Sultan Alauddin Khilji
|Predecessor||Jalal ud din Firuz Khilji|
|Successor||Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah|
Ala ud-Din Khilji (Arabic: علاء الدین الخلجی; died 1316), born Juna Muhammad Khilji, was the second ruler of the Khilji dynasty reigning from 1296 to 1316. He is considered to be one of the most powerful rulers of Delhi Sultanate.
Alauddin Khilji sent his lieutenant, Malik Kāfūr, on expedition to the south in 1308, which led to the capture of Warangal, the overthrow of the Hoysala dynasty south of the Krishna River, and the occupation of Madura in the extreme south. Malik Kāfūr returned to Delhi in 1311 laden with spoils. Thereafter the fortunes of ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn and the dynasty declined. The sultan died in early 1316, and Malik Kāfūr’s attempted usurpation ended with his own death.
He was a strategist and military commander who commanded forces across the Indian subcontinent. Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji is also noted in history for being one of the few rulers in the world to have repeatedly defended his empire against Mongol invasions. He defeated large Mongol armies and then launched punitive expeditions against them in Central Asia, around modern-day Afghanistan.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Rebellion against Jalaluddin
- 3 Ascension and march to Delhi
- 4 Consolidation of power
- 5 Military campaigns
- 6 Accounts of the massacre of Mongols
- 7 Political and administrative changes
- 8 Coins
- 9 Death
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Contemporary chroniclers did not write much about Alauddin's childhood. According to the 17th century writer Haji-ud-Dabir, Alauddin was 34 years old when he started his march to Ranthambore (1300-1301 CE). Assuming this is correct, Alauddin's birth can be dated to 1266-1267 CE. His original name was Ali Gurshasp. He was the eldest son of Shihabuddin Mas'ud, who was the elder brother of the Khilji dynasty's founder Sultan Jalaluddin. He had three brothers: Almas Beg (later Ulugh Khan), Qutlugh Tigin and Muhammad.
Alauddin was brought up by Jalaluddin after Shihabuddin's death. Both Alauddin and his younger brother Almas Beg married Jalaluddin's daughters. After Jalaluddin became the Sultan of Delhi, Alauddin was appointed as Amir-i-Tuzuk (equivalent to Master of ceremonies), while Almas Beg was given the post of Akhur-beg (equivalent to Master of the Horse).
Alauddin's marriage to Jalaluddin's daughter was not a happy one. Having suddenly become a princess after Jalaluddin's rise as a monarch, she was very arrogant and tried to dominate Alauddin. According to Hajib-ud-Dabir, Alauddin married a second woman, named Mahru, who was the sister of Malik Sanjar alias Alp Khan. Once, while Alauddin and Mahru were together in a garden, Jalaluddin's daughter attacked Mahru. In response, Alauddin assaulted her. The incident was reported to Jalaluddin, but the Sultan did not take any action against Alauddin. Alauddin was not on good terms with his mother-in-law either. According to the 16th-century historian Firishta, she warned Jalaluddin that Alauddin was planning to set up an independent kingdom in a remote part of the country. She kept a close watch on Alauddin, and encouraged her daughter's arrogant behaviour towards him.
When Malik Chhajju, the governor of Kara revolted against Jalaluddin, Alauddin played an important role in crushing the revolt. As a result, Jalaluddin appointed him as the new governor of Kara in 1291. Malik Chajju's former Amirs (subordinate nobles) at Kara considered Jalaluddin as a weak and ineffective ruler, and instigated Alauddin to usurp the throne of Delhi. This, combined with his unhappy domestic life, made Alauddin determined to dethrone Jalaluddin.
Rebellion against Jalaluddin
While instigating Alauddin to revolt against Jalaluddin, Malik Chajju's supporters emphasized that he needed a lot of money to raise a large army and stage a successful coup: Malik Chajju's revolt had failed for want of resources. To finance his plan to dethrone Jalaluddin, Alauddin decided to raid the neighbouring Hindu kingdoms. In 1293, he raided Bhilsa, a wealthy town in the Paramara kingdom of Malwa, which had been weakened by multiple invasions. He surrendered the loot to Jalaluddin to win the Sultan's confidence. A pleased Jalaluddin gave him the office of Ariz-i Mamalik (Minister of War), and also made him the governor of Awadh. In addition, the Sultan granted Alauddin's request to use the revenue surplus for hiring additional troops.
