was dangerous to leave the city at night. Balban spent the first year after his accession to the throne in enforcing law and order in the city and its suburbs. The jungle was Cleared, the Mewati robbers who had made it a base for their operations were destroyed, a fort was built to guard the city’s south western approaches against them, and police posts were established around Delhi. Balban dealt equally firmly with the people of the Doab, Delhi. Who had closed the road between Bengal and the capital. He spent nearly a year in the districts of Patiali, Bhojpur and Kampil, extirpated the highway robbers, built forts at suitable centers, garrisoned them with Afghan soldiers who received lands in the area for their maintenance, and granted large areas to powerful nobles so that they could bring the land under cultivation and clear the jungles. Balban was ruthless in dealing with brigands, but, as Haig remarks, his ”measures secured the tranquillity of the roads between Delhi and Bengal for a century.”7
Similar steps were taken against the Rajputs of Katehr who were ”overrunning and plundering that province in such a
way that the governors of Badaun and Amroha were unable to take the field against them”. The punishment which Balban inflicted on the rebels was severe. Balban obviously wanted to make an example of them, but the measure served its purpose. This trans-Gangetic tract had been only partially subdued and the warlike families who had settled there were a perpetual source of trouble. Balban ordered a frightful slaughter of the insurgents, had their houses and hiding places burnt, cleared the country of the forests, built roads and introduced orderly civil government. The people of Katehr never raised their heads again, and districts of Badaun, Amroha and Sambhal were ”rendered safe and permanently freed from trouble”.
Balban’s next steps were taken to safeguard the realm against the Mongols. He built up a powerful army and forced the muqtis (fief-holders) to keep their troops well equipped and in fine mettle. He made no effort to extend his dominion or reconquer areas like Malwa, which the Muslims had lost after
History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan
early conquest. When these measures were suggested to Balban, he replied that he could not leave the capital and expose Delhi to the fate of Baghdad. A stern realist, he abandoned the expansionist policy of his predecessors, and concentrated on the consolidation of Muslim power in India. Hulagu Khan, who with his sack of Baghdad had wiped out in
656/1258 the great centre of Abbasid culture, was still alive and the Mongols constituted a standing threat to the subcontinent. In 668/1270, Balban had restored the city of Lahore which was practically deserted after its sack by the Mongols in 638/1241, and re-established a provincial government in the upper Punjab. This facilitated the defence of the north-west, but other vigorous military measures were needed to deal with the Mongol menace. Balban not only built up a strong army and kept it in good fighting condition, but erected a chain of fortifications in the north-west. The command of this strategic area was entrusted by Balban at first to Sher Khan Sunqar, his most distinguished general, and on his death to his able son, Prince Muhammad Khan, entitled Qa’an Malik, who was not only a brave soldier, but also a patron of literature, and who maintained a distinguished court at Multan. Balban’s preparations kept Hulagu Khan in check. The only major military operation which he had to undertake was against Tughril, the rebellious governor of Bengal. In 679/1280, after Tughril had defeated two successive expeditions sent against him, Balban went to Bengal. On hearing of the arrival of Balban’s army, Tughril left his capital with picked troops, and sought safety in the forests of Orissa. ”Balban swore that he would not rest or return to Delhi or even hear the name of Delhi mentioned until he had siezed Tughril. ”Search parties were sent all over to trace the fugitive. Luckily, by a chance, one of these parties came to know about Tughril’s hiding place and, in the encounter which followed Tughril was taken by surprise and killed, and his head was brought to the king, as a proof that his vow had been fulfilled.
The Era of Balban
Even after this, Balban took his time in reorganising administration in Bengal8 which he left in charge of his son, Bughra Khan, and returned to Delhi with rebels and other deserters who had joined Tughril. He proposed to deal ruthlessly with them and had set up a double row of stakes outside the Badaun gate of Delhi for their public execution, but the Qadi of the army was able to persuade the king to pardon common soldiers and to sentence officers to imprisonment. Balban is often accused of ferocious cruelty in dealing with rebels and miscreants. There is no doubt that he was so, but extreme severity to rebels was the common practice of the day, and his own views on the deterrent influence of severe punishment elevated it to a public duty.
