Early Muslim Invasions/Delhi Sultanate-Administration

Early Muslim Invasions

Early Muslim Invasions

The Arab Conquest of Sind
• By the 8th Century AD, the Arabs had acquired a core position from Spain to India, connecting the trade of Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.
• During the early years of the 8th Century, the Umayyads reached the height of their power and created the largest ever-Mulsim state that existed.
• Arabs were also attracted by the wealth of India.
• However, the reason for the invasion of Sindh was to avenge the plunder of Arab Ships by pirates of Debol. King Dahir refused to punish the pirates.
• Hajjaj the governor of Iraq despatched an army under Muhammad Bin Qasim.
• At Rawar, in AD 712 Muhammad Bin Qasim attacked Dahir who was defeated. Dahir was caught and killed.
• Muhammad Bin Qasim now proceeded forward and within a short span he conquered various important places in Sind including Brahmanabad.
• Muhammad Bin Qasim conquered the major portion of Sind up to the lower Punjab.
• Many Arabs settled down in Sind and established relations with the local population. The Arab influence continued for a long period with pockets of Muslim influence established in various parts of Sind.
Mahmud of Ghazni
• In all Mahmud Ghazni invaded India 17 times during AD 1000-1026.
• Mahmud Ghazni was Son of Sabuktigin, the founder of Ghazni dynasty & Turkish slave commander.
• Mahmud himself claimed descent from the Iranian legendary king Afrasiyab.
• He was the first Muslim ruler to penetrate deep into India.
• He led 17 expeditions in all into India from A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1027. The initial raids were directed against the Hindusahi rulers who at the time held Peshawar and the Punjab.
• The chief motive of Mahmud invasions in India was the desire to secure its wealth.
• On the north-western frontier of India there were three principal kingdoms.
• The Brahmana dynasty of the Shahiyas ruled over a wide territory, extending from Kashmir to Multan and from Lambhan to Sarhind.
• To the south of it lay the Shia kingdom of Multan, and the principality of Mansura where the Arab dynasty held authority.
• Mahmud attacks on India were an attempt to fulfil his ambition to make Ghazni the formidable power in the politics of Central Asia.
• Mahmud’s raids into India were only to acquire the famous wealth of India which would help him to consolidate his vast rule in Central Asia.
• The Ghaznavids had their control on parts of Punjab and Sind which continued till AD 1135.
• Firddausi, who wrote Shah Nama in which he glorified the ancient Iranian heroes, was the poet laureate of Mahmud.
• Alberuni, who wrote ‘Kitabul-Hind or An Enquiry Into India’ had accompanied him to India along with his corps of army.

• The Ghaznavid conquest of the Punjab and Multan completely changed the political situation in north India.
• Mahmud’s invasions exposed the weak defence of Indian kingdoms and opened possibility of attacks in future by the Turks.
Muhammad Ghori
• Towards the middle of the twelfth century two new powers rose to prominence – the Khwarizmi empire based in Iran and the Ghurid empire based in Ghur in north-west Afghanistan.
• The power of the Ghurids increased under Sultan Alauddin who earned the title of ‘Jahansoz’ or the ‘world burner’. He ravaged Ghazni and burnt it to the ground.
• In A.D. 1173, Shahabuddin Muhammad also known as Muizzuddin Muhammad bin Sam (called Muhammed Ghori) ascended the throne of Ghazni.
• Muhammad Ghori conquered Multan and Uchh from Karmatia rulers in A.D. 1175.
• In A.D. 1178, he tried to penetrate into Gujarat but was defeated and completely routed by the Chalukya ruler of Gujarat, Mularaja II, near Mount Abu.
• After that Muhammad Ghuri attacked Punjab using Khybar pass. Peshawar was occupied in A.D. 1179-80. By A.D.1182, the whole of Sind was subdued.
• Next he captured Lahore, deposed Khusru Malik, the Ghaznavid prince, and annexed Punjab to his dominions.
• With Lahore as the base, he first thoroughly consolidated his position in the Punjab.
• Muhammad Ghori’s possession of Punjab and his attempt to advance into the Gangetic Doab brought him into direct conflict with the Rajput ruler Prithivaraja Chauhan.
• The conflict started with claims of Bhatinda.
• In the first battle fought at Tarain in AD 1191, Ghori’s army was routed and he narrowly escaped death.
• Prithviraj conquered Bhatinda but he made no efforts to garrison it effectively. This gave Ghori an opportunity to re-assemble his forces and make preparations for another advance into India.
• The Second Battle of Tarain (AD 1192) is regarded as one of the turning points in Indian History. The Indian forces were more in number but Turkish forces were well organised with swift moving cavalry and the bulky Indian forces were no match against the superior organisation, skill and speed of the Turkish cavalry.
• The Turkish cavalry was using two superior techniques.
– The first was the horse shoe which gave their horses a long life and protected their hooves.
– The second was, the use of iron stirrup which gave a good hold to the horse rider and a better striking power in the battle.
• Prithviraj tried to escape but was captured near Sarsuti.
• After Tarain, Ghori returned to Ghazni, leaving the affairs of India in the hand of his trusted slave general Qutbuddin Aibak.
• In AD 1194 Muhammad Ghori again returned to India. and gave a crushing defeat to Jai Chand at Chandwar near Kanauj.
• Thus the battle of Tarain and Chandwar laid the foundations of Turkish rule in Northern India.
• On his way to Ghazni, Muhammad Ghuri was killed while encamping at Dhamyak on the Indus.
• His general Qutbud-din Aibak declared himself Sultan at Delhi in A.D. 1206.
• The political achievements of Muhammad Ghori in India were long lasting than those of Mahmud of Ghazni. While Mahmud Ghazni was mainly interested in plundering Muhammad Ghori wanted to establish his political control.

