which by relieving many of the necessity of work, left them leisure for mischievous thoughts. ’Ala’-ud-din systematically dealt with all these causes. He set up an efficient system of intelligence and it is a measure of his ability that, at an advanced age. he taught himself how to read even the illegible hand writing known as Shikastah, in order to be able to decipher the reports of his informers. He prohibited the use of intoxicating liquor and himself set an example by causing his wine vessels to be broken and the wine to be poured out near the Badaun Gate. He regulated marriages amongst the nobles and revised the taxation system so as to reduce surpluses with prosperous classes. The later measure seriously hit both the Muslim and Hindu privileged classes, e.g. the Muslim holders of in’am lands (rent-free grants), waqf (pious endowments), idarat (pensions) and milk (lands held in proprietary right), which grants were resumed. The Hindu officials, like the Khut, Muqaddam and Chaudhuri, were deprived of their special perquisites and severely taxed so that people now had to be busy earning their livelihood, and had little time to think of rebellion.3
’Ala’-ud-din’s effective measures rooted out conspiracies, but till 705/1306 he continued to be troubled by Mongol invasions. Shortly after his accession, a horde of 100,000 Mongols invaded the Punjab under the leadership of Kadar. and advanced as far as the environs of Lahore They were driven back with great slaughter by Ulugh Khan and Zafar Khan (7 February 1298). Less than a year later, there was another Mongol invasion, under the leadership of Saldi. This time they invaded Sind, and captured Sehwan. Zafar Khan was again put in charge of operations. He invested the fortress of Sehwan, recovered it, and returned to Delhi, with thousands of Mongol prisoners, including Saldi and his brother. In 702/1303, Mongols tried to take advantage of Ala’-ud-din’s preoccupation in Chitor, and made straight for Delhi. He had returned from Chitor barely a month ago, when Targhi appeared before the capital with an army of 120,000 Mongols, and the king had to
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retire to the fortress of Siri. The Mongols withdrew after an ineffectual siege of two months, a step attributed by Barani to the prayers of Hadrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya , but Ala’-ud-din realised that more effective steps were necessary to deal with the Mongol menace. He proceeded to reorganise the defences in the Western Punjab, where the fortifications established by Balban had1 fallen into disrepair, and placed the frontier provinces of Dipalpur under Ghiyath-ud-din Tughluq, the ablest soldier of the realm. He also raised a powerful standing army, paid, equipped and maintained by the central government, and independent of the contingents of the fief-holders and made it adequate for all offensive and defensive purposes.
Modern historians, following Barani, have held that Ala’- ud-din’s famous price control measures were introduced in order to keep the cost of the new army at a low level. Barani has attributed a narrow sordid motive to Ala’-ud-din’s measures, but other contemporary or near-contemporary writers, like ’Afif,4 Ibn Battutah,5 Isami6 and Hadrat Nasir-uddin Chiragh-i Dihli,7 Indicate that Ala’-ud-din controlled the prices of the necessities of life for the benefit of the general public. Barani’s explanation appears odd, as ruthless ruler like Ala’-ud-din could easily have provided for the upkeep of his army by other means, such as additional taxation. In order to deal with a limited problem, it was hardly necessary for him to introduce a detailed and complicated system involving elaborate administrative measures over wide areas. All contemporary authorities, except Barani, seem to indicate that ’Ala’-ud-din in spite of his obvious defeats, had his own ideas of the responsibilities of kingship and thought that the most effective way in which he could benefit the public and achieve lasting renown was through the control of prices of daily necessities of life at a reasonable level. Those who have seen the difficulty of enforcing a rigid price control even in modern times know that this could not be imposed by royal edict, and one cannot read Barani’s account of various regulations and administrative steps take by Ala’-ud-din without admiring his administrative
101 The Khaljis and the Conquest of the South [ Ch. 6
ability and the competence of his officers. To enforce his orders regulating prices, he introduced the system of partially obtaining land revenue in the form of food-grains, built up vast stores from which corn could be issued at the time of need, controlled transport, laid down a simple method of rationing when necessary, and built up an elaborate organisation to carry out the whole system. Ala’-ud-din made a success of his scheme which continued in operation throughout his reign. It is no wonder that after his death the poor people forgot his cruelty and remembered his rule with gratitude, and. according
to a statement in the malfuzaf of Hadrat Chiragh-i Dihli, even stalled visiting his grave as it it were the tomb ot holy man.8
Barani has done such scant justice to Ala’-ud-din Khalji that it is refreshing to turn to contemporary historians of the Mongols, and see how the Sultan was viewed by his arch enemies. The first four volumes of Tarikh-i Wassaf were completed in 699/1300, but the author continued his labours and added another volume bringing his history to 728/H28 He was a protege of Rashid-ud-din Fadlullah, the scholarly wazir of the contemporary Mongol ruler Uljaitu (704-716/1305-
