Alauddin Khilji belongs to Khilji Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate in the sub-continent and he was the second ruler of this Dynasty. He stayed in the rule from July 1296 to January 1316.
He was one of the most powerful rulers of Khilji Dynasty. He ascended the throne after killing the previous ruler, Jalaluddin Firuz Khilji. He was also Alauddin’s uncle.
Alauddin started his tenure by giving substantial gifts and endowments. He also appointed many personnel in the government offices. To balance to system he also kept many people that were appointed by Jalaluddin.
He was born in Qalat in 1250 AD, a province of Zabul. His real name was Ali Gurshasp. He was the eldest son of Shihabuddin Mas’ud, who was the elder brother of the Sultan Jalaluddin, the founder of Khiliji Dynasty. Alauddin was raised up by Jalaluddin after death of Shihabuddin.
Alauddin got married to Jalaluddin’s daughter, Malika-i-Jahan,. It was not a very happy marriage.His second marriage was the woman Mahru, who was the sister of Malik Sanjar alias Alp Khan.
Like the previous rulers, Alauddin was a Sunni Muslim. Isamaili (Shia) minorities were not treated well and they were also accused of incest.
Ziauddin Barani, a writer mentions about Alauddin that, “his faith in Islam was firm like the faith of the illiterate and the ignorant.” He further said that Alauddin once thought of founding a novel religion. He later dropped the idea after advice from some supporters.
The modern Persian historian Wassaf, mentions Alauddin in the terms that he had, “”the zeal of religion.”
He was an invader and continued his track after killing Jalaluddin Khilji. He achieved great success in his conquests and he was the first Muslim ruler to successfully defeat and conquer southern parts of India. His generals, specifically Malik Kafur and Khusraw Khan played integral role in the conquests. In south India, he used to extract payment of annual taxes from the overthrown rulers.
In 1299, Alauddin Khilji went on his first expedition to Gujarat, where the king submitted to his two generals, Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan. Malik Kafur was freed in this battle. He went on to become most important general of Alauddin.
He successfully defeated Mongols at the battles of Jalandhar (1298), Kili (1299), Amroha (1305), and Ravi (1306).
In 1301, he attached Ranthambor, which he conquered in the second attempt.
Marwar was invaded in 1308 by his general.
In 1306, the rich state of Baglana was attacked.
In 1310, he effortlessly defeated Veera Ballala and conquered the Hoysala Empire.
His administration and political reforms were based on the concept of fear ad power. This was his mantra for good governance. He also had great military ambitions. The tax system initiated by Alauddin Khilji had a great impact. They continued to be part of Indian taxation system for a long period.
A robust and well-organized revenue administration system was introduced and run. A large number of accountants, collectors, and agents were employed to manage the established system. Furthermore, he took numerous measures to regulate the prices. He had great supervision over the market.
He was motivated by Alexander the Great and also took the label ‘Sikander-i-Sani’. Furthermore, he also got his coins inscribed with the name ‘Second Alexander’.
In the final years of his life, Alauddin suffered from an illness, and became very skeptical of his officers. He started absorbing all the power around his family and his trusted generals such as Malik Kafur.
Kafur carried the dead body of Alauddin from the Siri Place and buried him in the mausoleum of Alauddin. There were claims that Malik Kafur murdered him to gain more power.
He died in 1316, at the age of 66 in Delhi. He was buried at the backside of the Qutb complex, in Mehrauli, Delhi, where a madrasa also stands, which is dedicated to him.