After Feroze Shah the Delhi Sultanate fell steadily into decline.
His many successors, Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq II, Nasir-ud-din Muhammad,
Ala-ud-din Sikander Shah and Nasir-ud-din Mahmud Tughlaq came and went
so quickly that they left nothing but blurred memories behind. By far
their most important achievement seems to have been usurping the
throne and killing the incumbent; except in the case of the last named
where Ala-ud-din helped matters by dying almost as soon as he
succeeded the throne. Despite this Nasir-ud-din Mahmud Tughlaq had a
hard time keeping his head intact. Three years after he took over the
throne, he fought a bitter battle with Feroze Shah Tughlaqs
grandson Nusrat Shah. The nobility of Delhi, never one to keep out of
trouble, was evenly split in this power struggle and many skirmishes
Turkish Invader- The Mongol crossed the Indus
Towards the end of 1397, news reached Delhi
that the armies of a certain Turkish king of Mongol descent had
crossed the Indus. Instead of sobering down the nobles of Delhi, the
news merely intensified the intrigue and more backstabbing followed.
By the time the nobility woke up to the gravity of the situation, the
invading army had whizzed past the Indus, Chenab and Ravi rivers and
occupied Multan. That was when they realized that they had all but
rolled out the red carpet for Timur the Lame.
Why India? Well that is the question that many historians would like
to answer. What led Timur, who was in his sixties and already a major
success in Central Asia, to come here? His own autobiography cites an
auspicious dream which prompted him to come here. It has also been
suggested that he wanted to rid the earth of kafirs (unbelievers)
this last could hardly be true since the rulers of the Delhi Sultanate
were as Islamic as he himself was. Also once the plundering of Delhi
was over, there is no evidence of Timur sticking around and urging the
people of Delhi to see the light. As far as the customary destroying
of temples was concerned, Timur seemed to think of it as a total waste
¤ A Horrifying Massacre
On December 7th 1398, after overrunning and plundering most of
northern India with a speed (Timur had crossed the Indus on September
24th 1398) that was both astonishing and alarming, the
right wing of Timurs army reached the north of Delhi which then
overlooked the Yamuna river. On 10th December the army
moved across the river to take Loni, where every Hindu inhabitant was
put to death. On December 12th a part of the sultans
divided army came out of the city to meet Timurs in battle. The
result was a terrible massacre where (although there is a controversy
about the figures) about 1,00,000 people were put to death by Timur in
a shocking display of barbarity. On December 17th, Timur crossed the
Yamuna to meet the full force of the Sultanates army. The
generals of Timur, according to his biography,
them as hungry lions scatter a flock of sheep and killed 600 of them
in one charge. The army of the sultan was crushed completely and
thoroughly by Timur and his son Pir Muhammad. When Timur took over
Delhi, the bloodshed continued unchecked for many days. The towns of
Siri and Jahanpanah were completely destroyed by Timur who occupied
them for 15 days.
¤ The Brutal Killings
The sack of Delhi by Timur has gone ringing down as the worst ever in
the history of the city. Sickeningly horrifying details of the plunder
can be read in the Safarnama, a contemporary account of it.
Before he left India, Timur sacked Meerut, Hardwar, Kangra and
Kashmir on his way to Lahore, which he didnt spare either. On
March 19th 1399, Timur at last crossed the Indus to go
back to Samarkand. By all contemporary accounts, Timur surpassed all
others in the matter of
the murder of peaceful
non-combatant Muslims and in a much smaller degree, non-combatant
non-Muslims who were beheaded or put to death on his orders in the
most original ways. and he fancied himself the saviour of Islam.
Timur left Northern India in general and Delhi
in specific in a state of complete devastation. According to a
the city was utterly ruined and
those of the inhabitants who were left died, while for two whole
months not a bird moved wings in Delhi. The Tughlaq Empire was
completely liquidated and its majesty and glory raped. Delhi had no
glory, no riches, no people, no joy and no master.
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