Delhi Sultanate - Administration and Society

Delhi Sultanate-Administration

The Delhi Sultanate (1200-1400 AD)
• After Muhammad Ghuri’s death, his nephew Ghiyasuddin Mahmud became the ruler of Ghur, but he was in constant fear of internal revolts and foreign invasions.
• TajuddinYalduz, NasiruddinQubacha and Qutbud-din Aibak – the three able and trusted Turkish nobles of Muizuddin each one of them aspired for independence.
• Ghiyasuddin Mahmud could not suppress their revolts and hence immediately after the dealth of Muizuddin, partition of his empire started. Yalduz succeeded at Ghazni and as the ruler of Ghazni wished to bring India also under his suzerainty.
• Qubacha who had held Multan and Uchh since 1205, occupied the whole of Sind and decided to declare his independence.
• The Indian possession of Muizuddin was held by Qutbud-din Aibak.
• The establishment of Delhi Sultanate which existed from A.D. 1206 to 1526 had five different dynasties – the Slave (Mamluk Sultans), Khalji, Tughlaq, Sayyids and Lodis.
• Not only they extended their rule over North India, but also they penetrated into the Deccan and South India.
• Their rule in India resulted in far-reaching changes in society, administration and cultural life.

Slave Dynasty

• The dynasty founded by the Ilbari Turks is generally called the ‘Slave Dynasty’ or ‘Mamluk Dynasty’ because many of the important rulers of this dynasty had originally been slaves like Qutbud-din who was a slave of Mahmud Ghuri and Iltutmish who in turn was slave of Qutbud-din.
• QutbuddinAibak was a Turkish slave who had risen to high rank in Muhammad Ghori’s army.
• After Muhammad Ghori’s death in AD 1206, the control of his Indian possessions was passed on to QutbuddinAibak.
• Aibak was the first independent Muslim ruler of Northern India, the founder of Delhi Sultanate.
• Aibak had to face many revolts from Rajputs and other Indian chiefs.
• TajuddinYaldauz, the ruler of Ghazni, claimed his rule over Delhi. NasiruddinQabacha, the governor of Multan and Uchch aspired for independence.
• Aibak was able to win over his enemies by conciliatory measures as well as a display of power.
• He defeated Yaldauz and occupied Ghazni.
• The successor of Jaichand, Harishchandra had driven out the Turks from Badayun and Farukhabad.
• Aibak re-conquered both Badayun and Farukhabad.
• QutbuddinAibak was brave, faithful and generous and due to his generosity he was known as “Lakh Baksh”.
• Most of the scholars consider Aibak as the real founder of Mulsim rule in India.

Iltutmish (A.D. 1210 – 1236)

• On Aibak’s death in A.D. 1210 his adopted son Aram Shah succeeded to the throne but he was shortly after removed by Iltutmish, Qutbud-din’s slave and governor of Budaun.
• Iltutmish’s elevation was resented by many Turkish nobles while Qubacha, the governor of Sind and Yalduz, the governor of Ghazni rose in open revolt.
• Yalduz was defeated near Tarain in A.D. 1215 and Qubacha was finally subdued in A.D. 1228.
• Ali Mordan Khan of Bengal and Bihar, who had rebelled, was suppressed.
• The revolt of Hindu rulers at Gwalior and Ranthambore who had declared their independence were tackled.

QutbuddinAibak (AD 1206-1210)

• In Bihar and Bengal, a person called Iwaz had taken the title of Sultan Ghiyasuddin minted under the leadership of Changiz Khan in pursuit of Jalaluddin, a prince of Khwarizm who had fled to Punjab and sought asylum in Iltutmish’s court.
• India was in imminent danger of being overrun by the Mongols but Iltutmish’s acting with precedence, refused asylum and slaved the infant Turkish empire from the wrath of the Mongol warlord.
• In A.D. 1229 Iltutmish received a role of honour and a patent of investiture from Al MustansirBildah, the reigning caliph of Baghdad who confirmed him Sultan-Azmi (great Sultan).
• In return Iltutmish described himself as the ‘Lieutenant’ of the caliph and the name of caliph was inscribed on the coins issued by him and this strengthened his position still more.
• It has his authority the sanction of the man honoured in whole of the Islamic world.
• He issued a purely Arabic coinage of silver and was the first to do so.
• He was the real founder of Delhi Sultanate and an architect of its administration.
• He had eliminated the refractory nobles from all-important posts and had organized a band of his own forty trusted nobles called ‘Turkan-I-Chihalgani’.
• He completed QutabMinar in A.D. 1231-32 named after a Sufi saint KhwajaQutb-ud-din Kaki, a native of Ush area in Baghdad.
• He extended the screen walls of the Quwwatul Islam Mosque constructed by Qutb-ud-din.
• Minhaj-us-Sirad, his contemporary historian too praised him.

