The Tughlaq Dynasty (1320-1414 AD)

The Khilji dynasty came to an end when Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, the Governor of Dipalpur, became the Sultan of Delhi. He was succeeded by his son Muhammad bin Tughlaq. Now read Tughlaq Dynasty in detail

The Tughlaq Dynasty: 1320-1414 AD

Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq: (1320-25)

Khusrau Khan, the last king of the Khilji dynasty was killed by Ghazi Malik. Ghazi Malik ascended the throne assuming the title Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq. He died in an accident and his son Jauna (Ulugh Khan) succeeded him under the title Mohammad-bin-Tughlaq.

Muhammad bin Tughlaq: (1325-51)

Muhammad bin Tughlaq was one of the most remarkable rulers of his age. He was a great scholar and a lover of Persian literature, music, fine arts, and calligraphy. He is known for some of his schemes and policies which failed disastrously over a period of time.

Transfer of Capital

The most controversial step which Muhammad bin Tughlaq undertook soon after his accession was the so-called Transfer of Capital from Delhi to Daulatabad. 

Reasons behind the Transfer of Capital

  • Daulatabad was centrally located and was equidistant from Delhi and other important places.
  • Because Delhi was within the reach of the Mongols, Daulatabad appeared to be at a safe distance from the possible Mongol attacks in the future.

It is said that he ordered most people of Delhi to shift to Daulatabad. There was resentment among the people as they did not want to shift from Delhi.

Consequences of the Transfer of the Capital

  • Because the 1,500 km journey was arduous, many people died on the way, and the survivors were not able to adjust to the new conditions.
  • Without the king, Delhi now became prone to Mongol attacks. Later, Muhammad bin Tughlaq shifted his capital back to Delhi.

Token Currency

  • Muhammad bin Tughlaq is criticized for his failed experiment with the token currency. The scarcity of silver and the abundance of copper and bronze prompted the Sultan to issue copper coins bearing the same value as that of silver coins.
  • However, the new copper coins bearing the same value as the silver coins did not have any complicated designs and they could be easily forged.
  • People started minting coins in their houses. The forged copper coins flooded the markets. The situation became worse when the traders and merchants refused to accept these coins. The economy came to a standstill.
  • Realizing his folly, Muhammad bin Tughlaq issued genuine silver coins in place of the copper coins. This further drained the royal treasury.

Taxation in Doab

  • Doab is a fertile alluvial tract lying between Rivers Ganga and Yamuna. Muhammad Tughlaq increased the taxes in the Doab region as he was in need of money for raising a large army.
  • Unfortunately, the increase in taxes coincided with a severe famine in the region. The tax collectors however showed no signs of mercy and ruthlessly collected taxes.
  • Unable to pay the taxes, peasants abandoned their lands and fled to forests.
  • When the plight of peasants reached Muhammad Tughlaq, he ordered several relief measures. He opened free kitchens and distributed free grains. However, these measures came too late and agriculture greatly suffered in the region. Thus, his scheme of taxation in Doab failed.

Proposed Khurasan Expedition

The Sultan had a vision of universal conquest. He decided to conquest Khursan and Iraq and mobilized a huge army for the purpose. He was encouraged to do so by Khurasani nobles who had taken shelter in his court. Moreover, there was instability in Khurasan on account of the unpopular rule of Abu Said.

Quarachil expedition

This expedition was launched in Kumaon Hills in the Himalayas allegedly counter Chinese incursions. It also appears that the expedition was directed against some refractory tribes in the Kumaon Garhwal region to bring them under Delhi Sultanate. The first attack was a success, but the invaders suffered terribly when the rainy season set in.

His five projects had led to revolts all around his empire. His last days were spent checking the revolts (altogether 36 revolts in 25 years).

Firoz Shah Tughlaq: (1351-88)

After his accession, Firoz Tughlaq was faced with the problem of preventing the imminent break up of the Delhi Sultanate. He adopted the policy of appeasing the nobility, the army, and theologians and asserting his authority over only such areas, which the center could easily administer. He, therefore, did not attempt to re-assert his authority over South India and Deccan.

He decreed that whenever a noble died his son should be allowed to succeed to his position including his lata and if he had no sons, his son-in-law, and in his absence his slave.

Firoz extended the principle of heredity to the army. Soldiers were allowed to rest in peace and to send in their place their sons. The soldiers were not paid in cash but by assignments on land revenue of villages. This novel technique of payment led to many cases of abuse.

Firoz tried to win over the theologians proclaiming that he was a true Muslim king and the state under him was truly Islamic. To keep the theologians satisfied a number of them were appointed to high offices.

He tried to ban practices, which the orthodox theologians considered un-Islamic. Thus he prohibited the practice of Muslim women going out to worship at graves of saints. It was during the time of Firoz that Jizya became a separate tax. Firoz refused to exempt the Brahmanas from payment of Jizya since this was not provided for in Sharia.

The new system of taxation was according to Quran. Four kinds of taxes sanctioned by the Quran were imposed: Kharaj, Zakat, Jizya, and Khams. Kharaj was the land tax, which was equal to 1/10 of the produce of the land, Zakat was 27% tax on property, Jizya was levied on non-Muslims and Khams was 1/6 of the booty captured during the war.

To encourage agriculture, the Sultan paid a lot of attention to irrigation. Firoz repaired several canals. The first canal
was from Sutlej to Ghaggar. The second canal carried the waters of Jamuna to the city of Hissar. The third canal started from the neighborhood of Mandhavi and Sirmour Hills and connected with Hansi. The fourth canal flowed from the Ghaggar by the fort of Sirsuti up to the village of Hirani – Khera.

He was a great builder, to his credit are the cities of Fatehabad, Hissar, Jaunapur, and Firozabad. During his Bengal campaign, he renamed Ikdala Azadpur and Pandua Firozabad. The two pillars of Asoka, one from Chopra and another from Meerut were brought to Delhi.

The Sultan was established at Delhi, a hospital described variously as Dar-ul-shifa, Bimaristan, and Shira Khana. The chief architect of state was Malik Ghazi Shainan who was assisted in work by Abdul Haq.

A new department of Diwan-i-Khairat was set up to make provision for the marriage of poor girls.

Another step that Firoz took was both economic and political in nature. He ordered his officials that they should select handsome and wellborn young boys and send them to Sultan as slaves whenever they attacked a place. However, his rule is marked by peace and tranquility, and credit for it goes to his Prime Minister Khan-i-Jahan Maqbul.

After Firoz Shah Tughlaq : (1388-1414)

The Tughlaq dynasty could not survive much after Firoz Shah’s death. The Malwa, Gujarat, and Sharqi (Jaunpur) Kingdoms broke away from the Sultanate.

Timur’s Invasion:1398-99- Timur, the lame, a Turkish Chief and cruel conqueror from Mangolia and descendant of Chengiz Khan, invaded India in 1398 during the reign of Muhammad Shah Tughlaq, the last ruler of the Tughlaq dynasty.
Taimur’s army mercilessly sacked and plundered Delhi. Timur returned to Central Asia, leaving a nominee named Khizr Khan to rule Punjab. In 1404 he died while on his way to conquer China.

Also, Read Medieval India -The Delhi Sultanate

Discover more from Home of learning

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top