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Adab-ul-Mulk wa Kifayat al Mamulak, rules for kings and the welfare of the subjects and Adab al Harb wa al-Shujaah, rules for welfare and bravery, the two important sources of information about political thought of the Muslims of Delhi. In the first book, the writer has drawn the administrative pattern set up at Ghazni, following the models of Baghdad and Bukhara. This book was presented to Iltutmish and his administrative set up was much influenced by this book. Fatwa-e-Jahandari (ruling on government) is another important work of Zia ud Din Barani.

This book maintains general policies of the structure of the state. Barani is bitter not only against the Hindus but also against the Muslims of lower classes. He is of the opinion that low born Muslim should not be taught because this causes a plenty of disorders. But Barani’s book presents an individual view and made no impression on the course of trade, Muslim history or political thought. The spirit and sentiments in Barani’s book is incomplete contrast with Fakhri-i-Muddabir’s book which is inspired by practical idealism.

Tarikh-e-Firoz Shahi of Afif has dealt in at length with political philosophies of early Muslim rulers, statesmen and religious leaders.

DELHI SULTANATE NOT A THEOCRACY

. Delhi sultanate was not a theocracy in practice.
. It was not possible due to area directly under control of Khalifa but other historical factors and a large number of non-Muslims.
. The link with Khalifa was nominal because when Muslim rule was established at Delhi, the temporal authority of Khalifa was dwindled into mere shadow.
. It was particularly under the Tughlaq that the Muslim jurists first received recognition but the pattern of Muslim rule in India had become firmly established.
. The rigidity shown by Ulma may be judged by the fact that they accepted the throne of Razia Sultana (1236-40).

THE SULTAN

The title of the sultan signifies a sovereign ruler and makes the transition from the quasi theocratic Khalifa to a secular institution. The sultan of Delhi had powers and Persian ideas regarding the divine right of Kings. The Hindus were already used to regard the king a representative of the divine power.
There was no permanent law of succession in India during the Sultanate period.

When there was no competent heir to throne, nobility got the right to choose Sultan as in case of Iltutmish and after him upto Tughlaq. The swords also decided the issue of succession. Ala-ud-Din Khilji, Khizar Khan and Bahlul had got the throne by sheer force.

Sultan was all powerful despot and enjoyed the supreme military, judicial and administrative power. His order was law in the state.
The other was the consent of nobility but influence of nobility was different in different periods.

Majlis-i-Am or Majlis-i-Khalwat were the forums where Sultan discussed important matters with his advisors. He was not bound to follow their advice. The concept of election although had been changed with nomination, yet still present to some extent. According to Tripathi, “In spite of the fact, the theory of election was abandoned. The gulf between the two principles was bridged by the leading officials and many consulted to this election.” The acceptance of the governors, the principle nobles of the capital and the chief of the theologians was taken as the indirect consent of the mass of the people.

DEPARTMENTS OF THE STATE

The naib, the post was created during the region of Sultan Bahram Shah. It was influential during the reigns of weak rulers. If the king was weak, then the naib enjoyed the powers, otherwise the post was quite ceremonial.

THE VAZIR

The Prime Minister was called the vazir. He was primarily the head of finance department called the Diwan-e-Wazarat. He was empowered to supervise income and expenditure including all other departments. He was assisted by many subordinates, most important among them were Naib-Vazir, Mumalik (Accountant General) and Mustaufi- Mumalik (Auditor General).

ARIZ-l-MUMALIK

He had the department of Diwan-i-Arz and was the controller governor of the military department. His function includes the recruitment of soldiers, fixation of their salaries, inspection and maintenance of discipline.

DIWAN-l-RISALAT

He was the minister of the foreign affairs and maintained diplomatic relations with other countries and welfare of diplomats.

DIWAN-l-KHAS

He was head of Diwan-e-Insha. All kinds of correspondence between Sultan and others were carried on by his department. He was assisted by a large number of dabirs (writers).

SADAR-US-SADUR

He was minister of the religious affairs. The main duty was to propagate Islam and protection of the privileges of the Muslims. He also controlled the funds of Zakat. He looked after the distribution of charity by the state. The Muslim scholars were also financed by him.

QAZI-UL-QAZAT

He was highest officer of the state after Sultan. Mostly the officers of Sadar us Sadur and Qazi ul Qazat were held by one person.

BARID-l-MUMALIK

He was the head of the intelligence and posted department.

AMIR-I-HAJIB

He was the master and organizer of royal ceremonies. All petitions were presented of Sultan by Amir-l-Hijab.

WAKIL-I-DAD

He was to converse with Wakil-i-Sulatanate of Sayyed’s dynasty and Wakil-i-Mutliq of the Mughals, he was the controller of the royal household.

AMIR-I-SIKHAR

He arranged the hunting parties for the king.

PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATION

The provincial administrative structure did not crystallize till the days of Sher Shah and Akber. During sultanate period, Sultanate was divide into lqtas (regions). The head of iqtas has various names including Muqti or Wali or Nazim. The main duty of the Muqtis was to maintain the peace, establishment and extension of authority of government and recovery of the state dues. The governors were in charge of big or more important provinces exercised wider power.

PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY

The government enjoyed greater autonomy in administrative affairs. It had no authority to interfere in judicial affairs. Department of intelligence was also under center. Provincial head was primarily concerned with military and revenue departments. The province was sub-divided into ‘Shiqs’ which was equal to modern commissioner’s division. The Shiqs were under Shiqdars. Head of the each ‘Parghnah’ was Chaudhry while Muqaddim was the head of village.

The most important feature of Muslim administration in India was the local autonomy enjoyed by the rural areas. This was introduced by Mohammad bin Qasim and was maintained by Sultans of Delhi. The Hindu chiefs enjoyed such an important position in rural life that too many felt as they were personally governing, where the Sultan was almost a mythical figure.

FINANCE

There were various sources of income of the Delhi Sultans. They are given as under:

KHARAJ (LAND TAX)

This was the mainstay of the finance of the government. It was charged from Muslims and non-Muslims ranging from 1/5 to 1/2 under various reigns. Balban paid much attention towards sound and peaceful peasanty.

KHAMUS (1/5 OF THE WAR SPOILS)

It also includes the products of mines. According to Islamic law, 1/5 of the booty goes to state and rest 4/5 to soldiers. But all Sultans, except Firoz, collected 4/5 to state.

JIZYA

This was the religious tax on non-Muslims which they had to pay for their protection. It is exempted if a non-Muslim undertook military duties in an Islamic state. It was common in middle ages for military needs. According to Tripathi, Jizya served the purpose of what called ‘common penny’ in Germany and ‘virtual money’ in England.

The Jizya was recovered in the following three categories:

. Richest paid four diners per head per annum.
. Middle paid two diners per head per annum.
. Lowest paid one diner per head per annum.
. Many people were exempted of this.

ZAKAT

This was a religious tax which was imposed only on the Muslims and consisted of 2-1/2 of the Money,7-1/2 tola of gold or 52 1/2 tola of silver kept for a year.
Separate treasury was maintained for Zakat.

IRRIGATION

It was imposed by Firoz Tughlaq as 1/10 of the product on the peasants who used the water of the canals developed by the state. Ala ud Din also imposed two new taxes i.e. house tax and grazing tax.

