Whenever we visit the historical monuments of Delhi and Agra, the guides tell us – this is the fort built by Emperor Akbar, or that is the palace built by Emperor Shah Jahan, or here is the minar made by Sultan Qutb-ud-din and so on and so forth. They try to convince us that all the forts, palaces and other monuments of excellent architecture in Delhi and Agra were authored by the Muslim invaders. We also give them a patient hearing and believe in what they say, as our history books also give similar accounts. Above all, by going through such history books from our childhood, the claim of Muslim authorship of all these edifices has penetrated our mind so deeply that we never apply simple common sense to estimate the credibility of the said claim.
Our history books also tell us that Delhi fell to the Muslim invaders, for the first time in history, in 1192 AD, when Muhammad Ghori defeated Emperor Prithviraj Chauhan in the Second Battle of Tarain. So, it becomes evident that before this incident, Delhi was ruled by the Rajput kings and common sense tells us that Emperor Prithviraj Chauhan and his ancestors also had forts and palaces as dwelling places as well as the seat of their governments. Definitely they did not live in mud houses or thatched cottages. So the question is – What happened to those forts and palaces and where they have gone?
Our historians also tell us that after capturing Delhi, Muhammad Ghori conquered the fort at Ajmer (Sanskrit: Ajeya Meru) in the same year and thereafter, he entrusted to his slave Qutb-ud-din the conquered territory and left India for Ghazni. Later on, Qutb-ud-din captured the forts at Gwalior, Meeut, Ranathombhor, Benares and so on and all these forts belonged to Hindu kings. Again the question arises- In pre-Islamic India, the Hindu kings had so many forts and palaces at so many places, how come then they had none in Delhi? Hence a group of historians believe that the Muslim invaders did not build a single fort or a palace, or any other mansion eiher in Delhi or in Agra and that all the existing forts and palaces, as we see them today, were originally built by he Hindu kings well before the arrival of the barbaric Muslim invaders. These Muslim aggressors only occupied those forts and palaces by force and utilised them as their dwelling places and as royal courts.
Qutb-ud-din’s court chronicler Hasan Nizami in his Taj-ul-Masir writes, “When he (Muhammad Ghori) arrived at Delhi, he saw a fortress which in height and strength had no equal nor second throught the length and breadth of seven climes”. The question is – Which was the fort Muhammad Ghori saw? Had he seen the Red Fort? There was no other fort that could match the description of Hasan Nizami. But our historians say that Shah Jahan, after ascending the throne of Delhi, decided to set up a new capital to be called Shahjahanabad in Delhi and as a part of that plan he built the Red Fort. Hence they write, “In 1638, Shah Jahan began in Delhi the construction of a new capital, that of Shahjahanbad, to contain within its perimeter a sumptuous palace-fortress fot the accommodation of the imperial household and the court. The palce-fortress, the Red Fort as it is known because of the red sandstone fabric of its rampart walls, has been designed on an unprecedented scale with all the amenities of the busy and luxurious life of an imperial house and court provided for within its walls in a regular and systematic order”. 
Our historians tell us that it took ten years to build the fort and write, “The fortress with its halls, palaces, pavalions and gardens was completed in 1648 when on an auspicious day the Emperor entered it ceremonially and formally inaugurated the capital city”.Surprisingly, the same historian writes in another place, “The Diwan-i-am in the Delhi fort, it has to be noted, is also in red sandstone, and it is definitely known to have been the work of Shah Jahan. Behind Diwan-i-am and separated from it by Machchhi Bhavan, stands the Diwan-i-Khas that was erected by, according to the inscription it bears, in 1636-37?. The question therefore arises- How could Shah Jahan complete the construction of Diwan-i-Am and Diwan-i-Khas, which were the integral parts of the Red Fort, nearly two years before the commencement of the construction of the Red Fort itself in 1638 AD?
At he same time, our historians say that while the construction of the Red Fort was in progress, Shah Jahan undertook a massive renovation and repair work of the older palaces and write, “Shah Jahan’s alteration and replacements in the earlier palace-fortress were carried out on a grandiose scale and apparently inspired by the desire to impart to the palaces nnd other appurtenances an appearence to suit the prevailing character of the court”. They also say that, as a part of that reconstruction work, Shah Jahan built a Naubat Khana near the Diwan-i-Am and had a Persian couplet inscribed- “If there is paradise on the face of the earth, it is this, it is this, it is this”, on Diwan-i-Khas. These descriptions make one wonder about Shah Jahan’s authorship of the Red Fort. Had the Red Fort, with all its appurtenances, been a new creation of Shah Jahan, how could the need for reconstruction and remodelling of those newly built mansions and palaces arise? Furthermore, where were the older palaces mentioned above and what was their origin?