During his raid of Bhilsa, Alauddin had learned about the immense wealth of Devagiri, the capital of the southern Yadava kingdom. After years of planning and preparation, he raided Devagiri in 1296. The Yadava king Ramachandra initially sought truce by offering him a tribute, as the Yadava army was away on an expedition under the crown prince Simhana. However, before Alauddin could collect the tribute, Simhana arrived in the city and fought with the invaders. Alauddin defeated Simhana, and then imposed a heavy war indemnity on the Yadavas. He left Devagiri with a huge amount of wealth, including precious metals, jewels, silk products, elephants, horses, and slaves. According to the 14th century historian Isami, he also obtained Ramachandra's daughter in marriage; his son and successor Shihab-ud-din Omar was the issue of this marriage.
When the news of Alauddin's success reached Jalaluddin, the Sultan came to Gwalior, hoping that Alauddin would present the loot to him there. However, Alauddin marched directly to Kara with all the wealth. Jalaluddin's advisors such as Ahmad Chap recommended intercepting Alauddin at Chanderi, but Jalaluddin had faith in his nephew. He returned to Delhi, believing that Alauddin would carry the wealth from Kara to Delhi. After reaching Kara, Alauddin sent a letter of apology to the Sultan, and expressed concern that his enemies may have poisoned the Sultan's mind against him during his absence. He requested a letter of pardon signed by the Sultan, which the Sultan immediately despatched through messengers. At Kara, Jalaluddin's messengers learned of Alauddin's military strength and of his plans to dethrone the Sultan. However, Alauddin detained them, and prevented them from communicating with the Sultan.
Meanwhile, Alauddin's younger brother Almas Beg (later Ulugh Khan), who was married to a daughter of Jalaluddin, assured the Sultan of Alauddin's loyalty. He convinced Jalaluddin to visit Kara and meet Alauddin, saying that Alauddin would commit suicide out of guilt if the Sultan didn't pardon him personally. A gullible Jalaluddin set out for Kara with his army. After reaching close to Kara, he directed Ahmad Chap to take his main army to Kara by the land route, while he himself decided to cross the Ganges river with a smaller body of around 1,000 soldiers. On 20 July 1296, Alauddin killed Jalaluddin after pretending to greet the Sultan, and declared himself the new king. The king's companions were also killed, while Ahmad Chap's army retreated to Delhi.
Ascension and march to Delhi
Alauddin, known as Ali Gurshasp until his ascension in July 1296, was formally proclaimed as the new king with the title Alauddunya wad Din Muhammad Shah-us Sultan at Kara. Meanwhile, the head of Jalaluddin was circulated on a spear in his camp before being sent to Awadh. Over the next two days, Alauddin formed a provisional government at Kara. He promoted the existing Amirs to the rank of Maliks, and appointed his close friends as the new Amirs.
At that time, there were heavy rains, and the Ganga and the Yamuna rivers were flooded. But Alauddin made preparations for a march to Delhi, and ordered his officers to recruit as many soldiers as possible, without fitness tests or background checks. His objective was to cause a change in the general political opinion, by portraying himself as someone with huge public support. To portray himself as a generous king, he ordered 5 manns of gold pieces to be shot from a manjaniq (catapult) at a crowd in Kara.
One section of his army, led by himself and Nusrat Khan, marched to Delhi via Badaun and Baran (modern Bulandshahr). The other section, led by Zafar Khan, marched to Delhi via Koil (modern Aligarh). As Alauddin marched to Delhi, the news spread in towns and villages that he was recruiting soldiers while distributing gold. A large number of people, from both military and non-military backgrounds, joined him. By the time he reached Badaun, he had a 56,000-strong cavalry and a 60,000-strong infantry. At Baran, Alauddin was joined by seven powerful Jalali nobles who had earlier opposed him. These nobles were Tajul Mulk Kuchi, Malik Abaji Akhur-bek, Malik Amir Ali Diwana, Malik Usman Amir-akhur, Malik Amir Khan, Malik Umar Surkha and Malik Hiranmar. Alauddin gave each of them 30 to 50 manns of gold, and each of their soldiers 300 silver tankas (hammered coins).
Alauddin's march to Delhi was interrupted by the flooding of the Yamuna river. Meanwhile, in Delhi, Jalaluddin's widow Malka-i-Jahan appointed her youngest son Qadr Khan as the new king with title Ruknuddin Ibrahim, without consulting the nobles. This irked Arkali Khan, her elder son and the governor of Multan. When Malika-i-Jahan heard that the Jalali nobles had joined Alauddin, she apologized to Arkali and offered him the throne, requesting him to march from Multan to Delhi. However, Arkali refused to come to her aid.
