In a previous post, we explored the downfall of the Khilji dynasty and the rise of Khusru Khan as the Sultan of Delhi. Amir Khusru's Tughlaq Nama and Isami's Futuh-us-Salatin are the main references used here.
Upon learning about the overthrow of Ala-ud-din's dynasty, Ghazi Malik Tughlaq, the governor of Dipalpur, felt a burning desire for revenge against Khusru Khan. Ibn Battuta mentions that on receiving the robe of honour from Khusru Khan, he threw it on the ground and sat on it. However, Amir Khusru portrays him as contemplating the situation:
"There are two hundred thousand swordsmen, compact as the clouds, in army-registers at Delhi. How can one district, Dipalpur, and the army of one amir, accomplish this enterprise, even if you yourself are a Rustam? How can my force attack the army of Delhi? How can the wind take its dust to the sky? I have but little strength and my burden is great. How will I be able to carry it?"
Overwhelmed by these thoughts, Tughlaq hesitated to take any decisive action. Furthermore, he feared that the Baradus might harm his son Fakhr-ud-din Jauna (who would later become Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughlaq), who was the Lord of the Stables at Delhi.
Meanwhile in Delhi, Jauna was increasingly frustrated by the growing influence of the Baradus. He convened a meeting with his trusted counselors, who proposed sending a detailed message to Ghazi Malik Tughlaq, detailing the recent tragic events and seeking his guidance. Jauna then sent a messenger named Ali Yaghdi to deliver the letter to his father. In reply, Tughlaq commanded his son to flee and join him without delay.
According to Ibn Battuta, one day Jauna expressed his concern to Khusru about the horses becoming overweight and needing exercise to shed some pounds. Khusru granted him permission, and Jauna used to ride out with his men every day, spending two to four hours outside, till one day he disappeared and did not return until sunset. On that day, Jauna, accompanied by Bahram Abiya's son and a group of loyal followers, made a daring escape to Dipalpur, seizing the finest horses from the royal stable.
Jauna's Flight and Murder of Ala-ud-din's Sons:
Upon hearing the news of Jauna's escape, Khusru Khan was thrown into a state of utter perplexity. As was his custom, he sought the counsel of his advisers, and in accordance with their opinion he put to death the three blinded sons of Ala-ud-din Khilji - Ali, Bahar and Usman - who had been kept as prisoners in the Red Palace. Large sums of money were at the same time lavished on the nobles to silence them and to ensure their loyalty.
Khusru then sent a force under Aariz-ul-Mumalik Shaista Khan to pursue Jauna, who proceeded as far as Sarsuti, but not being able to overtake Jauna, returned. Prior to this, Tughlaq had stationed a contingent of troops in the fortress of Sarsuti, fortifying its defenses.
Initially, Khusru Khan was inclined to appease Tughlaq by recognizing his independence in the province and even allowing him to expand his territory. However, Sufi Khan proposed sending a strong warning to Tughlaq and demanding his acknowledgment of Khusrus' sovereignty. A messenger was sent forthwith. Tughlaq, consumed by rage, killed the messenger and responded with a reply filled with contempt and anger.
After much deliberation, father and son resolved to engage in battle. Tughlaq sent letters to the governors of neighbouring provinces, including Bahram Abiya, the governor of Uch, Mughlati, the governor of Multan, Muhammad Shah, the governor of Siwistan, Yaklakhi, the governor of Samana, Hoshang, the governor of Jalore, and Ain-ul-Mulk Multani, inviting them to join his cause. Tughlaq justified his fight as a defense of Islam, loyalty to the family of Ala-ud-din, and as a means to punish the criminals of Delhi.
Bahram Abiya responded readily and came over to Tughlaq.
Mughlati, who envied Tughlaq, expressed his fear and reluctance to rebel against Delhi due to his limited cavalry and infantry as the amir of Multan. Upon receiving Mughlati's response, Tughlaq secretly instigated the amirs of Multan to rebel against Mughlati. A rebellion consequently broke out led by Bahram Siraj, a chief of Multan. Mughlati fled but was pursued and beheaded.
Yaklakhi, despite losing his ears and nose because of Khusru Khan, forwarded Tughlaq's letter to Khusru, informing him of the rebellion. Yaklakhi then marched his forces to attack Dipalpur, but was defeated and retreated to Samana, where he was eventually killed by his own subjects.
Muhammad Shah was held captive by his nobles at Siwistan when Tughlaq's letter reached him. The nobles offered to release him if he agreed to join forces with Tughlaq. Muhammad complied and was set free. Hoshang also pledged his support. However, both Muhammad Shah and Hoshang could reach Delhi only after Tughlaq's accession to the throne.
Ain-ul-Mulk Multani shared Tughlaq's letter with Khusru Khan, but Tughlaq, eager to win him over, sent a messenger to persuade him. Ain-ul-Mulk sent a reply to Tughlaq stating that he would not take sides. Instead, he would submit to the one who would siege Delhi.
With the support of Bahram Abiya, Tughlaq began earnestly preparing for war. The Khokars also joined Tughlaq in his struggle against Khusru Khan.
During this time, Tughlaq's officers seized a caravan that was transporting the imperial revenue from Multan and Siwistan to Delhi. They also captured a significant number of horses. Tughlaq used this vast plunder to equip his troops. He then set out from Dipalpur towards Delhi.
Meanwhile, Khusru Khan observed these preparations with mounting unease. He sent a large army under his brother Khan-i-Khanan to confront Tughlaq.
The Defeat of Khusru Khan:
The two forces clashed at Hauz-i-Bahat near Sarsuti, which was the first military post of Tughlaq's province on the Delhi frontier. In the Delhi army, Khan-i-Khanan raised a parasol and positioned himself in the center, while Qutla took charge of the front. Talbagha Yaghda stood on the left, and Nag, Kachip and Varma along with the remaining Baradus, lined up on the right.
On the opposite side, Tughlaq took his stand in the center. Jauna was stationed in front of him, and the Khokars, including Gul Chand and Sahaj Rai, along with their followers, were positioned alongside. Bahram Abiya took his place on the left, while Asad-ud-din and Baha-ud-din Garshasp, two nephews of Tughlaq, were posted on the right.
The brave Khokars launched a fierce attack on Qutla, who valiantly resisted at the front. However, the Khokars swiftly overpowered him, causing him to fall from his horse and beheaded him. When Qutla's contingent suffered defeat, they fled towards the center. Immediately, Tughlaq's troops dashed with drawn swords relentlessly at the enemy's center. Khan-i-Khanan, who had rarely led an army, decided to flee. He left everything on the battle field to the enemy and fled away with three other khans - Yusuf Sufi Khan, Shaista Khan and Qadr Khan.
Gul Chand, the Khokar chief, killed the umbrella-bearer of Khan-i-Khanan and snatched his umbrella. This was then raised over Tughlaq's head.
With his triumphant army, Tughlaq advanced towards Delhi and established his camp within the compound of Sultan Raziyya's tomb, strategically positioning his forces.