Conquests of Muhammad of Ghur in India, 1175-1206

Conquests of Muhammad of Ghur in India, 1175-1206

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Conquests of Muhammad of Ghur in India, 1175-1206

The conquests of Muhammad of Ghur (1175-1206) established the first great Muslim empire in Northern India, stretching from the Punjab to Bengal. Muhammad was the younger brother of Ghiyas ud-Din, who for most of his life was Sultan of Ghur. Muhammad acknowledged his brother's superior rule, and served him loyally, before finally inheriting the sultanate after his brother's death in 1202/3. During the perid of his greatest successes in India Muhammad was his brother's viceroy in Ghazni, and spend much of his time campaigning in Afghanistan or eastern Persia.

Muhammad first entered India in 1175, when he defeated the Karmathian Muslim rules of Multan, in upper Sind. His first attack on a Hindu ruler came in 1178, when he advanced south from Multan into Gujarat to attack Raja Bhimdev II. After a difficult journey across the desert Muhammad's army suffered a heavy defeat at Kayadara, a village near Mount Abu, and Muhammad was forced to retreat back across the desert. This victory saved Gujarat from conquest by Muhammad or his subordinates, although the capital city of Anhilwara was sacked in 1197.

His next target was Khusrau Malik, the last Ghaznavid ruler, whose capital was at Lahore. Khusrau was a weak ruler who relied on support from the Khokhar tribe to stay in power. The basic outline of Muhammad's campaign against Khusrau is clear, although some aspects of the dating are less so. In 1179 or 1180 Muhammad took Peshawar from its Ghaznavid governor. His first attack on Lahore came in 1180 or 1181, and was probably with the support of the Khokhars. Khusrau Malik was forced to surrender his best elephant and his oldest son as a hostage. Muhammad then moved on to build a fortress at Sialkot.

This was too close to home for the Khokhars, who switched sides and supported Khusrau Malik in an unsuccessful siege of Sialkot. This brought Muhammad back to India, for a second siege of Lahore. In 1186 Khusrau Malik was captured, probably after coming out of Lahore under a flag of safe conduct to negotiate terms. He and his son were sent west to Muhammad's brother, where they were later executed, probably in 1192 as part of the prepatarions for a campaign in the west.

With the last Ghaznevid presence eliminated Muhammad turned his attentions east, towards the Ganges plains. In the winter of 1190-91 he captured the fortress of Bhatinda, part of the kingdom of Prithviraha Chauhana III of Delhi and Ajmer. Prithviraha responded by raising a vast army, and winning a major victory over Muhammad at the first battle of Taraori or Tarain (1191). While Prithviraha concentrated on the siege of Bhatinda, Muhammad raised a new army, and in the following year won his won victory at Taraori (1192). Prithviraha was killed in the battle, and large parts of northern India were exposed to conquest.

After this victory Muhammad returned to Ghazni, leaving Qutb al-din Aibek as his viceroy in India. Aibek served Muhammad just as loyally as Muhammad served his brother. It was Aibek who captured Delhi during the winter of 1192-93, and after Muhammad's death it would be Aibek who became ruler of his Indian empire.

Muhammad returned to India in 1193 (1194 in some sources) to deal with a threat from Jaichand Gaharwar, the ruler of Benares and Kanauj. Jaichand was killed in a battle at Chandwar, and his kingdom soon became part of Muhammad's expanding empire. Benares itself was sacked, and a number of temples destroyed.

After this victor Muhammad once again returned to Ghazni leaving Aibek in command in India. At some time in 1195-97 Aibek returned to Gujarat, looting the capital, although he was unable to conquer the area. A series of minor campaigns occupied the next few years in northern India allowing Aibek to secure Muslim rule, before in 1203 Aibek conquered Kalinjar.

Bengal was conquered by another of Muhammad's subordinates, Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji. In around 1202-1204 he captured Nabadwip, the capital of Lakshman Sen, forcing Lakshman to flee south. Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji ruled Bengal from Lakhauti until 1206, when he was murdered during the retreat from an unsuccessful invasion of Assam.

The beginning of the end for Muhammad of Ghur came in 1205, when he suffered a massive defeat at Andkhui at the hands of Shah Ala ud-Din Mohammed of Khwarezm. News of this defeat spread across Muhammad's empire, triggering widespread revolts. Things only got worse when Muhammad ordered Aibek to deal with the revolt in India, leaving himself free to focus on the war against Khwarezm. This helped convince the rebels that Muhammad must have been killed at Andkhui. The Khokars, along with a number of other tribes, and led by Rai Sal, defeated the deputy governor of Multan, plundered Lahore and blocked the road from the Punjab to Ghazni.

This convinced Muhammad that he would have to deal with the revolt in person. Late in 1205 he reached Peshawar, before engaging the Khokars in a day-long battle that ended in victory only after Aibek arrived with reinforcements. Muhammad had successfully regained control of his Indian empire, and prepared for a new campaign in the west, but in March 1206 he was murdered on the banks of the Indus, either by a band of Khokars or by Isma'ili assassins.

By the time of his death Muhammad had succeeded his brother, and ruled a massive empire that included modern Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India. This empire quickly split into its component parts. Aibek took control of the Indian part of the Empire, although probably didn't proclaim himself as Sultan. That would be left to his successors, but despite this Aibek is generally seen as the founder of the Sultanate of Delhi, and of the Slave Dynasty that would rule until 1290.

Establishment of Turkish Rule in India | Indian History

In this article we will discuss about the Invasions of Turks (11th-12th Centuries) and the establishment of Turkish rule in India.

The credit of establishing the Muslim rule in India goes to the Turks. The leadership of Islam was captured from the Arabs first by the Persians and then by the Turks. In the beginning, the Turks were barbaric hordes and their only strength was their power of arms. But, in less than a century, they converted themselves into extremely cultured people and succeeded in preserving the best elements of the Islamic culture even against the onslaughts of the Mongols.

The Turks were new converts to Islam and therefore, proved more fanatical in their religious zeal as compared to the Persians and the Arabs. They also believed in the superiority of their race. Thus, with confidence in the superiority of their race, inspired by their new religion, determined to propagate Islam and relying on the strength of their arms, the Turks conquered a large part of western Asia and, ultimately, moving towards the east penetrated into India.

Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni was the first to penetrate deep into India. He was successful in breaking up the military strength of the Hindus and plundering the wealth of India. But, he did not establish his empire here. The credit of establishing the Muslim empire in India goes to Muhammad of Ghur who followed him after a lapse of nearly 148 years.

Mahmud of Ghazni:

The Yamini dynasty generally known as Ghazni dynasty, claimed its origin from the family of Persian rulers. During the course of Arab invasion, the family fled to Turkistan and became one with the Turks. Therefore, the family has been accepted as Turk. Alptigin founded the independent kingdom of this dynasty. He snatched away the kingdom of Jabul, with its capital Ghazni, from Amir Abu Bakr Lawik in 963 A.D., but he died the same year.

He was succeeded by his son Is-haq who ruled only for three years. Then, the throne was captured by Balkatigin, the commander of the Turkish troops. Balkatigin was succeeded by his slave, Pirai, in 972 A.D. But Pirai was a cruel king. His subjects invited Abu Ali Lawik, son of Abu Bakr Lawik, to invade Ghazni.

Jayapala, the ruler of the neighbourly Hindushahi kingdom, who did not like the rise of a strong Muslim state at his border, also sent his army to help Abu Ali Lawik. But they were defeated by Sabuktigin, son-in-law of Alptigin. The success of Sabuktigin against the enemies of Ghazni enhanced his prestige. He, ultimately, dethroned Pirai and himself became the ruler of Ghazni in 977 A.D.

Sabuktigin was a capable and ambitious ruler. Slowly, he conquered Bust, Dawar, Ghur and a few other nearby places. Towards the east lay the Hindushahi kingdom of east Afghanistan and Punjab. Sabuktigin started attacking its boundaries and occupied a few forts and cities. The Shahi ruler, Jayapala could not ignore these attacks and attempted to crush the rising power of Sabuktigin.

Since then began the long struggle of the kingdoms of Ghazni and Hindushahi which continued till Sultan Mahmud finally extinguished the Hindushahis. Twice Jayapala attacked Ghazni and was supported by certain other Rajput rulers also who sent their contingents to help Jayapala. But both his attempts failed and Sabuktigin succeeded in capturing all the territories which lay between Lamghan and Peshawar.

Thus, the Hindushahi kingdom failed to check the growing power of the Ghaznavids towards the east. However, two conclusions can be drawn out of this conflict between the two.

One, Jayapala knew the danger of the rising power of Islam on his border, tried to check its growth in the very beginning and pursued an aggressive policy for the purpose which we find lacking among other Rajput rulers afterwards. The other, that the Rajput rulers were not indifferent to the rising power of Islam in the west, for which they are often blamed, otherwise, they would not have sent their forces to support Jayapala.

Sabuktigin died in 997 A.D. He nominated his younger son Ismail as his successor before his death But when Ismail ascended the throne, he was challenged by his elder brother, Mahmud who succeeded in capturing the throne of Ghazni just after seven months, in 998 A.D. Mahmud justified his accession, became a powerful ruler, repeatedly attacked India and paved the way of the conquest of India by Islam.

Mahmud was born on 1 November, 971 A.D. He had received a fairly good education and had participated in many battles during the reign of his father. After ascending the throne, Mahmud first consolidated his position in Herat, Balkh and Bust and, then conquered Khurasan.

In 999 A.D., Khalifa Al Qadir Billah accepted him as the ruler of these places and conferred on him the titles of Yamin-ud-Daulah and Amin-ud-Millah. It is said that Mahmud, at this very time, took an oath to invade India every year.

The Causes of the Invasions of Mahmud:

Various reasons have been given by historians which resulted in repeated attacks by Mahmud on India.

1. Mahmud desired to establish the glory of Islam in India. Professor Muhammad Habib has contradicted this view. He says that Mahmud did not possess religious zeal he was not a fanatic he was not prepared to follow the advice of Ulema he was purely a man of this world and his barbaric deeds, instead of raising the prestige of Islam, destroyed its image before the world. Jafar supports him and so is the case with Professor Nazim and Havell.

Jafar opined that he attacked Hindu temples not because of his religious zeal but because he desired to get their wealth. Nazim contends that if he troubled the Hindu kings and looted their wealth, he repeated the same story with the Muslim rulers of Central Asia. Prof. Havell has expressed the view that he could loot Baghdad the same way as he looted Indian cities if he could get wealth from there.

Thus, these historians have maintained that the primary motive of the invasions of Mahmud was not religious but economic. According to them, he desired to possess the wealth of India. But Utbi, the court historian of Mahmud, described the attacks of Mahmud in India as Jihads (holy wars) to spread Islam and destroy image- worship.

Viewed from the circumstances of that age and the religious zeal of the Turks, who were new converts to Islam, it is quite possible also. Besides, Mahmud not only looted the wealth of Hindu temples but destroyed them and the images of Hindu gods. Therefore, it is mostly accepted that one of the aims of Mahmud was the propagation of Islam and establishing its glory in India.

2. Another aim of Mahmud was to loot the wealth of India. No historian has contradicted this view. Mahmud desired wealth for the sake of wealth. Besides, he needed it also to continue his policy of expansion of the empire. Therefore, the wealth of India was alluring for him and he repeated his attacks to acquire more and more wealth from India.

3. Besides, Mahmud had a political purpose also. The Ghaznavids and the Hindushahis were fighting against each other since the reign of Alptigin and the Hindushahi rulers had attacked Ghazni thrice. It was necessary for Mahmud to destroy this aggressive and powerful neighbour. Therefore, he himself pursued an aggressive policy against it. The success against the Hindushahi kingdom encouraged him to penetrate deeper into India.

4. Like all other great rulers of his age, Mahmud also desired to get fame by his conquests and victories and that also constituted one reason of his attacks on India.

