Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq (1320-25 A.D.):
Ghiyas-ud din Tughlaq laid the foundation of the Tughlaq dynasty. It is stated by some writers that the Tughlaqs belonged to the race of Qarauna Turks and were a people of mixed breed.
The Sultanate at this time was suffering from unsettled political conditions and demanded attention of the new ruler.
The administrative setup established by Alauddin was destroyed by his successors and Ghiyas-ud-din had to address these problems urgently.
He pursued a policy of reconciliation with the nobles and the people who were severely restricted under Alauddin. He succeeded in getting the support of the Turkish nobles on the basis of his race. He resumed the grants that were revoked and allowed them to enjoy their privileges. Ghiyas-ud-din succeeded in getting the support of the nobles and the people through these measures.
Ghiyas-ud-din attempted to improve the finances of the state and perused a policy to encourage agriculture. His twin object was to increase land under cultivation and improve economic condition of the cultivators. The state demand of revenue was fixed between one-fifth and one-third of the produce.
He ordered the revenue to be increased only gradually and in no case could increase beyond one- eleventh to one-tenth. The privileges of the previous Hindu rulers were restored. The practice of measurement and survey of land was abandoned. The measures of Ghiyas-ud-din succeeded and the area under cultivation increased and the condition of the farmers improved.
Ghiyas-ud-din continued the system of dagh and chehra instituted by Alauddin. However the market regulations were also abandoned under him He insisted on paying the army better to increase its efficiency. He was successful in increasing the strength of the army.
He also pursued a policy of annexation. Prataprudra Deva, ruler of Warangal had reasserted independence and not paid the annual tribute. In 1321 A.D. he sent his son Prince Jauna to Warangal to suppress Prataprudra Deva.
He moved swiftly and besieged the fort. After a period of six months, Prataprudra Deva surrendered and agreed to pay the annual tribute. The name of Warangal was changed to Sultanpur. Telangana was annexed into the territories of Delhi Sultanate. Jauna Khan next attacked Orissa (Jajnagar). The expedition in the eastern part was a consequence of the wars in the south.
Bhanudeva II the ruler of Jajnagar in Orissa had supported the ruler of Warangal at the offensive by the Sultans. Ulugh Khan in 1324 marched against Jajnagar. After plundering it the region was annexed to the Delhi Sultanate.
In 1323-24 as a response to the request by nobles of Firuz Shah, the independent ruler of Lakhnauti, Ghiyasuddin marched into Bengal. In the ensuing battle, Bengal ruler was defeated. On his way back from Bengal, Ghiyas-ud-din also defeated the Raja of Tirhut in north Bihar.
East and south Bengal was also annexed to the Sultanate. Ghiyas-ud-din patronized literary men as Amir Khusrau. He also built a strong fort called Tughlaqabad near Delhi, the third city of Delhi.
Muhammad bin Tughlaq (1325-1351 A.D.):
Jauna Khan succeeded his father in 1325 A.D. with the title of Muhammad bin Tughlaq. He was a very learned man and proficient in many branches of learning. He began his career with the expedition of Khurasan. Ultimately the project was abandoned as an unrealistic scheme and the army was disbanded. It led to a tremendous financial loss to the state exchequer. He did not take into account the geographical and transportation difficulties.
His first administrative measure was to enhance land tax in the doab that led to wide spread discontent as it was introduced at a time when the entire region was in the grip of a severe famine due to failure of rains. The Sultan raised the tax from five to ten percent. Therefore the peasants instead of paying the taxes abandoned their lands and adopted highway robbery. The tax collectors continued to collect taxes by oppression. It resulted in extensive revolts. The Sultan suppressed the revolts severely.
The next venture of Muhammad Bin Tughlaq was the shifting of the capital to Devagiri that was renamed Daulatabad. In 1326-27 he involved almost a wholesale transfer of the population. Muhammad wanted to locate his capital in the central part of the empire and he also wanted to make it safe from the Mongol invasions. Every care was taken to provide a comfortable travel to the people to the new capital.
But when some of the people resisted to the transfer, the Sultan ordered everyone to shift as a punitive measure without realizing the sufferings carved due to this complete evacuation. Soon the Sultan discovered the unsuitability of the new capital. He ordered back the people to shift back to Delhi once more. Daulatabad was abandoned largely because he soon found that he could not control north India from Daulatabad. The order of going back to the old capital caused much distress to the people.
Another of his novel and daring experiment was the introduction of the token currency of bronze coins in 1329-30 AD. He was inspired by a similar system prevailing in Iran and China.
The Sultan made these token coins legal tenders and kept their value at par with the gold and silver coins. Now the Sultan issued tanka (rupee) of a silver and copper coins. People soon began to manufacture counterfeits of bronze in large numbers.
