Monday, June 30, 2014

Afghan nobility of the Tughlaq Empire (1320 -1413)

Afghans  made a marked progress during Muhammad bin Tughlaq's reign, Malik Ikhtiyar-ud-din Yal Afghan who had been noticed earlier in connection with nobility under Ala-ud-din Khalji continued to hold the position under Muhammad bin Tughlaq. Malik Makh Afghan, his younger brother was sent by Ghiyas-ud-din to the expedition against Warangal in A.D 1321 under the leadership of his son Ulugh khan. Other notable Afghans of Muhammad bin Tughlaq were Malik Khattab Afghan, Jalhu Afghan, Tughal-al-Afghan, Bahram Afghan, Gul Afghan,  Mandi Afghan and last but the least Malik Shahu Lodhi. His successor Firuz Tughlaq continued to patronize the Afghans and prominent among them were Malik Afghan, Malik Daud Khan Afghan, the muqti of |Bihar, Malik Muhammad Shah Afghan, the muqti of Tughluqpur, Malik Bali Afghan and Yasin, son of Malik Shah Afghan.[1]

During Muhammad bin Tughlaq reign, the lower grade officers came to be called Sadah. Sadah or hundred (centurion) was the term used in Mongol military for one who commanded a hundred men.. But in india, the word sadah began to used as a territorial divisions , to signify a hundred villages. The Sadah amirs were, either Mongols or Afghans.The Mongol and Afghan Sadah amirs behaved differently than much loyal Turkish and Hindustani nobles [2]. Due to position as Sadah amirs, large number of Afghan zamindars emerged during the latter part of 14th century [3]. Some of the Afghans took advantage of imperial favour and endeavored to build up their military strength on the meager resources which they possessed [4].Being largely cut off from west asia after the rise of Mongols , the Turkish rulers had to rely increasingly on Afghans and Indian muslims for their armies. Thus armies of turk rulers was a mixed up, consisting of descendents of original Turkish soldiers, Afghans and Indian muslims [5].

In 1341 Malik Shahu Lodhi, an Afghan noble,who had considerable following of his own tribe,  went to the extent of assuming sovereignty by killing Bihzad, the governor of Multan. When this news reached Delhi, the Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq assembled large army and set out to crush him. He had hardly covered two or three stages, when he heard that his mother had died but sultan continued his march. When he reached Dipalpur, he learnt that Shahu had fled to afghanistan. The sultan thereupon return to his capital and issued orders for the wholesale arrest of Afghans in his empire.[6]
Qazi Jalal Afghan was posted with his Afghan followers in Gujarat. He put his claim to kingship over the territories of Gujarat and and defeated Muqbil, the naib governor of Gujarat. His assocates in rebellion were Jhallu Afghan, Bimbal and Jalal Ibn Lala Yal.  Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughlaq sent troops against him but Qazi Jalal defeated them. So Sultan personally went against rebels and Afghans suffered a severe defeat at the hands of the royal army , their leader Qazi Jalal was killed in the battle. [7]

In 1345 An Afghan noble, Malik Makh, brother of Malik Mal Afghan, led revolt of Deccan's nobles against Tughluqs and founded the new kingdom after capturing Daulatabad. Malik Mukh became the King of Deccan and assumed the title Nasir-ud-din Shah. Nasir-ud-din Shah was an old man and hence he resigned from the post and the nobles nominated Hasan Gangu or Zafar Khan as the new chief under the title Abul Muzaffar Alauddin Bahman Shah. Thus Afghans lost the golden opportunity of establishing new Afghan dynasty in 14th century, Afghans amirs and soldiers were in large number in Deccan. It is said that Hasan Ganju or Zafar Khan himself was of Afghan or Turkish descent but thats in doubt.[8]

In 1345 AD, Malik Khattab Afghan, showed defiance to the sultanate's authority and captured the fort of Rapri, though he was later pardoned and restored to his original position.[9]

During Feroz Shah Tughlaq's times , In 1376-1377 the fief of Bihar was given to Malik Bir Afghan .Malik Bir was succeeded on his death, by his son, Daud Khan. In 1377 Malik Bulli Afghan was appointed to the muqta of Ikhal [10]. Malik Muhammad Shah Afghan, was muqta' of TughluqpurBehram Lodi, the grandfather of Bahlul Lodi, came as a horse-dealer during the reign of Firoz Shah Tughlaq.

