Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sher Shah Suri

Sher Shah Suri was the founder of Sur dynasty in India. Born in 1486,he was the son of a jagirdar of Sasaram, Bihar. His original name was Farid. He left his home at the age of 15 and went to Jaunpur. There he studied Arabic and Persian languages. He had very good administrative skills as a result he was appointed by his father to manage his jagir, but due to some reasons he left it and joined the service of Mughal Emperor Babar. In 1522 he joined the service of Bahar Khan, governor of Bihar at that time. He was given the title of Sher Khan by Bahar Khan, for the courage and gallantry shown by him in killing a tiger single-handedly. Later Bahar Khan appointed him as a deputy governor and tutor of his son Jalal Khan. He again joined the service of Babur but came back. As Jalal Khan was a minor so Sher Khan was the virtual ruler of Bihar. In 1531, he asserted his freedom from the Mughal ruler Humayun. He fought many battles with him, initially capturing Gaur in Bengal and finally getting the throne of Delhi after the battle of Kannauj in 1540. He continued to expand his empire and in a very short span of time his kingdom extended from Indus in the east to Bengal in the west. He was a brave soldier and a military genius, he made bunkers using sand bags in the battle of Mevat.

He was a very able administrator and is remembered for his rule and the reforms he introduced. His administration was very efficient but a bit strict. He divided his empire into provinces known as Sarkars, these were further sub-divided into Parganas and these were again divided into smaller units. He is believed to be the first one to introduce "Rupaiya" and "paisa' in place of "Tanka". He is also credited with the introduction of custom duty, which is followed even today.

He built many inns, mosques and laid down the network of roads the most famous among them being the Grand Trunk Road. He also had a refined taste in architecture, it is evident in the Rohtas Fort built by him.

He continued his administrative as well as military activities simultaneously. He besieged the strong fort of Kalinjar in Bundelkhand where he died at in an accidental explosion of gunpowder in 1545. Though he ruled India for a short period of five years but changes made by him had the everlasting impact on the lives of people. He is considered to be the most successful ruler of medieval India. In the opinion of S.A. Rashid, as an able general, consummate soldier, as a determined ruler Sher Shah stand head over shoulders above the other rulers. So great was his personality that his greatest enemy, Humayun, on his death referred to him as "Ustad-I-Badshahan", teacher of kings. Sher Shah Suri was succeeded by his son Jalal Khan who later adopted the name of Islam Shah. He built a magnificent tomb of his father, Sher Shah Suri at Sasaram, Bihar.







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