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Feroz Shah Tughlaq (1351-1388)

Feroz Shah Tughlaq (1351-1388)

The son of general Rajab (who was the younger brother of Ghiyath-ud-Din Tughlaq) Feroz Shah Tughlaq was born in 1309 AD. Rajab Khan (his father), Abu Bakar and Shah Tughlaq came to India in the age of Ala-ud-Din Khilji and were elevated to the highest ranks in the court. Shah Tighlaq was appointed the governor of Depalpur where he came across

Tughlaq submitted to the beauty of Natika, the daughter of Ranamal (the ruler of Depalpur) and he sent a message for marriage with her but the message was unanswererd. Infuriated on the unreqited love and his message, tughlaq wreaked his vengeance upon the poor pulic and imposed malia (tax) on the people of Talondi who got sick of the atrocities of Tughlaq. sseing the miserable condition of the people, the princess agreed to marry shah Tughlaq and the masses were liberated from the cruelty of Tughlaq. Natika was renamed as Sultan Bibi Kad Bano after marriage and Feroz Shah Tughlaq was born in the next year. When Feroz was only seven years old, his father died and he came under the kind auspices of Sultan Ghiyath-ud-Din Tughlaq who taught him the arts of warfare and tactics of kingdom. When Mohammad Shah Tughlaq took the reins of kingdom, he was 18 years old. Sultan appointed him Amir Nybe under the title of nybe Barbak and he was assigned the miliyary task with 12, ooo soldiers under him. He was granted one part of Delhi Empire when the empire was divided into four parts. When Sultan fell ill in Thatha, he willed to put Feroz Shah tughlaq as the succeeding king. in that age of turmoil and everything in the empire was at sixes and sevens and the revolts were being reported from every nook and corner of the empire, Feroz Shah was unanimously chosen as the king though he was not ready to lift the responsibilities of the state. He wanted to go for Hajj but the nobles and chiefs made him the Sultan. Khudawandzada, the daughter of Sultan Ghiyath-ud-Din was longing for of making her son Dawar Malik the next king but wily nilly she agreed to the decision and Feroz Shah appeared on the throne.

Feroz Shah Tughlaq inherited the empire replete with rebelliions and the Sultan engaged in appeasing those upheavals engaging all his nobles who manly faced the rebel Mughal chiefs including Altun Bahadur, Amir Farghan and Shirin Khan. Sultan’s army won the battles and Sultan came back to Delhi triumphantly.

Revolt of Khawaja Jahan

Khawaja Jahan was governing Delhi when he heard the news of the death of Sultan Mohammad Shah and the rumor of the arrest of Feroz Shah at the hands of Mughals, he hoisted his flag in Delhi and claimed the throne by putting a yougman as the son of Mohammad Shah Tughlaq. Sultan returned to Delhi and found the situation deteriorated in Delhi due to the new claimant Khawaja Jahan. Seeing himself alone on the front and after all his companions deserted him, Khawaja Jahan submitted to the Sultan who forgave him due to his old age but he was ordered to go to Samana which was given to him as jagir. Khawaja Jahan was killed on the way to Samana by a minister.

Khudawandzada, the sister of Sultan Ghiyath-ud-Din knitted her plots against Feroz and tried to replace him with her son Dawar Malik. Sultan used to go her place daily to eat ‘Pan’ offered by Khudawandzada. One day he went to her but Dawar Malik exposed the story of her plotting to him in an unspoken way and gestures. Sultan had to escape from her and he surrounded the palace of Khudawandzada and usurped all her riches and exiled her husband.

After ascending the throne, the Sultan adopted a reconciliation policy and forgave all those who been punished or imprisoned by the ex-Sultan. He asked all those who had been executed by Sultan Mohammad Shah Tughlaq to forgive him in written and their written redemptions were buried near the grave of Sultan Mohammad to console his soul. Such initiatives floated a message of good will from the new Sultan to the public.

