3:38 pm - Thursday October 18, 2018

Heroic Hindu Resistance to Muslim Invaders – by Samudragupta

Heroic Hindu Resistance to Muslim Invaders

author : Samudragupta

As the saying goes, “History is always written by Winner”. In India, the process of history writing began under the tutelage of British. They wished to achieve their vested objective of justifying their invasion of India i.e. White man’s Burden by portraying India as submissive and ineffective state in the face of foreign aggression. The facts were twisted to show that India was never a united nation. It has always been depicted as a no man’s island which invader after invader has claimed as an easy prize and into which diverse races, religions and cultures have acquired an equal legitimacy.

In the process, India’s history has become a history of foreign invaders – Aryans, Iranians, Greeks, Parthians, Scythians, Kushans, Arabs, Turks, Persians, Portuguese, Dutch, French, and British – rather than a history of the greatest civilization which the world has known, and later on of Hindu heroism which fought and ultimately frustrated all foreign invaders.

But in this lecture, we will look Indian History from the perspective of Indian Historian, and not with the eyes of British and their successor Marxist. We will begin our lecture with medieval India, from where Islamic invasion set in motion and we have to face invader that remain permanently settled as a separate communities since its inception. In history of India, invader were always assimilated and absorbed in vast breadth and depth of culture. Islamic invaders were the first one not to get assimilated and did not become an inherent part of India as was the case with earlier invader.

We will look into the history of this crucial and transforming period that changed the face of this country forever. I will give you a blow by blow account of how Hindus fought tenaciously and for a long time for every inch of their homeland in the face of an inveterate enemy inspired by a diabolical creed, he has brought out in bold relief not only the fact that Hindus were second to none when it came to making sacrifices for their motherland but also the fact that Hindus were fighting in defense of something which they valued above their very lives.

The present lecture is an attempt to provide a connected account of the prolonged and sustained efforts made by Indians to stem the tide of early Muslim invaders. For long, historians have emphasized merely the ultimate collapse of the Indians, ignoring completely the resistance offered by them. It is a fact of history that such sustained resistance as encountered by the Muslim arms in India was not faced by them in any other land conquered by them.

The Indian resistance had another facet, which was the outcome of the resolute determination of the Indians to preserve their religious and cultural identity. While country after country, from the straits of Gibraltar to the banks of the Indus, witnessed the rapid Islamization of their individual cultures, even Northern India managed to survive as a predominantly heathen land even after five centuries of Muslim rule.

A new religion, Islam, though preached by the Prophet Muhammad as early as A.D. 610, did not take a deep root in the soil of Arabia till A.D. 630. Two special features distin¬guished the early history of this religion from that of others known in history. Firstly, the militant character of the Prophet himself, who, unlike the founder of any other religion, had to engage in several military campaigns against his own people before they would accept his faith; and secondly, his extreme intolerance of the-existing reli¬gion. After the final conquest of Mecca, in A.D. 630, he ‘entered its great sanctuary and smashed its many idols said to have numbered three hundred and sixty exclaiming: Truth hath come, and falsehood hath vanished!’ The militant character of Islam and its extreme intolerance of other religions, specially those which involved worship of images, marked its subsequent history at every step, and parti¬cularly in India. The fact remains that the spread of Islam almost invariably follow¬ed in the wake of military victories, at least during the early centuries of its history.

The sudden rise of the Arabs in the seventh century A.D as the greatest military power is one of the most remarkable events in the history of the world. The rapid conquests were made by the armies of Islam after the death of its prophet in AD 632. The Byzantine provinces of Palestine and Syria fell to them after a six month’s campaign in AD 636-637. Next came the turn of the Sassanid Empire of Persia which included Iraq, Iran, and Khorasan. The Persians were defeated decisively in AD 637, and their entire empire was overrun in the next few years. By A.D. 643 the boundaries of the Caliphate touched the frontiers of India.

The Turkish speaking territories of Inner Mongolia, Bukhara, Tashkand, and Samarkand, etc. were annexed by AD 650. Meanwhile, in the west, the Byzantine province of Egypt had fallen in AD 640-641. The Arab armies marched over North Africa till they reached the Atlantic and crossed over into Spain in AD 709.

Astonishing as these victories of Islamic armies were, equally amazing was the ease and rapidity with which people of different creeds and races were assimilated within the Islamic fold. Syrians, Persians, Berbers, Turks and others – all were rapidly Islamized and their language and culture Arabicised.

A passage of the Quran which had inspired the Arabs to decimate and denationalise those who were defeated by them: “Fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem till they repeat and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity”.

It was inevitable that the Arabs should cast their covetous eyes on India. The same Islamic armies, however, had to struggle for 69 long years to make their first effective breach in the borders of India. In the next three centuries, they pushed forward in several provinces of Northern and Western India. But at the end of it all, India was far from being conquered militarily or assimilated culturally. The Arab invasion of India ended in a more or less total failure.

Heroic Defence of Kabul and Zabul

The Islamic armies had started attacking Kabul and Zabul soon after they annexed Khorasan in AD 643. It was in AD 650 that the first Islamic army penetrated deep into Zabul by way of Seistan, which at that time was a part of India territorially as well as culturally. The struggle was grim and prolonged. The Islamic army suffered heavy losses. In the final round, the invader was defeated and driven out.

Another attack followed in AD 653. The Arab general, Abdul Rahman, was able to conquer Zabul and levy tribute from Kabul. The king of Kabul, however, proved desultory in paying regularly what the Arabs thought to be their due. Finally, another Arab general, Yazid ibn Ziyad who had been the governor of Seistan for some time, attempted retribution in AD 683. He was killed by the Hindus, and his army was put to flight with great slaughter. The Arabs lost Seistan also, and had to pay 5,00,000 dirhams to get one of their generals, Abu Ubaida, released.

But the Arabs, inspired as they were by an imperialist ideology, did not give up. They recovered Seistan some time before AD 692. Its new governor, Abdullah, invaded Kabul. The Hindus trapped the Arab army in the mountain passes after allowing it to advance unopposed for some distance. Abdullah agreed to cease hostilities, and the king of Kabul agreed to renew payment of an annual tribute. But the treaty was denounced by the Caliph who dismissed Abdullah.

The war against Kabul was renewed in AD 695 when Hajjaj became the governor of Iraq. He sent an army under Ubaidullah, the new governor of Seistan. Ubaidullah was defeated and forced to retreat after leaving his three sons as hostages and promising that “he shall not fight as long as he was governor”. Once again, the treaty was denounced by the Caliph, and another general, Shuraih, tried to advance upon Kabul. He was killed by the Hindus, and his army suffered huge losses as it retreated through the desert of Bust. Poor Ubaidullah died of grief. That was the third round won by the Hindu kingdom of Kabul.

In the next round, Hajjaj commissioned Abdul Rahman once again. He made some conquests but could not consolidate his hold. Hajjaj threatened to supersede him. Abdul Rahman revolted and entered into a treaty with the Hindu king to “carry arms against his master”. The treaty did not work, and Abdul Rahman committed suicide.

And we find the Hindus ruling over Kabul and Zabul in the year AD 867. The Arabs had failed once again to conquer finally another small Hindu principality, in spite of their being the mightiest power on earth. The struggle had lasted for more than two hundred years.

The kingdom of Kabul suffered a temporary eclipse in AD 870 but not on account of the Arabs, nor as a result of a clash of arms. The Turkish adventurer, Yaqub bin Layth, “who started his career as a robber in Seistan and later on founded the Saffarid dynasty of Persia”, sent a message to the king of Kabul that he wanted to come and pay his homage. The king was deceived into welcoming Yaqub and a band of the latter’s armed followers in the court at Kabul. Yaqub “bowed his head as if to do homage but he raised the lance and thrust it into the back of Rusal so that he died on the spot”.

