Sher Shah Suri – Reforms, Sur Dynasty, Administration, UPSC PDF

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Sher Shah Suri (1486 – 22 May 1545) was originally known as Farid Khan, who founded the Suri empire in India. A well-known Jagirdar of Bihar named Hasan Khan was the father of Suri. The capital state of the empire was Sasaram (present in modern-day Bihar). Sher Shah Suri also established the currency of the rupee.

Sher Shah Suri ruled over the Mughal Empire in 1540. He was one of the bravest rulers of medieval India. He was popular for his remarkable administration. Sher Shah Suri introduced several reforms in India. In this article, you will get to know all the necessary information regarding Sher Shah Suri, his life, and his remarkable accomplishments. The aspirants preparing for the IAS exam can get access to Sher Shah Suri UPSC notes and prepare comprehensively for the exam.

Who Was Sher Shah Suri?

Sher Shah Suri, the founder of the Suri empire, who was renowned for the establishment of the currency of the rupee, was a courageous ruler who had incorporated numerous reforms in the state.

Sher Shah Suri categorized his kingdom into 47 divisions named ‘Sarkars’, and there are smaller subdivisions or administrative units known as ‘Parganas’. He introduced four major central departments as follows:

  • Diwan-i-wijarat or Finance Department
  • Diwan-i-arz or Military Department
  • Diwan-i-insha or Royal Secretariat
  • Diwan-i-Risalat or Department for Religious and Foreign Affairs

The department of Diwan-i-arz was headed by Ariz-i-mamalik and the department of -Diwan-i-insha was controlled by Dabir; the department of Diwan-I-Arz was headed by Qazi.

Sher Shah Suri History

Sher Shah Suri was popularly known as Lion King or Farid. The name of his grandfather was Ibrahim Sur. His grandfather wandered the lands of India for employment during the reign of Bahlol Lodhi and finally provided his services in Punjab.

  • Suri was born in Punjab. Soon after the birth of Farid, his grandfather and father offered services to Jamal Khan in Punjab.
  • Farid disapproved of the idea of sharing the jagir with his brothers and then worked under Bahar Shah Lodhi who was a ruler of South Bihar. Sher Khan came into Mughal services in the year 1527.
  • At the time when Bihar was attacked by Babur, Sher Shah Suri offered to him the precious service, as a gift jagir.
  • Sher Khan devoted most of his time to the administration of the Mughals and military organizations. Thus, he analyzed the loopholes of the Mughal politico-military machine and economic system.
  • The king of Bengal – Sultan Mahamud, was defeated in the Battle of Shergarh.
  • He formed a union with the Portuguese of Chinsura. He also attacked Sher Khan and was defeated again in the battle.
  • Triggered by these achievements, Sher Khan expanded his area of control further and captured the forte of Gaur. The king of Bengal asked for help from Humayun through Forte of Gaur.
  • Humayun was then involved against Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, merry-making, and pleasures. That was the time when Sher Khan had conquered the whole of Bengal, plus the famous fort of Rohtasgarh.

Sur Dynasty

The Sur dynasty was basically an Afghan family which established power in northern India in the years 1540 to 1556. The founder of the Sur dynasty was Sher Shah Suri. He ruled the northern side of India for five years capturing Malwa and winning over the Rajputs.

  • Sher Khan reformed the administration and made foundations for many structures which were later used by the Mughal ruler Akbar. Sher Khan was killed while attacking the fortress of Kalinjar in central India.
  • The son of Sher Shah Suri was Islam or Salim Shah, who was known for his exceptional abilities and controlled the rule efficiently. After his death in 1553, the Sur dynasty scattered. The 6th ruler of the Sur dynasty, Sikandar Sur was vanquished by Humayun in June 1555, who captured Delhi in July.
  • The ruler Muhammad Adil Shah’s Hindu general named Hemu gave up his allegiance only to be defeated by the Mughals at Panipat (1556), and eventually, the Sur dynasty ended. The Surs are called the last Afghan rulers of northern India.

Administrative Reforms of Sher Shah Suri

In the Medieval Period, the lion king, or Sher Shah Suri was considered the greatest administrator. The basic principle of the administrative reforms of Sher Shah Suri rested upon the general welfare of the people. He believed in the traditional system of ministry. The Military Reforms under Suri had a vast resemblance to that of Ala-ud-din-Khalji of the Khilji dynasty.