ARMY

There were four kinds of soldiers in the army under Sultans.

. The soldiers recruited by the center.
. Ala ud Din kept 4,75,000 standing army.
. This army was maintained by Ariz-i-Mumalik.
. There was no regular course of training.
Balban took measures to train his army for hard life by taking them to hunting parties. Soldiers were recruited by provincial nobles and governors. Nobles were assigned jagirs to finance their troops. Some soldiers were recruited only in times of war.

There were three parts of army:

CAVALRY

This formed the backbone of the army. The cavalry men were of two kinds: the Sawar (having one horse) and do-aspe (having two horses).
The horses were imported from Arabia. Ala-ud-Din started the practice of brading horses and that of keeping Hulya and Dagh; this was to check the replacement of both.

WAR ELEPHANTS

Only Sultan had the privilege to keep elephants. There was separate department for the training and maintenance of elephants. Elephants were armored during the course of battle.

INFANTARY

The foot soldiers were called “Payaks”. They were aimed with swords, spears and bows and arrows.

ARTILLERY

There was nothing like modern artillery. However, there was a sort of mechanical artillery through which fire-balls, fire-arrows, snakes, stones etc., were hurled on the enemy with the help of the gun-powder.
In the provincial kingdoms of Gujarat and Deccan, cannon were properly developed. Army of the Sultan consisted of different modalities and diverse faiths, the Persians, the Afghans, the Mongols, the Indian Muslims and the Hindus etc. Most of the soldiers were Muslims and were united on the basis of Islam.

DIVISION OF ARMY

Military grades were organized on decimal basis. A Sarkhail had ten horse men; a Sipah Salar directed ten Sarkhails; an Amir had ten Sipah Salars; a Malik has authority over ten Amirs and a Khan’s forces contained nearest those of ten Maliks.

NAVY

Sultan maintained a large number of boats primarily for transport purpose and fighting as well.

DIVISION OF THE ARMY IN THE BATTLE FIELD

Army was divided into four parts during the war: the center, the left, the right and the reserved. Elephants were kept in the center and space was left for the foot soldiers. Way was also kept open for the attack of the cavalry.

. The forts were built and maintained.
. The Sultan was the supreme commander.
. In Jagirdari system, army was more loyal to noble than to king.
. It lacked effective use of gunpowder.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

There were four types of courts i.e.
. Diwan-e-Mazalim presided by the ruler to his representative.
. Qadis Courts.
. The Courts of Muhtasibs.
. Police courts (Shurta).
The third type of courts gained power under Tughlaq and Aurangzeb in India.

AMIR-I-DAD

Amir-l-Dad functioned as supreme judge throughout the Muslim rule in the absence of the Sultan. He president over the court of complaint and justice.He also controlled he police and the Muhtasib.

His main duty was to deal with civil disputes among the Muslims, but later his jurisdiction widened and embraced the supervision of Awqaf.
They were appointed by the central government. The Qazis were completely independent of governors. The chief Qazi was also the Sultan’s legal adviser in matters relating to Shariah.

Most of the Sultans took steps to uphold the prestige of Qazi. Even the powerful Sultan like Ale-ud-Din Khilji in spite of condemnation by Mughis ud Din rewarded Qazi with a Khilafat. The main reason of independent judiciary was the pressure of public opinion.

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The Mongols were cruel tribes of Central Asia. They were the natives of Mongolia. They were a very brave, fearless and uncivilized people who took pleasures in plundering, burning and killing of the people. They were called by the name of Satan or Datiya. They invaded India during the reign of deferent Sultans of Delhi. When the Mongols invaded India and different rulers of India treated them, an elaborate picture in this respect is given as under:


ILTUTMISH AND CHANGIZ KHAN

In 1221, they arrived at the borders of India for the first time under the famous leader Changiz khan. He defeated the king of Khuarzim near the Indus River. The king requested Iltutmish to provide him refuge for sometime in India but the latter acted wisely and cleverly. He put him off on the pretext that the climate of Delhi would not suit him. In this way, he saved his country from Mongols’ invasion. On the other hand, Changiz Khan and his soldiers could not bear the heat of Indian’s summer and returned towards the western parts of the river.

In the words of Lane Pool, “The tumult was tremendous but the storm passed away as quickly as it came.”

MONGOLS INVASION IN THE REIGN OF BEHRAM SHAH AND MASUD

A number of Mongol families settled in the region across the Indus River which was a permanent source of Trouble for India. They invaded India whenever Delhi was weak or confusion and disorder prevailed in Delhi kingdom. In 1241 A.D., after twenty years of Changiz Khan’s invasion, the Mongol swooped upon the Punjab and destroyed the beautiful city of Lahore.

In 1245 AD, the Mongols under Mangu, the grandson of Changiz Khan, during the reign of Masud once agian marched against India. They invaded Sindh and beseeched the fort of ”Uch” The Sultan Ala-ud-Din Masud Shah sent troops under the command of Balban to resist them. The Mongols suffered a disastrous defeat and they felt from the battlefield with heavy losses.

NASIR-UD-DIN MUHAMMAD & THE MONGOLS

In 1257 AD, they again fell upon India under their leader Nuyin Sari in the reign of Nasir-ud-Din. The Sultan sent Balban who was now the Prime Minister to check their advance. The Mongols fled back to their invasions and put the old ones in proper state of repairing. He checked the Mongols invasions by filling these forts with armed soldiers.

Halaku, the other grandson of Changiz Khan, sent his representatives to the court of Nasir-ud-Din in 1259 A.D. Who accorded him a cordial welcome. This gesture of friendship proved to be very useful because no more Mongols invasion occurred in his reign.

BALBAN AND MONGOLS

When Balban himself became the Sultan, the Mongols once again invaded India in 1279 and 1285 A.D. In order to check their invasion, Balban made an extensive plan and systemized his frontier policy. The main items of his frontier policy are given below:

. Balban organized a strong and mighty army.
. Old and weak ones replaced by young and strong soldiers.
. Sultan vowed that he would not move out of Delhi for further conquest.
. Multan, Diapur, Samana etc., provinces were declared as frontier provinces.
. Special arrangements were made for the manufacture of war arms and weapons.
. A line of strong and durable forts was built between the capital and the Northwest frontier.
. Balban appointed very brave and trusty men to work in the frontier provinces. At that time, provinces were put under the charge of Sher Khan Sunkar, a younger brother of Sultan and so many.

Due to this systematic policy, the country enjoyed peace and order for a considerably long time. In 1279, when Mongols attacked, Mubarak came from Delhi to help the prince Muhammad. The Mongols had to return to their country with heavy losses. These Mongol invasions had very deep effect on Balban’s policy. He could not leave Delhi for the conquest of far-flung regions of India.

JALAL-UD-DIN KHILJI & MONGOLS

In reign of Jalal ud Din Khilji, the Mongols invaded India repeatedly. They were in great number under Abdullah in 1292 A.D. The Mongol penetrated far into the interior of the country. But they were defeated and captured in thousands. They were allowed to go back safely to their country and for those who wished to settle in India, the Sultan set up a settlement near Delhi.

Dr. K. Datta says, “This was an ill advised concession which produced trouble in the future. The new Muslamans proved turbulent and caused much anxiety.”