The Condition of India at the Time of the Invasions of Mahmud:

Politically, India was divided. There were many kingdoms which constantly fought against each other for fame and extension of their territories. Many of them were quite extensive and powerful but, because of their internal conflicts, none of them could utilise its complete resources, nor could they unite themselves against Mahmud which constituted their primary weakness. Multan and Sindh constituted the two Muslim states of India.

In the north-west was the Hindushahi kingdom whose contemporary ruler was Jayapala. Kashmir was also an independent state and it had family relations with the Hindushahis. The Pratiharas ruled over Kannauj. Its the then ruler was Rajyapala. Mahipala I ruled over Bengal but his kingdom was weak. There were independent kingdoms in Gujarat. Malwa and Bundelkhand as well. In the South, the later Chalukyas and the Cholas had their powerful kingdoms.

Socially, the division of the Hindus into castes and sub-castes had created sharp differences between sections of the society and therefore, had weakened it. Besides the traditional four castes, there was a large section of the people called Antayaja. The hunters, the weavers, the fishermen, the shoe-makers and the people engaged in like professions belonged to this section.

Their position was lower than that of the Sudras. Yet lower in social status were Hadis, Doms, Chandalas, Bagatu etc. who were engaged in the work of maintaining cleanliness but were forced to live outside cities and villages. They were out-castes and untouchables. The position of the lower castes in the society can simply be imagined when we are told that even the Vaisyas were not allowed to study the religious texts.

Al Beruni wrote that if anyone dared to attempt it, his tongue was cut off. Thus, the position of the lower castes, including the Vaisyas had been lowered very much and the caste-system had become very rigid as well. Such a state of affairs had divided the society into several different antagonistic groups.

The position of woman too had deteriorated much and she was regarded simply as an article of pleasure and enjoyment for man. Child marriages, polygamy among males and the practice of Sati among women of higher castes were becoming quite widespread, while marriages of widows were not permitted. All this had weakened the Hindu society. That is why Islam could get here a large number of converts.

There was deterioration in religion and morals as well. Both Hinduism and Buddhism suffered from ignorance and corruption. The people, particularly the rich and upper classes, engaged themselves in corrupt practices, lost the true spirit of religion or, rather, made it an instrument for the fulfillment of their worldly desires.

The temples and the Buddhist monasteries became centres of corruption. The practice of keeping Devadasis in the temples was also a mode of corruption in the temples. Even educational institutions did not remain free from corruption.

The prevalent corruption in social and religious institutions was both a cause and the result of the corruption prevalent in the Indian society in general. Probably, the common people were yet free from that. But corruption in the educated and ruling classes was sufficient to weaken the country. Such a society lacked the desire and the capacity to resist a strong invader.

The deterioration in society and religion led to deterioration in culture as well. The literature and the fine arts also suffered. The temples of Puri and Khajuraho and the books like the Kutini-Matama and the Samaya-Matraka (the biography of a prostitute) represent the taste of the people of that time.

The Hindus had not attempted to improve their arms and the methods of warfare. They largely depended on their elephants. Sword was still their chief weapon and their policy was yet defensive. They neither cared to build forts in the north-west nor adopted any other means to defend their frontiers. Thus, militarily, too, India was weak.

Politically, socially and militarily India was weak at the time of the invasions of Mahmud. The one primary cause of the weakness of the Indians was that they did not try to know, understand and learn from what was happening or the improvements done in neighbouring countries in political, military, social, religious and cultural fields. They, therefore, became ignorant and also developed a false pride.

The statement of Al Beruni helps us in understanding the contemporary attitude of the Indians about themselves. He wrote, “The Hindus believed that there is no country like theirs, no nation like theirs, no king like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs.” Such attitude was the very negation of progress.

He also wrote, “The Hindus did not desire that a thing which has once been polluted should be purified and thus recovered.” Such attitude exhibited the narrow vision of the life of the Indians at that time. Thus, by that time, the Indians had lost their vigour and intelligence. They were not in a position to improve themselves nor did they desire to learn from others.

However, the one thing that India possessed as yet was its wealth. Its agriculture, industries and trade were in a good condition and it had amassed wealth which was concentrated in the hands of upper classes and in the temples. India’s wealth was a temptation for a foreign aggressor. The wealth of India was like the wealth of a weak person which could tempt any strong man to possess it. Mahmud did the same.

The Invasions of Mahmud:

Henry Elliot described that Mahmud invaded India seventeen times. There are no sufficient proofs of that, yet, all historians agree that Mahmud attacked India at least twelve times. His first expedition took place in 1000 A.D. when he occupied a few frontier fortresses. In 1001 A.D., he attacked again. This time Hindushahi king, Jayapala, gave him a battle near Peshawar but was defeated and captured along with his many relations.

Mahmud advanced as far as the capital city of Waihand and then returned to Ghazni after getting good booty. He released Jayapala after getting 25 elephants and 2,50,000 dinars from him. Jayapala could not tolerate his humiliation and burnt himself to death. He was succeeded by his son, Anandapala, in 1002 A.D.

In 1004 A.D., Mahmud attacked Bhera. Its ruler Baji Ray opposed him but was defeated and he killed himself before his capture by the Muslims. In 1006 A.D., Mahmud proceeded to attack the Shia kingdom of Multan. The Hindushahi king, Anandapala, refused to give him passage, fought against him near Peshawar, but was defeated and fled. Mahmud captured Multan in 1006 A.D.

Its ruler, Abu-i- Fath Daud, agreed to pay an annual tribute of 20,000 Dirhams. Mahmud left Nawasa Shah (grandson of Jayapala, who had accepted Islam) as governor of his Indian territories and went back to fight the Seljuq-Turks who were threatening his territories from the north. Daud and Nawasa Shah revolted in his absence and therefore, he came to India in 1008 A.D., defeated them both and annexed all the territories including Multan to his empire.

The Hindushahi kingdom was opposing the Ghaznavids from the very beginning. It had pursued an aggressive policy several times. Besides, it was the only Hindu state which tried to repulse the foreign invaders with the help of other Hindu states. Again, in 1009 A.D., its ruler Anandapala sought support from other Hindu states, collected a large army and proceeded towards Peshawar to challenge Mahmud.

Mahmud fought against him near Waihand and defeated him. Mahmud marched as far as Nagarkot and conquered it. The defeat of Anandapala reduced the strength and the territories of Hindushahi kingdom. Anandapala was forced to accept a treaty with Mahmud who firmly entrenched his power in Sindh and west Punjab. Anandapala shifted his capital to Nandana and tried to build up his lost strength but failed.

He was succeeded by his son Trilochanapala after his death in 1012 A.D. In 1013 A.D., Mahmud attacked Nandana and occupied it. Trilochanapala fled to Kashmir and sought the help of its ruler but Mahmud defeated their combined armies. Mahmud did not attack Kashmir though he plundered the places on its border.

Trilochanapala retired to the Sivalik hills, strengthened his position and also took the help of Vidyadhar, the Chandela ruler of Bundelkhand, but he was again defeated by Mahmud in 1019 A.D. The Hindushahi kingdom was now reduced to the status of a small Jagir. Between 1021-1022 A.D., Trilochanapala was murdered by some unknown person and was succeeded by his son, Bhimapala. Bhimapala died as a petty chief in 1026 A.D., and with him ended the once mighty Hindushahi kingdom of north-western India.

The defeat and decay of the Hindushahi kingdom had encouraged Mahmud to penetrate deeper into India. Besides, the booty which he got in Punjab and Nagarkot had whetted his appetite for Indian wealth. He repeated his raids on India and met no challenge anywhere.

It seemed as if India suffered from paralysis and found itself incapable of fighting against Mahmud, even when he was systematically looting its wealth, dishonouring its women, destroying its temples and images and bringing defame to its people.

In 1009 A.D., Mahmud had defeated the ruler of Narayanpur and plundered its wealth. In 1014 A.D., he attacked Thaneswar, defeated Rama, the chief of Dera and then looted Thaneswar. All the temples and the images of Thaneswar were destroyed, while the principal deity of Chakraswami was taken to Ghazni and placed in a public square for defilement.

In 1018 A.D., Mahmud proceeded to attack Ganga-Yamuna Doab. He first attacked and looted Mathura. The city of Mathura was a beautiful city and a sacred religious place of the Hindus having a thousand temples. Mahmud described its main temple in his Memoirs.

He wrote, “If any one should undertake to build a fabric like that he would expend thereon one lakh packets of a thousand Dinar, and would not complete it in 200 years, and with the assistance of the most ingenious architects.”

There were many huge idols of gold and silver which were studded with costly pearls and diamonds. Mahmud looted the city for twenty days, broke up all the idols and destroyed all the temples. He got enormous booty from Mathura. From Mathura, Mahmud marched to Kannauj.

He encountered resistance from the Hindus at a few places but triumphed over them. Rajyapala, the Pratihara ruler of Kannauj fled and left his capital at the mercy of Mahmud. He looted the city and then destroyed it. He invaded a few more places and then went back to Ghazni.

After the return of Mahmud, Ganda (Vidyadhar) and a few other Hindu chiefs organised a confederacy, attacked and killed Rajyapala who had failed to fight against Mahmud. In 1019 A. D., Mahmud returned to India with a view to punish Vidyadhar. He defeated the Hindushahi ruler. Trilochanapala on the way and reached the border of Bundelkhand, sometimes during 1020-21 A.D.

Vidyadhar faced him with a large army but, for some unknown reason, left the field during the night. Mahmud, who had lost his courage at the sight of so large a force of the Chandelas, felt happy. He ravaged the territories of Vidyadhar and then left. Next year, he came again.

On the way, he forced the ruler of Gwalior to submit and then reached the fort of Kalinjar. The siege of the fort lasted for a long time. Vidyadhar agreed to give Mahmud 300 elephants as tribute and. in return, received the right of governing fifteen fortresses from him.

In 1024. A.D., Mahmud came on his famous expedition to Somanath temple on the coast of Kathiawar. The temple received offerings in different forms from lakhs of devotees daily and had a permanent income from the resources of ten thousand villages It was a beautiful temple and possessed enormous wealth. Its Shiva-linga had a canopy studded with thousands of costly jewels and diamonds.

The chain attached to one of its bells weighed 200 maunds of gold, one thousand Brahamanas were appointed to perform the worship of the linga and 350 males and females were employed to sing and dance before the deity. The temple of Somanath was wonderful but the pride of their priests was unique who claimed that Mahmud could do no harm to their deity and boasted that other deities were destroyed by Mahmud because they had incurred the wrath of god Somanath.

Mahmud proceeded through Multan, reached the capital city of Anhilwara which was left by its ruler Bhima I without offering resistance and reached the temple of Somanath in 1025 A.D. The devotees of the temple offered him resistance but the next day Mahmud entered the temple, looted it and destroyed it afterwards. He returned with a huge booty. He was troubled on the way by his Hindu guides who led his army to a dreary part of the desert. But, ultimately, he reached Ghazni safely with his booty.

Mahmud came back to India for the last time in 1027 A.D. to punish the Jats who had troubled him on his return journey from Somanath. The Jats were severely punished. Mahmud looted their property, killed all males and enslaved their women and children.

Thus, Mahmud attacked India repeatedly. He was never defeated here. He took from India whatever he could and destroyed the rest. Besides engaging himself in loot and plunder, he annexed Afghanistan, Punjab, Sindh and Multan to his empire. Mahmud died in 1030 A.D.

An Estimate of Mahmud’s Character and Achievements:

Mahmud was a courageous soldier and a successful commander. He ranks among those successful generals of the world who have been regarded born- commanders. He possessed the qualities of leadership and knew how to utilise his resources and circumstances in the best possible way. He was a good judge of human nature and assigned work and responsibility to others according to their capacity.

His army consisted of the people of different nationalities like the Arabs, the Turks, the Afghans and even Hindus. Yet, it became a unified powerful force under his command. Thus, Mahmud possessed many virtues. Mahmud was equally ambitious as well. He always attempted to win glory and extend his empire. He had inherited from his father only the provinces of Ghazni and Khurasan.

