Khilji dynasty

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This article is about the Khilji dynasty centered in Delhi between 1290 and 1320. For the Khilji dynasty in Bengal between 1204 and 1227, see Khilji dynasty of Bengal.
"Khalji" redirects here. For the village in Iran, see Khalji, Iran.
Khilji Sultanate
سلسله خلجی

1290–1320
Khilji dynasty
Capital Delhi
Languages Persian (official)[1]
Religion Sunni Islam
Government Sultanate
Sultan
 -  1290–1296 Jalal ud din Firuz Khilji
 -  1296–1316 Alauddin Khilji
 -  1316 Shihab ad-Din Umar
 -  1316–1320 Qutb ad-Din Mubarak
History
 -  Established 1290
 -  Disestablished 1320
Area 2,700,000 km² (1,042,476 sq mi)
Today part of  India
 Pakistan
 Bangladesh
   Nepal
 Afghanistan
 Tajikistan
 China

The Khilji dynasty (Persian: سلسله خلجی‎; Hindi: सलतनत ख़िलजी) or Khalji was a Muslim dynasty of Turkic origin, long settled in Afghanistan, which ruled large parts of South Asia between 1290 and 1320.[2][3] It was founded by Jalal ud din Firuz Khilji and became the second dynasty to rule the Delhi Sultanate of India. The dynasty is known for their faithlessness and ferocity,[2] as well as their raids into Hindu south and defending the Sultanate against the repeated Mongol invasions of India.[4][5]

Origins

Front and back of copper coin with raised inscription, against a red background
Copper coin of Alauddin Khilji

I colspan="8" style="font-size: 90%; padding: 0 5px 0 5px; background: #fffde9" | Ottoman Empire1299–1922I-

History of the Turkic peoples
History of the Turkic peoples
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Tatar confederation 8th century–1202
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  Mamluk dynasty
  Khilji dynasty
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Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo) 1250–1517
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Sufids 1361–1379

The Khilji rulers trace their roots to Central Asia and were of Turkic origin.[6] They had long been settled in what is now Afghanistan before proceeding to Delhi in India. The name "Khilji" refers to an Afghan village or town known as Qalat-e Khilji (Fort of Ghilzai).[7] Sometimes they were treated by others as ethnic Afghans due to their adoption of some Afghan habits and customs.[8][9] As a result of this, sometimes the dynasty is referred to as a Turko-Afghan.[10][11][12] The three sultans of the Khalji dynasty were noted by historians for their faithlessness and ferocity.[6]

Jalal-ud-din Khilji

Ikhtiar Uddin Muhammad bin Bakhtiar Khilji was a servant of Qutb-ud-din Aibak, who was an ex-slave of the Ghurids with a Turkic background.[10] Khiljis were vassals of the Mamluk dynasty of Delhi and served the Sultan of Delhi, Ghiyas ud din Balban. Balban's successors were murdered over 1289-1290, and the Mamluk dynasty succumbed to the factional conflicts within the Mamluk dynasty and the Muslim nobility. As the struggle between the factions razed, Jalal ud din Firuz Khilji led a coup and murdered the 17 year old Mamluk successor Muiz ud din Qaiqabad - the last ruler of Mamluk dynasty.[13]

Jalal ud din Firuz Khilji was accepted as sultan by a faction of Muslim amirs of Turkic, Persian, Arabic factions and Indian-Muslim aristocrats. However, Jalal-ud-din in his old age was unpopular and not universally accepted. During his six year reign (1290–96), some of Balban's officers revolted due to his assumption of power and the subsequent sidelining of nobility and commanders serving the Mamluk dynasty.[13] Jalal-ud-din suppressed the revolt and executed some commanders, then led an unsuccessful expedition against Ranthambhor and repelled a Mongol force on the banks of the Sind River in central India with the help of his nephew Juna Khan.[14]

Alauddin Khilji

Juna Khan, later to be known as Alauddin Khilji, was the nephew and son-in-law of Jalal-ud-din, raided the Hindu Deccan peninsula and Deogiri - then the capital of the Hindu state of Maharashtra, looting their treasure.[15][13] He returned to Delhi in 1296, murdered his uncle and father-in-law, then assumed power as Sultan.[16][17]

