Khalji dynasty : Jalaluddin Khalji, Alauddin Khalji-Expansion of Sultanate, Administration, reforms, Military reforms, Economic Reforms.




After the decline of the Slave dynasty, the Sultanate became even more fragile and instable due to the numerous revolts and internal aggression. The Khilji dynasty started with the crowning of Jalaluddin Khilji by the nobles. This was around the year 1290 A.D. But within a few years, he was killed by his nephew Alauddin Khilji under a conspiracy hatched by the latter.

The Khilji dynasty is also known by the name of Khalji dynasty. The history of Khilji dynasty is marked by brutal wars and internal conflicts among the rulers. The next territory that Alauddin Khilji conquered was that of Gujarat. Around 1301 A.D, he captured Ranthambhor and murdered the Rajput Hamir Deva. Then, he killed Rana Rattan Singh and captured Chittor. By 1305, he had captured territories like Malwa, Ujjain, Mandu, Dhar and Chanderi but couldn’t capture Bengal. He had conquered almost entire north India by the year 1311 and established his kingdom successfully. Read about the main Khilji dynasty rulers of India.



Jalal ud-din Firuz Khilji

The first Indian ruler of the Khilji dynasty was Jalal-ud-din Firuz Khilji, who ruled from 1290 – 1294. He invaded India and built his capital in Delhi, though he never really ruled from there. He constructed another capital at Kilokhri, and ruled from there for around 6 years. During the time Mongols attacked the country, Jalal-ud-din Khilji put up a brave front and smart negotiations made the Mongols depart. They came back however, five years later and attacked once again when his nephew ascended on the throne. Jalal-ud-din Khilji was murdered by his own nephew when he was going to visit him in Kara.

Ala-ud-din Khilji 

The second ruler of the Khilji dynasty was Ala-ud-din Khilji, whose real name was Juna Khan. He ruled in India from 1296-1316. He was the nephew and son-in-law of the first Khilji ruler, Jalal-ud-din Khilji. He killed Jalal-ud-din Khilji and then announced himself as the ruler of Delhi. Ala-ud-din expanded his territory into the peninsular India within a short span of time. He died on January 1316 due to an acute health condition.

Qutb-ud-Din Mubarak Shah

The third and last ruler of the Khilji dynasty in India was Qutb-ud-Din Mubarak Shah. He was the weakest ruler of all and during his reign, all taxes and penalties were abolished. He released all prisoners of war who were captured after waging gruesome battles. He was ultimately murdered by Khusru Khan and this ended the Khilji dynasty in India.

Alauddin Khilji – Most Powerful Sultan

Earlier known as Juna Khan Khilji, was one of the most powerful Sultan of Delhi Sultanates. He belonged to the Khilji Dynasty. He captured the throne in 1296 A.D. He became famous as an organizer of real purposeful kingdom.

Early life and accession: Alauddin Khilji was the nephew of Sultan Jalal-ud-din Khilji. His uncle was very affectionate to him. During the reign of Sultan Jalal-ud-din Khilji, he was appointed as appointed governor of Kara (in Allahabad district). He was also to lead an expedition into Malwa.

But, Alauddin exceeded his authority and proceeded towards the Deccan. He plundered Berar and Khandesh and captured Ellichpur. He collected immense booty and returned to Kara. After some time, he killed his uncle and became the next Sultan of Delhi.

Early Mongol attacks: Ala-ud-din had to face Mongol attack from the time he assumed the power of the Sultanate. From the year 1296 A.D. to 1308 A.D. every year Mongals invaded Delhi. The Mongols attacked Delhi repeatedly. The existence of Sultan Shahi became endangered. But Alauddin checked all the attacks with courage and determination. At the same time, he made the security of the northwest frontier strong and firm.

Expansion of the kingdom: From the time of Alauddin Khilji, Muslim imperialism in India began. Soon after his establishment on the throne he embarked upon a career of conquests. He carried out these expeditions in Northern India as well as Southern India. His military expedition to North India ranged from 1297 A.D. to 1305 A.D. He invaded South India from 1306 A.D. to 1312 A.D. The nature and purpose of his invasions to North and South India were different. He conquered the North Indian kingdoms and took them into the direct fold of Sultan Shahi rule. But by conquering South Indian kingdoms, he plundered rich wealth. He also compelled the ruler of conquered kingdoms to pay yearly tax. Alauddin was happy with that.

Conquests of North India: The Sultan had motive of political control as well as economic purpose behind the invasion of Northern India. He first sent his army to Gujarat. Then his army attacked Ranthambhor and captured it. Rana Hamirdeva died in the battle. Then Ala-ud-din proceeded against Mewar (1303 A.D.). After long battle Chittor fort came under his control. Then he captured Malab, Marwar, Jaloree, Chanderi, etc.

Conquests of South India: Before assuming throne Alaundin Khilji once invaded Devagiri. According to the pact the king of Devagiri was to pay money as tax. But he failed to pay. Alauddi­n attacked Devagiri again. After that he invaded Kakatiya kingdom (1308 A.D.), Hoisal kingdom (1310 A.D.) and Pandya kingdom (1311 A.D.) of Telengana one after another. He invaded Devagiri for lie third time and compelled them to accept his supremacy and pay tax regularly.