Alauddin resumed his march to Delhi in the second week of October 1296, when the Yamuna river subsided. When he reached Siri, Ruknuddin led an army against him. However, a section of Ruknuddin's army defected to Alauddin at midnight. A dejected Ruknuddin then retreated and escaped to Multan with his mother and the loyal nobles. Alauddin then entered the city, where a number of nobles and officials accepted his authority. On 21 October 1296, Alauddin was formally proclaimed as the Sultan in Delhi.
Consolidation of power
Alauddin consolidated power by making generous grants and endowments, and appointing a large number of people in the government offices. He balanced the power between the officers appointed by the Mamlluks, the ones appointed by Jalaluddin and his own appointees. His sons Malik Hamid-ud-din and Malik Aziz-ud-din were given high posts in the court and the secretariat. He also increased the strength of the Sultanate's army, and gifted every soldier the salary of a year and a half in cash. Of Alauddin's first year as Sultan, Ziauddin Barani wrote that it was the happiest year that the people of Delhi had ever seen.
Conquest of Multan
During his first year as the Sultan, Alauddin's could not exercise his authority over all of Jalaluddin's former territories. Jalaluddin's son Arkali still controlled Multan, and harboured the fugitives from Delhi. In the Punjab region, Alauddin's authority was limited to the areas east of the Ravi river. The region beyond Lahore suffered from multiple Mongol raids and Khokhar rebellions.
To eliminate the surviving family of Jalaluddin, Alauddin sent an army led by Ulugh Khan and Zafar Khan to Multan. Arkali's kotwal and other nobles realized that he was too weak to defeat Alauddin, so they betrayed him. Alauddin's army occupied Multan, and Jalaluddin's family was taken into custody. As Ulugh Khan and Zafar Khan marched to Delhi with the prisoners, Nusrat Khan met them at Abohar with instructions from Alauddin. He blinded Jalaluddin's sons Arkali and Ruknuddin, and later imprisoned them at Hansi. Their loyal officers Ulghu and Ahmad Chap were also blinded, and Arkali Khan's sons were killed. The ladies, including Jalaluddin's wife, were brought to Delhi along with Ahmad Chap. In Delhi, these prisoners were kept under surveillance at the house of Nusrat Khan.
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Alauddin Khilji successfully defended his realm from the Mongol invasion. He improved the border's fortifications and established garrisons. He defeated the Mongol armies at the battles of Jalandhar (1298), Kili (1299), Amroha (1305) and Ravi (1306).
"During his 20-year-long reign Ala-ud-Din Khalji conducted a number of campaigns that greatly expanded his authority. [...] Threatened by the Mongol expansion from Central Asia, he successfully repelled several Mongol attacks on northwestern India between 1296 and 1308. [...] The Mongol invasions in 1305 were also defeated, first at Amroha and then on the banks of Ravi River, allowing Ala-ud-Din to launch punitive expeditions into Mongol-controlled territories in Afghanistan."
North Indian expeditions
In 1296, Jalaluddin was assassinated by his nephew Allaluddin Khilji, who won over the nobles by bribing them and then crowned himself as the new Sultan of Delhi. Muhammad Shah was instrumental in making this coup successful and was rewarded for doing so. Allowed access to the harem, he struck up a friendship with Chimna, a disaffect begum of Allaudin's. The pair conspired to kill Allaudin and have themselves as sultan and queen. Allaudin discovered the plot and Shah fled from Delhi along with his brother.
Shah obtained asylum from Hamir Dev, the Rajput ruler of Ranathambor, which then caused Dev to be a focus of Allaudin's ire. The fort of Ranathambhor was attacked and the armies of Allaudin and Dev fought a battle on the banks of river Banas, which the Rajput forces won. However, Dev's army became disorganised due to a personal feud involving the Senapati (General-in-charge of the army), Gurdan Saini, who was eventually killed by his opponent, the prime minister.[who?] Allaudin reorganised his forces and made a renewed attack on the fort, being supplied with information about the state of the besieged forts supplies of food and water by unhappy officers from Dev's army. The fort structure was such that Allaudin was unable to breach it, so he offered to return to Delhi if Dev would hand Muhammad Shah over to him. Dev thought that breaking his promise to Shah would be dishonourable but Shah persuaded him that it was better than continuing the gruelling siege, given the immense resources of Allaudin's army. Thus, Allaudin got his way.
Alauddin Khilji sent two of his general brothers Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan, to Gujarat, which was conquered and annexed. The temples of Somnath and Rudra Mahalaya were sacked. The wife of the king Karandev II, Kamala Devi, was captured and later married the Sultan. Nusrat Khan started for Gujarat from Delhi on February 24, 1299 AD, Ulugh Khan started from Sindh and joined Nusrat Khan near Chittorgarh. Malik Kafur a slave, was bought for 1000 Dinars. He rose to position of general in the army.
