Here we detail about the top fifteen Muslim Kings of the medieval period from Yamini and Slave Dynasty. The Kings are:
1. Sultan Mahmud (971-1030) 2. Qutb-Ud-Din Aibak (1206-10) 3. Aram Shah (1210-11) 4. Iltutmish (1211-1236) 5. Rukh-Ud-Din Firoz Shah (1235-1236) 6. Muizz-Ud-Din Bahram (1240-42) 7. Ala-Ud-Din Masud Shah (1242-1246) 8. Ala-Ud-Din Masud Shah (1242-1246) 9. Balban (1246-1265) 10. Ghiyas-Ud-Din Balban (1266-87) 11. Muizz-Ud-Din Kaiqubad (1287-1290) 12. Jalal-Ud-Din Firuz Khalji (1290-96) 13. Ala-Ud-Din Khalji (1296-1316) 14. Qutb-Ud-Din Mubarak Shah (1316-20) 15. Nasir-Ud-Din Khusrav Shah (April 15 to Sept. 5, 1320)
King # 1. Sultan Mahmud (971-1030):
On the death of Sabuktigin in 997, his famous son Mahmud succeeded to the throne. There was, however, a short war of succession between Mahmud and his younger brother Ismail who was nominated heir by Sabuktigin. Mahmud obtained formal recognition of his occupation of the throne from the Caliph of Baghdad, al-Qadir Billah who sent him a robe of investment and the titles of Yam-in-ud-daulah and Amin-ul-Millah. Hence his dynasty came to be known as Yamini dynasty.
Mahmud gave up the traditional epithet of Amir and assumed the title of Sultan. Now he decided to proceed on ‘holy war against Hind’. Utbi says that Sultan Mahmud called a council of his officers “in order to secure a blessing on his design of exalting the standard of religion, widening the plain of right, of illuminating the words of truth and strengthening the power of justice.”
In pursuance of his vow he invaded India many times and as to the actual number of his inroads historians differ. According to Sir Henry Elliot Mahmud made seventeen expeditions against India. Modern historians accept the view of Sir Elliot.
The first expedition of Mahmud is said to have taken place in 999 or 1000 when he crossed the Indian border and ‘plundered or annexed’ some towns and a few fortresses. He appointed a ruler for the newly conquered areas and left with a huge booty.
In the same year (1000) Mahmud ‘for the purpose of exalting the standard of religion and to establish truth, justice etc. proceeded in expedition against Jaipal. Mahmud had 15 000 horses with him and when he advanced near Peshawar Jaipal met him with 12,000 horses 30,000 foot and 300 elephants.
With better marksmanship the followers of Mahmud threw the elephants in disarray and they practically ran amuck and the numerically stronger Hindu army could not stand the impetuosity of the Muslim horsemen and by noon Jaipal s army was in full flight leaving 15,000 dead in the field. Jaipal and fifteen of his high ranking officers, and a large number of his men were captured by Mahmud s troops.
The jewels including a necklace of enormous value, worn by Jaipal and his officers formed the part of Mahmud’s plunder. Jaipal purchased his and his officers’ release on the promise of a fabulous ransom of two and half lakhs of dinars and hundred and fifty elephants As the full amount of ransom could not be paid forthwith Jaipal and his officers and men were released by keeping a few hostages.
Jaipal’s son Anandapal made good the deficiency and the hostages were released before Mahmud returned to Ghazni. Jaipal overwhelmed with shame and mortification, having suffered three successive defeats and once a captive, in the hands of the Muslims, considered himself unworthy of the throne and after designating his son Anandapal as his successor mounted a funeral pyre and perished in the flames.
Mahmud renewed his invasion of India in 1004 and after defeating Baji Ray king of Bhera in a desperate battle in which Baji Ray put up a brave fight, carried away all the wealth there was also a large number of elephants. Mahmud made arrangements for permanent annexation of the country and the conversion of the Hindus into Islam.
In his fourth expedition Mahmud proceeded against Multan which was under Abul-hath Daud whose heretical activities had enraged Mahmud. Daud was on friendly terms with Anandapal. Mahmud proposed to Anandapal to allow his army to march through his dominion against Multan. Anandapal, naturally, did not agree to such a proposal from an enemy of his father and against the interest of a friendly ruler. This led to a battle near Peshawar in which Mahmud severely defeated Anandapal who fled to Kashmir.
Now it became easy for Mahmud to march his army through the Shahiya kingdom against Multan and besiege the city for seven days and to force it to surrender. Daud was allowed to rule over his kingdom on payment of an annual tribute of 20,000 dirhams, to follow the tenets of Islam and the people of the kingdom were forced to pay an indemnity of 20 lakhs dirhams.
Now Mahmud received news of the invasion of the northern part of his kingdom by Ilak Khan, a Turkish leader. He left Shukhapala or Sevakpala, a grandson of Jaipala who had been earlier converted into Islam and took the name of Nawas Shah in charge of the territories occupied by him in Hindustan.
As Mahmud had left India Nawas Shah threw off the allegiance to Mahmud and began to rule as an independent ruler. In 1007 Mahmud marched to India to punish Nawas Shah who fled to the hills but was captured, his treasures were all confiscated and Mahmud left for Ghazni after settling the affairs at Hindustan. Nawas Shah had to pass the rest of his life in prison.
Next year (1008) Mahmud led an expedition against Anandapal in order to punish him for his conduct during the invasion of Multan. Anandapal who had been aware of Mahmud’s intention made an appeal to the Hindu rajas for aid and the rajas of Ujjain, Gwalior, Kalinjar, Kanauj, Delhi, Ajmer as also the Khokars of Punjab came to his assistance. The battle between Mahmud and Anandapal took place in the area between Peshwar and Und.
The attack of the Khokars on both the flanks of Mahmud’s army did such execution among his troops that he was about to retreat when an accident decided the day in favour of Mahmud. The elephant of Anandapal took fright and bore his rider out of the field which gave an impression to the Hindu fighters that their leader was retreating, broke the ranks and fled. Mahmud’s troops pursued the retreating Hindus slaying eight thousand. Thus a losing battle was won by Mahmud by an accident. Mahmud took thirty elephants and much other plunder.
Dispersal of the great army of Anandapal opened the way for raid into India and Mahmud advanced towards the fortress of Nagarkot or Kangra, which was famous for its wealth. As the fortress of Nagarkot was most well protected, many of the Hindu rajas and wealthy people deposited their jewelleries and surplus wealth in it. Mahmud forced the fortress to surrender and carried away a booty amounting to “700,000 golden dinars, besides large quantities of vessels of gold and silver and of unworked gold and silver, and jewels” and returned to Ghazni. From Ferishta we know that Mahmud seized control of the treasury “which consisted of 70,000,000 royal dirhams, gold and silver ingots, 7,00,400 mans in weight jewelleries, and precious stones. Among the booty were superfine, soft and embroidered cloths and garments, a house of white silver 30 yards in length and 15 yards in breadth, parts of which could be disjointed at will … provided with two golden and two silver poles and a very costly throne.”
On reaching Ghazni Mahmud held an exhibition of the jewels, pearls and rubies, emeralds, diamonds etc. secured from Nagarkot for ambassadors from Turkestan and other foreign countries to see. Acquisition of such a fabulous wealth only whetted the greed of Mahmud. He took upon himself the sacred task of the breaking Hindu idols and Hindu temples. He assumed the titles of Ghazi, i.e. Victor, and Batshikan, i.e. Idol-breaker.
Next expedition of Mahmud was against Thaneswar. It was his tenth expedition (1014). As Mahmud was preparing for this expedition, the king of Thaneswar having come to know of this sent an emissary to Mahmud proposing to pay an annual tribute of fifty elephants in order to buy him off. But Mahmud rejected the offer and proceeded towards Thaneswar where he found the famous Thaneswar temple practically without any defence. It was practically without any resistance that Mahmud defiled the temple, broke the idol and carried away the wealth from it.
