Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq (Biography)

Introduction to Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq

Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq was the founder of the Tughlaq Empire in India. For many years he served under Ala-ud-Din Khilji as the Warden of the Marches or the Governor of the Frontier Province. He was the son of a Turk Father and his mother was a Hindu Jat. He was earlier known as Ghazi Tughlaq.

Early Career

Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq rose to the high position by dint of his personal merits. He led many expeditions against the Mongols and gave them such heavy punishments that they dared not attack India during the reign of his master (Ala-ud-Din Khilji).

At the head of a strong army and accompanied by his son Juna Khan he marched against Khusro Khan and after defeating him near Delhi he got him beheaded. Then Ghazi Tughlaq ascended the throne with the title of Ghiyas­-ud-Din Tughlaq. But it was not an easy throne for him because confusion was prevailing all around and the distant provinces were trying to declare their independence. But Ghiyas-ud-Din raised equal to the occasion and because of his wisdom, abilities and strength he succeeded in maintaining peace and order.

Administration of Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq

Soon after his accession to the throne the Sultan paid his attention towards the administration: –

  1. Very able and honest officers were recruited and various reforms were introduced in the judicial and police departments.
  2. The land revenue which had been raised to 1/2 of the total produce during Ala-ud-Din’s reign was reduced to 1/10 and the revenue officers were warned against any harassment of the peasants.
  3. Ghiyas-ud-Din carried out many works of public utility, Canals were dug, gardens were planted and forts were built to provide shelter to the people against the thieves and robbers reduced various military reforms.
  4. The system of branding the horses and writing the descriptive rolls of the soldiers was revived.
  5. The Sultan also patronized art and learning. Amir Khusro continued to receive the Sultan’s favour. Ghiyas-ud-Din also built a new city of Tughlakabad near Delhi which still excites our curiosity for its massiveness and simplicity.

Conquests of Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq

Taking full advantage of the confusion that prevailed in India after the death of Ala-ud-Din Khilji, the distant governors tried to assert their independence. Soon after his accession to the throne, Ghiyas-ud­-Din had to pay his attention to this side also.

  1. After the death of Ala-ud-Din, the ruler of Warrangal, Pratap Rudra Deva II, asserted his independence; so two expeditions in 1321 and 1323 were sent against him. He was defeated in a battle and his empire was annexed to the Delhi Sultanate.
  2. In Bengal, a civil war was going on between the two grandsons of Bughra Khan. Taking full advantage of this rift, the Sultan invaded Bengal and brought a great portion of that state under his control.
  3. On his way back from the Bengal expedition to Sultan defeated the Raja of Tirhut and annexed his dominions.

Death of Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq in 1325 A.D.

But Ghiyas-ud-Din was not destined to enjoy a long reign. When he returned to Delhi from the Bengal expedition he was cordially received by his son Juna Khan in the new pavilion that was specially constructed for this purpose in Afghanpura, near his new capital Tughlakabad. But the pavilion fell down and the Sultan was killed under it in 1325 A. D. There is a good deal of controversy on the question whether the Sultan’s death was the result of some conspiracy or it occurred by accident.

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