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

In a previous post, we discussed the defeat of Khusru Khan's forces in the Battle of Sarsuti.

When the defeated royal army returned to Delhi, Khusru Khan was visibly shaken and sought counsel from his loyal followers on the best course of action to take. Some proposed the idea of making peace with Tughlaq by surrendering all territories east of Palam. However, this suggestion was quickly dismissed as it would not be acceptable to the victorious general. Others advised Khusru Khan to stand his ground and fight, urging him to distribute the imperial treasure in Delhi to ensure the loyalty of his soldiers and strengthen his forces.

Based on these decisions, a huge army with a large number of elephants was gathered on the plain near the Hauz-i-Khas, also known as Hauz-i-Alai, (opposite Lahrawat). To safeguard against any potential surprise attacks during the night, a small ditch was dug in front of the camp, while a sturdy mud wall was erected behind it.

Shortly thereafter, Tughlaq's banners appeared on the plain of Lahrawat, with the river Yamuna to his east and the city of Delhi to his south. He encamped near the tomb of Sultan Raziyya and drew out his forces.


Khusru Khan decided to fight the enemy on the morning of September 5th. He spent that night in preparing for the battle. During the course of the night, Ain-ul-Mulk Multani betrayed Khusru Khan and marched off towards his principality of Malwa. This defection quite broke down the spirits of Khusru and his followers.

The next morning, Khusru advanced to the plain of Lahrawat and launched an attack on Tughlaq. Amir Khusru observed that Khusru Khan's army consisted of "half-Muslim and half-Hindu, mixed together like black and white clouds. The Musalmans in the service of the Hindus were as friendly to them as their own shadows...The army was so full of Hindus and Musalmans that both Hindus and Musalmans were surprised."

The most skilled fighters in Khusru's army were distinguished by the silk kerchiefs adorning their necks. Many having tusks of wild boar on their standards as symbols of their bravery and determination.

Khusru himself positioned in the center of his army, riding on an elephant beneath a golden canopy. His right wing was led by Yusuf Sufi Khan, Kamal-ud-din Sufi, Shaista Khan, Kafur Muhrdar, Shihab naib-i barbek, Qaisar khas hajib, Ambar Bughra Khan, Tigin (the governor of Awadh) and Baha-ud-din Dabir. On the left wing, Khusru had his brother Khan-i-Khanan, Rai Rayan Randhol, Sambal Hatim Khan, Talbagha Yaghda, Nag, Kachip, Varma and Maldeva, along with all the Baradus. The ten thousand Baradu horsemen, along with their rais and ranas, positioned themselves around the elephants.

Tughlaq was reluctant to start fighting at once as his men were tired after the long march from Dipalpur. Upon learning of the swift advancement of the royal army that very morning, he hurriedly summoned a war council. His comrades reassured him and pledged their unwavering support.

Taking his position at the center, Tughlaq was flanked by Ali Haidar and Sahaj Rai Khokar. Leading the vanguard was Gul Chand, accompanied by the valiant Khokars. Fakhr-ud-din Jauna and other notable officers commanded the left wing, while the right wing was entrusted to Baha-ud-din Garshasp (Tughlaq's sister's son), Bahram Abiya, Nurmand (an Afghan), Kari (a newly converted Mongol Muslim), Asad-ud-din (Tughlaq's brother's son), and several others.

Tughlaq ordered his chieftains to tie peacock feathers to their banners to serve as a distinctive mark, and fixed the word "Qala" as the battle cry for his army.

The Muslims on both sides exclaimed 'Allahu Akbar!' while the Hindus on both sides chanted 'Narayan!'

Defeat and Flight of Khusru Khan (September 5, 1320):

Initially, Khusru's army put up a stubborn fight, and it seemed that Tughlaq's forces were on the verge of defeat. Seeing the enemy troops scattering, Khusru commanded Shaista Khan to launch an attack on their camp. Shaista swiftly cut the ropes of Tughlaq's pavilion and spread the false news that Tughlaq had retreated to his own territory. At the same time, Khusru's victorious soldiers took to plundering the baggage of the enemy.

Tughlaq urgently dispatched messengers in all directions, instructing his troops to converge at the center. He handpicked one hundred courageous men from his contingents and ordered them to launch a surprise attack on Khusru Khan from behind, while he himself engaged him from the front.