A Turkish army then invaded the Hindu kingdoms of both Kabul and Zabul. The king of Zabul was killed in the battle, and the population was converted to Islam by force. That was a permanent loss to India. But the succeeding Hindu king of Kabul who had meanwhile transferred his capital to Udbhandapur on the Indus, recovered Kabul after the Saffarid dynasty declined. Masudi who visited the Indus Valley in AD 915 “designates the prince who ruled at Kabul by the same title as he held when the Arabs penetrated for the first time into this region”.

The story of the successful resistance of the tiny states of Kabu and Zabul against the Arabs has not obtained its due place in history of India. It is worthy of note, however, that they defied the conquerors of the world and ultimately succumbed, not to the political power of Caliphate, but to the local principalities that arose on its ruins.

Arab failure in Sindh

The Arab invasion of Sindh started soon after their first two naval expeditions against Thana on the coast of Maharashtra and Broach on the coast of Gujarat, had been repulsed in the reign of Caliph Umar (AD 634-644).

The expedition against Debal in Sindh met the same fate “The leader of the Arab army, Mughairah, was defeated and killed.” Umar decided to send another army by land against Makran which was at that time a part of the kingdom of Sindh. But he was advised by the governor of Iraq that “he should think no more of Hind”. The next Caliph, Usman (AD 646-656), followed the same advice and refrained from sending any expedition against Sindh, either by land or by sea. The fourth Caliph, Ali (AD 656-661), sent an expedition by land in AD 660. But the leader of this expedition and “those who were with him, saving a few, were slain in the land of Kikan (land of Jaths) in the year AH 42 (AD 662)”. Thus the four “pious” Caliphs of Islam died without hearing the news of a victory over “Sindh or Hind”.

The next expedition was dispatched to take Debal in AD 708. Its two successive commanders, Ubaidullah and Budail, were killed and the Arab army was routed. When Hajjaj, the governor of Iraq, asked the Caliph for permission to send another expedition, the Caliph wrote back: “This affair will be a source of great anxiety and so we must put it off, for every time an army goes, [vast] numbers of Mussalmans are killed. So think no more of such a design.”

The caliph was at first unwilling to sanction the risky expedition, but ultimately gave his consent to the request of Hajjaj. Hajjaj thereupon sent Ubaidullah to raid Debal, but was defeated and killed. A second expedition was sent under Budail by way of sea from Oman. He was met by Jaisimha, son of Dahar. A Pitched Battle ensued, which lasted a whole day. At the end, the Muslim army was routed and Budail was killed.

But Hajjaj was a very tenacious imperialist. He sent his nephew as well as son-in-law, Muhammad bin Qasim, with this army in AD 712, Hajjaj said: “I swear by Allah that I am determined to spend the whole wealth of Iraq that is in my possession, on this expedition.”

Muhammad reached Debal and with the help of heavy siege materials sent by sea, stormed the fortress. According to Chach-nama, which has described the battle in detail, Dahar fought with valor and on the second day the Mus¬lim army was nearly routed. “The infidels”, so runs the account, “made a rush on the Arabs from all sides and fought so steadily and bravely that the army of Islam became irresolute and their lines were broken up in great confusion.” As was customary with Indian kings Dahar, seated on an elephant, led the vanguard of his army. He was an easy target and an arrow struck him in the heart. The death of the king was followed by a complete rout of his army.
The Chachnãma which is the most famous Muslim history of the Arab conquest of Sindh, describes graphically what Muhammad bin Qasim did after that “accursed Dahir” had been “dispatched” while defending the fort of Rawar: “Muhammad took the fort and stayed there for two or three days. He put six thousand fighting men, who were in the fort, to the sword and shot some (more) with arrows. The other dependents were taken prisoner with their wives and children” When the number of prisoners was calculated, it was found to amount to thirty thousand persons amongst whom thirty were the daughters of the chiefs, and one of them was Rãî Dãhir’s sister’s daughter whose name was Jaisiya. They were sent to Hajjãj
How did Hajjãj react towards these helpless people from Sindh? The Chachnãma continues: “When the head of Dãhir, the women and the property all reached Hajjãj, he prostrated himself before Allah, offered thanks-giving and praises…and said Hajjãj then forwarded the head, the umbrellas, and wealth, and prisoners to Walîd the Khalifa.”
The behaviour of the Amîr-ul-mu’minîn, (commander of the faithful) was also true to type. The Chachnãma relates “When the Khalifa of the time had read the letter (of Hajjãj), he praised Allah the great. He sold some of those daughters of the chiefs, and some he granted as rewards. When he saw the daughter of Rãî Dãhir’s sister he was much struck with her beauty and charms, and began to bite his finger with astonishment. Abdullah bin Abbãs desired to take her, but the Khalifa said: “O my nephew! I exceedingly admire this girl and am so enamoured of her that I wish to keep her for myself. Nevertheless, it is better that you take her to be the mother of your children’.”
Meanwhile, Muhammad bin Qasim had been conspiring with some merchants of Brahmanabad and promising protection to the common people, provided they committed treason and threw open the gates of the fort in the thick of the fight. He had some doubts whether he had done the right thing. He referred the matter to Hajjãj in a letter which was sent post haste. According to Chachnãma, Hajjãj replied as follows: “O my cousin! I received your life-inspiring letter…I learnt that the ways and rules you follow are confirmable to the Law (of Islam), except that you give protection to all, great and small, and make no distinction between enemy and friend. Allah says – Give no quarter to infidels but cut their throats. Or “The great God says in the Quran: “O true believers, when you encounter the unbelievers, strike off their head.” Then know that this is the command of Allah the great. You should not be too ready to grant protection, because it will prolong your work. After this, give no quarter to any enemy except to those who are of rank. This is a worthy resolve, and want of dignity will not be imputed to you.”
So Muhammad bin Qasim carried out the command of Allah conveyed to him by Hajjãj. The Chachnãma carries the story forward after the fall of Brahmanabad: “When the plunder and the prisoners of war were brought before Qãsim and enquiries were made about every captive, it was found that Lãdî, the wife of Dãhir, was in the fort with two daughters of his by other wives. Veils were put on their faces and they were delivered to a servant to keep them apart. One fifth of all the prisoners were chosen and set aside: they were counted as amounting to twenty thousand in number, and the rest were given to the soldiers. He sat on the seat of cruelty, and put all those who had fought to the sword. It is said that about six thousand fighting men were slain, but according to some, sixteen thousand were killed.
After “peace” had thus been restored, the conqueror took the next step. The Chachnãma records: “Muhammad bin Qãsim fixed a tax upon all subjects according to the laws of the Prophet. Those who embraced Islam were exempted from slavery, the tribute and poll-tax, and from those who did not change their creed a tax was exacted according to three grades.”
Another massacre followed at Askalanda which was surrendered by the common people after the Hindu commandant had fled: “He went into the fort, killed four thousand fighting men with his bloody sword and sent their families into slavery.” And Multan: “Six thousand warriors were put to death, and all their relations and dependents were taken as slaves.”
It is interesting to note that, according to the same authority, the Muslim prisoners, both male and female in Sindh; they reported to Muhammad that they had received very good treatment while they were in prison.
The Chachnãma chooses a Brahmin of Multan to proclaim Muhammad bin Qãsim’s momentous victory in the following words: “Heathenism is now at an end, the temples are thrown down, the world has received the light of Islam, and mosques are built instead of idols temples.” The Brahmin was a new convert.
An intriguing question arose in respect of the right of the Hindus to maintain and construct their temples and carry on wor¬ship as before. Muhammad had begun the practice of building mosques in place of temples. But after the conquest of the whole of Sindh was over, this question was placed before him by the priests of temples. They represented that ‘the temples were lying desolate and in ruins*, and asked for ‘permission to visit the temples and to worship what they worshipped before.” Qasim did not accept their request.

