The rule of the Khalji dynasty (AD 1200-1320) coves as short but fateful period of Indian history. During this period practically the whole of India was gathered under the suzerainty of Alauddin Khalji (1296-1316). His valour in war was matched with his courage in the field of administration. His courage in the field of administration. His accomplishments in the spheres of art and culture were equally great. Alauddin Khaji and his dynasty have found an able historian to pen their history, and the result is as satisfying as it is instructive. Professor K.S. Lal’s History of the Khaljis has been acclaimed as a great work on his period of the history of medieval India.
When it was first published thirty years ago in 1950. Professor Mohammad Habib commented: ”Dr. K.S. Lal has managed to fill a very important gap in our national history.I have read his work several times with pleasure and profit . (He) has utilized for his work all contemporary authorities which seem to be within the reach of the present generation in Persian, Hindi and Sanskrit. He has critical discrimination and complete freedom from all prejudices.
Dr. K.S. Lal, b. 1920, look his D. Phil. From the University of Allahabad in 1915. He served in Madhya Pradesh Educational Service from1945 to ’63. And Delhi University from 1963 to ’72. From 1973 to 1979 he was Professor of History at the University of Jodhpur. He was Professor of History at the University of Hyderabad.
Professor Lal was a member of many academic bodies and has attended international conferences held in India. Thailand and England and had lectured at the Universities of Kuala Lumpur and Indonesia. Besides the History of the Khaljis (1950, 1967, 1980), his other major works include twinlight of the Sultanate (1963, 1980), Studies in Medieval Indian History (1966), Studies in Asian History (Ed. 1969) and Growth of Muslims Population in Medieval India 1973).
Most of the reviews of the first edition of the History of the Khalgis contained much praise and little criticism of the work and thus did not help much in its revision.
Sir Hamilton A.r. Gibb in a letter suggested that there was need for ‘a thorough examination of the whole structure of the military government under the Sultanate, in particular, the formation of the Nobility’. On the basis of this suggestion the chapter on Administration has been thoroughly revised. Besides, a new chapter on the Cultural Activity under the Khaljis has been added.
Since the publication of the first edition, new material in the shape of Barani’s Fatawa-i-Jahangari, bearing on some aspects of the political theory of the times, has become available and has been handled in the revised edition. Similarly Kakka Suri’s Nabhinandana-jinodhara-prabandh, Narayan Das’s Chhitai-varta, and many other Rajput souces, which throw additional light on the life and times of the Khaljis, have also critically studied.
After almost the whole text of the present edition had been printed off, Dr. Z. A. Desai sent me an off-print of the Epigraphia Indica, Arabic and Persian Supplement, 1964 (published 1966). On pages 1 and 2 of this issue he has brought to light an inscription on a small mosque situated at village Kot in Fatehpur district. The mosque was built within a few months of ‘Alauddin’s accession. The inscription is dated 29 November, 1296 ( I Safar, 696) and menttions’Aluddin with the grand title of Sikandar-i-Sani or Second Alexander. Ziyauddin Barani in his Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi (p. 263), while writing about the sultan’s wild projects’ after his conquest of Gujarat in 1299, adumbrates that he took the title of Sikandar-i-Sani as a corollary to his ambitious schemes. I took the fact from Barani, but did not commit p. 90, present it . What could have excited ‘Alauddin to take this grandiose title – his conquest of Gujarat (1299) or his expedition to Devagiri (1296)?From ‘Alauddin’s point of ciew the exploit of 1296 was most extraordinary. In it he himself was the hero ; he did not personally lead the campaign to Gujarat. Like Alexander, so he must have thought, he had traveled a long distance, taken great risk and achieved momentous success. It is this tremendous achievement at Devangiri at Devagiri that must have made him imagine that he was like another Alexander, and the inscription referred to above shows that the moment ‘Aluddin returned from Devangiri and ascended the throne he took up this title. But when this new evidence contained in the inscription had not come to light and Barani was the only source of information for this fact, it was not safe to say that ‘Aladdin took the title in 1296 when Barani had said that he did so in 1299. Nevertheless, now that the discovery of the inscription supports my own hunch that ‘Alauddin thought of calling himself the Second Alexander elated by his success at Devagiri, I readily accept the dateof 1296. Only the evidence for this reaced me toolate to be incorporated in the text of the work. Anyway I am obliged to Dr. Desai for bringing to my notice this inscription even though at such a late stage. With Dr. Desai I must also thank Shri N.K. Mishra for helping me in preparing the Index.
In the present edition some illustrations have been eliminated diacritical marks reduced. Only long vowels have been indicated as a, I, u. Well known words like Kahn and Sultan and familiar names of cities and towns have no been accented Besides, where h in a final position is silent (as in Ferishtah), It has been dropped to help in the correct pronunciation of the word. Thus Ferishtah, Shahnah and Surkhah have been written as Ferishta, Shahnah and Surkhah have been written as Ferishta, Shahnah and Surkhah have been written as Ferista, Shahna and Surkha.
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