Mongol Invasions of India During the Rule of Jalaluddin Firoz Shah Khilji

The Mongols made an invasion on the north­west frontier of India during the reign of Jalaluddin Firoz Shah Khalji. Abdullah, the grandson of Halaku, was the leader of the Mongol army and he penetrated as far as Sunam.

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The Sultan who had been the warden of marches for a long time marched against the Mongols with his thirty thousand soldiers and a fierce battle was fought near the Indus. The Mongols were defeated and arrested in a large number.


Abdullah, after concluding a treaty with the Sultan of Delhi, returned to Afghanistan but a great number of Mongol prisoners embraced Islam.

They were permitted to settle down in India. The Sultan geve his daughter in marriage to the leader of the Mongols, Ulugh Khan. These Mongol converts came to be known as ‘New Muslims’. Some young Turks condemned the liberal policy of the Sultan against Mongols as these new Muslims, later on, began to hatch conspiracies against the lives of the Sultan and his comman­ders.’ But in general, as a result of the liberal policy of the Sultan, cordial relations among the Turks and Mongols could be established and they did not invade India again during the lifetime of Jalaluddin.

Alanodin’s invasion on Bhilsa:

Alauddin Khalji, the nephew and son-in-law of Sultan Jalaluddin Firoz Khalji, made two successful expeditions against the Hindu kings. First, he made a surprise attack on Bhilsa after getting the permission of the Sultan. He led the expedition so efficiently that the Hindus were defeated disastrously.

He plundered the town and took a huge booty containing gold, silver, horses and elephants. The Sultan was much delighted to see the huge booty presented to him by his nephew. He being immensely pleased with his victory appointed his Ariz-i-Mamalik (Minister of War) and besides Kara added Avadh to-his governorship.

Deogiri Expedition:


During his invasion of Bhilsa, Alauddin heard of the riches of Deogiri. A Yadav ruler, Raja Ram Chandra Deva, ruled over it. The people of Deogiri enjoyed perfect peace and freedom internally and externally. Alauddin was inspired much by the victory of Bhilsa and he wanted to invade Deogiri due to its fabulous wealth No Muslim ruler had so far invaded Deogiri.

He made extensive preparations and gathered adequate information about Deogiri prior to his attack.

He did not disclose even to Sultan Firoz Khalji, his uncle that he was preparing to invade Deogiri. He requested his uncle to permit him to lead an invasion over Cbanderi. He left Kara with 8000 cavalry on February 24, 1296 A.D. and appointed Alaul Mulk, in charge of Kara. He sent fabricated news to Sultan Firoz Khalji about the expedition of Alauddin. Alams Beg, the younger brother of Alauddin, safeguarded the interests of his brother in Delhi.

Alauddin outwardly marched for Chanderi but he reached Ellichpur after crossing the Vindhyas. In order to escape fights with the neighboring Hindu rulers, he declared that he was annoyed with his uncle and intended to take refuge in the South.


Thus he reached Deogiri without any conflict except a mild opposition put forth by Kanha, one of the Governors of Ram Chandra Deva. His contigent included two brave ladies who charged the enemy like tigresses and died fighting on the battlefield. When Alauddin reached the gates of Deogiri, Raja Ram Chandra Deva was at bit wit’s end.

There was no sufficient arrangement in the kingdom for the defence of Deogiri. His son Singhana Deva already gone to wage a war against a neighbouring state in order to settle the border dispute. Perhaps it was in the knowledge of Alauddin and considering this an appropriate time he invaded Deogiri.

As on Muslim invader had ever invaded Deogiri, the Yadav ruler was careless for his defence? The moat around the fort was dry and there was very little army in the fort, hence the Raja was compelled to shut himself up within the fort.

As the king was confined in the fort, Alauddin not only plundered the city but also arrested the important persons of the city.

At the same time Alauddin spread a rumor that he had reached Deogiri with only an advance guard, the Sultan was following him with a contingent of 20,000 soldiers. Raja Ram Chandra was very much disappointed by this rumor. He sued for peace and the release of the dignitaries on payment of a huge amount.

When the transaction was going between the Yadav ruler and the invader, Singhana Deva reurrned and he challenged the invader to surrender the wealth he had looted and to vacate his kingdom.

Alauddin left only one thousand soldiers with Nusrat Khan for the siege of the fort and faced Singhana Deva and his army at a short distance from Deogiri. The Muslim army had to suffer heavy losses and they were at the verge of defeat when Nusrat Khan raising the siege without the permission of his master, reached the battlefield.

The tired Maratha soldiers took it to be the army of the Sultan and fled away. Alauddin again sieged the fort and compelled Raja Ram Chandra to surrender. He had to give a larger war indemnity than before. Alauddin returned to Kara with a lot of booty. Ferishta writes, “It (booty) included 600 maunds of gold, 1000 maunds of silver, seven maunds of pearls, two maunds of diamonds, rubies and other precious stones and 400 pieces of silk stuff besides horses, elephants and slaves.”

When it was brought to the notice of the Sultan that Alaudin had achieved a victory over Deogiri, he felt immense pleasure but his outspoken minister Ahmad Chap warned the Sultan of the adverse consequences, in case, the booty was not recovered from him before reaching Kara.

