Ibrahim Lodi (Sultan of Delhi) | Brief History
Sultan Ibrahim Lodi was born in the 15th century around 1480 AD. His father’s name was Sikandar Lodi. He ruled Delhi during the period of 1489 to 1517.
It was Sikandar Lodi who reconstructed Qutub Minar’s top two storeys. Ibrahim Lodi belonged to the Sunni Pashtun. He took over the throne in Agra as the Sultan of Delhi after his father Sikandar’s death in the year of 1517.
Ibrahim was the last ruler of Lodi dynasty. He ruled from the year of 1517 to 1526. This dynasty ruled over northern India and the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which is the present day Pakistan and Punjab. Sikandar Lodi was known among the people for his great administration and talents.
His son Ibrahim Lodi did not have any of the qualities or talents like him. This is why Ibrahim had to face a lot of rebellions during his rule. The Mewar ruler Rana Sangram Singh gave open threats to Ibrahim. Rana took over the parts of western Uttar Pradesh as well.
Even the eastern parts of Rana’s kingdom gave threats to Ibrahim Lodi. All these threats made Ibrahim to put the commanders who were loyal, less experienced and younger. These young commanders took the place of senior and old commanders. This decision of Ibrahim Lodi displeased many people.
Characteristics of Ibrahim Lodi
Ibrahim was a hard-working, laborious and capable Sultan of Delhi. He respected his subjects and always wanted a good welfare for them. He tried his level best to bring welfare to his subjects and was successful in it. During the rule of Ibrahim Lodi, the subjects were happy, contended and prosperous.
In terms of being a ruler, he matched his father and grandfather and also proved that he was also a good ruler like them. Ibrahim was not afraid of anything. He was a courageous and confident soldier. He was not only a determined soldier but also a successful commander.
When he had to fight with someone, he never lost hope. This can be better explained with one instance from the year of 1525. In 1525, Delhi was attacked by Daulat Khan Lodi and Alam Khan Lodi. They tried destroying Ibrahim Lodi’s main army and they were successful in this.
But Ibrahim did not lose hope and run away. Instead he was still there in the field with his bodyguards. Next morning he found that the soldiers from his enemy were busy in raiding. So, he decided to attack on them till they were forced to run away.
This act of Ibrahim Lodi was very daring on being the Sultan of Delhi. He always kept fighting no matter what happened and never ran away from his enemies.
Despite these good things, he had some flaws. Many times he was imprudent and rash. He failed to understand the feelings, sentiments and character of the people belonging to his race. He even took the decision on crushing the power of his possibility.
He remained obstinate on this decision till the very end. He even failed to understand that his Afghan nobles would be able to compromise with their self respect and spirit of independence very steadily. But the nobles slowly started to learn to respect Ibrahim Lodi as his father made a very diplomatic policy.
Even Ibrahim had to continue following the same policy which was made by his father. But on the other side, he attacked the self-respect and power of the nobles which aggravated their disobedient nature.
As Ibrahim Lodi was very obstinate in his nature he failed to compromise with the nobles and lost many opportunities for this. Due to this, there was conflict between the nobles and Ibrahim Lodi. This further made the empire very weak.
His subjects started to fear him. The conflict increased when Ibrahim replaced the old and senior commanders and put the young ones instead of them.
Reign of Ibrahim Lodi
The Afghan nobles had a group division of two. So, they wanted that the empire should also be divided into two parts. Jalal Khan was the brother of Ibrahim Lodi. Ibrahim agreed to his proposal and thus Jalal Khan became the ruler of Jaunpur. But later Ibrahim felt that he should not have agreed to the proposal of his brother.
So, he decided to change his mind. As he changed his decision, there was a conflict between both of them. In this conflict Jalal Khan lost and Ibrahim poisoned him to death. He was ruthless to all the people who supported Jalal Khan and punished them.
This behaviour of Ibrahim made the Aghan nobles distrust him. Jalal Khan was once given shelter by the ruler of Gwalior who was a Rajput. This is why they attacked Gwalior, took over it and brought it under his kingdom.
Another reason due to which there was conflict between Ibrahim and the nobles was that he behaved with his Aghan Nobles as if they were his servants. The conflict later resulted into an incomparable battle. There were streams of blood everywhere.
The dead bodies lay one over the other. It became impossible to count the number of heads that lay on the ground and till today no one can remember about the count. Everyone fought in the battle. It did not matter if one brother was fighting against another brother or the son was fighting against his father.
Ibrahim was happy that he took over Gwalior. So, he decided to take over Mewar as well. Rana Sanga who was a great warrior was the ruler of Mewar. Ibrahim lost his prestige and most of his resources while conquering Mewar.
There were many Aghan nobles who did not like Ibrahim Lodi. They wanted to take revenge from him. Daulat Khan Lodi who was the governor of Punjab and Ibrahim’s uncle Alam Khan Lodi took revenge from him by cooperating with Babur.
Babur had already planned to take over. This revenge resulted in the Battle of Panipat in the year of 1526.
Death of Ibrahim Lodi
On 26th April, 1526 Ibrahim finally faced Babur at Panipat. He had around 1lakh soldiers with him when he faced Babur. His army was larger in number compared to Babur’s. But number alone does not matter.
Babur’s army was far more superior in quality than Ibrahim’s army. Ibrahim and his army fought continuously. But they were defeated and killed. Ibrahim Lodi died while fighting in the battle which thus brought an end to the rule of the Lodi dynasty and the Mughal rule began in India.
Reasons responsible for the defeat of Ibrahim Lodi against Babur in the first Battle of Panipat
Ibrahim’s army was large in number in comparison to Babur’s army. But quality is more important than the number. So, Babur’s army was very superior to Ibrahim’s army in terms of quality. Despite being small in number, Babur’s army defeated the army of Ibrahim Lodi.
There were many reasons due to which Ibrahim lost against Babur. First, he became less popular among the general public due to his ruthless behaviour and massacres of his enemies. All these made his own people go against him. Babur’s army knew how to use the artillery.
This was just the opposite in case of Ibrahim’s army. His army did not know how to use the artillery properly. This was an important reason for their defeat.
Babur’s army was well acquainted with the war tactics. They were very cooperative, disciplined and also knew how to create panic in the enemy’s army. While Ibrahim’s army was not disciplined, untrained and was not organized properly.
The main reason why Babur’s army won was that their ruler, that is, Babur was very confident and had great willpower. His soldiers were very loyal to him. Ibrahim was the opposite of Babur. He was a careless ruler, inexperienced and fought against the enemies without making any proper plan.
Ibrahim’s army fought in the battle just for getting money. But Babur’s army did not think of monetary benefit. They fought because they respected Babur and could do anything for him, even sacrifice themselves. At this point of time the political condition in India was not good and there was a lack of unity.
This helped Babur to take over small states rather than fighting against the powerful empires. Not only this, there were problems between the Hindu and Muslim community. Babur took advantage of this and benefitted the Mughals. This is how Ibrahim Lodi lost against Babur.
Even though Ibrahim was rash and imprudent, he was an excellent warrior. He was an honest man and enthusiastic. He separated the nobles during such a time when his kingdom was invaded by external powers. He was kind towards the subjects and worked for their welfare.