Here are the ten popular rulers who shaped the history of medieval India:- 1. Mahmud of Ghazni 2. Sultan Muiz-Ud-Din Muhammad of Ghur 3. Qutb-Ud-Din Aibak 4. Sultan Iltutmish 5. Ghiyas-Ud-Din Balban 6. Jalal-Ud-Din Firozshah Khalji 7. Ala-Ud-Din Khalji 8. Qutb-Ud-Din Mubarak Khalji 9. Nasir-Ud-Din Khusrav Shah 10. Ghiyas-Ud-Din Tughlaq Shah.

Ruler # 1. Mahmud of Ghazni:

The Yamini dynasty generally known as Ghaznavi dynasty, claimed its origin from the family of Persian rulers. During the course of Arab invasion, the family fled to Turkistan and became one with the Turks. Therefore, the family has been accepted as Turk. Alptigin founded the independent kingdom of this dynasty.

He snatched away the kingdom of Jabul with its capital Ghazni from Amir Abu-Bakr Lawik in 963 A.D., but he died the same year. He was succeeded by his son Ishaq who ruled only for three years. Then, the throne was captured by Balkatigin, the commander of the Turkish troops. Balkatigin was succeeded by his slave Pirai in 972 A.D. But Pirai was a cruel king.

His subjects invited Abu Ali Lawik, son of Abu-Bakr Lawik, to invade Ghazni. Jayapala, the ruler of the neighbourly Hindushahi kingdom who did not like the rise of a strong Muslim state at his border, also sent his army to help Abu Ali Lawik. But they were defeated by Sabuktigin, son-in-law of Alptigin. The success of Sabuktigin against the enemies of Ghazni enhanced his prestige. He, ultimately, dethroned Pirai and himself became the ruler of Ghazni in 977 A.D.


Sabuktigin was a capable and ambitious ruler. Slowly, he conquered Bust, Dawar, Ghur and some other nearby places. Towards the east lay the Hindushahi kingdom of East Afghanistan and Punjab, Sabuktigin started attacking its boundaries and occupied some forts and cities. Jayapala, the Hindushahi ruler, could not ignore these attacks and attempted to crush the rising power of Sabuktigin.

Since then began the long struggle of the kingdoms of Ghazni and Hindushahi which continued till Sultan Mahmud finally extinguished the Hindushahis. Twice Jayapala attacked Ghazni and was supported by certain other Rajput rulers also who sent their contingents to help Jayapala. But both his attempts failed and Sabuktigin succeeded in capturing all the territories which lay between Lamghan and Peshawar.

Thus, the Hindushahi kingdom failed to check the growing power of the Ghaznavids towards the east. However, two conclusions can be drawn out of this conflict between the two. One, Jayapala knew the danger of the rising power of Islam on his border, tried to check its growth in the very beginning and pursued an aggressive policy for the purpose which we find lacking among other Rajput rulers afterwards. The other, that the Rajput rulers were not indifferent to the rising power of Islam in the west for which they are often blamed otherwise they would not have sent their forces to support Jayapala.

Sabuktigin died in 997 A.D. He nominated his younger son Ismail as his successor before his death. But when Ismail ascended the throne, he was challenged by his elder brother Mahmud who succeeded in capturing the throne of Ghazni just after seven months in 998 A.D. Mahmud justified his accession, became a powerful ruler, repeatedly attacked India and paved the way of the conquest of India by the Turks.


Mahmud was born on 1 November 971 A.D. He had received fairly good education and had participated in many battles during the reign of his father. After ascending the throne, Mahmud first consolidated his position in Herat, Balkh and Bust, and then conquered Khurasan. In 999 A.D. Khalifa Al Qadir Billah accepted him the ruler of these places and conferred on him the titles of ‘Yamin-ud-Daulah’ and ‘Amin-ul-Millah’. It is said that Mahmud, at this very time took an oath to invade India every year.

Ruler # 2. Sultan Muiz-Ud-Din Muhammad of Ghur:

While making an assessment of the character and achievements of Muhammad of Ghur, one is usually tempted to compare him with that of Mahmud of Ghazni which sometime, unjustly reduces his importance. But, the status of Muhammad in Indian history, even while comparing him with Mahmud is unquestionable.

Muhammad cannot bear comparison with Mahmud as a military leader. Mahmud was a born military commander. His every Indian campaign was successful and he had been equally successful in Central Asia. Mahmud, thus, established an extensive and powerful empire and rightly deserved to be the first Sultan of the Islamic world. Thus, Muhammad’s military successes were no match to the successes of Mahmud.

While Mahmud remained undefeated during his lifetime, Muhammad was seriously defeated by his different adversaries three times. Mularaja II, the ruler of Gujarat, Prithviraja III, the ruler of Delhi and Ajmer and Khwarizm Shah, the ruler of Persia defeated him in turn. But the greatness of Muhammad was that none of these defeats could weaken his spirits or check his ambitions.


He took his every failure as an experience, improved upon his weaknesses, removed them and got success in the end. The successes and conquests of Muhammad brought about more permanent results than the conquests of Mahmud.

Professor K.A. Nizami writes:

“This hero of three stupendous defeats — Andhkhud, Tarain and Anhilwara”, as Professor Habib calls him, “has to his credit the establishment of one of the greatest empires of the middle ages and in this, he definitely rises above Mahmud of Ghazni.”

Muhammad could understand better the political weakness of India at that time and, therefore, decided to establish his empire in India. Of course, the conquest of north India was not an easy walk-over. Muhammad was stoutly resisted everywhere and twice defeated by the Rajputs. Yet, he did not change his goal. Mahmud was never defeated though he attacked India more often than Muhammad.

Yet, he did not think of establishing his empire here and limited his vision simply to plunder the wealth of India. Thus, Muhammad possessed a higher ideal as compared to Mahmud. Muhammad also gave proof of his political farsightedness in dealing with different Rajput rulers. He saw to it that the Rajputs should, in no way, be able to put up a common resistance to him and, therefore, tried to get the sympathy or support of some of them.

That is why he did not annex Delhi and Ajmer to his territories just after the second battle of Tarain. Instead, he handed over the administration of Delhi to the son of Govindaraya and that of Ajmer to the son of Prithviraja III.

It was Aibak who annexed them afterwards when Turkish power was fairly consolidated in northern India. Muhammad neither changed the status of those Hindu chiefs who accepted his suzerainty nor interfered in their administration.

He simply established military posts here and there and garrisoned them with Turkish troops in order to consolidate his hold over the conquered territories. This helped him in consolidating the Turkish power in India. Muhammad was a good judge of human nature. He could select the best men for his service, assign them responsibility according to their capability and get the best result out of their efforts.

Qutab-ud-din Aibak, Taj-ud-din Yulduz and Malik Baha-ud-din Tughril who proved themselves fairly capable and were largely responsible for his successes in India were trained by Muhammad.

