Alauddin Khilji Military Expeditions in India – Explained!

Alauddin who was badly in need of money, was not prepared to bear this loss, so he ordered his Naib Malik Kafur to organize an army for the Deccan campaigns. He was assisted by Ain-ul-Mulk Multani and Alp Khan, Governors of Malwa and Gujarat respectively.

Alauddin also directed Malik Kafur to bring back the daughter of Kamla Devi, ex-wife of Raja Karan Baghela, who was having shelter in Deogiri and ruling over Baglana region, as Kamla Devi, now Maiika-i-Jahan of Alauddin was eager to meet her.

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Amir Khusrau refers in one of his long poems, Ashiqa about the love of Khizr Khan for Dewal Rani’. Hence Alauddin ordered his Naib to bring Dewal Rani to Delhi as his son was in love with her. She was an infant child when Gujarat was conquered and by now she must have attained the age of about four­teen or fifteen years; hence the description of Amir Khusrau seems to be a flight or imagination of the poet and not the historical fact. Thus, Kamla Devi, mother of Dewal Rani, could be held responsible for the future misfortunes of her daughter.

First of all Malik Kafur attacked Raja Karan Baghela and de­feated him He demandc d Dewal Rani but he had already sent her to Deogiri in order to get her married with Singhana Deva, son of Raja Ram Chandra.

Karan Baghela had already once rejected the marriage proposal of the Yadava ruler as he considered the Yadavai inferior to Baghelas but now in order to save her daughter from the clutches of the Muslims, he sent her under a military escort to Deogiri.

Karan Baghela also fled away towards Deogiri. He was chased by Alp Khan. Suddenly a group of his soldiers found Dewal Rani. They captured her after a small encounter, Alp Khan at once sent her to Delhi along with a powerful body of troops, where she was married to Khizr Khan. After some time the joint forces of Alp Khan and Malik Kafur marched on Deogiri.

Raja Ram Chandra was once again defeated by the Muslim army. His son Singhan Deva fled away but Ram Chandra sued for peace. He was sent to Delhi along with his family, Alauddin normally, was very cruel against the vanquished but he accorded a very generous treatment to Raja Ram Chandra.

Ferishta points out that the Yadava ruler gave one of his daughters in marriage to the Sultan and therefore, he treated him kindly. He remained a guest of Alauddin for about six months. Alauddin bestowed the title of Rai Rayan (King of Kings) on Raja Ram Chandra along with costly gifts. Barani remarks, “The Rai ever afterwards remained obedient and sent his tribute regularly as long as he lived.” He rendered all possible help to Alauddin and his Naib in his further conquests of the South.

Some of the scholars opine that there were strong politi­cal motives behind the liberal policy of Alauddin, which he adopted towards the Raja of Deogiri. In order to get success against the kingdoms of far Deccan, it was essential for him to maintain cordial relations with Raja Ram Chandra so that he could be helpful to him in his further victories.

Alauddin after having achieved victory over his loyalty used him as a tool in his further expeditions in the South. Dr. S. Roy appropriately remarks, “Indeed Deogiri served as base for Khalji’s military operations in the Deccan and the far South.”

Expedition to Telangana:

Alauddin endeavoured to establish his control over Warangal, the capital of Telangana, in 1303 a.d. where Rajputs of Kaiatiya dynasty was ruling but they did not succeed his mission. He wanted to wash out the blot of defeat from his forehead, hence he ordered Naib Malik Kafur to march against War­angal in 1309 a.d. Malik Kafur first of all went straight to Deogiri where he restrengthened his forces. He received fresh fodder for animals and fresh food supplies for soldiers and enough military assistance from the Yadava ruler and then marched towards Telangana, his target.

Ferishta remarks, “Malik Kafur also directed the mer­chants of Deogiri to set up bazars all along the route of the army and warned them to sell the articles on the fixed prices, established by Sultan Alauddin in his region.”

Warangal was surrounded by two strong walls. The inner one was made of stone while the outer one, of mud. Besides, the fort was surrounded by two moats filled with water. Seeing the strong defence of the fort, Alauddin had already directed his Naib Malik Kafur, not to wage a prolonged war, if the king sued for peace.

The army of Malik Kafur had to face bitter resistance from the Rajputs but they were forced by the Muslim army to take shelter in the fort. The royal army could not get an easy victory over the fort as it was strongly built and well garrisoned.