In pursuance of the general policy Muhammad wrote letters to the rulers calling upon them all to surrender and accept the faith of Islam, and appointed to high offices those who adopted the new religion. This policy was continued even after the death of Mu¬hammad.

Many kings including even Jaisimha, the son of Dahar, accepted Islam and adopted Arab names. That the new faith was adopted more for material good than from their conviction, is shown by the fact that within a few years of his conversion Jaisimha quarreled with the governor of Sindh, apostatized, and declared war against him.

Muhammad was successful & occupied the whole of Sind & Multan. But as soon as he was recalled in AD 714, “the people of India rebelled, and threw off their yoke”

[Muhammad-ibn-Qasim cruel death – Muhammad-ibn-Qasim was undoubtedly a great general and his remarkable victories gave the Muslims the first foothold on Indian soil. Unfortunately, far from his achievements being appreciated and properly rewarded at home, he met with a cruel end even while he was engaged in making further conquests. The death of Hajjaj in A.D. 714, and that of Caliph Walid in the year following, brought evil days for him. The new Caliph was an enemy of Hajjaj and wreaked his vengeance on the members of his family. Muhammad was recalled to Iraq where, with certain other adherents of Hajjaj, he was put to death by torture.]

The defeat of Dahar and the conquest of Sindh by Muhammad – bin – Qasim opened the flood gates of Muslim colonization in this remote corner of India. Subsequently, Islamic army, reconquered Sindh, and advanced through Rajputana upto Ujjain in the east and Broach in the south. “But the success of the Arab armies was short-lived. Their advance to the south was signally checked by the Chalukya ruler of Lat (S. Gujarat), Pulakesin Avani-Janasraya. The Navasari inscription (A.D. 738) records that Pulakesin defeated a Tajika (Arab) army which had defeated the kingdoms of Sindhu, Cutch, Saurashtra, Cavotaka, Maurya and Gurjara and advanced as far south as Navasari where this prince was ruling at this time. The prince’s heroic victory earned him the titles of “solid Pillar of Dakshinapatha (Dakshinapatha-sadhata) and the Repeller of the Unrepellable (Anivarttaka-nivartayi)”. The Gwalior inscription of the Gurjara-Pratihar King, Bhoja I, tells us that Nagabhatta I, the founder of the family who ruled in Avanti (Malwa) around A.D. 725, defeated the army of a powerful Mlechha ruler who invaded his dominions”. The Gurjara-Pratiharas were known to the Arab historians as “kings of Jurz”. Referring to one of these kings, an Arab historian wrote that “Among the princes of India there is no greater foe of the Mohammaden faith than he”

The Arabs also made advances to the north of Sindh into the Punjab and towards Kashmir. Here they were blocked and driven back by Lalitaditya Muktapida (AD 724-760) of Kashmir. He was in alliance with Yasovarman of Central India. “He is said to have ordered the Turushkas to shave off half of their heads as a symbol of their submission.”

Arab travellers to India of the 10th century “all speak of only two independent Arab principalities with Multan and Mansurah as their capitals”.

Neither of the two states was very powerful. Multan was always in dread of the mighty Pratihara power. The Pratihara army frequently marched against Multan, and its Muslim ruler secured his safety by playing upon the religious sentiment of the Hindus”. Multan would have been lost by the Arabs but for a Hindu temple. In A.D 951 that in Multan “there is an idol held in great veneration by the Hindus and every year people from distant parts undertake pilgrimages to it” When the Indians make war upon them and endeavour to seize the idol, the inhabitants [Arabs] bring it out pretending that they will break it and burn it. Upon this the Indians retire, otherwise they would destroyed Multan.”

Even according to the testimony of the Muslims, the Pratihara’s could have easily conquered Multan that guarded the flank of every possible route which a future Muslim conqueror from the outside would have to follow. That they were deterred from doing this by the fear that the holy images at Multan might be broken by the Muslim ruler of the place, only shows a lack of foresight and statesmanship and a deplorable want of rationality on the part of the Hindu leaders. If they had possessed even a general knowledge of the poli¬tical condition of the lands immediately outside the borders of India on the west, they would have made serious efforts to defend India against the almost inevitable danger of Muslim invasion. The first steps in this direction should have been to drive away the Muslims from the petty principalities which they still held in Sindh and to establish a strong garrison in Multan and other strategic places in the Punjab.

Thus after three centuries of unremitting effort, we find the Arab dominion in India limited to two petty states of Multan and Mansurah. And here, too, they could exist only after renouncing their iconoclastic zeal and utilizing the idols for their own political ends. It is a very strange sight to see them seeking shelter behind the very budds, they came here to destroy.

It has to be kept in mind all along that the Arab empire in this period was the mightiest power on earth. Compared to this monolithic and highly militarised giant, the Hindu principalities of Sindh and other border areas were no better than pygmies.

From a political or missionary point of view, he writes, “the Arab conquest of Sindh was certainly a minor affair. The Arab conquest of other countries, outside India, had been followed by wholesale conversions and supplanting of local institutions by Islamic ones” The Islamic law had divided unbelievers into two classes, viz., the People of the Book (Ahl-i-Kitãb), the possessors of Scriptures – the Jews and the Christians – and the idolaters. The former were not to be lawfully molested in any way so long as they accepted the rule of the conquerors and paid the Jezia. But for the idolaters, the choice was between Islam and death. In Central Asia, the idolaters had been rooted out. But this experiment failed in Sindh as Islam was confronted with a faith which, though idolatrous, defied death and looked at life in this world as one link in the eternal chain of births and deaths.

The attitude of the Muslim conqueror of Sindh towards its people serves as a general pattern of Muslim policy towards the subject Hindus in subsequent ages. Something no doubt depended upon individual rulers; some of them adopted a more liberal, others a more cruel and intolerant attitude. But on the whole the frame¬work remained intact, for it was based on the fundamental princi¬ples of Islamic theocracy. It recognized only one faith, one people, and one supreme authority, acting as the head of a religious trust. The Hindus, being infidels or non-believers, could not claim the full right of citizens. At the very best, they could be tolerated as zimmis, an insulting title which connoted political inferiority and a low status of helplessness, like a minor under a guardian.

The Islamic State regarded all non-Muslims as its enemies, to curb whose growth in power and number was conceived to be its main interest. The ideal preached by even high officials was to ex¬terminate them totally, but in actual practice they seem to have followed an alternative laid down in the Quran [(IX. 5) “And when the sacred months are passed, kill those who join other gods with God wherever ye shall find them.”] that calls upon the Muslims to fight the unbelievers till they pay jizia with due humility. This was the tax which the Hindus had to pay for permission to live in their ancestral homes under a Muslim ruler.

