Indian History Part 55 Khilji Militarism Section I Ascent to Power

Canberra, 12 January 2016

Origins

The ancestors of the Khilji clan (also spelt Khalji in a number of texts) had migrated from Turkistan along with the early movement of Turks towards the east from Central Asia. They had settled in the Helmand region of Afghanistan, staying there for over 200 years before moving further east. It was inevitable that during the two centuries of their domicile they adopted some Afghan customs and traditions, while also intermarrying with the locals. In the bargain, they became ethnically mixed and did not long remain ‘pure Turks’. During the repeated Muslim invasions of Hindustan, the majority of the family migrated to India and took up service with the early sultans of Delhi. Since the Khiljis were clearly of mixed parentage, the Turkish nobles of Delhi—forever pompous and disdainful for all but the purest of Turks—considered them Afghans and therefore of a lower status in the hierarchy.

The clan was scattered all over the sub-continent, present in all places that the invaders had reached. A section of the clan that had moved east from Delhi ruled sections of Bengal from the time that a scion of the tribe Ikhtiyar ud-Din Bakhtiyar Khilji ruled the region. Although the version of their origins given above is the most probable, there are two slightly romanticised versions of the origins of the Khiljis that are also available.

First, the translated version of the Tabkat-i-Akbari states that Jalal ud-Din Khilji and Mahmud Khilji Mandvi were grandsons of Qaliji Khan who was the son-in-law of the great Genghis Khan. After Qaliji Khan defeated the Khwarizam Shah, the brothers settled in the vicinity of Ghur. The name Qaliji became Khaliji and over a period of time and frequency of usage, the letters got interchanged, becoming Khalij, Khalji, and then Khilji. The second version is from the history of the Seljuks. It states that Turk, the son of Yafas had eleven sons of whom one was called Khalj. The descendants of this Khalj became Khaljis (Khiljis). This is a probable sequence of events since the Khilji clan is mentioned in the histories of the Ghazni sultans, especially during the reign of Sabuktigin and Mahmud. From this it is certain that they existed anterior to Genghis Khan, with Qaliji Khan mentioned as being from the Khilji tribe. Some chronicles also state that the Khiljis were not Turks at all but of a completely different ethnicity. This assertion is highly contestable. The most likely story of their origin would be that the Khiljis were descendants of Turks who had settled in Afghanistan and subsequently intermingled with the locals.

Jalal ud-Din Firoz Khilji

During Kaiqubad’s rule, Malik Firoz, the leader of the Khilji clan was the governor of the Samana province. He was an able soldier, having fought a number of holding engagements against the marauding Mongols and repelling them in all their attempts to invade territories of the Delhi sultanate. He also displayed excellent administrative capabilities and was bestowed the title Shaista Khan. Later, Kaiqubad promoted him as the Minister for the Army, thereby making him the most experienced and powerful noble in the Delhi court. However, there was an orthodox group of Turkish nobles in the court, led by Malik Artemar who was also called Kachchan, whose members were opposed to the rise of Malik Firoz to this powerful position. In their view he was a non-Turk and they believed that he had to be removed in order to re-establish the Turkish monopoly on power in the court. In the ensuing power struggle, Firoz was victorious and Kachchan was put to death. Subsequently Firoz became the regent for the infant king who was placed on the throne after Kaiqubad was removed and killed by the nobles supporting the Khiljis.

Malik Firoz ascended the throne in March 1290 and assumed the title of Sultan Jalal ud-Din Firoz Khilji. His coronation was not held in the city proper, but in an obscure suburb of Delhi called Kilughari, primarily because the Turkish nobles and predominantly Turkish population of the capital proper were hostile to the new sultan. Thus a three-year old toddler was replaced by a grey-bearded patriarch on the ancient throne of Delhi. Jalal ud-Din, now 70 years old, was unpopular with both the nobles and the general public, an unenviable situation for a usurper of the throne. This was mainly because of the erroneous belief that he was not a Turk at a time when even the general population considered it ‘improper’ for a non-Turk to come to the throne. This is an indication of the entrenched hold on power that the Turkish nobility exercised even over the beliefs of the common people. The prevalent perception was that only the Ilbari Turks had the necessary pedigree to be considered nobility and therefore had the right to rule, even though they had ruled from Delhi only for a century.

