Sultanate of Bengal (English)Timeline: Principia Moderni III (Map Game)
بنگال کے سلطنت (Urdu)
اللہ کی افواج فاتح اور روشن خیال ہو! (Urdu)
Forces of Allah be Triumphant and Enlightened! (English)
The Bengal Sultanate in 1871, during the rule of Sultan Timur Ashraf
|Other cities||Chittagong, Pandua, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Udaipur, Surat, Peshawar, Karachi, Ahmadabad, Lahore, Multan|
|Regional Languages||Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Spanish, Punjabi, Sindhi|
|Ethnic groups||Bengali, Tamil, Telegu, Assamese, Punjabi, Sindhi|
|-||Sultan||Nur Jehan Ashraf Shah|
|-||Upper house||Majlis e Shura|
|-||Lower house||Majlis e Aam|
|-||Independence from Delhi Sultanate||1338 A.D.|
|-||Establishment of Urdustan||1550 A.D.|
|-||Unification of India||1749 A.D.|
|-||Collapse of Urdustan||1808 A.D.|
|-||Foundation of Bengal Sultanate||1810 A.D.|
|-||Establishment of Indian Empire||1888 A.D.|
The Sultanate of Bengal, sometimes referred to as the Bengali Sultanate or Bengalistan, is a state that borders the Bay of Bengal and controls the majority of Bengal, Orissa and Central India. The Empire is one of the seven successor states of the traditional Hindustan Empire, the other states being the Jaunpur Sultanate, Deccan Sultanate, Udaipur Rajya, Vijaynagara Rajya, the Gurkha Rajya, and Konbaung Burma. However, it is the Sultanate of Bengal that is generally considered as the de facto successor, given that it was Bengal that formed the heart of the Hindustan Empire.
Following centuries of political, economic and cultural success, Urdustan finally faced a surge in sectarianism during the late 18th Century. When the Vijaynagara Rajya and Deccan Sultanate were proclaimed, the Empire went into decline, interrupted only by occasional periods of resurgence. However, within a few decades, numerous states had revolted against the authority of Pandua and the Empire fell into shambles.
The Battle of Pandua in 1808 led to the capture of Pandua, the capital of the Hindustan Empire by a Jaunpuri prince, Mahmud Shah I. This led to the start of a period where former lands of Hindustan primarily in Bengal and Orissa which had revolted were captured one after another. The reconquest was successful although it did not succeed in catapulting the empire to its former glory.
This was reversed at the turn of the 19th century, when Mahmud Shah I marshaled aid from the Jaunpur Sultanate and was able to crush the Illyas Shahi loyalists in the Battle of Chittagong. In the subsequent exodus, a large number of supporters of the Illyas Shahi Dynasty were exiled from Bengal. Following the battle, no power in Bengal was left that could've possibly challenged the authority of Mahmud Shah and the remaining warlord states submitted to him peacefully. Within a few years, a new capital was constructed known as Kolkata and Sultan Mahmud Ashraf Shah I proclaimed the rebirth of the Sultanate of Bengal.
On 1888, the Bengali Sultanate was succeeded by the Indian Empire .
