Qutb-ud-din Aibak, a Turkic slave commander of Muhammad Ghori, was the founder of the Slave dynasty, which was the first of the five dynasties of the Delhi Sultanate. He is remembered for consolidating the Muslim rule in India after the death of Muhammad Ghori in 1206, and for his patronage of art and architecture. Aibak was born in Turkestan in the 1150s and was originally a slave of Muhammad Ghori. He quickly rose to power as Ghori’s general and was eventually appointed as the governor of Lahore in 1206. After Ghori’s death the same year, Aibak declared himself sultan and founded the Slave dynasty. He then set out to expand his kingdom, conquering much of northern India, including Delhi, Ajmer, and Ranthambore. He also captured Bengal, which became one of his most important provinces.
Qutb-ud-din Aibak was an able soldier and administrator, and he is credited with laying the foundation for the future success of the Delhi Sultanate. He was a patron of art and architecture, and some of his most impressive works include the Qutb Minar, the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, and the Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra mosque. He was a patron of learning and is said to have provided generous grants to scholars. Aibak died in 1210 after falling off his horse while playing polo. He was succeeded by his son Aram Shah who, however, was soon ousted by Iltutmish, one of Aibak’s former generals.
Iltutmish was the third ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, and one of the most influential figures of the Delhi Sultanate dynasty. He was the son-in-law of Qutb al-Din Aibak and was chosen as the Sultan of Delhi upon Aibak's death in 1211. Iltutmish was a brilliant military leader, expanding the territory of the Delhi Sultanate by conquering the regions of Bengal, Ranthambore, and Multan. He was also a successful administrator, introducing a number of reforms to improve the efficiency of the Delhi Sultanate. He is credited with introducing a number of new administrative practices such as the use of the Iqta system, which allowed him to appoint officials to oversee the collection of taxes. He also standardized the coinage system and introduced the silver Tanka coin, which became the official currency of the Delhi Sultanate. Iltutmish also promoted education and encouraged the study of Islamic law. He appointed scholars to teach Islamic law in his court, and also established madrasas, or Islamic schools of higher learning. He also sent out embassies to foreign courts, including to the court of the Mongol ruler Genghis Khan.
Iltutmish was also responsible for the construction of several monuments in Delhi, including the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque and the Minar-e-Zarin, which still stand today. ltutmish was also an able diplomat; he negotiated with the Mongols and other regional rulers in order to maintain peace and stability.
Razia Sultana (1236-40) was the first and only female ruler of the Delhi Sultanate in the Indian subcontinent. She ascended the throne upon her father Iltutmish's death and ruled for four years, until she was murdered in 1240. She was a strong and competent ruler and is remembered for her bravery, intelligence, and support of education and the arts. Razia was born in 1205 to Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, the founder of the Delhi Sultanate, and his favorite wife, Turqutunissa, who was of Turkic descent. Her upbringing was atypical for a royal princess, as she was educated in history, politics, and military strategy, and raised to be an independent and strong-willed young woman. She had a close relationship with her father and became his favorite daughter, a status which was reinforced when she defended him against a group of rebellious nobles.
Razia Sultana ascended the throne in 1236 after her father’s death. At this time, the Delhi Sultanate was divided into two camps; those supporting Razia’s claim to the throne, and those supporting her half-brother, Rukn ud-Din Firuz. Razia was able to win the support of many nobles by offering them a share in the administration of the state, and by demonstrating her ability to rule. She was an able administrator and a brave warrior, leading her army against the Mongols and in several other successful campaigns. Razia was an enlightened ruler and an advocate for education and the arts. She supported the establishment of universities, libraries, and madrasas, and provided funds for the restoration of ancient Hindu temples. She abolished oppressive taxes and appointed Hindus and Muslims to positions in government. Her reign was cut short in 1240 when she was murdered by a group of nobles who opposed her rule.
Nasiruddin, also known as Nasiruddin Mahmud, was a Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate in India, who ruled from 1246 to 1266 CE. He was the son of Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, the founder of the Delhi Sultanate, and succeeded his brother, Ala ud-Din Masud Shah, in 1246. Nasiruddin was very religious and used to spend most of his time in prayers. He lived a very austere life and had no servants. He earned the money for his personal expenses by selling handwritten copies of the verses of the Quran. Nasiruddin Mahmud did not take much interest in administrative affairs. The administration was looked after by his father-in-law Ghiyas ud din Balban.
Ghiyasuddin Balban (1266-86) was a Turkish ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. He was one of the most powerful and influential of the Delhi Sultans, and his rule is seen as the golden age of the Sultanate. He was born in a family of noble Turkic lineage, and was a loyal servant of the reigning Sultan. He was appointed as the governor of Bengal by the Sultan, and soon began to expand his influence. He led military campaigns against the Mongols and other rulers of Northern India, and was successful in establishing the Sultan's control over a vast area. Balban is remembered for his strong and decisive leadership, which helped to bring stability and prosperity to the region. He was known for his strict adherence to justice and his iron-fisted rule. He believed that justice should be impartial and dispensed without fear or favor. This is evident in his establishment of the Diwan-i-Khairat, an office for dispensing justice.
He also implemented a number of reforms to strengthen the Sultanate. These included the introduction of a standing army, the establishment of a new system of taxation, and the introduction of a new bureaucratic system. Balban was a strong believer in the importance of education and encouraged the development of culture and learning. He founded a number of madrasas and libraries, and was a patron of the arts. He also sought to promote the spread of Islam, and was instrumental in the construction of a number of mosques and Sufi shrines. Balban also worked to improve the economy of the Sultanate. He abolished the oppressive jizya tax on non-Muslims, and instead imposed a fixed tax on all subjects. He also established a monopoly on the trade of certain commodities and encouraged the development of the agricultural sector. Despite his success, Balban's rule was not entirely peaceful. He faced a number of rebellions from various regional rulers, and was forced to rely on military force to maintain order. He was also known for his heavy-handed approach to justice, and his harsh punishments for those who disobeyed his orders. Balban's reign as Sultan of Delhi was short-lived, and he died in 1286.