Malik Kafur

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Malik Kafur (died 1316), also known as Taj al-Din Izz al-Dawla, was a prominent slave-general of the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji. He was captured by Alauddin's general Nusrat Khan during the 1299 invasion of Gujarat, and rose to prominence in the 1300s.

As a commander of Alauddin's forces, Kafur defeated the Mongol invaders in 1306. Subsequently, he led a series of expeditions in the southern part of India, against the Yadavas (1308), the Kakatiyas (1310), the Hoysalas (1311), and the Pandyas (1311).


  • The medieval historian, Ziauddin Barni described the invasion of Devagiri,
    Malik Naib Kafur reached Deogir and laid the country waste. He made Ramdeo and his sons prisoners, and took his treasures, as well as elephants. Great spoil fell into his hands .. and he returned with it triumphant to Dehli, carrying with him Ramdeo. The Sultan showed great favour to the Rai and sent him back in great honour ... to Deogir, which place he confirmed in his possession. The Rai was ever afterwards obedient, and sent his tribute regularly as long as he lived.
    • Barani, in (Elliot and Dowson Vol. III: 200-201). quoted from Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history.244
  • Thereafter, Malik Kafur set out for Warangal, which he reached in 1310. It was then ruled by the Kakatiya king, Prataprudradeva. Amir Khusrau (1253-1325) provided details of the siege of the double-walled city,
    The wall of Arangal was made of mud, but so strong that a spear of steel could not pierce it: and if a ball from a western catapult were to strike against it, it would rebound like a nut with which children play with...
    Orders were issued that every man should erect behind his own tent a kath-gar, that is a wooden defence. The trees were cut with axes and felled, notwithstanding their groans: and the Hindus, who worship trees, could not at that time come to the rescue of their idols, so that every cursed tree which was in that capital of idolatry was cut down to the roots; and clever carpenters applied the sharp iron to shape the blocks, so that a wooden fortress was drawn around the army of such stability, that if fire had rained from heaven their camp would have been unscathed...The Naib Amir gave daily orders to attack the chiefs of Laddar Deo (Prataprudradeva), and he also ordered the ‘western stoneballs’ to be thrown at the wall from every direction’ to demolish it, and reduce it to powder...
    The Malik took the entire wealth of the Rai which was brought, and threatened a general massacre, if it should be found that the Rai had reserved anything for himself. An engagement was then entered into that the Rai should send jizya annually to Dehli. The Malik left Arangal on the 16th of Shawwal (March 1310 AD) with all his booty, and a thousand animals groaned under the weight of the treasure”.
    • Khusrau in (Elliot and Dowson Vol. III: 80-84, 202-203). quoted from Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history.244ff
  • In 1311 ce, Malik Kafur again set out for the south, this time against the Hoysala ruler, Vira Ballala III (1291-1342 ce) of Dwarasamudra, and the Pandya kingdom in the far south... Vira Ballala rushed back, but the vicious nature of the invasion forced him to propose a settlement. Malik Kafur was reported to have responded,
    ... he was sent with the object of converting him to Muhammadanism, or of making him zimmi (one who could enjoy the same political privileges as the Muhammadans on payment of jiziya) and subject to pay tax, or of slaying him, if neither of these terms were assented to.
    • (Aiyangar 1971: 98), quoted from Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history.245

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