Khilji Dynasty Notes for MPSC (Maharashtra Recruitment Exam)
After slave dynasty Khilji was the second dynasty to rule the Delhi sultanate. It spanned from 1290 to 1320 AD. The founder of Khilji Dynasty was Jalaluddin Firoz Khilji. His original name was Malik Firuz and he served under the Ilbari dynasty. They came from Central Asia, and they had customs which were of Afghan origin. Although the court of Khilji’s had people from multi ethnic backgrounds like Persian, Indian, Arab and Turkish ethnicity. During the transition from Ilbari dynasty to the Khilji dynasty many significant changes took place like widening of the social base of the rural class and the end of monopolization of power and racial dictatorship by Ilbari Turks.
Let’s see the rulers under the Khilji dynasty-
Jalaluddin Firuz Khilji
- He ruled from 1290 AD to 1296 AD.
- He was originally known as Malik Firuz. He was appointed as the Ariz-I-Mumalik by Kaiqubad during the decline of Ilbari dynasty. After witnessing the incapacity of the successors of Balban he acceded the throne of Delhi as Jalaluddin-Firuz Khilji.
- He came to the throne at old age and served only for six years as the ruler of Delhi sultanate.
- Kilokhari was the capital under him.
- He was a generous king and was the first Sultan of Delhi sultanate who had a benevolent attitude towards Hindus.
- He was known for his peaceful policies. He tried to rule the Delhi sultanate without resorting violence. He also adopted peaceful policies towards the Mongols.
- The invasion of Devagiri took place during his reign. Devagiri was the capital of Yadava Kings in the Deccan. Ali Gurshap the nephew and son-in-law of the Sultan invaded the Devagiri and led a successful campaign.
- Ali Gurshap invited Sultan Jalaluddin Firuz Khilji to Kara in 1296, where he was killed, and Ali Gurshap declared himself the Sultan of Delhi under the title Alauddin Khilji.
- He ruled the Delhi Sultanate from 1296 AD to 1316 AD.
- He held the position of Amir-i-tuzuk and Aariz-i-Muamlik in the Khilji dynasty under Jalaluddin Khilji. Amir-i-tuzuk is also known as master of ceremonies and Aariz-i-Muamlik is also known as minister of law.
- He was the greatest ruler of the Khilji dynasty, and he was the first Sultan who extended his empire upto Southern India under Malik Kafur. He defeated the Hoysala King, Yadava king and the Prataprudra II of Warangal.
- His generals Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan conquered Gujarat. His general Nusrat Khan looted the famous Somnath temple in 1299.
- He captured Ranthambore, Malwa, Chittor, Dhar, Mandu, Ujjain, Marwar, Chanderi, and Jalor.
- He called himself the deputy of Caliph and was the first ruler of Delhi Sultanate who did not ask for letter or investiture from the Caliph.
- He led a centralised form of government because of which the economic prosperity of the kingdom grew rapidly.
- He died in January 1316, and it is said that he was poisoned by Malik Kafur.
- He constructed a mosque in Rameswaram.
Reforms under Alauddin Khilji-
Alauddin Khilji led various reforms which are known as Khilji revolution because of the wide social and economic impacts. The southern invasion of Alauddin Khilji brought him enormous wealth and his centralised polices led the overall revolution. Let’s understand them in detail-
- The Delhi Sultanate was prone to frequent Mongol invasions. They invaded Delhi for economic wealth, but they were mostly defeated.
- Because of his military accomplishments and conquests he was known as the second Alexander in the coins introduced by him.
- Balban introduced the blood and iron policy for dealing with Mongols. Alauddin Khilji adopted the same.
- Under this policy he constructed a defensive wall around Delhi and, constructed and repaired the forts on the routes of Mongols.
- He made strong military posts in the routes of Mongols like in Samana and Dipalpur.
- He increased his military might to deal with the upcoming Mongol invasion in North Western frontiers of the Sultanate.
- He captured the Ranthambore fort in 1299 by defeating Rana Hamir Deva of Ranthambore.
- Alauddin campaign to Chittoor took place in 1301 and the details about his campaign was described in the book padmavat written by Malik Muhammad jayasi. He campaigned against Raja Ratan Singh of Chittoor Khan and Khizr Khan was made governor by Alauddin Khilji after him. This same book mentions the jauhar episode of Rani Padmavati.
- He defeated Mongols in the battle of Jalandhar, Kili, Amroha and Ravi. The battle of Jalandhar took place in 1298, the battle of Kili took place in 1299, the battle of Amroha took place in 1305 and battle of Ravi took place in 1306.
He tried to reform the administrative system for strengthening the army and to bring an efficient land revenue system which was essential to sustain the increased military expenses. He also introduced agricultural improvement policies.
According to Barani, he believed that the major reasons for rebellion among the nobility was the general prosperity of nobles, social intercourse among nobles, inter marriages between the noble families, inefficient spy system, and the consumption of liquor and other intoxicants.
So, various administrative changes Under Alauddin Khilji were-
- He collected revenue in cash and not in kind.
- He introduced ordinances to prevent internal revolts in the empire.
- He changed the policy of tolerance that was introduced by Alauddin Khilji and awarded drastic punishments to all those who dared to oppose his decrees.
