Sultans of Bengal

Gold Tanka

Obverse

al-Sultan/al-mu’azzam Mu’izz/al-dunya wa’l-din/abu’l-muzaffar Muhammad/bin Sam “the mighty sultan Invigorator of the world and the faith, father of victory, Muhammad bin Sam”

Reverse

In field within linear circle: cavalryman galloping to left brandishing a mace in his right hand

In margin: Ramadan ahad wa sitt mi’a (in Arabic) Gauda-vijaye (in Nagari) “Ramadan one and six hundred, Gauda-vijaye”

This tanka, which gives the Ghurid ruler the title al-sultan al-mu’azzam (“the mighty sultan”), shows a cavalryman galloping on horseback brandishing a mace. It was a campaign coin struck in the province of Sind under the authority of Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji to celebrate the conquest of Bengal by the Ghurid forces of Mu’izz al-din Muhammad bin Sam. In place of a mint name it bears the Nagari inscription Gauda-vijaye (“on the conquest of Gaur” – the capital of Bengal) with the month and year of issue. As such it is the only proof known that Bengal fell into the hands of Mu’izz al-din’s allies in the month of Ramadan 601 H/April 1205 CE. The fabric and calligraphy, in Arabic and Nagari, would suggest that this beautiful and extremely rare commemorative coin was manufactured from gold captured from the enemies’ treasury. These coins would probably have been intended for tribute to Mu’izz al-din in Ghazna and as rewards to high ranking army officers, who would have taken them back to Afghanistan as tangible rewards for their victory.

Sultans of Bengal

MaterialGold
TypeTanka
RulerIn the name of the Ghurid Mu’izz al-din Muhammad bin Sam
MintWithout mint name (but Gauda-vijaye)
DateMonth of Ramadan 601 H (April 1205 CE)
Weight11.17g
Diameter22mm