Khilji Dynasty: Everything you need to know

3 Feb 2023  Read 9527 Views

There’s a saying that “Rajput women are as much a warrior as Rajput men”, and the movie “Padmaavat” portrayed this very well by depicting the bravery of a Rajput woman who performed Jauhar on Alauddin Khalji’s conquest. The Khalji or Khilji dynasty marked its origin in 1290 CE with Jalal-ud-din Khalji as its first ruler, followed by Alauddin Khalji and later his son (grandson of Jalal-ud-din). 

Looking back at history, after the death of Mohammed Ghori, who defeated Prithviraj Chauhan in the battle of Tarain, there were many contenders for the throne, out of which Qutb-ud-din Aibak ascended the throne and began the slave dynasty rule in India, followed by four other dynasties later. These Muslim invasions into India ultimately resulted in the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, which existed from A.D. 1206 to 1526. These are the five dynasties which ruled under the Delhi Sultanate:

  • Slave Dynasty (1206-1290)

  • Khalji Dynasty (1290-1320)

  • Thuglaq Dynasty (1320-1414)

  • Sayyid Dynasty (1414-1451)

  • Lodhi Dynasty (1451-1526)

This article discusses the Khalji dynasty in detail. So, let’s get started.

Khilji Dynasty (c. 1290 – 1320 CE)

Rulers Period Events
Jalal-ud-din Firoz Khilji

1290–1296

 

Founder of the Khilji/Khalji Dynasty and son of Qaim Khan

Alauddin Khilji

 

 

1296–1316 Jalal-ud-din Firoz Khilji’s nephew and the most powerful ruler of the Khilji period

Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah

 

 

1316–1320 Son of Alauddin Khilji

Jalal-ud-din Khalji (c. 1290 – 1296 CE)

  • Jalal-ud-din Khalji was the founder of the Khalji dynasty who assumed power when he was 70. The Khaljis were of mixed Turkish- Afghan descent. Yet the rise of Khaljis ended the Turkish monopoly in high offices.  

  • He wasthe warden of the marches in the northwest and had fought many victorious battles against the Mongols during Balban’s reign. (Ghiyas ud din Balban ruled as the Sultan of Delhi from 1265 until his death in 1287, he was succeeded by his older son, Prince Muhammad Khan who was defeated in a battle against the Mongols on 1285, & then the sultanate was ruled by Muiz ud din Qaiqabad (Slave dynasty) from 1287 to 1290 after Khaliji dynasty came into existence). 

  • Jalal-ud-din Khalji tried to diminish some of the harsh aspects of Balban’s rule such as harsh punishments. He was the first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate who gave his opinion clearly, that the state must be based on the willing support of the governed and as Hindus form a large population in India, it could not be an Islamic state.

  • He was liberal & adopted a policy of tolerance such as Malik Chhajju, nephew of Balban was permitted to remain Kara’s governor. Also, Chhajju revolted, and still, he was pardoned. When the robbers looted the country, they were permitted to go after a severe warning. Soon when Malik Chhaju again revolted, he was replaced by his nephew & son-in-law, Alauddin Khalji.

  • During Jalal-ud-din Khalji’s reign, Alauddin invaded Devagiri and collected enormous wealth. But later in 1296CE, he murdered his father-in-law near Kara and took the throne of Delhi. Now, let’s discuss Alauddin khalji.

Alauddin Khalji (c. 1296 – 1316 CE)

  • He was the nephew and son-in-law of Jalal-ud-din Khalji who was appointed as the Amir-i-Tuzuk (Master of ceremonies) & Arizi-i-Mumalik (minister of war) during the Jalal-ud-din’s reign.

  • Alauddin followed Balban’s policy of governance opposite to Jalal-ud-din. He passed four laws as he believed that the general prosperity of the nobles, intermarriage b/w noble families, inefficient spy system along with drinking liquor were the basic reasons for oppositions or rebellions:

  1. The public sale of liquor and drugs were completely banned.

  2. The intelligence system was reorganised and nobles secret activities were reported to the Sultan at the earliest.

  3. He confiscated the property of the nobles.

  4. Social gatherings and festivities without seeking permission of the Sultan were not allowed. Due to this, his reign was free from rebellions.

