The Delhi Sultanate

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The Delhi Sultanate:

The Delhi Sultanate

Introduction and rise of Delhi Sultanate:

Introduction and rise of Delhi Sultanate Factors leading to Turkish invasion Struggle for establishment of monarchy

Conquest of North India:

Conquest of North India The period from 1000-1200 AD saw many changes in Central and Western Asia. There was a break in the Gujarat-Pratihara empire which caused uncertainty and instability in North India. The Turks began by forming a new state at the north-western border of the country. Due to increasing conflicts between the Khawarizmi rulers of Iran and Ghurid rulers of Afghanistan, the latter were forced to expand their rule in India. 2 battles- 1 st Battle of Tarain in 1191 and the 2 nd Battle of Tarain in 1192 – were fought between the Ghurids and the Chauhans,led by very ambitious rulers of these empires,namely- Muizzuddin Muhammad and Prithviraj Chauhan respectively.

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He also fought a war with Jaichandra of the Gahadavala kingdom in 1194, which ended in the former’s defeat which allowed the Ghurid rulers to move further towards Benaras and Bihar establishing his rule North India. After the victory against the Chauhans, Muizzuddin Muhammad moved back to Central Asia to defeat the ruling Khawarizmi rulers. They suffered a disastrous defeat at the hands of the Khawarizmis, but it allowed them to concentrate their efforts in India. In India too Ghurids faced strong opposition from the indigenous people, but Muizzuddin succeeded in suppressing them by 1206.

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THE MAMELUK OR SLAVE DYNASTY (circa 1200-1526) :

THE MAMELUK OR SLAVE DYNASTY (circa 1200-1526) Mameluk, literally 'owned', was a soldier of slave origin who had converted to Islam. The phenomenon started in 9th century AD and gradually the mameluks became a powerful military caste in various Muslim societies.

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The concept of equality in Islam and Muslim traditions reached its climax in the history of South Asia when slaves were raised to the status of Sultan. The Slave Dynasty ruled the Sub-continent for about 84 years. Qutbuddin Aibak, Shams-ud-din Iltutmush and Ghiyas-ud-din Balban, the three great Sultans of the era, were themselves sold and purchased during their early lives. The Slave Dynasty was the first Muslim dynasty that ruled India.

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Muhammad Ghuri had no son so he raised thousands of slaves like his sons. He would then train them in the way royal children were trained. During Ghuri's regime, slaves occupied all key positions in the government machinery. Three favorite slaves of the Sultan were Qutb-ud-din Aibak, Taj-ud-din Ildiz and Nasir-ud-din Qubachah. He appointed them governors of Delhi, Ghazni and Lahore, respectively. Ghuri never nominated his successor but it was obvious that the successor was to be one of his slaves.

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After Ghuri died in 1206, Qutbuddin Aibak was elected as the new Sultan.He was the first Muslim ruler who ruled South Asia and had his headquarters in the region as well. He was also called "Lakh Baksh Sultan". However, because of his efficient administration and farsighted vision, his name has become inseparable from the history of South Asia. One of his biggest contributions is the famous Qutub Minar in New Delhi which he constructed firstly to announce the military and official arrival of his faith Islam in the Indian Subcontinent and secondly to announce his triumphant victory over the Rajput forces whom he defeated in a huge battle.

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Qutbuddin Aibak was a very refined and inticrate builder. He led the constructions of the security towers, check posts, tax posts and a few of the forts in the most important cities of his empire to avoid plunderings and loots. His devotion to Islam is attested by two mosques built by him at Delhi and Ajmer. Aibak died in 1210, from the injuries he received while falling from his horse in a game of polo and thus his rule lasted only 4 years.