Professor A.B.M. Habibullah writes:

“If he failed to found a dynasty, he yet trained up a band of men who were to prove more loyal to his ideas and better fitted to maintain his empire.”

The success of Muhammad was largely due to his own strength of character. He possessed a higher ideal from which he refused to deviate even after his initial failures in India and his defeat by Khwarizm Shah. Muhammad planned his attacks and conquests beforehand, changed them whenever necessary, removed his weakness when known and did not take unnecessary risks in battles and politics.

After his defeat at Anhilwara, he changed his course of attack on India and, once defeated at the battle of Tarain, he came again with complete preparation and even amended his military tactics. As a military commander, he kept his eyes upon all his campaigns.

When he was fighting the Khokars in India, he had not lost touch with his campaigns in Central Asia and was equally interested in the building work of a frontier fortress at the banks of the river Oxus. That is why he was ultimately successful in his military campaigns. Muhammad was the real founder of Turkish rule in India and therein lay his greatest achievement and greatness.

Muhammad had no time to look after the administration of his territories in India. Virtually, he remained the ruler of Ghazni and Ghur. The task of administering his Indian conquests was mostly left to his slave and Governor of Indian provinces, Qutb-ud-din.

Primarily, his brother, Ghiyas-ud-din was responsible for making Ghur the centre of culture of his empire. But, Muhammad was also not indifferent to the cultural progress of his subjects. He patronised scholars like Fakhr-ud-din Razi and Nizami Uruzi. However, his greatest achievement was the establishment of the Turkish empire in India which added a fresh chapter in Indian history.

Ruler # 3. Qutb-Ud-Din Aibak:

Qutb-ud-din Aibak was the real founder of Turkish rule in India. Primarily, he was responsible for the success of Sultan Muhammad in India. Muhammad was responsible for the Turkish conquest of India but he did not get time to remain and consolidate his Indian conquests.

Mostly it was done by Qutb-ud- din. And, when Muhammad died, Qutb-ud-din persuaded Turkish nobles in India to accept his supremacy, strengthened his position by matrimonial alliances with influential rival chiefs, stubbornly refused to accept the overlordship of Yildiz, turned him out of Punjab and saved his infant kingdom from the politics of Central Asia. Thus, both by diplomacy and force, he succeeded in maintaining separate and independent status of the Delhi Sultanate.

Qutb-ud-din proved the most capable slave among the slaves of Sultan Muhammad. He was a self-made man who rose to the status of Sultan by his own merit and efforts. He possessed the qualities of both the head and the heart.

Professor A.B.M. Habibullah writes:

“He combined the intrepidity of the Turk with the refined taste and generosity of the Persian.”

All contemporary historians praised his virtues of loyalty, generosity, courage and sense of justice. Hasan Nizami described that he exerted himself to promote peace and prosperity of the realm, while Minhaj praised his liberality and generosity. His extreme liberality earned him the title Lakh Buksh (giver of lakhs).

Ferishta writes that when people praised anybody for his generosity, they called him ‘Aibak of the time.’ Qutb-ud-din was a patron of art and literature. Contemporary scholars Hasan Nizami and Fakhre Mudir were at his court. He built two mosques—one at Delhi, known as Quwat-ul-Islam and the other at Ajmer, known as Dhai Din Ka Jhonpara. The construction of Qutb Minar at Delhi was also started during his reign.

Qutb-ud-din Aibak was diplomatic and possessed practical wisdom. He realised that the infant Turkish kingdom in India was to be separated from the politics of Central Asia and the dominance of Ghaznavid rulers. He succeeded in it. It gave him an independent status and saved him from the wrath of the rising power of Khwarizm empire.

The same way, by diplomacy and force, he kept the Turkish nobles in India under his leadership and, thus, saved the infant Turkish kingdom in India from being parcelled out between them. His dealings with Yildiz, Qabacha and Ali Mardan Khan pro- .i his practical wisdom and diplomatic tact. However, the greatest quality of Qutb-ud-din was that he was a seasoned soldier and a military leader par excellence.

Fakhr-i-Mudabbir says:

“Despite the fact that his troops were drawn from such heterogeneous source as Turks, Ghurids, Khurasanis, Khaljis and Hindustanis, no soldier dared to take by force a blade of grass, or a morsel of food, a goat from the fold or a bird from the shoal or extract compulsory lodging from a peasant.” All modern historians also agree that Qutb-ud-din was primarily responsible for the success of military campaigns and consolidation of territories of Sultan Muhammad in India.

Thus, Qutb-ud-din was a capable commander, a practical ruler and a just and generous individual. But he suffered from certain weaknesses also. He was called Lakh Buksh but his killing is also said to have been by lakhs. It means that though he was generous he was equally cruel also. Qutb-ud-din was not a good administrator as well. He administered his Indian territories as a military jagir which lacked the elements of stability.

He constructed mosques out of the materials of Hindu temples which he destroyed. It was a proof of his religious intolerance. Besides, due to lack of time Qutb-ud-din could not complete his task in India. Neither could he entirely free Delhi Sultanate from the claim of suzerainty by the rulers of Ghazni nor could he provide stability to it. Both of these tasks were left unfinished.

Therefore, Iltutmish had to strive again in order to complete these tasks. Yet, Qutb-ud-din was the founder of Turkish rule in India. Though he left his tasks unfinished but he began them, paved way for the independence of Delhi Sultanate and fairly succeeded in it during his lifetime.

Ruler # 4. Sultan Iltutmish: 

Iltutmish was a cultured and religious minded individual. He was a brave soldier, an experienced commander and a capable administrator. He was also a shrewd, cautious and farsighted statesman. He was the slave of a slave. Yet, by his own merit and efforts he became the Sultan of Delhi.

Iltutmish introduced Persian customs and rules in his court. He patronized cultured people and scholars. All scholars, members of ruling families and capable persons who fled from Central Asia and other Islamic states because of the attacks of the Mongols were provided shelter at the court of Iltutmish.

The contemporary scholars Minhaj-us-Siraj and Taj-ud-din were at his court and so were Nizamul-mulk-Muhammad Junaidi, Malik Qutb-ud-din, Hasan Ghuri and Fakhrul-Mulk Isami each of whom distinguished himself in his respective field.

The court of Iltutmish had become as respectable as that of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni because of these capable persons. Iltutmish made Delhi his capital and beautified it accordingly. Many minarets, mosques, madarsas, Khanqas and tanks were built by him. The famous Qutb Minar was also constructed or completed by him.

In fact, he made Delhi not only the political and administrative centre of the Turkish empire in India but also the centre of its cultural activity which attracted and absorbed Muslim talents from many countries.

Iltutmish was a religious minded person. Minhaj-us-Siraj, the author of Tabakata-i-Nasiri, wrote about Iltutmish that there had been no ruler by then who had been so religious, kind and respectful towards saints and scholars as Iltutmish had been. Iltutmish strictly observed all rites of his religion and spent considerable time at night in prayer and contemplation.