Next he wanted to proceed towards Delhi, but his followers insisted on the conquest of Punjab first and establishment of a military base there before marching towards Delhi. Mahmud saw the logic of the argument and stopped.
In his twelfth expedition Mahmud marched against the sacred city of Mathura. There were magnificent temples within the city and the largest of them stood at the centre. “The Sultan was very much struck by its grandeur. In his estimate it cost not less than 100,000,000 red dinars and even the most skillful of masons must have taken 200 years to complete it. Among the large number of idols in the temples, five were made of pure gold, the eyes of one of them were laid with two rubies worth 100,000 dinars, and another had a sapphire of a very heavy weight. All these five idols yielded gold weighing 98,300 miskals.” The city is said to have been within the kingdom of the raja of Delhi. Mahmud pillaged the city for twenty days. All the idols were deliberately broken into pieces and the buildings reduced to ashes.
From Mathura Mahmud marched to Kanauj. On his approach Rajyapal, the king of the Pratihara dynasty fled to the other side of the Ganges, and a large number of citizens deserted the city. In absence of any resistance all the seven forts easily fell into the hands of Mahmud. Under the orders of Mahmud the inhabitants were put to sword and the idols of the temples were broken, and the city was plundered. Rajyapal submitted to Mahmud.
The shameful surrender of Rajyapal to Mahmud without a fight touched the conscience of some of the notable Hindu rajas, the most notable of whom was Chandela raja Vidyadhara, also known as Ganda of Bundelkhand. He organised a league of the neighbouring Hindu rajas to chastise Rajyapal, king of Kanauj.
They attacked his kingdom and defeated and killed him. Rajyapal’s son Trilochanpal was placed by the neighbouring rajas on the throne of Kanauj. Mahmud considered Rajyapal as his vassal and he marched against the Chandela king Vidyadhara to punish him for attacking Kanauj and killing Rajyapal. Vidyadhara proceeded with a large army to oppose Mahmud, and Trilochanpal also joined him.
In the first encounter with Trilochanpal the latter was defeated. Trilochanpal fled and tried to join Vidyadhara but on his way he was killed by some Hindus. Vidyadhara finding that it would be impossible to resist Mahmud fled in the darkness of night. Mahmud easily defeated the army of Vidyadhara and took away 580 elephants and a booty of immense wealth.
Next years (1021-22) Mahmud preceded an expedition against Vidyadhara and on his way attacked the fort of Gwalior then in possession of Kachchapaghata Chief Kirttiraja, who after valiantly defending the fort for four days sued for peace. Mahmud received 35 elephants and some valuable presents from Kirttiraja and proceeded towards Kalinjar fort which he besieged. The siege continued for a long time when Vidyadhara sent an emissary to Mahmud suing for peace.
He offered 300 elephants and other valuable presents for raising the siege. Mahmud was very much pleased at the compliments paid by Vidyadhara to him and he reciprocated his friendly gesture by bestowing on the Chandela king the government of 15 fortresses and returned to Ghazni. This episode is mentioned both by Ferishta and Nizarn-ud-din.
The most important expedition of Sultan Mahmud was that against the famous temple of Somnath (1024) in Kathiawar. It was on the sea shore of Kathiawar containing a Siva linga. Mahmud marched from Ghazni for Kathiawar with 30,000 cavalry and a multitude of volunteers.
He first reached Ajmer on his way towards Multan and after having plundered the city of Ajmer moved towards Gujarat and in 1025 reached near the temple of Somnath with his huge cavalary and volunteers. “The Hindus, who assembled on the rampart of the port, were passing their time in merry-making, fondly believing that Somnath had drawn the Muslims there only to annihilate them for the sins they had committed in demolishing idols elsewhere. Their morals were high even though their leader had fled away in cowardice with his family to a neighbouring island.”
The next day the Sultan began his assault driving away the Hindus from the rampart by volleys of arrows. But before the Muslims could consolidate their position they were violently attacked by the Hindus who came out of the temple after prayer for strength and courage.
The Muslims were unable to withstand the onslaught and were forced to retreat from the city. They returned next day with great determination and renewed operation with greater intensity and the defence of the Hindus was of no avail. Bands of Hindus came in succession to defend the gate of the temple and 50,000 Hindus sacrificed their lives in this attempt. Mahmud entered the temple broke the Siva linga and took possession of 20,000,000 dirhams worth of wealth from the temple.
The fragments of the Siva linga were carried to Ghazni where they were used to build the steps at the gate of the Jami mosque. The king of Anhilwara fought for the defence of the temple of Somnath. Mahmud therefore attacked Anhilwara and pillaged the capital. But on his way to Ghazni, Mahmud suffered considerable loss due to Jat attacks. To take revenge against the Jats Mahmud proceeded on his seventeeth expedition against India in 1027. The Jats fought bravely against Mahmud but was ultimately defeated. Mahmud then returned to Ghazni where he died after three years in 1030.
King # 2. Qutb-Ud-Din Aibak (1206-10):
Muizz-ud-din Muhammad Ghuri had left Qutb-ud-din Aibak in charge of his Indian conquests while returning to Ghazni. Qutb-ud-din was a trusted slave of Muizz-ud-din Aibak who played an important part in his Indian expeditions. He was decidedly the very best and most dependable of the followers of Muizz-ud-din by virtue of his sharp intelligence, his education and ability as a soldier.
Qutb-ud-din was originally a slave who was brought from Turkestan to Nishapur in Persia by the slave traders. The Qazi of Nishapur bought him from the slave traders and noticing his talent taught him literature, archery and the technique of warfare. After the death of the Qazi, Qutb-ud-din had to pass through many ups and downs of fortune and was ultimately sold to Muizz-ud-din Muhammad Ghuri. Under him he got opportunities to give proofs of his worth and gradually became the most trusted of Muizz-ud- din’s followers.
Muizz-ud-din died childless. There was a struggle for supremacy between Qutb-ud- din Aibak, Taj-ud-din Yaldiz and Nasir-ud-din Qubacha for deciding the issue on the basis of the survival of the fittest. Qutb-ud-din had, therefore to work hard for getting his position recognised. On the death of Muizz-ud-din, the citizens of Lahore invited him from Delhi to Lahore and requested him to assume the sovereign authority.
Qutb-ud-din realised the great danger to which Lahore was exposed and shifted his capital from Delhi to Lahore. Though Qutb-ud-din Aibak was decidedly the ablest of all the senior slaves of Muizz- ud-din Ghuri, there were other ambitious senior slaves who were rivals for the sovereignty of the dominions left by Muizz-ud-din. Among these was Taj-ud-din Yildiz who possessed himself of Ghazni and so felt himself qualified for suzerain status. Qutb-ud-din had married the daughter of Taj-ud-din.
Both Qutb-ud-din and Nisir-ud-din Qubacha were opposed to the ambitions of Taj-ud-din Yildiz. Qutb-ud-din’s formal change of government from Delhi to Lahore implied severance of India’s ties with Ghazni thus forestalling the claims of Yildiz. Qutb-ud-din’s accession took place in 1206 but he refrained from assuming the title of Sultan, reading of Khutba in his name or striking his own coin till 1208- 09 when he received the deed of manumission and royal insignia from his master’s successor at Ghur. Ghiyas-ud-din successor of Muizz-ud-din at Ghur also conferred upon Qutb-ud-din the title of Sultan.