ALA-UD-DIN KHILJI & MONGOLS

In the reign of Ala-ud-Din Khilji, the Mongol attacked five times on Delhi. The most significant attack was made in 1299 A.D., when twenty thousand troops in numbers marched against India to conquer her. The leader was Qutlagh Khuawaja. Many ministers and nobles advised the Sultan to make peace with them but he replied, “If I were to follow your advice, how could I show my face, how go into my Harem. Now come what may, tomorrow I must march into the battle field,” and severely defeated the Mongols. Alaud-Din adopted the Balban’s Mongol policy and took all those measure as taken by Balban and devoted his personal attention to this side.

MUHAMMAD TUGHLAQ & MONGOLS

When Muhammad Tughlaq changed his capital from Delhi to Devigri in 1326 A.D, Mongol found suitable opportunity for invading India. They began to lead forceful invasions against the Punjab. In 1328-29 A.D, they under their leader- Tarnashirin Khan over running Multan and Lahore, arrived in the vicinity of Delhi. Muhammad Tughlaq realized his mistake of changing the capital. Frishta writes that Sultan had to send away the Mongols with large amount of money and costly presents.

K. Datta, “Be that as it may, the invasion was no more than a raid and Tarmashirin khan disappeared as suddenly as he has come”.

Than after 1330 A.D., the Mongol invasion almost stopped and the people heaved a sigh of relief. Again after two thousand year in 1524 A.D., theses invasion under Babar were renewed in the reign of Ibrahim Lodhi when as a result, the foundation of Mongol rule was laid in India.

The continuous Mongols invasions in India created troubles not only for the Sultan but also for the people of India who suffered on account of these in invasions. What were the causes of so many invasions on India; the historians could not satisfactory answer the question. The immediate cause of these attacks might be that the Mongol werse warriors and war-some was in their instinct. Economic motives can also be ruled out in this respect because India was a wealthy country.

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1-Introduction:

Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi and Muhammad Ghouri are the two important personalities of the sub-continent during the medieval age. Both were enterprising soldiers and invaded India time and again. A careful and close scrutiny of their respective achievements and character shows that they resembled each other in more than one respect and differed in many respects. Mahmud was far more a great general than Muhammad Ghouri and the military career of Mahmud was more brilliant than that of the Muhammad Ghouri.

2-An Overview of the campaigns of Sultan Mahmud:

Mahmud was a man of ambition and enterprise. On receiving the recognition of his sovereignty from al-Qadir Billah, the Khalifah of Baghdad, “he made it obligatory on himself to undertake every year an expedition to Hind.” From 1000 to 1026 Mahmud led a good many expeditions to Hind. According to Sir Henry Elliot, Mahmud led as many as seventeen expeditions; it is accepted by the most of the historians.

3-Prominent Invasion of Mahmud:

a-Capture of Frontier Forts:

The first expedition of Mahmud which was undertaken in 1000 A.D. against the frontier towns of the Khyber Pass was an important one. During this expedition he captured a few forts and towns of the Khyber Pass.

b-Defeat of Jaypal of Hindushahi kingdom:

Second expedition of the Mahmud was against his father’s enemy, Jaypal, the king of Hindushahi kingdom. A fierce battle was fought at Peshawar in November, 1001 in which the Muslims came out victorious. Jaypal could not tolerate this insult. He after appointing his son Anandpal as the next king, burnt himself to death.

c-Conquest of Multan:

The fourth expedition of Mahmud was led against the Muslim ruler of Multan. Abul Fateh Daud the ruler of Multan had friendly relation with Anandpal. In 1006, Mahmud marched across the Punjab, Anandpal was defeated and driven to Kashmir hills. Mahmud than invaded Multan. Daud fled, and Multan was captured. Sukhpal or Nawasa Shah, a grandson of Jaypal was left in charge of Multan.

d-Battle of Waihind:

The sixth expedition of Mahmud was led against Anandpal 1008. He organized a confederacy against the Muslims in which the great Hindu Rajas of Ujjain, Gwalior, Kalinjar, Qanauj, Delhi and Ajmer had joined. Mahmud had never met such a vast army organized by the Hindu confederates. The Khokars, a tribe of Punjab also joined the Rajputs in their struggle against the Muslims. It was a challenge to Mahmud. He met the huge Hindu army near Waihind. The bear-footed and bear-headed Khokars fought very bravely against the Muslims. It was a critical moment for the Muslims. but fortunately the elephant of Anandpal got frightened and fled away from the battle-field. This caused a great confusion and panic among the Hindu soldiers who also ran away from the battle-field. Mahmud won victory.

e-Conquest of Punjab:

Trilochanpal son of Anandpal, after exile again came to Punjab and established himself in the Sivalik hills. He entered into an alliance with Vidyadhar, the chandela ruler of Bundelkhan. In order to break this alliance, Mahmud again came to Indo-Pakistan, and finally defeated Trilochanpal. The result of this expedition ‘was more enduring than those of others’. He annexed the Punjab to his dominions and entrusted a regular Amir with the government of the province.

f-Expedition against Qanauj:

The next important expedition of Mahmud was directed against Qanaj, the imperial capital of Hindustan. In 1018. Mahmud at the head of a large army, set out from Ghazni. He captured all the forts on the way. The Raja of Baran or Bulandshahar, offered his submission and embraced Islam along with ten thousand men. Mahmud appeared before the gate of Qanauj in 1019, January, Rajaypal, the Pratihara ruler of Qanauj submitted to Mahmud without any fighting.

g-Causes of Attack on Somnath:

After the fall of Punjab, the Hindu think tank assembled at Somnath – which was more of a political center than a temple – to plan a big war against Mahmud. He took all the Rajas and Maharajas by surprise when he attacked Somnath and crushed the Hindu headquarter of political intrigue. With the destruction of Somnath he broke the backbone of the Hindus in the region and thus had no need to attack India again.

The most momentous expedition of Sultan Mahmud was indeed the capture of Somnath in Kathiwar. Regarding the cause of this expedition, the famous historian, Ibn-ul-Athis says that, “when Mahmud of Ghazni was gaining victory after victory in India, the Hindu began to say that the success of Mahmud was due to displeasure of the Somnath god with the inhabitants of the defeated territories”. At this, Mahmud decided to conquer Somnath in order to prove the futility of their belief. This view is corroborated by Ibn Khaldun, Farishta and Wolseley Haig.

Towards the close of 1025, Mahmud set from Ghazni and passing through Multan and the desert of Rajputana, he stood before the gates of Somnath on the 9th of January 1026. The Hindus offered a stubborn resistance, but were defeated.

“The expedition to Somnath” says Dr. M. Nazim, “is one of the greatest feats of Military adventure in the history of Islam”.

h-Last expedition:

The last expedition was undertaken against the Jats of Salt Range in 1027 who had molested the Muslim army on its return journey from Somnath. The Jats were defeated and many of them were put to death.

4-Estimate of Sultan Mahmud:

He came to South Asia seventeen times and went back to Ghazni every time with a great victory. He fought against the strong forces of Jaipal, Annadpal, Tarnochalpal, Kramta and the joint forces of Hindu Rajas and Maharajas but all of them were forced to flee away from the battlefield due to Mahmud’s war strategy as a general.