Ala al-din Khilji continued expanding Delhi Sultanate into South India, with the help of generals such as Malik Kafur and Khusraw Khan, collecting large war booty (Anwatan) from those they defeated.[18] His commanders collected war spoils from Hindu kingdoms, paid khums on Ghanima (الْغَنيمَة, tax on loot collected during war) to Sultan's treasury, which helped strengthen the Khalji rule.[19]

Koh-i-noor diamond was extorted by Alauddin Khilji's army in 1310, from a Hindu kingdom in Warangal.[20]

Alauddin Khilji reigned for 20 years. He attacked and seized Hindu states of Ranthambhor (1301 AD), Chittorgarh (1303), Māndu (1305) and plundered the wealthy state of Devagiri,[21] also withstood two Mongol raids.[22] Ala al-din is also known for his cruelty against attacked kingdoms after wars. Historians note him as a tyrant and that anyone Ala al-din Khilji suspected of being a threat to this power was killed along with the women and children of that family. In 1298, between 15,000 to 30,000 people near Delhi, who had recently converted to Islam, were slaughtered in a single day, due to fears of an uprising.[23] He also killed his own family members and nephews, in 1299-1300, after he suspected them of rebellion, by first gouging out their eyes and then beheading them.[15]

In 1308, Alauddin's lieutenant, Malik Kafur captured Warangal, overthrew the Hoysala Empire south of the Krishna River and raided Madura in Tamil Nadu.[21] He then looted the treasury in capitals and from the temples of south India. Among these loots was the Warangal loot that included one of the largest known diamond in human history, the Koh-i-noor.[20] Malik Kafur returned to Delhi in 1311, laden with loot and war booty from Deccan peninsula which he submitted to Aladdin Khilji. This made Malik Kafur, born in a Hindu family and who had converted to Islam before becoming Delhi Sultanate's army commander, a favorite of Aladdin Khilji.[14]

The last Khilji sultans

Aladdin Khilji died in December 1315. Thereafter, the sultanate witnessed chaos, coup and succession of assassinations.[13] Malik Kafur’s became the sultan but lacked support from Muslim amirs and was killed within few months. Within the next three years, three more Khilji successors violently assumed power but were in turn, all violently put to death in coups. After Malik Kafur's death, the Muslim amirs installed Shihab-ud-din Omar - a six year old as Sultan, with his elder teenage brother Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah as reagent. Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah killed his younger brother and then appointed himself as the Sultan. To win over the loyalty of the amirs and the Malik clan in the Sultanate, Mubarak Shah offered Ghazi Malik the command of Punjab and others various offices or death. The amirs chose the office. Mubarak Shah ruled for less than 4 years, then was murdered in 1320 by his army general Khusraw Khan. The Muslim amirs in Delhi reached out and invited Ghazi Malik, then Muslim army commander in Punjab to lead a coup against Khusraw Khan. Ghazi Malik attacked Khusraw Khan in Delhi, beheaded him, and rechristened himself as Sultan Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq, the first ruler of the Tughluq dynasty.[15]

Economic policy and administration under Khilji dynasty

Alauddin Khilji changed tax policies, raising agriculture taxes from 20% to 50% - payable in grain and agricultural produce, eliminating payments and commissions on taxes collected by local chiefs, banned socialization among his officials as well as inter-marriage between noble families to help prevent any opposition forming against him; he cut salaries of officials, poets and scholars in his kingdom.[24] These tax policies and spending controls strengthened his treasury to pay the keep of his growing army.

Alauddin Khilji enforced four taxes on non-Muslims in the Sultanate - jizya (poll tax), kharaj (land tax), kari (house tax) and chari (pasture tax).[25] He also decreed that his Delhi-based revenue officers assisted by local Muslim khuts, mukkadims, chaudharis and zamindars seize by force half of all produce any farmer generates, as a tax on standing crop, so as to fill sultanate granaries.[26] He demanded his "wise men in the court" to create rules and regulations in order to grind down the Hindus, so as to reduce them to abject poverty and deprive them of wealth and any form of surplus property that could foster a rebellion.[25] The Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi notes,

The people were brought to a state of obedience. No Hindu could hold up his head and in their houses no sign of gold or silver or any superfluity was to be seen. These things which nourish insubordination and rebellion were no longer to be found.

— Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi[26]

Alauddin Khilji taxation methods and increased taxes reduced agriculture output and the Sultanate witnessed massive inflation. In order to compensate for salaries that he had cut and fixed for Muslim officials and soldiers, Alauddin introduced price controls on all agriculture produce, goods, livestocks and slaves in kingdom, as well as controls on where, how and by whom these could be sold. Markets called shahana-i-mandi were created.[27] Muslim merchants were granted exclusive permits and monopoly in these mandi to buy and resell at official prices. No one other than these merchants could buy from farmers or sell in cities. Alauddin deployed an extensive network of Munhiyans (spies, secret police) who would monitor the mandi and had the power to seize anyone trying to buy or sell anything at a price different than the official prices.[28] Those found violating these mandi rules were severely punished, such as by cutting out their flesh. Taxes collected in form of seized crops and grains were stored in sultanate's granaries. Over time, farmers quit farming for income and shifted to subsistence farming, the general food supply worsened in north India, shortages increased and Delhi Sultanate witnessed increasingly worse and extended periods of famines.[14][15] The Sultan banned private storage of food by anyone. Rationing system was introduced by Alauddin as shortages multiplied; however, the nobility and his army were exempt from the per family quota-based food rationing system.[29] The shortages, price controls and rationing system caused starvation deaths of numerous rural people, mostly Hindus. However, during these famines, Khilji's sultanate granaries and wholesale mandi system with price controls ensured sufficient food for his army, court officials and the urban population in Delhi.[30][24]

Slavery during Khilji dynasty

Within Sutanate's capital city of Delhi, during Alauddin Khilji's reign, at least half of the population were slaves working as servants, concubines and guards for the Muslim nobles, amirs, court officials and commanders.[31] Slavery in India during Khalji, and later Islamic dynasties, included two groups of people - infidels seized during military campaigns as ghanima, and people who failed to pay jizya tax on time. The first group were infidel people seized during military campaigns as the Muslim army crossed through villages, as well as those seized during raids on central, western and southern Hindu kingdoms of India.[32] The second group of people were revenue defaulters. Taxes during Khilji dynasty included both a portion of what a family produced, as well as fixed per head jizya tax regardless of income for all dhimmis (non-Muslims living inside the Sultanate boundary). If a family failed to pay the annual tax in full on time, their property was seized and all their family members seized then sold as slaves.[33] The institution of slavery and bondage labor became pervasive during the Khilji dynasty; male slaves were referred to as banda, qaid, ghulam, or burdah, while female slaves were called bandi, kaniz or laundi.

Architecture

Ala-ud-din Khilji is credited with the early Indo-Mohammedan architecture, a style and construction campaign that flourished during Tughlaq dynasty. Among works completed during Khilji dynasty, are Alai Darwaza - the southern gateway of Qutb complex enclosure, the Idgah at Rapri, and the Jamat Khana (Khizri) Mosque in Delhi.[34] The Alai Darwaza, completed in 1311, was included as part of Qutb Minar and its Monuments UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993.[35]

Perso-Arabic inscriptions on monuments have been traced to the Khilji dynasty era.[1]

Disputed historical sources on Khilji dynasty

Historians[36] have questioned the reliability of historical accounts about the Khilji dynasty. Genuine primary sources and historical records from 1260 to 1349 period have not been found.[36] One exception is the short chapter on Delhi Sultanate from 1302-1303 AD by Wassaf in Persia, which is duplicated in Jami al-Tawarikh, and which covers the Balban rule, start of Jalal-ud-din Chili's rule and circumstances of succession of Alauddin Khilji. A semi-fictional poetry (mathnawis) by Yamin al-Din Abul Hasan, also known as Amir Khusraw Dihlawi, is full of adulation for his employer, the reigning Sultan. Abu Hasan's adulation-filled narrative poetry has been used as source of Khilji dynasty history, but this is a disputed source.[36][37] Three historical sources, composed 30 to 115 years after the end of Khilji dynasty, are considered more independent but also questioned given the gap in time. These are Isami's epic of 1349, Diya-yi Barani's work of 1357 and Sirhindi's account of 1434, which possibly relied on now lost text or memories of people in Khilji's court. Of these Barani's text is the most referred and cited in scholarly sources.[36][38]

