The Khilji Dynasty: 1290-1320 AD

After the last ruler of the Slave dynasty was killed, the Khilji dynasty was founded by Jalaluddin Khilji.

The Khilji Dynasty (1290-1320 AD)

Jalaluddin Khilji (1290-96)

  • Jalaluddin founded the Khilji dynasty after killing Kaikubad, the last ruler of the Slave dynasty. After becoming the king, he lavishly rewarded nobles who had helped him in ascending the throne of Delhi.
  • However, after his accession to the throne, he had to face opposition from Turkish nobles who wanted to assert their power.
  • Jalaluddin was a mild and pious person. He gave high posts and titles to his friends, relatives and those nobles who had helped him.
  • In 1296, he was treacherously murdered by his nephew Alauddin Khilji who declared himself as the new Sultan of Delhi.

Alauddin Khilji (1296-1316)

  • Alauddin Khilji is known for his economic measures which were adopted by him for controlling the prices of commodities. He is also known for his expeditions into the south.
  • To save the country from Mongol attacks, Alauddin ordered the massacre of many Mongols who had accepted Islam and had settled in Delhi and nearby areas.
  • Alauddin greatly expanded the empire after conquering Ujjain, Dhar, Chanderi and Mandu. By 1305, most of northern India was annexed by him.
  • Alauddin built a strong army and began to pay the army in cash.

Economic Policies of Alauddin Khilji

Market Regulations

  • Alauddin fixed the prices of various essential commodities such as food grains, sugar and cooking oil. He set up three markets at Delhi—one for food grains, the second for expensive clothes and the third for horses, slaves and cattle. Razia Sultan was the first woman ruler of Delhi.
  • Each market was put under a charge of a market controller or ‘Shahna’. Strict punishments were given to the shopkeepers for cheating and under weighing goods.

Deccan Expeditions

  • He was the first Muslim Sultan of Delhi who not only conquered most North Indian states but also sent an expedition to the south under Malik Kafur. The kingdoms of Dwar Samudra, Warangal, Devagiri and Madurai were defeated.
  • Although he defeated these kingdoms, he did not annex them and allowed the rulers to rule after they promised to pay a regular tribute.
  • He did not annex these states because he was interested in acquiring the wealth of the Deccan kingdoms for maintaining his huge army. Second, it was difficult to control the rugged and hilly terrains of Deccan.

Measures against Nobility

Alauddin realised that it was important to crush the powers of the nobles. He took the following steps against his nobles:

  • Nobles were forbidden to organise any party or intermarry without the prior permission of the Sultan. Gambling was prohibited. This was done to ensure that the nobles do not gather and conspire against him.
  • Nobles were not allowed to maintain armies. Drinking of wine was also banned.
  • An efficient spy system was set up. Spies reported every activity of the nobles to the Sultan. They were spied outside and inside their homes.
  • Land grants which were given to the nobles by the previous rulers were taken back from them. New grants of lands were made, but the landholders were only allowed to collect the revenues from the land and were not entitled to impose any additional taxes on the peasants.

Military Reforms

Alauddin introduced various reforms to make the army efficient and disciplined. These were

  • He was the first Sultan of Delhi who laid the foundation of a permanent standing army.
  • He introduced the system of maintaining the descriptive roll of soldiers (chehre) and the branding of horses (dagh).
  • He built new forts and repaired old ones.
  • Spies were employed in every army unit. Soldiers were paid regular salaries in cash.

Revenue Reforms

Alauddin had maintained a huge army. To meet the expenses of such a huge army, he introduced many revenue reforms. These were

  • The land was carefully measured and the taxes to be paid to the state were fixed.
  • Taxes were collected by the revenue officers who were appointed for this purpose.
  • The revenue to be paid was increased from one-third to half and had to be paid in cash.

In 1316, after death of Alauddin, Malik Kafur, called Hajardinari seized the throne. Before Kafur died, he nominated Shihabuddin (Alauddin’s 6 year old prince) as King but imprisoned the eldest prince Mubarak Khan. Kafur was killed by the loyalists of the royal family of Alauddin.

Mubarak Khan : (1316-20)

After the death of Kafur, Mubarak khan was freed from prison and worked as regent for Shihabuddin. He captured the throne at the first opportunity he got, but could rule only for a years as he sank into debauchery and could not give up
his dissipated lifestyle. He awarded his lover Mubarak Hassan authority over army and palace guards, who soon obtained full control over Sultan’s palace. Mabarak Hassan was given the title Khusrau Khan by the Sultan and within months Khusrau killed Mubarak Khan and assumed the title of Nasirudin in mid-1320.

Khusrau Khan : 1320

Khusrau Khan was killed by Ghazi Malik, governor of Dipalpur, when he tried to oppose a rebellion by Ghazi Malik and his son Fakhruddin Jauna. This brought the end of Khilji dynasty and established the Tughlaq dynasty on the throne of Delhi.

Also, Read The Tughlaq Dynasty (1320-1414 AD)

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