He showed profound respect to sufi saints like Shaikh Qutb-ud-din Baktiyar Kaki (in whose honour, according to Dr Iswari Prasad, he constructed Qutb Minar), Qazi Hamid-ud-din Nagauri, Shaikh Jalaluddin Tabrizi, Shaikh Baha-ud-din Zakariya and Shaikh Najib-ud-din Nakhshabi. But, Iltutmish was intolerant towards the Hindus and Muslim heretics like Shias.

He destroyed the Hindu temples at Bhilsa and Ujjain and the attempt to murder him in a mosque of Delhi by the Ismaili Shias was, certainly, because of his intolerant policy towards them. But, as Dr K.A. Nizami has expressed, he normally kept politics free from his religious convictions. He succeeded in getting the goodwill of religious leaders of his age and, thereby, got moral support for his state and dynasty but he did not bother to consult the Ulema every time on matters of state policy.

Iltutmish was a just king. Ibn Batuta wrote that ‘Iltutmish got erected two marble statues of lions and bells were hanged in their necks. Anybody could ring those bells and seek justice from the Sultan.’

Iltutmish was a courageous soldier and an experienced military commander. He proved his valour in the war against the Khokhars during the lifetime of Sultan Muhammad which brought him freedom from slavery. He himself participated in battles against Yildiz and Qabacha and led his armies many times against the Rajputs in Rajputana and in Bengal. Thus, the success of his military campaigns was largely due to his own capabilities as a military commander.

According to Dr A.L. Srivastava, “Iltutmish was not a builder of civil institutions and was not a constructive statesman.” Of course, no conclusive evidence is available to know the administrative set up of Iltutmish and, probably, he created no novelty in internal administration. But, Dr K.A. Nizami has written that the administrative set-up of the Iqta (province) and the maintenance of the army of the Sultan were his contributions to the adminis­tration of the Delhi Sultanate.

He has stated that Iltutmish assigned a large number of Iqtas (Jagirs) to his nobles which were of two types—large ones and small ones. Assignees of small Iqtas were given the right to collect revenue only in lieu of military services while assignees of large Iqtas were given administrative rights as well. Iltutmish transferred Iqtadars from one place to another frequently so that elements of the Jagirdari-system could not enter the Iqtadari-system.

Iltutmish also made a beginning of organising a centralized army whose recruitment, training, payment of salaries etc. were the responsi­bilities of the central government. However, the fact that Iltutmish was the first Turkish ruler to introduce a purely Arabic coinage has been accepted by all historians. He introduced the silver Tanka and the copper Jital, the two basic coins of the Sultanate period. According to Nelson Wright, ‘besides this, the credit of beginning of the practice of engraving the name of the taksal on the coins can also be given to Iltutmish.’

Iltutmish was a farsighted and diplomatic statesman. The establishment of a dynastic monarchy was a political necessity of that time. Iltutmish understood it, strived for it and succeeded. It was a part of this policy that he requested the Khalifa to recognize him as the Sultan of Delhi. He behaved diplomatically with Cenghiz Khan and Jalal-ud-din Mangbarni.

He saved his kingdom from the wrath of Cenghiz Khan and, even when he refused shelter to Jalal-ud-din, could keep the supporters of Islam satisfied. Besides, his suppression of Yildiz and Qabacha when they were left most ineffective against him also justify his quality as a statesman and a shrewd judge of circumstances.

However, the greatest success of Iltutmish had been that he provided security to the infant Turkish kingdom in India, strengthened it further, provided it a legal status and established the dynastic rule over it.

Dr R.P. Tripathi writes:

“The history of Muslim sovereignty in India begins with him.” Aibak had left many works unfinished. Iltutmish completed them. He destroyed the power of Yildiz and Qabacha and, thus, freed the Delhi Sultanate from the claim of suzerainty by rulers of Ghazni and Ghur.

He recovered the lost territories of the Delhi Sultanate from the Rajputs and established his effective rule in Doab. He reduced Bengal and Bihar to the position of Iqtas of his kingdom. He included Sindh and Multan in his kingdom and saved the infant Turkish kingdom from the invasion of the Mongols. “It was he,” writes Professor K.A. Nizami, “who gave the country a capital, an independent state, a monarchial form of government and a governing class.”

Iltutmish did not receive any support from any quarter as Aibak had received from Sultan Muhammad. He did not receive material or moral support even of all Turkish nobles in India. On the contrary, he had to fight against Aram Shah to secure the throne of Delhi and suppress a powerful revolt of Turkish nobles near the capital itself after his accession. Yet, before his death he had succeeded in establishing a powerful and stable Turkish state in India, in fixing up its boundaries and after getting sanction from the Khalifa, in providing legal right over the throne of Delhi for himself and his children.

The claim of his dynasty was so firmly established in the political consciousness of the people and the governing class that, for thirty years after his death, it was accepted by all that only his descendants had the right to ascend the throne of Delhi. The fact becomes clear from the events which followed later on. Even during the reign of Jalal-ud-din Khalji, when the supporters of Sidi Maula organised a revolt they planned the marriage of Sidi Maula with a daughter of a descendent of Iltutmish i.e., Sultan Nasir-ud-din Mahmud in order to get support of the people to his cause.

Thus, Iltutmish was the real architect of the Delhi Sultanate. All historians have accepted him as such. Professor K.A. Nizami writes- “He transformed a loosely patched up congeries of Ghurid acquisitions in Hindustan into a well-knit and compact state—the Sultanate of Delhi.” Professor A.B.M. Habibullah writes- “Aibak outlined the Delhi Sultanate and its sovereign status- Iltutmish was unquestionably its first king.”

He further writes- “He laid the foundations of an absolutist monarchy that was to serve later as the instrument of a military imperialism under the Khaljis.” Dr A.L. Srivastava also writes: “He laid the foundation of a military monarchy that was to serve later as the instrument of a military imperialism under the Khaljis.”

Professor Habibullah does not accept Iltutmish as a great ruler and Professor S.R. Sharma does not rank him as the greatest ruler of the Slave Dynasty. Yet, all agree that Iltutmish was the ruler of the first rank. Dr A.L. Srivastava accepts him as the greatest ruler of the Slave Dynasty and so is the case with Sir Wolseley Haig who wrote- “Iltutmish was the greatest of all the slave kings.” Contemporary historians were also full of praise for him.

Minhaj-us-Siraj wrote:

“Never has a sovereign so virtuous, kind-hearted and revered towards the learned and the divine, sat upon the throne.” All historians agree that Iltutmish was the founder as well as the greatest ruler of the slave dynasty. Dr Ishwari Prasad has expressed- “Iltutmish is, undoubtedly, the real founder of the slave dynasty.”

