Firoz Shah Tughlaq
Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351-1388 AD)
When ascended to the throne of Delhi, Firoz was a man of 45 years. His mother was a Hindu princess of Dipalpur, who gave herself to his father Razzab (the younger brother of Ghazi Malik) to save her people from the demands and oppressions of the half-breed Turks.
Firoz was trained in the art of the administration under his late cousin, the “man of ideas” Muhammad bin Tughlaq. Muhammad kept him with himself like his son. Once becoming Sultan, he reversed every order of his predecessor.
Firuzshah Kotla (in Delhi) is the city established by him. It was destroyed by the later rulers.
The empire which was broken during his cousin Muhammad’s reign was to be recovered back. He campaigned against Bengal for two times, planned a new city Jaunpur in memory of Muhammad Bin Tughlaq.
Since he was half Muslim, got a religious temperament, probably to prove himself equal to the Pure Muslims. He started seeking advice of the Ulemas and ruled as per the Shariat. All the taxes which were unlawful as per Shariat were abandoned by him.
Chungi (Octroi) was one of these taxes which was abolished by Firoz.
The Brahmins were NOT exempted from the Jaziya tax levied on their pilgrimages but abolished Jaziya for those who accepted Islam.
He ordered that the Muslim women should not come out of their houses and visit the tombs.
He publically burnt a Brahmin for preaching the Muslims.
A lot of Hindu temples were destroyed and mosques were erected.
He imposed water tax on the agriculture land which was irrigated by the waters of the canals dug by the state.
He acquired numerous slaves and employed them in the royal workshops.
Gentle to Peasants
The Firoz shah’s regime was utmost gentle towards the peasantry. His predecessor Muhammad Bin Tughlaq had introduced a system of government loans for the peasants. The peasants were not able to repay these loans. By the advice of one of his vazirs named Makbul, he destroyed all the records in his presence, ceremoniously and gave clean chit to the peasants. This was one of the remarkable decisions taken by Firoz Shah Tughlaq which brought general peace and prosperity in the sultanate. In 32 years rule there were almost no rebels in India under Firoz and this might be one of the reasons.
Passion of founding cities
Firoz Shah was also a remarkable builder. He had a passion of founding and naming the towns. When his son Fatah Khan was born on his march to Delhi, he founded a town at the site of the happy event as Fatahabad (now in Haryana). During his Bengal campaign he renamed two towns and founded Jaunapur, in honor of his late cousin. He established second Firozabad on the banks of Yamuna River near Delhi. Here he established one of the Asokan Pillars which he had removed from its original places.
He also founded a city of Hissar-i-Firoza in the modern Haryana which is now the town of Hisar.
To support the newly founded city of Hissar-i-Firoza, in 1355 he constructed a Double System of Canals from Yamuna to Sutlej.
They are referred to as rajwahas in the Indo-Persian historical texts.
This Yamuna canal was repaired for irrigation purposes during the time of Akbar.
According to Farishta, a later historian, not less than 845 public works were done during the times of Firoz Shah Tughlaq which included canals, dams, reservoirs, bridges, baths, forts, mosques, schools, monasteries, and inns for pilgrims and travelers.
He also repaired the Qutub Minar (1368) which had got damaged previously in an earthquake and many of the tombs of Delhi.
In all, Firoz was adored by the people. He reformed abuses, checked extortions, reduced taxation and increased irrigation and did all that which could lead to a general prosperity of the public.
In old age he got surrounded by problems. His crown prince Fatah Khan died and this tragedy had shaken the old Sultan.
During his rule the government had supported around 180,000 slaves in Delhi, who turned miscreants after his death. Sultan died in 1388 amid sorrow and gloominess. Fatah Khan, the hope of his father had already died, his next son Zafar had also gone. His grandson, Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq II, a young and foolish lad addicted to wine and licentiousness sat on the throne and was killed within 5 months.
Another grandson Abu Bakr succeeded him but he was opposed by his uncle Nasir-ud-din Muhammad Shah III, who lolled the throne for around 4 years from 1390-94. This four year reign saw the series of rebellions. Muhammad’s son who was proudly entitled “Alexander” was slaughtered after just hanging around for 4 weeks.
Muhammad’s brother Sultan Nasir-u Din Mahmud occupied the throne. During the times of Sultan Nasir-u Din Mahmud, India faced invasion of a new tyrant Timur.