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ᴴᴰ [Documentary] Terror In The Skies

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The Quran and the six orthodox collections of Hadis were also now widely known. Mahmud himself was well-versed in the Quran and was considered its eminent interpreter. Mahmud could launch forth seventeen expeditions during the course of the next thirty years and thereby fulfilled his promise to the Caliph both in letter and in spirit of Islamic theology. For this he has been eulogized sky-high by Muslim poets and Muslim historians. He on his part was always careful to include the Caliphs name on his coins, depict himself in his Fateh-namas as a warrior for the faith, and to send to Baghdad presents from the plunder of his Indian campaign.

Let us very briefly recapitulate the achievements of Sultan Mahmud in the usual fields of Islamic expansionism, conversions of non-Muslims to Islam, destruction of temples and acquisition of wealth in order to appreciate the encomiums bestowed upon him as being one of the greatest Muslim conquerors of medieval India. In his first attack of frontier towns in C. In his attack on Waihind Peshawar in , Mahmud is reported to have captured the Hindu Shahiya King Jayapal and fifteen of his principal chiefs and relations some of whom like Sukhpal, were made Musalmans.

At Bhera all the inhabitants, except those who embraced Islam, were put to the sword. At Multan too conversions took place in large numbers, for writing about the campaign against Nawasa Shah converted Sukhpal , Utbi says that this and the previous victory at Multan were witnesses to his exalted state of proselytism. In the later campaign in Mathura, Baran and Kanauj, again, many conversions took place. While describing the conquest of Kanauj, Utbi sums up the situation thus: The Sultan levelled to the ground every fort and the inhabitants of them either accepted Islam, or took up arms against him.

In short, those who submitted were also converted to Islam. In Baran Bulandshahr alone 10, persons were converted including the Raja. During his fourteenth invasion in C. Kirat, Nur, Lohkot and Lahore were attacked. The chief of Kirat accepted Islam, and many people followed his example. According to Nizamuddin Ahmad, Islam spread in this part of the country by the consent of the people and the influence of force.

According to all contemporary and later chroniclers like Qazwini, Utbi, Farishtah etc.

Wherever he went, he insisted on the people to convert to Islam. Such was the insistence on the conversion of the vanquished Hindu princes that many rulers just fled before Mahmud even without giving a battle. The object of Bhimpal in recommending the flight of Chand Rai was that the Rai should not fall into the net of the Sultan, and thus be made a Musalman, as had happened to Bhimpals uncles and relations, when they demanded quarter in their distress.

The number of temples destroyed by him during his campaigns is so large that a detailed list is neither possible nor necessary. However, he concentrated more on razing renowned temples to bring glory to Islam rather than waste time on small ones. Some famous temples destroyed by him may be noted here.

At Thaneshwar, the temple of Chakraswamin was sacked and its bronze image of Vishnu was taken to Ghazni to be thrown into the hippodrome of the city. Similarly, the magnificent central temple of Mathura was destroyed and its idols broken. At Mathura there was no armed resistance; the people had fled, and Mahmud had been greatly impressed with the beauty and grandeur of the shrines.

Kanauj had a large number of temples Utbis ten thousand merely signifies a large number , some of great antiquity. Their destruction was made easy by the flight of those who were not prepared either to die or embrace Islam. Somnath shared the fate of Chakraswamin. This explains the idolization of Mahmud by Nizam-ul-Mulk Tusi, 40 and the ideal treatment he has received from early Sufi poets like Sanai and Attar, not to mention such collectors of anecdotes as Awfi. He sent Mahmud a very complimentary letter giving him the title of Kahf-ud-daula wa al-Islam, and formally recognizing him as the ruler of Hindustan.

Mahmud Ghaznavi collected lot of wealth from regions of his visitations. A few facts and figures may be given as illustrations. In his war against Jayapal C. Even the necklace of which he was relieved was estimated at 2,00, dinars gold coin and twice that value was obtained from the necks of those of his relatives who were taken prisoners or slain 43 A couple of years later, all the wealth of Bhera, which was as wealthy as imagination can conceive, was captured by the conqueror C.