But the Sultan did not pay attention to the advice of his counselor and returned to Delhi with the hope that his nephew and son-in-law would offer the entire booty to him as he had joyfully given the booty of Bhilsa expedition. Chauhans of Asirgarh tried to stem the path of victor Alauddin but they were defeated. Alauddin reached Kara on 3rd of June 1296 A.D. safely.

Marder of Jalauddin Firoz Khalji:

Just as power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, in the same way too much money turns a man too much ambitious. The wealth of Deogiri made Alauddin think, how to become the permanent owner of it. He did not go to Delhi to see Sultan and to offer him the booty on various pretexts.

On the other hand he invited the Sultan to Kara in order to collect the booty. Without caring for the advice of his worthy counsellors who smelled a cons­piracy in it, Jalaluddin proceeded to Kara as he had great affection for Alauddin. V. A. Smith also remarks, “In fact his treasonable intentions were patent to everybody except his doting old uncle and father-in-law who closed his ears against all warning and ‘behaved like a person infatuated.”

Thus in 1296, Alauddin perpetrated one of the basest murders in the history and proclaimed himself Sultan. The Kind-hearted and unsuspecting. Jalaluddin Firoz Khalji was-assassi- nated by the supporters of Alauddin when he had stooped to lift up his dissimulating nephew who pretended to bow in homage before him.

Barani thus describes the events that happened after the murder of the Sultan, “While the head of the murdered, sovereign was yet dripping with blood, the ferocious conspirators brought the royal canopy and elevated it over the head of Alauddin.

Casting aside all shame, the perfidious and graceless wretch caused to be proclaimed king by men who rode about on elephants.” Barani condemning this cruel act of Alauddin further writes, “Although these villains were spared for a short time and Alauddin for some years, still they were not forgotten (by nature) and their punishments were only suspended.

At the end of three or four years.

Ulugh Khan (Almas Beg, younger brother of Alauddin), the deceiver, was gone, so was Nusrat Khan, the giver of the signal, so also was Zafar Khan, the breeder of the mischief, uncle Alaul Mulk, Kotwal and the hell-bound Salim, who struck the first blow, was a year or two afterwards eaten up with leprosy.

Ikhtiyaruddin who cut off the head, very soon went mad, in his dying ravings cried that Sultan Jalaluddin stood over him with a naked sword, ready to cut off his head. Alauddin did not escape retribution for the blood of his patron. He shed more innocent blood than even Pharaoh was guilty of. Fate at length placed a betrayer in his oath, by whom his family was destroyed and the retribution which fell upon it never had a parallel even in any infidel land.”

An Estimate of Jalaluddin Firoz Khalji:

Jalaluddin Firoz Khalji was the first Turkish ruler who kept before him the principle of benevolent despotism. He was himself a successful commander and a powerful company was under his command; however he gave up the policy of militarism which harassed his predecessors for about a century.

He wanted to please all the antagonistic people and classes by his liberal policy. He let Turkish officers and the followers of Balban remain on their prize posts. His chicken-hearted policy not only harmed the kingdom but it also endangered the life of the Sultan. As we know that Sultan Firoz Khalji did not ride on horse in the palace of Balban and he also refused to sit on the old throne of Balban as he used to stand before him earlier. Hence it was difficult to believe that such a person who had been a successful soldier and commander would have possessed.

Alauddin did not take any worthwhile step against the Hindus. Perhaps, he believed that integration would be in the in­terest of the Sultanate. The system of administration was shattered during the three years’ regime of Kaiqubad and Kayumars.

Hence it was necessary to do some work devotedly in order to improve the present position. We cannot accuse the Sultan of cowardice because he had safeguarded the north-west frontier of the Delhi Sultanate very effectively and forced the Mongols to retreat or to reside in Delhi peacefully. He also converted them into Islam.

No doubt, the age of Sultan Firoz Khalji was insignificant from every point of view but it is a fact that he was the first Sultan in the history of Delhi Sultanate who united the Turks, non-Turks and Indian Muslims and established harmony among them.

Some historians are of the opinion that in case, he had lived long, he must have harmed the Sultanate. His chicken-hearted policy proved unworthy of him under the then circumstances and they reached the conclusion that he was unfit to wear the crown in the contemporary situation.

But this opinion does not hold, as Jalaluddin Khalji was not a liberal ruler. Like his predecessor he was intolerent towards the religion of the Hindus. He desecrated the temples and broke the idols in Jhain He punished the Muslim saint Sidi Maula. It is unfortunate that Barani had referred only to those incidents of his fife which threw bad light on his character.

In fact the internal and external policy of Jalaluddin Firoz Khalji was a failure. He not only failed in establishing law and order and suppressing the rebels and thieves but also proved unsuc­cessful in conquering Ranthambhor.

Moreover, his behaviour to­wards the Mongols was not an honourable deal of the Sultan. By giving his daughter to them in marriage, he accepted their superiority. Hence, Dr. K. S. Lai has remarked, “Never was a man more unsuited to wear the crown than the founder of the Khalji dynasty.”

The age of Jalaluddin Khalji might not be regarded as a glorious age from the point of view of administrative achievements but he was also a successful ruler. Besides establishing his control over the in­fant Muslim kingdom, he successfully solved the problems of the Sultanate.

During his reign education and literature flourished. He patronized the artists and men of letters. As he hated terrorism, wildness and useless bloodshed, he adopted a liberal policy. He might have proved a successful ruler and his policies might have proved quite fruitful but the conspiracy of Alauddin hindered his smooth path of progress and he became a victim of his ambitious.


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