Sher Shah Suri

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Sher Shah Suri
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Gauhar Gosain{{citation needed|date=September 2016}}| issue = Islam Shah Suri (Jalal Khan) Adil Khan| full name = Farid khan LodhiSuri Dynasty>House of Sur| dynasty = Sur Dynasty| father = Hassan Khan Sur| birth_date = 1486Sasaram, Delhi Sultanate (now in Bihar, India{{npsn>date=December 2016}}| death_date = 22 May 1545 (aged 58–59)| death_place = Kalinjar, Sur Empire| place of burial = Sher Shah Suri Tomb, Sasaram| religion = Islam}Sher Shah Suri (1486 – 22 May 1545), born Farīd Khān, was the founder of the Suri Empire in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its capital in Sasaram in modern-day Bihar. An ethnic Pashtun, Sher Shah took control of the Mughal Empire in 1538. After his accidental death in 1545, his son Islam Shah became his successor.WEB,weblink Shēr Shah of Sūr, Encyclopædia Britannica, 23 August 2010, BOOK, History of medieval India: from 1000 A.D. to 1707 A.D., Chaurasia, Radhey Shyam, 2002, Crabtree Publishing Company, 978-81-269-0123-4, 179,weblink 23 August 2010, BOOK, The empire of the great Mughals: history, art and culture, Schimmel, Annemarie, Annemarie Schimmel, Burzine K. Waghmar, 2004, Reaktion Books, 978-1-86189-185-3, 28,weblink 23 August 2010, BOOK, Pakistan & the Karakoram Highway, Singh, Sarina, Sarina Singh, Lindsay Brown, Paul Clammer, Rodney Cocks, John Mock, 7th, 2008, Lonely Planet, 978-1-74104-542-0, 137,weblink 23 August 2010, BOOK, A Historical Atlas of Pakistan, Greenberger, Robert, 2003, The Rosen Publishing Group, 978-0-8239-3866-7, 28,weblink 23 August 2010, He first served as a private before rising to become a commander in the Mughal army under Babur and then the governor of Bihar. In 1537, when Babur's son Humayun was elsewhere on an expedition, Sher Shah overran the state of Bengal and established the Suri dynasty.WEB,weblink Sher Khan, Columbia Encyclopedia, 2010, 24 August 2010, A brilliant strategist, Sher Shah proved himself as a gifted administrator as well as a capable general. His reorganization of the empire laid the foundations for the later Mughal emperors, notably Akbar, son of Humayun.During his seven-year rule from 1538 to 1545, he set up a new economic and military administration, issued the first Rupiya from "Taka" and re-organised the postal system of the Indian Subcontinent. Some of his strategies and contributions were later ideolized by the Mughal emperors, most notably Akbar. Suri further developed Humayun's Dina-panah city and named it Shergarh and revived the historical city of Pataliputra, which had been in decline since the 7th century CE, as Patna.Patna{{failed verification|date=September 2016}} He extended the Grand Trunk Road from Chittagong in the frontiers of the province of Bengal in northeast India to Kabul in Afghanistan in the far northwest of the country. The influence of his innovations and reforms extended far beyond his brief reign; his arch foe, Humayun, referred to him as “Ustad-I-Badshahan”, teacher of kings.

Early life and origin

Sher Shah Suri was born in Sasaram, a city in the state of Bihar in India into an Afghan family from a village in the Dera Ismail Khan,a district back then under the rule of Mughal empire in north-western frontier region of Mughal empire.Asad Muḥammad K̲h̲ān̲, The Harvest of Anger and Other Stories, Oxford University Press (2002), p. 62 as that's from where his grandfather, Ibrahim Khan Suri, moved with his father Hassan.Ishwari Prasad, The Mughal Empire, Chugh Publications (1974), p. 157 His surname 'Suri' was taken from his Pashtun Sur tribe. The name Sher (means lion or tiger in the older pronunciation of Persian) was conferred upon him for his courage, when as a young man, he killed a tiger that leapt suddenly upon the king of Bihar.BOOK, Lane-Poole, Stanley, Stanley Lane-Poole, 2007, First published 1903, Medieval India: under Mohammedan rule (A.D. 712-1764), Sang-e-Meel Publications, 236, 978-969-35-2052-1, WEB, Sur Dynasty,weblink Encyclopædia Britannica, 5 December 2015, His grandfather Ibrahim Khan Suri was a landlord (Jagirdar) in Narnaul area and represented Delhi rulers of that period. Mazar of Ibrahim Khan Suri still stands as a monument in Narnaul. Tarikh-i Khan Jahan Lodi (MS. p. 151).{{Primary source inline|date=September 2016}} also confirm this fact. However, the online Encyclopædia Britannica states that he was born in Sasaram (Bihar), in the Rohtas district. He was one of about eight sons of Mian Hassan Khan Suri, a prominent figure in the government of Bahlul Khan Lodi in Narnaul Pargana. Sher shah belonged to the Pashtun Sur tribe.{{citation needed|date=June 2017}} His grandfather, Ibrahim Khan Suri, was a noble adventurer from RohWEB,weblink Ancestral village of Sher Shah Sur in medieval Afghanistan,, {{self published inline|certain=y|date=June 2017}} who was recruited much earlier by Sultan Bahlul Lodi of Delhi during his long contest with the Jaunpur Sultanate.|Abbas Khan Sarwani|1580}}During his early age, Farid was given a village in Fargana, Delhi (comprising present day districts of Bhojpur, Buxar, Bhabhua of Bihar) by Omar Khan Sarwani, the counselor and courtier of Bahlul Khan Lodi. Farid Khan and his father, a jagirdar of Sasaram in Bihar, who had several wives, did not get along for a while so he decided to run away from home.{{citation needed|date=September 2016}} When his father discovered that he fled to serve Jamal Khan, the governor of Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, he wrote Jamal Khan a letter that stated:}} Jamal Khan had advised Farid to return home but he refused. Farid replied in a letter:

