Alauddin Khilji (1296-1316)
The real name of Alauddin Khilji was Ali Gurshap. He sat on the throne of Delhi Sultanate in 1296 after killing his uncle Jalal ud din Firuz Khilji. Allauddin Khilji was known as the most powerful ruler of Delhi sultanate. Despite the fact that Alauddin was illiterate, he was an able soldier. He excelled in commanding the army. He expanded the territory of Delhi Sultanate to down south. During his time the empire extended from Indus to Bengal and from Himalayas to Vindyas. He defeated the ruler of Raja Ramchandra and forced him to flee to hills.
Invasion of Mongols
Aluddin Khilji successfully encountered the invasion of Mongols. Mongol forces numbering around 200000 attacked India under Kutlugh Khwaja, the grandson of Kublai Khan.Alauddin met the Mongols in the battlefield near Siri and defeated them convincingly.
However, Mongols attack continued as another invasion took place under Targhi. Other Mongol invasions also took place under Kebek, Iqbalmand Khan and Tartak. But
Alauddin Khilji crushed them with an iron hand to the extent that Mongols couldn’t gather courage to attack India for a long time.
Alauddin at some point during his rule, had tried to imitate Hazarat Muhammad and establish a new religion. He also aspired to become a second Alexander and gave instructions to Muslims to take his name in the Namaz.
Alauddin was a great war lord. Therefore, let’s have a look at his conquests.
Conquest of Ranthambore
Allaudin Khilji led a siege to the fort of Ranthambore after its king Raja Hammir had given shelter to Muhammad Shah. This happened in 1299 AD. After initial failures, Alauddin treacherously captured the fort with the help of Rajput traitor Ranmal. Hammir dev along with Muhammad Shah was killed.
Conquest of Chittor
The Army of Delhi sultanate invaded Chittor in 1303. The Chittor was ruled by Rawal Rattan Singh. It is believed that Aluddin coveted Padmini, Rani of Chittor. After 8 months seize, Chittor was finally won by the Sultan of Delhi.
Khijra Khan was made governor of Chittor and it was named Kijrabad.
Victories in Deccan
After winning two important forts of Chittor and Ranthambore, Aluddin desired the conquest of Deccan. He sent a huge army under Malik Kafur in 1303 AD to recover Devagiri whose king had refused to pay tribute to Delhi empire. The army of Devagiri was defeated and the king was taken as prisoner.
Malik Kafur went further in the south region and invaded Warangal region. He also campaigned against Veera Ballala III, the Hoyasala king. Malik Kafur returned to Aluddin Khilji with a great booty.
The Highlights of Aluddin Khilji’s rule
• He introduced Dagh and Chehra during his rule. Dagh is the system of branding the horses and Chehra was related to the biometric information about soldiers.
• He treated his nobles with an iron hand. He forbade them to marry among each other’s families.
• Diwan-i-mustakhraj was introduced by Allauddin Khilji to know and collect the revenue arrears.
• He also set up separate markets for food grains and cloths etc. Diwan-i-riyasat and Shahna-i-mandi were created by him to control the markets.
• The espionage system was strengthened. Alauddin was the first sultan of Delhi to have a standing army.
• The Iqta system introduced by Iltutmish, was abolished by Alauddin and the salary was paid to soldiers in cash.
Alauddin died in 1316 amid chaos within the empire. His sons were not capable enough to carry out his legacy. Alauddin was a strong and capable ruler of India.