Early India [1352 - 1453]Following the collapse of the Delhi Sultanate, many Indian states popped up and with each Indian state keen on looking after its own interests, the unity in India was seriously damaged. Two states, Pandua and Vijaynagar were exceptions who were keen on bringing back stability and unity to India therefore they worked together to establish a new and stable empire in India. During this time, the Timurid Empire ravaged through Central Asia and turned its monstrous sights upon India. In what seemed like a lightning war, the Timurids conquered one Indian state after another before reaching the gates of Delhi and capturing the city itself which then led to a major genocide of the Hindu population and complete destruction of the infrastructure of Delhi. This led the surviving states to sign the Treaty of Pandua in order to counter the Timurids and although initially considered an effective treaty that was successful in opposing Timurid influence, it eventually fell apart when the Timurids launched an invasion upon Vijaynagar and completely destroyed the state in what was known as the Rape of Vijaynagar. Eventually however, the Timurids suffered internal revolts and crumbled, forcing it to to abandon its previous Indian vassals who were subsequently accepted into the Treaty of Pandua. The successor state of the Timurids, the Persian Empire too sought to advance into India, but however were unable to do so as this time the Indian states acted much more effectively to oppose foreign powers
Rise of the Mughals & Suris [1453 - 1539]Many attempts by Persians to acquire land in India had largely failed. However the Persians were not the only successors of the Timurids. In 1460s, the Mughal Empire was established. It was yet another Central Asian state that had set its sights upon India and was probably much more efficient in acquiring this goal than the Persians. Within a decade, the Mughals had set a foothold in India and soon the states Jaunpur and Bahamani had fallen into Mughal controls. Delhi had been established as the de facto capital of the Mughal Empire and states such as Gwalior, Marwar, Jaisalmar, Kathiawar were more or less integrated into the Mughal Empire. This eventually led to resistance by the Indian states led by Pandua who called for the respect and upholding of the Treaty of Pandua. In the subsequent Indian - Mughal War, the Mughals were completely defeated and were forced to grant independence to Bahamani and Jaunpur and to abandon Delhi after they signed the Treaty of Delhi although the Mughals never truly abandoned Delhi and it remained a part of the Mughal Empire. It was also agreed that the Indian League would be formed to end the threat that loomed over India, that is of a foreign state invading and exploiting India. 40-50 years later, the Mughals were accepted into the Indian League after the ascension of the Raja of Marwar to the position of Emperor of the Mughals but when the Mughals once again resorted to their imperialist tactics by attempting to vassalise Jaisalmer, Pandua demanded that the Mughals had to be punished. In the aftermath of the Second Indian - Mughal War, the Second Treaty of Delhi was signed in which the Mughal Empire was dissolved and the states of Multan, Sindh, Ladakh and Kangra were granted independence. The Suri Empire succeeded what was left of the Mughals and would establish control over Marwar and Delhi.
The Secessionist League [1539 - 1550]By 1540s, India had been struck with a sudden increase of communalism. Many Hindu states demanded the expulsion of Muslims from the India subcontinent. It was certainly a demand that could not be accepted because the Muslim states played a very important part in the Indian League. The Hindu state of Vijaynagar too considered the expulsion of Muslims as a decision that could not be made but the Hindus would not be deterred. On 1542, the Hindu states of Gwalior, Gondwana, Bastar, Khandesh, Mewar, Malwa and Gujarat announced their decision to secede from the Indian League which led to fears of a return of instability. Negotiations started to come to a settled, but the Hindus would settle to nothing less than expulsion of Muslims. Eventually, both sides prepared for an inevitable war but unlike the Hindu League, the India League, however, also had the support of European states as well as the Suri Empire. In the war that lasted from 1544 - 1550, India was ravaged but the Hindus were finally defeated. In the Third Treaty of Delhi, it was agreed that the Hindu states would have their lands divided amongst Indian League members and the European states that participated in the war would be granted enclaves in India. It is also important to note that during the war, the Suri Empire captured both Delhi and Marwar but due to the weak position of the Indian League and need to acquire help from the Suri, these annexations were not opposed.
Period of Stability [1550 - 1575]
The Period after the war against the Secessionist League was generally regarded as a Period of Stability. India flourished during this period with many European merchants arriving to purchase Indian cotton, spices, opium which was beneficial for the local Indians.
