Sample Material of Our IAS Mains History Study Kit
Subject: History (Optional)
Topic: Delhi Sultanate
In the thirteenth century, a new kind of dynastic realm
emerged in Delhi. The Delhi Sultanate had its origins in victories by Muhammad
Ghuri, who marched into the 2Indus basin to uproot the Ghaznavids in 1186. In
1190, he occupied Bhatinda, in Rajasthan, which triggered battles with
Prithviraja Chauhan, whom he finally defeated in 1192. When Muhammad died in
1206, his trusted Mamluk (ex-slave) general, Qutbuddin Aibak declared an
independent dynasty in Delhi. His dynasty was the first in a series that became
collectively known as the Delhi Sultanate. India had come to be viewed by
Central Asian warriors as a rich place to raid in order to finance their Central
Asian wars. But the Delhi Sultanate’s defeat of the Mongols changed the
political environment, because it marked a domestication of Central Asian
sultans inside India, where they had rich territory to defend and where they
became part of a changing political culture. The Delhi Sultanate attained fame
by repelling Mongols who were unstoppable elsewhere in Asia. Genghis Khan (1150s
or 1160s to 1227) unified Mongol tribes to establish the largest ever empire in
history till then. Turkish warriors related by marriage to Mongols did, however,
succeed in India. Timur, also known as Tamerlane, was born at Kish, near
Samarkand, in a short-lived Mongol successor state, the Chaghatai Khanate of
Trans-Oxiana. He conquered the Ganga basin and put the governor of Multan on the
Delhi throne on his way back to Afghanistan. Mohammadbin-Qasim (a deputy of the
Arab governor of Iraq) invaded and occupied Sind in 711-712 AD. Henceforth Sind
continued to be under Muslim occupation. Inability of the Arabs to penetrate
further into India.
Mahmud of Ghazni invaded India totally 17 times, first raid
was in 1001; 17th raid was in 1025 to plunder the Somnath Temple in Gujarat;
main purpose of his raids to plunder India. Main purpose of invasions of
Muhammad of Gaur was to acquire territories in India, His first invasion
occupation of Multan (1175); Failure of his attempt to conquer Gujarat (1178)
and his defeat by its Solanki ruler (Bhima II was the first Indian ruler to
defeat Muhammad of Ghur); First Battle of Tarain (1191) -his defeat by
Prithviraj Chauhan (ruler of Ajmer); Second Battle of Tarain (1192) - his defeat
of Prithviraj Chauhan; Battle of Chandwar (1194) -defeat of Jai Chandra (the
Ghadvala ruler of Kanauj): His last campaign in India (1206) to suppress a
rebellion of the Khokhars in Punjab, and his murder by an Afghan Muslim fanatic.
Slave Dynasty (1206 – 90)
Qutb-uddin aibak (1206 – 10)
The sudden death of Muhammad Ghuri and his failure to specify
succession procedures pitted his three leading slaves, Tajuddin Yalduz,
Nasiruddin Qubacha and Qutbuddin Aibak against each other. Qutb-ud-din Aibak was
the founder of first independent Turkish kingdom in northern India. For his
generosity, he was given the title of Lakh Baksh (giver of lakhs). He
constructed two mosques - Quwal-ul-lslam at Delhi and . Adhai din ka Jhopra at
Ajmer. lie also began the construction of Qutub Minar, in the honour of famous
Still saint Khawaja Qutub-ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki.
Aibak was great patron of learning and patronized writers
like Hasan- un-Nizami. author of Taj-ul- Massir and Fnkhr-ud-Din. author of
Tarikh- i-Mubarak Shahi. Faced with indigenous hostility and pressure from
fellow Turkish slaves, Aibak stationed himself at Lahore to better monitor- the
activities of his rivals and maintain a firmer grip over the Indian territories.
However, in A.D. 1210, within four years of assumption, of power, he died after
a fall from his horse while playing chaugan (a form of polo).
Aram Baksh Shah (1210 – 11)
After Aibak’s death, the leading Turkish amirs enthroned a
nebulous figure named Aram Shah.