Raziya (1236-1240)

• Although Iltutmish nominated his daughter Raziya as his successor, the Qazi of Delhi and Wazir put RuknuddinFeroz on the throne.
• When the governor of Multan revolted, Ruknuddin marched to suppress that revolt and Raziya with the support of Amirs of Delhi seized the throne of Delhi Sultanate.
• She appointed an Abyssinian slave Yakuth as Master of the Royal Horses.
• Raziya discarded the female apparel and held the court with her face unveiled and even went for hunting and led the army which aroused resentment among the Turkish nobles.
• In 1240, Altunia, the governor of Bhatinda revolted against her.
• She went in person to suppress the revolt but Altunia killed Yakuth and took Raziya prisoner. In the meantime, the Turkish nobles put Bahram, another son of Iltutmish on the throne.
• Raziya won over her captor, Altunia, and after marrying him proceeded to Delhi but was defeated and killed.
• The fall of Raziya paved the way for the ascendancy of the Forty.

Nasirud-din-Mahmud (A.D. 1246-1266)

• After Raziya’s fall, two weak rulers Bahram (A.D. 1240-420 and AluddinMasud (A.D. 12142-46) followed in quick succession. Their brief inglorious rule was marked by nothing else but the invasions of Mongols.
• In A.D. 1246 Nasirud-din Mahmud, another son of Iltutmish ascended the throne. He was a man of peaceful and pious disposition and an excellent calligraphist spending his leisure time in copying Quran.
• Nasiruddin placed all powers into the hands of his Prime Minister Balban. They worked in perfect harmony except on one occasion when Balban was removed from office for a brief period (A.D. 1253) at the instigation of Imadud-din Raihan, the leader of the part of Indian Mulsim nobles.
• As Prime Minister, Balban ruled with a strong hand and crushed the rebellious governors of Bengal, Avadh and Sind, defended the Mongols who had marked into the Punjab in A.D. 1257.
• Balban swooped upon the hilly country of Mewat and punished the Mewati marauders.
• The frontier posts were strongly garrisoned under his able cousin Sher Khan for checking the Mongol inroads and suppressed the refractory elements.
• After the death of Nasirud-din who had no son, Balban, ascended the throne.
• The contemporary chronicler Minhaj-us-Sirad had held a high post (chief Quazi) under the Sultan Nasirud-din and dedicated his Tahaqat-i-Nasiri to his patron.

Balban (AD 1266-87)

• The struggle between the sultan and the Turkish nobles continued, till one of the Turkish chiefs, Ulugh Khan, known in history by the name of Balban, gradually arrogated all power to himself and finally ascended the throne in AD 1266.
• When Balban became the Sultan, his position was not secure and many Turkish chiefs were hostile to him; the Mongols were looking forward for an opportunity for attacking the Sultanate, the governors of the distant provinces were also trying to become independent rulers, the Indian rulers were also ready to revolt at the smallest opportunity.
• The law and order situation in the area around Delhi and in the Doab region had deteriorated. In the Ganga-Yamuna doab and Awadh, the roads were infested with the robbers and dacoits, because of which the communication with the eastern areas had become difficult.
• Some of the Rajput zamindars had set up forts in the area, and defied the government.
• The Mewatis had become so bold as to plunder people up to the outskirts of Delhi.
• To deal with these elements, Balban adopted a stern policy.In the Mewat many were killed. In the area around Badayun, Rajput strongholds were destroyed.
• Balban ruled in an autocratic manner and worked hard to elevate the position of the Sultan. And did not allow any noble to assume great power.
• He even formulated the theory of kingship.
• The historian Barani, who was himself a great champion of the Turkish nobles, says that Balban remarked ‘whenever I see a base born ignoble man, my eyes burn and I reach in anger for my sword (to kill him).”
• It is not known if Balban actually said these words but his attitude towards the non-Turks was that of contempt.
• Balban was not prepared to share power with anyone, not even with his own family.
• Balban was determined to break the power of the Chahalgani.
• To keep himself well informed, Balban appointed spies in every department.
• He also organised a strong centralized army, both to deal with internal disturbances, and to repel the Mongols who had entrenched themselves in the Punjab and posed a serious threat to the Delhi Sultanate.
• Balban re-organised the military department (diwan-i-arz) and deployed army in different parts of the country to put down rebellion.
• The disturbances in Mewat, Doab, Awadh and Katihar were ruthlessly suppressed.
• Balban also secured control over Ajmer and Nagaur in eastern Rajputana but his attempts to capture Ranthambore and Gwalior failed.
• In AD 1279, encouraged by the Mongol threats and the old age of Sultan the governor of Bengal, Tughril Beg, revolted, assumed the title of Sultan and had the khutba read in his name.
• Balban sent his forces to Bengal and had Tughril killed. Subsequently he appointed his own son Bughra Khan as the governor of Bengal.
• In order to impress the people with the strength and awe of his government, Balban maintained a magnificent court.
• He refused to laugh and joke in the court, and even gave up drinking wine so that no one may see him in a non-serious mood.
• He also insisted on the ceremony of sijada (prostration) and paibos (kissing of the monarch’s feet) in the court.
• Balban was undoubtedly one of the main architects of the Sultanate of Delhi, particularly of its form of government and institutions.
• By asserting the power of the monarchy, Balban strengthened the Delhi Sultanate, but even he could not fully defend northern India against the attacks of the Mongols.
• Moreover, by excluding non-Turkish from positions of power and authority and by trusting only a very narrow racial group he made many people dissatisfied which led to fresh disturbances and troubles after his death in AD 1287.
• After his death the nobles raised his grandson Kaiquabad to the throne.
• Kaiquabad was soon replaced by his son, Kaimurs, who remained on the throne for a little over three months.
• During Balban’s reign, Firoz had been the warden of the marches in north-west and had fought many successful battles against the Mongols.
• He was called to Delhi as Ariz-i-Mumalik (Minister of War).
• In AD 1290 Firoz took a bold step by murdering Kaimurs and seized the throne.
• A group of Khalji nobles led by him established the Khalji dynasty.
• Some scholars call this event as the ‘dynastic revolution’ of AD 1290.
• It brought to an end the so called slave dynasty and Firoz ascended the throne under the title of JalaluddinKhalji.

