The traitor nephew of Jalal ud din Firuz Khilji , named Alauddin Khilji whose original name was Ali Gurshap – reigned vigorously in India for 20 years during 1296 to 1316. He established himself as most power ruler of the Delhi Sultanate.
Before he became the Sultan, he had a bright career as a warrior. He had killed his uncle at Kara near Allahabad, where he was deputed by his uncle. Prior to he became the Sultan, his aunt (widow of Jalauddin) Malika Jahan placed her son Rukunddin Khalji at the throne. Alauddin marched from Kara to Delhi, entered with his uncle’s head on a spear and proclaimed himself the Sultan of Delhi.
Lesson to Traitors
The two sons of Jalauddin were blinded and the poor aunt was placed in prison, his wrath fell upon the officials and nobles who , interestingly shared with him the plot against his uncle. They were captured, imprisoned; some of them blinded and others were killed. The wealth they had received from Alauddin was seized and their houses were confiscated. Only three nobles who did not ditch Jalal could survive, a lesson was taught to the disloyal.
He was able to expand the territory to down south. He was first and foremost, an able soldier. He was so illiterate that was not able to read his name. But he was good in commanding the army and carry out arduous campaigns. Shortly before he became Sultan of India, he had won a great prestige by the conquests in Deccan. The stretch of Sultanate of Delhi was from Indus to Bengal and from Himalayas to Vindyas. Till that time, no Muslim invader had been able to cross the Vindyas, Satpuras and Narmada River and conquer the Deccan plateau. In 1294, just two years before he became Sultan, while dealing with rebellions in Malwa and Bundelkhand, he carried his army to Devagiri and took the fort un-resisted. The ruler of Devagiri Raja Ramchandra was taken by the surprise and fled to hills. The way to Deccan was open and was never closed for him as well as future generations of the Mohammedan rulers.
Invasion of Mongols
In 1294, Duwa Khan, a successor of Kublai Khan had tried to establish the Mongol empire in India. He was resisted in the Punjab by Zafar Khan, the general of Sultan Alauddin in 1297 and got defeated at Jalandhar.
There was again an attack under Saldi.
Saldi was able to capture the fort of Siri and again faced a crushing defeat by general Zafar Khan. 2000 Mongols were made prisoner and were paraded before the Sultan. This was the worst defeat , the Mongols had faced in India.
The worst invasion of the Mongol forces took place in 1299 under Kutlugh Khwaja. Kutlugh Khwaja was a son of Duwa Khan and grandson of Kublai Khan. He brought with himself 2, 00,000 nomads who blocked the streets and created a sort of famine. The newly built capital of Alauddin “Siri” was in no state of defense. Sultan was advised to temporize with the invaders but he actively refused this advice. He met the Mongols in the battle field. His right wing was under gallant general Zafar Khan. Zafar khan was cut off by an ambush and was killed. But the Mongols were repealed.
Elimination of New Muslims
One important result of these repeated invasions of Mongols in Delhi was that hoards of these nomadic people established themselves near Delhi and accepted Islam. They were called “New Muslims” lived in poverty and misery. Alauddin discovered a conspiracy among them and ordered that all the New Muslims must be eliminated in one day. The order was followed and around 40 thousand Mongols were killed inhumanly leaving the women and child , who were made prisoners and thrown into slavery.
Other Invasions of Mongols
There was yet another invasion under Targhi, whose 12000 army confined the Sultan in the Siri. Sultan did not come out of the fort for two months. Targhi changed his mind and withdrew his forces. Similar invasions took place under Tartaq, Kebek, Iqbalmand Khan. By 1308, Sultan’s army had become strong and he sent troops under Ghazi Malik to Kandhar, Ghazni and Kabul to teach a lesson to Mongols. These campaigns crippled the Mongols and they could not gather courage to invade India again till next invasion took place under Timur during the Tughlaq Dynasty.
Alauddin was an illiterate, bad tempered, obstinate and hard-hearted man who never got in touch with the learned. The success after success made him cherish the widest desires and impossible goals. He tried to imitate Hazarat Muhammad and establish a new religion, he dreamt of becoming second Alexander to subdue the earth, ordered the Muslims to take his name in the Namaz and ordered to engrave his name as “Second Alexander” in his coins.
But there were some wise people around who advised him to leave the job of establishing new religions to the prophets and rather than subduing the whole of earth, subdue the parts of India which were under the infidel Hindus such as the Rajputs of Rajasthan and rulers of Malwa, Dhar, Ujjain etc.