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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Some Facts of History-6


1. Tomb of Lala Rukh

LalaRukh Tomb of Lala Rukh

Tomb of Lala Rukh is a historical tomb traditionally attributed to Princess Lala Rukh, daughter of the Mughal emperor Akbar. It is not known that who is buried here.

Lala Rukh means red face, Mughal had white colour and during fever, face often becomes red. There is great possibility that any Mughal princess might be travelling towards Kashmir and fell ill during the course and latter on died here and people remembered her with red face which might be the outcome of fever or otherwise. So they might start her calling as Lala Rukh. Her real name might be a different one

It is believed to be the grave of Mughal Princess Lalarukh, but no historical facts verify this narrative. Some locals claim that this is the grave of Humayun’s daughter while some say it is Jehangir’s daughter, who died of sickness while traveling to Kashmir and was buried here. In spite of different points of view on who actually was Lalarukh, this place attracts a lot of visitors who find peace and tranquillity in the solitude of this place.

The tomb is located on the Islam Shaheed road in Hasan Abdal, Attock District, in present day Punjab, Pakistan. The tomb is just opposite to the Gurdwara Panja Sahib and the Muqbara Hakeeman.

2. Gulbadan Begum


Gulbadan Begum-the author of ‘Humayun Nama’ and the daughter of Emperor Babur. When she was 80, in February, 1603, her departure was heralded by a few days of fever. Hamida was with her to the end, and it may be that Ruqaiya, Hindal’s daughter, also watched her last hours. As she lay with closed eyes, Hamida Banu Begum spoke to her by the long-used name of affection, “Jiu!”(Live or May you Live. There was no response. Then, “Gul-badan!” The dying woman opened her eyes, quoted the verse, “I die—may you live!” and died.

3. Gulbadan Begum’s Account of the Mughal Harem

In Gulbadan’s memoir, she shows that women in the Harem, knew about the political changes going on in their world, and in fact, did play a role in it.

Gulbadan was also fully aware of the political strife and on-goings of the budding empire, despite her seclusion to the harem.

As described by Gulbadan, the women in the royal harem were often involved in parties, meetings with their male relatives, etc. and did in fact have contact with the outside world.


Engraving of a view inside a zenana (Harem) by William Skelton (1763-1848)

Source: Plate 4 of William Hodges ‘Travels in India, during the years 1780, 1781, 1782, & 1783′ published in London in 1793.

This engraving of a zenana, the women’s quarter of a palace,

was taken from an Indian painting in the possession of William Hodges.

4. Maham Anga


Detail showing Maham Anga, Akbar’s foster mother

from the Akbarnama c1590, V&A Museum

Maham Anga (wet nurse of Akbar) according to Gulbadan Begum (paternal Aunt of Akbar), was related to Hamida Begum (mother of Akbar).

Wet Nurse of Akbar; wife of Nadīm kuka; mother of Baqi and Adham kukas. Cf. Babu agha.

Nadim Khan Kukaltash aka Nadim Kuka, a general in the army of and faithful servant of Humayun.

Fakhru-n-nisaa anaga, who was the mother of Nadim kuka and Mother in Law of Maham Anga

Babu agha was the daughter of Maham Anga and was the wife of Shihabu-d-din Aḥmad Khān Nishapuri, and was related to Ḥamida-banu Begam Jami, Akbar’s mother.

Abu’l-faẓl calls her Mama agha. He says that she was a good woman, and that on her death Akbar went to her house and offered condolence because of her relationship to his mother.

Shihabu-d-din was damad of Maham anaga, and as damad is presumably used here in its more common sense of ‘son-in-law,’ Babu  agha would seem to be a daughter of Maham anaga.

5. Qutbuddiin Khan, was the youngest brother of Atgah Khan. (The one who was husband of Akbars another wet nurse Jiji Anga and was murdered by Adham Khan, sone of Akbars wet nurse Maham Anga.)

In the 24th year (12th Rajab, 987), he was appointed ataliq to Prince Salím, received a dagu, and the title of Beglar Begi. Akbar also honoured him by placing at a feast Prince Salím on his shoulders.

His son Naurang Khán served under Mirza Khan Khanan in Gujrát (992), received a jágír in Málwah and subsequently in Gujrát. He died in 999.

His second son, Gujar Khan, was a Haftçadí (No. 193), and served chiefly under M. Azam Khan Kokah (No. 21). He also had a tuyul in Gujrat.

6. Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana


His mother was a daughter of Jamál Khán of Mewát.

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

7. Mirzā Azīz Koka (Khan-i-Azam) (ca. 1542 – 1624) also known as Kotaltash, was the son of Shams ud-Din Ataga Khan, the Prime Minister of Akbar and Akbar‘s wet-nurse Jiji Anga, hence his Turkish sobriquet “Koka” or “foster-brother.”


Mirzā Azīz Koka (Khan-i-Azam)

Mirzā Azīz Koka also known as Kotaltash, foster brother of Akbar, who remained one of the leading nobles at the courts of the Mughal emperors Akbar and Jahangir. He also remained Subahdar, governor of the Subah of Gujarat.

Ataga Khan was murdered by Adham Khan, the jealous son of Maham Anga, also one of Akbar‘s wet-nurse in 1562. Thereafter, Aziz Koka built his father tomb next to Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi in 1566-67. Adham Khan on the other hand, was executed by the orders of Akbar.

During the rule of Jahangir, however, he lost much of positions. Mirza’s rebellion was crushed in 1606.  Jahangir, however took away much of his powers, and chided him in Jahangirnama. Later in life, Aziz Koka regained his position, but his clan could never regain the royal patronage, as enjoyed during his father’s lifetime.

His daughter, Habiba Banu Begum was married to fourth son of Akbar, Mughal prince Sultan Murad Mirza in 1587, and had two sons Rustam Mirza (b. 1588) and Alam Mirza (b. 1590).


Kotaltash built his tomb, Chausath Khamba, literally 64 pillars, during 1623–24

Near the Nizamuddin Dargah shrine complex in Delhi.

Internet Photo

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Baji Rao ki Mastaani

These are just facts of history…..They say the origin of Mastani is shrouded in obscurity……

Mastaani was born in 1695, she was the second wife of Baji Rao I (18 August 1700 – 28 April 1740).


(Internet Photo)

Baji Rao I aka Bajirao Ballal aka Thorale (“Elder”) Bajirao aka Baji Rao Ballal Balaji Bhat.


(Internet Photo)

Baji Rao was a respectable general, serving as Peshwa (Prime Minister) under the fourth Maratha Chhatrapati (Emperor) Shahu.

In 1734, Bajirao and Mastani had a son, who was named Krishna Rao at birth. Bajirao wanted him to be accepted as a Brahmin, but because of his mother’s Muslim ancestry, the priests refused to conduct the Hindu upanayana ceremony for him.

