Ibrahim Lodi, Last Sultan of Delhi

The Lodi dynasty of Delhi (1451-1526) founded by Sultan Bahlol Lodi in 1451 was the first Afghan empire in India. Sultan Ibrahim Lodi (r: 1517-1526), the grandson of Sultan Bahlol, was the third ruler of the Lodi dynasty.

After the death of Sultan Sikandar Lodi, the nobles of the court placed his son Ibrahim on the throne of Delhi on 22 November 1517. However, Jalal Khan, another son of  Sikandar Lodi and the governor of Kalpi, was made the ruler of Jaunpur. 

According to Ferishta, Ibrahim did not show favoritism towards his officers, unlike his father and grandfather. Ibrahim believed that kings should not show favoritism towards their officers, instead considering all as subjects of the state. This decision offended the Afghan chiefs, who were previously granted the privilege of sitting near the throne but were now compelled to stand before it, with their hands crossed. Unable to tolerate this insult, they conspired to place Jalal Khan on the throne of Jaunpur.

Nimatulla notes that, as the Afghan nobility did not want power and authority to be concentrated in a single person, they decided that Ibrahim should rule the country up to the border of the kingdom of Jaunpur. Meanwhile, Jalal Khan should establish himself as the ruler of Jaunpur, Bihar, and Bengal


Khan Jahan Lodi, a prominent amir of Sikandar Lodi and the governor of Rapri, arrived in Delhi to offer his congratulations to Sultan Ibrahim on his accession. He accused the nobles for causing division within the kingdom, warning them of the dire consequences it could bring. After careful consideration, it was decided that a decree should be sent to Jalal Khan, urging his immediate return to Delhi. An envoy was dispatched with skillfully crafted letters, hinting at a scheme that required his urgent support. However, Jalal Khan, sensing a plot against himself, politely declined the invitation. Despite numerous attempts by other envoys to persuade him, Jalal Khan remained steadfast in his refusal to return.

Following the advice of his counselors, Ibrahim issued firmans to the amirs of Jaunpur, bestowing them with honors and gifts, and forbidding them from pledging allegiance to Jalal. These measures proved effective, as amirs such as Darya Khan Nuhani of Bihar, Nasir Khan Nuhani of Ghazipur and Shaikhzada Muhammad Farmuli of Oudh, among others, renounced their support for Jalal Khan and aligned themselves with Ibrahim. Thus victorious Ibrahim celebrated his second coronation on 29 December 1517.

Historians have observed that during Ibrahim's rule, the prices of corn, clothes, and various merchandise became more affordable than ever before, rivaling only the reign of Ala-ud-din Khilji. However, Ala-ud-din resorted to intrusive interference, oppression, and a multitude of enforcements and punishments to control prices. In contrast, the affordability experienced under Sultan Ibrahim's rule was a direct consequence of bountiful harvests. The heavens blessed the land with precisely the right amount of rain, resulting in lush crops and a ten-fold increase in produce, surpassing the usual proportions.

Rebellion of Jalal Khan:

When Jalal Khan discovered that the influential leaders were supporting Ibrahim, he left Jaunpur with his loyal followers and established himself at Kalpi, assuming the title of Sultan Jalal-ud-din. Jalal Khan managed to convince Azam Humayun Shirwani, who was besieging Gwalior, to join him. Azam Humayun raised the siege of the fort and brought his troops to join Jalal Khan. Together they captured Jaunpur and advanced towards Oudh, defeating the governor Said Khan, who fled to Ibrahim.

Upon hearing news of Jalal Khan's rebellion, Ibrahim confined his brothers Ismail, Husain, Mahmud and Daulat in the fort of Hansi.

During his expedition to Oudh, Ibrahim received news that Azam Humayun Shirwani and his son Fath Khan had abandoned Jalal Khan and were on their way to join him. Ibrahim warmly welcomed them.

Subsequently, Ibrahim dispatched Azam Humayun and Nasir Khan Nuhani with a great force to confront Jalal Khan who had established himself at Kalpi. However, before they could reach Kalpi, Jalal Khan had already set off to attack Agra. The Delhi army besieged Kalpi and the city was plundered.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim sent Malik Adam Kakkar to defend Agra. Eventually, Jalal Khan agreed to a peace treaty proposed by Malik Adam Kakkar, who promised him governance of Kalpi if he submitted to Ibrahim. Unfortunately, Ibrahim rejected this peace treaty and marched against Jalal Khan. Learning this, Jalal Khan, now without an army, fled and took protection with Raja Man Singh of Gwalior.

