Medieval India

Delhi Sultanate | Khalji Dynasty

Jalaluddin Khalji was the founder of the Khalji Dynasty. He came to power after the over throw of the slave dynasty. Thus the coming of the Khaljis to power was more than a dynastic change. Their ascendency is known as the Khalji imperialism because with the accession of Jalaluddin Khalji on the throne of Delhi the supremacy of the Turks ended in India.Jalaluddin ascended the throne at the age of 70 years and the weakness of the old age affected his attitude and activities. He was lenient in his treatment of rebels .He even adopted a conciliatory policy towards the Mongols. He allowed some of the Mongols to settle in India.

Jalaluddin’s ambitious nephew Alauddin who succeeded Malik Chajju at Kara began to establish an independent kingdom for himself. In 1292 AD he attacked Bhilsa and Malwa.On his return he was made the governor of Avadh in addition to that of Kara. In 1294 AD he defeated Ram Chandra Deva the ruler of Devagiri.He invited Jalaluddin to Kara where he was murdered by Alauddin Khalji.In 1296 AD Alauddin was proclaimed sultan in his camp. He marched to Delhi from Kara and assumed power at Delhi. His first task after assuming power at Delhi was the elimination of the surviving members of the former sultan’s family including his son Arkhali Khan. He also exterminated the old Balbani and Jalali nobles.

Ruler of the Khalji Dynasty

Ruler of the Khalji Dynasty AD
1. Jalaluddin Firuz Khalji 1290-1296
2. Alauddin Khalji 1296-1316
3. Qutubuddin Mubarak 1316-1320

The reign of Alauddin Khalji marks the zenith of the power of the Delhi Sultanate. Since the death of Iltutmish no serious attempts had been made to annex new territories to the Sultanate. He broke this tradition and inaugurated a whirlwind period of conquests. He believed that defense, expansion and consolidation could all go together. By the end of 1305 AD the whole of northern India fell into the hands of Alauddin and he directed his energies to the conquest of Deccan. Between 1307 and 1312 he began the southward expansion of his empire. He invaded Devagiri in 1306-07.The immediate causes for this was unduly long delay in sending the annual tribute. In 1309 the Kaktiya kingdom was attacked. The next expedition was against Vira Ballala III the Hoysala ruler in 1311.Alauddin had to face more than dozen invasions. These invasions started from the end of 1296 AD and continued up to 1308 AD.The Mongols threatened Punjab, Multan and Sindh but also the Ganga Yamuna Doab. This grave crisis compelled him to take strong measures for the protection of the northwest frontier. The twenty years rule of Alauddin came to an end with his death in 1316 AD.

Delhi Sultanate | Khalji Dynasty

On the death of Alauddin Khalji his general Malik Kafur set aside the claims of the heir apparent Khizr Khan and crowned the infant son of late sultan Shihabuddin Umar and himself became his regent. Soon another son of the sultan murdered Kafur and ascended the throne as Qutubuddin Mubarak Shah Khalji. He tried to win the goodwill of the people after ascending the throne. He repealed Alauddin’s economic regulations. The lands that were confiscated were given back to their legitimate owners. Taxes were lowered. He was murdered by his Wazir Khusro.Khusro ascended the throne in 1320 and took the title of Nasiruddin Khusro Shah. Thus Khalji dynasty came to an end.

Jalaluddin Firuz Khilji

Jalaluddin Firuz Khilji was the founder of the Khilji dynasty. He came to power after the overthrow of slave dynasty. Their ascendancy is known as Khilji imperialism because with the accession of Jalaluddin on the throne of Delhi, the supremacy of the Turks ended in India. He expanded the boundaries of his empire besides his achievements include suppression of the revolt of Malik Chhaju with the governor of Oudh. He suppressed the thuggees a band of robbers and send them off peacefully to Bengal. He adopted conciliatory policy towards the Mongols. He allowed some of the Mongols to settle in India.

It was during the conquest of Bhilsa that Alauddin the nephew of Jalaluddin started realising the dream of being sultan. In 1292 AD Alauddin led an expedition to Devagiri hearing of its wealth. Devagiri was forced to pay a huge war indemnity. This helped Alauddin in buying the nobles and pleasing the soldiers who were dissatisfied by the rule of Jalaluddin. Alauddin than hatched a conspiracy and got Sultan Jalaludin killed and proclaimed himself as the sultan.

Alauddin Khilji

In 1296 Alauddin became the sultan after Malika Jan the widow of Jalaluddin and her younger son Qadir Khan left Delhi. He also exterminated the old Balbani and Jalali nobles. The reign of Alauddin Khilji marks the zenith of the power of the Delhi Sultanate. In 1297 he set off for conquering Gujarat. He sent an expedition under Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan to Gujarat. On the way Ulugh Khan conquered Jaisalmer.

During the plunder of the rich port of Cambay Alauddin’s commander Nusrat Khan acquired a Hindu turned Muslim slave Kafur who later on rose to become a great military general and the Malik Naib of Alauddin. After the conquest of Gujarat Alauddin sent an expedition under Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan to Ranthambhore. However they were beaten by the Rajputs and Nusrat Khan died. Alauddin went to Ranthambhor and annexed it in 1301. The next expedition was sent to Mewar and after the siege of 8 months he captured Chittor in 1303. The government of Chittor was put in the hands of Khizr Khan, the eldest son of Alauddin. Chittor was renamed as Khizrabad after the name of Khizr Khan. In 1305 Alauddin sent Ain-ul-Mulk Multani for the conquest of Malwa which was placed under the governorship of the latter. By the end of 1305 the whole of Northern India fell into the hands of Alauddin and he directed his attention to the conquest of Deccan.

Qutubuddin Mubarak Shah Khalji

A young son of the Sultan was placed on the throne and Malik Kafur acted as the regent. Malik Kafur killed other members of the Allauddin’s family but he was murdered and Mubarak Khan the third son became the regent. He imprisoned Sahibuddin and ascended the throne as Qutub uddin Mubarak in the year 1316. He tried to win the good will of the people.

He liberalized Alauddin’s rigorous administrative policies and repealed economic regulations. All prisoners were released and harsh regulations were cancelled. The lands which were confiscated were given back to their legitimate owners. Taxes were lowered. He was under the influence of youth called Hassan who later was called Khusru Khan who conspired to kill him. Thus Khalji dynasty came to an end. Khusro tried to strike a reign of terror to control the nobles. This was resented by the nobles particularly Ghazi Malik who captured and beheaded the sultan. He ascended the throne under the title of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq Shah.

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