Mastaani’s Son was brought up as a Muslim, and came to be known as Shamsher Bahadur. He fought for the Marathas in the Battle of Panipat 1761, where he was killed at the age of nearly 27.

Shamsher Bahadur’s own son, Ali Bahadur, later ruled over Bajirao’s lands in Bundelkhand, and founded the state of Banda.

Peshwa Bajirao’s first wife was Kashibai; they had two sons: Nanasaheb and Raghunathrao. Nanasaheb succeeded him as the Peshwa in 1740, under the name Balaji Bajirao.


(Internet Photo)

Mastani, was the second wife of Bajirao I, lived at Shaniwarwada Fort in the city for some time after their marriage.

Another legend goes that even when Mastani was housed in Shaniwarwada, a special house-help would travel all the way from Pune to Pabal to take water for Mastani from the well, which stands dried today. “A few decades ago, a sword was found in the village. Assuming that it may have once belonged to Mastani’s security guards, it was kept safely in the office of gram panchayat, although there’s no proof about the sword’s history,” said Ghodekar.

Since she was a Muslim and he a Hindu, Bajirao’s family and locals opposed the match and hence he built a palace for her in Kothrud.

Though she stayed at Mastani Mahal in Pune’s Shaniwarwada, she was later shifted to a palace, specially made for her in Pabal.


(Internet Photo)

Though Mastani Mahal where she stayed at the Shaniwarwada Fort is no more, one can still sight a door named after her on the left side of the fort. Called Mastani Darwaza, the door has a small notice on its right that gives information about it.

“Mastani Darwaza, which is mentioned in old records as Natakshala Gate, was named after Mastani, the beautiful second wife of Bajirao who was from Bundelkhand. Nana Phadanavis afterwards called the gate ‘Ali Bahadur Darwaja’ after the grandson of Mastani, who conquered Bundelkhand and founded the Banda state. 10 soldiers used to guard this gate,” it reads.


Masaani Darwaza (Internet Photo)

The site in Kothrud, where the palace was built by Bajirao for Mastani in 1734, now has Peshwa-era Mrityunjayeshwar Temple on it. Though the palace doesn’t exist now, various items from the palace can be found at Raja Kelkar Museum today. The museum houses a recreated version of ‘Mastani Mahal’ that displays all the items that were once a part of the original palace of Mastani — from paintings to chandeliers and from music instruments to lamps.

In 1727-28, Allahabad-based Mughal chief named Mohammad Bangash invaded the kingdom of Maharaja Chhatrasal of Bundelkhand. Since Chhatrasal had grown old and couldn’t fight, he wrote to Bajirao asking for help.


King Chhatrasaal fighting the Mughal Generals (Internet Photo)

Bajirao reached on time and saved Chhatrasal’s kingdom. The Maharaja was so happy that he not only gave one-third of his kingdom to Bajirao, but also married his daughter Mastani to him.”


Bajirao and Mastani at Chhatrasaal fort (Internet Photo)


The Marriage (Internet Photo)

This marriage led to a crisis in the Bhat family. The historian D. G. Godse claims that Bajirao’s brother Chimnaji Appa and mother, Radhabai, never accepted Mastani as one of their own. Many attempts were made to take her life, presumably by Chimnaji Appa; she survived with the help of Chhatrapati Shah



Death (Internet Photo)

Bajirao died at the age of 40.

Mastani died soon after his death. Her grave, Shete says, is located in a village called Pabal.


On one side of the grave is a ‘taboot’ (diya kund), where the caretaker of the grave Mohammed Inamdar lights a diya every day. (Internet Photo)

(The traditional myth says that Mastani died after hearing of Baji Rao’s death. But in reality, Mastani died earlier, her death was kept a secret till all the ceremonies of ‘Janeu Pujan’ in the Peshwa household were over by March 1740, and only then the news was allowed to reach Baji Rao. He had stayed away from all ceremonies in protest against his Radhabai’s refusal to allow Krishnarao or Shamsher (Baji Rao and Mastani’s son) to have his ‘thread ceremony’ along with his younger half brothers.)

Situated at a distance of 60 kms from Pune in the village Pabal, the grave of Mastani is located in the middle of a 2,000 sq ft land surrounded by a boundary wall and three doors, while the fourth side has an elevated platform made for reading the namaz.

In the village Pabal, the grave of Mastani is her ‘samadhi’, while the Muslims call it a ‘mazaar’.

Because Mastani was Maharaja Chhatrasal’s daughter, the Hindus of Pabal consider her as a Hindu. The Muslims think she was a Muslim as her mother, Ruhaani Bai, was a Persian-Muslim.

Irrespective of their beliefs, people from both the community visit Mastani’s grave with equal devotion.

In 2009, when thieves had ruined the grave of Mastani in Pabal by digging it up to find a diamond which she is believed to have swallowed to end her life

In 2009, when thieves had ruined the grave of Mastani in Pabal by digging it up to find a diamond which she is believed to have swallowed to end her life.

The grave was restored by the archaeological department.

One of the walls has Mastani’s painting, too, but its authenticity is debatable.

The origin of Mastani is shrouded in obscurity………………..

The origin of Mastani is shrouded in obscurity and she was aq victim of severe character assassination; she was put down as a ‘muslim dancing girl’ by historians. But, in fact she was a Kshatrani, a princess from Bundelkhand, daughter of Maharaja Chhatrasaal Bundela, who was the chief propagator of the Pranami faith that sought to bring together Islam and Hinduism. She was a Krishna bhakt, who would be so lost in her devotion that she would get up and dance and kept both vrats and roza, sang bhajan and offered namaaz.

She was trained in all the martial arts, politics and diplomacy, all the household and beauty aids and an intelligence agent par excellence, apart from being proficient in music and dance. She was a prey to the injustices of people. She was s daughter-in-law whose dowry, be it in the form of money, land, intelligence or army support, made the Peshwas the most powerful clan of their time and making Bajirao-Mastani, an eternal love story to be remembered for ages.

About Shrimant Bajirao Balaji Bhat…………..

Baji Rao Ballal Balaji Bhat widely known as Baji Rao I, was the eldest son of Balaji Vishwanath and Radhabai. He served as the Prime Minister (Peshwa) to the fourth Chhatrapati (Emperor) to Shahu Raje Bhonsle. His battlefield antics won him great accolades and praise from one and all.


Fearless Warrior Peshwa Bajirao, I (Internet Photo)

Jadunath Sarkar, a foreword in V.G. Dighe’s expresses in ‘Peshwa Bajirao, I and Maratha Expansion’: “Bajirao was a heaven born cavalry leader. In the long and distinguished galaxy of Peshwas, Bajirao Ballal was unequalled for the daring and originality of his genius and the volume and value of his achievements.”