Balban’s Character. Balban was ruthless in the imposition of penalties, but he reserved them for offences against the state of public. He meted out strict, impartial justice and dealt firmly with miscreants, regardless of their position. The fief-holder of Badaun had a servant beaten to death. When Balban visited Badaun, the servant’s widow complained to him. Balban ordered the fief-holder to suffer the same fate which his servant had suffered; he also made an example of the official newswriter, who had not communicated this incident to him. There were many similar instances during his rule and he used to say that he would not only deal firmly with recalcitrant nobles, but if his children misbehaved they would also receive similar punishment. Strict enforcement of impartial justice was, according to Balban, one of the principal duties of a king, and he did his best, according to his lights, to carry out this responsibility. The result was that, owing to the fear of reports reaching the Sultan, ”none among the provincial governors or other officers and their relatives and servants dared injure anybody without cause or offence, and if by chance any provincial governor or ruler were guilty of cruelty, he would try to satisfy the sufferer in whatever way the latter demanded, and would not leave him with a grievance.”9
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 88
About religion Balban had a special point of view. He performed his religious duties with particular care. He fasted during Ramadan, prayed five times a day, used to get up at midnight for the Tahajjud prayer, and showed great respect to ulema.10 When he came to the throne, he gave up drinking and ordered his courtiers also to do the same. In spite of his strong views regarding the dignity and status of a king, after Friday prayers he called along with his retinue on leading preachers and theologians. He was equally particular about the strict observance of religion by members of his family. Bughra Khan, his son, while advising his own son Kaiqubad, said: ”If my father, Balban, came to know that I or my brother Sultan Muhammad missed a single prayer, he would not talk to us for days.” Balban, however, attached no importance to the views of the ulema in political and administrative matters. He used to say that these things had to be decided in accordance with political considerations and not according to the views of the jurists. According to Barani, ”he would order whatever he considered to be in the interest of the realm, whether it was or was not sanctioned by Islamic Law.”11
End of the House of Balban. Balban was a hard taskmaster and a stern disciplinarian; fate also dealt with him sternly. At the age of eighty, he suffered a blow which darkened his remaining days. On 1 Muharram 684/9 March 1285, his son, Prince Muhammad Khan, who had been designated as heir apparent, was slain in an encounter with the Mongols. This was a crushing blow to the aged king. According to Barani, the stern king maintained calm outwardly, and gave audiences and transacted public business with his usual stern and grave demeanour, but at night and in the privacy of his chamber he rent his clothes, cast dust upon his head and moaned for his son ”as David moaned for Absalom”. He designated Bughra Khan as his heir and summoned him from Bengal. The easygoing prince, who was happier in the eastern province than at his father’s austere court, left Delhi on the pretext of a hunting expedition and returned without permission to Bengal. The cup
The Era of Balban
of Balban’s misfortune was full and he soon breathed his last (686/1287).
Kaiqubad and the Fall of the Ilbari Turks. On his deathbed Balban had named as his heir Kaikhusrau, the son of Prince Muhammad, but some influential nobles (including the Kotwal of Delhi) had a grudge against the late prince and his family. They disregarded the dead king’s will, exiled the wazir and others who did not agree with this, and throned Kaiqubad, a seventeen-year-old son of Bughra Khan. The reign of Kaiqubad is a long story of riotous living. He had been brought up under Balban’s austere regime, and had never dreamed of ascending the throne. Now he was free from all restraints and had everything at his command. He indulged in an orgy of gay life and was always surrounded by musicians, singing girls and dancers.12 Kaiqubad’s conduct on attaining kingship became such a scandal that the prospect of the extinction of Balban’s house appeared imminent, and even easy-going Bughra Khan was moved to action. He left Bengal, and, in Safar 687/March
1288, the father and son, respective kings of Bengal and Delhi, met on the banks of the Sarju. At first there was a possibility of open war between the two, but through the good offices of some loyal officers (including Shams Dabir whom Balban had left as chief secretary with Bughra Khan), a meeting was arranged, and natural feelings of the father and the son swept away all hostility. Bughra Khan advised Kaiqubad to mend his ways and, after a demonstration of fatherly affection, returned to his province. Kaiqubad made an attempt to reform himself, but was soon lured back into his old ways and was before long struck down by paralysis. There was a struggle for ascendency between the Turkish nobles of Balban’s government, and the Khaljis. In this conflict the Khalji chief, Malik Jalal-ud-din Firuz, who had been recently placed by Kaiqubad in charge of the Diwan-i ’Ard was successful, and ascended the throne on
14 June 1290.
This was the end of the rule of the Ilbari Turks and of the so-called Slave dynasty at Delhi. So far as the house of Balban
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 90
was concerned, its rule came to an end at Delhi, but not in Bengal. Bughra Khan’s fondness for the eastern province hastened the downfall of his family at the capital, but in Bengal, Balban’s descendants continued to hold power for another forty fruitful years.
