Causes of Downfall of Tughlaq Dynasty Essay

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Causes of Downfall of the Tughlaq Dynasty

Among the pre-Mughal Muslim dynasties of India, the Tughlaqs had the longest span of life. It was during their rule that the Turkish Empire in India reached its widest limits and again it was under them that the forces of disintegration became so powerful that they destroyed the Sultanate for good. This article discusses the causes for the decline and downfall of the Tughlaq Dynasty in India.

Why did the Tughlaq dynasty come to such an end? Ghiyasuddin Tughluq has been unanimously raised to the throne of Delhi Sultanate. His policy helped to strengthen the roots of his dynasty still further.

His son Muhammad bin Tughluq was a unique person. During his reign, famine and pestilence became the order of the day. His novel schemes amazed and astounded the people and the failure of some of them lowered his credit. Large extent of the empire rendered effective control from any one centre impossible. The forces of disintegration implicit in all monarchies began to show themselves. The Hindus broke the chains that bound them while the Turkish governors vied with each other in founding independent dynasties of their own.

Unfortunately for the Sultan, there was great paucity of able generals and the few that existed did not heartily cooperate with him. Rebellious designs of the foreign amirs complicated the situation still further and the relentless nature and cruel punishments of the Sultan further fanned the flames of insurrection. Sindh, Bengal and the whole of the Deccan gained independence even before the Sultan was dead. Thus the break-up of the empire began in the reign of Sultan Muhammad.

His successor Firuz Shah Tughlaq won the confidence of all classes of people by his kindness, generosity and love so that peace was restored. His foreign policy compromised the honor of the Sultanate, encouraged its enemies and rendered conquest of lost provinces impracticable. He broke the back of the state by demoralizing the army and by encouraging corruption, jagirs, and farming of revenues and enrollment of an army of slaves. The seeds of disintegration thus sown produced their evil effects even during the last years of his own reign. This sapped the vitality of the state from within.

During the reign of his successors, the amirs engaged in conspiracy and revolts. These rebellions made the Sultanate weaker and weaker day by day.

The invasion of Timur gave the final blow which assured the end of the dynasty. For sometime it was not clear as to who would step into the breach – the Sharqis of Jaunpur of Khizr Khan, the governor of the Punjab. This too was settled when in 1414 Khizr Khan laid the foundation of the Sayyid dynasty.

Breakup of the Tughlaq Empire had begun in 1335 and it took 77 years before the dynasty finally came to an end. In the case of other dynasties the time lag between beginning of disintegration and final collapse was never so great. This too needs an explanation. Firuz the third ruler of this dynasty was so good and generous that there was hardly anything to gain by rebellion. Hence, during his reign, the nobles did not contemplate rebellion at all. He had a long reign, which postponed the evil day for so lang. When he died, his successors were not very competent but obedience to the Tughlaqs had become so habitual that nobody dared to incur the odium of change of dynasty.

Finally, the nobles were so jealous of each other that none was willing to submit to the other. This too prolonged the life of the dynasty.

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