This is the inspiring story of Muhammad Bin Tughluq!
Muhammad bin Tughluq inherited the throne from his father. Though his reign lasted for 26 years, his decisions were outright foolish, even comical in the hindsight. Tughluq ruled the kingdom like a child and made stubborn and extravagant moves. Bad as they were, these decisions were to leave a mark in the history of India.
Ghiyasuddin Tughluq was the founder of the Tughluq dynasty. His eldest son, Muhammad bin Tughluq was given the task of winning over southern India, known as Dakshin or Deccan. After the death of his father, he presumed the role of the new king. And from here starts a series of disastrous decision-making. The very first of them was to shift the capital from Delhi to Daulatabaad.
Moving capitals was not new. The decision also looked sound as Muhammad bin Tughluq was more familiar with the southern territory of India. But what did not make sense was the fact that he made each and every individual of Delhi move with him. This move was both absurd and costly.
Firstly they had to make a wide enough road connecting both the cities. Then they planted big trees on both sides of the road to provide shade. Then they set up two main and several smaller resting camps. These camps were equipped with kitchens and cooks. He also built mosques and places of worship along the road.
Ibn Batuta, an Iranian traveller visited India under his reign. In his notes, he mentioned the city of Delhi was completely abandoned. Even dogs and cats were moved to the new capital. This whole event took almost a decade.
The next blunderous decision came when he declared that Copper coins will have the same value as that gold and silver. This decision almost made his coins completely valueless.
Taking it too far, Muhammad bin Tughlaq wanted to invade and conquer China. He prepared an initial army consisting of more than a lakh soldiers to invade China through Himalayan passes. But before he could venture into China he was met by a local king named Prithvi Chand. Here Muhammad bin Tughluq’s army fought against an advantageous enemy. They had zero experience of fighting wars in such altitudes and hence lost. His army lost close to one lakh men. And his dream of Conquering China ended then and there.
Though his decisions were foolish, he was ironically a very well-read and knowledgeable man. He knew many languages including Persian, Urdu, and Sanskrit. He was also a learned man of medicine. And a deeply devoted Muslim.
Muhammad bin Tughluq’s failure in making good decisions was not a result of a lack of knowledge but his ego. Hence the saying “ego is the biggest enemy of knowledge”. His decisions had good grounds. Moving his capital was good but moving each and everyone was egoistic. Thinking of expanding was good, but fighting an army without experience and planning was egoistic. His story is a perfect example of why we should only feed our brains and not our egos.