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Iltutmish


Iltutmish (1210-1236) considered as the founder of the Delhi Sultanate, was born in a noble family of the Ilbari tribe of Turkistan. The tradition goes that the intelligence, sagacity and handsome appearance of Iltutmish excited the jealousy of his brothers who sold him into slavery at an early age. Misfortune, however, did not mar his qualities. His attainments drew the attention of Qutbuddin, Viceroy of Delhi, who purchased him at a high price. His status was raised step by step. Under Qutbuddin, the sultan of Delhi, he was made the governor of Badaun. One of the Sultan's daughters was given in marriage to him. Iltutmish ascended the throne of Delhi in 1210.

On his accession Iltutmish found himself surrounded by all sorts of difficulties. So far as Bengal was concerned, only a part of western and northern Bengal was under Muslim occupation. The Muslim principality of lakhnauti had declared independence under alimardan khalji even before Iltutmish's accession. Ghiyasuddin iwaz khalji wrested power from Ali Mardan and continued to defy Delhi. Because of his preoccupations elsewhere Iltutmish could not pay attention to the affairs of Lakhnauti. By 1225 the sultan, however, could take the field against Iwaz in person. The war ended in a treaty. According to the treaty Iwaz agreed to have the Khutbah read and coins struck in the name of Iltutmish and pay an indemnity of 80 lakhs of tankas (tangkas) and 38 elephants. Bihar was then separated from Bengal and alauddin jani was appointed its governor. But hardly had the sultan returned to Delhi when Iwaz again rebelled and expelled Jani from Bihar. The sultan sent out his eldest son Nasiruddin Mahmud together with Jani. In the battle that ensured Iwaz was killed and Lakhnauti again became a province of the Delhi Sultanate (1227). Prince Nasiruuddin ruled Bengal till his death in 1229.

The next governor of Bengal was Alauddin Daulat Shah Khalji (1229-1230). But soon Ikhtiyaruddin balka khalji ousted him. At this Iltutmish himself proceeded towards Bengal again to put down the rebellion. Balka Khalji was defeated and slain in 1231. Iltutmish then appointed Malik Alauddin Jani to restore peace and order in Bengal. Alauddin Jani, after three years' rule, asserted his own independence. Having received this news, Sultan Iltutmish recalled Alauddin Jani and appointed malik saifuddin aibak as the governor of Bengal. But soon Saifuddin died (1235 AD). Thereupon, Iltutmish put Bengal in charge of Izzuddin tughral tughan khan. Izzuddin remained faithful to Iltutmish whose authority was thus restored in Bengal. Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish died in April 1236. [ABM Shamsuddin Ahmed]