|Sultan of Delhi|
|Full name||Shams-ud-din Iltutmish|
|Died||May 1, 1236|
|Place of death||Delhi|
|Buried||Qutb Complex, Mehrauli, Delhi|
|Issue||Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, Rukn-ud-din Firuz, Raziya Sultana, Muiz-ud-din Bahram|
Shams-ud-din Iltutmish (Hindi: अलतामश/AlTaMash/Iltutmish)(Persian شمس الدین التتمش) (r. 1211–1236) was the third ruler of the Mamluk dynasty of Delhi of Turkic origin. He was a slave of Qutb-ud-din Aibak and later became his son-in-law and close lieutenant. He was the Governor of Badaun when he deposed Qutub-ud-din's successor Aram Shah and acceeded to the throne of the Delhi Sultanate in 1211. He shifted Capital from Lahore to Delhi, remained the ruler until his death on May 1, 1236. Iltutmish introduced the silver tanka and the copper jital-the two basic coins of the Sultanate period, with a standard weight of 175 grains. He introudced Iqtadari system: division of empire into Iqtas, which were assigned to the nobles and officers in lieu of salary.
He built the Hauz-i-Shamsi reservoir in Mehrauli in 1230, which also has Jahaz Mahal standing on its edge, used by later Mughal Emperors. In 1231, he built Sultan Ghari the mausoleum of his eldest son, Prince Nasiru'd-Din Mahmud, which was the first Islamic Mausoleum in Delhi. He built the massive and handsome Jama Masjid in Badayun, that was the largest mosque of the country that time and still the second largest now. His own tomb exists, within the Qutb complex in Mehrauli, Delhi.
He suppressed all internal revolts and also checked external invaders successfully. He got completed the construction of qutub minar.
Early life and career
Shams-ud-din belonged to the tribe of Ilbari in Turkestan. He was sold into slavery at an early age. He was purchased by Qutub-ud-din-Aybak, then Viceroy of Delhi,. He rose quickly in Aybak's service, married his daughter, and served in succession as the Governor of Gwalior and Baran. In recognition of his services during the campaign of Muhammad of Ghur against the Khokhars in 1205-06, he was, by the Sultan's order, manumitted. Iltutmish was appointed Governor of Badaun in 1206 and was serving in this post when Aybak died in a polo accident and a group of noblemen invited Iltutmish to stake his claim on the Indian dominions of the Ghurids.
Sultan of Delhi
Rise to power
In 1210, Qutb-ud-din Aibak died. Muizzi amirs, who had been appointed by Muhammad of Ghor supported Aram Shah. Qutbi amirs, owing allegiance to Aibak, invited Iltutmish, then Governor of Badaun, to seize power in Delhi. Aram Shah acceded to the throne in Lahore. In 1211, Iltutmish claimed the throne in Delhi. Aram Shah marched towards Delhi but was slain in battle at Bagh-i-Jud leaving Iltutmish unopposed in Delhi.
On his accession, Iltutmish faced a number of challenges to his rule. In the aftermath of Aibak's death, the Ghurid dominions in India had divided into four. Iltutmish controlled Delhi. Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha, the Governor of Uch and Multan asserted his independence. Ali Mardan Khilji, who had been appointed Governor of Lakhnauti in Bengal by Aibak in 1206, had thrown off his allegiance to Delhi after his death and styled himself Sultan Ala-ud-din. His successor, Ghiyasuddin, conquered Bihar. Lahore was contested by Iltutmish, Qabacha and Tajuddin Yildoz, Muhammad of Ghor's adopted son and successor in Ghazni. Yildoz attempted to bring Delhi under his control. Initially, Iltutmish acknowledged Yildoz's suzerainty by accepting the symbolic presents of the chatr and durbash. The Hindu princes and chiefs were discontented at their loss of independence and had recovered Kannauj, Benaras, Gwalior, and Kalinjar had been lost during Qutub-ud-din's reign while Ranthambore had been reconquered by the Chauhans during Aram Shah's rule. To add to Iltutmish's troubles, some of the Amirs of Delhi expressed resentment against his rule.
