The Sur Empire founded by Sher Shah fell due to many causes. Some of them were as follows:
(1) His successors were thoroughly incompetent and unfit to carry on his work of reconstruction. Instead of trying to secure the support of all the sections of society, they created dissensions and group-rivalries. Islam Shah was responsible for the destruction of many of those nobles who had a lot under Sher Shah. The success of Sher Shah was due to a large extent to their whole-hearted devotion and bravery.
Islam Shah did not appreciate their contribution and as a matter of fact destroyed completely the very pillars of the Empire. Without such trusted officers as Khawas Khan, it was impossible to maintain the empire. Muhammad Adil was worse than his predecessor. Instead of setting the house in order, he added to the discontentment prevailing among the Afghan Chiefs. The rise of Hemu made them bitter and jealous.
(2) It has already been pointed out that in the time of Muhammad Adil, there were five Afghan rulers struggling for power. There was no national solidarity among the Afghans. They were quarreling among themselves unmindful of the fact that there was every possibility of the Mughals coming back under the leadership of Humayun and that is exactly what actually happened.
According to Dr. R.P. Tripathi, “The noble sentiment of Patriotism with which Sher Shah had been able to inspire and unite the Afghan nobles received such a shock at the hands of Islam Shah that it was practically destroyed. As soon as his commanding personality was removed, the pent-up feelings and ambitions of the Afghan Nobles were let loose.”
(3) Sher Shah worked with the ideal of bringing about regeneration among the Afghans and did all that he could, to bring them on a common platform. There was no much feeling among the Afghan Chiefs and his successors. They all struggled for personal gain. Rivalries and jealousies ruined the Afghans altogether.
(4) The character of the Afghans deteriorated. They lost all sense of self-respect. It is stated that when Hemu charged them with cowardice, they “swallowed his insults like sweetmeats.” The Afghans did not honour their word. They did not attach importance to the sanctity of their plighted word. Such a character cannot create or maintain empire. Only those nations rise which have regard for moral principles.
(5) The successors of Sher Shah ignored the lot of the peasantry. Nothing was done to protect them. The result was that they became indifferent towards the fate of Sur Dynasty.
The noble became tyrants and crushed the people. An empire which does not bother about the condition of the people cannot last long.
(6) The example of Sher Shah was forgotten. The forts which built in various , arts of the country for purposes of defence, became centres of mischief and sedition. A lot of money was wasted on punitive expeditions and bootless skirmishes. There was no proper collection of revenues. The officers kept the same to themselves. There was no audit of accounts and consequently a lot of money was embezzled. Poor finance weakens the foundations of the State.
(7) The Afghans did not bother to give justice to the people. The latter were ruled in an arbitrary manner. All kinds of punishments were inflicted on them. There was no regard for life or property. There was no bureaucracy devoted to the task of the State and no military class proud to die for its defence. There was absolutely no discipline anywhere. No wonder, the second Afghan Empire fell.
The importance of Sur Dynasty lies in the fact that it produced such a great men as Sher Shah who earned for himself a place of honour among the rulers and empire-builders of India. The changes made by him were adopted by Akbar and his successors as the basis of their government. After the fall of the Mughals, the English East India Company also retained the same administrative machinery more or less intact. It is clear that the genius of Sher Shah continued to affect the destiny of India for centuries.