Baji Rao Ballal Balaji Bhat (Internet Photo)

He fought over 41 major battles and lost none. Major reason behind his success was the strong intelligence department which he built. His intelligence agency was so strong that they had all the information of his enemy’s whereabouts. His way to keep his troops motivated in the battlefield was another unique practice; he held high his banner, a swallow tailed saffron flag signifying sacrifice, chanting ‘Har har Mahadev’.

Till date, Baji Rao is believed to have died of the effects of a heat stroke. What most people do not know is that the fact that Bajirao’s ill-health symptoms are identical to those endured by a person suffering from alcohol withdrawal. As Baji Rao’s mother, Radhabai, had taken a vow from him to give up alcohol, in order that Mastani be released from house arrest and be sent to him.

Finally when a word came to him that Mastani was no more, he died on April 28, 1740.


(Internet Photo)

Baji Rao’s Mastaani in Pictures: (Internet Video)….


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(Internet Photo BI1)


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(Internet Photo XIV)


i) Internet

ii) Shreemantpeshwe

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Some Facts of History-5

Places of Dilli…………………………………………………………………………………

i) Mutiny Memorial

Mutiny Memorial is built at the location of the Battery that bombarded Delhi from the Ridge-Mutiny Delhi 1857.

iii) Raisina

When Edwin Luytens and Herbert Baker were commissioned to design New Delhi by the British, they surveyed the whole area, and settled upon a densely covered hill called Raisina.

This is the Raisina Hill on which Rashtrapati Bhawan stands.

iv) Malcha

When they decided to build New Delhi there, they had to relocate a whole village called Malcha.

This is what the Malcha Marg in New Delhi is named for.

v) Jangpura

The charge of relocating the residents of Malcha was given to a British officer who was Delhi’s deputy commissioner, named Young.

The colony where he resettled the people of Malcha was named after him: Youngpur

Young  became “Jang” in Hindi hence “Jang”- pur.

This became the famous Jungpura!

vi) Nizamuddin

a. Ghiyaspur was a small village on the outskirts of Delhi, named after Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq.

b. After the Chisti saint Nizamuddin Auliya made his khanqah there, the whole village was named after him: Nizamuddin.

vii) Chirag Dilli

As the story goes, Nizamuddin blessed one of his most loved disciples so that he could light lamps with water instead of oil in the neighbouring village. After the accomplishment of this feat, his disciple Naseeruddin was named “Chirag”, and the area was named Chirag Dilli. (Chirag means ‘lamp’).

viii) Chawri Bazar

This used to be around an evening meeting place for the merchants stationed there. ‘Chawri’ means meeting place in Marathi.

ix) Bengali Market

This is not named after Bengal, but a Rajput minister named Bangal who was gifted this land.

x) Daryaganj

The Yamuna used to flow by the walled city of Shahjahanabad. ‘Ganj’ means ‘market’, and so this market was named after the river.

xi) New Colonies

Post Partition, thousands of refugees entered Delhi from Pakistan. Continuing with the fervor of independence, new colonies were set up for accommodating these people and were named after freedom fighters and prominent names.

Lajpat Nagar / Patel Nagar / Sarojini Nagar / Rajender Nagar.

xiii) GB Road

There were earlier five kothas (brothels) in Delhi. A British commissioner named Garstin unified them in one red-light area.

It was named after him: Garstin Bastion Road / GB Road.

Fun Fact:

GB Road was rechristened Swami Shradhanand Marg in 1995

xiv) Matia Mahal

Matia Mahal, named after Shah Jahan’s wife Matia Begum, is still there.


Source: Internet

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The Forgotten Bairam Khan

History has deliberately tried to forget Bairam Khan

Is it owing to later years differences between Akbar and Bairam Khan?


A representation

Bairam Khan-a Persian Turk. He was a powerful statesman and regent at the courts of the Mughal emperors Humayun and Akbar. He was designated as an important military commander, among top generals, thereafter, commander in chief of the Mughal army.

Bairam Khan’s father and grandfather had previously taken part in Babur’s service. Bairam entered Babur’s service at the age of 16 and played an active role in the early Mughal conquests of India

He had accompanied Humayun in his wanderings and gone to Persia with him. Mughal era might have ended when Emperor Humayun was defeated by Sur Shah Suri and fled to Iran, disappearing from the Indian scene for a number of years, were it not for Bairam Khan, who inspired and assisted Humayun in reconquering the subcontinent and re-establishing Mughal rule, which lasted up to 1274/1857.

Humayun was so much pleased with his wisdom and loyalty that he regarded him as his most trustworthy follower and used to say, “There is no other so luminous a star in our family as you are.”

Bairam Khan aka Moḥammad Ḵhan(-e) Ḵhanan, was the most trusted person of Humayun. Humayun honored him as Khan Khanan, meaning king of kings. Bairam was originally called Bairam “Beg” but later however The Shah of Iran, Tamasp, honored him as ‘Kha’ or Khan. Bairam Khan had played a promiment role in Humayun’s restoration of Delhi’s throne.

Bairam’s high status at the Mughal court is borne out by the titles bestowed on him: “Yar-e Wafadar” (loyal friend), “Baradar-e niku-siar” (good-natured brother), “Farzand-e sa-adatmand” (fortunate son), and Khan-e Khanan (khan of khans; Majer al-omara”ʾ I, pp. 370-71).

Humayun had married the elder daughter of Mewatti Jamal Khan, nephew of Babar’s opponent, Hasan Khan, and his great minister, Bairam Khan, had married a younger daughter of the same Mewatti.

images (2)

Humayun’s Tomb-Delhi

Later, after Humayuns death in 1556, he was appointed guardian, chief mentor, advisor, teacher to Akbar. Bairam Khan’s services as the guardian and tutor of Akbar are praiseworthy.


Prince Akbar and Noblemen Hawking

Probably Accompanied by His Guardian Bairam Khan

He guided the affairs of the state for four years i.e. 556 to 1560 when Akbar was still a minor. Bairam Khan was a great commander and it was because of him that Akbar could defeat Hemu and capture the throne of Delhi and Agra.

Battel of Panipat 2

 Bairam Khan (Akbar’s guardian) marched towards Delhi. On November 5 both the armies met at Panipat.

Emperor Akbar, for whom Bayram Khan served as ataliq (tutor) addressed him as “Khan Baba” and raised him to the post of Wakil-al-salṭana” (prime minister).

At Jalandar, Akbar publicly gave evidence of his regard for his guardian by permitting Bairam Khan to marry his cousin, Salima Begum (daughter of Humayun’s sister, Gulrukh).


 Salima Sulṭan Begam-Different Moods

Bayram Khan was married to Salima Sulṭan Begam, a daughter of Humayun’s sister, who composed Persian poetry under the pen name Maḵfī (Nehavandī, I, p. 658; Jahangir p. 132; Ḥasan-Alī Khan, p. 394).

Salima Sultan was the daughter of Humayuns sister Gulrang/Gulrukh Begum and her husband, the Viceroy of Kanauj, Nur-ud-din Muhammad Mirza.  Salima’s maternal grandfather was Emperor Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire and the first Mughal Emperor.