War Era [1575 - 1745]The stability and peace came to a subsequent end after Vijaynagar nationalists dissolved the union that existed between it and Pandua (Which was generally referred to as Urdustan at this point). This led to the removal of Vijaynagar from the Indian League and an invasion by Urdustan and Bahamani who then conquered and divided the state after the Indian - Vijaynagar War. This followed a period where Urdustan participated in almost every single war in which it was called upon, from aiding the Damascan Sultanate against Turks to helping Romans against Egypt. The war-mongering policy badly damaged the reputation and economy of Urdustan and this policy was eventually put to an end when Urdustan faced a financial crisis. Peace lasted only for a few decades or so until another Indian state, Raigam attempted to subjugate the Tamil Kingdoms under its rule. In their attempt to do so, they received aid from Urdustan who by now no longer felt any threat from any neighbour. It was not until the mid 1630s that Tibet launched an invasion upon Punjab, Ladakh and Kangra that the Indian League saw action again. The Tibetan forces were completely defeated and Southern Tibet was occupied in the subsequent Invasion of Tibet. Following this war, major changes were brought forth by Urdustan in an attempt to completely secure India. In doing so, Urdustan vassalized Bahmani and Jaunpur. It also aided allies such as Raigam in establishing the Kingdom of Lanka and Punjab in its conquest of Ladakh. However, in 1651, Urdustan and the Suri Empire reached a compromise for general partition of India signed the Treaty of Peshawar, which was to result in Dhundara and Lanka falling into the Urdustani sphere whilst Punjab and Ladakh fell into the Suri sphere. The rest of India was to be jointly influenced. Finally, orders were given to the military and Urdustan launched an invasion upon the Sultanate of Punjab on 1657, jointly with Suri forces and imposed a decisive victory over Punjab in the famous Battle of Lahore. As per the agreement, the Suri Empire occupied a Punjab and Ladakh but was to advance no further. Soon after, Urdustan generally avoided warfare and occasionally aided the Empire of Lanka in wars.
The Golden Age [1745 - 1780]The Golden Age dawned upon the Empire of Urdustan after it had virtually united India, a dream that the people of Urdustan had been keen to accomplish since the advent of their Empire. After years of peace and prosperity, the Empire of Urdustan finally attacked the Sultanate of Dhundara on 1718 in an act of unprovoked aggression, generally considered by many as under orders from Spain. By then, Urdustan had indeed become a puppet of Hispania as the Spanish control over India grew stronger day by day. Regardless of that, Urdustan continued to become stronger and on 1740; the Empire of Hindustan was proclaimed to commemorate Urdustani conquest of Hindustan. It was indeed a new age for the people of Hindustan, and surely; it was bound to be one never seen before. For on 1748, in one of the least expected turn of events; the nation of Hindustan declared war upon Hispania along with many other European nations and within a span of a single year; the Spanish colonies of Burma, Dhundara and the Spanish enclaves such as Madras had fallen. Following the defeat of Spain, Hindustan was generally considered as a superpower state by much of the world and what would Hindustan do next would be the question of interest for everyone. For up until 1780, Hindustan dominated world politics but not even the most astute of world leaders could have predicted the demise of the crown jewel of the earth.
Fall of the Empire [1780 - 1808]By 1780, Hindu sectarianism in Vijaynagar was on the rise. It was generally considered to be a prime threat to the Empire for if Vijaynagar seceded, and a large number of troops were ordered to attack the Hindu revolters in Vijaynagar. What followed next was a scene that drew parallels to the Timurid Rape of Vijaynagar for within a span of two years, Vijaynagar had been layed to dust by Hindustani troops. The nation had been destroyed in the war fought between the Hindu guerrillas and the Hindustani forces, and the latter often resorted to destroying and burning cities in attempts to drive off guerrillas which certainly antagonized the general populace. The Hindu revolts soon started to spread off to other parts of the Empire as well and when it became obvious that Hindustan was unable to maintain control over Vijaynagar, Sriranga I of the Aravidu Dynasty declared the Vijaynagara Rajya and announced independence from Hindustan. Given how weak the authority of Pandua had become, the ruler of Bahmani, Ibrahim Adil Shah announced his declaration of war upon Vijaynagara but having witnessed the failure of Hindustan to maintain control over their lands, he declared independence as well; proclaiming the Sultanate of Deccan. Soon after, chaos ensued throughout the whole Empire with rebels attacking palaces and ransacking banks. Raja Ranthor Rao Sharma and Ahmad Shah II of the Sultanate of Gujarat and Jaunpur respectively were quick to declare their independence as well, as they had naturally assumed that the fall of Hindustan had begun. By 1785; conservative Buddhist nobles from the Konbaung dynasty proclaimed the start of the Burmese Empire; quickly breaking off Hindustan with little to no resistance faced. However what truly shook the foundations of Pandua was when Nepali Gurkhas announced the start of the Gurkha Rajya on 1786 and within two years, the Gurkha forces had completely shattered the Hindustani military. On 1788, Nepal was firmly established as an independent state. By then, there was nothing that could be done. Within a span of eight years, the greatest Empire to have ever existed had collapsed. Many members of the Ilyas Shahi Dynasty quickly fled to the Empire of Lanka, seeking asylum. Sultan Jehangir Sarfaraz Shah however chose to remain at Pandua in order to try to maintain the nearly 500 year old Empire. Regardless, his attempts largely failed . By 1808, the authority of Pandua was largely restricted to the city itself and Chittagong. The influence of the Ilyas Shahi dynasty had fallen, with hundreds of nobles proclaiming their own Sultanates throughout the crumbling remains of what was once the heart of the Hindustan Empire.
