HISTORY OF INDIA
MUIZZUDDIN MUHAMMAD BIN SAM OF GHUR AND
THE EARLIER SLAVE KINGS OF DELHI
THE history of the Ghaznavids has given us occasional glimpses of the princes of Ghur and of the circumstances in which, during the conflicts of their powerful neighbors, they gradually rose to prominence. They have usually been described, on insufficient grounds, as Afghans, but there is little doubt that they were, like the Samanids of Balkh, eastern Persians. In 1163 Saif-ud-din Muhammad, son and successor of the World-burner, was slain in battle against the Ghuzz Turkmans, and was succeeded by his cousin, Ghiyas-ud-din Muhammad, son of Baha-ud-din Sam, who in 1173 expelled the Ghuzz Turkmans from Ghazni and appointed his younger brother Shihab-ud-din, afterwards known as Muizz-ud-din Muhammad, to the government of that province.
The relations between the brothers exhibit a pleasing contrast to the almost invariable tale of envy, jealousy, and fratricidal strife furnished by the records of other Muslim dynasties. Ghiyas-ud-din commanded, until his death, the loyal assistance of his brother, and in return reposed in him a confidence which was never abused and permitted to him a freedom of action which few other eastern rulers have dared to tolerate in a near relation. Muhammad acquired territory and wealth which would have enabled him, had he been so minded, to overthrow his brother and usurp his throne, and was described on his coins as “the great and victorious Sultan”, but the place of honor was always assigned to his brother’s name, which was distinguished by epithets denoting his superiority.
In 1175 Muhammad led his first expedition into India. Ismailian heretics, long freed from the restraining hand of a powerful and orthodox ruler, had for some years borne sway in Multan. Muhammad captured the city, appointed an orthodox governor, and marched to the strong fortress of Uch, which he took by a stratagem. He promised to make the raja’s wife, who was on bad terms with her husband, the principal lady in his harem if she would deliver the fortress to him. She declined the honor for herself but secured it for her daughter, caused her husband to be put to death, and surrendered the city. She gained little by her unnatural treachery, for she and her daughter were sent to Ghazni, ostensibly that they might learn the doctrines and duties of Islam, and there she died soon afterwards, justly scorned by the daughter whom she had sold. The unfortunate girl herself died two years later, never having been Muhammad’s wife but in name.
In 1178 Muhammad sustained his first reverse on Indian soil. He rashly led an army by way of Multan, Uch, and the waterless Indian desert against Anhilvara, or Patan, the capital of Bhim the Vaghela, the young raja of Gujarat. His army arrived before Anhilvara exhausted by its desert march and utterly unfit to encounter the fresh and numerous army of Bhim. His troops fought with the valor which religious zeal inspires but were defeated, and compelled to retrace their steps across the inhospitable desert. The sufferings of the retreat far exceeded those of the advance and it was but a miserable remnant of the army that reached Ghazni.
He was nevertheless able, in the following year, to lead an army to Peshawar, which he wrested from the feeble grasp of the governor placed there by Khusrav Malik, and in 1181 he led to Lahore the expedition of which the result was the establishment of a fortress at Sialkot.
The later successors of the great Mahmud had been unable to maintain their position in India by the strength of their own arm and the hostility of the rajas of Jammu had compelled them to ally themselves to the Khokars. The support of Khusrav Malik enabled these tribesmen to repudiate their allegiance to Chakra Deo of Jammu and to resist his demands for tribute and the raja avenged himself by inviting Muhammad to invade the Punjab and promising him his assistance. Muhammad accepted the offer with an alacrity which did little credit to his zeal for Islam, reduced Khusrav to submission as has already been described, and at Chakra Deo’s suggestion built the fortress of Sialkot for the purpose of curbing the Khokars. It was at the instance and with the assistance of these tribesmen that Khusrav Malik attacked the fortress after Muhammad’s departure, and it was owing to Chakra Deo’s aid to the garrison that the siege was unsuccessful. In 1186, when Muhammad invaded the Punjab for the second time, Vijaya Deo, the son and successor of Chakra Deo, aided him against Khusrav Malik, who was treacherously seized and carried to Ghazni as already described. Ali Karmakh, who had hitherto been governor of Multan, was appointed to Lahore, and Muhammad, having thus established himself in India, proceeded, by a series of operations differing entirely from Mahmud’s raids, to the conquest of further territory in that country.
In the winter of 1190-91, the south-eastern boundary of his dominions being then probably the Sutlej, he captured Bhatinda, in the kingdom of Prithvi Raj, the Chauhan raja of Delhi and placed in command of it Qazi Ziya-ud-din with his contingent of 1200 horse. Muhammad was preparing to return when he heard that Prithvi Raj was advancing with a vast army to attack him. He turned to meet him and encountered him at Taraori, near Karnal. The Muslims were overpowered by sheer weight of numbers, and both their wings were driven from the field, but the centre still stood fast and Muhammad, leading a furious charge against the Hindu centre, personally encountered the raja’s brother, Govind Rai, and shattered his teeth with his lance, but Govind drove his javelin through the sultan's arm, and Muhammad, fearing to sacrifice his army by falling, turned his horse's head from the field. The army was now in full flight, and Muhammad, faint from pain and loss of blood, would have fallen, had not a young Khalj Turk, with great presence of mind, sprung upon his horse behind him until he reached the place where the fugitive army had halted. Here a litter was hastily constructed for him and the army continued its retreat in good order. Prithvi Raj advanced to Bhatinda and besieged it, but the gallant Ziya-ud-din held out for thirteen months before he capitulated.
Muhammad’s sole care, after reaching Ghazni, was to organize and equip such an army as would enable him to avenge his defeat, and in 1192 he invaded India with 12,000 horse. He was not in time to relieve Bhatinda, but he found Prithvi Raj encamped at Taraori, and adopted tactics which bewildered the Rajput, a slave to tradition. Of the five divisions of his army four, composed of mounted archers, were instructed to attack, in their own style, the flanks and, if possible, the rear of the Hindus, but to avoid hand to hand conflicts and, if closely pressed, to feign flight. These tactics were successfully employed from the morning until the afternoon, when Muhammad, judging that the Hindus were sufficiently perplexed and wearied, charged their centre with 12,000 of the flower of his cavalry. They were completely routed and Prithvi Raj descended from his elephant and mounted a horse in order to flee more rapidly, but was overtaken near the river Saraswati and put to death. His brother was also slain and his body was identified by the disfigurement which Muhammad’s lance had inflicted in the previous year.
This victory gave Muhammad northern India almost to the gates of Delhi. Hansi, Samana, Guhram and other fortresses surrendered after the battle of Taraori, and the sultan marched to Ajmer, which he plundered, carrying away numbers of its inhabitants as slaves, but the city, isolated by the desert, was not yet a safe residence for a Muslim governor, and a son of Prithvi Raj was appointed, on undertaking to pay tribute, as governor.
Muhammad appointed as viceroy of his new conquests Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the most trusty of his Turkish officers, who made Guhram his headquarters. Qutb-ud-din, the real founder of Muslim dominion in India, had been carried as a slave in his youth from Turkistan to Nishapur, where he was bought by the local governor and, being again sold on the death of his master, passed eventually into the hands of Muhammad. He first attracted his new master’s attention by his lavish generosity, and rose to the highest rank in his service. His name, Aibak, which has been the subject of some controversy, means either Moon-lord, and may indicate that he was born during an eclipse, or Moon-face, an epithet which in the East suggests beauty, though we learn that he was far from comely. He was also nicknamed Shal (‘defective’ or ‘paralyzed’) from an injury which deprived him of the use of one little finger. He was active and energetic, an accomplished horseman and archer, and sufficiently well learned, and the lavish generosity which had distinguished his youth earned for him in later years, when wealth had augmented his opportunities, the name of Lak-bakhsh, or giver of tens of thousands. Muhammad trusted Aibak as he himself was trusted by his brother, and left him untrammeled, not only in his administration of the new conquests, but also in his discretion to extend them.
Towards the close of the rainy season of 1192 an army of Jats under a leader named Jatwan, who owed allegiance to Raja Bhim of Anhilvara, invaded the Hansi district and compelled Nusrat-ud-din, the Muslim governor, to take refuge in the fortress. Aibak marched to his relief and in September appeared before Hansi. The Jats had fled, but he followed them so closely that they were compelled to turn and meet him and were defeated and lost their leader. Aibak returned to Guhram and almost immediately set out for Meerut, captured time fortress from the Hindu chieftain who held it, and thus established an outpost to the east of the Jumna.
Delhi still remained in the hands of the Chauhan Rajputs and was a nucleus of aggressive national and religious sentiment and a formidable obstacle to the progress of the Muslim arms. From Meerut, therefore, Aibak marched thither, and in December, 1192, or January, 1193, captured the city which was destined to be the capital of the Islamic power in India. In 1193 he made it his headquarters, but allowed himself no repose there.
Meanwhile an officer subordinate to Aibak had been carrying the banner of Islam further afield. This was Ikhtiyar-ud-din Muhammad, son of Bakhtyar, of the Turkish tribe of Khalj, which was settled in the Garmsir between Sistan and Ghazni. His mean and unprepossessing appearance and his ungainly build, which enabled him, while standing upright, to reach with his hands the calves of his legs, had long debarred him from employment commensurate with his ambition and his merits, and he had entered the service of Hijabr-ud-din Hasan Adib, an adventurous officer who had conquered Budaun even before Muhammad had taken Bhatinda, and afterwards that of Malik Hisam-ud-din Aghul Bak, another leader of the vanguard of Islam, who had established himself in Oudh, where Ikhtiyaruddin received some fiefs between the Ganges and the Son. From this advanced base he led raids into Bihar and Tirhut and took so much booty that large numbers of his own tribe, eager to serve under so fortunate a leader, joined him. With this accession of strength he invaded Bihar, took its capital, Odantapuri, put to death the Buddhist monks dwelling in its great monastery, and returned with his plunder, which included the library of the monastery, to make his obeisance to Aibak, now, in the summer of 1193, established at Delhi. The honors bestowed upon him aroused much envy and jealousy, and intriguers and backbiters were able to freeze the stream of Aibak’s favor into the ice of suspicion and aversion; but their malice overreached itself, for to compass Ikhtiyar-ud-din’s destruction they attributed to him a foolish boast, that he could overcome an elephant in single combat, and persuaded Aibak that the vaunt should be made good. It had never been uttered, but Ikhtiyar-ud-din would not decline the challenge and, against the expectation of all, put the beast to flight. His success regained the favor of Aibak, who dismissed him with fresh honors to Bihar, after conferring on him as a fief his past and future conquests.