Young prince Akbar, who was, fourteen years old, had under the tutelage of Bairam Khan won the battle of Panipat, and had marched from the field directly, without a halt, upon Delhi. Few, if any, of those about him knew then the strength of his character or the resources of his intellect. Certainly, his Atalik, Bairam, did not understand him, or he would neither have assassinated Tardi Beg in his tent at Sirhind, nor have suggested to the young prince to plunge his sword into the body of the captured Hemu.

But both Bairam and the other nobles of the court and army were not long kept in ignorance of the fact that in the son of Humayun they had, not a boy who might be managed, but a master who would be obeyed.

Akbar had now become major. He desired to be the king not only in name but in reality also. Hence owing to the differences between him and Bairam Khan, as Akbar relieved Bairam Khan of his duties and gave him a jagir for his maintenance.


 The Submission of Bairam Khan [right half] from an Akbarnama

South Asian and Himalayan Art

Bairam Khan revolted but was defeated bu Akbar pardoned him Akbar had told Bairam Khan that either he could stay in the palace, but not as a minister, or go for a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Bairam Khan, after his submission (1560), appeared before Akbar with tied hands and a sword hanging around his neck. The young emperor untied his hands personally.

In Ain-i-Akbari (Blochmann’s Edition), pp. 324–5. The Akbar’s message ran: “As I was fully assured of your honesty and fidelity I left all important affairs of State to your charge, and thought only of my own pleasures. I have now determined to take the reins of government into my own hands, and it is desirable that you should now make the pilgrimage to Mekka, upon which you have been so long intent. A suitable jagir out of the parganas of Hindustan shall be assigned to your maintenance, the revenues of which shall be transmitted to you by your agents.” Elliot, vol. v. p. 264.

Bairam was loyal to the Mughal Empire until Akbar came close to his nurse Mahan Anga’s that developed differences between the two. Akbar’s wet nurse Mahan Anga had other ideas. She, along with his son Adham Khan hoped to rule herself. She forced Akbar to remove Bairam who in any way had grown old.

The end of Bairam Khan

While travelling through Gujarat, he was assassinated by Haji Khan Mewati of Alwar, who was the General and close confidant of Hindu Kings of North India Hemu, and was staying at Patan after Akbar’s forces captured Alwar Sarkar in 1559.

One day when Bairam Khan was at Sahastralinga Tank, a religious site near Anhilwad Patan, he was recognised by Lohani Pashtun, an associate of Haji Khan Mewati. Haji Khan attacked and killed Bairam Khan, to take the revenge for Hemu’s or his Father’s, death.

It is also reported that Haji Khan attacked and killed Bairam Khan, to take the revenge of his father’s death (whose father had been killed in Second Battle of Panipat -1556, five years ago) and due to jealousy towards him, being a Shia muslim.

(They say Bairam Khan’s Tomb is opposite Sahastraling Talab in Patan. There does exist a cluster of ruined Mughal Tombs near Sahastraling Talab!)

Bairam Khan died on 31 January 1561.


This illustration to the Akbarnama (Book of Akbar) depicts the assassination of Bairam Khan by Afghans beside the lake at Patan, north-west India, in 1561.

The designer of the composition of this painting was the Mughal court artist Tulsi, and Tiriyya painted the details.

The Akbarnama was commissioned by Akbar as the official chronicle of his reign. It was written in Persian by his court historian and biographer, Abu’l Fazl, between 1590 and 1596.

The V&A purchased the manuscript in 1896 from Frances Clarke, the widow of Major General John Clarke, who bought it in India while serving as Commissioner of Oudh between 1858 and 1862.

The motive attributed to the assassin was simply revenge. Bairam was stabbed in the back so that the point of the long dagger came out at his breast. ‘With an Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) ‘on his lips he died,’ writes Blochmann in his Ain-i-Akbari.


Just a representation !

His son was provided for by Akbar.

Bairam Khan’s son and wife were set free and sent to north India. Bairam Khan’s wife, who was also the cousin of Akbar, married Akbar after Bairam Khan’s death.

Later on, Bairam’s son, Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, got an important assignment in Akbar’s administration and was one of the ‘Nau-rattans’ (Nine Gems) of Akbar.



Tomb of Abdul Rahim Kan i Khana-son of Bairam Khan

The regency of Bairam Khan lasted for 40 years. Though very loyal and successful administrator and guardian, Bairam Khan was not very popular with the other members of the Mughal Court.

Fall of Bairam Khan and its causes

In 1560, fall of Bairam Khan began. The unbridled power made him arrogant. Unpopularity of the Bairam Khan among Muslim nobility. He was a Shia and a majority of the Mughal nobles followed Sunni faith.

Vanity and haughtiness of Bairam Khan:

i) Showing favors to some nobles. He showered favors on his friends and relatives.

ii) Execution of Governor Tardi Beg who had failed to defend Delhi against Hemu.*


The Tomb of Humayun’s Vizier

Artist: Wilson, Horace H, Medium: Lithograph; Date: 1841

The building in question is said by the natives of Delhi to be the tomb of one of the ministers of the Emperor Hoomayoon-Tardi Beg Khan.

iii) Akbar’s own ambition to work as an independent ruler without any interference.

iv) Conspiracy of royal household against Bairam Khan.

v) Bairam Khan’s revolt against the emperor Akbar.


i) * Tardi Beg Khan

ii) Internet



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Some Facts of History-4

1. First Invader  to set foot in India

Very early invasion of India-Before Mahmud Ghazni in AD 712 Mohammed-bin-Qasim, an Arab invader invaded Sind with the ambition of conquering India. However, the climatic condition of Sind did not encourage him to proceed further.


Mohammed-bin-Qasim, an Arab invader

invaded Sind with the ambition of conquering India in AD 712

2. Sabuktegin?

Sabuktegin – Yamin ad-Dawlah Abdul-Qasim Mahmud ibn Sabuktegin was actually Mahmud of Ghazni.


A Painting of the tomb of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, in 1839–40, with Sandalwood Doors long believed to be plundered from Somnath, which he destroyed


The alleged “Gates of Somnath” brought from Ghazni by Lord Ellenborough in 1842 still remain on view, in a dilapidated condition, in the Agra Fort

3. Shah Turkan

Shah Turkan had entered the harem of Iltutmish as a concubine, but later rose to the status of queen. She was wily and conspiring and wanted her Son Ruknuddin to be king after Iltutmish, hence she tried to kill Razia Sultan but did not succeed.


Shah Turkan had entered the harem of Iltutmish as a concubine

but later rose to the status of queen

4. Feroz Shah Tughlaq

Feroz Shah Tughlaq originally commissioned Lal Gumbad in Malviya Nagar as his burial place but later gave it to Shaikh Kabir-ud-Din Auliya.