He converted this small inheritance into a mighty empire which extended from Iraq and the Caspian Sea in the west to the river Ganges in the east and which was, certainly, more extensive than the empire of Khalifa of Baghdad at that time.

It would be wrong to say that Mahmud had succeeded only against the weak and divided Hindu rulers. He had achieved the same success against his enemies in Iran and Central Asia. Therefore, Mahmud ranks among the greatest commanders and empire-builders of Asia.

Mahmud was an educated and cultured person. He was a patron of scholarship and fine arts. He gathered at his court scholars of repute. Al Beruni, the scholar of Turki, Sanskrit, Mathematics, Philosophy, Astrology and History was at his court. The same way Utbi, Farabi, Baihaki, the Iranian poet Ujari, Tusi, Unsuri, Asjadi, Farrukhi and Firdausi, who w ere scholars of repute of his age, were all at his court.

Of course, each of them was a capable person but there is no doubt that the patronage of Mahmud had certainly helped them in enhancing their capabilities. Mahmud established a university, a good library and a museum at Ghazni. He also patronized the artists.

He invited all sort of artists from all parts of his empire, even from foreign countries, and engaged them in beautifying Ghazni. He constructed many palaces, mosques, tombs and other buildings in Ghazni. During his rule, Ghazni became not only a beautiful city of the East but also the centre of Islamic scholarship, fine arts and culture.

Mahmud was a just ruler. He killed his nephew with his own hands when he found him guilty of keeping sexual relations with the wife of another person. He forced prince Masud to present himself in the court and accept the judgement because the prince had failed to pay back the debt of a trader. Many similar stories are known about the sense of justice of Mahmud. Mahmud was successful in maintaining peace and order, protect trade and agriculture and safeguard the honour and property of his subjects within the boundaries of his empire.

Mahmud was a fanatical Sunni Musalman and, what to say of Hindus, he was intolerant even to the Shias. There are many historians like Muhammad Habib who have tried to exonerate him of this charge. But we should also keep in view the opinions expressed by contemporary historians. Al Beruni had criticised his intolerant religious acts. The contemporary’ Muslims regarded him as the champion of Islam and he was titled as Ghazi (slayer of infidels) and the destroyer of images.

The Khalifa honoured him after his successful loot and plunder of the temple of Somanath. The contemporary Islamic world recognized Mahmud as the destroyer of the infidels and the one who established the glory of Islam at distant places like India.

It has been upheld by many scholars that Mahmud destroyed Hindu idols and temples, primarily because of economic reasons. Of course, his one reason was definitely economic. But equally tenable is the view, which was expressed by his contemporaries, that Mahmud engaged himself in these acts because of his religious zeal.

Mahmud desired to acquire wealth or, rather, loved it but, at the same time, spent it also generously. He had agreed to pay Firdausi, his court poet, a golden dinar for every verse composed by him.

But when Firdausi presented before him the Shahnama which consisted of one thousand verses, he offered him one thousand dinars of silver, which Firdausi refused. Of course, he sent one thousand dinars of gold to him afterwards but, by then, Firdausi had died. Professor Brown has observed, “Mahmud tried to acquire wealth by every possible means. Besides that, there was nothing wrong in his character.”

But Mahmud’s greatest weakness was that he was not an able administrator. He did little beyond giving his dominions peace and order. He failed to form a stable empire. His empire existed only during his own life time. As soon as he passed away, the empire was shattered to pieces under his successors. He, thus, failed to establish his empire on certain permanent institutions.

Lane-Poole wrote, “Mahmud was a great soldier and possessed tremendous courage and untiring mental and physical capacity. But, he was not a constructive and far- sighted statesman. We find no laws, institutions or administrative system whose foundations were laid down by him.” He did nothing to consolidate his Indian conquests as well. Thus, Mahmud was, certainly, not a good administrator.

Yet Mahmud was a great Muslim ruler. The Muslim chroniclers regarded Mahmud as one of their greatest kings. In fact, in the history of Islam he was the first ruler who justly deserved the title of Sultan. He ranks among the great rulers of Central Asia. Professor Muhammad Habib writes of him, “Mahmud’s pre­eminence among his contemporaries was due to his ability and not due to his character.”

Mahmud established an extensive empire, brought peace and prosperity within its boundaries, helped in its cultural progress and established the glory of Islam at distant places. Ghazni became the seat of power of Islam and the centre of its progress in culture including education, scholarship and fine arts. It was all due to the success and achievements of Mahmud.

But, in the history of India, Mahmud was a fanatical Sunni Muslim, a barbaric foreign bandit, a plunderer and wanton destroyer of fine arts. In fact, Mahmud was the ruler of Ghazni and not of India. The Punjab, Sindh and Multan, which formed parts of his empire, served the purpose of bases for his invasions deeper into India. He did not care to administer them well. While penetrating deep into India, he simply desired loot, plunder and conversion.

In his every invasion, wherever he went, he looted whatever he could, destroyed what he could not take along with him including Hindu temples and idols, forced lakhs of people to accept Islam, otherwise killed them, took thousands of beautiful women to Ghazni while thousands others were dishonoured here, burnt hundreds of villages and beautiful cities and destroyed fine pieces of art. Thus, to the Indians of his day, Mahmud was a veritable devil incarnate.

It has been said by many scholars that Mahmud made no permanent impact on India. He came like a strong storm and destroyed everything and then passed off. The Indians soon forgot his raids and atrocities and rebuilt their temples, idols and cities. Of course, the Indians forgot his invasions and therefore, paid a heavy price later on. But, it would be wrong to accept that Mahmud left no permanent mark on Indians and Indian history.

Mahmud broke up the economic and military strength of the Indians and also their morale to resist Muslim invaders. Mahmud never met a serious challenge in India and his constant success against the Indians created fear and a defeatist attitude among the Indians that the Muslims were invincible. This fear persisted for long. The inclusion of Punjab, Multan and Sindh in the Ghaznavid empire made easier the advance of later Muslim invaders into India.

Muhammad of Ghur first entered India to snatch away these places from his enemy Ghaznavid ruler. And the most important achievement of Mahmud was the destruction of the Hindushahi kingdom of Afghanistan.

It paved the way for the conquest of India by the Muslims. Dr D.C. Ganguly writes, “The inclusion of Punjab and Afghanistan in the kingdom of Ghazni 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.”

The Successors of Mahmud:

After the death of Mahmud a war of succession ensued between his two sons, Muhammad and Masud, in which Masud emerged victorious and ruled between 1030-1040 A.D. He was defeated by Seljuq-Turks and the throne was offered by his nobles to his brother Muhammad. But, soon after, a son of Masud displaced Muhammad and his son from the throne and occupied it himself.

The Ghaznavid power started to break up during his rule because of the constant pressure of the Seljuq-Turks. Besides, there rose two new powers in Central Asia, viz., the Khwarizms and the Ghurs. Ultimately, the Ghurs captured Ghazni from the hands of the weak Ghaznavids and forced their last ruler Khusrav Shah to seek shelter in Punjab.

Muhammad was from this family of the Ghurs who repeated the adventure of Mahmud of Ghazni in the twelfth century and laid the foundation of Turkish rule in India.

Shahab-Ud-Din Alias Muiz-Ud-Din Muhammad of Ghur:

Ghur is situated at a high altitude of more than ten thousand feet between Ghazni and Herat. Some historians described the Ghur dynasty as Afghans but now it is not accepted. The family was Turk, known as Shansbani and originally belonged to eastern Persia. Primarily, the district of Ghur was agricultural but Ghur was well known in Central Asia for its good horses and steel also which were the most effective means of warfare during those days.

Ghur maintained its independence till the beginning of the eleventh century. In 1009 A.D., however, Mahmud of Ghazni succeeded in defeating the ruler of Ghur who accepted his suzerainty. But with the decline of the Ghaznavids, the rulers of Ghur began to assert themselves and in the beginning of the twelfth century became virtually not only inde­pendent but started contending for power against the Ghaznavids.

The contest for power between the royal families of Ghur and Ghaznavids, ultimately, resulted in the destruction of the Ghaznavids. Ala-ud-din Husain of Ghur succeeded in completely devastating the city of Ghazni and earned the nickname of Jahan Soz. Ala-ud-din was succeeded by his son, Saif-ud-din. Saif-ud-din was succeeded by his cousin Ghiyas-ud-din. Ghiyas-ud-din sent his brother Sahab-ud- din alias Muiz-ud-din Muhammad to conquer Ghazni.

Muhammad conquered Ghazni in 1173-74 A.D. This was the very Muhammad who attacked India in the 12th century and succeeded in establishing his empire in India. While his elder brother tried to extend his empire towards the west and came in conflict with the Khwarizm Shah of Persia, Muhammad tried to extend the empire towards the east. Muhammad always accepted his brother Ghiyas-ud-din as his suzerain till his death, though virtually he enjoyed the status of an independent ruler.

The Causes of the Invasions of Muhammad on India:

Muhammad attacked India due to several reasons.

Historians have accepted the following reasons among them:

1. Muhammad was an ambitious ruler. Like all great rulers of his age he wanted to extend his empire for power and glory. He decided to conquer India for the same purpose.

2. The royal families of Ghur and Ghazni were hereditary enemies and, by that time, the Ghaznavids still ruled in the Punjab. Muhammad after the capture of Ghazni desired to annex Punjab as well to his kingdom so that he could finish the remaining strength of his hereditary enemy and also provide security to its kingdom from towards the east.

3. The ambition of the Ghur dynasty of extending their power towards the west was challenged and checked by the rising power of the Khwarizm dynasty of Persia. Therefore, the next alternative before the Ghurides was to proceed towards the east viz.. towards India. Besides, the responsibility of extending the power of the Ghurides towards the west was on the shoulders of Ghiyas-ud-din. Therefore, Muhammad himself decided to conquer India.

4. Probably, Muhammad also desired to acquire wealth from India and also to extend the sway of Islam and these too tempted him to invade India. But, in no case, these were the basic causes of his invasions.

India at the Time of the Invasions of Muhammad of Ghur:

Nearly 148 years had lapsed after the last invasion of Mahmud in 1027 A.D. as Muhammad’s first attack on India took place in 1175 A.D. But, there was not a single remarkable change in the condition of India except changes in the ruling dynasties and territories of their kingdoms.

Politically, India was divided into many kingdoms, both in the North and the South. Many of them were quite extensive and powerful enough to meet the challenge of a foreign invader but their constant fighting against each other for glory and power constituted their primary weakness because it did not allow them either to unite themselves even in the hour of their greatest danger against a foreign enemy or left them free to utilise their complete resources against him.

At that time, Sindh and Multan were ruled by two independent Shia Muslim rulers while Punjab was in the hands of the last Ghaznavid ruler, Khusrav Shah. Khusrav Shah was not a powerful ruler. He had failed to achieve any success in India. Rather, the Chauhana ruler of Delhi had succeeded in snatching away certain places from him. Gujarat and Kathiawar were ruled by the Chalukyas.

Their capital was Anhilwara. The Chalukyas had lost much of their power by fighting against the Chauhanas of Delhi and Ajmer. Their ruler, then, was Mularaja II. Delhi and Ajmer were ruled by the Chauhanas. There the then ruler was Prithviraja III. Prithviraja III was a capable commander and an ambitious ruler. He had successfully fought against his neighbouring kingdoms.

Therefore, he had provoked the jealousy of all of them. He had defeated and disgraced the Chalukyas of Gujarat, snatched away Mahoba from the Chandela ruler Paramaladeva and, by eloping with the daughter of Jayachandra, ruler of Kannauj, had provoked his permanent enmity. Prithviraja III was, no doubt, a chivalrous and daring ruler but he lacked farsightedness and diplomatic shrewdness.

