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Medieval History / Delhi Sultanate

History of Tughlaq Dynasty


    If we talk about the history of Tughlaq dynasty, it is the third dynasty of Delhi Sultanate. It was founded by Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq. In order to become the Sultan of Delhi, Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq killed Khusro Khan, who himself killed the last ruler of Khilji dynasty, Mubarak Khilji.

    Political History of Tughlaq Dynasty

    Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq (1320 - 1325 AD)

    • Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq was appointed as the governor of Multan by Alauddin Khilji. When Khusro Khan murdered Mubarak Khilji and became the Sultan, Ghiyasuddin Tughluq was one of the governors who opposed to recognize Khusro Khan as the new Sultan. He killed Khusro Khan to become the Sultan.
    • When the Kakatiyas and the Pandyas revolted against Tughlaq dynasty and declared independence, in 1323 AD prince Jauna Khan (son of Ghiyasuddin) was deputed to settle the issues. Jauna Khan was popularly known as Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq.
    • Kakatiya king Prataparudra II was sent to Delhi as a prisoner and hence combined Andhra Pradesh area became part of Tughlaq dynasty. Vira Pandya of Madurai Pandyas was defeated and it was annexed to Tughlaq kingdom. Governors were installed at Warangal and Madurai.

    Muhammad bin Tughlaq (1325 - 1351 AD)

    • He was one of the greatest kings of Delhi Sultanate and most intelligent king though considered as perverted (mad) king. He lacked common sense and wisdom even though he had knowledge.
    • There was bias against him by the historians because of personal grudge. There were 3 contemporary historians who were against him.
      • Ibn Battuta - He was from Morocco. Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq appointed Ibn Battuta as Qazi (judge of Delhi) and he worked for 8 years. Ibn Battuta was sent to China as an ambassador. He was arrested and put into the prison. He wrote a book Kitab-ul-Rehla in Arabic language.
      • Ziauddin Barani - He wrote a book Tarikh-e-Firoz Shahi. This book talks about Muhammad bin Tughlaq. He was in the court of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq for 17 years. He was sent to the prison and he remained in the prison until the death of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq.
      • Abdul Malik Isami - He wrote a book Futuh-us-Salatin, a book on Bahamani Sultans. It gave negative shades of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq.

    Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351 – 1388 AD)

    • He was the cousin of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq. He cared about welfare of people rather than bettering the treasury.
    • His fiscal policy was governed by Sharia, which allows the king to collect only 4 taxes (others used to collect up to 30 taxes). The four taxes are
      • Kharaj - It was the land revenue tax equivalent to Bhaga in ancient India. It used to be 1/10 of the produce.
      • Zakat - It was collected by religious institutions. It was to be collected from rich Muslims. It is 2.5% of rich man's income. It was a kind of wealth tax used for the poor, mosques, Madrasas, etc.
      • Jizya - It is tax on non-Muslims in an Islamic country. Firoz Shah is the first king to collect exclusive Jizya tax. It was imposed on earning members. It was a poll tax (per head). Zimmis (non-Muslims) have to pay this.
      • Sharab - It is irrigation or water tax. If king provides irrigation to land, another 1/10 land revenue tax can be collected. He created number of canals for irrigation.
    • In addition to the above 4 taxes, the king had one more source of income known as Khums. It is the share (1/5) of the king in war booty (or) war spoils. According to Sharia, the booty is to be distributed among the king and soldiers. "Ghanima" is the soldiers' share (4/5).
    • European historian Elliot described Firoz Shah as "Akbar of Delhi Sultanate" but the comparison seems to be wrong as Firoz Shah is a religious bigot and Akbar is most secular.
    • He built 3 cities in North India namely (i) Firozabad near Delhi, (ii) Jaunpur in UP (Built in the name of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq), (iii) Hisar Firoza in Haryana (presently Hisar).
    • Negative Aspects of Firoz Shah -
      • He made the administration theocratic.
      • Firoz Shah Tughlaq was a religious bigot. He destroyed many temples and idols were insulted. Lord Jagannath temple of Puri was destroyed by him.
      • He introduced Jizya tax for the non-Muslims.
      • He revived Iqta system and made Iqtadars hereditary.
    • We see disintegration of Delhi Sultanate during his period. It got confined to Delhi and surrounding areas. Some regional dynasties were more powerful than Delhi Sultanate by this time.
    • Contribution to Literature -
      • He started the department of translation and promoted translations. A number of Sanskrit books were being translated into Persian language. First book to be translated to Persian is "Tutinama" by Zia Nakhshabi.
      • He is the first king to write an autobiography "Futuhat-i-Firozshahi" (Victories of Firoz Shah).

    Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud Shah Tughluq

    He was the last Sultan of Tughlaq dynasty. During 1398-99, a famous Mongol leader named Timur conquered Delhi. He came from Samarkand in Uzbekistan. He came to loot the wealth. Timur appointed Sayyid Khizr Khan as the governor of Multan and Lahore. Khizr Khan was once an officer of Delhi Sultanate and later joined hands with Timur. In 1414 Sayyid Khizr Khan captured Delhi and established Sayyid Dynasty after the death of Nasir-ud-din.

    Experiments of Muhammad bin Tughlaq

    • He changed the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad (Devagiri). This is to avoid Mongol invasion and South India is very far to rule from Delhi. After 3-4 years, it was shifted back to Delhi.
    • He brought in Token currency that is currency with artificial value like paper currency. During his time, there was universal shortage of silver, which was used for Tanka. Token currency was copper and bronze tankas and was given the silver value to it and having a seal of king. There were forged coins from other sources so people rejected this concept. It took the country to economic crisis. Edward Thomas, a British historian commented about Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq as "Prince of moneyers".
    • Doab Experiment - He wanted to overburden the Doab people. He imposed 2 new taxes on Doab people namely Ghari tax (House tax) and Chari tax (Tax on cattle). There was big drought and famine in Doab region but officers were very strict in tax collection. The officers did not inform the situation about the famine to the Sultan. People started living under trees but still the officers were behind them. People used to burn the houses and cattle were unclaimed.
    • After Doab famine, he took agricultural reforms.
      • A new department of Agriculture was being created known as Diwan-i-Kohi.
      • He gave Taccavi (crop loans) to farmers. He was the first king of India to give crop loans to farmers.
      • He made a famine law (famine code) to prevent famines and to take relief measures.
    • Abdul Qadir Badauni, a historian of Akbar says "The death of Sultan liberated the people of Sultan from Sultan".

    Reforms of Firoz Shah Tughlaq

    • New departments were started by Firoz Shah namely Diwan-i-Khairat (Department of Charities) which was incharge of welfare of poor people and Diwan-i-Bandagan (Department for welfare of slaves). His historian Shams-us-Siraj Afif wrote a book Tarikh-e-Firozshahi (another book). According to him, Firoz Shah had 180000 slaves.
    • He started Dar-ul-Shifa (Government hospitals). Here, treatment and medicines were being given free of cost.
    • He gave old age pension.
    • He built network of canals providing irrigation to people. He particularly promoted horticulture and developed State managed gardens (grape). Drip irrigation was also started during his time.
    • He started employment bureau. Its responsibility is to look after unemployed.
    • He waived Taccavi loans.