The khalji dynasty began after the end of the mamluk or slave dynasty. Read here to know more about the second dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate.
The Khilji or Khalji dynasty ruled from 1290 to 1320 CE after overthrowing the Slave dynasty, thus becoming the second dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate.
They were Turko-Afghans who came from Afghanistan with Muhammad Ghori. Khaljis were the vassals of the Mamluk dynasty of Delhi.
The founder of the Khilji dynasty was Jalaluddin Khilji (1290-1296).
The Khalji rule marked the transfer of power from the monopoly of Turkic nobles to Afghans.
Its rule is known for conquests into present-day South India and successfully fending off the repeated Mongol invasions of India.
The last major mamluk ruler, Balban, destroyed the power of the Chahalgani in his struggle to maintain power over his insubordinate Turkish officers.
- This indirectly damaged the Turkish integrity of the nobility, which opposed the power of the non-Turks and made them vulnerable to the Khalji attack.
- The last ruler of the Turkic Mamluk dynasty, the 17-year-old Muiz ud din Qaiqabad was killed during the coup by Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji.
Jalaluddin Khalji (1290-1296 CE)
Jalaluddin Khalji was around 70 years old at the time of his ascension.
Jalaluddin succeeded in overcoming the opposition of the Turkish nobles and ascended the throne of Delhi in 1290.
During his 60 years of reign he faced many revolts and attacks:
- Balban’s nephew revolted but was suppressed by Khalji.
- He led an unsuccessful expedition against Ranthambhor.
- He repelled Mongol attacks in central India with the help of his nephew Juna Khan.
The Mongols were defeated by Jalaluddin Khalji near Balban’s frontier line of Tabarhind, Sunam. The demoralized Mongols agreed to a truce and about 4000 Mongols were converted to Islam and settled near Delhi.
- Mongols under Chengiz Khan were originally Shaman as they worshipped the “eternal blue sky”.
Jalaluddin Khalji was murdered by his son-in-law and nephew Alauddin Khalji in 1296.
Alauddin Khalji (1296-1316)
Alauddin Khalji was the nephew and son-in-law of Jalal-ud-din. He raided the Deccan peninsula and Deogiri then the capital of the state of Maharashtra, looting their treasure.
He returned to Delhi in 1296 and murdered Jalaluddin Khalji and assumed the power of the Sultan becoming the second ruler of the Khalji dynasty.
He subjugated Jalaluddin’s sons’ power in Multan hence consolidating the power.
Alauddin was the most powerful sultan of the dynasty and was known for his administrative and military reforms.
- He kept a standing army and paid soldiers in cash.
- He started the branding of the horses called dagh and kept records of soldiers (huliya)
- He took out ordinances to strengthen his rule and quell rebellions.
- He confiscated the properties of Nobles and organized an intelligence system to know their secret activities of nobles.
- The public sale of drugs and alcohol was stopped during his reign.
- Social gatherings and festivities without the permission of the Sultan were forbidden.
- He was first sultan of Delhi who ordered the measurement of land to collect land revenue in cash.
After his Chittor campaign, Alauddin fixed the cost of all commodities from foodgrains to a needle; from costly imported clothes to horses, and cattle and slaves as well.
- These measures ensured the supply of cheap foodgrains with the support of locals which helped station a large army at any place in the kingdom.
He introduced a system of four different markets: grains, clothes and other groceries, horses, slaves, and cattle, and one for miscellaneous commodities.
- Each market was under the control of a high officer called Shahna-i-Mandi who maintained a register of merchants and strictly regulated prices.
- Secret agents called Munhiyans were appointed to report the functioning of these markets to the sultan.
- Prices were fixed for every commodity and harsh punishments were given if anyone was found cheating.
The state itself set up warehouses and stocked them with foodgrains to be released only in times of famines and disasters.
Northern Campaigns Alauddin Khalji was:
1299- Gujrat was attacked by Malik Kafur who was a Eunuch, and most loyal campaigner for Khalji. He was also called ‘Hazar Dinari’.
1301- Ranthambore was captured from Hammirdev Chahmana
1303- Khalji attacked Mewar (Chittor)which was ruled by Rana Ratan Singh. Queen Rani Padmini and all women of the palace committed Jauhar to escape capturing from Alauddin Khalji. Malik Mohd Jayasi wrote Padmavat in the 16th century about this incident.
1305- He annexed Malwa (Mandu) from the Parmars.
1311- He defeated Chahmans of Siwana and Jalore (Western Rajasthan)
He faced multiple Mongol invasions from the North but repelled them successfully.
- From 1297, the Mongol Chagatai ruler of Trans-Oxania led a series of campaigns against Delhi.
- In 1299, they reached Delhi and even entered the city after cutting off all communications to the city.
- The Mongol attacks stopped after 1310 as their power declined.
From 1309 onwards, his slave general Malik Kafur attacked territories south of Vindhya like Devagiri and Kakatiyas of Warangal.
- After a month-long siege of Warangal, the Kakatiya king Prataparudra agreed to become a tributary of Alauddin and surrendered a large amount of wealth (possibly including the Koh-i-Noor diamond) to the invaders.
- The Pandya and Hoysala kingdoms also ended up becoming tributaries of Alauddin.
Alauddin titled himself ‘Sikander-i-Sani’ meaning Alexander the second as he had big ambitions to conquer the whole of India and Persia.
Art and culture:
Alauddin Khalji patronized poets like Amir Khusr and Amir Hasan
He built Alai Darwaja, the Gateway/Entrance to Qutub Minar; Alai Minar- unfinished (twice the size of Qutub Minar); Hauz Khas lake.
He built a new capital, the Siri fort, due to repeated Mongol attacks.
Alauddin Khalji died in 1316 and Malik Kafur raised the young son of Khalji as the sultan and imprisoned the other sons. But Kafur lacked support from the armies and nobles, and hence was killed within a few months.
End of Khalji Dynasty
Mubarak Shah, one of the elder sons of Alauddin, was made the Sultan after the death of Malik Kafur in 1316. He was the last ruler of the Khalji dynasty.
He immediately pulled all the reforms by his father, which ended up creating inflation in the market.
He subdued some campaigns during his short reign, such as in Gujarat, Warangal, etc.
Mubarak Shah was very fond of his slave Khusrau Khan who was captured by Alauddin’s army during their Malwa raid and converted from Hinduism. Khusrau was used as a catamite by Mubarak Shah which he detested.
In 1320, Khusrau Khan killed Mubarak Shah as revenge for exploiting him.
- During his 3 months on the throne, Khusrau Khan was highly unpopular among the Muslim nobles in Delhi as he was accused of favoring his original Hindu caste men.
- A group of officers led by Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq (Ghazi Malik) rose in revolt.
Khusrau Khan was overthrown after defeats at the Battle of Saraswati and the Battle of Lahrawat.
This was the end of the Khalji Dynasty in 1320, and the next dynasty of Tughluqs took over the Delhi sultanate.
–Article written by Swathi Satish
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