1316), and presented his work to the Mongol chief. The latter was a contemporary of Ala’-ud-din Khalji and Wassaf’s history provides some interesting information about him. Uljaitu, who was descendant of Chingiz Khan, sent an embassy to Ala’-ud-din Khalji, saying that in the reign of the Emperor Chingiz Khan and Uktai Khan, the rulers of the Indo-Pak subcontinent had ”tendered their friendship and homage” and sent ambassadors to the Mongol court. Uljaitu complained that Ala’-ud-din had not sent any ambassador or a message of congratulations to him, and had the audacity to desire ”in marriage one of the princesses from behind the veil of the kingdom of Delhi”. ”Ala-ud-din was not the man to stand such nonsense. He imprisoned the Mongol ambassadors and had several of their attendants trodden under the feet of elephants. Wassaf rightly criticises this treatment meted out to the ambassadors, but even he pays a tribute to ’Ala’-ud-din’s
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bravery and conquest, and abundant treasures and abundant armies, combining in himself all personal accomplishments and worldly advantages.” He refers to the jewel” of ’Ala’-ud-din’s ”good fame” which was tarnished by his treatment of Uljaitu’s ambassadors, but even these remarks coming from a historian of the Mongols in reference to a foreign ruler who had given good and valid cause for complaint to his patron, show what contemporaries thought of ’Ala’-ud-din Khalji.9 Elsewhere, Tarikh-i Wassaf refers to ’Ala’-ud-din’s conquests and holy wars which ”had proclaimed him universally as the greatest champion of Muhammadan religion.”10
’Ala-ud-din’s Administrative Reforms. Such a wide gulf separated the religious and learned Barani from the illiterate and worldly ’Ala’-ud-din that he was completely at a loss to understand the undeniable achievements of his reign which he designated as ”miracles” - unbroken series of victories, prosperity of the people, low prices, elimination of crime, abundance of gifted men in every walk of life - and could either express his bewilderment at the ”wonders” and the ”mysteries of the age” or tried to explain them away, by attributing them to supernatural causes - as the Kraamat of his pir, Hadrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya’. It is only recently that scholars, piecing together bits of information from different sources, have begun to realise the measure of ’Ala’-ud-din’s administrative achievements, Professor Qanungo, in his study of Sher Shah, has named a number of fields in which ’Ala’-ud-din was pioneer, and it is worthwhile quoting at some length from his book. With regard to the military organisation, he says:
”To Sultan ’Ala’-ud-din Khalji belongs the credit of organizing the Indian army on a model. He created an army, rearmed it directly by the central government through the Arizi-Mamalik, paid in cash from the State treasury, officered by Nobels of the Sultan’s own choice while the corruption was checked by the dagh (branding the horses) system. After his death abuses crept in it, but nevertheless it lingered till the death of Sultan Firuz.”11
The Khaljis and the Conquest of the South
’Ala’-ud-din kept in touch with the army, when it was on the move, through an elaborate system of dak chauki. ”It was the practice of the Sultan when he sent an army on an expedition, to establish posts on the road, wherever posts could be maintained, beginning form Tilpat, which was the first stage. At every post relays of horses were stationed, and at every half or quarter kos runners were appointed. Every day or every two or three days, news used to come to the Sultan reporting the progress of the army, and intelligence of the health of the sovereign was carried to the army. False news was thus prevented from being circulated in the city or the army. The securing of accurate intelligence from the court on one side and the army on the other was a great public benefit.” One may not agree with Qanungo in calling this as ”the earliest record of publicity bureau in history,” for the system had been adopted tinder the Abbasids, but the arrangements show the thoroughness and efficiency with which government was organised under ’Ala’-ud-din.
More important for the vast majority of his subjects were the arrangements made by the Khalji ruler for the proper assessment of land revenue. He introduced the method of assessment of revenue on the basis of measurement as it appeared to him more satisfactory from the point of view of the State. It is stated that the system was not extended very far and ”did not take sufficient root to survive the death” of ’Ala’- ud-din, but at any rate it shows that the most important feature of Sher Shah’s revenue system was originally introduced by the Khalji ruler.
Not less important that the introduction of new administrative measures was the selection of officers, who were to carry them out, and in this ’Ala’-ud-din exercised great care and, till the end of his reign when ill health and age impaired his judgment, displayed a very sound assessment of men. Barani disliked these officers who were a party to ’Ala’-uddin’s conspiracy to usurp the throne, but says about them: ”In executive affairs and in matters of policy they were among those
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 104
who by a shaking of the bridle bring a whole country under their sway and by one farsighted measure subdue a dangerous tumult.”
