Balban's Theory of Kingship

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K. A. Nizami is not of the opinion that as Balban was a freeman nor connected with royal-family, did he suffer from inferiority complex due to his guilty conscience. In the words of Nizami, “The absence of any reference to his manumission in the pages of Minhaj-us-Siraj and Barani is significant and perhaps, he was not manumitted and this basic legal disqualification to rule over the people, he tried to cover under a shrewdly designed mask of divine commitment of regal authority.”

Balban through his theory of kingship endeavored to prove that he had not taken the throne by the poisoned cup or by the dagger of the murderer. K. A. Nizami writes, “By dinning into the ears of his maliks and amirs most of whom were the quondam collea­gues, again and again that kingship was something divinely ordained, he wanted to wash off the stigma of being a regicide and impress upon their minds that it was Divine will that had brought him to the throne and not the poisoned cup and the assassin’s dagger.”

Balban laid stress on two main points in his theory of kingship. First, monarchy is bestowed upon a person by the grace of God; hence it is divine, and secondly, a Sultan must be a despot. He used to say, “King is the representative of God on earth (Niyabat-i-Khudai) and in his dignity he is next only to prophethood and, therefore, his action cannot be judged by nobles or the people.”

Once he told his son Bughra Khan, “Kingship is the embodiment of despotism,” and therefore, he was not answerable to anybody for the discharge of his functions as Sultan. Thus he tried to enhance the power and prestige of the crown.

Balban, in order to prove his claim to divine origin of the sovereign, made a complete change in his dress, behaviour and manner. Declaring himself a descendant of Afrasiyab dynasty, he gave up drinking, cut off from the jovial company of his courtiers, maintained aloofness and stopped meeting the common people.

Balban did not agree to meet a rich merchant...
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