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 Afghan Pashtun, Sher Shah took control of the Mughal Empire in 1538. After his accidental death in 1545, his son Islam Shah became his successor. 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. 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 civic and military administration, issued the first Rupiya from "Taka" and re-organised the postal system of the Indian Subcontinent. He 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. 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.
|Sher Shah Suri|
Imaginary sketch work of Sher Shah Suri by Afghan artist Abdul Ghafoor Breshna
|Sultan of the Suri Empire|
|Reign||17 May 1538 – 22 May 1545|
|Predecessor||Humayun (as Mughal Emperor)|
|Successor||Islam Shah Suri|
Sasaram, Delhi Sultanate (now in Bihar, India
|Died||22 May 1545 (aged 58–59)|
Kalinjar, Sur Empire
Sher Shah Suri Tomb, Sasaram
|Issue||Islam Shah Suri (Jalal Khan)|
|House||House of Sur|
|Father||Hassan Khan Sur|
Sher Shah Suri was born in Sasaram, a city in the state of Bihar in India, while he called Rohri, a village in the Dera Ismail Khan district of Pakistan, his ancestral home, as that's from where his grandfather, Ibrahim Khan Suri, moved with his father Hassan. His surname 'Suri' was taken from his 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. 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). 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. His grandfather, Ibrahim Khan Suri, was a noble adventurer from Roh who was recruited much earlier by Sultan Bahlul Lodi of Delhi during his long contest with the Jaunpur Sultanate.
It was at the time of this bounty of Sultán Bahlol, that the grandfather of Sher Sháh, by name Ibráhím Khán Súri,*[The Súr represent themselves as descendants of Muhammad Súri, one of the princes of the house of the Ghorian, who left his native country, and married a daughter of one of the Afghán chiefs of Roh.] with his son Hasan Khán, the father of Sher Sháh, came to Hindu-stán from Afghánistán, from a place which is called in the Afghán tongue "Shargarí,"* but in the Multán tongue "Rohrí." It is a ridge, a spur of the Sulaimán Mountains, about six or seven kos in length, situated on the banks of the Gumal. They entered into the service of Muhabbat Khán Súr, Dáúd Sáhú-khail, to whom Sultán Bahlol had given in jágír the parganas of Hariána and Bahkála, etc., in the Panjáb, and they settled in the pargana of Bajwára.— 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. 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:
Faríd Khán, being annoyed with me, has gone to you without sufficient cause. I trust in your kindness to appease him, and send him back; but if refusing to listen to you, he will not return, I trust you will keep him with you, for I wish him to be instructed in religious and polite learning.
Jamal Khan had advised Farid to return home but he refused. Farid replied in a letter:
If my father wants me back to instruct me in learning, there are in this city many learned men: I will study here.
Farid Khan started his service under Bahar Khan Lohani, the Mughal Governor of Bihar. 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. But, Sher Khan defeated the force at the battle of Surajgarh in 1534 after forming an alliance with Ujjainiya Rajputs and other local chiefdoms. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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."
The 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. 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.
Sher Shah built monuments including Rohtas Fort (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Pakistan), many structures in the Rohtasgarh Fort in Bihar, Sher Shah Suri Masjid, in Patna, built in 1540–1545 to commemorate his reign. He built a new city Bhera of Pakistan in 1545 and inside the city built historical grand Sher Shah Suri Masjid.
Qila-i-Kuhna mosque, built by Sher Shah in 1541, at Purana Qila, Delhi, a Humayun citadel started in 1533, and later extended by him, along with the construction of Sher Mandal, an octagonal building inside the Purana Qila complex, which later served as the library of Humayun.
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.
Sher Shah was killed on 22 May 1545 during the siege of Kalinjar fort 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.
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
| Shah of Sur Empire
Islam Shah Suri
Azimabad (Hindi: अज़ीमाबाद, Urdu: عظیم آباد) was the name of modern-day Patna during the eighteenth century, prior to the British Raj. Today, Patna is the capital of Bihar, a state in North India. In ancient times, Patna was known as Pataliputra. This was the capital of the Maurya and Gupta Empires.
