History of Medieval India during the Sultanate Period


policy acted and reacted with cumulative effect on the monarch and its people. Disgusted by their sovereign’s barbarity, they grew ever more refractory; exasperated by their disobedience he grew ever more ferocious. His wide dominions were seldom free from rebellion during his reign and at his death the whole kingdom was in ferment.

“Barani, notwithstanding his gratitude and his fears, is surprisingly frank. So overweening, he says, was the king’s pride that he could not endure to hear of a corner of the earth, hardly even of a corner of heaven, which was not subject to his sway.

He would not be at once a Solomon and an Alexander; nor did mere kingship content him, for he aspired to the office of prophet as well. His ambition was to make all the kings of the earth his slaves and Barani would liken his pride to that of Pharaoh and Nimrod, who claimed divinity as well as royalty, but that his scrupulous personal observance of the law and firm adherence to the faith of Islam cleared him of the suspicion of blasphemy and infidelity.


He would compare him with Bayazid of Bustam and Hussain, son of Mansure-ul-Hallaj, who, in the ecstasy of their devotion, believed themselves to have been absorbed into the Godhead, but that his barbarous cruelty deprived him of any claim to sanctity.'”

The view of Prof. K. A. Nizami is that Muhammad Tughluq was one of the most striking personalities of medieval India. His intellectual attainments elicited praise from friends and foes alike. His personal life was absolutely chaste and free from the vices from which the other medieval rulers suffered.

He had knowledge of literature, history, philosophy, poetry, mathematics, medicine, astronomy, rhetoric, etc. He possessed a prodigious memory. He knew the Quran and a part of Hidaya by heart. He possessed sharp intelligence. He was an expert in the use of metaphors and similes. He was essentially a man of action who never allowed his intellectual pursuits to affect his administrative responsibilities.

He possessed a well-built body and had the gait and bearing of a soldier. He looked smart in whatever dress he put on. He possessed a dauntless spirit of courage and chivalry. Most of his life was spent on the battle-field.


Probably no other Sultan of Delhi undertook so many campaigns is person and dealt with so many rebellions as he did. In spite of all these, he remains unrivalled in the history of the Delhi Sultanate on account of his administrative measures and cultural contacts with the outside world. He started a new era of cultural contacts with Asian and African countries. People from Khurasan, Iraq, Sistan, Herat Egypt, Trans-Oxiania, Tangiers, etc., visited his court and he got first hand information about the literary and cultural developments in those countries. His political vision was broad and dynamic. He possessed a dogged tenacity of purpose.

In spite of these achievements, he failed in his attempt of establish an all-India administration. He had inherited a vast empire from his father and he made it vaster still by his own exertions. It was a very difficult task to maintain effective control over his vast empire. He applied his organising capacity and resourcefulness to bring every part of his extensive empire under his personal control.

However, after 10 years the experiment failed. The experiment could not succeed on account of the conditions of transport and communications in the days.

Prof. K. A. Nizami says that while attempting a correct estimate of Muhammad Tughluq, three things must be kept in mind. In the first place, no Sultan of Delhi had to face so many and so well-organised rebellions as Muhammad Tughluq. The fact that he survived them all proves that he must have had a corps of very loyal officers. Secondly, Muhammad Tughluq is one of the few rulers of Delhi Sultanate on whose life no attempt was made to kill him. There must have been thousands and thousands of persons in India who had deep personal reasons for having their revenge on him.


It is not reported that the Sultan took any but the traditional measure of his predecessors for his personal protection. He was too much of a soldier to be afraid of the dagger of a assassin or a palace revolt.

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