The Khalji Dynasty (1290-1320)

• The advent of the Khalji dynasty marked the zenith of Muslim imperialism in India.
• The founder of the Khalji dynasty was JalaluddinKhalji. He was generous and lenient.
• Malik Chhajju, nephew of Balban was allowed to remain the governor of Kara.
• His leniency was misunderstood as weakness.
• When Chhajju revolted, it was suppressed but he was pardoned.
• When the thugs (robbers) looted the country, they were allowed to go after a severe warning.
• In 1292 when Malik Chhajju revolted for the second time, he was replaced by his son-in-law, AlauddinKhalji.
• In 1296 AlauddinKhalji took an expedition to Devagiri and returned to Kara.
• During the reception there, AlauddinKhalji treacherously murdered his father-in-law JalaluddinKhalji and usurped the throne of Delhi.

AlauddinKhalji (AD 1296-1316)

• Alauddin decided to revive Balban’s policies of ruthless governance and decided to curb the powers of the nobles and interference of Ulema in the matters of the state.
• He also faced, a few rebellions in succession during the early years of his rule.
• According to Barani, the author of Tarikh-i-FiruzShahi, Alauddin felt that there were four reasons for these rebellions which were the inefficiency of the spy system, the general practice of the use of wine, social intercourse among the nobles and inter marriage between them and the excess of wealth in the possession of certain nobles.
• In order to prevent the reoccurrence of these rebellions, Alauddin formulated certain regulations and implemented them.
(i) Families that had been enjoying free land to support themselves should pay land tax for their holdings. This curbed the excess of wealth owned by some people.
(ii) The Sultan reorganized the spy system and took measure to make it more effective.
(iii) The use of liquor and intoxicants was prohibited.
(iv) The nobles were ordered not to have social gatherings or inter-marriages without his permission. Alauddin established a huge permanent, standing army to satisfy his ambition of conquest and to protect the country from Mongol invasion.
• As regards Alauddin’s theory of kingship, it was essentially secular and he said, “I do not know whether this is lawful or unlawful; whatever I think to be for the good of the state or suitable for emergency, that I decree,”
• He refuted the suzerainty of the Caliph and did not allow any power independent of the state to guide his policies.
• In view of his territorial and administrative achievements, he may be called one of the greatest Sultans of Delhi.
• Alauddin had a refined taste for art and culture and gave patronage to many artists and men of letters including the celebrated poet Amir Khusrau who was his poet laureate.
• Some of his architectural works are Alai Fort or Koshak-i-Siri (or Siri Fort) with seven gates which was the second capital of Alauddin and also of Islamic Delhi, the gateway of the QutabMinar, better known as the Alai Darwaza, are gems of Indo-Islamic style.
Expansion of Delhi Sultanate
• AlauddinKhalji sent his army six times against the Mongols. The first two was successful. But the third Mongol invader Khwaja came up to Delhi but they were prevented from entering into the capital city. The next three Mongol invasions were also dealt with severely. Thousands of Mongols were killed. The northwestern frontier was fortified and Gazi Malik was appointed to as the Warden of Marches to protect the frontier.
• The military conquests of AlauddinKhalji include his expedition against Gujarat, Mewar and the Deccan. He sent Nusrat Khan and Ulugh Khan to capture Gujarat in 1299. The king and his daughter escaped while the queen was caught and sent to Delhi. Kafur, an eunuch, was also taken to Delhi and later he was made the Malik Naib – military commander.
• In 1301, Alauddin marched against Ranthampur and after a three month’s siege it fell. The Rajput women committed jauhar or self-immolation.
• Alauddin next turned against Chittor. The siege lasted for several months. In 1303 Alauddin stormed the Chittor fort. Raja Ratan Singh and his soldiers fought valiantly but submitted.
• The Rajput women including Rani Padmini performed jauhar. This Padmini episode was graphically mentioned in the book Padmavath written by Jayasi.
• AlauddinKhalji’s greatest achievement was the conquest of Deccan and the far south which was ruled by four important dynasties – Yadavas of Devagiri, Kakatiyas of Warangal, Hoysalas of Dwarasamudra and the Pandyas of Madurai.
