Razia Sultan – A Royal Prisoner of Qila –i – Mubaraq aka Bathinda Fort

The Royal Prisoner


Razia Sultan, the first and only lady ruler of the Delhi Sultanates, was kept imprisoned in this fort after she was defeated and dethroned.

They say she was allowed out to pray only on Fridays, that too in a Palanquin by the Governor of Bhatinda-Altunia.

During the Razia’s reign, Malik lkhtiyaruddin Altunia the governor of Bathinda, rebelled against her authority. She marched on him to quell the rebellion, but her Turkish nobles mutinied against her and killed her so called paramour? Yaqut the Abyssinian. (It is being debated upon whether he was her paramour).

She was consigned to Altunia as a prisoner and was kept in the fort of Bathinda.

According to a local source Razia committed suicide by jumping from the wall of the fort. But some historical records of the period tell that after her marriage with Altunia, they were assassinated by a gang of plundering Jats, near Kaithal.

Altunia the Governor of Bathinda rebelled against Razia Sultan – the first woman to sit on the throne of Delhi. Later she was arrested and kept in this fort.

According to a legend a dejected Razia jumped from the parapets.

Of all these strongholds, the only one at Bathinda could endure the ravages of time. Set 300 kilometers northwest of Delhi, this fort has a long and important history unfolded.

Nasiruddin Qabbacha, the ruler of Sind is known to have captured the fort in 1210, after the death of Qutbuddin Aibak, the first Slave Sultan of India.

ln 1253, the fort was occupied by Razia’s brother, Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud. Malik Sher Khan was appointed the commander of the fort who also renovated and repaired its structure at various places and points.

About the fort


Bathinda Fort

(Source: Internet)

Bathinda was situated along the ancient route which connected Delhi with Multan-the gateway of Hindustan from the northwest. To check the foreign invasions, a line of strongholds to the north of the Ghaggar River was erected during the early centuries of the Christian era.

The fort is situated in Bhatinda city.It is is a monument of great historical importance. The presence of the fort can be traced back to the 90-110 AD.

The bricks of the fort dates back to Kushana period when emperor Kanishka ruled over India. The fort was captured by Maharaj Ala Singh of Patiala in 1754. The fort houses a Gurdwara, built in memory of Guru Gobind Singh. Bathinda Fort which had withstood the period of Raja Deb (3rd century), one of the ancestors of Vinaipal,

Bathinda was known as Tabarhindh (Labb-ut-Twarikh). The earliest mention of Tabarhindh occurs in the Jami-Ul-Hakayatwritten about 607 Hijri or 1211 AD. The fort, also known as Vikram Garh and Qila I Mubaraq.   In 1754, the fort was rechristened Govindgarh.

Later Bhatinda was changed to Bathinda to conform to the phonetical expression as locally pronounced according to Henry George Raverty,

In 1004, Mahmud of Ghazni besieged the local fort, which was located on the route from the northwest into the rich Ganges valley. Mahmud of Ghazni also visited it and a mention of it is there in Al Biruni’s Kital-ul- Hind.

At the time of Mahummad Ghori’s invasion, it was held by Mangal Rao, a descendent of Rao Hem Hel Bhatti. Mangal Rao, leaving the fort in the command of his son Anand Rao, led a large force to Jaisalmer against Muhammad Ghori.

The father was slain in the battle and the son died during the siege of the fort. Muhammad Ghori left Malik Ziyauddin Taluki as commander of the fort. But soon after his return, Rai Pithaura, popularly known as Prithvi Raj Chauhan, laid a siege to the fort, which continued for more than one year.  Ultimately Malik was left with no option but to concede.

In 1189, Muhammad Ghori attacked and occupied the fort of Bathinda. Prithvi Raj Chauhan, the ruler of this region, managed to recover possession of the fort thirteen months later in 1191 after the first battle of Tarain.

In circa 1754, the town was conquered by Maharaja Ala Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala and since then it followed the history of erstwhile princely state of Patiala. With the dawn of independence and merger of Patiala and East Punjab States into a division called PEPSU, Bathinda become a full-fledged district with headquarters at Bathinda city.

The local legend credits the erection of this fort, to one Raja Dab, an ancestor of Raja Venpal. According to Ain-i Brar Bans (A History of the Faridkot State) the fort, also known as Vikram Garh was built by Bhatti Rao, son of Bala Nand, who became the ruler of Punjab in 279 A.D,

As is well-known, Akbar’s regent Bairam Khan when dismissed from wazarat in 1558, took recourse to rebellion against the Mughal Empire. lt was in the Bathinda fort that he lodged his family before marching towards  Jalandhar.  However, he was defeated by the royal army at Gunachaur, near Rahon.

From the eleventh to the fourteenth century, this fort occasionally attracted the attention of medieval historians who referred to it as Tabar-e-Hind, the strength and glory of India. But the story that emerges out of numerous scraps of information lacks continuity. Only certain episodes are known.

But the fort eventually shot into prominence for the first time when it was captured by Mahmud Ghazni in 1045. Bidjay Roy, the Raja of Bathinda, unable to resist the besiegers fled from the fort and committed suicide.

At the time of Mahummad Ghori’s invasion, it was held by Mangal Rao, a descendent of Rao Hem Hel Bhatti. Mangal Rao, leaving the fort in the command of his son Anand Rao, led a large force to Jaisalmer against Muhammad Ghori. The father was slain in the battle and the son died during ‘ the siege of the fort. Muhammad Ghori left Malik Ziyauddin Taluki as commander of the fort. But soon after his return, Rai Pithaura, popularly known as Prithvi Raj Chauhan, laid a siege to the fort, which continued for more than one year.  Ultimately Malik was left with no option but to concede.

After the middle of the fourteenth century, the fort gradually fades into oblivion. The reason being that the encroaching Thar Desert began to render the route to Multan on which Bathinda was situated, difficult to traverse. Timur completed the process of decline of this route by destroying the cities along this highway during his invasion. The future line to the northwest was to be via Sirhind and Lahore. Hereafter, only a few   references to the fort are known.

Hereafter, once again the fort fades out from the gaze of history until it is known to have been conquered by’ Ala Singh, the Patiala chieftain, in 1754. The fort was rechristened Govindgarh. And most of the structure of the fort as it survives now, date back from its occupation by the Patiala rulers. They held it till the merger of their territory with the Indian Union in 1956.

Thus, this ancient fort which is now among the great archeological attractions of Punjab would be protected and preserved for us and for the posterity to look and to admire at and to have glimpses of the great values of safety and security it stood for.

The Fort is now in a dilapidated state.



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One Mughal Emperor with Two Graves ?????

Chingus-Fort-Sarai-Where Mughal King Jahangir’s Intestines were Buried.

“Nigahen Neechay, Dil-e-ru-baru, Ba mulaiza hoshiyar, Zilay ilahi, Shehnahah-e-Hind diwan-e-khas mein tashreef la rahe hainn.”…………………………………………………………

The above was the valor in the life time of Jahangir……………….

Chingus Fort or Chingus Sarai, is one of the oldest fort that dates back to 16th century. The fort complex houses one of the two graves of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, who died en-route from Kashmir to Delhi. Other one is in Lahore, Pakistan. In order to avoid succession war, Noor Jahan buried the intestine and other abdominal parts of the emperor in the premises of the Sarai to protect the body from decay.

Built by Mughal Emperor Jahangir, this fort is also called “one night fort” as Mughals used it every year to stay for a single night while on their way to Kashmir.

This Fort is a reservoir of many great memories and a big lesson for the generation to learn that Death is ultimate and the mightiest reality in the world.


The Notice Board-Chingus Sarai




Gate Ways to Chingus Fort



Chingus Sarai


Chingus Mosque


Chingus Sarai-Grave


Chingus Sarai-Mosque and Grave

(All Internet Photos)

Chingus Sarai, near Rajouri, is built at the site where Empress Noor Jahan buried the intestines of her husband, Emperor Jahangir, to save the Mughal kingdom, writes Jupinderjit Singh.

It was built during Mughal Kingdom in India who used it during their annual entourage to Kashmir in summer season.
It is the tomb of a Mughal Emperor, built at a place where just one part of his body was buried. That too, an internal organ-Intestines.
Chingus Sarai, a unique relic of the Mughal era, lies 25 km short of Rajouri town and about 130 km from Jammu. It is situated on the Jammu-Rajouri highway, near the Tawi River.

The entrails of Emperor Jehangir are lying buried here in the very center of the Sarai

Jahangir is randomly reported to have visited Kashmir about 27 times and when he went to Kashmir for the last time, he fell ill. In view of the deterioration of his health, Empress Noor Jahan decided to carry him back to the capital Lahore. On the way back to Lahore, Emperor Jahangir breathed his last last in 1627 at Behramgala ( a village near Chandi Marh about 10 kilometers from Buffliaz, Tehsil Surankote Poonch).. Behramgala is an historical gorge with a lofty water-fall called Noori Chhamb named after Noor Jahan-the Empress. According to one view, Behram gala has been named after Baram Khan-the tutor of Akbar-the Great and Akbar is reported to have received his little education at this place.

Noori cham – named after Noor Jahan loving wife of   emperor Jahangir .Noori Cham  is about 1  mile  away   from Bufliaz area this area is blessed by a water fall. Jahangir had constructed a foot step  for   himself from where he used to enjoy the beauty and freshness of this waterfall for   hours together .Richard Temple a   famous   tourist who happened to travel over this track in 1859 he writes that at a distance of 1 mile from Behram gala    there   is small   but   attractive spot   where on   an  ancient   rock   some verses   in   an   unknown  language have been carved by  king Jahangir   after being  impressed by the   beauty  of Noori Cham. At the very left side of Noori Cham there is a place made for a big mirror where Noor Jahan  used   to  dress   herself.

In another version, Noori Cham is also   linked with a   very painful story of Behram   and Hassan Bano. Behram   was  one  of the ministers of  Jahangir and  Hassan Bano  was a  beautiful servant   of   queen  Noor Jahan.  They both fell in love. Once Behram showed his will to marry Hassan Bano  but Noor  Jahan opposed    it bitterly and thereafter, she further conspired   his  killing  and  threw his body inside the fall of Noori Cham. On  hearing this Hassan Bano   also embraced death and dead bodies of these two true lovers  disappeared   in the deep water of Noori Cham.

It is said  that during 1627 when   Jahangir    along with his wife Noor Jahan and his caravan  was   returning  from  Kashmir, he felt ill at Chandimarghand.  One  day during his illness  he ordered one of his  servants to bring a deer for him. Keeping Jahangir’s order servant bought  a deer and  while  bringing  the deer down to base camp the servant slipped to death. On watching his death  Jahangir suffered a  severe  heart attack and on  29 Oct. 1627,  this   painful   incident become cause of his death at Thanna Mandi area

The dead body of the Emperor now was to be carried to Lahore for the last rites to be performed but because it was a to take a long time to reach and in the meantime there was every chance for the cadaver to release stench and smell, so the innards were removed from his body and buried in this Sarai which used to be used as a Transit Camp by Mughals.

There was some apprehension of some revolt for succession in Lahore; hence Noor Jahan did not want to disclose the secret of Emperor’s demise.

She placed the body of Emperor on the elephant inside a type of Palanquin called ‘Kajawa’ in the then language and the caravan set for Lahore.

The dead-body was placed on the elephant as if the Emperor were alive so news of his death could not reach others. The embalmed body of the king, dressed in his usual attire, was made to sit on an elephant in such a way that he appeared hale and hearty.

When the ‘Qafila’ reached Nowshehra, it is said that a girl from Jamwal, who was grazing the cattle on the wayside, all of a sudden came on the way and cried, “Oh! The King has passed away.”

It was a surprise for the Empress, because even most of the ministers and officers did not know about the death despite being within the Emperor’s cabinet. Noor Jahan took the girl aside and enquired of her as to how she knew about this top secret. The girl said, “I have listened to someone saying that not even a bee can dare to sit on the ‘Kajawa’ (Palanquin) of the Mughal Emperor but today I see that a bee is sitting on his Palanquin. I understood his Majesty is no more.” Noor Jahan was surprisingly happy over the wit and wisdom of this young girl and announced the exemption of the entire Jamwal Community of Nowshehra from all kinds of taxes.

Nearly four centuries after this historical act, the site came to be known as Chingus, which means intestines in Persian, The Sarai was otherwise a locked and abandoned historical monument that was in ruins.

This Fort or the Sarai (constructed in random rubbles, large marbles and lakhauri bricks) is divided into two portions-front area also called Shahi Khana or the Royal residence more spacious in expansion which is surrounded by 68 arc-rooms of about 8sqft size. While entering from the main gate to the north 15 rooms are situated on the right side and 12 rooms are on the left side. After stepping into the forte from the first main entrance, we get into a kind ante-chamber to Diwan-e-Khas where the Mughal Emperor used to relax into indolence with his Empress.

After transcending another gate, having two sentry-cabins on either side, one gets exposed to special residential area of the Emperor, surrounded by 41 more guard rooms/ marhs. These marhs or the guard rooms were meant for the royal army to stay and provide protection to the Emperor.

Some of the opinions are there in the annals of the history that these rooms were the ‘Stable rooms’ but this opinion does not appeal to the common sense. Let’s suppose that these rooms were used for the horses then we don’t have as such any other space available in or around the Sarai to accommodate army of the Emperor.

Hence, the horses could have been kept in the open but the army used to stay in these small spaces.

On the right side of the Royal apartment to the south of the Forte lies a small lodge of Emperor with a Hujra or Veiled Rest Room for the Empress exactly at the back of it where no one was allowed to visit excepting the Emperor or the Lady attendants of the Empress.

In front of this residential complex, there is situated a detailed Diwan-e-Aam with an Arch in the east, now converted into the gate, where the Emperor would deliver directions to his army or address his subjects or people in a gathering. The Sarai is decorated with a number of top-holes to the tune of about four hundred and thirty two in total visible around the top of the entire Gothic type structure.

In the middle of the main area inside the Serai is located the tomb where the Royal Entrails have been buried. The tomb is made up of marble and grilled all around. It happens to have been constructed in the corridor of a small-sized mosque, most probably meant for the emperor and some of the very specials to him to perform prayer etc. Standing eastward, on the left there is a small swimming pool for the Emperor and the Empress for use during summer.

