The major achievements of Iltutmish are discussed below.
Iltutmish may justly be regarded as the greatest ruler of the early Turkish Sultanate. He not only saved the infant Muslim dominion in India from disruption but consolidated the conquests of Qutubuddin into a strong and compact monarchy.
Iltutmish was one of the great rulers of the Slave Dynasty. Like Qutubuddin Aibak he began his carrier as a slave but rose to high offices under him-arid then married his daughter. Qutubuddin Aibak’ son and successor, Aram, having proved worthless, was deposed by the nobles of the court and Iltutmish was chosen Sultan (A.D.1211).
Immediately on his accession Iltutmish set himself to the task of restoring order. He had a number of rivals to deal with. The most prominent among them were Tajuddin and Nasiruddin Qabacha. He defeated them both. He next brought the Muslim ruler of Bengal under his subjection. During the weak rule of Aram, the Rajput kingdoms of Ranthambhor and Gwalior had broken away from the Sultanate. Iltutmish brought them back under subjection.
Infact, Iltutmish should be called the real founder of the Delhi Sultanate. Iltutmish began his career as a slave in the service of Qutub-ud-din Aibak, who himself had been the slave of his master, Muhammad Ghori. Hence Iltutmish has been aptly described as the “Slave of a Slave”. By dint of his abilities he endeared himself to his master. As son-in-law to “Qutub-ud-din” he ascended the throne of Delhi.
Iltutmish was a very strong ruler. Aibak transferred his capital to Lahore but Iltutmish made Delhi his capital, and tightened his control over the areas extending from Sutlej to Benaras. He defeated three powerful rivals, namely, Tajuddin, Yaldiz in the Punjab, Qabacha in Sind, and Ali Mardan in Bengal. He reconquered from the Hindu Ranathambhor and Gwalior. He also conquered Malwa including Bhilsa and Ujjaini. The most serious threat to Iltutmish came from Changiz Khan of Mongols. The Mongols were in pursuit of Jalal-ud-din Mangberani, ruler of modern Khiva. Iltutmish escaped the terror by a politic refusal of asylum which Jalal-ud-din requested. The Mongols, therefore, withdrew from Peshawar.
Iltutmish was a great ruler. He gave independent status to the Delhi Sultanate. Iltutmish’s daughter Raziyya (1236-40) was endowed with considerable tact and qualities of leadership. She tried to play dominant groups of the Turkie Slave of Iltutmish against one another. Her authority was established over all the provinces of the Sultanate. But the Turkish nobles could not reconcile themselves to the rule of a woman. Further, the trust that she placed on an Abyssinian slave named Yakut gave them an excuse for an open revolt. In the conflict that ensued Yakut was slain. Raziyya was taken prisoner by the rebel governor of Sirhind by name Altunia. Raziyya tried to save her position by marrying Altunia. But this could not reconcile the Turkish nobles who defeated and killed Raziyya and her husband in October 1240.
He also completed the structure of the Qutub Minar and constructed a splendid mosque at Ajmer. He ruled for a period of 26 years. He died in 1236 A.D.