Jalal ud-Din was personally mild-mannered and not very dignified in his appearance and conduct, traits that had by now become indispensable to establish the stature of a monarch. He lived in a small palace in Kilughari for a year and the nobles started to come there to pay their respect to the new sultan. Even though Jalal ud-Din was reviled as a non-Turk, the natural avarice of the nobles and their inclination to enhance their own material interests and courtly stature easily overcame tribal prejudices. Gradually Kilughari emerged as an important township, with the nobles building their own residences around the palace and several markets coming up in the vicinity. The now-starting-to-flourish suburb came to be called Shahr-i-Nav, ‘The New City’. In slow time Jalal ud-Din was able to establish his authority over the running of the sultanate.

Jalal ud-Din displayed natural generosity, excellence of character and religious devotion. He also dispensed even-handed justice, which gradually changed the attitude of the people from one of scorn to more acceptance and later, affection. It is said that he was kindly disposed even towards criminals, treating them leniently. He is said to have only deported thieves and thugs to Bengal after obtaining a promise of good behaviour from them, instead of punishing them. The end result was that the population started to lose its fear of the authority of the crown. Perhaps because of his advancing years, Jalal ud-Din was mild and averse to violence including war, even though he had been a soldier and general throughout his life. He was essentially unfit to shoulder the rigours of a 13th century absolute monarch. Treason became common place and the continued Mongol threat to the border became much more focused. Only once during his entire reign did Jalal ud-Din threaten to punish delinquent nobles, which also turned out to be an empty threat, since no follow-up action was initiated to carry the threat forward to fruition. In contrast, the younger generation of the Khilji clan was openly ambitious. The sultan’s gentle nature was in direct contrast to that of the younger princes and nobles, creating an alienation between the sultan and his own kith and kin as well as well-meaning followers.

A Rare Instance of the Sultan’s Rage

Sidi Maula was a dervish from the north who had settled in Delhi during the rule of Balban. He had simple habits, but managed to build a magnificent ‘Khankah’ that involved spending a large amount of money. (A Khankah is a building designed specifically for gatherings of a particular Sufi brotherhood and is considered a place of spiritual retreat and character reformation) Further, he regularly spend large amounts of money feeding the poor twice a day with meals that were reported to be so sumptuous that it rivalled the meals served on the tables of the khans and maliks (nobles). Jealous rumours spread that the Maula was a sorcerer and the nobles started to mention that he was a seditionist.

Qazi Jalal Kashani, the leader of a group of disgruntled noblemen, hatched a plot to assassinate the sultan, during his visits to the mosque to pray. It was decided that after the assassination, Sidi Maula would be declared the Khalifa (Caliph). Jalal ud-Din came to know of this plot. He took severe action, punishing and then expelling the entire group, although the Qazi was only deported to Badaun. Sidi Maula was cut up with a razor, thrown before an elephant and trampled to death. This is the only instance of the old sultan acting decisively against rebellions and plots.

The reportage continues to state that the act of putting to death the Maula was considered a sacrilege. A number of chroniclers of the time report that the killing of Sidi Maula brought divine wrath in the form of a devastating dust storm over Delhi followed in a while by a severe famine across the sultanate.

Jalal ud-Din was a reluctant sultan and followed a policy of minimum interference in the administrative arrangements of the capital and the country. He did not make any radical changes to the personnel in the government, confirming most of the Turkish nobles to the offices that they already held. The younger Khilji warriors, who had been instrumental in usurping power, had expected to be elevated to high positions in the administration and were naturally disgruntled by the sultan’s passive attitude. It is not that Jalal ud-Din did not make any appointments of his own. He elevated all three of his sons to high positions and adorned them with the titles of high rank: the eldest Mahmud was given the title of Khan-i-Khan; the second became Arkali Khan; and the third came to be titled Qadr Khan. His younger brother was ennobled as Yaghrus Khan and made minister of the army and Malik Ahmad Chap, a close relative was appointed master of Ceremonies. Further, he rewarded his favourite nephews Ala ud-Din and Alam Beg with high positions and titled both of them Khan. However, rather than pacify the younger generation of Khiljis, these appointments only stoked their ambition for further enrichment.

A Rebellion

In the initial stages of his reign, when he was confirming all the old nobles to the positions that they had enjoyed under the rule of the last slave sultans, Jalal ud-Din had also confirmed a nephew of Balban, Malik Chajju, as the governor of Kara-Manikpur. In the second year of Jalal ud-Din’s rule, Chajju, supported by several mal-contents led by Hatim Khan the governor of Awadh, raised the flag of rebellion against the Khilji rule. The rebel faction proclaimed Chajju as the heir to Balban and the legitimate ruler of Delhi. Accordingly Chajju marched to Delhi at the head of large army. Jalal ud-Din also marched out of Delhi to meet the rebels. An advance guard under the command of his second son Arkali Khan encountered Chajju near Badaun. In the ensuing battle, the rebels were defeated and Chajju captured. He was then brought to the sultan in chains. The events that took place thereafter are bizarre and perhaps the only ones of their kind in medieval history.