The standard text-books of Indian history taught in our schools and colleges do not highlight at all the stupendous failure of the Islamised Arabs in the face of heroic Hindu resistance. What they highlight instead is the series of successful raids made by Mahmud Ghaznavi into the heartland of India, and the subsequent crumbling of Hindu kingdoms in North India before the determined onslaughts of Muhammad Ghuri.
The two Islamic invaders are presented as the rulers of a small sultanate in Afghanistan as against the powerful Hindu kingdoms of the Shahiyas, the Gurjara-Pratiharas, the Parmaras, the Rashtrakutas, the Chandellas, the Chaulukyas, the Chauhans, the Gahadvads, and the Senas. The impression that is left at the end of it all is that northern India was more or less a walk-over for the “warriors of Islam”.
The Ghaznavids and the Ghurids in this story are not rulers of small principalities; they are formidable powers with the resources of vast empires at their disposal.

Mahmud Ghaznavi
Mahmud of Ghazni was the ruler of the Ghaznavid Empire from 971 A.D to 1030 A.D. Mahmud turned the city of Ghazni into a wealthy capital and a cultural centre of an extensive empire. The empire originally compromising of modern Afghanistan, northeastern Iran and eventually northwestern India (now Pakistan) through his conquests. Mahmud of Ghazni (971-1030) was the first sultan of the Ghaznavid dynasty in Afghanistan.
The Shahiya Struggle with Mahmud
Mahmud led his first invasion against the Shahiyas of Udbhandapur in AD 1001 when he advanced upon Peshawar. Raja Jayapala was caught unawares, and could not mobilise all his forces in time. The lack of a standing army was to prove the undoing of many Hindu princes in days to come. In contrast, the Muslim militarists always maintained their armed hordes in a permanent state of mobilisation. Even so, the Hindus fought an obstinate battle in the face of overwhelming odds. They, however, depended upon slow moving elephants which proved a poor match for the highly mobile Muslim cavalry. They were defeated and Jayapala himself was made captive. But Mahmud did not dare annex any Indian territory. He released Jayapala in exchange for fifty elephants. He had had a taste of Hindu heroism, and beat a hasty retreat. On the other hand, Jayapala thought himself unworthy of the throne he occupied, and burnt himself on a funeral pyre to which he set fire with his own hands. This was a demonstration of the Hindu sense of honour, which no defeated Muslim marauder could ever match.
Jayapala’s successor, Anandapala, proved equally valiant. He refused passage to Mahmud’s armies on their way to Multan in AD 1005-06. This led to a battle which Anandapala lost. His son, Sukhapala, was taken prisoner and converted to Islam. Mahmud had to rush back to Ghazni to meet an attack from the west. He left his Indian possessions in the hands of Sukhapala who, however, soon returned to the Hindu fold. Here was an opportunity for Anandapala to attack the Sultan from the east. But Anandapala proved too magnanimous to take advantage of the difficulty in which his adversary was placed. Instead, he offered to go to the aid of Mahmud with a sizable force. “Anandapala thus lost the only chance of crushing an enemy and was soon to pay the penalty.”
Mahmud invaded India again in AD 1008. According to Firishta, Anandapala “sent ambassadors on all sides inviting assistance of other princes of Hindustan, who now considered the expulsion of Mohammadans from India as a sacred duty. Accordingly the Rajas of Ujjain, Gwalior, Kalinjar, Kanauj, Delhi and Ajmer entered into a confederacy and collecting their forces advanced towards Punjab” The Indians and Mohammedans remained encamped [at Waihind] for forty days without coming into action.. The Hindu women, on this occasion, sold their jewels and melted down their gold ornaments to furnish resources for the war. Mahmud “ ordered six thousand archers to the front to endeavour to provoke the enemy to attack his entrenchments”.
The Khokhars “penetrated into Mohammadan lines where a dreadful carnage ensued and 5000 Mohammadans in a few minutes were slain”. Utbi admits that “the battle lasted from morning till evening and the infidels were near gaining victory”. Firishta reports that Mahmud “saw his plight and sent some of his elite warriors to attack the elephant on which Anandapala was sitting and directing the contest”. The elephant took fright from “the naptha balls and flights of arrows and turned and fled”. That broke the morale of the Hindu army. It was neither the first nor the last occasion on which the Hindu army became an uncontrollable rabble and suffered defeat and slaughter simply because the elephant carrying its commander turned tail. The Muslim armies were more disciplined.
The Shahiya king with his son, Bhimapala (known as Nidar Bhima), now established a new seat at Lohara (Lohkot) on the border of Kashmir. Mahmud tried to storm it in AD 1015. Firishta tells us that “this was the first disaster that the Sultan suffered in his campaigns against India. After some days he extricated himself with great difficulty from his peril, and reached Ghazni without having achieved any success.” For obvious reasons, comments Dr. Misra, the contemporary Muslim historians do not mention this particular expedition.
The Shahiyas were no longer in a position to arrest the forward march of Mahmud. Nor was Mahmud in a position to dislodge them from Lohara so long as a single scion of the dynasty remained alive. “Trilochanapala was killed in A.D. 1021, and his son Bhimapala five years later (A.D. 1026)”, fighting Mahmud all along at different places and in league with different Hindu princes.

Years later, The Hindu Shahiya dynasty is now extinct. The Shahis fought with valor and tenacity for nearly fifty years. They ultimately collapsed against the repeated onslaughts of the Turks, led by one of the greatest generals their race has produced but not before three generations of the Shahi kings had sacrificed themselves on the battlefield.
Mahmud Fails against the Chandellas
The next Hindu dynasty to offer resolute resistance to Mahmud Ghaznavi was that of the Chandellas of Kalanjar and Khajuraho. The Chandella contemporary of Mahmud was Raja Vidyadhara. He had fought and killed Rajyapala, the Gurjara-Pratihara ruler of Kanauj, for abjectly “surrendering his territories to the Musalmans”. Trilochanapala and his son, Bhimapala had joined him along with several other Hindu princes in order to stem the tide of Islamic invasion. The Ghaznavi marched against Vidyadhara in AD 1018. “He sent a messenger to Nanda (as Vidyadhara was called by the Muslims) asking him to become a Muslim and save himself from all harm and distress. Nanda returned the reply that he had nothing to say to Mahmud except on the battlefield.” Mahmud ascended an elevated spot to survey the Hindu host. According to Nizamuddin Ahmad, a medieval historian, “Then when he saw what a vast host it was, he repented of his coming and, placing the forehead of supplication on the ground of submission and humility, prayed for victory.” Fortunately for him, the Hindus did not engage him in battle immediately; they made a strategic retreat. Mahmud also promptly “set out for Ghazni”. He had obtained neither plunder, nor prisoners of war. Hindus could have destroyed him had they pursued him in his retreat. But that was a vision which Hindus had lost. Pursuit of a retreating enemy was contrary to the Rajput code of honor.
Raid on Somanatha

In 1024, he resumed his expedition against India. The object of his attack this time was the famous temple of Somanatha. The temple stood on huge blocks of stone, and its roof was supported by 56 wooden pillars “curiously carved and set with pre¬cious stones”. The pyramidal roof was made of 13 stories, and was surmounted by fourteen golden domes. The girth of the ling a was 4 feet 6 inches, and its height above the base was 7 feet 6 inches. A portion of the linga, 6 feet in height, was hidden beneath the base. In front of the chamber there was a chain of gold, 200 mans in weight, attached to a bell, which was rung by shaking the chain from time to time for specific purpose.

1,000 Brahmanas were appointed to perform the worship of the linga and for conducting the devotees into the temple. There were 300 barbers for shaving the heads and beards of the pil¬grims. 350 person, both male and female, were employed to sing and dance before the linga every day. All these people received daily allowances from the temple funds. The in¬come of the temple was derived from the 10,000 villages endowed to it, and from the offerings of the devotees. The temple possessed vast wealth in gold, silver, pearls, and rich jewels which had been accu¬mulated in course of centuries.

