Ghiyas-ud-din Balban


Ghiyas-ud-din Balban (1200-1287) was born in the Ilbari tribe of Turkey. At an young age, he was captured by the Mongols and sold to Khwajah Jamal-ud-din Basri of Baghdad. Later he was purchased by Iltutmish and brought to Delhi. From the beginning, he was in the good books of his master. He became one of the Chalgan, a group of the forty most important nobles of the court. He was most powerful amongst them, during the rule of the Nasir-ud-din Mahmud. He became the Sultan of Delhi, after the death of Nasir-ud-din in AD 1266.

After ascending the throne, he considered himself as the deputy of God on earth. He changed his courts to the style of Iranian rulers. He adopted a blood and iron policy. Balban established the department of intelligence and spread his spies throughout the country to gather information about all political developments and conspiracies. During the Nasir-ud-din's reign, the Mongols had advanced many times and plundered Lahore. Balban built new forts and repaired the old ones between the Indus River and Delhi to check the Mongols invasion.

The governor of Bengal, Tughral Baig, revolted against Balban in the later years. An army was sent to crush the rebellion, but it was defeated. This was a great shock to him and he died in AD 1287.

He was undoubtedly one of the main architects of the Sultanate of Delhi, particularly of its form of government and institutions. But by excluding non-Turks from positions of power and authority and by trying to base the government on a very narrow group, he made many people dissatisfied. This led to fresh disturbances and troubles after his death.

Updated on 15th October, 2023


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