Khalji Dynasty (C.1290-1320 CE)

After the second Ilbari dynasty, the Khalji dynasty took to the throne of the Delhi Sultanate. During the reign of Balban‘s, Delhi Sultanate remained to consolidate and confined. But after his death, his grandson Kaiqabad took the throne who turned out to be an incompetent ruler and was easily de-throned by Jalaluddin Khalji. In this section, we will discuss the founder of the Khalji dynasty and Alauddin khalji.

Founder of Khalji Dynasty: Jalal-ud-din Khalji (c.1290-1296 CE)

He was the founder and first Sultan of the Khalji dynasty. Jalal-ud-din was around 70 years old when he came to power and ruled only for a short span of six years. He was known as a mild-mannered, humble, and kind monarch to the general public. During the first year of his reign, he ruled from Kilokhri to avoid confrontations with the Old Turkic nobles of the imperial capital Delhi. Several nobles considered him as a weak ruler and unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow him at different times.

Jalaluddin Khalji
Jalaluddin Khalji: Founder of Khalji Dynasty

He meted out lenient punishments to the rebels, except in the case of a dervish Sidi Maula, who was executed for allegedly conspiring to dethrone him. Jalal-ud-din avoided making any radical changes to the administrative set-up and retained the Old Turkic nobles in the offices that they held during Balban’s reign. For example, Fakhruddin was retained as the kotwal of Delhi; Khwaja Khatir was retained as the wazir, and Balban’s nephew Malik Chajju was retained as the governor of Kara-Manikpur.

He repelled the attack of Mongols under Abdullah, and the Mongols who settled near Delhi were called the ‘New Musalmans.’ He was generous and also the first sultan of Delhi Sultanate to have a benevolent attitude towards Hindus. He avoided harsh punishments, even to those who revolted against him. Jalaluddin tried to win the goodwill of the nobility but adopting a policy of tolerance.

He married his daughter to Ulugh Khan, a descendant of Chengiz Khan (to win the Mongols’ goodwill). During his reign in c.1294 CE, Devagiri was invaded by Alauddin Khalji (Ali Gurshap) during the reception there in July c.1296 CE, Alauddin Khalji has treacherously murdered his father-in-law Jalaluddin Khalji near Kara and usurped the throne of Delhi.

Alauddin Khalji (c. 1296–1316 CE)

He was born as Ali Gurshasp, Alauddin was a nephew and a son-in-law of his predecessor Jalaluddin. When Jalaluddin became the Sultan of Delhi after deposing the Mamluks, Alauddin was given the position of Amir-i-Tuzuk (Master of ceremonies). He was also appointed Arizi-i-Mumalik (Minister of War).

Alauddin-Khalji, Iqta System
Alauddin Khalji

Alauddin obtained the governorship of Kara in c.1291 CE after suppressing a revolt against Jalaluddin, and the governorship of Awadh in c.1296 CE after a profitable raid on Bhilsa. In c.1296 CE, Alauddin raided Devagiri and acquired loot to stage a successful revolt against Jalaluddin. After killing Jalaluddin, he consolidated his power in Delhi and subjugated Jalaluddin’s sons in Multan. The Khalji were people of low origin though they were originally Turks they were ordered they were Afghan cause for many generation Khalji living in Afghan.

Such a rise of common-born people on the throne of Delhi was nothing less than revolution. Their rise shattered the principle of the aristocracy. The Khalji believed in the principle of equality the idea of racism emphasized by Balban was shattered by them. Khalji didn’t discriminate among the Muslims based on their racial background.

The principles of the divine origin of the monarchy were also bounded by the Khalji ruler. Sultan Alauddin Khalji emphasizes the principle of strength. He proclaimed that there is nothing like legitimate of illegitimate kingship. Anybody can sit on the throne on basis of his strength & everybody must follow the orders of the Sultan because the crown provides its own justification.

