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Feroze Shah Tughluq

Feroze Shah Tughluq

Firuz Tughlaq is the third influential king of Tughlaq dynasty. He was the son of Rajjab the youngest brother of Giyathud-ud-Tughlaq and had special attention of his uncle in states matter. On Muhammad Bin Tughlaq’s death the nobles and religious leaders approached his cousin Feroz to accept the crown. In person Feruz was a religious disposition. He tried to run his government according to Islamic Law. The study of Islamic Law was encouraged during his rule and many books on the subject were compiled. He attempted to enforce the law against the unorthodox sects like Isma’ili Shi’ah and the non-Muslims as well. For the first time Jiziah was levied on the Brahmans, who had remained exempt from the tax. On appeal, the king reduced the amount to be levied from 10 tankas to 50 jitals but maintained the tax as a legal formality.

 

Feruz Tughlaq learned the lesson from his cousin and didn’t try to indulge in military expeditions. He decided not to reconquer areas that had broken away. He asserted his authority over only such areas, which could be easily administered from the centre and therefore made no attempt to re-assert his authority over South India and Deccan. Rather he preferred to develop his kingdom internally. He introduced many reforms to the country and raised the level of peace and happiness among his people. He had seen the fate of Muhammad Tughlaq and was anxious to win the favour of powerful religious leaders and orthodox Muslim nobility.

 

He concentrated his energies on public welfare in order to encourage agriculture, he initiated extensive irrigation schemes and dug five canals to distribute nthe water if Sutlej and Jhelum over a large area. One of the canals dug by him continues to be used up to the present day. Among his other measures were the setting up of employment and marriage bureaus. The greatest monuments of Feroz’s rule are buildings and towns founded by him. He is credited with the erection of 200 large and small towns, 40 mosques, 30 collages, 30 reservoirs, 50 dams, 100 hospitals, 100 public baths and 150 bridges. He also took steps to secure translations of number of Sanskrit books which he found during his conquest to Kangra (1361).

 

Firuz tried his best to undo the evil effects of his predecessor’s rule. He released the persons unfairly imprisoned by Muhammad Tughlaq. He paid indemnities to the relatives of the persons unjustly put to death, and restored those estates which had been unlawfully confiscated. He also took steps to facilitate the payment of land revenue. Firuz imposed only four taxes including Kharaj (land tax), Khumus (1/5 of booty) Jizya (tax on Hindus for providing them safety in a Muslim state) and Zakat (2, 1/2% of the income of the Muslim). He imposed irrigation tax on the peasants who used the water of the canals constructed by the state as 1/10 of their products (usher). He abolished nearly 24 taxes.  Instead of wasting resources of the country upon military campaigns he devoted all his energies in developing its wealth. People were naturally happy during his reign.

 

Although there was hardly any rebellion in the country, the reign was inglorious from the military point of view. Firuz died in 790/1388, at the ripe age of eighty three, esteemed by his subjects, but he was unable to stop the breakup of the empire which had commenced during the later years of his predecessor’s rule, and after his death the pace of disintegration became quicker. There were rebellions in the outlying parts of the empire and the weakness of kingdom invited foreign invasion and in 1398 Taimur entered India and sacked Multan, Delhi and other important cities in the northwest.

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