In 1303, he attacked and subdued Chittor. At that time Rana Ratan Singh was the king of Chittor.
Alauddin Khalji's conquest of Mewar, Ranathambor and Gujarat caused concerns for the Indian Kingdoms of northern India. But Mahlak Dev refused to give in to Alauddin Khalji. He gathered 20,000 horsemen and 90,000 infantry to confront Alauddin's army. Harnanda Koka was the general of his army. On the other hand, Ain-ul-Mulk Multani, Alauddin's general and future governor of Multan was on the head of a 160,000 Muslim army. After a bloody war Harnana Koka was killed and his forces retreated. Malwa along with Mandu,Dhara and Chanderi fell to Alauddin Khalji. Ain-ul-Mulk Multani was appointed the governor of Malwa.
Alauddin Khilji invaded Marwar in 1308. Satal Dev was the king of Marwar and the owner of the famous Siwana fort. Alauddin Khilji sent Malik Kamaluddin as the general of his army. After a fierce battle the Marwari army was defeated. Satal Dev was captured and was executed along with all Hindu priests.
Alauddin Khilji invaded Jalore next. The first expedition was a failure, Khilji's army was defeated by Kanhad Dev Songara. Alauddin Khilji then sent Malik Kamaluddin. The forces of Kanhad Dev Songara were defeated this time by Malik Kamaluddin's forces. The book "Kahnad-dev Prabhand", written by Padmnabh, tells more about this king.
Expeditions in southern India
Devagiri (Devigir) and Baglana
In 1306–07, Alauddin Khalji completed two campaigns. The first was against Rai Karan who after his expulsion from Gujrat, had been holding Baglana. Though his wife Kamaladevi had become the chief begum of Alauddin, her daughter Devala Devi was with King Karan in Baglan. An expedition was launched to dethrone Karan and to bring Devala Devi to Delhi. It was successful and Devala Devi was sent to Delhi where she joined her mother and eventually was married to Khijir Khan - eldest son of Alauddin. The second expedition under his slave general Malik Kafur was against Deogir, under King Ramachandra, an ally of Rai Karan. Ramchandra was defeated, and Rai Ramachandra was restored to his dominions with the title "Rai Rayan" by Delhi. He was also given the Gujrat and one of his daughters, called Jatyapali, was married to Alauddin Khalji. This alliance was to prove to be of great value to Alauddin in his further aggrandizement in Deccan.
But, after the death of Rai Ramachandra in 1315, his sons threw off the yoke of Delhi. Malik Kafur quickly came and crushed the rebellion and assumed direct administration of the area.
In 1303, the first attempt by Alauddin to conquer Warangal ended in a disaster as the army of the Kakatiya dynasty defeated him. The Kakatiya king, Prataparudra II, raised a well-equipped army and Alauddin's army, which was led by Malik-ud-din and Jhaju.
Six years later, Malik Kafur invaded Warangal for the second time. Kafur was able to occupy the Warangal fort with 100,000 soldiers, and forced Prataparudra to pay an indemnity and annual tribute. Among the treasures ceded by Prataparudra was the Koh-i-Noor diamond, once the largest known diamond in the world. This siege has been recorded by Amir Khusrow.
Dwar Samudra (Halebeedu), Mabar and Madurai
After conquering Devagiri and Warangal, Alauddin Khilji sent Malik Kafur (1311) against king Vira Ballala III of the Hoyasala Kingdom of Halebidu. Veera Ballala was surprised and forced to pay an indemnity and become a vassal.
But, in the case of Mabar, even this formal agreement was not forthcoming. Malik Kafur was defeated by the Tamil ruler Vikrama Pandya who was the younger brother of Emperor Maravarman Kulasekara Pandyan I of the Pandyan Dynasty.
But Khilji raids didn't last for long. Ravi Varma Kulasekhara, the last scion of Chera Empire overthrew Delhi armies as part of Madurai and Kanchi raids. Within a decade after the death of Alaudin Khalji, several south Indian rulers like Prolaya Vema Reddy of the Reddy dynasty, Musunuri Kaapaaneedu, and Hakka and Bukka of the Vijayanagara Empire, liberated whole south India from the Delhi Sultanate. Additionally the Bahmani Sultanate also gained its independence in the Deccan in the 14th century.
