Before we proceed further and study the Mughal rule it is highly imperative to know the Indian scene in the early years of 16th century. Any observer at that time might easily have supposed that politically and socially the country was in decline. Conflict, confusion, uncertainty were to be found nearly everywhere except the extreme south were Vijaynagar empire was blooming and prospering under Raja Krishna Deva Raya.
The country was largely controlled by foreign members of an alien religion, Islam, yet these were hopelessly divided amongst themselves. For two centuries the Delhi empire or the Delhi sultanate controlled the north and at times the center of the country. In 1398 the Turkish conqueror Taimur or Tamerlane ended all this with his bloody raid on India and sack of Delhi. It took nearly fifty years for the Delhi kingdom to become more than a local chiefship. In the Deccan, or center, the Delhi empire had broken up into the succession state of the Bahminis, a brittle minority rule. But the state was itself shattered in the late fifteenth century. The Muslim forces were patently in disarray.
On the eve of Babur's invasion. The sceptre of the Turk in northern India, so rudely broken by Taimur, had now been grasped by the Afgans. These men were chiefs and adventurers who had migrated into India to take service with the Turks in the preceding two centuries, had received grants of land for their services, and had used the post-Timurid confusion to hoist themselves into political power. Their strength was energy, courage, and vigour; their weakness pride, clan spirit, and an inability to work together. Daulat Khan Lodi (1451-88) had gradually built up a new power at Delhi and had formed the last part of the Delhi sultanate, the Lodi dynasty.
His son Sikandar (1488-1516), who lived in Agra, followed in his footsteps, but, when the grandson Ibrahim tried to reassert the royal prerogatives, trouble began. His followers became restive and disloyal. Bengal, once a province of the Delhi sultanate, was now an unstable splinter kingdom of Afgan chiefs.
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