Rebirth of the Empire [1808 - 1854]
On December 21st 1808, a large army led by Mahmud Shah from the Sultanate of Jaunpur attacked Pandua, and captured the city in the decisive battle of Pandua. In the aftermath, Sultan Jehangir Sarfaraz Shah and the Bengali nobles fled the city, fleeing off to Chittagong where they established war-time capital. Soon, a base of operations was set up at Pandua by Mahmud a Shah who quickly set out to unite Bengal. In doing so, he came into conflict with various local warlords whom he defeated numerous times, and of particular notice was a coalition of warlord states that he decisively defeated at the Battle of Gaur. By 1809, he had united much of Bengal but his authority was challenged by the Ilyas Shahi dynasty from Chittagong. Well aware that his available resources made any victory over Chittagong impossible, Mahmud Shah tried to, and successfully secured reinforcements from Jaunpur, crushing the Ilyas Shahi dynasty in the Battle of Chittagong. The last Ilyas Shahi Sultan and various nobles were exiled to Lanka although their treasures were taken back to Pandua. Subsequently, with no power in Bengal to question the authority of Mahmud Shah, he united all of Bengal by 1810 and proclaimed the start of the Bengal Sultanate with him as the Sultan. After doing so, he quickly established a new capital at Kolkata to signify the start of a new era as well as because he felt Pandua would be hostile to him, given that it was the authority of a Pandua that ruled over Bengal and later Hindustan for 450 years. Under the rule of Sultan Mahmud Ashraf Shah, Bengal rapidly advanced in technology and education in India, and had soon acquired a dominant position in the state. The Sultan also led a campaign in Central India, in two offensive wars from 1847-1849 and 1850-52, against the Deccan Sultanate and was able to successfully topple the Adil Shahi regime in Deccan. He appointed his younger son, Prince Imran Ashraf Shah as a Governor for Deccan and later on married him with the only daughter of the last Deccan Sultan. By the end of his rule, he married his elder son, Prince Timur Ashraf Shah with a Jaunpuri Princess and established a dynastic union between the two states. The same year, the Rajya of Udaipur accepted the status of being a Bengali protectorate.
