Book I the Sultanate Period Chapters /. The Arabs and the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent 1



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Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan
122
6.
NOTES & REFERENCES
Ishwari Fraud, Medieval India, p. 290
Gurihifp w«i flayed alive, hi> fleih w«i cooked with rice and wai sent to hi* wife and children, while hii (kin Huffed with itraw, wai exhibited in the principal citiei of the kingdom.
R C Majumdar, History and Culture of the Indian People, VI, 63
H t.’ Kawlinson, India- I ihnrt Cultural Histnrv, p 235
Muhammad ruglihiq repaired some sufl tombs and fa\onred a few siifl pirs.
Hie Litter hrlongul to distant places like Miiltan and Bihar and were not
influential at the capital and were e\en otherwise of an accommodating tjpe.
Rawlinaon, op. cit., p 237.
Chapter 8
THE SAYYIDS AND THE LODIS
The Sayyids (816-1855/1414-1451). Mahmud Tughlaq was the last ruler of the Tughluq dynasty. On his death, Daulat Khan Lodi was raised to the throne by the nobles, but Khidr Khan, who was governor of Multan at the time of Timur’s invasion and had been appointed by him as governor of Lahore, defeated him and occupied Delhi. The dynasty founded by him is known as the Sayyid dynasty, but his claims ”to descent from the Prophet of Arabia were dubious and rested chiefly on its casual recognition by the famous saint Sayyid Jalal-ud-din” of Uch, Khidr Khan’s rule united the Punjab with Delhi, but the Hindus of the Doab and Katehr, whom Balban had subdued with stern measures, revolted and withheld tribute. Other parts of the country had already become independent. Khidr Khan ruled as viceroy of Timur’s son Shah Rukh, to whom he is said to have paid tribute. He died in

824/1421, and was succeeded by his son, Mubarak Shah, who was preoccupied throughout his reign with the rebellion of Jasrat, the Khokhar, in the Punjab. Jasrat whose father Shaikha had established a principality during the ineffectual rule of the last Tughluq king, and for a time during 796/1394 had even held Lahore, had been carried off into captivity along with his father by Timur. He, however, regained freedom on the conqueror’s death in 808/1405 and on return to the Punjab established for himself ”a principality of considerable extent”. He defeated an army of Kashmir, and was instrumental in the enthronement of Zain al-Abidin, the famous king of the valley. His success ”fostered in his mind extravagant notions of his



Bk. I] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 124
power and importance, and inspired in him the belief that the throne of Delhi was within his reach”. His efforts in this direction failed but the repeated raids he made into the territory of Delhi indicate the troubled condition of the times.
Mubarak Shah was assassinated in 837/1434, and was succeeded by his nephew, Muhammad Shah, during whose meffectual reign Multan became independent under the Langahs, and Bahlul Lodhi, the governor of Sirhind, extended his influence over eastern and central Punjab. The Sayyid ruler tried to placate Bahlul by styling him as his son and conferring on him the title of Khan-i Khanan, but the relations be w n M h We!e ”T^’ as Bahlul aimed at the throne of Delhi Muhammad Shah was succeeded in 848/1444 by Alara Shah’ whose circumscribed dominion has been described in the
SrPmrVSayHing- BadShahH SHah Alam A* *M Ta Palam (The kingdom of the Lord of the world extends from
£f ???• In 852/1448 he retired Permanently to Badaun, wh.ch he liked better than Delhi, and in the troubled conditions which followed at the capital, ’the C a 0 nobles invited Bahlul Lodi to Delhi. He responded with alacrity, and occupied the throne on 19 April 1451 He wroTe a letter to Alam Shah who rep.ied that ”he’had nei he^tno profit of sovereignty, but his father had styled Bahlul his son
S/u ”af to’r” .ri ””” ”””*»* ^ ” Bahlul as to an elder brother.”’ ’Alarn Shah continued to
maintain a small court at Badaun until his death in 883/1478
125
llu Sa\\id\ and the I <>tli>.
[Ch. 9
Afghan tribesmen, and 0 n
Hindis chiefs of Mewat and the Doab. An attempt to subdue the Raja of Etawah brought him in conflict with the Sultan of Jaunpiur, who claimed suzerainty over the territory but a truce was arranged between the two kingdoms. In 862/1458, Sultan Husain Sharqi, better known in the history of Indian music than in the annals of Kings, came to the throne of Jaunpur. He had m arried Jalilah, a daughter of ’Alam Shah, the last Sayyid King «f Delhi, and she instigated him, some years after the expiry of the truce, to attack Delhi. This led to hostilities which ultimately ended in the capture of Jaunpur by Bahlul (884/1 479). After the appointment of a governor at Jaunpur, Bahlul reduced Dholpur and Gwalior, where the rajas had been virtual ly independent though paying occasional tribute to the Sharqi kings.
Bahlul died in 894/1489, and was succeeded by his son Sikand ar Lodi, who consolidated the gains made during his father’^ reign. Soon after his accession, he quelled a serious rebellion in Jaunpur, where the Hindu zamindars had assembled an army of 100,000 horse and foot. Sultan Husain Sharqi.^ who had taken refuge in Bihar, was still a source of anxiety, and Sikandar invaded Bihar to deal with him. Husain Sharqi fled to Kahalgaon in Bengal, and the invasion brought Sikandair’s forces face to face with the army of ’Ala-ud-din Husain Shah of Bengal, but they came to a peaceful settlement. Sikandar tried to strengthen his grip over Raja Man Singh, the able amd enlightened ruler of Gawalior, and interfered in the affairs of Malwa. He made the independent and quasiindependent chiefs feel the resurgent strength of the Delhi government, and within its narrower boundaries restored its position to what it was before the break-up of the Sultanate. He spent tfbur years at Sambhal to organise thoroughly the administration of the trans-Gangetic province (905-909/1499-