The Era of Balban
NOTES & REFERENCES
I Vide f Iliot and Dmvson Hi\lnrvoflniliaA\1olilhvO^<>»nHi\lmnin\ in yx
2. B.lb.n’s fondness for Persian wsyi took many forms He was . Turk and could not claim Persian origin, but he claimed descent from Afrasiyab, the Turanian hero of the Persian epic, Shaft Namah. After he became king «nd put forward his theory of monarchy, he gave Persian names to his grandsonf-Kaikhusrau, Kaiqubad, Kaika’us, Kaimuflh. He introduced zamin-bos.
3 Diya’-ud-Dm Barani, Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi. p 117
4. It is usual to translate ’Arid-i Mumalik as muster-mister, but obviously this does not property indicate hit functions .nd importance. After the changes introduced by Balban, ’Arid was an important minister. European travellers referred to Mir Bskhshi, his counterpart during the Mughal period, as ”Captain-General” or ”Lieutenant-General”
7 7 he Cambridge Hhtorv of India 111,76
8 For administrative arrangement made by Balban and the contributions nude by his family to the history of Bengal, see Chapter 9.
9 Barani, op. ell, p. 45.
10. Ibid., p. 155
11. Ibid., p. 41.
12 harmonization of different cultures of the country” (Ishwar Tops Politic* in P reMughal Times, p 86, footnote) According to Ihn Battutah, people remembered Kaiquabad with aflection and gratitude It is also worth recording that Amir Khusrau pointedly mentions, with great feeling, that the first amongst rulers to think ot him was Mu’iz-ud-dm Kaiqubad
THE KHALJIS AND THE CONQUEST OF THE SOUTH
The Khaljis. Jalal-ud-Din Firuz Khalji ascended the throne on 14 June 1290. Apparently this was the success of an individual noble, but in reality is represented the achievement of power by a large ethnic group, which had played an important part in the Muslim conquest of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. According to Raverty, the Khaljis were Turkish by origin, but, because of their earlier migration from Turkistan, were usually, though erroneously believed to be of non-Turkish origin.1 The proud Turks looked down upon them, but from the days of Muhammad Ghuri, they had formed an important element in the Muslim army. After Muhammad Ghuri’s debacle at the first battle of Tarain, it was a young Khalji trooper who saved the Sultan and brought him out of the battlefield. Bihar and Bengal were added to the Muslim Empire by a Khalji free lance, Muhammad b. Bakhtiyar, and we come across other achievements by the Khaljis in the eastern regions. Even in the days of Balban, the Khaljis as a group were not insignificant. The tension between the Turks and the Khaljis, which was kept under check by Balban, came to the surface in the succeeding reign and ended in the displacement of the Ilbari Turks.
The success of the Khaljis against the aristocratic Turks resulted in certain far-reaching socio-political developments. Muslim government ceased to be a close preserve of the
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 94
Turkish aristocracy and not only the ”plebian” Khaljis but other groups, like the indigenous Muslims, began to share power. For the first time now, the historians refer to the ”Hindustanis,” viz. local Muslims, and by the end of v Ala’-uddin’s reign converts like Malik Kafur were occupying the highest position in the State. Apparently the efforts of the Muslim missionaries and sufis had begun to bear fruit and a sizeable number of Muslim converts was available for state service. The rule of the Khaljis did not last more than thirty years, but the social revolution which their success engendered and the large increase in man-power which resulted from this revolution, enabled the Delhi government to take a major step forward, and to conquer the vast areas south of the Vindhyas.
