Among the most important factors of his failure were the character traits of Ibrahim, his theory of kingship, treatment with the nobles, conflict with Rana Sanga and Babur’s invasion.
1. Character of Ibrahim:
Ibrahim was impolite, obstinate and rash. He failed to understand the character and sentiments of his own race i.e. Afghan nobles.
2. Disregard of the agreement:
In the beginning of his reign, the division of the empire between the two brothers was agreed upon by Ibrahim in the presence of his nobles. He refuted it very soon. It displeased all those nobles who were in favour of the agreement.
3. Theory of kingship:
Ibrahim declared, “Kingship knows no kingship” and treated the nobles as his subordinates. Dr. R.P. Tripathi writes, “He openly confessed that kings have no relations nor clans and that all men and clans were his servants.”
4. Ill treatment of the Afghan Amirs:
On the one hand the Afghan nobles desired that the Sultan should consider them as his associates or colleagues and on the other hand, to prove himself more powerful, the Sultan made a regulation that all the Amirs (nobles) would remain standing with folded hands before him in the court. Mian Bhuva Lodi, a reputed Amir was imprisoned because he could not perform his duties on account of old age. His death took place in prison itself.
There were several other instances of the dictatorial attitude of the Sultan. His vindictive temperament created a lot of resentment among the nobles as well as the general public. Ibrahim’s actions provoked the rebellious nature of the Amirs who felt humiliated.
He lost several opportunities to compromise with them due to his adamant nature. He failed to appreciate the mood of the Amirs and his own weaknesses. This led to several revolts. Ibrahim could neither command the respect of the nobles nor could utilise their strength in order to strengthen the empire. On the other hand he invited their wrath.
5. Humiliation of the Sultan at the hands of Rana Sanga:
Ibrahim was over ambitious. He overestimated his strength. In all the conflicts with Rana Sanga, Ibrahim faced defeat. This had a great set back to him. His prestige suffered in the eyes of the Amirs.
6. Defeat in the battle of Panipat:
Babur, the Mongol ruler inflicted the fatal blow to the already tottering power of the Sultan. Ibrahim was killed in the battlefield.
Following are usually ascribed the main causes of the defeat of Ibrahim in spite of his having about 10 times force than Babur.
(1) Use of artillery by Babur.
(2) Babur’s well-disciplined army.
(3) War tactics of Babur.
(4) Ibrahim’s unpopularity and lack of unity among Afghan nobles.
(5) Ibrahim’s war elephants no match to the cavalry of Babur.
(6) Martyr’s spirit of the soldiers of Babur and their unflinching loyalty to him.
(7) Mutual rivalry of Indian rulers.
The defeat and death of Ibrahim Lodi led to the opening of a new chapter in the history of India. Ibrahim neither had the qualities of a great general nor that of a skilful diplomat. His personal temperament was also very rash. He failed to have a correct estimate of his limitations and strengths. All these led to the fall of the Lodi dynasty.