The sultan is reported to have wept at the sight of the royal personage of Chajju in chains and immediately freed him. Further, he lavished praise on the entire rebel leadership for their loyalty to the house of Balban, who had been his own erstwhile lord. The sultan released all of them, holding them to their promise to behave and not rebel in the future. The younger Khiljis were incensed with this attitude and the outspoken Ahmad Chap protested against the lenient and civil treatment of the rebels. He rightly pointed out that such actions would only incite further rebellion in the sultanate. However, Jalal ud-Din, already in his dotage, was more concerned with his afterlife than his temporal life. He proclaimed that he would not kill even a single Muslim for the sake of ruling a transitory kingdom. Chajju was handed over to Arkali Khan, who was made the governor of Multan as a reward for his victory. Kara-Manikpur was given to the sultan’s nephew and son-in-law, Ala ud-Din.

The Humility of Jalal ud-Din

Jalal ud-Din had been subservient to Balban throughout his long service to the sultanate and was therefore an inherently humble person. Even though he had been a forceful battlefield commander he naturally assumed an unassertive position in other matters of state.

It is reported that the first time that he entered Delhi proper as the sultan, he dismounted at the gate outside Balban’s Red Palace and entered on foot, instead of riding in as was the privilege of the sultan. He wept bitterly on entering the palace; thinking of the inconsistency of temporal fortunes, remembering how he often used to stand in front of Balban in awe of the great sultan in complete humility, and contemplating the dreadful misfortune that had befallen the sultan’s family.

There is no doubt that when he was the warden of the North-West frontier of the sultanate, he was reputed for his fierce martial spirit and fighting prowess. But as a 70-year old ‘sultan’ he had become a mild mannered old man, with a definitive religious bend of mind, practising ostentatious displays of extreme humility and prone to weeping at other’s misfortunes. The treatment meted out to the rebel Malik Chajju is a clear example of this character trait.

The Sultan’s Expeditions

Jalal ud-Din’s naturally timorous nature was reflected in the foreign policy that he pursued. He did not undertake any aggressive campaigns to gain territory or wealth. Only two campaigns were led by the sultan himself. In 1290, he initiated a minor campaign, which did not prove to be very successful, against Ranthambhor, leading the expedition personally. Since he had almost completely withdrawn from temporal considerations and analysing the final result that was achieved, the reason for starting this campaign is unclear. In the beginning of the campaign, the Turks plundered Malwa although the Chauhan ruler offered considerable and valiant defence. The raja subsequently withdrew to the fort and entrenched himself there. Although Jalal ud-Din besieged the fort, he was unable to break the defences. Uncharacteristic for an invading army, but perhaps characteristic of an ageing monarch, Jalal ud-Din abandoned the siege and withdrew to Delhi. He justified this withdrawal through the proclaimed argument that he valued each hair of a Muslim’s head more than a hundred such forts. In reality, the sultan had long passed his dynamic battle-thirsty age and wanted a quiet life and peaceful rule. The only gain from this expedition was that the district of Jham was captured and the local temple there plundered after the idol was broken.

Even though he was reluctant to mount offensive expeditions to enhance the wealth and territorial holdings of the sultanate, and even though he displayed a number of grievous failings as a sultan, Jalal ud-Din can never be accused of cowardice or even timidity in battle. He was a veteran of several battles, particularly against the fierce Mongols who he had managed to keep at bay for many years. Even his detractors admit that he was never found lacking in personal courage or warlike accomplishments.

The second expedition that the sultan led was a great success although it did not add to the material wealth of the kingdom. In 1292, a vast horde of over 10,000 Mongols under the leadership of Halaku entered the sultanate. Jalal ud-Din displayed his old fiery spirit and promptly marched against them. In a vicious encounter, he convincingly defeated the advance forces of the Mongols, putting to death a large number of them. He was able to impose peace on his own terms after forcing the main body of the invaders to surrender and retreat. Even though this was a defensive expedition, mounted to safeguard the borders of the sultanate, an unexpected outcome was a sort of religious victory. After the defeat, a few thousand Mongols were converted to Islam and the sultan settled them in a suburb of Delhi. These converts came to be called the New Muslims. This was the beginning of the Islamisation of the Mongols. The sultan gave one of his daughters in marriage to a Mongol prince called Ulghu who was a descendant of the great Genghis Khan. This enclave of Mongols, close to the heart of Delhi, in later times came to be the centre of intrigue, disaffection and rebellion.

