Sultans of Bengal

Silver Nazarana Tanka

Obverse

In field within double linear square: al-sultan al-‘azam/Mughith al-dunya wa’l-din/abu’l-Fath Yuzbak al-sultan “the supreme sultan Mughith al-dunya wa’l-din abu’l-Fath Yuzbak, the sultan”. Floral designs in the four marginal segments

Reverse

In field within double linear square: fi ahad al-imam/al-Musta’sim billah amir/al-mu’minin “in the time of the imam al-Musta’sim, commander of the faithful”

In margin anticlockwise from 2:00: hadha’l-darb bi-Laknur ? min kharaj Azmardan wa Nudiya fi-Ramadan sana thalath wa khamsin wa sitt mi’a “this was struck in Laknur (?) from the land tax of Azmardan and Nudiya in Ramadan year three and fifty and six hundred”

Yuzbak was clearly not of royal ancestry, because on his first coinage, struck to demonstrate his loyalty to the Dihli Sultanate, he described himself as “the servant Yuzbak, the royal servant”. However, he was extremely ambitious, and managed to become governor of Bengal sometime in the late 640s H/1240s CE. His aim was to regain the lands that had been lost to the Gangas of Orissa. To begin with he was successful, but he experienced many years of setbacks before finally becoming strong enough to declare his independence in 652 H/1254 CE. This coin was struck from the land tax (kharaj) of Azmardan and Nudiya, marking one of the very rare instances where the origin of the metal from which it was struck is identified. The location of the mint name, or even whether it is Laknauti or Laknur, is unclear. On this very attractive and rare coin Yuzbak gives himself the kunya “Father of Victory”, perhaps to express the struggles he had been through to reach the position of sultan which he enjoyed for only three or four years.

Sultans of Bengal

MaterialSilver
TypeNazarana Tanka
RulerMughith al-din Yuzbak
MintLaknauti or Laknur
DateMonth of Ramadan 653 H (October 1255 CE)
Weight10.92g
Diameter29.5mm