Ruler # 5. Ghiyas-Ud-Din Balban:

Balban laid down the foundation of a new dynasty called the Balbani though, of course, he was intimately related with the dynasty of Iltutmish as both Sultan Masud Shah and Sultan Nasir-ud-din were his sons-in-law and his own son Bughra Khan was married to the daughter of Sultan Nasir-ud-din by his another wife.

Early Career:

According to Dr A.L. Srivastava, Balban was an Ilbari Turk whose father was a Khan of 10,000 families. His original name was Baha-ud-din. In his early youth Balban was taken prisoner and sold as a slave in Baghdad by the Mongols. His master Khwaja Jamal-ud-din brought him to Delhi where he was purchased by Iltutmish in 1233 A.D. and, after sometime, promoted to the rank of Khasdar.

Raziyya appointed him to the post of Amir-i-shikar. Balban proved treacherous and became a party to depose Raziyya from the throne. Bahram Shah gave him the jagir of Rewari and Masud Shah assigned him the jagir of Hansi. Vazir Abu Bakr appointed him Amir-i-Hazib and from that position he got the opportunity to consolidate his position among ‘the forty’.

He conspired against Masud Shah and was primarily responsible to put up Nasir-ud-din on the throne. In 1249 A.D., he married his daughter to Sultan Nasir-ud-din, got the post of naib-i-mamlakat and also the title of Ulugh Khan.

During the reign of Nasir-ud-din, Balban practically enjoyed all the powers of the state except for a brief interval of about a year. By ability, tact and diplomacy, Balban, certainly, had become the first among the powerful Turkish nobility. Therefore, after the death of Nasir-ud-din in 1265 A.D., he ascended the throne of Delhi without any opposition.

His Difficulties:

Though Balban had ruled for nearly twenty years during the reign of Nasir- ud-din, yet there were many difficulties which he had to face when he himself became the Sultan. The primary necessity of the state as well as that of Balban was to restore the lost prestige of the Sultan. After the death of Iltutmish, his Turkish slave-nobles tried to capture the power of the throne.

The resistance of the Sultan proved ineffective and the nobility succeeded in its efforts. One after another, the successors of Iltutmish gave way to the rising power of the nobles and therefore, the prestige of the Crown was lost. Nasir-ud-din, the last ruling descendent of Iltutmish wielded no power of the state. It was Balban who had captured the ruling power.

Thus, the power and prestige of the Sultan was completely lost. Balban himself had contributed towards it. But when he became the Sultan himself he realised the necessity of restoring the power of the Crown and, for that, felt the necessity of breaking the power of the nobility and creating awe and terror among the general populace.

Another problem before Balban was to provide security to the Delhi Sultanate and consolidate it further. All other problems were connected with it. In the north-west, the Mongols had got a strong foothold in West Punjab and therefore, it was absolutely necessary to check their further advance.

In the east, Bengal had become independent and it was necessary to bring it under the control of the Delhi Sultanate so that other provinces were not encouraged to follow its example. The Hindus were adopting aggressive policy against the Delhi Sultanate in Doab, Malwa, Bundelkhand and Rajasthan and it was necessary to break up their attempt for further inroads.

The Meos in Mewat and the Hindus in Katehar were revolting within the territories of the Delhi Sultanate and even the capital was not safe from their terror so that the western gate of the city of Delhi was always closed after the afternoon prayer. All this needed immediate attention of the Sultan.

Death of Balban:

Balban had grown too old. The death of prince Muhammad broke his heart. He was his eldest son and also well-educated and cultured. The two greatest poets of that age. Amir Khusrav and Amir Hasan, started their literary career under his patronage. He had invited the famous Persian poet, Shaikh Sadi as well who, however, could not comply with his request because of his old age.

Balban had expected him to be his worthy successor but his death destroyed all his hopes. Balban fell ill and called his second son Bughra Khan from Bengal to be by his side. Bughra Khan came to Delhi but soon left for Bengal secretly as he preferred its luxurious life more than the life of responsibility at Delhi. Balban nominated Kai Khusrav, son of prince Muhammad, as his heir and then died after some days about the middle of 1287 A.D.

An Estimate:

Dr A.L. Srivastava has pointed out primarily two weaknesses of Balban One, that ‘he was fanatically inclined and was intolerant of the religion of the vast majority of his subjects; and, the other, that ‘he was not a constructive genius. He possessed an orderly but not an inventive intellect.’

Apart from this, he has all praise for him and has assigned him the second place among the so- called slave-Sultans of Delhi. Professor Habibullah pointed out only one fault among his policies that he did not accept the cooperation of Indian Muslims in politics and administration. He writes. “He considered himself more the custodian of Turkish sovereignty than a king of Mussalmans.” Rest, he too has praised him very much.

But, Dr K.A. Nizami has pointed out many weaknesses of Balban. He gives him due credit for establishing an orderly government and peace within his empire but points out his many failures as well. He writes that his policy of establishing the supremacy of the Turkish race was more disadvantageous than advantageous to his empire. His greatest weakness lied in the weakness of his army.

He could suppress the revolt of Bengal after six years, could not take any aggressive step against the Rajputs and had failed to achieve any remarkable success against the Mongols. The primary cause of his military weakness was the lack of capable officers for which Balban himself was responsible. The occupation of Central Asia by the Mongols had stopped immigration of the Turks in India while Balban was not prepared to give high offices to the people of the other races.

This created shortage of capable military officers in the army of Balban. In the same way, viewing his administration, he writes- “Though performing the policeman’s duty of maintaining law and order, there is no legislation by which Balban can be remembered. That Jalaluddin Khalji, the mildest and oldest of revolutionists should have overthrown the administration of the Turkish slave officers prove definitely how rickety and worm-eaten that structure had become.”

Undoubtedly, the administrative organisation of Balban suffered from many weaknesses. Dr A.L. Srivastava and Professor Habibullah have also pointed out its defects. The capture of the throne by the Khaljis just after three years of Balban’s death also justifies its weaknesses. The attempt of Balban to maintain the supremacy of the Turkish race in the state remained the primary cause of weakness of his entire state-structure.

No state can be strong if it rests its power on the strength of an individual or that of a minority group among the populace. Balban committed this mistake and, therefore, failed to provide security to his empire and the claim of his family to rule over the throne of Delhi.

Yet, Balban has been regarded as a capable ruler and he occupies an important place among the so-called slave rulers of Delhi. He had become Sultan by his own efforts. He was a strict disciplinarian and cruel as well but, probably, that was the need of the time. Not only the nobles and the courtiers but even the people had lost sense of respect and fear towards the Sultan and there was widespread lawlessness which was resulting in large scale revolts, robberies etc.

In these circumstances, a strong and ruthless Sultan was necessary who could impose his will both on his nobles and the people. Barani wrote that ‘by the end of the rule of Sultan Nasir-ud-din the prestige of the Sultan was completely destroyed’.

He again wrote- “When Balban ascended the throne, there was no fear of the authority of the state which was the very basis of good governance. By that time, the people had completely forgotten the glory of the state.” Balban, however, restored the authority of the Sultan.

