The Short Reign of Nasir-ud-din Khusru Khan

Hasan, a handsome young man, was originally a Hindu of the Baradu tribe. Ferishta says that he was the son of a seller of rags at Gujarat. When Ain-ul-Mulk Multani conquered Malwa, both Hasan and his uterine brother Hisam fell into his hands. They were taken to Delhi and became incorporated with the body of Sultan Ala-ud-din's personal slaves. His real name is not known but he was named Hasan (Badaoni calls him Hasan Barawar Bacha) on his conversion to Islam. He had been the protege of Malik Shadi, the Naib-Hajib of Ala-ud-din. Qutub-ud-din became enamored with this slave and bestowed on him many special favours. He was given the title of Khusru Khan and was made the commander-in-chief and vizier of the kingdom. Barani always abuse him as a base, designing, treacherous and low-born fellow.

Qutb-ud-din Mubarak, Last Ruler of the Khilji Dynasty

The Interregnum [between the Khilji Dynasty and the Tughlaq Dynasty]:

nasir-ud-din-khusru-khan-sultan-of-delhi

After the assassination of Sultan Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah, the Baradus went to the harem and killed the mothers of Shahab-ud-din Umar and Qutb-ud-din Mubarak, and also put to death Ala-ud-din's sons Farid Khan and Abu Bakr Khan. They blinded the princes Ali Khan, Bahar Khan and Usman Khan and confined them. Khusru Khan then summoned Ain-ul-Mulk Multani, Malik Wahid-ud-din Quraishi and Malik Fakhr-ud-din Jauna, afterwards Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq, and many other notable amirs to Delhi and kept them in custody all that night. In the morning, Khusru ascended the throne assuming the title of Sultan Nasir-ud-din on 15th April, 1320. Soon after his accession he ordered the execution all the amirs and maliks of Qutb-ud-din who were hostile to him. He made over the family and properties of the Kazi Zia-ud-din to Randhaval, but the wife and children of the Kazi fled away in the night.


New Appointments: Hisam-ud-din, his brother, got the title of Khan-i-Khanan and Randhaval, his uncle, was made the Rai-Rayan. Baha-ud-din got the title of Azam-ul-Mulk. Ain-ul-Mulk Multani was entitled Alam Khan. Yusuf Sufi was given the title of Sufi Khan. The son of Kimar received the title of Shaista Khan, and was made the Aariz-ul-Mumalik. Ikhtiyar-ud-din Sambal was styled Hatim Khan. Malik Wahid-ud-din Quraishi was made the vizier. Khusru married the chief wife of Qutub-ud-din (She could be the daughter of Zafar Khan or the Gujarati princess Dewal Devi. According to Ferishta it was Dewal Devi). The Khan-i-Khanan married a daughter of Ala-ud-din. When Khusru became the Sultan, he showed preference for the Hindus. He forbade the slaughter of cows. Muslim historians had given exaggerated accounts, 'In the course of four of five days preparations were made for idol worship in the palace...The Hindus confident of their position as the relations of Khusru Khan subjected the Muslims to cruelty and outrage, carried away the ladies of the harem and put to plunder the treasure that had been accumulated in the days of Ala-ud-din...Idolatry and devastation of mosques became common...Delhi had once more come under Hindu rule, and the Musalmans had been driven away and dispersed'.

He issued firmans to the neighbouring districts and invited the amirs and maliks to side with him. Some came while others rebelled. Ghazi Malik Tughlaq, the governor of Dipalpur, was an experienced warrior, and for many years had won victories over the Mongols. His brave son Malik Fakhr-ud-din Jauna, afterwards Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq, was the Amir-i-Akhur (Lord of the Stables or Master of the Royal Horses) of the late Sultan. Khusru Khan considered it his most important duty to bring these over to his side. Barani says, "To induce Ghazi Malik to come into Delhi Khusru tried every art with his son". He retained Jauna in his post and bestowed on him gifts and robes of honours. But Jauna was also annoyed by the ascendancy of the Baradus. He secretly wrote a letter to his father conveying his intention to fly from Delhi and join him.