’Ala’-ud-din Khalji was the ablest administrator of the preMughal period but the conditions under which he lived imposed a severe strain on him. The riches brought by his victorious armies from the south of India heralded a period of unprecedented luxury at the capital. ’Ala’-ud-din himself was confined to bed, and a protracted illness coupled with other unfavourable developments affected his judgment. His informal council of bold and disinterested advisers also ceased to function Malik Kafur. who had achieved great po\ver after his victories in the south, completely dominated the king towards the end and persuaded him before his death on 2 January 1316 to exclude from succession his eldest son Khidr Khan, for an act of alleged disobedience.
Amir KhuM’an and the b lowering o/ Indo-Muslim Culture. The military conquests of ’Ala’-ud-din Khalji are well known. His ability as an administrator is also beginning to be recognised. A full assessment of the cultural importance of his regime is, however, yet to be made, but the scattered indications on the subject are enough to show that his was a very important period in the cultural life of Medieval India, almost comparable to that Akbar during the Mughal period. Indeed, it may be said that if consolidation of Muslim rule was the work of Balban, Muslim India attained cultural maturity in the days of ’Ala’-ud-din Khalji.
Under ’Ala’-ud-din, the Muslims first crossed the Vindhyas and brought South India under their sway. This was a development of far-reaching importance, which had repercussions in all fields of national life. For one thing, it greatly augmented the financial resources of the Delhi government, and not only facilitated the maintenance of a large army and a successful solution of the Mongol problem, but it also enabled the ruler and other beneficiaries to undertake cultural activities on a lavish scale. ’Ala’-ud-din did not live long enough to realise his architectural dreams, but even then
105 The Khaljis and the Conquest of the South [ ch. £
he has left, both complete and incomplete, many splendid architectual monuments Developments in the realm of music were even more significant As Professor Halim records’ ”A new stage in the development of Indian music was reached during the reign of Sultan ’Ala’-ud-din Khalji when with the conquest of Hindu states of the Deccan a number of Hindu musicians moved to the north to seek the patronage of Muslim kings and nobles ”12 Luckily Delhi had men like Amir Khusrau who availed themselve, of the situation and a new era in Indo-Muslim Music was opened
Development in literature were equally remarkable Amir Khusrau lived during the reign of seven monarchs, but in the days of Balban he was attached only to the provincial courts and the royal court with which he was associated longest was that of ’Ala’- ud-din. The Khalji king’s outlook was too practical and matter-offact to enable him to appreciate literature and patronise Amir Khusrau properly, but the poet must have benefited by the general prosperity of the period and by the stiffening of standards in all walks of life His most ambitious literary project, Khamsah, written in reply to Nizami and regarded by Persian critics like Jami as the best of several attempts made on these line, was undertaken at ’Ala’-ud-din’s court Hasan was another well-known poet of the time, and Barani gives a long list of persons who distinguished themselves in various walks of life The achievements of Amir Khusrau alone, who has been called the Leonardo de Vinci of India by Dr Mukerjee, make this era the cultural seed time. He ranked high as a poet, musician, historian, ” biographer, courtier, and sufi and had the vision to assist in the evolution of a new pattern of culture, humanistic, artistically rich and in harmony with the environment Until his time. IndoMuslim culture was a projection of the cultural traditions of Ghazni. Now, Muslim India discovered its soul and evolved its own pattern of culture
The Leading lights of the earlier period, e g ’Aufi, Fakhr-i Muddabir, and Burhan-ud-din Balkhi. were immigrants, and maintained an imported tradition Amir Khusrau was a son of the soil, and represented an era which, not only saw the consolidation of Muslim rule under Balban, but its large scale
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 106
expansion under ’Ala’-ud-din and the complete beating back of the Mongols. Naturally his works breath a spirit of exultation, self-confidence and local pride. His liberal sufi outlook (and probable Indian origin on the maternal side) enabled him to admire and imbibe the praiseworthy elements of the old Indian tradition. He studied Indian music and introduced changes and innovations which made it acceptable to the new Muslim society. He wrote long poems on local themes. His poetry is full of pride, not only in his native land, its history, its people, its flowers, the pan, and the mango, but he also held that Persian, as spoken and written in India, was purer than the language used in Khurasan, Sistan and Adharba’ijan.
We shall deal elsewhere with Khusrau’s works, but it may be useful to give an extract from his Qiran al-Sa’dain, written in the last year of ’Ala’-ud-din’s reign, which vividly expresses ”the spirit of the age”:
Happy be Hindustan, with its splendour of Religion, Where (Islamic) Law enjoys perfect honour and dignity. In learning, now, Delhi rivals Bukhara;
Islam has been made manifest by the rulers. , From Ghazni to the very shore of the ocean, You see Islam in its glory. Muslim, here, belong to the Hanafi creed, But sincerely respect all four schools (of Law).- They have no enmity with the Shafi’ites, and no fondness for the Zaidis. ’ *
With heart and soul they are devoted to the path of Jama’at and the sunnah, It is a wonderful land, producing Muslims and favouring religion, Where the very fish of the stream are Sunnis.
Hadrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya’ (634-725/1237-1325). Khwajah Qutb-ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki had introduced the Chishti silsilah at Delhi, but his successor Baba Farid chose the distant Pakpattan for his devotions and spiritual labours. Sufism Suffered a set-back at the capital, until it was revived by Hadrat
107 77* Khaljis and the Conquest of the South I Ch. 6
Nizam-ud-din Auliva. a disciple of Baba Farid He was born in
634/1237 at Badaun. an important political and cultural centre in the eastern provinces, and recejved his education under the ablest teachers of his birthplace and Delhi His studies were meant to qualify him to become a Qadi. but he gave up the idea of a worldly career, and. after receiving spiritual training at the hand of Baba Farid, settled down at Delhi Unlike his spiritual teacher, he made very few conversions and mainly devoted himself to the spiritual uplift of the large mass of Muslims who used to visit him Khanaqah He deliberately adopted the poliq of opening his doors to everyone interested in spiritual welfare - whether he was a professional sufi and a dervish, or a man of affairs-- who needed spiritual solace, or even a sinner who needed guidance
Hadrat Nizam-ud-din was a man of great ability and strength of character, and his admirers included some of the most notable personalities of Delhi. Khidr Khan, son of Ala ud-din Khalji, was one of his disciples, amongst whom were included the celebrated poets Amir Khusrau and Amir Hasan and the historian Diya’-ud-din Barani. The saint’s table-talk on some days from 706/1307 to 722/1322, has been compiled under the title Fawa’id-i Fu’ad by Amir Hasan, and mirrors a versatile personality, with high intellectual and ethical standards, and deeply humane. The Shaikh’s interest in the intellectual and cultural matters is reflected m number ot anecdotes he related about early writers, scholars and preacher like Minhaj al-Siraj, Burhan-ud-din Balkhi and Hasan Saghan, making the Fawa’td an important source book for the cultural history of the early period. The saint was good organiser, and sent a number of disciples to Gujarat, Bengal and the Deccan, where they became centres of missionary and sufi activities, in Bengal, his disciple ’Ala’-ul-Haqq, the father of even more famous Nur Qutb-i Alam, acquired great influence, and was held in awe even by the kings.
Ala-ud-dm’s successors ’Ala’-ud-din died on 2 January
1316, and, after his death, Malik Kafur caused Khidr Khan and his brother to be blinded. He was planning to ascend the throne
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 108
when palace guards killed him, Qutb-ud-din, son of ’Ala-uddin, ascended the throne with the title of Mubarak Shah. He began well, but soon came under the influence of a Hindu favourite of low origin, who had nominally become a Muslim, and had received the title of Khusrau khan. On 14 April 1320, Mubarak was slain by this favourite with the help of his tribesmen (Parwaris) whom he had brought to the capital in large numbers. Khusrau Khan ascended the throne, put to death all members of ’Ala’-ud-din family, and tried to make his rule secure by various devices including a liberal distribution of gifts, on the line adopted by ’Ala’-ud-din on his usurpation of the throne. His treatment of his patron and his family had, however, alienated public opinion. What was worse was that the behaviour of Khusrau’s companions, ”many of whom had not even formally accepted Islam,”13 convinced many Muslims that what the inauspicious Mubarak’s infatuation had brought on their heads was possibility of the revival of Hindu supremacy or at least displacement of Islam from the position it occupied. As a modern historian has stated, if the insurgents had a suitable leader, capable of winning the respect of Hindu chiefs and public, it would not have been impossible to reestablish Hindu power. But Khusrau’s low-caste companions had no wise head and behaved with incredible insolence and stupidity. ”Mosques were defiled and destroyed and copies of scriptures of Islam were used as seats and stools.”14 This offended the Muslims, and important Muslim nobles outside Delhi refused to bow to the new king. Ghazi Malik became their leader and decisively defeated Khusrau’s forces near Delhi on 6 September 1320. The low-caste usurper had completely extinguished the family of ’Ala’-ud-din Khalji, and the nobles called upon Ghazi Malik to ascend the throne. This he did, under the title of Ghiyath-ud-din Tughluq Shah, and became the first ruler of the Tughluq dynasty.
The Khaljis and the Conquest of the South
[ Ch. 6
NOTES & REFERENCES
1. Raverty, Tr., Tabaqat-i Nasiri, I, 548.
2 Kllint and Dovvsmi, Ifulnn’ nf India as Toldbv /ft (tun Historians, 111, 566-67
3. Even then ’Ala’-ud-din fixed a minimum standard for important village functionaries. He permitted the Muqaddami or the village headmen to ”retain four bullocks for the purposes of cultivation, two buffaloes, two milking cows and twelve goats,” vide K.M Ashraf, ”Life and Conditions of the People of Hindustan,” Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, p. 231.
