conspire against him to overthrow his rule. Therefore, he had a group of
 faithful slaves to protect him. This group was known as Amir-i-
 Chahalgani or the Forty.
 They were assigned important posts and became very influential and
 powerful as time passed. During
 Iltutmish"s rule, they served him quite faithfully but, after his death, they
 became notorious and intrigued against nearly all his successors. They
 wanted to keep every new ruler under their thumb in order to keep on
 enjoying the full taste of power.
     Their intrigues, lust for power and greed for wealth led to disorder and
 complete chaos in the country. The Forty had become so powerful that no
 ruler could defy them; and if any ruler failed to fulfil their demands, they
 overthrew his rule and placed their own candidate on the throne.
 Historian Ziauddin Barani writes that since the Forty were slaves of
 Iltutmish and were posted on high ranks at the same time, they considered
 themselves important and were not ready to recognise any of their
 colleagues as superior. The members also competed with other members
 of the group who were in control of the army, possessing property and
 wealth. As a result, there was strong rivalry and conflict among them too.
 When Balban, one among them, assumed power, he fully realised that he
 could not become the real ruler in presence of other members of the group.
 Being a part of the group, he was fully mindful of their strengths as well as
 weaknesses, besides being aware of their intrigues which he understood
 how to encounter. He carefully made a plan and started to eliminate them
 one by one, not sparing even his cousin.
 With the elimination of the Forty, the role of the Turkish slaves in the
 Indian politics came to an end. Though the institution of slavery
 continued, a majority of slaves were non-Turks, and, since the rulers relied
 heavily on the support of slaves, these non-Turks also played an active
 role in history.
Ala-ud-din’s Measures
Desire to Found a New Religion         According to Barani, Ala-ud-din wanted