After creating a strong and efficient army, he decided to restore order in the Doab and the neighbourhood of Delhi. On account of the predatory raids of the Rajputs of Mewat and different robber bands, life, property and commerce had become unsafe.
The officers of the Sultan found it difficult to collect revenue. Soon after his accession, Balban was able to clear the neighbourhood of Delhi from robbers and rebels who were punished with a heavy hand. The jungles were cleared. He personally took part in the operations against the rebels in the Doab and Avadh. They were ruthlessly driven away. Military posts were set up at Bhojpur, Patiali, Kampil and Jalali and ferocious Afghan troops were put in them.
In Katehar (Rohilkhand). Balban ordered his troops to attack the villages. The houses of the people were burnt and orders were passed to kill the whole of the adult male population. Women and children were made slaves. In every village and jungle, there were heaps of human corpses. The terror created was so great that the peoples of Katehar did not dare to raise their heads once again for a long time.
Tughril Khan was the deputy of Balban in Bengal. He was an active, courageous and generous Turk and his administration was efficient. The old age of Balban and the Mongol invasion encouraged Tughril Khan to declare his independence. Balban was upset when he heard the news of the revolt of Tughril Khan.
He sent a large army to Bengal under Alptgin entitled Amir Khan.However, Amir Khan was defeated and his troops went over to the side of Tughril Khan. Balban was so much annoyed that the ordered Amir Khan to be hanged over the gate of Delhi. In 1280, another army was sent to Bengal under Malik Targhi.
This expedition was also unsuccessful. Balban “now devoted all his attention and energy to effect the defeat of Tughril” and decided to go to Bengal personally. He took his son Bughra Khan to Bengal. When Tughril Khan heard of the approach of Balban, he left Lakhnauti and fled into the jungles of Jajnagar. Balban advanced into Eastern Bengal in pursuit of Tughril Khan and his followers.
They were incidentally discovered by Sher Andaz, a follower of Balban. Malik Muqaddir brought Tughril Khan down with an arrow shot. His head was cut off and his body was thrown into the river. His relatives and most of his troops were captured. Balban inflicted exemplary punishments on the relatives and followers of Tughril Khan. Barani tells us that “on either side of the principal bazar (of Lakhnauti), in a street more than two miles in length, a row of stakes was set up and the adherents of Tughril were impaled upon them. None of the beholders had ever seen a spectacle so terrible and many swooned with terror and disgust.”
The Sultan appointed his son, Bughra Khan, as Governor of Bengal. Before leaving, Balban addressed Bughra Khan as in these words: “Understand me and forget not that if the Governors of Hind or Sindh, or Malwa or Gujarat, Lakhnauti or Sonargaon, shall draw the sword and become rebels to the throne of Delhi, then such punishment, as has fallen on Tughril and his dependents, will fall upon them, their wives and children and all their adherents.” Bughra Khan and his descendants continued to rule in Bengal up to 1339 A.D.
The menace of the Mongols became very great during the time of Balban. Their raids became frequent. Balban always kept himself in readiness to meet the danger on the frontiers. He made it a point never to go very from Delhi. He was not satisfied with the negative policy of defense and consequently followed an aggressive policy of subjugating or crushing the Khokhars and other tribes which had never ceased to plunder and ravage the frontier districts of the Delhi Sultanate.
His plan was to bring their territory under the Delhi Sultanate so as to deprive the invaders of the advantage of a safe passage through the tribal country. Balban led an attack on the Salt Range and chastised the Khokhars. However, he failed to establish a permanent foothold on the land. He also failed to win over the friendship of the Khokhars.
Balban adopted other measures for the defense of the Western frontier. He maintained forts on the routes of the invaders in perfect preparedness. Those forts were fully garrisoned and equipped. He built new forts or watch-posts wherever necessary.
He kept a vigilant watch on the routes. He appointed as wardens of the marches tried and experienced military officers such as Sher Khan Sanqar. The latter was a very distinguished warrior of that period. He has been the Governor of Bhatinda, Bhatnir, Sunam and Samana. His presence on the frontier was a guarantee of security. Both the Mongols and the Khokhars dreaded him. Unfortunately Balban became jealous of him and brought about his death by poison.
The result of the death of Sher Khan Sanqar was that the Monglos Khokhars and other tribes once again started their raids in 1271. Balban put Timur Khan is charge of Sunam and Samana. The other Amirs were put in charges of the other Iqtas and forts.
The arrangements did not succeed. It was under these circumstances that Balban put his son Muhammad in charge of the southern frontier. Muhammad made Multan as his headquarters. The Mongols invaded again in 1279 and 1285. These invasion were so great that very strained all the mighty and resources of the Sultan. The Mongols were defeated and driven away.
In 1286, the Mongols reappered and this time Prince Muhammad were killed. Poet Amir Khusru was also captured. It is true that Balban re-occupied Lahore but his authority did not extend beyond that. The whole of the region beyond the river Ravi continued to be under the control of the Mongols.
It is to be noted that Balban did not live long after the death of his son Muhammad, in 1286 at the hands of the Mongols. The shock was so great that the Sultan never recovered from it. When Balban found his end coming near, he called his son Bughra Khan from Bengal to stay with him but he was so afraid of the stern nature of his father that he slipped away to Bengal.
The result was that Balban appointed Kai-Khusrau, the son of Muhammad, as his heir and died soon after in 1286. Barani tells us that “the Maliks in grief at Balban’s death tore their garments and threw dust on their heads as they followed. Bare-feet, the king’s bier to the burial ground at Darul Aman. For forty days, they mourned his death and slept on the bare floor.”