Accounts of the massacre of Mongols
Mongols from central Asia tried to invade Delhi during the reign of Alauddin many times. Some of these Mongol people also settled near Delhi and accepted Islam. They were called "New Muslims". However, their financial condition was not good. Ala ud-din Khilji suspected them of being involved in a conspiracy to rise against him and of being a threat to his power. In 1298, he ordered them all killed in a single day, and between 15,000 and 30,000 people were slaughtered; the women and children were made slaves.
Political and administrative changes
Alauddin Khilji's administrative and political reforms were based on his conception of fear and control as the basis of good government as well as his military ambitions. The bulk of the measures were designed to centralise power in his hands and to support a large military.
Control over nobility
On his accession to the throne Alauddin khilji had to face a number of revolts by nobles including one by his own nephew, Aqat Khan. Alauddin's response was to increase his level of control over the nobility. He reduced the economic wherewithal of nobels to launch rebellions by confiscating their wealth and removing them from their bases of power. Even charitable lands administered by nobles were confiscated. Severe punishments were given for disloyalty. Even wives and children of soldiers rebelling for greater war spoils were imprisoned. An efficient spy network was set up that reached into the private households of nobles. Marriage alliance made between noble families had to be approved by the king.
The area between Lahore and Dipalpur in the Punjab and Kara (near Allahabad) were removed from the purview of nobles and brought under the direct control of the crown - khalisa. Tax was assessed at half of the output payable in cash. No additional taxes were levied on agriculture. The direct relationship between the cultivator and the state disrupted the power of local landowners that traditionally had power of collecting taxes and parcelling out land within their ares. These landowners had grown prosperous based on their ability to force their share of taxes onto smaller landholders. Under Alauddin, these landowners were forced to pay their own taxes and prevented from passing on that cost to others. The cut landowners made from collecting tax revenue for the state was also abolished. While the cultivators were free from the demands of the landowners, the high taxes imposed by the state meant they had "barely enough for carrying on his cultivation and his food requirements."
To enforce the new system, a strong and efficient revenue administration system was set up. A large number of accountants, collectors, and agents were hired to administer the system. These officials were well-paid but were subject to severe punishment if found to be taking bribes. Account books were audited and even small discrepancies were punished. The effect was both large landowners and small-scale cultivators were fearful of missing out on paying their assessed taxes.
Market reforms and price control
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Ala-ud-din Khilji's military ambitions required a standing and strong army, especially after the Mongol siege of Delhi. Maintaining a large army at regular salaries, however, would be severe drain on the treasury. A system of price controls reduced the salary amount that needed to be paid. Three separate markets were set up in Delhi. The first one for food grains, the second for cloth and items such as ghee, oil and sugar. The third market was horses, cattle, and slaves. Regulations were laid out for the operations of these markets. He took various steps to control the prices. He exercised supervisions over the market. He fixed the prices of all the commodities from top to bottom. Market officers called shahna were appointed to keep a check on the prices. The defaulters were heavily punished. Land revenue was fixed and the grain was stored in government granaries.
The tax system introduced during the Khalji dynasty had a long term influence on Indian taxation system and state administration.
Alauddin Khalji's taxation system was probably the one institution from his reign that lasted the longest, surviving indeed into the nineteenth or even the twentieth century. From now on, the land tax (kharaj or mal) became the principal form in which the peasant's surplus was expropriated by the ruling class.— The Cambridge Economic History of India: c.1200-c.1750, 
Alauddin Khilji enforced four taxes on non-Muslims in the Sultanate—jizya (poll tax), kharaj (land tax), ghari (house tax) and charah (pasture tax). He also decreed that his Delhi-based revenue officers assisted by local Muslim jagirdars, 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 the sultanate's granaries. His officers enforced tax payment by beating up Hindu and Muslim middlemen responsible for rural tax collection. Furthermore, Alauddin Khilji demanded, state Kulke and Rothermund, from 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; the Hindu was to be so reduced as to be left unable to keep a horse to ride on, to carry arms, to wear fine clothes, or to enjoy any of the luxuries of life".
Ala-ud-din khilji died in January 1316, of oedema. It is believed that his lieutenant Malik Naib Kafur hastened his death. Malik Kafur blinded his two sons, and was eventually killed when he attempted the blinding of Ala-ud-din's third son. Ala-ud-din khilji's tomb and madrasa dedicated to him, exists at the back of Qutb complex , Mehrauli, in Delhi India
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- Táríkh-i 'Aláí; or, Khazáínu-l Futúh, of Amír Khusrú The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period, by Sir H. M. Elliot. Vol III. 1866-177. Page:67-92.
Jalal ud din Firuz Khilji
|Sultan of Delhi
Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah