The nobles were the most important functionaries of the state and enjoyed high social status.

In the initial stage they were those commanders who came with the victorious army.

Over a period of time their descendants formed the main strength and some Indian groups also emerged.

Nobles, particularly those who were based at Delhi, emerged as a very powerful group and at times even played a role in the selection of the sultan.

The nobility was not a homogeneous class.

There were different groups within the nobility and often there were inter group clashes and rivalries.

The group of chahalgan (group of 40 nobles), which was created by Iltutmish, also emerged very powerful.

Balban was the first Sultan to bring the nobility firmly under his control (interestingly, he had been a part of chalalgan earlier).

Qutubuddin Aibak and Iltutmish had considered the nobles at par with themselves.


Balban maintained distance from the nobility and enforced strict code of conduct for himself and for the nobility.

He also emphasized on high blood and made it a criteria for occupying high positions and offices.


During the rule of the Khalji and Tughlaqs the nobility was opened to people of diverse backgrounds.

The low caste people, both Hindus and Muslims, joined the nobility and could rise to high positions especially under Muhammad Bin Tughlaq.

During the Lodi period the Afghan concept of equality became important when the Sultan was considered “first among equals”.

Thus the nobles enjoyed equal status with the Sultan.

Some of the Lodi Sultans like Sikandar Lodi and Ibrahim Lodi found this uncomfortable and tried to bring the nobles under their control.

The nobles resisted this which resulted in the trouble for both the Sultans.