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Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq

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Title: Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq  
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Subject: Andhra Pradesh, Koh-i-Noor, 1325, Delhi Sultanate, Amir Khusrow, Firuz Shah Tughlaq, Pandyan Dynasty, Muhammad bin Tughluq, Tughlaq dynasty, Khilji dynasty
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Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq

Ghiyas ud-Din Tughluq (Urdu: غیاث الدین تغلق‎, Hindi: ग़ियास अल-दीन तुग़लुक़), also known as Ghazi Malik (Urdu: غازی ملِک‎, Hindi: ग़ाज़ी मलिक; died in February, 1325) was the founder and first ruler of the Muslim Tughluq dynasty (of Turkic origin) in India, who reigned over the Sultanate of Delhi (Sep, 08, 1320 – Feb, 1325). He has been the founder of the third city of Delhi called Tughluqabad.[1]

Origin of The Tughlaqs

Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq, born of a Turk father and Hindu Jat mother,[2] was in origin a poor Qarauna who took service with a merchant of Sind. It is a generally held notion among the scholars that the name 'Tughlaq' belonged to a tribe or clan from which came the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty, Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq. but others still think that 'Tughlaq' is the personal name of the sultan which his successors also bear for example Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq or Firoz Shah Tughlaq. Ghazi Malik or Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq came from an obscure tribe 'Qaraunah' the origin and development of which is a matter of conjecture among the historians. Traveler Ibn Batuta discards that fact that 'Qaraunah' was a Mongol or a Turkish tribe, although he generally accepts that the Tughlaqs originally belonged to that tribe. Another traveler of international repute Marco Polo ascribes the 'Qaraunah' tribe to a mixed breed which developed exclusively in India. while some other scholars hold the theory that he actually belonged to the Sassanian kings of Iran which off course a less unanimous view.. in fact through the course of Sultanate period what baffles the historians is the origins and backgrounds of the sultans of the successive dynasties which are shrouded in mystery and obscurity due to paucity of evidence.

Another engaging debate among the historians is whether the first Tughlaq Ghazi Malik was born to a Jat mother or not. It is generally assumed that sultan Ghazi Malik was born to Malik Tughlaq who was a Turkish Slave and a Jat mother. Although contemporary chronicler Firishta finds no sufficient evidence which might throw some light on the parentage of the first tughlaq, Somehow a general theory evolved of tracing his parentage to Malik Tughlaq and a Jat mother. which subsequently has also gained much support and popularity. But another eminent chronicler Afif supports this theory heavily saying that the sultan's son Muhammad bin Tughlaq gave his brother in marriage to the daughter of a Jat nobleman who however conforms to this marriage by threats. By gleaning and thoroughly scrutinizing all the hypotheses the historian R.C Majumdar rightly concludes that Ghazi Malik was born to a Turkish slave and a Jat mother.[3]

However, his policy was harsh against the fellow Mongols. He had killed envoys of the Ilkhan Oljeitu and punished Mongol prisoners harshly. He had fought various campaigns against the Mongols defeating them in 1305 at the Battle of Amroha. Towards the end of his reign Alauddin Khilji had prepared an expedition of 10,000 men under Ghazi Malik to go to Debalpur to fight against the Chagatai Khanate Mongols. Ghazi Malik was thus enabled to go and secure Multan, Uch and Sindh for himself, especially as Aláuddín Khilji’s sons proved incapable and caused confusion in the affairs of the kingdom, which ultimately took away the kingdom from the possession of the house of Khiljí. Alauddin Khilji’s son Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah, allegedly, a mad man, was removed from the throne of Delhi by Khusro Khan. The nobles of the state then put Khusro Khan on the throne. The latter became unpopular with the Muslim nobility due to perceived partiality towards Hindus. Ghazi Malik’s son Fakhr Malik left Delhi secretly and joined his father, informing him of what was happening at Delhi. Then, father and son, collected the forces of Sindh and Multan and hastened to Delhi to overthrow Khusro Khan. Arriving near Delhi with 3,000 veteran soldiers, they engaged in battle against the army of Khusro Khan, and defeated them. Then making their way into Delhi they again defeated Khusro Khan in battle and he fled away. About midnight the ministers and the headmen of the place came to Ghazi Malak and his son in their camp and gave up the keys of the fort. Early in the morning Ghazi Malik entered the city with all the pomp and glory of a King. Then he went into mourning for 3 days for the death of Alauddin Khilji and his son Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah. After these ceremonies were over he issued a proclamation with the view of finding out any member of the family of those princes in order that he might put him on the throne of Delhi. But as no such person could be found on search, the nobles, the troops, the learned men, the Syeds and other subjects united in selecting Ghazi Malik for the vacant post, as it was he who had removed all the cause of quarrel and disturbance in the country. Thus in 1320 (720 A.H.) Ghazi Malik was crowned as the Sultan of Delhi with the title of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq and his son Fakhr Malik was given the title of Muhammad Shah Tughluq.

