Interesting historical tidbits about Sher Shah Sur

 1- I will start by pointing out that the correct spelling of Sher Shah’s tribal surname is Sur (سور), not Suri (سوري). This error was originally made by early European writers and repeated by others. In all the pre-modern inscriptions and sources, the nisba of Sher Shah is written as Sur. It is also spelled as Sur in all the pre-modern genealogical accounts of Pashtuns. Sur means red in Pashto. Suri is adjective of Sur (like Kabuli is adjective of the noun Kabul). 

2-   The following portrait of Sher Shah Sur belongs to the richly illustrated manuscript of “Tarikh i Khandan-i-Timuriya”, prepared by the court painters of Mughal emperor Akbar. It is placed in Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library in Patna. It is published by A. S. Beveridge in her English translation of Humayun-nama. It was made around circa 1570 AD. 
Sher Shah Suri
3- Farid Khan Sur (Sher Shah) had interest in promotion of education long before his ascendency to power. In 1520 AD, when he was a young man in his 30s, he built a gigantic madrassa at Narnaul (Mahendragarh district, Haryana state, India), called the Sher Shahi madrassa. [1]
4- Sher Shah Sur was the first and only ruler in Indian history who imposed conscription. [2]
5- Zaman Shah Durrani (grandson of Ahmad Shah Durrani) got offended by an inscription of Sher Shah Sur (c1486– 1545) at Rohtas Fort and had it erased. English explorer William Moorcroft visited Rohtas fort (Jehlum, Punjab) in 1823. He writes: 

“There was formerly a Persian inscription over one of the gateways of Rotas, recording the date of its construction by Shir Shah, and denouncing an imprecation upon any of his successors who should suffer it to fall into decay. Zeman Shah, it is reported, took offence at the tenor of the inscription , and commanded it to be effaced”. [3]

6- The legendary Baloch figure Mir Chakar Rind had allegiance to Sher Shah Sur. Read this blog-post for further details.
7- The muzzles of Sher Shah’s cannons were shaped like tiger’s head. Read this blog-post for further details. 
8- The celebrated Yousafzai chief Gaju Khan at one point served under the banners of Sher Shah Sur In India. When Gaju Khan became the leader of his tribe, he refused allegiance to his former overlord. [4]
9- Sher Shah Sur’s father was born in Pakhtunkhwa so he was born a second-generation Pashtun in India. Read this blog-post for details. 
10- The tomb of Sher Shah Sur’s grandfather was built under the supervision of a Kundi Pashtun. Kundis live in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank districts of KP. [5]
11- The achievements of Sher Shah Sur can be gleaned from the letter of Mirza Aziz Koka (foster-brother of emperor Akbar and a high ranking Mughal noble) to emperor Jahangir in 1611 AD. He writes: 

“Sher Shah Afghan, who was not a ‘malak’ (angel) but a ‘malik’ (king), established such a stable government that his memory is still alive. He turned Hindustan into a garden and the kings of Iran and Turan developed a desire to see it. Hazrat Arsh Asyani (Akbar Badshah) continued Sher Shah’s regulations for fifty years without changing them”. [6]

In the above letter, Mirza Aziz Koka is expressing his respect for the Pashtun king by referring to him as ‘Sher Shah’ instead of ‘Sher Khan’ (Mughals viewed Sher Shah as an usurper and have always called him merely Sher Khan in their writings).
12- Sher Shah Sur had plans to conquer Safavid Persia in alliance with Ottomans. In 1544 Sher Shah Sur dispatched an envoy to Istanbul proposing a joint Pashtun-Ottoman attack on Persia. The plan for joint attack fell apart, however upon Sher Shah’s death in 1545. [7]
13- Sher Shah Sur was a Pashto speaker. Pashtuns in 15th century India were settled as tribes so they were able to maintain Pashto for many generations. To encourage the preservation of mother tongue, Sher Shah gave higher salary to those soldiers who could speak it fluently. [8]
1- “Education in Muslim India: Being an inquiry into the state of education during the Muslim period of Indian history (1000-1800 A. C.)” by S. M. Jaffar.”
2- Warfare in Pre-British India – 1500BCE to 1740CE (Asian States and Empires)” by Kaushik Roy, p-127W
3- “Travels in the Himalayan Provinces of Hindustan and the Punjab, in Ladakh and Kashmir, in Peshawur, Kabul, Kunduz and Bokhara, from 1819 to 1825”, Vol-2, p 310.

4- Barmazid on Twitter: “The celebrated Yousafzai leader Gaju Khan (ګجو خان) at one point served under the banners of Sher Shah Sur (شیر شاه سور) In India. This information is provided by Tarikh-i-KhanJahani wa Makhzan-i-Afghani (تاریخ خان جہانی و مخزن افغانی) as follow. “Kara had one son, called” / Twitter

5- Barmazid on Twitter: “The tomb of Ibrahim Sur (grandfather of Sher Shah Sur) in Narnaul (Haryana, India). It was constructed under the supervision of Aba Bakar Kundi, a Niazi Pashtun. Persian inscriptions on the mausoleum provide following historical information :-” / Twitter

6- “Some Aspects of Afghan Despotism in India” by I.H.Siddiqui

7- “Mughal-Ottoman Relations: A Study of Political & Diplomatic Relations Between Mughal India and the Ottoman Empire, 1556-1748” by Naimur Rahman Farooqi, p-147

8- Tarikh-SherShahi, English translation by H.M.Elliot, p-135


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