The Ilbari Dynasty

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The Ilbari Dynasty or Slave Dynasty of India

  • Out of all the kings belonging to the so – called Slave Dynasty, only three, viz., Qutab – ud – din Aibak, Iltutmish and Balban were slaves and even they were manumitted by their masters.
  • The dynasty is called Ilbari dynasty because all rulers of this dynasty, except Aibak, belonged to the Ilbari tribe of Turks.

Qutab – ud – din Aibak History (1206 – 1210) :

  • Md. Ghori left his Indian possessions in his hands. He ruled on the death of his master and founded this dynasty.
  • Lahore and later Delhi were his capitals.
  • Famous for his generosity and earned the sobriquet of lakh – baksh (giver of Lakhs).
  • Laid the foundation of Qutab Minar after the name of famous Sufi saint, Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki.
  • Died of a horse fall at Lahore, while playing Chaugan (polo). The Turks only introduced polo in India.
  • Built the first mosque in India – Quwwat – ul – Islam (at Delhi) and Adhai Din Ka Jhonpara (at Ajmer).
  • He was a great patron of learning and patronized writers like Hasan Nizami, who wrote Taj – ul – Massir, and Fakhr – ud – din, writer of Tarikh – i – Mubarakshahi.

History of Aram Shah (1210) :

  • When Qutab – ud – din Aibak died all of a sudden at Lahore, the Amirs and Maliks of Lahore put Aram Shah on the throne. Some texts say that he was the son of Aibak while others deny so.
  • He was a weak and worthless young man and was rejected by the people of Delhi. Iltutmish, who was the Governor of Badaun at that time, defeated him and acquired the throne.

Iltumish (1210 – 36) :

  • Shams – ud – din Iltutmish was the son – in – law of Aibak. He is considered the greatest of the slave kings and the real consolidator of the Turkish conquest in India.
  • He suppressea the revolts of ambitious nobles and sent expeditions against the Rajputs in Ranthambor, Jalor, Gwalior, Aimer, Malwa.
  • Prevented Chengiz Khan attack by refusing to give refuge to an enemy of Khan, Jalaluddin Mangabarani (a ruler from Iran). Thus, due to his diplomatic skill he prevented Mongol attack.
  • He got his authority (Sultanate of Delhi) recognized by the Caliph of Baghdad (Khalifa), as a member of world fraternity of Islamic states.
  • He formed Turkan – i – Chahalgani or Chalisa (a group of 40 powerful Turkish nobles to suppress nobles).
  • Divided his empire into IQTAS, an assignment of land in lieu of salary, which he distributed to his officers. Every Iqtadar had to maintain law and order and collect revenue. After deducting his salary and the expenses of the government, he sent the surplus revenue to the Central Government. Iqtadars were transferable.
  • He introduced the silver tanka and the copper jital – 2 basic coins of the Sultanate.
  • He patronized Minhaj – ul – Siraj, the author of Tabaqat – i – Nasiri.
  • He is called the Father of Tomb Building (built Sultan Garhi in Delhi).
  • As his successor, declared Razia, thus deviating from the normal practice.

History of Qutub Minar Delhi :
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Qutub Minar in Delhi is the tallest brick minaret in the world. It is 72.5 metres (239ft) high. The diameter of the base is 14.3 metres wide while the top floor measures 2.7 metres in diameter. Inspired by the Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan and wishing to surpass it, Aibak commenced construction of the Qutub Minar in 1193; but could only complete its basement.

His successor, Iltutmish, added three more stories and, in 1368, Firuz Shah Tughluq constructed the fifth and the last story.

The development of architectural styles from Aibak to Tughlak are quite evident in the minaret. The minaret is made of fluted red sandstone covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Quran.

The purpose for building this beautiful monument has been speculated upon, apart from the usual role of a minaret that of calling people for prayer in a mosque – in this case the Quwwat – ul – Islam mosque.

Other reasons ascribed to its construction are as a tower of victory, a monument signifying the might of Islam, or a watch tower for defence. Controversy also surrounds the origins for the name of the tower.

Later, Ala ud din Khilji started building another minaret near Qutab Minar, the Alai Minar, which was conceived to be two times higher than Qutub Minar. The construction was abandoned, however, after the completion of the 24.5 meter high first storey; soon after death of Ala – ud – din.

