Presenting another captivating love story from the annals of history - the tale of Khizr Khan, the eldest son of Ala-ud-din Khilji, and Dewal Devi (also known as Dewal Rani), daughter of Rai Karan Vaghela of Gujarat.
Ala-ud-din Khilji's Conquest of Gujarat: In 1299, Ala-ud-din Khilji (r: 1296-1316) launched a military campaign against Gujarat. He entrusted this task to his brother Ulugh Khan and general Nusrat Khan. Rai Karan, unable to withstand the onslaught, fled from his capital Nahrwala (also known as Anhilwara and Patan), while all his treasures were seized by the invaders, including his wife Kamla Devi.
Nusrat Khan then proceeded to Cambay (Khambhat) and collected a large booty. Among the spoils was Kafur, a handsome slave who would later gain great distinction under the title of Malik Naib Kafur Hazar-dinari.
After a few years had passed, when Ala-ud-din began to consider marriage for his son, Khizr Khan, Kamla Devi told him about her daughter, Dewal Devi, who would be a fitting consort for the young prince. The Sultan graciously accepted this proposal.
Following his defeat, Rai Karan sought refuge at the court of Raja Ramadeva (also known as Ramachandra Yadava) of Devagiri (also known as Daulatabad, in Maharashtra). Ala-ud-din dispatched Malik Kafur with an army to Devagiri.
Capture of Dewal Devi (1306): With the aid of Ramadeva, Rai Karan was able to reclaim the district of Buglana in Gujarat. Ala-ud-din commanded Malik Kafur to retrieve Dewal Devi from Rai Karan. However, upon the approach of the Delhi army, Rai Karan fled. Ala-ud-din then ordered his brother-in-law, Alp Khan, to join Malik Kafur.
During that time, Singhana, the eldest son of Ramadeva, dispatched his younger brother Bhimadeva to Rai Karan with a proposal to marry Dewal Devi. The proposition was simple: if the Rai would deliver Dewal Devi to his brother, the Delhi troops would retreat to their own country in despair. Under duress, the Rai was compelled to agree to the proposal, and Dewal Devi was subsequently handed over to Bhimadeva.
Alp Khan, however, was determined to secure Dewal Devi before she could be taken away. Fortunately, some of his soldiers stumbled upon Bhimadeva's troops who were escorting the princess to Devagiri. In the following engagement, Bhimadeva's troops were defeated, and Dewal Devi was captured and sent to Delhi, where she was reunited with her mother.
Romance of Dewal Devi with Khizr Khan: We first hear of Khizr Khan on the occasion of Ala-ud-din Khilji's conquest of Chittorgarh in 1303. When Chittor was reduced, Ala-ud-din conferred the government of the city upon Prince Khizr Khan. The prince's life took an unexpected turn when he met Dewal Devi, and they fell in love with each other.
Ala-ud-din suddenly changed his mind. He and the prince's mother Mahru, entitled Malika-i-Jahan, decided to arrange the marriage of Khizr Khan with the daughter of Alp Khan, Mahru's brother and the Governor of Gujarat. Despite this, the two lovers continued to meet in secrecy. Upon discovering their clandestine meetings, the queen mother resolved to put an end to their relationship. Consequently, Dewal Rani was banished to the Red Palace, where she was to be held in confinement.
Marriage of Dewal Devi with Khizr Khan (1312): The wedding of Khizr Khan and Alp Khan's daughter took place with great pomp. However, the prince's love for Dewal Devi remained steadfast. He sought the help of a trusted confidant to present his case to his mother, urging her to consider her son's wishes. After much persuasion, the Malika Jahan finally relented and consented to his marriage with Dewal Devi.
Malik Kafur's Plots:
Towards the end of Ala-ud-din's reign, he fell under the influence of Malik Kafur, who had long aspired to the throne. Ala-ud-din entrusted the entire government to Malik Kafur, who began to plot the destruction of the Sultan's family. He poisoned the Sultan's mind by spreading rumors that Khizr Khan, his mother, and Alp Khan had conspired against his life.
In 1312, when the Sultan fell extremely ill, Khizr Khan made a vow to proceed barefoot on a pilgrimage to the Sufi shrines if the Sultan should recover. When the Sultan's condition improved, Khizr Khan set out on his pilgrimage to Hastinapur, but his feet became blistered and he was persuaded to mount a horse. Malik Kafur acted craftily and convinced the Sultan that Khizr Khan's failure to fulfill his vow was a personal insult to the Sultan. Consequently, the prince was ordered by the sultan to proceed to Amroha and send back the royal insignia.
Kafur also turned Ala-ud-din's mind against Alp Khan and got orders for his execution. When Khizr Khan was exiled to Amroha, he returned to his father at Delhi in a state of great distress after only a few days. Ala-ud-din, who was at the point of death, embraced him and accepted him back into the palace.
However, Malik Kafur was displeased with this reconciliation and plotted to have the sultan imprison the prince in Gwalior Fort. Although Ala-ud-din agreed, he made Kafur swear not to harm the prince in any way. Consequently, Khizr Khan was kept in custody, and Dewal Devi was by his side to comfort him during his imprisonment.
Death of Ala-ud-din Khilji (1316): As Ala-ud-din's illness worsened, he instructed Malik Kafur to send someone to bring his son, Khizr Khan, so that he could declare him as the heir-apparent. Although Malik Kafur agreed, he procrastinated in carrying out the task. Whenever the Sultan inquired about his son, Malik Kafur would simply reply, "He is just coming," and he continued to do so until the Sultan's passing.
Death of Prince Khizr Khan (1318): After Ala-ud-din Khilji's death, Malik Kafur placed the Sultan's youngest son Shihab-ud-din Omar (r: 1316), a child of 5-6 years, on the throne and became his regent. He then sent an eunuch Malik Sumbul to Gwalior to blind Khizr Khan and his brother Shadi Khan. Mubarak, the third son of Ala-ud-din, and the queen mother Mallika Jahan were also put in close confinement.
Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah (r: 1316-1321) then ascended the throne after displacing his brother. He demanded that Khizr Khan hand over Dewal Devi to him. Khizr Khan refused to give her up, telling Mubarak that he would have to cut off his head first if he want to take her away from him. Mubarak sent an assassin to murder Khizr Khan and Shadi Khan.
Amir Khusro, a renowned Persian poet, describes the tragic love story of Khizr Khan and Dewal Rani in his historical poem Ashiqa. During a visit to Prince Khizr Khan, he confided in Khusro about his love affair with Dewal Devi and implored him to immortalize their story in verse. Amir Khusro ends his poem with the death of Khizr Khan. Dewal Devi's fate remains unknown. It is probable that the assassins seized her and brought her to Mubarak's harem.
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