As a result bad money drove out good money. Trade came to a standstill and business was paralyzed. Finally Muhammed Tughlaq decided to withdraw the token currency. The Sultan readily gave gold and silver coins in exchange for bronze coins. The loss to the exchequer was immense. As a result the treasury that he wanted to fill was completely empty.
Muhammad Tughlaq carried out many measures for improvement of the administration of revenue. One of these was the preparation of a register in which income and expenditure of all provinces were recorded. All provincial governors were asked to submit the reports of income and expenditure to the centre.
Tughlaq established a separate department of agriculture called Diwan-i- Kohi. A special scheme was extended to improve cultivation in the doab. In 1333-34 A.D., loans were provided to peasants.
However the scheme failed miserably because the men chosen for the purpose proved to be inexperienced and dishonest. He laid the foundation for the construction of Jahan Panah, the fourth city of Delhi.
Begining with an uprising in Mal’abar, the eastern coast of the extreme south peninsula in 1335 whereby Ahsan Shah, the governor, founded the Sultanate of Madurai, the sultan faced as many as 16 rebellions till his death in 1351. In 1336, Hariharand Bukka laid the foundation of Vijayanagar kingdom. In 1341, Fakhruddin became independent in Bengal.
The revolt of Amiran-i-sada (the foreign nobles in the imperial service in Malwa, Gujarat) sealed the fate of the sultanate in the south. Hasan Gangu, the most accomplished leader of the rebels, established the Bahmani kingdom in 1347. On his way to Thatta in Sind to punish Taghi, the rebel, Muhammad bin Tughluq died on March 20, 1351. Badauni observed: “And so the king was freed from his people and they from the king.”
Firuz Shah Tughlaq (1351-1388 A.D.):
After the death of Muhammad Tughlaq his first cousin, Firuz Tughlaq became the Sultan in 1351 A.D. He overtook the administration in a chaotic condition. Firuz Tughlaq primarily paid attention to domestic affairs. He appointed as his wazir (chief minister), Malik Maqbul, originally a Bramhin from Telangana. Firuz Shah started his reign with liberal ideas. He assured protection to all members of the royal family.
He tried to please the nobles and set to ameliorate the distress caused to the people during long and troubled reign of Muhammad. Firuz Tughlaq abolished many irksome taxes keeping only those allowed by Quranic law. He looked after the interests of the cultivator, provided irrigation facilities by constructing five canals and advanced loans to the needy.
He created a department of charity, Diwan-i- Khairat. He worked towards winning over the confidence of the ulema. Firuz increased the salaries of his officers and gave them jagirs. Firuz is known to have established several towns, Fatehbad, Hissar, Firuzpur, Jaunpur and Firuzabad, the favourite city of Firuz now popularly known as Kotla Firuz Shah, the fifth city of Delhi. He revived the jagirs system abolished by Alauddin and reorganized army on feudal basis.
He marched twice to capture Bengal in 1353 and in 1359 AD but failed on both the occasions. While returning from Bengal, Firuz Tughlaq attacked Jajnagar in Orissa. In 1365 AD, he started on a campaign to Thatta to avenge the wrongs done there to his predecessor but ended up granting pension to its ruler whose brother was reinstated in Sind. When Firuz Tughlaq died in 1388 AD, a civil war broke out among his successors.
Later Tughlaqs (1388-1414 A.D.):
Firuz Tughlaq was succeeded by one of his grandsons, Tughlaq Shah, who assumed the title of Ghiasuddin Tughluq II (1388-89 A.D.). Within a year of his accession, he fell victim to court intrigue and was beheaded. During the next five year three Sultans-Abu Bakr, Muhammad Shah and Humayun titled Alauddin Sikander Shah, ascended the throne.
The last Tughlaq ruler, Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah (1394-1412 A.D.) faced the invasion of Timur, the great Mongol leaderof Central Asia in 1398. After plundering Delhi, Timur returned to Samarquand via Merrut, Hardwar, Kangra and Jammu which he sacked.
He appointed Khizr Khan (the governor of Multan) as the viceroy in Delhi. After the departure of Timur, Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah returned to Delhi in 1401, but he was expelled from Delhi by Mallu Iqbal the defacto ruler.
After Mallu Iqbal’s death in 1405, he returned to Delhi from Kannuj, only to be under the influence of the new defacto ruler Daulat Khan. Nasiruddin Mahmud died in 1412. Daulat Khan ruled for one and half years as the defacto ruler and was defeated by Khizr Khan in 1414 which laid the foundation of the Sayyid dynasty.