Position in Turkic Indian society

The Khilji Turks were not recognized by the older nobility as coming from a pure Turkic stock, even in Singam and Kuselan (since they had intermarried with non-Turks: Indians, Afghans (Pashtun) and Arab Bedouins); their customs and manners were seen as different from those of other Turks. Although they had played a role in the success of the Turkic armies in India, they had always been looked down upon by the leading Turks (the dominant group during the Slave dynasty). This tension between the Khiljis and other Turks (kept in check by Balban) surfaced in the following reign, and ended in the displacement of the Ilbari Turks.[39]

Khalji people

Further information: Ghilzai

Before their expansion into India, the Khalji people were mainly concentrated in Turkestan,[40][41][42] from one of the older members of the Hephthalite confederation, and included many nomads near Bactria (in Turfan) and east of modern Ghazni. Many migrated to various parts of Persia, including to parts of what are now Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, then under the control of the Ghaznavids.[43] In Iran they migrated mainly to Pars, where they settled an isolated region which is called today Khaljistan ("land of Khaljis"). However, Persian-speakers in Iran also used the term Khalji to describe nomads of Turkic background in their country.[43] The Khaljis began to become Pashtunized (Afghanized) since the 8th century and later known as Ghilzais, part of the Pashtun ethnic group.[44]

List of Khilji rulers of Delhi (1290–1320)

Titular Name Personal Name Reign
Shāyista Khān

(Jalal-ud-din)
جلال الدین

Malik Fīroz
ملک فیروز خلجی
1290–1296[3]
Ala-ud-din[6]
علاءالدین
Juna Khan Khilji
علی گرشاسپ خلجی
1296–1316[3]
Shihab-ud-din
شھاب الدین
Umar Khan Khilji
عمر خان خلجی
1316[3]
Qutb-ud-din
قطب الدین
Mubarak Khan Khilji
مبارک خان خلجی
1316–1320[3]
Khusro Khan ended the Khilji dynasty in 1320.