Besides, he provided justice to his subjects, saved the people from oppression and looked after their economic interests. Balban removed the anarchy which had prevailed within the territory of the Delhi Sultanate during the weak successors of Iltutmish. Balban suppressed the revolts, punished the rebellious governors, preserved the territories of the Delhi Sultanate and brought about peace and order within its boundaries.

Balban asserted the sovereignty of the Sultan and as Dr Tripathi has opined- “His concept of sovereignty was based on respect, power and justice.” Dr A.B. Pandey has also expressed- “If we have to express the achievements of Balban in a single word then that word is ‘consolidation’. It was the primary base of his policy.” Balban was not responsible for the conflict for power between the Sultan and the group of nobility which had undermined the prestige of the Sultan.

The conflict had started before he came on the political scene. He simply managed prevalent circumstances in favour of himself and became the Sultan. After that, he tried to restore the power and prestige of the Sultan which was, certainly, necessary in the interest of the State and he succeeded. This was his greatest achievement. Professor A.B.M. Habibullah writes- “Balban’s greatest single achievement lay in the revival of the monarchy as the supreme factor in the state.”

In this field, he completed the work started by Aibak and Iltutmish. Iltutmish had provided legal monarchy for the Delhi Sultanate but had made it dependent on the power of his nobility. Balban removed this weakness.

Balban, in fact, was the real Sultan who instead of depending on anybody made everybody dependent on himself in the state. Balban, of course, could not finish the menace of the invasion of the Mongols but, certainly, succeeded in checking their aggressive strength. He strengthened the Delhi Sultanate and the policy which he pursued to defend his north-western frontier set up a worthy example for the coming Khalji monarchs.

Dr. Ishwari Prasad writes of him:

“Balban, a great warrior, ruler and statesman, who saved the infant Muslim state from extinction at a critical time, will ever remain a great figure in medieval Indian history. He was the precursor of Alauddin. But for the security and stability which he imparted to the struggling power of the Muslims in India, it would have been impossible for Alauddin to withstand successfully the Mongol attacks and to achieve conquests in distant lands, which have won him an honoured place in Muslim history.”

Prof. Habibullah has also written that ‘Balban, to a large extent, prepared the base for the administrative set-up of the Khaljis’. The following statement of Barani also gives us an insight regarding the success of Balban.

He wrote- “The maliks, in grief at Balban’s death, tore their garments and threw dust on their heads as they followed bare feet the king’s bier to the burial ground at Darul Aman. For forty days they mourned his death and slept on the bare floor.”

The statement suggests that Balban was not only feared but loved as well or that the necessity of his presence was acutely felt in the interest of the state. Therefore, it has to be accepted that Balban was a successful ruler. Among the successors of Iltutmish, only Raziyya proved capable but she failed. Balban, however, succeeded.

Of course, he failed to provide a firm base to the rule of his dynasty but his own life remained full of unchecked success. Balban cannot be regarded as a great ruler but there was none among the slave-rulers of Delhi. Therefore, he rightly deserves to be ranked as one of the important rulers among them. Dr. A.L. Srivastava is perfectly right when he says- “His place among the so-called slave kings is next only to that of Iltutmish.”

Ruler # 6. Jalal-Ud-Din Firozshah Khalji:

The Khaljis were certainly Turks. Fakhruddin, the writer of Tarikh-i-Fakhruddin Mubarakshahi, Raverty and Barthold etc., regarded them as Turks. The territory of the Helmand valley in Afghanistan was called Khalji at that time and those people who inhabited that valley were called the Khaljis.

The family of Jalal-ud-din also belonged to those families who were Turks but had migrated to that valley two hundred years back. Their manners, living and social traditions became similar to the Afghans and therefore, they were regarded as the Afghans in India.

Thus, though the Khaljis were Turks, yet their polity differed from those of the Ilbari-Turks. With the accession of Jalal-ud-din Khalji on the throne of Delhi, the supremacy of the Turks finished in India.

The Ilbari-Turks had consolidated the Muslim empire in India and they maintained their supremacy in the state and its administration. Balban, the last of the Ilbari -Turk rulers, tried to finish other powerful families other than the Turks—with a view to maintain the supremacy of the Turks. But his attempt failed.

The Ilbari-Turks failed to realise the growing influence and power of Indian Muslims and other non-Ilbari Turks. The revolt of the Khaljis was, in fact, the revolt of Indian Muslims and non-Ilbari Turks against the Ilbari-Turks who looked not towards Delhi but towards Ghazni as source of their inspiration.

The capture of the throne of Delhi by the Khaljis established the power of Indian Muslims and non- Ilbari Turks in India and also settled the fact that the monopoly of power of the state was not the privilege of a particular group of people or that of a family.

The Khaljis brought about certain other changes also. The Turkish slave- rulers had failed to extend their empire even after nearly a century of struggle. From Aibak to Balban every ruler of Mamluk dynasty remained busy in consolidating the empire conquered by Muhammad of Ghur in India. None could extend its frontiers.

With the capture of the throne of Delhi by the Khaljis, the situation changed. The rule of the Khaljis marked the zenith of Muslim imperialism and Muslim power in India during the period of the Delhi Sultanate. Ala-ud-din Khalji succeeded not only in extending the Muslim empire but also in breaking the power of resistance of the Hindus.

Besides, large scale changes were brought about in the administrative set-up and Indian Muslims were associated with it. Dr K.S. Lai writes- “It not only heralded the advent of a new dynasty; it ushered an era of ceaseless conquests, of unique experiments in statecraft, and of incomparable literary activity.”

The accession of the Khaljis on the throne of Delhi is important from another point of view. Jalal-ud-din neither occupied the throne on the basis of heredity or election nor was it the result of a conspiracy. But he captured the throne by his power and the Khaljis kept their power simply by force. The Khaljis neither sought support of the Ulema nor that of the people. They did not ask for favour even from the nobility.

Therefore, they cared for nobody in administration and even did not seek the recognition of Khalifa for themselves. They proved that the state and its administration depended on the power of the Sultan alone who need not depend on anybody, not even on religion for support.

Ruler # 7. Ala-Ud-Din Khalji:

Ala-ud-din occupies an important place among the rulers of medieval India. He became Sultan at the age of thirty years and within a period of fifteen years became the most powerful ruler of India. The success which Ala-ud-din achieved during his life-time was unique both regarding the extension of the empire and its administration. Dr K.S. Lal writes- “From nothingness, he rose to be one of the greatest rulers of medieval India.”

As a person, Ala-ud-din was cruel and selfish. He was devoid of the instinct of love and observed no morality. His one aim of life was to achieve success and he was always prepared to adopt any means to achieve it. Therefore, ‘End justifies the means’ remained his principle. He murdered his benefactor and uncle Jalal-ud-din, captured the throne and imprisoned and blinded all his sons.

