Medieval Indian History - The Khilji Sultans


  • Khilji dynasty came after Mamluks and ruled until A. D. 1320.

Khilji Dynasty (1290 – 1320)

  • In 1,290, the Slave Sultans were succeeded by a new dynasty, known as Khiljis. Jalal ud din Firuz Khilji was the founder of Khilji dynasty.

  • Alauddin Khilji, who was the nephew and son-in-law of Jalal-ud-din was one of the most ambitious and powerful sultans of Khilji dynasty. He wanted to conquer the world (to become second Alexander).

  • Alauddin Khilji, when became sultan, gave presents (of gold) to the citizens. At the same time, he also contended that he was a strong and powerful ruler and hence, he would deal severely with anyone who showed signs of disloyalty.

Alauddin Khilji
  • Alauddin Khilji raised the land taxes on the wealthier people of the Doab (the fertile area between the Ganga and Yamuna rivers). Further, he strictly monitored the revenue, which the nobles got from their land and hence, did not allow them to keep anything, which was not their due.

  • The prices of goods were also closely controlled so that everyone could afford to pay the price demanded as well as no one could make a large profit.

  • Alauddin Khilji made a new policy i.e. he ordered a new assessment of the cultivated land and the revenue. First, the land under cultivation (of his kingdom) was measured. And the revenue of these lands was assessed on the basis of the measurement.

  • Alauddin Khilji campaigned against the kingdoms of Gujarat and Malwa. He tried to establish his control over Rajasthan by capturing the famous forts of Ranthambhor and Chittor.

  • Under the command of Malik Kafur, Ala-ud-din sent a large army towards the south with the intention to conquer the peninsula as well as obtain money and wealth.

  • Malik Kafur plundered in all directions and collected a large amount of gold from the various kingdoms of the south, including the Yadavas (of Devagiri), the Kakatiyas (of Warangal), and the Hoyasalas (of Dvarasamudra).

  • The defeated rulers were allowed to keep their throne provided they paid a tribute. Malik Kafur also conquered the city of Madurai. By the time, no north Indian ruler attempted to penetrate so far in the south India.

  • In 1,315, Aladdin Khilji died. After his death, there was a chaotic situation for the succession. Ambitious Malik Kafur made himself as sultan, but lacked support from Muslim amirs and hence, he was killed only after few months.

  • By 1,320, three more Khilji successors assumed power, but no one sustained rather killed brutally. Likewise, a new dynasty namely Tughlaq was founded.