According to S. M. Jaffar, “Mahmud was endowed with a genius of war. He was a scientific general, skillful in planning and thorough in execution”. His army consisted of heterogeneous elements such as Arabs, Afghanis, Turks and Hindus but he showed wonderful ability in welding together these elements into a powerful and invincible unit. As a conqueror, his purpose was to achieve fame and glory and he had achieved it.

5-Nature of the Mahmud’s Invasions:

Sultan Mahmud made seventeen expeditions into Indo-Pakistan and conquered a number of places in the sub-continent. But he didn’t establish his rule over them or annex any part of the conquered territories except the Punjab. Various opinions have been expressed by the historians about the motives of Sultan Mahmud’s invasions.

6-Mahmud one of the Greatest Conqueror:

One of the most controversial personalities in the history of South Asia, Mahmud Ghaznavi is known as one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever seen. He was one of the very few leaders who were never defeated in a battlefield.

Unlike other great conquerors like Alexander and Chengez Khan, Mahmud did not leave the areas conquered to the mercy of his soldiers. After becoming the first Muslim ruler to conquer Northern Punjab, he consolidated his rule in the area and established his provincial headquarters at Lahore. He established law and order in the areas that he ruled, giving special attention to the people he ruled.

Professor Sharma is of the view that, “Mahmud was a seasoned soldier. Fear did not find any place in his heart. His army won against the rulers of India ‘like comb through a poll of hair.” It was no small achievement to “develop a small mountain principality of Ghazni into a large and prosperous empire by sheer force of arms.” He never shrank from war; rather he took delight in it. His military exploits in the east effaced the glories of Alexander’s conquest from the minds of many.

7-Mahmud forerunner of Ghouri:

The establishment of Muslim rule in Punjab is a significant event in the history of Islam in Sub-continent. Muslims gained their first foothold in Northern Indian. The conquest of Punjab also paved the way for other conquerors like Muhammad Ghuri. After the death of Mahmud, the Ghaznavid dynasty lost much of its vigor; yet during the days of his son Masud and grandson Mahmud, Lahore remained an important province of the Ghaznavid Empire. Later, the Ghaznavid rulers moved their headquarter from Ghazni to Punjab and ruled Peshawar, Lahore and Multan till the last half of 12th century when Muhammad Ghuri defeated them.

8-An Overview of Muhammad Ghouri:

Muizzuddin Muhammad bin Sam, better known in history as Muhammad Ghouri, became the ruler of Ghazni in 1173. He was an ambitious king and fired with the love of conquest and power. The Ghourid wanted to establish an empire but their successive defeats at the hands of Shah of Khwarzim forced them to give up the idea of founding an empire in Central Asia and they now turned their attention towards India. Having established himself at Ghazni, he turned his attention to the fertile plains of the sub-continent.

The Ghaznavid who were defeated and ousted from Ghazni took shelter in the Punjab. They became so strong in the country that their very presence was regarded as source of future troubles to the Ghourids. Hence the destruction of the Ghaznavid power in the Punjab demanded the immediate attention of the Ghouri king.

India was divided into many warring States and there was no political unity in the country. Muhammad Ghouri found in the disunited condition of India a brilliant prospect of his success.

9-Campaigns of Muhammad Ghouri:

i-Conquest of Multan and Uch: (1175-76)

First invasion of Muhammad Ghouri was directed against Multan which was at the time ruled bby Karamathians. He captured the city and appointed his own governor there. From Multan he proceeded to Uch and Sind which was captured after sometimes.

ii-Unsuccessful Attempt on Gujrat:

Fin 1178, Muhammad Ghouri led an expedition against Anhilwara, capital of Gujrat but he was defeated by Bhim II, the Vaghela king of Anhilwara.

iii-Conquest of the Punjab:

Finding it impossible to conquer India through Sind and Multan, Muhammad Ghouri thought of conquering the Punjab which was the key of Hindustan. After a few years of war, Khusrau Malik, the last ruler of Ghaznavid dynasty, was captured and imprisoned in Ghur. The Punjab was then annexed to his empire and the Ghaznavid rule in West Pakistan came to an end.

iv-First Battle of Tarain: (1191)

After the fall of Ghaznavids, Muhammad Ghouri had to face the opposition of the Rajputs. The rapid success of Muhammad Ghouri alarmed Pirthviraj, the Chauhan ruler of Delhi and Ajmer. He gathered a big force and marched against the Ghouri chief. In 1191 both the armies met in the field of Tarain, near Thaneswar and a battle was fought in which the Muslims were defeated and routed. But Muhammad Ghouri did not lose heart at this failure.

v-Second Battle of Tarain: (1192)

Having organized a strong army, Muhammad Ghouri invaded in 1192. He along with his force reached a place near Tarain and encamped there. Pirthviraj appealed to the Rajput princes to join him against the Muslim invader. It is said that as many as 150 Rajput princes with the exception of Raja of Qanauj lent him their help.

Muhammad Ghouri adopted a new tactics of attacks. He divided his army into four divisions and ordered one division to engage the Rajputs at one time while the others were resting. The division was further ordered to pretend or feign flight after sometime fighting. The Rajputs fought bravely but the new tactics of Muhammad Ghouri proved to be too strong for them. Prithviraj tried to run away from the battle field but he was captured and put to death.

vi-Expedition against Jai Chand of Qanauj:

In 1194, Muhammad Ghouri again came to India in order to subdue Jai Chand of Qanauj, the mortal enemy of Pirthviraj. Qutb-ud-Din joined his master with his force. Jai Chand met the combined forces of his enemy and was defeated in a battle near at Chandwar. The victorious army then proceeded to Benares and captured it.

According to Professor S. R. Sharma, “The fall of Jai Chand at Chandwar made Muhammad the master of the political as well as the religious capitals of Hindustan, Qanauj and Benares.

vii-Qutbub-ud-Din Aibak Incharge of Conquered Territories.

After the Second battle of Tarain, Muhammad Ghouri returned to Ghazni and his trusted lieutenant, Qutb-ud-Din Aibak was entrusted with the charge of his conquered territories. Aibak was a man of military ability and political insight. He consolidated and extended the conquests of his master. He soon conquered Meerut, Koil (Modern Aligarh) and Delhi. He made Delhi the capital of empire (1194) thinking that Lahore was too far from his new possessions.

In 1196 he capture Gwalior and then marched against Bhim Deva of Anhiwala. He conquered Anhiwala in Gujrat (1198).

Kalinjar was invaded by Aibak in 1202 which was the military capital of Parmardi Deva, the Chandela king of Bundelkhan. They offered a strong resistance to Muslims but ultimately they were defeated and the fort of Kalinjar fell into the hands of the Muslims. Thus all the important places of Northern India were brought under the control of Muslims by Aibak.

viii-Conquest of Bihar and Bengal by Bakhtiar Khilji:

Ikhtiyar-ud-Din Muhammad bin Bakhtiar Khilji, a lieutenant of Qut-ud-Din, was extending the Turkish supremacy over Eastern India. Muhammad bin Bakhtiar Khilji was an outstanding figure in the history of Bengal. He marched towards Nadia, the capital of Bengal, with such rapidity that only 18 horsemen could pace with him. He was so bold that he did not hesitate to launch an attack with this small force. On hearing the news of his attack, Lakshman Sen who was taking his meal, fled away by a back door and took shelter at Vikrampur near Sonargaon. Bengal was captured and the seat of government was transferred to Lakhnauti or Gaur. The brave soldier died on his return journey from Tibet to Devkot in 1206.

