Early Life

Ghiassuddin Tughluq original name was Ghazi Malik. He was the descendants of Mongol or Turkish fathers and non- Turkish mothers. He had married a Jat woman from the vicinity of Lahore. Together they had three sons—Ghazi Tughluq, Rajab and Abu Bakr.

Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq's Tomb in Delhi
Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq’s Tomb in Delhi

He started his career as an ordinary trooper during the reign of Jalaluddin Khalji. Ghiassuddin Tughluq was on the personal staff of Ulugh Khan, the younger brother of Sultan Alauddin Khalji.

He served his master in Sind and Multan and won recognition for his martial qualities during the siege of Ranthambhor. Soon Sultan promoted him to ‘master of the horses’.

After the death of Ulugh Khan, he received appointment as governor of Multan and ‘warden of the marches’.

War of Succession

At the time of Alauddin’s death, Ghiassuddin Tughluq was governor of Dipalpur. He was one of the most experienced and reputed nobles albeit he kept himself aloof from the politics of the imperial court and stuck to his post as faithful servant of the crown irrespective of who wielded power in Delhi.

Ghiassuddin Tughluq was shocked, however, to hear of the cold-blooded murder of Mubarak Shah.

He refused to recognise Khusrau Khan as the sultan and called upon all the old guards to take up arms against the usurper.

Soon Ghiassuddin Tughluq’s son Jauna Khan, who held the office of the ‘master of the horse’ in Delhi since the days of Mubarak Shah, fled to Dipalpur and so did a couple of other nobles.

He led an attack upon Delhi and defeated Hisamuddin, a half-brother of Khusrau Khan, at Sirsa.

Later Ghiassuddin Tughluq defeated Khusrau Khan in a pitched battle fought near Indraprastha. He fled the battle-field and hid in a garden of the capital’s suburbs. Ghiassuddin Tughluq troops took him captive and later beheaded him.

Ghiassuddin Tughluq made a triumphant entry into the capital on September 6, 1320 and offered the throne to the surviving male member of the Alai family, if any. Khusrau Khan killed all male descendant of Alauddin Khalji. The victorious nobles unanimously selected Ghazi Malik as king. The coronation ceremony took place on September 8, 1320.

Reform of Ghiasuddin Tughluq

A few close associates of Khusrau Khan and those who were actually involved in the murder and humiliation of members of the family,were punished. Most of the nobles were confirmed in their old assignments.

Those nobles who suffered the confiscation of their lands during the reign of Alauddin Khalji, were given back their lands. The state demand was reduced to one-eleventh of the estimated produce at a time.

Ghiasuddin Tughluq took interest in the construction of canals for irrigation. The sultan gave peasants relief in times of drought.

The vast empire of Alauddin Khalji had shown signs of disintegration during the closing days of his reign ; its outlying provinces and the vassal Hindu chiefs revolted with degrees of results, under his weak successors.

Ghiasuddin Tughluq, being a capable military general, made up his mind to get back as much of the lost territories into the fold of the sultanate as possible.

War in South India

In 1321, the crown prince Jauna Khan, now styled Ulugh Khan, led an army to subjugate of Telinga. Pratap Rudra Deva II had stopped the payment of tribute to Delhi after the death of Alauddin. Jauna Khan besieged the fort of Warrangal.

However Jauna Khan was tricked and defeated. Jauna Khan retreated to Devagiri with heavy losses in men and material.

Later Jauna Khan made considerable preparations and launched second expedition to Telingana in 1323 via Bihar. He also annexed a part of Bihar.

The Rai, after a brief resistance, laid down arms. Jauna Khan sent his family to Delhi and his kingdom declared annexed to the sultanate.

On his way back to Delhi, Jauna Khan attacked and subjugated the Hindu principality of Utkala in Orissa. He returned to the capital with many war elephants and a huge booty.

War with Mongol

Soon Sultan received the intelligence of appearance of Mongols on the Indus while the imperial army had not yet returned from the south after the conquest of Telingana.

Ghiassuddin Tughluq sent Malik Shadi with a royal army to reinforce the border contingents at Samana. The Royal army defeated the Mongols and annihilated them in two separate actions and their leaders brought in chains to Delhi.

Malik Shadi launched the attack on Gujarat after he repulsed the Mongol invasion. The governor of Gujarat became independent  after the murder of Sultan Mubarak Shah Khalji.

Rebel murdered Malik Shadi through a stratagem ; the imperial army returned to the capital empty-handed.

War with Ruler of Bengal

About this time, he made up his mind to intervene in the affairs of Bengal. Second son of Balban, Bughra Khan became independent ruler of Bengal.

Alauddin Khalji had not been able to extend his control over Bengal.

Sultan himself marched upon Bengal with a magnificient army, the kind of which he had never led before in any expedition.

Sultan conquered  Lakhnauti and its ruler taken prisoner. Thereafter, the whole of Bengal was overrun by the imperial army.

The conquest of Bengal was a great military achievement of Sultan Ghiasuddin Tughluq, who did one better than even Alauddin Khalji on the eastern front.

Death of Ghiassuddin Tughluq

The crown prince Jauna Khan held a grand reception for the monarch at Afghanpur in the vicinity of Delhi on the triumphant return of the imperial army from Bengal.

The crown Prince received Sultan in wooden pavilion. The trophies of war, war elephant soon pass through the pavilion. The wooden pavilion  collapsed on sultan and his retinue.

The sultan, along with five or six other dignitaries including prince Mahmud Khan, were crushed to death under the debris. Thus ending long and eventful life of Ghiassuddin Tughluq.

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