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He was succeeded by his son Aram Shah, who proved to be incompetent.The Turk nobles invited Iltutmish, one of the slaves and son-in-law of Aibak, to assume charge of the state affairs. Iltutmish ruled for around 26 years from 1211 to 1236 and was responsible for setting the Sultanate of Delhi on strong footings. He was the Governor of Badaun when he deposed Qutub-ud-din's successor Aram Shah and acceeded to the throne of the Delhi Sultanate in 1211.

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He remained the ruler until his death.He is regarded as the real consolidator of the Turkish conquests in in North India. After ascending the throne, he was engaged in a series of battles and thus extended his empire. In 1229 AD, he was honored with the title of Sultan-I-Azam (Great Sultan) from Ali Mastansir Billah, the Khalifah of Baghdad. During his reign, Iltutmish averted the attack led by the famous Mongol Chengiz Khan.

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Following the death of Iltutmish in 1236 there was a series of weak rulers and a war of succession started between his children. First Rukn-ud-din Firuz sat on the throne for seven months. He was viewed as unfit to rule and was thus murdered. He was replaced by Raziya Sultana(1236-1239). A shrewd politician, Razia managed to keep the chiefs in check(they had thought she would be a puppet on the throne whom they could control), while enlisting the support of the army and the people. Her greatest accomplishment on the political front was to manipulate rebel factions into opposing each other. Another son of Iltutmush, Bahram, took over from Raziya Sultana in 1239. He declared himself king with the support of the forty chiefs. Raziya tried to regain the throne with the aid of her husband Altunia, a chief of Bathinda, but was defeated and killed in a fight with bandits

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During Bahram's two years as king, the chiefs that had originally supported him became disordered and constantly fought with each other. It was during this period of unrest that he was murdered by his own army. Next, Masud, son of Rukn-ud-din Firuz, became Sultan from 1242 to 1245. He was replaced by the youngest son of Iltutmush, Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, who became Sultan in 1245. Though Mahmud ruled India for around 20 years, but throughout his tenure the main power remained in the hands of Balban.

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On death of Mahmud, Ghiyas-ud-din Balban directly took over the throne and ruled Delhi. During his rule from 1266 to 1287, Balban consolidated the administrative set up of the empire and completed the work started by Iltutmush. Balban[1200-1287] was captured by the Mongols when he was a child. They sold him in Baghdad. Later he was brought to Delhi where Iltutmush purchased him. He was one of the Chalgan (a group of the forty most important nobles of the court). While Nasir-ud-din spent most of his time engrossed in religious affairs, Balban was the real ruler. Nasir-ud-din married Balban's daughter, which made the latter even more powerful. After the death of Nasir-ud-din, Balban became the Sultan.

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Balban considered himself, the king, as the deputy of God on earth. He organized his court on the pattern of the courts of Irani kings. Nobody could even dare smile in his court. Soldiers armed with unsheathed swords marched along beside him wherever he went. Balban established the department of intelligence. He spread his spies in all departments used them to gather information about all political developments and conspiracies. This helped him in taking action to stop trouble before it started. In order to win the confidence of the people,he administered impartial justice-not even the highest of the land were spared if they had transgressed his authority

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As a Sultan, Balban adopted a blood and iron policy.He knew the Chalgan did not like his growing power of and were jealous of his ascent. After becoming Sultan, Balban decided to crush them. He had some murdered while others were banished to far off places. During Nasir-ud-din's rule, the Mongols had advanced many times and plundered Lahore. In order to check the Mongol invasion, Balban built new forts and ordered the repair of the old ones.He deployed the best of his troops on the northern borders to check the Mongols. His policies paid off, as he managed to stop the Mongol threat from advancing into his territories.

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The greatest setback for Balban in his entire life was the death of his favorite son, Prince Muhammad, during the war against the Mongols. He realized that without his son, the centralized monarchy that had been built up with such care was bound to dissolve again, as it had at the death of Iltutmush. This realization probably broke him. He never recovered from the death of Prince Muhammad and died in 1287.