10-Estimate of Sultan Muhammad Ghouri:

Muhammad Ghouri was a great politician and a far-sighted statesman. He fully realized the rotten political condition of India and therefore decided to establish a permanent kingdom here.

11-Nature of Ghouri’s Conquest:

His first and foremost aim was to found a permanent Muslim empire in Indian and he furnished during his life time all the resources required for the maintenance of his empire. He trained under his guidance a number of able administrators who amply justified his confidence and trust.

12-The Founder of Muslim Empire in India:

Though the life of Muhammad Ghouri came to a tragic end, the traditions established by him were continued under his able successors, the Turkish slaves who ruled after him. He lives in history not a mere conqueror, but as an empire builder, Muhammad Ghouri is, therefore, justly called the founder of the Muslim Empire in Indo-Pakistan.

13-Remarkable Figure in Indo-Pak History:

Muhammad Ghouri was one of the most remarkable figures in Medieval India. He was a man of courage, enterprise and spirit. He had to fight against the Hindu States incessantly for several years and during this period he showed extraordinary coolness and perseverance. It was no small credit for him that he, with limited resources, was able to establish a large empire “which extended from Afghanistan to Bengal”. He was a “God fearing and just sovereign” who was well known for his sympathy and kindness to his subjects.

14-Conclusion:

Both Mahmud Ghazni and Muhammad Ghouri were the greatest soldiers but Mahmud was far greater general than Muhammad Ghouri and the military career of Mahmud was far more brilliant than that of the latter. Mahmud never suffered a reverse but Muhammad Ghouri was an ordinary soldier and suffered many defeats in India but he never lose heart on these defeats and take revenge of them and crushed the power of Hindu Rajas. Muhammad Ghouri is called the founder of Muslim Empire in India. He took great care in consolidating his conquests. Both of them rendered a great service to the cause of Islam.

Source: R.C Majumdar, Ishwari Prasad, K.Ali, Oxford History of India etc.

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1-Introduction:

Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi and Muhammad Ghouri are the two important personalities of the sub-continent during the medieval age. Both were enterprising soldiers and invaded India time and again. A careful and close scrutiny of their respective achievements and character shows that they resembled each other in more than one respect and differed in many respects. Mahmud was far more a great general than Muhammad Ghouri and the military career of Mahmud was more brilliant than that of the Muhammad Ghouri.

2-An Overview of the campaigns of Sultan Mahmud:

Mahmud was a man of ambition and enterprise. On receiving the recognition of his sovereignty from al-Qadir Billah, the Khalifah of Baghdad, “he made it obligatory on himself to undertake every year an expedition to Hind.” From 1000 to 1026 Mahmud led a good many expeditions to Hind. According to Sir Henry Elliot, Mahmud led as many as seventeen expeditions; it is accepted by the most of the historians.

3-Prominent Invasion of Mahmud:

a-Capture of Frontier Forts:

The first expedition of Mahmud which was undertaken in 1000 A.D. against the frontier towns of the Khyber Pass was an important one. During this expedition he captured a few forts and towns of the Khyber Pass.

b-Defeat of Jaypal of Hindushahi kingdom:

Second expedition of the Mahmud was against his father’s enemy, Jaypal, the king of Hindushahi kingdom. A fierce battle was fought at Peshawar in November, 1001 in which the Muslims came out victorious. Jaypal could not tolerate this insult. He after appointing his son Anandpal as the next king, burnt himself to death.

c-Conquest of Multan:

The fourth expedition of Mahmud was led against the Muslim ruler of Multan. Abul Fateh Daud the ruler of Multan had friendly relation with Anandpal. In 1006, Mahmud marched across the Punjab, Anandpal was defeated and driven to Kashmir hills. Mahmud than invaded Multan. Daud fled, and Multan was captured. Sukhpal or Nawasa Shah, a grandson of Jaypal was left in charge of Multan.

d-Battle of Waihind:

The sixth expedition of Mahmud was led against Anandpal 1008. He organized a confederacy against the Muslims in which the great Hindu Rajas of Ujjain, Gwalior, Kalinjar, Qanauj, Delhi and Ajmer had joined. Mahmud had never met such a vast army organized by the Hindu confederates. The Khokars, a tribe of Punjab also joined the Rajputs in their struggle against the Muslims. It was a challenge to Mahmud. He met the huge Hindu army near Waihind. The bear-footed and bear-headed Khokars fought very bravely against the Muslims. It was a critical moment for the Muslims. but fortunately the elephant of Anandpal got frightened and fled away from the battle-field. This caused a great confusion and panic among the Hindu soldiers who also ran away from the battle-field. Mahmud won victory.

e-Conquest of Punjab:

Trilochanpal son of Anandpal, after exile again came to Punjab and established himself in the Sivalik hills. He entered into an alliance with Vidyadhar, the chandela ruler of Bundelkhan. In order to break this alliance, Mahmud again came to Indo-Pakistan, and finally defeated Trilochanpal. The result of this expedition ‘was more enduring than those of others’. He annexed the Punjab to his dominions and entrusted a regular Amir with the government of the province.

f-Expedition against Qanauj:

The next important expedition of Mahmud was directed against Qanaj, the imperial capital of Hindustan. In 1018. Mahmud at the head of a large army, set out from Ghazni. He captured all the forts on the way. The Raja of Baran or Bulandshahar, offered his submission and embraced Islam along with ten thousand men. Mahmud appeared before the gate of Qanauj in 1019, January, Rajaypal, the Pratihara ruler of Qanauj submitted to Mahmud without any fighting.

g-Causes of Attack on Somnath:

After the fall of Punjab, the Hindu think tank assembled at Somnath – which was more of a political center than a temple – to plan a big war against Mahmud. He took all the Rajas and Maharajas by surprise when he attacked Somnath and crushed the Hindu headquarter of political intrigue. With the destruction of Somnath he broke the backbone of the Hindus in the region and thus had no need to attack India again.

The most momentous expedition of Sultan Mahmud was indeed the capture of Somnath in Kathiwar. Regarding the cause of this expedition, the famous historian, Ibn-ul-Athis says that, “when Mahmud of Ghazni was gaining victory after victory in India, the Hindu began to say that the success of Mahmud was due to displeasure of the Somnath god with the inhabitants of the defeated territories”. At this, Mahmud decided to conquer Somnath in order to prove the futility of their belief. This view is corroborated by Ibn Khaldun, Farishta and Wolseley Haig.

Towards the close of 1025, Mahmud set from Ghazni and passing through Multan and the desert of Rajputana, he stood before the gates of Somnath on the 9th of January 1026. The Hindus offered a stubborn resistance, but were defeated.

“The expedition to Somnath” says Dr. M. Nazim, “is one of the greatest feats of Military adventure in the history of Islam”.

h-Last expedition:

The last expedition was undertaken against the Jats of Salt Range in 1027 who had molested the Muslim army on its return journey from Somnath. The Jats were defeated and many of them were put to death.

4-Estimate of Sultan Mahmud:

He came to South Asia seventeen times and went back to Ghazni every time with a great victory. He fought against the strong forces of Jaipal, Annadpal, Tarnochalpal, Kramta and the joint forces of Hindu Rajas and Maharajas but all of them were forced to flee away from the battlefield due to Mahmud’s war strategy as a general.

