Tughlaq Dynasty: History & Rulers

1 Mar 2023  Read 11211 Views

The Tughlaq or Tughluq dynasty, which belonged to the Qarauna Turk tribe, a mixed tribe of Turk & Mongol stock, introduced sign currency or token currency for the first time in India. This Tughlaq dynasty rose to power during the medieval period, and its reign started in 1320 and briefly ended in 1413. The dynasty was ruled by various rulers, such as the first ruler- Ghazi Malik and Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq followed by many others with some of their surnames, not even being a Tughlaq. 

During this dynasty's dominance, India witnessed several changes in its administrative policies, both domestic & foreign. The Tughlaq dynasty rulers had a major expansion in territories with the help of a campaign run by the militaries under Muhammad bin Tughlaq. They reached their maximum potential between 1330 and 1335. This article discusses the origin, rulers, and end of the Tughlaq dynasty with many other details. So, let's get started.

Origin of Tughlaq Dynasty Rulers

The origin of the Tughlaq dynasty is not very well known to historians, which may be due to the corruption of the word Qutlugh. However, evidence shows that Tughlaq existed; Tugluq was the name of the Tughlaq dynasty ruler and founder, Ghiyath al-Din. Also, we do denote the entire dynasty by the name Tughlaq but the Tughlaq dynasty's rulers did not have the surname Tughluq unlike Ghiyas-ud-din's and his son Muhammad bin Tughluq. Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan-origin traveller, said that the Tughlaq dynasty rulers were from the Turkish tribe “Qarauna” who belonged to the hilly regions between Sind & Turkestan.

Details on Tughlaq Dynasty

Place- Delhi

Period- 1320 AD- 1412 AD


Religion-Sunni Islam

Rulers- Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq Shah I, Muhammad Shah II, Mahmud Ibn Muhammad, Firuz Shah Tughluq, Ghiyas ud din Tughluq II, Abu Baker, Nasiruddin Muhammad Shah III, Sikander Shah I

Rulers of the Tughlaq Dynasty





Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq

1320-24 AD


Muhammad Tughlaq

1324-51 AD


Firoz Shah Tughlaq

1351-88 AD


Mohammed Khan

1388 AD


Ghiyassuddin Tughlaq Shah II

1388 AD


Abu Baqr

1389-90 AD


Nasiruddin Muhammad

1390-94 AD



1394-95 AD


Nasiruddin Mahmud

1395-1412 AD

Who were the rulers of Tughlaq dynasty?

Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq or Ghazi Malik (1320- 1325) 

He founded the Tughlaq dynasty and said a famous quote “that my bow and arrow is my throne”. Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq adopted a sustained and vigorous forward policy after gaining the throne of Delhi. Later, he started expanding the borders.

1321- He sent his eldest son Ulugh Khan in 1321 (his son was later referred to as Muhammad bin Tughlaq), to Deogir to capture the Hindu kingdoms of Warangal, but this first attempt was a failure.

So, after 4 months Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq sent large army reinforcements for his son asking him to attempt raiding Arangal and Tilang again. This was a successful attempt. After raiding Arangal, it was renamed as Sultanpur. They seized all the treasury & the captives were transferred from Warangal to the capital of Delhi Sultanate. He was the first sultan to start irrigation work.

1324- This incident was followed by the annexation of Mabar (Tamil Nadu coast), subsequent to which Muhammad bin Tughlaq raided Odisha and returned to Delhi. By 1324, the borders of the Delhi sultanate had reached up to Madurai.After placing Delhi under the control of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq led his army to Lukhnauti (Bengal) and conquered it after many battles.

1325- Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq died in 1325 CE, and Mohammed bin Tughluq took the throne forcefully. Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq was teh one who built the Tughlaqabad fort, making Tughlaqabad one of the 7 cities of Delhi.

Amir Khusrau wrote Tughlaq Namah at this point of time & he was also a contemporary of Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya.

1328- The last Hindu principality, Kampili (south Karnataka), was also annexed. This region was attacked because a rebel cousin of Muhammad bin Tughlaq had been sheltered there (as alleged). Also, at this time, Bengal had been virtually independent since the death of Balban of the Mamluk dynasty.

Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq (1325-1361A.D.)

Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq stood for the administrative and political unity of India. In 1327 AD, he captured Warangal. He wanted to fill the empty treasury, so he raised taxes in the Doab region and because of this, many people ran to the forests to avoid heavy taxes. Ultimately, this led to neglected cultivation. His national treasury faced problems due to the policy of huge presents provided to Tamashirin, the Mongol leader, to prevent Mongol invasion.

Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq shifted his capital from Delhi to Devagiri. He then introduced the copper currency system, but as the value of these coins dropped, he had to withdraw the said currency. He even raised an army of 3,70,000 men to capture Khurasan, Iraq, and Transoxiana. The major reason for the decline of the Delhi Sultanate is his cursory decisions and defective policy implementation.

Firoz Tughlaq (1351-1388 AD)

In 1351A.D. Firoz Tughlaq was the son of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq's younger brother who succeeded the throne after Muhammad bin Tughlaq.

Some of his Administrative Reforms were:

  • He withdrew all agricultural loans provided by Mohammed-bin-Tughlaq and raised the revenue officers' salary.