Ghiyas ud din Tughlaq:

Ghiyas ud din Tughlaq Real name-Ghazi Malik Was a slave to Ghiyas ud din Balban of Turkey. Established Tughlaq Dynasty in 1320 A.D Built the 3 rd city of Delhi, Tughlaqabad Was allegedly killed by his own son

The ideal Idiot-Muhammad bin Tughlaq:

The ideal Idiot-Muhammad bin Tughlaq His rule began from 1325AD Now for his brilliance, paired with eccentricity. Attempted at shifting his capital from Delhi to Deogiri Renamed it Daulatabad Caused great deal of trouble to his subjects, as also to the army and administration Many people found it intolerable and fell home-sick.

Currency Change:

Currency Change Switched currency from Silver to brass and copper tokens Some say, it was to fill his own treasury in a bid to conquer the whole world It may also have been due to the ongoing shortage of silver at that time. Most historians believe he was influenced from the paper currency in use in China during his rule.

The Idealism:

The Idealism He is said to be one of the most learned and accomplished men of his age His scientific and literary acumen was unmatched in his age He was a master in the subject of History. His favourite pastime was to sit next to patients to learn proper diagnosis when among with physicians. He was very liberal in natural and made hospitals and alms-houses on a large scale for the poor and widowed.

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The Khalji Dynasty (1290-1320 AD):

The Khalji Dynasty (1290-1320 AD) The Khaljis, wrongly believed to be Afghans were actually Turks who had for a long time settled in the region of Afghanistan, called Khalj and adopted Afghan manners and customs. The Ghaznavid and Ghurid invasions and Mongol pressure from Central Asia and pushed them into Hindustan. Jalal-ud-din Khalji (1290-1296 AD) was the first Khalji ruler. He was succeeded by Ala-ud-din Khalji (1296-1316 AD) who introduced several economic and political reforms. Ala-ud-din’s successors, Shihab-ud-din Umar , Mubarak and Khusro Khan ruled upto 1320 AD one after the other.

Jalal-ud-din Khalji (1290-1320 AD):

Jalal-ud-din Khalji (1290-1320 AD) First ruler of The Khalji Dynasty. Stated that India could not be a truly Islamic state as majority Indians were Hindus. Allowed Turkish nobles to keep their posts. Led an unsuccessful expedition against Ranthambor.

Ala-ud-din Khalji:

Ala-ud-din Khalji Alauddin was the second ruler of the Khalji dynasty. He is considered the most powerful ruler of the dynasty, reigning from 1296 to 1316. Alauddin Khalji was the nephew and son in law of Jalaluddin. He entered Delhi with his uncle's head on a pike and on October 3, 1296, proclaimed himself the King of Delhi . In 1297, Alauddin sent an army to plunder Gujarat, under the generalship of Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan. This army looted the temple of Somnath and the Shivalinga was broken into pieces and was being carried back to Delhi.

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Alauddin who ordered him and Nusrat Khan to conquer Ranthambore. In 1299 they started out with 80,000 cavalry and a large infantry to attack Hammir Dev Chauhan. Hammir's army repulsed the attack and killed Nusrat Khan. Ulugh Khan escaped and reached Delhi. Khilji was taken aback by this defeat and wanted revenge. He finally came himself in 1301, and there was a long siege. Hammir was very well prepared. When the fort would not fall after repeated bloody skirmishes, Khilji resorted to diplomacy Alauddin then led an expedition towards the south of India. He was said to be the first Muslim king who went to the south to expand his territory. He made a slave named Malik Kafur the army chief. Kafur proved to be a brave army chief and plundered many kingdoms in the south of India.

