Discuss the role of mongols in India.

Discuss the role of mongols in India.

Q. Discuss the role of the Mongols in India. Also throw light on the effective measures taken against them by the powerful Sultan like Balban, Ala-ud-Din Khilji & Ghiasu-ud-Din Tughlaq.

Ans. The Mongols were cruel tribes of Central Asia. They were the natives of Mongolia. They were a very brave, fearless, and uncivilized people who took pleasure in plundering, burning, and killing of the people. They were called by the name of Satan or Datiya. They invaded India during the reign of different Sultans of Delhi. When the Mongols invaded India and different rulers of India treated them, an elaborate picture in this respect is given as under:


In 1221, they arrived at the borders of India for the first time under the famous leader Changiz khan. He defeated the king of Khuarzim near the Indus River. The king requested Iltutmish to provide him refuge for some time in India but the latter acted wisely and cleverly. He put him off on the pretext that the climate of Delhi would not suit him. In this way, he saved his country from the Mongols’ invasion. On the other hand, Changiz Khan and his soldiers could not bear the heat of Indian’s summer and returned towards the western parts of the river.

In the words of Lane Pool, “The tumult was tremendous but the storm passed away as quickly as it came.”


A number of Mongol families settled in the region across the Indus River which was a permanent source of trouble for India. They invaded India whenever Delhi was weak or confusion and disorder prevailed in Delhi kingdom. In 1241 A.D., after twenty years of Changiz Khan’s invasion, the Mongols swooped upon Punjab and destroyed the beautiful city of Lahore.

In 1245 AD, the Mongols under Mangu, the grandson of Changiz Khan, during the reign of Masud once again marched against India. They invaded Sindh and beseeched the fort of ”Uch” The Sultan Ala-ud-Din Masud Shah sent troops under the command of Balban to resist them. The Mongols suffered a disastrous defeat and they felt from the battlefield with heavy losses.


In 1257 AD, they again fell upon India under their leader Nuyin Sari in the reign of Nasir-ud-Din. The Sultan sent Balban who was now the Prime Minister to check their advance. The Mongols fled back to their invasions and put the old ones in a proper state of repairing. He checked the Mongols invasions by filling these forts with armed soldiers.

Halaku, the other grandson of Changiz Khan, sent his representatives to the court of Nasir-ud-Din in 1259 A.D. Who accorded him a cordial welcome. This gesture of friendship proved to be very useful because no more Mongols invasion occurred in his reign.


When Balban himself became the Sultan, the Mongols once again invaded India in 1279 and 1285 A.D. In order to check their invasion, Balban made an extensive plan and systematize his frontier policy. The main items of his frontier policy are given below:

. Balban organized a strong and mighty army.
. Old and weak ones replaced by young and strong soldiers.
. Sultan vowed that he would not move out of Delhi for further conquest.
. Multan, Diapur, Samana, etc., provinces were declared as frontier provinces.
. Special arrangements were made for the manufacture of war arms and weapons.
. A line of strong and durable forts was built between the capital and the Northwest frontier.
. Balban appointed very bravely and trusty men to work in the frontier provinces. 

At that time, provinces were put under the charge of Sher Khan Sunkar, a younger brother of the Sultan and so many.

Due to this systematic policy, the country enjoyed peace and order for a considerably long time. In 1279, when the Mongols attacked, Mubarak came from Delhi to help the prince, Muhammad. The Mongols had to return to their country with heavy losses. These Mongol invasions had a very deep effect on Balban’s policy. He could not leave Delhi for the conquest of far-flung regions of India.


In the reign of Jalal ud Din Khilji, the Mongols invaded India repeatedly. They were in great numbers under Abdullah in 1292 A.D. The Mongols penetrated far into the interior of the country. But they were defeated and captured in thousands. They were allowed to go back safely to their country and for those who wished to settle in India, the Sultan set up a settlement near Delhi.

Dr. K. Datta says, “This was an ill-advised concession which produced trouble in the future. The new Muslamans proved turbulent and caused much anxiety.”


In the reign of Ala-ud-Din Khilji, the Mongols attacked five times on Delhi. The most significant attack was made in 1299 A.D. when twenty thousand troops in numbers marched against India to conquer her. The leader was Qutlagh Khawaja. Many ministers and nobles advised the Sultan to make peace with them but he replied, “If I were to follow your advice, how could I show my face, how to go into my Harem. Now come what may, tomorrow I must march into the battlefield,” and severely defeated the Mongols. Alaud-Din adopted the Balban’s Mongol policy and took all those measures taken by Balban and devoted his personal attention to this side.


When Muhammad Tughlaq changed his capital from Delhi to Devigri in 1326 A.D, Mongols found a suitable opportunity for invading India. They began to lead forceful invasions against Punjab. In 1328-29 A.D, they under their leader- Tarnashirin Khan over running Multan and Lahore, arrived in the vicinity of Delhi. Muhammad Tughlaq realized his mistake of changing the capital. Frishta writes that Sultan had to send away the Mongols with a large amount of money and costly presents.

K. Datta, “Be that as it may, the invasion was no more than a raid and Tarmashirin khan disappeared as suddenly as he has come”.

Then after 1330 A.D., the Mongol invasion almost stopped and the people heaved a sigh of relief. Again after two thousand years in 1524 A.D., theses invasion under Babar were renewed in the reign of Ibrahim Lodhi when as a result, the foundation of Mongol rule was laid in India.

The continuous Mongols invasions in India created troubles not only for the Sultan but also for the people of India who suffered on account of these in invasions. What were the causes of so many invasions on India; the historians could not satisfactorily answer the question. The immediate cause of these attacks might be that the Mongols were warriors and war-some was in their instinct. Economic motives can also be ruled out in this respect because India was a wealthy country.

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