According to S. M. Jaffar, “Mahmud was endowed with a genius of war. He was a scientific general, skillful in planning and thorough in execution”. His army consisted of heterogeneous elements such as Arabs, Afghanis, Turks and Hindus but he showed wonderful ability in welding together these elements into a powerful and invincible unit. As a conqueror, his purpose was to achieve fame and glory and he had achieved it.

5-Nature of the Mahmud’s Invasions:

Sultan Mahmud made seventeen expeditions into Indo-Pakistan and conquered a number of places in the sub-continent. But he didn’t establish his rule over them or annex any part of the conquered territories except the Punjab. Various opinions have been expressed by the historians about the motives of Sultan Mahmud’s invasions.

6-Mahmud one of the Greatest Conqueror:

One of the most controversial personalities in the history of South Asia, Mahmud Ghaznavi is known as one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever seen. He was one of the very few leaders who were never defeated in a battlefield.

Unlike other great conquerors like Alexander and Chengez Khan, Mahmud did not leave the areas conquered to the mercy of his soldiers. After becoming the first Muslim ruler to conquer Northern Punjab, he consolidated his rule in the area and established his provincial headquarters at Lahore. He established law and order in the areas that he ruled, giving special attention to the people he ruled.

Professor Sharma is of the view that, “Mahmud was a seasoned soldier. Fear did not find any place in his heart. His army won against the rulers of India ‘like comb through a poll of hair.” It was no small achievement to “develop a small mountain principality of Ghazni into a large and prosperous empire by sheer force of arms.” He never shrank from war; rather he took delight in it. His military exploits in the east effaced the glories of Alexander’s conquest from the minds of many.

7-Mahmud forerunner of Ghouri:

The establishment of Muslim rule in Punjab is a significant event in the history of Islam in Sub-continent. Muslims gained their first foothold in Northern Indian. The conquest of Punjab also paved the way for other conquerors like Muhammad Ghuri. After the death of Mahmud, the Ghaznavid dynasty lost much of its vigor; yet during the days of his son Masud and grandson Mahmud, Lahore remained an important province of the Ghaznavid Empire. Later, the Ghaznavid rulers moved their headquarter from Ghazni to Punjab and ruled Peshawar, Lahore and Multan till the last half of 12th century when Muhammad Ghuri defeated them.

8-An Overview of Muhammad Ghouri:

Muizzuddin Muhammad bin Sam, better known in history as Muhammad Ghouri, became the ruler of Ghazni in 1173. He was an ambitious king and fired with the love of conquest and power. The Ghourid wanted to establish an empire but their successive defeats at the hands of Shah of Khwarzim forced them to give up the idea of founding an empire in Central Asia and they now turned their attention towards India. Having established himself at Ghazni, he turned his attention to the fertile plains of the sub-continent.

The Ghaznavid who were defeated and ousted from Ghazni took shelter in the Punjab. They became so strong in the country that their very presence was regarded as source of future troubles to the Ghourids. Hence the destruction of the Ghaznavid power in the Punjab demanded the immediate attention of the Ghouri king.

India was divided into many warring States and there was no political unity in the country. Muhammad Ghouri found in the disunited condition of India a brilliant prospect of his success.

9-Campaigns of Muhammad Ghouri:

i-Conquest of Multan and Uch: (1175-76)

First invasion of Muhammad Ghouri was directed against Multan which was at the time ruled bby Karamathians. He captured the city and appointed his own governor there. From Multan he proceeded to Uch and Sind which was captured after sometimes.

ii-Unsuccessful Attempt on Gujrat:

Fin 1178, Muhammad Ghouri led an expedition against Anhilwara, capital of Gujrat but he was defeated by Bhim II, the Vaghela king of Anhilwara.

iii-Conquest of the Punjab:

Finding it impossible to conquer India through Sind and Multan, Muhammad Ghouri thought of conquering the Punjab which was the key of Hindustan. After a few years of war, Khusrau Malik, the last ruler of Ghaznavid dynasty, was captured and imprisoned in Ghur. The Punjab was then annexed to his empire and the Ghaznavid rule in West Pakistan came to an end.

iv-First Battle of Tarain: (1191)

After the fall of Ghaznavids, Muhammad Ghouri had to face the opposition of the Rajputs. The rapid success of Muhammad Ghouri alarmed Pirthviraj, the Chauhan ruler of Delhi and Ajmer. He gathered a big force and marched against the Ghouri chief. In 1191 both the armies met in the field of Tarain, near Thaneswar and a battle was fought in which the Muslims were defeated and routed. But Muhammad Ghouri did not lose heart at this failure.

v-Second Battle of Tarain: (1192)

Having organized a strong army, Muhammad Ghouri invaded in 1192. He along with his force reached a place near Tarain and encamped there. Pirthviraj appealed to the Rajput princes to join him against the Muslim invader. It is said that as many as 150 Rajput princes with the exception of Raja of Qanauj lent him their help.

Muhammad Ghouri adopted a new tactics of attacks. He divided his army into four divisions and ordered one division to engage the Rajputs at one time while the others were resting. The division was further ordered to pretend or feign flight after sometime fighting. The Rajputs fought bravely but the new tactics of Muhammad Ghouri proved to be too strong for them. Prithviraj tried to run away from the battle field but he was captured and put to death.

vi-Expedition against Jai Chand of Qanauj:

In 1194, Muhammad Ghouri again came to India in order to subdue Jai Chand of Qanauj, the mortal enemy of Pirthviraj. Qutb-ud-Din joined his master with his force. Jai Chand met the combined forces of his enemy and was defeated in a battle near at Chandwar. The victorious army then proceeded to Benares and captured it.

According to Professor S. R. Sharma, “The fall of Jai Chand at Chandwar made Muhammad the master of the political as well as the religious capitals of Hindustan, Qanauj and Benares.

vii-Qutbub-ud-Din Aibak Incharge of Conquered Territories.

After the Second battle of Tarain, Muhammad Ghouri returned to Ghazni and his trusted lieutenant, Qutb-ud-Din Aibak was entrusted with the charge of his conquered territories. Aibak was a man of military ability and political insight. He consolidated and extended the conquests of his master. He soon conquered Meerut, Koil (Modern Aligarh) and Delhi. He made Delhi the capital of empire (1194) thinking that Lahore was too far from his new possessions.

In 1196 he capture Gwalior and then marched against Bhim Deva of Anhiwala. He conquered Anhiwala in Gujrat (1198).

Kalinjar was invaded by Aibak in 1202 which was the military capital of Parmardi Deva, the Chandela king of Bundelkhan. They offered a strong resistance to Muslims but ultimately they were defeated and the fort of Kalinjar fell into the hands of the Muslims. Thus all the important places of Northern India were brought under the control of Muslims by Aibak.

viii-Conquest of Bihar and Bengal by Bakhtiar Khilji:

Ikhtiyar-ud-Din Muhammad bin Bakhtiar Khilji, a lieutenant of Qut-ud-Din, was extending the Turkish supremacy over Eastern India. Muhammad bin Bakhtiar Khilji was an outstanding figure in the history of Bengal. He marched towards Nadia, the capital of Bengal, with such rapidity that only 18 horsemen could pace with him. He was so bold that he did not hesitate to launch an attack with this small force. On hearing the news of his attack, Lakshman Sen who was taking his meal, fled away by a back door and took shelter at Vikrampur near Sonargaon. Bengal was captured and the seat of government was transferred to Lakhnauti or Gaur. The brave soldier died on his return journey from Tibet to Devkot in 1206.

