DELHI SULTANS Islam Shah 1545-54 AD rupee


DELHI SULTANS, Islam Shah, 1545-54 AD, rupee, 960 AH (1553 AD), no mint, Obverse: kalima in square, Reverse: bilingual legend in square, “1477” at top, silver, 32mm, 11.3g, GG-D980, shroff marks, XF

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Islam Shah was the second son of Sher Shah Suri. When Sher Shah died a clique of nobles put up Islam over his older brother, who raised an army, so there was the normal fratricidal war. The older brother lost and fled and vanished from history. Most of his reign was passed in internal administrative reform.

Dehli is how Delhi is written in Arabic. The Dehli Sultans, or “slave kings of Delhi,” started out as Turkish slave soldiers (mamluks). As mamluks were often given positions of responsibility by their owners, there was a tendency for them to usurp power and establish dynasties, and that’s what happened in Delhi. The reference used for the coins is “The Coins of the Indian Sultanates,” by Goenka and Goron.

The earliest ancient Indian coins were the “bent bar” punchmarked silvers of the Achaemenid Persians occupying Gandhara in northwest Pakistan. By the 3rd century BC coins were in general use in most of India and Ceylon, and in subsequent centuries struck round coins in gold, silver, and copper came into use throughout the subcontinent and beyond to Southeast Asia and Pacific islands to Java and beyond.