The Qutab Minar complex also houses Quwwat – ul – Islam mosque, built by Aibak. The mosque is said to be built by the parts taken by destruction of twenty – seven Hindu and Jain temples.

To the west of the Quwwat – ul – Islam mosque is the tomb of Iltutmish which was built by the monarch in 1235. The Ala – i – Darwaza is a magnificent gateway to the complex. It was built by Ala ud din Khilji. The iron pillar, situated behind Qutab Minar is one of the world’s foremost metallurgical curiosities.

Made up of 98% wrought iron of pure quality, it is 23 feet 8 inches (7.21 m) high and has a diameter of 16 inches (0.41 m). It was erected by Chandragupta II Vikramaditya of the Gupta dynasty.

It has attracted the attention of archaeologists and metallurgists as it has withstood corrosion for the last 1600 Years, despite harsh weather. A fence was erected around the pillar due to the popularity of a tradition that considered good luck if you could stand with your back to the pillar and make your hands meet behind it.

History of Ruknuddin Firuz Shah (1236) :

  • Iltutmish had many sons but as all of them were incompetent, he appointed his daughter Raziya as his successor.
  • In spite of this, the nobles of the court who considered themselves too proud to bow their heads before a woman put on the throne Ruknuddin Firuz Shah who was the eldest son of Iltutmish. But he was an utterly worthless person.
  • He took pleasure in riding through the streets of Delhi on an elephant and scattering gold among the people. He left the works of the government in the hands of his ambitious mother, Shah Turkan. She was originally a Turkish handmaid. She had her revenge against all those who had offended her in her youth.
  • The result of all this was that rebellions occurred on all sides. Finally Ruknuddin and her mother were put to death and throne was given to Raziya.

Raziya History (1236 – 1240) :

  • She was the first and the last Muslim woman ruler of medieval India. She succeeded her brother in 1236 and ruled for 31 / 2 Years.
  • She disregarded purdah, began to adorn male attire and rode out in public on elephant back.
  • She promoted Jamaluddin Yaqut, an Abyssinian, to the important office of superintendent of the stables. It provoked the Turkish nobles. There were simultaneous revolts in the various parts of the kingdom. The Governor of Lahore was the first to create trouble but he was defeated.
  • There was a serious rebellion in Bhatinda. Malik Ikhtiyaruddin Altunia, Governor of Bhatinda, refused to acknowledge the suzerainty of Raziya. Raziya, accompanied by Yaqut Mared against Altunia. On the way, the Turkish followers of Altunia murdered Yaqut and imprisoned Raziya. She had to marry Altunia to get out of the situation.
  • But she was killed, along with her husband, by Bahram Shah, a son of Iltutmish, on their way back to Delhi.
  • Raziya was an excellent horsewoman who led the army herself. Her only problem was that she was a lady.

Note : After Razia, the battle of succession continued in which the following rulers ruled insignificantly :

  1. Muizuddin Bahram Shah (1240 – 1242).
  2. Alauddin Masud Shah (1242 – 1246).
  3. NasiruddJn Mehmud (1246 – 1265).

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Balban History (1266 – 1286) :

  • He himself was a member of Chalisa. To guard himself, he got every member of Iltutmish family killed and gave a death blow to the Turkish nobility (Chalisa). He ordered the separation of military department from the finance department (diwan – i – wizarai), and the former was placed under a ministry for military affairs (diwan – i – ariz).
  • The declared the Sultan as the representative of God on earth. He impressed upon the People that king was the deputy of God (niyabat – i – khudai) and the shadow of God (zil – i – ilahi).
  • Introduced Sijdah or Paibos practice, in which the people were required to kneel and touch the ground with their head to greet the Sultan. He also instructed to the ulemas to confine themselves to religious affairs and not to engage in political activities. He also started the festival of Nauroz.
  • In order to win the confidence of the public, he administered justice with extreme impartiality. He employed an efficient spy system.
  • He was a liberal patron of Persian literature and showed special favour to the poet, Amir Khusro.
  • He was deeply racist and excluded non – Turks from the administration.
  • He strengthened the frontiers against Mongols.
  • But his son, Muhammad’s death was a smashing blow to Balban and the death – knell to his dynasty.
  • After Balban’s death, Kaiqubad (1287 – 1290) sat on throne but he was an inefficient and fun – loving person.