He kept in good humour all the Jalali nobles till they were useful for him and as soon as their utility was over, he cruelly destroyed them all. He started the practice of killing the wives and children of those nobles who revolted against him.

He constructed towers of skulls of the Mongols and either killed their wives and children or sold them as slaves. He killed thousands of ‘New Muslims’ merely on suspicion and gave their wives and daughters to the murderers of their husbands and fathers. Thus, his punishment was barbaric.

Ala-ud-din neither loved his wives nor his children whose education and care he always neglected. Ala-ud-din possessed no virtue like generosity, kindness and toleration. Whomsoever he disliked, he destroyed. He was jealous and never permitted anybody to influence him and nobody dared to give him advice frankly except his friend, Kotwal Ala-ul-Mulk.

Ala-ud-din believed that power and authority could be maintained only by maintaining strict discipline, creating awe and fear among all by pursuing a policy of bloodshed and severe punishments. That is why V.A. Smith placed him among cruel and oppressive rulers.

He wrote- “In reality he (Ala-ud-din) was a particularly savage tyrant with very little regard for justice and his reign though marked by the conquest of Gujarat and many successful raids, like the storming of the two great fortresses, was exceedingly disgraceful in many respects.”

However, Ala-ud-din was a brave soldier, a most capable military commander, a shrewd diplomat, a great conqueror, a successful administrator and a powerful and ambitious Sultan. His primary object was to gain success and he achieved it in practically all fields although his life. Elphinstone wrote- “His reign was glorious, and, in spite of many absurd and oppressive measures he was, on the whole, a successful monarch and exhibited a just exercise of his powers.”

Ala-ud-din proved himself a brave soldier and capable commander even during the life-time of his uncle, Jalal-ud-din by his successful campaigns of Bhilsa and Devagiri. His campaign of Devagiri has been regarded as a unique achievement in the history of military campaigns. It would be wrong to say that the success of military campaigns during his reign was due to his capable commanders like Zafar Khan, Nusrat Khan, Alp Khan, Ulugh Khan and Malik Kafur.

Of course, each of them was a capable commander but Ala-ud-din was superior to them. All of them accepted him as their leader and obeyed his command and where they failed he succeeded. All important campaigns in Rajasthan were led by Ala-ud-din. When Nusrat Khan and Ulugh Khan failed to conquer Ranthambhor, Ala-ud-din went there and captured it.

The same way, Chittor was also conquered by Ala-ud-din himself. In 1299 A.D. when the Mongols reached Delhi with firm determination to fight the Sultan, Ala-ud-din decided to meet their challenge even against the advice of his friend, Al-ul-Mulk and, if the success of the battle of Kili was because of the chivalry of Zafar Khan, it was also due to determination and capable commandership of the Sultan. Thus. Ala-ud-din was a most capable and successful commander of his age.

Ala-ud-din was an imperialist. Dr A.L. Srivastava has regarded him as the first Turkish empire-builder in this country. He extended the frontiers of his empire as much as could be possible and where he did not annex the territory, he forced the rulers to accept his suzerainty.

The conquest of India by Ala-ud- din was a marvellous achievement particularly in view of the fact that the Mongols were constantly attacking India at that time with a view to capture its territory. No Sultan of Delhi had achieved it prior to him.

Dr A.L. Srivastava writes- “Ala-ud-din successfully accomplished this two-fold task. This alone entitles this Khalji ruler to a place higher than that occupied by any of his predecessors in the thirteenth century. He may, therefore, rightly be called the first Turkish emperor of India.”

Ala-ud-din conquered larger part of north India and, except one, forced all the rulers of south India to accept his suzerainty. No Turkish Sultan of Delhi could achieve it and the Mughals who followed them could achieve it after a hard and continuous struggle. Thus, the conquest of India by Ala-ud-din was his unique achievement.

Ala-ud-din was an all-powerful monarch. Despotism reached its highest mark during his reign. Ala-ud-din concentrated all powers of the state in his hands. His ministers, nobles, military commanders and administrative officers were all his subordinates. They simply obeyed his orders and carried out his wishes.

Nobody even dared to advise him frankly except his friend, Ala-ul-Mulk. Ala- ud-din succeeded not only in suppressing all the revolts which were attempted during his reign and destroyed the power and influence of the nobility but even sapped up the resources of their power and influence.

Neither the provincial governors nor his subjects dared to revolt against him. Some revolts were attempted only during the beginning of his reign. Afterwards, we find no trace of them. The commands of Ala-ud-din were obeyed without murmur within the entire boundary of his empire. Besides, Ala-ud-din succeeded in providing complete security and peace to his subjects.

Ferishta wrote- “Justice was executed with such rigour that robbery and theft, formerly so common, were not heard of in the land. The traveller slept secure on the highway and the merchant carried his commodities with safety from the sea of Bengal to the mountains of Kabul and from Telingana to Kashmir.” Ala-ud-din also did not allow the Muslim Ulema to interfere in the affairs of the state.

He was the first Sultan of Delhi who did not allow religion to interfere in administrative and political affairs. Of course, his policy towards the Hindus was oppressive but its primary cause was not religion but politics. He felt that the Hindus could not stop revolting against him unless their social and economic power was broken.

Ala-ud-din was a great administrator. He made certain innovations in administration. He was not advised by anybody in taking up these administrative reforms, whether civil or military. Of course, he used to consult his nobles from time to time but nobody was responsible for his administrative innovations.

His friend, Ala-ul-Mulk was the only individual who could advise him frankly but he had died by the time Ala-ud-din took up his new administrative measures. He organised a large and powerful army. He was the first Sultan of Delhi who kept a large standing army permanently at the Centre, started the practice of branding the horses and that of keeping Huliya of the soldiers.

He was again the first Sultan who introduced a system of measurement of land as a preliminary to fixing the State demand of the produce, got the revenue collected by government servants and abolished the privileges of hereditary revenue officers like the Chaudhries, the Muqaddams etc. As regards his market-system, it was a novelty which had no parallel before or after him throughout the medieval period of Indian history.

Besides, Ala-ud-din central­ized the entire administration and yet brought about efficiency and perfection in it. Reviewing the success of his administration, Dr K.S. Lal has concluded, “Ala-ud-din stands head and shoulder above his predecessors or successors in the Sultanate.”

Ala-ud-din was an ambitious ruler. But he was a practical statesman as well. He accepted the limitation of his ambitions. At one time, he dreamed to conquer the entire world and also to start a new religion. But he gave up these ideas because he could realise their absurdity. Again, he did not annex the territories of the vanquished rulers of the South because he could realise that it was difficult to keep under control the states of the South from such a distant place as Delhi.

On the contrary, he honoured Ramchandra Deva of Devagiri and Vir Ballal of the Hoysala kingdom so much so that they helped him in his conquest of the South. Ala-ud-din was a good judge of circumstances and could calculate well his course of action. He could be diplomatic, shrewd or conspiring at one time and chivalrous at other times. His aim was always to gain his object. Therefore, he changed his course of action according to circumstances and that was one primary cause of his success practically in all fields.

