Dellhi Sultanate|Slave Dynasty|Khilji Dynasty|Tughlaq Dynasty


The defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan in the second battle of Tarain in 1192 by Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori inaugurated an era of Muslim rule in India. The sudden death of Muhammad Ghori in 1206 and his failure to specify succession pitted his three slaves Tajuddin Yalduz, Nasiruddin Qubacha and Qutb-ud-din Aibak against each other.

The period between 1206 and 1526 in the Indian history is known as the “Period of the Sultan Rulers”. During this period, rulers belonging to five different dynasties.

(A) Slave Dynasty (B) Khilji Dynasty (C) Tughlaq Dynasty (D) Sayyid Dynasty (E) Lodhi Dynasty

SLAVE DYNASTY /Mamluk (1206-1290 AD): After Muhammad Ghori’s death, all the Muslim rulers who ruled over India from 1206-1290 were either slaves or were descendants of the slave ruler.So, the dynasty is generally known as the Slave Dynasty.

Qutb-ud-din Aibak (1206-1210): A Turkish slave by origin, he was purchased by Mohammad Ghori who later made him his Governor. At the death of Muhammad Ghori, Aibak declared his independence and setup his own rule at Indraprastha, near Delhi.He severed all connections with Ghori kingdom and founded slave dynasty as well as the Delhi Sultanate.Assumed the title of Sultan and made Lahore his capital.He was given the title of Lakh Baksh for his generosity; he gave 1 lakh coins to muslim writers in charity.Patronised the great scholar “Hasan-un-Nizami“Bild and started the construction of the famous Qutub Minar, named after the famous Sufi saint Khwajalateri-Qutubuddin-Bakthiyar (the Minar was Liono completed by Iltutmish).Died Playing Chaugan (Horse polo) in 1210.

He constructed Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque in Delhi and Arhai Din Ka Jhopra in Ajmer.

Aram Shah (1210)

After Qutb-ud-din’s death, his son Aram Shah succeeded him. He proved quite incompetent.Some of the nobles rose to the occasion and invited Aibak’s son-in-law and Governor of Badaun.Iltutmish to ascend the throne.Iltutmish deposed Aram Shah and secured the throne for himself.

Shamsuddin Itutmish (1211-1236)

He is considered to be the greatest slave king and the real consolidator of the Turkish conquest in India.Belonged to Ilbari tribe, hence his dynasty is named Ilbari dynasty. His half-brothers sold him to Aibak who made him his son-in-law and appointed him as the ‘Iqtadar of Gwalior‘.

In 1211, Iltutmish defeated Aram Bakhsh (Son of Aibak) and became the Sultan.Shifted capital from Lahore to Delhi, completed the Qutub Minar at Delhi and built the Ajmer Sharif mosque.Introduced Arabic coinage silver tanka (175 gm)coin in India which became the basis of modernrupee and copper Jital.He organised the Iqta System and introduced reforms in civil administration and anny, which were centrally paid and recruited.Started a new class of ruling elites of 40 powerful military leaders known as “the 40 nobles” or Chahalgani It was under his reign that Mongols under Chengiz Khan raided Central Asia and saved Delhi Sultanate from the wrath of Chengiz Khan, the Mongol Leader by refusing shelter to Kahhwarizm Shah, whom Chengiz was chasing.He patronised Minhaj-us-Siraj, author of Tabaqat-i-Nasiri.He is called the father of Tomb building (built Sultan Garhi in Delhi).

Ruknuddin Firoz (1236):

He was the son of Iltutmish and was crowned by his mother, Shah Turkan, after the death of Iltutmish because most of the nobles could not reconcile themselves to the idea of a woman ruling over them.He was deposed by Razia, daughter of Ilutmish when he was out of the Capital to curb a rebellion in Avadh against him.

Razia Sultana (1236-1240):

She was the first and the last Muslim woman ruler of Medieval India.She was popular among the people but was not acceptable to the nobles and theologians so she appointed Abyssinian slave Yakut as master of royal horses.Discarded female attire and held court with her face unveiled.She herself led an expedition against the rebellious Governor of Lahore and forced him to acknowledge her suzerainty.Soon after her accession, the Governors of Multan,Badaun, Hansi and Lahore openly revolted against her. There was a serious rebellion in bhatinda.