Conquest of Bihar and Bengal

Farid Khan started his service under Bahar Khan Lohani, the Mughal Governor of Bihar.BOOK, Ali, Muhammad Ansar, 2012, Sher Shah,weblink Islam, Sirajul, Sirajul Islam, Jamal, Ahmed A., Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Second, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Because of his valour, Bahar Khan rewarded him the title Sher Khan (Lion Lord). After the death of Bahar Khan, Sher Khan became the regent ruler of the minor Sultan, Jalal Khan. Later sensing the growth of Sher Shah's power in Bihar, Jalal sought the assistance of Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah, the independent Sultan of Bengal. Ghiyasuddin sent an army under General Ibrahim Khan.{{citation needed|date=October 2018}} But, Sher Khan defeated the force at the battle of Surajgarh in 1534 after forming an alliance with Ujjainiya Rajputs and other local chiefdoms.BOOK, Ahmad, Imtiaz, 2008, State Formation and Consolidation under the Ujjaniya Rajputs, Surinder Singh, Ishawr Dayal Gaur, Popular Literature and Pre-modern Societies in South Asia,weblink Pearson Education India, 80, 978-81-317-1358-7, Thus he achieved complete control of Bihar.In 1538, Sher Khan attacked Bengal and defeated Mahmud Shah. But he could not capture the kingdom because of the sudden expedition of Emperor Humayun. On 26 June 1539, Sher Khan faced Humayun in the Battle of Chausa and defeated him. Assuming the title Farīd al-Dīn Shēr Shah, he defeated Humayun once again at Kannauj in May 1540 and forced him out of India.BOOK, Haig, Wolseley, Wolseley Haig, 1962, First published 1937, Sher Shah and the Sur Dynasty,weblink Burn, Richard, Richard Burn (Indologist), The Cambridge History of India, Cambridge University Press, Volume IV: The Mughal Period, 51, 16 November 2016, en,