So, if we piece together all the information mentioned above, it becomes evident that there was an existing fortress in Delhi, built probably many years before the time of Shah Jahan, and Shah Jahan undertook a massive reconstruction and renovation work, mainly to remove all stone carvings bearing Hindu symbols and possible Sanskrit inscriptions and to convert all Hindu temples inside the fortress into mosques, with a view to giving the entire edifice a Muslim face which our historians describe as an attempt to give the fortress “an appearence to suit the prevailing (i.e. Muslim) character of the court”.
Shah Jahan’s authorship of the Red Fort becomes all the more suspect when one finds that there is an indirect mention of the Diwan-i-Khas in the Tabaquat-i-Nasisri by the Muslim chronicler Minhas-us-Siraj. He writes that nearly 400 years before the time of Shah Jahan, Bukhtiar Khilji, the then chief warlord of Bihar, came from Bihar to Delhi to meet Sultan Qutb-ud-din. During this visit Bukhtiar Khilji fought a duel with an elephant which took place in a white marble palace in Delhi. The question is – What other marble place, big enough for holding a duel with an elephant, could be than the Diwan-i-Khas in the Red Fort? The incident conclusively proves that the Red Fort in Delhi, with Diwan-i-Khas as its integral part, existed more that 400 yers before the time of Shah Jahan.
Moreover, another Muslim chronicler Zia-ud-din Barni in his Tarikh-i-Firozshahi writes, “Towards the end of the year 695H (1296 AD), Alauddin (Khilji) entered Delhi in great pomp and with a large force. He took his seat upon the throne in the Daulat khana-i-Julus and proceeded to the Kushk-e-Lal (red palace), where he took his abode”. To describe the sme incident, our historians write, “Ala-ud-din then made his triumphal entry into the capital on October 22, 1296, and took up his residence in the Red Palace of Balban, where he was enthroned”.. Who was this Balban?He was no other than Ghias-ud-din Balban, whose original name was Ulugh Khan and became a commander under Sultana Razia. Ulugh Khan belonged to the Khakan tribe of Albari in Turkestan, who was captured by the Mongols as a slave and later on sold to Khwaja Jamaluddin in Ghazni, who brought him to Delhi. Ulugh Khan definitely did not bring a red palace from Turkestan and our history books nowhere mention that he built a red palace in Delhi. So, what could that Red Palace (Kushk-i-Lal) be if not the Red Fort?
It has been stated earlier that the fortress, now known as the Red Fort, fell to the foreign invader Muhammad Ghori, for the first time in history, in 1192 AD. Later, several Muslim dynasties used that fortress, built by the Rajput kings, as their royl court and residence. Quite naturally, for some time it went to Ghias-ud-din Balban, alias Ulugh Khan. But it is a pity that despite all such infallible evidences, our historians persist in writing that the sais Red Fort was built by Shah Jahan.
Today, there are two forts in Delhi, the Red Fort and the Purana Quila and our historins believe that the Purana Quila was built by Sher Shah . So, according to their version of history, Delhi did not have a fort before the time of Sher Shah. Again the question is – Which fort Muhammad Ghori had seen, nearly 350 years before the time of Sher Shah, after setting his feet in Delhi? And which fort did the Muslim rulers of Delhi, before the time of Sher Shah, use as their royal court and residence? Above all, how could Delhi play the role of the capital of Delhi Sultanate without hving a fortress?
From the above discussions, it becomes evident that the real authors of today’s Red Fort were the Hindu kings of India, perhaps several centuries before the times of Shah Jahan. But after the defeat of Emperor Prithwiraj Chauhan, it fell into the hands of the Muslim invader Muhammad Ghori. Later on, Shah Jahan undertook a massive repairing and renovation work, mainly to remove all stone carvings bearing Hindu symbols and possible Sanskrit inscriptions and to convert all Hindu temples inside the fortress into mosques, with a view to giving the entire edifice a Muslim face, as we see it today.
To settle all the above mentioned disputes, it is urgently necessary for the Government to ask the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to ascertain the age of the edifice, now known as the Red Fort, through scientific methods. Only such a step can help the truth come out.
 H. M. Elliot and J. Dowson, The History of India, as told by its own historians
(in 8 Volumes), Low Price Publications, New Delhi (1996) II,216.
 R. C. Majumdar (Gen Ed), History & Culture of the Indian People (in 12
Volumes), Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai (1996), VII, 787.
 R. C. Majumdar (ibid) Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, VII, 784-85.
 R. C. Majumdar (ibid) Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, VII, 783.
 R. C. Majumdar (ibid), Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, VII,789.
 H. M. Elliot and J. Dowson (ibid) II, 306.
 R. C. Majumdar (ibid), Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, VII, 790.
 H. M. Elliot and J. Dowson (ibid) III, 160.
 R. C. Majumdar (ibid), Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, VI,18.
 R. C. Majumdar, H. C. Raychaudhury and K. Datta, An Advanced History of India, MacMillan & Co (1980),578.