Delhi and Ajmer
After his departure Aibak marched into the Doab and captured Koil, and a month or two later joined his master with 50,000 horse. Muhammad had invaded India for the purpose of attacking Jaichand, Raja of Kanauj and Benares, who according to Hindu accounts, had been his ally against Prithvi Raj, but on discovering , that the Muslims were determined to annex northern India, had repented of his unpatriotic alliance and was preparing to attack the intruders. Muhammad halted near Kanauj and sent Aibak to meet Jaichand, who was encamped at Chandwar, now Firuzabad, on the Jumna, between Agra and Etawah. The armies met on the banks of the river, and the Muslims were on the point of giving way when a fortunately aimed arrow struck Jaichand in the eye and he fell dead from his elephant, whereupon the Hindus broke and fled, and were pursued with great slaughter. Jaichand’s body, crushed beyond recognition, was found with difficulty, but his attendants recognized it by means of the teeth, which had either been stopped with gold or were false teeth fastened with gold wire. The victorious army pressed on to the fortress of Asi, near Manaich, where Jaichand had stored his treasure, which was plundered. Thence it marched to Benares where it destroyed several temples and took much booty, and Muhammad then returned to Ghazni.
Muhammad’s policy in Ajmer was not entirely successful. The son of Prithvi Raj whom he had installed there was illegitimate, and the Rajputs, who resented his subservience to the foreigner, made his birth a pretext for disowning him and elected in his place Hemraj, the brother of Prithvi Raj. Hemraj had molested Aibak when he was besieging Meerut, but had been defeated and driven off. In 1194 Ruknu-d-din Hamza, Qavamul Mulk, who had captured and held Ranthambhor, reported that Hemraj was in rebellion and was marching to attack him. Aibak marched from Delhi to the relief of the fortress, but Hemraj eluded him and took refuge in the hills of Alwar, the district then known as Mewat. From this retreat he attacked and captured Ajmer, compelling his nephew to flee for refuge to Ranthambhor, and from Ajmer he dispatched a force under a leader named Jhat Rai against Delhi. A demonstration by Aibak was sufficient to drive Jhat Rai back to Ajmer, whither Aibak followed him. Hemraj came forth to meet his enemy but was defeated and driven back into the city, where he mounted a funeral pyre and perished in the flames, and a Muslim officer was appointed to the government of the city and province.
In 1195 Aibak formed the ambitious design of avenging his master’s defeat in Gujarat and punishing Raja Bhim for having molested Nusrat-ud-din at Hansi, and marched to Anhilvara. Kunwar Pal, the commander of Bhim’s army, retired before him but was compelled by a close pursuit to turn and stand. He was defeated and slain, and while Bhim took refuge in a remote corner of his kingdom Aibak plundered his capital and the neighboring country and returned with much booty to Delhi by way of Hansi. Muhammad, on receiving Aibak’s dispatch announcing his success, summoned him to Ghazni, where he received him with every demonstration of approval and formally appointed him viceroy of the Muslim dominions in India. Aibak was detained for some time at Ghazni by a serious illness and shortly after his arrival at Delhi, towards the end of 1196, was called upon to meet his master, who had led an expedition into India, at Hansi. During this campaign Bayana was captured and was placed under the command of a Turkish slave named Baha-ud-din Tughril, and Muhammad advanced to Gwalior. He found the fortress too strong to be taken by a coup de main and he could not spare the time for a regular siege, but the raja was prepared to purchase immunity for himself and his dominions, and in consideration of a promise to pay tribute and the immediate payment of a first installment he was permitted to retain possession of his state and his fortress.
In the hot season of 1197, when Aibak was at Ajmer, the Mers, who inhabited the neighborhood of that city, rose in rebellion and invited Raja Bhim of Gujarat to aid them in expelling the Muslims. Aibak heard of these communications, and in spite of the great heat of the season marched from Ajmer and attacked the Mers early one morning before their ally had joined them, but their superior numbers enabled them to maintain the conflict throughout the day, and when the battle was renewed on the following day Bhim’s army arrived and overpowered the Muslims, driving them back into the city. Here Aibak was besieged until the news that a large army was marching from Ghazni to his relief caused the Mers and Raja Bhim’s army to retreat. The reinforcements reached Ajmer late in the year, and in December Aibak marched on Anhilvara by way of Sirohi to avenge his defeat. He found Bhim’s army awaiting him at the foot of the Abu hills in a position so strong that he hesitated to attack it, and his caution enticed the Hindus from the position which constituted their strength. Aibak, now on equal terms with his enemy, attacked shortly after dawn and was obstinately resisted until midday, when the Hindus broke and fled. They suffered severely: 15,000 were slain and 20,000 captured and twenty elephants and much other plunder were taken. Aibak advanced, unopposed, to Anhilvara, plundered the city and returned with much wealth, of which he transmitted a due proportion to Muhammad and to Ghiyasuddin.
Early Muslim Rule
During the next five years the two brothers were much occupied with the affairs of Khorasan, and Muhammad had so little leisure to spare for India that the northern provinces enjoyed a period of comparative repose, welcome to the troops after nine years’ warfare, and beneficial to the country. We may imagine that the conquerors employed this interval of peace for the establishment of their simple system of government, but of this no details are given, for Muslim historians are concerned almost exclusively with war and court intrigue. There is no reason to believe that the system established by the earlier conquerors differed from that which we find in existence at a later date under Muslim rulers. Military fief-holders were responsible for the preservation of order, for the ordinary executive duties of government, and for the collection of the revenue when it was necessary to use any degree of force, but in matters of detail full use was made of indigenous institutions. Hindu accountants kept the registers in which was recorded the landholder's or cultivator's normal liability to government, Hindu village officials ordinarily collected such revenue as could be collected without the employment of force, and Hindu caste tribunals decided most of the disputes to which Hindus only were parties. Disputes between Muslin's were decided by Muhammadan qazis and muftis, and differences between Hindus and their conquerors either by these officials or by the strong hand of the fief-holder or his deputy, whose natural predilection for their coreligionists would be restrained sometimes by a sense of justice but more often by their interest in repressing misconduct likely to lead to disorders.
It must not be supposed that this description applies uniformly to the whole of the territory over which the Muslims pretended to dominion. Extensive tracts often remained under the rule of Hindu rajas or landowners who were permitted to retain their authority on promising to pay tribute or taxes, which they paid when the central authorities was strong and withheld when it was weak. Both the extent and the boundaries of fiefs held by Muslim officers were uncertain and a strong or ruthless fief-holder would extinguish all vestiges of Hindu authority in his fief, and even beyond its borders, while another, weak or accommodating, might deal with lesser Hindu proprietors as the central government dealt with the rajas and great landholders. The history of northern India exhibits, until the middle of the sixteenth century, many instances of the extent to which Hindus regained their power under a weak government, as well as of their sufferings under despots strong enough to indulge their bigotry without restraint.
The five years’ interval of peace was limited to the provinces in north-western India under Aibak’s immediate control, for Ikhtiyar-ud-din’s activity was not abated. After returning, in 1193, from Delhi to Bihar he hatched schemes of conquest which should extend the dominion of the faithful to the sea on one side and beyond the great mountain barrier of the Himalaya on the other. Lower Bengal was now ruled by Lakshman, of the Sen dynasty, who, having been a posthumous son, had succeeded at his birth to his father’s kingdom and was now an aged man dwelling peacefully at Nabadwipa or Nadiya, which his grandfather had made the capital of Bengal. In 1202 Ikhtiyar-ud-din left Bihar with a large body of horse, and marched so rapidly on Nadiya that he arrived at the city with no more than eighteen companions. Nadiya was partly deserted at this time, many of its wealthier inhabitants having retired and settled further to the east, owing, it is said, to predictions in ancient books that the city would be captured by the Turks, but their flight may be more reasonably attributed to authentic stories of the activity and rapacity of the Muslims than to ancient prophecy. Lakshman Sen, whether from apathy or from confidence, had refused to leave his capital, and when the intruders, who had been permitted to pass through the city under the impression that they were horse dealers from the north, reached his palace gates he was sitting down to a meal. The Muslims cut down the guards and bystanders, burst into the palace, and at once all was uproar and confusion. The raja, in the half-naked state in which a Hindu of high caste is obliged to eat, left his unfinished meal and escaped by boat, and the adventurers were able to hold their own until the rest of the army arrived, when they plundered the treasury of the accumulations of a peaceful reign of eighty years and sacked and destroyed the city. Ikhtiyar-ud-din retired to Gaur or Lakhnawati, where he established himself firmly as governor of Bengal, founded mosques, colleges, and caravanserais, and caused the Khutba to be recited in the name of Muizz-ud-din Muhammad, who had succeeded as sole ruler on the death of his elder brother, Ghiyas-ud-din, on February 11, 1203. (The Khutba is a homily and bidding prayer recited in mosques on Fridays and festivals and contains the name of the ruling sovereign, whose title it formally acknowledges. Among Muslims it is one of the two symbols of sovereignty, the other being the minting of money).
