The Slave Dynasty

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit)

During the time period of 1206 to 1290, all the Muslim rulers of Delhi were either slaves or progeny of slaves. Kutab-ud-Din Aibak, Altutmish and Balban were slaves at one time. Aram Shah, Behram Shah and Masud were relatives of slaves. That is why this dynasty is called the slave dynasty.

Kutab-ud-Din Aibak

In 1206, Mohammad Gauri died. He had no child, so after his death, his kingdom was divided into many parts by his slaves. Taj-ud-Din Yildoz became the ruler of Ghazni. Mohammad Bin Bakhtiyar Khilji got Bengal. Nasir-ud-Din Quabacha became the king of Multan. Kutab-ud-Din became the king of Delhi.

Kutab-ud-Din Aibak was the founder of the slave dynasty. Mohammad Gauri appointed him the viceroy of Delhi, but after the death of Gauri, he declared himself the independent king of Delhi.

Basically, he was from Turkistan. A Muslim priest bought him, when he was just a child. That priest belonged to Khurasan.

The priest provided him with good education. Then, he was sold to Mohammad Gauri. Very soon, Aibak pleased Gauri with his learning and ability.

By his ability, Aibak became Gauri’s commander. During invasions on India, Aibak helped him a lot. Gauri was happy with him. So, when Gauri returned to Ghazni, he appointed Aibak as his viceroy.

Kutab-ud-Din Aibak worked as Gauri’s viceroy till Gauri’s death, and then he became an independent king of Delhi. He remained the king until his death in 1210.

Aibak’s Main Conquests

As a commander of Gauri, Aibak attacked on Delhi and Hansi in 1191. In 1194, he occupied Ranathambhor and Banaras.

As a viceroy, he occupied Gwalior in 1196. Next year, he attacked Gujrat’s capital Anhilwara and defeated the king. In 1202, Aibak attacked on Kalinjar, the capital of Bundelkhand and occupied it.

As a king of Delhi, first of all he attacked on Taj-ud-Din Yildoz. Yildoz became the independent king of Ghazni after death of Gauri. Aibak attacked on Ghazni with the help of Mahmud and occupied it in 1208.

When Yildoz started to pressurize Ghazni after his defeat, Aibak came back to Delhi. Delhi was more important for him than Ghazni.

When Gauri was the king, he appointed Mohammad Bin Bakhtiyar Khilji as his viceroy to Bengal and Bihar. Mohammad Bin Bakhtiyar Khilji died before Kutab-ud-Din Aibak became the king of Delhi. When Aibak became the king, the successors of Mohammad Bin Bakhtiyar Khilji and another chief, Ali Mardan Khan were quarreling for the throne. Aibak interfered and appointed Ali Mardan as governor of Bengal and Bihar. Ali Mardan agreed to pay him annual tax.

In 1210, when he was playing Polo, he fell down from his horse and died. He was buried in Lahore.

Aram Shah

After the death of Aibak, his son Aram Shah became the king, but some governors did not accept him as a king. He could rule only for one year.

The chiefs selected Iltutmish for the post of king. He was son-in-law of Kutab-ud-Din Aibak.


Iltutmish was a Turk. He was sold to a trader. He impressed Aibak and then Aibak purchased him. Rising step by step, he became chief of the hunt. It is said that he was unequalled in beauty, virtue, intelligence and nobleness of character.

Anyhow, Iltutmish made Aibak so happy that he could marry Aibak’s daughter. Aibak appointed him as governor of Gwalior. When Aram Shah was not accepted as the king, Iltutmish became the king.

The Conquest and Main Events by Iltutmish

Although Iltutmish became the king by chance; but it was not an easy job for him. There were many other chiefs who wanted to become king. They were constantly making plans to get their goal.

Many governors stood in revolt. When Iltutmish was facing already many problems, the Mongols started to invade.

But Iltutmish did not give up. He set himself to the task of dealing with the situation in a bold and decisive manner.

Suppression of hostile Turk Chiefs

Many Turk chiefs stood in revolt. All of them were united against Iltutmish. Iltutmish fought against them in a battlefield outside of Delhi. Most of them were killed and thus, Iltutmish passed his first examination.

Defeat of Yildoz

Yildoz was once a slave of Mohammad Gauri. After the death of Gauri, he became the king of Ghazni in 1206. It is said that Yildoz was a great monarch of excellent faith, mild, beneficent, of good position and very handsome. Even Kutab-ud-Din could not harm him. Now, Iltutmish tried to defeat him.

Actually, Yildoz occupied Punjab in 1214. Iltutmish could not tolerate this. So, he defeated Yildoz in 1215. Yildoz was killed in Iltutmish’s custody.

Suppression and death of Qubacha

Nasir-ud-Din Qubacha declared himself the king of Multan and Uch. In 1217, Iltutmish declared a war against him. He could succeed to defeat Qubacha, but then he ran away to Sindh. For many years, Iltutmish remained busy against Mongols. At last in 1227, he could able to defeat Qubacha. Qubacha was running away, when he drowned in river Sindh. Iltutmish got rid of another enemy.

