Qutb-ud-din Mubarak, Last Ruler of the Khilji Dynasty
"If my beloved were guilty of ten thousand crimes, one smile from him and I forget them all..." (Sultan Qutb-ud-din to Khusru Khan)
Ala-ud-din Khilji was the greatest ruler of the Khilji dynasty of Delhi. After Ala-ud-din's death in 1316, his vizier Malik Kafur placed the Sultan's infant child Shahab-ud-din Umar on the throne and himself became the regent. He blinded the heir-apparent Khizr Khan and his brother Shadi Khan, who were confined in the fort of Gwalior. He then took the prince Mubarak into custody for blinding him.
Mubarak's Rise to the Throne:
Malik Kafur later changed his mind and sent some foot-guards to murder prince Mubarak. When the assassins entered his apartment, Mubarak conjured them to remember his father, whose loyal servants they had been. He won them over by giving a rich jeweled necklace. Malik Kafur was afterwards killed by those foot-guards lead by two sirdars Mubashshir and Bashir. They released Mubarak from confinement and appointed him regent for his brother. Mubarak slowly brought over the maliks and amirs to his side. He then seated himself upon the throne with the title of Qutb-ud-din (reign: 1316-1320) after deposing his brother. This event took place in April 1316. Shahab-ud-din was blinded and confined in the fort of Gwalior. The foot-guards who had killed Malik Kafur demanded to have positions in the court below the maliks and amirs. So Qutb-ud-din dispersed them into different parts of the country, and executed both Mubashshir and Bashir.
In order to gain popularity and earn the goodwill of the people, Qutb-ud-din released all prisoners (about 17,000) and recalled all exiles. He restored the lands and villages to those persons from whom they had been forcibly wrested in the late reign. By degrees he removed all the obnoxious restrictions on commerce, and the heavy tributes and taxes which had been exacted by his father. All the regulations of Ala-ud-din were disregarded. Thereafter he gave himself entirely upto wine, woman and other pleasures and neglected the duties of a king.
Like his father Ala-ud-din, Qutb-ud-din was also bisexual. Hasan, a handsome Baradu slave and a Hindu-convert, through the Sultan's unnatural affection became the greatest man in the kingdom. He was given the title of Khusru Khan. He was made the commander-in-chief and also the vizier of the kingdom.
Quells the Rebellion in Gujarat: The assassination of the late governor Alp Khan had incited the people of Gujarat into rebellion. Qutb-ud-din, in the first year of his reign, sent an army under the command of Ain-ul-Mulk Multani to Gujarat to curb the revolt. Ain-ul-Mulk routed the insurgents and regained the possession of Nahrwala and Gujarat. Qutb-ud-din then conferred the government of Gujarat upon his father-in-law Zafar Khan.
Conquest of Devagiri, also known as Daulatabad: In 1318, Qutb-ud-din marched a large army to Devagiri, after appointing Malik Shahin, the Wafa Mulk as regent of Delhi. After the death of Ala-ud-din, Devagiri had been recovered by Harpaldeva, the son-in-law of Raja Ramadeva. Khusru Khan defeated Raghu (or Raghava), minister of the late Ramadeva. Rana Harpal was taken captive and beheaded. Qutb-ud-din built a Jami Masjid at Devagiri (which is now known as Bharat Mata Temple) and returned to Delhi after appointing Malik Yaklakhi to govern that place.
Malik Asad-ud-din's Plot to Kill the Sultan: While Qutb-ud-din reached Ghati-Sakun, Malik Asad-ud-din, son of Yaghrish Khan, the uncle of Ala-ud-din, formed a plot to kill him and then proclaim himself as the new Sultan. But one of the conspirators revealed the plot to Qutb-ud-din. Malik Asad was beheaded. Following the custom of his father, Qutb-ud-din ordered the slaughter of twenty-nine children of Yaghrish Khan, who were all of tender years and had no knowledge of the conspiracy.