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The constant successes in the battles made Malik Kafur very powerful. At one point of time, Alauddin was reduced to a puppet dancing to his tunes. Finally, Malik Kafur is said to have poisoned Alauddin Khilji and murdered him. Alauddin Khilji is known for his war tactics when the Mongols attacked Delhi. The Mongols attacked almost a dozen times during the reign of Alauddin Khilji. Every time, some division of Alauddin's army defeated them. However, in 1299, the Mongols came to Delhi not rob, but to establish themselves. This time, Alauddin went with a huge army and brutally defeated the Mongols. Alauddin died in January 1316, of oedema. His tomb and madarsa dedicated to him, exists at the back of Qutb complex, Mehrauli, in Delhi

The Madarsa of Ala-ud-din Khalji:

The Madarsa of Ala- ud -din Khalji

The Tomb of Ala-ud-din Khalji:

The Tomb of Ala- ud -din Khalji

The Fall Of The Khaljis:

The Fall Of The Khaljis The last days of Ala-ud-din Khalji were embittered by troubles and misfortunes. In the midst of these troubles Ala-ud-din died in 1316 AD. After his death Malik Kafur tried to become the Sultan of Delhi. He became over ambitious. While trying to dispose off his rivals, he was killed. Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah, the successor of Ala-ud-din Khalji, came to the throne in 1316 AD. Khusro Khan was a Hindu slave of the Makwana sect of Gujarat who resented his forcible conversion to Islam. He murdered Qutb-ud-din in 1320 AD. Ghazi Tughlaq, the governor of the Frontier Province, murdered Khusro Khan in 1320 AD and came to the throne. He assumed the title of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq and became the founder of the Tughlaq Dynasty .


TUGHLAQ DYNASTY i. ghiyas-ud din tughlaq ii. Muhammad juna .

Firuz shah Tughlaq (1309-1388):

Firuz shah Tughlaq (1309-1388) Firuz shah tughlaq was born in 1309. Firuz Tughlaq was formally coronated somewhere around 23 rd of march 1357. He enjoyed a reign of thirty seven years (1357-88). Firuz Tughlaq was by no means a distinguished military leader but was a benevolent ruler who truly cared for his subjects.

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He was keenly interested in the economic improvement of the empire. He used the state resources for public welfare activities. He led a campaign against the ruler of jajnagar and two campaigns into Bengal and was unsuccessful. He thus decided not to conquer the areas that had broken away and maintain a strong hold over the areas still in his hands. He decreed that whenever a noble died his son would succeed him. This principle applied to the army as well. He imposed only 4 types of taxes on his subjects and abolished the 24 which previoulsy existed. He banned inhumane punishments like cutting of hands fingers etc. for small offences He employed kotwals to make a list of unemployed people and provided them with employment. He also provided dowries for the poor.

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Firuz Tughlaq opened a charitable hospital in the capital (Daru sh shifa) for the benefit of all. Physicians were appointed for indoor as well as outdoor patients who were supplied free medicines and food. He set up a large department of public works which worked for after his building programme. He dug and repared a number of canals. These canals were built for irrigation as well as to for water supply He built a number of new towns. A few still stand like hissar (now in haryana) and firuzabad (now in uttar pradesh) Firuz shah tughlaq died around 20 th September 1388. Firuz Tughlaq was the last great ruler of the empire after his death the decline of the empire began.

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Firuz Tughlaq was the last of the great rulers of the dynasty. With him departed the glory of the empire and began the gradual decline of the empire. All the six successors of Firuz Tughlaq including one son and five grandsons were phantom rulers His successors. Ghiyas-ud din Tughlaq shah ii (his grandson) (1388-89) Abu bakr (1389-90) Nasir-ud-din muhammad shah iii (1390-94) Ala-ud-din sikandar shah i (1394) Nasir-ud-din muhammad shah Tughlaq (1394-1412) Nusrat-shah tughlaq (1412-14) The successors of Firuz being non- entities do not deserve a place among the sovereign rulers of the great empire. The responsibility of degeneration of the empire cannot be attributed to any one ruler.

