|Sultan of Delhi|
Tomb of Razia Begum (w:Razia Sultan) in Mohalla Bulbuli Khana
|Reign||10 November, 1236– 13 October, 1240|
|Predecessor||Rukn ud din Firuz|
|Successor||Muiz ud din Bahram|
|Spouse||Ikhtiar-ud-din Mirza Altunia|
|Issue||Zubrudin Mirza Rashil (1237-1238); adopted son|
|Died||13 October, 1240 (aged 35)
|Burial||Bulbul-i-Khan near Turkoman Gate, Delhi|
Raziya al-Din (1205 – October 13, 1240), throne name Jalâlat ud-Dîn Raziyâ (Perso-Arabic:جلاله الد دین رضیه), Hindi: जलालत उद-दीन रज़िया), usually referred to in history as Razia Sultana, was born in Budaun and was the Sultan of Delhi in India from 1236 to May 1240. Like some other Muslim princesses of the time, she was trained to lead armies and administer kingdoms if necessary. Razia Sultan was the only woman ruler of both the Sultanate and the Mughal period, although other women ruled from behind the scenes. Razia refused to be addressed as Sultana because it meant "wife or consort of a Sultan". She would answer only to the title "Sultan."
Raziya (also called Radiyya or Raziyya) succeeded her father Shams-ud-din Iltutmish to the Sultanate of Delhi in 1236. Iltutmish became the first sultan to appoint a woman as his successor when he designated his daughter Razia as his heir apparent. Razia was the first and last female ruler of Delhi Sultanate. (According to one source, Iltumish's eldest son had initially been groomed as his successor, but had died prematurely.) But the Muslim nobility had no intention of acceding to Iltutmish's appointment of a woman as heir, and after the sultan died on Wednesday 30 April 1236, Razia's brother, Rukn ud din Firuz, was elevated to the throne instead.
Ruknuddin's reign was short. With Iltutmish's widow Shah Turkaan for all practical purposes running the government, Ruknuddin abandoned himself to the pursuit of personal pleasure and debauchery, to the outrage of the citizenry. On November 9, 1236, both Ruknuddin and his mother Shah Turkaan were assassinated after only six months in power. With reluctance, the nobility agreed to allow Razia to reign as Sultan of Delhi.
She "abandoned the veil and adopted masculine attire." She was an efficient ruler and possessed all the qualities of a monarch. According to Minhaj-i-Siraj, she was "sagacious, just, beneficient, the patron of the learned, a dispenser of justice, the cherisher of her subjects, and of warlike talent, and endoweed with all the admirable attributes and qualifications necessary for a king."
As a child and adolescent, Razia had little contact with the women of the harem, so she had not learnt the customary behavior of women in the Muslim society that she was born into. Even before she became Sultan, she was reportedly preoccupied with the affairs of state during her father's reign.
A shrewd politician, Razia managed to keep the nobles in check, while enlisting the support of the army and the populace. Her greatest accomplishment on the political front was to manipulate rebel factions into opposing each other. At that point, Razia seemed destined to become one of the most powerful rulers of the Delhi Sultanate.
But Razia miscounted the consequences that a relationship with one of her advisers, Jamal-ud-Din Yaqut, an Abyssinian Siddi (Habshi) slave, would have for her reign. According to some accounts, Razia and Yaqut were lovers, other sources simply identify them as close confidants. In any case, before long she had aroused the jealousy of the Turkic nobility by the favoritism she displayed toward Yaqut, who was not a Turk, when she appointed him to be Superintendent of the Stables. Eventually, a childhood friend named Malik Altunia, the governor of Bhatinda, joined a rebellion by other provincial governors who refused to accept Razia's authority.
A battle between Razia and Altunia ensued, with the result that Yaqut was killed and Razia taken prisoner. She was incarcerated in April, 1240 at Qila Mubarak at Bathinda. While in prison, Razia Sultan was allowed to go to Hajirattan mosque to offer prayers on Fridays in a special palki. She was released in August 1240. To escape death, Razia agreed to marry Altunia. Meanwhile, Razia's brother, Muizuddin Bahram Shah, had usurped the throne. After Altunia and Razia undertook to take back the sultanate from Bahram through battle, both Razia and her husband were defeated on the 24th of Rabi' al-awwal A.H. 638 (October 1240). They fled Delhi and reached Kaithal the next day, where their remaining forces abandoned them. They both fell into the hands of Jats and were robbed and killed on the 25th of Rabi' al-awwal A.H. 638, this date corresponds to October 13, 1240. Bahram, for his part, reigned from 1240 to 1242, but would be dethroned for incompetence.
Razia is said to have pointed out that the spirit of religion was more important than its parts, and that even the Islamic prophet Muhammad spoke against overburdening the non-Muslims. On another occasion, she reportedly tried to appoint an Indian Muslim convert from Hinduism to an official position but again ran into opposition from the nobles.
Razia was reportedly devoted to the cause of her empire and to her subjects. There is no record that she made any attempt to remain aloof from her subjects, rather it appears she preferred to mingle among them.
Razia established schools, academies, centers for research, and public libraries that included the works of ancient philosophers along with the Qur'an and the traditions of Muhammad. Hindu works in the sciences, philosophy, astronomy, and literature were reportedly studied in schools and colleges.
In popular culture
Controversy regarding Razia's grave
There are conflicting accounts regarding her actual site of grave. There are three claims regarding her grave site. This is compounded by the fact that none of the 3 grave sites has any epitaph (inscription) on tombstone in memory of the one buried there. So far there are no archaeological or documentary evidences to confirm the site of her grave. The dispute is whether she was buried in Kaithal or Delhi or Tonk, and also where were Altunia and Yakut buried.
Claim regarding Razia's Grave at Old Delhi
First claim is that Razia's grave lies among the narrow lanes of Old Delhi that is in a courtyard in Bulbul-i-khana, Shahjahanabad, near the Turkman Gate entrance.
- Gloria Steinem (Introduction), Herstory: Women Who Changed the World, eds. Deborah G. Ohrn and Ruth Ashby, Viking, (1995) p. 34-36. ISBN 978-0sex670854349[dead link]
- Table of Delhi Kings: Muazzi Slave King The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 2, p. 368..
- O’Brien, Derek. Derek Introduces: 100 Iconic Indians. Rupa Publications. ISBN 8129134136.
- Satish Chandra, History of Medieval India(800–1700), New Delhi, Orient Longman, (2007), p.100. ISBN 81-250-3226-6
- Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 74–76. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
- Dr. Richard Pankhurst, "Ethiopia Across the Red Sea and Indian Ocean", Addis Ababa, Addis Tribune, (21 May 1999)
- "Raziya Sultan".
- Razia Sultan The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period, 1867–1877.
- Conversion of Islamic and Christian dates
- Michael Madhusudan Dutt
- "Razia Sultan". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- "Pankhuri Awasthi follows Hema Malini for 'Razia Sultan'". Times of India. IANS. 5 February 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
Rukn ud din Firuz
Muiz ud din Bahram
Rukn ud din Firuz
|Sultan of Delhi
Muiz ud din Bahram