Qutb-ud-din as Sultan:
Qutb-ud-din ruled for a short period of four years only. Most of this period was consumed in dealing with his chief rivals Taj-ud-din Yildiz and Nasir-ud-din Qubacha. The former was the ruler of the Province of Kirman and the latter of Multan and Uch. Yildiz succeeded in occupying Ghazni after the death of Muizz- ud-din and being jealous at the rise of fortune of Qutb-ud-din Aibak Yildiz proceeded to occupy Punjab but was defeated by Qutb-ud-din who pursued him upto Ghazni and occupied it.
Qutb-ud-din, however could not keep his hold on Ghazni for long. His soldiers carried on depredations on the inhabitants of Ghazni which compelled them to secretly invite Taj-ud-din Yildiz to invade Ghazni. In a surprise attack Qutb-ud-din was defeated and had to leave Ghazni. Thus the chance to unite Afghanistan and India was lost. The Shah of Khvarazam was also forestalled by him in the process of the occupation of Ghazni, though for a temporary period. It was also the task of Qutb-ud-din to prevent the Rajputs from recovering their principalities and to put down the pretensions of Nasir-ud-din Qubacha.
Bengal and Bihar threatened to sever connection with the Delhi Sultanate on the death of Ikhtiyar-ud-din Khalji. Ali Mardan Khan had placed himself as an independent ruler at Lakhanauti but he was ousted by the local Khalji chiefs and Muhammad Sheran was made the ruler.
All Mardan escaped and went to Delhi where he succeeded not without difficulty to persuade Qutb-ud-din to accept him as the Governor of Bengal and Bihar on payment of an annual tribute. At the time of his death the Rajputs remained unaffected due to Qutb-ud-din’s too much occupation with the North West. He died in 1210 of injuries received as a result of a fall from his horse in a game of polo.
Qutb-ud-din’s Character and Estimate:
Qutb-ud-din was a great warrior and a military leader. He rose from the obscurity of a poor soldier to the position of power and fame. He was a reliable lieutenant and never betrayed the trust of his master. It was largely due to the service of Qutb-ud-din Aibak that Muizz-ud-din Ghuri succeeded in India.
As a ruler he, however, could not make any new conquests because of his preoccupations otherwise. He had also not enough time to build up a strong government. But he earned the respect of his contemporaries as a well-meaning, judicious and kind- hearted ruler. Minhaj-us-siraj refers to these qualities of his character.
According to Hasan- un-nizami, “He dispended even-handed justice to the people and exerted himself to promote the peace and prosperity of the realm.” Qutb-ud-din possessed a refined taste and patronized men of learning among whom was Hasan-un-nizami, Fakhre Mudir who dedicated their works to their royal patron. He was also deeply interested in architecture.
He caused two mosques to be built one at Delhi known as Quat-ul-Islam and other at Ajmer, known as Dhia-Din Ka Jhonpara, out of the materials of the Hindu temples which he destroyed. He had been given the epithet of Lakh-baksha due to his generosity. He does not seem to have followed the enlightened policy of religious toleration, although he is said to have twice interceded with Muhammad for the vanquished Hindu Princes.
King # 3. Aram Shah (1210-11):
As Qutb-ud-din died before he had time to put the administration on a firm footing, the foundation of the newly established Turkish state in India became shaky with his death and there was a great confusion among his followers. Aram Shah, according to some was an adopted son of Qutb-ud-din Aibak.
The sudden death of Qutb-ud-din at Lahore led his followers to set up Aram Shah on the throne in Lahore, but the nobles at Delhi refused to acknowledge him as ruler, for they felt that at that critical period of the Turkish rule the government should be in the hands of a competent ruler who would be at once a competent administrator and a great warrior. The citizens of Delhi, therefore, headed by the chief magistrate invited Iltutmish, son-in-law of Qutb-ud-din, the Governor of Badaun to come and to accept the crown.
Iltutmish naturally accepted the invitation and proceeded towards Delhi with a strong force. As Aram Shah was unwilling to abdicate the throne, he proceeded to oppose Iltutmish with the support of the people of Lahore but was easily defeated and killed.
King # 4. Iltutmish (1211-1236):
Shams-ud-din Iltutmish was born in a family of Turkish nobility of the Ilbari tribe of Central Asia but was sold in his boyhood as slave by his brothers, to a slave trader Jamal-ud-din who took him to Ghazni. Therefrom he was brought to Delhi and sold for a second time to Qutb-ud-din. He was both handsome and talented.
Under Qutb-ud-din he received training as a soldier and learnt reading and writing. It is said that Muizz- ud-din was very much impressed by the good presence and talent of Iltutmish and recommended him to Qutb-ud-din in the words: “Treat Iltutmish well, for he will distinguish himself.” Soon Iltutmish began to rise rapidly from higher to higher position and Qutb-ud-din took him as his son-in-law.
He was made chief in charge of the Gwalior fort after its conquest, then made the Governor of Baran and later appointed Governor of Badaun, which post he held at the time of the death of Qutb-ud-din. It was in 1211 that he became the Sultan. When Qutb-ud-din had invaded Ghazni Iltutmish gave proofs of his extraordinary ability as a warrior and it was his qualities, both as a warrior and an administrator that had won the admiration of the nobles of the court at Delhi for which he was called upon to come and accept the crown.
No sooner Iltutmish had assumed authority as the Sultan than he was faced with a very complex situation. Taking advantage of the confusion during the conflict between Aram Shah and Iltutmish, Nasir-ud-din Qubacha pushed to Multan and extended his hold on Lahore, Bhatinda and even Sarasuti. The Hindu feudatories showed increasing defiance and Ranthambhor which was under Prithviraja’s son ceased to own vassalage. Ali Mardan, Governor of Bengal declared independence. Yildiz although lost ground to the Shah of Khvarazam was yet waxing in imperial pretensions. A section of the Delhi nobles opposed Iltutmish.
Iltutmish, however, acted with circumspection. He suppressed the Delhi nobles who were supporters of Aram Shah and against him were suppressed with difficulty. He then feigned to accept an investiture from Taj-ud-din Yildiz and remained completely neutral when Yildiz drove out Qubacha from Lahore and occupied most of Punjab. But he took advantage of the vacuum and occupied Sarasuti, Bhatinda and Khuram which had been earlier occupied by Qubacha.
He began to consolidate his position and strengthen his army, and when in 1215 Yildiz was finally driven out of Ghazni and peremptorily ordered Iltutmish to send reinforcement, the latter met him with great confidence and defeated and captured him in an open battle at Tarain. He took his time to reorganize his army and the newly conquered territories. After two years he moved his troops across the Beas to Lahore.
Qubacha hastily fled to Uch. The steady advance of Iltutmish towards the Sindhu basin was halted by the Mongols who drove a huge number of refugees both princes and people into Punjab. The Khvarazami Prince Jalal-ud-din Mangabarni, chased through Khurasan and Afghanistan came into Sind and sought asylum in India. He sent an emissary for the purpose to Iltutmish.
It severely taxed Iltutmish’s diplomacy to refuse shelter to a brother-in-faith thereby assist the Pagan Mongol cause or to give him shelter and invite a mongol raid. He therefore, tolerated the Mongols’ searching for Mangbarni. The latter forced an alliance on the Hindu chiefs of the Salt Range and gathering an army of fugitive tribes caused enormous devastation in the kingdom of Qubacha.
The region north of Multan became a no-man’s land and therefore sought to be a khvarazamian principality. During his final exit Mangbarni set fire to Uch, seized Sehwan and put the ruler of Debal to flight. The territorial advantages derived thereby, he left Uzbek Pai and Hasan Qarlugh, in charge of the places who were thorns on Qubacha’s side.
All this advanced Iltutmish’s plans against his rival Qubacha. Advancing from Lahore which he occupied shortly after the exit of Mangbarni, Iltutmish forced Qubacha out of Multan and Uch and practically without a battle compelled him to take shelter in the island fortress of Bhakar and eventually to a watery grave in 1228.
