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Dwelling Delhi: A History from Harappa to The Sultanate (Insaniyat Excerpts)

Mohammad Bin Tughlaq died in 1351, handing over the empire to his cousin brother Feroz Shah Tughlaq, who had no plans of controlling the empire but had to take over after the death of his brother. Feroz Shah Tughlaq built the fifth city of Delhi; Firozabad, on the banks of river Yamuna. The Sultanate prospered under his rule as he corrected the unjust taxation system (introduced by Mohammad Bin Tughlaq) which put an end to the distress faced by farmers. His rule is particularly remembered for the department of charity called Diwan-e-Khairak. He is also credited for building numerous roads, hospitals and gardens. According to various travelers, Feroz Shah Tughlaq built approximately 1200 gardens out of which only a few remain today. He also built the Kushke Firozabad (Feroz Shah Kotla as called by the British) which has 3 main palaces and a lot of Mahals. It houses the Mahal-e-Angoor where the Sultan met with his special nobles. The Mahal-e-Angoor gradually developed as a hub of arts and literature amongst the intellectuals of the court. The Kushke Firozabad also houses Mahal-e-Chaja-e-Choba where the Sultan met with his private attendants and the Bara-e-Aam where the Sultan met with the general public. The structure of these buildings was copied by the Mughals to build their palaces. He also built the Dargah Roshan Chirag Dilli which was built by him in the name of Hazrat Khwaja Naseerudin Mehmood Chirag. Historians have revered Feroz Shah Tughlaq as the first conservator of India as he has been credited for building a lot of gardens along with 5 smart cities. Under him, his Prime minister, Khan-e-Jahan-e-Telangani built 7 mosques made of local stone with a solid structure. Scholars have noted a peculiar detail from the Tughlaq period, that none of their mosques have calligraphy as opposed to other mosques built by different dynasties of the Sultanate. After Feroz Shah’s death, the Tughlaq dynasty saw a rebellion brewing as there was a war of succession between Feroz Shah’s successors and the nobles. Amid this rebellion, Naseerudin Tughlaq assumed charge only to see the end of the Tughlaq dynasty. After 8 decades of glorious rule, the city of Delhi was ruined in between the rebellion for power and succession, but the city was to see worse as it was soon invaded by the Turco-Mongol raider Timur Lang, who came to Delhi, looting and killing over 50,000 people. Naseerudin Tughlaq was left with no money and army, and the city of Delhi was ransacked with no authority. As Timur raided Delhi, it came in close proximity with Samarkand which resulted in massive migration of people with Afghani origin to Delhi changing the city’s demographic structure. Timur, who was only interested in monetary gains handed over the city to Khizr Khan who found the Sayyid Dynasty which ruled Delhi from 1414-1450.

This article is an excerpt from an article of Insaniyat Magazine. Insaniyat magazine is a journal for the lovers of social sciences and arts. The first edition comes out on August 15th. Buy Insaniyat Magazine to read the full unedited version.

Cover Photo: Nupur Bhatnagar


Insaniyat is the perfect journal for creative individuals,  researchers, students, or anyone who enjoys reading. It has been handcrafted for the lovers of Social Sciences and Arts. First edition coming August 15th, 2020. Insaniyat primarily covers the history, culture, and arts of India.

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