Delhi, the capital of India has been witnessing kings, emperors, and rulers of various races, religions, and nationalities. The term Delhi Sultanate brings in names like Razia Sultan, Shams-ud-din-Illtutmish, Qutub-ud-din-Aibak, etc. who played a major role in streamlining the heritage of the capital followed by the great Mughals. But among all, we are always curious to know as to who was the first slave king of the Delhi sultanate?
What Does The Slave Dynasty Mean?
About 8 centuries ago, India was under the rule of the Ghurid Dynasty. After the death of Mohammad Ghori, his slave, Qutub-ud-din-Aibak announced himself to be the sultan of the areas under his provision.
This is how a king’s slave became the sultan of Delhi and hence the beginning of an era had commenced. The term Slave Dynasty is used to underline the fact that a former emperor’s slave took over the throne as opposed to the tradition of a royal heir taking over.
Who Was The First Slave King Of Delhi Sultanate?
The first slave king of Delhi Sultanate was Qutub-ud-din Aibak. He crowned himself as the ruler or sultan of Delhi in 1206. He worked as a local receiver-general for Mohammed Ghori during the latter’s reign.
Though he worked as a local receiver-general, why was he known to be a slave? It is said that Aibak was sold as a slave in his early childhood and was finally purchased by the then ruler of the Ghorid Dynasty in the country of Afghanistan.
Qutub-ud-din Aibak was highly favored by Mohammed Ghori because of his warship qualities. He excelled in sports like archery and horse riding and was a skilled administrator. Soon after he became a part of the Ghurid Dynasty, he was made in charge of the northeastern territories of India.
After the demise of Ghori, he fought with other officials and nobles to capture the north-western territories and settled his capital at Lahore. His skills largely contributed to strengthening and flourishing the administrative system and overall working of the sultanate.
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The Reign Of Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak
Unlike typical rulers, Qutub-ud-din Aibak had a distinguished style of handling his territories. Instead of going to wars and draining the resources of his state, he focused on integrating the areas under his rule and strengthening them.
Ancient chronicles reveal the testimony of prestigious ambassadors about Aibak being a just ruler. He was a generous and loyal ruler and did not entertain any injustice with peasants and his subjects overall.
A Persian historian chronicler states that the term “Aibak of the time” was used to denote and signify generous people.
Ironical Facts About Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak
- Being a slave himself, some of us might expect Aibak to demolish the selling of humans as slaves. But as it turns out, some of his large-scale conquests included the capturing of thousands of slaves. Different territorial campaigns resulted in the enslavement of huge numbers of slaves.
- He was known for his horsemanship and was even in charge of royal stables under the Ghori reign. But ironically he died while he was riding a horse and playing chovgan (known as polo in the modern-day). Chovgan was considered to be an aristocratic game and was played by high-ranked officials and kings only. In the year 1210, the saddle of the horse ripped the ruler’s chest after he fell from the horse while playing polo leading to the demise of the first slave king of Delhi Sultanate.
Heritage Contributions By Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak
Every ruler gets lost in the sands of time but what keeps them immortal are their contributions during their rule. Beautiful historical monuments, distinguished laws, lineage, and ambassadors or authors were some of the few ways used by the kings to immortalize their existence.
In the case of Aibak, two prominent historical monuments immortalize the presence of the first slave king in India.
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- Qutub Minar – A victory minaret built with red and gray sandstones is still present in Delhi. The construction of the monument was started by Qutub-ud-din Aibak.
- Adhai Din Ka Jhopra – It is one of the oldest monuments in Ajmer and signifies the Islamic destruction over Hindu monuments. It is believed to have been constructed in literally 2 ½ days.
The construction of both the monuments was initiated by Qutub-ud-din Aibak, however, they were completed under the reign of Iltutmish.