Moreover, some Hindu nobles cut off the supply and communication line of the royal army and created havoc, but in the end Muslims stood victorious and the Rai had to sue for peace. He sent his golden image to Malik Kafur with a golden chain round his neck as a token of his submission. Besides, a large number of elephants and horses, Pratap Rudra Deva gave a lot of gold, silver and precious stones. Malik Kafur also received a big diamond, Koh-i-Noor from Pratap Rudra Deva. The Rai also promised to send annual tribute to Delhi Sultanate regularly.

Malik Kafur returned to Delhi on June 11, 1310 a.d, with “thou­sands of camels groaning under the weight of treasure.” This remarks of Barani does not hold ground that Rai handed over even the last nail of the fort to Malik Kafur and promised to pay the same amount every year because it was not possible for anybody to give the well- earned treasure and to collect that much within a year for paying regular tribute. As this victory added a new chapter to the power and prestige of Alauddin, he honoured and rewarded his Naib Malik Kafur.

Expedition to Dwarasamudra:

Alauddin was much pleased with Malik Kafur since he brought immense gold from the South only after a month of the successful completion of Warangal expedition. He directed his Naib Malik Kafur against the Hoysalas of Dwarasamudra in 1310 a.d. Vir Ballala III, the ruler of Dwarasamudra, was a powerful and ambitious ruler.

He had expanded the power and Territory of Hoysala Empire to a great extent. At the time of Khalji’s invasion a bloody war was going on between the Hoysalas and the Yadavas of Deogiri. When Malik Kafur invaded Dwarasamudra, Vir Ballala III hail gone to intervene in the politics of the Pandya king and was not “present in his territory.

Malik Kafur reached Deogiri in February 1311 a.d. Once again Raja Ram Chandra Deva provided him with all possible help along with a guide to make him reach Dwarasamudra safely. As the king Vir Ballala III was not present in his kingdom, Malik Kafur captured the city without much bloodshed. He sacked the kingdom of Dwarasa­mudra and several temples and collected a huge amount of gold and silver.

As soon as Vir Ballala received the news of Muslim invasion on his kingdom, he returned immediately. Although he had no hope of victory against Malik Kafur and was very much afraid of the Muslim commander but he fought some slight encounters with the Muslim army for his honour and soon accepted suzerainty of Alauddin. He paid a huge sum along with elephants and horses to Malik Kafur and agreed to pay annual tribute to the Delhi Sultanate.

Expedition to Pandya Kingdom (Madnra):

When Malik Kafur was in Dwarasamudra, he heard about the war of succession in Pandya kingdom i.e., Madura between the two sons of Kulshekhar Bhar Varman, the ruler of Pandya kingdom. The king was in favour of the elder son Vir Pandya.

It excited Sunder Pandya and he murdered his father but he could not get the throne as his elder brother turned him out. Being oppressed, Sunder Pandya approachcd Malik Kafur for help. It gave a chance to Malik Kafur to despatch his army to the far South. Vir Pandya knew it well that the Muslim army was far superior to his troops. He, therefore, avoided direct conflict. He did not confine himself in any fort for fear of being captured by Malik Kafur.

The Muslim army chased him here and there and looted many towns and temples, which fell in its way. Later on, Sunder Pandya realized his fault and leaving the royalists slipped into forests. Plundering and chasing Vir Pandya, Malik Kafur went as far as Rameshwaram. He destroyed the temple and built a mosque there as a token of the victory of Islam.

During his campaign he also destroyed the famous temple of Linga Mahadeva and Sri Rangam at Barmatpuri and Kundur respectively. This expedition proved a failure from the political point of view as none of the brothers could be brought under subjugation but it proved successful so far as the booty or the material gain was concerned.

The treasure that was looted was so much that it might have made Mahmood Cihaznavi turn in his grave. Malik Kafur, according to Sir Wolseley Haig. left Madura on 24 April 1211 a.d. and reached Delhi on October 18 of the same year with spoils including 312 elephants, 20,000 horses, 2750 pounds of gold and chests of jewels. No such booty had ever before been brought to Delhi, the spoils of Deogiri could not be compared with those of Dwarasamudra and the Sultan while receiving the leaders of the expedition in the Palace of the Thousand Pillars at Siri distributed largesse to them and to the learned men of Delhi, with a lavish hand.

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