Friday 3 October 2014

Muhammed bin Tughluq

Ibn Batuta, the 14th Century Moorish traveller to India, writes that once a Hindu noble complained to the Qazi of Delhi that the Sultan Muhammed bin Tughluq ( who ruled from 1325 to 1351) had put his brother to death without cause.

The Qazi summoned the Sultan before him. According to Batuta's account,the Sultan walked on foot and unarmed to the Qazi's court, saluted him, made obeisance, and remained standing before him.

The Qazi did not rise when the Sultan entered the Courtroom, and showed him no favour. He heard the case, severely admonished the Sultan for the injustice he had done, and and commanded him to give adequate compensation to the complainant for the death of his brother, which the Sultan paid immediately.
 Ibn Batuta also records that Muhammed bin Tughluq was a great patron of yogis, and Ibn Batuta sometimes saw the Sultan in his private apartments talking with some yogis. The Sultan's chroniclers Barani and Isami have criticized him for these ' infidel practices '.

 The Sultan was also a patron of the Jain sage Jinaprabha Suri, who was a strict practitioner of non violence.
According to Jain sources, the Sultan once invited the sage to the royal palace, seated him by his side, and offered to give him wealth, land, horses , elephants, etc all of which the Jain saint declined. The Sultan then praised him for his austerity, and asked him what he could do for him. The Jain saint replied that he wanted nothing for himself, but would like some rest houses made for the Jain monks and  pilgrims. The Sultan immediately issued a firman for the construction of  new rest houses for the Jain monks and pilgrims throughout his kingdom.

Of course Muhammed bin Tughluq also had many defects. He was impulsive and a day dreamer, and often made fantastic schemes like introducing copper coins and transferring the capital from Delhi to Devanagari, which proved disastrous.


  1. Sir,Tughlaq was far ahead of his time,the issue of copper coins ,was the right thing to do,today we see that currency is made of the cheapest material paper,the RBI keeps equivalent gold to avoid inflation.In olden days,since coins were made of gold ,silver the economy did not grow fast.His only mistake was that he was not successful in withdrawing the other coins before introducing copper coins,and also was not able to handle counterfeiting.