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Alauddin Khilji was an ambitious ruler of the Delhi sultanate

Updated on March 14, 2016

Description Tomb of Alauddin Khilji, Qutub Minar complex, Delhi


Aladdin Ruler


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Alauddin had started his career of contingents even before he became Sultan

The Mongols invaded India a number of times during Alauddin's regin and once reached the outskirts of Delhi. To meet their continued threat, he built a number of forts between delhi and the north – western border and also repaired old ones. Large contingents of well – trained troops were posted in the border provinces and the quality of weapons was also improved. With such measures the Mongol threat was checked effectively.


Alauddin had started his career of contingents even before he became Sultan. His aim in these continents was not only to extend his empire but also to plunder the conquered territories and use the looted wealth to maintain his large army. As most of the northern Indian territories had already been conquered by Aibak and ILtutmish, his own campaigns in that region were confined to the conquest and annexation of Gujarat (1297), Ranthambore (1301), chittoor (1303) and Malwa (1305).

In his military campaigns in southern India, his main objective was plunder and loot rather than annexation of territory. His very capable general Malik Kafur carried out a number of expeditions to the Deccan and the far south. Devagiri was conquered in 1305 and its king ramachandra was made a tribute paying subordinate ruler. This was followed by the conquest of Warangal (Andhra pradesh) in 1309, of Dwarasamudra (Karnataka in 1310, and Madurai (Tamil Nadu) in 1311. while the rulers Warangal and Dwarasamudra submitted to the Sultan, the Pandya ruler of Madurai stayed out of his reach in spite of his capital being captured. The last expedition of Malik Kafur was against Devagiri because the ruler of that state had stopped paying tribute. The state was annexed to Alauddin's empire.

Aladdin was the strongest, most ruthless and cruel of the rulers of the Sultanate period. His extremely harsh measures succeeded in maintaining peace and order only during his own regin.

Alauddin shrewdly promoted Indian Muslims like Malik Kafur to high positions so as to reduce the hold of the Turkish and Afghan nobles on the state. He also utilized some of his plundered money for creating architectural monuments like the Alai Darwaza (near Qutb Minar) and for building a new capital at Siri near Delhi.

horse trade


Alauddin Khilji was a good administrator

Alauddin started his reign by murdering most of his relatives to eliminate all possibilities of anyone trying to repeat his own treatment of his uncle. He then organized an extensive system of spies to keep him informed of the activities off all his nobles and officers. They were supervised very strictly and were not allowed to socialize with each other even to have matrimonial relations without the Sultan's permission. He also distributed wealth among the Afghan nobles to win their loyalty.

Alauddin was an ambitious ruler. He wanted to extend the boundaries of his empire. At the same time he was also aware of the threat of the Mongols from the north – west. For both these purpose he needed a large and strong army. He therefore recognized the army by dismissing incompetent and elderly soldiers and provided for intensive training for fresh recruits. He introduced the system of recording the identifying features (huliya) of soldiers so that they could not send substitutes in their place. He also introduced the system of branding horses (dagh) so that the soldiers may not replace good horses given to them by the state by inferior ones. He introduced administrative reforms and price regulation to make the things needed by soldiers available to them at cheap rates. He could this maintain a very large number of soldiers on low salaries.

Alauddin is the best known in history for his extremely strict and efficient administration and his control of the markets.

To make goods cheaply available to the soldiers he fixed the prices of goods and also the rates of profits which merchants were permitted to make. Hoarding of grain was punished. Surplus grain was stored in state godown and released in times of need. However, such price controls existed only in Delhi and the system collapsed after his death.

Description Alauddin's Madrasa, Qutb complex



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