The Khalji dynasty included Alauddin Khilji (or Khalji). He was one of the Sultans of Delhi Sultanate and the most powerful ruler of his dynasty. He was the most ambitious of the rulers. After backstabbing his uncle ‘Jalaluddin’ while embracing him, he became the ruler of the Delhi Sultanate.
Alauddin Khilji was born as Ali Gurshasp aka Juna Khan Khalji in the Khalji Dynasty in Qalat, Zabul Province, Afghanistan, sometime between 1266 and 1267 (according to the 16th-17th century chronicler Haji-ud-Dabir). He was enamoured with the idea of ruling the planet and aspired to be the Second Alexender. His community and followers dubbed him the Second Alexender aka Sikander-i-Sani.
Alauddin Khilji was the only ruler who implemented several changes in the current administration and strengthened the army in order to avoid a rebellion. His policies resulted in a stronger economy, and he was in charge of the government. Revenue Reforms (direct taxation and the abolition of Hindu provincial chiefs), Market Reforms (lowering the cost of goods in order to sustain a massive army on a low salary), Social Reforms (banning alcohol, prostitution, magicians, and charlatans), and Military Reforms were only a few of his reforms. Despite the fact that these measures were imposed to avoid any demonstrations or revolt, only a few of them proved successful in sustaining a powerful administration. However, it exacerbated Hindus’ plight.
Family, Religion, Wife & Sexuality
Shihabuddin Mas’ud gave birth to Alauddin Khilji. He was descended from Turkic Khalji ancestors. After his father died, he was raised by his uncle, Sultan Jalaluddin, the founder of the Khalji Dynasty, and his three brothers Almas Beg aka Ulugh Khan, Qutlugh Tigin, and Muhammad. He was a Sunni Muslim who practised Islam.
Malika-i-Jahan, the daughter of Alauddin Khilji’s uncle Jalaluddin, was married to Alauddin Khilji. Jalaluddin’s daughter became the princess of Delhi after he became the Sultan, and she was very disrespectful towards Alauddin. Since Alauddin was dissatisfied with his first marriage, he married Mahru. After looting Devagiri, he married Jhatyapali, the princess of Devagiri, and had a son with her called Shihabuddin Omar, who was also the Khalji Dynasty’s successor. He also married Kamaladevi, a Hindu woman who was the ex-wife of Karna, Gujarat’s last Vaghela ruler.
Despite the fact that Alauddin Khilji was married to four women, he had formed a strong bond with Malik Kafur, his slave-turned-military commander. According to legend, Alauddin Khilji was a bisexual who fell deeply in love with Malik Kafur in his final years.
Ascension as a Ruler
In front of the Sultan of Delhi, Jalaluddin, Alauddin Khilji proved himself to be a great warrior, and Jalaluddin named Alauddin as the Amir-i-Tuzuk. Later, in order to gain Jalaluddin’s confidence, he suppressed a rebellion against the Sultan and was appointed Governor of Kara in 1291, followed by the governorship of Awadh. He invaded Devagiri in 1296 and looted the King. He was expected to return to Delhi with all of the stolen goods. He instead gave it to Kara. As a result of his defiance, Sultan Jalaluddin personally went to enquire about Alauddin, who killed the Sultan by backstabbing him. As a result, he became the next Sultan of Delhi.
He fooled the Mongols and invaded many Hindu kingdoms, including ‘Gujarat,’ ‘Chittor,’ ‘Malwa,’ ‘Siwana,’ ‘Jalore,’ and so on, after becoming Sultan of Delhi.’ Malik Kafur, his military commander and counsellor, proved to be a valuable asset during his conquests. During the Gujarat raid, a slave named Malik Kafur was caught.
Alauddin Khilji was a zealous monarch who liked to be referred to as the “Second Alexender” by his subjects. On the coins, he also engraved the title Sikander-i-Sani.
