Alaud-Din Khalji, called Alauddin Khilji, born Ali Gurshasp, was a ruler from the Khalji dynasty that ruled the Delhi Sultanate in the Indian subcontinent.
97 Facts About Alauddin Khalji
Alauddin Khalji successfully fended off several Mongol invasions of India.
Alauddin Khalji was a nephew and a son-in-law of his predecessor Jalaluddin.
When Jalaluddin became the Sultan of Delhi after deposing the Mamluks, Alauddin Khalji was given the position of Amir-i-Tuzuk.
In 1296, Alauddin Khalji raided Devagiri, and acquired loot to stage a successful revolt against Jalaluddin.
Alauddin Khalji conquered the kingdoms of Gujarat, Jaisalmer, Ranthambore, Chittor, Malwa, Siwana, and Jalore.
Alauddin Khalji was the eldest son of Shihabuddin Mas'ud, who was the elder brother of the Khalji dynasty's founder Sultan Jalaluddin.
Alauddin Khalji had three brothers: Almas Beg, Qutlugh Tigin, and Muhammad.
Alauddin Khalji was not on good terms with his mother-in-law either, who wielded great influence over the Sultan.
Alauddin Khalji closely monitored Alauddin and encouraged her daughter's arrogant behavior toward him.
In 1291, Alauddin Khalji played an important role in crushing a revolt by the governor of Kara Malik Chajju.
Malik Chajju's former Amirs at Kara considered Jalaluddin as a weak and ineffective ruler and instigated Alauddin Khalji to usurp the throne of Delhi.
This, combined with his unhappy domestic life, made Alauddin Khalji determined to dethrone Jalaluddin.
Alauddin Khalji left Devagiri with a huge amount of wealth, including precious metals, jewels, silk products, elephants, horses, and slaves.
Alauddin Khalji returned to Delhi, believing that Alauddin would carry the wealth from Kara to Delhi.
Alauddin Khalji requested a letter of pardon signed by the Sultan, which the Sultan immediately despatched through messengers.
However, Alauddin Khalji detained them and prevented them from communicating with the Sultan.
Alauddin Khalji convinced Jalaluddin to visit Kara and meet Alauddin, saying that Alauddin would commit suicide out of guilt if the Sultan didn't pardon him personally.
Alauddin Khalji promoted the existing Amirs to the rank of Maliks, and appointed his close friends as the new Amirs.
Alauddin Khalji's objective was to cause a change in the general political opinion, by portraying himself as someone with huge public support.
At Baran, Alauddin Khalji was joined by seven powerful Jalaluddin nobles who had earlier opposed him.
Alauddin Khalji gave each of them 30 to 50 manns of gold, and each of their soldiers 300 silver tankas.
Alauddin Khalji then entered the city, where a number of nobles and officials accepted his authority.
Alauddin Khalji increased the strength of the Sultanate's army, and gifted every soldier the salary of a year and a half in cash.
Shortly after the conquest of Multan, Alauddin Khalji appointed Nusrat Khan as his wazir.
In 1297, the aristocrats, who had deserted Jalaluddin's family to join Alauddin Khalji, were arrested, blinded or killed.
Alauddin Khalji appointed Ala-ul Mulk as the kotwal of Delhi and placed all the non-Turkic municipal employees under his charge.
In early 1299, Alauddin Khalji sent Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan to invade Gujarat, where the Vaghela king Karna offered a weak resistance.
Alauddin Khalji's army plundered several towns including Somnath, where it desecrated the famous Hindu temple.
Alauddin Khalji's administration meted out brutal punishments to the mutineers' families in Delhi, including killings of children in front of their mothers.
Around the same time, Alauddin Khalji turned his attention towards the present-day state of Rajasthan to subdue the Rajput kingdoms for a secure base to Gujarat and Malwa and for further expeditions in the South.
In 1299 CE, Alauddin besieged the fortress of Jaisalmer ruled by Bhatis at the time under Jait Singh I Following a long siege and due to the dearth of food and resources, eventually, the besieged Rajputs under the command of Mularaja performed Saka where the women committed Jauhar and the men fought until death.
In 1301, Alauddin Khalji ordered Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan to invade Ranthambore, whose king Hammiradeva had granted asylum to the leaders of the mutiny near Jalore.
