THE TUGHLAQS – AD 1320–1412

The founder of the Tughlaq dynasty was Ghazi Malik who ascended the throne as Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq in AD 1320 and this dynasty ruled till AD 1412.

After a brief rule Ghiyassuddin Tughlaq died in AD 1325 and his son Muhammad Tughlaq ascended the throne.

Under the Tughlaqs the Delhi Sultanate was further consolidated.


The Deccan and South

The regions of the Deccan which were conquered by the Khaljis had stopped paying tribute and were proclaiming independent status.

Muhammad Tughlaq while a prince (called Juna Khan) led the early expeditions against Rai Rudra Dev who was defeated after a prolonged conflict and Warangal was now annexed under direct control of the Sultanate.

Ma’bar was also defeated.

The whole region of Telangana was divided into administrative units and made part of the Sultanate.

In contrast to Allauddin Khalji’s policy the Tughlaqs annexed the Deccan region.

Muhammad Tughlaq decided to transfer his capital from Delhi to Deogir and renamed it as Daultabad.

Later the whole scheme was given up. However, the plan improved ties between the north and south.

Apart from territorial expansion the social, cultural and economic interactions also grew.


East India

Bhanudeva II, the ruler of Jajnagar in Orissa had helped Rai Rudra Dev of Warangal in his battle against Delhi Sultans.

Ulug Khan led an army against him in AD 1324 Bhanudeva II was defeated and his territory annexed.

In Bengal there was discontent of nobles against their Sultan.

The dissatisfied nobles invited the Tughlaq prince to invade their ruler.

The army of Bengal was defeated and a noble Nasiruddin was installed on the throne.


North West

In AD 1326–27 a big Mongol assault under Tarmashirin Khan took place.

Muhammad Tughlaq decided to secure the frontier.

The region from Lahore to Kalanur including Peshawar was conquered and new administrative control was established.

Besides, the Sultan also planned invasions of Qarachil region (In present day Himachal) and Qandhar but did not succeed.

Muhammad Tughlaq was very innovative in adopting new policies.

He started a new department for the development of Agriculture. It was called Diwan-i Kohi.

Peasants were given financial support to help in arranging seeds for cultivation.

This loan was also given in case of crop failures.

Another important measure was to introduce token currency to tide over the shortage of Silver.

However, this scheme failed causing great financial loss to the sultanate.


Muhammad Tughlaq was succeeded by his cousin Firuz Tughlaq.

Under Firuz Tughlaq no new territories could be added to the Sultanate.

The political control of Delhi gradually weakened during the rule of Firuz’s successors.

The invasion of Timur in AD 1398 left the sultanate desolate.

By the end of Tughlaq rule (AD 1412) the Sultanate was confined to a small territory in north India.

A number of regions proclaimed independent status.

In the east Bengal and Orissa enjoyed complete autonomy.

In eastern UP and large parts of Bihar a new independent kingdom of Sharqis emerged.

In the Deccan and South Vijaynagar empire and Bahmani kingdom became political powers.

Large parts of Punjab were occupied by independent nobles. Gujarat and Malwa became fully independent.

Rajput states in Rajasthan also became independent.


Token Currency

A controversial project undertaken by Muhammad bin Tughlaq was the introduction of “Token Currency”.

According to Barani (a political thinker of the Delhi Sultanate during  Muhammad bin Tughlaq’s reign), the Sultan introduced token currency because the treasury was empty due to the Sultan’s schemes of conquest as well as his boundless generosity.

Muhammad introduced a copper coin (Jittal) in place of silver coin (tanka) and ordered that it should be accepted as equivalent to the tanka.

According to Barani the people began to mint token currency in their houses.

However the common man failed to distinguish between copper coin issued by the royal treasury and those which were locally made.

Thus the Sultan was forced to withdraw the token currency.