In the people of Multan were forced to pay an indemnity of the value of 20,, royal dirhams silver coin. When Nawasa Shah, who had reconverted to Hinduism, was ousted , the Sultan took possession of his treasures amounting to , dirhams. Shortly after, from the fort of Bhimnagar in Kangra, Mahmud seized coins of the value of 70,, Hindu Shahiya dirhams , and gold and silver ingots weighing some hundred maunds, jewellery and precious stones.

There was also a collapsible house of silver, thirty yards in length and fifteen yards in breadth, and a canopy mandapika supported by two golden and two silver poles. Besides the treasures collected by Mahmud, his soldiers also looted independently. From Baran Mahmud obtained, 1,, dirhams and from Mahaban a large booty. In the sack of Mathura five idols alone yielded 98, misqals about 10 maunds of gold.

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Kanauj, Munj, Asni, Sharva and some other places yielded another 3,, dirhams. We may skip over many other details and only mention that at Somnath his gains amounted to 20,, dinars. He clearly notes the amount when collected in Hindu Shahiya coinage or in some other currency, and also gives the value of all acquisitions in the royal Mahmuds coins. A little error here or there does in no way minimise the colossal loss suffered by north India in general and the Punjab in particular during Mahmuds invasions. The extent of this loss can be gauged from the fact that no coins dramma of Jayapal, Anandpal or Trilochanpal have been found.

Consequently, the gold content of north Indian coins in the eleventh and twelfth centuries went down from to 60 grams. Because of debasement of coinage Indian merchants lost their credit with foreign merchants. India had always been a seller of raw and finished goods against precious metals. She had swallowed up precious metals, both from the mineral resources of Tibet and Central Asia and from trade with the Islamic world 52 Now this favourable position was lost.

Indian merchants were even unable to ply their trade because of disturbed political conditions. One reason which had prompted Anandpal to send an embassy to Mahmud at Ghazni with favourable terms to the Sultan C. Besides, the Ghaznavids collected in loot and tribute valuable articles of trade like indigo, fine muslins, embroidered silk, and cotton stuffs, and things prepared from the famous Indian steel, which have received praise at the hands of Utbi, Hasan Nizami, Alberuni and many others.

For example, one valuable commodity taken from India was indigo.

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From Baihaqi, who writes the correct Indian word nil for the dyestuff, it appears that 20, mans about maunds of indigo was taken to Ghazna every year. According to Baihaqi, Sultan Masud once sent 25, mans about maunds of indigo to the Caliph at Baghdad, for the Sultans often reserved part of this valuable commodity for their own usage, and often sent it as part of presents for the Caliph or for other rulers. The description of the attack on Thanesar Kurukshetra is detailed. Mahmud Ghaznavi had destroyed the Hindu Shahiya dynasty of Punjab.

Mahmud was present with Subuktigin when the latter received the letter of Jayapal, cited above, emphasising the impetuosity of the Hindu soldiers and their indifference to death, and the Ghaznavids were convinced of their bravery and spirit of sacrifice. In a few days a conflict took place, in which Sewand Rai, and the greatest part of his troops were killed; but not till after they had inflicted a heavy loss upon their opponents. Five years afterwards we read of Tilak, son of Jai Sen, commander of all the Indian troops in the service of the Ghaznavid monarch, being employed to attack the rebel chief, Ahmad Niyaltigin.

He pursued the enemy so closely that many thousands fell into his hands.

Ahmad himself was slain while attempting to escape across a river, by a force of Hindu Jats, whom Tilak had raised against him. This is the same Tilak whose name is written in the Tabqat-i-Akbari , as Malik bin Jai Sen, which if correct, would convey the opinion of the author of that work, that this chief was a Hindu convert. Five years after that event we find that Masud, unable to withstand the power of the Seljuq Turkomans, retreated to India, and remained there for the purpose of raising a body of troops sufficient to make another effort to retrieve his affairs.

