SHER SHAH'S ADMINISTRATION Great as a conqueror that he was, Sher Shah was greater still as a ruler. He was the first Muslim ruler of India who displayed a real aptitude for civil government. His short rule was marked by many beneficent reforms in every branch of administration. For administrative convenience Sher Shah divided his whole empire into 47 divisions called sarkars (Sher Shah did not divide his kingdom into provinces), and these were again subdivided into smaller administrative units called parganas.
In the field of central administration, Sher Shah followed the Sultanate pattern. There were four main central departments, which were as follows:
(i) Diwan-i-wijarat: The department was related with financial matters such as collecting taxes and maintaining accounts of the state exchequer.
(ii) Diwan-i-arz: Headed by ariz-i-mamalik, it was a military department.
(iii) Diwan-i-insha: Working as a secretariat, it issued royal orders. The head of this department was called dabir.
(iv) Diwan-i-Rasalat: Headed by sadr, this department dealt with the religious and foreign affair matters. Diwani-Kaza, headed by qazi, worked W1der this department. The qazi looked after judicial administration.
There were two important officials at the sarkar level: (i) shiqdar-i-shiqadaran to maintain law and order; and (ii) munshife-i-munshifan to supervise the revenue collection. Three important officials at the paragana level were: (i) shikdar to maintain law and order; (ii) amin to collect revenue; and (iii) munsif to look after judicial matters.
Sher Shah's land revenue policy is an important landmark in the history of Indian agrarian system. After a survey of the lands (tinder the supervision of Ahmad Khan) according to a uniform system, Sher Shah settled the land revenue directly with the tillers of the soil and fixed the state demand at one-third of the gross produce payable either in cash or kind depending on the productivity of land and crop. For measurement of the land, sikandari gaja (32 points) was made the base. To prevent the tenants from being W1duly harassed, their rights and liabilities were clearly defined in documents known as pattas (title deeds) and kabuliyats (deed of agreement). Each peasant thus knew what he had to pay.
Sher Shah abolished the system of landlords and middlemen in his revenue administration. His revenue management is compared with the modem Ryotwari settlement. Todar Mal contributed greatly in the development of the revenue policy of Sher Shah. During the rule of Sher Shah, peasants had also to pay jaribana (survey charge) and muhasilana (tax collection charge). The rates of these charges were 2.5 per cent and 5 per cent respectively. Sher Shah's land revenue system was scientific. This is why Akbar also adopted the same revenue policy, albeit with some amendments.
Keen on increasing the efficiency of his army, Sher Shah personally supervised the recruitment of the soldiers and paid them directly. He revived Ala-ud-din Khalji's system of branding the horses (daag) and keeping a descriptive roll of soldiers (chehra).
Sher Shah introduced a regular postal service. He attempted to fix standard weights and measures. Sher Shah's currency reform deserves high praise. He issued a large number of silver coins (dam) and abolished all old and mixed metal currency. His silver rupia after elimination of its inscription .was current till 1835 and formed the basis of the later British Indian currency. He promoted the cause of trade and commerce by reducing the number of the customs duty collection points to just two. Goods produced in Bengal or imported from outside had to pay customs at Sikrigali, at the border of Bengal and Bihar, while goods from West and Central Asia paid customs duty at the Indus. Sher Shah improved communications by building roads. Four important roads constructed by him were as follows: (i) Grand trunk road from SW1argaon to Peshawar; (ii) road from Agra to Multan via Burhanpur and Delhi; (iii) road from Multan to Lahore; and (iv) road from Mandu to Agra. Of these four roads, the first was the most important. The roads built by Sher Shah are called 'the arteries of the empire'. The roads were lined with trees, wells and rest
Sher Shah was also a great builder. The stately I mausoleum which he built for himself at Sasaram is one of the finest in India. It is considered as a culmination of the Sultanate architecture and a starting point for the Mughal architecture developed later. The Old Fort (Purana Qila) in Delhi is another important architectural creation of Sher Shah. But the Afghan resurgence was short-lived.