1503) aand soon thereafter transferred his capital from Delhi to Sikandr-d, a suburb of Agra, to be nearer the areas which requirecd his attention. This was, incidentally, the beginning of

Bk. I] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 126
the future importance of Agra, which had hitherto been a dependency of the more important fortress of Biana.
Sikandar was interested in literature, and wrote poetry himself. His teacher in the art of versification was Jamah (d.

949/1535), a poet, mystic, traveller and biographer of importance. Sikandar patronised learning and attracted scholars to his court one of the most interesting works of the period, which was compiled by his Wazir, Mian Bhowa, was voluminous book on medicine entitled Ma’dan al-Shifa’ or Tibb-i Sikandari, in which the theories and prescriptions of Indian medicine were consolidated. Another important work of the period, Lahijat-i Sikandar Shahi, of which the only copy exists in the Tagore Library; University of Lucknow, relates to music.2 It was compiled at the persuasion of Mian Bhowa by one of his friends-Hammad.


Sikandar is often accused of religious bigotry amongst others by Nizam-ud-din Bakhshi, the author of Tabaqat-i Akbari, but it may be mentioned that his reign also saw the beginning of the rise of Bindraban, a suburb of Mathura, as a centre of Hindu revival. Under Chaitanya’s inspiration, the first colonists reached there in 9J5/1509, and Rup and Sanatana, his two distinguished disciples, after abandoning high offices under the Muslim ruler of Bengal, settled there in

923/1517 and 925/1519, respectively. There temples ascribed to 917/1511 survive till today. These developments led to significant repercussions in the Mughal period. It was also during Sikandar’s reign that the Hindus began to adjust themselves to the new conditions, and started learning Persian in large numbers. Evidence of Muslim interest in Indian medicine and music in the highest circles has already been indicated. In spite of Sikandar’s reputation for bigotry, it seems fair to surmise that in the cultural sphere his period was of active mutual interest ”among Hindus and Muslims for each other’s learning, thus conducing to a rapprochement.”* Sikandar died in 923/1517, and was succeeded by his son, Ibrahim Lodi. Soon disputes between the king and the Afghan


127
Ihe Sav\’id\ and thi /n
’”h. 9
nobles, which were simmering throughout the Lodi peii became acute, and Daulat Khan Lodi, the governor of ’ Punjab and the king’s uncle, .invited Babur, the ruler of KaKthe to invade India. After early incursions confined to the no?”1’ west and the Punjab, Babur met Ibrahim on 21 April 152^” the first battle of Panipat, and, by defeating him and captur, ln Delhi and Agra, laid the foundation of Mughal rule. •* v’f ,f<«


