In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Difficulties of Ghiyas-Ud-Din Tughluq Shah 2. Domestic Policy of Ghiyas-Ud-Din Tughluq Shah 3. The Suppression of the Revolts and the Expansion of the Empire 4. Death.
Ghiyas-Ud-Din Tughluq laid down the foundation of a new dynasty but it would be wrong to say that ‘Tughluq’ meant any race or was a family- name. The personal name of Ghiyas-ud-din was either Ghazi Tughluq or Ghazi Beg Tughluq. Therefore, his successors were also called Tughluqs by historians and his dynasty has been regarded as the Tughluq dynasty.
Otherwise, his son Muhammad called himself Muhammad-Bin-Tughluq, that is, the son of Tughluq while his successors did not add Tughluq to their names. According to Ferishta, the father of Ghazi Tughluq was a Turkish slave of Sultan Balban and had married a Hindu Jat woman.
Ghazi Tughluq also served Sultans of Delhi like his father and rose to higher positions of the State till Ala-ud-din appointed him as the governor of Dipalpur and the guard of the north-west frontier in 1305 A.D. He successfully defended the frontier, pursued an aggressive policy against the Mongols and attacked the neighbourhood of even Ghazni, Kabul and Kandhar. Khusrav kept him in the same position. But, then, he revolted against Khusrav, killed him in the battle and became Sultan in 1320 A.D.
Difficulties of Ghiyas-Ud-Din Tughluq Shah:
Ghiyas-ud-din faced both internal and external problems. The administrative setup established by Ala-ud-din was destroyed by his successors while no steps were taken to establish a new one. The nobles and the courtiers had become negligent towards their responsibilities and engaged themselves in physical pleasures. The Sultan had lost his prestige both among the nobility and the subjects.
Both Mubarak Shah and Khusrav Shah had distributed large amount of wealth among his nobles and subjects and, thereby, had exhausted the Sultan’s treasury. But above all was the difficulty of keeping provincial governors and feudatory chiefs under submission who were prepared to throw away the authority of the Sultan at any opportune moment. However, Ghiyas-ud-din faced all these difficulties and succeeded.
Domestic Policy of Ghiyas-Ud-Din Tughluq Shah:
The first task of Ghiyas-ud-din was to strengthen his position on the throne and for that he tried to conciliate the nobles and the people. He pursued a policy of conciliation mixed up with sternness towards the nobles. He succeeded in getting support from the Turkish nobles on the basis of race. But he tried to please even those nobles who had supported Khusrav against him.
He forgot their past and allowed them to enjoy their former posts. He also arranged for the marriages of girls of the Khalji family. But those nobles who were found confirmed supporters of the previous regime were devoid of their official positions and their jagirs were snatched away from them. However, he restored the jagirs of those people who were devoid of them during the regime of Ala- ud-din.
Ghiyas-ud-din was successful in getting loyalty of the nobles and his subjects by these measures. He also tried to take that wealth from the concerning people which was squandered by Khusrav to please them. He was partly successful in that. Many people returned it but some like Shaikh Nizam-ud-din Auliya refused to return it.
Ghiyas-ud-din attempted to improve the finances of the state and for that purpose, pursued the policy of encouraging agriculture and protecting cultivators. His twin objects were to increase the land under cultivation and improve the economic condition of the farmers. The state-demand of revenue was fixed between 1/5 to 1/3 of the produce. He ordered that the revenue be increased only gradually and, in no case, beyond 1/11 to 1/10 from a province in a year.
In case of famine, the peasants were exempted from paying the revenue. More- land has expressed that in case of failure of crop and absence of good production on newly cultivated lands, the peasants were not asked to pay the revenue. Besides, the peasants were asked to pay revenue on the cultivated land alone. The land which was not cultivated by the peasants was free from the revenue. The privileges of the previous Hindu revenue officers were restored.
However, the officers were instructed to observe that the Hindus did not enrich themselves very much. The practice of measurement and survey of land which was adopted during the reign of Ala-ud-din was abandoned. Instead, the old system of sharing of the produce, i.e., Batai and Nasq was revived. The revenue collectors were assigned lands which were free of tax. They were not paid any commission or salary.
The government officers were asked not to be cruel with peasants but to look after their welfare. If any officer collected excess revenue, he was punished. However, minor excesses of the officers were overlooked. But Ghiyas-ud-din insisted that his officers should be honest. He also improved means of irrigation and planted many gardens. These measures of Ghiyas-ud- din succeeded. The area under cultivation increased and the condition of farmers improved. He could also satisfy his officials and tax-collectors.
Ghiyas-ud-din improved the means of communication. Roads were repaired and improved. Bridges and canals were also constructed. He improved the postal system. Runners or horsemen were posted at a distance of two-thirds of a mile so that the post moved fast. He also improved the judicial system. The practice of rigorous punishment and that of torture for extracting truth was generally prohibited.
