Medieval India

Delhi Sultanate | The Slave Dynasty

When Muhammad Ghori died in 1206 AD he had left no male heir to succeed him. Taj-uddin Yildoz Governor of Kirman ascended the throne of Ghazni. Nasir-uddin-Qabacha held Uchch and Qutubuddin became the governor of the Indian provinces of Ghori. He functioned as an independent ruler. Qutubbudin not only helped Muhammad in all his Indian campaigns but also consolidated and extended his conquests in his absence,

Qutubbudin began his reign with the modest title Malik and Siphasalar that had been conferred upon him by Muhammad Ghori. The rise of Qutubuddin roused jealousy of Yildoz of Ghazni. Aibak charged him with exercising undue influence on Mahmud of Feroz Khoh and marched against him. In 1208 he even occupied Ghazni and also won over Sultan Mahmud to his own side. During his brief reign of 4 years he did not make any fresh conquests because his entire attention was devoted to the establishment of law and order and strengthening of his army of occupation. Aibak died in 1210 AD.He earned the title of Lakh Baksh.

Iltutmish was the greatest of the slave kings. He was the real founder of the Sultanate. At the time of Qutubbudin’s death he was the governor of Badaun.He made Delhi the capital of his empire. He devoted the first 10 years of his reign to securing his throne from rivals .He defeated other nobles in 1216-17 AD and thus made his position secure. The reign of Iltutmish saw the decline of Lahore and the rise of Delhi. Delhi gradually became the greatest centre of learning and culture in India. The Delhi Sultanate owes the outlines of its administrative system to Iltutmish.He organized the Revenue and Finance depts. He got completed the famous Qutub Minar near Mehrauli in Delhi in the year 1231-32.A magnificent mosque was also built by the orders of the Sultan. Although Iltutmish had many sons but all of them were incompetent. He appointed his daughter Raziya as his successor.

Raziya is the first and the last woman ruler of medieval India. She assumed the title of sultan and did her best to play the part of a man. Her reign lasted for 3 years and six months. She aimed at removing the uncalled for interference and influence of Turkish chiefs on administration. She discarded Purdah and began to adorn the attire of the male. Raziya tried to concentrate power in her own hands and succeeded. This provoked serious opposition that took the shape of a protest against her.

Alauddin Masud Shah also met the same fate of Bahram Shah who succeeded Raziya’s successor. Bahram Shah was weak and incompetent ruler and was overthrown by the nobles after a brief reign of 2 years. In 1246 Nasiruddin Mahmud the grandson of Iltutmish ascended the throne. He owed his throne to the Turkish aristocracy and the latter was bound to have tremendous influence in the administration. He placed all his powers in the hands of Prime Minister Balban. In 1266 Nasiruddin Mahmud died.

Balban sat on the throne of Delhi in 1266 AD and adopted the name of Ghiyasuddin Balban. With his accession the line of rulers of the family of Iltutmish ended. He started the era of strong centralized government. He increased the power and position of sultan. He introduced Persian ceremonies and etiquettes in his court and allowed no manner of levity here. Balban did not try to extend his empire although he had a strong army. He instead concentrated on consolidating the territory already in possession. He suppressed the revolts in the Doab and Oudh and tracked down elements in Rohilkhand.The Mongols invaded again in 1279 and 1285 but were defeated and driven away. In 1286 the Mongols reappeared and this time Prince Muhammad was killed. Balban could not recover from this tragedy and died in 1286 AD.

He was succeeded by his grandson Kaikubad.He was inefficient and incapable. Jalaluddin Khilji placed himself at the head of a powerful faction and routed the Turkish amirs. He eventually murdered Kaikubad and seized the throne.

Rulers of the Sultanate Period

Slave Dynasty

AD

1. Qutub-ud-din Aibak 1206-1210
2. Iltutmish 1210-1236
3. Raziya Sultan 1236-1239
4. Bahram Shah 1240-1242
5. Ala-ud-din Masud 1242-1246
6. Nasiruddin Mahmud 1246-1266
7. Balban 1266-1285
8. Kaikubad 1286-1290

Qutub-ud-din Aibek

Qutub-ud-din Aibek laid the foundation of a new dynasty called the slave dynasty in 1206 AD. He established himself as he sultan of Delhi at Lahore. He strengthened his position through matrimonial alliances with his rivals. He gave his daughter to Iltutmish the foremost of his slaves.

History notes on Qutubuddin Aibak in Slave dynasty. Read about Qutubuddin Aibak laid the foundation of a new dynasty called the slave dynasty in 1206 AD.

