Silver Tanka of Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah – Firozabad


Year: 74X AH, coin issued from 746-752 AH (1345-1351 AD)

Regnal year: N/A



Al-Sultan Al-Adil

Shams Al Duniya wa Al Din

Abu Al-Muzaffar

Ilyas Shah Al-Sultan

अल-सुल्तान अल-आदिल

शम्स अल दुनिया व अल दीन

अबू अल मुज़फ़्फ़र

इलियास शाह अल-सुल्तान

السلطان العدل

شمس الدنیا الدین

ابو المظفر

الیاس شاہ السلطان

The Sultan, The Just

Sun of the World and of Faith

Father of the Conqueror

Ilyas Shah, The Sultan

न्यायप्रिय सुल्तान

दुनिया और धर्म का सूरज

विजेता के पिता

सुल्तान इलियास शाह

عدل سلطان

دنیا اور دین کا آفتاب

ابو مظفر

سلطان الیاس شاہ


Sikander Al-Sani

Yamin Al-Khilafat

Amir Al Momenin




Hazihi Al-Fizzat Al-Sikka Al-Balad Firozabad Fi  ___ Arba’un wa Sebami’at

(in margins)

सिकंदर अल सानी

यमीन अल ख़िलाफ़त

अमीर अल मोमीनीन

(बीच में)


हज़िही अल फ़ीज़्ज़त अल सिक्का  अल बलद फ़िरोज़ाबाद फ़ी ___ अरबाऊन व सबामीयात

(चारों ओर)


یمین الخلافۃ

امیر المومنین

(بیچ میں)



ھزہ الفضۃ السکہ البلد فروزآباد فی ــــــ أربعون و سبعة مائة


(چاروں اور)

Second Alexander

Right Hand of the Caliphate

Commander of the Faithful



Struck this Silver Coin in the City Firozabad in Year ___

Fourty and Seven Hundred

(in margins)

सिकंदर द्वितीय

ख़िलाफ़त का दांया हाथ

विश्वासियों का सेनापति

(बीच में)


चांदी में यह सिक्का ढाला गया शहर फ़िरोज़ाबाद में, साल सात सौ और चालीस और ____ में

(चारों ओर)

سکندر دوم

خلافت کا دائیں ہاتھ

امیر المومنین

(بیچ میں)



چاندی میں یہ سکہ ڈھالا گیا شہر فروزآباد میں، سنہ سات سو اور چالیس اور ـــــ میں

(چاروں اور)



Sultanate of Bengal

In 1202 AD, during the Ghorid invasion of India, Bakhtiyar Khilji, a commander of Qutbuddin Aibak who himself was one of the slave generals of Muhammad Ghori conquered Bengal. He became the first governor of the province. Bengal was ruled by officials chosen by the Delhi Sultans till 1338 AD. The province was divided in two in the year 1310 AD, and Eastern and Western Bengal were eventually under the control of independent governors. Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah, the governor of Eastern Bengal, successfully revolted against Delhi in 1338 AD, severing relations with Delhi forever. Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah became the Sultan of a united Bengal in 1352 AD after a period of internal strife among the earlier rulers.

The Bengal Sultanate had Bengali, Turco-Persian, Pashtun and Abyssinian elites. The empire was renowned for its religious pluralism and the peaceful coexistence of non-Muslim minorities. Bengali originally acquired court recognition as an official language under the Sultanate, while Persian was still the main language used for governmental, diplomatic, and commercial purposes.

A significant commercial hub on the Bay of Bengal coast was the Bengal Sultanate. It drew traders and people from all over the world. The Bengal Sultanate was described by contemporary European and Chinese visitors as a prosperous kingdom. It was only in 1576 that Bengal was finally brought firmly under Delhi's control, by the Mughal empire.[i]

Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah

Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah (reigned: 1352-1358) is considered the founder of the Ilyas Shahi Dynasty and the first independent Sultan of Bengal. His dynasty ruled for more than a century and a half. During the start of his reign, he moved his capital from Lakhnauti to Pandua, which was renamed Firozabad.

In AD 1355, he signed a treaty with Firoz Shah Tughluq of Delhi by which Bengal was formally recognized as an independent kingdom. This came after a vigorous but unsuccessful invasion of Bengal by the Delhi ruler. He had also overrun Tirhut and advanced as far as Kathmandu in Nepal, where he had destroyed a holy temple and obtained much booty. A similar raid was also made into Orissa.

The coin

The calligraphy on the coin is quite crude making it hard to read at some places. The format of the coin is clearly influenced by the format used by the Sultans of Delhi, from which Bengal separated. The ruler’s titles are distributed over both sides and are quite self-laudatory. Similar to some other rulers, Shamsuddin fashions himself with the title of ‘Second Alexander’.

The margin on the reverse contains the mint, Firozabad which has been identified as Pandua in the Malda district of West Bengal. The mint name also contains the epithet of ‘Al-Balad’ simply meaning ‘City’.[ii]

The ones digit of the date is difficult to ascertain due to it being off-flan.

[i] Brown, C. J. (1980). The Heritage of India Series: The Coins of India. University of Toronto Library.

[ii] Goenka, S. G. (2022). The Coins of the Indian Sultanates: Covering the Areas of Present Day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. New Delhi: Manoharlal Publishers & Distributors.