As an individual, Ala-ud-din was a follower of Islam. He had faith in religion and respected religious people. Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya and Mohammad Shamsuddin Turk were always respected by him. Ala-ud-din himself was illiterate, yet he was a patron of learning and fine arts. Most of the known scholars of his age were assembled at his court. Amir Khusrav and Amir Hasan of Delhi were patronized by him.

During his reign, Delhi became the rival of Cairo and equal to Constantinople. He also constructed many good buildings including the fort of Siri, palace of one thousand pillars called Hazar Situn and many mosques, tanks and Sarais (rest-houses for travellers). His Alai Darwaza which is an extension of the Qutbi mosque in Delhi has been regarded as one of the best specimens of early Turkish architecture.

Ala-ud-din suffered from certain weaknesses. His greatest weakness was that his administration, rather, the whole structure of the state depended on the power and more than that on fear of a single individual, i.e., Ala-ud-din. Therefore, it lacked stable foundation and was destroyed as soon as Ala-ud-din passed away.

After the death of Ala-ud-din, there remained no more his standing army, his revenue system and his market-system. Not only this, his dynasty lost the throne very soon after him. Yet, it is accepted that if Ala-ud- din was responsible for the failure of his system and the rule of his dynasty then his successors were equally responsible for all this.

The successors of Ala- ud-din proved worthless and during medieval age no person could safely remain on the throne without competence of his own. Therefore, the dynasty of Ala- ud-din also lost its right to rule. However, it was creditable for Ala-ud-din that his many principles of administration remained alive even after his death. Many rulers of medieval age after him pursued many of his administrative principles, both civil and military.

Therefore, with all these weaknesses, Ala-ud-din occupies an important place among the rulers of medieval India. Most of the modern historians have assigned him a high place among rulers of Indian medieval history. Dr A.L. Srivastava concludes- “A balanced view of Ala-ud-din’s work and achievement must give him a high place among the rulers of Delhi during the medieval age.”

Dr S. Roy who describes that it is difficult to assess correctly the personality and character of Ala-ud-din, however, writes-“Ala-ud-din was the first Muslim administrator of India. The history of Muslim empire and Muslim administra­tion of India really begins with him. Ala-ud-din, Sher Shah, and Akbar—each marks a distinctive step in the evolution of Indo-Muslim history.”

Ruler # 8. Qutb-Ud-Din Mubarak Khalji:

Under the influence of Malik Kafur, Ala-ud-din had nominated his younger son Shihab-ud-din Umar as his successor. Shihab-ud-din was hardly five or six years of age. Kafur, therefore, became his regent and de facto ruler of the state.

He also married the mother of Shihab-ud-din in order to strengthen his position. Kafur imprisoned all sons of Ala-ud-din, sent Khizr Khan and Shadi Khan to the fort of Gwalior and blinded them there. Probably, he desired to kill them all and capture the throne for himself.

But Kafur could not enjoy power for more than thirty-five days. He had disrespected and imprisoned the entire family of the previous Sultan and afterwards, desired to destroy all those nobles who were suspected to be loyal to the previous ruling family. Therefore, those nobles became dissatisfied with Kafur. However, the events moved more quickly than anybody could imagine.

Kafur sent some foot soldiers to blind Mubarak Khan, the third son of Ala-ud-din. When those soldiers approached the prince, he bribed them with a jewelled necklace and also reminded them of their duty towards the royal family. Tempted by gold and moved by sentiments, the soldiers returned to the apartment of Kafur and killed him there and then. Thus, ended the de facto rule of Kafur just after thirty-five days.

Mubarak Khan then became the regent of Sultan Shihab-ud-din. Within two months he strengthened his position among the nobility, blinded Shihab-ud-din and sent him in imprisonment to the fort of Gwalior. He then declared himself Sultan Qutab-ud-din Mubarak Shah on 19 April 1316 A.D.

The soldiers and their commanders who had murdered Kafur tried to gain higher posts and interfered in administration. Mubarak Shah could not tolerate it. He managed to kill those officers while the soldiers were sent to different provinces after dividing them in small units. Barring this, the rule of Mubarak Shah began with liberalism.

On the day he ascended the throne, all oppressive laws of Ala-ud-din were revoked, nearly eighteen thousand prisoners were made free and all those who were turned out of capital were allowed to come back.

Mubarak paid six months advance salary to his soldiers, enhanced the salaries and jagirs of his nobles, many people whose jagirs were taken over by the state were given back their jagirs, severe punishment was stopped, the administration and the working of the spy-system was relaxed and, though prohibition laws were not revoked, yet their implementation was stopped in practice.

These measures of Mubarak Shah, certainly, brought relief to the people and the nobility but they also resulted in soaring prices of commodities and inefficiency in administration. Besides, as Mubarak Shah himself was fond of pleasure the nobles and the subjects also followed his example which brought about all round corruption which weakened the state.

Suppression of the Revolt of Gujarat:

When Alp Khan was murdered by Kafur, his soldiers had revolted in Gujarat. Kafur had despatched Ain-ul-Mulk to suppress that revolt but while he had reached Rajasthan, Kafur was murdered. Therefore he had stopped at Rajasthan. Mubarak, after his accession, sent Gazi Malik Tughluq to assist Ain- ul-Mulk and both were asked to proceed to Gujarat. The revolt was suppressed and Mubarak appointed his father-in-law, Zafar Khan as governor of Gujarat.

Re-conquest of Devagiri:

Harpala Deva, son-in-law of Ramchandra Deva, had established himself as an independent ruler of Devagiri after the murder of Malik Kafur. In 1318 A.D., Mubarak himself attacked Devagiri. Harpala Deva fled away but was captured and killed. Mubarak appointed Malik Yaklakhi as governor of Devagiri, despatched Khusrav to attack Madura and Telingana and, then, returned to Delhi.

The Suppression of Revolts and Conspiracies:

When Mubarak was returning from Devagiri, a plot was formed by Asad- ud-din, son of one of the uncles of Ala-ud-din. Some nobles at Delhi were also party to it. But the Sultan was informed of the plot. All the conspirators were captured and put to death.

Zafar Khan, governor of Gujarat, was summoned to Delhi and killed after the above conspiracy and Hisam-ud-din was appointed there in his place. But Hisam-ud-din revolted. However, the nobles of Gujarat captured him and sent him to Delhi. Mubarak ignored his crime as he was the brother of Khusrav Khan, one of his best favourites.

Malik Yaklakhi, the governor of Devagiri, also revolted at the same time and declared himself as an independent ruler under the name of Sultan Shams-ud-din. A strong force was sent from Delhi against him. He was easily defeated and sent to Delhi where his ears and nose were chopped off and his followers were punished severely.