- He was the first king of Delhi sultanate who separated religion from politics. He introduced a policy of ‘kingship knows no kinship’.
- Malik Kafur was the military commander under him.
- He seized many jagirs and estates and stopped the pensions and allowances of many nobles.
- He revoked all the religious endowments and grants by the state.
- He held a discriminatory policy towards the religion other than Muslim. He imposed Jizya, a grazing and house tax on Hindus.
- He prohibited the sale of liquor and intoxicants in and around Delhi. He also halted excessive expenses on social parties.
- He prohibited marriage relations among the nobles without his permission.
- He upgraded the spy network and restructured it. Any secret activities of the nobles were immediately reported to the Sultan.
- He organised a strict vigilance system through an efficient espionage system.
He maintained a large army and to maintain its expenses he largely regulated the market. According to Barani, the economic regulation introduced by him were largely aimed at addressing the military requirements. But contrary to this idea Amir Khusrau considered them as welfare measures. Various marketing reforms introduced by him are-
- He introduced the Zabawit system under which detailed regulations were presented to fix the cost of all the commodities in the market.
- He appointed Diwan-i-Riyasat and Shahana-i-Mandi to standardize the market. He fixed the cost of all com
- Diwan-i-Riyasat was the market controlled department under Nayab-i-riyasat. Shahana-i-Mandi was the chief officer of market.
- Barids, the intelligence officer and the munhiyans who were the secret spies were appointed to daily report the happenings of markets to the Sultan.
- To stop corruption in the army he introduced the system of branding of horses, which was also known as Daag system and descriptive roster of individual soldiers also known as Huliya or Chehra system. Additionally, horses were directly sold to the military department.
- He established three markets- one for food grains, second for horses and cattle’s and third for slaves.
- Hoarding and black marketing was strictly prohibited.
- Food stocks were maintained by the Sultanate which was released during a time of need. Karawanis or Banjaras were responsible for carrying these food grains to Delhi.
- Alauddin paid all his soldiers in cash. The increased land revenue helped him to sustain the cash flow. He was the first sultan to introduce this system.
- Soldiers were directly recruited by Arz-i-Mamalik.
- He abolished the large number of iqtas.
- To control the Mongol invasion various forts were constructed on the North western frontiers of the Sultanate.
- He introduced three grades of soldiers- foot soldiers, ek aspa i.e., soldiers with one horse and do aspa i.e., soldiers with two horses.
Also See: Indus Valley Civilisation Notes
- He standardized the land measurement system. Zabita regulation was introduced, and Biswa was declared as the standard unit of measurement.
- He introduced the Masahat system under which the land revenue was to be assisted on the basis of land survey and measurements.
- Some portion of land was declared as Khalisa land, from which the land revenue came directly to the royal treasury.
- 50% of the agricultural produce was demanded by the state.
- A Special designation called mustakhraj was created for revenue generation.
- Hereditary revenue collectors were suppressed like Rai, Rana, Rawat, Khut, Muqaddam, Chaudhari etc.
- Land productivity was measured and was known as Paimaish in the Doab region of the River Ganga and Yamuna. Land revenue was fixed based on land productivity, and it was known as Kharaj.
- A new revenue department was established known as Diwan-i-Mustakharaj. Khuts were the district level intermediaries who aided in revenue collection. The collected the revenue from the parganah or shiq and deposited to the sultanate. From here the concept of Zamindari emerged.
- Land revenue was estimated on the basis on the agricultural produce but was demanded in cash.
- House tax and Pasteur tax were also levied.
His contributions in art and learning-
- Alauddin was a great patron of art and learning. Both Amir Khusrau and Mir Hasan Dehlvi were found in his court.
- He gave the title of Tuti-i-hind to Amir khusro which means the parrot of India. He himself adorned the title Sikander-i-azam.
- Barani wrote a book about Alauddin Khilji titled tehrikh- I – Feroz Shahi.
- A new capital city Siri was built by him, and he also led the renovation of Qutubi mosque. He also built Alai Darwaza in 1311 CE which is gateway to the Qutub Minar complex. But it could not be completed by him.
- Siri fort was constructed by him, and it is located in New Delhi. Hauz Khas village was an extension of this fort, and it was built to meet the water needs of the army.
- He constructed the Hazar sutun which is also known as the palace of hundred pillars.
- Jamaat Khana masjid was built by him, and it was built at the tomb of Nizamuddin Auliya.
Khizr Khan the eldest son of Alauddin Khilji was appointed as his successor. But the confidant of Alauddin Khilji, Malik Kafur asserted himself as authority of the government. Malik Kafur’s rule lasted for only 35 days and he was assassinated by the hostile nobles. After his death Qutbuddin Mubarak came to power and he was succeeded by Naseeruddin khusro Shah. Both of them were the weak successors who were not able to manage the Delhi sultanate.
The major reasons of the decline of dynasty are-
- Lack of popularity of the Khilji rulers among the nobles and common citizens.
- The despotic rule of Alauddin Khilji.
- The frequent Mongol invasions weakened the empire and endangered the safety of the Delhi sultanate.
- Weak and inefficient successors.
- Lack of any law of succession.
- Lack of military strength.
- Religious intolerance practiced by Alauddin Khilji and discriminatory behaviour towards Hindus.
- Opposition from the orthodox Muslim sections and ulemas.
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