Therefore, he failed to receive any support from any of his powerful neighbours in his fight against the Muslim invader. The Gaha- davalas ruled over Kannauj. Their empire was most extensive in north India at that time and their then ruler was Jayachandra. Chandelas ruled in Bundelkhand while the Palas and the Senas ruled in Bengal. The South was similarly divided politically and was totally indifferent to the fate of north India.

There was no change in Indian society as compared to the conditions of the eleventh century except that a large section of Muslims had settled in many parts of India peacefully. These small colonies of the Muslims were not effective in any way directly in the Indian politics but were certainly useful indirectly as any Muslim invader could get some sympathy and, at times, certain useful information from these colonists. Except this, India had not changed itself socially, culturally or militarily since the days of the invasions of Mahmud.

The Invasions of Muhammad and the Establishment of Turkish Rule in India:

Muhammad first attacked Multan in 1175 A.D. and conquered it easily. Next he annexed Uch and lower Sindh to his territories. In 1178 A.D., Muhammad attacked Gujarat. Mularaja II faced him near Mount Abu and defeated him. This was the first defeat of Muhammad in India. Afterwards, he changed his route to India. He next attempted through Punjab.

Muhammad conquered Peshawar in 1179, attacked Lahore after two years and received huge presents from the last Ghaznavid ruler, Khusrav Shah, conquered Sialkot in 1185 A.D. and attacked Lahore again in 1186 A.D. He imprisoned Khusrav Shah by treachery and occupied the entire territories of Punjab. Khusrav was murdered, later on, in 1192 A.D.

After the capture of Punjab, the boundaries of the kingdoms of Muhammad and Prithviraja III, the Chauhana ruler of Delhi and Ajmer, touched each other.

In 1198 A.D., Muhammac attacked and captured Bhatinda. He was planning to go back when he received the news of the advance of Prithviraja against him with a view to recapture Bhatinda. Muhammad proceeded forward to face him. The enemies met each other in the battlefield of Tarain, 80 miles from Delhi, and the first battle of Tarain took place in 1190-91 A.D.

Muhammad was defeated in the battle. The Hammir-Mahakavya describes that Muhammad was taken prisoner by Prithviraja but left free with grace. But this view is not accepted by historians. Muhammad was wounded and taken to a place of safety by a Khalji noble. The Muslim army was routed and the battle was completely won over by the Rajputs. Prithviraja, thereafter, attacked the fort of Bhatinda but could capture it only after thirteen months. Muhammad could not forget his defeat the battle of Tarain.

Prithviraja had not only humiliated him but had also blocked his way to conquer India. Muhammad prepared himself well, collected a strong force of one hundred and twenty thousand men and then proceeded towards India to avenge his defeat. After the capture of Bhatinda, Muhammad marched again to the plain of Tarain.

Though Prithviraja came with a large army to face him but was decisively defeated. He tried to flee but was taken prisoner. He was taken to Ajmer and, as Professor Hasan Nizami says, he accepted the over lordship of Muhammad but, when found guilty of a conspiracy against Muhammad, was sentenced to death.

Hence the second battle of Tarain, fought in 1192 A.D., proved to be one of the decisive battles of Indian history. It settled the future course of Indian history and as Dr D.C. Ganguly writes: “The defeat of Prithviraja in the second battle of Tarain not only destroyed the imperial power of the Chahamanas (Chauhanas), but also brought disaster on the whole of Hindustan.”

The battle opened the way for the conquest of India by the Muslims. Ajmer and Delhi both were occupied by Muhammad which paved the way for his further conquests in India. Besides, the battle definitely weakened the morale of other Rajput rulers to resist the Muslim invader.

After leaving Qutb-ud-din Aibak as Governor of Delhi and Ajmer, Muhammad went back. Aibak consolidated the Indian conquests of Muhammad, suppressed the revolts of the Chauhanas at Ajmer, made Delhi the capital of Muslim kingdom in India in 1193 A.D. and conquered Meerut, Bulandshahar, Aligarh, etc., in the absence of Muhammad.

Muhammad came back to India in 1194 A.D. This time his target was the kingdom of Kannauj. Jayachandra, the ruler of Kannauj, had enmity with Prithviraja III and therefore, had not helped him against the Turks. Now, he too had to face Muhammad alone. The battle between Muhammad and Jayachandra took place near Chandawar on the river Yamuna, between Etawah and Kannauj.

The Rajputs were defeated and Jayachandra was killed in the battle. Muhammad proceeded as far as Banaras and occupied all the important places of the kingdom of Kannauj, though its conquest was consolidated afterwards slowly and gradually. Now, there remained no other powerful kingdom in north India to resist Muhammad’s armies.

Leaving Aibak again, Muhammad went back. Aibak consolidated his fresh conquests and suppressed the different revolts which took place at Ajmer, Aligarh, etc. Muhammad came back to India in 1195 A.D. This time he conquered Bayana and attacked Gwalior.

Pratihara chief, Sulakshanapal accepted the suzerainty of Muhammad and peace was granted to him. Muhammad entrusted the command of the territories between Rajputana and Doab to Baha-ud-din Tughril and went back. Tughril captured the fort of Gwalior in his absence after one and a half years of fighting.

Muhammad could not come back to India for some next years and the responsibility of consolidating his conquests in India rested on his governors here, particularly on Aibak. A serious revolt in Rajasthan was suppressed by Aibak after much difficulty. Thereafter, Aibak attacked Gujarat and plundered its capital Anhilwara, in 1197 A.D.

Aibak also conquered Badaun, Banaras and Chandawar which were lost to the Turks and, thus, consolidated the conquest of Kannauj. One of the most important conquests of Aibak was that of Bundelkhand. The Chandela ruler, Paramaladeva, was now the only independent Rajput ruler in Central India and the fort of Kalinjar was regarded impregnable.

Aibak attacked it in 1202-1203 A.D. Paramaladeva died during this period of fighting but the Chandelas fought under the leadership of his minister, Ajavadeva. But, ultimately, the Chandelas had to leave the fort, which was occupied by Aibak. Aibak occupied Mahoba and Khajuraho as well.

The conquest of Bengal and Bihar was not attempted either by Muhammad or Aibak but by a petty noble named Ikhtiyar-ud-din Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji. Ikhtiyar-ud-din Khalji began his career as an ordinary soldier and received a few villages as his jagir from his master Hisam-ud-din Aghul Eak, the governor of Oudh. There Ikhtiyar-ud-din collected a small force of his own followers and started raiding the nearby territories of Bihar. To his surprise, he found that nobody tried to oppose him anywhere.

That increased his ambitions. He went on increasing his resources and his soldiers. In 1202-1203 A.D., he attacked Odantapuri and plundered the Buddhist monastery there. Next, he conquered Nalanda and Vikramasila as well. Lakshamana Sena, the ruler of Bengal, took no steps to check him so far and, ultimately, paid the price for his neglect. Ikhtiyar-ud-din attacked Nadia, the capital of Bengal, in 1204-1205 A.D.

He moved so fast that he left the bulk of the army much behind himself and reached the palace-gates with only eighteen horse-men. Lakshmana Sena felt that the Turks had made a surprise attack and fled out of fear. In the meantime, the Turkish army also reached there and Ikhtiyar-ud-din plundered Nadia. East Bengal remained with Lakshmana Sena, while south-west Bengal was occupied by Ikhtiyar-ud-din for Muhammad of Ghur.

He established his headquarters at Lakhnawati. Ikhtiyar-ud-din tried to conquer Tibet also but the expedition failed miserably. He had to return from near the border of Tibet because of geographical hazards. On his return journey, he was troubled by the hill-tribes and the soldiers of the State of Kamrupa.

He could reach Devakot only with one hundred soldiers. There he fell ill and was murdered by one of his own lieutenants, Ali Mardan. But before his death, he had brought Bihar and a large part of Bengal under Turkish control which was not even imagined by Muhammad or Aibak.

When the nobles of Muhammad were extending and consolidating his empire in India, he himself was busy fighting against the Khwarizm Shah of Persia. Muhammad’s elder brother, Ghiyas-ud-din had died in 1202 A.D. and therefore, Muhammad had become the ruler of the entire Ghur empire. Ghiyas-ud-din had always fought against his westernly neighbour, the Khwarizmians.

Muhammad pursued the same policy. But, he was severely defeated by them in 1205 A.D. at the battle of Andhkhud. He could hardly save his life and reached back his capital, Ghur. This defeat of Muhammad gave a setback to his reputation in India as well and it was rumoured that he had been killed. It led to revolts in different parts of India. In the north-west, the Khokars tried to capture Lahore, Muhammad came to India in 1205 A.D. and fought a battle against Khokars between the rivers Chenab and Jhelum.

The Khokars fought fiercely but were defeated and punished mercilessly. After setting right the affairs at Lahore, Muhammad returned to Ghazni. On the way, he was stabbed on 15 March 1206 A.D. at Damyaka on the banks of the river Indus, while he was engaged in his evening prayers.

Whether the assassins were Khokars or fanatical Shias of the heretical Ismaili sect, is not certain. Probably, both had conspired for it and succeeded. The body of Muhammad was carried to Ghazni and buried there.

An Estimate of Sultan Muiz-ud-din Muhammad of Ghur:

While making an assessment of the character and achievements of Muhammad of Ghur, one is usually tempted to compare him with those of Mahmud of Ghazni which sometimes unjustly reduces his importance. But, the status of Muhammad in Indian history, even while comparing him with Mahmud, is unquestionable. Muhammad had no comparison with Mahmud as a military leader.

Mahmud was a born military commander. His even Indian campaign was successful and he had been equally successful in Central Asia. Mahmud, thus, established an extensive and powerful empire and rightly deserved to be the first Sultan of the Islamic world. Muhammad’s military successes are no match to the successes of Muhammad. While Mahmud remained undefeated during his life-time.

Muhammad was badly defeated by his different adversaries three times. Mularaja II, the ruler of Gujarat, Prithviraja III, the ruler of Delhi and Ajmer and Khwarizm Shah, the ruler of Persia defeated him in turn. But the greatness of Muhammad was that none of those defeats could weaken his spirit or check his ambition. He took even’ failure as an experience, realised his weaknesses, removed them and got success in the end.

The successes and conquests of Muhammad brought about more permanent results than the conquests of Mahmud. Professor K.A. Nizami writes, “This ‘hero of three stupendous defeats — Andhkhud, Tarain and Anhilwara,’ as Professor Habib calls him, has to his credit the establishment of one of the greatest empires of the middle ages, and in this he definitely rises above Mahmud of Ghazni.”

Muhammad could understand better the political weaknesses of India at that time and therefore, decided to establish his empire in India. Of course, the conquest of north India was not a walk-over. Muhammad was stoutly resisted everywhere and twice defeated by the Rajputs.

Yet, he did not give up his goal. Mahmud was never defeated, though he attacked India more often than Muhammad. Yet, he did not think of establishing his empire here and limited his vision simply to plunder the wealth of India.

Thus, Muhammad possessed a higher ideal as compared to Mahmud. Muhammad also gave proof of his political farsightedness in dealing with different Rajput rulers. He attempted that the Rajputs should, in no way, be able to put up a common resistance to him and therefore, tried to get the sympathy or support of a few of them. That is why, he did not annex Delhi and Ajmer to his territories just after the second battle of Tarain.

Instead, he handed over the administration of Delhi to the son of Govindaraja and that of Ajmer to the son of Prithviraja III. It was Aibak who annexed them afterwards, when the Muslim power was fairly consolidated in north India. Muhammad neither changed the status of those Hindu chiefs who accepted his suzerainty nor interfered in their administration.

He simply established militan posts here and there and garrisoned them with Turkish troops in order to consolidate his hold over the conquered territories. This helped him in consolidating the Turkish power in India. Muhammad was a good judge of human nature. He could select the best men for his service, assign them responsibility according to their capability and get the best results out of their efforts.

