Balban Theory of Kingship

Balban Theory of Kingship:

The chief means adopted by Balban for consolidating the empire was the restoration of the crown’s prestige and an ability to inspire respect for its sanctity and power and the establishment of an integrated and centralized state symbolized by a strong unquestioned monarchy.

Balban came to the conclusion that in order to strengthen the power and the position of the monarchy, the power base of Turkan-i-chahalgani should have been destroyed. In fact, like French monarch Louis XIV, he made monarchy a serious profession. It was in this context that he propounded a new theory of kingship.

He borrowed the model of kingship from Sassanid Persia, where kingship had been raised to the highest possible level. For that purpose, he made some compromises even with Islamic values. He declared himself to be a successor of Afrasiyab, an Iranian warrior. He declared the crown as Niyabat-I-Khudai (gift from God) and took the title for himself Jil-I-Ilahi (a shadow of God on earth). In his court, he introduced some formalities like Sijda (prostration) and Paibos (kissing of feet). Nobles have to maintain the proper decorum in the court. They had to appear in the court in proper dress. An official Amir-e-Hajib was appointed to regularise the proceedings of the court.

So, Balban set about the task of consciously promoting the image of the crown. This was needed to eliminate all contest for the throne. By drilling into the ears of his Maliks and amirs that kingship is something divinely ordained, he wanted to wash off all stigma of being a regicide and wanted to impress upon them that it was Divine will that had brought him to the throne.

Balban theory of kingship reflected racial leanings as well. In fact on the one hand he was breaking the power of the Turkish nobles but simultaneously he was conscious to project himself as the protector of the rights of Turkish nobles. He declared “whenever I see a base-born ignoble man my eyes burn and my hand reaches up to the sword”. It is said that he refused to appoint some low -born Muslim Kamal Amaya on the post of Khwaja.

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