Alam Khan Lodi (Sultan Alauddin Alam Shah)

(by Dr.A.Haleem, Excerpt from “Proceedings of All Pakistan history conference, 1951,  page-218 to 223)

Alam Khan Lodi, son of Sultan Bahlol Lodi, was holding at the latter’s
death in 1489 AD, the governorship of the pargana of Rapri (Mainpuri
district, U.P) and Chandwar (near Firuzabad town, Agra district, on the
Jamuna bank). The Bahluli nobles arraying themselves as supporters of
prince Barbak Shah (son of Bahlul), governor of the Punjab and Delhi and
prince Azam Humayun Khan (grandson of Bahlul), Nizam Khan seated
himself on the throne of Agra and Delhi, through the support of Umar
Khan Sarwani, the Wazir. Prince Alam Khan being a partisan of prince
Azam Humayun Khan, governor of Kalpi Sarkar (Jalaun district, U.P) was
ejected by Nizam Khan (who had taken the title of Sikander Shah) soon
after, from Rapri and Chandwar. He fled to his kinsman, Isa Khan Lodi,
governor of Patiali (Etah district, U.P). Alam Khan, later on, submitted
to Sikander, his powerful brother, who pardoned him and conferred on
him the governorship of Etawa district instead. Alam Khan’s son, Tatar
Khan Lodi, was allowed to retain the governorship of Buksor, in the
present Unnao district of Awadh.

We do not hear any more of Alam Khan in the chronology of the sultanate
of Delhi and Agra during the last of the reign of the Sultan Sikander
Lodior that of his son and successor Sultan Ibrahim, till we find him
suddenly in the kingdom of Gujarat during the reign of Qutbuddin
Muzaffar Shah (1511-1524 AD). It can’t be definitely said whether he went
there during the reign of Sultan Sikander. On the other hand, if he had remained submissive to his brother, it is rather strange that he is not
mentioned at all. He is not mentioned to have been implicated in the
plot attempted by 22 nobles of his Kingdom in 1501, to dethrone him and
place in his stead prince Fateh Khan, his younger brother. The plot
having been divulged to the Sultan, he deported or executed all of the
participators. The deported nobles like Said Khan, Babo Khan, Rai
Ganesh, took refuge in the Gwalior where from they were expelled by Raja
Mansingh at the protest of the Sultan. Many of the conspirators
including Tatar Khan Lodi of the Punjab seems to have made their way to
the kingdom of Gujarat. But it can’t be said whether Alam Khan was one of
them. Alam Khan according to the testimony of recorded history, came to
the kingdom of Gujarat during the reign of Ibrahim Lodi, and in 1523-24
AD, he stated, one day to Muzaffar Shah, that he had been staying with
his majesty for a good time and asked for his permission to depart and
contest his paternal throne, in response to an invitation sent to him by
the nobles of the Punjab who had been tired of the right-handed and
oppressive poking of Sultan Ibrahim. Alam Khan got the permission to his
fortune. The Sultan gave him, in addition, suitable amount for outfit
and preparations. It is not unlikely that Alam Khan was a member of the
confederacy of the nobles of eastern districts, who under Islam Khan,
son of Azam Humayun Khan Sarwani, rebelled against Sultan Ibrahim Lodi
during the early part of his reign. The league included Said Khan,
governor of Lucknow Sarkar, Bahar Khan Nuhani of the Sarkar of Bihar and
Nasir Khan Nuhani, governor of Ghazipur.

The rebels were however defeated by Ibrahim after hard and contested
battles fought in Awadh. Daulat Khan Lodi, governor pf Punjab, revolted sometime later and had the support of his many sons who held districts
in that province, and also officers and zamindars of the localities.
Daulat Khan in order to strengthen his cause, invited Alam Khan from
Gujarat because the latter had a better claim to the sovereignty of the
country. Alam Khan thus came away in the Punjab though his sons Bhikan
Khan and Jalal Khan remained attached to Sultan Ibrahim, the latter up
to the battle of Delhi, in 1525. the fourth Indian expedition of Babur
(1525), resulting in the conquest of Punajb, was undertaken at the
request of the party of Afghan nobles, headed by Alam Khan Lodi and
Ghazi Khan Lodi, sons of Daulat Khan Lodi, who went to Kabul with
presents which included Indian Mangoes and ‘Pan’ (Betel-leaf). After the
conquest of Punjab, Alam Khan was given by Babur the Jagir of Dipalpur
(Montgomery district, Punjab, Pakistan) and Ghazi Khan was given
Sultanpur instead of Lahore which he coveted. Alam Khan could not retain
his jagir for long time, he was driven away by Daulat Khan. Alam sought
Babur’s intervention against Daulat Khan who had meanwhile driven away
the Baburi officers from Punjab. While at Kabul, Alam Khan appears to
have entered into a pact with Babur to the effect that Babur would help
Alam to regain his paternal throne, and that Babur would remain in the
occupation of Punjab. After Babur’s departure to Kabul, Alam approached
his (Babur’s) officers in the Punjab for the promised help but they
refused to do so unless Ghazi Khan Lodi whom they distrusted had given
hostages as pledge for good conduct. Upon this, Alam Khan entered into a
treaty with Daulat Khan, agreeing to transfer to Daulat the Punjab and
retaining for himself, the rest of Lodi empire. It was perhaps on this
occasion that he publicly assumed the title of Sultan Alauddin Alam
Shah, a name by which he is most often distinguished from his namesakes.

