The provincial Governors were also making efforts to achieve independence from the slavery of Delhi Sultanate and the rebels, dacoits and terrorists were creating chaos and confusion in the country.
As the Sultan did not pay attention to the administration of the Sultanate, slackness and insecurity prevailed everywhere in every sphere of the state and the people were suffering a lot. Amirs were also disobedient and disloyal to the Sultans.
Under such circumstances when Balban ascended the throne, he suppressed the rebels with an iron hand and punished them cruelly. Critics have described Balban to be an inhuman and barbarous king but, in fact, it was the most befitting policy in the contemporary circumstances. Thus Balban established law and order in the Sultanate of Delhi. He severely suppressed highhandedness of the Amirs.
His stern policy towards Tughril Khan, the Governor of Bengal, proved it. Moreover, his message to his son disclosed the fact that he was a man of strong will and he was not prepared to tolerate disobedience or insubordination from any of his relations or officers. He freed the region near Delhi from the terror of the Mewatis and his spies helped him a lot in the smooth running of the administration. He also saved the infant Muslim empire from the attacks of the Mongols by his active territorial policy.
No doubt, Balban was an autocratic despot and no employee of the state nor even his sons were in a position to do anything without his permission. It is also true that the Delhi Sultanate was based on power and military resources, but as an individual, the Sultan was a generous and benevolent person.
His family life was happy and he had affection for all the members of his family. Although he worked in the court till evening after listening to the news of the assassination of his son by the Mongols, he wept bitterly in his private apartment because he had great love for his son.
He awarded liberal patronage to the fugitive learned persons from Central Asia for he considered it his pious duty to help the helpless and the refugees. However, he was quite strict on the issue of discipline. He expected even from his kith and kin that they should not act beyond the canons of morality and justice.
He wanted to make his people comfortable and his kingdom prosperous, He w the first Muslim ruler who directed his attention to administrate reforms. Alauddin Khalji completed all the works which were start by Balban. Hence,” Prof. A, B. M. Habibullah takes him to be forerunner of the state system of Khaljis. He says,
“In a la measure, he prepared the ground for the Khalji State System. The ability of Balban was well known. Owing to his ability, industriousness, audacity and confidence, he could rise to the position of Sultan from the lowest status of a slave. Lane-poole writes, ‘Balban the slave, water carrier, huntsman, general statesman and Sultan is one of the most striking figures among many notables in the long line of the kings of Delhi.”
He enhanced the power and prestige of the crown by dint of his ability, crushed the rebls, established law and order in the Sultanate, safeguarded the territory from the invasions of Mongols and organized the Sultanate by his administrative reforms.
In fact, the credit of reorganizing Delhi Sultanate and making it viable and strong goes to him. Dr. Ishwari Prasad writes,
“A great warrior, king and statesman who saved infant Muslim state from extinction at critical time, Balban will ever remain a great figure in Medieval Indian history.”
Balban was a brave soldier and capable commander. He suppressed the revolts and opponents by his military skill. He destroyed the, Hindu rebels and dacoits of Mewat, Doab, Katehar and Punjab and saved Delhi Sultanate from powerful Mongol invaders.
Balban, in order to strengthen his position, organized a vast and powerful army and reconsolidated the espionage system. He freed the army from conventional defects by his reforms and made it quite powerful by training and discipline. Army and spy system were the fundamental pillars for the power and despotism of the Sultan. His aim was not to achieve victories but to consolidate the empire.
Besides, Balban was a competent administrator. He maintained his monopoly over the Sultanate of-Delhi for about forty years. During this long period he strengthened and organized the Sultanate by his policies.
During the-reign of his predecessor the power and prestige of the crown had diminished and slackness prevailed in the administration: He Set everything right and established control over ambitious nobles and Amirs.
He punished the incompetent officers and richly rewarded the intelligent and worthy ones. He gave an evenhanded justice to the people. His economic policies were praiseworthy. The royal treasury was enriched by them. He curtailed the power of the Ulema in politics and appointed people of high castes in administration and army. He prohibited liquor for the development of social morality but he was not a constructive genius.
Balban was a staunch Sunni Muslim. He was fond of the company of religious persons. He often talked with them on religious issues. He tried pass his life according to the canons of Islam and always kept himself away from the luxuries of life. He made regular prayers and performed his duties faithfully.
Comparatively, he was less fanatic than the other rulers of Delhi Sultanate; however, he had a feeling of hatred for Indian Muslims, Shias and Hindus. He was quite stern towards Hindus and did not appoint any Hindu in army or administration.
Besides all the virtues he had some demerits as well. Dr. A. L. Srivastava points out that he was a bit fanatic and intolerent towards Hindus. Prof. Habibullah mentions that he did not seek the c operation of Indian Muslims and thus created a gap between Turkis and Indian Muslims.
In the same way Dr. K. A. Nizami has all pointed out his defects. His policy of establishing the supremacy the Turkish race proved of no advantage to Delhi Sultanate; rather it harmed the administration.
Dr. Nizami writes,
“Though performing the policeman’s duty of maintaining law and order, there is no legislation by which Balban can be remembered.”
The Khalijisoccupied the throne of Delhi just after three years of the death of Balban. It clearly indicated the weakness of the administrative systems of Balban.
In spite of his weaknesses and defects Balban deserves to ranked among the greatest Sultans of Delhi Sultanate due to his polices and works. Dr. Ishwari Prasad remarks, “But for Balban’s vigour and energy, the kingdom of Delhi would have hardly survived the shocks of internal revolts and external invasions.
Seeing all the qualities of his head and heart, Dr. A. Srivastava has aptly assessed his place among the Sultans of the so- called slave dynasty, “His place among the so-called slave kings next only to that of Iltutmish.
Death of Balban:
The death of Prince-Muhammad proved fatal for Balban. All hopes of his dynasty were based on him. He was the ablest prince of the family. He was already nominated prince regent Dr. R. P. Tripathi has also written, “Balban had built high hopes on his son Prince Muhammad who was brave, generous, cultured and popular his death at the hands of Mongols was a blow from which old Balban could never recover”.
Balban showed no sign of human weakness even after hearing the sad news of the death of Prince Muhammad in the court but he could never recover from this shock. He used to weep bitterly in his bedroom in the memory of his beloved son.
This fatal wound made him sick and he realized his end was near. He invited his son Bughra Khan from Bengal but the latter was very much afraid of the cruel nature of his father and did not stay with him for more than a night. As be slipped away to Lakhnauti stealthily, Balban nominated Kai Khusrau, the Suhan of Delhi and breathed his last in ‘ 1287 A.D. All nobles and Amirs mourned the death of Sultan Balban as if was a great loss to Delhi Sultanate. Barani writes, “The Maliks in grief at Balban’s death tore their garments and threw dust on their heads as they followed barefooted the King’s bier to the burial ground at Darul Aman. For forty days, they mourned his death and slept on the bare ground”.