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Iqlim


Iqlim an administrative division into which the Muslim kingdom of Bengal was divided in the early sultanate period. The term iqlim was applied to different parts of Bengal as early as the thirteenth century.

Names of two iqlims, ie. Iqlim-i-Muazzamabad and Iqlim-i-Mubarakabad are found in the coins and inscriptions of the Muslim sultans during the period from the thirteenth to the early fifteenth centuries. In the Inscription, Iqlim-i-Muazzamabad was under Sar-i-Laskar Wa Wazir. During the Husain Shahi rule the mention of Iqlim is found in inscriptions, which was under a wazir. During the Husain Shahi dynasty, Iqlim was a province. During Iliyas Shah, the term Arsah, Iqlim, and Mulk were used in coins and inscriptions. Ziauddin Barani, a contemporary historian of Delhi, refers to Bangalah both as an Iqlim and Arsah. Arsah Satgaon had been mentioned on the coins of Muhammad bin Tughlaq. Arsah and Mulk were identical under the Ilyas Shahi rulers, and they were the provinces of the kingdom. The territorial division of iqlim exactly corresponds arsah, both of which were under the officer bearing the same title Sar-i-Laskar Wa Wazir. Sometime these terms were used regionally. Arsah was used in southwest Bengal, iqlim in east and northeast Bengal.

Though both Iqlim and Arsah denoted administrative units, their relation to one another cannot be definitely determined. However, it appears that Iqlim was a bigger unit than Arsah; the former may be equated with modern division, and the latter with a modern district. [Nasrin Akhter]

Bibliography AH Dani, 'Bibliography of the Muslim Inscriptions of Bengal', Appendix to the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Pakistan, II, 1957; Abdul Karim, 'Aspects of Muslim Administration', Journal of the Asiatic Society of Pakistan, III, 1958; Muazzam Hussain Khan, Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah of Sonargaon, Dhaka, 2005.