Ali Mardan Khalji

Ali Mardan Khalji a lieutenant of bakhtiyar khalji and governor of lakhnauti from 606 to 608 AH (1210-1212 AD). He belonged to the Khalji tribe of Afghanistan, came to the subcontinent, enrolled himself in the army of Bakhtiyar, and took part in the latter's Bengal expedition. He was appointed governor of the northeastern region and had Ghoraghat as his headquarters.

After the death of Bakhtiyar Khalji (602 AH/1206 AD), his minister Shiran Khalji of Nagair usurped the power of Lakhnauti. He then attacked Ali-Mardan's Iqta, Barsaul and arrested him. He was kept in confinement under the care of Baba Ispahani. Ali Mardan, however, managed to escape from his confinement and took shelter in Delhi. Though iwaz khalji was an independent ruler in his own admistrative regime, he did not declare independence. By the order of Delhi sultan, in 1207 AD Kayemaz Rumi, Govornor of Ajodhaya Attacked Bengal and in 1208 AD Shiran Khalji was defeated by and fled from Devkot and Husham uddin Iwaz khalji became the ruler of Devkot. On behalf of Delhi Sultan Husham ud-din also became the ruler of Lakhnauti. In the mean time Ali Mardan was associated with a contingent of sultan Qutububuddin to Ghajni. He was kept there for sometimes. Some how he managed to escape and came back to Delhi. He then appointed governor general of Lakhnauti and with a contingent he entered in to Bengal. Iwaz Khalji handed over the charges of the province to Ali Mardan without any confrontation and himself retired to his own place.

Mardan restored political unity in Bengal by subduing the partisans of the Khalji's. He acknowledged the suzerainty of Qutbuddin, but on his death in 1210 AD, Ali Mardan declared independence in Bengal and styled himself as 'Sultan Alauddin'.

As sultan Ali Mardan was capable and vigorous. During the initial period of his reign he sent armies in all directions and thereby lost most of the Khalji nobles. It also appears that he got some ambitious and rival nobles exiled from Bengal by assigning them to different parts of Hindustan.

Though there is no clear evidence as to the extent of his kingdom, it seems that he re-captured Lakhnauti, which Shiran Khalji had abandoned when he marched upon Devkot. During his time Bihar was also within the limits of the Lakhnauti dominion. It is also known that the Rais trembled in fear and sent him tributes and Kharaj. This indicates that probably he was bent on creating panic among the neighboring rulers of Banga, Kamrup and Tirhut. His tyrannical policy made him unpopular and soon the discontented nobles entered into a conspiracy under the leadership of Iwaz Khalji and killed him in 1212 AD. [ABM Shamsuddin Ahmed]