Bengali Renaissance [1859 - 1888]
After the death of the Sultan Mahmud Ashraf Shah on February 15th, 1859 he was succeeded by his eldest son, Prince Timur Ashraf Shah. The rule of Sultan Timur was largely peaceful and involved gradual expansion of the Bengali economy and influence throughout India. The period of was referred as the 'Renaissance' since it was during this period that thousands of scholars and craftsmen migrated to Bengali territories, which acted as a catalyst to speed up the return of Bengali power and generally established Bengal was the beacon of Indian knowledge and intellectuals. Under Sultan Timur, relations of the Bengal Sultanate with Jaunpur gradually increased and it soon became apparent that the offspring of Sultan Timur would be the heirs to both the Bengali and Jaunpuri thrones, as such, Bengal refrained from provoking Jaunpur in any way for fear of collapse of the dynastic union. However, the peaceful atmosphere was disliked by many in the Bengali military as well as the Majlis e Shura who pressured the Sultan to liberate Punjabi Muslims from Sikh rule. Although this pressure was initially warded off, the Sultan finally launched an attack after threat of impeachment rose. During the Punjab Liberation War that lasted from 1868-1871, the Bengali forces were able to completely defeat the Dal Khalsa and replaced it with a Bengali protectorate. After the war, Bengal attempted to reconcile with neighbouring Vijaynagar and Jaunpur who naturally feared themselves to be the next targets to Bengali aggression. The Sultan spent his last years in attempts to reconcile with both of those states, and was generally successful with doing so with Jaunpur. After his death on 1880, he was succeeded by his daughter Sultana Nur Jehan Ashraf Shah who united the Sultanates of Jaunpur and Bengal. Under her rule, Bengal virtually united all of India after Bengali forces conquered Vijaynagar. On 1888, she proclaimed the Indian Empire and declared herself as the Empress of India, assuming the title of Farah Ashraf Shah.
The Empire is a absolute hereditary monarchy. The last Sultana was Sultana Farah Ashraf Shah of the Ashrafi dynasty before she proclaimed the Indian Empire
The Sultanate is also governed to a certain degree by various representatives and diplomats of the Hashemite Caliphate who maintain authority over religion and religious issues in the state. However, these 'diplomats' are appointed by the Sultan of Bengal once a proposal is forwarded by the Caliph of the Hashemite Caliphate.
The Bengali Sultanate is also divided into provinces, with an Amir appointed for each province by the Sultan, responsible to maintain peace and calm in their respective province. The Amir is responsible to impose reforms in their respective provinces in order to modernize and develop them, and each province is given a specific budget from the state treasury based on the resources, population and size of each province. The Amir is also responsible for raising a specific number of soldiers annually, through military colleges and institutions who would then be enlisted into the national military. Besides the Amir, a Qazi is appointed by the Sultan for each province, as a judge to make decisions based off the Shariah Law, with jurisdiction over all legal matters regarding Muslims. The minorities are not tried under the Shariah Law, and are faced with their own laws based off their religion. A Dewan is also appointed by the Sultan for each respective province, for collection of tax, to regulate the receipt and disbursement of the revenue of each province. These Dewan are transferred from province to another after a two year period. The Amir, Qazi and Dewan are directly answerable to the Sultan and not to one another.
To generally keep himself aware of the situation throughout the Sultanate, and to directly handle complaints of the people against particular Amirs, Qazis or Dewans, a two houses have been established. The Upper House, also known as the Majlis e Shura consists of prominent members of the Ashrafi dynasty. The Upper House generally acts to advise the Sultan on all matters, and can even impeach an incumbent Sultan if a majority is reached. One is elected into the Majlis e Shura through a proposal forwarded either by the Sultan or the Lower House, after which debates and discussions are held amongst the members and a decision is made. Members of the Majlis e Shura cannot themselves propose for anyone to join and a member of the Majlis e Shura can never become Sultan. The Lower House, referred to as the Majlis e Aam constituting of a larger body, consists of representatives of various tribes and dynasties with whom a dynastic union has been established. The Majlis e Aam is called into session on every month, and members of the Majlis e Aam can have direct audience with the Sultan to raise complaints against any particular person or any decision. Members of the Lower House are elected by their own respective tribes and families.
Annually, the Majlis e Shura, Majlis e Aam, Amirs, Qazis and Dewans gather together at Kolkata to discuss national as well as provincial issues. Besides this gathering, the Amirs, Qazis, Dewans and Majlis e Aam are summoned each month separately to discuss issues after which they are allowed to return to their respective provinces. The Majlis e Shura in contrast remain at the capital to advise the Sultan and are collectively summoned on special, and random occasions depending upon the situation.
The current division of land in the Sultanate of Bengal is into three different types of divisions. Khedivates are autonomous territories with special needs or are considerably far away from central authority. As such, they are ruled by Ashrafi Princes who may or may not have established a dynastic union with the local tribes. Their rulers are hereditary, have broad control over what happens in their own realm, and can, within limits, raise and manage their own armed forces. The rulers of Khedivates form part of the Majlis e Aam, and are summoned to the capital every month. Wilayets are 'provinces' with an Amir appointed by the Sultan to rule over the province for any specific time period. They maintain a certain amount of autonomy but are generally linked to the central authority, and are provided with a federal budget from the state treasury which the provincial authorities can either utilise or save up in the provincial treasury. Tax and revenue collected in a Wilayet by a Dewan is transferred to the state treasury, and in certain situations; the provincial revenue sent to the state treasury may be much larger to what is directed back to the province in the form of a federal budget. In contrast, the Khedivates are not provided with a federal budget, and they depend upon their provincial treasury which is made up from revenue and tax collected from the populace. 20% of all revenue collected in Khedivates is transferred to the state treasury at Kolkata. Wilayets are further divided into Sanjak or provincial districts, which each having an Amil appointed, who are generally military governors. They also collaborate with Dewans and Qazis on issues such as tax collection and imposing a law. Besides Khedivates and Wilayets, Eyalets exist which are generally 'federal districts' directly under the control of the Sultan, with no Amir appointed. Eyalets are generally cities with significant importance to be put under the control of the Central Government.
Khedivates and Wilayets also tend to have their own laws, but their are certain 'national' laws that apply to the entire Sultanate.
The Bengali Military is the descendant of the legions and navy of the Hindustan Empire. While famous for its history and prior strength, the armed forces no longer possess the dominance they once had.
ArmyThe Bengali Army is based on the organizational unit called the Kateebat, and each regimental commander is known as a Quaid. The overall commander of the armed forces, other than the Sultan, is known as the Rais. The army numbers around 300,000 total soldiers, most of them being native Bengalis, with a small miniority being Telegu. Imperial guard units include the Kolkata Guard and the Janissaries, with the latter being named in remembrance of the Ottoman elite infantry units.
Since the military reforms of Jalaluddin Fateh Shah, a battalion has been changed from a formation of 300-500 soldiers to one of 1000 soldiers. In addition, the technology possessed by the Imperial Guard units has been substantially improved.
The military was reformed once again following the Ashrafi Revolution. The basic unit of the new Army was renamed Faleeq, although the size of the regiment remained unchanged. The Janissaries were also now instructed to guard the Majlis e Shura and any of the Majlis e Aam while they are in Kolkata, as well as receiving certain benefits.
After the Bengali Fitna, the Bengali Army was vastly underfunded and manned, resulting in large-scale instability and revolts. At that time the most common equipment of the Army were swords, spears, and crossbows along with shields and chain mail. As the Empire recovered and could afford more training and advanced weapons for its troops.
By mid 19th century, the Bengali Army was one of the strongest in India, capable of fielding at least 350,000 on the field and perhaps more depending on the severity of the situation. It was also one of the most technologically advanced in the subcontinent, with sophisticated line tactics, siege artillery, and some of the finest muskets available. By this point most armor had been phased out, but plate armor was still available for the Kolkata Guard and the heavy cavalry.
Prominent Bengali generals of the modern era include Imran Ashraf Shah, who famously won at the Battle of Rakhsevana and conquered Deccan.
The Bengali Navy was once the most powerful navy in the world, but now the navy is a shadow of its former self. The Sultanate has major shipyards at Kolkata, Mahmudpur and Chittagong. The navy appears to have reclaimed a significant level of prestige following its decisive victory over Deccan in the Battle of Shahipur.
The total size of the navy stands at around 400 warships.
