Ghiyas ud din Balban

9th Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate

Ghiyas ud din Balban (Persian: غیاث الدین بلبن; 1216–1287, reigned: 1266–1287) was the ninth sultan of the Mamluk dynasty of Delhi.


  • Minhaj Siraj writes that Ulugh Khan Balban’s “taking of captives, and his capture of the dependents of the great Ranas cannot be recounted”. Talking of his war in Avadh against Trailokyavarman of the Chandela dynasty (Dalaki va Malaki of Minhaj), the chronicler says that “All the infidels’ wives, sons and dependents… and children… fell into the hands of the victors.” In 1253, in his campaign against Ranthambhor also, Balban enslaved many people. In 1259, in an attack on Haryana, many women and children were enslaved. Twice Balban led expeditions against Kampil, Patiali, and Bhojpur, and in the process enslaved a large number of women and children. In Katehar he ordered a general massacre of the male population of over eight years of age and carried away women and children. In 658 H. (1260 C.E.) Ulugh Khan Balban marched with a large force on a campaign in the region of Ranthambhor, Mewat and Siwalik. He made a proclamation that a soldier who brought a live captive would be rewarded with two silver tankahs and one who brought the head of a dead one would get one silver tankah. Soon three to four hundred living and dead were brought to his presence.
    • Minhaj; Elliot and Dowson, II, 348, 367, 371, 380-81, Farishtah, I, 73. Farishtah, I. 73. As quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5
  • Balban, when he was Ulugh Khan Khan-i-Azam, once brought to Delhi (in about 1260) two hundred fifty 'Hindu leading men and men of position” from Mewar and Siwalik, bound and shackled and chained. During the expedition he had proclaimed that a royal soldier would be rewarded with two silver tankahs if he captured a person alive and one tankah if he brought the head of a dead one. They brought to his presence 300 to 400 living and dead everyday. The reigning Sultan Nasiruddin ordered the death of the leading men. The others accompanying them were shaken to the bones and completely tamed.
    • Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5
  • As a minister Balban was not softhearted. When he became the Sultan, he followed the policy of blood and iron, which means that his killings became even more sanguinary. His sphere of operations was, however, confined to the Ganga-Jamuna doab and Avadh, Katehar and Mewat. In Katehar large sections of the male population were massacred and, according to Barani, in villages and jungles heaps of human corpses were left rotting. During his expedition to Bengal, ‘on either side of the principal bazar (of Lakhnauti) in a street two miles in length, a row of stakes was set up and the adherents of Tughril were impaled upon them.’
    • Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian muslims: Who are they.
  • It is true that Balban also made detailed enquiries about the families of all his officers. He refused to grant audience to a low-born officer (Amir-i-Bazariyan) for “granting him an interview would reduce the status of the king in the eyes of the common people and diminish the prestige of the throne”.
    • Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian muslims: Who are they.
  • Muslim power in India suffered a serious setback after Iltutmish. Balban had to battle against a revival of Hindu power. The Katehar Rajputs of what came to be known as Rohilkhand in later history, had so far refused to submit to Islamic imperialism. Balban led an expedition across the Ganges in 1254 AD. According to Badauni, “In two days after leaving Delhi, he arrived in the midst of the territory of Katihar and put to death every male, even those of eight years of age, and bound the women.” But in spite of such wanton cruelty, Muslim power continued to decline till the Khaljis revived it after 1290 AD.
    • `Abd al-Qadir Bada'uni, quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231 Ch. 6

Ziaudin Barni, Tarikh i Firoz Shahi

Ziaudin Barni, Tarikh i Firoz Shahi in Elliot and Dowson
  • Sultan Ghiyasu-d Balban was a man of experience in matters of government.
  • In the administration of justice he was inflexible, showing no favour to his brethren or children, to his associates or attendants.
  • Sultan Balban, while he was a Khan, was addicted to wine drinking.
  • In the year of his accession, the Sultan felt the repression of the Miwdttis to be the first of his duties, and for a whole year he was occupied in overthrowing them and in scouring the jungles, which he effectually accomplished. Great numbers of Miwdttis were put to the sword.
    • 103-6
  • After the Sultan had thus routed out the Miwdttis, and cleared away the jungle in the neighbourhood of the city, he gave the towns and country within the Doab to some distinguished chiefs, with directions to lay waste and destroy the villages of the marauders, to slay the men, to make prisoners of the women and children, to clear away the jungle, and to suppress all lawless proceedings. The noblemen set about the work with strong forces, and they soon put down the daring of the rebels. They scoured the jungles and drove out the rebels, and the ryots were brought into submission and obedience.
    • 103-6
  • In two nights and three days he crossed the Ganges at Kateher, and sending forward a force of five thousand archers, he gave them orders to burn down Kateher and destroy it, to slay every man, and to spare none but women and children, not even boys who had reached the age of eight or nine years. He remained for some days at Kateher and directed the slaughter. The blood of the rioters ran in streams, heaps of slain were to be seen near every village and jungle, and the stench of the dead reached as far as the Ganges. This severity spread dismay among the rebels and many submitted. The whole district was ravaged, and so much plunder was made that the royal army was enriched, and the people of Badaun even were satisfied. Woodcutters were sent out to cut roads through the jungles, and the army passing along these brought the Hindus to submission. From that time unto the end of the glorious reign no rebellion made head in Kateher, and the countries of BadAun, Amroha, Sambal, and Kanwari continued safe from the violence and turbulence of the people of Kateher.
    • 103-6
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