Lakshman Sen escaped to Vikrampur, near Sonargaon and eight miles south-east of Dacca, and from this town, which had been the favorite residence of his great-grandfather Balal Sen, ruled the narrow remnant of his kingdom, in which he was succeeded by his son Madhav Sen, who, again, was succeeded by his own son Su Sen, the last of the line.
The peace in northern India was broken by Aibak, who in 1202 attacked Parmal, the Chandel raja of Kalinjar, whose ancestor had paid tribute to Mahmud. Parmal was defeated, and in order to retain possession of his fortress accepted the position of a vassal, but while he was collecting the stipulated tribute suddenly died, and his minister Aja Deo, who aspired to his throne, refused to abide by the treaty and, trusting to a spring which had never been known to fail, resolved to stand the chances of a siege, but a few days after he had closed the gates the hitherto inexhaustible spring dried up, and the citizens, confronted with the prospect of death from thirst incautiously admitted the besiegers without making fresh terms. Aibak punished Aja Deo’s treachery by treating the city as one taken by storm. Plunder amounting to far more than the promised tribute was taken, 50,000 captives, male and female, were carried off as slaves, and the temples in the city were converted into mosques. After capturing Kalinjar, Aibak reduced without difficulty Mahoba, the civil capital of the Chandel state, and on his way towards Budaun received Ikhtiyar-ud-din, who presented to him the spoils of Nadiya.
Muhammad bin Sam sustained at the hands of the Turkmans of Alau-d-din Muhammad Khvarazm Shah, near Andkhui, in 1205, a defeat which dealt a fatal blow at his military reputation in India. It was reported, and for some time believed, that he had been killed, and his old enemies the Khokars and some other tribes to the north of the Salt Range rose under the leadership of Rai Sal, a petty raja who, having been converted to Islam, had since relapsed. The rebels defeated the deputy governor of Multan and plundered Lahore, and by closing the roads between that city and Ghazni prevented the remittance of revenue from the Punjab. Muhammad, intent on avenging his defeat at the hands of Khvarazm Shah, ordered Aibak to deal with the rebellion in India, but this step confirmed the rebels in their belief that the reports of his death were true, for they did not understand the difficulties which confronted him in Central Asia and could not believe that he would entrust to a subordinate a task so important as the suppression of their rebellion. Muhammad at length perceived the necessity for taking the field in person, and on October 20, 1205, set out from Ghazni for India. He left Peshawar on November 9 and fell suddenly on the Khokars in a position of their own choosing between the Jhelum and the Chenab. They withstood him from daybreak until the afternoon with such obstinacy that the tide of battle was only turned by the arrival of Aibak with the army of Hindustan. The Muslims pursued the Khokars with great slaughter and took so many alive that five Khokar slaves sold in the camp for a dinar. Of the two leaders of the Khokars one, Sarka, was slain and the other, Bakan, made his way to a fortress in the Salt Range but, being pursued thither, saved his life by surrendering. A body of the more determined rebels fled from the fortress into a dense jungle where they perished miserably when the forest was fired by the Muslims.
Muhammad arrived at Lahore on February 25, 1206, and gave his troops permission to return to their homes in order that they might be ready to accompany him on his projected expedition to Khorasan. On his return towards Ghazni he was assassinated, on March 15, on the bank of the Indus.
The circumstances of his death are a vexed question. The legend which attributes it to Prithvi Raj who, according to the bards of the Rajputs had not been slain at Taraori but was wounded and taken prisoner and remained, after having been blinded, a captive for the rest of his life, is mentioned by one Muslim historian but may be dismissed without hesitation as a fabrication. Other authorities attribute the deed to some of the Khokars whose homes had so recently been made desolate, but though these were perhaps privy to the design, and, if so, certainly furthered it, the actual assassins appear to have been fanatical Shiahs of the heretical Ismaili sect. A few years before this time these heretics had again established themselves in Khorasan, where they are still numerous, and held possession of that province until Muhammad crushed them in 1199, and restored his brother's authority. A number of these bound themselves by an oath to slay the persecutor of their faith, and found on this occasion their opportunity.
The body of the murdered sultan was carried to Ghazni and there buried. His nominal successor was Ala-ud-din, of the Bamiyan branch of his family, who was almost immediately supplanted by Mahmud, the son of Ghiyas-ud-din, but these princes were mere pageants, and the real successors were the provincial viceroys, Tajuddin Yildiz, governor of Kirman, and Qutb-ud-din Aibak, who assumed the title of Sultan at his master's death and was, acknowledged as sovereign by Ikhtiyar-ud-din of Bengal and by Nasir-ud-din Qabacha who, having distinguished himself at the disastrous battle of Andkhui, had in 1205 been appointed governor of Multan and Uch, and had married Aibak’s daughter.
We may now conveniently revert to the course of events in Bengal, where Ikhtiyar-ud-din, having firmly established himself in Lakhnawati, had begun to indulge in dreams of carrying his arms beyond the Himalaya. He had already extended his influence to the foot of these mountains among the Mongoloid tribes, Koch, Mech, and Kachari, and one chieftain, known after his conversion as Ali the Mech, had exchanged his animistic belief for the doctrines of Islam. Ali undertook to guide Ikhtiyar-ud-din through the great mountains and about the middle of the year 1205 he set out, with an army of 10,000 horse, on his perilous adventure. The interest which this enterprise might have possessed is unfortunately diminished by the impossibility of tracing the adventurer's footsteps, for the vague accounts of historians ignorant of geography preserved in corrupted texts afford us no means of following his course. Having entered into a treaty with the raja of Kamrup, who agreed to refrain from molesting him and to assist him, at least with advice, he marched from Debkot in the modern district of Dinajpur, to the banks of a great river which seems to have formed the boundary between his territory and Kamrup and followed its course northwards for ten days until he reached a city, perhaps Burdhankot, in the raja’s dominions. Here the river was spanned by a stone bridge, and Ikhtiyar-ud-din, leaving a force to hold the bridge, set out, against the advice of the raja, who counseled him to wait for the spring, for Tibet. In what direction he marched, or what part of Tibet was his objective, is uncertain, but after fifteen days' marching he reached a strong fortress standing in open country which was well cultivated and thickly populated. The inhabitants joined the garrison of the fortress in opposing the invader and though lkhtiyar-ud-din held his ground throughout the day his losses were very heavy and information received from prisoners, who reported that large reinforcements from a neighboring city were confidently awaited, convinced him of the necessity for an immediate retirement. During his retreat he paid the penalty of his rashness in advancing so far into an unknown country without securing his communications. The natives had destroyed or obstructed the roads and burnt all vegetation, so that neither fodder nor fuel was procurable and the army was reduced to living on the flesh of its horses. When the river was reached it was discovered that the inhabitants had taken advantage of quarrels between the officers left to secure at least this point to destroy the bridge, that the river was unaffordable, and that no boats were at hand. The raja of kamrup perfidiously attacked the retreating army and drove it into the river. Ikhtiyar-ud-din succeeded in reaching the opposite bank with about a hundred horsemen, with which sorry remnant of his army he returned to Lakhnawati.
This was the greatest disaster which had yet befallen the Muslim arms in India. Armies had been defeated, but Ikhtiyar-ud-din’s force had been all but annihilated, and it would have been well for him to have perished with it, for he could not show his face in the streets of Lakhnawati without encountering the gibes and reproaches of the wives and families of those whom he had led to their death, and early in 1206 he took to his bed and died, of grief and mortification, as some authorities assert, but he was in fact murdered by Ali Mardan, a leading member of the Khalji tribe.
On Ikhtiyar-ud-din’s death the government was assumed by Muhammad bin Shiran, a Khalji officer who had acted as one of his deputies during his absence in Tibet. Ali Mardan was imprisoned, but escaped and fled to Lahore, where he persuaded Aibak, from whom he concealed his share in Ikhtiyar-ud-din’s death, to depute an officer from Oudh to make a fresh distribution of fiefs among the officers in Bengal. In the course of the dissensions which arose in connection with this redistribution Muhammad bin Shiran, Ali Mardan’s principal enemy, was slain, and Ali Mardan persuaded Aibak to appoint him governor.
Nasir-ud-din Qabacha’s acknowledgement of his father-in-law, Aibak, as his sovereign aroused the resentment of Tajuddin Yildiz, governor of Kirman, who claimed the succession to Muhammad in Ghazni and, in consequence, the sovereignty of the Punjab. He sent an army against Qabacha and drove him from Multan but was in turn attacked by Aibak, defeated, and driven back to Kirman. Aibak, elated by his success, entered Ghazni as a conqueror in 1208-09 and celebrated his victory with wine and revelry, while his troops robbed and ill-treated the citizens. They secretly informed Yildiz of the state of affairs and be suddenly marched on Ghazni and so completely surprised Aibak that he fled to Lahore without striking a blow.
Early in November, 1210, Aibak’s horse fell upon him as he was playing chaugan or polo and the high pommel of the saddle pierced his breast, inflicting a wound so severe that he died almost immediately. The nobles, in order to avoid the confusion and strife inseparable from a delayed or disputed succession, hurriedly proclaimed Aram Shah, sometimes described as Aibak's adopted son but usually believed to have been a son of his body.
The reign of Iltutmish
The death of Aibak affords us an opportunity of turning again to the course of events in Bengal. Ali Mardan, on receiving the news, adopted the style of royalty and the title of Sultan Ala-ud-din. To his own subjects he was a ruthless and bloody tyrant, and the Hindu rulers on his borders stood in such awe of him that the tribute with which they conciliated him filled his treasury. The rapid growth of his power and prosperity so unhinged his mind that he believed himself to be monarch of all the known world and bestowed upon his subjects and suppliants grants of the most distant kingdoms and provinces. To a poor merchant of Isfahan who had been robbed of his goods in Bengal he made a grant of his native city and province, and none dared to suggest that the grant was but breath and paper. The violence of his temper increased with his mania until neither the Khalji noble nor the humble trader of the bazaar was secure, and when he had reigned for about two years a party among the nobles conspired and slew him, and raised to the throne Hisam-ud-din Iwaz, governor of the frontier district of Debkot.