Assassination of Khizr Khan: Ibn Battuta says that when Qutb-ud-din set out for Devagiri, some nobles conspired to revolt against him and to raise to the throne the son of his brother Khizr Khan, who was about ten years old and was then with the Sultan. When Qutb-ud-din came to know of this, he immediately put his nephew to death. When Qutb-ud-din reached Jhain, he sent an assassin to Gwalior and put to death the blind princes Khizr Khan, Shadi Khan and Shahab-ud-din. Dewal Devi was seized and brought to the royal harem.
Indecencies of the Sultan: After Qutb-ud-din's return to Delhi, he executed Malik Dinar Zafar Khan, the governor of Gujarat, and Malik Shahin, the Wafa Mulk suspecting treason. Gujarat was then conferred on Hisam-ud-din, brother of Khusru Khan. In those days, Qutb-ud-din appeared in public assemblies adorning himself with the garments and trinkets of women. He often go with the public women to dance at the houses of the nobility. He commanded buffoons and jesters to insult with jest and witticisms great amirs such as Ain-ul-Mulk Multani. At other times, he would lead a gang of half-naked prostitutes, along the terraces of the royal palaces, and oblige them to exhibit themselves before the nobles as they entered the court.
Rebellions of Hisam-ud-din and Yaklakhi: Hisam-ud-din collected all the Baradus and stirred up a revolt in Gujarat. But the nobles of the late Zafar Khan made him prisoner and sent him to Delhi. The Sultan in the infatuation for Khusru Khan, merely slapped him, and made him his personal attendant. The government of Gujarat was then given to Malik Wahid-ud-din Quraishi. About this time Malik Yaklakhi, the governor of Devagiri, revolted. Qutb-ud-din sent a large force to Devagiri. Yaklakhi was made prisoner and the Sultan ordered his ears and nose to be cut off. Thereafter Ain-ul-Mulk Multani was appointed to rule Devagiri. Yaklakhi was then made the governor of Samana.
His Infatuation for Hasan, and Fall of Qutb-ud-din:
Qutb-ud-din's mad love for Hasan (Khusru Khan) in fact exceeded that of Ala-ud-din for Malik Kafur, which became the main cause of his fall. After the conquest of Devagiri, Qutb-ud-din had sent him towards Telangana, where he stayed about a year. Khusru Khan laid siege to the Kakatiya capital Warangal in 1318. The Raja Prataparudradeva offered his submission and gave Khusru five districts, more than a hundred elephants, 12,000 horses, gold and jewels. At Machilipatnam, he robbed and killed a wealthy merchant named Taqi. He then marched to Maithili (Motupille) and obtained 20 elephants and a large diamond. Khusru then came to Ma'bar (Dwarasamudra).
When his wealth increased, Khusru made plans to rebel and establish himself in the Deccan as an independent sovereign. He also plotted with his confidants the destruction of the loyal officers of the Sultan, who accompanied him during the expedition. Some of the Sultan's well-wishers such as Malik Talbagha Yaghda and Malik Tamar, suspicious of Khusru's designs made a report to the Sultan accusing him of treason. The Sultan ordered them to seize Khusru and send to him. In the private apartment Khusru poisoned the Sultan's mind against his accusers. The Sultan who was mad about him, took his words as Gospel. The Sultan was incensed against Malik Tamar and Malik Talbagha Yaghda although they brought charges against Khusru and produced witnesses to prove their charges. He dishonoured them and confiscated their estates. The witnesses were also severely punished. When other nobles saw the destruction of Khusru's enemies, they were struck dumb, and were compelled to threw themselves under his protection.
When Khusru saw his enemies crushed, he continued his schemes with double energy. One day Khusru represented to the Sultan that the amirs were seditious and disobedient to his commands. He begged that he might be permitted to call some of his relations from Gujarat, in whom he could more certainly confide. "There are many Baradus of my tribe in Gujarat. If your majesty permits it, I can also collect them, and can thus become a person of position. I could certainly depend on them than officers now in his Majesty's service, who were jealous of my elevation". The Sultan acceded to his request. Khusru then collected a large number of his tribe and brought them to Delhi. The Baradu chiefs used to assemble in Khusru's room and discussed the best way for killing the Sultan. At last they determined to kill the Sultan in the palace Hazar Sutun (the palace of a thousand pillars). Since it was the summer season, the Sultan used to sleep on the roof of his palace. He also made Baha-ud-din, the secretary of the Sultan, a friend with whom the latter had quarreled about a woman. Khusru's next object was to secure the keys of the back gate and the Sultan's permission to bring more Baradus into the palace.
