previous phase by Firoz Tughluq, who granted a series of concessions to
the officers. Fixation of the estimated revenues of the iqtas was done
permanently, thus allowing the muqtis to appropriate all the increases of
revenue. The posts and the assignments were made practically hereditary.
These changes, introduced by Firoz, were continued by all his successors.
All the above developments in the iqta system were basically due to
the changes in the composition of the nobility under the Delhi Sultans.
The nobility was initially monopolised by the Turks, but gradually others
like the Persians, Afghans, Abyssinians, and Indian Muslims, entered the
nobility, thus making it more cosmopolitan and heterogeneous. The entry
of new elements into the nobility under the Khaljis and early Tughluqs
enabled the Sultans to increase their control over the iqta system, but once
the new elements got themselves strengthened they demanded more
powers and privileges, thus resulting in the liberalisation and
decentralisation of the iqta system by Firoz Tughluq.
Improvement of Agriculture
The Sultans undertook efforts to enhance agricultural production by
providing irrigational facilities and by advancing takkavi loans for different
agricultural purposes. They also encouraged peasants to cultivate cash crops
instead of food crops, and superior crops (wheat) in place of inferior ones
(barley). There was an overall improvement in the quality of Indian fruits and
the system of gardening. Waste lands were granted to different people
thereby extending the cultivated area.
GROWTH OF COMMERCE AND
Growth of Urban Centres
The 13th and 14th centuries saw the rise and growth of several towns and
cities in India. For instance, Lahore and Multan (modem Pakistan); Broach,