Firoz Shah Tughlaq (, ; 1309 – September 20, 1388) was a Turkic Muslim ruler of the Tughlaq Dynasty, who reigned over the Sultanate of Delhi from 1351 to 1388. He was the son of a Hindu princess of Dipalpur. His father's name was Razzab (the younger brother of Ghazi Malik). Firuz Shah Tughlaq succeeded his cousin Muhammad bin Tughluq following the latter's death from a fatal illness, but due to widespread unrest Firuz's realm was much smaller than Muhammed's. Firuz Shah Tughlaq was forced by rebellions to concede virtual independence to Bengal and other provinces.
West Gate of Firozabad (present Feroz Shah Kotla), now destroyed. 1802 Firuz Shah Tughlaq was the Sultan of Delhi from 1351 to 1388 (after the death of Muhammad Tughlaq) and in the 1350s, he established the city of Firozabad at the site of the Feroz Shah Kotla (Literally fortress or citadel of Firoz Shah). Most of the city was destroyed as subsequent rulers dismantled its buildings and reused the spolia as building materials.
Under his rule, Hindu Brahmins were not exempted from paying mandatory tax Jizya levied on Hindus on the ground that it was not mentioned in Sharia.
Establishment of Islamic Law
Coin of Firoz Shah Tughlaq
Firoz probably learnt many lessons from his cousin Muhammad's rule. He decided not to reconquer areas that had broken away. He decided to keep nobles and the Ulema happy so that they would allow him to rule his kingdom peacefully. In fact, there were hardly any rebellions during his rule. We come to know about him from a 32-page brochure he wrote. Firoz allowed a noble's son to succeed to his father's position and jagir after his death. The same was done in the army, where an old soldier could send his son, son-in-law or even his slave in his place. He won over the Ulemas by giving them grants of revenue, which gave him political power. He increased the salary of the nobles. He stopped all kinds of harsh punishments such as cutting off hands. Firoz also lowered the land taxes that Muhammad had raised. Firuz's reign has been described as the greatest age of corruption in medieval India. It can be imagined from the fact that Firuz once gave a golden tanka to a distraught soldier so that he could bribe the clerk to pass his sub standard horse. The case of Imadulmulk Bashir, the minister of war who began his career as an inherited slave of Firuz, in course of his service is said to have accumulated wealth to the tune of thirteen crores, when the state's yearly income was six crores and seventy-five lakh tankas.
Feroze Shah's tomb]] with adjoining madrasa, in Hauz Khas Complex, Delhi Top two storeys of Qutb Minar, that were added by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, after lighting damaged previous one, in 1368 AD.Firuz Shah Tughlaq instituted economic policies to increase material welfare of his people. Many rest houses (sarai), gardens and tombs were built. A number of Madrasas were opened to encourage literacy. He set up hospitals for the free treatment of the poor and encouraged physicians in the development of Unani medicine. He provided money for the marriage of girls belonging to poor families. He commissioned many public buildings in Delhi. He built over 300 villages and dug 5 major canals for irrigation bringing more land under cultivation for growing grain and fruit. For day to day administration, Firuz Shah heavily depended on Malik Maqbul, previously commander of Warangal fort, who was captured and converted to Islam. When Feroz Shah was away on a Campaign to Sind and Gujarat for six months and no news was available about his whereabouts Maqbul ably protected Delhi. He was the most highly favoured among the significant number of the nobles in Feroz Shah's court and retained the trust of the sultan. Feroz Shah used to call Maqbul as 'brother'. The sultan even remarked that Khan-i-Jahan (Malik Maqbul) was the real ruler of Delhi.
Hindu religious works were translated from Sanskrit to Persian. He had a large personal library of manuscripts in Persian, Arabic and other languages. He brought 2 Ashokan Pillars from Topara in Ambala district, and Meerut, carefully wrapped in silk, to Delhi. He re-erected one of them in his palace at Feroz Shah Kotla.
Remains of buildings at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi, 1795. He had about 180,000 slaves, who had been brought from all over the country, trained in various arts and crafts. They however turned out to be undependable. Transfer of capital was the highlight of his reign. When the Qutb Minar struck by lightning in 1368 AD, knocking off its top storey, he replaced them with the existing two floors, faced with red sandstone and white marble.
Firoz Shah's death led to many rebellions. His lenient attitude had weakened the Sultan's position. His successor Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughluq II could not control the slaves or the nobles. The army had become weak. Slowly the empire shrank in size. Ten years after his death, Timur's invasion devastated Delhi.
- Romila Thapar. 1966. A History of India, Volume I. Penguin Books.
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