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

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R.C. Majumdar, ”The Arab Invasion of India,” Journal of the Indian History,
Vol, X (1931). Supplement, p. 48.
Tara Chand, A Short History of the Indian People, p. 121.
H. M. Elliot and J Dowson, Hitory of India As Told by Its Own Historians, I,
4. Ibid., I, 176
Ibid , 1,202 Ibid., I, 203
7. Ibid., I, 124
8. P. Saran, Islamic Polity, p. 8
9. Mirza Fredun Beg, Tr., Chach Namah, pp. 101-02.
10. Elliot and Dowson, op. at., I, 185-86
11. Ibid., I, 183.
12. Ibid., I, 176
13. Aid., I, 183
14. There seems to be an insertion of later nomenclature and usage-possibly an interpolation -- in this paragraph of the Persian translation of Chach Namah. The term ”Sultan” could not have been in use in the days of Muhammad b. Qasim, and even the prescribed scale of jizyah belongs to a later period. For general authenticity of Chach Namah, however see Elliot and Dowson, op cit., I, 135, and M. R. Haig, The Indus Delta Country,, p. 41. footnote
15. Elliot and Dowson, op. en., \, 184.
16 Dr. Joseph Schacht told the present writer that the regulations regarding nonMuslims in Islamic Law closely followed the regulations governing the position of the Jews in the Roman empire.
17. This is a remarkable book, practically the only memento of the Arab rule in Sind. The Arabic original was written shortly after the Muslim conquest, but is now lost. The Persian version, undertaken in 613/1216, has, however, survived. From the Arabic title Minhaj-ud-Din wal Mulk (The Path of Religion and Empire), it appears that the author intended the book to be a work of history as well as of statecraft. The translator emphasises this dual role of the book at the end of his translation. ”It is based on the foundation of laws of government and on the strength °f constitutional administration It contains eloquent discourses on religious and state matters, and treats of territorial and national peculiarities ” The Persian version has been edited by Dr. Daudpota. It has been translated into Urdu by Dr. Nabi Bakhsh Baloch with an excellent introduction and copious notes
18. Indian rulers, realised the danger from the brilliant successes of Muhammad b. Qasim and Junaid ”The extent to which the Indians realised the nature of this

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

danger appears from the fact that sometime between AD. 713 and 741 a king of Central India sent an ambassador to the Chinese emperor with a view to make a common cause against the growing menace of Islamic power” (Majumdar, op. at., p 50).
19. E.C. Sachau, Tr., Alberuni’s India, I,xl
20. Ibid., I, xli.
21. Brahmagupta (circa 628), the astronomer and mathematician, lived and worked in Ujjain. He wrote an astronomical manual called the Brahma Siddhanta in twenty-one chapters. This work formed the basis of the work Sindhind.
22. For a recent discussion of this subject, see R. C. Zaehnar, Hindu and Muslim Mysticism, pp. 93-100. Some scholars, however, contest the views of Nicholson and Zaehner.
23. Jami, Nafahat al-Uns, p. 40
24. R.A. Nicholson, The Mystics ofhlam, p. 17.
25. This may be Kingari, ”name of a musical instrument made of two gourds, used in Hindustan” (Slcingass, Persian-English Dictionary. P. 1056).
26. Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, Arab aur Hind Ke Ta’alluqat, pp. 127, 157-58.
27. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. I (1936), p 48.
28. Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, op. at., p. 241.
29. Elliot and Dowson, op. at., I, 465.
30. Abu Zafar Nadvi, Tarikh-i Sind, pp. 371-72.
31. Elliot and Dowson, op.oil., I, 471-72.
32. Sachau, op.oil., pp. xli-xlli.
33. Cambridge History of India. IV, 476.
34. For further details regarding Arabs in Malabar, see Tara Chand, op. cit., pp.32-

36. For information relating to Bengal, see sub-section Arab Settelment in Bengal in M.A. Rahim, Social and Cultural History of Bengal, I, 37-47. He state Chittagong is derived from Shatul Gange, the name given to the place by

, the Arabs.
35. F.G. Moreland, History of Malaya and Her Neighbours,.pp. 103, 148; R. Winstedt, Malaya - A Cultural History, pp. 33-34.
36. Islam Comes to Malaysia, pp. 16-17.
37. Ibid., pp. 35-36.
Chapter 2
Islam in Central Asia. The Arab conquest of Sind and South Western Punjab was complete by 96/714, but for nearly three centuries after that there was no further extension of Muslim dominion. The second phase of Muslim expansion began witfi the establishment of a Turkish Muslim dynasty in Ghazni, and ..followed the north-western routes traditional for the invasion of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent.
In 21/642, the Arabs had defeated Yazdgird, the Sasanid ruler, and became masters of Iran. After this, operating from Pars by way of Kirman, they set about conquering the eastern provinces of the Iranian empire. They followed two m&in lines, the northern through Nishapur to Herat, Merv and Balkh, and the southern by way of Sistan to the Helmond and Bast. They progressed rapidly under Qutaibah b. Muslim who conquered Transoxiana (Mawara al-Nahr) as far as Khwarizm and Samarqand (93/711-12), and, within a century of the death of the Founder of Islam, the Arabs were masters of Khurasan, Balkh and Mawara al-Nahr. They did not subjugate Kabul or any part of the Sulaiman Mountain area, but, operating through Sistan, exerted constant pressure on the non-Muslim rulers of Kabul and are even stated to have raided areas as far as Bannu and some other areas on the North-West Frontier.1 There are also indications of considerable traffic of a peaceful nature between Muslim and non-Muslim areas. Arab geographers give