Soon after the death of Firuz Shah Tughluq in 1388A.D. the disintegration of Empire started. Zafar Khan Lodhi and his sons Sarang Khan and Iqbal Khan became very powerful in the Delhi court. Sarang Khan became the Governor of Dipalpur in 1394A.D. Sarang Khan Lodhi occupied Lahore, which increased his prestige.Then he attacked Khizr Khan in 1395 A.D. and captured Multan and Uch. Khizr Khan ran away to Central Asia and joined the service of Amir Timur. Amir Timur deputed his grandson Pir Muhammad Jahangir to march on Hindustan in 1397 A.D. Amir Timur fowled him in 1398 A.D. Pir Muhammad Khan appeared before the Fort of Uch. Malik Ali, the deputy of Sarang Khan, decided to resist. Pir Muhammad besieged Uch and ultimately the fort was captured. Then Pir Muhammad proceeded towards Multan where Sarang Khan resisted and the siege lasted for six months.The news of the arrival of Amir Timur near Tulamba dismayed the people of Multan. The Multani army was defeated and Sarang Khan was captured. Multan was occupied in 1398A.D. Later Sarang Khan was killed under the order of Amir Timur.

In Meerut, Timur's soldiers indiscriminately plundered the houses of the common masses. This brutal treatment greatly perturbed the local population, including Hindus and Afghans. They resented this highhandedness and consequently rebelled under the leadership of Ilyas Afghan and Ahmad Thanseri [11] . Equally assisted by the Hindus, the Afghans offered tough resistance to the invading army. Timur besieged the city and a fierce fight took place. At the end the invading army captured the city in January 1399. This incident increased the already existing gulf between the Afghans and the Mongols [12] . According to Tarikh-i-Khurshid Jahan, the brutal devastation of the Afghan houses and the killing of their men was the first case in terms of conflict between the two peoples. Moreover, on his way back to Samarqand, Timur brought havoc in Kabul by large-scale plundering. For the second time he faced the Afghan challenge in Kabul. As a result he destroyed their localities indiscriminately and thousands of them were executed. [13]

On his way, Timur held his court in Lahore and appointed Khizr Khan Governor of Lahore, Dipalpur and Multan. Being a viceroy of Timur, he availed of the opportunity and defeated Mallu Iqbal Khan Lodhi (brother of Sarang Khan Lodhi) in 1405 AD. In 1412 Daulat Khan Lodhi won the support of most of the nobles and managed to occupy the Delhi throne. He sent several expeditions to establish the imperial hold over Punjab but in vain. He had defeated Bairam Khan, naib (second in command) of Khizar Khan on 22 December 1406, and then established himself at Samana. But on the approach of Khizar Khan's army, majority of his soldiers deserted and went to the enemy camp. With the passage of time his own people, for instance Ikhtiyar Khan also joined the army of Khizar Khan. At last in March 1414, Daulat Khan Lodhi was besieged at Siri by 60,000 strong army of Khizar Khan. The unrelenting process of desertion gravely weakened his position and at the eleventh hour too some of his officers treacherously deserted and went to the side of Khizar Khan. In this way he was forced by circumstances to surrender. On May 28, Khizar Khan Captured Delhi, imprisoned Daulat Khan Lodhi and founded a new dynasty known as the Sayyed Dynasty of India. [14]

Tomb of Tughlak Shah, Tughlakabad, ca.1836 (made)

1- Essays on Medieval India by Raj Kumar , p-263
2- Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals-Delhi Sultanat (1206-1526 ... By Satish Chandra, p-110
3- The Muslims of Indian origin: during the Delhi sultanate : emergence, attitudes, and role, 1192-1526 A.D, p-179
4-  The Afghan nobility and the Mughals: 1526-1707 by Rita Joshi, p-123
5- Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals-Delhi Sultanat (1206-1526 ...By Satish Chandra, p-137
6- Islamic Concept of Crime and Justice, Volume 1 By N. Hanif, p-142
7.  Gujarat State Gazetteers: Vadodara - Page 88, and, The Rise of Muslim Power in Gujarat: A History of Gujarat from 1298 to 1442, p-101
8- The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians: The ..., Volume 3 By Sir Henry Miers Elliot, p-258
9.  Central Asiatic Journal - Volume 26 - Page 254
10- Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North West ..., Volume 1, p-212
11- Agha Hussain Hamadani, 'The Frontier Policy of the DelhiSultans', p-157
12-   Haig,The Cambridge History, p. 199.
13-    Sardar Sher Muhammad Gandapur, Tarikh-i-Khurshid Jahan, Urdu tr. Siraj AhmadAlvi (Karachi:    Shaikh Shaukat Ali and Sons, 1991), p. 208.
14-      Joshi,The Afghan Nobility, p. 26.