Summary on the Khilji Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate

The Khiljis served under the Ilbari dynasty of Delhi. Malik Firuz was the founder of the Khilji Dynasty who was originally the Ariz-I-Mumalik appointed by Kaiqubad during the days of the decline of the Ilbari Dynasty. He took advantage of the political vacuum and ascended the throne of Delhi as Jalal-ud-din Firuz Khilji.

The Khilji Dynasty was the second dynasty of Delhi Sultanate who came from Central Asia. In course of time they adopted the Khura Sanian's urbane culture and certain Afghan custom and social traditions from Ghaznavids. Therefore, the court of Khiljis was of multi-ethnical background with people of Persian, Indian, Arab and Turkish origin. This marked an end to the monopolization of power and racial dictatorship by Ilbari Turks and also led to the widening of the social base of the ruling class. Here, we are giving a complete detailed summary on the Khilji Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate.

Khilji Dynasty

Summary on the Khilji Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate

The Khiljis served under the Ilbari dynasty of Delhi. Malik Firuz was the founder of the Khilji Dynasty who was originally the Ariz-I-Mumalik appointed by Kaiqubad during the days of the decline of the Ilbari Dynasty. He took advantage of the political vacuum that was created due to the incompetence of the successors of Balban. On June 13, 1290, Malik Firuz ascended the throne of Delhi as Jalal-ud-din Firuz Khilji.

Jalal-ud-din Firuz Khilji (AD 1290-96)

1. He came to the throne at the age of seventy and ruled for six years, but did not dare to sit on the throne of Balban whom he had served earlier. He made Kilokhari as his capital.

2. He adopted a conciliatory policy towards the nobles of earlier regime and even the Mongols. So, he appointed Malik Chajju who was a Balban's nephew, as the Governor of Kara, but he rebelled later.

3. One of the most important events of his reign was the invasion of Devagiri, the capital of the Yadava king, Raja Ramachandradeva, in the Deccan, by Ali Gurshasp, the nephew and son-in-law of the sultan, and the Governor of Kara.

4. After his successful campaign, Ali Gurshasp invited the Sultan to Kara to receive the enormous wealth. Jalaluddin came to Kara in July 1296, where he was murdered by Ali Gurshasp, who proclaimed himself the Sultan with the title of Alauddin.

Summary on Ilbary Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate

Alauddin Khilji (AD 1296-1316)

1. He was the greatest ruler of the Khilji Dynasty and was the first Muslim ruler to extend his empire right up to the extreme South of India. He lavishly distributed money and gold among his people, noble and ministers so that they might forget the murder of Jalal-ud-din and support him.

2. He was the first ruler of Delhi Sultanate who did not ask for manshur (letter of investiture) from the Caliph but called himself the deputy of the Caliph.

3. He concentrated all power of the state in his own hands; therefore, the period marked the zenith of despotic government as well.

4. Alauddin Khilji is said to have been poisoned by Malik Kafur. He died in January 1316.

 Military of Alauddin

Mongol Policy of Alauddin

5. During the early years of the reign of Alauddin, the Mongols invaded the sultanate several times and even plundered Delhi and adjoining districts, but they were always defeated.

6. He adopted "blood and iron" policy of Balban in tackling the Mongol menace. So, he built a protecting wall around Delhi and repaired the old forts on the route of Mongols.

7. Strong military consignments were posted at Samana and Dipalpur.

8. Increased the numerical strength of an army. Appointed to his trusted commanders, including Ghazi Malik (later Sultan Ghiyassudin Tughluq), as warden of the North Western marches.

Summary on the Sayyid Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate

Reforms and Experiments

9. The reforms of Alauddin aimed at improving the administration, strengthening the army, and gearing up the machinery of land revenue administration, expand and improve the cultivation and welfare of the people.

Administrative measures for prevention of rebellions

10. The sale and use of liquor and intoxicants was prohibited in Delhi and neighbouring areas. Sultan himself gave up drinking.