When Ghazni heard of this sanctity and veneration of Somanatha, he determined to des¬troy Somanatha with a view to striking at the root of their faith in the divinity of their chief idol. Mahmud marched from Ghazni to Multan at the head of 30,000 cavalry and a multitude of volun¬teers.

He advanced towards Nahrwala, identical with Anahillapataka, the capital of Gujarat. At the sudden and unexpected appearance of the Sultan, the king of the country, Bhima I, who belonged to the Chaulukya dynasty, fled, probably to Kanthakot, 16 miles north-east of Anjar, in Kutch (Cutch). The Sultan occupied the city and collected fresh provi¬sions there. From this place he marched to Mundher and thence to Dewalwara, modern Delvadaj 40 miles east of Somanatha. In the course of his advance through the desert between Mundher and Dewalwara, he had to fight his way through 20,000 enemy troops. He also met with stiff resistance at Dewalwara, which he succeeded in breaking down after a short encounter. The people of the place were put to the sword and their temples demolished.

Mahmud reached Somanatha in the middle of January, 1025, and found their a strongly defended fortress on the sea-shore. The following day the Sultan began the assault, and forced the Hindus to leave their position on the wall by discharging showers of arrows at them. The Muslims then speedily placed a ladder and climbed up to the battlements. This action was followed by a fierce fight in which a large number of people lost their lives. But before the Muslims could consolidate their position they were attacked violently by a fresh batch of Hindus, who came out of the temple of Somanatha after a prayer for strength and courage. The Muslims were unable to withstand this onslaught, and were forced to retreat from the city. Next day the Sultan renewed the operation with greater intensity, against which the brave resistance offered by the Hindus was of no avail. Having failed to check the enemy’s advance, they all crowded in front of the gate of the temple of Somanatha. The Muslims pursued them there, and then followed a terrible carnage. Bands of Hindus in succession entered the temple to pray with all their hearts for victory, and then coming out of it rushed against their enemies, only to be killed. In this way more than 50,000 Hindus sacrificed their* lives to defend the honour of their deity. The few survivors, who attempted to escape by sea, were pursued by the Muslims and put to the sword. The Sultan made a triumphal entry into the temple, broke down the Sivalinga into pieces, and took possession of the vast wealth it contained, said to have been worth 20,000,000 dirhams. The temple was then razed to the ground. The fragments of the Siva-linga were carried to Ghazni, where they were made to serve as steps at the gate of the Jami Mosque—an act of profanity imitated by later Muslim rulers.

Mahmud halted at Somanatha for a fortnight. He was very much concerned about a safe return journey to Ghazni with the vast wealth he had acquired. The iconoclastic zeal which he showed at Somanatha deeply wounded the religious susceptibility of the neigh¬bouring chiefs, who, under the leadership of Paramadeva, were now ready to obstruct him en route. So to avoid any major clash he decid¬ed to follow the way through Kutch and Sindh.

He crossed over to Sindh, and engaged a guide to conduct him safely over the desert. The guide, who was a devotee of Somanatha, and was looking for an opportunity to avenge himself of the wrong done to his god, led the Muslim army to a dreary part of the desert where there was no water available for miles around. The treachery was immediately detected, and the guide was put to death, the Sultan, in despair, resumed his march praying to the Almighty for deliverance, and luckily reached a place where he got the neces¬sary supply of water. He proceeded from that place to Mansurah, about 43 miles north-east of Haidarabad, defeated its ruler Khafif, an apostate Muslim, and then, following the upper course of the Sindhu, advanced towards Multan. On his way thither he was greatly troubled by the Jats. His long and perilous journey ended in A.D. 1026 when he reached Ghazni.

Countries far and near showered praise on him for his success at Somanatha. The Caliph sent him a congratulatory letter, and conferred titles on him and on his two sons and brothers. He further communicated to him that whoever among his sons would be nominated by him as his successor to the throne of Ghazni would receive his recognition.
Plunder of Mahmud Ghaznavi and his Son
It was not only Somanatha that bear the burnt of Ghazni’s iconoclastic zeal, he spared no temple that came in his way. He destroyed images, killed thousands of people that are impossible to count.
In 1011 AD he plundered Thanesar which was undefended, destroyed many temples, and broke a large number of idols. The chief idol that of Chakraswamin, was taken to Ghazni and thrown into the public square for defilement under the feet of the faithful.
According to Tãrîkh-i-Yamînî of Utbi, Mahmud’s secretary, “The blood of the infidels flowed so copiously [at Thanesar] that the stream was discoloured, notwithstanding its purity, and people were unable to drink it. The Sultãn returned with plunder which is impossible to count. Praise to Allah for the honour he bestows on Islãm and Muslims.”
In 1013 AD Mahmud advanced against Nandana where the Shahiya king, Anandapal, had established his new capital. The Hindus fought very hard but lost. Again, the temples were destroyed, and innocent citizens slaughtered.
Utbi provides an account of the plunder and the prisoners of war: “The Sultãn returned in the rear of immense booty, and slaves were so plentiful that they became very cheap and men of respectability in their native land were degraded by becoming slaves of common shopkeepers. But this is the goodness of Allah, who bestows honour on his own religion and degrades infidelity.”
In 1018 AD Mathura was the next victim. Mahmud seized five gold idols weighing 89,300 miskals and 200 silver idols. According to Utbi, “The Sultãn gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naptha and fire, and levelled with the ground.” The pillage of the city continued for 20 days.
Mahmud now turned towards Kanauj which had been the seat of several Hindu dynasties. Utbi continues: “In Kanauj there were nearly ten thousand temples”
Many of the inhabitants of the place fled in consequence of witnessing the fate of their deaf and dumb idols. Those who did not fly were put to death. The Sultãn gave his soldiers leave to plunder and take prisoners. “The Brahmins of Munj, which was attacked next, fought to the last man after throwing their wives and children into fire. The fate of Asi was sealed when its ruler took fright and fled. According to Utbi, “the Sultãn ordered that his five forts should be demolished from their foundations, the inhabitants buried in their ruins, and the soldiers of the garrison plundered, slain and captured”.
Shrawa, the next important place to be invaded, met the same fate. Utbi concludes: “The Muslims paid no regard to the booty till they had satiated themselves with the slaughter of the infidels and worshippers of sun and fire. The friends of Allah searched the bodies of the slain for three days in order to obtain booty” The booty amounted in gold and silver, rubies and pearls nearly to three hundred thousand dirhams, and the number of prisoners may be conceived from the fact that each was sold for two to ten dirhams. These were afterwards taken to Ghazni and merchants came from distant cities to purchase them, so that the countries of Mawaraun-Nahr, Iraq and Khurasan were filled with them, and the fair and the dark, the rich and the poor, were commingled in one common slavery.”
Mahmud’s son Masud tried to follow in the footsteps of his father. In 1037 AD he succeeded in sacking the fort of Hansi which was defended very bravely by the Hindus. The Tãrîkh-us-Subuktigîn records: “The Brahmins and other high ranking men were slain, and their women and children were carried away captive, and all the treasure which was found was distributed among the army.” Masud could not repeat the performance due to his preoccupations elsewhere.

The Muslim chroniclers naturally regard Mahmud as one of their greatest kings and a great champion of Islamic faith. His well-deserved title to fame rests on the great military skill he displayed on innumerable occasions.

But his iconoclastic zeal and avarice, beyond measure, which figure so conspicuously in his Indian expeditions, inevitably loom large in Indian eyes, and all his great qualities pale into insignificance. By his ruthless destruc¬tion of temples and images he violated the most sacred and cherish¬ed sentiments of the Indian people, and his championship of Islam therefore merely served to degrade it in their eyes such as nothing else could.