On Aibak’s death Qabacha also declared himself independent in Multan, and nothing was left to Aram Shah but Hindustan and a part of the Punjab, where the turbulence of the Hindus threatened his rule and alarmed the stoutest hearts among the Muslims. From Lahore the new king marched to Delhi, but the nobles who had remained in the capital when Aibak marched to Lahore, and had had no voice in the election of Aram Shah, were loth to accept so feeble a ruler, and invited Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, son-in-law of Aibak and the foremost of his slaves, to ascend the throne. Iltutmish marched from Budaun to Delhi, defeated and captured Aram Shah, who met him in the plain before the city, and ascended the throne in the latter half of 1211. Of Aram Shah, who reigned for less than a year, nothing more is heard.
The new king, who is usually, but incorrectly, styled Altamsh by European historians, was a Turk of the Ilbari tribe who, though of noble birth, had, like Joseph, been sold into slavery by his brothers. When he and another slave named Aibak Tamghaj were first carried to Ghazni Muhammad would not pay the price demanded for them, but afterwards permitted Qutb-ud-din Aibak to purchase them at Delhi. Tamghaj was slain when Yildiz drove Qutb-ud-din Aibak from Ghazni, but Iltutmish advanced rapidly in his master’s favor and held in succession the fiefs of Gwalior, captured in 1196, Baran (Bulandshahr) and Budaun.
It was but a remnant of Aibak’s wide dominions that Iltutmish gained by his victory over Aram Shah. Ali Mardan was independent in Bengal, Qabacha seemed likely, besides retaining his independence in Multan and Sind, to extend his authority over Lahore and the upper Punjab, and Yildiz, who held Ghazni, pretended, as Muhammad's successor, to suzerainty over all the Indian conquests and asserted his claim by issuing to Iltutmish a commission as viceroy. The position of Iltutmish was so precarious that he dared not at once resent the insult, but he neither forgot nor forgave it. Many of the Turkish nobles, even in Hindustan, chafed against his authority and he was for some time occupied in establishing it in the districts of Delhi, Budaun, Oudh, and Benares, and in the submontane tract of the Himalaya.
In 1214 Ala-ud-din Muhammad Khvarazm Shah drove Yildiz from Ghazni, and the fugitive took refuge in Lahore and expelled the officer who held the town for Qabacha. Iltutmish protested against this act of aggression, and when the protest was disregarded marched towards Lahore. Yildiz accepted the challenge and on January 25, 1216, the armies met on the already famous field of Taraori. Yildiz 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 Yildiz, Qabacha again occupied Lahore, but in 1217 Iltutmish expelled him from the city and recovered the upper Punjab.
In 1221 the effects of the raids of the heathen Moguls which afterwards became a source of constant anxiety to the sultans of Delhi, first made themselves felt in India. These savages, under their leader, the terrible Chingiz Khan, drove Ala-ud-din Muhammad Khvarazm Shah from his throne, and his son, Jalal-ud-din Mangbarni, took refuge in Lahore and sent an envoy to Iltutmish to beg for an asylum in his dominions. The fugitive and his 10,000 troops were most unwelcome guests on the frontier, and Iltutmish, having put the envoy to death on the pretext that he was attempting to stir up sedition, replied that the climate of Lahore was likely to be prejudicial to Mangbarni’s health and offered him a residence near Delhi. The offer was declined and Mangbarni retired towards the Salt Range, where he first attacked and defeated the Khokars but afterwards found it to his advantage to enter into an alliance with them, and by a marriage with the daughter of their chief, who had long been at enmity with Qabacha, acquired an interest in an intestine feud. With his new allies he attacked Qabacha and compelled him to comply with an exorbitant demand for tribute. Rumors that Chingiz had discovered his retreat and purposed to follow him thither seriously perturbed him, and by extorting a further sum from Qabacha and plundering Sind and northern Gujarat he amassed treasure sufficient to enable him to flee, in 1224, to Persia.
The defeat and humiliation of Qabacha had profited Iltutmish, who was at leisure, after Mangbarni’s flight, to turn his attention to Bengal, where Hisam-ud-din Iwaz had assumed the title of Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din, and in 1225 he led his army through Bihar. On his approach Iwaz submitted to him, abandoned the use of the royal title, acknowledged his sovereignty and presented to him, as tribute, thirty-eight elephants and much treasure, and Iltutmish, after appointing his eldest son, Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, governor of Oudh, and establishing his own governor in Bihar, returned to Delhi.
In 1226 Iltutmish recovered Ranthambhor, which, in the confusion which followed Aibak's death, had fallen into the hands of the Hindus, and in the following year took Mandawar, a strong fortress eight miles north of Bijnor held by Rahup, an Agarwal Baniya who had captured it from a prince of the Parihar dynasty. Having thus established his authority in Hindustan and Bengal he decided that the time had come to deal with Qabacha, who still maintained his independence in Sind and the lower Punjab and had not abandoned his pretensions to the upper province. He marched first towards Uch, and Qabacha withdrew to Ahrawat on the Indus and moored his boats near his camp, leaving his minister to defend Uch. As Iltutmish approached Uch his lieutenant, Nasir-ud-din Aiyitim, advanced from Lahore and besieged Multan, and Qabacha took to his boats and fled to the island-fortress of Bakhar, in the Indus, 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, Kamal-ud-din Muhammad Junaidi, entitled Nizam-ul-Mulk, in pursuit of Qabacha, who in his despair sent Ala-ud-din Bahram Shah, his son by Aibak’s daughter, to make terms. Bahram was successful, and in accordance with the treaty Uch was surrendered en May 4, but Junaidi was either not informed of the treaty or willfully disregarded it, for he continued to besiege Bakhar, and Qabacha was drowned in the Indus. 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 Sind. Malik Sinan-ud-din Chatisar, eleventh of the Sumra line, a Rajput dynasty the later members of which accepted Islam, submitted and was permitted to retain his territory as a vassal of Iltutmish, whose dominions were thus extended to the sea.
Iltutmish, as a good Muslim, had, while still employed in establishing his authority, sought from the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad confirmation of his title and he was gratified by the arrival, on February 8, 1229, of the Caliph's envoy, who invested him with a robe of honor and delivered to him a patent which conveyed the Caliph's recognition of his title as Sultan of India.
After the retirement of Iltutmish from Bengal in 1225 Iwaz rebelled, expelled the king’s governor from Bihar and ill-treated those who had acknowledged his authority. The governor fled to Oudh and in 1227 Mahmud, the son of Iltutmish, invaded Bengal from that province to punish the rebel. Iwaz being absent on an expedition; he occupied Lakhnawati without opposition, and when Iwaz returned he defeated him, captured him, put him to death, and imprisoned the Khalji nobles who had formed a confederacy to oppose the suzerainty of Delhi.
Mahmud now governed Bengal as his father’s deputy, and made the most of an opportunity which was closed by his early death in April, 1229, for he defeated and slew raja Britu, possibly the raja of Kamrup, who had, until that time, defeated the Muslims on every occasion on which they had attacked him. On Mahmud’s death Balka, the son of Iwaz, caused himself to be proclaimed king of Bengal under the title of Ikhtiyar-ud-din Daulat Shah Balka, and it was not until the winter of 1230-31 that Iltutmish was able to lead an army into Bengal to crush the rebellion. Balka was captured and probably put to death, and Ala-ud-din Jani was appointed governor of Bengal
The king’s next task was the recovery of his first fief, Gwalior, which, since the death of Aibak, had been captured by the Hindus, and was now held by the raja Mangal Bhava Deo, son of Mal Deo, and in February, 1232, he invested the fortress, which he besieged until December 12, when the raja fled by night and succeeded in making his escape. Iltutmish entered the fortress on the following morning and, enraged by the stubborn resistance which he had encountered and by the raja’s escape, sullied his laurels by causing 700 Hindus to be put to death in cold blood. On January 16, 1233, he set out on his return march to Delhi, where, in this year, he purchased the slave Baha-ud-din Balban, who eventually ascended the throne as Ghiyas-ud-din Balban.
Iltutmish had now established his authority throughout the dominions which Aibak had ruled, and in order to fulfill the duty of a Muslim ruler towards misbelieving neighbors and to gratify his personal ambition set himself to extend those dominions by conquest. In 1234 he invaded Malwa, captured the city of Bhilsa, and advanced to Ujjain, which he sacked, and, after demolishing the famous temple of Mahakali and all other temples in the city, carried off to Delhi a famous lingam, an image of Vikramaditya, and many idols. The lingam is said by some to have been buried at the threshold of the Friday mosque of Old Delhi, and by others to have been buried at the foot of the great column of red sandstone built by Iltutmish.
This famous column, known as the Qutb Minar, was founded in 1231-32 in honor of the saint, Khvaja Qutb-ud-din Bakhtyar Kaki, of Ush, near Baghdad, who, after residing for some time at Ghazni and Multan, settled at Delhi, and lived at Kilokhri, highly honored by Iltutmish, until his death on December 7, 1235. The name of the column has no reference, as is commonly believed, to Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the master and patron of Iltutmish.
After the king’s return from Malwa a serious religious disturbance broke out at Delhi, where a large community of fanatics of the Ismaili sect had gradually established itself. They may have been irritated by persecution but they appear to have believed that if they could compass the king's death they might be able to establish their own faith as the state religion. They plotted to assassinate Iltutmish when he visited the great mosque for the Friday prayers, which he was wont to attend unostentatiously and without guards. One Friday, accordingly, while the congregation was at prayers, a large body of Ismailis ran into the mosque armed, drew their swords, and attempted to cut their way through the kneeling multitude to the Sultan, but before they could reach him he made his escape and, the alarm having been given, the people crowded the roofs, walls, and gateways of the mosque and with a shower of arrows and missiles annihilated the heretics. Such adherents of the sect as remained were diligently sought and were put to death.