Altunia, the Governor of Bhatinda refused to accept her suzerainty. Razia accompanied by Yakutmarched against Altunia.Altunia, revolted against her and captured her as prisoner but later married her.However, 1240 AD Razia, proceeded to Delhi to regain her control and became the victim of a conspiracy, and was defeated and killed near Kaithal.

Bahram Shah (1240-1242)

After Razia, Iltutmish’s third son Bahram Shah was put on the throne by the powerful Turkish council Chalisa. He was considered as the only de jure ruler, while Naib-e-Mamlakat (the regent) was the de facto ruler.Bahram Shah lost his life after his failed attempt to assert his authority on the throne.

Masud Shah (1242-1246)

He was the son of Raknuddin but was deposed after Ghiyasuddin Balban and Nasiruddin Mahammud’s mother, Malika-e-Jahan, conspired against him and established Nasiruddin Mahmud as the new Sultan.

Nasiruddin Mahmud (1246-1266)

He was the son of Iltutmish and was known as the Darvesi King as he was very pious and noble. He died in 1266.

Ghiyasuddin Balban (1266-1287)

Balban ascended the throne in 1266.He broke the power of the Chalisa and restored the prestige of the crown that was his greatest contribution towards the stability of the Sultanate.

To keep himself well-informed Balban appointed spies.He created a strong centralised army to deal with internal disturbances and to check Mongols, who were posing a serious danger to the Delhi Sultanate.

Introduced rigorous court discipline and started new customs such as Prostration (Shijada and Paipos rule), and kissing sultan’s feet to prove his supremacy over nobles.He destroyed Mewati Rajput brigandage in the doab, where forests were cut and forts built.Introduced Persian festival of Nauroz to impress the nobles.Spared only the most loyal nobles (Chahalganis) and eliminated all others by one mean or the other.

Jalaluddin Established a separate military department “Diwani-Arz” to maintain law and order.The Persian court model influenced Balban’s conception of Kingship. He took up the title of Zil-iIlahi (Shadow of God).

He was a patron of Persian literature and showed special favour to Amir Khusrau.

In his last days he overlooked Sultanate affairs due to the death of his eldest and most loving son,Muhammad, and rebellion by his close and most loved slave, Tughril. Muhammad died fighting Mongolians in 1285 and Tughril was captured and beheaded.

Kaiqubad (1287–1290)

Grandson of Balban, he was put on the throne by Fakruddin, the Kotwal of Delhi who assumed high political authority during the last days of Balban.But, Kaiqubad was killed by the Khilji rulers. This led to the end of Ilbari dynasty and the establishment of the Khilji dynasty.



The Khiljis, wrongly believed to be Afghans, were actually Turks who had for a long time settled in the region of Afghanistan, called Khalji; had adopted Afghan manners and customs.

Therefore their coming to the thrown of Delhi is called “Khalji” revulsion. The Ghazni’s and Ghori’s invasions, and Mongol pressure from Central Asia had pushed them into India.The term Khilji was their designation, meaning in Turkic languages “swordsman”.Although they played a conspicuous role in the success of Turkic armies in India, they had always been looked down upon by the leading Turks, the dominant group during the Slave dynasty.

Jalaluddin Khilji (1290-1296)

Founder of the Khilji dynasty.He adopted the policy of tolerance and avoiding harsh punishment.This generous policy of the Sultan affected his foreign policy as well. In 1290, he invaded the fort of Ranthambore.

The most important aspect of the reign was the invasion of Devagiri in 1294 by his nephew and sonin-law Alauddin Khilji. Ramchandra was defeated and Alauddin returned with an immense booty,He married his daughter to Ulugh Khan, a descendant of Chengiz Khan to win his goodwill.Killed by his son-in-law Alauddin Khilji to claim the throne of Delhi.

Alauddin Khilji (1296-1316):

He was the nephew and son-in-law of Jalaluddin Khilji.Alauddin Khilji killed him and succeeded his throne in 1296.He was the first Turkish Sultan of Delhi who separated religion from politics. He proclaimed’Kingship knows no Kinship Alauddin annexed Gujarat (1298), Ranthambore(1301), Mewar (1303), Malwa (1305), and Jalor(1311).In Deccan, Alauddin’s army led by Malik Kafur defeated Ramchandra (Yadava ruler of Devagiri),Pratap Rudradeva (Kakatiya ruler of Warangal),Vir Ballal III (Hoyasal ruler of Dwarsamudra) and Vir Pandya (Pandya ruler of Madurai).

