An “Eccentric” Historical Figure

This post is inspired from Robbie’s Open Book Blog Hop – A historical figure who interests me.

Have you heard about an eccentric king – a paradoxical personality?

Known as “the inhuman eccentric” and “a man of knowledge” who had an interest in subjects like philosophy, medicine, mathematics, religion, Persian and Urdu/Hindustani poetry, Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the sultan of Delhi from 1325-1351 is the most fascinating historical figure. He is famous for his bizarre, illogical and impractical decisions that earned him the title of a “crazy” king. It is astounding to note that he could rule for 25 years despite his wild policies.

In contemporary times, Tughlaq is a term still used to tease someone when they do something illogical or counter-intuitive.

What did he do to earn such titles?

  1. He ordered to move his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad and told all the citizens to move to the new capital. In the process, many died on the road due to hunger and exhaustion. (1327)

2. Just after eight years, in 1335, due to political repercussions, he decided to shift the capital back to Delhi, allowing the citizens to return to their previous city. Isn’t it crazy?

3. He allowed the use of token currency, that means coins of brass and copper were minted whose value was equal to that of gold and silver coins. As a result, the value of currency declined and the coins became as “worthless as stones.” Anybody could mint them at home. Nobody could distinguish between the official and the forged coins.

4. He increased the land revenue tax at a time when the Doab region was facing famine, thereby antagonizing his own people.

5. He lost an army of 10,000 soldiers (who perished in the Himalayas) due to poor planning of Karajal expedition.

However, many historians believe that he was a “visionary and a reformer” but lacked the ability to implement his plans.

Ironically, there is no dearth of such personalities in modern times too! It is easier to have a vision.

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34 thoughts on “An “Eccentric” Historical Figure

  1. Fascinating, Balroop. He sounds totally impulsive! An interesting person, I’m sure, despite being a disaster. It’s amazing that he ruled so long. A great tidbit from history. Thanks for sharing.

    1. This figure astounds me Diana. When I read the title of the blog hop, This name jumped at me instantly. A lot has been said about him but I’ve kept it short, avoiding it to become a history lesson. 😊

    1. I agree Elizabeth and that too during those times when people didn’t have any means of communication except carts, which poor people couldn’t afford.

  2. Muhammad bin Tughlaq sounds like a fascinating figure who inflicted harm on his citizens because of his inspirational but ill-advised ideas. Thanks for joining in Balroop and for the mention.

  3. This is fascinating, Balroop. He did earn his title having people move to a new city on a whim.

  4. Fascinating post, Balroop. Your reply to Mae Clair was going to be part of my answer. How true,
    yet people follow them .
    Tughlag took his cray whims to a new level.

    Miriam

  5. This is a fascinating and informative post, Balroop. First time I have heard “Tughlaq” and likely not the last. Ironic about the coins. It makes me wonder about the concept of ‘common sense.’ And, ruling for 25 years makes me shake my head and the lessons we do not learn. Thank you for sharing an interesting post.

    1. You are so right Erica, history is often forgotten but it remains valuable. I am glad you found this post informative. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 😊

  6. Fascinating and interesting historical story of all our Kings who ruled India and their stupidity and madness in which always the common man suffers at their foolish hands. I completely agree with you Balroop, today also the same jokers are ruling our country and making a mockery of India and we are all at their mercy.

      1. That’s true, as well. I don’t think the text book had so many details about the rulers. It is when you read what researchers write that you find so many details. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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