Extent of his empire: The historic account of wars and conquests indicates the limits of the Alauddin’s empire. On the north-western side, both Punjab and Sindh were under his control and the Indus formed the boundary of his vast empire. Most of the regions over Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Malwa, and Rajputana were under his authority. In the south, the state of Narbada were held by tributary vassal chiefs.

The conquests of Alauddin Khilji were very successful and he called himself a second Alexander.

Estimate of Alauddin Khilji: Most historians praised Alauddin as great ruler and reformer. Still his work lacked permanence, as it was based on naked force and not on the goodwill of the people.

Administration of Alauddin Khilji

Alauddin took steps to make administration rigid and sound along with conquering of kingdom. He banned the meddling of Ulemas and other religious leaders in the administration. He declared that the Sultan’s will is the law. To curb the audacious relatives and aristocrats he took few very important steps. For example:

  1. He banned drinking of alcohol in open in his kingdom.
  2. He made it compulsory to take Sultan’s permission before establishing relationship amongst aristocrats.
  3. He ordered the confiscation of endowments and free grants of land made by the state.
  4. To help him in administration he appointed few very agile and competent staffs. He invested powers to collect taxes, maintain law and order and to maintain army, to officers known as Iktadar or Makti, in remote areas. The lands thus estimated were known as `Ikta’.
  5. To check corruption in the army he introduced dag (mark a horse) and chehra (the physical descriptions of army men).


Administrative Policies Of Alauddin Khilji

  1.  Supressed rebellions:Alauddin combined efficiency with sternness. He suppressed rebellions with a strong hand.
  2. Enacted various Laws:To prevent future troubles he enacted various laws by which he put a ban on the consumption of wine, prohibited social meetings among the nobility, and even forbade inter-marriage among them without his special permission.
  3. Spies:He employed many spies who kept him informed of the doings of his subjects.
  4. Taxes:Accordingly he burdened his subjects with heavy taxes. Naturally, the wealthier class were subjected to more taxes.
  5. Army:Sultan Alauddin Khilji realized the need of keeping anefficient army. This could only be done at heavy expenses. To reduce heavy military expenditure the Sultan fixed a price of every article and attempted to make goods available in cheap rates.
  6. Fountain head of administrative system: The Sultan was the fountain head of the administrative system. The earlier Muslim rulers carried on their administration by the Koranic principles and the Ulemas or Muslim divines had a large say in the formulation of policies. However, Alauddin Khilji differed from that of his predecessors in this respect. He did not allow the Ulemas to lay down the principles of administration. As he used to say, “I do not know what is lawful and what is unlawful; whatever I consider to be for the good of my kingdom I do.” These words sum up his attitude towards government and its objects.

The Economic Reforms of Alauddin Khilji

Alauddin Khilji introduced many economic reforms during his rule. Alauddin had to maintain a huge army. This had become all the more imperative in view of Mongal raids and internal revolts. He had, besides, the ambition of conquering the whole of India. However, such an army could not be permanently maintained without straining the resources of the State. Hence Alauddin fixed the salaries of his huge army at a very low level. Accordingly the Sultan’s main concern was to enable the soldier to live on his pay.

Ala-ud-din’s aim of revenue system was to fund the royal treasury and to save poor villagers from the hands of middle earners. Probably he was the first king to make survey of land to determine land revenue. Khut, Mukaddam, Chowdhury, etc. were made powerless and taxes began to be collected directly from the subjects. Other than land revenue, he introduced tax for cattle grazing, taxes for buildings, etc. The rate of revenue was 50% of the crops produced.

Market control policy: The most extraordinary economic reform of Alauddin was his market control or price control policy. Alauddin not only fixed prices, but also ensured their regular supply by prohibiting thin hoarding. Starting from clothing, food grains to cattle even slaves, he imposed price control upon everything. For that he established few markets in and around Delhi, as for  food grain, clothing, medicine, fruits, sugar etc. Prices of all the items were fixed by the administration. Any businessman, if found taking higher prices or cheating the buyer by giving material in less weight had been dealt with firmly.

Reforms in brief

Economic Reforms (1304)
o    Introduction of Dagh or branding of horses and Chehra

o    Confiscation of the religious endowments and free grants of lands

o    Creation of new department viz Diwan-i-Mustakhraj to enquire into the revenue arears and to collect them

o    Establishment of separate markets for foodgrains cloth, horses, fruits etc

Administrative Reforms Ordinances
o    Reorganised the Spy system

o    Prohibition on use of wine in Delhi

o    Nobles should not intermarry without his permission.

o    Confiscated the properties of Nobles classes.

Military Reforms
o    Introduced the first permanent standing army of India

o    Abolition of Iqtas of royal troppers and the payment of their salaries in crash.

o    Regular muster of the army.


End of Khilji Rule:

Within four years of Alauddin’s death, the rule of the Khiljis came to an end. Ala-ud-din’s younger son Shahabuddin was dethroned by his third son Mubarak Shah, who ruled from 1316 to 1320 A.D. He again was killed by a conspiracy by Nasir-ud-din (1320); finally he was dethroned and killed in a battle by one Ghazi Malik, the gove­rnor of Punjab.

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