The Short Reign of Nasir-ud-din Khusru Shah

The Interregnum, which took place between the Khilji and Tughlaq Dynasties, lasted from July 10 to September 5, 1320.

Sultan Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah (reign: 1316-1320) was murdered by the Baradus on the night of July 9, 1320. This unfortunate event marked the end of the Khilji dynasty.

Following the assassination, the conspirators found themselves at a critical juncture, uncertain about their next course of action. Initially, Khusru Khan had no intentions of claiming the throne for himself. His original plan was to place one of the royal princes on the throne. However, his advisors convinced him otherwise, arguing that if someone else were to seize power, Khusru would not be spared for his involvement in the regicide.

Thus, the only way to ensure his safety was to immediately seize supreme power. However, for Khusru to ascend to the throne, two crucial steps needed to be taken — all the royal princes had to be killed or blinded, and all the high-ranking officials residing at Delhi at the time had to be brought immediately to the Hazar Sutun palace and coerced into accepting Khusru Khan as their next ruler.

Extermination of Ala-ud-din's Dynasty:

The Baradus burst into the royal harem located on the second floor. Four of Ala-ud-din Khilji's sons had already been killed by now (Khizr Khan, Shadi Khan, Shihab-ud-din Omar and Qutb-ud-din Mubarak), leaving five still alive — Farid Khan (15 years), Abu Bakr Khan (14 years), Bahar Khan (8 years), Ali Khan (8 years) and Usman Khan (5 years).

Tragically, Farid Khan and Abu Bakr Khan were beheaded, while the remaining three princes were cruelly blinded and imprisoned in the Red Palace. The mothers of the deceased Sultans, Shihab-ud-din Omar and Qutb-ud-din Mubarak, were also mercilessly killed. Even Mubarak's two-year-old son, Prince Muhammad, met a similar fate.

Ali Khan, Bahar Khan and Usman Khan — the unfortunate princes who had already been blinded, were put to death a few days later. We will discuss it later.

And so, the dynasty of Ala-ud-din Khilji came to an end. Just as Ala-ud-din had destroyed the children and family of his uncle and benefactor, Jalal-ud-din Khilji, he too suffered a similar fate. Those who commit evil deeds are ultimately rewarded with the same.

Accession of Khusru Khan to the Throne of Delhi:

Khusru's allies then summoned the chief khans and maliks of the kingdom, who were present in Delhi at the time, to the state-rooms on the first floor of the palace. One by one, the great nobles were persuaded or compelled to attend. 

By sunrise, Khusru Khan had gained the acceptance of all those present and ascended the throne with the grand title of Sultan Nasir-ud-din.

Ain-ul-Mulk Multani was granted the title of Alam Khan. Wahid-ud-din Quraishi became the vizier. Fakhr-ud-din Jauna, the son of Ghazi Malik Tughlaq and the future Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq, was confirmed in his position as Akhur-beg (Lord of the Stables or Master of the Horse) and received numerous favours. The offices of the late Malik Qara Beg were given to his sons.

Baha-ud-din was bestowed with the title of Azam-ul-Mulk, while Yusuf Sufi was honored with the title of Sufi Khan. Kamal-ud-din Sufi was appointed as the Vakil-dar, and the son of Qimar received the title of Shaista Khan, assuming the role of Aariz-ul-Mumalik. Ikhtiyar-ud-din Sambal was given the designation of Hatim Khan, and Ambar became known as Bughra Khan.

Among the other notable figures were Malik Tamar, the governor of Chanderi, Tigin, the governor of Awadh, Muhammad Ayaz, the kotwal of Siri, and his son Ahmad Ayaz.

Khusru's younger brother, Hisam-ud-din, was honored with the title of Khan-i-Khanan and his uncle Randhol, was granted the title of Rai Rayan. Jahariya, the murderer of Mubarak, received a lavish attire adorned with pearls and diamonds. Amir Khusru mentions that Khusru Khan honoured the Baradus with titles of khan and malik, so that the successful coup d'état 'produced khans galore, like mushrooms sprouting on a rubbish-heap after a fall of rain.'

Khusru married a widow of Mubarak, while Khan-i-Khanan married a daughter of Ala-ud-din. The remaining ladies of the harem were distributed among the Baradus.

However, Khusru's success was only short-lived. Nasir-ud-din Khusru Shah suffered defeat and was executed on September 5, 1320, after a reign of some two months, at the hands of Ghazi Malik Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty.


Historians such as Barani and Ibn Battuta have provided exaggerated accounts:

Soon after his accession, Khusru Khan ordered the execution of the Alai amirs and maliks who posed a threat to him. Their wives, women, children, and maids were all handed over to the Baradus and Hindus.

He made over the family and properties of Qazi Zia-ud-din to Randhol, but the Qazi's family managed to escape during the night.

As the Baradus were Hindus, the Muslim religion was overthrown, and Hindu customs and traditions gained prominence and recognition. Khusru forbade the slaughter of cows.

In a matter of days, idol worship began within the palace. Idolatry and the destruction of mosques became commonplace. Copies of the Holy Book were torn apart and used as seats for idols, and these idols were placed on the pulpits of the mosques.

Delhi had once more come under Hindu rule, resulting in the dispersion and exile of the Muslims.


In the Deccan region, Khusru had engaged in battles against Hindu kings and even went so far as to desecrate their temples.

Khusru Khan wanted to show himself as a normal Muslim Sultan by using khutba and minting coins. Therefore, it is inconceivable to believe that he would have allowed idol worship within the palace.

He appointed prominent Muslim nobles to the highest positions in the kingdom. He wanted to secure the support of the Delhi nobles and almost all of them pledged their loyalty to Khusru Khan. Furthermore, he left the Muslim governors in the provinces undisturbed.

Following Khusru Khan's accession, the majority of the Baradus, with the exception of Hisam-ud-din, Randhol and a few others, faded into obscurity. None of the Baradus were appointed to any significant government posts.

Amir Khusru states that all the military commanders, both in the east and the west, chose to submit rather than engage in battle. "The Turks did not raise their Turkish spears; the Hindu officers did not attack the Hindus. The nobles on the battlefields were lazy and without energy; and remained quiet like the goat before the butcher. In the provinces of the empire also the amirs girded up their loins in obedience."

The only officer who refused to acknowledge Khusru's regime was Ghazi Malik Tughlaq, the governor of Dipalpur.

The Delhi army, predominantly comprising Muslim soldiers, would never have fought alongside Khusru Khan against Ghazi Malik Tughlaq if they had perceived Khusru as a threat to their fellow Muslims. Interestingly, the Hindu group known as the Khokars sided with Tughlaq in his battle against Khusru Khan.


The Nuh Sipihr of Amir Khusru edited by Mohammad Wahid Mirza

The Short Reign of Nasir-ud-din Khusru Shah - Revolt of the Tughlaqs

Battle of Lahrawat - Fall of Nasir-ud-din Khusru Shah