WARRIOR QUEEN – STORY ONE – SULTANA OF DELHI
STORY ONE from WARRIOR QUEEN:
Razia, Sultana of Delhi
Razia (also called Radiyya or Raziyya) succeeded her father Shams-ud-din Iltutmish to the Sultanate of Delhi in 1236. Iltutmish became the first sultan to appoint a woman as his su
ccessor when he designated his daughter Razia as his heir apparent. Razia was the first and last women ruler of Delhi Sultnate. With reluctance, the nobility agreed to allow Razia to reign as Sultan of Delhi.
She dressed like a man and sat in open durbar. She was an effecient ruler and possessedd all the qualities of a Monarch. Even before she became Sultan, she was reportedly preoccupied with the affairs of state during her father’s reign. As Sultan, Razia preferred a man’s tunic and headdress; and contrary to custom, she would later show her face when she rode an elephant into battle at the head of her army.
A shrewd politician, Razia managed to keep the nobles in check, while enlisting the support of the army and the populace. Her greatest accomplishment on the political front was to manipulate rebel factions into opposing each other.
Razia was reportedly devoted to the cause of her empire and to her subjects. There is no record that she made any attempt to remain aloof from her subjects, rather it appears she preferred to mingle among them. Her tolerance of Hinduism would later bring her criticism from Muslim historians.
Razia established schools, academies, centers for research, and public libraries that included the works of ancient philosophers along with the Qur’an and the traditions of Muhammad. Hindu works in the sciences, philosophy, astronomy, and literature were reportedly studied in schools and colleges.
Razia refused to be addressed as Sultana because it meant “wife or mistress of a sultan”. She would answer only to the title “Sultan”.
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