Sher Shah Suri Achievements
Achievements of Sher Shah Suri
Early life of Sher Shah Suri
Sher Shah Suri, also known as Sher Khan, is one of the most remarkable princes to have sat ever on the throne of Delhi.
His original name was Farid’s boyhood was spent in lonely but happy surroundings. His father, under the influence of his second wife, did not treat him as he should have done. At the age of fifteen Farid went to Jaunpur and spent several years there as a student. Later on, he came back to Sasaram and was entrusted by his father with the management of the jagir. But he could not long remain there and was forced to leave Sasaram. He went up to Agra in search of a livelihood and took up an appointment under Bahar Khan, an independent chieftain to Bihar, There he showed great courage and won from his master the title of Sher Khan by killing a tiger in course of a hunting excursion. A few years after, Sher Shah Suri entered the service of Babur and through his favour he got back his hereditary jagir. Soon after he became the Deputy-Governor of Bihar and carried on the government with remarkable efficiency. In 1530, he married the widow of late military governor of Chuar and secured through her the valuable possession of the fortress.
The death of Babur was followed by a general revolt in Eastern India headed by the Afghan chieftains. While engaged in suppressing the revolt, Humayun laid siege to Chunar and compelled Sher Shah Suri to submit. Soon afterwards Sher Shah Suri had to encounter a hostile opposition organized by the Afghan rulers of Bengal and Bihar. But Sher Shah proved him more than a match against his combined enemies and then defeated them in a battle fought at Surajgarh. This Victory brought him great prestige and he followed it up by an attack on Gour. The Sultan of Bengal was compelled to pay him a heavy indemnity (1536 A.D.). Early next year Sher repeated his invasion of Bengal and the news of his success brought Humayun to the scene. The Emperor of Delhi besieged Chunar and forced it to surrender. While he was thus engaged Sher Shah had strengthened his position by occupying Rohtas and by completing the conquest of Bengal. Humayun hurried towards Bengal. Sher retired at his approach, but did not remain inactive. While Humayun now marched towards Agra, but on his way Sher met him and in the battle fought at Chausa near Buxar, the Mughal Emperor was defeated (1539 A.D.). The losses suffered by Humayun were irreparable.
Immediately after this victory of Chausa Sher Khan assumed the title of Sher Shah and proclaimed his independent status. In 1540 was fought at Bilgram near Kanauj the second battle between Humayun and Sher Shah in which the latter came out successful. The unfortunate Mughal prince moved from place to place for shelter and being unable to obtain it was eventually forced to leave for Persia.
Sher Shah Suri a conqueror
Sher Shah marched against Humayun’s brother Kamran, defeated the Mughal forces near Lahore and occupied the Punjab. In 1542, he set out on an expedition against Malwa and compelled it to submit to his authority. In the same year he obtained the possession of the famous Rajput fortress of Ranthambhor through peaceful negotiations. Sher Shah was next drawn into hostility with Maldeo, the Rather ruler of Marwar. He outwitted his rival and obtained victory. He took recourse to treachery in his dealing with Puranmal of Raisin had made himself the master of the Rajput fortress (1543 A.D.). Next came the turn of Sind and Multan and both fell before his attack. Thus in course of a remarkable short span of time, Sher Shah succeeded in bringing under his immediate rule the whole extensive dominion from Ajmer to Mt. Abu. In 1545 while Sher was engaged in directing the siege operations against Kalanjar a heap of bombs caught fire and burnt his body. The fort was captured but Sher Shah died of wounds the same evening (1545 A.D.).
Sher Shah suri as a ruler
Great as a conqueror Sher Shah was equally great as a ruler. His reign lasted only for five years, but even within this brief period, he evolved a system of administration which remained substantially unchanged till the advent of the British in India. Akbar’s system of government was fundamentally based on that of Sher Shah. His title of fame thus rests upon his administrative reforms. He divided the empire into a number of administrative units known as Sarkars. Each Sarkar was again subdivided into a number of Parganas. He appointed an executive and a judicial officer for each one of these administrative units. He caused a survey of the lands to be made and fixed the revenue at one-fourth of the produce of the soil. He allowed the revenue to be paid either in kind or in cash. He introduced the system of granting Kabuliyat and Patta to each tenant, containing a record of the area of the land held by him and the total amount of revenue due from him.
Sher Shah reformed the existing currency and issued a new type of silver coins, called tonka, on which he caused his name to be engraved in Persian and Hindi scripts. He also considerably improved the means of communication. He constructed the famous Grand Trunk Road running from Bengal to Punjab, and planted trees and established resting places along the roads.
Sher Shah also improved the existing machinery for the administration of justice. He administered justice with strict impartiality and kept effective vigilance on the conduct of the judicial officers. He also re-organized the military administration and introduced strict discipline in the army. He was also a liberal patron of architecture and his mausoleum n at Sasaram is one of the most remarkable specimens of Indo-Muslim architecture.
Sher Shah was the first, among the Muslim rulers to recognize the fact that India was the land of the Hindus and the Muslims alike and he tried his best to reconcile the two elements as far as possible. He extended equal treatment to all sections of his subjects irrespective of the faith they professed. Some of the most responsible officials, civil and military, were recruited from among the Hindus.
Sher Shah ruled for five years only and even within this brief period he had left the traces of administrative talents permanently impressed. Had he lived longer he would have founded a stable Afghan Empire and the Empire of the Mughals would not perhaps have conic into existence in India. Of all the rulers of Mediaeval India he was undoubtedly the greatest.