Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Iltutmish: the Real Founder of Delhi Sultanate

Shamsuddin Iltutmish, born in a tribal community of Ilbari in Turkestan, was the real founder of the Slave Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate, though he was technically the third ruler of the dynasty. At the time of Qutab-ud-din’s death in 1210 AD, he was the governor of Badaun. After the death of Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak (founder of Slave Dynasty), the Chihalgani put Aram Shah as the next ruler. The relation of Aram to Qutub-Ud-Din is in the realm of debate. Aram Shah turned out to be an inept ruler. Iltutmish or (Altmash) was invited by the nobles of delhi to replace Aram who was defeated in the plain of Jud near Delhi. An intelligent and wise person Iltutmish made Delhi the capital of Delhi Sultanate.

The first ten years of Iltutmish’s reign was devoted to consolidating his position which was challenged by his rivals-particularly Tajuddin Yalduz (successor of Muhammad of Ghor in Ghazni) and Nasiruddin Qubacha (the Governor of Uch and Multan). Iltutmish defeated both of them in 1216-17, and thus made his position secure.

The reign of Iltutmish saw the comig of the Mongol fury in Central Asia under the leadership of Chengiz Khan, the Mongolian ruler, who had occupied Peking in 1215 and conquered Transoxiana in 1220. Iltutmish must be credited for his diplomatic skill. He saved the nascent kingdom of Slave Dynasty from the menace of the Mongol invasion. The fear of Chengiz khan was such that Iltutmish did not embark on any military expedition till the death the death of Chengiz khan in 1227.

After the Mongol threat subsided, Iltutmish recaptured Multan and Bengal in 1227-28 and became successful in reasserting his authority in Bengal and Bihar in 1229, and captured Ranthambhor and Mandor in Rajasthan. In 1229, he received a deed of investiture from the Abassid Caliph of Baghdad. the event marked the formal recognition of Iltutmish's independent position as a Sultan as also of the Delhi Sultanate and as a member of the world fraternity of Islamic states.

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