Medieval India marked Pataliputra's invasion of Muslim Pashtun Bakhtiyar Khilji and other Muslim rulers. This event is arguably seen by modern historians and scholars as a milestone in the decline of Buddhism in India. Long before Pataliputra was conquered, however, most of the ancient city was abandoned in the seventh century of the Common Era but revived more than 800 years later during the rule of Pashtun emperor Sher Shah Suri as Patna.
Sher Shah Suri had moved his capital from Bihar Sharif to Pataliputra. Not long after Sher Shah Suri's death in 1545, Patna and Bihar fell to the Mughals. The name Pataliputra continued to be used, however.
In 1703, Prince Azim-us-Shan, the grandson of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb came as the Governor of Pataliputra.
Azim-us-Shan, renamed Pataliputra as Azimabad, in 1704. Khan Zaman Khan Ali Asghar ibn Qazi Ghulam Mustafa was later on appointed as Naib Subahdar by Farrukhsiyar at Azimabad.Eventually, the name Azimabad fell out of use, and was replaced by Patna, the name Sher Shah Suri opted to call this ancient city. Patna is the most common way of referring to Bihar's capital city from colonial period onward. Nevertheless, there is a New Azimabad Colony inside Patna today named after Patna that is primarily inhabited by Muslims who were inspired by Patna's Mughal name. Similarly, Pataliputra is understood as part of the modern city Patna, not the whole city itself. Thus, to some extent, while the name "Patna" has replaced and to some extent engulfed Azimabad and Pataliputra, the legacy of these former names during the ancient and early modern exists and will continue to persist for the foreseeable future.Battle of Chausa
The Battle of Chausa was a notable military engagement between the Mughal emperor, Humayun, and the Afghan, Sher Shah Suri. It was fought on 26 June 1539 at Chausa, 10 miles southwest of Buxar in modern-day Bihar, India. Sher Shah was victorious and crowned himself Farīd al-Dīn Shēr Shah.Dam (Indian coin)
A Dam was a small Indian copper coin. The coin was first introduced by Sher Shah Suri during his rule of India between 1540 and 1545, along with Mohur, the gold coin and Rupiya the silver coin. Later on, the Mughal Emperors standardised the coin along with other silver (Rupiya) and gold (Mohur) coins in order to consolidate the monetary system across India. A rupee was divided into 40 dams.
It is believed that this coin is one of the possible sources for the English phrase "I don't give a dam[n]″, due to its small worth.Ghakhar Mandi
Ghakhar City (Urdu: گکھڑ سٹی) is a village in the Gujranwala District of Pakistan, located between Wazirabad to the northwest and Gujranwala to the southeast. It is central to 33 villages, and the home of Pakistan's second largest electrical grid.
