Razia Sultana

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Razia Sultana

Razia (also Raziya) Sultana was the daughter of Iltutmish. Razia Sultana received popular acclaim when she asked for a chance to prove her ability far better than any man. But the coup displeased the vizier Muhammad Juniad and a section of the nobility was displeased. The Governors of Lahore, Badaun, Hansi, Bengal, Multan etc. revolted against Delhi. But having been unable to summon reinforcements from loyal provinces Razia resorted to the diplomacy of dividing her enemies. She persuaded two of the rebel leaders to join her secretly and betray their comrades and gave out this information to their comrades who fled out of fear when many of them were pursued and killed. The vizier died in the Sirmur hills as a lone fugitive.

Razia Sultana ruled Delhi for the period between 1236 and 1240. The brief rule of Sultana Razia constitutes an interlude in a decade of oligarchic misrule worsened by factiousness. She realized the need for vigorous exercise of Crown’s authority in an essentially military state and the nature of its function. She sought to compensate the disability supposed to attach to her sex, by kingly demeanor, dress, foresight, firmness hardly expected of a young woman.

Like Iltutmish, Razia Sultana showed practical wisdom when she turned down very tactfully the invitation to form an alliance with Hasan Qarlugh, who was struggling single-handed against the Mongols in the Western Sind. They began to hatch a conspiracy to depose her or at least limit her liberty of action. The leaders of the conspiracy were the amirs and maliks at the court and in the provinces. Razia had earlier in her reign suppressed the rebellion led against her.

Now the leaders and other prominent members like Malik Altunia, Governor of Bhatinda and Kabir Khan, Governor of Lahore sought to decoy her to a distant place and to finish her off there. In pursuance of this plan Kabir Khan revolted in 1240. Razia Sultana proceeded to put him down. He was defeated and he took to flight. His progress was, however, barred by the presence of the Mongols near the river Chenab. He therefore could not make good his escape, returned and made his surrender to Razia who came back to her capital in triumph. The conspirators, however, did not give up their designs. Within a short time Altunia, Governor of Bhatinda revolted, Razia again had to march against the new rebel to put him down. Hardly Razia had reached Bhatinda some agents of the conspirators killed Jalal-ud-din Yakut which weakened the Queen’s party. The conspirators captured Razia herself and put her into prison. They raised the third son of Iltutmish, Bahram, to the throne. Thus the conspirators had their victory over Razia Sultana.

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