Emphasis on the separation of religion from politics was another new element of the political philosophy of Khalji. Alauddin Khalji asked Ulemas to remain away from the political-administration matter as political decision-making was the prerogative (duty) of the Sultan. This emphasis on separation of religion from politics wasn’t an indication of secular character in the polity, in reality, it was a reflection of Khalji despotism.

Monarchical deposition

Monarchical deposition carries of new height by the rising of Khalji. Sultan Alauddin Khalji didn’t allow the Ulema, Nobel, or the common citizens to challenge the authority of the Sultan. His administrative reforms, revenue reforms & market reforms were the expressions of his despotism. The Khalji transformed north Indian principles into Pan India Empire. They followed the policy of expansionism. During the reign of Balban focus on the consolidation of the Sultanate.

The rise of Khalji resulted in several innovations & reforms. In a two-decades-long reign, Sultan Alauddin Khalji initiates reforms in civil Administration revenue Administration, the military system as well as the fun of market forces. His reforming hands didn’t leave any sphere of state activity untouched.

Because of these larger-scale fundamental changes, historian Mohammad Habib coined the term Khalji Revolution/Urban Revolution to symbolize the significance of the rising of Khalji. The term important refers to an ideology that emphasizes the power & prestige of the crown internal as well as external. Sultan Alauddin Khalji was a great imperialist he firmed the belief that the Sultan has the responsibility to carry out territorial expansion of the state. The expansion of territorial boundaries was ordered as a symbol of the life of his state.

Important to manifest itself as domestic as well as external fronts. Internally the administrative reforms military reforms the revenue market reform symbolized Khalji imperialist. External it manifests itself in form of expansion carried out through military campaigns. Sultan Alauddin Khalji followed the policy of conquest of North India.

North India was buried by him & territories were merged by Delhi Sultanate. He conquered West Gujarat in c.1299 CE, Ranthambore in c.1301 CE, Malwa in c.1303 CE, Mewar in c.1305 CE & Jalore in c.1308 CE. 1st Sultan of Delhi to cross Vindhyas. He understood a series of a well-planned military campaign to subject peninsular India.

The principles of Indirect Rule guided his Deccan policy. The peninsular was defeated & subject to the authority of Delhi. These defeated rulers were stored in their position once they agreed to send regular revenue. Lust of Gold & hunger for glory guided Alauddin Khalji Deccan’s policy. He was aware of the wealth of South India state & main object to fill his by appropriating this wealth.

The peninsular state Devagiri (c.1295 CE, c.1306 CE, c.1313 CE), Warangal (Andhra Pradesh) (c.1308 CE), Dwarsamudra (Karnataka c.1309 CE), Madurai (Tamil Nadu Pandy c.1310 CE) were subject to Alauddin Khalji with the help of military campaign organized under the command of Malik Kafur. Khalji was not satisfied only by the conquest of India. He dreamed of world conquest this idea was discussed with his friend Alauddin Khalji (the Kotwal of Delhi).

The title of Sikandar-i-Sani (2nd Alexander) found on his coin indicates the same. This plan of world conquest couldn’t be implemented because Alauddin Khalji realizes the practicality of this idea.

Alauddin Khalji's Tomb
Alauddin Khalji’s Tomb

Significance of Khalji’s Imperialistic views

The successes of the military campaigns raise the power & prestige of Sultan Khalji. This resulted in the political unification of India after a long time or long gap of more than 800 years of Pan India Empire emerged. The success of his Deccan brought him immense wealth.

The large army maintains by Khalji was used to busy all the time. The military commander didn’t find any opportunity to created trouble for Sultan. The success of the Khalji imperialistic is strengthening external defense as well. He would successfully counter the Mongol threat.

Khalji imperialistic also contributed to the cultural integration of India. The Islamic culture gained foot hoods peninsular India, Kafur built most in Rameshwaram in the humor of Khalji. The Khalji imperialistic proceeded the way for Tughlaq imperialistic Sultan Mohammad Bin Tughlaq to follow the direct rule over peninsular India.