Lal Gumbad in Malviya Nagar-Mehrauli Delhi

5. Coronation

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


Tomb of Firuz Shah Tughlaq-Hauz Khas Delhi

6. Sikander Lodi

Sikander Lodi’s tomb in Lodhi Gardens Delhi, is similar to Mohammed Shah’s tomb, though without the chhatris. It was built by his son Ibrahim Lodi in 1517, the last of Sultan of Delhi from Lodi dynasty.


Sikander Lodi’s tomb in Lodhi Gardens Delhi

7. Ibrahim Lodhi

Ibrahim Lodhi’s body was found among the slain and treated with respect by Babar who ordered its burial. Later the tomb was renovated by Buwa Begum Sahiba, Ibrahim’s mother. She found a place in Babar’s household but later antagonized the Moghul conqueror by trying to poison him out of revenge for the death of her son.

Ibrahim Lodhi was the only king of India to die on the battle field.


Buwa Begum Sahiba, Ibrahim Lodhi’s mother

8. Ibrahim Lodhi’s grave

Ibrahim Lodhi’s grave is near the tehsil office in Panipat, close to the Dargah of Sufi saint Bu Ali Shah Qalandar. It is a simple rectangular structure on a high platform approached by a flight of steps. In 1866, the British relocated the tomb during construction of the Grand Trunk Road as it lay in the direct path of the road and renovated it with an inscription highlighting Ibrahim Lodhi’s death in the Battle of Panipat. Whether the Sultan’s remains were also interred at the present spot is not known.


Tomb of Ibrahim Lodhi-Panipat


Grand Trunk Road

Grand Trunk road-Named by British 


Sadak e Azam -as called by Sher Shah Suri 


Uttarpatha-as named by Mauryas 

9. Babar

 Babur was a direct descendant of Timur, from the Barlas clan, through his father, and a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother.


Tomb of Babur

10. Khair-ul-Manazil

Khair-ul-Manazil-The mosque was built without a foundation, a rarity in large constructions even today. Incredible.



11. Mumtaj Mahal

Mumtaj Mahal (w/o Shahjahan) was also named as Kudsia Begam and Nawab Alia Begam.

Taj Mahal 1874

Tomb of Mumtaj Mahal-Taj Mahal in 1874

12. Azizabad Bagh?

Shalimar Bagh was called Azizabad Bagh after Aizzu’nNisa Begum, one of Shah Jahan’s wife but was commissioned by another wife-Akbarabadi Begum!

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Shalimar Bagh-Delhi

13. Chandni Chowk

The shops of Chandni Chowk were originally built in a half-moon shape, arcuate pattern, a pattern, which, however, is lost today.


Chandni Chowk of yore

14. Ballimaran?

The street of Ballimaran near Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi was the colony of boat rowers. Hence the name Ballimaran.

15. Canal of Chandni Chowk

In Chandni Chowk, originally a canal ran through the middle of the street as a part of the water supply scheme.


Chandni Chowk-Canal

16. Plunder of Nadir Shah

The plunder seized from Delhi in 1739 was so rich that Nadir Shah stopped taxation in Iran for a period of three years following his return.


Grave of Nader Shah

17. Red Fort

After 1857 uprising British turned Red Fort into army barrack and barred the white lime wash done every two years. White plaster slowly peeled off. Later, it was repaired with red sand stone and named Red Fort. Traditional white ‘Mughal plaster’ was made from ground marble (to give shine) dal pulses lime and fruit juice.
Added by Monuments of Delhi – Also, egg yolk was added for a slight yellow touch.


Naubat Khana of Red Fort in 1857

18. Sheesh Mahal used by British

During British rule Sir David Ochterlony and later, Lord Metcalfe used Sheesh Mahal Shalimar Bagh, as their summer lodge.


Ochterlony in Indian garb and style


Atrocities of Otcherlony

Sir David Ochterlony Receiving a Messenger from the Ghoorkas 

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Grave of Metcalfe-Dust to Dust

19. Siddis’ of India

The Siddi of India-also known as Siddhi, Sheedi, Habshi or Makrani, are an ethnic group inhabiting India and Pakistan. Members are descended from Bantu people from Southeast Africa that were brought to the Indian subcontinent as slaves by Arab and Portuguese merchants.
During the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58, the British were faced by highly professional opponents in the city of Lucknow. Soldiers were repeatedly picked off by a sniper who was positioned up a tree. When finally dislodged, the sniper was discovered to be not Indian but African (Siddi) and a woman at that. Moreover, she was one of several female African soldiers counted among the dead after the siege. All had been loyal to their slave-owning Indian master.



20. Adham Khan’s tomb used by Brit

Some people don’t mind. Blake lived in Adham Khan’s tomb & Metcalfe used Quli Khan’s Tomb as weekend retreat calling it Dilkusha.


Tomb of Adham Khan, Delhi

Photographed in 1858 by Major Robert Christopher Tytler and his wife, Harriet, in the aftermath of the Uprising of 1857.



Dilkhusha, the Metcalfe House in Qutb Complex built by Metcalfe as a retreat -A Painting from his Folio published in 1843

21. Sir David Ochterlony and his 13 Indian wives !

In early 19 century Delhi, one of the sights of town (Delhi) near Red Fort, was afternoon parade of Indophile-Sir David Ochterlony and 13 Indian wives each on her own elephant.


Gold Pendant with Watercolor on Ivory Portrait of David Ochterlony

 Property of Mubarak Begum

 22. Mubarak Begum

Mubarak Begum was youngest of the 13 wives of Sir David Ochterlony known for his passion for nautch girls, hukkas, Indian costumes. Mosque named after Mubarak Begum is named Mubarak Begum Masjid (Randee ki Masjid) in Hauz Qazi Lal Kuan Road Old Delhi. Built in 1823.


Mubarak Begum Masjid, Hauz Qazi


All Images/Photos from Internet

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Some Facts of History-3

1. Dewal Rani Khizr Khani entitled Ashiqa, narrates the romantic story of Khizr Khan, son of Alauddin Khilzi and Dewal Rani, the daughter of Rana Karan of Gujarat.


(715 AH/1315 AD)

The Ishqiya as it is sometimes called is the third masnavi composed by Amir Khusrau and it was completed in 715 AH/1315. It contains a total of 4519 lines written in two batches.

The central theme of the long poem is the romantic love and the tragic fate of Khizr Khan, son of Sultan Allauddin Khilji and the beautiful princess Dewal Devi, daughter of Raja Karan of Gujarat.

Dewal Rani Khizr Khan was Amir Khusrau’s need to create an Indian epic love story in response to the prevailing Persian and Arabic classic romances – Farhad o Shirin and Layla O Majnun.

Here he wove current historical events as intriguingly as mythical tale. He first completed the masnavi with the marriage of the young Muslim prince with the Hindu princess in spite of his mother’s rejection of their love.