Ghakhar Mandi is famous for its hand made industry and floor mats. It is also known for production of rice, and wheat. It is also home to an historic railway station. Asia's oldest road, the Grand Trunk Road, which was built nearly 500 years ago by Sher Shah Suri passes through the town.Grand Trunk Road
The Grand Trunk Road is one of Asia's oldest and longest major roads — founded around 3rd century BCE by the Mauryan Empire of ancient India. For more than two millennia, it has linked the Indian subcontinent with Central Asia. It runs from Chittagong, Bangladesh west to Howrah, West Bengal in India, then across Northern India through Delhi, passing from Amritsar. From there, the road continues towards Lahore and Peshawar in Pakistan, finally terminating in Kabul, Afghanistan.The route spanning the Grand Trunk (GT) road existed during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya, extending from the mouth of the Ganges to the north-western frontier of the Empire. The predecessor of the modern road was rebuilt by Sher Shah Suri, who renovated and extended the ancient Mauryan route in the 16th century. The road was considerably upgraded in the British period between 1833 and 1860.It coincides with current N1 (Chittagong to Dhaka), N4 & N405 (Dhaka to Sirajganj), N507 (Sirajganj to Natore) and N6 (Natore to Rajshai towards Purnea in India) in Bangladesh; NH 12 (Rajshahi to Purnea), NH 27 (Purnea to Patna), NH 19 (Patna to Agra), NH 44 (Agra to Jalandhar via New Delhi, Sonipat, Ambala and Ludhiana) and NH 3 (Jalandhar to Attari, Amritsar towards Lahore in Pakistan) in India; N-5 (Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Khyber Pass towards Jalalabad in Afghanistan) in Pakistan and AH1 (Torkham-Jalalabad to Kabul) in Afghanistan.Haibat Khan Niazi
Haibat Khan Niazi was a Pashtun noble and military leader. He was the most powerful noble of Sher Shah Suri and Commander of the Niazi contingent of his army. He is best known for bringing law and order in Multan by destroying the power of Balochs and Fetah Khan Jat who were laying waste to entire South Punjab. Sher Shah Suri granted him the title of Azam Hamayun and appointed him governor of Maharashtra. Currently, the sub-clans of Gen. Haybat Khan Niaziresiding mainly in Isakhel;Mianwali.Humayun
Nasir-ud-Din Muḥammad (Persian: نصیرالدین محمد, translit. Nasīr-ad-Dīn Muhammad; 6 March 1508 – 27 January 1556), better known by his regnal name, Humayun (Persian: همایون, translit. Humāyūn), was the second emperor of the Mughal Empire, who ruled over territory in what is now Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India and Bangladesh from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early but regained it with the aid of the Safavid dynasty of Persia, with additional territory. At the time of his death in 1556, the Mughal Empire spanned almost one million square kilometres.
In December 1530, Humayun succeeded his father to the throne of Delhi as ruler of the Mughal territories in the Indian subcontinent. At the age of 22, Humayun was an inexperienced ruler when he came to power. His half-brother Kamran Mirza inherited Kabul and Kandahar, the northernmost parts of their father's empire. Mirza was to become a bitter rival of Humayun.
Humayun lost Mughal territories to Sher Shah Suri, but regained them 15 years later with Safavid aid. Humayun's return from Persia was accompanied by a large retinue of Persian noblemen and signalled an important change in Mughal court culture. The Central Asian origins of the dynasty were largely overshadowed by the influences of Persian art, architecture, language and literature. There are many stone carvings and thousands of Persian manuscripts in India dating from the time of Humayun.
Subsequently, Humayun further expanded the Empire in a very short time, leaving a substantial legacy for his son, Akbar.Isa Khan Niazi
Isa Khan Niazi (Pashto: عیسی خان نيازي) was a Pashtun noble in the courts of Sher Shah Suri and his son Islam Shah Suri, of the Sur dynasty, who fought the Mughal Empire.
Isa Khan Niazi was born in 1453 and his last brother was born in 1478. He died in Delhi in 1548 at the age of 95.
The time of 1451 – 1525 was the golden period for these khans. It was the time when Lodhis completely dominated the subcontinent (Hindustan). Isa Khan Niazi was a prominent member among the ruling family. He was in the same tribal unit of nobles as Ibrahim Lodhi, Sher Shah Suri. Most of these families were attached with the Delhi sultanate. There, a contention arose between Isa Khan Niazi and Sher Shah Suri which ended in mutiny.Islam Shah Suri
Islam Shah Suri (reigned: 1545–1554) was the second ruler of the Suri dynasty which ruled part of India in the mid-16th century. His original name was Jalal Khan and he was the second son of Sher Shah Suri.Khidr Khan (Bengal)
Khidr Khan (also Khizr Khan, reigned: 1539–1541) was appointed the governor of Bengal in 1539 when Sher Shah Suri ascended to the throne of Delhi.Pathans in Bihar
The Pathans of Bihar in India are said to have settled in the region from the 13th century CE onwards. These Pashtun people are known as Pathan in the Hindustani language. Another common name for the community is Khan, which also a common surname. Lohani Pashtuns ruled a princely state within Bihar.The name Pathan in Bihar refers to two distinct but related communities, the Nasli (from the Arabic word nasl, meaning racial or by birth) and Divani (from the Arabic word diwan, meaning a royal court). The former are descendents of various Pashtun settlers in Bihar, while the latter are Rajput and Bhumihar converts to Islam. They are considered one of the Ashraf communities meaning they have a powerful status among the Muslims of the state. Ruhella Pathans are significant landowners in the southern part of the state and formed a militia with Rajputs called the Sunlight Sena to combat Maoist insurgents.Sher Shah Suri was born in Rohtas district.Rajowal Nau
Rajowal Nau or New Rajowal is a town and Union Council of Kasur District in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Name Rajwal Nau originated from Rajowal Kuhna located between Khudian and Chunian on the Grand Trunk Road built by Sher Shah Suri. The Mosque of Rajowal Kuhan has a unique Mughal structure, built by General Shahbaz Khan Kamboh, a general of Mughal Emperor Akbar. It is part of Kasur Tehsil and is located at 30°52'60N 74°17'60E with an altitude of 179 metres (590 feet).Rana Parshad Sodha
Rana Parshad aka Rana Patta was 18th king of Amarkot(Umerkot)(1530/1556). Who gave refugee to Mughal king Humayun when we has defeated by Sher Shah Suri and nobody was offering him refugee because every kingdom was frightened of Sher Shah Suri.Rawat Fort
Rawat Fort (Urdu: قلعہ روات) is an early 16th century fort in the Pothohar plateau of Pakistan, near the city of Rawalpindi in the province of Punjab. The fort was built to defend the Pothohar plateau from the forces of the Pashtun king Sher Shah Suri.Sher Shah (Karachi)
SherShah is one of the neighbourhoods of Kiamari Town in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan.There are several ethnic groups in Kiamari Town including Urdu speakers, Sindhis, Punjabis, Kashmiris, Seraikis, Pakhtuns, Balochs, Memons, Bohras and Ismailis.
Sher Shah neighbourhood and Sher Shah Bridge in Kiamari Town of Karachi is named after Sher Shah Bukhari Khurasani. Sher Shah Park in Wah Cantt, Pakistan, is named in the honour of Sher Shah Suri.Sher Shah Bridge
Sher Shah Bridge is a flyover in Karachi, Pakistan. Bridge was collapsed in September 2007, five men were crushed in that incident.Sher Shah neighbourhood and Sher Shah Bridge in Kiamari Town of Karachi and Sher Shah Park in Wah Cantt, Pakistan, are named in the honour of Sher Shah Suri.Sher Shah Suri Masjid
Sher Shah Suri Masjid, mosque, Patna,also known as Shershahi, is an example of the Afghan style of architecture.Sher Shah Suri built this mosque in 1540–1545 to commemorate his reign.It is sited in the south-west corner of Purab Darwaza near Dhawalpura.Tarikh-i-Sher Shahi
The Tarikh-i-Sher Shahi (Urdu: تاریخ شير شاہ سوری) (history of Sher Shah) dating 1580 CE, is a historical work compiled by Abbas Khan Sarwani, a waqia-navis under Mughal Emperor Akbar, detailing the rule of Sher Shah Suri. The work was commissioned by Akbar to provide detailed documentation about Sher Shah's administration - Akbar's father Humayun had been defeated by Sher Shah.Abbas wrote the Tarik-i Sher Shahi using his own local cultural style not in the style and language of standard Persian.Tomb of Sher Shah Suri
The tomb of Sher Shah Suri is in the Sasaram town of Bihar state, India. The tomb was built in memory of Emperor Sher Shah Suri, a Pathan from Bihar who defeated the Mughal Empire and founded the Suri Empire in northern India. He died in an accidental gunpowder explosion in the fort of Kalinjar on 10th day of Rabi' al-awwal, A.H. 952 or 13 May 1545 AD.