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The Khilji Dynasty

  • The Khilji rulers were of Turkic origin. Before proceeding to Delhi in India they had long been settled in Afghanistan. "Khilji" refers to an Afghan town known as Qalat-e-Khilji (Fort of Ghilzai). Occasionally they were treated by other people as ethnic Afghans because they adopted some Afghan customs. Because of this reason, occasionally the dynasty is called Turko-Afghan. The 3 sultans of the Khilji Empire were mentioned by historians for their ferocity and faithlessness.
  • Mohammad Khilji was the founder of the Delhi Sultanate, which occupied Bengal and Bihar in the 12th century. After that, the Khiljis became vassals and servants of the Mamluk Empire of Delhi. Ghiyas ud din Balban was the Sultan of Delhi from 1266 till his death in 1290. Balban's successors were not able to manage the factional clashes between the new forces led by the Khiljis and the old Turkic nobility. As a result of clashes, Jalal ud din Firoz Khilji was installed as sultan. Rise to power by Khiljis was helped by outsiders. Jalal-ud-din was old, and for a brief period he was so disliked that he did not venture to enter the capital since his tribe was considered to be close to the nomadic Afghans. He ruled from 1290 to 1296 during which he quelled revolt of Balban's officers and crushed a Mongol force in central India. His nephew and son-in-law, Alauddin Khilji conquered Ellichpur and its treasure. He returned in 1296 and killed his uncle.
  • Alauddin ruled for 20 years and is believed to be the greatest ruler of the dynasty. He conquered Ranthambhor, Chittorgarh, Mandu and Devagiri. In 1308, Alauddin's deputy, Malik Kafur captured Warangal and overthrew the Hoysala Empire. In 1311, Malik Kafur returned to Delhi. The empire fell into political disarray. The sultan died in 1316. Malik Kafur tried to become the sultan but was murdered. Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah was the last Khilji who was killed by Khusraw Khan in 1320. Ghiyasud-Din Tughluq assumed power and became the first ruler of the Turkic Tughluq dynasty.