Sikandar Shah

Sikandar Shah (1358-1390) Sultan of Bengal. Eldest son and successor of Shamsuddin iliyas shah, Sikandar Shah ascended the throne in 1358 and ruled Bengal for more than three decades. He was a just and capable monarch and secured peace and tranquillity in the country.

On his accession to the throne, Sikandar Shah consolidated his authority and continued his father's policy of maintaining good relations with the Delhi sultan and sent an envoy named Amin Khan to Delhi with five elephants as presents to the sultan. Yet he could not avert the hostility of firuz shah tughlaq who led an expedition to Bengal on the pretext of helping Zafar Khan, a Persian noble and son-in-law of fakhruddin mubarak shah of sonargaon to vindicate his claim to that region. On the approach of the Delhi sultan, Sikandar avoided pitched battles and took refuge with his army in the fort of ekdala. The Delhi troops besieged the fortress for a long time. The Bengal army bravely defended their stronghold till the coming of the rainy season. At last a peace treaty was concluded, presents were exchanged and Firuz Shah left Bengal in 1359 AD, recognising its independence.

During his long and prosperous reign, Sikandar Shah constructed magnificent buildings and mosques, of which the famous adina mosque at pandua is the most imposing. It is the largest and most important Muslim building in the whole of Bengal. Other structures built during his reign were the tomb and mosque of akhi sirajuddin, the kotwali darwaza at the southern entrance of gaur, a vault at Ganagarampur, Dinajpur and a mosque at Mulla Simla, Hughli.

Sober and gentle, Sikandar Shah liked the association of learned persons and respected the Muslim Ulama and Shaikhs. A famous saint, shaikh alaul haq (R) of Pandua was his contemporary and had a close connection with him. He showed a liberal attitude towards Hindus as well.

The closing years of his reign was disturbed by the insubordination or rebellion of his favourite son ghiyasuddin azam shah, who killed him in a fight at Goalpara near Pandua in 1389 AD. According to a local tradition he was buried in the chamber attached to the west wall of the Adina mosque. [MA Taher]