Suppression of Giasu-ud-Din

After the death of Aibak, Ali Mardan became the king of Bengal. When Ali Mardan died in 1212, his son Ivaz became the king and adapted a new title ‘ Giasu-ud-Din for himself.

Iltutmish wanted Giasu-id-Din to accept his superiority, but Giasu-ud-Din refused, so Iltutmish attacked on Bengal in 1220. Giasu-ud-Din was defeated, but when Iltutmish went back, Giasu-ud-Din stood again in revolt and became the king of Bengal. Iltutmish sent his son Nasir-ud-Din with a big army to suppression Giasu-ud-Din. In the battlefield, Giasu-ud-Din was killed. Thus, Iltutmish occupied Bengal.

The Conquests against Rajputs

After Aibak’s death, the Rajputs became independent kings of Gwalior, Kalinjar and Ranthambhor. So, in 1226, Iltutmish attacked on Ranthambhor and defeated Rana Vir Narayan. In 1231, Iltutmish attacked on Gwalior. He could occupy it after eleven months long fight. The king of Gwalior Mangal Dev was defeated. He ran away to save his life.

Then Iltutmish attacked on Malwa. Ujjain was its famous city. The city was looted. The sacred Mahakal temple was destroyed.

He also attacked on Bihar and Avadh.

The Invasion of Changez Khan

In 1221, the Mongols attacked on India. Changez Khan was their commander. Actually, he was chasing Shah of Khwarizm, Jalal-ud-Din, who entered into India in order to save his life.

Changez Khan defeated him near river Sindh. Jalal-ud-Din fled to Delhi and prayed for asylum. Iltutmish did not want to pick up a quarrel with Changez Khan, so he refused to protect Jalal-ud-Din. Thus, Changez Khan went back and Iltutmish felt little restful.

In April 1236, Iltutmish died.

Razia Begam

Razia Begam was the daughter of king Iltutmish. Iltutmish appointed her his successor. He said to his chiefs, “My sons are devoted to the pleasures of youth, and no one of them is qualified to be a king. They are unfit to rule the country and after my death you will find that there is no one more competent to guide the State than my daughter”.

Thus, after the death of her father, Razia became the first Muslim woman ruler of Delhi, in 1236.

She suppressed the revolts in Multan, Lahore, and Hansi etc very bravely. She used to wear gents-dress. She took part herself in battles.

When she was fighting against Altunia, a chief of Bathinda, the enemy captured her. She could fascinate her enemy, Altunia, and was married to him.

While she was in Bathinda, her brother Behram declared himself the king of Delhi with help of some chiefs. Razia Begam tried to regain Delhi with the help of her husband, Altunia, but both of them were arrested by their enemy and got killed in 1240.


Behram was a brother of Razia Begam. He became the king of Delhi with the help of 40 chiefs. Though chiefs selected him the king, but they were not united. So, Behram’s two year of power were spent in plots and counterplots, and cruel murders.
In this situation, his own army killed him in 1242.


After the murder of Behram, the chiefs selected Masood as the king of Delhi. He was a nephew of Razia Begam.

In practical, Masood had no power. He was just a puppet in the hands of chiefs.

Masood became fond of pleasure, drinking and the chase and paid not attention to the business of the Government. When Masood began to behave like a tyrant, the chiefs gave charge of the kingdom to Nasir-ud-Din, another son of Iltutmish. It happened in the year of 1246.

Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud

In 1246, Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud became the king. He was the younger son of Iltutmish.

The young king possessed the virtues of continence, frugality and practical piety, rare among his kind. He was a pious, God-fearing, compassionate ruler, who patronized the learned and sympathized with the poor and the distressed.

Balban was the chief minister of Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud. It is said that Nasir-ud-Din was the nominal king, but the reigns of the power were in the strong bands of Balban.

In 1266, Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud died. He had no son, so his chief minister, Balban, became the next king.


Balban was a Turk. In early days of his life, he was sold to a trader of Basra. The trader sold him to Iltutmish.

It is said that Iltutmish refused to buy him, because of his shortness and ugly face. Balban said to Iltutmish, “Master of the world! for whose sake have you bought these other servants?”

Iltutmish laughed and replied, “For mine.”

“Then buy me for the sake of God,” Balban begged. Thus Iltutmish bought him.

Rising step by step, Balban became the Personal Attendant of the king Iltutmish. Very soon, he became one of the 40 chiefs. When Razia Begam became the ruler, Balban was appointed as the Lord of the Hunt. When Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud became the king, Balban worked as the prime minister for 20 years. Then for next 20 years, he worked as the king.

Balban died in 1286.


Balban wanted his son Mohammad to be the next king, but Mohammad died in the life time of Balban. Then he thought that his second son Bughra Khan would take the charge of the Kingdom. Bughra Khan already was the governor of Bengal. He did not agree to become the king. Then, Balban appointed Kai Khusro as his successor. Kai Khusro was his grandson.

But after the death of Balban, Kaikabad became the king with the help of the chiefs. He was son of Bughra Khan and grandson of Balban.

Kaikabad remained the king for four years. In 1290, a Khilji chief killed him.

Before and after the murder of King Kaikabad, his three years old son, Kayumars, was enthroned for sometime. (for details see The Khilji Revolution.

Thus, the Slave Dynasty ended.