The Khalji or Khilji[a] dynasty was a
Muslim dynasty which ruled large
parts of the
Indian subcontinent between 1290 and 1320. It
was founded by
Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji
Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji and became the second dynasty
to rule the
Sultanate of India. The dynasty is known for their
faithlessness and ferocity, conquests into the Hindu south, and for
successfully fending off the repeated Mongol invasions of India.
2.1 Jalal-ud-din Khalji
2.2 Alauddin Khalji
2.3 The last Khalji sultans
3 Economic policy and administration
3.1 Historical impact
6 Disputed historical sources
7 List of rulers of
8 See also
11 External links
Copper coin of Alauddin Khalji
The Khaljis were of Turko-Afghan origin: they were a Turkic people,
who had long been settled in
Afghanistan before moving to Delhi.
The ancestors of Jalaluddin Khalji had lived in the Helmand and
Lamghan regions for over 200 years. The Khilji dynasty was named
after a small village in Afghanistan.
Muslim geographers and historians describe the Khalaj people
as Turkic, but the accounts describing the Khaljis' rise to power in
India indicate that they were regarded as a race quite distinct from
the Turks in the late 13th century Delhi. The Khiljis were looked
down as non Turks by Turks, the Khaljis were wrongly
considered as ethnic Afghans by the older Turkish nobles of
they had intermarried with local Afghans and adopted their manners,
culture, customs and practices. They were treated as Afghans in the
Qutb al-Din Aibak
Rukn ud din Firuz
Muiz ud din Bahram
Ala ud din Masud
Nasir ud din Mahmud
Ghiyas ud din Balban
Muiz ud din Qaiqabad
Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah
Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq
Muhammad bin Tughluq
Firuz Shah Tughlaq
Abu Bakr Shah
Nasir ud din Muhammad Shah III
Ala ud-din Sikandar Shah
Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud Shah Tughluq
Nasir-ud-din Nusrat Shah Tughluq
Bahlul Khan Lodi
Main article: Jalaluddin Firuz Khalji
Khaljis were vassals of the Mamluk dynasty of
Delhi and served the
Sultan of Delhi, Ghiyas ud din Balban. Balban's successors were
murdered over 1289-1290, and the Mamluk dynasty succumbed to the
factional conflicts within the Mamluk dynasty and the
As the struggle between the factions razed, Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji
led a coup and murdered the 17-year-old Mamluk successor Muiz ud din
Qaiqabad - the last ruler of Mamluk dynasty
Jalaluddin Firuz Khalji, who was around 70 years old at the time of
his ascension, was known as a mild-mannered, humble and kind monarch
to the general public.
Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji
Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji was accepted
as sultan by a faction of
Muslim amirs of Turkic, Persian, Arabic
factions and Indian-
Muslim aristocrats. However, Jalal-ud-din in his
old age was unpopular and not universally accepted. During his
six-year reign (1290–96), some of Balban's officers revolted due to
his assumption of power and the subsequent sidelining of nobility and
commanders serving the Mamluk dynasty. Jalal-ud-din suppressed the
revolt and executed some commanders, then led an unsuccessful
expedition against Ranthambhor and repelled a Mongol force on the
banks of the Sind River in central
India with the help of his nephew
Main article: Alauddin Khalji
Alauddin Khalji was the nephew and son-in-law of Jalal-ud-din, raided
the Hindu Deccan peninsula and
Deogiri - then the capital of the Hindu
state of Maharashtra, looting their treasure. He returned to
Delhi in 1296, murdered his uncle who was also his father-in-law, then
assumed power as Sultan.
Ala al-din Khalji continued expanding
Sultanate into South
India, with the help of generals such as
Malik Kafur and Khusraw Khan,
collecting large war booty (Anwatan) from those they defeated. His
commanders collected war spoils from Hindu kingdoms, paid khums (one
fifth) on Ghanima (الْغَنيمَة, booty collected during war)
to Sultan's treasury, which helped strengthen the Khalji rule.
Koh-i-noor diamond was seized by Alauddin Khalji's army in 1310,
Kakatiya dynasty in Warangal.
Alauddin Khalji reigned for 20 years. He attacked and seized Hindu
states of Ranthambhor (1301 AD), Chittorgarh (1303), Māndu (1305) and
plundered the wealthy state of Devagiri, also withstood two Mongol
raids. Ala al-din is also known for his cruelty against attacked
kingdoms after wars. Historians note him as a tyrant and that anyone
Ala al-din Khalji suspected of being a threat to this power was killed
along with the women and children of that family. In 1298, between
15,000 and 30,000 people near Delhi, who had recently converted to
Islam, were slaughtered in a single day, due to fears of an
uprising. He also killed his own family members and nephews, in
1299-1300, after he suspected them of rebellion, by first gouging out
their eyes and then beheading them.