– His first target was Rai Karan (the earlier rule of Gujarat), who had now occupied Baglana, and defeated him.
– The second expedition was against RaiRamachandra, the ruler of Deogir who had earlier promised to pay tribute to Sultan but did not pay. Ramachandra surrendered after little resistance to Malik Kafur and was treated honourably. He was kept a guest at Alauddin’s court and was given a gift of one lakh tankas and the title of RaiRayan. He was also given a district of Gujarat and one of his daughters was married to Alauddin. Alauddin showed generosity towards Ramachandra because he wanted to have Ramachandra as an ally for campaigns in the South.
• After AD 1309 Malik Kafur was despatched to launch campaign in South India.
• The first expedition was against PratabRudradeva of Warangal in the Telengana area. This siege lasted for many months and came to an end when Rai agreed to part with his treasures and pay tribute to Sultan.
• The second campaign was against DwarSamudra and Ma’bar (modern Karnataka and Tamil Nadu). The ruler of DwarSamudra, VirBallala III realized that defeating Malik Kafur would not be an easy task, hence he agreed to pay tribute to Sultan without any resistance.
• In the case of Ma’bar (Pandya Kingdom) a direct decisive battle could not take place. However, Kafur plundered as much as he could including a number of wealthy temples such as that of Chidambaram.
• According to Amir Khusrau, Kafur returned with 512 elephants, 7000 horses, and 500 mans of precious stone.
• The Sultan honoured Malik Kafur by appointing him Naib Malik of the empire.
• Alauddin’s forces under Malik Kafur continued to maintain a control over the Deccan kingdoms.
Reforms of Alauddin Khalji
• Alauddin’s measures to control the markets were one of the most important policy initiative.
• Since Alauddin wanted to maintain a large army, he therefore, lowered and fixed the price of the commodities of daily use.
• To control the prices, Alauddin set up three different markets for different commodities in Delhi.
• These markets were the grain market (Mandi), cloth market (SaraiAdl) and the market for horses, slaves, cattles, etc.
• To ensure implementation, Alauddin appointed a superintendent (Shahna-i-Mandi) who was assisted by an intelligence officer.
• Apart from Shahna-i-Mandi, Alauddin received daily reports of the market from two other independent sources, barid (intelligence officer) and munhiyans (secret spies).
• Any violation of Sultan’s orders resulted in harsh punishment, including expulsion from the capital, imposition of fine, imprisonment and mutilation.
• Control of prices of horses was very important for the Sultan because without the supply of good horses at reasonable price to army, the efficiency of the army could not be ensured.
• Low price in the horse market were ensured by putting a stop to the purchase of horses by horse dealers and brokers (dalals) in Delhi market.
• AlauddinKhalji maintained a large permanent standing army and paid them in cash from the royal treasury.
• According the Ferishta, he recruited 4,75,000 cavalrymen.
• He introduced the system of dagh (branding of horses) and prepared huliya (descriptive list of soldiers).
• In order to ensure maximum efficiency, a strict review of army from time to time was carried out.
• AlauddinKhalji died in 1316.
• Although the Sultan was illiterate, he patronized poets like Amir Khusrau and Amir Hasan.
• He also built a famous gateway known as Alai Darwaza and constructed a new capital at Siri.

Qutbud-din Mubarak Khalji (A.D. 1316-1320)

• Malik Kafur set aside the claims of the heir apparent Khizr Khan and crowned an infant son of the late Sultan and began to rule in his name.
• Soon after another son of Alauddin murdered Kafur and ascended the throne as Qutbud-din Mubarak Shah. His only noteworthy acts were to march to Devagiri (A.D. 1318) and dispatch an army to Gujarat.
• Qutbud-din Mubarak Shah own WazirKhushrau Khan had him murdered.
• Ghazi Malik collected a large army and appeared before Delhi.
• Khushrau was defeated and killed, and Ghasi Malik ascended the throne as GhiyasuddinTughlaq in A.D. 1320.

The Tughlaq Dynasty (1320-1414)

• The founder of the Tughlaq dynasty was GhiyasuddinTughlaq.
• GhiyasuddinTughlaq sent his son Juna Khan/Ulugh Khan to fight against Warangal. He defeated Pratabarudra and returned with rich booty.
• Ghiyasuddin laid the foundation for Tughlaqabad near Delhi.
• Ulugh Khan was said to have treacherously killed his father and ascended the throne with the title Muhammad bin Tughlaq in 1325.


