Sur Dynasty: Sher Shah Suri (1540-1545 CE)

Nasiruddin Muhammad Humayun was succeeded by the most important personality of Medieval India. It was the reign of Sher Shah Suri. He defeated Humayun and captured the throne of Mughal Empire. Though he ruled only approximately for 5years. Still, he reign was important for us to read.

Reign of Sher Shah Suri

Agricultural Reforms

Sher Shah Suri: Agricultural Reforms
Sher Shah Suri: Agricultural Reforms

Agricultural reforms were the biggest contribution of Sher Shah Suri. He saved Indian farmers from the exploitation by the state, money lenders and Zamindars.

Construction of Highways and Currency System

After strengthening agricultural sector. Sher Shah Suri went for the economic reforms. To have economic growth and well-established trade and commerce link he started constructing highways.

Approach of Sher Shah
Approach of Sher Shah

He constructed highways like Peshawar to Sonargaon, which we call as Grand Trunk road or Sher Shan Suri road or National Highway-1.

Sher Shah Suri Road/ Grand Trunk Raod
Sher Shah Suri Road/ Grand Trunk Raod

During his reign, Sarai or the rest houses/guest houses were constructed within each 2 Kos or 5kms. The Sarai was the place relied on as checking points. Separate apartments were there in Sarai for the Hindus and the Muslims. Here, they could get beds and cooked food. So, Muslim and Brahman cooks were appointed for the purpose.

He also strengthened the currency system by issuing three new coins,

  • Ashrafi (Gold Coin)
  • Rupiya (Silver Coin)
  • Daam (Copper Coin)

Law and Order

The most important requirement for the people in a nation is peace and prosperity. Sher Shah Suri highly emphasised on Law and Order during his reign. For this, He followed the principle of Local responsibility.

For the safety and tranquillity of the roads, Sher Shah made it a rule. This was to make the muqaddam (headmen of villages) and zamindars responsible for apprehending the culprits if the theft took place within their charge or to make good the loss if they were unable to do so. So, If the murder took place and the murderer did not trace, the muqaddams themselves put to the death.

Provincial System of Sher Shah Suri

Empire of Sher Shah
Empire of Sher Shah

Sher Shah divided the empire into several provinces which were known as Sarkars. The head of Sarkar was Shiqdar-i-Shiqdaran. So, the Sarkars were divided into Parganas. Further, the Parganas were divided into Mahals. The Mahals were divided into Moujas and then into villages which were known as Dehis. The village was the lowest unit of his empire.

Theory of Imperialism

Sher Shah Suri started the story of Imperialism. But due to his bad luck, he died in accidental death when conquering Kalinger Fort. So, after his death, Islam Shah succeeded him. The most important contribution of Islam Shah was that he codified laws of Mughal Medieval India.

But soon after Islam Shah, Suri Dynasty failed to provide proper administration to the people. There was no capable ruler after the Islam Shah. So, Humayun the opportunist, returned back to Hindustan with the motive to regain Delhi Empire. Finally, he Humayun succeeded to defeat Sur Dynasty in Battle of Macchiwada, 1555.

But, within 6months of this victory, Humayun died an accidental death. In this scenario, Hemachandra, commander of Sikandar Sur occupied Delhi and Agra. This led to the second Battle of Panipat 1556. In this battle Akbar and Hemachandra alias Hemu faced each other. Akbar defeated Hemu and killed him.

So, from here started the era of the Great ruler of Medieval India, Akbar. We will read about Akbar in next coming post.

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