Qutb-ud-din Aibak, Taj-ud-din Yulduz and Malik Bahauddin Tughril, who proved themselves fairly capable and were largely responsible for his successes in India, were trained by Muhammad. Professor A.B.M. Habibullah writes, “If he failed to found a dynasty, he yet trained up a band of men who were to prove more loyal to his ideals and better fitted to maintain his empire.”

The success of Muhammad was largely due to his own strength of character. He possessed a higher ideal from which he refused to deviate even after his initial failures in India and his defeat by Khwarizm Shah. Muhammad planned his attacks and conquests beforehand, changed them whenever necessary, removed his weaknesses when known and did not take unnecessary risks in battles and politics.

After his defeat at Anhilwara, he changed his course of attack on India and once defeated at the battle of Tarain, he came again with complete preparation and even amended his military tactics. As a military commander, he kept his eyes upon all his campaigns.

When he was fighting the Khokars in India, he had not lost touch with his campaigns in Central Asia and was equally interested in the building work of a frontier fortress at the banks of the river Oxus. That is why he was, ultimately, successful in his military campaigns. Muhammad was the real founder of Turkish rule in India and therein lay his greatest achievement and greatness.

Muhammad had no time to look after the administration of his territories in India. Virtually, he remained the ruler of Ghazni and Ghur. The task of administering his Indian conquests was mostly left to his slave and governor of Indian provinces, Qutb-ud-din Aibak. Primarily, his brother, Ghiyas-ud-din, was responsible for making Ghur the centre of culture of his empire.

But, Muhammad was also not indifferent to the cultural progress of his subjects. He patronised scholars like Fakhr-ud-din Razi and Nizami Uruzi. However, his greatest achievement was the establishment of the Turkish empire in India which added a fresh chapter to the Indian history.

Political Condition of India on the Eve of Muhammad Ghori’s Invasion

Before making a study of the various expeditions of Muhammad Ghori it shall be desirable to have an idea of the political condition in India on the eve of him invasions.

The political condition of India on the eve of Muhmmad Ghori’s invasion was almost identical to the one prevailing at the time of the invasion of the Arabs or Mahmud Gajnavi with the only exception that certain changes had taken place in the ruling dynasties and territories of their kingdom. Whole country was divided into many small kingdoms who were engaged into mutual jealousy and conflict. For the sake of convenience of study, we can divide the states of the time into following three parts:

(b) Rajput Kingdoms and other states, and

(c) States of Southern India.

(a) Muslim Kingdom

(i) Gaznavid Kingdtipi of Gazni:

In the north the Gaznavids were ruling over the Punjab. Their capital was at Lahore. Their hold extended from Peshawar in the North-West to Jammu in the North-East. The Southern boundry of the Kingdom was unstable. They had snatched from the Chauhans of Delhi the Region of Hansi and Bhatinda. At the time of Ghori’s invasion the rein of this Kingdom was in the hands of an incapable and luxurious Ruler Khusr Malik.

The main city of the Southern Part of Indus valley was Multan ruled at the time by Ismailia Shias. At the time of the invasion of Muhmmad Ghori, carmethian Dynasty ruled over this part.

The Kingdom of Sind was under a local dynasty, the Sumras. They were also Shia Muslims. Any Muslim invader was not likely to experience much trouble in invading and conquering the above mentioned kingdoms because not only were their resources limited but also they lacked popular cooperation. The rulers of these kingdom were all incapable and luxury loving and for other people of these areas the success of any Muslim conqueror merely meant the replacement of one Muslim state by other.

(b) Rajput Kingdoms and Other States

Apart from the three Muslim kingdoms, there were many small Rajput Kingdoms in the East and North of India. The following four were more prosperous of the states of North India and there were some others as well.

(i) Chauhans of Delhi and Ajmer:

At the time of Muhammad Ghori’s Indian invasions, Delhi and Ajmer were being ruled by the Chauhan ruler, Prithviraj III. He was also famous as Raj Pithora. The account of Prithviraj’s conquest available in Chandrabardai’s Prithviraj Raso is not be wholly believed still it appears that he had impressed upon his neighbouring kingdoms his bravery and courage. He defeated and humiliated the Chalukya kings of Southern India, seized Mahoba from its Chandel Ruler Paramdev. The frontier forts of this kingdom were Hansi, Pakpottan and Bhatindas. Prithviraj III had forcibly carried away from the Swayamvar Sanyogita, the daughter of neighbour king Jaichand of Kanauj and so Jaichand harboured intense hostility towards him.

(ii) Chalukyas of Gujrat and Kathiawad:

The most important kingdom was those of the Chalukyas in Western India. Anhilwara (Paatan) was their capital. The most famous king of this dynasty was Jai Sing Siddharaj (1102-1143 A.D.). He defeated the Paramaras of Malwa and Guhilots of Chittor. After that the kingdom disintegrated and only Gujrat and Kathiawad were left to it. The ruler was Mulraj II at the time of Muhammad Ghori’s Indian invasions.

(iii) Gahadwalas or Rathors of Kannauj:

The kingdom of Kannauj comprised Kashi, Benaras, Allahabad, Kannauj Oudh etc. Jaichand was its ruler when Muhammad Ghori invaded India. He had intense enemity with the ruler of Delhi and Ajmer, Prithviraj Chauhan.

(iv) Chandelas of Bundelkhand:

In the Chandela kingdom was included Mahoba, Kalinjar, Khajuraho, Jhansi, Ajaygarh etc. In the last quarter of the 12th century its ruler was Parmardidev. Prithviraj Chauhan of Ajmer had defeated him and annexed quickly a large part of his kingdom in his Empire.

Apart from the above mentioned four Rajput States, Pala and Sena Kingdoms were other states of Northern India which deserve mention.

(v) Pala kingdom of North Bengal (Modern Bihar):

At one time the Palas over entire Bengal and Bihar but their power declined in the 12th century. Later kings of this dynasty like Kumarpala (1126-1130), Madavpala (1130-1150) were all very weak rulers. Many parts of the kingdom became independent. At the time of Muhammad Ghori’s attack, the dominance of Palas was limited to some parts of Bhiar only.

(vi) Senas of Bengal:

The Senas are said to have come from South India and settled in Bengal. Originally they were feudatories of Palas. In the 11th century they declared themselves independent in Eastern Bengal. When Muhammad Ghori atacked India, Lakshman Sena (1170-1206) was ruling over Eastern Bengal.

(c) State of Southern India

At the time of Muhammad Ghori’s invasions Yadavas were ruling over Devgiri, Kakatiyas in Warrangal and Hoysalos in Dowrasamudra. In the far South Cheras were ruling in Kerala and Pandyas in Madura. All the kingdoms of South were mutually jealous of each other. They had no interest in the politics of North India and therefore no influence as well.

In brief then, at the time of Muhammad Ghori’s invasion India was divided into many states. Every kingdom was busy extending its areas and influence. Despite invasion by the foreign Turks, they did not get the common sense of putting an end to mutual quarrels otherwise they might have sent their spies to read the internal situation in the Turkish kingdom.

The Rajputs did not do this. The outlook of the ruling Rajputs was so narrow at the time that even at the time of external danger staring at their face, they felt happines at defeating their neighbouring king with the help given to the invader. This foolishness of theirs became a cause of their downfall.

Early life

Mu'izz was born in 1149 in the Ghor region of Afghanistan. The exact date of his birth is unknown. His father, Baha al-Din Sam I, was the local ruler of the Ghor region at the time. Α] Mu'izz also had a younger brother named Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad. During their early life, Mu'izz and Ghiyath were imprisoned by their uncle Ala al-Din Husayn, but were later released by the latter's son Sayf al-Din Muhammad. Β] When Sayf died in 1163, the Ghurid nobles supported Ghiyath, and helped him ascend the throne. Ghiyath shortly gave Mu'izz control over Istiyan and Kajuran. However, the throne was challenged by several Ghurid chiefs Mu'izz aided Ghiyath in defeating and killing a rival Ghurid chief named Abu'l Abbas.

History of Muhammad Gauri (1173-1206 AD)

After Muhammad bin Qasim, Mahmood Ghajnavi and then Muhammad Gauri invaded India and looted, and massacre. In India, the Turk Empire’s credited to Muhammad Gauri.

Mohammad Gauri was the ruler of a small mountainous area Ghazni located in the middle of Herat & Ghazni.

Gauri Dynasty emerged in the middle of the 12th century. The foundation of the Gaur dynasty was laid by Ala-ud-Din Jahansoj. After the death of Jahansoje, his son Saif-ud-Din sat on the throne of Gauri.

The base of the Gauri Empire was north-west Afghanistan. Initially, Gauri was under Ghazni.

Muhammad Gauri was of Shansbani dynasty. The full name of Muhammad Gauri was Shihabuddin Muhammad Gauri. Gyasuddin Muhammad Gauri was his elder brother. In 1163 AD, Gyasuddin Muhammad Gauri made Gaur the capital and established an independent state.

In 1173 AD, Gyasuddin handed over the area of ​​Gaur to his younger brother Muhammad Gauri and himself started the struggle against Khwarism by taking possession of Ghazni.

Muhammad Gauri moved towards India. Muhammed Gauri was an Afghan general. He was also a great winner and military operator.

The invasion of Muhammad Gauri

The purpose of the invasion of Muhammad Gauri was different from Mahmud Ghaznavi’s invasions.

He was also interested in the expansion of the Islamic Empire along with looting in India. That is why Muhammad Gauri is considered the founder of the Turki Empire in India.

Gauri first invaded on Multan in 1175 AD. At this time, Karamati, the followers of the Shiites was ruling. These Karamati were Buddhists before becoming Muslims. Gauri won the Multan.

Gauri did the second invasion on Gujarat in 1178 AD, but Moolraj II defeated him in the foothills of Abu Mountains. This was the first defeat of Muhammad Gauri in India. This war was conducted by the Nayika Devi, the wife of Moolraj.

Taking lessons from this war, Gauri first took over the whole of Punjab and started efforts to take over India.

Between 1179-86 AD, he had won the Punjab.

In 1179, he took over Sialkot.

Till 1186 AD, Gauri had won Lahore, Sialkot, and Bhatinda (Tabarhind). The authority of Prithviraj Chauhan III was on Tabarhind. Tabarhind was the border area of Prithviraj Chauhan. Gauri had taken over this, due to which the war between Gauri and Chauhan was inevitable.

First Battle of Tarain

Prithviraj III defeated Gauri in the First Battle of Tarain in 1191 AD but could not end his power.

Second Battle of Tarain

In 1192 AD, Gauri defeated Prithviraj III and won the territories of Ajmer and Delhi with this, the Chauhan Empire was destroyed. In the second battle of Tarain, Govindraj the feud of Prithviraj and the Toumar ruler of Delhi has died.

According to Chandrabardi, after the defeat in the war, Prithviraj III was captive and taken to Ghazni. Muhammad Ghauri was killed, by leaving the word arrows.

According to Hasam Nizami, Prithviraj accepted the subjection after being defeated in the war, and Gauri took him under and ruled Ajmer by him. Later,Prithviraj tried to revolt against Gauri, in which Prithviraj was killed . Most scholars accept it only, which is confirmed by coins received from Ajmer, in which the shape of a horse and Muhammad-bin-Saam is written on one side and on the other side the shape of the bull is made and Prithviraj is written.

After 1192 AD, Gauri declared his slave Aibak as the administrator of the Indian territories.

In 1194 AD, Gauri took control of Kannauj by defeating Jaichand the ruler of Kannauj in the battle of Chandavar (U. P. Itanagar) with the help of Aibak.

After 1194 AD, Gauri’s two commanders Qutubuddin Aibak and Bakhtiyar Khilji started conquering Indian territories.

Bakhtiyar Khilji won the western region of Bihar and Bengal from Sen Ruler Lakshmansen, and during this time he destroyed Nalanda (Bihar) University, Vikramshila (Bengal), and Odantipur (Bengal) University.

Bakhtiyar Khilji was defeated by the Magh ruler of Assam, and in 1205 AD, Alimrdan, the military officer of Bakhtiyar Khilji, killed Muhammad Gauri.

