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Published on 15 Apr 2011
Global Asia Studies
Journal 3
Key Terms
1) The Delhi Sultanate: Together with the softening of earlier intolerances of Hindus and
Hinduism, the later Delhi sultans agreed to leave many of the original Hindu Indian local rulers
and petty rajas in control of their domains. The sultanate slowly became more of an Indian order
and less of an alien conquest that used India as an object rather than subject. It came in time to
depend increasingly on the suppor t of Indias indigenous people, and under the best of its rulers,
to try to govern rather than merely to exploit. The stronger rulers of the Delhi sultanate continued
to make raids and plundering expeditions into the mountain-protect Deccan, south of the Ganges
Plain of Hindustan, but they never won a permanent position there or elsewhere in the south. The
Delhi sultanate was also weakened by internal power struggles and political intrigues, in a pattern
they brought with them from Central Asia, and which also plagued their Ottoman Turkish
cousins later in their far larger empire. Most of the Delhi sultans were absolute rulers who
tolerated no dissent and demanded tot al submission; most of them consequently provoked
chronic revol ts and plots against themselves, and many died by assassination, poisoning, or in the
dust of a coup or civil war, after coming to power and maintaining it by the same means at the
expense of other r ivals. Political power was highly concentrated in Delhi, leaving much of the
sultanates domains under local rulers w ith a good deal of autonomy in practice.
2) Foreign Cultural Elements in Southeast Asia: Buddhism and trade provided the initial links
between India and Southeast Asia in the classical and early medieval periods, and both served as
vehicles for the spread of Hinduism and other aspects of Indian civilization. Indian converts to
Islam after the founding of the Delhi sultanate were pr imarily responsible for car r ying the new
religion to insular Southeast Asia. In Southeast Asia, it would seem that while there was
resistance to conversion by Arabs, the long tradition of learning from Indian civilization meant
that Islam was more readily accepted from Indian hands. Both Indian and Arab traders spread
Islam eastward along sea routes, as earlier Indian merchants had spread Hinduism and Buddhism.
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