In the winter of 1235-36 Iltutmish led an expedition against the Khokars, whose hostility to the Muslim rulers of India had survived the extinction of the dynasty of Ghur, but on his way he was stricken with an illness so severe that it was necessary to carry him back to Delhi in a litter. As his life was ebbing the courtiers, desirous of averting the horrors of a disputed succession urged him to name his successor. Mahmud, the only one of his sons who, having reached maturity, had shown any promise, was dead, and the dying monarch named his daughter Raziyya. The courtiers, scandalized by this suggestion, urged the insuperable objection of her sex, and the king, languidly replying that they would find her a better man than any of her brothers, turned his face to the wall and died, on April 29, 12361, after a reign of twenty-six years.
Iltutmish was the greatest of all the Slave Kings. His achievements were hardly equal to those of his master, but he never had, as Aibak had, the moral and material support of a great empire. What he accomplished he accomplished by himself, often in the face of great difficulties, and he added to the dominions of Aibak, which he found dismembered and disorganized, the provinces of Sind and Malwa. That he was even more profuse than his master is little to his credit, for the useless and mischievous prodigality of eastern rulers is more often the fruit of vanity than of any finer feeling, and at a court at which a neat epigram or a smart repartee is almost as profitable as a successful campaign the resources of a country are wasted on worthless objects.
The reign of Rukn-ud-din Firuz
The courtiers, disregarding their dying master’s wishes, raised to the throne his eldest surviving son, Rukn-ud-din Firuz, who had proved himself, as governor of Budaun, to be weak, licentious and worthless. The nobles assembled at the capital returned to their fiefs with well-founded misgivings, and Firuz, relieved of the restraint of their presence, devoted himself entirely to pleasure, and squandered on the indulgence of his appetites the treasure which his father had amassed for the administration and defense of the empire. He took a childish delight in riding through the streets on an elephant and scattering gold among the rabble, and so neglected public business that the direction of affairs fell into the bands of his mother, Shah Turkan, who, having been a handmaid in the harem, now avenged the slights which she had endured in the days of her servitude. Some of the highly born wives of the late king were put to death with every circumstance of indignity and those whose lives were spared were subjected to gross and humiliating contumely.
The incompetence and sensuality of Firuz and the mischievous activity of his mother excited the disgust and indignation of all, and passive disaffection developed into active hostility when the mother and son barbarously destroyed the sight of Qutb-ud-din, the infant son of Iltutmish. Nor was intestine disorder the only peril which threatened the kingdom, for the death of Iltutmish had been the opportunity of a foreign enemy. Malik Saif-ud-din Hasan Qarlugh, a Turk who now held Ghazni, Kirman and Bamiyan, invaded the upper Punjab and, turning southwards, appeared before the walls of Multan. Saif-ud-din Aibak, governor of Uch, attacked and routed him and drove him out of India, but to foreign aggression the more serious peril of domestic rebellion immediately succeeded. Ghiyas-ud-din Muhammad, a younger son of Iltutmish, rebelled in Oudh, detained a caravan of treasure dispatched from Bengal, and plundered many towns to the east of Jumna, and Izz-ud-din rebelled in Budaun. In the opposite direction the governors of Multan, Hansi and Lahore formed a confederacy which, to within a distance of ninety miles from Delhi, set the royal authority at naught. In Bengal no pretence of subordination remained. In 1233 Izz-ud-din Tughril Taghan Khan had succeeded Saif-ud-din Aibak as governor of the province, but Aor Khan, who held the fief of Debkot, had established his independence in the country to the north and east of the Ganges and had recently attempted to expel Tughril from Lakhnawati. He had been defeated and slain, but neither antagonist had dreamt of appealing to Delhi, and Tughril, who now ruled the whole of Bengal, was bound by no ties, either of sentiment or interest, to the unworthy successor of Aibak and Iltutmish.
When Firuz awoke to a sense of his danger his situation was already desperate. He turned first to attack the confederacy which threatened him from the north-west, but as he was leaving Delhi he was deserted by his minister Junaidi, who fled and joined Izz-ud-din Jani at Koil, whence both marched to join the confederates of the Punjab. Firuz continued his march, but had not advanced beyond the neighborhood when the officers with him and the slaves of his household murdered two of his secretaries and other civil officials, including Junaidi’s son, and at the same time the news of a serious revolt at Delhi recalled him to the capital. His mother had made preparations for putting to death his half-sister Raziyya, whose abilities she regarded as a menace to his authority, but the populace, aware of the high esteem in which the princess had been held by her father, rose in her defense, and before Firuz could reach Delhi his mother was a prisoner in the hands of the victorious rebels. Those who had defied his authority at Taraori deserted him and joined the people of Delhi in raising Raziyya to the throne, and Firuz, who took refuge in Kilokhri was seized and put to death on November 9, 1236, after a reign of six months and seven days.
The task which lay before the queen would have taxed even her father’s powers. Junaidi and the governors of Multan, Hansi, Lahore and Budaun, who were marching on Delhi, had all been implicated in excluding her from the throne, and still declined to recognize her. She summoned to her aid Nusrat-ud-din, who had been appointed to Budaun after the defection of Izz-ud-din Jani, but before he could cross the Ganges he was defeated by the confederates, in whose hands he died, and they besieged her in her capital, but she marched out and encamped on the banks of the Jumna. She was not strong enough either to give or accept battle, but she turned her proximity to their camp to good account and by means of dexterous intrigues fomented distrust and dissension among them. She induced Izz-ud-din Jani and Ayaz of Multan to visit her and to treat for the betrayal of some of their associates, and then circulated in the rebel camp an account of all that had passed at the conference. Consternation fell upon all, no man could trust his neighbor, and Saif-ud-din Koji of Hand, Ala-ud-din Jani of Lahore, and Junaidi, who were to have been surrendered to her, mounted their horses and fled, but were pursued by her cavalry. Jani was overtaken and slain near Pael, Kuji and his brother were taken alive and put to death after a short imprisonment, and Junaidi fled into the Sirmur hills, where he died.
Raziyya’s astuteness thus dissolved the confederacy and established her authority in Hindustan and the Punjab, where Ayaz was rewarded for his desertion of his associates with the government of Lahore in addition to that of Multan, and Khvaja Muhazzib-ud-din, Husain, who had been assistant to the fugitive minister, Junaidi, succeeded him in his office and in his title of Nizam-ul-Mulk. The queen's energy and decision secured for her also the adhesion of the governors of the more distant provinces of Bengal and Sind, who voluntarily tendered their allegiance, but she found it necessary to send a force to the relief of Ranthambhor, where the Muslim garrison had been beleaguered by the Hindus since the death of Iltutmish. Qutb-ud-din Husain, who commanded the relieving force, drove off the Hindus, but for some unexplained reason withdrew the garrison and dismantled the fortress.
Raziyya now laid aside female attire, and appeared in public, both in the court and in the camp, clothed as a man and unveiled. This seems to have given no cause for scandal, but she aroused the resentment of the nobles by the appointment of an African named Jalal-ud-din Yaqut to the post of master of the horse, and by distinguishing him with her favor. Later historians suggest or insinuate that there was impropriety in her relations with him, but the contemporary chronicler makes no such allegation, and it is unnecessary to believe that she stooped to such a connection, for the mere advancement of an African was sufficient to excite the jealousy of the Turkish nobles, who formed a close corporation.
Notwithstanding the vindictive zeal with which Iltutmish had pursued Ismailian and Carmathian heretics, some appear to have escaped death, and Delhi now again harbored large numbers of these turbulent fanatics, who had assembled from various provinces of the kingdom and were excited by the harangues of a Turk named Nur-ud-din, a zealous preacher and proselytizer. On Friday, March 5, 1237, the heretics made a second organized attempt to overthrow the established religion, and to the number of a thousand entered the great mosque from two directions and fell upon the congregation. Many fell under their swords and others were killed by the press of those who attempted to escape, but in the meantime the Turkish nobles assembled their troops and, aided by many of the congregation who had gained the roof of the mosque and thence hurled missiles on their foes, entered the courtyard and slaughtered the heretics to a man.
Discontent in the capital bred disaffection in the provinces. By the death of Rashid-ud-din Ali the command of the fortress of Gwalior had devolved upon Ziya-ud-din Junaidi, a kinsman of the late minister. He was believed to be ill-disposed towards the government, and on March 19, 1238, both he and the historian Minhaj-ud-din were compelled by the governor of Baran to leave Gwalior for Delhi. The historian cleared his reputation and was restored to favor, but of Junaidi nothing more is heard. A more formidable rebel was Ayaz, governor of the Punjab, who, resenting Yaqut's influence at court, repudiated his allegiance to the queen. Towards the end of 1239 Raziyya marched into the Punjab to reduce him to obedience, and Ayaz submitted without a contest, but was deprived of the government of Lahore and compelled to retire to Multan. From this district he was shortly afterwards expelled by Saif-ud-din Hasan Qarlugh, who, having in 1230 been driven by the Moguls from Kirman and Ghazni, had retired into Sind, where he had been awaiting an opportunity of establishing himself to the east of the Indus.
