Deccan Policy of Khilji

The Deccan Policy of Alauddin Khilji was primarily based on economic motives. After his massive success in the North, Alauddin Khilji now turned his mighty hands to conquer the states lay in South and South-West India.

The Deccan Policies, campaigns and its military operations were mostly carried out by Malik Kafur the great noteworthy general of Alauddin Khilji, and the success in these operations was mainly due to him. But at the same time Alauddin should be credited because he was the first Sultan of Delhi who directed his army to cross the Vindhyas and establish his sway over the major portion of the Southern peninsula. At that time there were four great kingdoms in that regions, such as:

  1. the Yadav kingdom of Devagiri in the West,
  2. the Kakatiya kingdom of Telengana in the East with the Capital at Warangal,
  3. the Hoyasla kingdom lying South of river Krishna and comprising the whole of modern Mysore and some of its adjacent districts, the Capital being at Dwar-Samudra and
  4. The Pandya kingdom of the far south with its capital at Madura.
Within six years of time all these kingdoms fell under the arms of Alauddin Khilji administration and became his vassals.

Devagiri was conquered by Alauddin Khilji in 1294 while he was the governor of Kara. The Yadava king Ramachandra had ceded the annual revenue of Ilichpur province. It happened that for three successive years the king did not send the annual revenue and hence in order to punish the king, a second invasion was made to Devagiri in the year 1306. Another reason of the invasion was that the king had also given shelter to Karan Singh the ex-king of Gujrat and his daughter Debal Devi. The later was wanted by her mother Kamala Devi whom Alauddin himself married. The kingdom was attacked by two sides–one being led by Malik Kafur and other by Alp Khan of Gujarat. Alp Khan defeated Karan Singh and sent his daughter Debal Devi to Delhi where she was given marriage to Prince Khijir Khan. Malik Kafur defeated Ramachandradeva. He was also captured and sent to Delhi where he acknowledged the sovereignty of Alauddin Khilji and paid huge ransom for his release. A third campaign against Devagiri was made during the reign of Shankardeva, the son of Ramachandra during 1313. Malik Kafur was again the leader of the campaign. This time Shankardeva was defeated and killed.

Next Malik Kafur marched towards Warangal. The Kakatiya ruler Prataparudradeva of Warangal, the Capital of Telengana was a very brave king. On earlier occasion, an expedition under Malik Chhajju was sent against him in 1303 through Bengal and Orissa, but could not be successful. Prataparudradeva had inflicted heavy defeat on the Sultan’s army. Hence this time Malik Kafur was sent to defeat Prataparudradeva in 1308. Kafur took the king by surprise as the later was unprepared. The king submitted and paid huge war indemnity consisting of 300 elephants, 7000 horses and enormous quantity of cash and jewels. He was reduced to vassalage and also agreed to pay annual tributes. Then Malik Kafur raided Dwar-Samudra, the Hoyasla Capital in 1310 A.D. and ransacked its temples and stripped off their riches and wealth. The country was reduced to vassaldom. From Dwar-Samudra Kafur advanced to the Pandya Capital of Madura. There a war of succession was going on between the brothers Sunder Pandya and Vira Pandya. Sunder Pandya invited Kafur to help his cause. Hence the expedition was made in 1313. Vira Pandya was defeated and exterminated.

In the South Malik Kafur also captured Gulbarga and the region  between river Krishna and Tungabhadra where he established garrisons at Raichur and Mudgal. He also successfully taken possession of the sea ports of Dabhol and Chaul. The conquest of Deccan was now complete. Almost the whole of Southern India was now brought under the suzerainty of Delhi. But Southern India was not annexed with the empire of Delhi. Only a few garrison of troops, mostly Turkish, were stationed in important towns.

The objects of Alauddin Khilji’s northern and southern campaign were not the same. Hence the Deccan policy of Alauddin Khilji was different from the policy he followed in Northern India. North Indian campaigns were directed mainly with the motive of an expansionist. The conquered states were annexed with the Delhi Sultanate and a mighty empire was thus built upon. The South however was invaded with quite a different intension. Here the object was primarily economic. Alauddin had seen in his first campaign in Devagiri enormous wealth and riches were stored in the state treasury. He badly needed the money to maintain his army and to bribe his antagonists at Delhi. The motive was political too. Alauddin dream of world conquest could not be materialized. But he desired to be called a great conqueror. Successful campaigns to the south while extended his sway over the territory also brought prestige to his arms. His policy was not to assimilate the Southern States into the Sultanate but only to reduce them to the Vassalage, on the condition of getting their kings acknowledge the sovereignty of Delhi and paying annual tributes. This was indeed a wise and statesman like policy. The distance of the Southern States from Delhi also deserved such a policy to be followed. between river Krishna and Tungabhadra where he established garrisons at Raichur and Mudgal. He also successfully taken possession of the sea ports of Dabhol and Chaul. The conquest of Deccan was now complete. Almost the whole of Southern India was now brought under the suzerainty of Delhi. But Southern India was not annexed with the empire of Delhi. Only a few garrison of troops, mostly Turkish, were stationed in important towns.

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