Iltutmish (1211 – 36)
Iltutmsh’s reign of twenty-six years has been divided by
scholars into three broad phases - the first from A.D. 1210-1220 when he was
preoccupied with disposing off rival contenders to his authority; the second
from A.D. 1221-1227 during which he dealt with the Mongol menace; and the third
from A.D. 1228-1236 when he devoted himself to consolidating his dynasty. Soon
after Iltutmsh’s accession, Yalduz moved out of Ghazni, occupied Lahore and
established his authority in Punjab up to Thanesar. Iltutmish was left with no
option but to join battle with him; Yalduz was defeated in the encounter and
killed shortly thereafter.
Iltutmish was the real founder of Delhi Sultanate. He made
Delhi the capital in place of Lahore.He saved Delhi Sultanate from the wrath of
Chengiz Khan - the Mongol leader by refusing shelter to Khwarizm Shah, whom
Chengiz was chasing. In 1226, Iltutmsh captured the great fort of Ranthambor and
in the, following year, that, of Mandsor in the Shivalik region. He followed
this by wresting Jalor from the Chauhans and recovering Bayana and Thangir.
Iltutmish also established his authority over Bhatinda (then called Tabarhind),
Sursuti and Lahore.
In 1228, he planned a simultaneous attack on Uchch and Multan, which ended in
Qubacha’s defeat. Qubacha chose death by drowning himself in the Indus rather
than surrender. In 1234-35, Iltutmsh marched against Malwa, plundered Bhilsa and
Ujjain, where he destroyed the temple of Mahakala Deva. In the Doab, he
reconquered Badaun, Kanauj, Banaras, Kateher, Bahraich and Awadh.
To effect greater control over the conquered areas, Iltutmsh
granted iqtas (land assignments in lieu of cash salaries) to his Turkish
officers on a significant scale. He contributed to the currency system of the
Sultanate by introducing the silver tanka and the copper jital, the two basic
coins in circulation in the period. He died in 1236 of an illness contracted
during a campaign to the northwest. He issued the silver lanka for the first
time. He organized the Iqta system and introduced reforms in civil
administration and army, which was now centrally paid and recruited. He set up
an official nobility of slaves known as Chahalgani (group of forty). He
patronized Minaj-us-siraj, author of Tabaqat-i-nasiri. He was a patron of the
arts and completed the construction of the Qutab Minar.
Ruknuddin Firoz (1236)
Iltutmsh is said to have nominated his daughter, Raziya, as
his heir, but this was disregarded by his nobles who raised his son, Ruknuddin
Firuz, to the throne. Ruknuddin’s brief and inglorious reign was dominated by
his mother, Shah Turkan, originally a Turkish handmaiden.
Razia Sultan (1236 – 40)
Tired of her undue influence, the Turkish amirs deposed
Ruknuddin and made way for Raziya. The Turkish officers revolted under the
leadership of Ikhtiyaruddin Aitigin (the amir-i-hajib, lord chamberlain) and
Malik Altunia (the governor of Bhatinda), arrested Raziya and placed Bahram
Shah, Iltutmish’s third son, on the throne. However, Razia got rid of
Rukn-ud-din and ascended the throne. Razia was popular among the people but she
was not acceptable to the nobles and theologians. She further offended the
nobles by her preference for an Abyssinian slave - Yakut.
Raziya seized the opportunity to marry Altunia. Together,
they marched to Delhi and tried to regain the throne, but failed. While
retreating, they fell into the hands of bandits and were killed. According to
another account, however, Raziya was defeated in battle and put to death along
with her husband. On ascending the throne, she gave up her female attire and
appeared in public with a cloak (qaba) and hat (kulah). She rode on the back of
an elephant and conducted state affairs as any other ruler. During Raziya’s
brief but eventful reign of three and a half years two expeditions were
undertaken. The first against Ranthambor which had been recaptured by the
Chauhans after the death’ of Iltutmish, and the second against Gwalior, which
had also broken free. Both ended in failure.
Bahram Shah (1240-42)
In 1242, after a two-year reign, Bahram Shah wag imprisoned
and put to death by the Turkish amirs. In his stead, they placed Masud Shah, son
of Ruknuddin Firuz Shah, on the throne of Delhi.
Masud Shah (1242-46)
Four years later, in 1246, he was also thrown into prison and
supplanted by Nasiruddin Mahmud, grandson of Iltutmish.
Nasiruddin Mahmud (1246-66)
During the reign of the last ruler the real power was in the
hands of a noble, Ulugh Khan, who was later known as Balban.