He drained India of enormous wealth and destroyed much of India’s manpower by his repeated expeditions. This ex¬haustion of economic resources and manpower told upon the future political destiny of India. In particular the destruction of the Shahi kingdom, which barred the gates of India against foreign invaders, dealt a severe blow to its future independence. The inclusion of the Punjab and Afghanistan in the kingdom of Ghaznl made the Islamic conquest of India a comparatively easy process. It was no longer a question of whether, but when that mighty flood would overwhelm the country as a whole.

Dharma Yudha vs. Jihad
The world famous historian, Will Durant has written in his Story of Civilisation that “the Mohammedan conquest of India was probably the bloodiest story in history”.
India before the advent of Islamic imperialism was not exactly a zone of peace. There were plenty of wars fought by Hindu princes. But in all their wars, the Hindus had observed some time-honoured conventions sanctioned by the Sãstras. The Brahmins and the Bhikshus were never molested. The cows were never killed. The temples were never touched. The chastity of women was never violated. The non-combatants were never killed or captured. A human habitation was never attacked unless it was a fort. The civil population was never plundered. War booty was an unknown item in the calculations of conquerors. The martial classes who clashed, mostly in open spaces, had a code of honour. Sacrifice of honour for victory or material gain was deemed as worse than death.
Islamic imperialism came with a different code – the Sunnah of the Prophet. It required its warriors to fall upon the helpless civil population after a decisive victory had been won on the battlefield. It required them to sack and burn down villages and towns after the defenders had died fighting or had fled. The cows, the Brahmins, and the Bhikshus invited their special attention in mass murders of non-combatants. The temples and monasteries were their special targets in an orgy of pillage and arson. Those whom they did not kill, they captured and sold as slaves. The magnitude of the booty looted even from the bodies of the dead, was a measure of the success of a military mission. And they did all this as mujãhids (holy warriors) and ghãzîs (kãfir-killers) in the service of Allah and his Last Prophet.
Hindus found it very hard to understand the psychology of this new invader.

Perfidy Wins Where Valor Failed
The theologians of Islam had laid down, in the opening years of this imperialist ideology, that the kãfirs who could not be subdued by force should be subverted by fraud. The prophet of Islam had himself initiated the first lessons in this lore when he practised what came to be known as Siyãsat-i-Madînah in later times, that is, to take the kãfirs one by one and that too when they are least expecting an attack. One of his famous sayings, sanctified as his Sunnah, was that “war is perfidy”. This hadîs came in handy to Muizzuddin Muhammad bin Sam who is known in Indian history as Muhammad Ghuri.
By the time of Ghori, the Islamic armies of the Arabs and the Turks had struggled successively for nearly 540 years in order to seize the heartland of India, and to convert the whole country into a Dãr-ul-Islam. But they had succeeded only in occupying the frontier areas of Kabul, Zabul, the North-West Frontier Province, Multan, and parts of Punjab and Sindh. This was small consolation compared to the victories of Islam elsewhere, and that, too, in a far shorter span of time.

The New Alignment of Forces
The Yaminis (Ghaznavids) had been overthrown in Afghanistan by the new dynasty of Shansabanis (Ghurids). Muhammad Ghuri was installed at Ghazni in AD 1173 by his elder brother, Ghiyasuddin, who had himself ascended the throne at Ghur in AD 1163. The task of conquering India was assigned to Muhammad Ghuri while his brother was extending the Ghurid empire towards the west.
Muhammad Ghuri knew that he could throw out the Ghaznavids whenever he chose. His problem was the three Hindu kingdoms which were blocking his way into the heartland of Hindustan. Besides the Chauhans of Delhi and Ajmer, India at that time had two more powerful kingdoms arrayed against the Muslim invader – the Chaulukyas (Solankis) of Gujarat and the Gahadavads of Kanauj.
Defeat in Gujarat
Mahmud Ghaznavi’s successful raid on Somanath, one hundred and fifty years earlier, had encouraged Ghuri to imagine that Gujarat was an easy prey. He was dreaming of reaching Somanath, and repeating the “pious performance” of Mahmud. Muslim historians had been gloating over Mahmud’s raid throughout the long interval, without remembering the difficulties with which the raider had subsequently secured his escape.
Muhammad Ghuri advanced upon Gujarat in AD 1178 with a large army. Merutuñga writes in his Prabandha-chintãmaNi that “the mother of young Mularaja, queen Naikidevi, the daughter of Parmardin of Goa, taking her son in her lap, led the Chaulukya army against the Turushkas and defeated them at Gadararaghatta near the foot of Mount Abu”. One inscription states that “during the reign of Mularaja even a woman could defeat the Hammira [Amir]”.
Muhammad Ghuri did not lead another expedition against a Hindu prince for the next 12 years. His experience in Gujarat was too traumatic to be forgotten in a fit of megalomania. He employed the interregnum in occupying the Ghaznavid possessions in India till he reached Lahore in AD 1186. Now he stood face to face with Prithiviraja III, the famous Chauhan ruler of Ajmer (AD 1177-1192) whose feudatory, Govindaraja, was stationed at Delhi. Prithvirãja-vijaya tells us that the Chauhan ruler was fully alive to the rise of a “beef-eating Mlechha named Ghori in the north-west who had captured Garjani [Ghazni]” Hammîra-mahãkãvya of Nayachandra Sûri states that Prithviraja defeated Muhammad Ghuri at least seven times while Prabandha-chintãmaNi of Merutuñga and Prithvirãjarãso of Chand Bardai put the number of Prithviraja’s victories at twenty-one. Muslim historians – Minhaj, Firishta, and others – on the other hand, mention only two battles between these two rulers, one in AD 1191 and the other a year later. “Dasharatha Sharma reconciles these two versions by suggesting that the Ghorid generals began raiding the Chahmana [Chauhan] territories soon after the occupation of Lahore in AD 1186 but were beaten back by the Chahmana forces. Muslim historians have ignored them altogether.”

Defeat at Tarain
It was only in AD 1191 that Muhammad Ghuri “caused the forces of Islam to be organised and advanced against the fortress of Tabarhindah (Sirhind) and took that stronghold”. This was a frontier fortress held by a Chauhan feudatory. Prithviraja now advanced with his own army and met Muhammad Ghuri at Tarain.
Before the onslaught of the Chahmana army, the right and left flanks of the Muslim army broke down and took to flight. Govindaraja, who forthwith drove his elephant towards Ghori. The Sultan finding him in front darted a spear, which succeeded in breaking two of his teeth. Govindaraja in return threw a javelin which caused a deep wound in the Sultan’s arm. The Sultan was about to fall from his horse in agony when a Khalji soldier rushed to his rescue. The valiant warrior sprang on the horse with a lightning speed, gave him support with his arms, and took the horse out of the battlefield.
Prithviraja could have now easily consummated his victory by chasing and annihilating his routed enemy. But, instead, he allowed the defeated Muslim army to return unmolested. This magnanimity, though in accord with the humane dictums of the Hindu Shastras, was completely unsuitable against a ruthless enemy who recognised no moral or ideological scruples in the attainment of victory. The Hindus lacked the capacity to comprehend the real nature of their ruthless adversaries and the new tactics needed to encounter their challenge to Indian independence.
Prithviraja was evidently a general of high order, but he lack¬ed political foresight. It was a grave defect with the Indian chiefs that in their fight with the Muslims they always chose to be on the defensive. The result was that their adversaries, even when they were defeated, could escape annihilation if they could only with¬draw from the battlefield. Prithviraja was not free from this drawback. At this time the rule of the Maliks of Ghur was not firmly established in the Punjab. Prithviraja ought to have pur¬sued the disabled Sultan to the Punjab after his victory in the first battle of Tarain, and made an attempt to root out the Muslim rule there. His task would have been easy, as it was not possible for his opponents there to avail themselves of the service of their great leader. But far from doing this, and even without making any suitable arrangement for the defence of the fort of Tabarhindah, which guarded his north-western frontier, he retired to Ajmer, and the dreadful consequence followed.
Resort to Deceit
In order to avenge himself of the defeat sustained at the hands of Prithviraja, Muhammad Ghori, after strenuous labour, an army of one hundred and twenty thousand men. He came with this force to Lahore via Peshawar and Mul-tan.