Raziyya returned to Delhi on March 15, 1240, but on April 3 was again compelled to take the field. The Turkish nobles, headed by the lord chamberlain, Ikhtiyar-ud-din Aitigin, resented the power and influence of Yaqut and instigated Ikhtiyar-ud-din Altuniya, governor of Bhatinda, to rebel. When the army reached Bhatinda the discontented nobles slew Yaqut, imprisoned Raziyya, whom they delivered into the custody of Altuniya, and directed their confederates at Delhi to raise to the throne Muizz-ud-din Bahram, third son of Iltutmish and half-brother of Raziyya. Bahram was proclaimed on April 22, and when the army returned to Delhi on May 5, its leaders formally acknowledged him as their sovereign, but made their allegiance conditional on the appointment of Aitigin as regent for one year. Aitigin married the king’s sister and usurped all the power and most of the state of royalty, and Bahram, chafing under the regent's arrogance and the restraint to which he was subjected, on July 30 incited two Turks to stab, in his presence, both Aitigin and the minister, Nizam-ul-Mulk. Aitigin was killed on the spot, but the minister was only wounded, and made his escape. To save appearances the assassins suffered a brief imprisonment, but were never brought to punishment, and Bahram appointed as lord chamberlain Badr-ud-din Sunqar, a man of his own choice.
Meanwhile Altuniya was bitterly disappointed by the result of his rebellion. The courtiers had made him their catspaw, and had appropriated to themselves all honors and places, leaving him unrewarded. Aitigin was dead, Nizam-ul-Mulk was discredited, and there was nobody to whom the disappointed conspirator could turn. He released Raziyya from her prison, married her, and, having assembled a large army, marched to Delhi with the object of replacing his newly-wedded wife on her throne, but on October 13 Bahram defeated him near Kaithal, and on the following day he and Raziyya were murdered by the Hindus whom they had summoned to their assistance.
The situation at court was now extremely complicated. Sunqar, the new lord chamberlain, was as arrogant and as obnoxious to his master as his predecessor had been. Nizam-ul-Mulk, who had condoned the attempt on his life and still held office as minister, resented, equally with Bahram, Sunqar’s usurpation of authority, and allied himself with the king. Sunqar perceived that his life would not be safe as long as Bahram reigned and conspired to depose him, but committed the error of confiding in Nizam-ul-Mulk. He would not believe that the minister had really forgiven Bahram and could not perceive that he was subordinating his resentment to his interest. He received Sunqar’s emissary apparently in privacy, but as soon as he had departed dispatched a confidential servant who had been concealed behind a curtain to acquaint Bahram with what he had heard. Bahram acted with promptitude and decision; he rode at once to the meeting to which Nizam-ul-Mulk had been summoned and compelled the conspirators to return with him to the palace. Sunqar was dismissed from his high office, but his influence among the great Turkish nobles, or slaves, who were now known as 'the Forty' saved his life for the time, and his appointment to Budaun removed him from the capital. Three other leading conspirators fled from the city, and in November, 1241, Sunqar’s return from Budaun without permission gave the king a pretext for arresting him and putting him to death. This necessary act of severity greatly incensed the Forty.
The consideration of the position of the Forty affords a convenient opportunity for an explanation of the name by which the dynasty under which they acquired their influence is known, for to most Europeans the appellation ‘Slave Kings’ must appear to be a contradiction in terms. In an eastern monarchy every subject is, in theory, the slave of the monarch and so styles himself, both in conversation and in correspondence. To be the personal slave of the monarch is therefore no disgrace, but a distinction, and, as eastern history abundantly proves, a stepping-stone to dignity and power. The Mamluk or Slave Sultans of Egypt are a case in point. The Turks were at this time the most active and warlike people of Asia, and the Ghaznavids, themselves sprung from a Turkish slave, the princes of Ghur, and other houses, surrounded themselves with slaves of this nation who, often before they received manumission, filled the highest offices in the state. Loyal service sometimes earned for them a regard and esteem which their master withheld from his own sons, born in the purple and corrupted from their cradles by flattery and luxury. A faithful slave who had filled with credit the highest offices was sometimes rewarded with the hand of his master's daughter in marriage, and was preferred to an unworthy or degenerate son or nephew. Alptigin had been the slave of Abdul-Malik the Samanid and Sabuktigin the slave and son-in-law of Alptigin. Qutb-ud-din Aibak was Muhammad's viceroy in India for some time before he received manumission, and succeeded his master in the Indian conquests. He was indeed succeeded by his son, but Aram Shah was almost immediately compelled to make way for Iltutmish, Aibak’s son-in-law and the ablest of his slaves. During the reign of Iltutmish the leading Turks formed themselves into a college of forty, which divided among its members all the great fiefs of the empire and all the highest offices in the state. The commanding genius of Iltutmish preserved the royal dignity intact, but in the reigns of his children the power of the Forty was ever increasing. Raziyya lost her throne by her preference for one who was not of their number and her brother Bahram was no more than their nominee. There can be no doubt that the throne itself would ordinarily have been the prize of one of the Forty had not the jealousies of all prevented them from yielding precedence to one. They were thus content to own the nominal authority of one or other of the offspring of Iltutmish, but their compact with Bahram at the time of his accession clearly indicated their determination to retain all authority for themselves, and the king, by destroying one of their number, sealed his fate.
Bahram was friendless, for the crafty Nizam-ul-Mulk, who had assumed the mask of loyalty for the purpose of destroying an enemy, so dexterously concealed his betrayal of Sunqar’s plot that he retained the confidence of the Forty, whose resentment against Bahram was so strong that it was not even temporarily allayed by the invasion of a foreign enemy who deprived the kingdom of a province. The Moguls, who had expelled the Qarlugh Turks from Ghazni, now appeared before Multan under their leader, Bahadur Tair, the lieutenant of Chaghatai Khan and of his grandson Hulagu. Kabir Khan Ayaz, who had expelled Saif-ud-din Hasan Qarlugh and re-established himself in Multan, confronted them with such resolution that they turned aside and marched to Lahore, a more tempting prey. The citadel was ill-furnished with stores, provisions, and arms and the citizens were not unanimous in opposition to the invaders, for the merchants, who were accustomed to trade in Khorasan and Turkistan, were largely dependent on the goodwill of the Moguls and held their passports and permits, which were indispensable in those countries and might even protect them at Lahore. The garrison was weak and the governor relied on assistance from Delhi which never reached him.
The Moguls at Lahore
The feebleminded king had now entrusted his conscience to the keeping of a darvish named Ayyub, at whose instigation he put to death an influential theologian who was highly esteemed by the Forty, and thus still further estranged that influential body. On learning of the Mogul invasion he ordered his army to march to the relief of Lahore, but the nobles, fearing lest their absence from the capital should give him an opportunity of breaking their power, hesitated to obey. Procrastination served them for a time but they were at length compelled to depart, and Nizam-ul-Mulk employed their resentment and their apprehensions for the purpose of avenging the king's attempt on his life. When the army reached the Sutlej he secretly reported that the Turkish nobles were disaffected and sought the king's sanction to their destruction. The shallow Bahram, suspecting no guile, readily consented, and the minister exhibited to the Forty his order approving their execution, and easily persuaded them to return to Delhi with a view to deposing him.
Qaraqush, the governor of Lahore, defended the city to the best of his ability, but the dissensions among the citizens and the misconduct of his troops caused him to despair of success, and after burying his treasure he fled by night, leaving the city on the pretext of making a night attack on the besiegers' camp. On the following day, December 22, 1241, the Moguls took the town by storm. They suffered heavy losses, including that of their leader, in the street fighting which ensued, but before retiring they annihilated the citizens and razed the walls to the ground. Qaraqush returned, recovered his treasures and retired to Delhi.
The army, in open rebellion, arrived at Delhi on February 22, 1242, and besieged the king in the White Fort until the month of May. He had received an accession of strength by the adhesion of Qaraqush and one other faithful Turkish noble but he had fallen under the influence of a slave named Mubarak Farrukhi, at whose instance he committed the supreme folly of imprisoning these two nobles, and the same pernicious influence restrained him from coming to terms with the Forty, who were ready, after more than two month’s fighting, to secure their safety by an honorable composition. Nizam-ud-din seduced from their allegiance, by large bribes, the ecclesiastics, who were the king's principal supporters, and on May 10 the city and fortress were captured by the confederate nobles, and Bahram was put to death five days later.
On the capture of the city Izz-ud-din Balban, entitled Kishlu Khan, caused himself to be proclaimed king, but his action was repudiated by his associates, who assembled at the tomb of Iltutmish to determine the succession. Their choice fell upon Ala-ud-din Masud, the son of Firuz Shah, and Qutb-ud-din Husain was appointed regent. Nizam-ul-Mulk was permitted at first to retain office as minister, but so disgusted the nobles by his arrogance that on October 28 he was put to death, and Qaraqush was made lord chamberlain. Kishlu Khan was consoled for his disappointment with the fiefs of Nagaur, Mandawar, and Ajmer, and the gift of an elephant.
The Reign of Masud
At the beginning of Masud’s reign the governor of Budaun conducted a successful campaign against the Rajputs of Katehr, the later Rohilkhand, but was shortly afterwards poisoned while revolving schemes of wider conquest, and Sanjar, entitled Gurait Khan, having ensured the obedience of the native landholders of Oudh, invaded Bihar, where the Hindus had taken advantage of the dissensions among their conquerors to re-establish their dominion. He plundered the province, but was slain before the walls of its capital. While these events were occurring in the eastern provinces the Qarlugh Turks again attacked Multan and were repulsed, but in this achievement the kingdom had no part, for Ayaz, after turning aside, unaided, the Mogul, had renounced his allegiance to Delhi and his son, Abu Bakr, now ruled Multan as an independent sovereign. The kingdom had thus lost Bengal and Bihar on the east and on the west and north-west Multan, Sind, and the upper Punjab, wasted by Moguls and occupied by the Khokars.
After the death of Nizam-ul-Mulk the office of minister was allotted to Najm-ud-din Abu Bakr and that of lord chamberlain, with the fief of Hang, on Baha-ud-din Balban, who was afterwards entitled Ulugh Khan and eventually ascended the throne. He will henceforth be designated Balban, the ambitious Izz-ud-din Balban being described by his title, Kishlu Khan.