Muhammad bin Tughlaq (1325-1351)

• Muhammad bin Tughlaq was a very attractive character in the history of medieval India owing to his ambitious schemes and novel experiments.
• His enterprises and novel experiments ended in miserable failures because they were all far ahead of their time.
• He was very tolerant in religious matters.
• He maintained diplomatic relations with far off countries like Egypt, China and Iran.
• He also introduced many liberal and beneficial reforms, but all his reforms failed.
• Contemporary writers like Isami, Barani and IbnBattutah were unable to give a correct picture about his personality.
• Muhammad bin Tughlaq was the only Delhi Sultan who had received a comprehensive literary, religious and philosophical education.
• The regions of the Deccan which were conquered by the Khaljis had stopped paying tribute and were proclaiming independent status.
• Muhammad Tughlaq while a prince (called Juna Khan) led the early expeditions against RaiRudraDev who was defeated after a prolonged conflict and Warangal was now annexed under direct control of the Sultanate.
• Ma’bar was also defeated. The whole region of Telangana was divided into administrative units and made part of the Sultanate.
• In contrast to AllauddinKhalji’s policy the Tughlaqs annexed the Deccan region.
• Bhanudeva II, the ruler of Jajnagar in Orissa had helped RaiRudraDev of Warangal in his battle against Delhi Sultans.
• Muhammad bin Tughlaqled an army against him in AD 1324 and defeated Bhanudeva II and annexed his territory.
• In Bengal there was discontent of nobles against their Sultan. The dissatisfied nobles invited the Tughlaq prince to invade their ruler. The army of Bengal was defeated and a noble Nasiruddin was installed on the throne.
• The Mongol invasions from the North-West region were rocking the Sultanate on regular intervals. In AD 1326-27 a big Mongol assault under Tarmashirin Khan took place. Muhammad Tughlaq decided to secure the frontier. The region from Lahore to Kalanur including Peshawar was conquered and new administrative control was established.
• Besides, the Sultan also planned invasions of Qarachil region (In present day Himachal) and Qandhar but did not succeed. In fact these schemes resulted in heavy loss.
Transfer of Capital
• One of the controversial measures of Muhammad bin Tughlaq was that he transferred his capital from Delhi to Deogir (Daultabad).
• According to Dr. Mahdi Hussain, the Sultan wanted to maintain both Delhi and Daultabad as his capitals.
• As per Barani, in AD 1326-27, Sultan decided to shift his capital from Delhi to Deogir (Daultabad) in the Deccan because it was more centrally located.
• According to IbnBatuta, the people of Delhi used to write letters containing abuses to the Sultan, therefore, in order to punish them Sultan decided to shift the capital.
• Isami say that it was a place at a safer distance from the North West frontier and thus-safe from the Mongols.
• In view of different versions it is difficult to assign one definite reason for this shift.
• The entire population was not asked to leave only the upper classes consisting of shaikhs, nobles, ulema were shifted to Daultabad.
• No. attempt was made to shift the rest of the population.
• Though Muhammad bin Tughlaq built a road from Delhi to Deogir and set up rest houses but the journey was extremely harsh for the people.
• Large number of people died because of rigorous travelling and the heat.
• Due to growing discontent and the fact that north could not be controlled from south, Muhammad decided to abandon Daultabad.
• However, the plan improved ties between the north and south. Apart from territorial expansion the social, cultural and economic interactions also grew.
Token Currency
• Another controversial project undertaken by Muhammad bin Tughlaq was the introduction of “Token Currency”.
• According to Barani, the Sultan introduced token currency because the treasury was empty due to the Sultan’s schemes of conquest as well as his boundless generosity.
• Some historians are of the opinion that there was a shortage of silver worldwide at that time and India too faced the crisis therefore, the Sultan was forced to issue copper coins in place of silver.
• Muhammad introduced a copper coin (Jittal) in place of silver coin (tanka) and ordered that it should be accepted as equivalent to the tanka.
• However, the idea of token currency was new in India and it was difficult for traders and common people to accept it.
• The State also did not take proper precautions to check the imitation of coins issued by the mints.
• Government could not prevent people from forging the new coins and soon the new coins flooded the markets.
• According to Barani, the people began to mint token currency in their houses.
• However the common man failed to distinguish between copper coin issued by the royal treasury and those which were locally made. Thus the Sultan was forced to withdraw the token currency.
Taxation in Doab and Agricultural Reforms
• The failure of above two experiments affected the prestige of the Sultan and enormous money was wasted.
• In order to overcome financial difficulties, Muhammad bin Tughlaq increased the land revenue on the farmers of Doab (land between Ganges and Yamuna rivers). It was an excessive and arbitrary step on the farmers.
• A severe famine was also ravaging that region at that time and resulted in a serious peasant revolts. They fled from the villages but Muhammad bin Tughlaq took harsh measures to capture and punish them. The revolts were crushed.
• The Sultan realized later that adequate relief measures and the promotion of agriculture were the real solution to the problem.
• He launched a scheme by which takkavi loans (loans for cultivation) were given to the farmers to buy seed and to extend cultivation.
• A separate department for agriculture, Diwan- i- Kohi was established. Model farm under the state was created in an area of 64 square miles for which the government spent seventy lakh tankas.
• This experiment was further continued by FirozTughlaq.
• The latter part of Muhammad bin Tughlaq’s reign witnessed a spate of rebellions by the nobles and provincial governors.
• The rebellion of Hasan Shah resulted in the establishment of the Madurai Sultanate.
• In 1336 the Vijayanagar kingdom was founded.
• In 1347 Bhamini kingdom was established.
• The governors of Oudh, Multan and Sind revolted against the authority of Muhammad bin Tughlaq.
• In Gujarat Taghi rose in revolt against the Sultan who spent nearly three years in chasing him.
• Muhammad bin Tughlaq’s health became worse and he died in 1351.
• According to Baduani, the Sultan was freed from his people and the people from the Sultan.
• According to Barani, Muhammad bin Tughlaq was a mixture of opposites.
• Muhammad bin Tughlaq’s reign marked the beginning of the process of its decline.

