All of us know about Raziya Sultan being the first woman Muslim ruler on the Indic land that had been abducted by the Slave dynasty. Her coronation is the only reason that left term the Islamic rules as progressive and champion of woman’s rights. But the fact is, the whole kingdom was against a woman being on top. And of course, she was on top for 2 reasons: 1. She was the Daughter of a Sultan. 2. No brother of Raziya Sultan was enough valiant to be a Sultan.
While her father along with his master Aibak demolished hundreds of temples and killed thousands of Hindus, the throne of Raziya Sultan, who was legally coronated couldn’t sustain for more than 3 years.
Qutubiddin Aibak and Slave Dynasty
Ghuri’s lieutenant Qutbuddin Aibak took up the cause and launched numerous attacks. Hasan Nizami also claims that Aibak put down a Hindu uprising at Kol (Aligarh) in 1193, following which he raised three bastions with the help of cut-off heads of the defending infidels as heaps of their corpses served as food for predatory animals. According to him, the infidels’ foundations were demolished when the area was cleared of all temples and gods.
Aibak demolished 27 Hindu temples in Delhi in 1194 and used their rubble to construct the Quwwat-ul-Islam (Qutab Minar) mosque. According to Nizami, Aibak embellished it with gold and precious stones taken from temples that the elephants had devastated.
His former Turkish slave, Iltutmish, who had murdered Aibak’s heir apparent, Aram, to seize the kingdom, finished the mosque. The Chalukyas of Gujarat helped the Mher clan of Ajmer revolt against Aibak in order to save themselves. Before he could counterattack, Aibak had to ask Ghazni for reinforcements. Then, in 1196, he made his way toward Gujarat’s capital, Anahilwar Patan. After Raja Karan was vanquished, according to Nizami, 50,000 infidels were “cast to hell” by the sword along with 20,000 captives, untold numbers of animals, and 20,000 slaves. All of the temples were destroyed, and mansions were ransacked.
Aibak demolished the Sanskrit College of Visaladeva in Ajmer before laying the groundwork for a mosque that would eventually become known as the ADhai Din ka JhoMpaDa. His biggest accomplishment was the conquest of Kalinjar in 1202, where he turned temples into mosques and abducted 50,000 men as slaves, leaving the plains “black as pitch with Hindus,” as Nizami put it.
When the Gakkhars slew Ghuri in 1206, Aibak declared himself to be the new Sultan of Delhi. Obviously, Muhammad Ghuri had little time to savor the treasures after all of his fighting and conquest.
Aibak founded the “Slave Dynasty,” so called because he and some of his descendants were slaves before ascending to such high office. But because of the grandeur of God, Aibak’s reign only lasted for four years before coming to an end when he was slain in a polo accident.
However, by 1206, Ranthambhor had severed its ties to the Delhi Sultanate and Kalinjar had been taken back by the Hindu Chandellas. The Pratihar Rajputs had retaken Gwalior, the Gahadvad ruler Harischandra had conquered the Doab, and the Katehar Rajputs had reclaimed control of the region beyond the Ganges. The road to Ajmer had also been blocked by Yadavbhatti Rajputs in the vicinity of Alwar. All of these lands were lost by Aibak before he passed away in 1210.
Shamsuddin Iltutmish, Aibak’s son-in-law and successor, overthrew Aibak’s son to become the sultan (1210–1236). As a result, the hereditary principle—that a son will always replace his father—was initially refuted. The Turkish conquests in north India must be regarded as having been truly solidified by Iltutmish.
Invading Malwa in 1234, he destroyed the ancient Vidisha temple. Additionally, according to Badauni, he reportedly destroyed the well-known Mahakal Shiva temple in Ujjain, which had been there for 600 years. He brought brass Vedic statues back to Delhi and buried them so that people would step on them in front of the mosque doors. He was able to retake Ranthambhor, Gwalior, and the region surrounding Ajmer.
The Guhilots of Nagda, the Chauhans of Bundi, the Paramars of Malwa, and the Chandellas of Bundelkhand, however, repeatedly defeated him. Additionally, he was unable to escape the Katehar Rajputs’ grip. Even Ajmer was beginning to escape his control by the time Shah passed away in 1236.
Iltutmish finally proposed to his daughter Raziya (1236–1239) for the throne in his final years. The first and only Muslim woman to hold the throne in Delhi was Raziya. However, Raziya could only govern for three years because she had to fight not only her brothers but also the strong Turkish nobility in order to prove her claim.
Illtutmish’s eldest surviving son Firuz assumed control and quickly demonstrated the soundness of Iltutmish’s decision. Firuz’s tendencies “were totally towards buffoonery, sensuality, and diversion. He loved to party and ride elephants, and his wealth provided enormous benefits to the entire class of elephant drivers.
Shah Turkan, Firuz’s mother, was in charge of the government. In the fall of 1236, she attempted to assassinate Razia, but Razia thwarted the plan and, with the help of the people of Delhi, toppled and killed her brother. She emerged from purdah and made an appearance in public dressed as the sultan.
It was a turbulent time. While the Mongols posed a threat to the west, many fractious groups, including the Turkish nobility and insurgent provincial governors, weakened internal stability.
The aristocracy dethroned her for a younger brother during one such sortie from her Delhi stronghold against Malik Iltuniah of Bhatinda. Razia was held captive. But she wasn’t finished. They marched on her previous capital after she wed Iltuniah. Outside its walls, they were routed, and their army deserted them.
One later source claims that they were killed by bandits outside of Kaithal as they fled while resting under a tree. It is most likely that on October 13, 1240, she and her husband were killed by their captors.
Despite its short duration, her reign had a number of noteworthy aspects, including the commencement of the power struggle between the crown and the forty or Chahalgami, or Turkish chiefs. To subdue the Rajputs, she dispatched an expedition against Ranthambhor and effectively imposed law and order throughout her whole kingdom. In 1239, there was an internal uprising, and Raziya was captured and murdered by outlaws.
Following that, Muslim control began to wane as Hindu strength started to regain ground, notably under the leadership of the Katehar Rajputs who had resisted Islamic conquest. The Muslim Balban had to fight hard to cross the Ganges in 1254, and in Katehar he mercilessly slaughtered every male—even those as young as eight years old—while capturing every woman. Nevertheless, until the Khaljis strengthened it in 1290, Islamic dominance continued to diminish.
Sources: Crimes Against India by Stephen Knapp
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