Authority and Kingship under the Sultans of Delhi is rather complex in the sense that it begins on a promising note but does not achieve all. Reinforcing the thesis of centralization, the main crux of the argument—the Sultanate represented a centralized polity that was further embarked upon with a vengeance in the sixteenth century—remains the same like that of A.B.M. Habibullah, K.A. Nizami, Irfan Habib and others, though the author expresses disagreements with them (which of course is refreshing) on certain facts and interpretations. These disagreements, however, do not sway Siddiqui. He remains focussed on dynastic political history, dealing with Sultans and the nobility, ulama, assignment of iqtas, imperialism, expansionism, provincial organization with some discussion of buildings as an evidence of Indo-Muslim urban planning and its architectural elements.
December 2007, volume 31, No 12