Ghiyasuddin Balban

Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban was the ninth and the last remarkable and strong monarch of the slave dynasty (Ghulam dynasty, Mamluk dynasty). He was born in 1200 AD.

The Mongols captured Balban at an early age and sold him as a slave. Later on, Iltutmish bought him. Balban was the son-in-law of Nasiruddin Mahmud. After the death of Nadiruddin Mahmud, Balban became the Sultan of Delhi with the title “Ghiyasuddin Balban” by ascending to the throne in 1266. He was a 60 years old at that time.

When Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban became the king he had amassed vast experience both as a general and as a politician. His diplomatic skill, tact and administrative ability had helped him to earn a name for himself. He took some important steps to strengthen the powers of Delhi Sultanate.

Ghiyasuddin Balban realized that the greatest need of the hour was to raise the power and prestige of the Sultanate by crushing down the audacity and turbulence of the power loving Turkish generals. Hence Ghiyasuddin Balban adopted some measures to crush down the powers of the Turkish generals. Their frequent conspiracies had always caused instability and maladministration in Delhi. Ghiyasuddin Balban ruthlessly treated hard over their power. Whenever they committed any offence Balban ruthlessly punished them. Thus he dishonored the nobility and the Amir Omrahas before the people. He organized an espionage system to keep an eye over the activities of the Turkish aristocrats. The spies were severely punished if they were found neglecting their duties.

To strengthen the Sultanate administration of Delhi, Ghiyasuddin Balban took another measure. He increased the prestige and power of the Sultan and the royal court to bring down the influence of the Amirs and Omrahas. Ghiyasuddin Balban introduced in his court the Persian etiquette and never allowed any light talk or loose dealings in the royal court. He always maintained such a gravity and impartiality in his dealings which evidently showed that the king was above all and that he was not to be taken lightly in any way. Nobody was equal to the king. Thus he regained the power and prestige of the king and thereby consolidated the monarchy to a great extent. He selected his ministers carefully. He himself was aristocratic in his dealings and never appointed anybody to any high posts in administration unless the candidate carried blue blood in his veins.

Ghiyasuddin Balban reorganized the army to make it strong and powerful as he realized that without a strong army it would not be possible to save the Turkish empire of Delhi from dangers, both within arid without. He ruthlessly suppressed the dacoits of Mewat region and also crushed the dacoits of Doab region. He also showed his highhandedness over the dacoits of Rohilkhand. He treated both the turbulent subject and revolting aristocrats with similar ruthlessness. For this rigidity of his character he could establish law and order in the empire and thus could give the required stability in the administration of the Delhi Sultanate.

Ghiyasuddin Balban paid no attention for the expansion of empire. He was much busy with the task of suppressing the internal revolts. Moreover the Mongol menace was also there. Yet when he died he had given the kingdom its required stability and security. By dint of his rigidity he had consolidated the monarchy. Barani the Muslim historian had rightly commented that people had lost fear and faith on administration before Balban came into power. Balban not only regained it but also saved the Turkish Empire in India from decadence.

The tomb of Balban in New Delhi is an excellent example of Indo-Islamic architecture in India.

Ghiyasuddin Balban ruled for 2o years and died in 1286.

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