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Delhi – The Resilient City
Part II

Masjid Quwwat-ul-Islam
Delhi's first mosque - used pillars from Hindu and Jain temples

1206 – 1526

Three Hundred and Twenty Years of Delhi Sultanate

The thirteenth century saw the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, which lasted from 1206 to 1526. Delhi came to be ruled by Sultans from the time Mohammad Ghor left one of his slaves in charge of Delhi in late 12th century until 1526 when Babar, the central Asian prince from Ferghana defeated the last of Lodhis in the Battle of Panipat, near Delhi.

· Many Muslim intellectuals and artists from west Asia sought refuge in Delhi when Genghis Khan sacked Baghdad in AD 1250.

· Three Sufi orders emigrated towards Delhi between the 13th and 14th centuries.

· The Sultans did not interfere with the social and cultural practices of the local population - their agenda was economic – not social.

· There were some conversions to Islam but population generally remained Hindu.

· They imposed a protection tax on the non-Muslims, later removed by the Mughal Emperor Akbar.

· Brought in new irrigation methods – introduced the Persian wheel.

· ‘Unani’ system of medicine brought to India by refugees fleeing Genghis Khan.

During this period five dynasties ruled Delhi:

Slave Dynasty [1206 to 1290]

Khiljis [1290 – 1320]

Tughlaqs [1320 – 1413] 

Sayyids [1414 –1451] &

Lodhis (1451 – 1526)

Read the entire feature in the print edition of
The South Asian Life & Times



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