Brief notes on some of the failed reforms, plans and experiments implemented by Muhammad bin Tughluq


Muhammad bin Tughluq tried to bring about many reforms but most of his plans failed because he was not practical in his thinking. Some of his plans or experiments that failed are given below:

1. Taxation in Doab (A.D 1326):

Doab is the fertile land between the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. Ghiyas-ud-din had reduced the land revenue to one-tenth, but Mohammed tried to raise the revenue once again.


Unfortunately, that very year the rains failed and the region came under the grip of famine. The farmers therefore could not pay the taxes. Many of the farmers were caught and punished while others left their lands and ran off to the jungles to escape the tyranny of the Sultan’s officers. When Mohammed realized this, he ordered his officers to spare the farmers and sanctioned financial help to them. But it was too late as the families of many farmers had already died of starvation and lands had also become barren.

2. Transfer of Capital (A.D 1326-1327):

In A.D 1326, the Sultan decided to shift his capital to Devagiri (renamed Daulatabad), because he felt, that Daulatabad was more centrally located than Delhi. Since the Empire included many portions of the Deccan, he thought it would be easier to control the southern territories.

The plan as such was not faulty because Daulatabad was equidistant from from other parts of the country. But his folly lay in the manner he set about to execute his plan. Instead of shifting only his government, he ordered the entire population of Delhi to move to Daulatabad. Roads were built and food and shelter provide to all. But the people of Delhi were not happy and they looked upon this as an exile. Many people died on the way .Once the Sultan settled in Daulatabad, the Mongols began to renew their raids. The Sultan now realized his folly and ordered the capital to be shifted back to Delhi.


3. Token Currency (A.D. 1330):

The failure of the earlier plans of Muhammad bin Tughluq caused a great loss to the treasury. Being badly in need of money, he tried another novel experiment. This was the introduction of token (copper) currency. He ordered that the copper coins should be considered equal in value to the gold and silver ones. This experiment also failed because every goldsmith started minting fake coins at home. People started paying their taxes in these coins. Foreign traders refused to accept these fake coins and as a result, there was a huge loss of revenue. He then announced that all the copper coins could be exchanged with the gold and silver coins. The people came out with their copper coins and took away the gold and silver ones. This resulted in a great loss to the government.

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