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Revenue System of Ala-ud-Din Khilji

Revenue System of Ala-ud-Din Khilji

Ala-ud-Din Khilji inherited an economically down trodden empire surrounded by the upheavals of Hindu and Rajputs of India while the Mongols were posing a consistent threat to his rule. It required the restructuring of the economy to uplift the conditions of the people and the state. Therefore, Sultan enacted economic reforms and a precise system of revenue all over the empire.

His policies offered no exemption to any noble and chief in and around his court. His economic policies became his fame in history as no one since Qutb-ud-Din Aibak had trickled down the economic fruits. His reforms and revenue system included the following steps:

The confiscation of the lands and jagirs of the nobles

Soon after coming into power, Sultan ordered the amputation of the properties, jagirs and valuable possessions of the influential courtiers, chiefs, and religious scholars to deprive them of the privileges which turned or could turn a threat to the throne. All titles, awards, and accolades were taken back from them while all the land was included into Khalsa, the land of the government. He discontinued the system of Iqtadari, granting lands and other privileges to the successful warriors and other prominent celebrities. Their position was constrained after the confiscation of their lands, rewards, and grants. Sultan took hold of their possessions reducing their authorities and the chances of their uprisings in the days to come.


Sultan Ala-ud-Din Khilji defined 50 % tax on the agrarian produce which was more than traditional percentage of the Hindu age but he did not compromise on it. In the Hindu age, it was 1/5th or even 1/6th of the total produce while in the days Delhi Sultanate especially in the days of Iltutmish and Balban, it was 1/5th but Sultan Sultan adamant of this high percentage despite some voices raised against it. This percentage was applied equally on all landlords and cultivators though it was disliked by them. He also made it sure that the landlords could not burden the poor farmers and received tax in form of grain in Doab. He also imposed tax on cows, buffaloes, and goats other than house tax and graving tax. His economic reforms were endorsed in Delhi, Kotla, Afghanpur, Rewari, Palampur, Lahore, Asam, Samana, Depalpur, Rohailkhand, Jhain, and in some parts of Rajputana.

Method of collecting Tax

Ala-ud-Din received taxes in the form of either produce or money and assured the honest and fair deal with the farmers by appointing honest officials to receive taxes. He raised the salaries of these officials to kill the opportunity of any unfair deal. Due to the regular system fairly working all through his empire, the Sultan collected a huge amount making the empire strong and unconquerable for the foes. The credit of the success of his economic reforms mainly goes to Musharraf Qai, his minister who seconded to none due to his intelligence, judiciousness, prudence, marvelous oratory, and dedication. On account of the steps taken by Sultan, the chances of the rebellions of the Chouhdaries, elites, and the courtiers were nipped as they had to pay 50% of their produce to the government.

Measurement of land

Ala-ud-Din is accredited with measuring the land and first time fixing 50% tax on the total produce in the history of the Sub-Continent. It was known to the Hindus as it was in practice in Pola state in the south of India though there are no clues that the northern part was familiar with it. These reforms affected the farmer and the landlord both and during the phase of starvation or any other catastrophe, the people were suffering. Therefore, Sultan divided the land into two sections i.e. those which was to pay the tax and the other which was declared famished. Sultan was the first person who hit the issue at grass root level and checked the record of the Village Accountant (Patwari) to ensure the fair deals in land affairs.

Split of the Hindu Muscle

Hindus enjoyed a sturdy position in the avenues of power and played a vital role in toppling the empires of Delhi before Ala-ud-Din. He took special steps to curb the authority possessed by the Hindus who had been elevated to the rank of middlemen. They collected tax money from the farmers as much as they could and dispatched the minimum part of it to the government. They used their “earned” money to buy weaponry and strengthening their military clout which could turn a threat to the rulers of the day. Sultan felt the pulse of the problem and hit it from the root by canceling their privileges and exceptions and bridled them by imposing taxes and confiscating their enormous possessions.

These steps fortified the empire of Sultan Ala-ud-Din Khilji and improved the financial position of the poor masses and farmers who had since long been exploited by the landlords and chiefs. Being a strategist and wise ruler, Sultan enlisted him into those who became the torch-bearer of economic reforms to be copied by the


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