In December, 1242, Tughril, governor of Bengal and the most powerful of the satraps, who resented Kurait Khan's invasion of Bihar, though it had temporarily passed out of his possession, marched to Kara, on the Ganges above Allahabad, with the object of annexing to his government of Bengal that district and the province of Oudh, but the historian Minhaj-ud-din, who was accredited to his camp as the emissary of Tamar Khan, the new governor of Oudh, succeeded in persuading him to return peaceably to Bengal.
Masud now released from confinement his two uncles, Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, who afterwards ascended the throne, and Jalal-ud-din, and appointed one to the government of Bahraich and the other to that of Kanauj, in which situations they acquitted themselves well.
Towards the end of 1243 the raja of Jaipur in Cuttack, called Jajnagar by Muslim historians, invaded and plundered some of the southern districts of Bengal, and in March, 1244, Tughril marched to punish him and met the Hindu army on April 16, on the northern bank of the Mahanadi. The Hindus were at first driven back, but rallied and defeated the Muslims, among whom a supposed victory had, as usual, relaxed the bonds of discipline. Tughril was followed, throughout his long retreat to his capital, by the victorious Hindus, who appeared before the gates of Lakhnawati, but retired on hearing that Tamar Khan was marching from Oudh to the relief of Tughril.
Tamar Khan arrived before Lakhnawati on April 30, 1245, and, alleging that his orders authorized him to supersede Tughril, demanded the surrender of the city. Tughril refused to comply and on May 4 was defeated in a battle before the walls and driven into the town. Peace was made by the good offices of Minhaj-ud-din, and Tughril surrendered the city but was permitted to retire with all his treasure, elephants, and troops, to Delhi, where he was received with much honor on July 11 and was appointed, a month later, to the government of Oudh, vacated by Tamar. He died in Oudh on the day (March 9, 1247) on which Tamar, who was then in rebellion, died at Lakhnawati.
Later in 1245 a large army of Moguls under Manquta invaded India, drove from Multan Hasan Qarlugh, whose second attempt at ousting Abu Bakr had been successful, and besieged Uch, but raised the siege and retired when they heard that the king, who was marching to its relief, had reached the Beas.
The character of Masud had gradually succumbed to the temptations of his position, and he had become slothful, impatient of the tedium of business, and inordinately addicted to drink, sensuality, and the chase. Rebellions, which he lacked the strength or the energy to suppress, rendered him apprehensive and suspicious of all around him, and his severity and lack of discrimination in punishment alienated from him the Forty, who now turned their eyes towards his uncle, Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, a youth of seventeen or eighteen, who was nominally governor of Bahraich. When their invitation reached him his mother, an ambitious and resourceful woman, spread a report that her son was sick and must go to Delhi for treatment. She placed him in a litter and sent him from Bahraich with a large retinue of servants. When night fell the prince was covered with a woman's veil and set on a horse, and the cavalcade pressed on to Delhi with such caution and expedition that none but the conspirators was aware of his arrival in the city.
On June 10, 1246, Masud was deposed and thrown into prison, where he perished shortly afterwards, doubtless by violence, and Mahmud was enthroned in the Green Palace.
Of Mahmud, who was an amiable and pious prince, but a mere puppet, absurd stories are told by the later historians. He is said to have produced every year two copies of the Koran, written with his own hand, the proceeds of the sale of which provided for his scanty household, consisting only of one wife, who was obliged to cook for him, as he kept no servant. This story, which is told of one of the early Caliphs, is not new, and, as related of Mahmud, is not true, for he is known to have had more than one wife. His principal wife was Balban’s daughter, who would certainly not have endured such treatment, and as he presented forty slaves, on one occasion, to the sister of the historian Minhaj-ud-din it can hardly be doubted that his own household was reasonably well supplied in this respect. The truth seems to be that the young king possessed the virtues of continence, frugality and practical piety, rare among his kind, and had a taste in calligraphy which led him to employ his leisure in copying the Koran, and that these merits earned for him exaggerated praise.
Advancement of Balban
On November 12 Mahmud, on the advice of Balban, his lord chamberlain, left Delhi in order to recover the Punjab. He crossed the Ravi in March, 1247, and after advancing to the banks of the Chenab sent Balban into the Salt Range. Balban inflicted severe punishment on the Khokars and other Hindu tribes of those hills and then pushed on to the banks of the Indus, where he despoiled Jaspal Sehra, raja of the Salt Range, and his tribe. While he was encamped on the Jhelum a marauding force of Moguls approached the opposite bank but, on finding an army prepared to receive them, retired. There now remained neither fields nor tillage beyond the Jhelum, and Balban, unable to obtain supplies, rejoined the king on the Chenab, and on May 9 the army arrived at Delhi.
In October Balban led an expedition against the disaffected Hindus of the Doab, took, after a siege of ten days, a fortress near Kanauj, and then marched against a raja whose territory had formerly been confined to some districts in the hills of Bundelkhand and Baghelkhand, but who had recently established himself in the fertile valley of the Jumna. Balban attacked him so vigorously in one of his strongholds that he lost heart, and retired by night to another fortress, further to the south. The Muslims, after pillaging the deserted fort, followed him through defiles described as almost impracticable, and on February 14, 1248, captured his second stronghold, with his wives and children, many other prisoners, cattle and horses in great numbers, and much other plunder. Balban rejoined Mahmud, now encamped at Kara, and on April 8 the army set out for Delhi. At Kanauj Mahmud was met by his brother, Jalal-ud-din, who was now appointed to the more important fiefs of Sambhal and Budaun. He warned Mahmud against the ambition of Balban, whom he accused of secretly aiming at the throne, but the warning was unheeded, and after Mahmud’s return to Delhi Jalal-ud-din, fearing that his confidence had been betrayed, fled from Budaun and joined the Moguls in Turkistan.
In 1249 Balban was employed in chastising the turbulent people of Mewat, the district to the south of Delhi, and in an unsuccessful attempt to recover Ranthambhor, which had been restored by the Hindus since it had been dismantled by Raziyya’s troops, and was now held by Nahar Deo. He returned to Delhi on May 18, and on August 2, the king married his daughter and he became almost supreme in the state. Mahmud appointed him lieutenant of the kingdom and his place as lord chamberlain was taken by his brother, Saifuddin Aibak, Kashli Khan. In the early months of 1250 Balban was again engaged in restoring order in the Doab.
In this year the north-western provinces of the kingdom were thrown into confusion by a complicated dispute between the great fief-holders. Kishlu Khan of Nagaur demanded that the fiefs of Multan and Uch should be bestowed upon him and though there was some difficulty in ousting Ikhtiyar-ud-din Kuraiz, who had expelled the Qarlughs from the province, his request was granted on condition of his relinquishing Nagaur and his other fiefs to Kuraiz. Ignoring this condition he marched from Nagaur, expelled Kuraiz from Multan and Uch and occupied those places. Hasan the Qarlugh immediately attacked him at Multan and although he was slain his followers concealed his death and persuaded Kishlu Khan to surrender the city. Sher Khan Sunqar then marched from his headquarters at Bhatinda, expelled the Qarlughs, and replaced his lieutenant Kuraiz in Multan. The situation was anomalous and complicated. The governor appointed by royal authority had surrendered the city to a foreign enemy, and Sunqar held it by right of conquest from that enemy, and Kuraiz, his deputy, strengthened his claim by capturing, in December, from a force of Mogul marauders a large number of prisoners, whom he sent as a peace-offering to Delhi. Kishlu Khan, on the other hand, had defied the royal authority by failing to surrender Nagaur, whither he had again retired after his discomfiture at Multan, and early in 1251 Mahmud marched to Nagaur to enforce the fulfillment of this condition. After much prevarication Kishlu Khan submitted, and retired to Uch, still held by one of his retainers, and Kashli Khan, Balban's brother, was installed in Nagaur, but meanwhile Sunqar had marched to Uch and was besieging the fortress. Kishlu Khan, who was related to Sunqar, incautiously placed himself in his power while attempting to effect a composition and was imprisoned, compelled to issue orders for the surrender of Uch, and sent to Delhi. Balban, who was related to both Sunqar and Kishlu Khan, adjusted the quarrel by appointing the latter to Budaun.
In November Balban led an expedition against Chahad the Acharya, raja of Chanderi and Narwar and the most powerful Hindu chieftain in Malwa. He is said to have been able to place in the field 5000 horse and 200,000 foot, but he was defeated and his capital was taken, though no permanent settlement was made in Malwa, and the army returned to Delhi on April 24, 1252, with much booty and many captives.
Disgrace of Balban
During Balban’s absence those who were jealous of his great power, including Mahmud’s mother and Raihan, a eunuch converted from Hinduism, who had already shown some aptitude for factious intrigue, poisoned the king’s mind against him, and found many sympathizers and supporters among the Forty, who resented the excessive predominance of one of their number. Balban’s condonation of the offences of his disobedient cousin, Sunqar, furnished a text for the exhortations of the intriguers, who succeeded in persuading Mahmud that it was necessary to vindicate his authority by punishing Sunqar, and in the winter of 1252-53 Balban was compelled to accompany his master on a punitive expedition and to submit to the daily increasing arrogance of his enemies. At the Sutlej the conspirators attempted his assassination, but fortune, or his own vigilance, befriended him, and having failed in their attempt they persuaded Mahmud to banish him to his fief of Hansi, hoping that an overt act of disobedience would furnish a pretext for his destruction, but they were disappointed, for Balban obeyed the order in dignified silence. The expedition had been merely an excuse for his humiliation, and the army retired to Delhi immediately after his dismissal.
The rancour of the vindictive eunuch was not yet sated, and he persuaded the king to transfer the fallen minister from Hansi to Nagaur, and so confidently anticipated resistance that he sent the royal army, in June, 1253, to enforce obedience, but again he was disappointed, for Balban retired without a murmur to his new fief. Hand was bestowed nominally upon an infant son of the king by a wife other than the daughter of Balban, but was occupied by a partisan of Raihan as the child’s deputy.