Jalal-ud-dm Khalji 689-696/12090-1296 Jalal-ud-dm Firuz
Khalji was an experienced soldier. He had earlier distinguished
himself as a general and administrator. He was, however, an
old man of seventy when he came to the throne and followed a
policy of exceptional mildness and forbearance. This reconciled
to him the general population, but his own people were
unhappy at the king’s behaviour. They attributed it to senility
and openly started plotting against him The plot which succeeded
was that of his nephew and son-in-la\\. Ala-ud-Din Khalji The young.
ambitious son-in-law had a very unhappy domestic life, and the
behaviour of his wife and mother-in-law was so galling to his
pride that he often thought of leaving the realm and settling
somewhere else. At Kara (near modern Allahabad) of which he
had been appointed governor, he was joined by discontented
officers who urged on him to organise an army and make a bid
for the throne of Delhi for which he could obtain the necessary
resources by plundering the unconquered neighbouring Hindu
Ala-ud-din started by invading Malwa and captured the town of Bhilsa, from where he obtained much plunder. He next decided on a bolder step. At Bhilsa he had heard of the wealth of the great southern kingdom of Devagiri, later renamed Daulatabad. Without obtaining the permission of his uncle, but making arrangements at Kara for supplying Delhi with such
is and the *Ch 6
jperiodical news, a BBSbout his movemerats as would allay ssuspicion, he set out in 696/12 ”96, at the head of 8000 horses
SSo far, no Muslim nw iler had.c= mossed the Vindhyas, Devagiri,
t-2ie capital of a powei iftil kingdom m, was se jparated from Kara by
am. march of two montJi-is through* unknown regions inhabited by p»eople who could >only be hostile. JBoldly, ”Ala-ud-din uandertook this expedffl” ition, wh. Ich Haig characterises as the ” most impudent raid JBknown to history”. JPartly on account of hi is good luck, and pa jnrartly as re\”He was ev~ ”’ten able ta» persuade _Jalai-ud-din to go to K^ara to meet his nepn*- _Ihew, who, he staitesd, was penitent at has. ving undertaken a m-major mil A tary operation without royal au thority. The king whw <*~o accordimg to contemporary historians, WEBS blinded by greed fSczar the rich* es of Devjagiri, welcomed the sujggestion ar>d proceesa««aded by b»--oat to Kaiara, where he was assassinated. Ala-ud-dinrnsa Khalji assicended th*e throne, and, with a jp1 udicious distributions of richest which hes had brought form De*-vagiri, was able to w~ .Jam over thwes public of Delhi.
’Ala-ud-din Khalj^’-’i (695-7”J6/1229-J^ 19). ’Ala-ud-din Kh -aalji came to the throjar-ie in cireu-mmstances -which have rightly casTt a shadow on his mu >«nnemory. H*e was cruesl, ruthless without mo^ral scruple in dealim.jpjg with relabels and enemies. A careful examination of contempnwworary aceaounts, hoinhvever, shows that not only was ’Ala’-ud-d! iSmn a bold -sand resourceful soldier and a verjy capable administrat’-wwor, but hes: had his c»wn notions of the responsibilities of kings*-nip, and 1 .^aboured Bisrd to fulfil them. Abcvut his achievements S@MMS a conqin. «eror there can hardly be two opirnnions. With the victo»-Maries won Mby him aji«d his generals, he conmpleted the Muslim .-^conquest of India sand extended the Sult-sanate right up to Ranmni •• eswaram.
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan
His Conquests. ’Ala’-ud-din’s twenty years’ reign may be divided into three phases. During the first period (695-
702/1296-1303), he defeated the Mongols, conquered the Hindu kingdom of Gujarat, and reduced Ranthambhor (701/1301), Chitor (Muharram 703/August 1303) and other Hindu strongholds in Rajasthan. In the second part of his reign (703-707/1303-1307), his attention was devoted largely towards internal reforms and steps necessary to make his rule secure In 704/1305, he sent ’Ain-ul-Mulk Multani to Central India, where he subdued Malwa and conquered the forts of Ujjain, Chanderi and Mandowar. Malwa was annexed, and ’Ain-ul-Mulk appointed its governor.
In 704/1305, and again in 705/1306, there were dangerous Mongol invasions, but they were repulsed. Against the Mongols, ’Ala-ud-din’s officers were so successful that they now took up the offensive, and Ghazi Malik, who was in charge of the frontier defences, carried out raids into the Mongol territory, as far as Kabul and Ghazni After these successes and the death of Mongol Khan of Transoxiana (705/1306), ’Ala-ud-din was troubled no more by this danger from the north, and could devote himself to the achievement of suzerainty over the whole of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent.
