Delhi under Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq Shah

Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq (r: 1320-1325) was the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty in Delhi. One of his most notable achievements was the construction of the magnificent city of Tughlaqabad, which he established as his capital.

Ghiyas-ud-din generously provided stipends and pensions to the surviving members of the family and descendants of Sultan Ala-ud-din and Qutb-ud-din. He also bestowed favors upon the amirs and maliks of Qutb-ud-din, granting them high positions in the court.

Furthermore, he arranged suitable marriages for the daughters of Ala-ud-din Khilji, and also took strict action against those who unlawfully married Khusru Khan to the widow of Qutb-ud-din Mubarak.

Ghiyas-ud-din conferred the title of Ulugh Khan upon his eldest son, Fakhr-ud-din Jauna, who subsequently ascended to the throne as Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughlaq. Additionally, the Sultan granted his adopted brother Bahram Abiya the distinguished title of Kishlu Khan and appointed him as the governor of Multan and Sindh. 

Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq's tomb as seen from Tughlaqabad

Conquest of Warangal:

In 1321, Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq dispatched his son, Ulugh Khan, with a large army to Warangal in Telangana, the capital of the Kakatiya ruler Pratapa Rudra Deva II, as the Rai had refused to pay tribute. Although the Rai and nearby chiefs initially resisted Ulugh Khan's advances, they ultimately retreated to the fortress of Warangal. Despite the Rai's attempts to negotiate, Ulugh Khan remained determined to capture the fortress and pursued a vigorous siege.

After successfully capturing the clay-built citadel that served as the outer defense, Ulugh Khan was determined to conquer the inner stone citadel as well. In the midst of this, communication from Delhi suddenly ceased, leading to a flurry of suspicion and unease. At this time, A poet named Ubaid, and Shaikhzada Dimishqi circulated a false rumour that Sultan Tughlaq had died and an usurper had seized power in Delhi. They informed the maliks Tamar, Tigin, Mal Afghan and Kafur, that as they were the great maliks of Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji, Ulugh Khan was plotting to eliminate them, suspecting that they would dispute his right to the throne. Alarmed by this news, the Alai maliks left the camp that night with their followers. This created widespread panic in the army, and the Kakatiyans seized the opportunity to strike back.

Ulugh Khan was ultimately compelled to lift the siege and retreated towards Devagiri with only a few followers. Meanwhile, messengers from Delhi confirmed that all was well. Ulugh Khan regrouped his troops and restored his command. 

Disagreements arose among the rebel Alai maliks, and their soldiers deserted them and joined Ulugh Khan. Tamar died while on the frontier of a Hindu ruler, while Tigin, the governor of Oudh, was captured and killed by the Kakatiyans, with his skin being sent to Ulugh Khan at Devagiri. The rebels Ubaid, Dimishqi, Mal Afghan, and Kafur were also apprehended and sent to Devagiri. 

Ulugh Khan sent these rebels to Delhi. Sultan Tughlaq ordered that the rebels be impaled alive, while their families and dependents were to be thrown under the feet of elephants. [According to Ferishta, they were buried alive with this severe sarcasm that as they had buried him 'alive' in jest, he would bury them alive in 'earnest'.]

Four months afterwards, Ulugh Khan led a powerful army to Telangana for the second time. His forces successfully captured both the outer and inner fort of Warangal, taking Pratapa Rudra Deva captive along with his elephants and treasures. The city's name was changed to Sultanpur. Proceeding to Jajnagar (in Orissa), Ulugh Khan captured forty elephants, which were subsequently sent to Delhi. 

However, Ibn Battuta's account of Ulugh Khan's actions differs greatly. According to Battuta, Ulugh Khan conspired against his own father and directed his companion, Ubaid, to spread rumors about Sultan Tughlaq among the troops, hoping to gain their allegiance. However, the amirs and maliks did not believe the rumours and instead turned against him, leading to their revolt that left Ulugh Khan without any troops. The rebels intended to kill him, but Malik Tamar protected him. Ulugh Khan was able to escape to his father with only ten horsemen whom he called his constant friends. Sultan Tughlaq reinforced him with money and troops for a second expedition to Telangana. He executed Ubaid and Malik Kafur, while the rest of the amirs fled to Sultan Shamsuddin Firoz Shah in Bengal.

One may wonder why Ghiyas-ud-din did not take action against his son if Battuta's allegations were true. Furthermore, the question arises as to how Ghiyas-ud-din entrusted Ulugh Khan with commanding a second expedition to Telangana despite his supposed hostile intentions. It is worth noting that when Ghiyas-ud-din led an expedition to Lakhnauti, he left Ulugh Khan in charge of the capital, despite having other sons.

Zafar-ul-Wali provides further insight into the situation, stating that before the second expedition to Warangal, the Sultan sent a canopy for Ulugh Khan and made him the absolute Sultan so that the maliks and soldiers would only look to him for guidance and connections. This decision was made to prevent any further disturbances like the one that occurred earlier.

According to Mahomed Masoom, in 1323, Ghiyas-ud-din appointed Ulugh Khan as his successor and ratified this decision by obtaining a written agreement from the amirs pledging loyalty to Ulugh Khan.

Death of Sultan Tughlaq (1325):

Tomb of Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq

In 1325, Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq met with an unfortunate accident shortly after his triumphant return from the conquest of Bengal (Lakhnauti).

Also Read: Did Muhammad Tughlaq Kill His Father?

Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq had four other sons named Bahram Khan, Zafar Khan, Mahmud Khan, and Nasrat Khan. Makhduma-i-Jahan, who was Ulugh Khan's mother, held the position of the chief wife.