of the rebellions of his time and soon after his succession, he suppressed the rebellious Hindus equipped with an army of 100,000 at Jaunpur. In 1504 he laid the foundation the city of Agra. He consolidated and extended the boundaries of his empire in all directions. He strengthened his hold over Raja Man Singh, an able and liberal ruler of Gwalior and made chiefs of other independent states realize the resurgent power the Delhi sultanate. He spent four years at Ambhal to organize thoroughly the administration of the trans-Gangetic provinces and then shifted his capital form Delhi to Sikandria, a suberb of Agra. Automatically with this step started the future importance of Agra.

Bahlul Lodi did not like pomp and grandeur and wore simple dress. Nothing unseemly was done in his court and strict discipline was maintained in his presence. Like all great monarchs he worked hard from morning till he went to bed. He was in the habit of giving audience daily and redressing wrongs and grievances. He spent the night for private meetings for conducting state affairs and listened to music or discourses of the learned. He was a patron of art and learning that brought about an intellectual renaissance during his reign. One of the most interesting workds of his period was a voluminous book compiled by his minister, Mian Bhowa, on medicine Ma’dan al-Shifa or Tibb-i-Sikandari in which theories and prescriptions of Indian medicine were consolidated. Another important work was on music entitled Lahijat-i-Sikandar Shahi, the only copy of which is available in the Tagore Library, University of Lucknow. He himself was a scholar of Persian and had poetry of considerable merit. In this connection his teacher was Jamali, a poet, mystic, traveler and biographer of repute. He also patronized Muslim scholars. He administered even handed justice to both high and low. He controlled the Afghans and kept a vigilant watch over the administrative department. He revived the system of dak chowkis (post offices) through relays of speedy horses. Through appropriate espionage system he closely monitored his sultanate. During his reign agriculture, trade and commerce thrived, and peace and prosperity flourished. The most important feature of his government was his modest and discreet behavior that encouraged Hindus to adjust themselves to the new conditions. There was an active mutual interest for each other’s learning among Hindus and Muslims. Hindus started learning Persian while Muslims began to learn Sanskrit.

The Sultan’s health deteriorated due to overwork. He died in 1517.

This article was last updated on Monday, Jan 03, 2005