Essay on the Tax Policy of Alauddin Khilji

Alauddin also levied some fresh taxes Kari was one of the taxes, details of which are not avail­able. It is presumed that it was something like octroi. Barani his greatly criticized Alauddin for heavy taxes The Hindu public in all had to pay about 80 per cent of their income in taxes and were forced to lead a very miserable life.

In order to collect the land revenue a number of officers were appointed. A new department called Piwan-i-Mustakhrai was created. After Mustakhraj, Muhassils, Amils, Gumashtas etc. were some significant junior revenue officers who helped in the collection of revenue The Sultan increased the salaries of the revenue officials in order to check bribery and corruption. He always kept a close eye on their activities and punished them severely in case of corruption or embezzlement.

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Barani has written about it, “It was impossible for anyone to obtain even a Tanka dishonestly or to take anything in bribe from the Hindus or ‘he Musalmans. He reduced dishonest Amils, accountants and other corrupt revenue officers to such destitu­tion and poverty that they could not meet demands of one thousand or five hundred Tankas and remained in bonds and chains for years.” He scrutinized the papers of Patwaris personally.

Dr. Tripathi has written, “Alauddin was apparently the first Muslim ruler whose hands reached the Patwaris who were the best source of information in all matters pertaining to the land and its revenue.”

Corruption was so deep-rooted in the revenue department that it was not possible for any person to end it altogether. However, Alauddin eliminated it to a great extent due to his stern policy. Not only were the revenue officials terrorized and forced to work honesty, the subjects were also terrified and dared not grease the palms of the officials. Often, fiscal officers got into prison and endured blows and stripes owing to their greed for gold.

There were two aims 6f the revenue policy of Alauddin The first aim was to raise the income of the Sultanate so that the increased expenditure could be met easily and the second was to rot. out the possibility of revolts. He successfully achieved both these aims.

But it remains a debatable issue whether it served the interest of the far­mers and State permanently. Dr. U. N. Dey comments about it, “The peasants do not seem to have been materially affected. At least such a conclusion, one is tempted to draw, from the fact that neither revolts nor desertions took place after the imposition of this enhanced rate.

The cultivators, however, it may be suggested, drew an indirect satisfaction when they saw their erstwhile oppressors being subjected to the same treatment which they had been suffering so long from them.” Dr. Irfan Habib also favours Alauddin when he writes, “Alauddin consciously utilized the conflict between the two rural “classes’ by standing forth as the protector of the ‘weak’ against the ‘strong’ in these villages and was perfectly reasonable.”

But Dr. K. S. Lai’s view is more justified as nobody can lead a happy and contented life after paying 80 per cent of his income in tax. Thus the revenue policy of Alauddin was in no way in favour of the peasants nor did it serve any permanent interest of the Sultanate. Dr. Tara Chand condemning his policy has aptly remarked, “The policy was suicidal for it killed the goose that laid the golden egg. It left no incentive for increasing the produce or improving the method of cultivation.”

Price Control and Market Regulations., Historians have praised Alauddin Khalji for his price control and market regulation policy. To control the prices of daily commodities was a unique effort of contemporary epoch; hence the Sultan rightly deserved the praise of contemporary historians.

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