Hasan Qarlugh and Uzbek Pai made Sindhu basin an operational area of the Mongols. Iltutmish followed a policy of not assisting them nor liquidating them, as either course would invite unwelcome Mongol raid. He therefore instructed his officers to watch the situation and to reduce the Chenab and Jhelum valleys without giving direct offence to the Mongols. Before Iltutmish died he managed to extend his rule up to Sialkot and Hajner in the north but failed to make much headway in the west.
After the end of the misrule of Ali Mardan in Bengal, the rule had passed to Husam- ud-din Ewaz who assumed the title of Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Khalji. He assumed sovereign status, gave good government to the people and profitably carried on raids into Hindu states in the neighbouring areas and enhanced his resources.
Iltutmish by a show of force succeeded in 1225 in making Ghiyas-ud-din to recognise his overlordship and to relinquish his hold on Bihar. But hardly the troops of Iltutmish had left Bengal, Ghiyas-ud-din declared independence and reoccupied Bihar. Iltutmish had to send his son Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, Governor of Oudh against Ghiyas-ud-din and the latter was defeated and killed in an armed engagement, in 1226.
Bengal again became a province of Delhi. Nasir-ud- din Mahmud died soon after, which was a signal for declaration of independence of Bengal under Balka Khalji. Iltutmish had to march on a second expedition against Bengal in which Balka Khalji was defeated and killed in 1230. Now Iltutmish separated Bengal and Bihar into two provinces and appointed two Governors one for each. Ala-ud-din Jani was appointed Governor of Bengal.
In 1231 Iltutmish reconquered Gwalior. He also invaded Malwa and after a long siege took possession of Bhilsa fort. He also invaded Ujjain and destroyed the temple of Mahakal there and carried away the statue of king Vikramaditya to Delhi. In 1236, Iltutmish died.
King # 5. Rukh-Ud-Din Firoz Shah (1235-1236):
On the untimely and unexpected death of the Crown Prince Nasir-ud-din Mahmud in 1229, Iltutmish after some hesitation nominated his eldest daughter Raziyya to succeed him in supersession of his other sons. Iltutmish did not consider his second grown up son Rukh-ud-din Firoz Shah competent to succeed him.
But the nobles at the Delhi court were not in favour of a woman’s succeeding to the throne of Delhi. The nobles proclaimed Rukh-ud-din as the Sultan. He was as inefficient as given to debauchery. Naturally under him in the name of administration there was extravagance and oppression of the people. Taking advantage of this situation, Shah Turkan, mother of Rukh-ud-din Firoz seized the power of the state. She then began to practically torture the Begums of Iltutmish out of jealousy, as she herself belonged to a lower status. As a result of the selfishness, torture and debauchery of both the mother and the son rebellion began all over the country. Badaun, Hansi, Lahore, Oudh and Bengal defied the sovereignty of Delhi. In the circumstances, the nobles of Delhi threw Rukh-ud-din and Shah Turkan into the prison and placed daughter of Iltutmish, Raziyya on the throne of Delhi.
King # 6. Muizz-Ud-Din Bahram (1240-42):
Muizz-ud-din Bahram ascended the throne in April, 1240 when Raziyya was imprisoned at Bhatinda. He was the third son of Iltutmish. He was raised to the throne on the definite understanding that he would allow the Turkish Maliks and Amirs to exercise all powers of administration. He had also to allow the Turkish nobles to nominate the king’s deputy that is, Naib-i-mamlikat, a post which was created now. Ikhtyar-ud- din Aeitigin was appointed to this high post. The post of the vizier was now relegated to a secondary position. In this way the Forty—The Bandegan-i-Chahelagan was in complete control of the administration.
Under a king like Iltutmish the Forty was loyal no doubt, but under his weak successors its power pushed that of the Sultan into the background. The king’s deputy, Aeitigin, usurped much of the power formerly exercised by the Sultan.
Bahram was an intrepid, open-minded unostentatious ruler, but he was not that strong as to keep the reins of government in his own hands. Malik Badr-ud-din, Lord Chamberlain, and vizier Nizam-ul-Mulk held high offices of the state, but Bahram and Nizam-ul-Mulk, both were dissatisfied with Badr-ud-din who secretly tried to depose Bahram from the throne.
Nizam-ul-Mulk got scent of the secret plan of Badr-ud-din and told his master all about it whereupon Bahram sent him to Badaun as its Governor. But Badr-ud-din came back to Delhi within a few months without taking permission of the Sultan. For this disobedience he was put under arrest and killed. Badr-ud-din was one of the Forty and the circumstances in which he was killed struck terror in the minds of the amirs and maliks, for now they apprehended that the life of none of them was safe and they naturally began to conspire against Bahram for his removal from the throne.
The Turkish ulemas i.e. the ecclesiasticals were also hostile to the Sultan as one of them was put to death under his order. When the situation had become so complex the Mongols invaded Punjab and lay siege of the city of Lahore in 1241. Bahram sent an army for the relief of the city and the vizier who accompanied the army told the officers that the Sultan sent secret orders for the arrest and execution of all of them.
The army officers returned with the army filled with rage and vowing vengeance on the Sultan without reaching Lahore. They were determined to depose the Sultan. The people of Delhi fought desperately for some time but were no match for the army under the trained officers. Sultan Bahram fought against the rebellious army from the White Fort but was defeated and captured. A few days later he was put to death.
King # 7. Ala-Ud-Din Masud Shah (1242-1246):
Raising Ala-ud-din Masud Shah, the grandson of Iltutmish and son of Rukh-ud-din to the throne after the defeat and death of Bahram signified the defeat of the Crown and complete triumph of the Turkish aristocracy. Ala-ud-din Masud Shah had to agree to abide by the terms of the agreement made by his predecessor, that is, he was to delegate all power to the Forty and to reintroduce the post of the deputy king to which post Malik Qutb-ud-din Hasan was appointed.
Nizam-ul-Mulk, the vizier had earned the displeasure of the amirs and maliks who got him killed and Nazim-ud-din Abu Bakr was appointed vizier in his place. Malik Ikhtiyar-ud-din Qaraqash was appointed amir- i-hajib. Qazi Imad-ud-din Muhammad Shafurqani replaced Minhaj-us-Siraj as Head Qazi.
Adjustments were also made in the assignments held by important maliks. Nagaur, Mandor and Ajmer were assigned to Malik Izz-ud-din Balban Kishlu Khan and Badaun to Taj- ud-din Sanjar Qutluq. Baha-ud-din Balban who obtained the title of Ulugh Khan was latter appointed amir-i-hajib in place of Malik Qaraqash who was sent to Badaun as Governor.
During the rule of Ala-ud-din Masud Shah, Tughan Tughril Khan was ruling over Bengal as an independent ruler for all practical purposes and even proceeded upto Oudh. It was at the request of Mihaj-us-Siraj that he desisted from his attack on Oudh and returned to Bengal. Within a short time (1245) the Mongols invaded India but were beaten off.
Ala-ud-din Masud Shah gradually became pleasure-loving and was given to debauchery. His administrative efficiency naturally began to ebb and as his administrative efficiency began to ebb his oppression of the people began to increase. Ultimately the maliks and amirs found it advisable to remove him from the throne and to place Nasir- ud-din Mahmud, the youngest son of Iltutmish on the throne (1246).
King # 8. Nasir-Ud-Din Mahmud (1246-65):
Nasir-ud-din Mahmud ascended the Delhi throne of June 10, 1246, and two days later he held a durbar in the audience hall of Qasr-i-Firuzah, and the people pledged allegiance to him. Sultan Nasir-ud-din is usually painted as a man of saintly disposition, who had little or no interest in the administrative or political affairs of the state, being devoted to prayers and religious observances all the time.
