THE Emperor Jelal-ud-din Firuz, the first of the Khilji dynasty, removed his court to Kaikubad to the south-east of Humayan's tomb. His accession accomplished the transfer of the throne from the Turks to the Khiljis, but his nephew and son-in-law Ala-ud-din, inspired with a desire for power and the possession of the crown, intrigued with the "Turki" the partisans of the former dynasty. He accordingly commenced hostilities against the southern Hindu kingdoms, with the object of accumulating wealth to enable him to cope with the Sultan. Finding however that deceit promised a quick result, with less trouble and risk than open rebellion, he deluded Jelal-ud-din into paying him a personal visit. Whilst the Sidtan was conversing with him unattended and unguarded, he in a most cruel and cowardly manner had him assassinated, and at once proceeded to take steps to acquire the reins of government.
The son of the assassinated sultan, Rukn-ud-din Ibrahim was proclaimed king at Delhi, but soon after was driven away by the approach of Ala-ud-din to Multan.
Ala-ud-din Muhammad Shah Khilji began his reign by all manner of festivals and amusements, which had the desired effect of making his subjects forget the circumstances connected with the death of their former king. Among the higher classes he distributed honours and distinctions; and having advanced six months' pay to the whole of his army, he turned his attention to the extirpation of the family of his father-in-law and uncle, Jelal-ud-din. In this he was successful, but not without much cruelty. In A.D. 1296, intelligence reached Delhi that the Moguls had mustered an army of 100,000 men, and were preparing to conquer Multan, the Panjab, and Sind. Ala-ud-din, nothing daunted, prepared to encounter the invasion, and dispatched his brother, Alaf Khan, with a large and well-disciplined body of men to oppose the intruders. The opposing forces met near Lahore, and after a fierce fight the Moguls were defeated with the loss of 12,000 men. During the next year a second great invasion occurred, which had for its object the conquest of Hindustan. The Moguls numbering 200,000 horse advanced under Kutlugh Khan to Delhi, and encamped on the banks of the River Jumma without hindrance. The whole population crowded in terror into Delhi, and in a short time a famine set in for want of supplies. Ala-ud-din determined in this strait on attacking the enemy, and marched out with a huge army of 300,000 horse. Ferishta says of these forces that such enormous hosts had never, since the appearance of the Muhammadans in India, been engaged at the same time, and in the same place. The battle was successful for Ala-ud-din, and the Moguls, beaten and disheartened, retreated out of India. In A.D. 1298, Ala-ud-din commenced some remarkable projects; first, he proposed to establish a new religion, with the object of making himself out to posterity as a sort of second Muhammad. Equally absurd was his second design—namely, to undertake the entire conquest of the world! The next year's events rather weakened the desire to accomplish either of these, as his armies suffered a severe defeat at Rantanbhor and the king, on his way to take the field in person, narrowly escaped being treacherously murdered by his nephew, Rukn Khan. The king had become detached from his camp whilst out hunting; his nephew together with a few followers, seizing the opportunity of attacking him whilst unguarded, discharged some arrows, which struck him to the ground. He was left for dead by the would-be assassins, but, recovering after a while, continued his way to Rantanbhor and defeated the rebels after much hard fighting, and with a considerable amount of difficulty. During Ala-ud-din's absence, a slave, Haji Mola, plundered the ruby palace at Delhi, and succeeded temporarily in raising an insurrection. In A.D. 1303, Turghai Khan reached the capital of Delhi with an army of 120,000 Moguls, and the king on his return from the Deccan intrenched himself on the plains beyond the suburbs. One night the Moguls retreated, without any apparent cause, to their own country—an event attributed by historians to the miraculous intervention of a saint.
Ala-ud-din built a palace on the spot where he had been intrenched, and founded the city of Siri, (see Plan No. I. and page 16.) Soon after he sought to provide for a greatly increased army by fixing the price of all produce, by prohibiting export of grain, and by regulating the pay of his soldiers, so that the revenue could bear their cost. The next year an irruption took place into India of 40,000 horse under Ali Beg and Khwaja Tash, and the king, sending an army under Tugluck Khan, defeated the enemy at Amroha. Aibik Khan, to avenge the death of Ali Beg and Khwaja Tash invaded Hindustan, but was also defeated in A.D. 1305 on the banks of the Indus. The 3,000 prisoners who were then captured were sent with Aibik Khan to Delhi and there trodden to death by elephants. Towards the close of the king's reign, Malik Naib Kafur, who commanded the army in the Deccan, availed himself of his master's dying hours to forward his own intrigues against the heirs of the throne.
Ala-ud-din ruined his constitution by intemperance and excess, which at length brought on an illness of a serious character A.D. 1316, when he died with the reputation of having been the wealthiest, most powerful, most ignorant and cruel monarch that had ever sat on the throne of Hindustan. He is said to have, been buried in the tomb to the south-west of the Kutb arches (see A on Plan No. II.), but there is some uncertainty as to his remains having ever been placed in this building which, during his lifetime had been utilized as a mosque and "madrissah" or college.
Mir Khusru gives an account of Ala-ud-din's buildings and the following translation from the Persian text is given in Elliot's "Historians": "The Sultan determined upon completing and adding to the Masjid Jumma of Shanis-ud-din, by building beyond the three old gates and courts a fourth with lofty pillars, and upon the surface of the stones he engraved the verses of the Koran in such a manner as could not be done even on wood; ascending so high that you would think the Koran was going up to heaven; and again descending in another line so low that you would think it was coming down from heaven. "When the whole work was complete from top to bottom, he built other masjids in the city, so strong that if the nine vaulted and thousand eyed heavens were to fall as they will in the universe quake on the day of resurrection, an arch of them will not be broken. He also repaired the old masjids of which the walls were broken or inclining, or of which the roof and domes had fallen. He then resolved to make a pair to the lofty minar of the Jumma Masjid, which minar was then the single celebrated one of the time, and to raise it so high that it could not be exceeded. He first directed that the area of the square before the masjid should be increased, that there might be ample room for the followers of Islam. He ordered the circumference of the new minar to be made double that of the old one, and to make it higher in the same proportion, and directed that a new casing and cupola should be added to the old one. The stones were dug out from the hills, and the temples of the infidels were demolished to furnish a further supply. He also ordered repairs to be made to all the other masjids and forts throughout the kingdom.1
- 1. ]