Qutubuddin Aibak invaded Bhima II, the ruler of Anhillvada in 1195 AD but Aibak was defeated.

Aibak attacked Anhillvada again in 1197 and looted it, Bhima II did not accept submission but his economic condition became worsened with frequent wars. Therefore, after the death of Bhima, the Baghel dynasty was established in Gujarat in place of the Solanki dynasty.

In 1203 AD, Aibak won the Kalinjar from Chandel ruler Paramardidev.

Death of Muhammad Gauri

In the year 1206, for the last time Muhammad Gauri invaded India for suppressing the rebellion of the Khokhar tribe of Punjab and during this campaign, Gauri was assassinated near Damyak (West Pakistan). This time Gauri was praying Namaj on the bank of Sind River.

Gauri had appointed his slaves as his successor before his death.

Gauri used to play some coins in Lakshmi’s shape.

After Gauri’s death, his kingdom was divided into three of his main slaves.


Early years

Muhammad von Ghur was born in 1149 to Baha al-Din Sam I in Ghor , Afghanistan his older brother was Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad. In 1163 the princes of the region supported the takeover of power by Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad, who, however, ceded parts of what was then still a comparatively small area of ​​the empire to his younger brother. In the first few years the brothers were confronted with several usurpers, whom they were able to counter successfully together. In 1173 they conquered the city of Ghazni , the new ruler of which was Muhammad. In the following years Ghiyath al-Din took over the conquest of Persia, while Muhammad turned to the north of India.

Conquest of India

In 1175 Muhammad conquered the city of Multan and in 1181 Lahore in the meantime, however, he suffered a defeat on a campaign to Gujarat (1178). In 1191 he was defeated by the Chauhan prince Prithviraj III. at Tarain near Delhi , but two years later he was able to crush him in the same place. Thereupon he destroyed the city of Ajmer , the capital of the Chauhan empire, and had large parts of the population executed the way to northern India was thus free.

In the years around 1200, the two brothers continued their campaigns of conquest to the west and east. Muhammad and his army even succeeded in temporarily conquering Bengal , but his brother died in 1202 near Herat in western Afghanistan. The princes of Ghur then designated Muhammad as sole ruler. In 1206, the childless Muhammad transferred power to his Turkish slave Qutb-ud-Din Aibak , who a few months later - after the murder of Muhammad near Jhelum by insurgents - became the founder of the so-called slave dynasty and the Sultanate of Delhi .

Early Muslim Conquests - 711-1527

At the very time that Buddhism was being crushed out of India by the Brahmanic reaction, a new faith was being born in Arabia, destined to supply a youthful fanaticism which should sweep the country from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin, and from the western to the eastern sea. Muhammad, also known as Mahomet, the founder of Islam, died at Medina in 632 AD. The first Mahometan invasion of India is placed in 664, only thirty-two years after the death of the prophet. The Punjab is said to have been ravaged on this occasion with no permanent results.

The first Mahometan conquest was the outlying province of Sind, which from the point of view of geology may be regarded as a continuation of the desert of Baluchistan. In 711, or seventy-nine years after the death of Mahomet, an Arab army under Muhammad Kasim invaded and conquered the Hindus of Sind in the name of Walid I, caliph of Damascus, of the Bene-Umyyeh line. The Arabs might have made a permanent settlement in Sindh but for the death and disgrace of the valiant Kasim. In an evil hour he presented to the Caliph Walid, as an offering to the harem, a beautiful daughter of the Indian Raja, who falsely accused him of having dishonoured her, a charge the falsehood of which the Commander of the Faithful learnt too late from her own lips, when the corpse of the brave general was received at Damascus sewn up in a raw hide.

In the same year Roderic, the last of the Goths, fell before the victorious Saracens in Spain. But in India the bravery of the Rajputs and the devotion of the Brahmans seem to have afforded a stronger national bulwark than existed in western Europe. In 750 the Hindus rose in rebellion and drove out the Musalman tyrant, and the land had rest for 150 years.

The next Mahometan invasion of India is associated with the name of Sultan Mahmud of Ghaznf. Mahmud was the eldest son of Sabuktagfn, surnamed Nasr-uddin, in origin a Turkish slave, who had established his rule over the greater part of modern Afghanistan and Khorasan with Ghazni as his capital. In 977 Sabuktagin is said to have defeated Jaipal, the Hindu rajah of Lahore, and to have rendered the Punjab tributary. Bat his son Mahmud was the first of the great Musalman conquerors whose names still ring through Asia. Mahniud succeeded to the throne in 997. During his reign of thirty-three years he extended the limits of his father's kingdom from Persia on the east to the Ganges on the west and it is related that he led his armies into the plains of India no less than seventeen times. In 1001 he defeated Rajah Jaipal a second time, and took him prisoner. But Anandpal, the son of Jaipal, raised again the standard of national independence, and gathered an army of Rajput allies from the farthest corners of Hindustan. The decisive battle was fought in the valley of Peshawar. Mahmud won the day by the aid of his Turkish horsemen, and thenceforth the Punjab has been a Mahometan province, except during the brief period of Sfkh supremacy.

The Afghans of Ghor or Ghur rose to power on the downfall of the Turks of Ghazni. The founder of the family is said to have been Izzud-din al Husain, whose son Allah-ud-dm destroyed Ghaznf. Allah-ud-din had two nephews, Ghfyas-ud-din and Muiz-ud-din, the latter of whom, also called Shahab-ud-dfn by Musalman chroniclers, and generally known in history as Muhammad Ghori, is the second of the great Mahometan conquerors of India. In 1176 he took Multan and Uchch in 1187 Lahore fell into his hands in 1191 he was repulsed before Delhi, but soon afterward he redeemed this disaster.

Hindustan Proper was at that period divided between the two Rajput kingdoms of Kanauj and Delhi. Muhammad Ghori achieved his object by playing off the rival kings against each other. By 1193 he had extended his conquests as far east as Benares, and the defeated Rajputs migrated in a body to the hills and deserts now known as Rajputana. In 1199 one of his lieutenants, named Bakntiyar, advanced into Bengal, and expelled by an audacious stratagem the last Hindu rajah of Nadiya. The entire northern plain, from the Indus to the Brahmaputra, thus lay under the Mahometan yoke. But Muhammad Ghori never settled himself permanently in India. His favorite residence is said to have been the old capital of Ghazni, while he governed his Indian conquests through the agency of a favorite slave, Kutab-ud-dfn. Muhammad Ghori died in 1206, being assassinated by some Ghakkar tribesmen while sleeping in his tent by the bank of the Indus on his death both Ghor and Ghaznf drop out of history, and Delhi first appears as the Mahometan capital of India.

On the death of Muhammad Ghori, Ktitab-ud-dln at once laid aside the title of viceroy, and proclaimed himself sultan of Delhi. He was the founder of what is known as the slave dynasty, which lasted for nearly a century (1206-1288).

In 1294 Allah-ud-din Khilji, the third of the great Mahometan conquerors of India, raised himself to the throne of Delhi by the treacherous assassination of his uncle Kiroz II, who had himself supplanted the last of the slave dynasty. Allah-ud-din died in 1316, having subjected to Islam the Deccan and Guzerat. Three of his descendants followed him upon the throne, but their united reigns extended over only five years. In 1321 a successful revolt was headed by Ghivas-ud-din Tughlak, governor of the Punjab, who is said to have been of Turkish origin. The Tughlak dynasty lasted for about seventy years, until it was swept away by the invasion of Timur.

Timur, the fourth Mahometan conqueror of India, is commonly described as a Mongul or Mughal, because he claimed to be the representative of Ghengiz Khan and because he revived the Tartar Empire. When Timur invaded India in 1398, he encountered but little organized resistance. Mahmud, the last of the Tughlak dynasty, being defeated in a battle outside the walls of Delhi, fled into Guzerat. The city was sacked and the inhabitants massacred by the victorious Mughals. But the invasion of Timiir left no permanent impress upon the history of India, except in so far as its memory fired the imagination of Babar (Baber), the founder of the Mughal dynasty. In 1525 Babar (Baber), the fifth in descent from Timur, and also the fifth Mahometan conqueror, invaded India at the instigation of the governor of the Punjab, won the victory of Panipat over Ibrahim, the last of the Lodi dynasty, and founded the Mughal empire, which lasted, at least in name, until 1857.

Essay on the character and achievements of Muizzuddin Muhammad of Ghur

Different assessments have been made of the char­acter and achievements of Muizzuddin Muhammad of Ghur. “In fact, his military career is often viewed with an almost unconscious attitude of comparison with that of Sultan Mahmud. That he was no comparison to the great Ghaznavid conqueror as a military leader can hardly be denied his achieve­ments in the broader perspective of Central Asian history seem less impressive. But this hero of three stupendous defeats-Andhkhudh, Tarain and Anhilwara, as Professor Habib calls him, has to his credit the establishment of one of the greatest empires of the middle ages, and in this he definitely rises above Mahmud of Ghazni” (K.A. Nizami, A Comprehension History of India, Vol.V, Part I).

Admit­tedly, the social and political condition of North India facilitated him in his task, but there is no doubt about his role in laying the foundation of the Turkish rale in India. It needed a military leader of great vision and tact to organise military campaigns over an area stretching from the Oxus to the Jamuna. Also, to hold this vast empire together, there was the need for a bold but careful planner. All these qualities Muizzuddin had and, though he was away in Ghazni for quite long periods, his eyes were fixed on his armies in India.

Not much is known about the administrative arrangements of the Ghurids in India. There was no way for Muizzuddin to establish a direct adminis­tration, the language difficulty would have made it nearly impossible. Before him, Mahmud Ghazni had not annexed beyond Ravi and thus the areas that came under Muizzuddin due to conquests had no tradition of Muslim administration. There were, however, some Muslim settlements in North India in the wake of Mahmud Ghazni’s invasions. Some of these bi-lingual Muslims no doubt helped him, but their number was too small for effective central, regional and district level administrations.

His native country of Ghur could not even provide the required men of talent to take charge of his soldiers, and he had to look for such people among his slaves. So, there was no question of getting skilled administra­tors from Ghur, and Muizzudin knew that a direct administration of the conquered territory from Punjab to Bengal was not possible. He realised that if the kings were only removed and the administration was left in the hands of the middle order-ranas and rawats-the people would not feel the change and his government would last.

Consequently, Ghurids only controlled the capitals and larger towns of strategic and commercial importance as also the established and famous trade routes. Muizzudin knew that if the kings got together, it would make things difficult for him. So he fought them in a manner that prevented them from forming groups. In short, he was happy with things half-done and did not push matters to the extreme.

“The two striking features of Muizzuddin’s character were his dogged tenacity of purpose and his grim political realism Muizzuddin refused to take any reversal as final. He reorganised his forces and came again determined to achieve the objective he had set before himself. He analysed the causes of his defeat dispassionately and changed his policies as time and circumstances demanded. His thrust into the country from Rajputana proving abortive, he did not hesitate to change his plan”, says K.A. Nizami.

Muizzudin tried not to take unnecessary risks by plunging into political uncertainties and pro­ceeded cautiously, strengthening his hold. Even when he was busy in Ghur facing hostile powers, he did not forget about his Indian possessions.

Before his assassination, when he was leading a punitive expedition for the Khokars, another campaign was in the offing in Trans-oxiana, a project for building a bridge over the Oxus was started and a castle, half of which was under water, was nearing completion. He was equally adept at planning and executing works for public use as also a military campaign and his area of operations included the Gangetic plain as well as the regions through which the Oxus meandered its way.

Assessing the character and achievements of Muizzuddin, Lane-Poole said that “he earned less fame than Mahmud Ghazni, yet his conquests in India were more extensive and permanent”. Obser­vant by nature, he understood the political situation in India at that time and decided to establish an empire. He faced many obstacles, but he did not give up the goal of founding an empire in India.