  • Sher Shah Suri appointed four main ministers from Diwan-i-Wizarat (House of Wisdom), Diwan-i-Ariz, and Diwan-i-Risalat, Diwan-i-that. These ministers worked together by sharing responsibilities and duties. The ruler of Diwan-i-Wizarat was Wazir, he supervised the revenue and expenditure of the country. Wazir was also the supervisory body to the ministers. Ariz-i-Mamalik supervised Diwan-i-Ariz.
  • The latter ministry was the supervisor of the army’s organization and recruitment, the Diwan-i-Ariz was responsible for paying salaries to the military men. Sher Shah Suri was fascinated by military affairs and tried to engage himself in major military operations. The administrative system also consisted of a foreign minister who also supervised Diwan-i-Risalat or the Diwan of Council. He managed the foreign ambassadors and looked after the charitable and endowment activities.
  • The minister who supervised Diwan-i-Inshah also held the responsibility of royal proclamations and kept official records of the government. He communicated and discussed important matters with governors and local ministers.
  • Along with the four departments of ministries, there were Diwan-i-Qza and Diwan-i-Barid, or the intelligence department. The former one was supervised by Chief Gazi whose responsibility was to oversee the developments and changes of Diwan-i-Barid.
  • The Diwan-i-Qza had reports, news writers, and even spies widely present in the country. The Gazi belonged to the family and also was associated with the royal family.

Administration of Sher Shah Suri

Sher Shah Suri contributed immensely to the administration. In accordance with the administrative reforms of Sher Shah Suri, the provinces were divided into Sarkars, Paraganas, and Military.

Sarkars Administration of Sher Shah Suri

During Sher Shah Suri’s reign, the provinces were subdivided into Sarkars. The two major officials in Sarkar were Munsif-l-Munsifan and Shiqdar-l-Shiqdaran. Munsif-l-Munsifan was a civil court judge who resolved civil disputes, he was also involved in supervising the administrative works.

The responsibility of Shiqdar-i-Shiqdaran was to preserve law and order existing within the sarkar. He punished those who planned or committed offence or mutiny against the government. He was also engaged in supervising the works of the Shikdar in the Parganas region.


If a province has several sarkars, then there is a probability of having more Parganas. In the Pargana, the important officials were Shiqdar, Amin, Munsif, Treasurer, a Hindi writer, and a Persian writer. There were other significant officials like Patwari, Chaudhari, and Muqqadam who played an important role in the Pargana. The shikdar worked in the military. The Amin, who was considered a civil servant of the government, had his duty to manage land income assessments and collection.

Military Administration of Sher Shah

The strong and immense army of Sher Shah Suri made the Mughal emperor Humayun move out of the country. He appointed Afghan soldiers from different parts of the country and placed them in the highest ranks. Sher Shah used the system of branding horses commonly called “Dagh” or “Chera”. His military men were well-equipped with muskets. The army was categorized into numerous divisions, each division had one commander. The army maintained strict discipline.

Achievements of Sher Shah Suri

Sher Shah Suri introduced numerous administrative reforms. He used to regulate and govern the tasks of all the officials whether senior or junior. The post of the officers was altered every two to three years, this avoided the possession of great powers by the officials. These methods uplifted the trade and commerce of the area.

  • Justice was ensured at various segments of the states with strictness.
  • He also improved the revenue policies.
  • He also initiated numerous land reform initiatives to uplift agricultural practices.
  • The farmers were facilitated with a title deed of Patta. That was also made available in the local language.
  • He formulated the new currency method (rupia) that is marked as the greatest achievement of Sher Shah Suri.
  • He also built the great road Rahm-e-Azam (The Grand Trunk Road) which connected Chittagong and Kabul.

Sher Shah Suri Death

The Emperor died in a gunpowder explosion in 1545. The mausoleum created for the King in Sasaram showcases and depicts beautiful architecture. Mir Muhammad Aliwal Khan is credited for constructing the Sher Shah tomb. It possesses an octagonal shape. The construction of the tomb was completed three months after the death of the King. It is believed that the weak successors of the Sur dynasty became the reason for the fall of the empire. He has a great legacy, he was also given the title of Sher Khan by Bahar Khan for his immense courage in killing a tiger alone.

Sher Shah Suri UPSC

It is one of the most significant topics for the syllabus of History in UPSC Prelims and Mains Examination. Many questions have been asked in the UPSC exam regarding this topic. For better convenience, students can visit the following websites. Aspirants can download the previous year’s question papers for preparation along with the study material for notes.

Candidates preparing for the IAS exam can prepare for the UPSC syllabus comprehensively to be able to score well in the exam. The candidates will be able to receive complete information about the courageous ruler Sher Shah Suri.

Questions on Sher Shah Suri in UPSC Exam

The aspirants preparing for the exam can look into the questions asked in the Prelims and Mains exam. You can get in touch with the types of questions that are prevalent in the exam. Check here the types of questions asked in the IAS exam and kickstart your preparations comprehensively.

Which battle helped Sher Shah’s establishment of the Suri Dynasty?

a) Battle of Chausa 1539.

b) Battle of Kanauj 1540.

c)Battle of Chandawar.

d) Battle of Duhariya.

Correct Option: (c) Battle of Chandawar

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