“This assessment ignores the basic facts of his life. A deeper analysis of the pulls and pressures of the time leads us to the conclusion that if he turned to religious devotions and rites, it was to escape from the terrors of political life. He was essentially political in outlook and that he could keep his head on his shoulders for twenty years under these circumstances is no mean compliment to his political tact and adroitness.”
(Prof. Nizami). According to Isami, however, “Ulugh Khan served the king and controlled all his affairs; the king lived in his palace and Ulugh Khan governed the empire. It goes without saying that the new king was un-ambitious, docile and to an extent timid. He kept for himself the mere form of royalty while he left the substance of authority to his nobles. He married the daughter of Ulugh Khan, more known as Balban who was instrumental to his rising to the royal position. The Sultan is said to have spent most of his time in copying Quran and doing acts of charity”.
King # 9. Balban (1246-1265):
Nasir-ud-din owed his throne to Balban and naturally he placed all power of the state in the hands of his benefactor, the leader of the Forty. Important offices of the state were distributed among the kinsmen of Balban which, however, provoked opposition of the non-Turkish elements headed by an Indian Muslim Imad-ud-din Raihan.
Raihan managed to secure the post of Wakil-i-dar, i.e. Superintendent of king’s Household and then contrived to replace Balban and his kinsmen by his own supporters. The rule of the Indian Muslims being loathsome of the Turks, they began a counter move in which Balban took a leading part.
The Turkish officers posted in provinces round Delhi joined their forces and prepared to march on the capital to end the non-Turkish domination. The Sultan was advised to resist the invasion of the capital but at the last moment lost heart and was glad to end the tension by accepting the opponents terms. Raihan and his associates were dismissed from the court and Balban regained his former ascendancy.
Except for a brief interruption when Raihan succeeded in putting his followers in important posts at the court, Balban held all effective power during the whole of Mahmud’s reign and even is said to have used the royal insignia. On the death of Sultan Nasir- ud-din Mahmud leaving no heir, Balban assumed the crown, thus a new dynasty was started (1265).
The problems that Balban had to settle before his assumption of the Sultanate of Delhi were as complex as numerous. Bengal gave him repeated trouble. Tughan Tughril Khan, Governor of Bengal, repudiated the authority of Delhi, began to rule as an independent king. He even invaded Awadh, but having been defeated by the raja of Orissa after some time.
Tughan was forced to appeal to Delhi for help. This gave Balban opportunity to deal with Tughan. He sent an army under Tamur Khan with instruction to punish Tughan Tughril Khan, although seemingly it was sent for his assistance. Tughan was ousted from his position as Governor of Bengal and Awadh was given him as compensation. Tughan did not survive long to enjoy his new assignment. But Bengal continued to give trouble to Balban.
One of Tughan Tughril’s successors Yuzbek-i-Tughril Khan declared himself king of Bengal, assumed regal title, read a Khutba in his name and struck his own coin in 1255. But fortune did not favour him, for he was killed in 1257 while leading an expedition to Kamrupa. But this also did not end the trouble in Bengal.
Within three or four years there was again trouble in Bengal when Arslan Khan, Governor of Kara occupied Lakhanauti and began to rule over Bengal as an independent ruler. Bengal retained her independence till the end of the reign of Nasir-ud-din Mahmud.
The Governors in the North West also became rebellious. Restoration of the authority in that region was far from satisfactory. The constant Mongol pressure Hasan Qarlugh’s ambition to extend his dominion to Multan and Sind and the selfishness of the local officers who were always busy in carving out a fortune for themselves and were involved in intrigues with Delhi and Mongols in Persia made for the unrest in the area.
In fact, Hasan Qarlugh for a time succeeded in occupying Multan. Kishlu Khan, Governor of Multan and Uch repudiated the suzerainty of Delhi and accepted the vassalage of Hulagu, the Mongol leader of Persia. He then joined Qurlugh Khan of Awadh and made a bid for occupation of Delhi.
But their combined attempt failed due to the vigilance and quick action of Balban. It appears that some sort of an agreement was made between Delhi and Hulagu, and the latter sent an envoy to Delhi to assure the Sultan that the Mongols would not infringe the northwestern frontier of India.
But all this did not end the trouble in Punjab. In 1254, even Lahore passed into the hands of the Mongols and only southeast part of Punjab remained within the dominion of Delhi and the rest came under the Mongols or under their sphere of influence. Multan and Sind, however, continued to remain parts of Delhi dominion.
The task of suppressing the Hindu attempts at independence was perhaps the most trying of all that Balban was faced with. He had to deal with the disaffected Hindus of the Doab first. He defeated Trilokyavarma of the Chandela dynasty, slaughtered a large number of men and carried away women and children to slavery. Next was the turn of Mewat where he perpetrated inhuman brutalities in chastising the disaffected people there.
Balban made repeated expeditions against Ranthambhor which he ultimately succeeded in conquering. The Chandela chief of Kalinjar also rose in revolt but it was suppressed with a heavy hand by Balban. Balban also led expeditions against Gwalior, but he did no attempt to extend Turkish hegemony in Malwa or Central India.
King # 10. Ghiyas-Ud-Din Balban (1266-87):
Ghiyas-ud-din Balban was an Ilberi Turk. He was captured by the Mongols in early life and sold to slavery to one Jamal-ud-din who later brought him to Delhi and re-sold him to Iltutmish. Balban was one of Iltutmish’s Bandegan-i-Chahelagan or the Forty. It was by the dint of his merit that Balban became the de facto ruler under Nasir-ud-din Mahmud. By giving his daughter in marriage to Sultan Nasir-ud-din he made his power over the Sultan unquestioned and unassailable.
Balban’s work as naib of Nasir- ud-din has already been recounted. On his assumption of the crown he had to deal with problems of establishing an efficient administration, making arrangements for prevention of Mongol raids and to that end to strengthen the frontiers. According to Barni, Balban knowing as he did that fear of punishment generates loyalty to the government, determined to create that feeling among the nobility.
His first task was to organise a strong army. By reorganizing the old army of the Sultanate, he increased the efficiency of the infantry and the cavalry. Experienced, efficient and loyal maliks and amirs were placed in command of the different sections of the army. With the help of this army Balban brought peace and order in the Doab.
The marauders of Mewat had made the life of the people up to the outskirts of Delhi insecure. Balban suppressed them with a heavy hand. Kampil, Patiali, Bhojpur were the centres of the Mewati dacoits. Balban proceeded personally against them and by making repeated attacks on their centres liquidated them and thereby made the high ways safe for travels. Suppression of the Mewati dacoits not only brought security to life and property of the passerby, but also largely helped in the development of trade and commerce.
In order that the Mewati dacoits might not begin their depredations again. Balban built a fort at Gopalgir and repaired the fort at Jalali. Balban’s action against the Mewati dacoits continued to yield good results for more than half a century. Barani writing after about sixty years said that there was no depredation by dacoits in the country.
Balban sought to alter the conditions of the enjoyment of the landed estates by the nobles in order to curb their over-grown power. But he desisted from the plan on the advice of a trusted Lieutenant that such a course would lead to great trouble. But Balban succeeded in curtailing the power of the Bandegan-i-chahelagan or the Forty and thereby making the administration both strong and respected.
Balban believed in a theory which was similar to that of the Divine Right of Kingship. He expounded his views in his advice to his son Bughra Khan: “The heart of the king is the special repository of God’s favour and in this he has no equal among mankind.” On a different occasion he stressed the sanctity of the person of the king. Balban also believed in depotism as inherent in kingship, for he sincerely believed that despotism alone could exact obedience from the subjects and ensure security of the state. He copied the Persian model in his court etiquette and introduced the system of sijda, i.e. laying prostrate and paibos, i.e. kissing the monarch’s feet in the royal court as normal forms of salutation.
