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Muhammad bin Tughluq
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Muhammad bin Tughluq

A coin of Muhammad bin Tughlug
A coin of Muhammad bin Tughlug
Muhammad ibn Tughluq () (also Prince Fakhr Malik, Jauna Khan and Ulugh Khan) (c.1300 – March 20, 1351) was the Turkic Sultan of Delhi from 1325 to 1351.[1] He was the eldest son of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq. He was born in Kotla Tolay Khan in Multan. His wife was the daughter of the raja of Dipalpur.[2] Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq sent the young Muhammad to the Deccan to campaign against king Prataparudra of the Kakatiya dynasty whose capital was at Warangal. Muhammad succeeded to the Delhi throne upon his father's death in 1325. He in turn was succeeded by his nephew Firuz Shah Tughluq.

Muhammad Tughlug was a scholar versed in logic, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy and physical sciences. He had knowledge of medicine and was skillful in dialectics. He was also a calligrapher. He was well versed with several languages like Persian, Arabic, Turkish and even Sanskrit. Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan traveler, visited him during his reign. He introduced some remarkable administrative measures which although failed but very distinct and exemplary in nature.


Collapse of the empire

Tughluq died in 1351 on his way to Thatta, Sindh in order to intervene a war between members of the Soomro tribe. He had lived to see his empire fall apart. During the latter years of his reign new kingdoms broke away in the Deccan, such as the Bahmani kingdom founded by Hasan Gangu.[3]

Experiments with coinage

Muhammad bin Tughluq is known for his experimentation with coinage. He memorialized himself and his activities through his coinage and produced more gold coins than had his predecessors. The coins boasted fine calligraphy. He issued a number of fractional denominations.

The large influx of gold from his plundering of south Indian campaign led him to increase coinage weights. He enlarged the gold dinar from 172 grains to 202 grains. He introduced a silver coin, the adlis, which was discontinued after seven years due to lack of popularity and acceptance among his subjects.

All his coins reflect a staunch religiosity, with such inscriptions as "The warrior in the cause of God", "The trustier in support of the four Khalifs - Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman and Ali". The kalimah appeared in most of his coinage. Both at Delhi and at Daulatabad coins were minted in memory of his late father. There were also mints at Lakhnauti, Salgaun, Darul-I-Islam, Sultanpur (Warrangal), Tughlaqpur (Tirhut), and Mulk-I-Tilang. More than thirty varieties of bullion coins are known so far, and the types show his numismatic interests.

Unique among his coinage was the "forced" token currency. It was modeled after the Chinese example, using brass or copper tokens, backed by the silver and gold kept in the treasury. Tughluq had two scalable versions, issued in Delhi and Daulatabad. The currency was issued in the two different standards, undoubtedly to follow the local standards which preexisted in the North and in the South respectively. He engraved "He who obeys the Sultan obeys the compassionate" to fascinate people in accepting the new coinage. However, very few people exchanged their gold or silver coins for the new copper ones. Moreover, the tokens were easy to forge, which led to heavy losses, as Tughluq subsequently withdrew the forged currency by exchanging it for bullion coins. It is said that after the plan failed, there were heaps of copper coins lying around the royal offices for years.

Religious tolerance

Muhammad bin Tughluq was relatively liberal and permitted Hindus and Jains to settle in Delhi.[4] The policy was reversed by his cousin Firuz Shah Tughluq.

In popular culture

  • Muhammad bin Tughlaq is the central character in Tughlaq: a play Kannada in thirteen scenes, by Girish Karnad published in 1972.[7]


External links

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