His expeditions and captures

Sultan was not a warrior at heart nor was he found of conquering new areas and expanding the empire but he had to plunge into warfare due to the revolts in the state but he adopted lenient policy even in and after the wars. When Ilyas Shah, the ruler of Bengal (who captured the Bengal and titled as Shams-ud-Din) forced him to attack Bengal, he was not in mood to start any war and was thinking to forgive Ilyas Shah. But Ilyas Shah had been unfair against his public in imposing taxes on the people. Apart from it, he had killed the innocent people of Lukhnauti and Terhat including women under his patronage. These crimes invited the outrage of the Sultan who assaulted Bengal to liberate the people therein from the mayhem of Ilyas Shah. Hearing the news of the arrival of Sultan, Ilyas Shah confined himself to the fort Aldala near River Ganges. Sultan put his elephants in a queue and crossed the river. Ilyas was defeated and he fled but Sultan did not plunder the fort hearing the crying ladies and children and came back to Delhi without conquering it.

In 1359 AD Zafar Khan, the son-in-law of Fakhr-ud-Din came to Sultan and requested him to conquer Bengal and with the permission of Sultan he mugged Bengal accompanied with 70,000 riders and 500 elephants save the pedestrians. Sultan inhabited a new city of Jaunpur in commemoration of Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq.

Nagarkot

The Hindu Raja of Nagarkot was reported to ransack the population around him and Sultan decided to take action against him in 1360 AD. Raja surrendered and sought pardon. Sultan restored his position and Feroz happened to gain some rare books in Sanscrit which were translated to Persian.

Sindh

90,000 riders along with the elephants and pedestrians were sent to capture Sindh to avenge the death of Mohammad Tughlaq but the lack of supply drive the royal convoy to Gujrat where it was misled by the guides and the whole of army got stuck into ditch. For six days, the Sultan did not receive any news of his army. The convoy, somehow, managed to reach Gujrat after many days. Sultan dismissed the governor of Gujrat and set off to Sindh. He was reinforced by Khan-e Jahan Maqbool Khan who sent him fresh battalion of army and led to the victory of Sultan. Jam Babiana, the governor of Sindh bowed to Sultan and Sultan appointed his brother as the new governor of Sindh.

Atrocities on Hindus                    

Kind to his subjects, affectionate even to the rebels, generous, and God-fearing Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq is discredited by the historians with his impatience to the Hindus especially of Brahman strata and the reference is taken from Tarikh-e-Feroz Shahi, the history recorded in his own age. According to Tarikh-e-Feroz Shahi, he ordered the persecution of the Brahman Hindus on not embracing Islam. It says:

“An order was accordingly given to the Brahman and was brought before Sultan. The true faith was declared to the Brahman and the right course pointed out, but he refused to accept it. A pile was risen on which the Kaffir with his hands and legs tied was thrown into and the wooden Tablet on the top. The pile was lit at two places his head and his feet. The fire first reached him in the feet and drew from him a cry and then fire completely enveloped him. Behold Sultan for his adherence to law and rectitude”.

He is also alleged of his imposition of Jizya (a tax on non-Muslims) on Hindus the non-payment of which was subject to severe punishments. They were not allowed to build their temples and erect their gods to be worshipped and the violation of royal command brought the wrath of the Sultan on them and they were brutally executed on a large scale.

Reforms of Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq

Sultan concentrated to the revenue of the state after coming into power and appointed Khawaja Hasam-ud-Din Junaid as his revenue minister to analyze the financial condition of the empire. Khawaja visited the whole of his country and concluded his report in the light of which Sultan took necessary actions and introduced reforms. He omitted the unnecessary taxes which were not commanded by religion. 1/5th Khraj was taken from agriculture produce which was defined by the government according to the real produce instead of the number of fields. Ushr was the 1/10th of the cultivated land including all those lands which were granted to the nobles by the Sultan. Zakat was 2.5% of the total income due only on Muslims.

