Nasir-ud-din Mahmud’s accession to the throne after Razia’s death and as a matter of fact while she was away from Delhi in connection with checking revolts, the ‘Corps of forty’ had made Bahram Shah, (1240- 1242) the son of Iltutmish as the Sultan of Delhi.
The ‘Corps of Forty’ pressurised the Sultan to work according to their dictates.
The Sultan, however, tried to exert himself which cost him his life.
After Bahram Shah, the ‘Corps of Forty’ managed to make Masood Shah (1242-46) the Sultan of Delhi. The Sultan was forced to delegate all his power to the ‘Corps of Forty’. A conspiracy was hatched against the Sultan and he was murdered. After the deposition of Masood, the ‘Corps of Forty’ made Nasir-ud- din the youngest son of Iltutmish, as the Sultan of Delhi. Balban one of the ‘Corps of Forty’ became so powerful that he assumed all the real powers of the Sultan. Nasir-ud-din remained the Sultan in name only.
The new Sultan knew the power of the Turkish nobles and was aware of the fact that his two predecessors who had dared to challenge the authority of the nobles were murdered. Balban was the ‘Naib’ or the Deputy to the Sultan and enjoyed vast powers. He married his daughter to the Sultan.
An estimate of Nasir-ud-din:
Some historians hold the view that Nasir-ud-Din was a religious minded man. He had no wordly desires or ambitions. Several anecdotes became popular about him. It is said that he earned his living by copying the ‘Quran’ and selling it.
Again it is stated that his wife prepared his meals. One day, her fingers were burnt and she requested the Sultan to keep a maid-servant. But the Sultan refused to do soon the plea that he was simply a trustee of the state and therefore, could not utilise public money for his personal convenience. It may also be remembered that his wife was the daughter of Balban, his ‘Naib’-holding the most important post.
It is stated by several historians that such claims are exaggerated. According to P. Saran, the Sultan was very much afraid of the Turkish nobles and therefore kept himself aloof from active politics. It is accepted that he possessed the virtues of continence, frugality and practical piety and simplicity but more than that the circumstances had forced him to behave like that. He knew the power of the Turkish nobility.
Therefore, as Prof. K.A. Nizami writes, “The surrender was absolute” the Sultan did nothing which could provoke the displeasure of ‘forty.’ According to historian Islami,” He expressed no opinion without their prior permission; he did not move his hands or feet except at their order. He would never drink nor go to sleep except with their knowledge. “In the words of Thomas, “Mahmud (Nasir-ud-Din) seems, like the sons of Iltutmish to have been but little fitted to dominate over his own turbulent nobles or to coerce imperfectly conquered native, races, nominally subject to his “sway.”