Short Essay on Sher Shah Suri (1540 AD to 1555 AD)

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Sher Shah’s empire extended from Bengal to the Indus, excluding Kashmir. Sher Shah defeated Maldeo of Mewar, his chief opponent, at Samel (1544). At his death, Sher Shah was succeeded by his second son, Islam Shah (1545-53), who spent most of his time putting down rebellions. At his death in 1553, there was civil war among his successors and Humayun managed to recover his empire.

Sher Shah is well known for fostering trade and commerce, improving roads (the Grand Trunk Road), building sarais for travellers, etc. His currency reforms helped commerce and handicrafts. He struck fine gold, silver and copper coins of uniform standard in place of the debased coins of mixed metal.

He did not make many changes in the administrative divisions prevailing since the time of the sultanate, but paid special attention to, and improved the land revenue system, the army and justice. Schedules of rates (called ‘ray’) were drawn up, laying down the States’s share of the different types of crops. The State share was fixed at one-third of the produce.

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Sher Shah also set up a strong army. He recruited soldiers directly. Every soldier had his chehra (descriptive role) recorded and his horse branded (dagh). He also made the dispensation of justice more fair. His successor, Islam Shah, codified the laws and also tried to curb the power °f the nobles and to pay cash salaries to soldiers.

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