About this time the Sultan sent an emissary named Rukn-ud-din Hamzah to Ajmer with a proposal to Prithviraja for embracing Islam and acknowledging his supremacy in order to avoid the dread¬ful consequence of the war. The Chahamana king treated the pro¬posal with the contempt it deserved, and rallied his forces, which consisted of 300,000 horse, 3,000 elephants and a large body of infantry. Many Rajas of Hindustan helped him, and one hundred and fifty chiefs joined him with the determination of either defeat¬ing the Muslims or dying on the battlefield.

Muhammad Ghori, after conquering Tabarhindah, met him there. Prithviraja sent a letter to him, requesting him to withdraw his army, being content with the possession of Tabarhindah and the Punjab. This gave the Sultan an opportunity to defeat his enemy by a stratagem. He replied that he could not retreat without the Permission of his brother at whose command he led this invasion. He however agreed to a truce till he received instruction from his brother on this matter. The Chauhan army, relying on the assurance of the sultan went on merrymaking during the night. The Sultan instructed a batch of soldiers to keep the light in the camp burning in order to make a show before the enemy that the Muslims were encamped, and made preparation for sudden attack. He marched with the main body of his soldiers throughout the night by a different route and attacked the rear of the enemy.

A confusion broke out in the Chauhan army. By the afternoon the Chahamanas got extremely tired, when the Sultan with the bigger division made a vigorous attack and completely overpower¬ed them. One lakh of the Hindu soldiers lost their lives. Govin-daraja, the chief of Delhi, fell fighting on the battlefield, and the Sul¬tan recognised him through the absence of his two teeth which he had broken in the last engagement. In this predicament Prithvi¬raja got down from his elephant and, mounting a horse, fled away. He was overtaken by the Muslim army in the neighbourhood of Sursuti, which seems to be identical with the Sarasvati, and was taken prisoner. This battle took place in A.D. 1192.

The Muslims now occupied Delhi and marched into Ajmer. He demolished the temples there, and built mos¬ques and Islamic colleges on their ruins. Prithviraja who had been made captive and who refused to swear submission, was beheaded and his son was installed as the new king.
Rajput resistance was still continuing in the countryside. Ghori wanted to mollify the patriots by means of a show boy. But that was of no avail. Hariraja, the younger brother of Prithviraja, reoccupied Ajmer in AD 1193. He also planned to attack and take Delhi again. The plan failed because Ghuri had assembled another big army for his march on the Gahadavad kingdom of Kanauj. Hariraja committed suicide. He was too ashamed to live after so many of his people had embraced death in defense of their country and culture, and after he had remained unsuccessful in redeeming his own pledge.
Jayachandra, the Gahadavad ruler of Kanauj, had not only kept aloof from the battles raging to his south and west; he had also rejoiced in the defeat of the Chauhans, the traditional rivals of the Gahadavads in the bid for supremacy over North India. But Jaychandra and his successor were defeated badly. The main centres of Hindu power in North India had thus collapsed after the defeat of the Chauhans and the Gahadavads.
Hindu Resistance Continues
Ghuri’s lieutenant Qutbuddin Aibak was also busy meanwhile in attacking. Hasan Nizami writes that after the suppression of a Hindu revolt at Kol (Aligarh) in 1193 AD, Aibak raised “three bastions as high as heaven with their heads, and their carcases became food for beasts of prey. The tract was freed from idols and idol-worship and the foundations of infidelism were destroyed.” In 1194 AD Aibak destroyed 27 Hindu temples at Delhi and built the Quwwat-ul-Islãm mosque with their debris. According to Nizami, Aibak “adorned it with the stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by elephants”.
In 1195 AD the Mher Rajputs around Ajmer rose in revolt. And the Chaulukya ruler of Gujarat came for their assistance. According to Hasan Nizami, a contemporary historian, “The action lasted the whole day and the next morning that immense army of Naharwala [Anhilawara, capital of Gujarat] came to the assistance of the vanguard, slew many of the Musalmans, wounded their commander, pursued them to Ajmer and encamped within one parasang of the place.” Aibak rushed messengers to Ghazni, crying for help. “It was only after a very large army was despatched to reinforce him, that Aibak could be rescued.”
Aibak, in turn, invaded the kingdom of Gujarat in AD 1197. The Chaulukyan army again faced the Muslims at the foot of Mount Abu where Ghuri had been defeated in AD 1178. The Muslim army became nervous and dared not attack. When the Rajputs, thinking that the Aibak was trying to avoid engagement, came out into the open, the Turks made a sudden onslaught. “It is clear from Hasan Nizami’s account that the army of Islam advanced under the cover of darkness of night and caught the Chaulukyan army unprepared at dawn.” The Hindus were defeated this time. 50,000 men are said to have been slain and 20,000 taken captive. The Muslims mercilessly sacked the capital city, Anhilawara, defiled and demolished its temple and plundered its palaces. But the Muslims could not hold Gujarat for long.
On his return to Ajmer, Aibak destroyed the Sanskrit College of Visaladeva, and laid the foundations of a mosque which came to be known as Adhãî Din kã Jhopra. Conquest of Kalinjar in 1202 AD was Aibak’s crowning achievement. Nizami concludes: “The temples were converted into mosques.” Hindu resistance, however, did not cease. The Muslims had occupied the big cities and the fortified towns. But they had no hold on the countryside which was seething with revolt.

