Amir Khusru's Qiran us-Sa'dain, the Historic Meeting of Father and Son (Bughra Khan and Sultan Qaiqabad)

The premature death of prince Muhammad, the eldest son and heir-apparent, in a confrontation with the Mongols, inflicted a devastating blow upon Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Balban. Faced with this grave predicament, he resorted to summoning his second son, Bughra Khan, from Bengal and appointing him as his successor.

Bughra Khan reluctantly heeded his father's plea and journeyed to Delhi. However, when his father's health slightly improved, he ventured out without permission, disguising his departure as a hunting expedition, and made his way to Bengal.

Consumed by deep depression and despair, Balban declared prince Kaikhusrau, Muhammad's son, as the rightful heir. However, against Balban's will in favour of Kaikhusrau, the chief amirs enthroned Bughra Khan's son, Muiz-ud-din Qaiqabad (r: 1286-1290).

Regrettably, Qaiqabad proved to be a weak and pleasure-seeking ruler. He entrusted all governmental affairs to Nizam-ud-din, the chief justice who acted as the wazir, while indulging in a life of wine, women, music, and other vices. Unbeknownst to Qaiqabad, Nizam-ud-din was plotting to seize the throne for himself.

When news of Qaiqabad's ascension reached Bughra Khan, he proclaimed himself Sultan of Bengal with the title of Nasir-ud-din and decided to march upon Delhi to reclaim his father's kingdom.

In the meantime, Bughra Khan arrived in Oudh, also known as Awadh. When Qaiqabad heard that his father had reached Oudh with a huge army, he collected his own forces to confront him. Leading a substantial army, Malik Barbak was sent ahead to join forces with Malik Jhaju and the Governor of Oudh on the banks of the Sarayu River, also known as Ghaghara. Eventually, the two armies established their camps on opposite banks of the river.

In an attempt to seek peace, Bughra Khan sent a messenger named Shams Dabir to Barbak, but the messenger returned, having failed to achieve anything.

After some time, Qaiqabad himself arrived in Oudh. As Bughra Khan caught sight of his son in the distance, a surge of paternal affection overwhelmed him, causing tears to well up in his eyes. He sent a messenger across the river in a boat. "Carry the news of a father's tears to him who is dear to that father as the apple of his eye." However, Qaiqabad shot an arrow at the messenger from the opposite shore, forcing him to return without delivering the message.

Bughra Khan then sent an official ambassador who delivered a formal speech, chiefly upbraiding Qaiqabad for his youthful indiscretion, and remind him of his filial duty. Qaiqabad arrogantly defended himself, claiming that crowns are not obtained through inheritance but rather by fate. Furthermore, he asserted his unique right to the throne, bestowed upon him by his grandfather.

Refusing to give up, Bughra Khan dispatched another messenger. This time, the father adopted a more threatening tone, boasting about the strength and bravery of his forces, particularly his numerous elephants, which he contrasted with his son's cavalry. While acknowledging that his father had indeed left the throne to his grandson, Bughra Khan argued that it was now Qaiqabad's responsibility to relinquish it to the rightful heir.

Qaiqabad easily dismissed his father's claims about the superiority of his elephants and instead praised his own cavalry. He concluded his reply by stating, "However, if this desire truly resides within your heart, I am your slave. I shall obey your command. If you request my crown, which reaches the heavens, I humbly invite you to meet me so that I may place it at your feet."

This message touched Bughra Khan's heart, causing him to renounce any notion of seizing the throne. He expressed his desire for a meeting. Qaiqabad replied, "Although my crown may reach the moon, I willingly place my head beneath your foot."

Filled with joy, Bughra Khan sent his second son, Kaikaus with many magnificent presents to Qaiqabad. In return, Qaiqabad sent his own son Kaimurs with rich gifts for his grandfather. The following day was fixed for the historical meeting.


Bughra Khan crossed the river and proceeded towards Qaiqabad's camp. Father and son embraced each other, shedding tears of joy and reconciliation.

Each invited the other to ascend the throne, yet for a considerable time, neither yielded to the request. After a while, Bughra Khan took his son's hand and placed him on the throne. Standing before him with folded hands, Bughra Khan expressed his heartfelt desire, "I have always longed for this moment, and by the grace of God, it is now coming true. Oh, fortunate one, I want to place you on the throne with my own hand; because you ascended the throne in my absence, and I was not there to take your hand, even though you didn't need my assistance, for by your own power you establish yourself in the kingdom."

Qaiqabad descended from the throne and approached his father. The officers of state stood on each side, holding trays of jewels in their hands, which they poured upon the heads of the two kings. The ground before them was adorned with rubies, pearls, silver, and gold.

After a prolonged period, Bughra Khan returned to his camp. On the second day, he bestowed upon his son a magnificent jeweled crown, a throne adorned with gold plate, and a Bengal elephant. The crown was placed upon Qaiqabad's head and both father and son sat side by side on the same throne. The next morning, Qaiqabad sent the white canopy and the black cap of Balban as a present to his father.

The two continued to visit each other for several successive days, exchanging priceless gifts. In one of their meetings, Bughra Khan advised his son as to his future conduct in the government.

According to Barani, on the day of bidding farewell, Bughra Khan embraced his son and whispered in his ear, urging him to rid himself of Nizam-ud-din as soon as possible. With heavy hearts, the father and son bid each other farewell and returned to their respective capitals.

Amir Khusru's Qiran us-Sa'dain:

Qiran us-Sa'dain, which translates to 'Conjunction of the two auspicious planets,' is the first historical masnavi penned by Amir Khusru. This poetic masterpiece recounts the momentous encounter between Sultan Qaiqabad and his father, Sultan Nasir-ud-din Bughra Khan, which occurred in the year 1288. As a witness to this extraordinary reunion, Amir Khusru was entrusted by Qaiqabad himself to eternally capture the essence of this profound moment through the artistry of verse.

However, it is important to note that there are some differences between the accounts of Amir Khusru and Barani regarding this meeting.

According to Amir Khusru, when prince Muhammad died, Balban chose his grandson Kaikhusrau as the successor instead of Bughra Khan. Upon learning that the amirs had placed his own son Qaiqabad on the throne, Bughra Khan rebelled. On the other hand, Barani claims that Balban had previously offered the throne to Bughra Khan, but he showed no interest and returned to Bengal. Consequently, Balban appointed Kaikhusrau as his successor.

Barani asserts that the father and son maintained constant correspondence. Upon learning of Qaiqabad's devotion to pleasure and Nizam-ud-din's schemes, Bughra Khan wrote a letter brimming with advice, cautioning his son about the imminent danger. However, Qaiqabad paid no attention to it. Realizing that his words had no effect, Bughra Khan decided to personally visit his son, expressing his intentions through a heartfelt letter. When Qaiqabad read his father's affectionate letter, his love for him was rekindled. It was then decided that the father and son would meet in Oudh. Following Nizam-ud-din's advice, Qaiqabad set out for Oudh accompanied by his army. Determined to confront Qaiqabad, Bughra Khan also gathered his troops and set out from Bengal.