He brings together the symbolic union of two civilizations – Hindu and Muslim. Due to the unfortunate death of prince Khizr Khan as a prisoner of his brother, Sultan Qutubuddin Mubarak Shah Khilji,he later updated the masnavi with a tragic end. By the time he wrote the masnavi, he had already completed the Khamsa and acquired proficiency in the style.

The romance is unique in Persian literature in more than one respect – it has for its theme a contemporary event, it belongs to the domain of history and not mythology, it describes India in stunning detail and contains small tales within the narrative which are original and instructive.


Details of image: Masnavi Duval Rani Khizr Khan, National Museum, New Delhi. Masnuscript dated 1568 AD. The illustration displays the marriage of the Hindu princess Duval Rani with the Muslim ruler Khizr Khan, which the angels have come to bless. Source: Welch, India: Art and Culture.

2. 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


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

3. Balban constructed a palace in Delhi called Kushki Lal before he became king.

According to Maulvi Zafar Hasan, Kushki Lal, was a magnificent building which was a structure raised on a chabutra (platform). Constructed of red sandstone, it consisted of a “central domed apartment, with dalaans forming a verandah on all four sides. The latter had red sandstone pillars very simply ornamented and lintels supporting a flat roof of the same material over which were chattris (canopies) on the east, west and south, the northern chhatri having disappeared. Some 25 feet to the north-west of the dome on the same chabutra was a double-storied chhatri which was connected originally with the palace”.

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These archival photographs of Kushki Lal aka Lal Mahal display the grandeur of a monument which has now been lost forever.


Kushki Lal aka Lal Mahal – Almost destroyed

Internet photos

He built “Qila-i-Marzghan”, near the palace after he became king.

4. A Princes lost for eternity

Shahzadi Aqiqa Sultan Begum at Agra. (B.1531) daughter of Humayun and Bega Begum, was eight years-old daughter, when she was lost in Chausa, on 27 June, 1539, and was never recovered.

Humayun became extremely devastated and regretted ever bringing his daughter to Chausa in the first place. He blamed himself, saying, “Why did I not kill her in my own presence?”, rather than have her fall into the enemy’s hands.


Chausa-where Shahzadi Aqiqa Sultan Begum daughterof Humayun and Bega Begum and sister of Akbar was lost forever

Internet photo

5. Name of Mother of husband of Maham Anga

Her name was Fakhrunissa (Mama), she was mother of Nadim Khan Kukaltash aka Nadim Kuka, a general in the army of and faithful servant of Humayun and husband of Maham Anga.


 Emperor Akbar & Maham Anga

Moghul Miniature Akbarnama Painting Rare Handmade Art

6. Baghi-i-Alam ka Gumbad (Shihabu’d-Din Khan’s tomb-1501)

During the reign of Sikandar Lodhi, in 1501 Bagh-i-Alam-ka-Gumbad (Deer Park, Hauz Khas, Delhi) was built around the grave of Mia Shihabu’d-Din Taj Khan (a fakir), to commemorate his memory.


Baghi-i-Alam ka Gumbad

(Built to renovate and add magnitude to Shihabu’d-Din Khan=-1501)

Internet photo

7. Tardi Beg was a military commander in the 16th century in Mughal India. He served under the Mughal Emperors Humayun and Akbar.

It is reported that he was disliked by both the troops and generals and was eventually killed for cowardice by Bairam Khan.

(His grave is reported to be near Humayun’s Tomb but is not identified)

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The Tomb of Humayun’s Vizier

Artist: Wilson, Horace H, Medium: Lithograph; Date: 1841

8. Sultan Garhi

Surprisingly, the tomb is not dedicated to a holy man but to a prince who would have been emperor, or sultan. Nasiru’d-Din Mahmud was the heir-apparent to the throne after his father Sultan Iltutmish but met an untimely death around 1231 A.D. Nasiru’d-Din was the brother of Razia Sultan, the first and only woman monarch to rule from Delhi. Tragically, all siblings met with untimely or violent deaths.


Sultan Garhi-Delhi

Internet photo

9. Malik Ayaz, son of Aymáq Abu’n-Najm, was a Turkish slave of Georgian origin who rose to the rank of officer and general in the army of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (also known as Mahmud Ghaznavi). His rise to power was a reward for the devotion he bore his master.


Mahmud and Ayaz
The Sultan is to the right, shaking the hand of the sheykh, with Ayaz standing behind him. The figure to his right is Shah Abbas I who reigned about 600 years later.
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran

10. In 1021, the Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni raised Ayaz to kingship, awarding him the throne of Lahore, which the Sultan had taken after a long siege and a fierce battle in which the city was torched and depopulated.

11. It is said that in old age “Sultán Mahmúd Mahmud of Ghazni spent his whole time in the society of Malik Ayáz, neglecting the business of the state.”The tomb of Malik Ayaz can still be seen in the Rang Mahal commercial area of Lahore.


Tomb of Malik Ayaz-Lahore

Internet photo

12. 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.


Shahab-ud-Din Muhammad Ghori (also spelled Ghauri, Ghouri, Ghori)

Internet Photo

Slaves of Shahabuddin Ghori

a. 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

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

c. Tajuddin Yildoz became ruler of Ghazni.


Tajuddin Yildoz Coins

Internet Photo

d. 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 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

13. Sultan Qutbuddin Mubarak Khalji and Kurbat Hasan Kangu, the ruler of Malabar

A typical and complete hermaphrodite was Sultan Qutbuddin Mubarak Khalji (1316-1320). He occasionally dressed himself in female attire, embroidered with laces and adorned with gems, and went about dancing in the houses of the nobles like a typical hijra.

Similarly, Kurbat Hasan Kangu aka Hasan Gangu, the ruler of Malabar, often used to come to court (darbar-i-am) dressed in the fashion of females. He bedecked his arms and neck with jewellery and ornaments.




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Some Facts of History-2

1. Where is the grave of Muhgal General Mahabat Khan aka Zamana Beg?

Prominent Mughal general and statesman, known for his coup against the Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1626. “Following his unsuccessful coup, Mahabat Khan fled to the Deccan.

There, Prince Khurram convinced him to surrender himself to Jahangir. However, with the death of Jahangir shortly thereafter in the October 1627, Mahabat Khan was able to go unpunished.

Upon Prince Khurram’s rise to the throne as Emperor Shah Jahan, Mahabat Khan was appointed governor of Ajmer.

He was later transferred to a post in the Deccan, where he died in 1634. His body was carried back to Delhi, where he was buried on the ground of the shrine of Qadam Sharif.

Upon his death, his eldest son, Mirza Amanullah, was awarded the title ‘Khan Zaman’, while his second son, Luhrasp, was granted his late father’s title, ‘Mahabat Khan’.



Mahabat Khan aka Zamana Beg

2. Another Anga



The photograph of the tomb of Dai Angah in Lahore was taken by H H Cole in 1884 for the Archaeological Survey of India.