4 Shams-i Siraj ’Afif, Tarikh i Firuz, pp. 293-94.
5 Safar Namah-i Ibn Batiulah (Urdu), H, 71.
6 Isami, Futuh al-Salatin.
I. Hamid Qalandar, Khair al-Majalis (Aligarh edn.), pp. 240-41.
8 For a detailed discussion of the subject and extracts from contemporary sources, see author’s Ab-i Kaulhar, pp. 163-86.
9. For some letters exchanged between the Mongols and the Sultans of Delhi, see Miikaiabat -i Kashidl of Rashid-ud-din Fadlullah, University of the Punjab, Lahore
10. Elliot and Dowson, op. cit., II, 47 & 51.
I1. R.K. Qanungo, Sher Shah (1st edn.), p.361.
12. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Pakistan, /, 51,
13. The Cambridge History of India, in, 125.
THE TUGHLUQS AND CONSOLIDATION OF MUSLIM RULE IN THE DECCAN
Ghiyath-ud-din Tughlaq (720-725/1320-1325). Ghiyathud-din who ascended the throne in September 1320 was an experienced administrator. According to accounts generally accepted, his father was a Turkish slave of Balban, who had married a Jat woman. Their son distinguished himself in the service of the Sultans of Delhi, and for his brilliant and victorious campaigns against the Mongols earned the title of Ghazi Malik. He ultimately became the governor of Dipalpur, form where he was called to the throne under the circumstances outlined in the previous chapter. He proved, a firm and wise ruler. His first need was to reassert the authority of the government of Delhi, which had suffered from the disorder prevailing after ’Ala’-ud-din’s death. The £aja of Warangal had declared his independence and even started attacking other rulers tributary to Delhi. Bengal was in revolt. Not only were these rebellions dealt with, and the kingdoms Of Warangal and Madura annexed in the process, but Ghiyath-ud-din also conquered Tirhut (Mithila) on the borders of Nepal, which had hitherto remained outside Muslim rule.
About Ghiyath-ud-din as an administrator, a modern historian says:
”The administration of Ghiyas-ud-Din was based upon the principles of justice and moderation. The land revenue was
8k. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan
organised and the Sultan took great care to prevent abuses. Cultivators were treated well and officials were severely punished for their misconduct. The Departments of Justice and Police worked efficiently, and the greatest security prevailed in the remotest parts of the empire.”1
Differences arose between the able and conscientious king and Hadrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya’, the foremost saint of the capital. When Khusrau Khan was threatened by Ghiyath, he not only paid his army several years’ pay in advance, but sent large gifts to holy men of Delhi to obtain their blessing and support. Of these, three had refused to take anything from the murderer of his patron. Of the others, some received the royal gift and handed it back to Ghiyath-ud-din on his enthronement. Khusrau had so completely emptied the treasury that, in order to reorganise the finances of the state, Ghiyath called upon all those who had received gifts from Khusrau to return them to the State treasury. Hadrat Nizam-ud-Din Auliya had received five lakh tankas from Khusrau, but, when he was asked to refund the money, he replied that it had already been spent for the relief of the poor in his monastery. Ghiyath-ud-din did not pursue the matter, but it was the beginning of an unpleasant relationship. Later, the orthodox theologians complained to the king that the saint idulged in ecstatic songs (samaj and dervish dances (raqs) which were unlawful according to Islamic Law. Tughluq accordingly summoned an assembly of theologians and religious leaders, before whom the saint was asked to justify his position. No action was taken by the king as the Muslim theologians and sufis were divided about the legality of sawa’and raqs, but the relations between the king and the Shaikh remained strained.
Ghiyath-ud-din died in 725/1325, as a result of the falling of a pavilion hastily constructed by his son at Afghanpur (near Delhi), to receive him before his ceremonial entry into the capital on return from his successful campaign in Bengal.
Muhammad b. Tughluq (725-752/1325-1351). Muhammad b. Tughluq Shah, generally known as Muhammad Tughlaq,
who ascended the throne on the death of his father has been a puzzle to the historians. He had received a good liberal education, and was highly gifted and accomplished. He was generous and possessed great purity of character, but his rule brought misery to the people and materially weakened the government. This was partly due to natural calamities. His reign coincided with a long period of drought and a protracted famine which in its intensity and extent was one of the worst the subcontinent has known. The rains ar«e said to have failed for seven successive years (735-742-1335-1342) and there was widespread famine. The king tried to deal with the situation by opening poor houses and distributing grain freely, but the problem was beyond his resources, and the people suffered heavily. This created many difficulties for the king, but his misfortunes were not all due to natural and! unavoidable causes. A man of ideas, he was always thinking out new measures, but if his schemes were not received well, he would lose patience, and resort to ferocious cruelty to enforce them. In 727/1327, he decided, that, in view of repeated rebellions in the south, it was necessary to shift the capital to a more central place and selected Devagiri, which he named Daulaiabad, as the new seat of government. He called upon the Muslinm inhabitants of Delhi to migrate to the new capital, but they were reluctant to do so. The king adopted stern measures to enforc e his decree, and the execution of his orders brought great suffering to the persons concerned. Many perished on the long rou te to Daultabad. The king’s decision has been attributed, particularly by Barani, more to a desire to punish the people of Delhi than to administrative or strategic considerations, but this view is not fair. Consolidation of Muslim rule in the south was perhaps the main consideration, and there is no doubt that the migration of a large Muslim population drawn from al 1 sections of society stabilised Muslim rule in that part of the; subcontinent. After some time the Sultan allowed those who so desired to return to Delhi, but many of the people who had gone to the south stayed on and were a source of strength to the Muslim rulers of the south.
