Hyderabad: In January 1310, Malik Kafur, the slave-general of the strongest ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, Alauddin Khilji, reached the Hanamkonda hill. After a month-long battle, Kakatiya ruler Pratapa Rudra surrendered.
According to the writings of the Sufi mystic and scholar Amir Khusru, the Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya had prophesied Khilji’s victory here. The majestic Kohinoor diamond was among the many precious articles surrendered by Pratapa Rudra to Alauddin Khilji, if the 17th and 18th century historian Khafi Khan is to be believed.
City historian Mohammed Safiullah is in possession of two coins issued by Alauddin Khilji in 1298-1301, one each in silver and copper. He had bought the coins way back in 1989, when he was just 20, from a dealer in New Delhi.
“You can clearly see the name ‘Muhammad Shah’ on the coins. That was his adopted name, but he was referred to as Sultan Alauddin Khalji, since he belonged to the Khalji lineage of Turkish origin. His name, however, has widely been mispronounced as Khilji, instead of Khalji. His family had lived in Afghanistan for over two centuries and migrated to Delhi circa 1200. They adopted the Indian culture, and especially the Delhi way of life, and he was the only ruler who successfully thwarted Mongol invasions of India led by Genghis Khan’s sons. It is unfortunate that today we have been surrounded by this false and malicious propaganda that Alauddin Khalji was an invader of India,” says Safiullah, who is pursuing his fourth doctorate degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
Safiullah, the founder of Deccan Heritage Trust, expressed his disappointment over the controversy around the film Padmaavat as well.
It is an absolutely unnecessary controversy, he says. “How will anyone protect the repute of a fictional character? There never was any such Rani Padmavati; it was just a fable. Also, in the movie, Alauddin has been thoroughly demonised, with one scene apparently showing him eating raw meat, and another scene suggesting he had homosexual relations with his slave-general Malik Kafur, whereas written history is proof that Alauddin was a highly cultured man who had a healthy relationship with his wife and children,” says Safiullah.
The historian owns a collection of about 80,000 coins, some of which could be valued at Rs 10 lakh each, he says.
“I have been collecting ancient coins since I was 11. The oldest ones in my personal collection are silver punch-marked coins that date back to 6th century BC. I plan to hand over my collection to a trust for safekeeping, as these coins are too valuable to gather dust,” he says.