The first order of business was to bring under control dependencies of Delhi that were under the control of Muizzi nobles and Hindu chieftains. Iltutmish launched military campaigns to assert his rule over Awadh, Badaun, Benares and Siwalik. Iltutmish's son Nasir-ud-din Mahmud captured the Gangetic valley territories of Budaun, Benaras, and Kanauj. Rohilkhand was taken with heavy losses.
In 1215-1216, Yildoz, who had been defeated and expelled from Ghazni by the forces of the Shah of Khwarezm, moved towards Punjab and captured Lahore from Qabacha. Yildoz laid claim to the throne of Delhi as the heir to Muhammad of Ghor. Iltutmish refused, stating
the dominion of the world is enjoyed by the one who possesses the greatest strength. The principle of hereditary succession is not extinct but long ago destiny abolished this custom.
Iltutmish defeated Yildoz at Tarain. Yildoz was imprisoned in Badaun and was later executed. This ended Ghazni's aspirations to dominate northern India
After the death of Yildoz, Qabacha had retaken Lahore. In 1217, Iltutmish led his army towards Qabacha. Qabacha attempted to retreat from Lahore towards Multan but was defeated at Mansura. Iltutmish refrained from attacking Sindh due to the presence of Mongols on his north-west frontier. Iltutmish was preoccupied with the Mongol threat and did not threaten Qabacha until year 1227. Lahore was under Iltutmish's rule but not for long.
In 1221, the Mongols, under Genghis Khan appeared for the first time on the banks of the Indus. They had overrun the countries of Central and Western Asia with lightning rapidity. The Mongols captured Khiva and forced its ruler, Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu to flee to the Punjab. Mingburnu entered into an alliance with the Khokhars and captured Lahore and much of the Punjab. He requested an alliance with Iltutmish against the Mongols . The Sultan of Delhi refused, not wishing to get into a conflict with Genghis Khan and marched towards Lahore at the head of a large army. Mingburnu retreated from Lahore and moved towards Uchch inflicting a heavy defeat on Qabacha, and plundered Sindh and northern Gujarat and returned to Persia in 1224. The Mongols invested Multan before leaving as well.
Consolidation of power
Loath to get into a conflict with the Mongols, Iltutmish turned his attention towards the east. Iltutmish marched again Ghiyasuddin in 1225 and was successful. Ghiyasuddin accepted Iltutmish's suzerainty , ceded Bihar, and paid a large tribute. However, soon after Iltutmish left, Ghiyasuddin revoked the agreement and and retook control of Bihar. Iltutmish's son Nasiruddin Mahmud, Governor of Awadh was tasked with dealing with Bengal. In 1227, when Ghiyasuddin was campaigning in Assam, Mahmud launched a sudden attack, capturing Lakhnauti. Ghiyasuddin was imprisoned and then executed. Mahmud died in 1229. This lead to further revolts by the Khalji Maliks of Bengal until Iltutmish captured Lakhnauti again in 1230. Ala-ud-din Jani was appointed Governor of Lakhnauti.
Iltutmish then turned his attention to Qabacha. Capture of Bengal and Rajput territories had significantly enhanced the state of Iltutmish's treasury whereas Qabacha had been weakened by Mingburnu's sack of Uchch and the Mongol siege of Multan. The upheaval caused by the Mongol invasion had led to a large number of military adventurers and officers from Turkic lands to move to India. Iltutmish's replenished treasury allowed him to recruit a large army. A number of officials also defected from Qabacha's camp. In 1228, Iltutmish attacked Qabacha. Ucch was captured after a siege of three months. Qabacha fled and was surrounded on all sides in the fort of Bhakkar, on the banks of Indus. He drowned while attempting to escape. Sindh and Multan were incorporated into the Delhi Sultanate and placed under separate governors.
In 1228-29, Iltutmish received emissaries from the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mustansir and was presented with the Caliphal robe (khilat) and investiture (manshur) signifying the Caliphate's recognition of Iltutmish's rule over India.  Such recognition was highly sought after by the Sunni Muslim rulers of India as it leant religious and political legitimacy and prestige. In Iltutmish's case, in particular, this was a symbolic declaration of the Delhi Sultanate's status as an independent kingdom rather than a client of the Ghurids.
