Short Biography of Muhammad bin Tughluq

Biography of Muhammad-bin-Tughluq :

Muhammad-bin-Tughluq is regarded as the whimsical Sultan among the Indian rulers.

Muhammad-bin-Tughluq was the Sultan of Delhi from 1325 to 1351. He was a man with ideas far beyond his age. However, big innovations, his acts of cruelty, and want of consideration for others have led many to brand him as a mad and blood thirsty Sultan. From both Barani and Ibn Batuta we learn that he was a mixture of opposites. More learned and cultured than any other Sultan of Delhi, he was in fact a man of high ideals and new ideas, but whenever his ideas came into conflict with his personal vanity he acted worse than a barbarian. Hence his reign was full of revolts savagely repressed.

Character of Muhammad bin Tughluq: On the death of Ghyasuddin, his son, Juna Khan, ascended the throne of Delhi under the title of Muhammad bin Tughluq (1325 A.D.). His character was a mixture of opposites. He was a great scholar, a brave soldier, an accomplished poets, and pious Muslim. But the good qualities of his head and heart were marred by his perverse judgment, fits of cruelty, and callous indifference to the sufferings of others. His whole reign is a record of wild and visionary schemes leading to widespread miseries and ultimate dissolution of the Empire.

Heavy taxes: He was full of caprices. While a famine had begun he imposed heavy taxes on the people of Doab. The poorer section, being unable to bear the burden were severely punished. Many took to flight in the hills and jungles. But even then they were not spared and his soldiers used to chase them out and kill them like wild beasts.

Transfer of capital: The Sultan next resolved to remove his capital from Delhi to Devagiri. He did not want merely the officials to move down to the new site but insisted that the entire population of Delhi must move to Devagiri. A proclamation issued with the Sultan’s signature declared that any person found loitering at Delhi after a certain date would be executed. The order was given effect so in a relentless manner and untold miseries were caused to the people. The scheme was a huge failure and the Sultan ordered the transference of the capital back to Delhi.

Experiment of copper currency: To meet the financial losses, suffered in consequence of the transfer of capital, the Sultan introduced the token copper currency, according to which copper coins were to be given the same value as silver coins. The device proved a complete failure, as no steps were taken against forgeries. It involved the State in financial ruin.

Ambitious schemes of conquest: The Sultan conceived grand but unpractical schemes of conquest. He planned the conquest of Persia and collected a vast army. He maintained the army for a year at ruinous expense and then thinking that the scheme was impracticable, disbanded it. He also dispatched a large army against Qarachal, lying in Kumaun and Gahrwal region. But the enterprise ended in a total failure.

Widespread Rebellion: These wild and visionary projects of Muhammad­-bin-Tughluq brought untold miseries on his people and hastened the disruption of the Empire. Bengal, Gujrat, Madura, and Warrangal declared independence. Two independent principalities, viz., the Vijayanagar and Bahamani kingdoms were proclaimed in the Deccan. The last years of his reign were spent in futile attempts to suppress these revolts. In 1351 the Sultan died while engaged in pursuing a rebel in Thatta or Sind.