10-Estimate of Sultan Muhammad Ghouri:

Muhammad Ghouri was a great politician and a far-sighted statesman. He fully realized the rotten political condition of India and therefore decided to establish a permanent kingdom here.

11-Nature of Ghouri’s Conquest:

His first and foremost aim was to found a permanent Muslim empire in Indian and he furnished during his life time all the resources required for the maintenance of his empire. He trained under his guidance a number of able administrators who amply justified his confidence and trust.

12-The Founder of Muslim Empire in India:

Though the life of Muhammad Ghouri came to a tragic end, the traditions established by him were continued under his able successors, the Turkish slaves who ruled after him. He lives in history not a mere conqueror, but as an empire builder, Muhammad Ghouri is, therefore, justly called the founder of the Muslim Empire in Indo-Pakistan.

13-Remarkable Figure in Indo-Pak History:

Muhammad Ghouri was one of the most remarkable figures in Medieval India. He was a man of courage, enterprise and spirit. He had to fight against the Hindu States incessantly for several years and during this period he showed extraordinary coolness and perseverance. It was no small credit for him that he, with limited resources, was able to establish a large empire “which extended from Afghanistan to Bengal”. He was a “God fearing and just sovereign” who was well known for his sympathy and kindness to his subjects.

14-Conclusion:

Both Mahmud Ghazni and Muhammad Ghouri were the greatest soldiers but Mahmud was far greater general than Muhammad Ghouri and the military career of Mahmud was far more brilliant than that of the latter. Mahmud never suffered a reverse but Muhammad Ghouri was an ordinary soldier and suffered many defeats in India but he never lose heart on these defeats and take revenge of them and crushed the power of Hindu Rajas. Muhammad Ghouri is called the founder of Muslim Empire in India. He took great care in consolidating his conquests. Both of them rendered a great service to the cause of Islam.

Source: R.C Majumdar, Ishwari Prasad, K.Ali, Oxford and Cambridge History of India etc.

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According to Sir Wolseley Haig, “Mahmud is one of the most prominent figures in the history of Islam. During the reign of thirty-two years, he extended his empire over the whole of the country now known as Afghanistan, the greatest part of Persia and Transoxiana and the Punjab. He is stated to have made a vow to wage every year a holy war against the misbelievers of India, and he invaded the country no fewer than 17 times, extinguishing ruling house of the Punjab, crossed the Ganges, penetrated into Bundelkhand and reached the western sea.”

Mahmud’s Character:

Mahmud was a man of medium height but strong built. He did not look like a king. He was a very ambitious person. He was great general and great soldier. He was extremely intelligent and shrewd. He possessed cool courage, prudence and resourcefulness. He was an expert in statecraft.

Professor Habib tells us that the outlook of Mahmud on life was essentially secular and he did not follow the Ulema blindly. He was not fanatic at all. Utbi, his court historian, looked upon the expeditions of Mahmud to India as Jihad or holy war for the destruction of Hindus and spread of Islam.

Ishwari Prasad says, “Mahmud was stern and implacable in administering justice, and was always ready to protect the persons and property of his subjects”.

As a Soldier and General:

According to S. M. Jaffar, “Mahmud was endowed with a genius of war. He was a scientific general, skillful in planning and thorough in execution”. He made fullest preparations and plans before undertaking any invasion. His army consisted of heterogeneous elements such as Arabs, Afghanis, Turks and Hindus but he showed wonderful ability in welding together these elements into a powerful and invincible unit. As a conqueror, his purpose was to achieve fame and glory and he had achieved it.

Professor Sharma is of the view that, “Mahmud was a seasoned soldier. Fear did not find any place in his heart. His army won against the rulers of India ‘like comb through a poll of hair.” It was no small achievement to “develop a small mountain principality of Ghazni into a large and prosperous empire by sheer force of arms.” He never shrank from war; rather he took delight in it. His military exploits in the east effaced the glories of Alexander’s conquest from the minds of many.

As an Empire Builder:

Mahmud was not only a soldier and general, but also a great empire-builder. It has been alleged that he paid no attention to the building of his empire. This view of the critics is not correct. His aim was to conquer the entire territory of his enemies and destroy their power and he was certainly successful in achieving this object. The hostile neighboring chiefs were duly punished and replaced by others who were friendly and loyal to him.

“His rule was so firmly established in the Punjab” that his family was able to take shelter at Lahore after their departure from Ghazni. He found Ghazni a petty kingdom but it turned it into a vast empire. Before him no Arab and Turkish rulers of Central Asia could conquer further than Herat, Kabul and Ghazni. He was the first of the Muslim rulers to invade India from North-West Frontier which opened the gates of India to his co-religionists.

As a Ruler:

As a ruler, Mahmud was just, firm and generous. He had a well organized and well-conducted government. He divided his empire into provinces, each under a governor. He exercised strict supervision over the administration of provinces so that the governors did not oppress the people. He was particularly famous for his administration of justice. He meted out justice to all irrespective of caste and creed, rank and station. Even his own sons and relatives were not spared from the law of the Shariah, if they committed offence.

Utbi, his court historian hails him, “as the glorious lord of the people who displayed equality between the widow and the wealthy, so that the boasting and oppression was closed”.

Mahmud was very strict in the administration of justice. Once upon a time a person came to the Sultan with a complaint against his nephew, when Mahmud found his nephew guilty; he cut off his head with his own hands. It is said that a merchant brought a suit against Prince Masud, the son of Sultan Mahmud. The only way for the prince to escape from appearing before the Qazi was that he paid the merchant his money.

Criticism of Mahmud as a Ruler:

According to some historians Sultan Mahmud was not a constructive genius nor a far-sighted statesman. Lanepoole says, “We hear of no laws or institutions or methods of government that sprang from his initiative. Outward order and security was all he attempted to attain in his unwieldy empire, to organize and consolidate was not in his scheme”.

Dr. Ishwari Prasad corroborates this view when he says that the empire of Mahmud “was a huge agglomerator of people who could no be held in check only by Argus-eyed Sultan”. That was why his empire crumbled into pieces after his death. This view of the historian is not correct according to C. V. Vaidya. There are no records to disapprove the statement “that it was a well-organized and well-conducted government.” The reason why the empire fell was not the incapability of Mahmud to organize and consolidate. It was rather due to the weakness and incapability of Mahmud’s successors who lacked the qualities of generalship and statesmanship.

Patron of Arts and Letter:

Mahmud was great pattern of art and letters. Great architects, poets and artists flocked to his court. According to Lanepoole, “From the cities of the Oxus and the shores of Caspian from Persia, and Khorasan, he pressed into his service the lights of oriental letters, and compelled them, not unwillingly, to revolve around his sun like planets in his firmament of glory”.

Utbi was a great literary figure of the time of Mahmud. He was his court historian. His kitab-ul-Yamni or Tarikh-e-Yamni is one of the most important authorities on the life and work of Mahmud.