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Another measure of a controversial nature was the Sultan’s issue of token currency. The prolonged famine, expensive wars and royal liberality had severely strained the exchequer. To deal with the situation, the king issued brass and copper tokens in place of silver coins. Modern historians like Thomas have tried to justify the step and today everybody is familiar with token currency, but conditions were different in the eight/fourteenth century. The measure was not welcome to the people, particularly the commercial classes, and it severely dislocated the economy of the State. Its failure was also due to the inability of the government to prevent the issue of spurious coins. Counterfeiting became common and, as Barani says, ”every Hindu’s house became a mint”. The king had the good sense to acknowledge his failure, and the token currency was withdrawn from circulation after three or four years. Its introduction and failure, however, neither enhanced public confidence in the Sultan nor did it restore economic prosperity to the country.
Some other measuresof the king were equally ill-conceived and ill-fated. His plan to interfere in the affairs of Transoxiana and Persia, with a view perhaps to annexing some areas, and the project conquest of Tibet in 737/1337-38 ended in fiasco and considerable loss of life and money.
The king soon got a reputation for barbarous cruelty. There were widespread rebellions and before long the vast empire which ’Ala’-ud-din Khalji and Ghiyath-ud-din Tughluq had governed with success started breaking up. In 735/1335, Ma’bar became independent, followed by Bengal three years later. In 745/1344, Hindu rajas in the extreme south organised a confederacy, and in 747/1346 Vijayanagar became the nucleus of a powerful Hindu State. A year later the independent Bahmani Kingdom of Deccan was set up, and the entire area south of Vindhyas was lost to Delhi. In the same year Gujarat and Kathiawar revolted, but the Sultan was able to quell the rebellions in these two areas. Next it was the turn of Sind, and, in 752/1351, the king was marching towards Thatta
to put down the revolt there when he fell ill and died. A&
Ba_ n iMnda’uni says: ”The king was freed from his people and they frrr..ijjBi m their king.
The break-up of the Delhi Sultanate began in the reign of M ’’^••ahammad Tughluq, but the disasters which overtook him duMMu^ ring the last years of his reign need not be the only basis for as- tsasessing his character and abilities. He had very serious sh*BB*_ ortcomings, for which his people and the empire suffered,
b\ at he was a man of ideas and, until growing years, extreme
•itation at the failure of his schemes and the inability of the sople to appreciate them had warped his judgment; he tried to eer his course according to certain intelligent plans and insiderations. In many matters he tried to strike a new path, -id in not a few was ahead of his times. He followed a policy •f conciliation towards Hindus. He introduced social reforms amongst them and attempted to suppress sati. He appointed a -3indu as governor of Sind and employed others in high positions. The Jain chroniclers remember with gratitude the espect with which he received the leading Jain theologians of -Tie day.
Muhammad Tughluq’s greatest achievement was in the, louth. Early in his reign, he had to deal with the revolt of Baha”«ud-dm Gurshasp, a cousin of his, who was given shelter by ~IHindu rajas of the south. Muhammad Tughluq sent a powerful force against the defiant rajas, annexed Kampili, sacked Dwarasmudra, and forced its ruler to surrender Gurshasp, and reiterate his submission to the government of Delhi (727/1327).2 ”The rebellion of Gurshasp thus completed the expansion of the Delhi Sultanate to the southernmost limit of India. ’Ala-ud-din’s policy, like that of Samudra Gupta, nearly a thousand years before, w«s merely to establish his suzerainty over the distant provinces of the south. He laid low the four great Hindu powers of the south, namely, the Kakatiyas, the Yadavas, the Hoysalas and the Pandyas, but was content to leave them in possession of their dominions so long as they acknowledge the suzerainty of Delhi. Though circumstances
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forced him to annex the Yadava kingdom, he did not attempt to annex the other three kingdoms. The Tughluqs, however, pursued the policy of exterminating Hindu rule in the south. Warangal and Madura had already been incorporated in their dominions and now KampiJi and a large part of the Hoysala dominions shared the same fate. To Muhammad bin Tughluq, either as crown-prince, or as Sultan, belongs the credit of all the conquests which completed the triumph of Islam and seemed to have finally put an end to Hindu independence in the south.”3 Muhammad Tughluq was unable to retain all the conquered territories. There was a powerful Hindu reaction and Harihara and Bukka, who had been given the governorship and deputy governorship of Kampili after their acceptance of Islam, abandoned the new religion and laid the foundation of the empire of Vijayanagar. Some other areas like Ma’bar, of which Madura was the capital, were also lost, but much remained, and with the build-up of the Muslim position at Daulatabad (former Devagiri), the Deccan remained firmly under Muslim control.