To enhance the splendour of his court he introduced the celebration of Persian Nauroz. Drinking by courtiers and officers was prohibited and a special dress was prescribed for the courtiers. Light moods of laughing or smiling in court were not permitted. In this way, by rigid formalities and enforced dignity and ceremonials Balban restored the reserve and prestige of the Sultanate.
Balban realised that his policy of despotism could not succeed unless he could keep himself informed of the happenings in the different parts of the kingdom. He, therefore, organised an efficient system of espionage by spending much money and time after it. Secret news-writers were appointed in every department and every province, in fact, in every district. He, of course took much care in selecting most loyal persons as secret news- writers, i.e. spies, who had to transmit secret information about important occurrences every day. The news-writer of Badaun who failed to do his duty was hanged near the city gate.
Balban having strengthened his position proceeded to suppress the tribals of the Jud area. Then he addressed himself to the task of providing security against Mongol raids. Sher Khan was a powerful jagirdar of a vast area of Suman, Lahore and Dipalpur.
He was also a close relation to Balban. Sher Khan played a very important part in warding off Mongol inroads, and also in bringing the Jats, Khokars and other tribals under his control. His spectacular success excited the jealousy of Balban and his intentions were suspect. Balban, therefore, got him poisoned to death. But this was highly impolitic step.
Balban, however, promptly put his eldest son Muhammad and second son Bughra Khan at Sunam and Saman with strong force for defence of the frontier against Mongol raids. The good result of this arrangement for the defence of the country against Mongol raids was seen in 1279 when the Mongol raid was beaten off with great slaughter by the two sons of Balban. The mongols had to leave the borders after this abject failure.
Taking advantage of the Mongol raids and the preoccupations of the government, Bengal under Tughril Khan declared independence, assumed the title of Sultan, struck coins and caused Khutba in his name. Balban sent Amir Khan and Malik Targhi against Tughril Khan in two expeditions against him one after another but both the attempts having failed, Balban himself proceeded against Tughril in a third expedition. Tughril fled his capital out of fear but was pursued and captured and killed. Balban’s second son Bughra Khan was placed as the Governor of Bengal.
Hardly the affairs of Bengal were over; the Mongols reappeared in the northwest and attacked Punjab. Muhammad, the eldest son of Balban lost his life in his attempt to drive out the Mongols. This untimely death of his most favourite son was too deep a shock for Balban to withstand and he also died within a very short time in 1287.
Ghiyas-ud-din Balban was far-seeing administrator. He clearly realised that the way to keep so vast a country under control, only a strong army would not do. Efficiency of administration must be the very basis of administration if it were to stand the test of time and win the allegiance of the people. He, therefore, struck a balance between military strength and administrative efficiency. At the top of the administration was the Sultan himself, and nothing could be done without his consent and approval. Even his sons did not enjoy any independence in this regard.
In matters of judicial administration, the principle followed by Balban was one of strict impartiality. His near relations also could not avoid the process of law and justice if they were in any way involved in any act of omission or commission. This had a salutary effect on the amirs and maliks who now did not venture to maltreat their servants, male or female or even their slaves, for they knew that they could not get away without punishment for their wrong-doings. A certain malik got one of his slaves killed by inhuman cruelties. The Sultan came to know of this from the widow of the slave thus killed and ordered the malik to be flogged openly for the crime.
Haibat Khan, a favourite of the Sultan himself, killed a man and in order to avoid punishment at the hand of Balban paid twenty thousand rupees to the widow of the man as compensation. The institution of an espionage system by Balban has already been referred to. The spies were also to report all cases of miscarriage of justice to the Sultan besides reporting on the occurrences of importance and about high ranking officers, even including Balban’s son Bughra Khan, to Balban.
King # 11. Muizz-Ud-Din Kaiqubad (1287-1290):
On Balban’s death Fakhr-ud-din, the kotwal of Delhi set aside the claim of Kai Khushrav and placed Muizz-ud-din Kaiqubad, son of Bughra Khan on the throne. Kaiqubad was then a young man of seventeen or eighteen years of age, ‘handsome, cultured and benevolent.’ He grew under the strict guardianship of his grandfather and was never allowed to look at any beautiful girl or taste a drop of wine. “He had received instruction in all physical and intellectual arts, including calligraphy, literature, archery spearman-ship etc.”
But no sooner he had ascended the throne than he gave himself up to debauchery and bided his time in wine and venery. The court of Balban which was a centre of religion and culture was soon turned into a centre for the buffoons, pleasure-seekers, dancing girls and musicians. Kaiqubad caused a beautiful palace to be built on the Jumna at Kailugarhi and live there in pleasure and merry-making.
According to Isami, “Day and night the king was engaged in his pleasure parties, he had no time for anything else. There were no companions for him all the time except moon-faced maidens with rosy lips. I have heard concerning this king who was a slave of his sex desires owing to his youth.”
In such circumstances the burden of the state had to be shouldered by others. Nizam- ud-din Barani writes that “I have heart from Qazi Saraf-ud-din Sarpain that the kingdom could not have lasted for a week had Malik Nizam-ud-din and Malik Qawam-ud-din Ilaqa Dabir not been the pillars of the state.” But in fact, Nizam-ud-din sedulously encouraged the youthful king to sensuous pleasures and began to consolidate his dictatorial authority for the final usurpation of the throne which to everyone appeared to be inevitable and necessary.
Within six months of Kaiqubad’s rule Kai Khushrav was murdered and the new vizier Khwaja Khatir was removed and a large number of high officials were replaced on trumped up charge of sedition, by Nizam-ud-din’s own men.
While Nizam-ud-din was busy in purging the administration of officials he considered undesirable for his fulfillment of ambition, the Mongol chief Tamar Khan invaded India and ravaged the country from Lahore to Multan. Khan-i-Jahan the barbek was sent to deal with the Mongols who retreated on hearing the news of the coming of the imperial force. Some Mongols were captured and killed. “Later Nizam-ud-din deceitfully obtained the Sultan’s order for the execution of those Mongols (called New Muslims) who had earlier embraced Islam and settled in India.” (Prof. Nizami).
Nizam-ud-din’s policy made Malik Fakhr-ud-din, kotwal, now and old man of ninety apprehensive of Nizam-ud-din’s fate. He exhorted him to give up the idea of royalty and to stick to his own business of office. But Nizam-ud-din replied that he had already proceeded too far in the way and to retrace his steps would mean that he would be killed.
Bughra Khan, father of Kaiqubad, who was now ruling over Bengal as Sultan Nasir- ud-din, knew that his son was leading a life of dissipation and Nizam-ud-din had made him a cat’s paw with the ultimate aim of putting an end of Kaiqubad himself. Bughra Khan in his attempt to save his son from the situation into which both he himself and Nizam-ud-din had put himself, wanted to meet his son. Nizam-ud-din insisted that Bughra Khan must follow the court etiquette with a view to foil the attempt of Bughra Khan to see his son under such humiliating condition.
But Bughra Khan followed the etiquette of the court with punctilious care, laying prostrate at the feet of Kaiqubad, kissing the ground and Kaiqubad looking on in stony dignity and kingly unconcern. But at the end Kaiqubad broke down and threw himself at the feet of his father and in tears. Bughra Khan whispered into the ears of his son to get rid of Nizam-ud-din and to refrain from indulging in pleasures.
For a time Kaiqubad corrected himself but the number of young, charming courtesans that surrounded the court soon brought him back to his old ways. Too much dissipation told upon his health and he fell ill. He ordered Nizam-ud-din to proceed to Multan but the latter delayed his departure on various pretexts.
