Sher Shah Suri (1486-1545), also known as Farid Khan, was the founder of the Sur Empire in India, with its capital in Sasaram in modern-day Bihar. He was an ethnic Afghan king who took control of the Mughal Empire in 1540, after defeating the second Mughal emperor Humayun at the Battle of Kannauj. He ruled for five years until his accidental death in 1545, during the siege of Kalinjar fort. He was succeeded by his son Islam Shah Suri, who continued the Sur dynasty until 1555, when Humayun regained the Mughal throne with the help of the Persian king Tahmasp I.
Sher Shah Suri was a brilliant strategist, administrator, and reformer, who introduced many innovations and improvements in the fields of military, revenue, law, trade, and communication. Some of his notable achievements are:
- He reorganized the army and introduced a system of branding horses and paying soldiers in cash. He also established a network of spies and informers to gather intelligence and maintain order.
- He reformed the land revenue system by conducting a regular survey and assessment of the land, classifying it into three categories based on its fertility and productivity. He fixed the state’s share of the produce at one-third, which was to be paid in cash or kind. He also appointed efficient and honest officers to collect the revenue and prevent corruption and oppression.
- He introduced a uniform and standard currency of silver coins called rupiya, which later became the basis of the modern rupee. He also issued copper coins called dam and gold coins called mohur. He regulated the weights and measures and improved the quality of the coins.
- He promoted trade and commerce by abolishing all kinds of taxes and tolls on goods and merchants. He also built a network of roads, bridges, caravanserais, and rest houses to facilitate the movement of goods and people. He laid four major highways that connected different parts of his empire and beyond. These were:
- Sonargaon (in present-day Bangladesh) to Sind (in present-day Pakistan)
- Agra (in present-day Uttar Pradesh) to Burhanpur (in present-day Madhya Pradesh)
- Jodhpur (in present-day Rajasthan) to Chittor (in present-day Rajasthan)
- Lahore (in present-day Pakistan) to Multan (in present-day Pakistan)
- He codified the laws and administered justice impartially. He appointed a chief justice called qazi-i-mumalik to oversee the judicial system. He also established a department of religious affairs called diwan-i-rasalat to supervise the matters of religion and charity.
- He patronized art, architecture, and literature. He built many monuments, forts, mosques, tombs, and gardens, such as the Rohtas Fort, the Sher Shah Suri Mosque, the Qila-i-Kuhna Mosque, and his own mausoleum in Sasaram. He also encouraged the development of the Persian and Hindi languages and literature.
Sher Shah Suri was one of the greatest rulers of medieval India, who challenged and defeated the Mughal Empire and established his own Sur Empire. He was a visionary leader who implemented many reforms and innovations that had a lasting impact on the history and culture of India. He is often called the “Just King” (Sultan Adil) for his fairness and benevolence. He is also regarded as the “Father of the Rupee” for his introduction of the standard currency. He died in 1545, leaving behind a legacy of excellence and achievement.
No, Sher Shah Suri was not a Mughal emperor. He was the founder of the Sur Empire in India, with its capital in Sasaram in modern-day Bihar .