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Muhammad bin Tughlaq famous in history, his many failures more than successes

Updated on February 28, 2016

Whims of King Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq


Coins Muhammad bin Tughlaq


Token currency was issued to overcome the shortage of money in the treasury

Muhammad bin Tughlaq crushed rebellions in Malwa, Maharashtra and Bengal. With his conquests and annexations in the southern peninsula, Muhammad bin Tughlaq Built up an empire which remained the largest created by a Sultan of Delhi.

Muhammad bin Tughlaq built an empire which remained the largest created by any Sultan of Delhi. The extent if his empire was later matched by only that of Aurangzeb among the Mughals. However, he could not completely check the threats of the Mongols and on one occasion had offer them a large sum of money to persuade them to go back.

Muhammad bin Tughlaq is famous in history more because of his many failures than for his successes. He was looked upon as a mentally unsound person by some historians of his own time. They described some of his acts as evidence of his eccentric and impractical nature. These include the transfer of the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad the issue of token currency. Other historians, however, point out that the capital was transferred because Delhi was being repeatedly threatened by the Mongols. In any case, Delhi was not completely abandoned.

Token currency was issued to overcome the shortage of money in the treasury. Copper coins were issued which were declared equal in value to the silver coins which they replaced. There was nothing wrong in principle in issuing token currency but the exercise was badly managed and thus damaged his reputation.

His decision to raise taxes on agriculture in the Doab was followed immediately by famine and so failed. Similarly, his attempt to increase the area of agriculture failed because of mismanagement and corruption among his officials.

Although a leaned and generous person, Muhammad bin Tughlaq created a lot of discontentment against himself because of his occasional bursts of anger and cruelty. The failure of his schemes also gave him a bad name. In his religious policy, he was more tolerant than his predecessor. He died in 1351.



Tomb of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq


Three plans failed to materialize for one reason or other

The first Sultan of the Khilji dynasty was Jalaluddin Khilji. But the most powerful of this dynasty was Alauddin Khilji.

Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq established the Tughlaq dynasty in 1320. Muhammad Bin Tughlaq and Firoz Shah Tughlaq were the great rulers of this dynasty.

Muhammad bin Tughlaq of Tughlaq dynasty made three unique plans in administration. But all his plans failed.

Muhammad bin Tughlaq's career is well known in history because of the administrative experiments he made. The following are noteworthy among them:-

1) He shifted the capital from Delhi to Devagiri (Daulatabad) as Devagiri was centrally, strategic; and securely located.

2) In order to prevent the attacks of the Mongols he made elaborate plans to rise a large army at great cost.

3) He sent his army to conquer the Kangra region and beyond.

All these three plans failed to materialize for one reason or other. But they all cost him an enormous amount of wealth.

Muhammad bin Tughluq tried to introduce a revolutionary currency system. It failed because he was ahead of his time.

His experiments in economic field were no less revolutionary, but also no less disastrous. Of them, the following two deserve special mention:-

A) Due to shortage of silver, the Sultan introduced brass, copper and leather coins. He assured his subjects that they could exchange these coins for silver ones at the Royal treasury. This led to a wide – spread production of fake currencies. Consequently, he had to withdraw this reform.

B) He planned to increase the revenue of the kingdom by increasing the tax on the doab area (the land between the Ganga and Yamuna rivers). It caused considerable hardship to the peasants. The peasants protest against it and abandoned cultivation of the land.

Feroz Shah who succeeded to the throne in 1361 tried to win back the nobles and the Ulemas by increasing their Jagirs, but this also did not help to bring about peace, specially in Bihar and Bengal.


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    • 10000001 profile image

      madugundu krishna 2 years ago from Yemmiganur

      thank you for reading

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 2 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Very interesting article. I always find Indian history fascinating because of the constant struggle between the diverse cultures and religions. Shared!