Who was the Sultan of Delhi when Taimur invaded the city?

Delhi Dec 06, 2019

Taimur, also called Timur and ‘Timur-i-Lang or Timur the lame by the Persians because, in the course of a fight on a battlefield, he lost a foot was an ambitious ruler and a great military commander who set his eyes on Hindustan’ s Delhi Sultanate for various reasons like his ambition and power hunger.

The Sultanate’s wealth

According to Indian Historian Ashirbadi Lal Srivastava, Timur had no intention of ruling over the Sultanate, but knew its political situation was unstable and so struck the city and plundered it, in order to spread Islam- Timur, in his Autobiography, Tuzak –i- Timuri, clearly states that his invasion against Hindustan is to defeat the infidels and convert them to practice Islam, the one true religion and clear the region of its religious filth.

The Expedition
Timur set foot for Delhi from Kabul in August of 1398 and reached in December in the same year. Looting and attacking every city on the way. He reached Delhi and ordered a massacre to be carried out which went on for 15 days. Sultan Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud Shah Tughluq, who was the last of the Tughlaq rulers and his Vazir, the Prime Minister, fled the city.

After victory was his, he is said to have set camp by the tomb of Firoz Shah and thanked god and cried for three straight days in joy. In his autobiography, he wrote “unhappy city was turned into a place of bloodshed, ruin and destruction” and that there were immense amounts of wealth in the city in the form of rubies, diamonds, pearls, gold and silver ornaments and vessels.

He later returned to Samarqand in January 1399 via what is now Meerut, Haridwar, Kangra and Jammu and plundered those cities too but not before appointing Khizr Khan as governor of Delhi.

Meanwhile, Sultan Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud Shah Tughluq who was the Sultan of Delhi during the time Timur invaded it, returned in 1401 but was expelled by the de facto ruler Mallu Iqbal. After Iqbal died in 1405, Mahmud Shah returned to Delhi from Kannauj but the new de facto ruler, Daulat Khan, took him under his control.

Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud Shah Tughluq finally died in 1412 after having relinquished control over Delhi and never retaking the reins.