EducationPakistan Culture

The Khalji dynasty (1290–1320)

This post describes the Khalji dynasty that ruled the Delhi Sultanate for a period of 30 years covering large parts of the Indian subcontinent. 

Brief introduction 

Founded by Jala-ud-din Khalji, the Khalji dynasty reigned the Delhi sultanate from 1290 to 1320. Khalji dynasty replaced Mamluk rulers and Turkic nobles as the dominating power thus bringing Afghans to power through a revolution. Though the dynasty ruled for a short period of 30 years it was successful in adding large parts of South India to the Sultanate through invasions. The period is known for repeated Mongol attacks into India which were successfully repelled by the Khalji Sultans. 

Who were Khaljis?

The origin of Khaljis is a contested topic. According to some accounts, the Khalji are descendants of Khalaj, initially a Turkic people of Central Asia. They migrated and settled in the southern and eastern parts of present-day Afghanistan around the 7th century. Over the course of time, they assimilated themselves into the Pashtun tribal system of Afghanistan. They also established themselves as rulers of Afghanistan especially the Kabul region long before the Ghurid empire. 

They acted as nobles in Delhi Sultanate and were treated as Afghans by other nobles of Turkic origin.

Table: Rulers of Khalji Dynasty (1290-1320) 

Serial no. Rulers  Tenure 
1 Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji 1290-1296
2 Alauddin Khalji 1296- 1316
3 Shihab ad-Din Umar 1326
4 Qutbuddin Mubarak 1316 – 1320
5 Khusrau Khan 1320

Conspiracies and chaos within the dynasty 

The founder of the Khalji dynasty, Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji ruled the sultanate for 6 years from 1290 to 1296. His rule came to a tragic end when his nephew and son-in-law, Allaudin Khalji killed him to declare himself as the Sultan in 1296. 

The new Sultan, Alluadin was murdered in 1320 after twenty years of his rule by one of his own prominent slave generals, Malik Kafur to declare himself as the new Sultan. The rule of Malik Kafur was short-lived as did not him and got him murdered within few months of the assumption of power.

Once done with the murder of Malik Kafur, the amirs brought Shihab -ud-din Omar, a teenager, as new Sultan but he was killed by his own brother Qutub ud din Mubarak Shah to appoint himself as the Sultan. 

Fall of Khalji dynasty

The rule of the Khalji dynasty came to its end with the murder of the last Khalji ruler, Qutub-ud-din Omar, by his own general Khusraw Khan, in 1320 after four years of assumption of power. The Amirs did not want Khusraw Khan to assume power as the next Sultan. Hence, with the support, another general Ghazi Malik captured and beheaded Khusraw Khan.

After appointing himself as the next sultan, Ghazi Malik renamed himself Giyas-ud-din Tughluk. With the assumption of power as the next sultan, it marked the start of the third dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. 

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