Firdausi was the most famous poet at the court of Mahmud. He was the author of Shahnama which is one of the best pieces of literature. Firdausi has been described as “the immortal Homer of the East”. According to Ishwari Prasad, “The Shahnama has placed Mahmud among the immortals of the history”.

Alberuni also belonged to the court of Mahmud. He was a great mathematician, philosopher, astronomer and Sanskrit scholar. He has given a full account of the social and political conditions of India.

Mahmud patronized artists and architects. A large number of Madrassas, Khankahs and mosques were built in Ghazni. The Celestial Bride which is described as “a wonder of the East”, was one of the most important buildings of Mahmud. It was a big mosque which was surrounded be 3,000 quarters for the residence of the researchers and students of the university.

Mahmud’s Place in History:

Sultan Mahmud was kind and just to his subjects and shared in their joy and sorrows. He was the embodiment of toleration. He allowed the Hindus to perform their religious duties with the utmost freedom. He appointed many Hindus to high posts in the State. He was a pious Muslim who observed all the injunctions of Islam in his daily life but he never forced religion on others. He knew the Quran by heart and possessed sufficient knowledge of the Hadith. A great leader of men, a just ruler, a gifted soldier, a dispenser of justice and a patron of letters, he deserves to be ranked as the greatest king of his age and one of the greatest personalities of the world.

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Dissension of the Hindus:

The Hindus were numerically superior to the Muslims, but they could not stand unitedly against the invaders. These dissentions and mutual jealousies of the Hindus contributed greatly to the success of the Muslims.

Ishwari Prasad, “There was little feeling of national patriotism in the country. The masses were indifferent to political revolutions. Whenever a confederacy was organized, its members often fell out among themselves, and pride of the clan or the tribe interfered with the discipline of the coalition and paralyzed the plans of leaders”.

Caste distinctions and the general separation of the rulers from the rural folk prevented the kind of solidarity which would have been required for such a defence effort.

Old Method of Warfare:

The Hindus followed the old methods of warfare. Their absolute dependence on unwieldy war elephants, which proved immobile and dangerous to fight against the well-trained cavalry leaders, offered the Muslims a chance to inflict a crushing blow on them in the field.

Obedience of the General:

The Hindus were not good at coordinating their efforts or at outwitting the strategy and tactics of the invaders. The Rajputs cavalry consisted of uncontrolled and unruly men, who would not take orders easily, whereas the cavalry of the Muslim consisted of specially trained soldiers who had practically grown up with their horses and were subjected to a constant drill. Religious factor further unified the Muslims who fought bravely and showed great obedience to their Commander-in-Chief. Mahmud’s figure in the eyes of his followers was as a devoted champion of the faith. They followed him uncomplainingly wherever he led them.

Military Competence:

Islamic society was much more open and democratic than Hindu society. Anybody who wanted to join an army and proved to be good at fighting could achieve rapid advancement. Hindu armies were led by kings and princes whose military competence was not necessarily in keeping with their hereditary rank; by contrast, the Muslim generals whom they encountered almost invariably owed their position to their superior military merit. Even Sultans would be quickly replaced by slaves-turned-generals if they did not know how to maintain their position. This military evolution was characteristic of early Islamic History. The Ghaznavids and the Ghurids and then the sultans of Delhi were all slaves to begin with. They made a mark by their military prowess and their loyalty and obedience. The immobile Hindu society and its hereditary rulers were no match for such people.

Unity of Muslims:

The Muslims had better organization, discipline and cohesion. The teachings of Islam made them united under their leader against the common enemy. They gave battle to the enemy with courage and energy. Their enthusiasm was further heightened by the prospect of wealth and the love of adventure.

Generalship of Sultan Mahmud:

Generalship of Sultan Mahmud whose tactics and diplomacy in battles ensured more than anything the success of the Muslims. Ishwari Prasad, “His expeditions testify to his boldness of conception, vigour of mind and undaunted courage against heavy odds. A born military leader, he never shrank from war, always sustained in his endeavours by the thought that he was fighting for the glory of Islam.”

Mahmud’s Indian campaigns invariably began in the dry season: his return to Afghanistan was always made before the monsoon rains filled the rivers of the Punjab, which would have cut off his route.

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Hajjaj bin Yusaf was deeply mortified at two succesive failure of the expedition of Sind to take revenge on the Sindhis, he fitted out a third expedition under the charge of his cousin and son-in-law, Muhammad bin Qasim. Under Hajjaj’s patronage, Muhammad bin Qasim was made governor of Persia, where he succeeded in putting down a rebellion. At the age of seventeen, he was sent by Caliph Al-Walid I on the recommendation of Hajjaj to lead an army towards South Asia into what are today the Sindh and Punjab regions of Pakistan. S. M. Ikram pays tribute to Muhammad bin Qasim thus, “He combined great courage and resourcefulness with moderation and statesmanship of high order. . . he was methodical, disciplined, shrewd and humane individual displaying political sagacity and military skill far above his years. He had a warm, humane personality ready to enjoy the honour of new and old situations: with all this he was disciplined soldier.”

Character of bin Qasim

The military and the administrative success of Muhammad bin Qasim form one of the most brilliant chapters in the history of the Muslim rulers of Indo-Pakistan. He was a born leader and a man of versatile genius. He was a poet, a patriot, a statesman and an accomplished administrator. His tender age, impressive figure, his dauntless courage and noble bravery, his brilliant victories in battles and wise method of administration and lastly his sudden and tragic end make the story of his short and illustrious life one of the romances of history. He was strong against opponents and tender-hearted to his friends. According to al-Marzubani, Muhammad bin Qasim was one of the great men of all times. ~Heal

An able General:

The army of Raja Dahir was inferior in technical skill and his commanders were inferior in generalship, Muhammad bin Qasim, a young man of 17 was an intrepid and skilful general, and the success of the Arabs in Sind was largely due to his able generalship.

Far sighted statesman:

Muhammad bin Qasim was a far-sighted statesman and great politician. He did not disturb the existing system of administration in Sind. He placed the entire machinery of internal administration in the hands of the natives. The people who had occupied key posts in the time of Dahir, were expected to know all about the land. According to Chach Nama, Reposing full confidence in them, Muhammad bin Qasim entrusted them with high offices and placed all important affairs of the place in their hands”.

Toleration to the subjects:

He was not only a great warrior and conqueror but also a good administrator. The administration introduced by him leads us to believe that he possessed great experience in the art of administration. Some of the temples were no doubt destroyed during the days of war, but that was a temporary phase, for the destruction of the temple was due not to religious bigotry or fanaticism but to the fact that the temples were the repositories of India’s age long accumulated wealth.

He adopted kind and conciliatory policy towards the subject. The Brahmins were permitted to perform their rites and ceremonies in the manner prescribed by their religion. He granted the population of Sind the right to life and property in lieu of their submission and willingness to pay taxes to the Muslim administrator.

Tragic End:

Muhammad bin Qasim met his tragic end in the prime of his life in 715. His death checked the further progress of the Arab arms. The Khalifah Sulayman was an arch enemy of Hajjaj bin Yusuf and Muhammad bin Qasim being his cousin and son-in-law fell a victim to his wrath. He was arrested and sent to Mesopotamia where he was tortured to death. Thus ended the bright career of the great hero who had laid he foundation of Muslim rule in the sub-continent.

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