(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit)
Mohammad Tughluq had no son. When he died on March 20, 1351, there was disorder in the camp, which was plundered by the rebels of Sindh, and Mongol mercenaries, who had been hired by Mohammad Tughluq to fight against Taghi.
In this situation, Firoz was approached to ascend the throne. He hesitated but when the nobles put pressure on him, he agreed to become the King of Delhi. He was declared the King in a camp near Thatta on March 23, 1351.
Firoz Shah Tughluq was a cousin of Mohammad Tughluq and a son of Rajab. Rajab was Mohammad Tughluq’s uncle. Firoz Shah Tughluq’s mother was a princess of Dipalpur. Mohammad Tughluq loved Firoz.
In Delhi, a sister of Mohammad Tughluq put her own son, Dawar-Malik, on the throne, but she could not get any support from the chiefs. Then, Khawaja-e-Jahan, a deputy of the late King, proclaimed a boy as the son of Mohammad Tughluq and put him on the throne, but he could not find any support for him and surrendered.
Expeditions against Bengal
During the rule of Mohammad Tughluq, Bengal became independent. When Firoz Shah Tughluq became the King of Delhi, Shamas-ud-Din Iliyas Shah was the ruler of Bengal. Shamas-ud-Din Iliyas made himself the master of Eastern and Western Bengal.
In November 1353, Firoz Shah Tughluq marched from Delhi towards Bengal at the head of 70,000 horses. Iliyas took refuge into the fort of Ikdala.
Firoz Shah Tughluq besieged the fort of Ikdala. Though, he defeated the Iliyas, but Firoz did not take full advantage of his hard-earned victory and went back to Delhi in September 1354 without annexing Bengal. Some historians say that Firoz decided to go back on account of the cries of the women in the besieged fort. Others say that he was afraid of the disasters that might come on account of the beginning of the rainy season. But one thing is very clear. This invasion only resulted in the confession of weakness.
After the death of Iliyas, his son Sikandar Shah became the ruler of Bengal. In 1359, Firoz again attacked Bengal. Like his father, Sikandar Shah took refuge into the fort of Ikdala and gave hard resistance. When the rains came and the territory was flooded, Firoz came to terms with Sikandar Shah, which were favourable to the Bengal ruler.
Thus, the second Bengal expedition of Firoz Shah was as useless as the previous one. It merely exhibited once more his weakness.
Expedition against Jajnagar
When Firoz was coming back to Delhi, he marched towards Jajnagar. The Hindu ruler of Jajnagar ran away. The Delhi army destroyed the Hindu temples. The idols were thrown into the sea. Many idols were sent to Delhi to be trodden under foot by Muslims.
Then, Firoz called back the ruler of Jajnagar and his territories were restored to him on the condition that he would send every year a number of elephants to Firoz.
On his route to Nagpur, Firoz lost his way in jungles. For six months, nothing was known about his whereabouts. A large number of soldiers died in those dense jungles.
Expedition against Nagarkot
In 1337, Firoz Shah Tughluq besieged the fort of Nagarkot. After fighting for six months, the local ruler surrendered. Firoz entered into the famous Jawalamukhi Temple of Kangra. Its idols were broken and their pieces were mixed with flesh and blood of the cow. Some of the idols were sent as trophies to Medina.
Firoz was coronated in a camp in Sindh. He thought that it was necessary to re-conquer Sindh. So, in 1361 A.D., he marched towards Thatta, the capital of Sindh, with 90,000 cavalry, 480 elephants, 5,000 boats etc. His army suffered on account of the outbreak of famine and an epizootic disease. About three-fourths of his army was destroyed in this manner. Now, he decided to retreat to Gujarat. He lost his way on account of the treachery of the guides. He drifted into the Rann of Kuchchh. For about six months, nothing was known about the whereabouts of Firoz and whole of his army.
Meanwhile, his able minister Khan-e-Jahan Maqbul sent fresh troops to Firoz and it was with the help of those troops that Firoz could attack Sindh in 1363. The Delhi army defeated the ruler of Sindh.
But his expedition to Sindh, like his Bengal campaign, revealed his lack of military ability and tactical skill.
Death of Firoz Shah Tughluq
Mohammad Khan, a son of Firoz, devoted all his time to pleasures. Firoz tried to create more interest for work in the Prince but in vain. Some of the nobles organized rebellion against the authourity of Mohammad Khan. Mohammad Khan was obliged to fight. Firoz fought against him. Mohammad Khan was defeated and he ran away.
Firoz Shah appointed his grandson, Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughluq Shah second, as his heir and also conferred upon him the royal title. Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughluq second was son of Fateh Khan, the eldest son of Firoz, who died in 1374.
On September 20, 1388, at the age of 80, Firoz Shah Tughluq died.