Due to his problems first with Turkic nobles and then with the Mongols, Iltutmish had also ignored the Rajputs, who had regained territory lost earlier to the Turks, for the first fifteen years of his reign. Starting in 1226, however, Iltutmish began a series of campaigns against the Rajputs. Ranthambore, considered impregnable was taken in 1226, Mandsaur in 1227. Bayana, Ajmer and Sambhar were also captured. Ranthambore was returned to its Chauhan rulers, who served as feudatories, while Ajmer remained part of the Delhi Sultanate. Nagaur was captured in 1230 and Gwalior was captured in 1231 after a one year siege. Iltutmish's army was forced to retreat with heavy losses from Gujarat by the ruling Chalukyas. In 1235, Iltutmish sacked Ujjain and destroyed its temples including the Mahakala Temple. .
Death and succession
The death of Iltutmish was followed by years of political instability at Delhi. During this period, four descendants of Iltutmish were put on the throne and murdered. Iltutmish's eldest son, Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, had died in 1229 while governing Bengal as his father's deputy. The surviving sons of the Sultan were incapable of the task of administration. In 1236, Iltutmish, on his death-bed, nominated his daughter Razia as his heiress. But, Razia did not have support of the nobles of the court, who did not want a woman ruler.
Iltutmish's eldest surviving son, Rukn-ud-din Firuz was raised to the throne. Firuz left governance in the hands of his mother, Shah Turken. Firuz was deposed within six months, and Razia became the ruler. Razia's growing assertiveness brought her in conflict with the nobles. In 1240, a rebellion led to the replacement of Razia by her brother, Muiz_ud_din_Bahram. Bahram ruled for two years before he was was overthrown in favour of Firuz's son, Ala_ud_din_Masud in 1242.
Order was re-established only after Iltutmish's grandson Nasir-ud-din-Mahmud became Sultan with Ghias-ud-din-Balban as his Deputy Sultan (Naib) in 1246. Balban held all the power at the time and became Sultan in 1266. There was internal stability from 1246 until 1290 when Jalal-ud-din Khilji overthrew Balban's Successor Kaikubad, thus ending the Mamluk Dynasty and founded the Khilji Dynasty.
The early Ghurid rulers had maintained the Rajput coinage system based on the Hindushahi bull-and horseman coins in place at the Delhi mint. Dehliwala, the standard coin, was a silver-copper alloy with a uniform weight of 3.38 grams, of which 0.59 grams was Silver. The major source of silver for the Delhi mint were coin hoards from Central Asia. Another source was European silver which made its way to Delhi via the Red Sea, Persian Gulf through the ports of Gujarat. By the 1220s, supply from Central Asia had dried up and Gujarat was under control of hostile forces.
In response to the lack of silver, Iltutmish introduced a new bimetallic coinage system to Northern India consisting of a 11 gram silver Tanka and the billon Jital, with 0.25 grams of silver. The Dehliwala was devalued to be on par with the Jital. This meant that a Dehliwala with 0.59 grams of silver was now equivalent to a coin with 0.25 grams of silver. Each Dehliwala paid as tax, therefore produced an excess 0.34 grams of silver which could be used to produce Tankas. The new system served as the basis for coinage for much of the Sultanate period and even beyond, though periodic shortages of silver caused further debasement. The Tanka is a forerunner to the Rupee.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shams-ud-din Iltutmish.|
- Blanchard, Ian (2005), Mining, Metallurgy and Minting in the Middle Ages 3, Franz Steiner Verlag
- Chandra, Satish (2004), Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals-Delhi Sultanat (1206-1526) - Part One, Har-Anand Publications.
- Ikram, Sheikh Mohamad (1966), Muslim Rule in India & Pakistan, 711-1858 A.C., Star Book Depot.
- Jackson, Peter (2003), The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-54329-0.
- Mehta, J.L. (1986), Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India, Vol. 1, Sterling Publishers.
- McLeod, John (2002), The History of India, Greenwood Press.
- Wink, Andre (1997), Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World, Vol. II - The Slave Kings and the Islamic Conquest 11th-13th centuries, Brill, ISBN 90-04-10236-1.
|Sultan of the Mamluk Dynasty
Rukn ud din Firuz
|Sultan of Delhi
Rukn ud din Firuz