Administrative Reforms:

Passed four ordinances to be free from rebellions:

  1. Confiscated properties of the nobles:

  2. Organised an intelligence system to know

the secret activities of his nobles

  1. Public sale of drugs and alcohol was

totally stopped, and

  1. Forbade social gatherings and festivities without his permissions.

Maintained a large standing army and paid them in cash.Introduced a system of Dagh (branding of horses), Huliya (of soldiers) and Chehra.

Introduced 4 markets in Delhi

  1. for grains;

  2. for cloths, sugar, dry fruits, oil and butter,

  3. for horses, slaves and cattle; and

  4. for miscellaneous commodities.

Each market was under the control of a high officer called “Shahna-i-Mandi”.Secret agents “Munhiyans” were appointed to report functioning of these markets to the Sultan.Khusrau Prices were fixed for every commodity and if anyone was found cheating, he was measured with harsh punishment.

Creation of new department, viz. Diwan-i-Mustakhraj to enquire into the revenue arrears and to collect them.

Alauddin Khilji was the first Sultan of Delhiwho ordered measurement of land to collect land revenue in cash.

Military Campaign

Raided Gujarat in 1299, the Queen and a cunuch”Kafur” were taken to Delhi.Kafur was made the Malik Naib (Military commander).Muhan Raided Chittor where Raja Ratan Singh fought valiantly but got defeated.Ratan Singh’s queen Rani Padmini performed Jauhar (self-immolation) along with other women. (Mentioned in the book Padmavat,written by Jayasi).Greatest achievement of Khilji was the conquestof Deccan and far south till the Pandya kingdom of Madurai by Kafur.

Art and Culture:

Patronised poets like Amir Khusrau and Amir Hasan.Built the famous gateway Alai Darwaja(entrance of Qutub Minar).Constructed a new capital at Siri (Delhi)

Mubarak Khan (1316-1320)

After the death of Kafur, Mubarak Khan was freed from prison; worked as a regent for Shihabuddin.He captured the throne at the first opportunity he got, but could rule only for a year as he sank into debauchery and could not gave up his dissipated lifestyle.

He awarded his lover Mubarak Hassan authority over army and palace guards, who soon obtained full control over the Sultan’s palace.Mubarak Hassan was given the title Khusrau Khan by the Sultan and within months Khusrau killed Mubarak Khan and assumed the title of Nasiruddin in mid-1320.

Khusrau Khan (1320)

Khusrau Khan was killed by Ghazi Malik, Governor of Dipalpur, when he tried to oppose a rebellion by Ghazi Malik and his son Fakhruddin Jauna.This brought an end to the Khilji dynasty and established the Tughlaq dynasty on the throne of Delhi.

Tughlaq Dynasty (1320-1414AD) :

Khusrau Khan, the last King of Khilji dynasty was killed by Ghazi Malik. Ghazi Malik ascended the throne assuming the title “Ghiyasuddin Tuglaq’.

He liberalised Alauddin’s administrative polices and took a keen interest in the construction of canals and formulated the famine policy. The judicial and police arrangements were made efficient,He gave up the land measurement system and started the Batai System or the sharing of crops. Efficient postal service was restored.He sent his son, Jauna Khan to re-establish the authority in Warangal (Kakatiya) and Madurai(Pandyas).He built the city of Tughalqabad near Delhi and made it his capital Sufi saint, Shaikh Nizam-ud-din-Aulia said ‘Delhi

is far away, in regard to him’.He died in an accident and his son Jauna (Ulugh Khan) succeeded him under the title ‘Muhammad bin Tughlaq’.

Muhammad bin Tughlaq (1325-1351 AD) :

Known for his tolerant nature in religious matters and novel experiments.The only Sultan to have received a literary, religious and philosophical education.His five most ambitious projects were:

Taxation of Doab (1326):

To overcome financial difficulties, he imposed heavy tax revenue on land, whichled to strong revolt from peasants (as at the same time a strong famine was also ravaging)Later, the Sultan launched a scheme by which “Takkavi loans” (loan for cultivation)were given to farmers to buy seeds and to extend cultivation.A separate department for agriculture“Diwan-i-Kolhi” was established. This experiment was further continued by Firoz Tughlaq.