Standing in front of the Royal Chamber of Diwan-e-Khas with the face towards north, about 45 degree on the left above the Central gate of the Forte, there is a small round-raised podium which is speculated to have been used by the announcer to announce the arrival of the Emperor with words like, ” Nigahen Neechay, Dil-e-ru-baru, ba mulaiza hoshiyar, Zilay ilahi, Shehnahah-e-Hind diwan-e-khas mein tashreef la rahe hainn.’

However, currently, this fort is in an untidy condition with broken walls and heaps of garbage all around. Due to ill maintenance, a cell on its northern side has collapsed.

Whist visiting Chingus, one can also visit Bafleaz, where, it is said, Alexander’s horse died.



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Some Facts of History-8

1. Lal Kot

Walls of Lal Kot were about 15 feet thick. It seems that there were four gateways, out of which, the western one was called ‘Ranjit Gate’. Later some historians started calling it ‘Ghazni Gate’. The wall of this fort still exists, though not in the same majestic manner.

It is said that outside Ghazni Gate, was the largest slave market of Asia.

The open ground outside it had a huge slave market, which probably was India’s largest. In this market were sold the best of class slaves for all kind of work, concubines, dance girls, wines, opium and all other items that were considered a luxury for the richest during that period,” says Vikramjit Singh Rooprai.


Slave Trade

(Internet Image)

Another interesting fact about Ranjit aka Ghazni Gate is that the kings who ruled Delhi had a bell hung outside it. Anyone who needed justice from the emperor could ring this bell. He was then presented to the king and his wish granted. Several interesting stories from Tomar to Sultanate period float around this bell, showing how justice was dispensed during that period.

s-l300images (1)

Information about these walls and gates, and the stories associated with them is available in the accounts of Ziauddin Barni (Tarikh-i-Firozshahi), Amir Khusro (Nuh Sipir) and Abu Fazil (Ain-i-Akbari). Mentions in the inscriptions about this magnificent city were found in Rajasthan, Palam Baoli of Delhi, Sonepat, Raisina (Delhi) and Narayana (Delhi).

2. Genghis Khan reportedly decided not to conquer India after meeting a unicorn, which bowed down to him; he viewed it as a sign from his dead father and turned his army back.


Genghis Khan



(Internet Images)

3. Jauna Khan became the Wazir of Feroze Shah Tughlaq’s Government. Jauna Khan was as competent as his father but he was no military leader. He failed in the conflict for succession, which began even during the lifetime of Feroz Shah.

Jauna Khan was captured and executed.

Also known as Junan Shah, he built seven large mosques in and around Delhi of which Khirki Masjid is very well known.

The seven Mosques built by Jauna Khan are:

· Khirki Mosque.

· Begampur Mosque.

· Masjid Kalu Sarai.

· Kalan Masjid (Hazrat Nizamuddin).

· Masjid Firoz Shah Kotla.

· Masjid Wakya (Lahori gate).

· Kalan Masjid (Turkaman gate).

4. Why is the tomb of Darya Khan Lohani without inscriptions? And without any covering?


Tomb of Darya Khan Lohani

(Internet Image-Old Image)

5. Salima Sultan w/o Akbar

Salima Sultan is buried in Madarkar Garden Agra.

6. Akbar’s music-loving daughter Meherunnisa (begotten by Queen Daulatabad Begum) fell in love with the court-musician Tansen, and Akbar allowed her to marry him after Tansen underwent conversion from Hinduism to Islam.

(There are some accounts to the effect that Tannu Pandey aka Tansen was converted to Islam, when he was very young, by his Guru Pir Mohammad Ghous of Gwalior).


Tansen’s tomb in Gwalior, near the tomb of his Sufi master Muhammad Ghaus

Many admirers are convinced that his death was caused by a fire while he was singing the raga Deepaka.

7. During the rule of Jahangir, Mirzā Azīz Koka (Khan-i-Azam) lost much of positions, as he along with Raja Man Singh I supported the rebellion of Khusrau Mirza, the eldest son of Jahangir.

Mirza rebellion was crushed in 1606, he was first blinded and later executed.

Mirzā Azīz Koka (Khan-i-Azam) was the son of Shams ud-Din Ataga Khan, the Prime Minister of Akbar and Akbar‘s wet-nurse Jiji Anga. His Turkish sobriquet was “Koka” or “foster-brother,” of Akbar.


The cenotaph of Mirza Aziz Kokaltash, at Chaunsath Khamba Delhi

8. Rauza-i-Munavvara aka Taj Mahal

Shah Jahan had named Mumtaj Mahal’s tomb as Rauza-i-munavvara (The Illumined Tomb)

It got to be known later as Taj Mahal-a corruption of Mumtaj Mahal



9. Qila i Mualla or Qila-i-Mubaraq aka Lal Qila


Qila i Mualla

10. Shah Jahan

Abraham Eraly writes that According to Bernier, Shah Jahan had had constructed under his palace in Dely two deep caves, supported by vast marble pillars.

Piles of Gold were stored in one and those of Silver in the other.

(For safety the precious metals were saved in prodigious sizes, to render them useless for purposes of commerce.)

11. Shah Jahan

On Mumtaj Mahal’s death, Shah Jahan, “gave up the practice of plucking out grey hair” from his beard, says Qazvini.

Mumtaj Mahal’s body was initially kept in a building in the deer park [Ahukhana] while Taj Mahal was being constructed at Agra.

It is said that the casket of Mumtaj Mahal was kept amidst thousands of roses and was made of a special material and design to preserve her body/remains.

download (1)

The actual tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan in the Crypt-Taj Mahal-Agra

12. ‘Gauharara Begum’ aka ‘Dahar Ara Begum’ daughter of “Mumtaz Mahal”

According to legend, when Mumtaz was in labour with her last child, the baby cried in the womb, portending the death of the mother on childbirth.

A woman who died on childbirth was considered a ‘shaheed’ (matyr), and her tomb urs was held. Since Mumtaz Mahal died in childbirth hence her Urs was held.

Mumtaz died in Burhanpur (in present day Madhya Pradesh), on June 17th 1631 while giving birth to their fourteenth child, a daughter, Gauhara Begum.

Gauharara Begum (June 17, 1631 – 1706) aka Gauhar Ara Begum or Dahar Ara Begum, was an Imperial Princess of the Mughal Empire as the fourteenth and last child of the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (builder of the Taj Mahal), and his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to her. Gauharara, however, survived the birth and lived for another 75 years. Little is known about her and whether she was involved in the war of succession for her father’s throne.

Gauharara died in 1706, at the age of 75, from natural causes or disease.

Mumtaz Mahal bore Shah Jahan fourteen children, including popular (and, at times, controversial) historical figures such as Dara Shikoh, Shah Shuja, Roshnara Begum, Jahanara Begum and Aurangzeb, among others.

i) Shahzadi Hluralnissa Begum (1613 – 1616).

ii) Shahzadi (Imperial Princess) Jahanara Begum) (1614 – 1681).

iii) Shahzada (Imperial Prince) Dara Shikoh (1615 – 1659).

iv) Shahzada Mohammed Sultan Shah Shuja Bahadur (1616 – 1660).

v) Shahzadi Roshanara Begum (1617 – 1671).

vi) Badshah Mohinnudin Mohammed Aurangzeb (1618 – 1707).

vii) Shahzada Sultan Ummid Baksh (1619 -1622).

viii) Shahzadi Surayya Banu Begum (1621 – 1628).

ix) Shahzada Sultan Murad Baksh (1624 – 1661).

x) Shahzada Sultan Luftallah (1626 – 1628).

xi) Shahzada Sultan Daulat Afza (1628 – ?).

xii) Shahzadi Husnara Begum (1630 – ?).

xiii) Shahzadi Gauhara Begum (1631 – 1707).

13. Bhaluhipur-Bihar

1748-Muhammad Shah, his son Anwer Ali escaped to his grand Aunt Princess Jahanarra & hid in a place in Arrah, Bihar which was infested with bears which was later named as Bhaluhipur.Bihar which was infested with bears which was later named as Bhaluhipur.

14. Barahkhambaknown for fox hunting by the Englishmen

There was a time when this entire area was known for jackal hunting as in those days the Barahkhamba monument was known for fox hunting by the Englishmen.

The premises also has a small cottage made by a British officer known as Smith.




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Assassination of a Mughal Emperor…………..

Tragically ill Fate of  Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar………………….

Does the Naubat Khana in Red Fort resonate with the cries agony of Farrukhsiyar after imprisonment, starvation, poisoning and blinding………………………………………..?


Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar (r. 1713-1719) after whom the Farrukhnagar was named

by his governor Faujdar Khan, who founded the city in 1732

(Source: Internet)

Abu’l Muzaffar Muin ud-din Muhammad Shah Farrukh-siyar Alim Akbar Sani Wala Shan Padshah-i-bahr-u-bar [Shahid-i-Mazlum] (or Farrukhsiyar, 20 August 1685 – 19 April 1719) was the Mughal Emperor between 1713 and 1719.

He was the son of Azim-ush-Shan—the second son of emperor Bahadur Shah I—and Sahiba Nizwan.

He acquired the throne after murdering Jahandar Shah. He was as a handsome ruler and was given to believing heresay. He was naïve enough and was easily swayed by his advisers. Farrukhsiyar lacked the ability, knowledge and character to rule independently.

His reign witnessed the primacy of the Sayyid Brothers who became the effective powers of the land, behind the façade of Mughal rule. His constant plotting eventually led the Sayyid Brothers to officially depose him.

Farrukhsiyar’s Humiliating and Bloody end

Farrukhsiyar met a humiliating and bloody end, as his constant plotting eventually led the Sayyid Brothers to officially depose him as the Emperor. Farrukhsiyar was imprisoned and starved; later, on 28 February 1719, he was blinded with needles at the orders of the Sayyid Brothers. Farrukhsiyar was strangled to death on the night of 27/28 April 1719.

After accomplishing his assassination, the Sayyid Brothers placed his first-cousin, Rafi-Ul-Darjat on the throne. Rafi-ud-durjat’s father and Farukhsiyar’s father had been brothers.

Farrukhsiyar is believed to be assassinated at Naubat Khana in Red Fort.

Sayyid Brothers

The term ‘Sayyid Brothers’ refers to Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha (1666 – 12 October 1722 CE) and Syed Hussain Ali Khan Barha (1668 – 9 October 1720 CE), who were powerful Mughal Army generals of the Mughal Empire during the early 18th century.

Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha and his court

(Source: Internet)


Syed Hussain Ali Khan and Emperor Farrukhsiyar

(Source: Internet)

The Sayyid Brothers became highly influential in the Mughal Court after Aurangzeb’s death and became kingmakers during the anarchy following the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707

Aurangzeb’s son Bahadur Shah I defeated his brothers to capture the throne with the help of Sayyid Brothers and Nizam-ul-Mulk, another influential administrator in the Mughal court.

Bahadur Shah I died in 1712, and his successor Jahandar Shah was assassinated on the orders of the Sayyid Brothers.

In 1713, Jahandar’s nephew Farrukhsiyar (r. 1713–1719) became the emperor with the brothers’ help.

Cries for Succession of 1712


Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar

(Source: Internet)

When Prince Farrukhsiyar first arrived at Azimabad, Syed Hussain Ali Khan was away on an expedition, apparently the recapture of Rohtas fort of Bihar, which about this time had been seized by one Muhammad Raza “Ravat Khan”. The Sayyids had felt annoyed on hearing that Farrukhsiyar had issued coin and caused the khutba to be read in his father, Prince Azim-ush-shan’s, name, without waiting to learn the result of the impending struggle at Lahore. Thus on his return to his headquarters his first impulse was to decline altogether that Prince’s overtures. In truth, no attempt could well look more hopeless than that upon which Prince Farrukhsiyar wished to enter.

In aid of Farrukhsiyar:

The Prince’s mother now hazarded a private visit to the Sayyids mother, taking with her little granddaughter. Her arguments rested on the fact that the Sayyids position was due to the kindness of the Prince’s father.

Here the Prince’s mother and daughter bared their heads and wept aloud. Overcome by their tears, the Sayyida called her son within the harem. The little girl fell bareheaded at his feet and implored his aid for positive action.

Prince Farrukhsiyar, meanwhile, had marched out with an army along with Syed Hussain Ali Khan Barha from Patna to Allahabad to join Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha as soon as possible.

At the Battle of Agra 1713 fought on 10 January 1713, Prince Farrukhsiyar won decisively and became the Emperor of the Mughal Empire succeeding his uncle Jahandar Shah.

Characteristics of Farrukhsiyar:


Gold Mohur minted by Farrukhsiyar in the Khujista-Bunyad mint

near the end of his reign, 1131 AH (1719)

(Source: Internet)

It is recorded that Farrukhsiyar was given to atrocities, which led to his downfall and ultimately death.

Farukhsiyar had blinded some of the prominent members of the imperial family who had been held in captivity.

Zulfiqar Khan was treacherously murdered on Farrukhsiyar’s order and his property was confiscated.

Asad Khan lingered in misery till his death in 1716 so much so that the elimination of Asad Khan – “the last prominence survived of great age of Aurangzeb” was a political mistake.

All this was done to make it impossible for the Sayyid Brothers to displace him and set up on the throne some other Prince of the house of Babar.

Farukhsiyar also quarreled bitterly with Sayyid Brothers in March 1713 but did not have the courage to strike and he patched up a truce. He continued however to indulge in foolish and perfidious plans to weaken the Sayyid Brothers.

The estrangement reached a climax in 1719 and assisted by Ajit Singh of Marwar who had married his daughter to Farrukhshiyar, the Syed Brothers deposed and murdered the Emperor (the Sayyid were forced into action for their own lives and honour).

Tragic End of Farrukhsiyar


Sheesh Mahal-Farrukhnagar

(Source: Internet)

These differences hence, led to the tragic end of Farrukhsiyar, who was dragged down from his throne, bare headed and bare footed and subjected every moment to blows and vilest abuses.

Thereafter, he was imprisoned, starved, blinded, poisoned and finally strangulated to death.

Farukhshiyar was blinded with needles at the orders of Syed Brothers on 28th February 1719.

It is said he was assassinated in the Naubatkhana of Qila-i-Mulla Aka Qila-i-Mubarak Aka Lal Qila.