The Turkish officers finding the time opportune poisoned Nizam-ud-din. Barani while praising the administrative abilities of Nizam-ud-din expressed his strong disapproval of his ambitious character and unscrupulous methods. On Nizam-ud-din’s death the situation became extremely chaotic, although many of the nobles of Balban’s court returned to serve Kaiqubad.
Kaiqubad placed Malik Firuz Khalji from Samana in the vacancy caused by the death of Nizam-ud-din. Malik Firuz (later Sultan Jalal-ud-din Khalji) had served Balban for many years along with his brother Shihab-ud-din Khalji father of later Sultan Ala-ud-din Khalji.
Ultimately the conflicts and ambitions of the nobles got crystallised into two hostile groups. The Turkish nobles who looked upon Malik Firuz as a non-Turk soon became hostile to him. The Khalji group was led by Malik Firuz while the Turkish group was led by Malik Aitmar Surkha. Soon after Kaiqubad was struck down with paralysis and the Turkish nobles took the opportunity to raise his infant son under the title Shams-ud-din II (Kayumars) on the throne.
They also sought to put Malik Firuz to death, which they did not succeed in doing as Malik Firuz was always on guard. Malik Firuz forestalled the Turkish nobles by occupying Delhi and after having murdered Kaiqubad made himself the regent of the infant king. The regency was nothing but a stop-gap arrangement and was not meant to last for long. Malik Firuz soon after set aside Shams-ud-din Kayumars and put him to death, ascending the throne himself in March, 1290. Thus the so-called Slave Dynasty of Delhi came to an end.
King # 12. Jalal-Ud-Din Firuz Khalji (1290-96):
About the origin of the Khaljis there is difference of opinion between Nizam-ud-din, Ferishta and Zia-ud-din Barani. According to Zia-ud-din Barani, Jalal-ud-din came of a race different from the Turks and that with the death of Kaiqubad the Turks lost the Empire. But V.A. Smith is of opinion that ‘in fact the Khaljis were a Turkish tribe though long settled in Garmsir in Afghanistan. Raverty also is of opinion that the Khaljis could not be classed as Afghans or Pathans, and he assigns to them a Turkish origin.
The people of Delhi, however, did not at first welcome Jalal-ud-din Firuz Khalji as they regarded him as of Afghan stock. Modern writers are also of opinion that the Khaljis were originally of Turkish stock but had acquired Afghan character during their long residence in Afghanistan and between them and the Turks there was no love lost.
As Jalal-ud-din was not much liked by the Delhi nobles and people, he had to make Kilokhri the seat of his government, where he performed his coronation ceremony and declared himself as the Sultan. He was an old man of seventy then. Sultan’s conciliatory temperament, his excellence of character, his justice, generosity and devotion, gradually removed the aversion of the people and earned the affections of the nobles.
His extraordinarily guileless and sincere heart, his childlike lack of equivocation marked him as a saintly ruler, for “by subordinating state-craft to the dictates of heart he showed himself in a perfect and agreeable contrast to the earlier despots.” Disposed to rule without bloodshed and oppression he showed most impolitic tenderness towards criminals and even rebels. This naturally led to a recrudescence of intrigues by the nobles and the authority of the Sultan was not being respected.
In August 1290 Malik Chajju Kashil Khan, Balban’s nephew and head of old royal family raised the standard of revolt at Kara. He was joined by Amir Ali Hatim Khan, governor of Awadh and other nobles of the old regime. Jalal-ud-din out of imprudent generosity pardoned the rebels.
Sultan’s peaceful disposition and undeserved leniency made him unpopular even with his Khalji nobles. Malik Ahmad Chap, the Master of Ceremonies told Jalal-ud-din plainly and bluntly that the king should reign and observe the rules of government or else should relinquish the throne. The only departure was the execution of Siddi Maula, a darvesh under Jalal-ud-din’s reign, on mere suspicion of treason.
It is needless to say that for such a ruler expansion of territories by conquest was impossible. Naturally his expedition against Ranthambhor proved a failure. He returned from the expedition on the realisation that the fort could not be taken without sacrificing the lives of many musalmans.
According to Prof. Nizami, “Firuz’s mildness concealed a seasoned warrior, who could appreciate a straight military challenge.” In 1292 a Mongol horde numbering 150,000 invaded India under the leadership of a grandson of Hulagu. Severely defeated by the Sultan’s troops the invaders were compelled to make peace. But Ulghu a descendant of Chinghiz and many of his rank and file embraced Islam and settled near Delhi and came to be known as ‘new musalmans.’
To the vacant governorship of Kara, Jalal-ud-din appointed his brother’s son Ali Gurshasp (later Sultan Ala-ud-din Khalji) whom he had brought up from his infancy and gave his daughter in marriage. The nephew was just the opposite of his uncle, was unscrupulous, aggressive, over ambitious haughty and sharp tongued. He aimed at an independent and glorious existence.
To fulfill his ambition he required money which he thought of collecting by raids on the neighbouring Hindu states. With the Sultan’s permission he led an expedition in 1293 to Bhilsa via Chanderi. Giving resistance no chance to gather Ali Gurshasp plundered the ancient town and also the temple and carried away ‘immense booty, in cattle, precious metal and the inevitable idol to be trampled under the zealot’s feet.’ (Prof. Nizami).
He presented the booty to the Sultan while keeping the more valuable assets to himself, for the purpose of earning greater confidence of the Sultan, who in appreciation of his nephew’s loyalty gave him his deceased father’s office to ariz-i-ma-malik adding Awadh to his governorship. He obtained Sultan’s permission to use the surplus revenue of his province for expanding his army for carrying raids on Hindu territories beyond Chanderi.
In about a year the equipped himself with men and money and in the winter of 1295 set out in an expedition against Devagiri the Yadava capital with about eight thousand picked cavalry. Rama Chandra Deva was the Yadava King of Devagiri on whose capital Ali Gurshasp descended with the directness of a lightning. Rama Chandra was too unnerved to offer any resistance and he surrendered. But before the invader could collect the ransom, Rama Chandra’s son Singhana appeared with the army and attacked the invading army. But was easily defeated.
Thus twice defeated the king of Devagiri had to pay for heavier indemnity than before and allow the victorious soldiers to plunder the city. “The resulting gain, in gold and silver, pearl and precious stones, silk stuffs and slaves, elephants and horses exceeded the victor’s wildest dreams, for the kingdom had for centuries attracted, through its ports and trading centres, vast overseas wealth. No Sultan of Delhi had ever possessed anything like it.”
The news of the exploit of Ali Gurshasp had trickled through to Jalal-ud-din, who although somewhat hurt at the secretiveness of his nephew was pleased at the prospect of so vast a treasure coming to his possession. Jalal-ud-din moved to Gwalior to receive the victorious prince, but when the news reached him of his nephew’s direct return to Kara, Jalal-ud-din summoned his Council to deliberate on the course of action to be followed.
Ahmad Chap and other realists who knew the prince better, urged strong measure against him for the unauthorized campaign and warned the Sultan against allowing the prince to carry all the treasures to Kara. But Jalal-ud-din’s faith in his nephew could not be shaken. Jalal-ud-din returned to Delhi and was hopefully awaiting his nephew to present the spoils of the expedition to him with adequate apology.
Ali Gurshasp returned to Kara and sent a report confessing his guilt and asking for pardon, which the Sultan granted through a communication sent per a messenger. Ali Gurshasp detained the messenger who was astounded to find the huge army that the prince had organised at Kara. In the meantime the prince’s brother Almas Beg who had earlier instruction to this effect, impressed upon the guileless Sultan that his brother Ali Gurshasp was so desperately weighed down by a sense of guilt that unless the Sultan personally went to give him his pardon it was feared that he would commit suicide.