As compared to Muizzuddin, Mahmud Ghazni at­tacked India more often and did not suffer a single defeat. His objective was to plunder the wealth of India and he did not think of establishing a kingdom there. Considering that empire-building is a monarch’s creed, Muizzuddin should be regarded as pursuing a higher ideal than Mahmud Ghazni.

Muizzuddin’s handling of the defeated Rajput ruling houses also shows his political sagacity. He knew that it would be extremely difficult for him to fight a combined Rajput front and he therefore decided to ally with some of them.

Presumably, for this reason, he did not annex Ajmer and Delhi to his territories just after the second battle of Tarain Snd allowed the sons of Prithviraj and Govinda Rai to rule as his vassals there.

Only after consolidation of the Turkish position, did Aibak annex these two but even then Prithviraj’s son was given the charge of the fort at Ranthambor. Govinda Rai’s son was however, removed on charges of treason.

The Hindu chiefs accepting the Ghurid suzer­ainty did not lose their status, nor there was any interference in their administration. Perhaps to keep a close watch over their activities, military posts were established here and there and were garrisoned with Turkish troops.

Endowed with a good understanding of human nature, Muizzuddin would select the best man out of many, assign him tasks suited to his abilities and get the best out of him. Aibak, Tughril and Yaldez were all slaves in the past, who proved their superio in their assigned tasks, and were hand-picked and trained by Muizzuddin.

It should also be stated that there was a tradition among slave- traders of selecting talented slaves and training them in aits of warfare, administration, etc., in Ghur and Persia so that they could be sold i kings and nobles. Such slaves were given important positions. For instance, “Muizzuddin was disappointed in his fam­ily, as is clear from his action in ignoring the claims of Ghiasuddin’s son, Mahmud, and assigning Firoz- Kok to A’auddin Muhammad (Ghiyasuddin’s son- in-law).

He was also disappointed in the Ghurid chiefs, wh had deserted him in the battlefield of Tarain and again at Andhkhudh. His remark that his slaves were his sons and would succeed after him shows his utter distrust and disappointment in his family as well as in his Ghurid officers. It is in this background that the whole position (of succession) should be viewed”, says K.A. Nizami.

Muizzuddin’s assassination in 1206 should be regarded as the event that made Aibak Qutb-ud-din the founder of the Turkish dominion in India.

History of India

Archaeological excavations in the 1920s uncovered the remains of two major ancient cities: Harappa on the Ravi river and Mohenjo-Daro on the Indus. Both places have been in Pakistan since the partition of India in 1947.

These two towns were the work of a highly developed civilisation that emerged around 5000 years BCE and is now called the Indus Valley civilisation or the Harappan civilisation. It was one of the world’s first civilisations, contemporary with those of Mesopotamia and Egypt.

Although there are probably still traces of its influence in modern Hindu culture, this has not been clearly established. Very little is known about it, its very existence had been forgotten until the 20th century and no one has yet managed to decipher its script.

There are signs that problems appeared around 1900 BCE: people started to leave the cities. One cause of the collapse may have been major environmental changes such as the disappearance of large parts of the river system, or invasion by warring peoples from the northwest of the subcontinent, which could have interrupted trade relations with other regions.

The Vedic period, c. 1700-500 BCE

There is still controversy surrounding this period, as little is known about it and there are many mutually contradictory datings and theories.

The Vedic period is thought to be the period when the canonical Hindu texts such as the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Mahabharata and Ramayana were written.

Although some experts think the Vedic period dates back much further, most consider that it is this period that saw the first systematisation of the religion based on the idea of sanatana dharma (“eternal order”) as in modern Hinduism.

It is said that the Vedic period began with an invasion by Aryans. According to the Aryan invasion theory, a nomadic warrior people from Central Asia invaded what is now Northwest India and propagated their culture throughout the subcontinent. It is these Aryans who are said to have composed the Vedas.

This theory is increasingly contested by scientists and archaeologists who say no trace of an invasion in this period has been found. The most radical critics of the Aryan invasion theory think that India was the core area where all Indo-European peoples originated and that all Indo-European languages derive from languages that were spoken in India.

Around 600BCE there were 16 major kingdoms, the Mahajanapadas, that had emerged and expanded in North India.

Major empires of ancient India, 500BCE to 700CE

The 6th century BCE is often seen as a major turning point in early Indian history. This was when Buddhism and Jainism emerged.

Around 550BCE, Vardhaman Mahavira and Siddharta Gautama each developed their own spiritual offshoot of the Sanatana Dharma, giving rise to Jainism and Buddhism.

530 BCE: the Persian invasion. Cyrus, ruler of the Persian Empire, noticed the wealth and growing urbanisation of North India and in 530BCE launched a military campaign to conquer the region. Ten years later, in the reign of his son Darius I, the North of the subcontinent was firmly under Persian control.

327 BCE: Alexander the Great. Persia continued to rule North India until Alexander the Great conquered it in 327 BCE.

322-185 BCE: the Maurya Empire. After Alexander the Great had withdrawn, the Maurya Empire (322-185 BCE) held sway over North India under kings Chandragupta Maurya (322-298 BCE), Bindusara (298-272 BCE) and Ashoka the Great (269-232 BCE), who became a Buddhist.

In 185 BCE the last Maurya king was assassinated and the Maurya Empire collapsed. In its place, small kingdoms were established throughout India. These states warred among themselves with varying fortunes for nearly 500 years.

During Ashoka’s reign, South India was ruled by three Tamil dynasties, the Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras. Known as Tamilakam (“land of the Tamils”), the region remained on good terms with the Maurya Empire.

320-550 CE: Gupta Empire, stretching across North India. The Gupta period was one of great material prosperity and intense intellectual creativity. The arts flourished and many intellectual and scientific advances were achieved. The Gupta period is considered India’s golden age.

The Gupta Empire declined slowly owing to a succession of incompetent sovereigns and finally collapsed around 550 CE.

590-647 CE: Harshavardhan. After the Gupta Empire collapsed King Harshavardhan ruled the region for 42 years. North India prospered during his reign but after his death the kingdom collapsed.

Indo-Muslim period 711-1862 CE

The fall of the Harshavardhan kingdom enabled a number of constantly warring powers to emerge in the region. Lack of unity among these kingdoms paved the way for the invading Muslim forces.

The Muslim conquests began in 711-712 CE with the invasion of Sindh (a province of what is now Pakistan) by the Arabs, continued in the 11th and 12th centuries with the Turkic and Afghan invasions, and was completed with the Mughal Empire in the 16th century.

1 – 711-712 CE: the invasion of Sindh. Al-Hajjaj ben Yusef, governor of Iraq, sent several thousand horse and camel troops to conquer Sindh in the lower Indus valley. They deposed its ruler King Dahir.

The conquest of Sindh, on the Western edge of the subcontinent, had little effect on the rest of the subcontinent. The campaigns led by Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhammad Ghuri had a much wider impact.

2 – 1001-1027: Mahmud of Ghazni. The Ghaznavids (962-1186 CE) were Central Asian nomads who founded the first Persianate Turkic dynasty. They took their name from their capital city, Ghazni, south of Kabul. Between 1000 and 1026 CE Mahmud of Ghazni led some twenty bloody raids into India, all of them victorious. Mahmud of Ghazni had no intention of building a kingdom in India, regarding it merely as a source of plunder. After his death in 1030, the Turks were weakened by division, giving India a 150-year period of respite.

3 – 1175-1206: Muhammad Ghuri. Muhammad Ghuri (1160-1206) set out to conquer India in 1175. The Ghurids came from Afghanistan, whose capital at the time was Ghur.

4 – 1211–1426: the Delhi Sultanate. When Muhammad Ghuri died without heir, Qûtb ud-Dîn Aibak proclaimed himself Sultan in Delhi and set about consolidating the administration of the conquered territories. India was then ruled by a succession of dynasties: the Ilbari Turks (1211-1290), the Khaljis (1290-1320), the Tughlaqs (1320-1414), the Sayyids (1414-1451) and the Lodis (1451-1526).

5 – 1526-1707: the Mughal Empire

The Delhi Sultanate gradually weakened and in the early 16th century India was split into a number of states, most of them ruled by Muslims but some by Hindus.

It was with India divided in this way that Babur (1483-1530) seized the Delhi Sultanate in 1526 and founded the Mughal Empire (the Arab-Persian word mughal means Mongolian).

  • 1526-1627: The Mughal dynasty starts with Babur who came to the throne in Agra in 1526 and died in 1530. After him came Sher Khan (1540-1545), Akbar the Great (1556-1605) and Jahangir (1605-1627)

It was with India divided in this way that Babur (1483-1530) seized the Delhi Sultanate in 1526 and founded the Mughal Empire (the Arab-Persian word mughal means Mongolian).

  • In 1628, Prince Khuram had himself crowned under the name of Shah Jahan (“King of the World”) and eliminated all other claimants to the throne. His long reign, the peak of Mughal splendour, was one of territorial expansion and numerous building projects. One of these was the Taj Mahal mausoleum in Agra, the supreme achievement of Mughal architecture.
  • The reign of Aurangzeb (1658-1707) marked a return to ascetic Muslim orthodoxy. Aurangzeb forbade alcohol, music and dancing and closed down the workshops where miniatures were painted. He had all the new temples destroyed, discouraged the teaching of Hinduism and imposed levies on non-Muslims. Under his reign there were riots and rebellions on a scale never known before.
  • The Marathas: In 1646 Maratha warriors led by Shivaji organised a guerrilla rebellion against the Mughal Empire and established a Maratha kingdom. By the 18th century the vast Maratha Empire had become the subcontinent’s preeminent power but it then split into confederated regional entities ruled by dynasties of governors, the Bhonslas of Berar, the Gaikwars of Baroda, the Holkars of Indore and the Sindhias of Gwalior. The Maratha state made an alliance with France and was the main adversary of Britain’s East India Company, which only finally vanquished it after three Anglo-Maratha wars (1775-1782, 1803 and 1817-1818).
    1862 marks the end of the Mughal Empire. Aurangzeb died in Deccan in 1707. His death triggered the usual war of succession and several governors declared independence. This triggered a rapid decline, finalised in 1739 by the sack of Delhi by the Persian Emperor Nadir Shah. With the Mughal Empire fallen apart and the Marathas vanquished, a disunited India was ripe for the British East India Company to gradually take control of the country from its base in Bengal, where it was firmly established.

The medieval period in South India

The start of the medieval period saw the rise of a Muslim power in South India. The forces of the Delhi Sultanate crushed the Pandyas in 1323 and the Hoysalas in 1333, opening a new chapter in South India’s history.

Meanwhile the Vijayanagara Empire was growing in Tamil Nadu, South Karnataka and Kerala. Its capital was Vijayanagara, known today as Hampi. The Vijayanagaras fought against the Muslim Bahmani Sultanate in Maharashtra and northern Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh until the early 16th century when both empires weakened.

It was during this period, in 1498, that Vasco de Gama’s Portuguese caravels landed on the Kerala coast.

1757-1947: British rule

The first British outpost in South Asia was set up in 1619 at Surat on the Northwest coast of India. Later the same century the East India Company opened permanent trading posts in Madras, Bombay and Calcutta, under the protection of the local Indian authorities.

In 1757, the East India Company took control of Bengal and established a monopoly on its trade. The British then increased their influence until, by about 1850, they controlled most of what are today India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Following a mutiny by Indian soldiers in North India in 1857, the British Parliament transferred political power in India from the East India Company to the Crown. Thereafter most of India was governed directly by British government officials. In 1877 Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.

From the 1870s, some of the small elite of Anglicized Indians began to make political demands. In 1885 a political organisation called the Indian National Congress was founded it soon became a pressure group lobbying the government and later became the Congress Party. At the beginning of the 20th century a split emerged between the Hindu and Muslim elites the Muslim League was founded in 1906.