Two Other Military Campaigns

The Delhi sultanate undertook two other military campaigns during Jalal ud-Din’s reign, which indirectly led to his assassination. However, the sultan was not involved even in a distant manner in either of them. The expeditions were planned, organised and led by Ala ud-Din, the ambitious governor of Kara-Manikpur. Ala ud-Din was a keen student of his ancestor’s successful campaign in Bengal. The signal lesson he drew from it was that plunder and conquest of Hindu kingdoms and principalities brought in enormous wealth that in turn significantly enhanced the chances of success of the plunderer’s bid to usurp the throne of Delhi.

Ala ud-Din’s mounted his first campaign in 1292, against Malwa. He invaded the kingdom and captured the township of Bhilsa, which was subsequently returned to the Hindu ruler in exchange for a very large ransom. The plunder from the expedition was enormous and Ala ud-Din courteously presented most of it to the sultan in Delhi. The sultan was delighted with the success of his nephew and also enamoured with the wealth that was presented to him. In appreciation he conferred the governorship of Awadh on Ala ud-Din, in addition to the province that he already ruled.

The success of the Malwa campaign whetted Ala ud-Din’s ambition and appetite for conquest. He planned a more expansive campaign against Devagiri, primarily as a raid and not oriented towards conquest and annexation. The Muslims had heard of the fabulous wealth of Devagiri, which was the capital of the Yadava rajas of the Deccan. In order to legitimise his avarice-laden initiative, Ala ud-Din approached the sultan for nominal permission to mount the expedition and was readily granted royal patronage. Jalal ud-Din was obviously induced by the prospect of gaining even greater booty than had been obtained in the Malwa campaign. The risk to the sultanate and his own rule was minimal, while the gains could be enormous, always an incentive to give benign approval. [There are some interpretations of contemporary material that state that Ala ud-Din did not seek the sultan’s permission and embarked on the campaign on his own. Considering the political situation of the time, and Ala ud-Din’s own limited stature within the sultanate, this claim can be discounted.] As an aside, there is also a gossip mongering report that at this juncture Ala ud-Din was going through a strained relationship with his wife, who was being tutored by her independent-minded mother Malika Jehan. This distressed him no end and made him want to go away on a violent campaign to kill, plunder and pillage.

Ala ud-Din stormed the capital with a relatively small contingent of about 4000 cavalry and 2000 infantry. The sheer surprise along with the speed and energy of the attack made up for the lack of mass and size of the force. At a place called Ghati-Lajaura, the two armies met. The army of the Devagiri king Ramachandra, mentioned as Ram Deo in Muslim chronicles, was defeated and dispersed in confusion. Ramachandra offered submission and was forced to pay an enormous bounty for the withdrawal of the foreign forces. Ala ud-Din collected the booty and fled back to Kara-Manikpur in great haste, leaving behind a small force to continue to invest the fort. He was acutely aware of the tactical precariousness of his position.

This rapid withdrawal was fortuitous, since almost simultaneously, the crown prince of Devagiri, Singhana/Sankara, who had gone to fetch reinforcements arrived on the scene. He repudiated the peace and demanded that Ala ud-Din return the booty and move out of the Yadava kingdom. Once again battle ensued. In this battle, Ala ud-Din was on the verge of defeat, when the cavalry contingent that had been left behind at the fort arrived on the scene and turned the tide in his favour. The Yadava army was defeated and retreated. Singhana was forced to sue for peace, agreeing to cede control of the province of Elichpore to bear the cost of the garrison that Ala ud-Din now decided to leave behind. The bounty that had already been captured was increased to an even greater amount. Ala ud-Din returned to Kara-Manikpur in triumph. There is no doubt that this was a brilliant campaign, especially considering that it was into an unknown region and conducted several hundred miles away from home base.