The Sultan decided to see his nephew at once, and disregarding the all counsels of caution Jalal-ud-din proceeded for the trap laid by his nephew. As Zia-ud-din Barani puts it, ‘his doom pulling him by the hair’ reached Kara by journey down the Ganges by boat. As Jalal-ud-din met Ali Gurshasp the latter ceremoniously threw himself at the feet of his uncle.
“Jalal-ud-din affectionately raised him, kissed him on the cheek, and chiding him for doubting his uncle’s love drew him towards the barge. The signal was then given. The first blow proved ineffectual, but as the Sultan ran towards his boat a second stroke felled him, and his severed head, raised aloft on a spear, fixedly stared under the setting sun as the faithless nephew quickly spreading the royal canopy over his head, proclaimed himself king.”
King # 13. Ala-Ud-Din Khalji (1296-1316):
The severed head of Jalal-ud-din Firuz Khalji was still dripping blood when royal canopy was spread over the head of Ali Gurshasp and he was proclaimed Sultan Ala-ud-din. The severed head of Ala-ud-din’s benefactor was transfixed in a spear and paraded through Kara and Manikpur and then through Awadh. Ala-ud-din had three younger brothers, Almas Beg, Qutlugh Tigin, and Muhammad but only Almas Beg finds place in history, whom he gave the title of Ulugh Khan.
The new king rewarded his followers and brothers with rewards in titles and promotions. But Delhi was still in the hands of Jalal-ud-din’s men and Ala-ud-din hesitated to march against Delhi in the rainy season. The widow of Jalal-ud-din thinking a de facto king was necessary in that crisis proclaimed the younger son of Jalal-ud-din as King under the title of Rukh-ud-din Ibrahim.
Arkali Khan, the eldest son, then in Multan sulked at the news of his brother’s assumption of office of the king. His partisans at Delhi, however, refused to recognise Rukh-ud-din as the Sultan. Encouraged by these divisions Ala-ud-din marched on Delhi and his spoils provided him with the means of conciliating the populace.
At every stage of his march to Delhi he set up a balista with the help of which small gold and silver coins were scattered among the mob. An army was sent from Delhi to oppose him near Badaun, but there was no fight for the army was lukewarm in the cause of Rukh-ud-din and Ala- ud-din’s bursting coffers won over the allegiance of the army sent from Delhi.
With 60,000 horse and 60,000 foot Ala-ud-din marched on Delhi and Rukh-ud-din Ibrahim after a feeble demonstration (led to Multan with his mother and the faithful Ahmad Chap (Oct. 3, 1296). Ala-ud-din was enthroned in the Red Palace of Balban which became his principal place of residence.
“The new king, having gained the throne by an act of treachery and ingratitude seldom equaled even in oriental annals, conciliated the populace by a lavish distribution of his southern gold, but his example was infectious and attempts to follow it disturbed the early years of his reign” (Wolseley Haig).
Ala-ud-din now sent Ulugh Khan and Hijabr-ud-din with an army 40,000 strong against Arkali Khan in Multan. The city surrendered and the princes Arkali Khan, Ibrahim and others fell into the hands of Ulugh Khan. When they were brought to Hansi Ulugh Khan got them blinded and widow of Jalal-ud-din Firuz was kept under close restraint.
During the early years of his reign Ala-ud-din was faithfully served by his brother Ulugh Khan, Nusrat Khan, Zafar Khan and Alp Khan. Ala-ud-din’s success upto his assumption of the crown and conciliating the nobility and the populace was largely due to the fabulous wealth that he had acquired as a result of his Devagiri campaign the history of which has been already recounted. We may discuss here at some length the significance of Ala-ud-din’s Devagiri campaign.
King # 14. Qutb-Ud-Din Mubarak Shah (1316-20):
Mubarak Shah began his reign with a policy of extreme moderation. Immediately on his accession he declared a general amnesty, releasing all prisoners and permitting the return of all exiled for offences. Mubarak liberally rewarded the soldiers and officers, who supported his accession, gave back the jagirs which had been resumed under Ala- ud-din, he withdrew the market regulations and reduced the revenue demands, and relaxed the rigours of administration. People who suffered so much under Ala-ud-din now got relief; the land-owing and the peasant classes benefited by reduction of revenue demands.
But soon the “charming and popular king was, however, immersed in drinking, debauchery and pleasure, and the capital, following his example and due to his policy of relaxation, indulged in excesses of wanton sensuality.” As Barani puts it: “every house became a tavern.” “Bribery, corruption and malversation are into the vitals of administration, which was paralysed.” Khusrav Khan, an unknown slave of Gujarat was appointed by Mubarak as his vizier.
King # 15. Nasir-Ud-Din Khusrav Shah (April 15 to Sept. 5, 1320):
Khusrav summoned the prominent nobles, detained them in the palace till the next morning when he ascended the throne under the tile Nasir-ud-din Khusrav Shah. Barani and other Muslim chroniclers are very hard on Khusrav and treat him with contempt as he was a Hindu convert. Barani sees in Khusrav’s coup de main the consequence of a Hindu revolution and in his accession “a period of triumph of Hinduism and the downfall of Islam.”
But a dispassionate consideration will show that Khusrav did never aim at restoration of a Hindu monarchy, nor did he champion the cause of Hinduism. “On the contrary, he had shown the iconoclastic zeal of a Muslim during his campaigns in the south. Khusrav regarded himself as a Muslim, the Khutba was recited in his name, and his coins bear the title of Commander of the Faithful.” He married the wife of Mubarak Shah.
Khusrav executed some of the nobles who were hostile to him and rewarded those who helped him in his conspiracy. Randhol, his right-hand man in the conspiracy was given the title of Rai-i-Rayan, some of the prominent nobles were placated by him in order that they might not become hostile to him. With certain exceptions, he retained the services of the old officers and was anxious to secure the support of the nobility. Both Ibn Batuta and Amir Khusrav state that he “did obtain the support and homage of the nobles and governors.”
The murder of Mubarak Shah and the consequential orgy of bloodshed had alienated a small section of the nobility who saw in the accession of Khusrav triumph of heathenism and great danger to Islam. The spokesman of this opposition was Ghazi Tughluq whose son Malik Jauna was at the court. Ghazi Tughluq, governor of Dipalpur raised the slogan of Islam in danger, which has often proved so effective a weapon in Muslim history.
Malik Jauna, under instruction from his father one day slipped from the court of Delhi to join his father. Ghazi Tughluq appealed to the governor of Uch, Multan Siwastan, Samana and Jalor and even to Ain-ul-Mulk who was at Delhi. Only the governor of Uch responded to the appeal of Ghazi Tughluq. Governor of Samana who was loyal to Khusrav marched against Ghazi Tughluq but was killed by his own men.
Governors of Jalor and Siwastan gave half-hearted support. Ain-ul-Mulk secretly assured support, although apparently maintained neutrality. Ghazi Tughluq could not also get the moral support of the great saint Nizam-ud-din Auliya. The true nature of the rebellion was to dispossess Khusrav and to seize power; the slogan of Islam in danger was a mere pretext.
Khusrav Khan sent a force 40 thousand strong against Ghazi Tughluq. But it failed to take Sarasuti. The army proceeded towards Dipalpur against Ghazi Tughluq but was totally defeated. Ghazi Tughluq now proceeded on march to Delhi and despite desperate attempt made by Khusrav to oppose him at the battle of Indarpat he was defeated (Sept. 6, 1320).
Ain-ul-Mulk had deserted Khusrav and left for Malwa. Totally defeated Khusrav Khan took shelter in the garden of Shadi Khan at Tilpat. The next day he was captured and beheaded. On September 8, 1320, Ghazi Tughluq ascended the throne under the title Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq Shah.