Biography of Ibrahim Lodi (Delhi Sultan)
On the death of Sikandar Lodi, Ibrahim Lodi, his son, was elevated to the throne without any opposition. Dual monarchy which Sikandar Lodi had ended was revived under Ibrahim Lodi who installed his brother Jalal Khan as the independent ruler of Jaunpur. But soon on the advice of some wiser Pairs deputed an agent to persuade Jalal Khan to come to Delhi, but Jalal Khan refused to come. Ibrahim Lodi sent secret instructions to chief nobles and governors not to recognize Jalal Khan’s authority. In the circumstances, Jalal Khan was compelled to leave Jaunpur and return to his old fief of Kalpi, but soon by winning over the important amir Azam Humayun Sarwani to his side, he succeeded in recovering Awadh. But when Ibrahim Lodi marched to oppose Azam Humayun he came over to the side of the Sultan leaving the side of Jalal. Jalal in desperation proceeded towards Agra when Ibrahim Lodi’s general Malik Adam persuaded him to accept permanent assignment of the fief of Kalpi and to surrender his claim to sovereignty. But the arrangement was not ultimately agreed to by Ibrahim Lodi and Jalal fled to Gwalior, thence to Malwa. Being unwelcome there, he fled to the Gonds who betrayed him to the Sultan. Ibrahim sent him to Hansi where his other brothers were imprisoned, but was killed on his way.
Jalal Khan was given temporary asylum at Gwalior which was the pretext for completing by Ibrahim his father’s project of conquering this important Rajput state. Ibrahim Lodi sent an army comprising 30,000 horses, 3000 elephants under the leadership of Azam Humayun Sarwani, governor of Kara to lay siege of the fortress. In the meantime Raja Man who had defied Sikandar died. His son Vikramjit, unable to withstand the pressure of the Sultan’s forces surrendered at last. This was indeed an outstanding military achievement on the part of Ibrahim Lodi. But his attempt against Rana Sanga of Mewar failed totally.
Ibrahim Lodi was a good learner. Jalal Khan’s rebellion was a lesson to Ibrahim Lodi. He now decided to suppress the Afghan nobility with a heavy hand. While his father Sikandar was circumspect in his asserting royal authority on the Afghan followers, Ibrahim insisted on strict observance of court ceremonial and decorum by the Afghan nobility brushing off their minds all thoughts of equality and racial affinity with the Sultan. While the transformation might have been slowly and gradually effected, Ibrahim wanted to affect it all on a sudden. Without realizing that his success as ruler depended much on the support of his nobles, Ibrahim decided to destroy the very same men whose help he needed most. Even Azam Humayun Sarwar who contributed to Sultan’s victory over Gwalior was recalled from Gwalior and put in chains. Mian Bhuwah, who rendered meritorious service as wazir since the time of Sikandar was imprisoned.
The tyrannical conduct of the Sultan Ibrahim Lodi led to revolt of Azam Humayun Sarwar’s son Islam Khan at Kara. He was supported by two Lodi chiefs. Ibrahim Lodi sent an army against the insurgents but it was defeated. The insurgents who had raised an army 40,000 strong demanded Azam Humayun Sarwar’s release but Ibrahim refused to do so despite intercession of a Muslim saint. Ibrahim ordered Darya Khan Lohani, governor of Bihar, Nasir Khan Lohani, of Ghazipur, and Shaikh Muhammad Farmuli to join the royal army with their forces and the battle that followed 10,000 Afghans fell and the insurgents were defeated and Islam Khan was killed This victory made Ibrahim more ruthless instead of teaching him the lesson of the need of conciliation of the nobles. Mian Bhuwah was put to death and Azam Humayun Sarwani who died in captivity is supposed to have been killed under orders of the Sultan. Mian Hussian Farmuli was done to death at Chanderi. All this created a feeling of insecurity and consternation among the nobles who now contemplated a desperate course for their safety. Important Lodi and Farmuli amirs as well as Darya Khan Lohani whom Ibrahim decided to degrade next, organized themselves, Darya Khan cast off his allegiance to Ibrahim Lodi. But on his sudden death his son Bahar Khan took the leadership of the disaffected nobles. He assumed the title of Shah Muhammad and occupied the country from Bihar to Sambhal and after about two years had khutab read in his own name. He was joined by Nasir Khan Lohani, governor of Ghazipur, who was erstwhile supporter of Ibrahim, Fath Khan another son of Azam Humayun Sarwani and Sher Shah.
While Ibrahim Lodi was busy in fighting the rebellious amirs of the eastern provinces, Daulat Khan Lodi, governor of Punjab opened negotiations with Babur. As he was not able to organize revolt as that of the Afghan nobles of Bihar he preferred to turn to Babur for help sent his son to Kabul for the purpose. Almost at the same time Ibrahim Lodi’s uncle Alam Khan who had biding his time in Gujarat was requested by the disaffected amirs to replace Ibrahim Lodi. He also arrived at Kabul to seek Babur’s help. Babur who was eager to annex Punjab seized the opportunity and led an expedition in 1524 to Lahore where he defeated Ibrahim Lodi’s army under Bahar Khan Lodi. Daulat Khan who had fled towards Multan from where he came to Dipalpur to meet Babur. Babur instead of reinstating Daulat Khan appointed his own officials at Lahore assigning only a few small districts to the latter. Daulat Khan found that he had invited not a friend but a master. This infuriated him and on Babur’s retirement to Kabul joined Alam Khan in an attempt top capture Delhi on condition that Babur would be allowed to retain Punjab in full sovereignty. In 1525 Alam Khan and Daulat Khan’s combined forces attacked Delhi but were easily defeated by Ibrahim Lodi. Babur realizing that neither Alam Khan nor Daulat Khan could be relied on set out for a final and decisive invasion of India. The armies of Babur and Ibrahim Lodi clashed with each other at Panipat on April 20, 1526, and Ibrahim despite overwhelming superiority in numbers was defeated and slain. This historic victory in the battle of Panipat was due to Babur’s superior fighting tactics and skillful deployment of trained cavalry and a massive store of artillery.
Estimate: Endowed with courage and bravery, Sultan Ibrahim Lodi had qualities of an excellent warrior, but he was rash and impolitic in his decisions and actions. He was both honest and diligent and applied himself to public business with zest. His attempt at royal absolutism was premature and his policy of sheer repression unaccompanied by measures to strengthen the administration and increase the military resources was sure to prove a failure. He lacked foresight and he alienated the nobles at a time when external invasion loomed large in the north-west.
Ibrahim’s private life was beyond reproach and he was kindly towards his subjects and saints. He took steps for the improvement of agriculture and both the state and the nobles received their share in produce of the soil. People lived a happy life due to plenty and cheap prices. He died on April 21, 1526.