Administrative System of Alauddin Khilji – Essay

Alauddin Khalji holds a very significant place among the Sultans of Delhi. During his reign the supremacy of Khaljis was established in entire India. Sir Wolseley Haig has remarked, “With the reign of Alauddin begins what may be called the imperial period of Sultanate which lasted about half a century.”

Alauddin Khalji was not only a competent general, a worthy conqueror and a great warrior, but was also an administrator par excellence. He took personal interest in administration, prepared guide­lines and executed his scheme efficiently. No doubt, he had to spend most of his time either in defending his borders or capturing territories, yet he carried out several reforms.

He liberally rewarded the compe­tent officials and also punished the incompetent and the corrupt ones mercilessly. He made several changes in the administration of his predecessor. Dr. K. S. Lai remarks, “It is as administrator than any­thing else that Alauddin stands head and shoulders above his prede­cessors. His accomplishments as warrior were dwarfed by his achieve­ments as an organizer.”

Central Administration:

Sultan Alauddin Khalji established a strong central government during his reign in which the Sultan was the head of the administra­tion. AH executive”, legislative and judicial powers were centred in the hands of the “Suttan and he had the supreme power in all the three departments. K. M. Ashraf remarks, “The Sultan of Delhi was in theory an unlimited despot bound by no law, subject to no material check and guided by no law or will except his own.”

There were two powerful classes—nobility and ulema in the Sultanate throughout the 13th century. Alauddin snatched all the powers from the nobility and deduced them to the position of mere servants. He also minimized the powers of Ulema in the affairs of State and religion.

Dr. Ishwari Prasad writes, “Alauddin was opposed to the interference of the Ulema in matters of State and in this respect, he departed from the tradition of the previous Sultans of Delhi. The law was to depend upon the will of the monarch and had nothing to do with the laws of the prophet. This was the guiding maxim of the new monarch.”

Ministers:

A powerful ministry was organized by the Sultan for the smooth running of administration. Each minister was attached to one Particular department. Their duties were to tender advice to the Sultan but there was not bound to act according to their counsel. The post of minister was not reserved for any class. It was the privi­lege of the Sultan to appoint or suspend a minister. The ministers had to work in their respective departments according to the will of the Sultan. The following were the notable ministers during the reign of Aluddin Khalji.

Wazir:

Wazir was the most powerful minister of the Sultan. His position was next to the Sultan in the Sultanate. He was both a civil and military officer. He was in charge of revenue department and he had a right to inspect the departments of other ministers.

Various appointments were made by the Sultan in consultation with the Wazir. He used to command the royal forces at the time of war.

Diwan-i-Ariz:

This was a department pertaining to the army and war and the incharge of this department was named Ariz-i- Mamalik. He assisted the Sultan in recruitment of soldiers, organi­zation of the army and expeditions.

Qazi-ul-Quzat:

He was incharge of judicial department. He was expected to administer justice according To Islamic law.

Mir Arigf:

He was the lord of petitions. People could not approach the Sultan directly. They could only send their petitions to the Sultan through the Mir Ariz.

Diwan-i-Ashraf:

He was the accountant general. He used to maintain the accounts of the Sultanate.

Mustaafi:

The auditor general was known as Mustaufi. He audited the accounts of the Sultanate.

Bakshi-i-Fauj:

He was the pay master of the royal army.

Amir-i-Kohi:

He was in charge of the agriculture department.

Diwan-i-Riyasat and Shahana-l-Mandi:

They looked after the affairs of the market. They used to keep close watch on the prices.

Kotwal:

During pre-Mughal period the post of Kotwal was very significant. The person who worked on it had to maintain law and order in the city. He was also expected to check thefts and robberies. To provide peaceful life to the citizens was the first and foremost duty of the Kotwal.

Besides the above referred officials, there were several other officers who looked after the affairs of administration, out of which the following were significant:

1. Vakil-l-Dar (Incharge of the keys of the gates of palace)

2. Amir-i-Hajib (Incharge of festivals)

3. Amir-i-Akhur (In charge of royal stables)

4. Amir-i-Shikar (Lord of the Hunts)

5. Sar-i-Jandar (Head of the bodyguards)

Provincial Administration:

The empire of Alauddin was divided into several provinces due to its large extent. The incharge of each province was known as governor. They were almost kings in miniature but they had to obey the orders of the Sultan. They had all executive, legislative and judicial powers. People could prefer appeal against their decisions to the Sultan or to Qazj-ul-Quzat. They had independent army and ‘hey made use of it in realizing revenue. At the time of war, they sent their army for assistance of the royal army.

The vast empire of Alauddin Khalji was divided into eleven Provinces: I. Gujarat, 2.Mlultan and Sehwan, 3.Dipalpur, 4. Samana and Sunam, 5. Dhar and Ujjain, 6. Jhain, 7. Chittor, 8. Chanderi, 9. Badaun, 10. Avadh, 11. Kara.

Besides these provinces there were some States which accepted supremacy of the Sultan. The rulers of these States were more in­dependent than the Governors. Owing to strong monarchy of Alau­ddin veteran governors like Ghazi Malik, Malik Kafur and others dared not disobey the commands of the Sultan.

Towns were the lower units. The administration of the towns was in the hands of separate officers. Villages were the smallest units of administration. Alauddin used to keep a close watch over local and village administration.

Judicial System:

Alauddin Khalji was a lover .of justice. Dr. K. S. Lai has remarked, “The Sultan was as relentless and unflinching in adminis­tering justice as Balban.” He was the fountainhead of justice. He listened to the appeals and gave his judgements.

Qazi-ul-Quzat was next to him. Justice was administered by Qazis (junior officers) in the provinces. Panches and Panchayats used to settle the disputes in the villages. Alauddin was in favour of awarding impartial and immediate justice’.

Severe punjshmeala were in vogue during the reign of Alauddin. Mutilation of limbs was very common. Nobody could escape justice on the basis of his piety or wealth. The criminals were tortured to accept their crimes. Contemporary historian, Barani has written that owing to cruelty of Alauddin and his barbarous justice thefts and dacoities were not heard of in his reign.

Police and Intelligence System:

Alauddin established a strong and effective police and intelli­gence system in his territories. The Kotwal was the chief police officer and it was his first and foremost duty to establish law and order in the Sultanate. Alauddin is also known for establishing a strong spy system in the country. Intelligence department was the base of his strong autocratic rule.

Without an effective espionage system, he might not have achieved success in establishing control over the Amirs and nobles. Barani has also written, “No one could stir with­out his (Alauddin’s) knowledge and whatever happened in the houses of Maliks and Amirs, officers and great men, was communicated to the Sultan. The fear of spies led barons to cease speaking anything aloud in the Hazur Sultan and if they had to say anything they said through gestures. Day and night did they tremble in their own houses on account of the activity of the patrol? Neither did they do anything nor did they utter a single word which could subject them to reproof or punishment.”