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Sayyid Dynasty:

Sayyid Dynasty The Sayyid Dynasty ruled Delhi Sultanate in India from 1414 to 1451. The succeeded the Tugluq dynasty and ruled that sultanate until they were displaced by the Lodi dynasty.Their 37-year period of dominance witnessed the rule of 4 different members of the dynasty. The four rulers during this very period were Khizr Khan(1414-1421), Mubarak Shah(1421-1434), Muhammad Shah(1434-1445), Alam Shah(1445-1451)

Khizr Khan(1414-1421):

Khizr Khan(1414-1421) Khizr Khan was the founder ruler of the Sayyid Dynasty. He mostly engaged himself in keeping intact the territory of the sultanate which he had acquired in the beginning of his reign. The sultanate of Delhi could not gain ascendancy during this time and therefore remained one of the states among certain other significant states of the north.

Mubarak Shah(1421-1434):

Mubarak Shah(1421-1434) Mubarak Shah ascended the throne without any opposition after the death of his father Khizr Khan. He did not accept suzerainty of any foreign power. He also saved the Delhi sultanate from the nominal suzerainty of a foreign power and issued coins in his name. He fought for 13 years against his external and internal enemies and thus kept the territory intact.

Muhammad Shah(1434-1445):

Muhammad Shah(1434-1445) Muhammad Shah was the nephew of Mubarak Shah and was nominated as the successor of his uncle. He was an incapable ruler and therefore paved the way for the downfall of the dynasty. Muhammad shah failed to safeguard his kingdom from internal disruption and foreign attacks. Thus he failed as a ruler and the decline began.

Alam Shah(1445-1451):

Alam Shah(1445-1451) After the death of Muhammad Shah in 1444, his son took over the throne under the title of Alam Shah. During the year 1447, he visited a place called Badaun and loved it so much that he decided to stay there forever.He ruled Badaun till he died in the year 1478, with his death the Sayyid dynasty came to an end.



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Lodi Dynasty The Lodi dynasty in India arose around 1451 after the Sayyid dynasty. The Lodhi Empire was established by the Ghizlai tribe of the Afghans. They formed the last phase of the Delhi Sultanate. There were three main rulers in the history of lodi dynasty:- 1 ) B ahlul lodi . 2) Sikander lodi . 3) Ibrahim lodi .

Sultan Ibrahim Khan Lodi 1489–1526, the youngest son of Sikandar,who succeeded him after his death. :

Sultan Ibrahim Khan Lodi 1489–1526, the youngest son of Sikandar,who succeeded him after his death. He was a fearless military leader and kept out the opposition for almost a decade.By the time Ibrahim ascended the throne, the political structure in the Lodi Dynasty had dissolved due to abandoned trade routes and the depleted treasury.

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Ibrahim’s Tomb


In the late 15th century the supply lines of the Deccan had collapsed. Sultan Ibrahim being the military man, gathered military support and killed his brother and reunited the kingdom by the end of that same year in 1517. After this , he arrested Afghan nobles who opposed him. The Afghan nobles tended to be loyal to the Governor of Bihar, Dariya Khan because they wanted him to rule Delhi, not Sultan Ibrahim.

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Men who tried to take over the Lodi throne were extremely common during Sultan Ibrahim’s time. . Due to the lack of this law of succession, Ibrahim was forced to put down a great deal of these ambitious men His own uncle, Alam Khan,betrayed Ibrahim because he wanted to rule Delhi. Khan pledged his allegiance to Babur as well.Sultan Ibrahim’s death lead to the establishment of the Mughal Empire in India. He was the last emperor of the Lodi dynasty. What was left of his empire was absorbed into the new Mughal Empire. Babur continued to engage in more military campaigns. Due to the demands of the nobles, his younger brother Jalal Khan was given a small share of the kingdom and was crowned the ruler of Jaunpur.

