Reign of Salim Shah Suri (Part 2)

Salim Shah Suri was the youngest son and successor of Sher Shah Suri. If you missed Part 1 of his reign, you can find it Here.

In Part 1, we discussed the rebellion of the Niazis. After the defeat of the Niazi brothers, they sought refuge in the hills of Kashmir. Their presence continued to pose a threat to Salim Shah.

First Murder Attempt:

Meanwhile at Mankot, an assassination plot was orchestrated against Salim Shah by Iqbal Khan, which ultimately failed. Salim Shah had raised Iqbal Khan from a very lowest position to eminence. Surprisingly, he spared Iqbal Khan's life, but deprived him of his high rank, stating, "I am heartily ashamed to destroy the man of my own training."

End of the Niazis:

The death of the three Niazi brothers - Azam Humayun, Said Khan, and Shahbaz Khan - in a fierce battle near Kashmir brought a sense of relief to Salim Shah.

Rebellion of Shujaat Khan:

Growing suspicious of Salim Shah's intentions, Shujaat Khan fled from the court. His adopted son, Daulat Khan Ujala, a close friend of Salim Shah, pleaded for his father's forgiveness, which was eventually granted. Shujaat Khan later returned to the court, offering his submission and was granted the districts of Raisin and Sarangpur.

Assassination of Khawas Khan:

Sahib Khan was given the title of Khawas Khan by Sher Shah Suri after his elder brother tragically drowned in the ditch of the fort of Gaur. Khawas Khan encountered a minor conflict with Prince Jalal Khan, who later became known as Salim Shah, during the siege of Gaur. Khawas Khan proposed an immediate attack on Gaur, which Jalal Khan preferred to allow the soldiers some time to rest before engaging in another battle. Despite Jalal Khan's reluctance, Khawas Khan informed him of the battle plan and led his army into battle. Frustrated, Jalal Khan eventually joined the fight with his troops, but by the time he arrived, Khawas Khan had already captured the fortress. Jalal Khan then reported this victory to his father, attributing the success to Khawas Khan.

Following his departure from the battlefield in Ambala, Khawas Khan fled towards Lahore. Salim Shah then appointed Shams Khan Luhani as the governor of Lahore. Khawas Khan even made an attempt to capture Lahore, though it failed. Khawas Khan was eventually sought refuge in the dominions of the Raja of Kumaon hills.

Salim Shah appointed Taj Khan Karrani to the district of Sambhal, and instructed him to use all means necessary to persuade Khawas Khan to come down from the Kumaon hills. Taj Khan's attempts to persuade the Raja of Kumaon to surrender Khawas Khan were met with resistance, prompting Salim Shah to resort to treachery. 

Salim Shah personally wrote a treacherous message to Khawas Khan, claiming to have forgiven him and accusing the Rana of Udaipur of looting royal treasures and abducting Muslim women and children. He expressed that all hopes now rested on Khawas Khan.

Despite the Raja's warnings, Khawas Khan proceeded to Agra. As he neared Sambhal, Taj Khan advanced to meet him and treacherously executed him. Taj Khan then sent Khawas Khan's head to Salim Shah in Delhi.

Expels Humayun: 

About the year 1552, during Salim's conflict with the Niazis, Mirza Kamran sought refuge with him after fleeing from his brother Humayun. Abul Fazl noted that Salim Shah received Kamran in a manner that was considered inappropriate, even for enemies or street dogs.

Gulbadan Begum provides further insight into the event in her book Humayun-nama: Salim Shah gave Kamran a thousand rupees. Kamran then revealed his predicament and requested assistance. Salim Shah did not openly express his thoughts, but privately questioned how one could aid a man who had killed his own brother, Mirza Hindal. He believed it was best to eliminate Kamran.

Upon learning of Salim Shah's intentions, Kamran managed to escape one night, leaving his followers behind. When Salim Shah learned of Kamran's escape, he imprisoned many of Kamran's men.