It continued only in cases of thieves, revenue defaulters or those who embezzled money of the state. Barani wrote that ‘because of the justice of Tughluq Shah even a wolf could not dare to look towards a sheep.’ Besides, Ghiyas-ud-din attempted to check gambling, drinking of liquor and other immoral abuses as well.
Ghiyas-ud-din was a capable military commander and, according to Barani, he loved his soldiers as a father loved his sons. He looked after their welfare and paid them well. But he was a strict disciplinarian as well. He strictly enforced the practice of keeping Huliya of the soldiers and that of Dagh viz., branding of the horses. Within two years after his accession, Ghiyas-ud-din succeeded in enhancing the strength of his army.
Towards the Hindus, Ghiyas-ud-din pursued nearly the same policy as was practised by Ala-ud-din. His policy was that neither the Hindus should be allowed to amass wealth so that they might rise in revolt nor they be reduced to poverty so much so that they might leave cultivation of their fields.
Thus, the basis of the policy which he adopted towards the Hindus was political. Dr Ishwari Prasad writes- “If he pursued oppression against the Hindus, it was not because of religious bigotry but the result of political necessity.”
The Suppression of the Revolts and the Expansion of the Empire:
Ghiyas-ud-din proved himself more aggressive imperialist than even Ala-ud- din. Ala-ud-din did not annex the territories of the kingdoms of the South. He was satisfied by bringing them under his suzerainty. Devagiri was annexed to his empire only when Shankar Deva completely refused to accept his overlordship. On the contrary, Ghiyas-ud-din frankly pursued the policy of annexation. He annexed the territories of all those rulers who were defeated by him.
Telingana claimed his first attention. Prataprudra Deva had reasserted independence and had not paid the yearly tribute. Ghiyas-ud-din sent his son, Jauna Khan alias Ulugh Khan, to subdue him in 1321 A.D. Jauna Khan moved swiftly, reached Warangal without any opposition and besieged the fort.
After six months Prataprudra Deva submitted and agreed to pay the annual tribute. But as Jauna Khan asked him to submit without any prior condition, no settlement could be made. Then the Hindus cut down the lines of communication of the besiegers so that news from Delhi ceased to come.
The same time a rumour was spread that Ghiyas-ud-din had died. This created panic among the army of Delhi and many officers along with their soldiers left Jauna Khan. Jauna Khan himself fled away to Devagiri. Contemporary historians differ regarding this incident.
Ibn Batuta described that Jauna Khan himself intended to rebel against his father and therefore, asked his companion Ubaid to spread this false rumour in the hope that the officers and the soldiers would come to his side. But the result was the opposite one.
Many officers left Jauna Khan which, ultimately, resulted in the failure of the first expedition of Warangal. But Isami and Barani have disagreed with Ibn Batuta. They expressed that Jauna Khan had no hand in spreading that false rumour.
Ubaid alone was responsible for it. Among modern historians Sir Woolseley Haig and many others have accepted the version of Ibn Batuta, while Dr Ishwari Prasad, Dr Mahdi Husain and Dr B.P. Saxena have accepted the account of Isami and Barani.
Jauna Khan reached Delhi and begged mercy from the Sultan. Ghiyas-ud- din pardoned him and killed all those nobles who had revolted against him. Then he sent another army again under Jauna Khan to attack Warangal. Jauna Khan attacked Warangal in 1323 A.D. On the way, he conquered Bidar and certain other forts so that he could keep safe his line of communication with Delhi. The fort of Warangal was captured after a siege of five months.
Prataprudra Deva was sent to Delhi as a prisoner where, according to Dr B.P. Saxena, he died in prison or committed suicide, but according to Dr R.C. Majumdar he was left free and he finished his life as a feudatory to the Sultan or as a petty independent chief somewhere. Warangal was named Sultanpur and the kingdom of Telingana was annexed to the territories of the Delhi Sultanate.
Jauna Khan, probably, also attacked the far-south state of Malabar and conquered and annexed Madura in 1323 A.D. But contemporary Muslim historians did not mention it in their accounts. However, Jauna Khan certainly attacked Orissa (Jajnagar) and after plundering it or after having met reverse, returned to Delhi.
Hardly the Sultan had become free from the campaigns of the South when he had to face an attack of the Mongols from the north-west in 1324 A.D. The Mongols, however, were defeated. Probably, at this very time, a revolt occurred in Gujarat but it was also suppressed.
