Alauddin Khilji was the Khilji Dynasty’s second ruler and perhaps the most powerful monarch. After assassinating his uncle and predecessor, Jalaluddin Firuz Khilji, he carried on the family tradition of invading nations and territories to expand his empire over the Indian subcontinent. He was the first Muslim ruler to defeat and conquer India’s southern states. His will to conquer helped him win battles, allowing him to spread his control into South India. His faithful generals, especially Malik Kafur and Khusraw Khan, backed him up in this expansion effort. While invading the northern states, he guaranteed that the reigning kings were entirely deposed and that absolute control was exercised. In south India, he looted the states and forced the ousted rulers to pay annual levies. He was also defending the Delhi Sultanate against continuous Mongol incursions, in addition to his raiding and conquering excursions. While invading the Kakatiya lords of Warangal, he also acquired the Koh-i-noor, one of the largest known diamonds in human history. He also implemented various agricultural and market reforms, with mixed results.
Childhood and Adolescence
Juna Muhammad Khilji was born in 1250 in Birbhum district, Bengal, to Shihabuddin Masud, the brother of Jalaluddin Firuz Khilji, the first Sultan of the Khilji dynasty.
He grew up to be a formidable and brilliant warrior despite his lack of formal schooling during his childhood.
Reign & Accession
The Sultan in his court nominated him as Amir-i-Tuzuk (Master of Ceremonies).
After effectively crushing Malik Chhajju’s uprising, he was appointed Governor of Kara in 1291. After the victorious expedition of Bhilsa in 1292, he was also handed the province of Oudh.
In 1296, Alauddin assassinated Jalaluddin and seized the throne of Delhi, becoming the new Sultan.
Even though he killed his uncle to become Sultan of Delhi, he had to deal with rebels within his dominion for the first two years, which he subdued in order to maintain full power.
Throughout the years 1296-1308, the Mongols assaulted Delhi under several leaders, whom he defeated at the battles of Jalandhar (1298), Kili (1299), Amroha (1305), and Ravi (1208). (1306).
Several Mongols landed in Delhi and converted to Islam, earning the moniker “New Muslims.” He had all of them (about 30,000) slain in a single day in 1298, and their women and children imprisoned, believing their settlement to be a conspiracy.
In 1299, he led his first expedition to Gujarat, where the monarch surrendered to Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan, his two generals. Malik Kafur was set free and went on to become Alauddin’s most powerful general.
In 1301 he attempted but failed to attack the Rajput citadel of Ranthambore. His second attempt, however, was successful when Rana Hamir Dev, a descendant of Prithviraj Chauhan, died valiantly while battling.
In 1303, he attempted to invade Warangal for the first time, but his army was destroyed by the Kakatiya monarchs’ army.
In 1308 his general, Malik Kamaluddin, invaded Marwar, attacking the Siwana Fort and capturing its monarch, Satal Dev, after a bloody battle. Marwar was conquered when the army was defeated and the monarch was executed.
After his army (sent to conquer Jalore) was beaten by its monarch, Kanhad Dev Sonigara, Alauddin assigned the expedition to Kamaluddin, who succeeded the second time around.
In 1306, he attacked Baglana, a prosperous state. Rai Karan was the ruler after being banished from Gujarat. Rai Karan’s daughter, Devala Devi, was transported to Delhi and married off to his eldest son, Khijir Khan when the mission was successful.
In 1307, Kafur was dispatched to Devagiri to collect taxes from the king. He was carried to Delhi and reinstated as ‘Rai Rayan,’ and returned as his vassal after his refusal.
In 1308, he dispatched troops to Mongol-controlled areas in Afghanistan, particularly Kandhar, Ghazni, and Kabul, under the command of Ghazi Malik. Before the rule of the Tughlaq Dynasty, Ghazi Malik destroyed the Mongols, who did not dare to invade India again.
In 1310, he easily conquered the Hoysala Empire, which was located south of the Krishna River and whose monarch, Veera Ballala, surrendered without a fight and agreed to pay annual taxes.
In 1311, Alauddin’s troops assaulted the Mabar area under the command of Malik Kafur, who was defeated by Tamil monarch Vikrama Pandya. Kafur, on the other hand, managed to pillage the Sultanate’s vast wealth.
While the North Indian kingdoms were under direct Sultan Shahi sovereignty, the South Indian territories were required to pay enormous annual taxes due to the zone’s abundance of wealth.
He relieved the strain on growers who had to pay taxes to landowners by lowering the tax rate to 50% of agricultural production. As a result, landowners had to pay their own taxes rather than relying on others.
Even while the cultivators benefited by not having to pay any money to the landlords, the enormous taxes they were required to pay to Alauddin left them with nothing.
He enforced several regulations to increase his authority over the nobility, such as obtaining his approval before marrying aristocrats, and severe penalties for treason. Nobles’ private houses were also constantly watched.
His Major Conflicts
In 1303, he invaded Mewar and assassinated Ratan Singh, the king of Chittor, in order to kidnap his beautiful wife, Rani Padmini, who committed Jauhar (suicide) by burning herself in a funeral pyre while Chittor was was was conquered.
In 1305, he arrived in Malwa, where Alauddin’s general, Ain-ul-Mulk Multani, fought a deadly fight against the monarch Mahlak Dev. Malwa, along with Mandu, Chanderi, and Dhar, was seized while the monarch was murdered.
In 1308, he dispatched his lieutenant, Malik Kafur, to assault Warangal, which resulted in a violent battle and the capture of the Warangal Fort. All of its treasure was plundered, including Koh-i-Noor, one of the world’s largest diamonds.
Alauddin Khilji’s Achievements
Alauddin’s vast dominion, ranging from the Himalayas in the north to Adam’s Bridge in the south, was marked by Kafur’s victory in reaching the farthest point in South India and erecting a mosque there.
He implemented a price control regime in which food grains, clothing, medicines, cattle, horses, and other livestock were sold at predetermined, preferably cheap prices at several marketplaces in Delhi, primarily benefiting citizens and troops.
Personal History and Legacy
After suffering from edema, he died in 1316. He was buried behind the Qutb compound in Mehrauli, Delhi, where a madrasa dedicated to him also stands.
Estimated Net worth
He adopted the title ‘Sikander-i-Sani’ and had his coins engraved with the moniker ‘Second Alexander’ after being inspired by Alexander the Great’s works.