Syed Brothers – The King Makers

After deposing Farrukhsiyar (April 1719) the Syed Brothers placed on the throne: i) Rafi-ud-Darajat, a son of Rafi-ush-Shan (the second son of Bahadur Shah I). Then the Syed Brothers enthroned ii) Rafi-ud-Daula with the title of Shah Jahan II, and thereafter, the Syed Brothers put on throne iii) Roshan Akhtar, a son of Shah Jahan (fourth son of Bahadur Shah I). He was placed on the throne under the title of Mohammad Shah [Rangila] in September 1719, who plotted and had the Syed brothers killed.

Muhammad Shah Rangila wanted to take back control of his rule. Hence he arranged for the brothers to be killed with the help of Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah. Syed Hussain Ali Khan was murdered at Fatehpur Sikri in 1720, and Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha was fatally poisoned in 1722.

Evil Begets Evil – End of the Sayyid Brothers



Nizam-ul-Mulk was instated as the Grand Vizier of the Mughal Empire, by Muhammad Shah on 21 February 1722, to overthrow the Sayyid Brothers.

Mir Qamar-ud-din Khan Siddiqi Bayafandi (20 August 1671 – 1 June 1748) was awarded the title Chin Qilich Khan by Aurangzeb in 1690–91. The title Nizam-ul-Mulk was awarded by Farrukhsiyar in 1713 and Asaf Jah (awarded by Muhammad Shah in 1725].

The Sayyid brothers becoming the sole authority of Mughal politics reduced the status of the Turkic and the Irani noblemen in the Mughal court. This excited the jealousy of these nobles, who used to enjoy high status under Emperor Farukhshiyar. As a result, they formed a force of counter-revolution against the Sayyid brothers.

The leader of the Counter Revolution was Nizam-ul-Mulk. To subdue the counter-revolution, the Sayyid brothers shifted Nizam-ul-mulk from Delhi. Nizam was appointed as the Subahdar of Malwa. In due course Nizam captured the forts of Asirgarh and Burhanpur in Deccan. Moreover, Nizam also killed Mir Alam Ali Khan, the adopted son of Syed Hussain Ali Khan, who was the Deputy Subahdar of the Deccan.

Meanwhile, in Delhi a plot was devised against the Sayyid brothers. Nizam-ul-mulk ultimately killed Syed Hussain Ali Khan on 9 October 1720. Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha with a big army set out to avenge his brother`s murder. But Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha was defeated at Hasanpur near Palwal (Haryana) in 15–16 November in the same year and later he was poisoned to death on 12 October 1722. Thus the protracted career of the Sayyid brothers came to an end.


The Cambridge Shorter History of India


Textbook of Indian History and Culture

By Sailendra Nath Sen

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Daughter of Bahlul Lodi: Taj Murassa Begum aka Taj Bibi aka Subhan Begum

Taj Murassa Begum aka Taj Bibi aka Subhan Begum was the daughter of Bahlul Lodi and sister of mighty Sikandar Lodi

DayghterofBahlulLodhi (1)

Tomb of Mir-i-Miran, Sayyed Amir Ali, Sirhind Also known as Tomb of Bibi Subhan (Internet Photo)

The Tomb of Bibi Subhan aka Taj Murassa Begum aka Taj Bibi, is situated in Sirhind. It is said to be constructed most likely in the year 1497-98 A.D.
It is recorded that it was the tomb of Subhan Bibi. [Death on Friday, 11 of Safar 901 Hijri = 30 Oct. 1495 (at the time of Sikandar Lodi)].
Subhan Bibi was the Begum (wife) of Mir-i-Miran and daughter of Sultan Bahlol Lodi.
The stones with carved pillars and sculptures depicting animate motifs have been built in the dome, suggesting that the stones were appropriated from some ancient building.

There are two graves under the dome of the tomb. One is of Subhan Bibi (as recorded) and the second grave may be of her husband Mir-i-Miran.

Bahlul Lodi was crowned as Sultan at Sirhind. As a gesture of goodwill and obligation, he gifted a jagir to Mir-i-Miran and also gave his daughter in matrimony, as it was customary in those days for the Sultans and Kings to donate their daughters to the holy.

Sirhind Tomb is special in that it was built in the memory of a Muslim woman.

Tomb of Mir-i-Mran Sirhind: is located 5 kilometers away from Aam Khas Bagh and is connected by a link road. At the tomb, there are two sand stone inscriptions, out of which only one is legible. It reads: “Subhan daughter of Bahlol Lodi, who died on Friday, 11 of Safar 901 Hijri.” The other grave, there, it is conjectured, should be of Mir-i-Miran, Amir Sayyid, the son-in-law of the Sultan Bahlul Lodhi.
The tomb is built on a square platform. Its semicircular dome is supported by a eight sided neck. That has fluted pillars in the four cardinal directions.

DaughterofBahlulLodhi (2)

Tomb of Bahlul Lodi-Delhi (Internet Photo)


Coins (Internet Photo)

Bahlul Lodi

In 1451, one night, Sultan Bahlol Lod camped at Maler on his way to conquer Delhi. It was a stormy night and the only lamp aflame was in the hut on the mound. Bahlol went to meet the man whose lamp the harsh winds could not extinguish. Sheikh Sardarud-din welcomed Bahlol into his hut and prophesied that Delhi would indeed be his. When Bahlol accomplished his mission (after conquering Delhi) the Sultan returned and in 1454 married his daughter Taj Murassa Begum to Sheikh Sardarud-din, and gave her a number of villages in the region as a marriage portion. The Sheikh and his Afghan wife had two children–a daughter, Bibi Mangi, and a son, Hassan. In 1458, Sheikh Sardarud-din also married the daughter of Rai Bahram Bhatti, the Rajput ruler of Kapurthala, a nearby principality, and had two more sons, ‘Isa and Musa’.

Bahlol Lodi (died 12 July 1489) was chief of the Pashtun Lodi tribe   and founder of Lodi dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate upon the abdication of the last claimant from the previous Sayyid rule.

Bahlul became sultan of the dynasty on 19 April 1451 (855 AH).

Early life

Bahlul’s grandfather, Malik Bahram, settled in Multan during the reign of Firuz Shah Tughluq and took service under the governor of Multan, Malik Mardan Daulat.

Malik Bahram had a total of about five sons. His eldest son, Malik Sultan Shah Lodi, later served under the Sayyid dynasty ruler Khizr Khan

In his youth, Bahlul was involved in the trading of horses and once sold his finely bred horses to the Sayyid dynasty Sultan Mohammad Shah. As a payment he was granted a pargana and raised to the status of amir.

After the death of Malik Sultan, he became the governor of Sirhind. He was allowed to add Lahore to his charge. Once, Sultan Muhammad Shah asked for his help when the Malwa Sultan Mahmud Shah I invaded his territory.

Bahlul joined the imperial army with 20,000 mounted soldiers. By his cleverness, he was able to project himself as a victor over the army of the Malwa Sultan and Sultan Muhammad Shah conferred on him the title of Khan-i-Khanan. He also accepted Bahlul’s occupation over a large part of Punjab.

In 1443, Bahlul attacked Delhi but he did not succeed.

During the reign of last Sayyid ruler Sultan Alam Shah, Bahlul again made another unsuccessful attempt to capture Delhi in 1447. Finally, when Alam Shah retired to Badaun in 1448, a minister of Alam Shah, Hamid Khan invited him to occupy the throne of Delhi.

After the voluntary abdication of the throne by Alam Shah, Bahlul Shah ascended the throne of Delhi on 19 April 1451 and adopted the title of Bahlul Shah Ghazi. Alam Shah continued to live in Badaun till his death in July 1478.

The tomb of the founder of the Lodi dynasty lies close to the shrine of the noted Sufi saint, Nasiruddin Chirag-e-Delhi, in a locality that goes by his name, ‘Chirag Delhi’.


Tomb of Bahlul Lodi at Chirag Delhi (Internet Photo)

After ascending to the throne, Bahlul decided to dispose of Hamid Khan.

His cousin and brother-in-law Malik Mahmud Khan alias Qutb-ud-din Khan (Governor of Samana) imprisoned Hamid Khan.

In 1486, he appointed his son, Babrak Shah as viceroy of Jaunpur. In time, this proved to be problematic, as his second son, Nizam Khan (Sikandar Lodi) was named successor, and a power struggle ensued upon his death in 1489.

The Reign

After ascending to the throne, Bahlul decided to dispose of Hamid Khan. His cousin and brother-in-law Malik Mahmud Khan alias Qutb-ud-din Khan (Governor of Samana) imprisoned Hamid Khan.

In 1479, Sultan Bahlul Lodi defeated and annexed  Sharqi dynasty based at Jaunpur. Bahlul did much to stop rebellions and uprisings in his territories, and extended his holdings over  Gwalior Jaunpur  and upper Uttar Pradesh

Just like the previous Delhi Sultans, he kept Delhi the capital of his kingdom. In 1486, he appointed his son, Babrak Shah as viceroy of Jaunpur. In time, this proved to be problematic, as his second son, Nizam Khan (Sikandar Lodi) was named successor, and a power struggle ensued upon his death in 1489.


Buhlul Lodi died in l489, near the town of Jalali, 1489 after a long reign.His tomb is located adjacent to the shrine of the famous Sufi saint, Nasiruddin Chirag-e-Delhi, in Chirag Delhi area of South Delhi.

His tomb is a drab place compared to other mausoleums. It is a square chamber with three arched openings on all sides, surmounted by five domes, the central one being the biggest. Quranic verses are inscribed on the arches but there is hardly any other ornamentation.

Bahlul married three times [and had 9 Sons (Known)]
  • · Shams Khatun, daughter of Malik Shah Sultan Lodhi, his first cousin.
  • · Bibi Ambha, daughter of a hindu goldsmith.
  • · Bibi Sitti Maghula, daughter of Malik Majhi Fath-mulk.

Founder of the Lodi dynasty,

Bahlul (also written as Buhlol, Bahlol and Buhlul) Khan Lodi was the founder of the Lodi dynasty, the last of the five dynasties, the combination of which is known as Delhi sultanate. The Lodis , who were Afghan by race, ruled for seventy five years from 1451-1526 till their last ruler Ibrahim Lodi was defeated and killed by Babur in the First battle of Panipat in 1526 resulting in the establishment of Mughal empire in India.

Buhlul Lodi ruled for long thirty-nine years (1451-89). He was the governor of Lahore and Sirhind during the rule of Muhammad Shah of Sayyid dynasty. In 1451, Buhlul was given the throne of Delhi on a platter by Muhammad’s son Ala-ud-din Alam Shah, the last of the Sayyids.

Characteristics of Bahlul Lodhi

i) Bahlol Lodi was one of the Afghan sardars who established himself in Punjab after invasion of Timur.

ii) He founded the Lodi dynasty. He founded the rule of the Lodhi dynasty by usurping the throne from the last of the Sayyid rulers.

iii) He was a strong and brave ruler. He tried to restore the glory of Delhi by conquering territories around Delhi and after continuous war for 26 years, he succeeded in extending his authority over Jaunpur, Rewail, Itawah, Mewar, Sambhal, and Gwalior etc.

iv) He was a kind and generous ruler. He was always prepared to help his subjects. Though he was himself illiterate, he extended his patronage to art and learning.

v) He died in 1488.

The Tomb of Subhan

The Tomb of Subhan, located near Dera Mir Miran in the Punjab state of India. Subhan was the daughter of Sultan Bahlul Lodi, who lived from 1451-89. Her tomb is a square building with a domed roof made of a type of blue sandstone not native to the Punjab region. The walls are decorated with glazed tiles and flower medallions.

Inscriptions on the building state the year of the death of Subhan, the dates of the monuments construction, and verses from the Quran. Stylistic differences between the Tomb of Subhan and contemporaneous tombs in Dehli are noted.

Tomb of Haj-o-Taj:

Close to Roza Taj Bibi tomb where the remains of Subhan, daughter of Behlol Lodhi lie are two mausoleums of two queens of some king whose names were Haj-Un-Nisa and Taj-Un-Nisa and hence the name of the mausoleums Haj-o-Taj.

About: Shaikh Sadr ud-din [Hazrat Shaikh] (1454 – 1508)

Shaikh Sardar ud-din [Haidar Shaikh], Rais of Maler. Born at Daraban, Afghanistan, 1437, elder son of Shaikh Ahmad Zinda Pir, eleventh in descent from Shah ‘Izz ud-din Husain I Ghori, Shahanshah of Persia.

Shaikh Sadr ud-din received the villages of Maler, Hadiya, Barnala, Phul, Mahraj, Longawal, Sankhera, Pail, Chumkaur, Amrgarh, Balian and Amloh in dowry, from the Sultan of Delhi, (Bahlul Lodhi) in 1454.

He founded the town of Maler, in 1461. He is also known as Sardar-i-Jahan (chief judicial officer) at the court of Delhi. Married (first) at Delhi, 1454, Taj Murassa Begum, daughter of Sultan Bahlol Lodhi, Sultan of Delhi. Thatn hr married (second) in 1458, Bhatianiji Begum, a Rajput lady from the family of Rai Bahram Bhatti [Kapura], of Kapurthala.

He died at Maler, 1508, having had issue, three sons and one daughter:
1) Shaikh ‘Isa, Rais of Maler (s/o Taj Murassa Begum).
2) Shaikh Hassan-born at Maler, 1475 (s/o Taj Murassa Begum). Disinherited by his father in 1508. He died before 1538.
3) Shaikh Musa. Born at Maler, 1483 (s/o Taj Murassa Begum). He d.s.p.v.p.
4) Hajjiah Bibi Mango. Born at Maler, 1471 (d/o Taj Murassa Begum). Married into an Afghan or Muslim Rajput family in Tohana, near Jakhal, in the Hissar district. She became a widow, five years after her marriage (burial Tohana).

Sikandar Lodi


Sikander Lodi’s Mausoleum-Lodi Garden-Delhi (Internet Photo)

Sikander Lodi (died 21 November 1517), born Nizam Khan, was the Sultan of Delhi from 1489 to 1517. He became the next ruler of the Lodi dynasty after the death of his father Bahlul Lodi in July 1489.

The second and most successful ruler of the Lodi dynasty of the Delhi sultanate, he was also a poet of the Persian language and prepared a diwan of 9000 verses. Of the three Lodi Sultans namely Bahlul Lodi (1451 to 1489), Sikandar Lodi (1489 to 1517) and Ibrahim Lodi (1517 to 1526), Sikandar Lodi is regarded as the ablest, the greatest and the most successful Sultan.

