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Consider the following two statements A and B about ‘Bandagan’ in the early Delhi Sultanate and choose the correct answer:

A. ‘Bandagan’ were special slaves purchased for military service and were trained with great care to hold the most important political offices in the kingdom.

B. ‘Bandagan’ were totally dependent upon their masters. So the Sultans could not trust and rely upon them.


1. A is true and B is false
2. A is false and B is true
3. Both A and B are true
4.

Both A and B are false

1 Answer

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Best answer
Correct Answer - Option 1 : A is true and B is false

The Delhi Sultanate was an Islamic empire based in Delhi that stretched over large parts of the Indian subcontinent for 320 years. The early Delhi Sultans did not favour the appointing of aristocrats and landed chieftains as governors.

Bandagan:

  • Iltutmish favoured their special slaves purchased for military service, called bandagan in Persian.
  • They were carefully trained to man some of the most important political offices in the kingdom.
  • Since they were totally dependent upon their master, the Sultan could trust and rely upon them.
  • The Sultans were advised that a slave, whom one has brought up and promoted, must be looked after for it needs a whole lifetime and good luck to find a worthy and experienced slave.
  • Wise men have said that a worthy and experienced slave is better than a son.
  • The Khaljis and Tughluqs continued to use bandagan and also raised people of humble birth, who were often their clients, to high political positions.
  • They were appointed as generals and governors. However, this also introduced an element of political instability.

Hence, the correct answer is option 1.

  • Slaves and clients were loyal to their masters and patrons, but not to their heirs.
  • New Sultans had their own servants. As a result the accession of a new monarch often saw conflict between the old and the new nobility.
  • The patronage of these humble people by the Delhi Sultans also shocked many elites and the authors of Persian tawarikh criticized the Delhi Sultans for appointing the “low and base-born” to high offices.

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