Bahlul Khan Lodi

29th Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate and 1st from the Lodi dynasty

Bahlul Khan Lodi (Persian: بهلول لودی; 12 July 1489) was the chief of the Afghan Lodi tribe. Founder of the Lodi dynasty from the Delhi Sultanate upon the abdication of the last claimant from the previous Sayyid rule. Bahlul became sultan of the dynasty on 19 April 1451 (855 AH).


  • Like Ikhtiyaruddin Bakhtiyar Khalji before him, Bahlul Lodi also turned a freebooter in his exertions to attain to power and with his gains from plunder built up a strong force. This policy of totally destroying villages and towns continued even when he became the Sultan. According to Abdullah, the Sultan plundered Nimsar Misrik in Hardoi district and “depopulated it of all riff-raff and undesirable elements.”
    • Abdullah, Tarikh-i-Daudi, 25; Ahmad Yadgar, Tarikh-i-Salatin-i-Afghana, 23-27, 68; Babur-Nama, trs. A. Beveridge, 487; Nizamuddin Ahmad, Tabqat-i-Akbari, I, 342-43; Tarikh-i-Daudi,107; Mankhzan-i-Afghani, 74(a). Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 6
  • Abbas relates how Sultan Bahlul Lodi was at first just one of many petty kings of Northern India who was left at peace so long as he remained stuck within the walls of Delhi, but whose city was besieged by the sultan of Jaunpur as soon as he had left it on an expedition to subdue Multan. Bahlul, however, knew his rivals’ weak spot. He told his nobles that none of these kings had a ‘national [gaumdar] following of their own’, whereas, far in the northwest, he had a large number of kinsmen who were valorous and poor and who, if brought to India, would firmly establish his hold over the country. A message was sent to the chiefs of Afghanistan in which Bahlul told them that the preservation of the honour of their kinswomen in Delhi was their affair as well as his. He would share all his possessions with them, he said, as with brothers, keeping only the sovereignty of India for himself. And so they descended to the plains ‘like ants and locusts’, as the usual cliché has it, to serve Bahlul. The Jaunpur king could not withstand these spirited tribesmen. It is true that he had ‘elephants like mountains’ and ‘innumerable zamindars’, but he lacked, Abbas implies, the human resources that Bahlul now commanded: ‘dear and near ones ... imbued with the spirit of honour and prestige’. Jaunpur was defeated. The Afghans were richly rewarded with iq¢a‘s (fiefs) and more of them began to stream into Hindustan every day.”
    • Dirk H.A. Kolff - Naukar, Rajput, and Sepoy_ The Ethnohistory of the Military Labour Market of Hindustan, 1450 1850 (1990, Cambridge University Press) 33-4. also quoted in Jain, M. (2010). Parallel pathways: Essays on Hindu-Muslim relations, 1707-1857.
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