4%* V
Bk. I] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 128
NOTRS & RFFFRF.NCRS
The Cambridge History of India, in, 226-27
R C Majumdar, History and Culture of the Indian People, VI, 143-53
Ibid, VI, 146
Chapter 9
REGIONAL KlNfflGDOMS
The Role of the Regional Kinygigdoms. Under the later Tughluq and Sayyid rulers, the kingdc*««»m of Delhi was confined only to a small part of the old Sultana te of Delhi and powerful independent kingdoms came into &_ xistence in the former provinces of the Delhi empire. This w as a period of disruption of the central authority, but did nr-->t prove an unqualified disaster for the subcontinent or the cause of Muslim civilisation.
The area of the Indo-Pakistan subasscontinent is so vast and means of communication were so underdeveloped in the middle ages that, except under an unusually c apable ruler like Balban or ’Ala’-ud-din Khalji, it was easy to entire subcontinent from one centre. ” realm into regional kingdoms led to ocalso resulted in Muslim penetratii unconquered, like Kathiawar and administration of smaller and more cr^ompact territories was naturally more easy and effective. In f.=act, it is doubtful if the loosely controlled and vaguely demwBarcated iqta’s of the Sultanate could have developed into subahs of the Mughal period, without the rise and consolidatic=r>n of regional kingdoms which led to crystallisation of these territories and closer administrative control over areas whert exercised a great degree of autonomy.
The rise of the regional kingdoms of Islam and Muslim culture. During
.dminister efficiently the
The splitting up of the
casional conflicts, but it
n in areas hitherto
eastern Bengal. The
i2 old Hindu chiefs had
also helped the spread the palmy days Of the

Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 130


Sultanate, Delhi was the one major center of Islamic culture and religion, but now Ahmadabad, Jaunpur, Gulbarga, Sonargaon, Gaur, Pandua, and other provincial capitals became ”Smaller Delhis” and active centers of Muslim religious and cultural activity. The regional kingdoms had, indeed, a special contribution to make in the cultural sphere. Delhi had a large number of influential immigrants, and the cultural traditions of the capital often reflected the Central Asian pattern. At the capitals of the regional kingdom, Muslims and immigrants were not in that preponderating majority, and the cultural activity in these areas mirrored indigenous traditions to a much greater extent. It was in these regional kingdoms that Muslim impact let to the rise of vernaculars and paved the way for religious synthesis advocated by some leaders of the Bhakti movement. Music was more actively patronised at the regional centres like Kashmir, Jaunpur, Malwa and Gujarat than at the capital of the Sultanate. Besides, the regional kingdoms, which were not preoccupied with the threat of Mongol invasion and similar problems of the central government, were able to devote greater attention to cultural pursuits than was possible at Delhi For example, the elaborate literary and cultural activity which was carried on in Kashmir under Zain al-’Abidin’s direct patronage finds no parallel in the annals of the Sultanate.
These cultural activities, moreover, paved the way for the broader basis of Mughal culture. The Mughal cultural pattern was primarily derived from Herat, Samarqand, Tabriz and Isfahan, but it included many features which were absent during the Sultanate and which had gained prominence in the regional kingdoms, like attention paid to the development of vernaculars, official patronage of music and greater scope offered to Hindu thought and art forms. The extraordinarily rapid rise of Urdu during the eighteenth century was made possible by the slow maturing of the Deccani Urdu at the courts of Bijapur and Golkonda, and many other features of regional cultural traditions were absorbed in the pattern of Mughal culture.
131
Regional Kingdoms
[Ch. 9
Muhammad b. Bakhtiyar. Bengal was conquered by Muhammad b. Bakhtiyar Khalji (cira 598/1202), but his hold extended only over a small portion of northern Bengal. After conquering Nadiya, the old Hindu capital, he withdrew northwards and gave more attention to Lakhnauti, near the present site of Gaur in the district of Malda. He established one military outpost on the southern frontier, and another in the north, at Devkot (modern Damdama in West Dinajpur district), which remained his base for further operations, and was really the first Muslim capital in Bengal. Muhammad b. Bakhtiyar spent some time in consolidating his conquests, and he and his amirs were instrumental in founding a number of mosques, madrasahs, and khanqam. Much of the area where early Muslims laboured in Bengal in early years is now covered jungle, but the ruins of Devkot in India and other places in the adjacent Bangladesh territory bear mute evidence to the seats of learning set up in the early thirteenth century. In Mahisantosh (in the Rajshahi district of Bangladesh) is the tomb of Maulana Taqi-ud-din, who had come from Arabia and was a spiritual successor of one of the disciples of the celebrated Shaikh Shihab-ud-din Suhrawardi of Baghdad. He was a great scholar, and students from Bihar (including the father of Hadrat Sharafud-din Yahya Meneri, the most celebrated saint of Bihar) used to visit him to study Imam Ghazali s writing under him. Such well known saints of Bihar as Muhammad Ahmad Gharamposh trace their spiritual descent from him.
The area controlled by Muhammad b. Bakhtiyar comprised parts of modern Malda, Dinajpur, Murshidabad and Birbhum districts. He wisely confined his hold to the areas near Bihar, but predatory raids in the neighnouring countries were a favourite exercise with Turkish soldiers in search of wealth and adventure, and the Turkish soldiery in Bengal were no exception. We hear of Sonargaon (near modern Dacca) for the first time during the reign of Balban, when he went there in