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Ibrahim was known to be a very stern ruler and was not liked much by his subjects. Ibrahim Lodhi was thus killed in a battle with Babur who was the founder of the Mughal dynasty in India. With the death of Ibrahim Lodhi, the Lodhi dynasty also came to an end. The lodi dynasty was not able to protect if warfare were to break out on thre trade routes. Sultan Ibrahim Khan Lodi was easily threatened because his region was surrounded by several other dynasties and territories Did not fight against each other because of religious affairs. Babur and Sultan Ibrahim were both Sunni Muslims.

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After Sultan Ibrahim’s tragic death on the battle field, Babur named himself emperor over Sultan Ibrahim’s territory, instead of placing Alam Khan (Ibrahim’s uncle) on the throne. Babur continued to engage in more military campaigns. Babar managed to boost the morale of his troops, which enabled them to defeat the Rajputs

The Period Of Decline Of The Delhi Sultanate :

The Period Of Decline Of The Delhi Sultanate

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Muhammad Tughlaq’s reign . Rebellion in different parts of the country. He dashed from one part of the country to another to supress the rebellion. The Delhi Sultanate began to disintegrate following the death of Muhammad Bin Tughlaq. His successor Firoz Shah was not able to rescue the Tughlaq dynasty from its decline and eventually it was overthrown. After Firoz Shah, the struggle for power between the sultans and the nobles started once again. Eventually the governors of nobles became independent and the sultan of Delhi was confined virtually to a small area surrounding Delhi.

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TIMUR’S INVASION The weakness of the Delhi Sultanate was made worse by Timur’s invasion of Delhi(1398). His motive was to seize the wealth accumulated by the sultans of Delhi over the last 200 years. Timur’s invasion once again showed the danger of a weak government in India . It resulted in the drain of large amount of wealth, gold, silver jewellery etc from India. The invasion of Timur , may however be regarded as making the end of the phase of strong rule by Delhi sultans, although the Tughlaq dynasty itself lingered on till 1412.

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One political reason for the decline of the sultanate was the absence of any well established and universally accepted law of succession. The nobles became the king makers and controlled the weak sultans. The responsibility of the disintegration of the Delhi sultanate cannot be ascribed to anyone ruler.

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There were some persistant problems during the medival times, such as the – Relations between the monarch and the nobles. The conflicts with the local rulers and zamindars. The pull of regional and geographical factors etc. Feroz instituted a series of reforms aimed at appeasing the nobles and the soldiers but which , however weakened the central machinery of administration.

Conclusion :

Conclusion Ibrahim Lodi died on April 21, 1526, at Panipat. He was the last Afghan sultan of Delhi. He was a suspicious tyrant who increasingly alienated his nobles during his reign. The son of Sikandar Lodi, Ibrahim succeeded the throne on his father’s death (Nov. 21, 1517) and was quickly faced with continuing disputes between the royal family and Afghan nobles. One noble, Dawlat Khan Lodi, governor of Punjab, fearing for his own safety, called in the Mughal king of Kabul, Babur, who advanced toward Delhi and defeated and killed Ibrahim in the first battle of Panipat. This victory led to the establishment of mughal rule in india.

The battle of panipat(1526):

The battle of panipat(1526) The first battle of Panipat took place in Northern India, and marked the beginning of the Mughal Empire. This was one of the earliest battles involving gunpowder firearms and field artillery. In 1526, the forces of Zahir Ud-din Muhammad Babur, the Timurid ruler of Kabul, defeated the much larger army of Ibrahim Lodi, Sultan of Delhi. The battle was fought on 21 April near the small village of Panipat, in the present day Indian state of Haryana, an area that has been the site of a number of decisive battles for the control of Northern India since the twelfth century.

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It is estimated that Babur's forces numbered about 15,000 men and he had between 20 to 24 pieces of field artillery. Lodi had around 130,000 men, though that number included camp followers, while the fighting force was around 100,000 to 110,000 men in total, along with at least 300 war elephants. Hindu Kings - Rajputs were neutral but few Tomar Rajputs of Gwalior fought for Ibrahim Lodi.

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