Firuz Shah was the son of Rajab and cousin of Muhammad bin Tughluq. He spent his entire life under the supervision of Muhammad and Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq. When Muhammad bin Tughluq died, the nobles asked Firuz to take charge of the government affairs. Firuz hesitated and asked them to select somebody else but they insisted. His coronation as Sultan took place on March 23, 1351.
Firuz was least interested in war affairs. The death of Muhammad encouraged the rebels in Sindh, who started attacking the royal army. Instead of giving the rebels a fight, Firuz ordered his army to withdraw and come back to Delhi. The territory of Deccan also became independent during his reign. However, he conquered Jaj Nagar and Nagar Kot and annexed them to his kingdom.
Firuz is remembered as a Sultan who was most interested in the welfare of his people. He was of the view that a man can conquer by love and not by sword, and molded his actions to the same theory. In kindness and love, he was second to none amongst the Sultans of Delhi. He took a keen interest in training his 175,000 slaves. He was also interested in social reforms. He maintained an extensive system of poor relief, patronized learning and administered impartial justice. He constructed 40 mosques, 30 buildings for educational institutions, 100 hospitals, 100 public baths, 10 monumental pillars, 10 public wells, and 150 bridges. New cities like Hissar Firuza, Jaunpur and Firuzaba were also built during his reign.
For agriculture, Firuz dug canals from the rivers Jumna and Sutluj. These canals irrigated a large area of land. He dug new tanks to store water for agriculture purposes, and repaired older tanks prepared by Iltutmush and Alauddin Khalji. He took a special interest in gardening. He opened cloth factories in important cities that produced very fine quality cloth.
Firuz was a deeply religious man and had great respect for saints. He withdrew 22 taxes that were deemed to be against the spirit of Islam. He organized the distribution of booty according to Islamic laws. During his regime, men who claimed to be god, prophet or the mehdi were severely punished. He prohibited women from visiting the tombs of holy saints. He removed all pictures from the walls of the palaces and the court. He started eating in ordinary utensils instead of gold and silver.
In the last days of Firuz, his elder son Fateh Khan died. His son’s death caused him to lose all interest in his own life. He retired from his job and handed over the reigns of power to his son, Muhammad Shan in 1387. He died of old age in 1388.
This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003