Alauddin Khilji was the Khilji Dynasty’s second ruler who ascended the throne after assassinating his uncle and then monarch of the Delhi Sultanate. He was the first Muslim king to defeat and conquer areas of south India. His rule was marked by conquest marches, raids, and defense of his kingdom from constant invasions by the Mongols.
Alauddin Khilji was born around 1266-1267 CE as Juna Muhammad Khilji, in Bengal’s Birbhum district, to Sultan Jalaluddin’s brother Shihabuddin Masud. After Masud’s death, Alauddin was brought up by Jalaluddin.
The Life and Times of Alauddin Khilji
Alauddin Khilji’s career began after Sultan Jalaluddin appointed him as the Master of Ceremonies (Amir-i-Tuzuk). In 1291, he suppressed rebellion by Malik Chhajju and was appointed as Governor of Kara. A year later the victory at Bhilsa got him the province of Oudh as a reward.
In 1296, Alauddin conspired and treacherously murdered his uncle and then ascended the throne of the Sultanate of Delhi. During the initial two years of his reign, he faced many problems and revolts from rebels whom he successfully overcame and kept absolute power.
He invaded Gujarat in 1299 and the king there laid down his arms before Khilji’s generals. In 1301, he attacked Ranthambor but failed to capture the fortress of the Rajputs. He was successful the second time round; the second attack was marked by death of Rajput king Rana Hamir Dev.
In the period between 1296 and 1308, he successfully defended Delhi and defeated invading Mongols at the battles of Kili, Jalandhar, Ravi, and Amroha.
He attacked the Kakatiya ruling kingdom of Warangal in 1303, but tasted defeat. After six years, Khilji’s general Malik Kafur successfully invaded and defeated the king who was forced to pay an annual tribute and indemnity. Alauddin also acquired the largest diamond in the world, i.e., the Koh-i-noor from the Warangal king.
In 1308, he invaded Siwana Fort, defeated and executed king Satal Dev, and captured Marwar. The army successfully conquered Jalore in the second attempt. Khilji invaded and plundered the wealth of Baglana kingdom in 1306. A year later, he captured Devagiri’s king who was brought to Delhi and then sent back as Khilji’s vassal.
The ruler of Hoysala kingdom Veera Ballala did not war with Khilji’s army. He surrendered in 1310 without war and began paying annual taxes.
Vikrama Pandya Tamil ruler of Mabar region defeated the armies of Alauddin in 1311. But Kafur was able to make away with lots of wealth of the southern kingdom.
Alauddin Khilji and Rani Padmavati
It was a case of one-sided love from Alauddin Khilji who was besotted by the stunningly beautiful Rani Padmavati, wife of Chittor King Rawal Ratan Singh.Raghav Chetan, the magician and courtier at Ratan Singh’s court start practicing witch-hunt,
which ired the king. Ratan Singh fired Raghav Chetan who decided to take his revenge. He went to Alauddin Khilji and started singing praise about Ratan Singh’s queen. Overcome by desire, Khilji decided to pay Ratan Singh a visit and said that he would like to see his wife, as he regarded her as a sister. Unknown to the ulterior motives of Khilji, Ratan Singh allowed Padmavati to show her reflection through a mirror to the king.
Khilji was instantly attracted to Padmavati, so much that he even had Ratan Singh kidnapped in exchange for his wife. But Singh’s loyal troops ensured the rescue of their king and even managed to fooled Khilji into believing that the carriages contained the queen Padmavati among other women. Not willing to let the insult go by, Alauddin Khilji planned a siege on Chittor. In the carnage of a battle that ensued Rawal Ratan Singh was killed. Padmavati and the other women had two options – become concubines of Khilji or attain jauhar (death by immolation). Here is the story of Rani Padmavati in more detail.
Rule and Administration
The kingdoms of North India were directly controlled by the Delhi Sultanate’s rule. Southern India territories had to pay heavy annual taxes to Alauddin Khilji.
Alauddin had a price control policy via which clothes, food grains, cattle, medications, horses, etc. were traded at fixed costs, often low, at different Delhi markets. This most proved beneficial for soldiers and civilians.
Certain rules were imposed by Khilji to increase and maintain his control over different nobility. His permission was to be sought for marriage within nobles, aristocrats were regularly spied, and other such methods were used.
Alauddin Khilji- Tomb (How did he die?)
Alauddin died due to edema in 1316 and was buried at Mehrauli’s Qutb complex, in Delhi.
Movie based on Alauddin Khilji
Ranveer Singh plays Alauddin Khilji in the movie ‘Padmavati’, based on him and his desire for Rani Padmavati
Alauddin Khilji – Images
Though one doesn’t have real pictures of Alauddin Khilji, these are images based on paintings according to the historical account.
Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji