Bengal Sultanate - Facts for UPSC

The Bengal Sultanate was a sovereign state that encompassed present-day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal and the Myanmarese state of Rakhine between the 14th and 16th centuries. The topic, ‘Sultans of Bengal’ is an important segment of Medieval Indian History of the UPSC Syllabus.

The aspirants can read some related articles from History syllabus linked below:

History of Bengal Sultanate

Bengal was gradually absorbed into the Delhi Sultanate during the 1200s. It began with Bakhtiar Khilji’s conquest of Gauda between 1202 and 1204 during the reign of Muhammad of Ghor. After the assassination of Bakhtiar Khalji by his own officer Ali Mardan in 1206, Bengal was administered by various Maliks belonging to the Khalji tribe (except a brief interregnum by Ali Mardan himself) till Delhi Sultan Iltutmish sent forces under his son, Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, to bring Bengal under the direct control of the Delhi Sultans

The Bengal Sultanate arose after the reign of Muhammad Bin Tughlaq of the Tughlaq Dynasty. The other territories that rebelled and declared independence post-Muhammad Bin Tughlaq’s reign were:

  1. Bahamani Sultanate – 1347 to 1518 AD
  2. Khandesh – 1382 – 1601 AD
  3. Malwa – 1392 – 1562 AD
  4. Gujarat – 1391 – 1583 AD
  5. Jaunpur – 1394 – 1479 AD
  6. Vijaynagara Kingdom – 1336 – 1565 AD

Important Facts about Sultans of Bengal for UPSC

There were different dynasties that ruled under Bengal Sultanate:

  1. Odisha, Arakan, Tripura were some of the vassals of the Bengal Sultanate.
  2. Bengal Sultanate’s city of Gaur was established at Lakhnavati which was the former capital of Pala Kings.
  3. Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah by 1352 declared himself Sultan of Bengal.
  4. Gaud was the capital city of Bengal Sultanate but Alauddin Ali Shah shifted the capital to Pandua.
  5. Nasiruddin Muhammad Shah IV shifted the capital from Pandua to Gaur around 1437.
  6. Gaud or Gaur has been the important mint city of Bengal Sultanate.
  7. Gaur and Pandua were the centres of cultural activities.

Bengal Sultanate Rulers

Ilyas Shahi Dynasty (1342-1415)

  1. Ilyas Shah:
    • He was the founder of Ilyas Shahi Dynasty.
    • Pandua was the capital of the Bengal Sultanate under his reign.
    • Firoz Shah Tughluq defeated Ilyas Shah in the Delhi Sultanate’s war with Bengal Sultanate.
  2. Sikandar Shah
    • He was the son of Ilyas Shah.
    • He defeated Firoz Shah Tughlaq and the latter acknowledged the independence of Bengal Sultanate.
    • Adina Mosque was built during Sikandar Shah’s reign.
  3. Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah
    • He was the third Bengal Sultan.
    • He expanded the Bengal’s influence in the foreign territories, especially to Ming Dynasty.
    • Ramayan was translated into Bengali by Krittibas Ojha during his reign.

Ganesha Dynasty (1414-1432/35)

  1. Raja Ganesha
    • He was the founder of Ganesha Dynasty.
    • Gaur was the capital city.
  2. Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah
    • He was the son of Raja Ganesha and a convert to Islam.
    • He contributed to the reconquest of Arakan.
    • Fatehabad (Now, Faridpur in Bangladesh) came under his control.

Note: It is said that Ilyas Shahi Dynasty was restored in 1432 and after Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah, around nine rulers reigned the Bengal Sultanate. The second phase of Ilyas Shahi dynasty ended in around 1487.

UPSC 2021

Hussain Shahi Dynasty (1494-1538)

  1. Allaudin Hussain Shah
    • He was the founder of Hussain Shahi dynasty.
    • Bengal Sultanate-Kamata Kingdom War led to the conquer of large parts of Assam.
    • After the Bengal Sultanate–Kingdom of Mrauk U War; Bengali sovereignty in Chittagong and northern Arakan was restored.
    • He was famously called Akbar of Bengal.
    • He was the contemporary of Bahlol Lodi of Lodi dynasty.
  2. Ghiyasuddin Muhammad Shah
    • He was the last sultan of Hussain Shahi Dynasty.
    • Factories were established in Chittagong and Hoogli after he permitted the Portuguese.
    • Sher Shah Suri of Sur Dynasty defeated him and his Portuguese allies in 1538.

Facts about Bengal Sultanate Coins for UPSC

  1. The coins of the Bengal Sultans often bore the name of the contemporary Abbasid Caliph. In many coins, both names of Abbasid Caliph and Bengal Sultan were inscribed.
  2. Hussain Shah minted coins with the proclamation “conqueror of Kamrupa, Kamata, Jajnagar and Orissa.
  3. Taka coins were minted in the mint towns of Bengal Sultanate.
  4. Coins were often minted in Arabic and Bengali inscriptions.
  5. The name of Bengal Sultan was inscribed on silver coins.

Related Articles:

Vassal Sates of Sultan of Bengal

  1. Arakan
  2. Chandradwip
  3. Pratapgarh
  4. Tripura
  5. Odissa

Conclusion:

The Bengal Sultanate was a regional power and a melting pot of diverse Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, located at the crossroads of modern South Asia and Southeast Asia. The Bengal Sultanate governed its territories through a network of administrative centres which served as regional capitals and minted currency. These cities were district headquarters and contributed to urbanization. They received migrants from other parts of the Muslim world, including North India and the Middle East.

Frequently asked Questions about the Bengal Sultanate

What territories did the Bengal Sultanate cover?

The Sultanate of Bengal ,also known as the Bengal Sultanate or simply Bengal was an empire based in Bengal for much of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. It was the dominant power of the Ganges–Brahmaputra Delta, with a network of mint towns spread across the region. The Bengal Sultanate had a circle of vassal states, including Odisha in the southwest, Arakan in the southeast, and Tripura in the east

What was the lingua-franca of the Bengal Sultanate?

While Persian was used as the primary official, diplomatic and commercial language, it was under the Sultans that the Bengali language first received court recognition as an official language too

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