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Bughra Khan

Bughra Khan was the governor of lakhnauti from 1281 to 1287 and an independent sultan of the kingdom from 1287 to 1291 AD. Bughra Khan, the younger son of ghiyasuddin balban, sultan of Delhi, was earlier appointed the governor of Samana and Sanam. When the sultan advanced towards Lakhnauti to crush the rebellion of tughral khan he took Bughra Khan with him. It took the sultan about three years to suppress the rebellion. He beheaded Tughral and hanged most of his associates.

Before embarking on his return journey, the sultan entrusted Bughra Khan with the charge of Lakhnauti. He, however, cautioned the prince about the fate of a rebel, left behind two of his veterans to assist him for he did not hold a very high opinion about the prowess of his son.

Ease loving Bughra Khan was soon given to pleasures. In the mean time Prince Muhammad, the eldest and the ablest son of the sultan had lost his life in an encounter with the Mongals. The sultan summoned Bughra Khan to the court and asked him to assume the responsibility of the sultanate. But Bugra was so bemused by the tranquil atmosphere of Bengal that he rather preferred the governorship to the Sultanate of Delhi and one day silently departed for Lakhnauti even without taking leave of the sultan. Balban, bewildered and shaken, nominated Kaikhasrau, son of Muhammad, as his successor and breathed his last.

Nizamuddin, the wazir, put Kaikobad, the eldest and worthless son of Bughra Khan on the throne and thereby captured the real authority. Thus a queer thing happened; father became the vassal and son the overlord. Soon Kaikobad turned a careless debauch. Bughra Khan resolved to proceed to Delhi to make him come to senses. Kaikobad also marched his army against the advancing father. The two sides encamped, confronting each other, on the opposite banks of the Sarayu. Everything, however, was settled amicably. The father gave the son advice on statecraft, cautioned him about the evil designs of the wazir and then parted. Amir Khasrau, in his qiran-us-sadain (Meeting of Two Stars), has immortalised the incident.

Bughra Khan came back to Lakhnauti and ruled independently. Kaikobad was killed in 1290 in an uprising led by Jalaluddin Khalji and thus the House of Balban was extinguished in Delhi. The news was too shocking to Bughra Khan and he abdicated in favour of his son, ruknuddin kaikaus.

The importance of Bughra Khan's rule lies in the fact that henceforth Bengal followed an independent policy. Perhaps he had initiated the expansion of the principality of Lakhnauti to the southwest and southeasterly directions; and this trend was continued during the time of his successors. His son and successor Kaikaus proclaimed himself in coins and inscriptions as Sultan-bin-Sultan (the sultan, son of a sultan) and it may be inferred that Bughra Khan also was, for all practical intents and purposes, an independent sultan. At least he sowed the seeds of future independent sultanate of Bengal. [Muhammad Ansar Ali]