Last Rulers of Suri Dynasty

Mubariz Khan, the son of Nizam Khan and brother of Sher Shah Suri, seized power of the Sur Empire by assassinating prince Firoz Shah. He ascended the throne at Gwalior and adopted the title of Muhammad Shah Adil (r: 1555), but is more commonly known as Adali.

According to Abul Fazl, the name Adali translates to Tyrant. "The people used to call him Adali, and went so far as to alter the letters of this name and convert it into Andhali, which means blind", notes Badauni.


Hemu in the Service of Adali:

Hemu, a Hindu shopkeeper from Rewari, rose to a position of great honor, eventually being appointed as the Superintendent of the Markets. He earned the trust of Adali, becoming his confidant and commander-in-chief.

Adali was a king who indulged in pleasure, neglecting state affairs. Shortly after his reign began, rebellions erupted throughout the kingdom, leading to the fragmentation of the Sur empire.

The turmoil began during a council meeting where jagirs were being distributed, resulting in the transfer of the government of Kannauj from Muhammad Shah Fermuli to Sarmast Khan Sarwani. This decision provoked Sikandar Khan, Fermuli's son, who openly insulted Sarmast Khan. Despite Sarmishta Khan's efforts to pacify him, Sikandar drew his sword and put him to death. Witnessing this, Adali fled to his private quarters, with Sikandar in pursuit. At this time, Ibrahim Khan Suri, Adali's brother-in-law, attacked Sikandar and killed him. Subsequently, Daulat Khan Lohani assassinated Muhammad Shah Fermuli.

Taj Khan Karrani, fearing for his life, fled from the council at Gwalior towards Bengal. Adali sent an army under Hemu to pursue him. Hemu ultimately defeated Taj Khan at Chhibramau.

Following his defeat, Taj Khan fled to Chunar where he joined forces with his brothers, Imad, Sulaiman Khan, and Khwaja Ilyas, inciting a rebellion. Adali moved to Chunar and dispatched Hemu with a strong force against the Karranians. Hemu emerged victorious, leading to the recapture of Chunar. Taj Khan (r: 1564-1566), sought refuge in Bengal, where he founded the Karrani dynasty, later succeeded by his brother Sulaiman Khan (r: 1566-1572).

Hemu's power and influence grew significantly after his victories. Historian Abdullah notes that when Hemu returned triumphant to Adali, he was honored with the title of Raja Bikramajit. "From that period, the whole management of the State devolved upon him, and so entirely did he assume the mastery, that no public order emanated from Adali, who, however, remained free to regulate his own bread and water, and retained still the treasury and elephants in his own charge", says Abdullah.

Upon becoming the vizier, Hemu began issuing public orders, making appointments, and carrying out dismissals. "The Afghan amirs evinced a great repugnance to obey him, and aroused widespread feelings of shame", remarks Badauni and other historians.

Rebellions of Ibrahim Sur, Sikandar Sur and Muhammad Sur:

Ibrahim Suri occupies Delhi:

During this period, Ibrahim Khan Suri fled from the court to his father at Bayana. Adali sent Isa Khan Lohani to pursue him. However, Isa Khan was defeated in the ensuing battle at Kalpi. Ibrahim, emboldened by this victory, mustered an army and marched towards Delhi, where he ascended the throne. He then advanced towards Agra and reduced its dependencies. Adali attempted to confront him, but Ibrahim skillfully garnered support from many of Adali's chiefs, forcing Adali to retreat to Chunar.

Sikandar Suri occupies Delhi:

Ahmad Khan, the governor of Punjab and Adali's brother-in-law, declared independence and assumed the title of Sikandar Suri. He led his forces against Ibrahim, achieving a decisive victory near Agra. Sikandar seized control of Agra, Delhi, and Punjab. Ibrahim fled to Sambhal. Sikandar then marched to Delhi, subjugating neighboring provinces while Ibrahim raised a new force and proceeded to Kalpi.

Humayun's Return to India:

Meanwhile, news of the civil war among Salim Shah Suri's successors reached Humayun, who marched to Hindustan to recapture his lost empire. Sikandar moved to Punjab to oppose him. In the action, Sikandar was defeated who fled towards the mountains of Punjab.

Upon learning of Ibrahim's arrival at Kalpi, Adali sent Hemu to Agra and Delhi, instructing him to engage Ibrahim before advancing to Agra. Hemu successfully defeated Ibrahim at Kalpi, causing him to seek refuge with his father at Bayana. Hemu then laid siege to the fort of Bayana for three months.

In the midst of these conflicts, Muhammad Shah, the governor of Bengal, rebelled and set out to conquer Jaunpur, Kalpi and Agra. Upon hearing this news, Adali, instructed Hemu to lift the siege of Bayana and return to his presence.

As Hemu reached Mundagar, Ibrahim came out of the fort of Bayana and engaged him in battle, but repulsed. Ibrahim then fled towards Rewa, where he clashed with Raja Ram Chand Baghela and was ultimately captured. Eventually, Ibrahim obtained his release by the interpose of the Miana Afghans of Raisen, who made Ibrahim their leader in their fight against Baz Bahadur, the ruler of Malwa. Rani Durgavati of Garha Katanga also joined forces with Ibrahim, but Baz Bahadur managed to make peace with her, preventing her from aiding Ibrahim. Fearing for his safety, Ibrahim headed towards Orissa, where he met a treacherous end at the hands of Sulaiman Khan Karrani in 1567.

Following the defeat of Sikandar Suri, Humayun triumphantly re-entered Delhi in July 1555 and became the king of India for the second time. His son Akbar was sent to Punjab to deal with Sikandar Suri, who eventually surrendered to Akbar and later died at Bengal in 1559.

Upon returning to Adali, Hemu confronted and killed Muhammad Shah Suri at Chhapparghatta in December 1555.

Humayun's Death & Accession of Akbar: As Adali was preparing for war against Humayun, he received news of Humayun's death and Akbar's coronation at Punjab.

Hemu's Defeat and Death: Adali dispatched Hemu with fifty thousand horse and five hundred elephants towards Agra. Upon his arrival in Agra, the Mughal governor Sikandar Khan Uzbek, abandoned the city and fled to Delhi. After occupying Agra, Hemu marched towards Delhi, where he defeated Tardi Beg Khan, the Mughal governor. 

After a brief stay in Delhi, Hemu marched against Akbar, who was en route to Delhi with his guardian Bairam Khan. A fierce battle took place at Panipat on 5 November 1556, in which Hemu was captured and slain. Hemu's defeat in the 2nd battle of Panipat led to Akbar re-establishing the Mughal empire in India.

Death of Adali:

Adali was at Chunar when he received news of Hemu's death. Meanwhile, Khizr Khan, son of Muhammad Shah Sur, succeeded his father at Bengal under the title of Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah (r: 1555-1561). Seeking revenge for his father's death, Bahadur Shah marched against Adali. Despite being outnumbered, Adali fought valiantly but was ultimately defeated and killed in a battle at Surajgarh in 1556-57.

Adali's son took over at Chunar, assuming the title of Sher Shah. He set forth to capture Jaunpur. Khan Zaman, the governor of Jaunpur under Akbar, led the Mughal forces to victory, causing the Afghan army to flee. Adali's son was never heard of again, marking the end of the dynasty of Sher Shah Suri.

Adali was known for his expertise in singing and dancing. Miyan Tansen, the renowned musician, and Baz Bahadur were his pupils.


The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. Elliot & Dowson


Abul Fazl says that Hemu did not know how to ride a horse, but always rode on an elephant.