When one considers the gigantic undertakings of Sher Shall Suri for public welfare, the mighty development plans he put through successfully, his splendid administrative achievements and revolutionary judicial reforms, and weighs them against the fact that his rule extended over a bare five years, one becomes convinced automatically of the unique versatility and brilliance of this genius among kings. Some of his attainments during that brief span of time were so marvelous that many a well-established government would find it hard to accomplish them during much longer periods of time. Sher Shah, indeed, is one of the greatest rulers the world has ever seen.
Marshman Clarke writes,
“Without doubt Sher Shah was a most wise, kind-hearted and sagacious person. He was as accomplished an administrator as he is famous as a soldier. Though he got little respite from wars he reformed every branch of administration and made it perfect. The laws and regulations enacted by him continued to be in force even after his death till Akbar adopted them as models for his administrative reforms which later became known as Ain-i-Akbari”1
Then there is Akbar. Whatever the difference between the teachings of Islam and his religious views and the Din-i-Ilahi he founded, and however much may a Muslim historian grieve at the intemperate developments that took place during the later part of his reign, it goes without saying that judged by his high-mindedness, legislative and administrative ability, conquests and annexations, and natural knack for leadership and the splendid patronage he extended to arts and learning, he was a magnificent ruler and empire-builder.
Aurangzeb’s equal also will not easily be found in history. His excellent virtues of mind and character, his eventful life loaded with destiny, half-a-century of continuous warfare and incessant struggle, his enormous conquests and far-reaching reforms, his simple, ascetic life, his matchless courage, fortitude and determination, the strict regularity of his hours, the management of a vast, sprawling empire, the direct personal command of armies in the battlefield even in old age, the zealous observance of the obligatory as well as supererogatory prayers, and unceasing love for learning and study in spite of extreme occupation mark him out as a man and an emperor of a class by himself. He was a man of steel who knew not what fear, indecision and despair were. He is sure to walk in his own right, into any list that may be prepared impartially and with a due sense of responsibility of great men of all times.
- Marshman Clarke: History of India (1842)—Re-translated from Urdu
P.S. The article has been created from the works of great Islamic scholar Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (Ali Miyan).