Most of the time of Bahlul Lodi was spent in checking revolts and consolidating his position. There was very little left at his disposal for bringing about administrative reforms. Ibrahim Lodi led to the downfall of the Lodi dynasty.

As compared with these two Sultans, Sikandar Lodi gave ample evidence of his qualities as a general, as an administrator, a consolidator of the empire and a man of letters.

He wrote poetry in Persian using the pen name Gulrukhi.

Occasional tours in disguise

Very often the Sultan toured in disguise to have the first hand information about the condition of the people and the activities of the Amirs and the Ulemas.

He died in 1517 and has an elaborate burial tomb that resides in Lodi Gardens, Delhi.

Charcteristics of Sikandar Lodi

  • Sikandar Lodi was the son of Bahlol Lodi who conquered Bihar and Western Bengal.
  • He shifted his capital from Delhi to Agra, a city founded by him.
  • Sikandar was a fanatical Muslim and he broke the sacred images of the Jwalamukhi Temple at Naga Kot and ordered the temples of Mathura to be destroyed.
  • He took a keen interest in the development of agriculture. He introduced the Gaz-i-Sikandari (Sikandar’s yard) of 32 digits for measuring cultivated fields.
  • He was a staunch Sunni and a Muslim fanatic. He lacked religious tolerance. In the name of religion, he perpetuated untold cruelties on the Hindus.


Maqbara Taj Bibi (Internet Photo)



e Books

Bahlol Lodi
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia

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The Concubine of Aurangzeb-Udaipuri Mahal


Udaipuri Mahal Sahiba (died soon after 8 June 1707 date of death of Aurangzeb), was a concubine to Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

When Aurangzeb died she grieved so deeply and died within just four months at Gwalior.

Udaipuri Mahal Sahiba died at Gwalior, shortly after 8th June 1707. She was buried in an alcove at the Shrine of Qutb al-Aqtab, Delhi.

So many old graves are there, I have to go there again to establish her grave (if I can).

In July 1707 Bahadur Shah I carried out her dying wishes with regard to her household and had forwarded her remains for burial in a grove close to the shrine of Qutb-al Aqtab Delhi.

Udaipuri Mahal Sahiba was a slave girl, and not a wedded wife of Aurangzeb. This is complimented by Aurangzeb’s own words. When her son Muhammad Kam Bakhsh intrigued with the enemy at the siege of Jinji, Aurangzeb angrily remarked, — ‘A slave-girl’s son comes to no good.’…..

Her probable origins


The contemporary Venetian traveler Manucci speaks of her as a Georgian slave-girl of Dara Shikoh’s harem, who, on the downfall of her first master, became the concubine of his victorious rival.
She seems to have been a very young woman at the time, as she first became a mother in 1667, when Aurangzeb was verging on fifty.
Another version is there that Udaipuri Bai, was probably the daughter of a Sisodia Thakur from Jodhpur, or a Kashmiri girl originally from the harem of Prince Dara Shikoh. (Killed at the orders of Aurangzeb).
In a letter written by Aurangzeb on his death-bed to Kam Bakhsh, he says “Udaipuri, your mother, who has been with me during my illness, wishes to accompany [me in death].

“From this expression Tod, infers, “Her desire to burn shews her to have been a Rajput.”.
But others opine that such an inference is wrong, because a Hindu princess on marrying a Muslim king lost her caste and religion, and received Islamic burial.
No Rajputni of the harem of any of the Mughal emperor has ever burnt herself with her deceased husband, for the very good reason that a Muslim’s corpse is buried and not burnt.

Evidently Udaipuri meant that she would kill herself in passionate grief on the death of Aurangzeb.

Udaipuri Mahal – Mother of Muhammad Kam Bakhsh

Udaipuri Mahal had mothered Muhammad Kam Bakhsh and Hijat Un-Nisa Begum.
She retained her youth and influence over the Emperor till his death, and was the darling of his old age.

Under the spell of her beauty he pardoned the many faults of Kam Bakhsh.
Aurangzeb also overlooked Udaipuri Mahal’s freaks of drunkenness, which must have shocked so pious a Muslim.



An Anecdote

“During the campaign of Marwar over Ajit Singh, s/o Late Jaswant Singh, Aurangzeb himself was encircled in a precipice by the Rajputs. The Rajput closed the back movement of the Mughal army by felling the overhanging trees.”

“Aurangzeb’s favorite, Udaipuri Begum, who was also accompanying him in the war was also encircled in another part of mountain. She however surrendered and was taken to
Rana, who treated her with utmost respect.”

“Meanwhile, Aurangzeb and his garrison were without food and water for two days. The Emperor would have died of hunger if the siege had continued. The Mughals however cried for Rana’s clemency.”

“A treaty was signed between Rana and Aurangzeb. It was promised on Aurangzeb’s behalf that in future sacred animals would not be slaughtered. The magnanimous Rana ordered his forces to withdraw from their stations so that way could be cleared for Mughal army to withdraw along with their emperor.”

“The Begum, Udaipuri Mahal, with her retinue was also sent to the Emperor, who had withdrawn to Chittor.”

Colonel Tod comments on the incident: “But for repeated instances of ill-judged humanity, the throne of Mughals might have been completely overturned”. (Annals & Antiquities of Rajasthan, Vol. I p. 379).

Aurangzeb learnt nothing from the defeat. Once out of danger, Aurangzeb forgot the promise of not slaughtering the cows and the clemency of Rana. Aurangzeb continued the war claiming that Rana’s generosity was the result of fear of future vengeance by the Mughals.

Her son-Muhammad Kam Bakhsh

Kam Baksh is also called ‘a dancing-girl’s son’ Orme speaks of her as a Circassian, evidently on the authority of Manucci. Aurangzeb had a special liking for Udaipuri Mahal, so her co-wives were very jealous of her.
He bestowed upon her all the accouterments of a Queen. In 1678 in a battle against the Rana of Chittor and the Raja of Marwar, Udaipuri accompanied Aurangzeb. In the 28th year of Aurangzeb’s reign, Udaipuri Mahal was in Aurangabad or Ahmadnagar with Aurangzeb.


A portrait
The son of Udaipuri Mahal, Muhammad Kam Bakhsh
Shahzada of the Mughal Empire
King of Bijapur
Kam Baksh aka Muhammad Kam Bakhsh (Full name)

His Spouse/s (Known)

Fakhr Jahan Khanam
Azarm Banu Begum
Kalyan Kaur

His Issue/s (Known)

Umed Bakhsh
azarm banu begum

Kam Bakhsh Born on 7 March 1677 at Delhi, was the fifth son of sixth Mughal emperor Aurangzeb through a Georgian/Hindu concubine Udaipuri Mahal.

Kam Bakhsh was married to Fakhr Jahan Khanam, the daughter of Barkhurdar Beg. Later that year, he married Kaliyan Kaur (rechristened as Jamilat-un-Nisa), the daughter Amar Chand Singh and sister of Jagjit Singh of Manoharpur. His third wife was Azarm Banu Begum, daughter of Muazzam Khan.

His sons were Umaid Bakhsh, Muhammad Muhi-us-Sunnat Mirza (married to Fatima Begum, daughter of Prince Sulaiman Shikoh and grand daugther of Dara Shikoh), Muhammad Firuzmand Mirza, Bariqu’llah Mirza and Muhi ul-Millat Mirza. He had also a daughter, Hayat-un-Nisa Begum who was married to Muhammad Karim who was the son of Azim-us-Shan.

Death of Kam Baksh whilst fighting with Bahadur Shah I

On 20 December 1708, Kam Bakhsh marched towards Talab-i-Mir Jumla, on the outskirts Hyderabad with “three hundred camels, twenty thousand rockets” for the war against Bahadur Shah I.
Shah made his son Jahandar Shah the commander of the vanguard, but was replaced by Khan Zaman. On 12 January 1709, Shah finally reached Hyderabad and set up his tent training his troops. With little money and soldiers left, Kam Bakhsh was sure of his victory due to the foretelling of the royal astrologer who predicted that he would “miraculously” win the battle.
On 13 January, Shah’s army charged towards him. The troops were divided in two bodies – one was under the commandant of Mumin Khan and was assisted by Rafi-ush-Shanand Jahan Shah and the second under Zulfikar Khan. There was an estimation of fifteen thousand soldiers in Shah’s army. After two hours from sunrise, the emperor’s troops surrounded Kam Bakhsh’s camp. Being impatient, Khan attacked him with his “small force”.

With his soldiers being outnumbered and unable to resist the attack, Kam Bakhsh himself started shooting arrows at the enemy, finishing two quiver-full of arrows. Irvine writes that when he was “weakened by loss of blood” the opposition surrounded him and took him and his son Bariqullah as prisoners. However a dispute rose among Mumin Khan and Zulfikar Khan about who had actually captured him. Rafi-us-Shan solved the matter by attributing it to the latter.

He was taken by a palanquin to Shah’s camp where he was made to rest on a bed. Shah went to his bedside and said “I had no desire to see you reduced to this state”. Shah himself also washed the wounds from his body and replaced his blood stained clothes, besides forcing him to take “few spoonful’s of food”.

The next morning on 14 January 1708, Kam Bakhsh died.

After ten days, his body was sent to Delhi for burial, and was hence buried in Humayun’s Tomb on 23 January 1709, Delhi.




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Some Facts of History-7

1. Sabz Burj (Green tower).
One of the most interesting facts about the little known history  of Sabz Burj (Green tower) is that for several years during British rule, the Sabz Burj (Green tower) was used as a police station. It is located close to the Humayun’s Tomb Complex.

Sabz Burj literally means the ‘Green Dome’ but its nowhere close to green in color. In fact, now the tower is referred to as “Neeli Chattri” (Blue umbrella) because of its shiny blue colored dome.

The tower was supposedly built in between 1530-50 A.D though it is not known who commissioned it. The medium height, octagonal tower is influenced by Central Asian architecture. It consists of alternating wide & narrow sides. One can still see green, yellow and blue tiles in varied patterns on its drum


Sabz Burj: the green dome. Photo courtesy: Aga Khan Trust.

This is a monument in the Nizamuddin area of south-east Delhi.


2. Colonel James Skinner (1778 – 4 December 1841) (East India Company officer)

He was an Anglo-Indian military adventurer in India, who became known as Sikandar Sahib later in life, His father was Lieutenant-Colonel Hercules Skinner, an officer in the East India Company Army of Scottish origin, while his mother was a Rajput princess, daughter of a zamindar, she was taken prisoner at the age of fourteen. When he was 12 years old his mother committed suicide.


Colonel James Skinner


3. Mother of Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana. Khanzada Jamal Khan Mewatti was the nephew of Hasan Khan, opponent of Babar. He had 2 beautiful daughters, the elder was married by Humayun and he asked Bairam Khan to marry the younger daughter, who became the m/o Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana. Humayun did this for establishing a political alliance with Khanzadas of Mewattii.

Rahim’s mother ———-??? was the daughter of Jamal Khan of Mewat ?????


Khan-i-Khana’s Tomb

Internet photo

Alwar has been a part of Matsya region of olden times whose capital was Viratnagar. “Alwar” was formerly known as “Ulwar”. Alwar is named after a Khanzada ruler, Alawar Khan, who established his kingdom in this region in 1412. Alawar is descendent of Chandrawanshi rajput Nahar Khan who converted to Islam in thirteenth century during Firuz Shah Tughlak’s regime. Hasan Khan Mewati is descendent of Khanzada (Raj put) Nahar Khan. Khanzada Hasan Khan fought against invader Babar and later on Hasan Khan’s nephew Jamal Khan gave his two daughters to Humanyun and Bairam khan in marriage. Bairam khan’s son from this marriage was later known as famous Raheem Khan-e- Khana, he was Akbar’s navratna. In the 1550s, Khanzada Rajput king of Ulwar was overthrown by Akbar’s military campaign to encircle Mewar Kingdom. Akbar said to have arranged to killed his former Regent, Bairam Khan while the latter was on his way to Hajj; after he had been court martialled by the Emperor for his blood thirst.

4. Chor Minar – A tower with a gory past history

Chor Minar or ‘Tower of Thieves’ is a 13th-century minaret with 225 holes, situated just off Aurobindo Marg in the Hauz Khas area, in New Delhi.
It was built under the rule of Alauddin Khilji, of the Khilji dynasty (1290–1320) in the thirteenth century.
According to local legends, it was a ‘tower of beheading’, where the severed heads of thieves were displayed on spear through its 225 holes, to act as a deterrent to thieves, though some historian suggest that the Khilji king slaughtered a settlement of Mongol people, nearby, to stop them from joining with their brethren in another Mongol settlement in Delhi, the present day locality of ‘Mongolpuri’.
During wars, only the heads of chiefs were displayed; those of common soldiers were simply piled into pyramids.”


Chor Minar

5. Maham Anga also built a mosque, ‘Khairul Manazil’ ca 1561 CE in Mughal architecture. It later served as a madarsa, and now stands opposite, Purana Qila, Delhi on Mathura Road, south east to Sher Shah Gate. It was here that a slave tried to kill Akbar, after his return from hunting and moving towards Nizamuddin Dargah, but the arrow hit a soldier in his entourage instead, who was hurt, albeit not gravely.


Khairul-Manazil Mosque

Internet photo

This rubble built masjid called Khair-ul- Manazil, , the most auspicious of edifices’ with five arched openings in its prayer hall, double-storeyed cloisters and an imposing gateway of red sandstone on the east, was built in A.D. 1561 by Maham Anga, wet nurse of Akbar, with the assistance of Shihabuddin Ahmed Khan, a powerful courtier and relation of Maham Anga, during the reign of Akbar.


An Attempt to Assassinate Akbar at Delhi, 1564-from the Akbarnama
This illustration depicts an attempt on the life of the Mughal emperor Akbar (r.1556–1605) at Delhi in 1564.

Akbar is shown in white on horseback clutching an arrow. His retainers pursue the would-be assassins and kill one of them.