As Khusru realized the imminent danger from both directions, he fled the battlefield. Seeing their chief no more in his place, Khusru's soldiers also took to flight. Khusru's leading officers Talbagha Yaghda and Shaista Khan were killed in the action. Gul Chand slew Khusru's parasol-bearer, seized the parasol, and placed it over Tughlaq's head once more.

Establishment of the Tughlaq Dynasty:


After the flight of Sultan Nasir-ud-din Khusru Shah, the maliks and amirs placed Tughlaq on the throne of Delhi on September 7, 1320. He then assumed the title of Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din.

As per the new Sultan's orders, all surviving Baradus were mercilessly massacred the next day in the streets of Delhi.

Capture and Execution of Khan-i-Khanan:

Khan-i-Khanan had taken refuge in a secluded hut of an old woman. His hiding place was discovered, and he was brought before Jauna Ulugh Khan (Ghiyas-ud-din bestowed the title of Ulugh Khan upon his eldest son Jauna), who promised to secure his pardon. Unfortunately, Tughlaq, refusing to show mercy to a criminal, ordered Khan-i-Khanan to be paraded through the streets of Delhi before finally beheading him.

Capture and Execution of Nasir-ud-din Khusru Shah:

After fleeing from the battlefield with a group of Baradus, Khusru Khan found himself alone, seeking refuge in a garden on the outskirts of Delhi. This garden belonged to Malik Shadi, his first patron.

Ibn Battuta adds that Khusru remained in hiding for three days until hunger compelled him to persuade a gardener to exchange his precious ring for some food. When the gardener brought the ring to the market, the merchants grew suspicious of him and took him to the police. The police brought the gardener to Tughlaq, to whom he provided information about the person who had given him the ring. The Sultan sent Ulugh Khan (afterwards Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughlaq) to fetch him.

As Ibn Battuta recounts, when Khusru Khan was brought before Tughlaq, he said to him, "I am hungry, give me some food." Tughlaq ordered food and drink to be provided to him. Khusru Khan then said to Tughlaq, "O Tughlaq, treat me like a king and do not disgrace me."

According to Amir Khusru, on being brought before Tughlaq, Khusru kissed the ground. Tughlaq questioned him about the murder of his benefactor, Sultan Qutub-ud-din. Khusru explained that his actions were driven by the mistreatment he had endured from Sultan Mubarak: "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.

Khusru pleaded with Tughlaq to spare his life and suggested that blinding him would be sufficient punishment. But Tughlaq said that he was bound by the principle of qasas — 'a life for a life'. Consequently, he gave order to behead Khusru at the very spot where he had killed Qutub-ud-din Mubarak Shah. Khusru's head and body were thrown down into the courtyard below as he had done with Qutub-ud-din.

The severed head of Khusru Khan was allowed for a long time to be trampled in the open courtyard. Subsequently, Tughlaq gave orders to wash him and wrap him in grave-clothes, and he was buried in the tomb prepared for him. Sultan Nasir-ud-din Khusru Khan's reign lasted a mere two months.

Siyar-ul-'Arifin records that Khusru sent a generous sum of three lac tankas to several dervishes and five lac tankas to Saint Nizamuddin Auliya, who then distributed the money to fakirs and other deserving individuals in Delhi.

It is written thus in Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughlaq's supposed autobiography: "This Hindu slave plotted treason against his benefactor, Sultan Outb-ud-din, and killed him in his own home, and left none of his sons alive. In this abominable manner, he forcefully seized the throne, causing terror for four months. I withdrew myself from obedience to that ungrateful Hindu. I though it necessary to keep away from him.

During 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. There were two reasons that compelled me to oppose and resist this contemptible Hindu: firstly, the natural instinct to seek revenge for the favors bestowed upon me by Sultan Qutb-ud-din, although he was not truly a benefactor; secondly, the fear for my own life, as previous usurpers had a habit of eliminating the amirs who thrived under the previous ruler.

With a group of loyal followers that we managed to assemble, we marched towards Delhi with the intention of achieving our goal. By that time, the Hindu had gained control over all the amirs and troops in Delhi, and he confronted us with his royal forces. At that crucial moment, God granted my father strength and endurance, and he emerged victorious over the 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."

The Short Reign of Nasir-ud-din Khusru Shah

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