Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Jalaluddin Khilji: the Founder of Khilji Dynasty

Jalaluddin Firuz Khilji was the founder of the Khilji dynasty that supplanted the Slave Dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. Amidst the intense rivalry between Turkish and Afghan nobles, Jalaluddin, who represented the Afghan nobility, seized the Delhi throne by murdering Kaiqubad, the last Sultan of Slave dynasty and his infant son Kayumars. Aitamar Kachhan and Aitamar Surkha, the leaders of the Turkish Nobility were also put to death. Thus came into being the Khilji dynasty which ushered in a new era of cruel imperialism in India in 1290.

Jalal-ud-din Firuz Khilji was seventy when he ascended the throne. Citizens of Delhi did not like the change in the line of rulers. This compelled him to make Kilokhri the seat of his government. With the passage of time he succeeded in minimizing the discontent of his nobles by disbursement of land and his generosity which was sometimes construed as being below the dignity of a sovereign.

His was a case of split personality. Jalal-ud-din Firuz Khilji was averse to the idea of military expeditions as it will cost the lives of his co-religionists. When, in 1991 Malik Chhajju, a nephew of Balban and governor of Kara, assisted by several nobles, unfurled the banner of revolt against him, he was imprudent enough to show mercy on him by pardoning the rebels. On the other hand, Siddi-Maula, a darvesh, was trampled by an elephant on his order.

As was only to be expected he could not subdue the Ranthambhor fort. He however, was successful in inflicting a crushing defeat on the Mongols, who under a grandson of Halaku (Hulagu) invaded the territory of Delhi Sultanate in 1292.

Jalaluddin Khilji was paid back in his own coin when he murdered in 1296 by his ambitious nephew and son-in-law Alauddin Khilji when he went to Kara to facilitate him for his victory in the South India which brought him large amount of booty. As mentioned at the outset Jalaluddin captured the throne of Delhi Sultanate by murdering the last Slave ruler Kaiqubad, grandson of Balban, and his infant son Kayumars. 

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