By Jagan with Bhawani the Elder and faces by Madhav, c. 1590-95, (watercolor on paper, 33.8 x 19.4 cm.), Victoria and Albert Museum, London

6. Ashiqa-Deval Rani-Khizr Khani

“King Karan fled with his daughter Devala devi but his wife Kamala Devi was seized by Alauddin Khalji’s general but on the way back to Delhi on reaching Jhalore the queen was released by Devda Rajput of Jhalore and King Karan’s general”.
“They fled from there in jungle to reach Baglan but on the way, the queen died due to serious wound caused while escaping”.
“Another version says that Kamala Devi, ex-wife of King Karan Dev was now Alauddin Khiljis Mallika-i-Jahan. She wished to secure Deval Devi who was about six months old when Gujarat was invaded in 1297. She was saved and carried by her father to the South”
“Karan Dev was defeated and turned out of Ellichpur. His daughter Deval Rani fell into the hands of Alp Khans soldiers near Ellora Caves. She was taken to Delhi and married to Khijr Khan-Crown Prince (Alluddin Khilji’s Son), after a few years”.

Deval Rani’s mother-Kamala Devi and Khijr Khan’s mother- Mahru were Alauddin Khilji’s wives. Hence Khijr Khan and Deval Devis fondness was disliked, so they had absconded to Delhi. Finally they were married after many objections.


Khizr Khan Deval Devi

Source Internet 

7. Another opinion on Lal Gumbad- Malviya Nagar Delhi

Sufi saint Shaikh Kabiruddin Auliya lived here and after he died, he was buried here. (During later part of Tughlaq rule) – Kabiruddin Auliya was disciple/ student of Shaikh Roshan Chirag-e Dilli who was disciple/ student of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.

Feroze Shah Tughlaq had designated Lal Gumbad as his tomb but later he gave it to Kabiruddin Auliya.

There is some debate among historians, on who made this tomb. – Agha Menhdi Hussain says, “this tomb was made by Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq for himself”.

But, Persi Bown opines that the tomb was built during Gyasuddin Tughlaq period. This tomb is very similar to Sultan Gyasuddin Tughlaq’s tomb in Tughlaqabad.

But it is also believed that it was Muhammad Tughlaq who built it as his rest house/ vacation place (aaramgaah). It’s also possible that he made it as his own tomb

Western wall has iron “Raqaabs”. It’s believed to be thieves’ work to climb the wall and steal gold “Kalash”.-Hence it is also called Raqabwala Gumbad.

392101_prw Lal Gumbad

Raqabwala Gumbad

Source Internet


Raqabwala Gumbad aka Lal Gumbad

8. Rauza-i-Munavvara aka later Taj Mahal

335079-shah-jahans-357th-urs-celebrated-at-taj-mahal (1)

Source Internet

Shah Jahan had named Mumtaj Mahal’s tomb as Rauza-i-Munavvara
(The Illumined Tomb)
It got to be known later as Taj Mahal-a corruption of Mumtaj Mahal

9. Salima Sultan w/o Akbar and Step M/o Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana


Source Internet

Salima Sultan is buried in Madarkar Garden Agra.

10.  Shah Jahan


Source Internet

Abraham Eraly writes that According to Bernier, Shah Jahan had had constructed under his palace in Dely two deep caves, supported by vast marble pillars.

Piles of Gold were stored in one and those of Silver in the other.
(For safety the precious metals were saved in prodigious sizes, to render them useless for purposes of commerce.)

11. Akbar’s music-loving daughter – Meherunnisa (begotten by Queen Daulatabad Begum) fell in love with the court-musician Tansen, and Akbar allowed her to marry him after Tansen underwent conversion from Hinduism to Islam.


Source Internet

(There are some accounts to the effect that Tannu Pandey aka Tansen was converted to Islam, when he was very young, by his Guru Pir Mohammad Ghous of Gwalior).

12.  Genghis Khan reportedly decided not to conquer India after meeting a unicorn, which bowed down to him; he viewed it as a sign from his dead father and turned his army back.

Genghis Khan Monument, Sukhbaatar Square, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Genghis Khan Monument, Sukhbaatar Square, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia


Source: Internet.

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Sultan Feroze Shah Tughlaq – Kotla Feroze Shah-Kushki Feroze……………………

Kotla Feroze Shah-Kushki Feroze – Woh khat, woh khutoot aur woh illtaja…….”Minar-e-Zareen…….” “Lat wale Baba…..”, “Djinnat……….”


Dama Dam Mast Qualandar- Kotla Feroze Shah

Internet Photo of Painting

“……………When the Moghuls took over, Kotla was a forsaken building and the haunt of sufis and mast kalandars. The latter were a sect of derveshes who wore camel skin shirts or just wrapped themselves up in blankets. They were generally big, sturdy men, neglectful of their hygiene, who went about beating themselves with iron chains or brandishing huge steel fire-tongs……”

“Now, you don’t find mast kalandars in the Kotla, but the sufis are still there. Go on a Thursday and you will find them in full sway”

“People do not flock to see them but seek the intervention of jinns in their daily lives”

(RV Smith)


Baba Mast Qualandar and the Kotla-Feroze Shah

Internet Photo


Entrance of the Cave at Feroze Shah Kotla


Delhi Caravan

“DJinn” Ke Paas Hoti Hain Umer Bhar Ki Yadain,

“Who” Log Tanhai Mein Bhi Tanha Nahi Hotay…..


                                                                                            January 2014

Feroze Shah Tughluq


Old Image of Tomb Feroze Shah Tughlaq at “Tararabad” – ‘the city of joy’

Internet Photo

“Tughlaq” is a name which originated from “Qutluq”.

Feroze Shah was the son of Malik Rajab and a Hindu princess. Name of Mother of Feroz Shah Tughluq was Bibi Nala, Hindu princess of Dipalpur Bhatti Rajput girl.

I read in an old book the following account: “On entering the house of Sipahsalar Rajjab (Feroze Shah Tughlaq’s father), she was styled Sultan Bibi Kadbanu. After the lapse of a few years she gave birth to Firoz shah.

As Muhammad bin Tughlaq left no son, his cousin Feroze Shah Tughlaq ascended the throne as Sultan. Rajab was the younger brother of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq.

Feroze Shah Tughlaq (r. 1351–88), the Sultan of Delhi, established the fortified city of Ferozabad in 1354, as the new capital of the Delhi Sultanate, and included in it the site of the present Feroze Shah Kotla. Kotla literally means fortress or citadel.



Internet Photo

Feroze Shah Kotla was popularly known as Kushk-i-Feroz, meaning Feroze’s palace in earlier times.

Feroze Shah’s lath [Delhi]. (British Library Archives)
Part of a portfolio of photographs taken in 1858

by Major Robert Christopher Tytler and his wife, Harriet.


These images have been reproduced with the permission of ASI.

It appears at Plate II & III in their publication:  MASI No. 52, A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi,

published by Archaeological Survey of India, 1937, Reprint 1999. )


“Delhi-Its Monuments and History”

Map by Percival Spear

Internet Photo


Jami Masjid of Feroze Shah Kotla

Internet Photo

Jami Masjid of Feroze Shah Kotla

The Jami Masjid had four cloisters arranged in a rectangle, its small domed roofs supported on 260 stone columns of 16 feet high each; and having a 25 feet high central octagonal dome – that contained the Emperor’s ordinances – in the middle of the courtyard supported on a circular shaft. It must have been felt necessary to build a northern entrance gateway, rather than from the customary eastern side, because the river ran along its eastern edge. Narrow staircases for the zenana were present in the thickness of the western wall.

Timur was so impressed with the Masjid that he carried with him the sculptors, stone-masons and stucco-workers to build a similar mosque back home in Samarkand in December 1398. The layout of the Kotla Masjid was adapted to build his colossal Bibi Khanum Mosque at Samarkand – ‘whose dome would have been unique had it not been for the heavens, and unique would have been its portal had it not been for the Milky Way ’ –  by the same Indian workmen from 1399-1404, using 95 elephant loads of exquisite precious gems and marbles and construction materials ferried from India, Samarkand Jami mosque’s vaulted roofs were supported on 480 marble pillars, with slender minarets at each corner, its walls and brass doors inscribed with Koranic verses.

Death of a Mughal Emperor at Feroze Shah Kotla

Feroze Shah Kotla has seen it all. Murder, intrigue, jealousy and one just has to name it.

Talking of murder most foul, a Mughal Badshah On ascending the throne, Aziz-ud-din Alamgir II, took the title of Alamgir and tried to follow the approach of Aurangzeb Alamgir.

At the time of his accession to throne he was an old man of 55 years. He had no experience of administration and warfare as he had spent most of his life in jail. He was a weak ruler, with all powers vested in the hand of his Wazir, Ghazi-ud-Din Imad-ul-Mulk.

In November 1759, the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II was told that a pious man had come to meet him, Alamgir II, ever so eager to meet holy men, set out immediately to meet him at Kotla Fateh Shah, he was stabbed repeatedly by Imad-ul-Mulk’s assassins.

It is said that Alamgir II was stabbed just as he emerged from the tunnel at the foot of Jami Masjid of Feroze Shah Kotla. This Tunnel most probably connected Red Fort aka Qila-i-Mualla to Feroze Shah Kotla. It is even said that his body lay rotting in the sun for four days before it was picked up by some heretics.

Eventually Alamgir II was buried in Humayun’s tomb complex.


Alamgir II was, by birth, a pious man. He never missed any prayer in the imperial Pearl Mosque and occasionally delivered the sermons as well, he was a friend and patron of Sufi mystics, he is also known to have walked through the streets of Delhi to attend prayers at different Mosques without adequate security.


Tunnel at the foot of Jami Masjid of Feroze Shah Kotla


Tunnel at the foot of of stairs leading to Jami Masjid of Feroze Shah Kotla

(Internet Photo)

The Ashokan Pillar


Water-colour painting of the Pillar of Firoz Shah at Delhi by an anonymous artist, 1808-1820. Inscribed on the front in pencil is: ‘The Lat of Firoz Shah at Delhi.’-British Library


Top of the Ashokan Pillar

Internet Photo

The Ashokan pillar is installed on top of a three-storied lofty rubble-built pyramidal structure with progressively diminishing size in each successive terrace, having cells with arched entrances, and referred to as the Hawa Mahal. The pillar is a 27-tonne sandstone monolith 42’ 7” in height – pale orange with flecks of black – out of which 35’ is polished. The unpolished portion is believed to be the buried part at its original place of installation at Tobra.

The pillar, also called obelisk or Lat is an Ashoka Column, attributed to Mauryan ruler Ashoka. The 13.1 metres high column, made of polished sandstone and dating from the 3rd Century BC, was brought from Ambala in 14th century AD under orders of Feroze Shah.

It was installed on a three-tiered arcaded pavilion near the congregational mosque, inside the Sultanate’s fort. In centuries that followed, much of the structure and buildings near it were destroyed as subsequent rulers dismantled them and reused the spolia as building materials.

The Sultanate had wanted to break and reuse the Ashoka pillar for a minaret. Feroze Shah Tuhglaq decided to erect it near a mosque instead. At the time of re-installation of the obelisk in Delhi, in 1356, no one knew the meaning of the script engraved in the stone.

About five hundred years later, the script was deciphered by James Prinsep in 1837 with help from scripts discovered on other pillars and tablets in South Asia.

The inscription on the 3rd century pillar describe King Devanampiya Piyadasi’s policies and appeal to the people and future generations of the kingdom in matters of dharma (just, virtuous life), moral precepts and freedoms.


The Ashokan edicts on the Feroz Shah Kotla pillar were the first to be decoded by James Prinsep in 1837, thus finding the key to Brahmi script.

Internet Photo

Sirat-i-FirozShahi narrates:

……..No bird can fly as high as its top and arrows cannot reach to its middle…O God! How could they paint it all over gold, (so beautifully) that it appears to the people like the golden morning……!

Accession of Feroze Shah Tughlaq

The body of Muhammad bin Tughlaq was put into a coffin and placed on an elephant and sent to Delhi.

Information reached the Sultan Feroz Shah that Khwaja-i-Jahan, the deputy of the late Sultan -Muhammad bin Tughlaq, at Delhi had proclaimed a boy as Sultan and gave out him as the son of the late Sultan.

Historians also differ as to the claim of Firuz to the throne of Delhi. Some historians are of the opinion that the boy proclaimed as the sultan by Khwaja-i-Jahan was ‘not a supposititious son’ but an issue of Muhammad bin Tughlaq’s body. Therefore according to him Firuz was a usurper.

Other historian, however, maintain that there is no record or proof that Muhammad bin Tughlaq had a son.

Firuz Shah Tughlaq’s coronation took place in Royal Camp of Thatta in 1351. He got investiture from Caliph of Egypt.

One dies but once-One Sultan, one death – but so many speculations of resting places.

Feroze Shah Tughlaq-had chosen as his place of final rest.

i) Lal Gumbad-but gave it to Kabirudin Auliya as his tomb


Lal Gumbad-Mehrauli-Delhi

ii) Quadam Shareef-but it was destined to be the tomb of his son-Fateh Khan

Originally, Feroze Shah Tughluq (1309 – 1388) constructed the large rectangular tomb at its core for himself, and surrounded it with massive walls and impressive gates in typical Tughlaq style. However, when his son Fateh Khan died in 1376, he repurposed the tomb to be used for his son. Also added was a stone with a foot print of Muhammad (the founder of Islam), which Feroze Shah had brought in from Mecca.


Quadam Shareef-Delhi

Internet photo

iii) Hauz Khas

Finally, he rests in peace in Hauz Khas.


Feroze Shah Tughlaq’s Tomb in Hauz Khas-Delhi

Internet photo


Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351-1388 AD) is attributed with:

  • a. Establishment of Diwan-i-Khairat (department for poor and needy people) and Diwan-i-Bundagan (department of slaves).
  • b. Establishment in Delhi a hospital described variously as Darul-Shifa, Bimaristan or Shifa Khana
  • c. Establishment of four new towns, Firuzabad, Fatebabad, Jaunpur and Hissar.

Bright and Dark Years of Firoz Tughlaq’s reign:

Bright Years

Assessment of the revenue:

Firoz Tughlaq appointed a special officer namely Khawja Hisan-ud-Din to prepare an estimate of the public revenue of the kingdom. It took 6 years to complete this work.


Firuz Shah Tughluq (1351-88) Silver tanka, Hadrat Dehli
Weight: 8.88 gm., Diameter: 17 mm. Die axis: 10 o’clock

New system of taxation:

In accordance with the Islamic law, he imposed the following four taxes:

  • ‘Kharaj’:

It was the land tax which was equal to one-tenth of the produce of the land.

  • ‘Zakat’:

It was two-and-half per cent tax on property realized from the Muslims and utilized for specific religious purposes only.

  • ‘Kham’:

It was one-fifth of the booty captured and the four-fifth was left for the soldiers.

