Balban: theory of Kingship and Judicial System.

Balban: theory of Kingship and Judicial System

Theory of kingship

Balban was a despotic ruler and the reestablishment of the prestige of the crown was the immediate need before him. He streng­thened absolute monarchy by suppressing all opposition. He tried to create a halo of superiority around him and declared himself a descendant of Afrasiyab dynasty. He exploited the religious feelings of the people in order to strengthen his position.

Balban through his theory of kingship endeavored to prove that he had not taken the throne by the poisoned cup or by the dagger of the murderer.

Balban laid stress on two main points in his theory of kingship. First, monarchy is bestowed upon a person by the grace of God; hence it is divine, and secondly, a Sultan must be a despot. He used to say, “King is the representative of God on earth (Niyabat-i-Khudai) and in his dignity he is next only to prophethood and, therefore, his action cannot be judged by nobles or the people.”

Once he told his son Bughra Khan, “Kingship is the embodiment of despotism,” and therefore, he was not answerable to anybody for the discharge of his functions as Sultan. Thus he tried to enhance the power and prestige of the crown.

Balban, in order to prove his claim to divine origin of the sovereign, made a complete change in his dress, behaviour and manner. Declaring himself a descendant of Afrasiyab dynasty, he gave up drinking, cut off from the jovial company of his courtiers, maintained aloofness and stopped meeting the common people.

Balban did not agree to meet a rich merchant of Delhi who was prepared to hand over all of his property in return of an interview with the Sultan. He had feeling of hatred for the low-born people. Once he said, “My veins begin to agitate when I behold a low-born person.”

Balban always maintained an external dignity. He never ex­pressed unusual joy or sorrow. His frowning look9 displayed an awe- inspiring personality. He was sitting in the court when the news of the death of his beloved eldest son Muhammad was delivered to him, but he continued his administrative work without showing even a little sign of sorrow on his forehead. After finishing his duties when he returned to his bedroom, he wept bitterly for the death of his beloved son.

He always wore complete dress, none of his personal attendants had ever seen court nor did he permit anybody to do so.  Balban displayed his autocratic power and grandeur by framing certain rules for the court behaviour and forced the courtiers to act accordingly. He himself strictly followed these rules in his own life. His darbar was famous for its pomp and show. It was based on Persian model and many ceremonies and festivals of Persian style were celebrated in it.

The festival of Nauroz was one of the most renowned among them. The people of foreign countries who visited the court of Balban were stunned to see the royal splendour and the glamour of the court. He introduced the practice of Sizda or pros­tration and Paibos or kissing of the feet of the Sultan and thus tried to impose his superiority over his subjects. He assumed the title of Zille Illahi.

He did not permit his courtiers to take their seats so long as he remained in the court. He appointed black, tall and fearsome guards around him. They used to have naked swords in their hands. When­ever the Sultan went outside the palace, they marched with him shouting Bismillah. Bismillah. This show of power, pomp and splendor, no doubt, added to the prestige of the Sultan and enhanced the glamour of the court.

Judicial system of balban

In matters of judicial administration, the principle followed by Balban was one of strict impartiality. His near relations also could not avoid the process of law and justice if they were in any way involved in any act of omission or commission. This had a salutary effect on the amirs and maliks who now did not venture to maltreat their servants, male or female or even their slaves, for they knew that they could not get away without punishment for their wrong-doings. A certain malik got one of his slaves killed by inhuman cruelties. The Sultan-came to know of this from the widow of the slave thus killed and ordered the malik to be flogged openly for the crime. Haibat Khan, a favorite of the Saltan himself, killed a man and in order to avoid punishment at the hand of Balban paid twenty thousand rupees to the widow of the man as compensation. The institution of an espionage system by Balban has already been referred to. The spies were also to report all cases of miscarriage of justice to the Sultan besides reporting on the occurrences of importance and about high ranking officers, even including Balban’s son Bughra Khan, to Balban.

 

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