Meanwhile, Khusrav Khan forced Prataprudra Deva, ruler of Telingana to submit and pay yearly tribute. Khusrav then proceeded to Malabar. He met no serious challenge there, yet there was nobody who could agree for peace and submission to the Sultan. Khusrav, however, seized enormous wealth there which turned his head and he dreamed of making himself an independent ruler there.

Mubarak was informed of his ambitions and therefore, he called him back to Delhi. But Khusrav was able to convince the Sultan of his loyalty. Therefore, instead of punishing Khusrav, Mubarak punished those nobles who had informed him of his designs.

The Murder of Mubarak Shah:

Mubarak began his reign with success. The successful campaign of Devagiri made him over-confident while the revolt of Asad-ud-din made him suspicious. He, therefore, lost balance of his mind, grew indifferent towards administration and cruel towards individuals. On the one hand, he killed many of his loyal officers and brothers merely on suspicion, while on the other, he immersed himself in debauchery and, at times, even appeared at the court in female attire.

He married Deval Devi, the widow of his late brother Khizr Khan. He started liking the company of naked men and women, prostitutes and court-jesters and the respected nobles were neglected. But the greatest mistake which Mubarak committed was that he became too much infatuated with Khusrav Khan who was raised to the status of vazir. Khusrav was not a person who could be relied upon. He conspired to, assassinate the Sultan.

On 15 April 1320 A.D. his followers attacked the palace by surprise and before the Sultan could know anything they reached near his apartment. Mubarak tried to escape and fled towards the harem but was captured and beheaded.

Mubarak was an unworthy son of a worthy father. He inherited a strong, extensive and prosperous empire from his father but lost it only in four years. Of course, he had the courage to declare himself Al Imam, Ul-Imam and Khalafat-ul-lah and thus, kicked the idea of Khalifat absolutely, but he did not deserve any of these titles. Mubarak was neither a capable ruler nor a capable person. He deserved the death which he met.

Ruler # 9. Nasir-Ud-Din Khusrav Shah:

Khusrav Shah was a converted Muslim and he was supported by Hindu soldiers from Gujarat. It was his greatest fault. Though he was converted to Islam in his early childhood, exhibited religious zeal during his campaign of the South and assumed the title of the ‘commander of the faithful,’ yet his enemies declared him as an ‘enemy of Islam’ and declared that ‘Islam was in danger’ under his rule.

After his accession on the throne, he either killed or blinded the remaining sons of Ala-ud-din and also all those nobles who were loyal to the Khaljis. He married the widow (probably Deval Devi) of Mubarak Shah and even succeeded in getting the moral support of saints like Nizamuddin Auliya. He also gained the favour of the rest of the nobles by assigning them high offices.

Yet, his position on the throne remained precarious. Those Turkish nobles who believed in the superiority of the Turkish race could not tolerate the accession of a Hindu convert on the throne of Delhi. Ghazi Malik Tughluq who was the governor of the north-west and Dipalpur took advantage of it.

He was an ambitious man and his son, Muhammad Jauna was one of the influential nobles at Delhi. He asked his son to join him at Dipalpur. Muhammad Jauna fled away from Delhi and joined his father. Ghazi Malik, then appealed to the governors of Uch, Multan, Sehwan and Jalor to rise in revolt against Khusrav. Only the governor of Uch responded favourably.

Then he instigated the people and junior officers to rise in the name of Islam. That paid him and officers and people in large number joined him. He, then, proceeded towards Delhi. Khusrav Shah faced him near Indraprastha outside Delhi.

Before the battle, Ain- ul-Mulk withdrew with his troops to Malwa. Yet, Khusrav fought valiantly. However, he was defeated and killed on 6 September 1320 A.D. On 7 September, Ghazi Malik entered the palace of Ala-ud-din and on 8 September declared himself Sultan of Delhi under the name of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq Shah.

Thus ended the rule of Khusrav within four and a half months. Khusrav was corrupt and disloyal. He had destroyed his master and his family. He also lacked the virtues of a king. Yet, the charge that he worked against Islam was baseless.

He lost the throne not because that he was against Islam which was simply a successful propaganda manipulated by Ghazi Malik and his son but because Ghazi Malik was not only ambitious but also succeeded in getting support of the Turkish nobles and killed him in the battle.

Ruler # 10. Ghiyas-Ud-Din Tughlaq Shah:

Contemporary historians regarded Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din as an ideal Muslim ruler. The primary reason of their opinion is that he saved Islam in India from the invasions of the Mongols and, by finishing the rule of Khusrav Shah, re­established the glory of Islam. However, from this point of view Sultan Ghiyas- ud-din can be accepted only as the protector of Islam. But he possessed many other qualities.

As a person, Sultan led an ideal life. He was interested neither in wine nor in women. Like Ala-ud-din he tried for prohibition. He followed the principles of Islam honestly and respected religious men and saints. His policy towards the Hindus was not liberal, yet it was not that of oppression.

However, his success should be ascertained not on the basis of his character but on the basis of his achievements. Ghiyas-ud-din was a capable commander. He proved it before his accession to the throne and even after it. Under his capable leadership, the army of the Delhi Sultanate once more became effectively powerful and helped in the extension of the empire.

Ghiyas-ud-din conquered Bengal and a large part of south India and, thus, became the master of a more extensive empire than that of Ala-ud-din Khalji. He frankly pursued the policy of annexation and the territories which he conquered were brought under his direct rule. Ghiyas-ud-din was successful as an administrator as well. He followed a middle path in administration which combined firmness with fairness.

He established peace and order in the kingdom and thus saved it from the anarchy which prevailed after the death of Ala-ud-din. He rooted out corruption from the administration, looked after the welfare of peasants, increased the area under cultivation, improved means of communication, transport and postal system, constructed bridges and canals, developed gardens, increased the wages of his civil servants so that they might remain free from petty temptations and restored the privileges and perquisites of his revenue officers. His measures proved successful.

It increased the material prosperity of his subjects and filled up the state treasury as well. The Sultan, thus, was not only an innovator in certain fields but was also a successful organiser of the power of the State. Ghiyas-ud-din by his success in administration and conquests restored the power and prestige of the Sultan as well as that of the Delhi Sultanate.

He had risen to the position of the Sultan from a humble position yet, like Balban, he did not feel the necessity of proving himself of pure Turkish blood. He neither claimed to be of pure Turkish blood nor depended on Turkish nobility for his power. The same way, though he was trained in the methods of Ala-ud-din, yet he refused to adopt cruelty and ruthlessness as the basis of his administration.

Ghiyas-ud-din had faith in his own capability and tried to find out capabilities among others and used them for the benefit of the state. Therefore, he neither felt the necessity of support of blue blood or that of cruelty. And, yet he was a successful ruler.

Barani wrote, “All that Sultan Ala-ud-din did with so much shedding of blood, and crooked policy and oppression, and great violence in order that he might establish his rule throughout the cities of the empire, Sultan Tughluq Shah in the space of four years accomplished without any contention of fraud or hardness or slaughter.”