  • He ended the regime of unjust taxes & collected four significant taxes:

    1. Kharaj- 1/10th of the produce of the land

    2. Khams- 1/5th of the war booty

    3. Jizya-Poll Tax

    4. Zakat-Tax on Muslims for specific religious purposes

  • Constructed 150 wells, 100 bridges, and 50 dams & towns such as Firozabad, Hissar, Jaunpur, and Fatehabad.

  • Firoz banned several damages and torture & imposed Jizya on the Brahmins.

  • He established hospitals (Dar-ul-shafa), Marriage Bureau, (Diwani-i-kherat), and an Employment Bureau.

Firoz Tughlaq's Foreign Policy

Firoz Tughlaq surrounded Bengal in 1353 AD- 1359 AD & seized Jainagar. Did you know? he also destroyed the Jagannath Temple at Puri.

Later Tughlaqs

Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq Shah II (1388-89 AD)

  • Firoz Tughlaq was succeeded by one of his grandsons, Tughlaq Shah, who took the title Ghiasuddin Tughlaq Shah II.

  • However, he was beheaded within a year of his accession because of court intrigue.

  • Ahead for the next five years, three Sultans—Abu Bakr, Muhammad Shah, and Humayun (titled Alauddin Sikander Shah), took to the throne.

Abu Bakr Shah (1389-90 AD)

  • After the assassination of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq Shah II, Abu Bakr became ruler of the Tughlaq empire.

  • But Muhammad Shah, his uncle, also dreamed of becoming a ruler and fought Abu Bakr to control the throne.

  • In 1390, Abu Bakr was defeated, and Muhammad Shah succeeded him as the next king, reigning from 1390 to 1394.

  • After the defeat, Abu Bakr was imprisoned in Meerut fort where he died soon after.

Nasir-ud-din Muhammad Tughlaq aka Muhammad Shah (1390-94 AD)

  • Nasir-ud-Din Muhammad was the son of Sultan Nasir ud din Muhammad Shah III, who ruled for four years, from 1390 to 1394. His prime mission was to crush Abu Bakr & his followers. 

  • When the Hindus of Etawah, led by Narsing, Sarvadharan, and Bir Bhan, started to revolt in 1392, Islam Khan was dispatched by Nasir-ud-din Muhammad to crush them.

  • Also, Nasiruddin bestowed the title of Malik-us-Sharq on Malik Sarvar in Jaunpur, where Sarvar established the Sharqi dynasty.

  • Muhammad Shah made Jalesar the hub of all his activities. Malik Sarwar and Nasirul Mulk Khizr Khan were the most capable and powerful of them.

  • Consequently, Muhammad Shah's supporters rose.

  • Finally, Islam Khan, the Delhi Kotwal, joined his party.

  • Fearful of the civil war due to growing supporters, Abu Bakr fled to Mewat, and Muhammad Shah ascended the throne of Delhi.

  • Following this, he sent an army against Abu Bakr, which defeated and imprisoned him in Meerut, where he died in prison.

Succession war with Nushrat Shah

  • After the death of Nasiruddin Muhammad, his older son Ala-ud-din Sikandar Shah succeeded him as sultan, but he died of illness in 1394, and his younger brother Nasiruddin Mahmud took to the throne.

  • But his relative Nusrat Shah (also called Nasrat Khan) challenged the succession, leading to a three-year succession war which lasted until 1397.

  • Nasiruddin Mahmud ruled from Delhi then, while Nusrat Shah ruled from Firozabad.

  • Nasiruddin Mahmud was the last ruler of the Delhi Sultanate's Tughlaq dynasty.

Invasion of East

  • In 1398, Timur, the Chagatai ruler, invaded India during the reign of Nasiruddin Mahmud. They got indulged in a battle near Delhi.

  • Timur ultimately won and entered the city, killing many people.

  • He held many treasures from the Delhi court left by the Turco-Afghan predecessors over a 200-year period.

  • The Tughlaq dynasty ended soon after the invasion making Nasiruddin Mahmud the last ruler of the Tughlaq dynasty.

End of Tughlaq Dynasty

Whenever we recall the Tughlaq dynasty, the first name that we might remember is Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, who ruled India for 26 years, he was way ahead of his time as he brought ventures which were based on innovative ideas however, such ideas couldn't be implemented well due to lack of cooperation from people. He was succeeded by his nephew Feroz Shah Tughlaq, whose reign lasted for the next 37 years as the civil war broke out during Feroz Shah's final years and lasted through the regimes of his successors Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq Shah II, Abu Bakr Shah, Muhammad Shah, Mahmud Tughlaq, and Nusrat Shah. The invasion by Amir Taimur in 1398 resulted in the end of the Tughlaq dynasty. The Sultanate was confined to a small territory in north India by the end of Tughlaq's rule (AD 1412). However, the dynasty's final demise occurred in 1413, when Khizar Khan, the former governor of Multan, became Sultan of Delhi and started the Sayyid Dynasty.

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 275 Post(s)

She is a Legal Content Manager at Finology Legal! With a Masters in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), a BBA.LL.B from ITM University, and patent analyst training from IIPTA, she truly specializes in her field. Her passion for IPR and Criminal laws is evident from her advanced certification in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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