See also

References and footnotes

  1. ^ a b "Arabic and Persian Epigraphical Studies - Archaeological Survey of India". Asi.nic.in. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  2. ^ a b "Khalji Dynasty". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2014-11-13. This dynasty, like the previous Slave dynasty, was of Turkish origin, though the Khaljī tribe had long been settled in Afghanistan. Its three kings were noted for their faithlessness, their ferocity, and their penetration of the Hindu south. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Dynastic Chart The Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 2, p. 368.
  4. ^ Mikaberidze, Alexander (2011). Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 62. ISBN 1-5988-4337-0. Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  5. ^ Barua, Pradeep (2005). The state at war in South Asia. U of Nebraska Press. p. 437. ISBN 0-8032-1344-1. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  6. ^ a b c "Khalji Dynasty". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2010-08-23. this dynasty, like the previous Slave dynasty, was of Turkic origin, though the Khiljī tribe had long been settled in what is now Afghanistan... 
  7. ^ Thorpe, Showick Thorpe Edgar (2009). The Pearson General Studies Manual 2009, 1/e. Pearson Education India. p. 1900. ISBN 81-317-2133-7. Retrieved 2010-08-23. The Khilji dynasty was named after a village in Afghanistan. Some historians believe that they were Afghans, but Bharani and Wolse Haig explain in their accounts that the rulers from this dynasty who came to India, though they had temporarily settled in Afghanistan, were originally Turkic. 
  8. ^ Chaurasia, Radhey Shyam (2002). History of medieval India: from 1000 A.D. to 1707 A.D.. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 337. ISBN 81-269-0123-3. Retrieved 2010-08-23. The Khiljis were a Central Asian Turkic dynasty but having been long domiciled in present-day Afghanistan, and adopted some Afghan habits and customs. They were treated as Afghans in Delhi Court. 
  9. ^ Cavendish, Marshall (2006). World and Its Peoples: The Middle East, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. Marshall Cavendish. p. 320. ISBN 0-7614-7571-0. Retrieved 2010-08-23. The sultans of the Slave Dynasty were Turkic Central Asians, but the members of the new dynasty, although they were also Turkic, had settled in Afghanistan and brought a new set of customs and culture to Delhi. 
  10. ^ a b Yunus, Mohammad; Aradhana Parmar (2003). South Asia: a historical narrative. Oxford University Press. p. 97. ISBN 0-1957-9711-6. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  11. ^ Kumar Mandal, Asim (2003). The Sundarbans of India: A Development Analysis. India: Indus Publishing. p. 43. ISBN 81-738-7143-4. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
  12. ^ Singh, D. (1998). The Sundarbans of India: A Development Analysis. India: APH Publishing. p. 141. ISBN 81-702-4992-9. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
  13. ^ a b c d Peter Jackson (2003), The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521543293
  14. ^ a b c Vincent A Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911, Chapter 2, Oxford University Press
  15. ^ a b c d William Wilson Hunter, The Indian Empire: Its Peoples, History, and Products, p. 334, at Google Books, WH Allen & Co., London, pp 334-336
  16. ^ "Khalji Dynasty". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2014-11-13. Jalāl al-Dīn's nephew Jūnā Khan led an expedition into the Hindu Deccan, captured Ellichpur and its treasure, and returned to murder his uncle in 1296. 
  17. ^ Holt et al., The Cambridge History of Islam - The Indian sub-continent, south-east Asia, Africa and the Muslim west, ISBN 978-0521291378, pp 8-14
  18. ^ Frank Fanselow (1989), Muslim society in Tamil Nadu (India): an historical perspective, Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, 10(1), pp 264-289
  19. ^ Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund, A History of India, 3rd Edition, Routledge, 1998, ISBN 0-415-15482-0
  20. ^ a b Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund, A History of India, 3rd Edition, Routledge, 1998, ISBN 0-415-15482-0
  21. ^ a b Sastri (1955), pp 206–208
  22. ^ "Khalji Dynasty". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2014-11-13. 
  23. ^ Vincent A Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911, p. 217, at Google Books, Chapter 2, pp 231-235, Oxford University Press
  24. ^ a b Holt et al., The Cambridge History of Islam - The Indian sub-continent, south-east Asia, Africa and the Muslim west, ISBN 978-0521291378, pp 9-13
  25. ^ a b Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund (1998), A History of India, 3rd Edition, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-15482-0, pp 161-162
  26. ^ a b Elliot and Dowson (1871), The History of India as told by its own Historians, p. 182, at Google Books, Vol. 3, pp 182-188
  27. ^ AL Srivastava, Delhi Sultanate 5th Edition, ASIN B007Q862WO, pp 156-158
  28. ^ M.A. Farooqi (1991), The economic policy of the Sultans of Delhi, Konark publishers, ISBN 978-8122002263
  29. ^ K.S. Lal (1967), History of the Khaljis, Asian Publishing House, ISBN 978-8121502115, pp 201-204
  30. ^ Vincent A Smith (1983), The Oxford History of India, Oxford University Press, pp 245-247
  31. ^ Raychaudhuri et al (1982), The Cambridge Economic History of India: c. 1200-1750, Orient Longman, pp 89-93
  32. ^ Irfan Habib (1978), Economic history of the Delhi Sultanate: An essay in interpretation, Indian Council of Historical Research, Vol 4, No. 2, pp 90-98, 289-297
  33. ^ Scott Levi (2002), Hindu beyond Hindu Kush: Indians in Central Asian Slave Trade, Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, Vol 12, Part 3, pp 281-283
  34. ^ Alexander Cunningham (1873), Archaeological Survey of India, Report for the year 1871-72, Volume 3, page 8
  35. ^ UNESCO, Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi, World Heritage Site
  36. ^ a b c d Peter Jackson (2003), The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521543293, pp 49-52
  37. ^ Elliot and Dawson (1871), The History of India as told by its own Historians, Vol. 3, pp 94-98
  38. ^ Irfan Habib (1981), "Barani's theory of the history of the Delhi Sultanate", Indian Historical Review, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp 99-115
  39. ^ Frances Pritchett. "V. Expansion in the South: The Khaljis and the Tughluqs". Columbia.edu. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  40. ^ E.J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913-1936, p. 326
  41. ^ Eran, Land zwischen Tigris und Indus, 1879, p. 268
  42. ^ The Pathans: 550 B.C.-A.D. 1957, by Olaf Kirkpatrick Caroe
  43. ^ a b The Cambridge History of Iran, 1968, p.217 by William Bayne Fisher, Ehsan Yarshater, Ilya Gershevitch and Richard Nelson
  44. ^ "Ghilzay". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2012-12-03. They are reputed to be descended at least in part from the Khalaj or Khilji Turks, who entered present Afghanistan in the 10th century... 

Further reading

External links