During the last years of his life, Alauddin Khilji had grown increasingly insecure about his position. He allegedly only trusted Kafur Malik, whom he had appointed Viceroy and given the majority of administrative powers. Alauddin Khilji was sick and followed Malik Kafur’s advice, which included abolishing the Office of Wazir, dismissing most of his department’s seasoned officers, and assassinating his brother-in-law, Alp Khan.
Alauddin Khilji died on January 4, 1316, as a result of a plot hatched by Malik Kafur and other Sultanate officers. Alauddin’s body was taken from Siri Place and buried in Alauddin’s mausoleum, which had already been constructed for him before his death.
Alauddin’s tomb and madrasa are located in Mehrauli, Delhi, at the back of the Qutb complex.
- As Amir-i-Tuzuk (Master of Ceremonies), Alauddin assisted his uncle Jalaluddin and Almas Beg as Akhur-beg (equivalent to Master of the Horse).
- His first marriage, to Malika-i-Jahan, did not work out because his first wife’s father, Jalaluddin, had become the Sultan, and she eventually became the princess, causing a shift in her behaviour. She began to exert more control over Alauddin. Jealousy drove her to target his second wife, Mahru.
- The Governor of Kara, Malik Chajju, saw Jalaluddin as an incompetent ruler and led a rebellion against him. Jalaluddin appointed Alauddin as the new Governor of Kara after he played a significant role in suppressing the rebellion.
- Jalaluddin’s wife was fully opposed to Alauddin and had told the Sultan of his plans.
- Malik Chajju instigated Alauddin against Jalaluddin, prompting him to plot against him in order to depose him.
- Alauddin pillaged many Hindu kingdoms in the region and looted their riches. He gave Jalaluddin the stolen treasure, which helped him win Sultan’s trust.
- Instead of surrendering the treasure stolen during the Devagiri raid, he took it to Kara. Jalaluddin dispatched a small army of 1000 soldiers to meet Alauddin.
- On July 20, 1296, Jalaluddin arrived in Kara to meet Alauddin. He stabbed the Sultan in the back while hugging him and proclaimed himself the next Sultan of Delhi. When he arrived in Delhi on October 21, 1296, he was annunciated as the Sultan of Delhi.
- According to chronicler Ziauddin Barani, Alauddin’s first year in power was the happiest year in Delhi’s history.
- During his reign as Sultan of Delhi, he extended his territory by invading neighbouring kingdoms such as Gujarat, Mewar, Jalore, Malwa, and Madurai, among others.
- Any time the Mongols tried to invade Delhi, Alauddin defeated them. In the wars of Jalandhar (1298), Kili (1299), Amroha (1305), and Ravi (1305), he defeated them (1306). He subjected the Mongols to harsh punishments, including the execution of children in front of their mothers.
- He faced three unsuccessful revolts against him when he captured Ranthambore, which he crushed each time. He instituted an intelligence monitoring regime and tightened his laws to deter any rebellions.
- According to legend, Alauddin invaded Chittoor in order to capture Padmavati, the queen of Rawal Ratan Singh/Ratnasimha (the King of Chittoor). In modern history, however, there are no such evidence.
- Alauddin had to take refuge at the under-construction Siri Fort to prevent a Mongol invasion of Delhi in August 1303 due to a lack of prepared army and strategy.
- To prevent potential Malika-i-Jahan attacks, he increased his army, tightened security on the route Mongols used to reach his borders, and implemented a few economic reforms to keep his army in good shape.
- With the aid of his most loyal servant Malik Kafur, Alauddin was the first Muslim King to conquer Southern India.
- He established the best-managed administration in Delhi by paying his officers well and appointing different officers to different roles to run his own government.
- Alaudin set commodity prices based on their true worth, allowing people to live comfortably on a low income.
- His taxation scheme proved to be extremely successful, and it was used until the nineteenth century.
Alauddin also had plans to start a new religion, according to chronicler Ziauddin Barani.
- According to legend, Alauddin was bisexual, and in his final years, he had a special relationship with Malik Kafur, a faithful officer whom he had captured as a slave during the Gujarat invasion.
- Ranveer Singh portrayed Alauddin Khalji in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Hindi film “Padmavat” in 2017.