Achievements of Alauddin Khilji
Sultan Alauddin Khilji ascended the throne of Delhi in 1296 A.D. after the death of his uncle and father-in-law, Jalaluddin. Sultan Alauddin possessed considerable administrative experience, for he had served as Governor of Kara and Oudh during his predecessor’s life time. The achievements of Alauddin Khilji are many. He was destined to prove his abilities as one of the greatest of the medieval rulers of India.
The first two years of reign of Alauddin Khilji were spent in the suppression of the revolts headed by his rival claimants to the throne. The rebels were suppressed in a relentless manner.
Besides these internal revolts, Sultan Allauddin had also deal with the threat of Mongol invasion from outside. Alauddin strengthened the defenses and kept the invaders at a safe distance from his frontiers.
Alauddin Khilji possessed an unlimited lust of conquest and achieved success at wars. His ideal was Alexander the great whose example he wanted to emulate. His reign is famous for a series of brilliant conquests leading to the expansion of Muslim arms to South India. Alauddin Khilji was fortunate to have at his disposal some of the most brilliant generals of his time. His first expedition was directed against Gujarat. The king, unable to meet his forces, submitted to the the invader. In 1299, Sultan Alauddin invaded the famous Rajput fortress of Ranthambhor. The first attempt failed but the second one proved a success. Hammira Deo fought bravely but fell fighting. The army of Alauddin Khilji entered the city and the brave Rajput women, preferring death to disgrace, burnt themselves to death (1301 A.D.).
Sultan Alauddin’s third expedition was directed against Chitor (1303 A.D.) The Rajputs offered gallant resistance, but the superior number of the army of Alauddin Khilji helped them to win victory. According to traditional accounts the beautiful Padmini, Queen or Rana Ratan Singh, burnt herself in a funeral pyre for fear of falling into the hands of the Sultan.
In 1305, Malwa was conquered, which is another achievement of Alauddin Khilji. This completed the progress of his conquests in North India.
In 1307, Alauddin Khilji, aided by Malik Kafur, ventured into the most remarkable event of his reign, viz., the conquest of South India. The first of the Deccan prince to accept defeat at his hands was the Yadava, king of Deogiri. His example was followed soon afterwards by the king of Warrangal, the Hoysala king of Dorasamudra, and the king of Pandyas. In 1310 the victorious Kafur appeared on the farthest limit of South India as a mark of his victory caused a mosque to be built there. Alauddin’s Empire thus extended from the Himalayas in the north to Adam’s Bridge in the south.
The achievements of Alauddin Khilji can also been seen in his administration. Great as a conqueror, Alauddin Khilji was equally great as an administrator. The system of administration as set up by him was thorough and efficient. Sultan Alauddin maintained peace and order throughout the vast empire. He employed a large number of spies and they kept him informed of the activities of the people and their reactions to the measures of the Government. He fixed the price of commodities at a low level and his regulation of the market is one of the marvels of medieval statesmanship. He was also a patron of architecture and arts. He caused a new town to be built near Delhi. He also constructed a fairly large number of schools, inns, and mosques in different parts of his Empire. Amir Khasru, the famous poet, was one of the many literary artists who enjoyed his patronage.
Ibn Batuta, has described Alauddin Khalji as one of the best Sultans. Modern historians do not share this opinion. The manner in which he usurped power and the way in which he ruled with unrestricted authority do not bear out the correctness of Ibn Batuta’s view about Sultan. Alauddin Khilji has been described as cruel and oppressive by many historians. Alauddin Khilji was also very harsh towards the members of the aristocracy. He forbade public meetings and social gathering at private residences. Towards the close of his reign he found all classes of his people in a state of profound discontent. There was conspiracy and rebellion on all sides in the midst of which the aged Sultan Alauddin Khilji died in 1316.