There were many limitations to the character of the Delhi Sultanate. It was a military state. The Sultan of Delhi Sultanate failed to get the support from the majority of people. The Sultanate continued to rely on the role of the army & when the army was no longer invisible, it came to end. Sultanate was a despotic state. In such a system, the personality of the ruler decides the fate of the state till the time rulers were powerful Sultanate continues to flourish & when weak rulers came to rule, Sultanate ended.
The Islamic character of the state also contributed to the downfall, because Hindus who constituted the majority of people remain eliminated. The social base of the Sultanate remains narrow from beginning to end. Limitation of the institution of monarchy. There was no fixed law of successors in Sultanate as a result of this the death of the Sultan was followed by battles to decide the issue of successors. This conflict exhausted the strength of the Sultanate in a big way.
The degeneration of nobility also contributed to declining of Sultanate. Instead of serving the state, the noble had started aspiring to get the crown for themselves. This tendency was very dominant during the Lodhi period. Changes in the Iqta system also played role in the decline of the Delhi Sultanate.
Changes in characters of armed forces also played an important role. When Turk came to India, their army was homogeneous but gradually non-Turk started finding last places in the armed forces. This seriously affected the unity homogeneity & fighting capacity. The foreign invasion had kept on disturbing the safety & security of Delhi Sultanate. Mongols invaded repeatedly. These Mongol invasions seriously affected the military & financial strength of the Sultanate. The invasion of Babar & defeat of Ibrahim Lodhi in the 1st battle of Panipat doomed the fate of the Sultanate.
Mongol Policy of Sultanate of Delhi
The Mongols were originally from Mongolia under the leadership of Changiz Khan or Genghis Khan captured Central Asia & thereafter they started invading India as well. These Mongol invasions continued throughout the 13th& 14th Centuries.
Why did Mongols invade India?
The richness of resources in India was the most important factor behind the Mongol invasion. The Central Asia territories ruled by Mongols were deficient in resources.
The vulnerability of the Delhi Sultanate invited Mongol invasions because the death of every prominent Sultan was followed by a phase of international conflict & instability. Neglect of safety of the North-Western frontier was another prominent reason. The Sultan of Delhi had to face recurring revolts & rebellious as a result of which they were busy in international affairs & defense of the North-Western frontier remain neglected.
History of Mongol invasions
For the 1st time, Mongols reached the Indian frontier under the leadership of Changez Khan in 1221 when he was chasing Jalaluddin Mangbarni, the prince of Khwarizn. Sultan Iltutamish responded in fact fully. He saved the Sultanate by Mongol invasion by his diplomacy.
The next Mongol invasion took place in 1241 under the leadership of Tair. Behram Shah was the Sultan of Delhi. There was hardly any arrangement for safety in the north-west. The royal army defeated by Mongol Lahore was captured by them & their resistance. After capturing the city Mongols were tired.
During c.1240 CE, there was chaos condition in Delhi because of political disorder. Similar disorder prevailing in the North-western region as well. As a result, most of the Sindh & the region between the Indus & Jhelum rivers passed into the hands of Mongols.
Balban effectiveness measures were taken to counter Mongol invasion old fort repaired & newly created. Most capable commanders were appointed in the Northwestern region. As a result, when Mongols attacked India in c.1279 CE & 1285 they could be defeated decisively by races of Delhi.
During the reign of Sultan Kaiqabad, Mongols attacked India, under the leadership of Timur Khan. The invasion was massive, but the arrangement made by Balban till intact so Mongols were defeated. When Jalaluddin Khulji was Sultan of Delhi, a massive Mongol invasion took place in c.1292 CE under Abdulla but Jalaluddin Khalji responded swiftly he himself Mongol & defeated Mongol.
More than a dozen invasion took place during the reign of Ala-ud-din-Khalji. For 1st few years, the army of Delhi could provide no effective resistance. In c.1303 CE, more than 1 lac Mongols invaded in India. They directly reached Delhi & lay seized in the city. Sultan Alauddin Khalji remained trapped inside Siri Fort for 6 months because the royal army was away in the South. It was only when the army returned from the south Mongol lifted seized.
After the initial setback, Alauddin Khalji initiated several strong measures. The command of the anti-Mongol campaign was given to Zafar Khan his most meritorious commander. He defeated Mongols repeatedly shattered their courage & after that Mongols did not dare to attack India for 50 years. The last major invasion took place in 1398 when Mongols captured Delhi under the leadership of Timur.
Significance/Impact of Mongol Invasions
Mongol invasion threatened the safety of the Sultanate repeatedly the frontier towns like Lahore, Multan Savan continued to phase heat of Mongol invasion. A huge loss of man & material was witnessed. The Mongol invasion caused political instability because whenever the royal army was losing to Mongol, the prestige of the Sultan was shattered. Sultan of Delhi had to pay a huge amount to strengthen defense on North-West frontier so that Delhi remain safe from Mongol.
These invasions affected the capacity of the Sultan of Delhi to organize a successful military campaign against another state because they have to keep one eye on the safety of the new frontier. Invasion produced positive outcomes as well; the Mongol invasion cut off the Sultan of Delhi from the Islamic world. They couldn’t maintain regular contact with Central Asia & the middle east as a result of this a typical Indian identity developed among Turko-Afghan rulers of India.