Alauddin’s troops swelled to 40 thousand. He marched straight upon the
city of Delhi, being reinforced by Ismail Khan Jilawani and Jalal Khan
Jighat and nearly overwhelmed Sultan Ibrahim’s army in an organized
night-attack. The situation was retrieved by Sultan Ibrahim Lodi, who
stood calmly at the center though the flanks had collapsed and delivered
an attack on Alam’s troops engaged in collecting booty, as soon as the
day dawned, Jalal Khan son of Sultan Alam fled towards the Doab and
Alam Khan took the same way till he reached the fort of Gingata in the
Dooris. He later surrendered himself to Mir Khalifa, Babur’s
Wakil-us-sultana. He walked into Babur’s court naked and greatly
distressed. Babur condoned his treachery and didnt speak a word of
reproach. On the other hand, everybody in the court stood up when Alam
Khan was brought in.

Alam Khan is next noticed as commanding the left center of Babur’s army
at the battle of Khanwa in which his son Jalal Khan was also present.
Earlier he held the nominated command of a section of Babur’s army at
Panipat. Alam Khan is described in Babur’s memoirs as a “prince who has
near access to the Royal majesty”. He seems to have left Babur soon after, for, we learn from Babur. about the capture by the Mughals, of
one of Alam Khan Lodi in the battle of Dalman on the bank of Gumti.
Badauni identifies him with Alam Khan Lodi. He was sent as a prisoner
to Qila-i-Zafar in Badkhshan where from he escaped and reached Gujarat
via Baluchistan and Sindh, during the reign of Bahadur Shah. He became,
along with his sons, one of the principal instruments in stiffening the
attitude of Sultan Bahadur towards Humayun. Humayun in his third letter
to Sultan Bahadur complains of unfriendly act of the Gujarat in giving
asylum to his rebel Kinsman Zaman Mirza and Alam Khan bin Bahlul Lodi
and demanded Zaman’s surrender or expulsion from Gujarat. Bahadur
rejected Humayun’s demand and at the suggestion of Tatar Khan bin Alam Khan, placed 20 lacs of tankas at the disposal of Tatar Khan for
equipping an army. Tatar Khan boastingly marched towards Bayana with a
view to capture Agra. His mercenary troops deserted him in large
numbers. He gave a fight to Mirza hindal with his remnants near Bayana
and was defeated and slain.

Alam Khan is not mentioned in the troubled days of Bahadur Shah’s
struggle with Humayun . Evil days befell Gujarat after Bahadur Shah’s
death in 1537 AD. A contest developed between powerful nobles for the
custody of the King’s person. When Daria Khan raised Mahmud II on the
throne, Alam Khan became attached to the former as the custodian of the palace, and commanded a portion of Daria Khan’s army and shared his
defeat in the hands of Safdar Khan entitled Alam Khan. Daria Khan saved
his life by flight to Sher Shah Sur at Delhi. Alam Khan Lodi and
Shujaat Khan were executed by order of Mahmud II after his triumphant
entry into Ahmadabad at the instigation of Jargi, the bird-catcher.
Their bodies rotted for three days before being buried by Safdar Khan.
Thus ended the tragic career of Sultan Alauddin Alam Lodi. If he was 25
years old at the death of his father in 1489 (he must have been older
than that, for his son Tatar Khan held the governorship of Buksar at
that time) his age a2 years. He was too ambitious to follow a line of
action with consistency. Nor can he be exonerated for inviting a foreign
prince to invade India and obtain in the conquered land a firm footing.
He turned a patriot after realizing the error when he joined Ghazi Khan
for expelling the Mughals from Punjab and fought his nephew Ibrahim
Lodi at the same time. He failed because fighting enemies at two fronts
is a difficult game and that too by a rebel leader. During his second
stay in Gujarat, he is being in dotage, plays an almost insignificant part.
A scheming rebel without great qualities of a soldier doesnt deserves a
better fate.

Illustrations from the Manuscript of Baburnama, depicting death of Sultan Ibrahim Lodi in battle of Panipat


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