679/1280 in pursuit of Tughril, and compelled Bhoj, the raja of Sonargaon, ”to use his utmost endeavours” to discover the



Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 132
retreat of the rebel and to prevent his escape by land or water. Soon thereafter, eastern Bengal came under Muslim sway and we find Bahadur established as a ruler of Sonargaon sometime before 701/1302.
The House of Balban. The early history of Bengal is so full of rebellions that the province was often called Bulghakpur. In fact, the distance between Delhi and Lakhnauti (now more frequently called Gaur by Muslim historians) was so great and contact between the two centers was so difficult on account of intervening jungles and territories of the rebellions Hindu chiefs, to say nothing of dacoits, that it is marvel that in those days of difficult communications, Delhi was able to maintain some sort of link with this far-off territory. The revolt of Tughril brought Balban face to face with the problem of chronic rebellion in Bengal and he tackled it with his usual thoroughness. He sternly rebuked those who were in a hurry to return to the capital and, after dealing with the rebels, stayed on to reorganise the administration of the area. On this expedition Balban was away from Delhi for nearly three years’ and before his return he appointed his son to the government of the province. He administered a stern warning to the prince against entertaining ideas of rebellions against the Sultans of Delhi at any time, and pointed to the frightful punishments which had just been inflicted on the rebels. What was even more important, he left a number of picked officers, including Shams Dabir, a celebrated poet and writer of the’day and friend of Amir Khusrau, to assist the Prince. In the administration of the area. Balban further administrated an oath to Prince Bughra Khan to exert himself in conquering Diyar-i Bangalah and establishing his own authority firmly therein.2
The measures taken by Balban in Bengal proved fruitful. Balban’s dynasty continued in Bengal for many years after it had been displaced from the throne of Delhi, and Balban’s advice about relations with the king of Delhi was duly followed by his son and grandson, who offered their allegiance to the Khalji rulers. The cultural consequences of posting a
133
Regional Kingdoms
[Ch. 9
team of highly educated and cultured officials -from Delhi were soon evident, and Islamisation of the territory is supposed to have received a fillip under the Balbani rulers of Bengal. Their rule, from 685/1286 to 728/1328, is a period of ”active expansion of Mussalman dominion in Bengal and the adjacent territories”. This was made possible partly by the administrative reorganisation effected by Balban and the measures taken by the team of officers left by him, and partly by the fact that after the fall of the house oF Balban at Delhi (689/1290), a large number of Turkish officers who hated the ”Plebian” Khaljis. migrated in large numbers to Bengal. On the other hand, the accommodating policy adopted by the unaggressive Bughra Khan and his descend ants towards the new rulers at Delhi gave them a long respite From any conflicts with them. This left them free, not only to subdue the small Hindu principalities which were holding out within the territory overrun by Muslims, but also to ex_pand towards the east. The addition of the northern distric-ts of what now constitutes Bangladesh to the Muslim dominion was effected during this period. When Sonargaon, modern district of Mymensingh, and Sylhet were occupied in tHe reign of Sultan Shams-ud-din Firuz Shah3 (700/723/1301-1322) the volunteers for jihad, or holywar, locally known as g/uzz/s, and other spirited volunteers actively assisted in tb»ese efforts. The conquest of Sylhet in 702/1303 is attributed by both Muslim and Hindu accounts to the moral and mater~ial support which the Muslim troops received from Hadrat Sh ah Jalal, who lies buried at Sylhet. Many other warrior-saints like Zafar Khan Ghazi of Tribheni in Hugli and Shah Isma’il Ghazi in Rangpur district are mentioned in contemporary accousnts.
Balban’s ease-loving son, Bughra Khsan, who ruled at Gaur under the title of Sultan Nasir-ud-din, abdicated in favour of his son Rukn-ud-din Kaika’us in 690/1291, when he heard of the end of the House of Balban at De=lhi. Kaika’us was succeeded about 700/1301 by Shams-ud-din IFiruz, who died in or about 722/1322. During the last two reigns, ”Muslim rule

Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 134


was extended to South and East Bengal, and important centers were established at Satgaon (Hugli district), and Sonargaon (Dacca district). Firuz extended his conquests across the Brahmputra into the Sylhet district of Assam and probably founded the city of Firuzabad-Pandua, the future capital of Bengal.”4
In 724/1324, Sultan Ghiyath-ud-din Tughluq decided to reassert the authority of Delhi over Bengal. He defeated Firuz’s successor, and appointed another member of the same family to the government of North Bengal with capital at Gaur. Eastern Bengal and Southern Bengal, with capitals at Sonargaon and Satgaon, respectively, were annexed to the empire and Bahram Khan was appointed to govern them.
Independent Bengal (739-984/1338-1576). The arrangements made by Sultan Ghiyath-ud-din Tughluq worked well for a time, and it was during this period that Muslim rule was extended beyond the Meghna river, and the territory represented by modern Tippera State and Chittagong district was conquered and annexed to the Delhi Sultanate. The troubles which broke out in the later part of the reign of Muhammad Tughluq, however, resulted in the independence of Bengal. The two expeditions of Firuz Tughluq in 752/1351 and again in 761-62/1359-60, did not prevent the break away of this province from the centre as an independent kingdom. It retained its independence till the conquest of Bengal by Akbar in

984/1576.


Bahram Khan, whom Ghiyath-ud-din Tughluq had appointed to the governorship of Sonargaon to keep a general watch over the affairs of Bengal, died in 737/1337. Muhammad Tughluq was too preoccupied with troubles elsewhere to attend to Bengal. Two officers, Fakhr-ud-din Mubarak Shah and ’Ala’-ud-din ’Ali Shah, took advantage of the resultant confusion and assumed royal title in Sonargaon and Gaur, in

738/1338 and 740/1340, respectively. They were fighting among themselves when a new figure emerged on the scene.


135
Regional Kingdoms
[Ch. 9
Eyas Shahi Dynasty (738-819/1338-1416, 840-892/1437-

1487). This was Ilyas, the founder of the Ilyas Shahi dynasty. He first took possession of Satgaon, and later made himself master of Gaur sometime about 746/1345, when he assumed the title of Sultan Shams-ud-din Ilyas Shah. Later, he annexed Sonargaon (753/1352), thus bringing the whole of Bengal under his sway. His seizure of power is noteworthy on many accounts. The accession of Shams-ud-Din Ilyas Shah to the throne of Gaur opened a new chapter in the history of Bengal. He founded a dynasty of able and vigorous kings who won military glory and revived Bengal’s contact with the outside world. He achieved the political unity of Bengal and carried his victorious arms far outside the boundaries of Bengal. He overran Tirhut and made a bold thrust across the inhospitable region of Terai into the fastness of Nepal, which was yet untrodden by Muslim soldiers.”5 Next he turned to Orissa, where he defeated the raja. In 761-62/1359-60, Sultan Firuz Tughluq tried to reassert the authority of Delhi, but the campaign was a failure and he had to accept terms which left Ilyas virtually independent.
Ilyas was succeeded by his son Sikandar Shah, who ruled from 758/1357 to 795/1393, and tactfully dealt with another expedition by Firuz Tughluq, who thereafter left Bengal untroubled on promise of Payment of a nominal tribute. His son and successor, Ghiyath-ud-din A’zam Shah (800-813/1398-

1410) is known in history as the correspondent of the great Persian poet, Hafiz. Following the disintegration of the Sultanate, Bengal had lost any real connection with Delhi, but Persian traders and statesmen came by sea and occupied positions of trust and responsibility. Presumably it was through one of these Persians that the king sent a letter to Hafiz at Shiraz, requesting him to complete a hemistich into a verse. Hafiz wrote a beautiful ode in which he referred to Sultan Ghiyath-ud-din and said:


”All the parrots of India will crack sugar,
Through this Persian candy which is going to Bengal.

Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 136


O Hafiz, be not heedless with yearning for the court of Sultan Ghiyath-ud-din,
For the affair will be furthered by his lamentation.”6
Sultan Ghiyath-ud-din A’zam Shah also sent large sums of money to holy places in Hijaz, a fact to which appreciative reference is made in some Arab histories. He also revived the old contacts of Bengal with China, and exchanged envoys with the Chinese emperor. He died in 813/1410, and is buried near Sonargaon in a beautiful small tomb, which is the oldest Muslim monument in Bengladesh.
Ghiyath-ud-din A’zam Shah was succeeded by weak rulers brief tenure was brought to an end by Ganesh, a Hindu zamindar of Dinajpur. He started persecuting Muslim,7 and Hadrat Nur Qutb-i ’Alam, a leading Muslim saint of Bengal, had to invoke the aid of Sultan Ibrahim Sharqi of Jaunpur. On his intervention, Ganesh vacated the throne in favour of his son, who became a Muslim and assumed the title of Jalal-uddin Muhammad Shah. He ruled from 818/1415 to 835/1431, and is buried in the Ekalakhi tomb in Pandua, one of the finest old buildings in West Bengal. During the reign of his successor Ahmad Shah, there was a threat of invasion by the Sharqi ruler of Jaunpur and Ahmad Shah appealed for intervention to Shah Rukh, the Timurid ruler of Herat. The Bengal envoy rounded the entire coast of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent, and approached Shah Rukh, who sent a senior officer with a message to the ruler of Jaunpur to desist from aggression. In 840/1437, Ahmad Shah was assassinated possibly ”as a result of a sort of rivalry between the Hindu and Muslim nobles”8 and the reign of the ”House of Ganesh” came to an end.
The Ilyas Shahi dynasty was once more restored to power, and continued to rule for another fifty years (841/1437 to

892/1487). During this period Chittagong was lost to the Arakanese (854/1450), but, otherwise, the frontiers of Muslim Bengal were greatly extended. Early in this period, the


137
Regional Kingdoms
[Ch. 9
Bagerhat region of Khulna district of Bangladesh was conquered by Khan Jahan, who colonised the area. He died in

863/1458-59 and was buried in a magnificent tomb at Bagerhat. There was extension of the frontier in North Bengal, and Sylhet, which after its conquest in 703/1303-04 had been lost, was reoccupied. This period was also marked by large scale building activity at Gaur, Pandua and other places. The last Ilyas Shahi king was assassinated in 892/1487 by his Abyssinian palace guards, and there was a brief interval of Abyssinian rule, followed by the commencement of the Husain Shahi regime in 898/1493.


After the failure of Ganesh’s attempt to seize power in the early ninth/fifteenth century, Muslim rule in Bengal continued unbroken, but the Hindu revival and resurgence, of which this attempt was a striking example in the political field, continued unabated in other spheres. ”In the second half of the same century it spread in two directions, on one side in social reorganisation among Brahmans and Kayasths, on the other side in the encourgement of learning, the revival of Sanskrit learning at Navadvip and elsewhere and the nourishment of vernacular literature by songs and stories about Radha-Krishna and Chandi, or by translations from the Sanskrit epics and Puranas. The following century saw its further progress in the revivified religious beliefs, specially the Radha-Krishna worship through the preaching and singing procession of Chaitanya, his associates and followers.” The vigour of the Hindu revival may be judged by the fact that now for the first time Hinduism spread to Assam, and the Ahoms adopted a form of Vaishnavaism. In the affairs of State, no further attempt like that of Ganesh appears to have been made in Bengal, but the Hindus held high offices under Muslim rulers and apparently the important position of the old Hindu zamindars and chiefs in the countryside was not seriously disturbed during the Muslim rule.
Husain Shahi Dynasty. In dealing with Muslim Bengal one is handicapped by the absence of any contemporary history of the area. Even the literary works produced by Muslims in

Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 138


Persian during the pre-Mughal period have been, with rare exceptions, as with letters and some other woks of Hadrat Nur Qutb-i ’Alam, lost. The only period about which some information is available, mostly in the form of references in

- contemporary Vaishnava literature, is the brief but glorious period of the Husain Shahi dynasty, which attained power with the enthronement, in 898/1493, of Sayyid ’Ala’-ud-din Husain Shah. He was an Arab who had recently settled in Bengal with his father, and had rapidly risen in the service of the local rulers on account of his Sayyid descent, ability, and personal character. He had been minister under the previous ruler and now the nobles elected him as king on receiving guarantees from him which, according to Sir Wolseley Haig, ”bore some resemblance to a European constitution of 1848”.9 The new king proved worthy of the confidence reposed in him, and was a conscientious and competent ruler. After establishing order in his own territory, he turned his attention to the areas which were formerly included in the kingdom of Bengal, but had been lost during the disorders of the previous reigns. He recovered the territory as far as the borders of Orissa in the south and reoccupied Kamrup. He spent much time in fortifying his frontiers, introducing administrative reforms and building mosques and alms-houses. He left magnificent buildings at Gaur and Pandua, and made large endowments for the maintenance of the tomb of the saint Nur Qutb-i ’Alam. ’Ala’- ud-din Husain Shah, though a deeply religious ruler, was liberal in his treatment of the Hindus whom he employed in key posts.


