Early Life

Qutubuddin Aibek was born in the Aibek tribe of Turkic people of Central Asia. While he was still a small boy he was taken prisoner and sold into slavery. Qazi of Nishapur(Iran) bought him and was given education in Islamic theology, horse riding and swordsmanship. In few years the old Qazi died and his sons sold Aibek to Muhammad Ghori. Ghori recognise the martial quality of Aibek and gave him quick promotion. Soon he became Amir i Akhur(Master of the Royal Stables). In 1192, Ghori defeated Prithiviraj Chauhan in second battle of Tarain and appointed Aibek as governor of his indian possession.

Qutubuddin Aibek set up his base in Indraprastha, 10 km west of Delhi. He waged a continuous war against ruler of northern India. Aibek also increased his position by entering into matrimonial alliance with other important nobles of Ghori.

Penetration into the Gangetic Valley

Aibek started his campaign in 1193 AD, by annexing Daob(area between Yamuna and Ganga) and  quickly capturing Moradabad. He next laid siege BulandShahr but garrison of the fort gave stiff fight and so, he has to raise  the siege and moved back to Delhi. After this defeat Muhammad Ghori recalled him back to Ghazni. He stayed in Ghazni for six months and received instruction from Ghori on future conquest.

In 1194, Aibek raised a large army and launch a massive attack on Doab. He quickly captured Bulandshahr and Aligarh. Soon, Ghori arrived in that area with 50,000 well trained cavalry. Together both of them launch attack on Benaras which was held by Jai Chand, last Gahadavalla ruler of kanauj. Jai Chand also raised the army and clashed with turkish army in the battle field of Chandwar. Army of kanauj fought well whole day however toward end of the day stray arrow killed Jai Chand and remaining army took shelter in nearby fort.

Turkic army did not attack the fort immediately instead march toward Benaras to  capture the royal treasury. Benaras was looted and Ghori took 1,400 Camel laden with loot back to Ghazni. Ghori left Aibek with special instruction to conquer north India slowly and steadily.

The Conquests of Qutubuddin Aibek

Qutubuddin Aibek faced difficulties in maintaining his control over his conquest. The Dor Rajput of Aligarh revolted againt him but he quickly crush them. Gahadavallas of Kanauj attacked Turks and regained the control of Benaras.

Hari Rai Chauhan took the crown of Ajmer from his nephew Govind Raja and marched his army to capture Delhi.  Aibek realizing danger forced march his large army to intercept Rajput army near Ajmer. Large Turk army dishearten Rajput Warrior and they took refuge in Ajmer itself. Rajput army gave stiff resistance to turks but were overwhelmed by Turk army. On the verge of defeat, Hari singh performed Jauhar alongs with his family member. Aibek left Ajmer with turk governor and strong garrison.

The chauhan rajput of Ajmer did not accept defeat and after few years made another attempt to regain back Ajmer from turks. Merh rajput, Chalukya volunteer and Chauhan rajput attack turks and defeated them in pitch battle. Aibek rushed to Ajmer from delhi to crush the rebellion but was defeated by rajput and forced him to take refuge inside Ajmer fort. Rajput were forced to raise the siege after turks got reinforcement from ghazni. Chauhan rajput establish themselves in Ranthambore.  

Conquest of Central India

In 1196 AD, Aibek conquered Bayana and appointed turkish governor with strong garrison. Soon, Ghori arrived with strong reinforcement and Aibek besieged Gwalior. Rajput ruler of Gwalior Sulakshana Pal gave stiff resistance. Due to stiff resistance by rajput, Aibek negotiated with Rajput and they accepted his nominal submission. Turkish governor of Bayana kept attacking Rajput and fort of Gwalior was captured by 1200 AD.

In 1197, Aibek conqured kingdom of Badaun by defeating its Rashtrakuta prince and appointed his son-in-law Iltutmish as its governor. Next year he attacked Benaras and reconquered it from its Gahadavallas ruler.

In 1202, Aibek attacked Chandela ruler of Bundelkhand. Turks besiege bundelkhand capital Kalinjar and made strong attack on fort. Chandela ruler Parmardi Deva decided to surrender to turks, but his prime minister Ajayadeva assassinated him and took over leadership. Chandelas offer the stiff resistance but they have to evacuate the fort after turks cut off their water supply.

After the fall of Kalinjar, Aibek did not make any fresh conquest. The reason for not making any further conquest was that his army was exhausted and he want to consolidate his conquest. He wants to establish a separate Turkish state within Indian subcontinent. To achieve his objective he stayed away from central Asian politics and maintained friendly relation with Ghori and other Turkish nobles.

Aibek as Sultan of Delhi

In 1206, Muhammad Ghori was assassinated and Aibek ascended the Throne. He brought all the Turkish noble who rule India under his effective control through force or persuasion. Aibek for next few years avoided any large scale battle. Many disposed ruler sense Turkish weakness and tried to regain their former dominion.

Soon, the Chandelas reclaimed Kalinjar and Pratihars recovered Gwalior from Turks. Turks lost complete control of the Central India. Gadahavalla chief Harish Chandra, seeing Turkish loss of central tried to regain his own dominion. He rallied his forces and reconquered part of his kingdom near Badaun.

Hindu chieftain still rule largeAibek failed to bring large area of infant turkish state in indian subcontinent under his effective control as it was still ruled by hindu chieftains. He tried to consolidated his empire but died in 1210 after fall from horse while playing Chaugan(Polo) in Lahore. He was buried in Lahore and was succeeded by his inexperience son Aram Shah and Iltutmish.

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