Some later legends state that Alauddin Khalji invaded Chittor to capture Ratnasimha's beautiful queen Padmini, but most modern historians have rejected the authenticity of these legends.
Alauddin Khalji managed to reach Delhi before the invaders, but did not have enough time to prepare for a strong defence.
Under these difficult circumstances, Alauddin Khalji took shelter in a heavily guarded camp at the under-construction Siri Fort.
The Mongol invasion of 1303 was one of the most serious invasions of India, and prompted Alauddin Khalji to take several steps to prevent its repeat.
Alauddin Khalji strengthened the forts and the military presence along the Mongol routes to India.
Alauddin Khalji implemented a series of economic reforms to ensure sufficient revenue inflows for maintaining a strong army.
In 1304, Alauddin Khalji appears to have ordered a second invasion of Gujarat, which resulted in the annexation of the Vaghela kingdom to the Delhi Sultanate.
Alauddin Khalji's forces, led by Malik Kafur, decisively defeated the Mongols.
Around 1308, Alauddin Khalji sent Malik Kafur to invade Devagiri, whose king Ramachandra had discontinued the tribute payments promised in 1296, and had granted asylum to the Vaghela king Karna at Baglana.
Meanwhile, a section of Alauddin Khalji's army had been besieging the fort of Siwana in Marwar region unsuccessfully for several years.
Meanwhile, after conquering Siwana, Alauddin Khalji had ordered his generals to subjugate other parts of Marwar, before returning to Delhi.
This, combined with their general grievances against Alauddin Khalji, led to resentment among Mongols who had settled in India after converting to Islam.
Alauddin Khalji then ordered a mass massacre of Mongols in his empire, which according to Barani, resulted in the death of 20,000 or 30,000 Mongols.
Unlike the previous rulers of the Delhi Sultanate, who had largely relied on the pre-existing administrative set-up, Alauddin Khalji undertook large-scale reforms.
The countryside and agricultural production during Alauddin Khalji's time was controlled by the village headmen, the traditional Hindu authorities.
Alauddin Khalji viewed their haughtiness and their direct and indirect resistance as the main difficulty affecting his reign.
Alauddin Khalji had to face talk of conspiracies at his court.
Alauddin Khalji took away all landed properties of his courtiers and nobles and cancelled revenue assignments which were henceforth controlled by the central authorities.
Alauddin Khalji brought a large tract of fertile land under the directly governed crown territory, by eliminating iqta's, land grants and vassals in the Ganga-Yamuna Doab region.
Alauddin Khalji eliminated the intermediary Hindu rural chiefs, and started collecting the kharaj directly from the cultivators.
Alauddin Khalji did not levy any additional taxes on agriculture, and abolished the cut that the intermediaries received for collecting revenue.
Alauddin Khalji forced the rural chiefs to pay same taxes as the others, and banned them from imposing illegal taxes on the peasants.
Alauddin Khalji's government imposed the jizya tax on its non-Muslim subjects, and his Muslim subjects were obligated to contribute zakat.
Alauddin Khalji levied taxes on residences and grazing, which were not sanctioned by the Islamic law.
Alauddin Khalji implemented price control measures for a wide variety of market goods.
However, Barani states that Alauddin Khalji wanted to reduce the prices so that low salaries were acceptable to his soldiers, and thus, to maintain a large army.
Alauddin Khalji maintained a large standing army, which included 475,000 horsemen according to the 16th-century chronicler Firishta.
Alauddin Khalji managed to raise such a large army by paying relatively low salaries to his soldiers, and introduced market price controls to ensure that the low salaries were acceptable to his soldiers.
Alauddin Khalji's government maintained a descriptive roll of every soldier, and occasionally conducted strict reviews of the army to examine the horses and arms of the soldiers.
Alauddin Khalji banned gambling, and excommunicated drunkards and gamblers from Delhi, along with vendors of intoxicants.
Sometime later, Alauddin Khalji relented, and allowed brewing and drinking in private.
Alauddin Khalji banned prostitution, and ordered all existing prostitutes of Delhi to be married.
Alauddin Khalji took steps to curb adultery by ordering the male adulterer to be castrated and the female adulterer to be stoned to death.
Alauddin Khalji banned charlatans, and ordered sorcerers to be stoned to death.
