Muhammad bin Tughluq
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|Muhammad bin Tughluq|
|Sultan of Delhi|
|Successor||Firuz Shah Tughluq|
Muhammad bin Tughluq
Thatta, Delhi Sultanate (present day Sindh, Pakistan)
|Buried||Tughlaqabad, (present day Delhi, India)|
Muhammad Salman Khan Tughluq' (Arabic: محمد بن طغلق) (also Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq, Prince Fakhr Malik, Jauna Khan, Ulugh Khan; died 20 March 1351) was the Turkic Sultan of Delhi through 1324 to 1351. He was the eldest son of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq. He was born in Kotla Tolay Khan in Multan. His wife was the daughter of the raja of Dipalpur. Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq sent the young Muhammad to the Deccan to campaign against king Prataparudra of the Kakatiya dynasty whose capital was at Warangal in 1321 and 1323. Muhammad succeeded to the Delhi throne upon his father's death in 1325. Muhammad Tughlaq was a scholar of logic, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, physical sciences and calligraphy. He was also interested in medicine and was skilled in several languages — Persian, Arabic, Turkish and Sanskrit. Ibn Battuta, the famous traveller from Morocco, was a guest at his court. From his accession to the throne in 1325 until his death in 1351, Muhammad contended with 22 rebellions, pursuing his policies consistently and ruthlessly. It is said that he deliberately killed his father Ghiyasudden Tughlaq to ascend the throne of Delhi, although modern historians do not support this theory. From the chronicles of Barani, we came to know that, on his return from a campaign, Ghiyasuddin was watching the parade of the elephants he got as war booty and then the stage along with the Sultan himself, collapsed. It is noteworthy that the salary of the wazir of Muhammed-Bin-Tughlaq was equal to the income of the then Iraq under the Persian Shah.
After the death of his father Ghiyasuddin Tughluq, Muhammad bin Tughluq ascended the throne of Tughluq dynasty of Delhi in 1324. Unlike the Khaljis who did not annex stable kingdoms, Tughluq would annex kingdoms around his sultanate. In his reign, he conquered Warangal (in present day Telengana, India) Mabar and Madurai, (Tamil Nadu, India), and areas upto the modern day southern tip of the Indian state of Karnataka. In the conquered territories, Tughluq a new set of revenue officials to assess the financial aspects of the area. Their accounts helped the audit in the office of the wazir.
Shifting of capital
In 1327, Tughluq passed an order to shift the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad (present day Maharashtra) in Deccan region of south India. Tughluq said that it would help him to establish control over the fertile land of the Deccan plateau. He also felt that it would make him safe from the Mongol invasions which were mainly done on Delhi and regions around in north India. However, he allegedly ordered the entire of population of Delhi to shift to Daulatabad.
On the road leading Daulatabad from Delhi, he set up halting stations at an interval of two miles. Provisions for food and water were also made available at the stations. Tughluq established a khanqah at each of the station where at least one sufi saint was stationed. In 1329, his mother also went to Daulatabad, accompanied by the nobles. By around the same year, Tughluq summoned all the slaves, nobles, servants, ulema, sufis to the new capital. The new capital was divided into wards called mohalla with separate quarters for different people like soldiers, poets, judges, nobles. Grants were also given by Tughluq to the immigrants. Even though the citizens migrated, they showed dissent. In the process, many died in the road due to hunger and exhaustion. Moreover, coins minted in Daulatabad in around 1333, showed that Daulatabad was "the second capital".
However, in 1334 there was a rebellion in Mabar. While on his way to supress the rebellion, there was an outbreak of bubonic plague at Bidar due to which Tughluq himself became ill, and many of his soldiers died. While he retreated back to Daulatabad, Mabar and Dwarsamudra broke away from Tughluq control. This was followed a revolt in Bengal. Fearing that the sultanate's northern borders were exposed to attacks, in 1335, he decided to shift the capital back to Delhi, allowing the citizens to return to their previous city.