In 1308, Alauddin's lieutenant,
Malik Kafur captured Warangal,
Hoysala Empire south of the
Krishna River and raided
Madurai in Tamil Nadu. He then looted the treasury in capitals and
from the temples of south India. Among these loots was the Warangal
loot that included one of the largest known diamond in human history,
Malik Kafur returned to
Delhi in 1311, laden with
loot and war booty from Deccan peninsula which he submitted to Aladdin
Khalji. This made Malik Kafur, born in a Hindu family and who had
converted to Islam before becoming
Delhi Sultanate's army commander, a
favorite of Alauddin Khalji.
In 1311, Alauddin ordered a massacre of between 15,000 and 30,000
Mongol settlers, who had recently converted to Islam, after suspecting
them of plotting an uprising against him.
The last Khalji sultans
Main articles: Shihabuddin Omar, Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah, and Khusro
Aladdin Khalji died in December 1315. Thereafter, the sultanate
witnessed chaos, coup and succession of assassinations. Malik
Kafur became the sultan but lacked support from
Muslim amirs and was
killed within a few months. Within the next three years, three more
Khalji successors violently assumed power but were in turn, all
violently put to death in coups. After Malik Kafur's death, the Muslim
Shihab-ud-din Omar - a six-year-old as Sultan, with
his elder teenage brother
Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah
Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah as regent. Qutb ud
din Mubarak Shah killed his younger brother and then appointed himself
as the Sultan. To win over the loyalty of the amirs and the Malik clan
in the Sultanate, Mubarak Shah offered Ghazi Malik the command of
Punjab and others various offices or death. The amirs chose the
office. Mubarak Shah ruled for less than 4 years, then was murdered in
1320 by his army general Khusraw Khan. The
Muslim amirs in Delhi
reached out and invited Ghazi Malik, then
Muslim army commander in
Punjab to lead a coup against Khusraw Khan. Ghazi Malik attacked
Khusraw Khan in Delhi, beheaded him, and rechristened himself as
Sultan Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq, the first ruler of the Tughluq
Economic policy and administration
Main articles: Revenue reforms of
Alauddin Khalji and Market reforms
of Alauddin Khalji
Alauddin Khalji changed the tax policies to strengthen his treasury to
help pay the keep of his growing army and fund his wars of
expansion. He raised agriculture taxes from 20% to 50% –
payable in grain and agricultural produce (or cash), eliminating
payments and commissions on taxes collected by local chiefs, banned
socialization among his officials as well as inter-marriage between
noble families to help prevent any opposition forming against him; he
cut salaries of officials, poets and scholars in his kingdom.
Alauddin Khalji enforced four taxes on non-Muslims in the
jizya (poll tax), kharaj (land tax), kari (house tax) and chari
(pasture tax). He also decreed that his Delhi-based revenue
officers assisted by local
Muslim jagirdars, khuts, mukkadims,
chaudharis and zamindars seize by force half of all produce any farmer
generates, as a tax on standing crop, so as to fill sultanate
granaries. His officers enforced tax payment by beating up
Muslim middlemen responsible for rural tax collection.
Alauddin Khalji demanded, state Kulke and Rothermund,
from his "wise men in the court" to create "rules and regulations in
order to grind down the Hindus, so as to reduce them to abject poverty
and deprive them of wealth and any form of surplus property that could
foster a rebellion; the Hindu was to be so reduced as to be left
unable to keep a horse to ride on, to carry arms, to wear fine
clothes, or to enjoy any of the luxuries of life". At the same
time, he confiscated all landed property from his courtiers and
officers. Revenue assignments to
Muslim jagirdars were also
cancelled and the revenue was collected by the central
administration. Henceforth, state Kulke and Rothermund, "everybody
was busy with earning a living so that nobody could even think of
Alauddin Khalji taxation methods and increased taxes reduced
agriculture output and the
Sultanate witnessed massive inflation. In
order to compensate for salaries that he had cut and fixed for Muslim
officials and soldiers, Alauddin introduced price controls on all
agriculture produce, goods, livestocks and slaves in kingdom, as well
as controls on where, how and by whom these could be sold. Markets
called shahana-i-mandi were created.
Muslim merchants were
granted exclusive permits and monopoly in these mandi to buy and
resell at official prices. No one other than these merchants could buy
from farmers or sell in cities. Alauddin deployed an extensive network
of Munhiyans (spies, secret police) who would monitor the mandi and
had the power to seize anyone trying to buy or sell anything at a
price different than the official controlled prices. Those
found violating these mandi rules were severely punished, such as by
cutting out their flesh. Taxes collected in form of seized crops
and grains were stored in sultanate's granaries. Over time,
farmers quit farming for income and shifted to subsistence farming,
the general food supply worsened in north India, shortages increased
Sultanate witnessed increasingly worse and extended periods
of famines. The
Sultan banned private storage of food by
anyone. Rationing system was introduced by Alauddin as shortages
multiplied; however, the nobility and his army were exempt from the
per family quota-based food rationing system. The shortages, price
controls and rationing system caused starvation deaths of numerous
rural people, mostly Hindus. However, during these famines, Khalji's
sultanate granaries and wholesale mandi system with price controls
ensured sufficient food for his army, court officials and the urban
population in Delhi. Price controls instituted by Khalji
reduced prices, but also lowered wages to a point where ordinary
people did not benefit from the low prices. The price control system
collapsed shortly after the death of Alauddin Khalji, with prices of
various agriculture products and wages doubling to quadrupling within
a few years.