The very first factor was the lack of a forward policy vis-a-vis the Muslim invaders. What the Rajputs really lacked was a spirit of aggression so conspicuous among the Muslims, and a will to force the war in the enemy’s dominions and thus destroy the base of his power.
Secondly, the military organisation of the Rajputs was inferior as compared to that of the Muslims. The Rajputs depended mainly on feudal levies assembled on the spur of the moment. These feudal levies with no unity of training and organisation, coming together at the last moment, fighting under the leadership of and for their individual leaders, could not be expected to beat back an enemy united in purpose and organisation and acting as on coordinate unit. A medieval Muslim historian quoted by Dr. Misra said so in so many words: “A commander with a heterogeneous army consisting of soldiers – a hundred from here and a hundred from there – cannot achieve anything. An army with so varied and so many component elements has never been able to achieve anything great.”
Thirdly, “The cavalry and mounted archers of the invading armies gave them a decisive superiority over the home forces. The Indian rulers too maintained cavalry units. But the Arabic and Turkoman horses were much better adapted to warfare” The second strong point of the Turkish military machine was its mounted archery. Their deadly arrows easily covered a range of eighty to hundred paces… Reference to archery among the Indian armies after the age of the epics is conspicuous by its absence.
Lastly, “the strategy and tactics employed by the invaders on the battlefield proved decisive in their favour. Indians failed to keep pace with the developments of military strategy taking place in Central Asia before the advent of Islam. The Arabs and Turks perfected them” Besides, the traditional Rajput chivalry looked upon the battle as a ritual or a tournament for displaying their fighting skill and swordsmanship under well-recognised rules of sport. Did not Manu, the ancient law-giver proclaim “A battle was ideally a gigantic tournament with many rules: a warrior fighting from a chariot might not strike one on foot; an enemy in flight, wounded or asking a quarter, might not be slain; the lives of enemy soldiers who had lost their weapons were to be respected; poisoned weapons were not to be used; homage and not annexation was the rightful fruit of victory.”
The Arabs and the Turks, on the other hand, knew no rules and waged a grim and ruthless struggle to destroy their enemies. Feints and sudden attacks, manoeuvering under the cover of darkness and pretending defeat and flights, keeping a large reserve to be used only at critical moments – all these took the Indians by surprise and crippled their fighting capacity. The Indians never tried to take advantage of their enemy’s weakness and perhaps considered it unchivalrous to do so. Such magnanimity on the part of Indian kings was a sure invitation to disaster against a ruthless foe who recognised no moral or ideological scruples in the pursuit of victory.
Secondly, “rich plunder acted as a good supplement to the religious zeal of the Muslims. The Muslim practice of dividing the spoils of war between the leader and the soldiers might have encouraged the soldiers to follow their leaders through thick and thin.” The Hindu soldiery had no such incentive. Hindu religion and culture forbade such beastly motives for “bravery”. But this was the very basis on which Muslim brotherhood had been organised from the very beginning. In its behaviour towards non-Muslim societies, it has always been a brotherhood of bandits. These are the lessons we have to learn from the history if we want to deal effectively with the new wave of Islamic aggression which is now trying to engulf us from within and without. Islam is still far from being cured of its self-righteousness

1) Ghazni son and successor
Muslim generals under Masud, Mahmud’s successor, led some raids into farther India from their base in the Punjab. One of them was Ahmad Nialtigin. He surprised Benares, stayed there for a day, and returned with plunder. Another general, Salar Masud who was a son of Mahmud’s sister, reached up to Bahraich in north U.P. where he and his large army were surrounded by Hindu princes, and destroyed. Hindu princes now took the offensive against the Muslim invaders. Dr. Misra cities Firishta as follows: “In the year A.H. 435 (A.D. 1043) the Raja of Delhi, in conjunction with other Rajas took Hansy, Thanesur, and other dependencies from the governors to whom Modood (the successor of Masud) had entrusted them. The Hindus from thence marched towards the fort of Nagarkota [Kangra] which they besieged for four months and the garrison being distressed for provisions and no succour coming from Lahore was under the necessity of capitulating. The Hindus according to their practice erected new idols… The successor of the Raja of Delhy gave such confidence to the Indian chiefs of Punjab and other places that… they put on the aspect of lions. Three of these Rajas advanced and invested Lahore. In the final round, Hindus failed to take Lahore. But they kept their hold over other places in the Punjab for quite some time.
During this period the Paramara Bhoja and Kalachuri Karna, who occupied dominant position in Northern India, struck terror into the minds of the Muslim by their military power. Both are known to have led expedition even into the heart of the muslim territory of Punjab. After the death of Bhoja Paramara in AD 1055 and Raja Karna of Kalchuri in AD 1072. Muslims again cast their greedy eyes on Hindustan.
Ibrahim’s successor, Masud III (AD 1099-1115), fared no better. The armies of Islam were defeated repeatedly by Govindachandra, the Gahadavad ruler of Kanauj. Inscriptions of Hindu princes around this period “speak again and again of the rout of Turushka armies. These may refer either to the failure of feeble attempts which might have still been made by the Yamini (Ghaznavid) kings to extend their dominions in India or to the extermination of isolated pockets of Muslim domination beyond the Punjab.”
One of the worst defeats suffered by the Muslims was at the hands of Arnoraja, the Chauhan ruler of Ajmer (AD 1133-1151). “The Muslim commander fled before the Chauhans. Muslim soldiers died of exhaustion and an equal number perished from thirst. Their bodies lay along the path of retreat and were burnt by the villagers. A Chauhan prasasti of Ajmer Museum, line 15, states: “The land of Ajmer, soaked with the blood of the Turushkas, looked as if it had dressed itself in a dress of deep red colour to celebrate the victory of her lord.”
A Hindu counter-attack was launched after Vigraharaja (AD 1153-1164), the successor to Arnoraja, conquered Delhi and Hansi from the Tomaras. “His repeated victories led him to the claim of “having rendered Aryavarta worthy of its name by the repeated extermination of the Mlechhas.” All territories south of the river Sutlej seem to have been freed from Muslim rule.
A free-lance adventurer, Muhammad Bakhtyar Khalji, was moving further east. In 1200 AD he sacked the undefended university town of Odantpuri in Bihar and massacred the Buddhist monks in the monasteries. In 1202 AD he took Nadiya by surprise. Badauni records in his Muntakhãb-ut-Tawãrîkh that “property and booty beyond computation fell into the hands of the Muslims and Muhammad Bakhtyar having destroyed the places of worship and idol temples of the infidels founded mosques and Khanqahs”.
He advanced into Assam. But his army was destroyed by the king of Kamarupa. He was able to escape with his own life and about a hundred followers. But his army was slaughtered so that he fell sick due to excessive grief and died or was murdered in sick bed by a Muslim rival. “The Musalman invasion of the Brahmaputra valley was repeated on several occasions during the next five centuries of Muslim rule over north India, but most of these expeditions ended in disaster and Islam failed to make any inroads into the valley.” The present plight of the Hindus of Assam at the hands of Muslim infiltrators is entirely due to that “peaceful penetration” which was helped in the 20th century, first by the British patrons of the Muslim League and, later on, by vote-hungry Hindu politicians of the ruling party in independent India.
3) Muhammad Ghori died.

Muhammad Ghori defeated the Khokars in a hotly contested battle between the Jhelum and the Chenab rivers. The Khokars fought bravely from the morning to the afternoon, and were on the point of gaining victory, when the arrival of Aibak with the forces of Hindustan turned the tide against them. The Khokars were treated with ferocious cruelty. Large numbers were killed and taken prisoners, and a body of them, who took shelter in a dense jungle, perished miserably as the Muslims set the forest on fire. Mu’izz-ud-din reached Lahore on February 25, 1206, and after settling affairs there, proceeded towards Ghazni. On the way he was stabbed on March 15 in his tent at Damyak on the bank of the Sindhu river.

Muslims had two more advantages in addition to their aggressiveness and superiority in the art of warfare. During this long period of Indian resistance the infiltration of Arabs, and later on the Turks, continued almost unabated into India, both through armed invasions as well as through peaceful migration from Central Asia. The Hindus, true to their catholicity of religious outlook and rich tradition of tolerance, never obstructed the peaceful immigrants and even zealously granted them security and full religious freedom. The greatest Chishti saint of India, Shaikh Muinuddin Chishti, came to Ajmer just before the battles of Tarain and was able to attract a number of devoted followers. It is all the more remarkable that this Hindu tolerance towards the Muslim merchants and mystics should have continued even after the invasions of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. As Professor Habib points out, “the far-flung campaigns of Sultan Mahmud would have been impossible without an accurate knowledge of trade routes and local resources, which was probably obtained from Muslim merchants.” The same can be said to hold good about the invasions of Muhammad Ghori or Qutbuddin Aibak. The sufis were working not only as the spies of Islamic imperialism but also as deceivers of gullible Hindu masses.

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