It is reasonable therefore to presume that the greater part of these troops consisted of Hindus. Bijai Rai, a general of the Hindus had done much service even in the time of Mahmud. Another inheritance was acquisition of wealth from Indian towns and cities whenever it suited the convenience or needs of Muslim conquerors, raiders or rulers.

It happened, writes Utbi, that 20, men from Mawaraun nahr and its neighbourhood, who were with the Sultan Mahmud , were anxious to be employed on some holy expedition in which they might obtain martyrdom. Even when Muslim Sultanate had been established, Muhammad Ghauri determined on prosecuting a holy war in Hind in H. When he arrived in Hind, God gave him such a victory that his treasures were replenished, and his armies renewed.

But he was keenly interested in acquiring territory in India, 67 and he succeeded in his aim. It is another matter that the peace and prosperity of Punjab was gone as suggested by Alberunis encomiums of the Hindu Shahiya kings, 68 and it was superseded by despotism and exploitation. However, the importance of his occupation of most part of the Punjab lies in the fact that Muslims had come to stay in India.

And these Muslims helped in the third wave of Muslim onrush which swept northern India under Muhammad Ghauri. How the Ghauris rose on the ashes of the Ghaznavids may be recapitulated very briefly. Sultan Mahmud died in Ghazni on 20 April at the age of sixty, leaving immense treasures and a vast empire. After his death his two sons Muhammad and Masud contested for the throne in which the latter was successful. Masud recalled Ariyaruk, the oppressive governor of Punjab, and in his place appointed Ahmad Niyaltigin. Niyaltigin marched to Benaras to which no Muslim army had gone before.

The markets of the drapers, perfumers and jewellers were plundered and an immese booty in gold, silver, and jewels was seized. This success aroused the covetousness of Masud who decided to march to Hindustan in person for a holy war. He set out for India by way of Kabul in November Hansi was stormed and sacked in February the next year, but the Sultan on return realised that the campaign had been counterproductive.

During his absence Tughril Beg, the Seljuq, had sacked a portion of Ghazni town and seized Nishapur in Khurasan was rapidly falling into the hands of the Seljuqs and western Persia was throwing off the yoke of Ghazni. On the Indian side an army of 80, Hindus under Mahipal seized Lahore in , but hastily withdrew on the approach of forces from Ghazni. But curiously enough it was neither the Seljuq danger nor the threat from the Indian side that uprooted the Ghaznavids.

The Seljuqs were not interested in the hilly terrain of what is now called Afghanistan, and were spreading westward to Damascus and the Mediterranean. The power that actually ousted the Ghaznavids comprised the almost insignificant tribesmen of the rugged hills of Ghaur lying between Ghazni and Herat, with their castle of Firoz Koh Hill of Victory. They had submitted to Mahmud in C.

But when the power of the Ghaznavids declined they raised their head. To take revenge of the death of two brothers at the hands of the Ghazni ruler, a third, Alauddin Husain, carried fire and sword throughout the kingdom. The new Ghazni which had been built by Sultan Mahmud at the cost of seven million gold coins was burnt down by Husain , which earned him the title of Jahan-soz world burner. The very graves of the hated dynasty were dug up and scattered, but even Afghan vengeance spared the tomb of Mahmud, the idol of Muslim soldiers.

Near the modern town of Ghazni that tomb and two minarets on one of which may still be read the lofty titles of the idol-breaker alone stand to show where, but not what, the old Ghazni was. Alauddin, the world-burner died in , and his son two years later, whereupon his nephew, Ghiyasuddin bin Sam, became the chief of Ghaur. He brought order to Ghazni and established his younger brother Muizuddin on the ruined throne of Mahmud Ghiyasuddin ruled at Firoz Koh and Muizuddin at Ghazni.

