The Slave Dynasty (1206 – 1290)

Slave Dynasty Important Facts:

slave dynasty

Mohammed Ghori had no son to succeed him and so after his death, his able slave and viceroy Qutb-ud-din Aibak declared himself his successor in A.D. 1206.

The period from A.D. 1206-1290 is known as the period of the Delhi Sultanate.

The earliest Sultans of Delhi were known as Ilbarik Sultans as they belonged to the Ilbari tribe.

The period after Mohammed Ghori’s death is called the period of the slave Dynasty because most of the early Sultans were slaves.

Qutbuddin Aibak (1206-1210):

  • Turk of Aibak tribe – Turkish mean “Lord of the Moon”.
  • Received from Mahmud of Ghur a deed of Manumission (freeing himself from slave status) & Chatr (Sovereign).
  • Laksh-baksh (giver of lakhs) because he gave liberal donation.
  • Foundation of Qutub Minar (Victory Tower) in Delhi after the name of famous sufi saint Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, which was completed by Iltutmish
  • He constructed two moseques – Quwat-ul-islam (Delhi, first mosque in India); Adhaidin-ka-jhopra (Ajmer).
  • Hasan-ul-nizami author of Taj-ul-massin or mahetir was patronised by him.
  • He died of a sudden fall from a horse at lahore while playing chaugan (Polo).
  • Succeeded by his son Aram Shah and deposed by iltutmish at Battle of Tarain.

Iltutmish (1210-1236):

  • Shamsuddin iltutmish was the real founder of the sultanate.
  • Began his career as sar-jandar (head of royal bodyguard).
  • Time of Qutbuddin’s death, he was the governor of Badaun.
  • He made Delhi the capital of his empire.
  • Defeated yalduz in 1217 in the battle of Terrain and killed him.
  • Nasiruddin Qubacha drowned in Indus while trying to escape.
  • He refused to give asylum to Jalaluddin Mangbarni, the Khwarizmain prince who entered India on being chased by the notorious Chengiz Khan– thus arrested a major catastrophe for his kingdom & India.
  • Iltutmish expanded the kingdom by winning over Multan & Bengal in 1227-28, reasserted his authority in Bengal & Bihar in 1229 & conquered Ranthambhor & Mandor in Rajasthan.
  • In 1234-35 he led an expedition against Malwa & conquered Bhilsa.
  • 1229 – received a deed of investiture from the Abassid Caliph of Baghdad by which he became the legal sovereign ruler of India.
  • It was he who gave the country a capital, a sovereign state, a monarchial form of govt. & a governing class or nobility, known as Turkan-i-chahalgani or Chalisa (a group of forty) which was the ruling elite of the period.
  • Divided empire in to numerous Big & Small iqta, an assignment of land in lieu of salary. Muhammad Ghori was the first to introduce the iqta system, but iltutmish gave it an institutional form.
  • He introduced the silver tanka and the copper jital – two basic coins of the sultanate period.
  • Iltutmish declared Razia to be his successor but the amirs disproving his wishes put Rukh-ud-din (1236) on the throne, who was the son of Shah Turkan, mother of Iltutmish eldest surviving son.
  • Razia with the support of some nobles, the army and the people of Delhi she dethroned Ruknuddin after an unsuccessful reign of about seven months & occupied the throne.

Razia (1236-1240):

  • First & last women ruler of medieval India.
  • her reign lasted three years & a half.
  • Razia rose up to the occassion & tried to establish a powerful government. It was in this context that she appointed an Abyssinian or a Habshi or Ethiopian slave Jamal-ud-din-Yakut as the superintendent of the Royal horses (amir-i-akhur), in order to destroy the power base of Turkish nobility. Due to this reason  Turkish nobles were offended & so they tried to tarnish her image through raising the issue of illicit relationship between Razia & Yakut.
  • Then a series of revolts started against Razia.
  • Firstly, Kabir Khan Aayaz, the governor of Lahore & Multan revolted against Razia. But Razia successfully suppressed this revolt.
  • Altunia, the governor of Bhatinda, also revolted. Razia move straight towards Bhatinda, but was defeated & taken prisoner by Altunia, who married her but both were killed by robbers while trying to recapture Delhi.
  • Even Minhaj-us-siraj accepts that she was having the ability of a great king but she was having only weakness & that was being a women.

BAHRAM SHAH (1240-42):

  • Succeeded Razia on the condition that he appointed one of the Turkish rulers, Aitigin, to the post of naib or vice-regent.
  • Alauddin Masud Shah (1242-46) was killed through a conspiracy between Balban & Malik-i-jahan, the next ruler’s mother.

Nasiruddin Mahmud (1246-66):

  • Was pious, kind-hearted & God fearing ruler.
  • Known as a Darvesh King in the history of India.
  • Balban, one of the leading Turkish noble, married his daughter to the sultan. In return the sultan appointed him to the post of regent (naib-i-mamlakat) with the title of Ulugh Khan (Premier Khan).
  • 14th century historian, Isami in Futuhat-us-Salatin as well as Ibn Batuta clearly state that the sultan was murdered by Balban.

Balban (1266-86):

  • Knowing well that the Chahalgani was the source of all trouble, Balban introduced rigorous court discipline.
  • An official Amir-e-Hajib was appointed to regularise the proceedings of the court.
  • He borrowed the model of Kingship from Sassanid Persia, where kingship had been raised to the highest possible level.
  • He claimed his descent from the Iranian hero, Afrasiyab.
  • He impressed upon the people that kingship was vice-regency of God on earth (niyabat-i-khudai).
  • Called himself Zil-i-ilahi or Shadow of God on earth & Nasir-amir-ul-manin or Caliphs right hand man.
  • He introduced the persian (Iranian) customs of Sijda (prostration) &  Paibos (kissing the feet).
  • He was the first Indian ruler to introduce the celebration of the Persian New Year nao-roz in India.
  • Followed a policy of blood & iron.
  • Destroyed the Mewati Rajput brigade.
  • He suppressed the Tughril rebellion & appointed Bughra khan as the new Governor of Bengal, who was his son.
  • To control the onslaught of Mongols, he founded the Diwan-i-arz or Military department.
  • He was a patron of men of letters & showed special favour to the poet, Amir Khusrau.

Kaiqubad (1287-1290):-

  • was put on the throne by Fakr-ud-din, the Kotwal of Delhi & was succeeded by Kayumars.
  • Kayumars was the last ilbari ruler & was killed by Malik Firuz (later sultan Jalauddin Firuz Khalji).
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