Sultanate dynasties This was the first dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate period, it was the foundation dynasty

of the period. It was founded by Qutub-ud-din Aibak, who declared himself the Sultan after the death of his master, Muhammed of Ghur. Most of the nobles supported him, although he faced a brief contest with Taj-ud-din. Eventually Qutub-ud-din-Aibak emerged as an Indian Sultan, with Taj-ud-din remaining an Afghanistan Sultan. Qutub-ud-din-Aibak was a strong, fair and able king. He is reported to rarely have lost a battle was known for delivering fair justice to his citizens. He attempted to bring peace and prosperity to his citizens in a turbulent time. He was a devout Muslim and built several mosques. His rule was very brief lasting just a few years. He is the person who started the construction of the Qutab Minar in Delhi, which was completed by his successor. After his death a power struggle broke out and Malik Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, Qutub-ud-din- Aibak's son-in-law succeeded to the throne. Accounts say that Iltutmish was a remarkably handsome and intelligent man. After ascending to the throne, he went about consolidating his position and through a series of battles extended the empire. In 1229 AD Iltutmish received an important honor from Ali Mastansir Billah, the Khalifah of Baghdad. He was given the title of Sultan-I-Azam (Great Sultan) and recognized as the sovereign ruler of the land that he had conquered. This raised Iltutmish's stature and authority in the Muslim world, and was an important step in creating a separate identity for the new rulers of India. In 1221 AD Iltutmish had to fend off a Mongol attack lead by the famous Chengiz Khan. A famous invader of that time he had over run vast areas of Asia in an extremely short time span. Iltutmish tactfully refused to give a fugitive of the Mongols refuge in India, and this spared the country from a Mongol attack, although such attacks would rock the Sultanate in the future. Iltutmish was one of the greatest rulers of the early Sultanate. He played a key role in ensuring that the Sultanate was able to maintain its hold over India and extended the empire to a large part of the country. He was fond of art, literature and architecture and completed the Qutab Minar of Delhi. He was also religious and was very particular about saying his prayers. At the time of his death he nominated Raziyya his daughter to be the next Sultan, as he felt that none of his sons were capable of running the empire. However, the nobles of the time were not prepared to have a woman as a ruler, and hence got together and put up the eldest surviving son, Rukn-ud-din Firuz to the throne. This proved to be a grave mistake as he had little interest or capability in running the kingdom. His mother Shah Turkhan took advantage of her son's disinterest in running the empire and seized control. The empire was thrown into disarray and the credibility of the central government plummeted. The nobles then did an about turn and reinstated Raziyya as the Sultan. The young queen still faced opposition from a section of nobles who could not reconcile themselves to being ruled by a woman. However, Raziyya was a very capable ruler and was able to overcome the many difficulties that confronted her. She was tactful and diplomatic and hence was able to overpower her enemies and was soon able to re- establish the authority of the Sultanate in the country. She discarded female attire and dressed like a man, endeavoring in every way to function as a male king would. Many governors accepted her as their Sultan. She did face opposition however and in the early part of the rule a thousand armed men attempted an attack but were dispersed by the royal guards. Unfortunately however her luck ran out. She made a tactically error in elevating a slave to the post of master of the stables, and this offended the Turkish nobles. Soon a revolt broke out and the governor of Sarhind, Ikhtiyarud-din Altuniya waged a battle against the queen and managed to capture her. Her brother Muiz-ud-din Bahram was instated as the Sultan. Raziyya made a last ditch attempt to save herself, and won over Ikhtiyar-ud-din Altuniya by marrying him. Together they marched to Delhi but before they could reach there they were

attacked by Muiz-ud-din Bahram's forces and defeated after their own forces deserted them. Both husband and wife were put to death, ending the brief three years of her reign. After her death the country was once again thrown into disarray as her brothers were incompetent in ruling. The situation deteriorated rapidly and finally the nobles put up one of the younger sons of Iltutmish, Nasir-ud-din as the next Sultan. He also was not up to the task and the real power behind the throne was his deputy, Ghiyas-ud-din Balban. Balban prove to be a capable ruler and soon began repairing the damage done to the state. Unfortunately however his opponents succeeded in getting the Sultan to exile him in 1223. However, after the gross mismanagement of successors he was recalled two years later and re-instated. When Nasir-ud-din died in 1266 leaving no male heir, Balban succeeded to the throne. Balban was an ideal candidate as he had proven his ability and was also considered to be the Sultan's nominated choice for successor. The empire that Balban inherited was in a very precarious condition. In the thirty years that had elapsed since the death of Iltutmish, the state had fallen into chaos due to the incompetence of his successors. The national treasury was almost empty and the prestige of the central government had fallen considerably. The need of the hour was for a strong and able king, one who would restore the kingdom to its former glory. Balban proved to be such a king, and during his tenure he ensured that the Delhi Sultanate would continue to be an important power in India. Balban was an experienced administrator and so he swiftly brought order in the administration. Balban made a serious attempt at controlling the power and influence of the nobles, which was beginning to get out of hand, and was partly successful in this task. He also re-organized the army and then turned his attention towards restoring order in the kingdom. The kingdom had lapsed into complete anarchy and the economy was very shaky, as doing business was a risky affair because with the high rate of crime even one's life was unsafe. Balban successfully restored order in the kingdom and also fended off rebels. One of Balban's main tasks was to restore the prestige of the Sultanate. After ascending to the throne he adopted a dignified mode of living and remodelled his court on Persian customs and styles. Balban's court was one of the finest during the Sultanate period, and it was a platform for poets and artists. Balban was very particular about dignity, he would always appear in his full dress even in front of his private attendants. He removed people from humble backgrounds from important posts as he wished to give his court and administration a more polished look. Balban was also an able dispenser of justice and this was one of his priorities as he believed the prosperity of the state rests on the happiness of his citizens. Balban was an important Sultan of the sultanate period as he rescued it from one of its weakest positions. He fended off internal and external threats, and set the empire back on track. He may not have extended the empire, or made radical improvements in administration, but he made the important contribution of setting the groundwork for a strong king to take the Sultanate to even higher standards. His death marked the end of the Slave Dynasty for his successor was weak and was soon overthrown by Jalal-ud-din Khilji who founded the next dynasty of the Sultanate period, the Khilji dynasty.

Delhi Sultanate From: The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition | Date: 2007 Print Digg Delhi Sultanate refers to the various Muslim dynasties that ruled in India (1210-

1526). It was founded after Muhammad of Ghor defeated Prithvi Raj and captured Delhi in 1192. In 1206, Qutb ud-Din, one of his generals, proclaimed himself sultan of Delhi and founded a line of rulers called the Slave dynasty, because he and several of the sultans who claimed succession from him were originally military slaves. Iltutmish (1210-35) and Balban (1266-87) were among the dynasty's most illustrious rulers. Constantly faced with revolts by conquered territories and rival families, the Slave dynasty came to an end in 1290. Under the Khalji dynasty (1290-1320), the conquests of Ala ud-Din Khalji brought Muslim dominion in India to its greatest height until the Mughul empire. Early in the reign of Muhammad Tughluq, founder of the Tughluq dynasty (1325-98), the power of Delhi was acknowledged even in the extreme S of India. His eccentric rule and ferocious temperament provoked a series of revolts, notably that of the Hindu Vijayanagar kingdom in the south, and a steady loss of territory; by his death (1351) the Hindu south had recovered its independence and the Deccan had become a separate Muslim state, the Bahmani kingdom. Under Tughluq's successors the sultanate of Delhi began to disintegrate into several small states. With the sack of Delhi by Timur in 1398, the once great sultanate fell, although local rulers lingered on at Delhi until the invasion of Babur and the Mughal conquest. article=main&section=history/sultanate&frame=parent

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