’Ala’-ud-din Husain Shah was succeeded by Nusrat Shah (925-839/1519-1532), another enlightened and liberal ruler. Both he and his father were patrons of literature, and did not confine their patronage to Persian which was the court language. As we shall see in a later chapter, with their encouragement many important Sanskrit works were translated into Bengali. The architectural monuments of the Husain Shahi period include the Chota Sona Masjid at Gaur, built by Wali
.39 Regmaronal
Muhammad during the resign of H
[Ch. 9
usain
(g98.925/1493_

1519) and a mosque at EEESagha in


agha in ^ Rajshahi district dating
from 929/1523. Both thes«^ mosque^ ^ ^ ]&d^ but the Bara Sona Masjid at G5S, aurcom^^ ^^ ^ .n
932/1526, and the Qadaawi Rasul mQ completed by the
same ruler in 939/1 533. a Te now iix India ’
Nusrat Shah was assassinated .^ 939;1533 ^ after his death, the resultant polwcal corx ^.^ ^^ ^ Afghan adventurer, Sher Khan Sun, wh^ had ^^.^ himsdf in Bihar intervene m the a^irs o*^ Beng^ and ultirnateiy to conquer in 945/1539. The Atg province until it was conquered incorporated in Mughal Empire. Jaunpur- (795-88
by
COntinued to ho]d the

9g4/15?6 and


^
The independent kingdom oj. Jm ^ ah JT”ahan Ma* .
795/1393 by Khwajah JT”ahan Ma* .k
established in .^ Qf ^
later Tughluqs, who, se- -emg the ^revaiu ;onftision in Deihi, retired to Jaunpur and, a^s”JVessing, the Hindu rebellions in the Gangetic Doab _=and Oudh ^ ^^ ^ aliegiance to Delhi. His family continued to
.
than eighty years and clud^ No rulers of some distinction. Ibrahim, who ruled froExn 804/14^2 tQ 83g/1436 was easily the ablest ruler of the Sharczqi dynasty 0
[n the affairs
of Bengal, but his reiaBgn is chi^ dist- hed for literary> cultural and architectur al activitv^ Hi& ^.^ Q^ Shihab.ud. din Daulatabadi, wrot^ a comnxentary ^n ^ Quf,an besides other works on Islami-* Law. ltxrahim buiu some magnaficent buildings and gave projection to ^ numb^ of ^^ ^ whQ during the disturbed conditions ^ Delh. fonowi {he invasion of Timur, sought refu^ge at Jau*\pur. Vidyapati, a Hindu poet, has bestowed high pr=aise on u\% prosperi and wealth of the city, which, on accou«u.nt of its ^terary ^ ^^ activities, came to be known in MLater days ^ ^ ^.^ rf india Thg ^ king of Jaunpur, SuTHtan Hus^n s . ^ ^ ineffective ruler, but a great patw=>n of tine ^ ^^ ^ an important
place in the history of Indian music ^ 884/]479; he was

Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 140


driven out of Jaunpur by Bahlul Lodi of Delhi, and after some years’ stay in Bihar from where he vainly tried to regain his lost territory, sought refuge in Bengal. He was hospitably accommodated by Sultan ’Ala’-ud-din Husain Shah at Kahalgaon (Colgong), where he lived in retirement until his death in 905/1500.
No contemporary account of the kingdom of Jaunpur has survived and some subsequent potentates controlling the area like Sikandar Lodi and Burhan al-Mulk, Nawab Wazir of Oudh, systematically tried to efface the achievements of the Sharqi rulers. There are, however, plenty of indications to show that art and learning were very actively patronised at Jaunpur, and the brief Sharqi rule had its own distinctive contribution to make to the stream of Indo-Muslim civilisation. Not only was the period marked by certain far-reaching developments in the realm of Indo-Muslim music, but the Sharqi rulers, by bestowing rich endowments on scholarly families and the Sayyids at Jaunpur, Azamgarh, Bilgram, Chiriakot, etc., laid the foundation of the intellectual importance of the area, which made itself manifest during the Mughal period, and has been maintained till recent times.
Kashmir
Kashmir remained outside the kingdom of Delhi until the days of Akbar, but Muslim rule had been established in the area in the first half of the eighth/fourteenth century. Islam was introduced into Kashmir by Shah Mirza, an adventurer from Swat, who in 715/1315 entered the service of Suhadeva, the ruler of the valley. Suhadeva was overthrown by Rinchana, a Tibetan, who is stated to have accepted Islam at the hands of a Muslim saint and made Shah Mirza his minister. On Rinchana’s death, there was confusion in the State and Shah Mirza ascended the throne in 747/1346, under the title of Shams-ud-din Shah. He proved a model ruler. According to the Cambridge History of India:
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Regional Kingdoms
[ Ch. 9
”The new king used wisely and beneficently the powers which he had acquired. The Hindu kings had been atrocious tyrants, whose avowed policy had been to leave their subjects nothing beyond a bare existence. He ruled on more liberal principles, abolished the arbitrary taxes and cruel methods of extorting them, and fixed the state share of the produce of the land at one-sixth.”11
Shams-ud-din in 750/5349. Sikandar, the next important ruler, wielded power from 796;1394 to 819/1416. During his reign, Amir Kabir Sayyid ’Ali Hamdani, ? distinguished writer and saint from Iran, came to Kashmir with a large number of companions who initiated a powerful movement for the Islamisation of the valley. In this they were assisted by Sikandar’s minister, Sinhabhat,12 ”a converted Brahmin with all a convert’s zeal for his new faith”. Forcible burning of widows was a common Hindu practice in Kashmir, and Sinhabhat, who wanted to put an end to this practice, persuaded the king to initiate stringent measures against those who refused to give it up. Many Hindus were forced to leave Kashmir, some temples were taken over and idols made of precious metal were broken and converted into money. These measures became such a prominent feature of Sikandar’s reign that he is known in history as Sikandar But-shikan-- ”the iconoclast”.
Zain al- ’Abidin (823-875/1420-1470). Sikandar died in

819/1416, and after one brief reign, his son Zain al ’Abidin ascended the throne in Jamadi II 823/ June 1420, and continued to rule for almost half a century He completely reversed the policy of his father and Sinhabhat, restored temples, introduced a policy of toleration of all religious and allowed Hindus to ”observe all the ordinances of their faith which had been prohibited, even the immolation of widows”.13 He abolished jizyah on non-Muslims and freely patronised Hindu learning. He caused the Rajatrangini, a Sanskrit history of Kashmir, and the Mahabharata to be translated into Persian and several Persian and Arabic works to be translated into the local languages. Zain al- ’Abidin was proficient in Persian, Hindi,

Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 142
Kashmiri and Tibetan, and patronised poetry, music and painting. He established Persian as the court language, and is said to have introduced firearms in Kashmir. His death in

875/1470 was followed by great confusion.


In 892/1487, Shams-ud-din , a disciple of Mir Nur Bakhsh, came from Iraq to Kashmir and started propagating Nur Bakhshi tenets. He believed Mir Nur Bakhsh to be the promised Mahdi, and in some matters agreed with the Shi’ahs. The Chak tribe adopted these doctrines and it is from that time that Shiah-Sunni differences started in Kashmir which at times led to violence and bloodshed. In 976/1568, a religious disturbance gave Akbar’s envoy a pretext for intervention in the affairs of the kingdom and, although shortly thereafter there was a patched-up settlement, confusion in the realm continued and in 994/1586 Akbar annexed the territory.
Sind and Multan
Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni had conquered Multan and Mansurah, two seats of Muslim power in the former Arab dominion of Sind and Multan. By 445/1053, however, the Ghaznavid hold had grown so weak that, though Multan and upper Sind remained linked with the Ghaznavid empire, lower Sind came under the control of the Sumras, a native Rajput tribe. The area was reconquered by Muhammad Ghuri, whose lieutenant Nasir-ud-din Qabacha, maintained a magnificent court at Uch. Iltutmish defeated Qabacha and annexed his territory, but, owing to the incursions of the Mongols, the situation in Sind and West Punjab remained confused under the later Slave kings.In fact, for some time the area was under the control of rulers who owed allegiance to the Mongols rather than to the Sultans of Delhi. ’Ala’-ud-din Khalji and Ghiyathud-din Tughluq reasserted the authority of Delhi, but lower Sind retained so much autonomy that, in the days of Muhammad Tughluq, the Sammas, a Rajput tribe of Cutch and lower Sind, ousted the Sumras, without any interference from Delhi. They continue their old Hindu tribe names, and many Hindu practices. The Samma rulers had adopted Islam, but the
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