  • ‘Jijya’:

It was levied on the Non-Muslim subjects, particularly the Hindus. Women and children were, however exempted from the taxes.

Irrigation works:

With a view to encourage irrigation, the Sultan paid a lot of attention to irrigation works.

He is often termed by the British, as ‘The Father of the Irrigation Department’ for his pioneering attempt in building canals and water supply routes in various cities that he built,  apart from, of course, his restoration projects that may entitle him as the founding president of the Conservation Society of Delhi.

Following four canals were constructed:

  1. The first and the most important and the longest canal were one which carried the waters of the river Jamuna to the city of Hissar. It was 150 miles long.
  2. The second canal was drawn from river Sutlej to Ghaghra. It was about 100 miles long.
  3. The third canal was from Mandvi and Sirmur hills to Hansi.
  4. The fourth canal ran from Ghaghra to the newly established town of Firozabad.

Irrigation tax was charged at the rate of one-tenth of the produce of the irrigated land.

Laying out gardens:

The Sultan laid out about 1200 gardens in and around Delhi. These gardens produced so much fruit that they brought to the treasury an annual income of one lakh and eighty thousand tankas’.

Welfare of the peasants:

The Sultan waived off the loans that were given to them by Muhammad Tughlaq at the time of drought. He issued strict instructions to the officers not to harass the peasants.

Benevolent works:

These included the following:

  • ‘Diwan-i-Kherat’:

It performed two main functions. The marriage bureau gave grants to the poor parents for the marriage of their daughters. It also provided financial help to the destitute.

  • ‘Dar-ul-Shafa’:

Hospitals were set up in important towns where medicines were given free of charge. Poor people were also supplied food.

  • ‘Sarais’:

About 200 ‘sarais’ (rest houses) were built by the Sultan for the benefits of merchants and other travellers.

  • Grants to sufferers:

The Sultan gave liberal grants to all those persons or their heirs who had suffered bodily or executed during the reign of Muhammad Tughlaq.

Public works department:

  • The Sultan got constructed four canals, ten public baths, four mosques, thirty palaces, two hundred, Sarais’, one hundred tombs, 30 towns and one hundred bridges. Firoz Shah had a passion for public works. About his building activities, Sultan himself observed, “Among the gifts which God has bestowed upon me, His humble servant, had a desire to erect public buildings. So 1 built many mosques and monasteries that the learned and the devout and the holy, might worship God in these edifices and aid the kind builder with their prayers.”
  • Four important towns founded by him were of Firozabad, Fatehabad, Jaunpur and Hissar Firoza. Two pillars of Ashoka were brought to Delhi—one from Meerut and the other from Topra, Arnbala district—and erected in Delhi. In this regard Dr. V.A. Smith has observed, “Asiatic kings as a rule show no interest in buildings erected by their predecessors, which usually are allowed to decay uncared for. Firoz Shah was particular in devoting much attention to the repair and rebuilding of the structures of former kings and ancient nobles.”

Promotion of education and literature:

Firoz Tughlaq was a great patron of historians, poets and scholars. He himself was a man of learning and wrote his biography entitled ‘Fatuhat-i-Firozshah’. He established thirty educational institutions including three colleges. Teachers were liberally paid and stipends were granted to the students.

Zia-ud-Din Barani wrote ‘Fatwah-i-Jahandari’ and Afif wrote his ‘Tarikh-i-Firuzshah’.

Maulana Jalal-ud-Din Rumi, the famous theologian also flourished in his court.

Judicial reforms:

Firoz Tughlaq was opposed to severe punishments. He ended punishments like cutting of the limbs, extracting the eyes, putting melted glass in the throat, burning alive etc. He established courts at all important places of his empire and appointed Qazis etc. to administer justice.

Reforms in the currency system:

The Sultan introduced several types of new coins and small coins and ensured that no false coins came into circulation.

Dark Side of Firoz Tughlaq‘s Reign:

Number of slaves increased to 1, 80,000 in Firoz Shah Tughlaq’s time, which was a burden on the treasury.

Failure as a conqueror:

Firoz Tughlaq was not an able general. No significant conquests were made by him.

Main military events are given below:

  • Bengal:

Firoz Tughlaq made two attempts to conquer Bengal but failed.

  • Orissa:

While returning from Bengal, he attacked Orissa. The ruler agreed to pay tribute to the Sultan.

  • Nagarkot (Kangra):

It took about six months to subjugate the Raja who acknowledged the Sultan’s suzerainty.

  • Sindh:

In the initial attacks by the Sultan himself, about three- fourth of his army was destroyed. Later the Sindh ruler accepted the suzerainty of the Sultan.

Army organization:

The Sultan introduced several reforms in the army which produced negative results.

  • He did not maintain a standing army,
  • Military service was made hereditary,
  • The principle of merit was ignored,
  • The Sultan introduced the system of paying salary by grant of land.
  • This meant that a soldier had to go to his village for collecting his land revenue in lieu of salary.

Evils of Jagirdari system:

Firoz Tughlaq introduced the system of granting jagirs (lands) to his officials in place of cash payment. In due course, jagirdars became very powerful and created difficulties for the rulers

Nereauary nobles:

Firoz Tughlaq decreed that whenever a noble died, his son should be allowed to succeed to his position. This reduced the chances of competent persons being appointed at responsible posts.

Slave system:

It is said that Firoz Tughlaq had maintained about one lakh, eighty thousand slaves. It put great economic burden on the state. This slave system proved very harmful and became one of the contributory factors of the downfall of the Tughlaq Empire.

Fanatically intolerant religious policy towards the Hindus:

Firoz encouraged the Hindus for conversion to Islam. In his autobiography, he wrote, “I encouraged my infidel subjects (Hindus) to embrace the religion of the Prophet (Islam religion), and I proclaimed that everyone who left his creed and became a Mussalman should be exempted from ‘jizya’. He further wrote, “I also ordered that the infidel books, the idols and the vessels used in their worship (Hindus) should all be publicly burnt.”

Habit of drinking:

Firoz was so addicted to drinking that whenever he set out on a military expedition, he would remain in a state of drunkenness for several days. This was followed by his nobles and forces as well.

An estimate of Firoz Tughlaq:

Appreciation by historians:

  • “The welfare of the people”, says Dr. Ishwari Prasad, “was the watchword of his administration. Therefore, Firoz is considered by Barani as an ideal Muslim King.”
  • In the words of Havell Firozj’s reign “is a welcome breath in the long chain of tyranny, cruelty and debauchery which make up the gloomy annals of the Turkish dynasties.”
  • Afif, a contemporary of Firoz writes, “Their (peasants) homes were replete with grain, everyone had plenty of gold and silver. “No women was without ornaments”
  • About the previous penal code and the changes brought about by Firoz, S.R. Sharma states, “it was left to his less appreciated successor (Firoz) to mitigate its ferocity.”
  • About the judicial system, V.A. Smith has said, “One reform the abolition of mutilation and torture, deserves unqualified commendation.”

About his love for buildings, Sir Woolseley Haigh has remarked, “He indulged in a passion for building which equalled if it did not surpass that of Roman emperor Augutus.”

Criticism by historians:

About his lack of military skill, V.A. Smith states, “The campaign (Bengal) had no result except the wanton slaughter thus evidenced. No territory was annexed and the practical independence of the eastern empire continued unimpaired.” He further observes, “It seems to be plain that Firoz Shah possessed no military capacity. His early campaigns in the east and the west were absolutely futile, and during the greater part of his long reign he abstained from war.”

Likewise regarding Firoz’s expedition to Sindh, Dr. Ishwari Prasad wrote, “The expedition was a singular instance of the Sultan’s felinity and lack of strategic skill.”

Regarding his religious intolerance, S.R. Sharma states, “It is a pity that such a Sultan should have besmirched his fair name by acts of religious intolerance.”

In the same manner Dr. R.C. Majumdar writes, “Firoz was the greatest bigot of his age.”

Professor B.P. Saxena also states, “…But in the last fifteen years of his reign Firoz was an incurable and degenerate fanatic.”

Concluding Statement:

We may conclude the discussion with the views of Dr. V.A. Smith, “Firoz Shah, whatever may have been his defects or weaknesses deserves much credit for having mitigated in some respects the horrible practices of his predecessors, and for having introduced some tincture of humane feelings into the administration.”

Towards the end……….

The last years of Firuz Shah Tughlaq’s rule and life were not happy. He lost his eldest son Fateh Khan, whom he had nominated as the heir apparent, in 1374. He now nominated his second son Zafar Khan as his heir, but he also died. The third son Muhammad Khan was the next choice but no formal nomination was made in his case.

In the meantime the prime minister Khan-i-Jahan Maqbul had died and his son had become prime minister. The new prime minister persuaded the Sultan to believe that the prince was conspiring with the nobles to seize power and got the Sultan’s permission to punish the Prince’s partisans.

But the prince Muhammad Khan met the Sultan Firuz and convinced him that the Khan-i-Jahan, i.e. the prime minister was trying to destroy the royal family to clear his way to the throne. Firuz Shah permitted Muhammad Khan to punish Khan-i-Jahan who sensed the situation and fled to Mewat.

Mahammad now began to assist his father Firuz Shah in the administration and was allowed to share the royal title. He was now formally declared heir-apparent (1387).

Soon after the prince got Khan-i-Jahan killed and assumed all power of the state in his own hands. But instead of looking into the administration he gave himself up to pleasure. The administration naturally becomes lax and everything was in confusion. Some of the nobles who were loyal to the crown tried to rouse Muhammad Khan to his responsibilities, but to no purpose.

They therefore organized a rebellion Muhammad was now obliged to throw off his lethargy and fight the nobles. But the nobles brought the old Sultan Firuz Tughlaq to the battle field and brought a sense of nervousness on the side of Muhammad Khan who fled for life.

His eldest son, Fath Khan, died in 1376. The Sultan then abdicated in August 1387 and made his other son, Prince Muhammad, king. A slave rebellion forced the Sultan to confer the royal title to his grandson, Tughluq Khan.[6]

Firuz Shah Tughlaq died on Sept. 20, 1388.

Death and Legends of Feroz Shah Tughlaq:

Death: September 20, 1388, Delhi

Final Resting place:

Feroz Shah died in 1388 at the age of 90, and was buried in the exquisite square-shaped tomb with an unusual open courtyard overlooking the beautiful Hauz Khas, hoping for a peaceful fterlife in the academic air of the young students and the maulvis of the finest Muslim seminary and college that he had built in Tararabad, ‘the city of joy’.

A King who sought immortality through his buildings, he seemed to get the eloquent concurrence from religious quarters :

“He is not dead who leaves behind him on earth, Bridge and mosque, well and serai.”

“Who so buildeth for God a place of worship, Be it like the nest of Qata-bird; God buildeth for him a house in paradise.”

After Feroz Shah died in 1388, subsequent kings re-used the building materials from the Kushk-i-Feroz,  the ‘Citadel of Firoz’ – built from rough masonry of local quartzite stone blocks, to raise Newer Delhis – projects like Sher Shah Suri’s ‘Shergarh’ and Shahjahan’s ‘Shahjahanabad’  completely cannibalized the older city of Firozabad.

Tughlaq’s death led to a war of succession coupled with nobles rebelling to set up independent states. His lenient attitude had strengthened the nobles, thus weakening the Sultan’s position. His successor Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq II could not control the slaves or the nobles. The army had become weak and the empire had shrunk in size. Ten years after his death, Timur‘s invasion devastated Delhi.

Ruined Citadel and Commencement of Game of Death:


It is the Firoz Shah Kotla ruins where the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II (1754-59) was lured to death by his commander-in-chief by telling him that a noted Fakir has come there, and as the pious Emperor entered the place, hired assassins attacked and cut off his head, and threw the headless body from the mosque onto the river banks where it rotted for days.

Documented Heritage

i) Tarikh i Firoze Shahi – Ziauddin barani: This work preserves the history of the Delhi Sultanat for the period 1259 to 1352; it gives the histoy of nine rulers from Balban to Firoze Shah Tughluq. Barani’s write up including the narrative of Firoze Tughluq, constitutes a standard a standard work of history, which establishes his reputation as premier historain of his age.

ii) Fatawa I Jahandari-Barani: It is a complementary volume to the Tarikh i Firoze Shahi. In this book, the author recapitulates and futher elaborates the political philosophy of the sultnate on the basis of his earlier narrative.

iii) Firoze Tughluq’s Autobiography : Sultan Firoze Shan Tughluq has left a brochure of thirty two pages in autobiographical writing, called Futuhat i Firoze Shahi: it give a brief summary of his military compaigns, some of which failed to produce the desired results.

iv) Tarikh i Firoze Shahi – Shams i Siraj Afif: The book is devoted exclusively to the reign of Firoze Tughluq and constitutes the most accurate and authentic contemporary account of his times. The book is unique in sense that it also describes the life and conditions of the people at large.

  • “Delhi that no one knows” by author R.V. Smith.
  • A Memoir on Kotla Firoz Shah, Delhi; by J.A. Page & Mohammad Hamid Kuraishi, (1937, Reprint 1999), Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi.
  • Delhi : Its Monuments and History, by Percival Spear.
  • City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple, Olivia Fraser (Illustrator)
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Slaves – yet Powerful Conquerors…………………….

“Oh while I live, to be the ruler of life, not a slave, to meet life as a powerful conqueror, and nothing exterior to me will ever take command of me.”

Walt Whitman


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Turkic slaves of Shahabuddin Ghori

Mu’izz ad-Din Muhammad, born Shihab ad-Din (1149 – March 15, 1206), also known as Muhammad of Ghor, was Sultan of the Ghurid Empire along with his brother Ghiyath ad-Din Muhammad from 1173 to 1202, and as the supreme ruler of the Ghurid Empire from 1202 to 1206.

Shahabuddin Ghori had no offspring, but he treated his Turkic slaves as his sons, who were trained both as soldiers and administrators and provided with the best possible education. Many of his competent and loyal slaves rose to positions of importance in Shahabuddin Ghori’s army and government.


Shahabuddin Ghori (Internet Photo)

Slaves of Shahabuddin Ghori

i) Qutb-ud-din Aibak became ruler of Delhi in 1206, establishing the Sultanate of Delhi, which marked the start of the Slave dynasty.


Qutb ud din Aibak (Internet Photo)

Qutb-ud-din Aibak was born of Turkish parents in Turkistan.