Firuz Tughlaq (A.D. 1351-1388)

• Firuz Tughlaq formulated his aims in accordance with his own character and the circumstances of his assumption of power. He had been asked by the nobles to accept the crown to save the state from ruination.
• Firuz was a man of religious bent of mind and he preferred to rule in conformity with the Sharia.
• He abolished many irksome taxes, keeping only those four allowed by the Quranic law.
• He took special interest in development of agriculture. He proved irrigation facilities by constructing five canals and advanced loans to the needy.
• He opened a hospital named Darush-Shifa for the poor in Delhi; created a department of charity called Diwan-i- Khairat and provided employment to 1,80,000 slaves.
• He organized slavery into an institution and opened a department of slaves (Diwan-i-Bandgane).
• He opened schools and colleges, laid out 1200 gardens and orchards in the vicinity of Delhi.
• He built a number of mosques and founded several towns like Firuzabad, Fatehabad, Jaunpur and Hissar.
• He repaired the QutabMinar, which had been struck by a lightening.
• The chief architect of Firuz was Malik GhaniSahana.
• He tried to solve the unemployment problem by starting an employment bureau.
• Firuz was born of a Hindu mother that is why he made loud demonstration of his zeal for Islam and contempt for Hinduism.
• He imposed Jizya even on the Brahmanas.
• Worst, he burnt a Brahmana who practiced his right in public.
• He did not allow the Hindus to build new temples.
• The Sultan desecrated the shrines of Jagnnath and Jwalamukhi, imposed restrictions on Hindu fairs, destroyed all new temples and forbade repair of old ones.
• He was a devout Muslim of the orthodox Sunni sect and was intolerant of the practices of the Shias as well.
• He entertained great regard for the Caliph of Egypt and styled himself as his deputy and twice received the roles of honour from him.
• Firuzrevieded the Jagir system and increased the salaries of the nobles.
• Due to his very mild rule corruption became rampant in almost every branch of administration.
• His military administration was dislocated.
• He marched twice to recapture Bengal in A.D. 1353-54 and 1339, but failed on both the occasions and the province was lost to the Sultanate.
• The outlying areas of the empire began to fall apart.
• Before he died he could see clear symptoms of the coming disorder and confusion and when Firuz died in A.D. 1388, a virtual civil war broke out among the scions of the royal house.
• Timur marched into India in A.D. 1398 and defeated Nasiruddin Mahmud.
• Timur Plundered Delhi who returned to Samar Qand leaving his Indian possessions in the charge of Syed Khizr Khan of Sind.

The Syeds

• Before his departure from India, Timur appointed Khizr Khan as governor of Multan.
• Khizr Khan captured Delhi and founded the Sayyid dynasty in 1414.
• Khizr Khan tried to consolidate the Delhi Sultanate but in vain and died in 1421 and was succeeded by his son, Mubarak Shah.
• Muhammad Shah who succeeded Mubarak Shah was always busy against conspirators and gradually lost control over his nobles. Buhlul Khan Lodi dominated everything.
• Muhammad Shah died in 1445 and was succeeded by his son Alam Shah (1445-1451) the weakest of the Sayyid princes. He handed over the throne to Buhlul Lodi and retired to Badaun.

