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Mohammed-bin-Tughluq (1325-51)

Mohammed-bin-Tughluq (1325-51):

  • Mohammed-bin-Tughluq was known as a wonder of the age in which he lived. He was a scholar in Arabic and Persian and a calligraphist.
  • He was a scholar in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, logic, philosophy and Islamic theology. He was an abstract thinker and an idealist and not a practical statesman.
  • He was partly motivated by his father and partly by Alauddin Khalji and partly by his highly individualistic attitude.
  • The first feature that was new in the state policies was his near secular outlook, a concept he borrowed from Alauddin Khalji.
  • Like Alauddin, he did not apply for investiture from the Caliph and did not let the ulema interfere in affairs of the state, but in the later part of his reign when he was beset with problems, he sought advice from the ulema and sought the sanction of the caliph, who by then was a refugee in Egypt.
  • Mohammed-bin-Tughluq conversed with not only muslim mystics but also Hindu yogis and also Jain saints such as Jinaprabha Suri. The muslim orthodox theologians accused him of being a ‘rationalist’.

The Turkish nobility collapsed during Alauddin Khalji’s time. Mohammed bin Tughluq raised a new order of nobility drawn from foreign muslims, converted muslims and also Hindus.

But this led to dissatisfaction among the turkish nobility and also because the nobility comprised of divergent sections, it couldn’t develop cohesion and loyalty in the manner desired.

  • In 1326 — 27, Mohammed — bin — Tughluq transferred the capital from Delhi to Deogiri which he renamed as Daulatabad.
  • This was because he wanted to break the barriers between north and south and desired to bring the entire country under a central authority.  Mohammed-bin-Tughluq (1325-51)
  • The north-west was ravaged by invasions and the south had plenty of wealth, pleasant climate, rich agricultural products and flourishing trade and commerce.
  • But the move failed because of the historic importance of Delhi which could rival any metropolis of the muslim world. There was discontentment among the nobles due to emotional attachment with Delhi.
  • Also, the Sultan could not effectively control the north-west and Bengal from Daulatabad which prompted him to abandon it.

Soon after his accession to the throne, the Sultan made sweeping reforms in coinage leading to the introduction of money economy.

So he was called by Edward Thomas as ‘prince of moneyers’. But faced with a shortage of silver, in 1330-32, he made tankas of bronze to be used at par with silver tankas but bad execution led to failure.

He was probably inspired by a similar move by Qublai Khan in China and Ghaznan Khan of Iran. But the Sultan did not take steps to make the mint the monopoly of the state nor did they prepare standard coins.

  • The officials of the state also indulged in corrupt practices, the foreign merchants refused to accept the bronze tankas and the illiterate masses could not comprehend the change and thought that the Sultan was out to rob them.  Mohammed-bin-Tughluq (1325-51)
  • Barani says, the house of every Hindu was turned into a mint and people including muslims turned their utensils into coins.
  • So the Sultan was forced to withdraw this policy. The Morocccan traveled Ibn Battuta, who came to Delhi in 1333, could not see any harmful after-effects of these experiments.
  • His next policy was the triple alliance which was formed between Mohammed —bin —Tughluq, the ruler of Egypt and Alauddin Tarmashirin (the mongol chief) for a joint expedition to Khurasan.
  • The Sultan made a special recruitment of 3,70,000 forces for this purpose in 1332-33 but abandoned the project due to changed situation in Central Asia.
  • In 1333-34, he launched the Qarachil expedition which was led by Khusrau Malik in the Kumaon-Gharwal hills allegedly to counter Chinese incursions, to subjugate the independent Rajput states since the hills had also become a refuge of disgruntled nobles.
  • But soon Khusrau Malik did not follow the Sultan’s advice and attempted to invade Tibet, so the armies went too far in inhospitable terrain and suffered a disaster, so inflicting, that out of an army of 10,000, only 10 persons returned.    Mohammed-bin-Tughluq (1325-51)

Modern scholars emphasise the facts that Mohammed-bin-Tughluq adopted the system of measurement of land, took away the concessions of Khuts, Muqaddams, Chaudharis and compelled them to pay revenues as common peasants and discarded the system of hereditary iqtas. He owes all these measures to Alauddin Khalji.

His new methods of agriculture:

  • The Sultan founded a new department of agriculture in the office of wazir known as ‘diwan-i-amir kohi’ under which work started on new methods of agriculture.
  • For this purpose, a big farm house was constructed in Bihar but it was later withdrawn. The Sultan, like his father, tried the extension of agriculture and for this purpose adopted the practice of giving sondhar (loans) to the people.
  • In order to compensate for financial losses in his earlier projects, he adopted the system of hiking the land revenue demand in Ganga-Yamuna doab from 33% to 50% in 1333-34 but then a famine broke out.
  • When officers pressurized the peasants, they took on the course of rebellion and were suppressed badly. When the Sultan realized the excesses, he resettled them by not only suspending the revenue payment but also giving loans for purchase of seeds and other requirements.
  • Sultan himself left Delhi and for two and half years, lived in a camp called ‘Swargadwari’, 100 miles from Delhi on the banks of the Ganges near Kannauj to oversee relief operations.

During the latter half of the Sultan’s reign, he was faced with rebellions in different parts of the empire such as Lahore, Hansi, Multan, Gujarat, Sind, Kara, Oudh, Warangal, Dwarsamudra, Bengal, Bidar, Gulbarga.

But the two most significant rebellions were by Hasan Gangu which culminated in the formation of the Vijayanagar Empire in 1336.      Mohammed-bin-Tughluq (1325-51)

Mohammed —bin — Tughluq in his last years, ran from pillar to post in an attempt to contain the rebellion but was unsuccessful in doing so. It comes as no surprise that he died in a war camp in Sind. The conservative nobles and the ulema together then enthroned, the cousin of Mohammed-bin-Tughluq, Feroz Shah Tughluq to the throne.



Medieval History

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