Ibrahim then assigned Azam Humayun Shirwani to conquer the fort of Gwalior. By that time, Raja Man Singh had died and was succeeded by his son Bikramjit. The outer citadel of Badalgarh, along with the copper bull, was successfully captured. The copper bull was sent to Delhi and placed at the Baghdad gate. (During the reign of Akbar, it was melted down for making cannon.)

Jalal Khan fled from Gwalior and sought refuge with Sultan Mahmud of Malwa. However, displeased with his bahavior, Jalal Khan escaped to Garha Katanga. On his way, the Gonds took him prisoner, and handed over to Ibrahim. Jalal Khan was imprisoned in the fort of Hansi along with his brothers, but later met his death on the advice of Ibrahim's supporters.

Other Rebellions:

Historians note that Ibrahim gradually lost trust in the nobles of Sultan Sikandar's times and imprisoned most of them.

Miyan Bhua, the grand wazir of the late Sultan Sikandar Lodi, was imprisoned and put in chains in his old age. Nonetheless, Ibrahim granted Bhua's son the same rank and honours his father held in the court.

Azam Humayun Shirwani, who had almost conquered the Gwalior fort, was unexpectedly recalled to Agra and thrown into prison along with his son Fath Khan. When Islam Khan, another son of Azam Humayun, learned about his father's imprisonment, he rose in rebellion in Kara-Manikpur and emerged victorious over Ahmad Khan, who was sent to suppress the rebellion.

Azam Humayun Lodi and Said Khan, overwhelmed by the fear of Sultan Ibrahim, escaped to their jagirs. They began corresponding with Islam Khan Shirwani and planned a joint action against Ibrahim. Ibrahim Lodi sent a large army under Ahmad Khan, the brother of Azam Humayun Lodi, to quell the rebellion. In the final encounter with the rebels, the royal forces achieved victory. Islam Khan was slain on the battle field. Said Khan was taken prisoner.

Meanwhile, within the confines of their prison cells, Azam Humayun Shirwani and Miyan Bhua succumbed to their fate. The discontent among the amirs grew, leading to numerous uprisings throughout the kingdom.

Darya Khan Nuhani, the governor of Bihar, Khan Jahan Lodi and Miyan Ḥusain Farmuli, the governor of Chanderi, and many others defied the yoke of obedience. Ḥusain Farmuli was assassinated under Ibrahim's instigation. Around the same time, Darya Khan Nuhani died, and his son Bahar Khan revolted, seizing control of Bihar up to Sambal and proclaiming himself Sultan Muhammad Nuhani. Nasir Khan Nuhani also joined Muhammad Shah in his rebellion.

Dilawar Khan, the son of Daulat Khan Lodi, the governor of Lahore, was urgently summoned by Ibrahim to Agra, however, suspecting Ibrahim's intentions, Dilawar Khan returned to his father and informed that the Sultan had planned to destroy the old nobility.

With no hope of escaping the wrath and violence of Ibrahim, Daulat Khan formed an alliance with Ghazi Khan Lodi and other amirs of Punjab. They sent an invitation, conveyed by Alam Khan Lodi, Ibrahim's uncle, to the Timurid prince Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur in Kabul, urging him to overthrow Ibrahim.

The First Battle of Panipat

The First Battle of Panipat, which took place on 20 April 1526, between Babur and Ibrahim Lodi, marked a significant turning point in the history of India. The Afghans faced a crushing defeat in this battle. When the battle was about to lost, many of Ibrahim Lodi's advisors urged him to flee, but he staunchly refused, determined not to bring shame upon himself by fleeing from the battle field. Ultimately, Ibrahim was found among the slain.

With the fall of Sultan Ibrahim Lodi, the Delhi Sultanate came to an end, paving the way for the rise of the Mughal Empire.

Following the battle, Babur took Ibrahim's only son into custody. Nasiruddin Nasrat Shah, the Sultan of Bengal (r: 1519–1533), married Ibrahim's daughter, who sought refuge in Bengal along with numerous other Afghan nobles following Ibrahim's fall.

It is worth noting that Ibrahim Lodi stands as the sole king of Delhi to have achieved the honor of martyrdom on the battlefield. A remarkable 273 years later, in 1799, Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore, also met his fate on the battlefield while valiantly fighting against the British.


The second Afghan empire in India was the Sur dynasty.


Tarikh-i-Salatin-i-Afghana (history of the Afghan sultans) of Ahmed Yadgar

Tarikh-i-Khan Jahani Wa Makhzan-i-Afghani (a Complete History of the Afghans in Indo-Pak Sub-continent) by Khwaja Nimatulla