The Lodis


Bahlul Lodi (A.D. 1451-1489)
• Bahlul Lodi crowned himself in April 1451 and assumed the title of Abu MuzaffarBahlul Shah.
• He issued coins in his own name which was also included in the Khutba.
• His accession to power was resented by the king of Jaunpur, who himself claimed the throne.
• A long-drawn war followed ending the annexation of the Sarqi kingdom of Baglul (A.D. 1484).
• He also brought almost the entire region, now called Uttar Pradesh, under his control.
• When he died in A.D. 1489 the Sultanate comprised the territories from the Punjab to Varanasi.
SikandarLodi (A.D. 1489-1517)
• SikandarLodi was the successor of Baglul Lodi.
• He built a new capital at Agra and through his relentless wars and conquests added to the Delhi Sultanate.
• He was the greatest and the ablest of the Lodi dynasty.
• He held the Afghan nobles in check, encouraged agriculture, and made roads safe for travel. In his times harvests were plentiful, food cheap and the people contented.
• He ordered the land to be measured and rent fixed accordingly.
• He introduced a yard which measured 30 inches and was known as Sikandar Yard.
• He himself was a poet and lover of music and is reported to have written a book ‘Bulrukni’.
• However, with advancing years he turned into a bigot and undertook measures prejudiced to the Hindus. He tried to disown his Hindu origin by persecuting the Hindus.
Ibrahim Lodi (A.D. 1517 – 1526)
• When Sikandar Lodi died, the nobles divided the empire between his two sons and Ibrahim was made king of Delhi.
• The governor of Bihar declared independence and that of Punjab, Daulat Khan, invited Babar, the ruler of Kabul, to invade Hindustan and oust Ibrahim from the throne.
• In A.D. 1525, Babar came marching towards Delhi, Ibrahim Lodi advanced to meet him and a sanguinary battle was fought in Panipat on April 21, 1526.
• Babar emerged victorious, who occupied Agra and Delhi and laid the foundation of Mughal empire in India.
Challenges Faced by the Sultanate
• With the establishment of the Mughal Empire the rule of Delhi sultanate came to an end.
• During more than 300 years of its rule the Delhi sultanate went through various ups and downs but survived as a political force.
Attacks by Mongols and others
• Since its inception the major threat to the sultanate came in the form of Mongol invasions.
• Mongols were nomadic groups who inhabited the steppes north of China and east of Lake Baikal.
• They formed a huge nomadic empire under Chengiz Khan in the 12th century.
• From 13th century onwards they repeatedly attacked the Delhi Sultanate.
• The Sultans as a policy appeased them and also at times confronted.
• Balban and AllauddinKhalji confronted them with full military might.
• During Khalji’s time Mongols under QultlugKhwaja even besieged Delhi and caused a lot of damage.
• The last significant attack of Mongols was by Tarmashirin during the reign of Muhammad Tughlaq.
• A lot of energy and resources of the Sultans were spent in facing these invasions but they could not destroy the sultanate.
• Another important attack which shook the foundation of the sultanate was by Timur in 1398.
• The weakness of the Delhi Sultanate was made even worse by Timur’s invasion of Delhi (1398).
• Timur was a son of the Chief of Chagtai branch of Turks.
• When he invaded India he was the master of almost whole of Central Asia.
• Timur’s raid into India was a plundering raid and his motive was to seize the wealth accumulated by the Sultans of Delhi over the last 200 years.
• Sultan Nasiruddin and his WazirMalluIqbasl faced Timur but were defeated.
• Timur entered Delhi and stayed for 15 days and ordered general massacre and large number of Hindu and Muslim including women and children were murdered.
• Before leaving India Timur’s invasion indicated the downfall of Delhi Sultanate.
• Delhi Sultanate lost control over Punjab andTimur appointed Khizr Khan, the ruler for Multan who controlled Punjab also.
• After the fall of Tughlaq dynasty Khizr Khan occupied Delhi and became the ruler of Delhi Sultanate. He laid the foundation of Saiyyid Dynasty.
Inner Conflict of Nobility
• Three hundred years of Delhi Sultanate witnessed five dynasties ruling over it.
• The main reason for change of dynasties and deposing of rulers was a constant struggle between the Sultan and the nobility (Umara).
• Soon after the death of Aibak they started fighting over the question of succession and finally Iltutimish emerged victorious.
• Iltutimish created a group of loyal nobles called Turkan-i-Chihiligani (‘The Forty’).
• After the death of Iltutimish various factions of the group of forty got involved in making their favourite son/daughter as the sultan.
• In ten years five sultans were changed and after that the Sultan who occupied the throne (Nasiruddin Mahmud) for 20 years, hardly ruled and one of the powerful noble Balban was defacto sultan.
• Balban succeeded Nasiruddin after his death.
• Almost similar events happened after the death of each powerful sultan (Balban, AlauddinKhalji, FirozTughlaq and others.)
• Since there was no well defined law of succession each noble tried to either crown himself or support some favourite heir of the dead sultan.
• Finally Afghans replaced the Turks as sultan with the accession of Bahlol Lodi.
Provincial Kingdoms
• Another consequence of this conflict was declaration of independence by various provincial heads in the regions.
• As a result a number of independent Afghan and Turkish kingdoms emerged. Important ones of such states were Bengal (Lakhnouti), Jaunpur, Malwa, Gujarat, the Bahmani kingdom in the Deccan etc.
• Quite often these states were at war with the Sultanate.
• The whole process weakened the sultanate.
Resistance by Indian Chiefs
• The sultans had to face the resistance from Indian chiefs at regular intervals.
• The Rajput chiefs in Rajputana (Mewar, Ranthambhor, Chittor etc.), Warangal, Deogiri&Ma’bar in Deccan and South, the king of Dhar, Malwa in Central India, Jajnagar in Orissa and a host of smaller chieftains were constantly at war even after successive defeats.
• All these struggles weakened the sultanate.

Related Articles

© 2020 Basix Education Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved