Sher Shah Suri (1540-45)

Rise of Sher Shah Suri.

Farid Khan commonly known as Sher Shah Suri was the founder of Sur Empire in north India. By origin he was an Afghan of sur tribes. He was born in Bihar in 1472 AD. His father Hasan Khan was the Jagirdar of Sasaram in Bihar. He was working under military service of Bahar Khan Lohani the Sultan of Bihar. When Bahar Khan died Sher Khan was appointed as the Guardian of his minor son Jalal Khan. Sher khan rose to be the virtual master of Bihar.  When the owner of the chunar fort died sher khan married to his widow and acquired the fort for himself. In the battle of surajgarh (1534 AD) sher khan defeated the combined army of Jalal Khan and Mohammad Shah Sultan of Bengal. This victory made the undisputed master of Bihar. In 1537 AD Sher Khan conquered Gaur the Capital of Bengal. Sher khan  defeated Humayun in the battle of Kannauj in 1540 AD and ascended the throne of Delhi. He assumed the Title of Sher Shah and issued coin in his own name. He conquered Punjab, Sind, Malwa, Gwalior and Marwar one by one and built a vast empire.  In 26th may 1545 AD he was killed in an accident. 

Sher shah Suri

Sher Shah's Administration

Sher Shah was a great conqueror as well as administrator of medieval India. He had both civil and military power in his hands. He was the source of all power. Sher shah was the first who attempted to to found an empire broadly based upon the people’s will. 

Sher Shah Suri followed Sultanate pattern. There were four ministers to assist him. 

Diwan – i- Ujjar — Department of Revenue and Finance

Diwan-i-Arz —  Department of Defense.

Diwan-i- Insah— it was working as a secretariat. It issued Royal orders. The head of the department was called Dabir. 

Diwan – i – Risalat— It was headed by Sadr. This department deals with the religious and foreign affairs matters.

Apart from ministers there were Diwan-i-Kazi and Diwan-i-Barid. These were the Head of the Intelligence department. They enjoyed the status of ministers.


Administrative Units

Sher Shah Suri divided his Kingdom into four 47 divisions called Sarkars. Sarkars were administered by  two high officials. 

Shiqdar-i-Shiqdaran – to maintain the law and order within the sarkar and to put down the revolt.

Munsif-i-munsifan- was primarily a Judge.

Every sarkar was further divided into ‘Parganas’. The important officials of a ‘Parganas’ were ‘Siqdar’, ‘Amin’, ‘Fotahdar’ and ‘Karkun’.

Siqdar – was the highest military officer of a ‘Pargana’. He maintained law and order of the Pargana.

Amin– supervise revenue administration and collection of revenue.

Fotehdar– all the collection were deposited with the Fotehdar.

Karkun– There were two Karkuns (clerk) in every Parganas. one for maintain records in Persian and other in Hindi.

Revenue System

The revenue policy of Sher Shah Suri made him famous in Indian History. On he basis of the fertility of soil  Lands were divided into three categories Good, Middle and Bad.  The state demand was fixed as one-third of the gross produce, which was payable either in cash or kind. The revenues were collected by the state officials like Chaudhuries, Muquadams, Amins and Patwaries. In addition to land revenue every peasant had to pay two more taxes Zariwana and Mahsilana.

Coinage System

The coins and currency reforms of Sher Shah was one of his most outstanding achievements.  He abolished all old and mined metal currency coins and  issued a large number of Silver  and copper  coins known as ‘Rupee’ and  ‘Dam’. The rupee lasted through out the Mughal period and was retained by East India Company upto 1835.

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Roads and Trade

Sher Shah made many roads to encourage the trade.  The most famous of them was Sarak-i-Azam connecting Sind with Sonargaon in Bengal. This 1400 mile road is known as Grand Trunk Road now a days. Besides this he built three more roads- they are

Agra to Burhanpur in the Deccan.

Agra to Jodhpur and Chittor in Rajputana.

Lahore to Multan which is now in Pakistan.

 These roads were lined with trees and wells. Sher Shah constructed 1700 sarais at a distance of every Kros. They played an important part in the expansion of Trade and commerce. Sher shah was the first ruler who introduced news service on the back of the horses. The sarais were also used as Dak- chowki. The king got daily report from different part of the country.


Sher Shah was a patron of Architecture. He constructed Rohtasgarh on the Jhelam. Purana Qila of Delhi and Qila -i-Kuhna Mosque are said to have been built by him. The most impressive sur architecture was Sher Shah’s tomb in Sasaram.

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