Razia Sultana was the first woman Sultanate of India, and ruled the court of Delhi from the end of 1236 to 1240. The only ever woman to do so, she defied all odds to occupy the throne, including overcoming conflicts over her gender and her slave ancestry. During her reign, she proved her mettle as a just and capable ruler, and was renowned for her subversive actions, which varied from sporting men’s attire to printing coins in her own name and image.
In 1205, Razia Sultan was born into the household of Shams-us-din Iltutmish as his only daughter. Although he had entered Delhi as a slave worker under Qutb-ud-din, he had impressed the ruler with his efficiency, and had been appointed as a provincial governor. Iltutmish sought to impart these same qualities to all his children, including Razia, and ensured they were all well educated and trained in archery, martial arts, and administration.