[PDF Notes] Get Complete Information on the Evaluation of Iltutmish

As regards an evaluation of Iltutmish, Sir Wolseley Haig was of the opinion that Iltutmish was the greatest of all the slave kings. “His achievements were hardly equal to that of his master but he never had, as Aibak had, the moral and material support of a great empire.

What he accomplished, he accomplished by himself, often in the face of great difficulties and he added to the dominions of Aibak, which he found dismembered and disorganized, the provinces of Sind and Malwa.

That he was even more profuse than his master is little to his credit, for the useless and mischievous prodigality of eastern rulers is more often the fruit of vanity than of any finer feeling and at a court at which a neat epigram or a smart repartee is almost as profitable as a successful campaign, the resources of a country are wasted on worthless objects.’

The same writer says: “Iltutmish was the greatest of the Slave Kings. To the dominions of Aibak he added Lower Sindh and part of Malwa, besides restoring and maintaining order in the loose congeries of fiefs of which those dominions were composed. He was a builder as well as a conqueror and an administrator and left monuments both at Delhi and Ajmer displaying his taste in architecture.’”

Dr. Habibullah observes: “His was a remarkably successful reign. He took up Aibak’s unfinished work and against heavy odds and on imperfect foundations, built up a state whose sovereignty required great diplomatic skill to preserve. That he, an ex-slave, could leave the crown to his sons, is a measure of his constructive statesmanship.

Great realism, steadfastness and foresight marked his conduct of foreign affairs. Medieval India owed him not a little gratitude for helping her to escape the Mongol fury which had uprooted more powerful and far older empires. His firm and energetic action unified the kingdom and saved it from initial dismemberment. Against the Rajputs his forward policy achieved great success and yielded results of great moral value; it constituted an effective answer to the first challenge directed by the Hindus against the newly established Muslim State.

Beyond recovering Muizzuddin’s conquests, he made appreciable advance into Rajputana and the trans-Gangetic tracts and also towards reorganising the Indus valley frontier. A calculating and skilful organiser, to him the Sultanate owed the first outline of its administrative systenr. He laid foundations of an absolute monarchy that was to serve later as the instrument of a military imperialism under the Khaljis. By a clever compromise with religious leaders, he disarmed moral opposition, while the military class found profit and occupation in his expansionist schemes.

Not merely his crown and his dynasty, but also the State obtained its final sanction and his ambition its crowning fulfillment, when on the 22nd Rabi, 1,626/19th February, 1229, emissaries from the Abbaside Caliph arrived from Baghdad to invest him with the powers of an Islamic king. Aibak’s objective was at last achieved and the Delhi State thus became a full legal entity.

To describe Iltutmish as great would no doubt be an overstatement but he was an unusually able ruler who left his mark on every aspect of the Sultanate’s activity. Even long after he was gone and his dynasty supplanted, people fondly looked back to his ‘prosperous and glorious reign’. Aibak outlined the Delhi Sultanate and its sovereign status; Iltutmish was unquestion ably its king.”

According to Minhaj-us-Siraj, “Never has a sovereign virtuous, kind-hearted and reverent towards the learned and the divines, sat upon, the throne.” Iltutmish is also described in some contemporary’s descriptions as “a protector of the lands of God” and “the helper of the servants of God.”

It is pointed out that the court of Iltutmish became an asylum for great poets and scholars from various parts of Asia. Minhaj-us-Siraj, the author of Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, was patronized by Iltutmish. The same was the case with poets Ruhani and Malik Taj-ud-Din Rezab. Awfi wrote Jawami-ul-Hikayat during his reign.

About Iltutmish, Prof. K. A. Nizami says that he was one of the most outstanding rulers of medieval India. He was a shrewd, cautious and farseeing statesman. He left a permanent mark on the canvas of Indian History. It was Iltutmish who gave the country a capital, an independent state, a monarchical form of government and a governing class.

He transformed a loosely patched up congeries of Ghurid acquisitions in Hindustan into a well-knit and compact state, the Sultanate of Delhi. Although he started his career as a slave of Aibek, he worked his way to the top by sheer dint of merit. When he ascended the throne, the political atmosphere was confused and everything was in a nebulous and underfed state. There were no traditions to guide him and no leader to help him in moments of crisis.

He had to find his way on an unchartered sea. However, his constructive abilities rose up to the occasion and he planned his work so carefully that when he died the Sultanate of Delhi had already emerged with its clear and well-defined contours. A Royal house had been firmly established and even the principle of hereditary succession was accepted. Iltutmish was the real architect of the city of medieval Delhi which with brief intervals continued to be the focal point of politics till 1857. Its minarets, mosques, Madrasas, Khanqas and tanks rose into prominence under him.

He gave Delhi a cultural atmosphere which attracted and absorbed the Muslim talents. He made Delhi not only the political and administrative centre of the Turkish Empire in India but also the hub of its cultural activities. In the literature of the Sultanate period, Delhi is never referred to merely by its name. It is called either “Hazrat-i-Delhi” (The Majestic Delhi), or “The City” (Shahar).

The contribution of Iltutmish to the monetary system of the Sultanat was very great. It was he who introduced the Silver Tanka and the Copper Jital-the two basic coins of the Sultanate period. Nelson Wright says: “The reign of Iltutmish stands out as a landmark in the coinage of Delhi.

There need be no hesitation in advancing the proposition that this Tanka was, as the weights indicate, the model on which the Tankas of the subsequent sultans were based and to them can be traced the modern rupee….To Iltutmish also, it would seem, belongs the credit of introducing the Jital into the currency as a specific coin. Iltutmish was a great moneyer.

That he established the silver Tanka and the bullion Jital on a firm footing was in itself a remarkable achievement….Iltutmish may also be credited with extending to India the trans-forntier practice of putting on the Tanka the name of the mint-town.”

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