Wife of a magistrate in Bikaner in Rajasthan, Dai Angah was wet nurse to the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (r. 1628-57). Inscriptions give the date of construction as 1671. The single-storeyed tomb is brick built and faced in painted plaster and tile mosaics in colorful floral and geometric motifs.

Its square plan comprises a central domed chamber with eight further chambers surrounding it. There is a domed kiosk at each of the building’s four corners.


Recent picture of Dai Anga’s tomb

3. Tea house (Red Fort)

The so-called tea house is a structure located in the Red Fort of Delhi. The tea house dates back to the late Mughal period. The structure was altered and changed throughout the course of the time, losing its original appearance.

The tea house was the first palace on the north, constructed for the princes. It was close to the imperial enclosure. It was also known as the “princes’ quarter”, because it is said that this was one of the residences of the emperor’s sons and other members of the imperial family.

After the rebellion of 1857, the occupying British forces converted the palace into a meeting and amusement hall and named it “tea house”. In his 1919 book “Monuments of Delhi: lasting splendor of the great Mughals and others”, Maulvi Zafar Hassan mentioned the structure as a pavilion.


 Tea house (Red Fort)

4. Raisina Hills

The hillocks were flattened by blasting around Raisina Hill. This barren wilderness is where the capital of India, New Delhi, stands today.


Raisina Hills

5. Mango-shaped scent bottle Mid-17th century- Private collection Rock crystal with rubies and emeralds set in gold

H. 1 3⁄4 × W. 2 1⁄4 × D. 1 3⁄4 in. (4.5 × 5.7 × 4.5 cm) Carved out of rock crystal with grooves cut on the surface and inlaid with gold and gemstones, this diminutive scent bottle embodies the refined aesthetic of seventeenth-century Mughal India.

Likely to have been created during the reign of Shah Jahan, this bottle is an example of the high degree of perfection Mughal artists achieved during this period. It features a network of naturalistic scrollwork of vines in gold wire, with leaves and flowers inset with precious stones and set in high relief to provide the effect of a cage enclosing the crystal.

It is missing a stopper, which was probably made of enameled gold.


 Mango-shaped scent bottle Mid-17th century

6. Bahadur Shah II’s crown


Bahadur Shah II’s crown

c. 1825-50 (Source: British Library) (Windsor ref: RCIN67236). Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012.

7. Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana and Burhanpur

A 16th century Tota-Maina tale. Quamaruddin Falak, a historian,claims that this story is not a myth but a forgotten history. When Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana, one of Akhbars navratnas, ruled Burhanpur in the 16th century, the region suffered a severe drought. Rahim then got a reservoir constructed on the top of a hill from where water was later brought to the city. It still exists.

But few know the role a Tota and Maina played in getting water to the city. They belonged to a seer called Hazrat Shah Mustaqbil. It was said that whoever went to the seer seeking water never returned empty-handed.

During the drought, Rahim went to him and the seer said he would set his birds free and they would guide him to water. The birds went to a hill and sat on a stone which suddenly caved in to reveal a hollow, full of water, adds Falak.

But the birds could not be found. Later, they were found dead, next to each other. When they were brought to the seer, he said that they preferred dying together than living in separate cages.

Impressed, Rahim got their graves built next to each another. Falak claims that this is a fact recorded by books, including one written by Sir Thomas Roe, a British ambassador who visited Burhanpur.


A 16th century Tota-Maina Grave

8. Garstin’s Folly

“Garstin’s Folly”-Patna, India. This stupa like building which looks like yin – yang from air is a domed granary built in 1786 by Captain John Garstin, at the order of Warren Hastings, who later became the first Governor-General of India.

This huge granary was constructed to cater for the needs of the British army which had faced lot of difficulty due to severe draught and acute famine from 1770 to 1780. Because of its shape the structure is known as Gol Ghar (Round House). It is pillar less with a base of 125 metres, height 29 metres and a wall of thickness of 3.6 metres at the base. There is an opening at the top for filling the dome with grains. It is provided with two spiral shaped staircases on the outer shell – one for going up and other for coming down – so that the labourers going up with the grain bags are not hindered by those returning from top after emptying their load.

At the time of its construction it was the highest structure in Patna. Sometimes the best designs come to a naught because of some oversight. So was the case with this structure.

The designer failed to perceive some proper way to take out the grain from the granary. The doors at the bottom were designed to open inwards with the result that as soon as some grain was poured in the doors won’t move and it was impractical to remove the grains from the opening at top.

The structure was therefore abandoned with its doors and the hole at the top sealed and it came to be known as “Garstin’s Folly”. With passage of time it fell into decay but was later renovated and is a tourist spot now which provides a great panoramic view of the city and the river Ganges flowing nearby.


9. Safdarjang’s Tomb

Safdarjang’s Tomb was built by an Abyssinian (Ethiopian) architect, Bilal Mohammed Khan at the cost of an exorbitant sum of Rs 3 lakhs. The tomb was built by Nawab of Awadh-Shuja-ud-Daula in 1753-54 AD for his father, Mirza Mukin Abul Mansur Khan ‘Safdarjung’.

Mirza Mukin Abul Mansur Khan was the wazir of emperor Ahmed Shah and Safdarjang was a title, which was either awarded to him by the king, or he assumed himself.


Tomb of Safdar Jung, Delhi, by Samuel Bourne c.1858-60


Safdarjang’s Tomb recent

10. The Bara-pula Bridge

An inscription seen on one of the arches provides evidence that the Bara-pula Bridge was constructed sometime between 1621 AD and 1622 AD by Mihr Banu Agha, who was the chief eunuch in the royal courts of Emperor Jahangir.

Measuring 14 metres wide and 195 metres long is situated just a kilometre east of Khan-Khanan’s Tomb and close to the Shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia.


Barapula Old Image

Barapula The name ‘Bara’ which means ‘Twelve’ and ‘Pula’ which means ‘Piers’ originated from its structure which is made of twelve piers that support the bridge wherein each pier is surmounted by a tall minaret measuring 2 metres each. It is also adorned with eleven arched openings that reflect the typical architectural style of the Tughlaq Dynasty.


Barapula Recent Image

11. Quadam Shareef

Originally, Firoz 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 Firoz Shah had brought in from Mecca.


Dargah Qadam Sharif-Inner Tomb Complex

12. Marriage contract of the emperor Bahadur Shah II (Source British Library)

This document records the marriage of Bahadur Shah, aged 64, to the aristocratic 19-year-old Zinat Mahal. She remained his favourite wife and accompanied him in exile in 1859. It opens with the traditional Arabic formula and records that the marriage was performed legally with the consent of both parties.

The bridegroom promises a settlement of 1,500,000 rupees, one-third to be paid immediately and the rest at any time during their married life. The document includes Bahadur Shah’s signature and the seal of his oldest son, Mirza Dara Bakht Dated 23 Ramazan 1256 (18 November 1840) IO Islamic


Marriage contract of the emperor Bahadur Shah II

Sources: British, Library Internet

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Some Food Facts of History-1



1. Chandni Chowk and its Halwais’



Alas ! Ghantewala Halwai has closed down recently.