When Ghazi Malik heard the overthrow of the dynasty of Ala-ud-din, he determined to take revenge upon Khusru. But he was afraid of the Baradus hurting his son Jauna, who was then at Delhi. He prepared for rebellion and sought the assistance of his friend Malik Bahram Abiya Kishlu Khan, the governor of Uch. Bahram Abiya's son was at Delhi. So he wrote to Ghazi Malik, saying, "If my son were with me I would have surely helped you in attaining your object". When Jauna's letter reached Ghazi Malik, he wrote to him ordering to flee to him and bring along with him Bahram Abiya's son.

One day Jauna said to Khusru that the horses had grown fat and that they needed some exercise to reduce fat. Khusru gave him permission, and Jauna used to ride everyday with his men and would remain out three to four hours, till one day he was absent upto midday. On that afternoon Jauna fled with the son of Bahram Abiya to his father at Dipalpur. When his flight became known, Khusru was in great perplexity. His supporters advised him to kill immediately all the surviving princes of the royal family. Khusru acted accordingly; he brought out Ali Khan, Bahar Khan and Usman Khan: the infant sons of Ala-ud-din who had been already blinded, and put them to death. He sent a force under the Aariz-ul-Mumalik to pursue him, who proceeded as far as Sarsuti, but not being able to overtake Jauna, returned. Previously to this, Ghazi Malik had left a body of troops in the fortress of Sarsuti and strengthened it.


Ghazi Malik's Preparations: Father and son sent letters seeking aid from the maliks and amirs such as Malik Mughlati, the governor of Multan, Muhammad Shah, the governor of Siwistan, Malik Yaklakhi, the governor of Samana, Hoshang, the governor of Jalore, and Ain-ul-Mulk Multani. Malik Mughlati, refused to join. He said, "I am only an amir of Multan. I dare not rebel against Delhi with my few cavalry and infantry". Mughlati was in fact jealous of Ghazi Malik. When Ghazi Malik got the reply of Mughlati, he secretly incited the amirs of Multan against Mughalatti urging them to rebel. A rebellion consequently broke out headed by Bahram Siraj, a chief of Multan. Mughalatti was attacked and he took to flight, but was pursued and put to death. Yaklakhi sent the letter of Ghazi Malik to Khusru, informing him of the rebellion and immediately marched his forces to attack Dipalpur. Yaklakhi was defeated and retired to Samana, who was ultimately killed by his own subjects. Ain-ul-Mulk Multani sent a reply to Ghazi Malik, "I will not help any side; the one among you who would siege Delhi, to him I shall make my submission". Muhammad Shah had been confined by his own subjects at Siwistan. When the people got Ghazi Malik's letter, they addressed Muhammad thus, "If you render assistance to Ghazi Malik we will let you free". Muhammad agreed and he was set to free. Hoshang also promised to come. (Muhammad and Hoshang could reach Delhi only after Ghazi Malik's accession to the throne.)

When Ghazi Malik got news of the execution of the royal princes, he flew into rage. He said to Malik Bahram Abiya that the Hindus had seized the countries of the Muslims and the family of Ala-ud-din had been extinct, and that he intended assassinating them in retaliation. Meanwhile he learned that the imperial revenue from Multan and Siwistan and innumerable horses were being taken to Delhi. He plundered the treasures and horses and pay out the army their salaries for two years in advance. He then set out from Dipalpur in association with Malik Bahram Abiya and by forced marches reached Sarsuti.

Flight of Khusru's Army: Khusru Khan sent a large army under his brother the Khan-i-Khanan and Yusuf Sufi against Ghazi Malik. The two forces met at Hauz-i-Bhati, but as Khusru's forces were inexperienced, they could not drive out Ghazi Malik's forces. The royal army fled and all their treasures, elephants and horses fell into the hands of the victors. Ghazi Malik now marched in triumph towards Delhi and encamped himself in the compound of Sultan Raziyya's tomb and drew out his forces. 

Khusru Khan's Preparations. When the defeated army returned to Delhi, Khusru Khan held a council and consulted his followers regarding the course of action to be adopted. Some suggested that peace should be made with Ghazi Malik by surrendering to him all territories. Others advised him to fight. They also suggested that the imperial treasure at Delhi should be distributed to win over the loyalty of the army. Khusru left Siri and assembled his army in the plain near the Hauz-i-Khas, also known as Hauz-i-Alai. He made an advance of two-three years pay to his men with large rewards and promises of appointments and governorships. In the course of the night Ain-ul-Mulk, in accordance with agreement, deserted Khusru and went towards Ujjain and Dhar. This defection quite broke down the spirits of Khusru and his followers. Khusru's army consisted of an almost equal number of Hindus and Muslims. Ghazi Malik's army also contained some Hindu soldiers. The army was so full of Hindus and Musalmans that both Hindus and Musalmans were surprised. On the following day the array of battle was drawn up and Khusru Khan launched his attack. 