Muhammad Tughluq and Sufi Saints. Muhammad Tughluq’s policy towards sufi saints is worthy of special study. Since the days of Iltutmish the sufi orders had occupied position of importance at Delhi. The Qutb Minar, the greatest architectural monument of the period, is said to have been built to the memory of a Chishti saint. Leading sufis had been employed on political mission too, and, so far as influence with the general public nobility was concerned, Hadrat Nizam-uddin Auliya’ occupied a position almost as influential as that of the temporal ruler. Muhammad Tughluq thought that the position which the sufis enjoyed, and the general esteem in which they were held, was a danger to the thorne, and he took various steps to break their power. Early in his rule, he forced some leading sufis to accept his service on the plea that the first four Caliphs would permit only man to piety to be close to them. The worst sufferer was Hadrat Chiragh-i Dihli, the principal khalifah of Hadrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya’. He was
required to wait on the Sultan, and, although he was at first unwilling, he recalled that on his deathbed, his spiritual guide had asked him to stay on in Delhi, even if he had to suffer hardships and tribulations.
The other step which the Sultan took to destroy the influence of the sufis was to disperse them or, otherwise, persecute them. Once he sent for Maulana Shams-ud-din Yahya, a leading sufi of the capital and a disciple of Hadrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya1, and said to him: ”What is a learned man like you doing in Delhi? You should go to Kashmir and preach Islam to the idolaters of the valley.” The Maulana started preparations for the journey but fell ill. The king sent for him again to make sure that he was not evading the royal orders, but in the meanwhile the Maulana died.
Another leading figure to suffer from this policy was Shaikh Shihab-ud-din, known as Haqq-go,”ti\e Truthful”. The king wanted to take him into domestic service but he told the royal emissary that he was unwilling to serve ”a tyrant”. These words were repeated to Muhammad Tughluq, who complained to the Qadi that the Shaikh had called a just ruler a tyrant, and that he should be punished. The Shaikh appeared before the court, stood by his words and gave a number of instances of the king’s tyranny. This further enraged the Sultan, who had him put to death. Sufi chronicles record that Muhammad Tughluq was opposed to the sufis as well • as the Sayyids wearing a distinctive dress. He sharply discouraged enthusiasm for contemporary leading sufis (like Shaikh Fakhr-ud-din Zarradi) and considered belief in their powers as heretical. The sultan tried to pick up a quarrel with Shaikh Zarradi, but this was averted by the tact of the Shaikh’s attendant.4
The result of this systematic policy was that the influence of the sufis at Delhi sharply declined. Many left the capital voluntarily and others were forced to leave. The growing weakness of the Delhi Sultanate and the invasion of Timur completed the process and sufis never regained their old influence at the capital of the Muslim Empire.
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Muhammad Tughluq’s policy towards the sufis5 at the capital was primarily dictated by political consideration, but according to Barani, it was also due to his association with sceptics and philosophers. Perhaps the arrival at Delhi from Damascus of Shaikh ’Abd al-Aziz al Ardbili, a pupil of the famous antisufi thinker, Ibn Taimiyyah (d. 728/1328), had also something to do with this.
