Broadly speaking disintegration of the Tughlaq dynasty took place on account of the following causes:
I. Policies of Muhammad Tughlaq.
II. Policies of Firoz Tughlaq.
III. Miscellaneous causes.
IV. Timur’s invasion.
I. Policies of Muhammad Tughlaq:
These can be categorised as under:
1. Five failed plans of Muhammad Tughlaq namely:
(a) Change of capital
(b) Taxation of the Doab.
(c) Issue of token currency.
(d) Khurasan expedition
(e) Bribing the Mongols.
All these wild projects resulted in the loss of men and money and led to discontent against the Sultan. Several revolts took place during his reign which weakened the power and prestige of the Sultan.
2. Complex personality of Muhammad Tughlaq:
Muhammad Tughlaq has been called a mixture of opposites, an unbalanced personality and the wisest fool. He is accused of some measure of insanity. All these traits of his personality had an adverse affect on the functioning of the government.
3. Deccan policy of Muhammad Bin Tughlaq:
Unlike Ala-ud-Din Khalji, Muhammad Bin Tughlaq aimed at the annexation of the Kingdoms of Deccan. It is true that he shifted his capital from Delhi to Daultabad to exercise his control in the south but the scheme misfired and he was forced to change his decision. The Deccan policy of Muhammad Tughlaq led to the creation of the Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar.
II. Firoz Tughlaq’s responsibility for the disintegration of the Tughlaq dynasty:
Following were the Chief factors:
4. Religious intolerance of Firoz Tughlaq:
On this, Dr. Ishwari Prasad has commented, “The reforms of Firoz…failed to gain confidence of Hindus whose feelings were embittered by his religious intolerance. Altogether they produced a reaction which proved fatal to the interest of the dynasty which was by no means an unworthy representative.”
5. ‘Ulemas influence on administration:
Dr. U.N. Dey has observed on this as, “His supplication to the ‘Ulemas’ only encouraged a group of unscrupulous selfish people to behave arrogantly and pose themselves as the custodians of Muslim conscience. All these combined to create a situation in which disintegration became inevitable.”
6. System of decentralization:
Firoz gave extensive powers to his nobles and officials which ultimately went against the larger interests of the state.
According to Sir Woolesely Haig, “His system of decentralisation accelerated the downfall of his dynasty.”
7. Failure as a conqueror
8. Defective army organisation
9. Evils of Jagirdari system
10. Hereditary nobles
11. Slave system
12. Loose administration and prevailing corruption
13. Sultan’s habit of drinking.
Dr. R.C. Majumdar has correctly remarked, “On the whole, in-spite of peace, prosperity and contentment that prevailed during the long reign of Firoz Shah, no one can possibly doubt that his policy and administrative measures contributed to a large extent to the downfall of the Delhi Sultanate, and accelerated the process of decline that had already set in during his predecessor’s reign.”
III. Miscellaneous causes:
14. No definite law of succession:
There were several claimants of the throne after the death of the Sultan. This led to serious conflicts which adversely affected the stability of the empire.
15. Autocratic rulers:
The Tughlaq rulers were all dictators by and large.
16. No efforts to win over the Hindus:
The vast majority of the subjects of the Tughlaq rulers were the Hindus. The Sultans made little serious attempts to get their support.
17. Unwieldy empire:
M.S. Ayyangar, in this context has observed, “The unwieldiness and the difficulty of communications between the various parts of the empire led to the rise of provincial governors into independence.”
18. Poor financial position:
The foolish and visionary schemes of Muhammad Tughlaq and the occasional droughts made the royal treasury quite empty.
19. Paucity of able and faithful commanders and advisers:
The Tughlaq rulers did not follow the correct policy of selecting their advisers and commanders. They also could not win their whole hearted loyalty.
20. Selfishness of the Amirs:
After Firoz’s death, the selfishness of the Amirs went on increasing. They began to intrigue for acquiring larger jagirs and more power.
21. Decadent army:
The stability of the state depended upon a strong and well disciplined army. Among other factors, the habit of drinking even during war operations led to loss of dexterity and courage among the soldiers.
22. Weak successors of Firoz:
The successors of Firoz Tughlaq proved very incapable and failed to exercise their control. After Firoz Shah, five Sultans could rule just for twenty six years. The provincial governors became independent.
IV. Timur’s Invasion:
23. Death-blow to the Tughlaq empire:
Plundering and looting on the way, Amir Timur of Samarquand reached Delhi. The Tughlaq Sultan of Delhi fled away from Delhi. For fifteen days, Timur looted the capital.