Qutubuddin Aibak was the Founder of Slave Dynasty (also Mamluk Dynasty, Ghulam Dynasty) in India.
In 1206 Muhammad Ghuri died. Hearing the news of his death Qutubuddin Aibak declared himself king of Hindusthan and got Khutba read in his name. As the important rulers of this dynasty were slaves in some periods of their lives, the dynasty established by Qutubuddin is known as Slave dynasty or Ghulam Dynasty. But Elphinstone, Smith and some other historians preferred to call the dynasty as Mamluk dynasty. The meaning of Mamluk is a slave whose parents are free citizens.
After his accession to the throne Aibak had to face some difficulties.
- Firstly, Bakhtiyar Khilji declared himself independent ruler of Bengal and Bihar.
- Secondly, Tajuddin, ruler of Ghazni, refused to recognize Qutubuddin Aibak as an independent ruler.
- Thirdly, Nasiruddin Qabacha of Multan refused to accept Qutubuddin as the ruler of Delhi.
- Fourthly, the rulers of Lahore and some other important places refused to recognize him as an independent Sultan and their overlord.
In order to solve these difficulties Qutubuddin at first proceeded towards Lahore. The citizens of Lahore recognized him as their ruler. Qutubuddin Aibak defeated Tajuddin and severed all links with Ghazni. This proved a boon for India as it freed the country from being involved in the Central Asian politics. It also enabled the Delhi Sultanate to develop on its own independent lines without depending on countries outside India. He won over Qubacha by his prudence and diplomacy. The Khiljis of East India accepted his suzerainty and agreed to pay annual tribute. Qutubuddin consolidated his position further by matrimonial alliances. He gave his daughter in marriage to Iltutmish and his sister to Qubacha. He himself married the daughter of Tajuddin.
Qutubuddin Aibak’s empire consisted of Delhi, Punjab, Bengal, Kalinjar and Gujarat.
He died in 1210 while playing Chaugan (polo) at Lahore.
Estimate: Qutubuddin was the founder of the Slave dynasty in Delhi. He was a great general and an able administrator. He had the capacity to consolidate his gains. He patronized men of letters like Fakhr-Ud-din and Hassan Nizami and built two great mosques, one in Delhi and another in Ajmer. It is also believed that he started building Qutub Minar.