One day Khusru told the Sultan that some of his tribes desire to embrace Islam. The custom was that when a Hindu wished to embrace Islam he was taken to the Sultan who cloth him in fine garments and award him a gold collar and bracelets according to his position. The Sultan replied, "Bring them to me." Khusru said that they are shamed to come to see the Sultan in daylight on account of their relations and coreligionists. The Sultan told him to bring them at night. He also ordered to give over the keys of the palace gates to Khusru. Khusru thus assembled a body of brave and powerful Baradu Hindus in the lower apartments of the palace. The guards of the palace saw the entry of armed men every night, and had their suspicions, but no one dared to utter a word to the Sultan against Khusru. Kazi Zia-ud-din Sadr-i-Jahan, was one of the chief amirs and a tutor of the Sultan. He used to remain every night at the palace with guards who used to keep watch every fourth night in turn. The Kazi, venturing his life, spoke to the Sultan of Khusru's designs, but the Sultan did not listen to him. When Khusru came there, he repeated to him all that the Kazi had said. Khusru began to weep, "Since your majesty show me much favour and kindness, the high officers of the court are all consumed with jealousy, and are trying to destroy me." The tears of Khusru affected the heart of the Sultan, who embraced him; wept in sympathy with him; gave him a few kisses on his lips and cheeks; and said, "If the whole world should unite and speak ill of you, I will not lend my ears to what they will say; for love for you has made me independent of the world; and without you, the world is as nothing in my eyes".
Last Moments: On the night of 14th April 1320, as the Kazi was suspicious of treason, he could not go to rest, but walked out about midnight, to see whether the guards were watchful. At this time Randhaval, the uncle of Khusru, came to him and engaged him in conversation. In the meantime, a Baradu named Jahariya approached the Kazi, and with one stroke of a sword laid him low on the ground. There was a great uproar. The Sultan asked Khusru, who lay in his room, what it was. Khusru arose to enquire, and going out on the terrace, stood for some time, and returning told the the Sultan that some of his horses had broken loose and were fighting, and men were trying to catch them. At this time the conspirators ascended the stairs and got upon the terraces which led to the royal sleeping apartment. Jahariya, with his followers put to sword Ibrahim and Ishaq, the door-keepers. The Sultan hearing the clash of arms, and the groans of dying men so near, arose up in great alarm, put his slippers and ran towards the harem. Khusru rushed after him and seized him by the hair. The Sultan threw him down, but as Khusru had twisted his hand in the Sultan's hair, the latter could by no means disengage himself. At this time Jahariya came, who with a stroke of a scimitar cut off the Sultan's head, and threw it down into the courtyard.
Thus ended the dynasty of Ala-ud-din Khilji. As Ala-ud-din destroyed the children and family of his uncle and benefactor Jalal-ud-din Khilji, the same thing happened to him also. After the assassination of Qutb-ud-din Mubarak, Khusru Khan ascended the throne of Delhi with the title of Nasir-ud-din Khusru Shah.
Though Qutb-ud-din was a pleasure-loving king, his reign was free from any serious rebellions and Mongol invasions. Ibn Battuta tells an interesting anecdote: Qutb-ud-din had received no attention from his father Ala-ud-din. While Ala-ud-din gave all of Qutb-ud-din's brothers the insignia he gave nothing to Qutb-ud-din. One day Ala-ud-din said to him, "I must give you the same as I have given to your brothers". Qutb-ud-din replied, "It is God who will give me". Ala-ud-din was alarmed by this answer and feared him. Qutb-ud-din's son prince Muhammad was also put to death by the Baradus. The rule of Sultan Qutb-ud-din lasted for four years and a few months.