After the death of Chengiz Khan, one line of his descendants Chagatai Khanate ruled over Turkistan and Transoxiana and another branch of Hulagu Khan conquered present day Iran and Iraq. [note 1] However at the time of Tughluq, both of the dynasties were on the downfall, with conditions in Transoxiana unstable after the death of Tarmashirin. He was ambitous of annexing these kingdoms. He invited nobles and leaders from these regions and gave them grants. Partly with their help and partly from his own kingdom, Tughluq raised an army of 37 hundred thousand soldiers in 1329. Barani has written that Tughluq took no step to check the ability of the soldiers or the brand of horses. They were paid in one year advance, and after being kept idle for one year, Tughluq found it difficult to pay them. Therefore he decided to disperse and dissolve the soldiers in 1329.
In 1333, Tughluq led the Qarachil expedition to the Kullu-Kangra region of modern day Himachal Pradesh in India. Historians like Badauni and Ferishtah wrote that Tughluq orignally wanted to cross the Himalayas and invade China. However, he faced local resistance in Himachal. Unable to combat in the hills, nearly entire of his 10,00 soldiers perished and Tughluq was forced to retreat.
Collapse of the empire
Tughluq died in 1351 on his way to Thatta, Sindh in order to intervene a war between members of the Gujjar tribe. He had lived to see his empire fall apart. During his reign new kingdoms broke away in south India and the Deccan. Several south Indian rulers like Prolaya Vema Reddy of the Reddy dynasty, Musunuri Kaapaaneedu and the Vijayanagara Empire liberated whole south India from the Delhi Sultanate and the Bahmani kingdom was founded by Hasan Gangu. The unpopularity and failures of this person also led to the collapse of the empire.
Historian Ishwari Prasad writes that different coins of different shapes and sizes were produced by his mints which were lacked artistic perfection of design and finish. In 1330, after his failed expidition to Deogiri, he issued token currency that is coins of brass and copper were minted whose value were equal to gold and silver coins. Historian Ziauddin Barani felt that this step was taken by Tughluq as he wanted to annex all the inhabited areas of the world for which a treasury was required to pay the army. Barani had also written that the sultan's treasury had been exhausted by his action of gifting rewards and gifts in gold. This experiment failed because as said by Barani, "the house of every Hindu became a mint". During his time, most of the Hindu citizens were gold-smiths and hence they knew how to make coins. In the rural areas officials like the muqaddams paid the revenue in brass and copper coins and also used the same coins to purchase arms and horses. As a result the value of coins decreased and as said by Satish Chandra the coins became "as worthless as stones". This also disrupted trade and commerce. The token currency had inscriptions marking the use of new coins instead of the royal seal and so the citizens could not distinguish between the official and the forged coins. Records show that the use of token currency was stopped in 1333 as Ibn Batuta who came to Delhi in 1334 and wrote a journal made no mention of this currency.
Tughluq was a strict Muslim, maintaining his five prayers during a day, fasting. Courtesans had hailed Tughluq as a "man of knowledge" and had interest in subjects like philosophy, medicine, mathematics, religion, Persian and Hindi poetry. Barani has written that Tughluq wanted the traditions of the nubuwwah to be followed in his kingdom. Even though he did not believe in mysticism, Chandra states that he respected the Sufi saints, which is evident from the fact of his building of the masoleum of the saint Nizamuddin Auliya at Nizamuddin Dargah. He was also the first Delhi sultan to visit the Dargah Sharif, the masoleum of saint Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer (in present day Rajasthan, India). His tolerance of other religions is also evident from the fact of his association with Jain saints and participation in Hindu festivals like Holi. Critics has called him hasty in nature, owing to most of his experiments getting failed because lack of preparation. Ibn Batuta has also written that he depended on his own judgement and rarely took advice from others and has also criticised him for his giving of excessive gifts and "harsh punishments".
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- The term Khurasan refers to a historical area in Central Asia which included the mentioned regions.
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- Encyclopædia Britannica – Muhammad ibn Tughluq
- Encyclopædia fastinformativesearch – Muhammad bibn Tughluq
Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq
|Sultan of Delhi
Firuz Shah Tughluq