barathi at PC.JARING.MY
Wed Jun 3 14:46:31 UTC 1998
At 05:46 PM 6/2/98 -0700, you wrote:
>Could anybody tell me if India experienced the Black Death ( 1347-1351)
>which so devastated Europe?
> It seems the Black Death originated in China and travelled with the
>Golden Horde and affected areas in the Middle East and North Africa as
>well as Europe, but I have not found references to India.
>I am not having any luck finding info in places where I assume it should
>be, e.g. Ibn Battuta.
>Any help would be gratefully received. Thanks!!
Greetings Ms.Mary Storm,
Yes. There is reference to the Black Death
in India. And it is recorded by Ibn Batuta himself.
Madurai, the capital of the Pandya Empire
was ransacked by Malik Kafur, Kusrau Khan, and finally
was captured by Mohamed bin Tughlaq in 1323 A.D.. He made
it into the 23rd province of his Delhi Sultanate. He sent
Jallaluddin Hassan Shah as its governor. Ibn Batuta had
married one of the daughters of this Hassan Shah.
But Hassan Shah declared himself independant
and created the Sultanate of Maabar(Madurai) in the
year 1333 A.D. Muhammad bin Tughlaq himself led an
army and marched towards Madurai to punish Jallaluddin
in 1341 A.D. But when he was proceeding from Devagiri,
the erstwhile kingdom of the Yadavas, to Warangal, the
capital of the earstwhile kingdom of the Kakatiyas,...
" a pestilence broke out in his camp and carried away some
of his officers. The Sultan himself was subject to an
attack of the dangerous disease. Rumours were set afloat
to the effect that the Sultan was dead. He left Malik Maqbul
at Warangal and himself returned to Dawlatabad(Devagiri) and
thence to Dihli never to regain Ma'bar.
After a few years in Delhi, Ibn Batuta took leave
of Muhammad bin Tughlaq and travelled to Calicut, the
Maldives and went to Ceylon. From a place called Patlam,
he took a ship to go to the Madurai Sultanate. When he
was eight miles off-shore, the ship wrecked and was
abandoned. Ibn batuta was saved by some pagan natives(Hindus).
On reaching the land he reported his arrival to the
de facto ruler of the country. This was Sultan Ghiasuddin
Damghani Shah. He had married another of Jallaluddin
Hassan Shah's daughters and hence was a co-brother of
Ibn batuta. Ghiasuddin was a monster and was performing
genocide in the Tamil country. He was the Sultan who
treacherously played out the Hoysala emperor Ballala III,
and finally skinned him and had it stuffed with sraw,
and hung it from the walls of the Fortress of Madurai,
where Ibn Batuta saw it hanging.
Ibn Batuta stayed with Ghiasuddin for some time,
and then went to a place called Fatan(Kilzakkarai).
After sometime he went to see the Sultan in Madurai.
"On my arrival at Madurai, I found a contagious
disease prevailing there: people died of it in a short
time. Those who were attacked by it, succumbed on the
second or third day; if death was delayed, it was only
until the fourth day. When I went out, I saw only the
sick or the dead. I bought a young slave girl here,
being assured that she was healthy; but she died the
Once a woman whose husband had been the Vazir of
Sultan Hasan Shah came to me with her son, aged eight years,
a nice lad full of intelligence and spirit. She omplained
of poverty, and I gave some money to her and her son.
Both of them were strong and healthy; but the next day the
mother returned, asking for a shroud for her son, as he
had died suddenly. I saw in the audience hall of the Sultan
at the time of his death, hundreds of women servants, who
had been brought to pound rice for preparing for food
for other persons than the souvereign; these women, taking
ill, were thrown on the ground, exposed to the sun's heat.
When Ghiasuddin entered Madurai, he found that
his mother, his wife and his son had fallen ill. He remained
three days in the city, and then he went out to a river
at distance of one parasang, on the banks of which is
a temple belonging to the infidels.
I went to meet him on a Thursday and he ordered
me to be lodged with the Qazi. When the tents had been
erected for me, I saw people hastening along pushing one
another. One of them said: "The Sultan is dead"; another
asserted that it was his son that had died. We ascertained
the truth and found that the son was dead. The Sultan had
no other son, and the death aggravated his own disease.
The Thursday following, the mother of the Sultan died.
The third Thursday, Ghiasuddin died. I heard of
it and hastened to return to town, for fear of a tumult.
This happened in 1345 A.D.
The Black Death in a way altered the course of
the history of Tamil Nadu. Saving it from Tughlaq's
punitive invasion; secondly saving it from the
cruellest tyrant who was committing calculated genocide
of the Tamils; weakening the Madurai Sultanate,
to be conquered by Kampana of Vijayanagar at a later date.
1.History of Pandya Country by S.A.Q.Hussaini
2.Foreign Notices of South India by K.A.Nilakanta Sastri
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