Alauddin Khilji, the second and most powerful ruler of the Khalji dynasty of Delhi Sultanate, is in news nowadays. Thanks to the brewing controversy over Sanjay Leela Bansali’s soon to be released film Padmavati. The plot of the movie is based on how Khilji’s annexed Chittor in 1303.
The Rajput community led by Karni Sena have their qualms regarding the plot as the plot allegedly shows Padmavati romancing Delhi sultan Khilji which to the Rajput community is an insult to the honour of the community in toto and Padmavati in particular.
While Queen Padmavati’s said romance with Khilji may or may not be true since her very existence is shrouded in mystery, the seize of Chittorgarh by Khilji in 1303 was a reality documented well in history.
If the history of Mughal rulers in seen with close quarters- Alauddin Khilji wasn’t only the most powerful king of Sultanate period, but he was arguably the most powerful sultan of Delhi along with Mogul emperors like Aurangzeb and Akbar.
Here are major things about Sultan Alauddin Khilji who’s at the centre of the controversy.
1. Alauddin Khilji became sultan of Delhi in 1296 after killing his uncle Jalal-ud-Din Khilji, the founder of Khilji dynasty. He ruled from 1296 till 1316.
2. Like most of the medieval Muslim rulers, he was the man who would launch camp the ign to conquer lands far away from his capital Delhi and that’s why he went up to Tamil Nadu while leading the military campaigns.
3. He assumed the title Sikander-i-Sani, the Second Alexander. As we said he was a conqueror, he expanded his kingdom by launching military campaigns against the states of Gujarat, Ranathambor, Mewar, Malwa, Jalore, Warangal, Mabar and Madurai. And Chittor aka Mewar was part of these campaigns.
4. Apart from fighting battles with Indian Kings to conquest, Khilji many times saved India from Mongols. He defeated Mongols in battles of the battles of Jalandhar (1298), Kili (1299), Amroha (1305) and Ravi (1306).
5. Khilji’s military success was attributed to Malik Kafur his trusted general whom he had made his general after the conquest of Gujarat where Kafur was the slave of Gujarat’s King. The legends even go to say that Kafur had a homosexual relationship with Khilji.
6. The success of Khilji was the result of two reforms-administrative and military. He closely monitored both reforms. He prophesied a centralised administration which even Ulemas or religious Imams didn’t have any say above Khiljis. He kept 10 ministers who were his close confidante to run the administration. But even they had no say above Khilji. Khilji was a true despot who ruled with an iron fist.
7. Military reforms are said to be the greatest achievement of Khilji which made him undefeatable in those brief years of his rule. Here are the key features of his military reforms.
A. It’s believed that Khilji was the first king who paid his army in cash.
B. Khilji fixed three grades of soldiers. He paid soldiers according to the ranks, a foot soldier was paid 156 ‘tankas’ (silver rupees) a year. The cavalry soldier with one horse was paid 234 ‘tankas’ and with two horses 312 ‘tankas’.
C. Even the later kings like Sher Shah Suri and Akbar didn’t pay more despite their reigns were separated by centuries. For example, During the reign of Sher Shah it was 230 ‘tankas’ to a soldier with one horse while during Akbar’s time in the 16th century, it was 240 ‘tankas’.
D. The ‘Ariz-i-Mamalik’ (Army Minister) himself recruited the soldiers of the army.
E. Khilji didn’t want to depend on feudal chiefs for army strength which had been the conventional norm until 17 century. He kept a standing army at the centre.
8. Sultan Khilji ruled till 1316. He was believed to be killed by his own trusted general and alleged love interest Malik Kafur.
Source of news : Indiatimes