Defeat, Flight, Capture and Execution of Khusru Shah:


At the outset, Khusru's army put up a stubborn fight and the troops of Ghazi Malik were defeated. But Ghazi Malik 'planting firmly the foot of resolution like another Rustum came to the rescue and with three-hundred cavalry in an ambush utterly discomfited Khusru'. Khusru's leading officers Malik Talbagha Nagori and Shaista Khan were killed in the action. Khusru fought bravely till the close of the day, but at last finding he was unable to withstand Ghazi Malik's army, he fled towards Tilpat. On the way he was deserted by all his attendants, and obliged to conceal himself in the garden of the tomb of Malik Shadi, his first patron.

Establishment of the Tughlaq Dynasty: After the flight of Sultan Nasir-ud-din Khusru Shah, the maliks and amirs placed Ghazi Malik on the throne, who then took the title of Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din (6th September, 1320).

When Khusru was hard pressed by hunger, he came out of his hiding place and walked about. He met the gardener and gave his ring to fetch him some food. The gardener went to the market with the ring, people grew suspicious of him and took him to the police. The police brought him to Ghazi Malik, whom he told about the man who had given him the ring. Ghazi Malik sent his son Jauna to bring Khusru. When Khusru was brought before Ghazi Malik, he said to him, "I am hungry, give me some food". Ghazi Malik ordered some drink and food to be given to him. He then said to Ghazi Malik, "O Tughlaq, treat me like a king and do not disgrace me". This is the version of Ibn Battuta. But, according to Amir Khusru, when Khusru Khan was brought before Ghazi Malik, he asked him, "Why had you murdered your patron Sultan Qutub-ud-din?". Khusru replied, "Had Mubarak been not so foul towards me, I would not have committed such deeds". He put the blame of everything else on his advisers; his own desire had been to place one of the royal princes on the throne; and later on, he wished to make peace with Tughlaq by ceding to him all territory east of Palam. He requested him to spare his life and be content with blinding him. But the Sultan said that he was bound by the principle of qasas — 'a life for a life'. Khusru was then beheaded at the same place where he had killed Sultan Qutb-ud-din. Khusru's brother the Khan-i-Khanan was captured from a nearby garden and was also put to death. The duration of Sultan Nasir-ud-din Khusru Khan's reign was four months and a few days.


Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq writes in his Memoirs, "This Hindu slave meditated treason against his benefactor, killed Sultan Outb-ud-din inside his house, and left none of  his sons alive. In this abominable manner he seized the throne by sheer force. This terror lasted four  months. I withdrew myself from obedience to that ungrateful Hindu. I though it necessary to keep away from him. At this time my father, who was the amir of the usurper Ala-ud-din, was in charge of a large Iqta. Disgusted with Delhi I joined my father. For two reasons the opposition and resistance to that despicable Hindu commended itself to my heart: 1. the nature of human instinct to take revenge urged by the favours of a benefactor (Sultan Qutb-ud-din), although he was not in the truest  sense the benefactor; 2. fear of my life because every usurper had made it his practice to put to death  the amirs who flourished under the foregoing ruler. For these two reasons it was decided to start on a punitive expedition against that ungrateful wretch. Together with a party of followers, which we succeeded in organizing, intent upon our object we marched on Delhi. The Hindu who (by that time) had taken possession of all the amirs and troops of Delhi, with all his royal forces came out to meet us. God granted strength and endurance to my father at that moment, and awarded him victory over that low Hindu. And whosoever was associated with him in the murder of Sultan Qutb-ud-din became a victim of our swords; and the people were liberated from their domination. Afterwards a number of the people of Delhi gathered  together and elected my father as ruler."

Notes:

The last Hindu ruler of Delhi was Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya (reign: 1556), who sat on the throne of Delhi for a short period of time, after the death of Humayun and before the accession of Akbar.

After his accession to the throne Sultan Tughlaq honoured Malik Bahram Abiya Kishlu Khan with the name of brother.

Comments