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Medieval History / Delhi Sultanate

Khilji Dynasty Notes

The time period of Khilji dynasty, also called the Khalji dynasty, is from 1290 and 1320. The founder of Khilji dynasty is Jalaluddin Khilji, who ruled for a brief period of 6 years. It is the second Muslim dynasty that ruled over Delhi after Slave dynasty. Alauddin Khilji, whose real name is Ali Gurshasp, is the famous and greatest ruler among all the Khilji dynasty rulers as well as Delhi Sultans.

Khilji Dynasty Rulers

The Khilji dynasty rulers are known for their ferocity, conquests in South India and for successfully defending the repeated invasions of Mongols on India. There were only three rulers in this dynasty. Jalaluddin Khilji was the first ruler of Khilji dynasty and the other two rulers are Alauddin Khilji and Mubarak Khilji.

  • Jalaluddin Khilji (1290 - 1296 AD)

    • The real name of Jalaluddin Khilji is Malik Firuz. He was an officer under the Slave dynasty. He assassinated the last king of the Slave dynasty, Muizzuddin Qaiqabad.

    • He ruled from Kilokhari near Delhi to avoid clashes with the old nobles of Slave dynasty.
  • Alauddin Khilji (1296 - 1316 AD)

    • Ali Gurshasp is the original name of Alauddin Khilji. He is the greatest ruler among Delhi Sultanate kings. Earlier, he served as the Governor of Kara. He assassinated his uncle cum father-in-law Jalal-ud-din Khilji and came to power.

    • He had a strong desire to become Delhi Sultan. For this, he wanted money for which he looted Devagiri. Jalal-ud-din Khalji wanted some share in this and hence he came to Kara, where he was murdered.

    • Ali Gurshasp went to Delhi and assumed himself as the king with the name Ala-ud-din Khalji. He is first Muslim imperialist in India.
  • Mubarak Shah (1316 - 1320 AD)

    • Mubarak Shah Khilji or Mubarak Khan, who was the last ruler of Khilji dynasty and who ruled after Allauddin Khilji, was a son of Ala-ud-din Khilji. Mubarak Shah was the ruler of Delhi Sultanate, who declared himself as Khalifa and he was the only Indian ruler to do so.

    • He was assassinated by an officer called Khusro Khan (a Hindu convert), who was his prime minister and who declared himself as the king, thus ending the Khilji dynasty. Khusro Khan ruled India for 100 days and he was the only Hindu to sit on Delhi throne.

    • A noble named Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq killed Khusro Khan and announced himself as the Sultan and hence Tughlaq dynasty came to rule over Delhi.

Achievements of Alauddin Khilji

  • He conquered entire North India and after that he crossed Vindhyas. He is the first Muslim ruler to enter South India. He conquered entire South India up to Kanyakumari.

  • In Gujarat, he defeated Karna Deva. In Ranthambhore, he defeated Hammiradeva. In Mewar, he defeated Rana Ratan Singh and the capital Chittor was renamed as Khizrabad after the name of his son.

    Malik Muhammad Jayasi wrote a book called Padmavat (One of the earlier books in Hindi) about Padmavati, the queen of Ratan Singh.

  • In Siwana, Rajastan, he defeated Sitala Deva and in Jalore, he defeated Kanhadadeva.

  • In South India, he deputed his senapati Malik Kafur, a Hindu convert. He was a slave of Alauddin Khilji. Malik Kafur is also called Hazar Dinari. All the 4 kingdoms in the South were defeated.

    • In 1308 AD, Yadava kingdom was defeated. The king was Ramachandra.

    • In 1310, Kakatiya kingdom was defeated. The king was Prataparudra II.

    • In 1311 AD, Hoysala kingdom was defeated. The king was Vira Ballala III.

    • In 1311 AD, Pandyan kingdom of Madurai was defeated. The king was Vira Pandya.

    • All the kingdoms were converted as Khidmati (Samanta) kingdoms. They were asked to pay tribute to Ala-ud-din Khilji. After death of Ramachandra, his son declared independence. Again in 1315 AD, Malik Kafur attacked Yadava kingdom and it was annexed to Delhi Sultanate.

    • After these achievements, Ala-ud-din took the title Sikandar-i-sani (equivalent to 2nd Alexander). The period between 1296 and 1316 is called the period of Khilji Revolution.

Market and Administrative Reforms of Alauddin Khilji

  • Under his reign, Turkish monopoly over higher position was ended. People were recruited on the basis of talent e.g. Malik Kafur.

  • Iqta system was abolished by him. Salaries were given in cash and Mansabdars were relieved of military maintenance. He maintained standing army completely.

  • He introduced two new systems in military

    • Dagh - It is nothing but Branding of Horses (War horses were used to be imported). The moment the horses were imported, they would put a Dagh in order to avoid corruption of including Indian horses.

    • Chehra or Huliya - It is the attendance register of soldiers.

  • He created a separate Department of Revenue called Diwan-i-Mustakhraj (Previously, it was with Finance Department, Diwan-i-Wazarat) and its officers were called Amils.

  • Market reforms of Alauddin Khilji are worth noting. He regulated the price of every commodity. Prices were being fixed by the State and the sellers were asked to sell at those rates.

  • Separate markets were created, named as Sarai Adil (place of justice), only in cantonment areas where the prices were dictated by State. They were meant for soldiers so that he can give minimum wages.

    Market officers called Shahna-i-Mandi were appointed and a marketing department Diwan-i-Riyasat headed by Naib-i-Riyasat was established.

  • The administration of Khilji dynasty was most efficient during his period. He suppressed Ulemas and secularized the administration (Polity Religion dichotomy). He openly rejected the Shariat and openly denied the acceptance of Khalifa.