Directly after the Bengali Fitna, the State Treasury of Bengal had largely been reduced to a few coins, and the Sultanate faced difficulty in maintaining its integrity as it increasingly faced revolts. Initially, loans from Jaunpur to Bengal sufficed, but eventually Bengal was able to regain control over global jute and muslin trade. With time, the nation expanded upon its borders and soon established dominance over the Bay of Bengal, thus obtaining control of various trade routes to Asia, passing directly through the Bay of Bengal, towards the Straits of Malacca. Along the same time, establishing a direct link with the Arabian Sea through Bahamani allowed Bengal to increase Bengali control of the seas and maintain presence in various seas. As such, Bengal had re-established the trade empire it once possessed and was able to assert itself once again as a major centre for international commerce.
The former capital of Bengal, Pandua existed as a major commerce and industrial centre in India, largely being utilised as a land route for Chinese and Indian trade. The importance of the city grew with time, in particular due to the conquest of India by Bengal, and the opening of China to foreign merchants. As such, many looked towards the silk road passing directly through Pandua, and therefore, the city played a major role in South East Asian and Far East trade. Bengal itself existed as the junction of trade routes on the Southeastern Silk Road, which passed directly through Pandua. Moreover, Bengal was a center of the worldwide muslin, silk and pearl trade, thus establishing a total monopoly over European markets for such goods. Besides Pandua, the Bengali capital of Kolkata existed at a strategic location and helped to solidify Bengali control over the Bay of Bengal, which allowed Bengal to maintain proximity with the Straits of Malacca. Therefore, Kolkata had soon taken over the position as the epicenter of South Asian trade.
The currency was reformed by Sultan Mahmud Ashraf Shah in 1832, standardizing the currency and also officially introducing silver currency. The official currency in the Bengali Sultanate is the Bengali Tanki, so named for the once-existant Bengali barter system. The well-regulated silver-based Bengali Tanki is widely utilised in Bengal, Bahamani and Jaunpur, implemented in the former two and plays a major role throughout the Indian subcontinent as the major currency in commerce and trade.
Bait-ul-Maal, (literally, The house of money) is the department that deals with the revenues and all other economic matters of the state, based in Kolkata where the state treasury is also present. It is headed by a Treasury Officer assisted by Dewans, specifically appointed by mutual consultation between the Sultan, Majlis e Shura and Majlis e Aam. A separate Accounts Department is also set up and it was required to maintain record of all that was spent.
All revenue and tax collected in every Wilayet by their respective provincial Dewan is transferred to the State Treasury at Kolkata. In contrast, from Khedivates the Dewan transfers only 20% of all revenue and tax to the state treasury, sending the rest to the provincial treasury of the Khedivate which is why the Khedivates are never provided with a federal budget. Annually, 80% of all the revenue at the state treasury is divided into varying federal budgets, assigned to each Wilayet and is then transferred to provincial treasury of that particular Wilayet. In some circumstances, it is possible for the revenue collected from a Wilayet to be greater or lesser than the federal budget assigned to it. From the remaining 20% of the state treasury, 10% is assigned to Eyalets and as such, distributed directly by the Sultan. The remaining 10% is kept in the form of reserves to be utilized in times of warfare, plague, famine, or if any Khedivate, Wilayet or Eyalet went bankrupt.
Economic Resources of the State
The economic resources of the State are:
Zakāt is the Islamic concept of luxury tax. It is taken from the Muslims in the amount of 2.5% of their dormant wealth (over a certain amount unused for a year) to give to the poor. Only persons whose annual wealth exceeded a minimum level (nisab) are collected from. The nisab does not include primary residence, primary transportation, moderate amount of woven jewelry, etc. Zakāt is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and it is obligation on all Muslims who qualify as wealthy enough.
Ushr is a reciprocal 10% levy on agricultural land as well as merchandise imported from states that taxed the Muslims on their products. Hazrat Umar [RA] was the first Muslim ruler to levy ushr.
Ushr is levied on reciprocal basis on the goods of the traders of other countries who chose to trade in the Muslim dominions.
