Ghiyath-ud-din Tughlaq was the founder of Tughlaq Dynasty. His father Malik Tughlaq was a Turkish slave of Ghiyath-ud-din Balban and his mother was a Jat lady of Punjab. Their son distinguished himself in the service of the Sultans of Delhi, and for his brilliant and victorious campaigns against Mongols earned the title of Ghazi Malik. He was appointed as the Governor of Dipalpur by Ala-ud-din Khilji. The low-caste usurper Khusrau Khan had completely extinguished the family of Ala-ud-din Khilji, so the nobles called upon Ghazi Malik to ascend the throne. This he did under the title of Ghiyath-ud-din Tughlaq Shah, and became the first ruler of Tughlaq dynasty.
Ghiyath-ud-din was an experienced administrator. He proved a firm and wise ruler. He reestablished the military might of the Delhi Sultanate and subdued the rebellious rulers. Not only the revolt of Bengal dealt with, the kingdoms of Warangal and Madura annexed and Ghiyath-ud-din also conquered Tirhut on the borders of Nepal and most part of South Asia and annexed the territories of all those rulers who had defeated by him and hence became the master of more extensive empire than that of Ala-ud-din Khilji.
About Ghiyath-ud-din as an administrator, a modern Historian says:
“The administration of Ghiyath-ud-din was based upon the principles of justice and moderation. The land revenue was organized and the Sultan took great care to prevent abuses. Cultivators were treated well and officials were severely punished for their misconduct. The departments of Justice and Police worked efficiently, and the greatest security prevailed in the remotest parts of the empire.”
He attempted to improve the finances of the state and for this purpose he established the system of taxes. Barani tells that the king believed that people should ‘be taxed so that they are not blinded with wealth and so become discontented and rebellious; nor, on the other hand, be so reduced to poverty and destitution as to be unable to pursue their daily bread.’ He improved the means of communication and conditions of roads, bridges and canals.
Giyath-ud-din faced twin sided challenges both internal and external. The administration system was completely destroyed by the incapable successors of Ala-ud-din Khilji. The usurper Khusrau Khan emptied the state treasury completely by lavish expenditures on friends and nobles to obtain their support and had granted expensive gifts to them. When Ghiyas-ud-din assended the throne he felt the need to take those gifts back to reorganize the state treasury. This created a sense of disliking and enimity between the Sultan and the sufi saint Nizam-ud-din Auliya. Hadrat Nizam-ud-din Auliya received five lakh tankas from Khusrau, but when he was asked to refund the money, he replied that it had already been spent for the relief of the poor in his monastery. Ghiyath-ud-din did not pursue the matter but it was the beginning of an unpleasant relationship between the king and the Sheikh.
Ghiyath-ud-din died in 1325 as a result of the falling of a pavilion hastily constructed by his son at Afghanpur (near Delhi) to receive him before his ceremonial entry into the capital on return from his successful campaign in Bengal. There are conflicting accounts on whether this was an accident or a conspiracy by his son to usurp power, so it remains a bit of a mystery. After his death his son Muhammad bin Tughlaq proclaimed himself the Sultan.