The army of the early Turkish Sultans formed one of the strongest pillars of the government. According to a contemporary historian Z. Barani, the strength of the government of the Sultans rested on their armies.1 There is hardly any book on the army of the early Delhi Sultanate unlike the books on the army of the Mughal times e.g. William Irvine’s ‘The Army of the Indian Mughals’ and Abdul Aziz’s ‘The Mansabdari System and the Mughal Army’, though there is no dearth of material available in political and administrative works on the Delhi Sultanate. There are some monographs, however which deal with specific aspects of the army organization and institutions of the early Turkish sultans. Military historiography in India was initiated with the start of studies on medieval Indian history during the 1860’s. It appears that the British administrative objectives and political developments after 1857 shaped the nature of military historical writings. The foundation of Turkish rule was described as Muslim rule and as a linear process of foreign domination in Indian history. But the true nature of Turkish rule eluded discussion, and ideological frays started generating historical debates among scholar. The history of the early Turkish rule in the northern India has been written, primarily, in political and military terms projecting dauntless armies fighting heroic battles.
If we take a deep insight into the works of 20th century, no true British-Indian school of military historians emerged. Muslim scholars- Mohammad Habib, Jadunath Sarkar, Jagdish Narayan Sarkar, K.A. Nizami, A.L. Siddiqui, deal with certain aspects of army. The present chapter aims to study and assess the works written and issues discussed by the British and Indian historians about the army of the early Delhi Sultans.