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    1 Author(s):  SUSHIL MALIK

Vol -  5, Issue- 4 ,         Page(s) : 71 - 73  (2014 ) DOI :


Like most chroniclers, Barani was very judicious in whom he chose to insult: he never disclosed to his readers, for example, that Amir Khusraw was one such maulāzāda. As it happens, the great Persian poet and close friend of the Sufi saint Nizam al-Din Auliya was not only the son of a Shamsi slave, Malik Saif al-Din Lachin, but his mother was the daughter of a Hindu slave. The son of such a slave couple – and to be fair, they may have been slaves but they were politically very well connected – chose to give up a possible career in the army, got an education instead, and became a poet and the quintessential courtly naukar.

  1.   For Amir Khusraw’s social background see Wahid Mirza, Life and Works of Amir Khusrau, Delhi: Idarah-i Adabiyat-i Delli, IAD Religio-Philosophy series no. 3, 1974 and the more recent Sunil Sharma, Amir Khusrau: The Poet of Sultans and Sufis, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2005.
  2.   Barani, Ta’rīkh-i Fīrūz Shāhī, edited by Khan, p. 134, edited by Rashid, p. 155. Rashid’s reading differs from Khan’s but is clearer.
  3.   For further details see Kumar (2007), pp. 65-78.
  4.   Ibid., pp. 146-51.
  5.   For details see Kumar (2009): 45-77; idem, ‘Service, Status and Military Slavery in the Delhi Sultanate of the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries”, in Richard Eaton and Indrani Chatterjee (2006), pp. 83-114, and Kumar (2011), pp. 123-148. The evidence cited here would contradict Irfan Habib’s assumptions that the early fourteenth century marked a ‘plebianisation of the nobility’ when the ‘sluggish nobility resting on its hereditary claims’ could not keep pace with the dynamic expansion of the political sphere and  complex economic life of the Sultanate under the great Khalaji and Tughluq monarchs. See Irfan Habib (1981): 109.
  6.   Notably, all the great litterateurs of the early thirteenth century – Aufi, al-Kufi, Juzjani – were first in the service of Qubacha, Sultan of Sindh, and on his defeat and death transited seamlessly to the service of Iltutmish. For details, see Kumar (2009), pp. 212-37.
  7.   See Kumar (2007): 219 fn. 61, and 223-4, for the historiographical discussion of the terms‘ulamā’-i ākhirat and ‘ulamā’-i dunyā and their contrasting juxtaposition by Nizam al-Din Auliya and Ziya al-Din Barani.

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