Malik Kafur’s Betrayal

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The movie Padmaavat and actor Ranveer Singh’s brilliant portrayal of the villainous Alauddin Khilji have generated a fair bit of interest in the infamous Delhi Sultan. For centuries, the conquests of Alauddin Khiji and his army, have been captured in fiction across India. From the 13th century poems like Deval Rani & Hamir Raso (conquest of Gujarat & Ranthambhore), and later 16th-century poems like Chhitai Varta (conquest of Devagiri), and the most famous and controversial Padmaavat (conquest of Chittor). However, for all his bluster, Alauddin Khilji’s own story was a saga of betrayal. Call it karma if you will, but all those he nurtured, turned against him and the house of Khilji was wiped out within years of his death. The man responsible for the downfall was none other than Alauddin’s close confidant , who is also often portrayed as his lover, Malik Kafur.
We know very little about the early life of Malik Kafur. What we do know is that he was an extremely good looking eunuch slave owned by a merchant in the port city of Khambat. He was captured by the Khilji armies during the conquest of Gujarat in 1299 CE. Originally a Hindu, Malik Kafur had converted to Islam (hence called ‘Kafur’ from the word ‘Kafir‘ or Unbeliever) and had been bought by his original owner for a price of 1000 dinars, thus earning him the moniker ‘Hazar Dinari’.

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