Ghiyas-ud-din got an opportunity to interfere in the affairs of Bengal which had been independent since the death of Sultan Balban. The three brothers, Ghiyas-ud-din, Shihab-ud-din and Nasir-ud-din had quarrelled among themselves for the throne of Bengal. Ghiyas-ud-din had defeated Shihab-ud-din and occupied Lakhanauti, the capital of Bengal in 1319 A.D.
The third brother, Nasir-ud-din sought the help of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq to capture the throne. The Sultan welcomed this opportunity and proceeded towards Bengal in person. He was joined by Nasir-ud-din at Tirput.
Then the Sultan sent Zafar Khan to attack Lakhanauti. Ghiyas-ud-din was defeated and Nasir-ud-din was placed on the throne as a vassal-ruler of Delhi. However, Nasir-ud-din was handed over only North Bengal. East and South Bengal were annexed to the Sultanate of Delhi.
According to Isami, Ghiyas-ud-din, on his way back, attacked Tirhut (Mithila). Raja Har Singh Deva fled to Nepal and his kingdom was annexed to Delhi. But the Sultan had proceeded towards Delhi before the completion of the conquest.
Death of Ghiyas-Ud-Din:
Historians have differed regarding the death of Ghiyas-ud-din. Dr Mahdi Husain and Dr B.P. Saxena have expressed that he died of an accident while Dr Ishwari Prasad and Sir Woolseley Haig regarded it as a result of conspiracy of prince Jauna Khan against the Sultan.
Dr A.L. Srivastava and Dr R.C. Mazumdar also agree with their view. Among contemporary historians Ibn Batuta and Isami blamed the prince for the death of Sultan while the account of Barani is short and inconclusive. He simply wrote that ‘the Sultan had an accident because of the sudden fall of lightning.’
Scholars who find no fault of Jauna Khan in the death of his father have argued that:
(1) Both Ibn Batuta and Isami expressed that elephants were paraded not on the order of the prince, Jauna Khan but of the Sultan.
(2) Both Ibn Batuta and Isami based their opinion on what they heard from others.
(3) Jauna Khan had cordial relations with his mother when he became the Sultan which could not be possible if the prince would have participated in the death of his father.
(4) Nobody opposed Jauna Khan when he ascended the throne, and
(5) Jauna Khan was lovable to every member of his family and it was not expected of him that he would get his father murdered.
On the other hand, scholars, who doubt Jauna Khan of a conspiracy to murder his father have argued that:
(1) Ibn Batuta was a contemporary of Ghiyas-ud-din and had no reason to be against him. Therefore, we should accept his version reliable.
(2) Barani wrote nothing clearly because he desired protection of the court particularly from Firuz Tughluq who was in good books of Muhammad Tughluq.
(3) Nizamuddin Ahmad in Tabakata-i-Akbari, Badayuni in Muntakhab-ul-Tawarikha and Abul Fazl in Ain-i-Akbari described that the version of Barani of the fall of lightning which resulted in the death of Ghiyas-ud-din was pure fabrication.
(4) According to Tarikh-i-Mubarakshahi, the accident occurred during the month of February-March but that was the season when there was no possibility of lightning.
(5) Jauna Khan was ambitious and therefore, his intentions could be doubtful, and
(6) when Jauna Khan became the Sultan, instead of punishing Ahmad Aiyaz who got constructed that temporary building, he promoted him to the rank of vazir.
According to Ibn Batuta, while the Sultan was in Bengal, he received disquieting news of the activities of prince Jauna in Delhi. He was informed that the prince was increasing the number of his followers, had become the disciple of Shaikh Nizam-ud-din Auliya with whom the Sultan was displeased and, probably, aspired for the throne.
The Sultan, therefore, threatened that he would punish both the prince and the Shaikh after his return to Delhi. The Shaikh is said to have remarked- ‘Hanuz Delhi dur ast’ (Delhi is still far off). Prince Jauna Khan welcomed the Sultan in Afghanpur, a village six miles to the south-east of Delhi.
There the prince had constructed a wooden pavilion which was so designed that it could fall immediately when touched at a certain part by the elephants. After the meal was over, the prince requested his father to display those elephants that he had brought from Bengal. The elephants were then paraded and when they came in contact with the weak part of the pavilion, the entire building collapsed.
The Sultan and his younger son, Mahmud Khan, were crushed under the building. Jauna Khan is said to have delayed in removing the debris and when these were removed the Sultan was found bent over the body of prince Mahmud Khan as if to protect him. Ibn Batuta was told of this incident by Shaikh Rukn-ud-din who was present in the pavilion at that time but was asked by prince Jauna Khan to leave for his prayers before elephants were brought for parade.
Thus, Ibn Batuta charged prince Jauna Khan for the murder of the Sultan. Whether the charge is correct is disputable but most of the historians agree that even if there was any conspiracy to murder the Sultan, Shaikh Nizam-ud-din Auliya had probably nothing to do with it.