Conquest of Malwa

After the death of Bahadur Shah of Gujarat in 1537, Qadir Shah became the new ruler of Malwa Sultanate. He then turned for support towards the Rajput and Muslim noblemen of the Khilji rule of Malwa. Bhupat Rai and Puran Mal, sons of Raja Silhadi accepted service under the regime of Malwa in recognition of their interest in the Raisen region. By 1540, Bhupat Rai had died and Puran Mal had become the dominant force in eastern Malwa. In 1542, Sher Shah conquered Malwa without a fight and Qadir Shah fled to Gujarat. He then appointed Shuja'at Khan as the governor of Malwa who reorganised the administration and made Sarangpur the seat of Malwa's government. Sher Shah then ordered Puran Mal to be brought before him. Puran Mal agreed to accept his lordship and left his brother Chaturbhuj under Sher Shah's service. In exchange Sher Shah vowed to safeguard Puran Mal and his land.BOOK, Kolff, Dirk H. A., 2002, First published 1990, Naukar, Rajput, and Sepoy: The Ethnohistory of the Military Labour Market of Hindustan, 1450-1850,weblink Cambridge University Press, 9780521523059, en, 104, BOOK, Middleton, John, 2015, World Monarchies and Dynasties,weblink Routledge, 9781317451587, 568, The Muslim women of Chanderi, which Sher Shah had taken under his rule, came to him and accused Puran Mal of killing their husbands and enslaving their daughters. They threatened to denounce Sher Shah on the Day of Resurrection if he did not avenge them. Upon reminding them of his pledge to safeguard Puran Mal, they told him to consult his ulema. The ulema issued a fatwa declaring that Puran Mal deserved death. Sher Shah had his troops encircle Puran Mal's camp. Upon seeing this, Puran Mal beheaded his wife and ordered the other Rajputs to kill their families too. Nizamuddin Ahmad writes that 4,000 Rajputs of importance were there. `Abd al-Qadir Bada'uni puts the number of Rajputs at 10,000.BOOK, Kolff, Dirk H. A., 2002, First published 1990, Naukar, Rajput, and Sepoy: The Ethnohistory of the Military Labour Market of Hindustan, 1450-1850,weblink Cambridge University Press, en, 106, 978-0-521-52305-9, Historian Abbas Sarwani describes the scene thus, "While the Hindus were employed in putting their women and families to death, the Afghans on all sides commenced the slaughter of the Hindus. Puran Mal and his companions... failed not to exhibit valour and gallantry, but in the twinkling of an eye all were slain." Only a few women and children survived. Puran Mal's daughter was given to minstrels to be a dancing girl while his three nephews were castrated. As an excuse for the treachery, Sher Shah claimed it as a revenge for enslavement of Muslim women and that he had once, when seriously ill, pledged to wipe out the Rajputs of Raisen.BOOK, Eraly, Abraham, Abraham Eraly, 2002, First published 1997, Emperors of the Peacock Throne: The Saga of the Great Mughals,weblink Penguin Books India, 91–92, 978-0-14-100143-2,

Conquest of Marwar

In 1543, Sher Shah Suri with a huge force of 80,000 cavalry set out against Maldeo Rathore (a Rajput king of Marwar). Maldeo Rathore with an army of 50,000 cavalry advanced to face Sher Shah's army. Instead of marching to the enemy's capital Sher Shah halted in the village of Sammel in the pargana of Jaitaran, ninety kilometres east of Jodhpur. After one month of skirmishing, Sher Shah's position became critical owing to the difficulties of food supplies for his huge army. To resolve this situation, Sher Shah resorted to a cunning ploy. One evening, he dropped forged letters near the Maldeo's camp in such a way that they were sure to be intercepted. These letters indicated, falsely, that some of Maldeo's army commanders were promising assistance to Sher Shah. This caused great consternation to Maldeo, who immediately (and wrongly) suspected his commanders of disloyalty. Maldeo left for Jodhpur with his own men, abandoning his commanders to their fate.BOOK, Majumdar, R. C., R. C. Majumdar, 2006, First published 1974, The History and Culture of the Indian People, Volume 7: The Mughal Empire, Mumbai, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 81–82, 3012164, After that Maldeo's innocent generals Jaita and Kumpa fought with just a few thousand men against an enemy force of 80,000 men and cannons. In the ensuing battle of Sammel (also known as battle of Giri Sumel), Sher Shah emerged victorious, but several of his generals lost their lives and his army suffered heavy losses. Sher Shah is said to have commented that "for a few grains of bajra (millet, which is the main crop of barren Marwar) I almost lost the entire kingdom of Hindustan."After this victory, Sher Shah's general Khawas Khan Marwat took possession of Jodhpur and occupied the territory of Marwar from Ajmer to Mount Abu in 1544.

Government and administration

(File:An inspection of Sher Shah Sur's Great North Road.jpg|thumb|An inspection of Sher Shah Suri's Great North Road)File:Sher shah's rupee.jpg|thumb|right|Rupiya released by Sher Shah Suri, 1538–1545 CE, was the first RupeeRupeeThe system of tri-metalism which came to characterise Mughal coinage was introduced by Sher Shah. While the term rūpya had previously been used as a generic term for any silver coin, during his rule the term rūpee came to be used as the name for a silver coin of a standard weight of 178 grains, which was the precursor of the modern rupee.WEB,weblink Mughal Coinage, RBI Monetary Museum, Reserve Bank of India, 24 August 2010, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 16 May 2008, Rupee is today used as the national currency in India, Indonesia, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka among other countries. Gold coins called the Mohur weighing 169 grains and copper coins called Paisa were also minted by his government. According to numismatists Goron and Goenka, it is clear from coins dated AH 945 (1538 AD) that Sher Khan had assumed the royal title of Farid al-Din Sher Shah and had coins struck in his own name even before the battle of Chausa.BOOK, Goron, Stan, Goenka, J. P., 2001, The Coins of the Indian Sultanates, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 98, 978-81-215-1010-3, This and the next items show Sher Shāh to have adopted the royal title as early as year 945 ... within circle: al-sultān sher shāh ... In margin: farīd al-dunyā wa 'l dīn abū'l muzaffar khallada allāh mulkahu, Sher Shah was responsible for greatly rebuilding and modernizing the Grand Trunk Road, a major artery which runs all the way from modern day Bangladesh to Afghanistan, and which was referred to as Shah Rah e Azam (Urdu: شاہراہ اعظم‎ or The Great Road) in his time. Caravanserais (inns), temples and mosques were built and trees were planted along the entire stretch on both sides of the road to provide shade to travelers. Wells were also dug, especially along the western section. He also established an efficient postal system, with mail being carried by relays of horse riders. Sher Shah built several monuments including Rohtas Fort (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Pakistan), many structures in the Rohtasgarh Fort in Bihar, the Sher Shah Suri Masjid in Patna, the Qila-i-Kuhna mosque inside the Purana Qila complex in Delhi, and the Sher Mandal, an octagonal building also inside the Purana Qila complex, which later served as the library of Humayun.{{citation needed|date=September 2016}} He built a new city, Bhera, in present day Pakistan in 1545, including within it a grand masjid named after him.{{citation needed|date=September 2016}}Sher Shah is generally viewed as tolerant of Hindus, except in the massacre following the surrender of Raisen.Tarikh-i-Sher Shahi (History of Sher Shah), written by Abbas Khan Sarwani, a waqia-navis under later Mughal Emperor, Akbar around 1580, provides a detailed documentation about Sher Shah's administration.{{citation needed|date=February 2017}}