During the third period (706-712/1307/1313), ’Ala’- ud-din was able to complete the conquest of South India, for which the ground had been prepared by his conquests in Central India and the annexation of Malwa. In 706/1307, his Na’ib, Malik Kafur, defeated Raja Ram Dev of Devagiri, who had withheld tribute. The raja was brought to Delhi where he reaffirmed his submission and received the title of Rai Rayan In 708/1309, Malik Kafur led another expedition to the south, and conquered Warangal, from where he returned with measureless booty, including a big diamond, identified by some with the famous Koh-i Nur. In this campaign the raja of Devagiri gave all possible help even sent a ”force of Marathas, both of horse and foot”
The Khaljis and the Conquest of the South [ Cb- 6
in aid of the Muslim army. The victory at Warangal emboldened the king and his Na’ib. Next year the latter set out on a year-long expedition, which led to the defeat ofthe rajas of Madura and Dwarasmudar (Ma’bar), and extended the Muslim dominion right up to the southern sea-coast During this expedition, the Muslim officers built a mosque, either at Rameswaram on the island of Pamban, or on the mainland opposite.
The above impressive list of ’Ala-ud-din’s conquest is based on Barani’s Tarikh-i Firuz Shahi, our main authority fof the reign, and on Amir Khusrau’s ’larikh-i ’Ala’ / It cafl110^ however, be said that this account is complete. Evidence of some other military expeditions is available in less kfl°wn histories. For example, Amir Khusrau in his I’jaz-i Khw^2 reproduces an ’arddasht form on Hajib Badr to Khidr Khan, son of Ala-ud-din Khalji, referring to the conquest of Gi1^1” by his contingent, recital of the khutbah in the name of Al ud-din, and the restoration of Islamic practices in that city driving out the Mongols. This is not recorded either in Ttf’ Firuz Shahi or Tarikh-i ’Ala’i. Similarly, the history of Bengal, as known from local sources, shows that ’Ala-ud-din Khalji played a more important role in this area than is attributed to him by the Delhi historians, and his regime was marked by substantial expansion of Muslim rule in Bengal. In Sind also the destruction of Tur, the capital of the Sumras, is attributed to the troops of Xla-ud-din Khalji (see Tuhfat al-Karam),
’Ala’-ud-din did not bring all the newly con(Juered territories in the south under direct administration. When t”e loyal raja of Devagiri died in 710/1311, his successor r^5^ to accept the suzerainty of Delhi. Accordingly, in 712/13^> Malik Kafur led another expedition to Devagiri, which was now annexed and became part of the Sultanate of Delhi. Other conquered territories, like Warangal, Madura, and Dwarasmudar, continued under local rajas on payment of an annual tribute.
Other Developments. Ala-ud-din Khalji was a soldier, undisciplined by any formal education. When fortune smiled on
History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan
all his early projects, his fancy soared high and he began to think of conquests in other fields. He played with the idea of establishing a new religion, and at times expressed a desire to sally forth from Delhi and embark on a career of world conquest like Alexander. He issued coins referring to himself as Alexander the Second, and freely talked about his two plans. Luckily he had, at his court, nobles who were not afraid of giving him sane, even if unpalatable, advice, and Ala’-ud-din Khalji had the good sense to listen to them. He had four principal counsellors, but it was the old ’Ala’al-Mulk, the Kotwal of Delhi, who, in an interview, vividly described, perhaps with a dash of imagination, by his nephew Barani, dissuaded the king from such a course. He told him that the introduction of a religion was a matter for Prophets and not for kings, and pointed out that the Mongols, in spite of their great power and its ruthless use against the Muslims, had not been able to replace Islamic religion. About foreign conquests, the Kotwal pointed out that the king could not rightly undertake them until he had completely conquered and established his rule in the whole subcontinent of India, and even then he could leave his realm only if he had a sagacious and dependable deputy like Aristotle to look after the kingdom during his absence. Ala’-ud-din, who, in spite of his uncertain temper and ruthlessness, was a ruler of strong common sense, generously rewarded the candid counsellor and undertook never to talk about religious innovations again.
Ala’-ud-din was uniformally successful on the battlefield, but during the early years of his reign, he had to face several rebellions. An attempt was made on his life at Ranthambhor in 700/1301. There was a rebellion in Oudh and another in Delhi. These rebellions were not well organised and failed, but they set the king thinking. His intimate advisers told him that the successive rebellions were due to an inefficient system of intelligence, the widespread use of wine, which loosened tongues, the position of the Nobels by intermarriages and the possession of wealth by certain sections of the people,
The Khaljis and the Conquest of the South