Famous Personalities of India : Raziyah Sultana
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Raziyah, Sultana (?-1240), an Indian ruler, reigned from 1236 to 1240. She was the first woman in the history of Islam to govern a country. Her name is also spelled Raziya.

Raziyah's father was Iltutmish, who founded the so-called Slave Dynasty. He made Delhi his capital, and from it governed northern India. Iltutmish was impressed with his daughter's ability. As a result, he twice left her in charge of the government, in preference to his sons, while he went off on military campaigns.

Raziyah eventually succeeded her father as ruler. Iltutmish's former advisers were unhappy about this, but they accepted the situation. She dressed as a man. She proved to be a capable and vigorous ruler, giving out justice in person and leading her armies into battle against rebel forces. Raziyah was later overthrown by an army coup and sent to prison. She married her gaoler and attempted to regain her throne with his help, but was finally captured and executed.

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