From time immemorial, ours is a patriarchal society. In the name of rulers, we have mostly males. Women were always kept behind curtains; away from the light of authority and education. But exceptions stand gloriously as well, as there is nothing more powerful than a woman who wants to rise. Let’s spare a few moments to know the few women rulers of our country with honour and pride.
Let us begin with Razia Sultana, the first and only female Sultanate from our country. She ruled from the end of 1236 to 1240.
Born in 1205, in the household of Shams-us-din Iltutmish as his only daughter, she defied all odds to occupy the throne, overcoming conflicts over her gender and her slave ancestry.
Although her father entered Delhi as a slave worker under Qutb-ud-din, he had impressed the ruler with his efficiency and had been appointed as a provincial governor. Upon Qutb-ud-din’s death, Iltutmish gathered the support of the Turkish nobility and became the sultan. As a ruler, Iltutmish created history by becoming the first sultan to appoint a woman as his successor when he named his daughter Razia as his heir apparent. Razia was a bold young woman, trained in military warfare and administration.
On 30th April 1236, Iltutmish passed away, appointing Razia as his rightful heir. However, the Muslim nobility refused to accept this and installed her incompetent brother, Rakn-ud-din Firuz on the throne. But his rule came to an end within 6 months only. Razia was finally handed the reins to the kingdom on 10th November 1236. She was proud of her Kingdom and worked on conquering new territories. She also made breakthroughs in its administration and established schools, academies, and public libraries. The Turkish noble were displeased by Razia’s efficient rule and she was taken into captivity, and her brother, Muzualdin Bahram Shah usurped the throne.
Razia married Malik Altunia, the governor of Bhatinda. Together they attacked Delhi but were defeated by Bahram on 13th October 1240. Razia and Altunia fled Delhi and reached Baithal the next day, where their forces abandoned them and they met their unfortunate ends at the hands of Hindu Jats who robbed and killed them.
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