He was sold as a slave in his childhood and after passing through few hands was purchased by Sultan Muhammad of Ghur.

Very soon he drew the attention of his master by his talent and superb swordsmanship. He was offered with several responsible posts gradually.

He was very faithful to his master Muhammad Ghori and was with him throughout his Indian campaigns.

Owing to his meritorious services, he was assigned with the charge of his Indian conquests after the second battle of Tarain in 1192 A.D.

It was Qutb-ud-din who consolidated and extended his conquests in India. In 1206 A.D., Qutb-ud-din was formally invested with viceregal powers and promoted to the rank of Malik by Sultan Muhammad of Ghur.

Moreover, he had to face strongest opposition from Taj-ud-din Yeldoz and Nasir-ud-din Qubacha, the two more contenders for the throne of Delhi.

Yeldoz was the ruler of Ghazni and Qubacha was of Uch and both had matrimonial relations with Qutb-ud-din.

Yeldoz was his father-in-law and Qubacha was his brother-in-law as he had married a   daughter of Yelzdoz and one sister of Nasir-ud-din Qubacha .

Sultan Mu’izz-ad-din (Mohammad Ghori) used occasionally to indulge in music and conviviality, and one night he had a party, and in the course of the banquet he graciously bestowed gifts of money and of un-coined gold and silver upon his servants.

Qutb-ud-din received his share among the rest, but whatever he got, whether gold or silver, coined or uncoined, he gave it all, when he went out of the assembly, to the Turkish soldiers, guards, farashes, and other servants. He kept nothing, either small or great, for himself.

Next day when this was reported to the king, Qutb was looked upon with great favor and condescension, and was appointed to some important duties about the court. He thus became a great officer, and his rank grew higher every day, until by the king’s favor he was appointed Master of the Horse.

ii) Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha became ruler of Multan in 1210.

In 1210 Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha declared himself independent. He twice repulsed the attacks of Tajuddin Elduz of Ghazni, but could not defeat Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish and drowned in the Indus River while trying to escape.

In 1214 Muhammad II of Khwarezm drove Tajuddin Elduz from Ghazni, and took him to Lahore, and gave the authority to Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha.

Iltutmish protested against this act of aggression, and when the protest was disregarded marched towards Lahore. Tajuddin Elduz accepted the challenge and on January 25, 1216, the armies met on the already famous field of Taraori.

Tajuddin Elduz was defeated and taken, and after being led through the streets of Delhi was sent to Budaun, where he was put to death in the same year.

After the overthrow of Tajuddin Elduz, Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha again occupied Lahore.

He was married to one of the daughters of Aibak in 1205.

Death of Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha

As Iltutmish approached Uch his lieutenant, Nasiruddin Aiyitim, advanced from Lahore and besieged Multan, Qabacha took to his boats and fled to the island-fortress of Bhakkar, in the Indus River, leaving his minister to follow him with the treasure stored at Uch.

On February 9, 1228, Iltutmish arrived at Uch and opened the siege, at the same time dispatching a force under his minister, Kamaluddin Muhammad Junaidi, entitled Nizam al-Mulk, in pursuit of Qabacha, who in his despair sent Alauddin Bahram Shah, his son by Aibak’s daughter, to make terms.

Bahram was successful, and in accordance with the treaty Uch was surrendered in May 4, but Junaidi was either not informed of the treaty or willfully disregarded it, for he continued to besiege Bhakkar, and Qabacha drowned in the Indus River.

The circumstances of his death are variously related; some writers say that he was accidentally drowned in attempting to escape, and others that he committed suicide by throwing himself into the river.

His death ended the campaign, and his troops transferred their services to Iltutmish, who returned to Delhi in August, leaving Junaidi to complete the conquest of lower Sindh.


Coins of time of Nasiruddin Qabacha (Sind)

iii) Tajuddin Yildoz became ruler of Ghazni.


Tajuddin Yildoz Coins (Internet Photo)

Taj al-Din Yildoz (also spelled Yaldiz, Yildoz, and Yalduz) was a Turkic slave commander of the Ghurids, who, after the death of Sultan Mu’izz al-Din Muhammad, became the ruler of Ghazni, while, however, still recognizing Ghurid authority.

Yildoz later fought the Turkic ruler Iltutmish, and laid claim to the throne of Delhi as the heir to Mu’izz al-Din Muhammad. Iltutmish refused. The two armies met at Tarain in January 1216. Yildoz was defeated and taken by Iltutmish, and after being led through the streets of Delhi was sent to Budaun, where he was put to death in the same year. After the fall of Yildoz, Qabacha again occupied Lahore.

iv) Ikhtiyar Uddin Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji became ruler in parts of Bengal.

A certain reference in literature suggests that in 1193, the ancient college-city of Nalanda and the University of Vikramshila were sacked by Bakhtiyar Khilji. The Persian historian Minhaj-i-Siraj, in his chronicle the Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, reported that thousands of monks were burned alive and thousands beheaded as Bakhtiyar Khilji tried his best to uproot Buddhism. The burning of the library continued for several months and “smoke from the burning manuscripts hung for days like a dark pall over the low hills.


The end of Buddhist Monks, A.D. 1193 (Internet Image)

Death of Ikhtiyar Khilji

Ikhtiyar Khilji left the town of Devkot in 1206 to attack Tibet, leaving Ali Mardan Khilji in Ghoraghat Upazila to watch the eastern frontier from his headquarters at Barisal.

Khilji forces were ambushed in Assam and Ikhtiyar returned to Devkot with about one hundred surviving soldier. Upon Ikhtiyar Khilji’s return to India, while he was lying ill at Devkot, he was assassinated by Ali Mardan.

Loyal troops under Muhammad Shiran Khilji avenged Ikhtiyar’s death, imprisoning Ali Mardan.

Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khilji had the Khutbah read and coins struck in his own name. Mosques, madrasas, and khanqahs arose in the new abode of Islam through Bakhtiyar’s patronage, and his example was imitated by his Amirs.

Buddhist sources hold him responsible for the destruction of Nalanda.

Slave Dynasty aka Mamluk dynasty

Qutbuddin Aibak (1206-1210)


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Qutbuddin Aibak was a slave of Muhammad Ghori, who made him the Governor of his Indian possessions. Qutb-ud-din Aibak began his career as Malik or Sipahasalar under Muhammad Ghori. He set up his military headquarters at Indraprasta, near Delhi. He raised a standing army and established his hold over north India even during the life time of Ghori. After the death of Ghori in 1206, Aibak declared his independence. He severed all connections with the kingdom of Ghori and thus founded the Slave dynasty as well as the Delhi Sultanate.

He assumed the title Sultan and made Lahore his capital. His rule lasted for a short period of four years. Muslim writers call Aibak Lakh Baksh or giver of lakhs because he gave liberal donations to them.

Aibak patronized the great scholar Hasan Nizami. He also started the construction of after the name of a famous Sufi saint Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakthiyar. It was later completed by Iltutmish.

Islam mosque was commissioned by him. His tomb is located in Anarkali Bajar at Lahore. His successor Iltutmish was his son in law.

Aibak died suddenly while playing chaugan (horse polo) in 1210. He was succeeded by his son Aram Baksh, who was replaced by Iltutmish after eight months.

Shamsuddin Iltutmish (1211-1236)


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Iltutmish belonged to the Ilbari tribe and hence his dynasty was named as Ilbari dynasty. His half-brothers sold him as a slave to Aibak, who made him his-son-in law by giving his daughter in marriage to him.

About Iltutmish

“It is related by credible persons that Sultan Shams-ad-din Altamish was chosen in early childhood by the destiny of Providence from the tribes of Albari in Turkistan for the sovereignty of Islam and of the dominions of Hindustan.

His father, whose name was Yalam Khan, had numerous dependents, relatives, and followers in his employ. The future monarch was remarkable from his childhood for beauty, intelligence, and grace, which excited such jealousy in the hearts of his brothers that they enticed him away from his father and mother on the pretense of going to see a drove of horses; but when they brought him there, they sold him to a horse-dealer.

Some say that his sellers were his cousins.

The horse-dealers took him to Bokhara and sold him to one of the relatives of the chief judge of that city. For some time he remained with that great and noble family, whose chiefs nourished and educated him like a son.

A credible person has related that he heard in the gracious words of the king himself that on a certain occasion one of the members of the family gave him a piece of money and ordered him to go to the bazaar and buy some grapes.

He went to the bazaar, and on the way lost the coin. Being of tender age, he began to cry for fear; and while he was weeping and crying, a dervish came to him, took his hand, purchased some grapes, and gave them to him, saying: “When you obtain wealth and dominion, take care that you show respect to dervishes and holy men, and uphold their rights.”

He gave his promise to the dervish, and whatever fortune and power he obtained he always ascribed to the favour shown him by that kindly man.

The Destroyer

……………..from thence he proceeded to Ujjain, where there was a temple of Mahakal, which he destroyed, as well as the image of Vikramaditya, who was King of Ujjain and reigned 1316 years before his time. The Hindu era dates from his reign. Some other images cast in copper were carried to Delhi with the stone image of Mahakal.

An anecdote

Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish was greatly enamored by a Turkish slave girl in his harem, whom he had purchased, and sought her caresses, but was always unable to achieve his object.

One day he was seated, having his head anointed with some perfumed oil by the hands of the same slave girl, when he felt some tears fall on his head. On looking up, he found that she was weeping.

He inquired of her the cause. She replied, “Once I had a brother who had such a bald place on his head as you have, and it reminds me of him.”

On making further inquiries it was found that the slave girl was his own sister. They had both been sold as slaves, in their early childhood, by their half-brothers; and thus had Almighty God saved him from committing a great sin.

Badaoni states in his work, “I heard this story myself, from the emperor Akbar’s own lips, and the monarch stated that this anecdote had been orally traced to Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban himself.”

Later Qutbuddin Aibak appointed Shamsuddin Iltutmish as “iqtadar” of Gwalior. In 1211 Iltutmish defeated Aram Baksh and became Sultan. He shifted his capital from Lahore to Delhi. During the first ten years of his reign he concentrated on securing his throne from his rivals.

Fortunately for Iltutmish, Chengiz Khan (who was extending his empire in the neighborhood) retuned home without entering into India. In fact, the Mongol policy of Iltutmish saved India from the wrath of Chengiz Khan.

Apart from completing the construction of Qutb Minar at Delhi, India (238 ft.), he built a magnificent mosque at Ajmer.

Iltutmish introduced the Arabic coinage into India and the silver tanka weighing 175 grams became a standard coin in medieval India. The silver tanka remained the basis of the modern rupee. Iltutmish had also created a new class of ruling elite of forty powerful military leaders, the Forty.

Era of Ghiyasuddin Balban (1246-1287)


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He (born 1200 AD) was son of a [Central Asia] Turkic noble. As a child he and others from his tribe – were captured by the Mongols and sold as a slave at Ghazni. Prof K. Ali (1950, reprint 2006)”A new history of Indo-Pakistan”.]

He was sold to Khwaja Jamal ud-din of Basra, a Sufi who nicknamed him Baha ud din. The Khwaja brought him to Delhi where he and the other slaves were bought by Sultan Shams ud-din Iltutmish, himself a captured Ilbari Turk in origin, in 1232 CE.

Ghiyasuddin Balban, who was also known as Ulugh Khan, served as Naib or regent to Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud. He also strengthened his position by marrying his daughter to the Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud-Son/Grand Son of Iltutmish.


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Balban was all powerful in the administration but he had to face the intrigues of his rivals in the royal court. He had overcome all the difficulties. In 1266 Nasiruddin Mahmud died without issues and Balban ascended the throne.

In 1279, Tughril Khan, the governor of Bengal revolted against Balban. It was suppressed and he was beheaded. In the northwest the Mongols reappeared and Balban sent his son Prince Mahmud against them. But the prince was killed in the battle and it was a moral blow to the Sultan. Balban died in 1287.

He was undoubtedly one of the main architects of the Delhi Sultanate. He enhanced the power of the monarchy. However, he could not fully safeguard India from the Mongol invasions.

When Balban died, one of his grandsons-Kaiqubad was made the Sultan of Delhi. After four years of incompetent rule, Jalaluddin Khalji captured the throne of Delhi in 1290.

Slavery during Mamluk dynasty

According to Barani, the Shamsi “slave-king” Balban (r. 1266–87) ordered his shiqadars in Awadh to enslave those peoples resistant to his authority, implying those who refused to supply him with tax revenue.

Khilji Dynasty

Malik Kafur


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Malik Kafur was a eunuch slave who became a general in the army of Aladdudin Khilji, ruler of the Delhi sultanate from 1296 to 1316 A.D. He was originally seized by Alauddin’s army after the army conquered the city of Khambhat. It is theorized Alauddin Khilji fell in love with the effeminate beauty of Malik Kafur, castrated and converted him to Islam.Kafur was also called “Thousand Dinar Kafur”, probably the amount paid by sultan for his possession. The sultan had homosexual relation with Kafur.

After Kafur masterminded the death of Alauddin Khilji in 1316, he blinded the heir apparent Khizr Khan and Shadi Khan. He installed Umar Khan, Khilji’s 3-year old son on the throne. Mubarak Khan, Khilji’s third son escaped the blinding attempt and later Malik was assassinated by Khilji’s bodyguards.

Zafar Khan

He was the Son of a Turki Slave of Balban and a Jat mother. Within four years of Alauddin’s death, the rule of the Khiljis came to an end.

Zafar Khan aka Malik Dinar was an Indian slave who served as general in Khilji Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate. He served as subordinate officer to Malik Kafur.


Zafar Khan’s Tomb in Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq’s Mausoleum

Khusro Khan


Billon 2 gani of Khusro Khan (Internet Photo)

Khusro Khan (also spelled Khusrau Khan or Khusru or Khusraw Khan) was a medieval Indian military leader, and ruler of Delhi as Sultan Nasiruddin Khusrau Shah for a short period of time. Khusro Khan – A Hindu convert briefly overthrew the Khilji dynasty in 1320.

His stunning features and fair complexion evoked the perverted lust of his captor Sultan Allaudin Khilji’s perverted son, Qutbuddin Mubarak Khalji.


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He like his more notorious father Alauddin Khalji, were in love with their young male slaves. Qutbuddin Mubarak had a particular fondness for his slave Khusro Khan and as a teenager, Khusro was sexually abused by Qutbuddin Mubarak for eight years. Khusro seethed for revenge against this barbarity that robbed him of his childhood and early youth.