Muhammad Ghauri entered upon a career of conquest of India from this city. Muhammad Ghauri was not as valiant and dashing as Mahmud, but his knowledge about India and about Islam was much better. He now possessed Alberunis India and Burhanuddins Hidaya , works which were not available to his predecessor invaders. Alberunis encyclopaedic work provided to Islamic world in the eleventh century all that was advantageous to know on India.

Hindu sciences of astronomy, astrology, knowledge of distance of planets, and solar and lunar eclipses, physics and metaphysics are all discussed by him. Ideas on matrimony and human biology are not ignored. Hindu customs and ceremonies, their cities, kingdoms, rivers and oceans are all described.

But such a treatise, written with sympathetic understanding, evoked little kindness for the Indian people in the Muslim mind, for to them equally important was the Hidaya , the most authentic work on the laws of Islam compiled by Shaikh Burhanud-din Ali in the twelfth century. The Shaikh claims to have studied all earlier commentaries on the Quran and the Hadis belonging to the schools of Malik, Shafi and Hanbal besides that of Hanifa. There need be no doubt that such works were made available, meticulously studied and constantly referred to by scholars attached to the courts of Muslim conquerors and kings.

Muhammad Ghauri led his first expedition to Multan and Gujarat in Three years later he again marched by way of Multan, Uchch and the waterless Thar desert toward Anhilwara Patan in Gujarat, but the Rajput Bhim gave him crushing defeat It only spurred him to wrest Punjab from the Ghaznavid, and make it a base of operations for further penetration into Indian territory. He annexed Peshawar in and marched to Lahore the next year.

He led two more expeditions, 74 in and , before Lahore was captured. By false promise Khusrau Malik, a prince of the Ghaznavid dynasty, was induced to come out of the fortress, was taken prisoner and sent to Ghazni. He was murdered in Not a single member of the house of Mahmud Ghaznavi was allowed to survive and the dynasty was annihilated. But now fighting had to be done with the Rajputs who had by now risen everywhere to defend their motherland against the repeated invasions of foreign freebooters.

Muhammad Ghauri had already tasted defeat at the hands of Solanki Rajputs in Gujarat. Therefore, he made elaborate preparations before marching towards the Punjab in H. He captured Bhatinda, which had been retaken by the Rajputs from the possession of its Ghaznavid governor, and placed it in charge of Qazi Ziyauddin Talaki with a contingent of horse.

He was about to return to Ghazni when he learnt that Prithviraj Chauhan, the Rajput ruler of Ajmer-Delhi, was coming with a large force to attack him. He turned to meet him and encountered him at Tarain or Taraori, about ten kilometers north of Karnal. The Rajput army comprised hundreds of elephants and a few thousand horse. The Muslims were overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers and their left and right wings were broken.

In the centre, Muhammad Ghauri charged at Govind Rai, the brother of Prithviraj, and shattered his teeth with his lance. But Govind Rai drove his javelin through the Sultans arm, and had not a Khalji Turk come to his immediate assistance, Muhammad would have lost his life.

Prithviraj besieged Bhatinda but the gallant Ziyauddin held out for thirteen months before he capitulated. At Ghazni, Muhammad severely punished the Ghauri, Khalji and Khurasani amirs, 76 whom he held responsible for his defeat. Wallets full of oats were tied to their necks and in this plight they were paraded through the city. The Sultan himself was overcome with such shame that he would neither eat nor drink nor change garments till he had avenged himself Next year he again started from Ghazni towards Hindustan with full preparations and with a force of one hundred and two thousand Turks, Persians and Afghans.

On reaching Lahore, he sent an ambassador to Ajmer and invited Prithviraj to make his submission and accept Islam. The arrogant message met with a befitting retort, and the armies of the two once more encamped opposite each other on the banks of Saraswati at Tarain, H. The Rajput army was far superior in numbers. Prithviraj had succeeded in enlisting the support of about one hundred Rajput princes who rallied round his banner with their elephants, cavalry and infantry. To counter such a vast number Muhammad Ghauri adopted a tactic which bewildered the Rajputs.