Ramachandra’s Son

The name of the crown prince who battled Ala ud-Din is given as Sankara (and in some cases as Samkara) by all modern writers. However, there is also a great deal of learned debate regarding the actual name of this valiant prince. The fact remains that neither Sankara nor Samkara are mentioned in any Hindu or Indian source and therefore the name of the prince is derived purely from Islamic chronicles. These sources give the name of the prince variously as Sankaldev, Sankh Deo, and Sinkhan Dev. Later-day scholars are of the opinion that Sinkhan Dev is a corrupted form of the name Singhana Deva. This is further confirmed by the fact that Singhana is found in the dynastic list of the Yadava dynasty of Devagiri. Deva was a common additive to royal names in Hindu dynasties.

Therefore, the real name of the prince who resisted Ala ud-Din’s incursion into Devagiri was Singhana Deva.

This was the first incursion of a Muslim army into Peninsular India. It is significant that the purpose was purely plunder to amass wealth and the conquest of territory was never considered. For Ala ud-Din the primary concern and motive was personal and a closely held secret—he was on the quest to obtain sufficient funds to finance his plans to usurp the throne of Delhi. Ala ud-Din was an ambitious prince. His inherent ambition had been further honed and instigated by the officials in Kara who had earlier egged on and aided Malik Chajju in his rebellion. They had been allowed to go free by the liberal minded Jalal ud-Din after the rebellion had failed. These nobles confirmed Ahmad Chap’s warning to Jalal ud-Din that they would instigate another rebellion. They also proved Ala ud-Din’s belief that money and wealth were indispensable to induce and win a rebellion; to recruit, train and equip a strong army as well as to bribe the opposing forces to desert at crucial moments in a battle.

Although Ala ud-Din had sought the sultan’s ‘permission’ to mount the Devagiri campaign, he did not forward to Delhi any of the plunder and wealth that were garnered from the expedition. Since the use of wealth to usurp positions was a well-known modus operandi of the time and Ala ud-Din’s ambitious nature was openly visible, it did not take the nobles in Delhi much time to put two and two together. They warned Jalal ud-Din of the real intentions of his favourite nephew. The sultan refused to listen to these sage advisers and ignored their warnings. It was impossible for the sultan to even contemplate Al ud-Din harbouring any mal-intentions against him. Jalal ud-Din felt that after all, Ala ud-Din, although his brother’s son, had been raised personally by him, was also his son-in-law, and therefore would not rebel against him. In fact the sultan was genuinely elated with the success of his nephew.

Ala ud-Din and his brother Alam Beg now commenced an intricate charade aimed directly at winning over the sentiments and emotions of an ageing sultan. Alam Beg who was in Delhi, started to work on the sentiments of the old man, who was already inclined to favour his nephew. Simultaneously, Al ud-Din send a letter to the sultan apologising for the delay in sending the booty to Delhi and promising to do so immediately. Alam Beg told Jalal ud-Din that his brother was alarmed and distraught at the possible anger of the sultan and that he was contemplating withdrawing into the jungles of Bengal. He also told the sultan, ever ready to believe anything that his nephew said, that Ala ud-Din was even considering committing suicide, anxious about his own safety if he came to Delhi to submit the plundered wealth to the sultan personally.

Jalal ud-Din despatched a letter assuring Ala ud-Din of his continued patronage and the latter’s position as the favourite nephew. Further, he set out to Kara to meet with his nephew by boat on the River Ganges, escorted by a small cavalry force travelling along the river bank. Some loyal nobles tried to convince the sultan of the folly of setting out with limited guards. They also advised him that Ala ud-Din was by now a ruthlessly ambitious person; that he coveted the throne of Delhi; and that he must be suppressed before any mischief could be created. The sultan responded to these warnings in his characteristic fashion, saying that he loved Ala ud-Din like a son, that he was his son-in-law and that he, Jalal ud-Din, had nothing to fear from his nephew.

Jalal ud-Din’s Assassination

The sultan reached Kara on 19 July 1296 and found that Ala ud-Din’s army was arrayed on the opposite bank as that of his own small escort force that had been following him on the banks of the River Ganges. Almas Beg who had accompanied the sultan, explained that the army was being paraded in preparation for a ceremonial welcome. The gullible Jalal ud-Din crossed to the bank where Ala ud-Din and his army waited, blinded by destiny and perhaps more by the love for his nephew.

When the sultan disembarked, Ala ud-Din went and fell at his feet. Jalal ud-Din raised him and kissed him. It is said that he chided Ala ud-Din, ‘I have raised you from infancy, why are you afraid of me?’ At this stage, when he was bending forward to pet Ala ud-Din, the signal was given to attack the sultan. An officer, Muhammad Salim, who was assigned the task, struck the sultan who was wounded. Jalal ud-Din ran towards the river shouting, ‘Thou villain Ala ud-Din, what has thou done?’ Ikhtyar ud-Din Hud, another officer in Ala ud-Din’s army intercepted the sultan, threw him to the ground and cut of his head. He bore it, still dripping with blood to Ala ud-Din.

