Afghan nobility of Sayyid Sultans of Delhi

After the death of Mahmud Tughlaq, the empire of Delhi fell into the hands of the Sayyids , a dynasty founded by Khizr Khan. The author of Tarikh Mubarik Shahi trace the family of Khizr Khan to that of the Prophet Muhammad but according to Muntakhab al-Lubab, Khizr Khan was an Afghan.

“He, Khizr Khan, was by origin and by the names of his ancestors an Afghan, as is apparent by the title Malik ; but after he came to the throne of Dehli, the historians of his reign, upon very weak proofs, applied to him in a loose way the title of Saiyid. ” [Muntakhab-ul-Lubab. Elliot and Dowson, Vol. VII, p. 405]

The political ascension of Afghans in northern India begins from the times of the Sayyid rulers of Delhi. From 1414 to 1451 many Afghans held important shiqs and iqtas in the sultanate of Delhi. The iqtadars and shiqdars enjoyed the traditional right of enrolling their own armies. The Afghan officers of Punjab close to their homeland, must have continuously increased the numerical strength of their armies with their kinsmen. Many important forts of the Panjab province were held by Afghans.

As early as 1417 AD, Khizr Khan assigned the territory of Sirhind to Malik Shah Bahram Lodi, afterwards known as Islam Khan. He had under him 12,000 Afghan soldiers. He was succeeded by his nephew as the muqta of Sirhind. Malik Sulaiman Lodi enjoyed a good status in Multan where he was killed fighting against Shaikh ‘Ali, a Mughal invader of Kabul in 1418 A. D. The extensive iqta of Rapri was held by Hussain Khan Afghan who was succeeded by his son Qutub Khan Afghan, during the reign of Sultan Mubarak Shah. In 1432 AD another Afghan , Malik Allahdad Lodi , was assigned Tarbindah, but soon he was driven away from there by Jasrath Khokar. After some time he was assigned the extensive iqta of Sambhal, loyal to the throne, he turned hostile towards Sarwar-ul-Mulk who had brought about the murder of Sultan Mubarak Shah in 1434 AD. Shortly after, he succeeded in destroying Sarwar-ul-Mulk and his party. The new Sultan Mahmud Shah wished to extend favour to him but he refused to accept any title. However the Sultan honored his younger brother with the title of Darya Khan. (Rita Joshi, The Afghan nobility and the Mughals, p-27)

Tomb of Muhammad Shah

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