Slave Dynasty Important UPSC Notes

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slave dynasty

The Slave Dynasty, also popularly known as the Mamluk Dynasty ruled over the region of Delhi during the 13th century. It was founded by Qutubuddin Aibak, a Mamluk or enslaved soldier of Muhammad Ghori. Aibak played a pivotal role in expanding the rule of the Turkish Sultanate in India. He went on and won numerous expeditions, plundered and looted Hindu temples, and caused massive destruction in the Indian subcontinent. But how did a slave establish the Slave Dynasty? Let’s find out the answer together. 

How did the Slave Dynasty Originate? 

  • Muhammad Ghori ascended the throne of Ghazni in 1173 AD. his numerous invasions and battles resulted in the establishment of the Turkish Sultanate in the north of Vindhyas.
  • Subsequently, he managed to conquer other regions such as Samana, Sarsuti, Delhi, and Ajmer.
  • After the Battle of Tarain, Ghori returned to Ghazni and left his slave Aibak in charge of the affairs of India. 
  • After returning to India, he won the Battle of Chandawar which further strengthened the foundations of Turkish rule in India,
  • Muhammad Ghori passed away in AD 1206 and the throne was ascended by Qutubuddin Aibak as the first Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate. 

Also Read: Satavahana Dynasty: History, Rulers and Decline

Slave Dynasty Rulers

Here are the top most popular and prominent Mamluk Dynasty rulers along with their achievements and contributions to the dynasty.

Qutubuddin Aibak 

  • Qutuubddin Aibak was the founder of the slave dynasty.
  • He belonged to a Turkish family, was sold to a Qazi as a slave, and was later purchased by Muhammad Ghori.
  • Initially, he looked after Ghori’s stables and eventually got promoted into his military forces.  
  • He died while playing Chaugan or horse polo.
Source: IndiaOnline

Aram Shah

  • After the sudden death of Qutubuddin Aibak, his officers placed Aram Baksh or Aram Shah over the throne of Lahore. 
  • However, the subjects refused to submit to the rule of Aram Shah. Instead, they invited the son-in-law of Aibak, Iltumish, to ascend the throne. 

Shamshuddin Iltumish

  • Upon receiving the invitation, Shamshuddin Iltumish marched to Delhi and defeated the forces of Aram Shah. 
  • He won the Battle of Jud and killed Aram Shah to become the sovereign ruler of Delhi. 
  • During the initial years of his rule, Shamshuddin Iltumish shifted the capital to Delhi from Lahore.
  • He divided his empire into Iqtas and employed Iqtadars to maintain law and order and collect taxation and revenue. 
  • Iltumish also issued the popular Arabic coinage of silver tanka. It weighed around 175 grams. 
  • Amidst other mighty challenges, Iltumish won the Battle of Tarain by defeating Yaldauz. 
  • He was succeeded by his son Ruknuddin Iltumish who was an incompetent ruler in comparison. 

Also Read: Tughlaq Dynasty: Rulers of Delhi Sultanate

Razia Sultan 

  • Razia Sultan was the first female Muslim ruler of South Asia. 
  • She was an unbiased ruler.
  • Razia gave up the practice of purdah (veil) which she believed interfered with effective management. 
  • It was during her reign that Madarasa-i Nasiriya became the center of learning. 
  • She was defeated by Altunia, the governor of Tabarhinda. However, her brother Baram Shah took the opportunity to ascend the throne. 

Architecture of the Slave Dynasty 

The architecture of the Slave Dynasty highlighted Indo-Islamic architectural details. Here are a few notable ones.

Qutub Minar (Delhi)

  • Qutub Minar is the highest stone tower in India at 73 meters in height. 
  • The construction was initiated by Qutubbin Aibak by completed later by Iltumish. 
  • It features five storeys which are separated by balconies of intricate designs.
  • Later on, Illtumish dedicated Qutub Minar to a popular Sufi Saint Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kak. 
Source: Jaypee Hotels

Also Read: Sayyid Dynasty: UPSC Notes, History, Architecture, Economy

Adhai-din-ka Jhonpra (Rajasthan)

  • It is a famous mosque located in Ajmer. 
  • The construction of Adhai-din-ka Jhopra began after the demolition of the Sharada temple.
  • It is made up of yellow limestone and contains inscriptions from the Holy Quran. 
  • Interestingly, the pillars and domes of this architecture are of Hindu origin. 

Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque (Delhi)

  • It is widely known as the Might of Islam.
  • Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque is the first mosque built in Delhi after the Islamic conquest of India. 
  • Qutubuddin established his government at the Qila-i-Rai Pithaura, also known as the fort of Prithviraj Chauhan. 
  • It was constructed by demolishing around twenty-seven Brahmanical and Jain temples. 
  • Since the spoils of the Hindu temples were the main construction material of this mosque, one can see Hindu decorative elements in the architecture. 
  • Interestingly, its Arabic inscription is the only Mughal element. 

Also Read: Lodi Dynasty- Exploring India’s Medieval History

Ghiyasuddin Balban

  • Ghiyasuddin Balban is another prominent ruler of the Slave Dynasty.
  • Unlike other rulers, he adopted the policy of consolidation instead of expansion. 
  • Ghiyasuddin introduced Nauroz, a Persian festival. 
  • He separated the finance department (Diwan-i unzarat) from the military department (Diwan-i Arz).

The Decline of the Slave Dynasty 

  • After the death of Balban, the throne was ascended by his son Kaimurs. Their reign lasted for merely three months, 
  • During the reign of Balban, Firoz Khilji was at the forefront of numerous battles that were led against the Mongols. 
  • A few years later, a group of Khilji nobles led by Firoz Khilji established the Khilji Dynasty which eventually brought the Slave Dynasty to its end. 

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Who was the founder of the Slave Dynasty?

Qutub-ud- din Aibak was the founder of the Slave Dynasty. They were called the Mamluk Sultans because Mamluk is an Arabic word that means owned. Therefore, since they were earlier either slaves or sons of slaves, they were recognized as Mamluk Sultans.

What do you mean by Slave dynasty?

The sultans or rulers of the Slave dynasty were originally Turks from the Mui’zzi family. Since they were either slaves or belonged to slave families, the were widely known as the Slave Dynasty or the Mamluk Dynasty. Moreover, during their rule, slavery was an integral part of the society. 

Who killed the last ruler of the Slave dynasty?

Jalal-ud-din Firoz Khilji overthrew the last Mamluk ruler, Muiz ud din Qaiqabad which led the dynasty to its drastic end. 

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