Muhammad Tughluq’s reign is noteworthy for the presence of many foreign visitors of distinction, and the links he tried to establish with outside Muslim countries. Ibn Bartutah, the famous Moorish traveller, spent nine years (733-
742/1333-1342) in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent during this reign and was appointed chief judge in the capital. Later he was sent to China on a diplomatic mission and has left an interesting account, not only of the capital and the places in Sind, Multan and the Punjab which he visited on the way to Delhi, but of other important places in Central India. He did not return to Delhi, but on reaching his native land, compiled his Rihlah, ”Book of Travels, which is a useful source of information regarding Indo-Pak history and Indo-Muslim society of this period
Firuz Tughluq (752-790/1351-1388). On Muhammad Tughluq’s death, the nobles and religious leaders (including Hadrat Chiragh-i Dihli, who was in the royal camp under the late king’s punitive orders) approached his cousin Firuz to accept the crown. In character Firuz was completely different from his predecessor He was of a religious disposition, and tried to run his government in conformity with the Islamic Law. An era of greater orthodoxy had begun with the commencement of the Tughluq rule, but Firuz’s own outlook and the circumstances in which he came to the throne made him to most prominent champion of Islamic orthodoxy before the days of Aurangzeb. During his rule, the study of Islamic Law was encouraged and many books on the subject were compiled. Firuz attempted to enforce the law, not only amongst orthodox Muslims, but against unorthodox sects like Isma ’ili
Shi’ahs and non-Muslims. For the first time jizyah was levied on the Brahmans, who had hitherto remained exempt from the tax On appeal, the king reduced the amount to be levied from 10 tankas to 50 jitals. but maintained the tax as a legal formality
In Futuhat-i Firuz Shahi, which contains the text of a lengthy inscription that Firuz Shah got recorded on the dome of a mosque at Delhi, and which is now available as a small tract, the Sultan has summed up his principal achievements. The booklet shows Firuz’s extreme orthodoxy and desire to run the State in accordance with the laws and principles of Islam. It is on record that, in personal life, Firuz was not a model of correct Islamic living. He continued to drink wine on the sly, in spite of the remonstrances of nobles like Tatar Khan and religious leaders like Shaikh Qutb-ud-din Munawwar. He was also very fond of music, and set apart the afternoon of Fridays for listening to music. His claims to orthodoxy cannot be taken at their face value, but Firuz had seen the fate of Muhammad Tughluq and was anxious to win the favour of powerful religious leaders and orthodox Muslim nobility.
The measures on the basis of which Firuz wished to gain a reputation for the championship of orthodoxy were of a formal nature and limited application. The developments which shed lustre on his reign were the steps taken by him in the furtherance of public welfare. Rawlinson calls him ”the best of the Muslim rulers of Delhi previous to Akbar” and contemporary historians describe at length the happy condition of the general public, and the steps taken by the king to assist agriculture, promote employment and secure the happiness and prosperity of the people.
Firuz did not distinguish himself on the battlefield and made only feeble and ineffective attempts to regain territories lost during Muhammad Tughluq’s reign, but concentrated his energies on public welfare. In order to encourage agriculture, he initiated extensive irrigation schemes and dug five canals to distribute the water of the Sutlej and Jhelum over a large area.
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One of the canals dug by him continues to be used up to the present day
Amongst his other measures, ”which have a singularly modern ring,” were the setting up of employment and marriage bureaus. ”All the young men who were without work in the city of Delhi were to be produced by the Kotwal or the Chief of police, and qualifications and other particulars noted down, and occupations found for them.” The greatest monuments of Firuz’s rule are buildings and towns founded by him. He is credited with the erection of 200 large and small towns, 40 mosques, 30 colleges, 30 reservoirs, 50 dams, 100 hospitals,
100 public baths and 150 bridges. He built a magnificent new capital near Delhi, and the important towns of Jaunpur and Hisar (originally called Hisar-i Firuz, or the Fort of Firuz) were founded by him. He had set up a regular Department of Public Works, which not only erected new buildings but took steps to restore ”the structures of former kings and ancient nobles”. Amongst other steps he removed two gigantic monolithic pillars of the Emperor Asoka, one from a village in the Ambala district and the other from Meerut, and had them set up near Delhi. He also took steps to secure translations of number of Sanskrit books which he found during his conquest to Kangra (762/1361).
Firuz tried his best to undo the evil effects of his predecessor’s rule. He released the persons unfairly imprisoned by Muhammad Tughluq, paid indemnities to the relatives of the persons unjustly put to death, and restored those estates which had been unlawfully confiscated. He also took various steps to facilitate the payment of land revenue. Instead of wasting the resources of the country upon military campaigns, he devoted all his energies to developing its wealth. People were naturally happy during his reign. ”The peasants grew rich and were satisfied. Their houses were replete with grain, property, houses and furniture; everyone had plenty of gold and silver; no women was without her ornaments and no house was
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wanting in excellent beds and couches. Wealth abounded and comforts were general.”6
The reign was inglorious from the military point of view Firuz died in 790/1388, at the ripe age of eighty-three, esteemed by his subjects, but he was unable to stop the breakup of the empire which had commenced during the later years of his predecessor’s rule, and after his death the pace of disintegration became quicker.
Later Tughluqs (790-816/1388-1414). After Firuz’s death a civil war broke out between his son and grandson, and there were rebellions in the outlying parts of the empire. The Hindu chiefs threw off their allegiance and governors of provinces, became independent. The weakness of the kingdom invited foreign invasion and in 800/1398 Timur entered India and sacked Multan, Delhi and other important cities in the northwest.
After the death of Firuz, ”six reigns are reckoned in the decade which followed”. Mahmud Taghluq, who had ascended the throne in 796/1394, fled to Gujarat on Timur’s arrival, but returned to Delhi after his departure, and continued his inglorious rule until his death in 815/1413.