The head of Jalal ud-Din Firoz Khilji was fixed on a spear and paraded on the streets of Kara-Manikpur to convince the people of the death of the sultan.

The small contingent of attendants with the sultan were all put to death immediately. Even before the blood had dried on the sultan’s head, the royal canopy indicating the presence of the sultan was elevated above Ala ud-Din. This was an unfortunate end to an aged sultan, who had himself shown inordinate clemency even to princes who had rebelled against him.

Jalal ud-Din – An Assessment 

Jalal ud-Din Khilji was a successful and loyal general who had proven his mettle in repeated battles. He had been almost thrust upon the throne of Delhi by the ambitions of the Khilji clan, of which he was the de facto head. Even though he continued to maintain a powerful army after becoming the sultan, he moved away from the concept of militarism. This was surprising, considering that military might was the cornerstone and motivating force for the sultanate and Jalal ud-Din in his service to Balban was one of the loyal commanders who enforced this discipline. As the sultan he was inclined more towards reconciliation than confrontation, both in internal matters as well as in dealing with external adversaries. He was the first sultan to attempt reconciliation of various power centres in the capital as well as to bring different Muslim groups together amicably.

The reason for this change in attitude has not been satisfactorily explained even in contemporary chronicles of the time. It could be that age had mellowed the monarch who had been for years at the inner core of betrayals, murders and assassinations conducted to obtain or hold on to power. As has been the case in a number of occasions throughout history, powerful men tend to turn towards religion and pray for God’s grace in preference to temporal power in their old age, when the infallibility of youth has worn away and the realisation of one’s own mortality becomes rudely apparent.

He adopted genial policies and permitted nobles who were loyal to Balban and his successors to continue in office. Jalal ud-Din also displayed ‘studied’ modesty to being almost self-effacing. However, this humility cannot be believed to have been completely natural since he was a lifelong soldier and general, used to deferential and respectful treatment at all times. Therefore, the display of modesty and humbleness has to be considered a well-crafted policy, meant to appease a somewhat hostile Turkish nobility and the unfriendly general populace of Delhi.

Jalal ud-Din did not attempt any military expeditions, other than the one incursion into Ranthambhor, which was unsuccessful. However, this was not a sign of weakness or lack of bravery but stemmed from an astute understanding of the weakened state of the sultanate at the time of his coming to power. In fact, the comprehensive defeat of the Mongol invasion is a verifiable demonstration of his unfailing military competence.

Some historians assess Jalal ud-Din Firoz Khilji as a weak sultan who was unfit to rule, mainly because of the leniency that he displayed and the obvious old-age at which he gained the throne. However, this is an incorrect appreciation of a ruler who was an acute religious bigot. He was completely intolerant of Hindus who formed the majority of his people. He was zealous in initiating anti-Hindu activities, destroying and desecrating numerous Hindu temples. The belief that he was a weak and tolerant ruler can perhaps be attributed to contemporary chroniclers and sources who were unanimously biased against the Khiljis. In the general narrative of medieval history, the Khiljis get the least accolades and are even reviled as non-Turk usurpers. The bias against non-Turks is evident throughout the history of the Delhi sultanate, a true depiction of the famed ‘equality’ meted out to the followers of the religion of Islam.

The truth, not reported by contemporary writers, is that Jalal ud-Din Khilji was not a mild sultan, but a pragmatic one with a great deal of administrative experience. Therefore, he was keen to balance the various factions that were in conflict at the apex of power in Delhi in order to ensure the continuance of the fledgling Muslim state in the Indian sub-continent. In attempting this reconciliation of the infighting groups, he tried to be as impartial as possible, under the circumstances that prevailed at the time.

© [Sanu Kainikara] [2017]
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About Sanu Kainikara

Sainik School Kazhakuttam (Kerala), National Defence Academy 39/A, 108 Pilot's Course IAF, fighter pilot, QFI, FCL, psc, HACC, Voluntary Retirement as Wing Commander. Canberra-based Defence Analyst specialising in air power and national security. PhD in International Politics from University of Adelaide Executive Masters in Public Adminsitration (ANZSOG) Adjunct Professor, University of New South Wales, Distinguished Fellow Institute For Regional Security (IFRS) Distinguished Fellow Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS)

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