Abul Fazl adds that Salim's plan was to imprison Kamran. Realizing the situation and seeing no hope of assistance or his own release, Kamran decided to flee.

Meanwhile, Humayun crossed the Indus and entered Hindustan in pursuit of Kamran. Salim Shah was ill in Delhi at the time, undergoing a treatment involving leeches applied to his throat. Upon hearing the news, he removed the leeches and headed towards Lahore.

By that time, the Gakhar chief, Adam Gakhar, who was loyal to Humayun, captured Kamran and surrendered him to Humayun. Humayun, who was planning to conquer Kashmir, had to return to Kabul upon hearing of Salim Shah's march.

Second Murder Attempt:

Near Antri, a bandit group, instigated by Salim's enemies, made a second attempt on his life. He seized and punished the chief conspirators. Following this incident, Salim became increasingly distrustful of his nobles, leading to the imprisonment or execution of many on mere suspicion.

Meanwhile, Some nobles plotted to overthrow Salim Shah and install his cousin and brother-in-law, Mubariz Khan, who later became known as Emperor Adali, as the new ruler. Salim Shah learned of this treachery and began strategizing how to handle the situation. However, before he could take action, he fell ill.

Last Days of Salim Shah:

A painful boil erupted on the King, causing inflammation to spread throughout his body. Despite consulting numerous physicians and trying various medicines, the inflammation only worsened. His health declined to the point where he struggled to eat, sleep, and remain conscious. In moments of sanity, he gazed at Daulat Khan Ujala with tears streaming down his face.

"I had great confidence in my own strength, and I have subdued all men; but this thing is stronger than I am, and I find myself weaker and more helpless than the ant. I now know myself!" said Salim Shah in his last moment.

Salim Shah Suri passed away at Gwalior on 22 November, 1554, after a reign of 8 years and 9 months. Salim Shah's wife was his cousin, Bibi Bai.

Death of Salim Shah - Different Accounts:

"He was taken suddenly ill and confined to his bed in the fort of Gwalior, by a painful retention of urine, and a disease of the bladder. People say that he was afflicted by an imposthume in his privy parts. He never mentioned this circumstance to any one, and cauterized it with his own hand; but by doing this, he injured his health, and brought on great suffering and weakness", Abdullah.

"An imposthume appeared in his private part, and he suffered great pain, and his blood became vitiated and he passed away", Nizam-ud-din Ahmad.

"He became afflicted with a fistula, of which he died", Ferishta.

"A carbuncle appeared in the neighbourhood of his seat, others assert that it was cancer. He was beside himself with pain and had himself bled, but without relief", Badauni.

''He died from a malignant ulcer which formed in one of his lower members owing to the issue of corrupt matter", Abul Fazl.


Salim Shah transferred the capital of the Sur empire to Gwalior.

The fort of Mankot, located in Nurpur, Himachal Pradesh, is composed of four strong forts: Shergarh, Islamgarh, Rashidgarh and Firozgarh. These forts were built during Salim Shah's campaign against the Gakhars, who had provided refuge to the Niazis.

Salimgarh fort was built on the banks of the river Yamuna upon Salim Shah's return to Delhi after his expedition against Humayun. Positioned opposite Dinpanah, Humayun's capital, Salimgarh fort stands adjacent to Shah Jahan's Red Fort.


Sarais, or inns, were established by Salim Shah from Bengal to the Indus River, with an additional Sarai built between the two Sarais of Sher Shah. These Sarais provided free food for fakirs and travelers. Additionally, dak-chaukis, or postal stations, were set up in each Sarai.

Tomb of Salim Shah Suri:

The tomb of Salim Shah Suri in Sasaram remains incomplete. It is situated in the midst of a lake, not far from the tombs of his father, Sher Shah Suri, and grandfather, Hasan Khan Suri. Unfortunately, due to the downfall of his family, the construction was never finished.

After Salim Shah's death, the Sur empire broke up into pieces. He was succeeded by his 12-year-old son, Firoz Shah.