In 1919 Mahatma Gandhi organised nationwide campaigns protesting against laws that had prolonged some restrictions of basic liberties introduced during World War I. In 1930, he launched the civil disobedience movement Indian civil servants resigned en masse, paralysing the colonial administration. A compromise between London and Congress on a transition to independence seemed possible, but the outbreak of the second World War in 1939 put the process on hold.

Negotiations started again after the war but were complicated by the fact that in 1940 the Muslim League under its leader Ali Jinnah demanded that a separate state, Pakistan, be set up for India’s Muslims. Tensions between Hindus and Muslims culminated in Calcutta in August 1946 when tens of thousands were killed or wounded over several days of rioting.

In 1947 the British government, eager to hasten its withdrawal from India, decided to partition the country. India and Pakistan proclaimed their independence on 14 and 15 August 1947. Pakistan, with a Muslim majority, consisted of two regions 1500km apart on opposite sides of the subcontinent: West Pakistan (today’s Pakistan) and East Pakistan (which seceded in 1971 to become Bangladesh). The partition triggered appalling violence: 500,000 dead and 15 million displaced.

Muhammad of Ghor

Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad Ghori (Persian: معز الدین محمد غوری ‎), born Shihab ad-Din (1149 – March 15, 1206), also known as Muhammad of Ghor, was the Sultan of the Ghurid Empire along with his brother Ghiyath ad-Din Muhammad from 1173 to 1202 and as the sole ruler from 1202 to 1206. He is credited with laying the foundation of Muslim rule in the Indian subcontinent, which lasted for several centuries. He reigned over a territory spanning over parts of modern-day Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Northern India, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

Mu'izz ad-Din took the city of Ghazni in 1173 to avenge the death of his ancestor Muhammad ibn Suri at the hands of Mahmud of Ghazni and used it as a launching-pad for expansion into northern India. [1] In the meantime, he assisted his brother Ghiyath in his contest with the Khwarazmian Empire for the lordship of Khorasan in Western Asia. In 1175, Mu'izz captured Multan from the Hamid Ludi dynasty, and also took Uch in 1175. He also annexed the Ghaznavid principality of Lahore in 1186, the last haven of his Persianised rivals. [1] After consolidating his rule in North-West domain Mu'izz al-Din wish to invade heart of Northern India which was then under control of Rajputs. [2]

A confused struggle then ensued among the remaining Ghuri leaders, and the Khwarizmi were able to take over the Ghurid Sultanate in about 1215. Though the Ghurids' empire was short-lived, and petty Ghurid states remained in power until the arrival of the Timurids, Mu'izz's conquests laid the foundations of Muslim rule in India. Qutbu l-Din Aibak, a former slave (Mamluk) of Mu'izz, was the first Sultan of Delhi.

Early life

Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad was born in 1149 in the Ghor region of Khorasan. The exact date of his birth is unknown. His father, Baha al-Din Sam I, was the local ruler of the Ghor region at the time. [1] Mu'izz also had an elder brother named Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad. During their early life, Mu'izz and Ghiyath were imprisoned by their uncle Ala al-Din Husayn, but were later released by the latter's son Sayf al-Din Muhammad. [3] When Sayf died in 1163, the Ghurid nobles supported Ghiyath, and helped him ascend the throne. Ghiyath shortly gave Mu'izz control over Istiyan and Kajuran. However, the throne was challenged by several Ghurid chiefs Mu'izz aided Ghiyath in defeating and killing a rival Ghurid chief named Abu'l Abbas.

Early campaigns

Ghiyath was then challenged by his uncle Fakhr al-Din Masud, who claimed the throne for himself, and had allied with Tadj al-Din Yildiz, the Seljuq governor of Herat, and Balkh. [4] However, the coalition was defeated by Ghiyath and Mu'izz at Ragh-i Zar. The brothers managed to kill the Seljuq governor during the battle, and then conquered Zamindawar, Badghis, Gharjistan, and Urozgan. Ghiyath, however, spared Fakhr al-Din and restored him as the ruler of Bamiyan. Mu'izz, after returning from an expedition from Sistan, was shortly awarded with Kandahar by his brother. In 1173, the two brothers invaded Ghazni, and defeated the Oghuz Turks who had captured the city from the Ghaznavids. Mu'izz was then appointed as the ruler of Ghazni. [4]

In 1175, the two brothers conquered Herat from its Seljuq governor, Baha al-Din Toghril, and also managed to conquer Pushang. The ruler of Sistan, Taj al-Din Harb ibn Muhammad, shortly acknowledged the sovereignty of the Ghurids, and so did the Oghuz Turks dominating Kirman. [1]

During the same period, the Khwarazmian Sultan Shah, who was expelled from Khwarezm by his brother Tekish, took refuge in Ghor and requested military aid from Ghiyath. Ghiyath, however, did not help the latter. Sultan Shah managed to get help from the Kara-Khitan Khanate, and began plundering the northern Ghurid domains.

Invasion of India

After having helped his brother in expanding the western frontiers of the Ghurid Empire, he began to focus on India. Mu'izz's campaign against the Qarmatians rulers of Multan in 1175 had ended in victory. [5] He turned south, and led his army from Multan to Uch and then across the desert towards the Chaulukya capital of Anhilwara (modern day Patan in Gujarat) in 1178. On the way, Muizz suffered a defeat at the Battle of Kayadara, during his first campaign against an Indian ruler. [5] Gujarat was ruled by the young Chaulukya ruler Mularaja II the Chaulukya forces included the armies of their feudatories such as the Naddula Chahamana ruler Kelhanadeva, the Jalor Chahamana ruler Kirtipala, and the Arbuda Paramara ruler Dharavarsha. [6] Mu'izz's army had suffered greatly during the march across the desert, and the Chaulukyas inflicted a major defeat on him at the village of Kayadara (near to Mount Abu, about forty miles to the north-east of Anhilwara). [5] The invading army suffered heavy casualties during the battle, and also in the retreat back across the desert to Multan. [5] However, Mu'izz was able to take Peshawar and Sialkot.

In 1186, Mu'izz, along with Ghiyath, ended the Ghaznavid dynasty after having captured Lahore and executed the Ghaznavid ruler Khusrau-Malik. [7]

Mu'izz shortly returned to Ghor, and along with the rulers of Bamiyan and Sistan, aided his brother Ghiyath in defeating the forces of Sultan Shah at Merv in 1190. He also annexed most of the latter's territories in Khorasan.

First Battle of Tarain

In 1191, Mu'izz proceeded towards Indian Sub-continent through the Khyber Pass in modern-day Pakistan and was successful in reaching Punjab. Mu'izz captured a fortress, Bathinda in present-day Punjab state on the northwestern frontier of Prithvīrāj Chauhān's kingdom. After appointing a Qazi Zia-ud-Din as governor of the fortress, [8] he received the news that Prithviraj's army, led by his vassal prince Govind Tai were on their way to besiege the fortress. The two armies eventually met near the town of Tarain, 14 miles from Thanesar in present-day Haryana. The battle was marked by the initial attack of mounted Mamluk archers to which Prithviraj responded by counter-attacking from three sides and thus dominating the battle. Mu'izz mortally wounded Govind Tai in personal combat and in the process was himself wounded, whereupon his army retreated [9] and Prithvīrāj's army was deemed victorious. [10]

According to Rima Hooja and Kaushik Roy, Govind Tal was wounded by Ghori, and later fought at the second battle of Tarain, where he was killed. [11] [12]

Second Battle of Tarain

On his return to Ghor, Mu'izz made preparations to avenge the defeat. According to Firishta, the Rajput army consisted of 3,000 elephants, 300,000 cavalry and infantry (most likely a gross exaggeration). [13] Minhaj-i-Siraj, stated Mu'izz brought 120,000 fully armored men to the battle in 1192. [13]

Prithviraj had called his banners but hoped to buy time as his banners (other Rajputs under him or his allies) had not arrived. Before the next day, Mu'izz attacked the Rajput army before dawn. Rajputs had a tradition of fighting from sunrise to sunset. Although they were able to quickly form formations, they suffered losses due to surprise attack before sunrise. The Rajput army was eventually defeated and Prithviraj was taken prisoner and subsequently executed. [10]

Further campaigns

When the state of Ajmer failed to fulfill the tribute demands as per the custom after a defeat, Qutbu l-Din Aibak, in 1193 took over Ajmer [14] and soon established Ghurid control in northern and central India. [15] Hindu kingdoms like Saraswati, Samana, Kohram and Hansi were captured without any difficulty. Finally his forces advanced on Delhi, capturing it soon after the Battle of Chandwar, defeating Raja Jaichand of Kannauj. [16] Within a year, Mu'izz controlled northern Rajasthan and the northern part of the Ganges-Yamuna Doab. [17] The Kingdom of Ajmer was then given over to Golā, on condition that he send regular tributes to the Ghurids. [ citation needed ]

Mu'izz returned west to Ghazni to deal with the threat to his western frontiers from the unrest in Iran, but he appointed Aibak as his regional governor for northern India. His armies, mostly under Turkic and Khalaj generals such as Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji, continued to advance through northern India, raiding as far east as Bengal. Followed by his conquest of Delhi. An army led by Qutbu l-Din Aibak, Mu'izz's deputy in India, invaded in ca. 1195–97 and plundered Anahilapataka. [18]

War with the Khwarezmians and supreme leader of the Ghurids

In 1200, Tekish died, and was succeeded by Muhammad II of Khwarezm (who took the honorific name 'Ala' al-Din). Among the first to hear of this were Ghiyath and Mu'izz al-Din. Within weeks the two brothers had moved their armies westwards into Khorasan. Once they had captured Nishapur, Mu'izz al-Din was sent on an expedition towards Ray, but he let his troops get out of control and got little further than Gurgan, earning criticism from Ghiyath which led to the only reported quarrel between the brothers. [19]

Ghiyath died at Herat in 1202 after months of illness. Mu'izz, who had quickly returned to Ghor from India, obtained the support of Ghurid nobles, and was crowned as Sultan of the Ghurid Empire at Firuzkuh. Just after his ascension, Muhammad II invaded his domains, and besieged Herat. Mu'izz managed to repel him from Herat and then pursued him to Khwarezm, besieging Gurganj, their capital. Muhammad desperately requested aid from the Kara-Khitan Khanate, who sent an army to aid Muhammad. Mu'izz, because of the pressure from the Kara-Khitans, was forced to relieve the siege and retreat. However, on his way to his domains in Ghur, he was defeated at Andkhud in 1204. [20] [21] Mu'izz, however managed to reach Ghur, and prepared a counter-attack against the Khwarmezians and Kara-Khitans. A revolt shortly broke out in Punjab and the surrounding regions, which forced Mu'izz to make order in the region before mounting a counter-attack against his enemies.

Final days and death

In 1206, Mu'izz, having settled the affairs in India, [22] left all the affairs in India in hands of his slave Qutb al-Din Aibak.

On his way back to Ghazni, his caravan rested at Dhamiak near Sohawa (which is near the city of Jhelum in the Punjab province of modern-day Pakistan). He was assassinated on March 15, 1206 while offering his evening prayers. [ citation needed ] His killers are unconfirmed. It may have been the Khokhars or Ismāʿīlīs. [23] One source states that he was assassinated by the Nizari Ismaili Assassins

In Indian folklore, the death of Mu'izz was caused by Prithviraj Chauhan, [24] but this is not borne out by historical documents and Prithviraj died much earlier before the death of Mu'izz. [25] [26]


Mu'izz had no offspring, but he treated his Turkic slaves as his sons, who were trained both as soldiers and administrators and provided with the best possible education. Many of his competent and loyal slaves rose to positions of importance in Mu'izz's army and government.

When a courtier lamented that the Sultan had no male heirs, Mu'izz retorted:

"Other monarchs may have one son, or two sons I have thousands of sons, my Turkish slaves who will be the heirs of my dominions, and who, after me, will take care to preserve my name in the Khuṭbah (Friday sermon) throughout these territories." [ This quote needs a citation ]

Mu'izz's prediction proved true. After his assassination, his Empire was divided amongst his slaves. Most notably:

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