Death and succession

{{Further|Sher Shah Suri Tomb}}File:Sher Shah Suri Tomb.jpg|thumb|Sher Shah Suri Tomb at SasaramSasaram(File:Sher Sha Tomb, Sasaram 100 (88).jpg|thumb|The Tomb (covered in green))Sher Shah was killed on 22 May 1545 during the siege of Kalinjar fort in Bundelkhand against the Rajputs of Mahoba. When all tactics to subdue this fort failed, Sher Shah ordered the walls of the fort to be blown up with gunpowder, but he himself was seriously wounded as a result of the explosion of a mine. He was succeeded by his son, Jalal Khan, who took the title of Islam Shah Suri. His mausoleum, the Sher Shah Suri Tomb (122 ft high), stands in the middle of an artificial lake at Sasaram, a town on the Grand Trunk Road.JOURNAL, Asher, Catherine B., 1977, The Mausoleum of Sher Shāh SÅ«rÄ«, Artibus Asiae, 39, 3/4, 273–298, 10.2307/3250169, 3250169,


Destruction of cities

Sher Shah Suri is accused by `Abd al-Qadir Bada'uni and other Muslim historians for destroying old cities while founding new ones on their ruins after his own name.BOOK, `Abd al-Qadir Bada'uni, Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh, 1898, Calcutta, 472, English translation (Bib. Ind.), BOOK, K. R., Qanungo, Sher Shah, 1921, 404, Shergarh is one of the prime examples, representing a deserted town with a fort in ruins, which, in old times, used to be a thriving place where Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism co-existed peacefully. This can be evidently derived from the various inscriptions found in the area.WEB, Jain inscription from Shergarh (Dr. D.C. Sircar),weblink South Indian Inscriptions, Manager of Publications, Delhi, Sher Shah is also said to have destroyed Dinpanah, which Humayun was constructing as the "sixth city of Delhi". The new city, Shergarh, built by him, was itself destroyed in 1555 after Humayun re-conquered the territory from the Surs.WEB, The Territories and States of India,weblink Tara, Bolande-Crew, David, Lea, Tarikh-i-Da'udi states, however, that he destroyed Siri. Abbas Sarwani states that he had the older city of Delhi destroyed. Tarikh-i-Khan Jahan states that Salim Shah Suri had built a wall around Humayun's imperial city.BOOK, Diana, D'Ayala, Structural Analysis of Historic Construction: Preserving Safety and Significance,weblink 290, 291,


Sher Shah neighbourhood and Sher Shah Bridge in Kiamari Town of Karachi, Sher Shah Road in Multan cantt and Sher Shah Park in Wah Cantt, Pakistan, are named in the honour of Sher Shah Suri.{{citation needed|date=September 2016}}


Lal Darwaza or Sher Shah Gate, with ruins along approach.jpg|Lal Darwaza, the southern gate of ShergarhRohtas Fort Magnificent Kabuli Gate.jpg|Rohtas Fort's Kabuli GateQila-i-Kohna.jpg|Qila-i-Kuhna mosque, built by Sher Shah in 1541Sher Mandal, Purana Qila.jpg|Sher Mandal built in his honour by the MughalsCopper Dam of Sher Shah Suri, issued from Narnul mint.jpg|Copper Dam issued from Narnul mint

See also



Further reading

External links

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