Revenue Reforms by Alauddin Khalji

The revenue reform of Khalji represented his most important step in direction of internal re-organization. Alauddin Khalji was 1st Sultan of Delhi to initiate the revenue reform. The previous Sultan had continued to followed old practices.

Why Khalji did introduce revenue reform?

The revenue reforms were directed by the internal & external needs of the empire. Through these revenue reforms, Alauddin wanted to take away excess wealth ling with people so that possibility of revolt & rebellious could be eliminated. Alauddin required a large army to counter Mongol threats & implement his imperialistic design for the maintenance of his large army huge amount of resources required.

Alauddin wanted to fill his treasury by collecting the maximum possible amount of wealth from people. He was aware of fact that the real strength was dependent on the availability of resources.

Where were revenue reform implemented?

Sultan Alauddin implemented reform in the Doab region 1st cause, The peasant & intermediary were most powerful here, and the second cause is that this area is located close to the capital & he could personally supervise the implementation of reforms.

Details of Revenue Reforms

The practice of assessing Land Revenue through the method of crop sharing has abounded. He introduced a new system Mashat in which the revenue was assisted through the survey & measurement of land. The rate of Land Revenue was increased to 250% of produce.

The peasants were given the freedom to pay revenue in either cash/coins from the Doab region 50% of land revenue as demanded in kind so the supply of food grain ensured in the market. The intermediaries were ordered to pay Land Revenue at normal rate practice they were free from the burden of revenue.

Coins of Alauddin Khalji
Coins of Alauddin Khalji

The local accesses such as Haqq-i-Khuti & Kismat-i-Khuti collected by village headmen/intermediary (King and Muqaddam) were abolished. Alauddin Khalji imposed new taxes Grahi (house tax) & Chari (grazing tax) on the people. The rate of Khums (share of the state in war booty) was increased to 4/5. Traditionally only 1/5th of war booty was retained by the state as Khums & 4/5 was distributed among the soldiers.

Alauddin Khalji set up a new department known as Diwan-i-Mustakhraj to collect dues (arrears) of the lying of Iqtadar. To eliminate the evil of corruption prevailing in the revenue department Sultan Alauddin Khalji appointed senior honest officials. He raised the salary of revenue officials. He used to check papers of Patwari (a record) himself. Corrupt practices were strongly punished. According to Barani, the fear of punishment was so high that no father used marries his daughter to revenue officials.

Significance/Impact of Revenue Reforms

The revenue reform of Alauddin was highly successful as he could take away the excess wealth ling with people – eliminate the possibility of revolts & rebellious. The treasury of state remained filled up to brill. No economic difficulty of any kind was faced by the state in the reign of Alauddin. The success of his revenue reform carries Khalji’s despotism to new heights because he could impose his will effectively on soldiers as well as civilians.

The Nobel intermediaries & peasant go impoverish due to his revenue reform. The “Diwan-i-Mustakhraj” brought immense pressure on Nobel. According to Barani, the intermediaries impoverish to such an extent they could not ride horses they could not chew battle leaves & wives work in other Muslim houses.

The revenue policy of Alauddin was lacking any pro-peasant (former) element because of this agriculture suffered immensely. The peasants lost interest & motivation, in the long run, this affected the economic health of the state. The revenue reform eliminates the evil of corruption from the revenue department as a result of this the administration becomes much more effective.

Market Revolution/Price Control Measures

Alauddin-Khalji, Iqta System
Alauddin Khalji

Alauddin was the 1st Sultan of Delhi to initiate several economic reforms & among these reforms, his market regulations were most important for 1st time in the history of India such an effort was made by any ruler. Under this regulation, the prices & the weight system were fixed by state steps were taken to ensure to availability of goods in these control markets.

Aims & Objectives behind Market Reforms

The historians both contemporary & modern have put forward different opinions about the object behind Alauddin’s market reforms. According to Barani, Alauddin’s market refers were guided by his military needs. This view was expressed in his book “Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi”.

Amir Khusaro in his book “Khazain-Ul-Futuh” wrote that market reference plant trophic in nature because Alauddin wanted to ensure the welfare of people similar. The view expressed by Hamid-al-din in “Khair-ul-Majalis”. Barani in his other book “Fatwa-i-Jahandari” wrote that a powerful Sultan should initiate market research for benefit of people.

The modern historian also differs in their understanding of the object behind the market reference. According to Dr. K.S. Lal, Alauddin wanted to maintain a large army at low cost through his market reforms. According to Dr. Md. Habib market reference guided by plant trophic object because the market was common to all & goods were sold for common use. Irfan Habib, Alauddin wanted to keep the cost of his military campaign low through a market reference.

Alauddin was a despotic ruler, a welfare outlook missing in his policies. He needed a large army to counter Mongol & carry out the territorial expansion. Alauddin paid a very little salary to his soldiers. In this salary, soldiers could survive only if the items of common use were available at low cost in the market. The main target of Alauddin Khalji was to meet his military needs through market regulation but at the same time, it is also clear that civilians living in the capital were also benefited.

Mechanism of Market Reforms

Alauddin created a new department known as “Diwan-i-Riyasat” for the implementation of his market reference. The Sultanate is divided into two parts known as the control zone & free zone. The market reforms were implemented in Control Zone. This was located in & around the capital.

Sultan could personally ever see the implementation of the zone. The real army was used to stay in this zone for most of the year. Most of the military campaign was organized in Control Zone. This zone is comprised of Lahore to Allahabad along with some part of Rajputana.

New markets were established for the sale of different market commodities. Mandi was a market for food grain. Sarai-i-Adl was market for Sugar & Cloth 3rd market trading living things. Each market established by Sultan was placed under the policy officer “Shahna-i-Mandi”. He was responsible for day to day functioning of the market.

Traders were issued licenses by the state to set up shops in these controlled markets. Traders had to give an undertaking that all regulations of the state shall be followed. The prices of each & every item sold in the market were fixed by Sultan himself as informed by Amir Khusro. Weights & measures were followed in the market.

Traders were punished severely for charging extra or selling underweight. An equal amount of flesh will be cut from the body of traders found to be selling underweight items. According to Barani, the fear of punishment is so high; the traders used to sell more than require weight. Steps were taken to ensure the supply of commodities to the market. To ensure the supply of food grains buffer stocks were maintained. The peasants in the Doabs region were asked to pay 50% of land revenue in time.

To ensure the regular supply of other domestic goods, Alauddin used his despotic authority. To ensure the supply of imported commodities from the importer, giving subsidy by state. Alauddin appointed a special class of spies (Munchiyan) to keep watch on the functioning of markets.