Qutab-ud-din Aibak was the real founder of the Turkish dominion in India. He was born of Turkish parents in Turkestan.
When he was merely a boy he was taken to Nishapur by a merchant where he was purchased by the local Qazi as a slave. The Qazi provided for his religious and military training along with his own sons. When the Qazi died, he was sold by his sons to merchant who took him to Ghazni where he was purchased by Muhammad Ghori.
Qutb-ud-din Aibak was "endowed with all laudable qualities and admirable impressions "though" he possessed on outword comeliness". He attracted the attention of his new master by his courage, manly bearing and generosity.
He proved himself to be so faithful to his master that he was appointed a commander of a section of the army of his master. He was also appointed Amir-i-Akhur or master of the stables.
He rendered so valuable services to his master during his Indian expeditions that he was placed in charge of his Indian conquests after the second battle of Tarain in 1192 A.D.
Thus, he was left "untrammelled not only in his administration of the new conquests, but also in his discretion to extend them." Aibak made lndraprastha near Delhi his headquarters.
In order to strengthen his own position. Qutb-ud-din Aibak entered into matrimonial alliances with important personalities. He himself married the daughter of Taj-ud-din Yildoz. He married his sister to Nasir-ud-din Qabacha. To Iltutmish, he married his daughter.
In 1192 A.D., he crushed a rebellion in Ajmer and Meerut. In 1194 A.D. he crushed a second rebelion in Ajmer. In the same year, he helped his master Muhammad Ghori in defeating Jai Chandra the ruler of Kanauj, in the battle of Chandwar.
In 1197 A.D., he punished Bhimdev of Gujarat, plundered his capital and came back to Delhi by way of Hansi. In 1202 A.D, he besieged the fortress of Kalinjar in Bundelkhand and captured the same. He got a lot of booty. Thousands of persons were made prisoners. He marched to the city of Mahoba and took possession of it.
Next he occupied Badaun which was one of the richest cities of Hindustan. One of his lieutenants, Ikhtiyar-ud-din, conquered Bihar and a part of Bengal.
Thus, before his accession to the throne in 1206 A.D, Qutab-ud-din Aibak was alredy in possession of almost the whole of Northern India as a lieutenant of his master and his representative in India.
When Muhammad Ghori died in 1206 A.D. he left no male heir to succeed him. Taj-ud-din Yildoz, Governor of Kirman, ascended the throne of Ghazni.
It seems that it was the desire of Muhammad Ghori that Quab- ud-din should succeed him in India. That was probably the reason why Muhammad Ghori formally invested Quab-ud-din with vicengal powers and conferred upon him the title of Malik. After the death of Ghori the citizen of Lahore invited Quab-ud-din to assume sovereigns powers.
He went to Lahore and took up the reigns of government in his hands. However, his formal accession took place on 24th June. 1206.
The rise of Quab-ud-din Aibak aroused the jealousy of Taj-ud-din Yildoz of Ghazni. Aibak charged him with exercising undue influence on Mahmud of Feroz Khan and inarched against him.
In 1208, lie even occupied Ghazni and also won over Sultan Mahmud to his own side. He also secured from him a letter of Manumission along with the Paraphernalia of royalty or Chatter and Durbesh and also authority to rule over Ghazni and Hindustan. However, Aibak was driven out of Ghazni by Yildoz. Aibak came back to Lahore.
So far as Bengal and Bihar were concerned, the death of Ikhtivar-ud- din Kalji threatened to break the relation of Delhi with Bengal and Bihar.
Ali Mardan Khan declared himself independent of Lakhnauti but the local Khalji chiefs replaced him by Muhammad Sheran and threw him into prison. However, Ali Mardan Khan managed to escape from Jail and went to Delhi. He also persuaded Aibak to intervene into the affairs of Bengal.
The Khaljis agreed to recognise Aibak as their overlord. They also agreed to send the annual tribute to Delhi. On account of his being otherwise very busy Aibak could not follow a policy of aggression against the Rajputs.
Aibak died in 1210 on account of injuries received as a result of fall from his horse while playing polo.
Aibak rendered great services to the cause of Islam in India. For the last two centuries. India was part of the Ghazni kingdom and the interests of the North-Western India suffered on account of the politics of Ghazni. By making Muslim India independent of Ghazni, Aibak "helped considerably in the expansion of power in India." He built one mosque at Delhi and another at Ajmer.
Aibak was a great military leader. He won a large number of victories in battle fields during the life time of his master and thereby added to his glory He rarely lost a battle.
The view of Dr. R.L. Srivastava is that Aibak was "the real founder of Turkish dominion in India." and "the first de facto Sultan of the almost entire Hindustan." The view of Habibullah is that Aibak was responsible for the detailed planning and initiation of the Delhi state, ft is pointed our that it is difficult to support the view of Habibullah.
The coronation of Aibak took place in 1206 A.D. but his formal manumission, i.e., freedom from slavery, was not obtained by him till 1208 A.D Ghiyas-ud-din Mahmud of Ghori is reported to have conferred upon him the royal insignia and the title of Sultan, but his inscriptions show that he never got a title higher than that of Malik or Sipahsalar.
It cannot be denied that the right to issue currency is an essential ingredient of sovereignty, but so for not a single gold or silver coin of Aibak has been found. Some of the latest Sultans of Delhi did not accept him as a sultan.
The list of the names of the Sultans of Delhi prepared under the orders of Firoz Shah Tughluq begins with Iltutmish and does not include the name of Aibak. It is pointed out that the character of Muslim rule in India did not charge materially during the reign of Aibak.
Yalduz as master of Ghazni continued to claim suzerainty over India. It is true that Aibak occupied Ghazni for some time but he was driven out later on. The result was that the question whether the Turkish possessions in Northern India were a more colony of a Central Asian empire or a sovereign entity could not be settled.
Aibak also was not able to set up a framework of an administrative structure. As a matter of fact, there was not ever one capital and Lahore and Delhi were merely two military headquarters.