Iltutmish

After Qutub-ud-din Aibek his son Aram Shah succeeded the throne. He was not able to display the skill of conquests and administration shone by his forerunners. His rule was over thrown by Iltutmish with the support of the nobles. A battle followed in which Aram Shah was defeated and killed. In 1211 AD Iltutmish came to the throne. He was also known as Shamsuddin. He spent his days in retrieving the lost territories of Qutub-ud-din Aibek and also added Malwa and Sind. During the reign of Iltutmish he fought against the rival slave chiefs Yildiz and Qabacha. At the battlefield of Tarain Yildiz was defeated. Iltutmish also faced danger from the Mongols led by Chingiz Khan. In his diplomatic decision he avoided the conflict with the mighty Mongol by preventing Jalal-ud-din the ruler of Khawarism from coming to India. Another major threat to the power of Iltutmish was the independent Rajput rulers who in spite of their rivalry could pose a serious danger to the Sultanat. In 1226 AD he attacked Ranthambor and Mansor. He also occupied Ajmer, Jalor, Nagor.

In 1229 Gwalior was occupied and the fort of Kalinjar was plundered. Kannauj, Benaras and Badaun were under his dominion. In the year 1229AD the Caliph of Baghdad recognized him as Sultan. He brought order in Rohilkhand. He suppressed the revolt of Tughril Khan, the governor of Bengal. Iltutmish was the greatest ruler of 13th century India and a wise statesman. He was generous to talented people who willingly became the pillars of the central administration.

History notes on Shams Ud Din Iltutmish and his administration in Slave dynasty. Read about Achievements of Shams Ud Din Iltutmish in Slave Dynasty. Iltutmish was generous to talented people who willingly became the pillars of the central administration.

Raziya

Raziya came to throne by overthrowing her brother Rukn-ud-din. After elevating many Tajiks to high positions Raziya appointed Jamal-ud-din Yaqut an Ethiopian slave as superintendent of the royal horses which aroused resentment in a majority of the already disgruntled Turkish nobles. Moreover sultana began to appear unveiled in public. Though the people of Delhi supported her, hostility mounted among the iqtadars. In 1239-40 she crushed some of the rebellious iqtadars but one of them Altunia killed Yakut and took Raziya prisoner. In the meanwhile Iltutmish’s third son Bahram was put on the throne by the powerful Turkish nobles. Raziya married Altunia and their combined efforts to capture Delhi failed. They were killed during an attack on their convoy.

The fall of Raziya made the clique of Turkish nobles dominant in the court and they started a scramble for supremacy. Raziya’s successor Bahram Shah was weak and incompetent ruler and was over thrown by the nobles after a brief reign of two years. He was succeeded by Alauddin Masud Shah who also met the same fate of Bahram Shah. In 1246 Nasir-ud-din Mahmud the grandson of Iltutmish ascended the throne. He owed his throne to the Turkish aristocracy and the latter was bound to have tremendous influence in the administration. He places all his powers in the hands of his prime minister Balban. Balban married off his daughter to Sultan and was made Naiib-i-Mamlakat with the title of Ulugh Khan. Balban became the defacto ruler of the Sultanate. In 1266 Nasiruddin Mahmud died.

History notes on Raziya Sultana in Slave dynasty. Brief notes on Achievements and Administration of Razia Sultana. Information on Facts about Razia Sultana.

Balban

Balban had full control over sovereignty sat on the throne of Delhi in 1266 and he adopted the name of Ghiyasuddin Balban. With his accession the line of rulers of the family of Iltutmish ended. The most serious problem which he faced soon after his succession was the restoration of law and order in Delhi and other parts of his kingdom. Balban in his attempt to curtail the power of the nobility increased the power and prestige of the Sultan.

For this purpose he introduced Persian ceremonies and etiquettes in his court and allowed no manner of levity there. He was a thorough aristocrat and he never gave office to any one except to well born men. He impressed upon the people that kingship was the vice regency of God on earth and in its dignity it was next only to prophethood. The king was the shadow of God and was the repository of divine guidance and radiance. Having consolidated his authority Balban addressed himself to the task of maintaining peace and order with his characteristic vigour. He realized that a strong army was essentially necessary to cope with the internal troubles and external dangers. Hence he reorganized his army and increased his effiency. Additional officers were appointed with higher emoluments.

Alban did not try to extend his empire although he had a powerful army. He instead concentrated on consolidating the territory already in possession. He suppressed the revolts in the Doab and Oudh and tracked down recalcitrant elements in the region of Rohilkhand. Mughals invaded again in 1279 and 1285 but was defeated and driven away. In 1286 the Mongols reappeared and this time Prince Muhammad was killed. Balban could never recover from the tragedy and died in 1286.

History notes on Ghiyasuddin Balban in Slave Dynasty. Biography on Army in Balban Dynasty and Balban Administration. Ghiyasuddin Balban impressed upon the people that kingship was the vice regency of God on earth and in its dignity it was next only to prophethood.

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