Ghiyasuddin Balban: History of Ulugh Khan [Achievements & Contributions] UPSC

In this article, we will learn about the history of Ghiyasuddin Balban also called Ulugh Khan Balban, what achievements he achieved during his reign, and which provinces he conquered. This topic is very important for the UPSC exam. So, let’s start.

Who was Ghiyasuddin Balban?

Ghiyasuddin Balban was a ruler in medieval India during the Delhi Sultanate period. He served as the Sultan of Delhi from 1266 to 1286 and is known for his efforts to centralize the empire and establish firm control over the realm. Balban’s reign was marked by military campaigns, administrative reforms, and the implementation of strict policies to maintain order and stability.

Further, he is remembered as a strong and capable leader, who helped to establish the foundations of the Delhi Sultanate and maintain its power and influence.

Original NameGhiyasuddin Balban
Also calledUlugh Khan Balban
Time Period1266-1288 AD
DynastyMamluk Dynasty
Balban’s FatherBughra Khan
SonPrince Muhammad Khan
SuccessorMuiz ud din Qaiqubad
Overview of Ghiyasuddin Balban

Ghiyasuddin Balban (1266-1286)

  • Balban was a slave of Iltutmish. He was the Albury Turk. Although he was sold as a slave by the Mongols in his childhood. 
  • It was first bought by a person named Khwaja Jamaluddin Basri, who brought it to Delhi via the Gujarat route in 1232-33.
  • Iltutmish bought it after the Gwalior victory in 1233. Further, impressed by his talent, Iltutmish appointed him as his special member.
  • The original name of Balban was Bahauddin. Moreover, he was also called Ulugh Khan Balban.
  • During the reign of Razia, he rose to the important post of Amir-e-Shikar.
  • He was also involved in the conspiracy against Razia. Because of this, Bahram Shah made him Amir-e-Akhur.
  • During the time of Nasiruddin Mahmud, he was made Naib-e-Mamlakat and got the title of Ulugh Khan.
  • On becoming the Sultan, Balban had the following difficulties:
    1. The problem of Chahalgani rich becoming powerful
    2. The problem of the Mongol invasion
    3. The problem of the rebellion of Mewati and Rajputs
    4. The problem of the Bengal Revolt
  • Balban propounded a new theory of kingship. He described kingship as Naib-e-Khudai and the king as Zil-e-Ilahi.
  •  According to him, the place of the Sultan is after the Prophet. For this reason, the general public does not have the right to criticize his actions.
  • He also made his daily work behavior extremely serious.
  • Fakh Bawni, a wealthy merchant of Delhi, even offered to give his entire property in return for a meeting with the Sultan, however, he could not meet the Sultan.
  • The court discipline was strictly followed, and the queen method of “Sijda and Paibos” was implemented.
  • Moreover, he also started celebrating the festival of “Navroz” using the Iranian method.
  • Further, he laid great emphasis on blood purity and declared himself a descendant of “Afrasiab”.
  • To destroy the power of Chahalgani, Balban got many ministers killed.
  • He thrashed Badaun’s governor Malik Bakbak with whips in front of the general public.
  • Awadh’s Iqtadar, “Haibat Khan” was also punished with 500 lashes for the crime of torturing the slaves.
  • Two nobles, Malik Targi and Amin Khan, who failed in the campaign of Bengal, were given death sentences.

Achievements of Ghiyasuddin Balban

1. The solution to the Mongol Problem

  • Sent his ambassador to the court of Mongol rulers.
  • Two security lines on the north-west border:
    1. Lahore, Multan, and Dipalpur.
    2. Sunam, Samana and Bhatinda.
  • A strong army of 18000 was kept on each security line.
  • In 1285 there was a terrible Mongol attack under the leadership of Taimur, in which Prince Mohammad had to lose his life. He got the title of Shaheed-e-Azam and pushed the Mongols up to the Beas River and Balban had to lose his territory of Sindh.

2. The Rebellion of Mewatis and Rajputs

  • In order to stop the Mewatis, Balban cut and cleaned the forests around Delhi, and by constructing 4 forts in all four directions, appointed Afghan soldiers there.
  • These 4 forts were located at Kampili, Jalali, Bhojpur, and Patiyali.
  • Then the Mewatis were massacred by an all-round attack on these rebels, the Sultan himself burnt the entire village of the rebels of Katihar and got all the men killed.

3. Rebellion of Bengal

  • In 1280 AD, Tughril Khan, the governor of Bengal revolted and assumed the title of Sultan Mughisuddin and issued coins in his own name, and read the Khutba.
  • This was the first instance of rebellion by a slave against his master.
  • To suppress it, Balban sent Amin Khan, the governor of Awadh, but he failed. Then he sent Malik Targi but he also failed.
  • Next, Balban himself campaigned in Bengal with Bughra Khan.
  • This was the first such campaign of Balban’s reign in which he went out of the capital.

Reforms During Ghiyasuddin Balban

  • Establishment of Deewan-e-Ariz.
  • He increased the salary of the army and made a better strategy for their training and operations.
  • He also avoided unnecessary military actions.
  • Balban took away the jagirs lying with ineligible persons after examining the jagirs given at the time of Iltutmish and gave the responsibility of recovery of income of all the jagirs to the government employees and ordered them to give cash money to the Iqtadars.
  • He established an efficient intelligence system and a progressive judicial system.

So, this is all about Ghiyasuddin Balban. If you like this article, please share it with your friends.


Ghiyasuddin Balban was a formidable figure in medieval India, known for his unwavering leadership and military prowess. His reign marked a significant turning point in the history of the Delhi Sultanate, as he implemented strict measures to maintain order and stability.

Despite facing numerous challenges, Balban’s strong rule and diplomatic skills allowed him to expand the empire and establish his authority. Today, he is remembered as one of the most effective and influential rulers of his time, who left a lasting legacy in the annals of Indian history.

Thank You!

What was the original name of Balban?

The original name of Balban was Ghiyasuddin Balban. He was a 13th-century Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate in India, who ruled from 1266 to 1287.

Who gave Balban the title of Ulugh Khan?

Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, who was one of Balban’s successors as the Sultan of Delhi, gave him the title of Ulugh Khan.

What are the achievements of Balban?

Balban restored stability and centralized authority in the Delhi Sultanate, laying the foundation for a strong and prosperous kingdom.

Related Links:

Balban’s Blood and Iron PolicyIqta System of Iltutmish
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