Jizya was imposed on Hindus and all other non-Muslims. Sultan imposed Jizya on the Brahmans while they were exempted from Jizya in the ages of the previous kings. Brahmans protested against this jizya and threatened fast unto death but the Sultan did not pay heed to them. But finally, sultan had to compromise and he reduced the amount or rate of Jizya on Brahmans. 1/5th was the rate of booty and mines. Sultan cancelled many taxes on the manufacturers of soups, fish, and other commodities which undermined the national economy by reducing the income. Jagirdari system which had been curtailed by Ala-ud-Din Khilji and Mohammad Tughlaq was restored in the age of Feroz and he granted the properties to the nobles and generals to win their sympathies. These jagirdars brought about a decrease in the national income as they expoilted the people under them and did not pay taxes which deteriorated the economic position.

He banned the appearance of ladies in bazaars, markets and shrines as it generated many vices in his opinion. He disallowed the use of gold and silver utensils, drawing pictures of humans and animals on cloth, wearing silk clothes for men, and inhuman punishments on crimes.

New cities and villages

On his return from Bengal, Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq stayed at Pandwa and renamed it as Ferozabad after his name. Many cities and villages were registered as new places in his tenure. He also built a fort near Hansi which was named as Hisar-e Feroza (now called Hisar). Huge water storage was built inside the fort and a large and deep ditch was dig all around the fort to fortify it. Sultan populated this area with the help of two canals dig from Satlej and Jamuna. He inhabited another city in the north of Delhi which was named Ferozabad (later Feroz Khan Kotla) Its ruins are present in Delhi even today and talk of the bygone days of the Muslim empires. It was ruined by Timur in the days to come. Going from Qanauj to Oudh, Sultan Feroz Shah peopled another city on the bank of river Gomati. It was named as Jaunpur on the name of his predecessor, Jona Khan.

On the bank of river Jamuna, he founded a city of Ferozabad (a town of Agra now-a-days). His regime is also because of the construction of rest houses where a free meal was available to the guests for three days. Only Delhi and Kotla had 120 such houses which had become the houses of the royal generosity. Besides cities and towns, he built many canals and gardens. 1200 gardens were grown only in Delhi, 44 gardens in Chitor, and 80 in Slora. He enjoys the credit of networking the canals throughout his empire which contributed to the affluence and prosperity of the empire. Two canals got enormous popularity: one was Jamuna Canal which flew from Jamuna River and watered Hisar, Hansi and Rohtak and the second was taken from River Satlej which cultivated Jhihjar. The bounties of farming due to the plenty of water were to be seen all through his empire. The commodities were available in the market at very low prices due to their abundance. He built 50 dams to reserve the extra water, 30 ponds, 20 mosques, 30 colleges, 20 palaces, and 100 rest houses.

Death

The lenient policies of Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq brought the message of decay of the forty years of his rise and he witnessed a bad blood between Mohammad, his son and Jona Shah Khan -e Jahan, his minister Jona availed the insanity of the sultan in his later years and incited the king against his son and he ordered the arrest of Mohammad, then asked Mohammad to kill Jona Khan and again turned against his son Mohammad. The courtiers and nobles in the court divided into two factions for and against Mohammad who had to escape to Sarmu hills. Sultan nominated Tughlaq bin Fateh Khan, his grandson as his heir but Fateh Khan fell a prey to death in his prime splitting all hopes of the king. He built a mausoleum of his grandson in Delhi and named a village of Hisar district as Fatehabad after him. In October 1388 AD Sultan breathed his last leaving an empire which disintegrated into pieces after death and slipped from the hands of Tughlaqs. Handing over all the affairs of the state to Khan Jahan Maqbool Khan, his minister (who converted to Islam from Hinduism) took its toll in the later years when after death in 1370 AD his son Jona Khan was titled as Khan-e Jahan who came at cross purposes with the Prince and hastened the decline of the forty-year rule of Feroz Shah Tughlaq. The sultanate could not stand around one center and the kingdom went to the hands of Sayed Dynasty due to maladroit successors of Feroz Shah Tughlaq.

About SAIMA ASHRAF

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