Category Archives: Food

Alahuddin Khilji Reforms

Alahuddin khilji was not a much educated man but he ensured many reforms in taxation and markets that were followed by later day rulers. In his book Tarikh-i-Firozshahi Zia-ud-din Barani laments, helped the Ajlaf (men of low birth) rise to positions of power while the Ashraf (men of noble birth) lost their status and authority.

  • Setting up markets : He set up markets in Delhi in Delhi, one for food grains, oil, ghee etc commodities, second for clothes and third for cattle and horses. People and farmers could sell their produce here


  • Food procurement system: Khilji appointed trade merchants to procure the grains and other commodities from farmers and artisans and sell it in markets set up at Delhi.


  • Setting up large storage system: Khilji set up market stoage in Delhi so the goods procured can be stored safely. This ensured traders did not hoard essential items to increase its price. Also it helped during famine and low monsoon as food stock of previous yuears was stored safely for use.


  • Food price control: Khilji set up minimum price for goods and essential items so that farmers are not cheated by traders and consumers get essential items in affordable cost. This also brought down wages and more people got employments etc


  • Cloth market reforms: Khilji promoted clothe manufacturing in the empire by providing 10 million tankas(silver coins) to manufacture clothes units. He gave royal patronage to merchants who could sell their wares in designated places allocated by Delhi sultanate. The prices of these clothe material was determined by the Delhi sultanate and all merchants who brought their wares had to follow rules and regulations.


  • Taxation System: Khilji imposed taxation at rate 50% of the produce from the land. Khots and Chaudhary and Rajpuths etc( rich land owners, people of ruling class etc )had been exempt from paying house tax and cattle tax from their pockets. They would extract money from cultivators (smaller farmers) and pad to the state. Khilji abolished this system and told the Khots and Chaudhary to pay tax from their earnings only. This agitated rich land owners as they had to produce in their fields and pay labour on market rates instead of past where free bonded labour was prevelant.


  • Abolished land grants: Khilji consficated government lands illegally used by landlords and grants of land given to both religious and other men in power. This land was than given to lower level farmers to cultivate so that tax base would increase. This highly agitated the rich and religious men including Muslim clerics and Sufi’s. He abolished grants of land and money given to religious and rich people.


  • Salary to soldiers: Khilji was one of the first Indian emperor to pay the soldiers salary. He abolished the Jagir system(mansabdar) and paid salary. He had three grade of soldiers. The foot soldier was paid 156 tankas(silver coins), the cavalary(horsemen) were paid 234 tankas and the others 312 tankas. This salary was very high and even in 17th century Indian soldiers(Mughal, British) got less than that. This ensured the loyalty of soldiers.


  • Garrison for soldiers: Khilji had set up garrison for soldiers in major city like Delhi, Lahore etc so that he can have centralized power over them and not depend on governors etc to suplly army during war


  • Strict punishment for cheaters: The law was implemented very strictly and any trader who cheated in weight and measurements was punished by cutting off equal weight from their body. The punishment sounded gross but that ensured that no cheating occurred which was ramapant


He did many more reforms that ensured corruption reduced and lower level citizens were benefitted in long term. This is not an exhaustive list of reforms done by Khilji.