The tax system introduced during the
Khalji dynasty had a long term
influence on Indian taxation system and state administration,
Alauddin Khalji's taxation system was probably the one institution
from his reign that lasted the longest, surviving indeed into the
nineteenth or even the twentieth century. From now on, the land tax
(kharaj or mal) became the principal form in which the peasant's
surplus was expropriated by the ruling class.
— The Cambridge Economic History of India: c.1200-c.1750, 
Within Sultanate's capital city of Delhi, during Alauddin Khalji's
reign, at least half of the population were slaves working as
servants, concubines and guards for the
Muslim nobles, amirs, court
officials and commanders. Slavery in
India during Khalji, and
later Islamic dynasties, included two groups of people - persons
seized during military campaigns, and people who failed to pay tax on
time. The first group were people seized during military
campaigns. The second group of people were revenue defaulters. If
a family failed to pay the annual tax in full on time, their property
was seized and even some cases all their family members seized then
sold as slaves. The institution of slavery and bondage labor
became pervasive during the Khalji dynasty; male slaves were referred
to as banda, qaid, ghulam, or burdah, while female slaves were called
bandi, kaniz or laundi.
Ala-ud-din Khalji is credited with the early Indo-Mohammedan
architecture, a style and construction campaign that flourished during
Tughlaq dynasty. Among works completed during Khalji dynasty, are Alai
Darwaza - the southern gateway of
Qutb complex enclosure, the Idgah at
Rapri, and the Jamat Khana (Khizri) Mosque in Delhi. The Alai
Darwaza, completed in 1311, was included as part of Qutb Minar and its
Monuments UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993.
Perso-Arabic inscriptions on monuments have been traced to the Khalji
Disputed historical sources
Historians have questioned the reliability of historical accounts
about the Khalji dynasty. Genuine primary sources and historical
records from 1260 to 1349 period have not been found. One
exception is the short chapter on
Sultanate from 1302-1303 AD by
Wassaf in Persia, which is duplicated in Jami al-Tawarikh, and which
covers the Balban rule, start of Jalal-ud-din Chili's rule and
circumstances of succession of Alauddin Khalji. A semi-fictional
poetry (mathnawis) by Yamin al-Din Abul Hasan, also known as Amir
Khusraw Dihlawi, is full of adulation for his employer, the reigning
Sultan. Abu Hasan's adulation-filled narrative poetry has been used as
Khalji dynasty history, but this is a disputed
source. Three historical sources, composed 30 to 115 years
after the end of Khalji dynasty, are considered more independent but
also questioned given the gap in time. These are Isami's epic of 1349,
Diya-yi Barani's work of 1357 and Sirhindi's account of 1434, which
possibly relied on now lost text or memories of people in Khalji's
court. Of these Barani's text is the most referred and cited in
List of rulers of
ملک فیروز خلجی
علی گرشاسپ خلجی
عمر خان خلجی
مبارک خان خلجی
Khusro Khan ended the
Khalji dynasty in 1320.
Ikhtiyar Uddin Muhammad Bin Bakhtiyar Khalji
List of Sunni
^ In medieval Persian manuscripts, the word can be read as either
"Khalji" or "Khilji" because of the omission of short vowel signs in
orthography, but "Khalji" is the correct name.
^ a b "Arabic and Persian Epigraphical Studies - Archaeological Survey
of India". Asi.nic.in. Retrieved 2010-11-14.
^ a b "Khalji Dynasty". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved
2014-11-13. This dynasty, like the previous Slave dynasty, was of
Turkish origin, though the Khaljī tribe had long been settled in
Afghanistan. Its three kings were noted for their faithlessness, their
ferocity, and their penetration of the Hindu south.
^ Dynastic Chart The Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 2, p. 368.
^ Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus
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^ a b
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^ Peter Jackson 2003, p. 82.
Ashirbadi Lal Srivastava (1964). The History of India, 1000
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His ancestors, after having migrated from Turkistan, had lived for
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called Garmasir or the hot region, and had adopted Afghan manners and
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India as they had intermarried with local Afghans
and adopted their customs and manners. They were looked down as non
Turks by Turks
^ Abraham Eraly (2015). The Age of Wrath: A History of the Delhi
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The prejudice of Turks was however misplaced in this case, for Khaljis
were actually ethnic Turks. But they had settled in
before the Turkish rule was established there, and had over the
centuries adopted Afghan customs and practices, intermarried with the
local people, and were therefore looked down on as non-Turks by
^ Chaurasia, Radhey Shyam (2002). History of medieval India: from 1000
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^ Cavendish, Marshall (2006). World and Its Peoples: The Middle East,
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^ a b c Peter Jackson 2003.
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Media related to
Khalji dynasty at Wikimedia Commons
Khilji - A Short History of
Muslim Rule in
India I. Prasad, University
The Role of Ulema in Indo-
Muslim History, Aziz Ahmad, Studia Islamica,
No. 31 (1970), pp. 1–13