2. Taste the Mughlai Chaat of Shahjahanabad

Chaat has a tongue tingling zaika – a mixture of fruits and the genuine flavour of a mixture of potato pieces, firm seared bread, Dahi Bhalla, gram and tangy-salty flavors. The mixture is decorated with acrid home-made Indian crisp and saunth (dried ginger and tamarind sauce), natural green coriander leaves and yoghurt.


Notwithstanding, there are numerous other in vogue variants now-taste the Aloo Tikki in vogue variants.


Visit the famous the chaat shops. Shree Balaji Chaat Bhandar maybe the best and most well known chaatwallah in Chandni Chowk. Be absolotely spellbound by the Papdi Chaat with its liberal consideration of Kachaalu Chutney, Khasta Papdis and saunth.

Bishan Swaroop is one of the aforementioned jewels tucked away in the clamorous by-paths of Chandni Chowk which keeps the magic of a different time, a different taste.

Since 1923, this small small stall has relegated only three things: unbelievable Aloo Chaat, remarkable Aloo ke Kulle and mouth-watering Fruit Chaat.


Taste the bonafide chaat at Lala Babu Chaat Bhandar (Chandni Chowk,) with sublime Gol Gappe presented with a sort of Jal Jeera that is pressed with harad (a digestive), kachoris loaded down with potato and peas, Gobhi-Matar Samosas, Dahi Bhalla and Matar Paneer Tikki are the quickest-advertising things here.


Jugal Kishor Ramji Lal (23, Dujana House, Chawri Bazaar, Chandni Chowk) is best known for the Fruit Chaat that has a quintessential part of the intonations and sights of Chandni Chowk.


“Get the feel of The Moghuls who imported temperate fruits unavailable in Delhi’s climate such as peaches, plums, apricots, apples, grapes and pears from Kashmir”. (W. Darymple)

Despite the fact that they do offer an adaptation of Pao Bhaji and Aloo Tikki, its the Fruit Chaat that is the champ here.


Dahi Bhalla need not dependably be a part of chaat; it might be served as a chief dish as you will find at Natraj Dahi Bhalla. The delicacy called Dahi Bhalla is a rotisserie-urad dal dumpling covered in whipped curd. Frequently, it is streaked with chocolatebrown bands of sweet-acrid tamarind chutney. Pink pomegranate seeds sparkle in the folds of the curd. Natraj is near Bhai Mati Das Chowk at the turning to Chandni Chowk metro station.


Kachori, for the most part loaded down with beats and presented with potato curry, is a different delicacy that makes your mouth water. Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala (1104, Chhatta Madan Gopal, Chandni Chowk) is maybe the most extremely popular for its Urad Dal Kachori, which is presented with Aloo Subzi. This spot is doubtlessly worth the enterprise.


On the sweeter side, Rabdi Faluda is an unquestionable requirement. Besides the spot to have it is Giani di Hatti close to the Fatehpuri Mosque. It has now come to be a frozen yogurt parlor spend significant time in colorful flavors like Litchi and Bubblegum. Separated from standard desserts, they moreover serve milkshakes, apples and oranges shakes, frozen yogurt shakes and sundaes.


“Go Mughlai like the Moghuls who planted formal gardens of fruit trees over conquered territories and drank juices flavored with essences”.

“From the mountains, they brought down ice to keep their sherbets and desserts cool and palatable”.

“They say that when Babur, India’s first Mughal Emperor, looked about his newly conquered northern territories, he did not like it. Coming from a food-loving culture, Hindustan seemed to him a land stripped of romance”.

“He writes in The Baburnama, “There are no grapes, quality fruits, musk melons, candles”.

“Emperor Jahangir introduced Mango it to the courtly tables. “Of all the fruits,” he says, “I am particularly fond of mango.” (W. Daymple)

3. “Taste Biryani of the ‘Dum Pukht’ style like Shah Jahan did, having his diners on rich carpets”. (W. Daymple)

“The centre piece of the imperial spread was a dish of rice cooked with ghee, spices and meat. After their meals, they rinsed their hands with perfumed water poured from jugs held by servants.

Biryani is one such dish that was polished in the royal kitchens of the Mughal Emperors. The word biryani comes from the Persian birian. It is basically a dish of rice and meat, not unlike the pilaf.

Taste the same flavours of yore that were enhanced using exotic spices. The curry was made rich and smooth with cream and yogurt. Imperial cooks threw in spices like cloves, cinnamon and cardamom, and nuts such as cashews and almonds. The result was a fragrant, heady and flavourful dish fit for royalty”. (W. Daymple)


An example of biryani cooked in the Mughal dum pukht style.

5. Eat at a Dastarkhan
Begin the meals like the Mughals meals with pickles, freshly sliced ginger and lime.


Then behave like Mughal Emperors, with a dish of rice cooked with ghee, spices and meat: the pilaf.

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This would be accompanied by a huge variety of game bird, fish, lamb, venison and beef cooked in different styles.

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After their meals, they rinsed their hands with perfumed water poured from jugs held by servants.

Finally eat traditional of desserts, at the end of the meal.


Provided that you are intrigued by kulfi -a flavoured solidified pastry made of milk -step towards the Ajmeri Gate. The prominent name here is Siya Ram Nannumal Kulfiwale (629, Gali Lodan, Ajmeri Gate).

What you get here is kulfi as kulfi ought to be – evil, heavenly and wow-so-amazing!

Request any flavour -Kesar, Pista, Rose, Kewra, Banana, Mango, or Pomegranate.

A delicacy for kings… now sold by the roadside…………Called Chat-But an almost sweet dish…………………………………………………….


According to Old Delhi legend, Daulat (which means ‘wealth’) ki Chaat is made only during the cold winter nights (preferably by the light of a full moon) when gallons of sweetened milk are whisked for hours into a cloud which is then set by the dawn dew. The top layer is touched with saffron and decorated with vark (silver leaf) and by morning the Daulat ki Chaat is just solid enough to be spooned into plates and sprinkled with chopped pistachio nuts, khoya (condensed milk) and bhoora (unrefined sugar) before gradually collapsing in the heat of the day.

In its thaal (a wide metal platter) the Daulat ki Chaat looks like the soft meringue of Lemon Meringue Pie but the taste is altogether more ethereal – it dissolves instantly on the tongue, leaving behind the merest sensation of cream and sweetness. The balance of milky cloud, saffron, sugar and nuts is subtle and tantalising, almost not there – generally requiring a greedy second or third plateful to try and audit this gully-found glimpse of heaven.

If there’s one dish that sums up the magic and mystery of Old Delhi street food

it is Daulat ki Chaat.




The Mughals – Art and Culture by W. Darymple


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