Slavery during Khilji dynasty

Within Sultanate’s capital city of Delhi, during Alauddin Khilji’s reign, at least half of the population were slaves working as servants, concubines and guards for the Muslim nobles, amirs, court officials and commanders.

Slavery in India during Khalji, and later Islamic dynasties, included two groups of people – persons seized during military campaigns, and people who failed to pay tax on time. The first group were people seized during military campaigns.

The second group of people were revenue defaulters. If a family failed to pay the annual tax in full on time, their property was seized and even some cases all their family members seized then sold as slaves.

The institution of slavery and bondage labor became pervasive during the Khilji dynasty; male slaves were referred to as banda, qaid, ghulam, or burdah, while female slaves were called bandi, kaniz or laundi.

Sultan Alauddin Khilji (r. 1296–1316) is similarly reported to have legalised the enslavement of those who defaulted on their revenue payments. This policy continued during the Mughal era.

An even greater number of people were enslaved as a part of the efforts of the Delhi Sultans to finance their expansion into new territories.  For example, while he himself was still a military slave of the Ghurid Sultan Muizz u-Din, Qutb-ud-din Aybak (r. 1206–10 as the first of the Shamsi slave-kings) invaded Gujarat in 1197 and placed some 20,000 people in bondage. Roughly six years later, he enslaved an additional 50,000 people during his conquest of Kalinjar. Later in the 13th century, Balban’s campaign in Ranthambore, reportedly defeated the Indian army and yielded “captives beyond computation”.

Levi states that the forcible enslavement of non-Muslims during Delhi Sultanate was motivated by the desire for war booty and military expansion. This gained momentum under the Khilji and Tughluq dynasties.  Zia uddin Barani suggested that Sultan Alauddin Khilji owned 50,000 slave-boys, in addition to 70,000 construction slaves.

Tughlaq Dynasty

Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq

Ghazi Malik was a feudatory of the Khalji rulers of Delhi, India. Once while on a walk with his Khilji master, Ghazi Malik suggested that the king build a fort on a hillock in the southern portion of Delhi. The king jokingly told Ghazi Malik to build the fort himself when he would become king.

In 1321 AD, Ghazi Malik drove away the Khaljis and assumed the title of Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq, starting the Tughlaq Dynasty. He immediately started the construction of his fabled city, which he dreamt of as an impregnable, yet beautiful fort to keep away the Mongol marauders. However, destiny would not be as he would have liked.


The Tomb of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq (Internet Photo)

Slavery under Tughlaq Dynasty

Enslaving non-Muslims was a standard practice during Delhi Sultanate, but it reached a new high during the Tughlaq dynasty. Each military campaign and raid on non-Muslim kingdoms yielded loot and seizure of slaves. Additionally, the Sultans patronized a market (al-nakhkhās) for trade of both foreign and Indian slaves. This market flourished under the reign of all Sultans of Tughlaq dynasty, particularly Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, Muhammad Tughlaq and Firoz Tughlaq.


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Both Ibn Battuta’s memoir and Shihab al-Din ibn Fadlallah al-‘Umari texts recorded a flourishing market of non-Muslim slaves in Delhi. Al-‘Umari wrote, for example,

The Sultan never ceases to show the greatest zeal in making war upon the infidels. Everyday thousands of slaves are sold at very low price, so great is the number of prisoners (from attacks on neighboring kingdoms).

— Shihabuddin al-Umari, Masalik-ul- Absar

Ibn Battuta’s memoir record that he fathered a child each with two slave girls, one from Greece and one he purchased during his stay in Delhi Sultanate. This was in addition to the daughter he fathered by marrying a Muslim woman in India. Ibn Battuta also records that Muhammad Tughlaq sent along with his emissaries, both slave boys and slave girls as gifts to other countries such as China.

Sultan Firuz Shah Tughluq is said to have owned 180,000 slaves, roughly 12,000 of whom were skilled artisans. A significant proportion of slaves owned by the Sultans were likely to have been military slaves and not laborers or domestics.

However earlier traditions of maintaining a mixed army comprising both Indian soldiers and Turkic slave-soldiers (ghilman, mamluks) from Central Asia, were disrupted by the rise of the Mongol Empire reducing the inflow of mamluks. This intensified demands by the Delhi Sultans on local Indian populations to satisfy their need for both military and domestic slaves.

The Khaljis even sold thousands of captured Mongol soldiers within India, China, Turkistan, Persia, and Khurusan were sources of male and female slaves sold to Tughluq India. The Yuan Dynasty Emperor in China sent 100 slaves of both sexes to the Tughluq Sultan, and he replied by also sending the same amount of slaves of both sexes.

During Timur’s Invasion

After sacking Delhi, Timur enslaved several thousand skilled artisans, presenting many of these slaves to his subordinate elite, although reserving the masons for use in the construction of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque in Samarkand.

Young female slaves fetched higher market price than skilled construction slaves, sometimes by 150%.

Because of their identification in Muslim societies as kafirs, “non-believers”, Hindus were especially in demand in the early modern Central Asian slave markets, with Indian slaves specially mentioned in waqafnamas, and archives and even being owned by Turkic pastoral groups.

Slavery in Mughal Empire (16th to 19th century)

The Mughals continued the slave trade. Abd Allah Khan Firuz Jang, an Uzbek noble at the Mughal court during the 1620s and 1630s, was appointed to the position of governor of the regions of Kalpi and Kher and, in the process of subjugating the local rebels, ‘beheaded’ the leaders and enslaved their women, daughters and children, who were more than 200,000 in number.

When Shah Shuja was appointed as governor of Kabul, he carried out a ruthless war in Indian territory beyond the Indus. Most of the women burnt themselves to death to save their honour. Those captured were “distributed” among Muslim mansabdars.

Under Shah Jahan peasants were compelled to sell their women and children to meet their revenue requirements…The peasants were carried off to various markets and fairs to be sold with their poor unhappy wives carrying their small children crying and lamenting.

According to Qaznivi, Shah Jahan had decreed they should be sold to Muslim lords. The Augustinian missionary Fray Sebastiao Manrique, who was in Bengal in 1629–30 and again in 1640, remarked on the ability of the shiqdār—a Mughal officer responsible for executive matters in the pargana, the smallest territorial unit of imperial administration to collect the revenue demand, by force if necessary, and even to enslave peasants should they default in their payments.

In between Mughal Dynasty

Nadir Shah


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Nadir Shah aka Nader Shah aka Nadr Qoli Beg aka Ṭahmasp Qoli Khan (born Oct. 22, 1688, Kobhan, Ṣafavid, Iran—died June 1747, Fatḥabad)-was the son of a poor peasant, who lived in Khurasan and died while Nadir was still a child. Nadir and his mother were carried off as slaves by the Ozbegs, but Nadir managed to escape and became a soldier.

Soon he succeeded in attracting the attention of a chieftain of the Afshar1i, in whose service Nadir rapidly advanced. Eventually, the ambitious Nadir fell out of favor. He became a rebel and gathered a substantial army.


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Zafar Khan aka Malik Dinar aka Malik Yusuf Hizbaruddin

The obscure Zafar Khan aka Malik Dinar aka Malik Yusuf Hizbaruddin !

A General of Khilji Dynasty- Delhi Sultanate – half-forgotten and at times referred to being a General in the Tughlaq Dynasty! This may be owing to the fact that his tomb, with its pillared corridors lies in the north-western bastion of the enclosure wall of Ghiyasudin Tughlaq’s Octagonal Tomb.

Zafar Khan’s tomb has a smaller marble dome and inscribed marble and sandstone slabs over its arched doors.

According to an inscription over its southern entrance this tomb houses the remains of Zafar Khan.


Grave of Zafar Khan (View 1) (Internet Photo)

Ghiyasudin  Tughlaq (whose Octagonal Tomb, also houses that of Zafar Khan), was himself a Governor of Punjab during the reign of Khilji Sultans’.

He was the Son of a Turki Slave of Balban and a Jat mother. Within four years of Alauddin’s death, the rule of the Khiljis came to an end.

Ala-ud-din’s younger son Shahabuddin was dethroned by his third son Mubarak Shah, who ruled from 1316 to 1320 A.D. He again was killed by a conspiracy by Nasir-ud-din aka Khusro Khan  (1320); finally Khusro Khan was dethroned and killed in a battle by one Ghazi Malik aka Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq , the Governor of Punjab !!!

According to Metacafe’s Memoirs- “The governor of the Punjab went into open rebellion and marching to Dehly with the veteran troops of the frontier, he gained a victory over the dissolute and ill commanded bands opposed to him and put an end to the reign and life of the usurper, to the universal joy of the people.”

“On entering Dehly Ghouse Khan made a declaration that his only object was to deliver the country from oppression, and that he was willing to place any of the Royal line on the throne.”

“No member of the Khiljee family was found to have survived and Toghluck was himself proclaimed under the title of Gheeasoodeen”.

Hence the move had been transitional and Zafar Khan of Khilji reign was not really  a foe to Ghiyasudin Tughlaq.

Zafar Khan’s grave had been at the site prior to the construction of the outpost and was consciously integrated into the design of the mausoleum by Ghiyasudin himself.


Tomb of Zafar Khan (Internet Photo)

Zafar Khan had been dead  for 26 years by the time Ghiyasudin Tughlaq was interred in his tomb.

Zafar Khan’s tomb is situated just opposite the main entrance of Tughlaqabad Fort in the octagonal fortress enclosing the majestic tomb of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq, on the Mehrauli-Badarpur Roadwhich commonly known as “Badarpur Border” in New Delhi.


Tomb of Zafar Khan (Right) with the Mausoleum of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq atTughluqabad (Left-Large) (Internet Photo)

Zafar Khan was originally known as Malik Hizbaruddin. His birth date is not known but it is known that he died in Kili plain, near Delhi, in 1299. His services were to Khilji dynasty,Ariz-i-Mumalik, Years of Service he had put in, is unknown

Zafar Khan aka Malik Dinar was an Indian slave who served as general in Khilji Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate. He served as subordinate officer to Malik Kafur and was also a Shihna-yi pil or intendant of elephantryand was sent by Kafur to suppress rebellion in Gujarat.

His daughter has been married the third Khilji dynasty sultan, Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah.

He was given the title ‘Zafar Khan‘ (literally chief of victory). Hence he became – Zafar Khan Malik Hizbaruddin.

Zafar Khan was one of the earliest followers of Alauddin Khilji who followed him even at the time of Alauddin’s Uncle Jalaluddin Khilji.

He successfully repelled several Chagatai Khanate Mongol’s invasions which secured Alauddin Khilji’s throne.

In 1296 Alauddin Khilji took the throne of Delhi after the death of his uncle. He was supported by Ulugh Khan (his brother) and his general Zafar Khan.


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Death in Mongol invasion:

In the battle of Kili, Alauddin brought his army to the outskirts of Kili (area of currentTughlakabad). Zafar Khan on the right mounted an attack against the Mongol left flank, which successfully drove them from the field. At first it appeared that the Mongol left had been routed, but since the main body of the Indian army had made only a token demonstration, the Mongol left was able to regroup and reinforce their forces.


Kili (area of current Tughlakabad).

Zafar’s forces were surrounded by the reinvigorated Mongols. Qutlugh offered Zafar an opportunity to surrender his forces, but he refused and was killed in the subsequent fighting.

Alauddin’s army was ultimately successful in defeating Chagatai Khanate, however.

(According to another School of thought -Zafar Khan was ordered to lead an expedition to Siwistan (Shivasthan) to wrest it back. Zafar Khan besieged and reduced the fort. The leaders of Mongols- Saldi and his brother, along with thousands of his soldiery, were sent to Delhi in chains, accompanied by their women and children. As invasion practice, the men were all maimed or murdered; the children were converted to Islam and retained as slaves. The women were raped and sold.

Zafar Khan won great renown in this engagement. Until then, Mongols were dreaded by the Muslims; but after this outstanding victory, Zafar Khan became a hero. There was also jealousy among the courtiers. Ulugh Khan, brother of Allauddin, irked by Zafar’s prowess, incited the sultan to down size Zafar and Allauddin thought of sending Zafar Khan to Lakhnauti on a campaign or to put him out of the way by poison or by blinding.

The biggest Mongol invasion took place in 1299. The Khiljis’ won that battle but after a heavy loss. This caused the Mongols to retreat. Fortunately for Allauddin, the Mogols’ retreat enhanced his reputation as a dragon-killer. And he got rid of Zafar Khan in the bargain.)

As is known the biggest Mongol invasion took place in 1299, when under the command of Qutlugh Khwaja, Mongols attacked India. This time the Mongols did not plunder the people on the way to Delhi. They did not want to waste their energy doing this.

This was considered a wise step and succeeded to reach near Delhi. The situation became very grave. The people of nearby areas entered into Delhi. There was no free space even in mosques.

As a result of this battle the Mongol forces were completely perished and even their commander was captured. This great victory was inspired awe in Zafar Khan’s name. So in effect he was given charge of Samana, an important military post in Punjab to defend the Sultanate from the Mongol invasion.

Alauddin Khilji ordered his army to attack under the command of Zafar Khan and Ulugh  Khan. His army attacked and fought bravely and manage to force the enemy army to retreat while he pursuing them.

Alauddin defeated the Mongols but Zafar Khan was killed in this battle by the Mongol commander Targhi Beg because he was recklessly pursue the retreating enemy without realizing he’s falling onto trap.

It is said before being slain Zafar Khan in reckless abandon shot his remaining arrows knowing his end was near and killed several enemy soldiers before he succumbed.


Grave of Zafar Khan (View 2)

It is due to his successful campaign against Chagatai Khanate that legend says that Zafar Khan created such great terror in the minds of the Mongols that whenever their horse refused to drink water, the Mongols would ask them if they had seen Zafar Khan.

Later after his death, Zafar Khan was bestowed by the title- Malik Dinar.


i) History of India: Mediaeval India from the Mohammedan Conquest to the Reign of Akbar the Great.

By Stanley Lane-Poole

ii) Medieval India under Mohammedan rule, 712-1764

Stanley Lane-Poole

iii) Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India, Volume 1 By Jaswant Lal Mehta


iv) The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History (Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization) Paperback – October 16, 2003 by Peter Jackson |isbn=978-0521543293

v) The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period

By Henry Miers Elliot, John Dowson

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