Transfer of Capital (1327)
Formed and capital at Devagiri to control
south India under the name of Daultabad.
He forced royals, people and Sufis to move
to Daultabad, but many of them died in the
rigorous journey (1500 km).After 2 years, the Sultan abandoned Daultabad and asked them to return to Delhi.
Introduction of Token Currency (1329)
Introduced copper coins at par value of
silver Tanka, but couldn’t prevent forgery,
hence stopped the circulation of token money.Lo Exchanged silver coins for all copper coins circulated in the market which led to the depletion of the royal treasury.
The Khurasan Expedition (1329)
Under the vision of “Universal Conquest”,
he decided to conquest Khurasan and Iraq,
and mobilised a huge army for this purpose.
He was encouraged to do so by the Khurasan
nobles who had taken shelter in his court.
Moreover, there was instability in Khurasan
on account of the unpopular rule of Abu
Said.This project was also abandoned.
Qarachil Expedition (1330)
This expedition was launched in Kumaon
hills in the Himalayas, allegedly to counter
Chinese incursions. The attack was successful, but the invaders suffered terribly once the rainy season set in. He died in Thatta (Sindh), while
campaigning against a Turkish slave Taghi.
The famous Moroccan traveller Ibn-Battuta came to Delhi in 1334 and acted as the Qazi of the capital for 8 years. He recorded the contemporary Indian scene in his Safranamah (Rahela).
His five projects led to revolts all around his empire.His last days were spent in checking the revolts
Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351-88)
Appointed Khan-i-Jahan Maqbal, a Telegu Brahmin convert as Wazir of his kingdom to help him in his day-to-day administration.Collected 1,300 Sanskrit manuscripts from Jwalamukhi temple’s library (Himachal Pradesh)and got them converted into Persian.Revived Iqta system and made it hereditary (Nobles
hereditary succession to their properties).
Had the largest number of slaves in his period
(Diwan-e-Bandagani Department of slaves).
Constructed canals for irrigation from Yamuna to the city of Hissar;Sutlej to Ghaggar;Ghaggar to Firuzabad; andMandvi and Sirmour Hills to Hansi in Haryana.Established four new towns-Firuzabad, Fatebabad,Jaunpur and Hissar. Industries and Taxes
Levied various taxes Jiziya on Non-Muslims.
Abolished taxes on 28 items as was against the
Islamic law.First Sultan to impose irrigation tax.
Developed irrigation network by means of
canals and highly encouraged horticulture.
Developed Karkhanas (royal factories), in bavu which thousands of slaves were employed.
Introduced a department called Diwan-i-Khairat to take care of orphans and widows.Developed free hospitals and marriage bureaus for poor Muslims.
Art and Culture
Formed 300 new towns at Firozabad near Red
fort (Delhi), now known as Firozshah Kotla.
Patronised scholars like Barani and Afif.As he was guided by Ulemas, he was intolerant
towards Shia Muslims and Sufis.Treated Hindus as 2nd grade citizen.
The Later Tughlaqs (1388-1414)
After Firoz Shah Tuglaq, Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq
Shah-I succeeded. He was replaced by Abu Bakr
Shah in 1389 AD.The states of Malwa, Sharqi (Jaunpur) and Gujarat broke away from the Sultanate.Abu Bakr was replaced by Nasiruddin Muhammad in 1390 AD. Nasiruddin Muhammad was replaced by Ala-ud-din Sikandar Shah for a brief period in 1394, but regained the throne after Sikander’s death.He ruled till 1412 AD. During his period, Timur invaded India.
Timur’s Invasion
Timur, the head of the Chaghtai Turks and the ruler of Mongols in Central Asia invaded India in 1398,during the reign of Nasiruddin Muhammad Tughlaq.After his death Timur entered Delhi and looted enormous wealth, murdered thousands and left India in 1399 giving a death blow to Tughlaq dynasty.
Timur nominated Khizr Khan to rule over Punjab
and himself returned to Central Asia.He died on his way to conquer China in 1404 AD.

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