Topics: State, Monarchy, Genghis Khan Pages: 6 (1734 words) Published: September 20, 2011
Balban’s Theory Of Kingship

Balban had to face many hardships after his accession to the throne in 1266. The affairs of the state had fallen into confusion on account of the incompetence of the successors of Iltutmish. The royal treasury was empty. The prestige of the stage had sunk low. The arrogance of the Turkish nobles had increased.

To quote Burani, “The fear of the governing power, which is the basis for all good government and the source of glory and splendor to the state, had departed from the hearts of all men and the country had fallen into a wretched condition. The Delhi Sultanate was also exposed to Mongol invasions”.

To overcome the internal and external problems and to restore the glory of the kingship, Balban decided to act upon a comprehensive and long-term policy. Balban was right to find that the prestige of the king was the most important prerequisite for the success of monarchy. He introduced a concept of kingship generally known as “Kingship Theory of Balban”, a blend of Sasanid concept of kingship and the Abbasids concept of Caliphate in Baghdad. He was determined to raise the status of kingship to the extent that people even could not think of rebellion against the king.

Kingship Theory of Balban was similar to that of theory of Divine right of kings. He took up the title of Zilli Illahi, or shadow of God. In order to give his kingship a religious touch, he continued to inscribe the name of the deceased Khalifa on coins. He was of the view that he would be respected and feared more if the royal title was in line with the religious beliefs of the Muslims. Balban explained his views on monarchy to his son Bughra Khan in these words, “The heart of the king is special repository of the God’s favour and in this he was no equal among mankind”.

Prof. K. A. Nizami refers to certain elements of Balban theory of kingship. Balban thought that kingship was the vice regency of God on earth in its dignity and it was next to Prophethood. In the discharge of his kingship, he was at all times inspired and guided by God. The source of the power of the king lay not with the nobles or people but with God alone. His actions could not be the subject of public scrutiny. He further writes that Balban wanted to impress his nobles that he got the throne because of Divine will and not by poisoned cup or the assassin’s Dagger.

Balban believed in despotism. His conviction was that only a despot could extract obedience from his subject and ensure the security of the state. He claimed descent from the Turkish hero Afrasiab of Turan and always kept himself aloof from the people.

He introduced Sajda and Paibos or kissing of the feat of the monarch in the court as the normal form of salvation for the king. He also introduced the system of Nauroz to add to the dignity of his court.

He appointed tall and fearsome guards who were to stand around the king with naked swords. Except nobles, he ordered remain standing in the court. The court dress was prescribed for the nobles. Wine was prohibited for them. Nobody could smile or laugh in the court. A complete legal dress was prescribed for the courtesans. He never laughed and gave smile.

He never expressed unusual joy or sorrow to the public. He was so strict in adherence of court etiquettes that when the news of the death of his beloved son was conveyed to him, he remained unmoved and carried on routine administration. Through in his private apartment, he wept bitterly. The royal cavalcade reflected great pomp and show. According to Barani while discussing about court narrates, “At the court there was such an atmosphere of awe, the ambassadors who came to present their credentials and Hindu Raja who came to pay tribute became nervous and stumbled on the steps.”


Balban had been remained the member of the group of the forty. Turkish slave nobles had participated in the struggle to empower Sultan. According to L. P. Sharma, the power of...
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