Kashli Khan shared his brother’s disgrace, and was deprived of his office and sent to the fief of Kara, all real power at court was usurped by the eunuch, and even the leading members of the Forty were fain to content themselves with minor offices. Sunqar, dismayed by his patron's sudden fall, had fled to Turkistan, leaving his three fiefs, Bhatinda, Multan and Uch, in the hands of deputies whose surrender enabled the king to bestow them on Arsalan Khan Sanjar Chast, one of the Forty who was then hostile to Balban.
Balban displayed, meanwhile, an equivocal activity. He invaded the Hindu state of Bundi, attacked and defeated Nahar Deo of Ranthambhor, and returned to Nagaur with much booty, prepared, apparently, either to take credit for his exploits or to devote his spoils to the improvement of his own military strength, as circumstances should dictate. Mahmud, under the guidance of Raihan, led a successful expedition against the Hindus of Katehr and returned to Delhi on May 16, 1254. Five months later he learnt that his fugitive brother Jalal-ud-din and Balban’s cousin Sunqar had returned from Turkistan and joined forces in the neighborhood of Lahore with the object of establishing themselves in the Punjab under the protection of the Moguls.
Meanwhile the rule of Raihan at Delhi was daily becoming more intolerable, and the Turkish nobles whose jealousy of Balban had associated them with the eunuch felt keenly, as his insolence increased, the disgrace of their subservience to him. He maintained a gang of ruffians to molest those who were not well affected towards him and the historian Minhaj-ud-din complains that for a period of six months or more he dared not leave his house to attend the Friday prayers for fear of these bullies. Nearly all the great nobles of the kingdom sent messages to Balban imploring him to return to the capital and resume his former position. A confederacy was formed, and Balban from Nagaur, Arsalan Khan Sanjar of Bhatinda, Bat Khan Aibak of Sunam, and Jalal-ud-din and Sunqar from Lahore assembled their troops at Bhatinda. In October the king and Raihan marched from Delhi to meet them, and an indecisive affair of outposts, which threw the royal camp into confusion, was fought near Sunam. After celebrating the Idul Fitr (November 14) at this place Mahmud retired, a week later, to Hansi, and the confederates advanced to Guhram and Kaithal. They were loth to attack the king and endeavored to attain their object by means of intrigue and secret negotiations. Jalal-ud-din expected that his brother would be deposed and that he would be raised to the throne, but Balban, who seems to have entertained a genuine affection for his weak and pliant son-in-law, was not prepared to gratify this ambition. The Turkish nobles in the king’s camp favored, almost unanimously, the cause of the confederates, and on December 5, while the army was retreating from Hansi towards Jind, the eunuch was dismissed from his high office and invested with the fief of Budaun. On December 15 Bat Khan Aibak was sent to thank Mahmud for this act and to request an audience for the confederate nobles, but the imminent reconciliation was nearly frustrated by the malice of the eunuch, who arranged to have the emissary assassinated. The design was fortunately discovered and Raihan was at once dismissed to Budaun, and on December 30 Balban and his associates were received by the king. Balban at once resumed his former place at the head of affairs and on January 20, 1255, returned with Mahmud to Delhi. Jalal-ud-din was rewarded for his services to the confederacy and consoled for the disappointment of his ambition by his brother's formal recognition of his independence in Lahore.
After Balban’s return another ramification of the conspiracy against him came to light. Qutlugh Khan of Bayana, one of his leading opponents, now outwardly reconciled, had secretly married the king's mother, who had formerly exercised much influence over her son and had been Raihan’s chief ally. Mahmud’s eyes were opened to the network of intrigue by which he had been surrounded, and Qutlugh and his wife were dismissed to Oudh, in order that they might be as far as possible from the court. Raihan was transferred, at the same time, from Budaun to Bahraich, a less important fief, but it was discovered a few months later that he was in dangerous proximity to Qutlugh Khan, and Sanjar Chast was sent to remove him from Bahraich. He was arrested and imprisoned by Qutlugh Khan but in August made his escape, attacked Bahraich with a small force, defeated and captured the eunuch, and put him to death.
Early in 1256 Mahmud and Balban marched to punish Qutlugh Khan, who advanced to Budaun and defeated a detachment sent against him. As the main body of the army approached he retired and contrived to elude Balban’s pursuit and on May 1 the army returned to Delhi. After its return Qutlugh attempted to conquer his old fief, Kara Manikpur, but was defeated by Sanjar Chast and endeavored to retreat into the Punjab in order to seek service at Lahore under Jalal-ud-din. He followed the line of the Himalaya and marched to Santaurgarh, where he gained the support of Ranpal, raja of Sirmur, but on January 8, 1257, Balban marched from Delhi and Qutlugh fled. Balban continued his advance, driving both Qutlugh and the raja before him and, after plundering Sirmur, returned to Delhi on May 15.
Kishlu Khan had been reinstated in Multan and Uch during Raihan’s ascendency and had since thrown off his allegiance to Delhi and acknowledged the suzerainty of the Mogul whose camp he visited and with whom he left a grandson as a hostage for his fidelity. When the army returned from Sirmur to Delhi he was in the neighborhood of the Beas and marched north-eastwards until he was joined by Qutlugh Khan, when their combined forces marched southwards towards Samana. Balban marched from Delhi to meet them and came into contact with them in the neighborhood of Kaithal. A faction of discontented ecclesiastics had written from Delhi, urging the rebels to advance fearlessly and seize the capital, but the intrigue was discovered and at Balban's instance the traitors were expelled from the city. The rebels followed, however, the advice of their partisans, eluded Balban, and, after a forced march, encamped on June 21 before Delhi, hoping to find the city in friendly hands, but were disappointed to learn that the loyal nobles were exerting themselves to assemble troops and repair the defences, and that the governor of Bayana was approaching the city with his contingent. Balban remained for two days in ignorance of the rebels' march to Delhi but they knew that he might at any moment cut off their retreat, and many disaffected officers who had joined them now deserted them and made their peace with the king, and on June 22 Kishlu Khan and Qutlugh Khan fled towards the Siwaliks, whence the former, with the two or three hundred followers who still remained to him, made his way to Uch.
In December an army of Moguls under the Nuyin Salin invaded the Punjab and was joined by Kishlu Khan. They dismantled the defences of Multan and it was feared that they were about to cross the Sutlej. On January 9, 1258, the king summoned all the great fief-holders, with their contingents, to aid him in repelling the invaders, but the Moguls, whether alarmed by this demonstration or sated with plunder, retired to Khorasan. Their retreat was fortunate, for the condition of the kingdom was so disordered that the army could not safely have advanced against a foreign foe. Two fief-holders, Sanjar of Oudh and Masud Jani of Kara, had disobeyed the royal summons, the Hindus of the Doab and the Meos of Mewat, to the south of the capital, were in revolt and the latter had carried off a large number of Balban’s camels, without which the army could hardly have taken the field. For four months the troops were occupied in restoring order in the Doab and in June marched to Kara against the two recalcitrant fief-holders. The latter fled, but received a promise of pardon on tendering their submission, and after the return of the army to Delhi appeared at court and were pardoned. Shortly afterwards Sanjar received the fief of Kara and Masud Jani was promised the government of Bengal, from which province Balban Yuzbaki, the governor, had for some time remitted no tribute, but the latter, on hearing that he was to be superseded, secured his position by remitting all arrears. He died in 1259, but the promise to Masud Jani was never fulfilled.
Early in 1259 the disorders in the Doab necessitated another expedition, and after the punishment of the rebels the principal fiefs in the province, as well as those of Gwalior and Bayana, were bestowed upon Sunqar.
In 1260 the Meos expiated by a terrible punishment a long series of crimes. For some years past they had infested the roads in the neighborhood of the capital and depopulated the villages of the Bayana district, and had extended their depredations eastwards nearly as far as the base of the Himalaya. Their impudent robbery of the transport camels on the eve of a projected campaign had aroused Balban’s personal resentment, and on January 29 he left Delhi and in a single forced march reached the heart of Mewat and took the Meos completely by surprise. For twenty days the work of slaughter and pillage continued, and the ferocity of the soldiery was stimulated by the reward of one silver tanga for every head and two for every living prisoner. On March 9 the army returned to the capital with the chieftain who had stolen the camels, other leading men of the tribe to the number of 250, 142 horses, and 2,100,000 silver tangas. Two days later the prisoners were publicly massacred. Some were trampled to death by elephants, others were cut to pieces, and more than a hundred were flayed alive by the scavengers of the city. Later in the year those who had saved themselves by flight returned to their homes and ventured on reprisals by infesting the highways and slaughtering wayfarers. Balban, having ascertained from spies the haunts and movements of the bandits, surprised them as before by a forced march, surrounded them, and put to the sword 12,000 men, women and children.
A most gratifying mission from the Moguls now arrived at Delhi. Nasir-ud-din Muhammad, son of Hasan the Qarlugh, had been negotiating a marriage between his daughter and Balban's son, and had sent Balban's agent to Hulagu’s court at Tabriz, where he was received with great honor. On his return to Delhi he was accompanied by a Mogul officer of high rank from the north-western frontier of India, who was authorized to promise, in Hulagu’s name, that depredations in India should cease.
The contemporary chronicle closes here, and there is a hiatus in the history of Muhammadan India, which later historians are unable to fill, from the middle of the year 1260 to the beginning of 1266. In attempting to explain the abrupt ending of the Tabaqati-Nasiri some say that the author was poisoned by the order of Balban, whose displeasure he had incurred, others that he was thrown into prison and starved to death, but these tales rest on no authority and are probably pure conjecture.
The next historical fact of which we are aware is that Mahmud Shah fell sick in 1265 and died on February 18, 12661. He is said to have designated his father-in-law as his successor but, as no male heir of the house of Iltutmish survived, the accession of the powerful regent followed as a matter of course, and he ascended the throne under the title of Ghiyas-ud-din Balban.