11. He forbade parties and marriage relations among the nobles without his permission.

12. He confiscated many jagirs and estates and stopped all pensions and allowances. All religious endowments and grants of lands (waqf and inam) by the state were revoked.

13. He established a network of spices all over his kingdom.

Revenue/Agrarian Reforms

14. Zabita regulation Biswa declared as the standard unit of measurement of cultivable land.

15. Land revenue (Kharaj) was fixed at half of the produce on the basis of paimash (measurement) in the Doab i.e., the territory between the Ganga and the Jamuna. Suppression of the hereditary revenue collectors-Rai, Rana, Rawat (top level) and Khut, Muqaddam, Chaudhari (village level). House tax (ghari) and pasture tax (charai) were also levied.

16.  Land revenue was calculated in kind but demanded in cash.

17. Establishment of a new revenue department, Diwan-i-Mustakharaj. Khuts were a new set of intermediaries who arose at the parganah or shiq (district) level. Amir Khusrau, for the first time, referred to them as zamindars.

List of Administrative and Agrarian Terms used in Sultanate Period

Market Control or Economic Regulation

18. According to Barani, the economic regulations were primarily a military measure, i.e., to maintain a large and efficient army for keeping the Mongols in check. But, Amir Khusrau considers it a welfare measure to ensure the supply of important commodities at reasonable rates.

19. Zabawit or detailed regulations were made to fix the cost of all commodities from food grains to horses cattle and slaves.

20. He established three separate markets in Delhi for - food grains, costly cloths, horses, slaves and cattle.

21. The markets were controlled by two officers, Diwan-i-Riyasat and Shahana- i-Mandi.

22. He gave loans to the rich Multan merchants for purchasing cloth from different parts of the empire and to bring them for sale in the Sarai-Adl (cloth market at an open place inside Badaun gate.)

23. Horses were sold directly to the military department (Diwan-i-Arz),

24. Food grains were stocked at the warehouses set up by the state itself and were released during famine or shortage of supply.

25. The Karwanis or Banjaras carried the grains from villages to Delhi. No hoarding was allowed and all merchants were registered at state daftars.

Architectural Development during Delhi Sultanate Era

Military Reforms

26. The realisation of land revenue in cash enabled Alauddin to pay his soldiers in cash. He was the first sultan to do so.

27. Direct recruitment of the soldiers by Arz-i-Mamalik.

28. Like Balban, he built several forts on North West frontier and repaired old ones.

29. Introduction of Daag (branding the horses) and Huliya or Chehra (descriptive rolls of soldiers) system.

30. Introduction of three grades of soldiers: Foot soldiers; Soldiers with one horse (ek-aspa); Soldiers with two horses (do-asps)

Art and Learning

31. Though Alauddin was illiterate, he was a great patron of art and learning.

32. Both Amir Khusrau and Mir Hasan Dehlvi enjoyed his patronage.

33. He built a new city called Siri, enlarged the Qutabi mosque and erected a gateway.

34. He built the Jamait Khana Masjid at the dargah of Nizam-ud-din Auliya, and Alai Darwaza near Qutb Minar.

35. He began the construction of Alai Minar near Qutub Minar but could not complete it.

After the death of Alauddin, his favourite Kafur, tried to usurp the throne. He placed Shihab-ud-din Omar, an infant son of the late sultan, on the throne. But Kafur was murdered after five weeks. Mubarak Khilji, another son of Alauddin ruled for four years. He abolished all the agrarian and market control regulations of his father. He was murdered by Khusrau Malik.

Khusrau Shah proved a great tyrant and was defeated and beheaded by Ghazi Tughluq, the warden of the marches and the Governor of Punjab. Ghazi Tughluq became the new ruler of the Delhi sultanate under the title of Ghias-ud-din Tughluq. Thus, Khilji dynasty was replaced by Tughluq dynasty.

Delhi Sultanate under Lodhi Dynasty: A Complete Overview

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