Instructions have been issued since the times of the Second Caliph, Umar [RA] that ushr should be levied in such a way so as to avoid hardship, that it will not affect the trade activities in the Islamic empire. The tax is levied on merchandise meant for sale. Goods imported for consumption or personal use but not for sale are not taxed. The merchandise valued at 200 Bengali Tanki or less is not taxed. When the citizens of the State import goods for the purposes of trade, they have to pay the customs duty or import tax at lower rates. In the case of the dhimmis the rate is at 5% and in the case of the Muslims' 2.5%. In the case of the Muslims the rate is the same as that of zakāt. The levy is thus regarded as a part of zakāt and not considered a separate tax.
Jizya is a per capita tax imposed on able bodied non-Muslim men of military age since non-Muslims do not have to pay zakāt. The tax is not supposed to be levied on slaves, women, children, monks, the old, the sick, hermits and the poor. It is important to note that not only are some non-Muslims exempt (such as sick, old), they are also given stipends by the state when they were in need.
Fay is the income from State land, whether an agricultural land or a meadow, or a land with any natural mineral reserves.
Khums is the booty captured on the occasion of war with the enemy. Four-fifths of the booty is distributed among the soldiers taking part in the war while one-fifth is credited to the state fund.
Kharaj is the revenue collected from each Wilayet and is generally referred to as the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within the borders of a Wilayet annually. 20% of a Khedivates revenue is also collected, and they are all transferred to the state treasury after which 80% of the revenue is divided into varying federal budgets to be assigned to each specific Wilayet.
The most senior noble in the Sultanate is, as expected, the Sultan. Below him is the Majlis e Shura which constitutes of senior and influential members of the royal family. The Majlis e Aam consisting of the Nawabs of various tribes and Khedivates inside the Empire, are the next most senior. Below the Majlis e Aam are the Amirs, Dewans and Qazis, answering to the Sultan only. On par with the Amirs, Dewans and Qazis is the Crown Prince, who is to succeed the Sultan. Below him are members of the the Royal Family, the Sultanate's native knightly orders, such as the Nishan e Ghazi, as well as minor nobles and any recipients of foreign honors.
Most of the Sultanate is composed of commoners, or people who have noble blood or reward. Despite this, it is entirely possible for commoners to become nobility, if they were ever to marry into the royal family.
There are no serfs in Bengali society nor have there ever been, although a system does exist where locals are provided with daily wages by landlords. Slavery is legal in the Sultanate, although it is generally discouraged as a social stigma and possessing Muslim slaves is a crime. Despite this, slavery is still present in many areas of the Sultanate, and is only absent in the urban areas.
The Sultanate is known for its many versions of art. The medieval art of the Sultanate is known as Sadanga or Six Limbs, and it is a characteristic part of traditional Indian culture. Murals and sculptures are also prominent in Bengali art, and such art is recognized by the liberal elite as having a major role in Bengali culture. In contrast, the conservative masses denounce molding of sculptures as immoral.
ArchitectureThe Empire has a wide array of architecture that sets it apart from the rest of the world. Some prominent structures are the Mausoleum of Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah, Adina Mosque, the Somapura Mahavihara and the Baitul Mukarram.
Bengali cuisine has evolved over the millennia, but at the current mostly consists of seafood, vegetables and dairy products, along with luxury foods like honey. The Empire is a melting pot of cuisine, and it has changed widely over time. One thing that Bengalis are fond of is meat-something that sets them apart from their Indian brethren.
The Sultanate of Bengal use the Islamic Calender, which puts the date of 1900 A.D. as 1317 A.H. (After Hijri). One of the first reforms of Mahmud Shah I was to make the Islamic calender official along with the Bengali Calender which had historically served as the Calender for the authorities of Pandua. As of now both calenders, that is Islamic and Bengali are officially used in the Sultanate.
The Sultanate is noted for its distinct way of referring to ethnicities. While all members of the Sultanate are generally considered as part of the same Ummah, it has a diverse background of Bengali, Tamils and Assamese.
In referring to other ethnic groups outside the Empire, "Timurid" or "Mugol" is used to describe North Western Indians. In the same manner, "Assami" is used to describe people of Assamese descent, and "Vijaynagri" is used for people who are of Tamil descent.