When, soon after this, Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq proceeded from Multan to Delhi, the tribe of Soomro revolted and took possession of Thatta. Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq appointed Tajuddin Malik as governor of Multan and Khwájah Khatír as governor of Bhakkar and he left 'Malik Ali Sher in charge of Sehwan. In 1323 he appointed his son Muhammad Shah his heir and successor and took a written promise or agreement to the arrangement from the ministers and nobles of the state. In 1324-1325 (720 A.H.) he died of heat apoplexy.

He had established himself as a great ruler. He removed corrupt officials from his administration. He reformed the judiciary and all existing police departments. He also reduced the land revenue to 1/10 of the produce. He was an efficient administrator and a capable military commander. He introduced a number of reforms for his welfare of his subjects and suppressed revolts in distant provinces.He restored peace and stability in the Delhi Sultanate. Ghiyath al-Din was succeeded by his son Muhammad bin Tughluq.

Death of Ghazi Malik

in A.D 1324 he turned his attention towards Bengal where an independent principality ruled and the sultan aimed at asserting his supremacy over the region and therefore set out in expedition with a large army towards Bengal, having left in charge of the government of Delhi his son Jauna khan(who later ascended to the throne as Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq). The result of this expedition which started in on the month of January, 1324, was a general victory. On his way back to Delhi, the sultan also subjugated king of Tirhut region (N. Bihar). On his return journey he had some alarm of his son's suspicious conducts and about a general disquiet in Delhi. Ibn Batuta gives a lively narration of the events which followed......however, while returning and was near Delhi, he sent an order to build a palace in Afghanpur, before he would reach Delhi. According to Batuta, a wooden palace was constructed under the supervision of sultan's wazir, Ahmad bin Aiyaz and so contrived that when an elephant would pass through that wooden structure, the whole project would tumble down. so it happened, when sultan was requested by Jauna Khan to have the elephant ride past him and he granted,...elephants came from a certain direction and the total construction collapsed upon him and his other son Mahmud. According to Batuta, he heard a huge uproar as he was performing the evening prayer, he left the prayer, came and saw the blunder with the whole structure having tumbled down on sultan, his son and 5-6 of his followers. His son was ordering for some pickaxes and shovels for the quick rescue which was deliberately delayed by the signal of Jauna Khan, who ordered the rescuing process only after the sunset. Whether he was taken out dead or alive then murdered is a matter of debate. His body was carried in the course of night to the tomb beside the city of Tughlaqabad which he had made.



  • Atlas of World History, General Editor Prof. Jeremy Black Dorling Kindersley Publishing
  • Futuh-us-Salatin by Isami, edited by Agha Mahdi Husain and was also published from Aligarh in three volumes (1967-77 ce)
  • A Critical Study of Futuh-us-Salatin by Aziz Bano, Head of the Persian Department, Moulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, India
  • Lucy Peck. Delhi - A thousand years of building, Roli Books, ISBN 81-7436-354-8

External links

Preceded by
Khusro Khan
Sultan of Delhi
Succeeded by
Muhammad bin Tughluq
New dynasty Tughluq dynasty
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