  • Alauddin had a huge permanent standing army which was sent six times against the Mongols. Ala-ud-din was the first Sultan to pay his soldiers in cash. Few of his conquest were as follows:

  1. Conquest of Gujarat – Alauddin Khalji sent an army under the leadership of two of his generals, Nusrat Khan and Ulugh Khan to conquer Gujarat in 1299 CE. The ruler Rai Karan & his daughter escaped while the queen was caught and moved to Delhi. Malik Kafur, a eunuch, was also taken to Delhi & afterwards he was made the military commander.

  2. Conquest of Rajputana – After conquering Gujarat, Alauddin’s thought of conquering Rajputana. So, Alauddin captured the fort of Ranthambore, the strongest fort of Rajasthan and the Rajput women committed Jauhar. Initially, Nusrat Khan lost his life and Khalji army suffered losses.

Source: Filme shilme

From the movie Padmavat, we remember Rani Padmavati, right? So, discussing his next conquest Chittor.

  1. Conquest of Chittor – Next conquest was of Chittor, a powerful state of Rajputana. In 1303 CE, Alauddin stormed the Chittor fort and scholars believes that Alauddin attacked Chittor as he desired for Padmini, the beautiful queen of Raja Ratan Singh who was defeated. Rani Padmini also performed Jauhar. This episode was graphically mentioned in the book Padmavat written by Jayasi.

  2. Conquest of Malwa and others – In c. 1305 CE, the Khalji army captured Malwa. Ujjain, Mandu, Chanderi and Dhar. Subsequently, Alauddin Khalji sent Malik Kafur to the south and attacked Siwana himself defeating Raja Shital Deva. Then, Jalore, another Rajput kingdom was annexed. Thus, making Alauddin Khalji, the master of north India.

  3. Conquest of Deccan & the far South – This region was ruled by four significant dynasties: Yadavas of Devagiri, Kakatiyas of Warangal, Hoysalas of Dwarasamudra and the Pandyas of Madurai. Alauddin sent Malik Kafur to lead the Khalji dynasty invasions to these south Indian territories. Happy with the work of Kafur, Alauddin honoured him by appointing him Naib Malik of the empire.

  • Alauddin Khalji died in c. 1316 CE. Alauddin constructed siri city and Alai darwaja. Alauddin assumed the title of Sikander-i-Azam and surrendered the title of Tuti-i-Hind to Amir Khusrau.

Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah (c. 1316 – 1320 CE)

Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah (one of the sons of Alauddin) ascended the throne after Alauddin Khalji’s demise. He abolished all the harsh regulations of his father & reinstated tolerance. However, he was not able to run the administration efficiently and was assassinated.

Nasiruddin Khusrau Shah (c. 1320 CE)

He killed Mubarak Shah but his reign too did not last long. The governor of Dipalpur, Ghazi Malik killed Nasiruddin Khusrau Shah and ascended the throne of Delhi under the title of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq in c. 1320 CE. Hence, the beginning of Tughlaq dynasty. Did you know? He was the only Hindu convert to sit on the throne of Delhi. 

Conclusion

The Khilji dynasty was the second dynasty to rule the Delhi Sultanate of India which signified the transfer of authority from Turkic nobility to the Afghans Only three monarchs ruled this dynasty in Delhi. The emperors of the Khilji dynasty, also known as the Khalji dynasty, are notable for their ruthlessness, conquests in South India, and successful defences against the Mongol invasions.

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 275 Post(s)

She is a Legal Content Manager at Finology Legal! With a Masters in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), a BBA.LL.B from ITM University, and patent analyst training from IIPTA, she truly specializes in her field. Her passion for IPR and Criminal laws is evident from her advanced certification in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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