Alauddin Khalji started concentrating all the power in the hands of his family and his slaves.
Alauddin Khalji became infatuated with his slave-general Malik Kafur, who became the de facto ruler of the Sultanate after being promoted to the rank of viceroy.
Alauddin Khalji removed several experienced administrators, abolished the office of wazir, and even executed the minister Sharaf Qa'ini.
Alauddin Khalji convinced Alauddin to order the killing of his brother-in-law Alp Khan, an influential noble who could rival Malik Kafur's power.
Alauddin Khalji's wives included Jalaluddin's daughter, who held the title Malika-i-Jahan, and Alp Khan's sister Mahru.
Alauddin Khalji married Jhatyapali, the daughter of Hindu king Ramachandra of Devagiri, probably after the 1296 Devagiri raid, or after his 1308 conquest of Devagiri.
Alauddin Khalji married Kamala Devi, a Hindu woman, who was originally the chief queen of Karna, the Vaghela king of Gujarat.
Alauddin Khalji was captured by Khalji forces during an invasion, escorted to Delhi as part of the war booty, and taken into Alauddin's harem.
Alauddin Khalji sent an order to Raja Karan telling him to send Deval Devi immediately.
Alauddin Khalji rose rapidly in Alauddin's service, mainly because of his proven ability as military commander and wise counsellor, and eventually became the viceroy of the Sultanate.
In 1296, Alauddin Khalji constructed the Hauz-i-Alai water reservoir, which covered an area of 70 acres, and had a stone-masonry wall.
Alauddin Khalji camped in Siri during the 1303 Mongol invasion, and after the Mongols left, he built the Qasr-i-Hazar Situn palace at the site of his camp.
Alauddin Khalji commissioned the Alai Darwaza, which was completed in 1311, and serves as the southern gateway leading to the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque built by Qutb al-Din Aibak.
Alauddin Khalji started the construction of the Alai Minar, which was intended to be double to size of the Qutb Minar, but the project was abandoned, probably when he died.
In 1311, Alauddin Khalji repaired the 100-acre Hauz-i-Shamasi reservoir that had been constructed by Shamsuddin Iltutmish in 1229, and built a dome at its centre.
Alauddin Khalji's administration persecuted the Ismaili minorities, after the orthodox Sunnis falsely accused them of permitting incest in their "secret assemblies".
Ziauddin Barani, writing half a century after his death, mentions that Alauddin Khalji did not patronize the Muslim ulama, and that "his faith in Islam was firm like the faith of the illiterate and the ignorant".
Just like the Islamic prophet Muhammad's four Rashidun caliphs helped spread Islam, Alauddin Khalji believed that he too had four Khans, with whose help he could establish a new religion.
Alaul Mulk argued that even great conquerors like Genghis Khan had not been able to subvert Islam, and people would revolt against Alauddin Khalji for founding a new religion.
Barani's claim that Alauddin Khalji thought of founding a religion has been repeated by several later chroniclers as well as later historians.
Alauddin Khalji never asked for legal opinions about political matters, and very few learned men visited him.
Lal disagrees with Barani, mentioning that Alauddin Khalji had great faith in his religion and never permitted anything irreligious to be said, the 14th-century Indian historian and court poet, Abdul Malik Isami confirms this:.
Alauddin Khalji introduced many reforms only to remove the sufferings of the masses, irrespective of their color and creed so that he could win the pleasure of his creator.
Alauddin Khalji compromised with the Hindu chiefs who were willing to accept his suzerainty.
Alauddin Khalji rarely listened to the advice of the orthodox ulama.
Khusrau states in Khazainul Futuh that Alauddin Khalji had dispatched a 30,000 strong army under a Hindu officer Malik Naik, the Akhur-bek Maisarah, to repel the Mongols.
Per Jain sources, Alauddin Khalji held discussions with Jain sages and once specially summoned Acharya Mahasena to Delhi.
Alauddin Khalji had amassed wealth in his treasury through campaigns in Deccan and South India and issued many coins.
Alauddin Khalji's coins omitted the mention of the Khalifa, replacing it with the self-laudatory title Sikander-us-sani Yamin-ul-Khilafat.
Alauddin Khalji ceased adding Al-Musta'sim's name, instead adding Yamin-ul-Khilafat Nasir Amiri 'l-Mu'minin.