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The Khalji Dynasty

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Khalji Dynasty in India
Coming of Khaljis marked the end of monopolization of power by the Turkish nobility and racial dictatorship.

Jallaluddin Firuz Khalji History ( 1290 – 1296 ) :

  • He was the first ruler to put forward the view that since a large majority of people in India are Hindus, the state in India could not be a total Islam state.
  • The most important event of his reign was the invasion of Devagiri in 1294 by his nephew and son-in-law, Ali Gurshap or Ala-ud-din Khalji. Devagiri was the capital of the Yadava kingdom in the Deccan and Ala-ud-din plundered the vast treasury.
  • Married his daughter to Ulugh Khan, a descendent of Chengiz Khan, to win their goodwill.

Alauddin Khalji History ( 1296 – 1316 ) :

  • He assassinated his uncle and proclaimed himself Sultan winning over the nobles and soldiers to his side by a lavish use of gold ( accumulated from Devagiri ).
  • After coming to power, he massacred the old Balbani and Jalali nobles and the Mongols who had settled in Delhi, and some of his own family members.
  • His first conquest was of the rich kingdom Gujarat, ( ruled by the Vaghela king, Rai Kama Dev II ). This conquest is notable.for two reasons – first, he married the Raja’s wife, Kamla Devi; and secondly, there only he acquired Malik Kafur, a eunuch, who later on rose to become a great military general.
  • Then he captured Ranthambhor, Chittor and Malwa. Chittor was ruled by a Gahlot king, Ratna Singh whose queen Padmini committed jauhar when his husband was defeated. Alauddin named Chittor as Khizrabad, after his son.
  • After his conquest of north India, he sent Malik Kafur towards South.
  • Malik defeated Yadavas of Devagiri ( king was Ram Chandra Deva ), Kakatiya king Pratap Rudra Deva I of Warangal, Hoysalas of Dwarsamudra ( king was Vira Ballala III ) and Pandyas of Madurai ( king was Maravarman Kulasekhara ). He is said to have reached as far as Rameshwaram where he built a mosque. Thus, the whole of Deccan was subjugated.
  • He strengthened the North West Frontier under his trusted commander Ghazi Malik.
  • He adopted Balban’s policy of ‘Blood and Iron’ in tackling the Mongol menace.
  • Added an entrance door to Qutab Minar, Alai Darwaza and built his capital at Siri.
  • Also built Hauz Khas, Mahal Hazaar Satoon and Jamait Khana Mosque in Delhi.
  • Adopted the title Sikandar – i – Sani.

Administration of Alauddin Khilji :

  • First Sultan to have permanent army- paid soldiers in cash, imported horses, detailed description of each soldier ( Chehra ) and each horse ( Dagh ) was kept ( first time ) .
  • He took radical preventive measure to prevent rebellion.
    1. Confiscation of the religious endowments and free grants of lands.
    2. An efficient espionage system was built.
    3. Sale of liquor and intoxicants prohibited.
    4. Restrictions and strong checks on social gatherings, marriages between the families of nobles etc.
  • Revenue Reforms :
    1. Measured the cultivable land and fixed land revenue accordingly; Biswa was declared to be the standard unit of measurement.
    2. The state demand was half of the produce / Biswa.
    3. House tax ( ghari ) and pasture tax ( chari ) were imposed.
    4. A special post Mustakhraj was created for the purpose of collection of revenue.
  • Market control / Economic regulations :
    1. The price was fixed by the state of commodities.
    2. Four separate markets were established for various commodities-Central grain market, market for manufactured goods, market for general items and market for horses, cattle and slaves.
    3. The Sultan received daily reports of these from independent sources ( spies ) .
    4. Strict punishment for cheating and underweightment.
  • First Turkish Sultan of Delhi who separated religion from politics. He proclaimed – “Kingship knows no kinship”.
  • Though Alauddin was illiterate, he was a patron of learning and art. There were many great poets in his court. Both Amir Khusro and Mir Hasan Dehlvi enjoyed his patronage.

Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah History ( 1316 – 1320 ) :

  • He was one of the sons of Alauddin who, somehow, escaped the preying eyes of Malik Kafur. After the death of Kafur he became the king.
  • After seating himself on the throne, he tried to win over the goodwill of the people. He cancelled all harsh regulations started by his father.
  • During his reign, many revolts took place across the country. Although he was able to crush them, he wasn’t able to run the administration smoothly.

History of Nasiruddin Khusro Shah ( 1320 ) :

  • He killed Mubarak Shah and usurped the throne. But like his mentor, he too was an incapable ruler.
  • He was defeated and killed by Ghazi Malik. With him, the thirty year rule of Khalji dynasty also came to an end.

History of Malik Kafur :

  • He was an Indian eunuch and slave who became a general in the army of Alauddin Khilji. In 1297, he was purchased for 1,000 Dinars by Nusrat Khan. That is the reason why Malik Kafur is sometimes called Hazar – Dinari. It is reported that Alauddin fell in love with his effeminate handsomeness and named him senior commander in his army after he agreed to convert to Islam.
  • Perhaps due to the favor of the sultan, Kafur rose quickly in the army; He led the sultan’s army against the Yadava kingdom of Devagiri, the Kakatiya kingdom and eventually into the Pandyan kingdom in far southern India, winning immense riches for the sultanate.
  • Kafur’s invasion of Pandya was the farthest south that any Muslim invasion would ever reach in India; Kafur’s success in the Deccan made him so powerful that Alauddin became merely a puppet in his hands. This “evil genius of the Sultan” told Alauddin that his wife and sons were conspiring against him and got them imprisoned.
  • After the death of Alauddin he placed, Kafur was responsible for the execution of all those princes of royal blood who had any claim to the throne. Thirty six days after the death of Alauddin, Kafur and his associates were killed.

Amir Khusro ( 1253 – 1325 ) :

  • Ab’ul Hasan Yamin al – Din Khusro, better known as Amir Khusro Dehlavi, is one of the iconic figures in the cultural history of India. A Sufi mystic and a spiritual disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, Amir Khusro was not only one of India’s greatest poets, he is also credited with being the founder of both Hindustani classical music and Qawwali ( the devotional music of the Sufis ) .
  • He was born of a Turkish father, Saif Ad – din and an Indian mother, in India. He was associated with royal courts of more than seven rulers of Delhi Sultanate. He created the fusion of Indian Arabic and Persian music. He is credited to have invented tabla and sitar and modified veena. He was given the title Tuti – i – Hind ( parrot of India ) . One of his famous Persian couplet goes like this :
“Agar firdaus bar roo – e zameen ast,
Hameen ast – o hameen ast – o hameen ast.”
If there is paradise on face of the earth,
It is this, it is this, it is this ( India )
  • His famous works include Tuhfa – tus – Sighr ( his first divan ) , Wastul – Hayat ( his second divan ) , Ghurratul – Kamaal, Baqia – Naqia, Nihayatul – Kamaal, Qiran – us – Sa’dain, Miftah – ul – Futooh ( in praise of the victories of Jalauddin Khalji ) , Ishqia / Mathnavi Duval Rani – Khizr Khan ( a tragic love poem about Gujarat’s princess Duval and Alauddin’s son Khizr Khan ) , Mathnaui Noh Sepehr ( Khusrau’s perceptions of India and its culture ) , Tughlaq Nama ( Book of the Tughlaqs ) , Khamsa – e – Nizami ( five classical romances : Hasht – Bahisht, MatlaulAnwai, Sheerin – Khusrau, Majnun – Laila and Aaina – Sikandari, Ejaaz – e – Khusrovi, Khazain – ut – Futooh, Afzal – ul – Fawaid ( utterances of Nizamuddin Auliya ) , Khaliq – e – Bari, Jawahar – e – Khusrovi.
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