Bk. I J History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 28
detailed accounts of the north-western areas of the IndoPakistan subcontinent, which would not have been possible if the Muslim and non-Muslin) areas had been separated by an iron curtain. According to the author of Ihtdud al-’Alam, written in 372/982, some Muslims were even settled in Hindu cities such as Waihind (Ohind).
The Arab occupation of Transoxiana paved the way for the Muslim conquest of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. It established a link between the Turkish homelands and the Muslims, and from then onwards the Turks were to play an important role in the Muslim world, and were the main force behind the conquest of the subcontinent.
The first inroad into the heart of the area which is now Afghanistan was made by Ya’qub b. Laith, the Saffarid, who became the ruler of Sijistan in 247/661. He captured Kabul nine years later, and (according to Caroe) founded Ghazni about the same time, Kabul was, however, lost by Ya’qub’s successor to the Hindu Shahis. In the meanwhile the Samanids (261-389/874-999) established themselves at Bukhara (261/874) and gradually brought under their sway the greater part of the area to the east of Baghdad. In the beginning of the fourth/tenth century, the Saffarids (254-290/868-903) gave way to the Samanids, who established a great political and cultural centre at Bukhara. They were Persian in origin, and patronised the Persian language Rudaki (d 329/940), the’Chaucer of Persian poetry, flourished at the Samanid court, and Persian replaced Arabic as the official language. Under Samanids, the Turkish slaves gained great political and military importance. One of these, Alptigin, rebelled against his Samanid masters and established himself at Ghazni in 351/962.
Yamini Dynasty of Ghazni and Lahore
f Ch. 2
Subuktigin and the Ri\e of Ghazni (367-387/977-997). Towards the end of the fourth/tenth century, the north-western part of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent was under the Hindu rulers known as Hindu Shahis, whose capital was at Waihind (modern Hund in Mardan District)2 near modern Peshawar and whose rule extended to Kabul in the west and the river Bias in
the east. In 367/977, Subuktigin, a Turkish slave upon whom Aiptigin had bestowed the hand of his daughter, became master of Ghazni, and started expanding the kingdom by annexing adjacent areas in Khurasan, Sistan and Lamghan (modern Jalalabad). He was busy consolidating his empire, when in

369/979, alarmed at the rising power of the new Turkish principality, Jaipal, the Hindu raja of Waihind, took the offensive and advanced towards Subuktigin’s capital. The two armies met between Lamghan and Ghazni. Jaipal was defeated, and had to agree to pay a large indemnity to the Turkish ruler. He defaulted and tried to avenge his defeat. But was again decisively defeated, and Subuktigin followed up his success by forcing him to cede the territory between Lamghan and Peshawar. Later Muslim historians often represent Subuktigin as ”champion of faith, whose chief occupation was the propagation of Islam with fire and sword among the idolaters of India,” but, as pointed out by Sir Wolseley Haig, he never crossed the Indus, and the only two expeditions, in which he took the initiative ”were undertaken rather as measures of reprisal and for the purpose of securing his dominions than with any intention of propagating his faith.”3

Subuktigin, however, paved the way for the more active efforts of his son, Mahmud. Not only did he occupy the key city of Peshawar, but he built roads leading to the Indian frontiers, on which his son marched during his numerous expeditions.
Even more important than Subuktigin’s military success in the east was the development of Ghazni, the base of operations against the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. It was a small town, but it was so located ”with its face towards India” that it was a suitable springboard for winter campaigns into the IndoPakistan subcontinent. It reached its zenith in the succeeding reign, when it became the centre of political power, organised administration and literary culture second in importance only to Baghdad in Muslim Asia. Even under Subuktigin it had surpassed Bukhara in importance, and had begun to attract a

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large numbei ol Turks who were to form the speaihead of the attack against the subcontinent.
Not only did the political and military importance of Ghazni greatly increase in the days of Subuktigin, but the area was in the throes of a religious movement, which must have influenced the policies of its rulers. A separate history of the Karamiyyah sect4, has not been written, but there are enough references in the contemporary political history (e.g. Tarikh-i Yamini) to indicate its nature and influence. It was a revivalist movement, bitterly opposed to the Isma’ilis and their doctrine of allegorical interpretation of the Qur’an It was also active against non-Muslims, and Abu Bakr Ishaq b. Muhammad Shah, who was the leader of the sect in the time of Subuktigin, is said to have converted five thousand Jews, Christians, fireworshippers and others to Islam. Subuktigin held Abu Bakr Ishaq in great esteem, and, according to one account, he himself had joined this sect.5 Abu Bakr Ishaq died in 383/993. After him, his son constantly urged Mahmud to take action against the Isam’ilis. The extremist and peculiar views of the Karamiyyah sect, such as the belief regarding the physical nature of Divinity, ultimately estranged Mahmud, but the sect remained a powerful factor against the Isma’ilis and Mu’tazilites. It is not impossible that its influence was a factor not only in the expeditions which Mahmud led against the Isma’ilis of Multan and Mansurah, but also against the nonMuslims of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent.
Karamiyyah doctrines continued their sway for some centuries.5 Sultan Muhammad Ghuri and his brother, like other people of Ghur, originally belonged to this sect, but when the two brothers established themselves at Ghazni where Hanafl and Shafi’i schools had gained ascendency, they abandoned Karamiyyah doctrines.7
Sultan Mahmud. Subuktigin died in August 997, and was, after a brief struggle for the throne, succeeded by his brilliant and ambitious son, Mahmud of Ghazni. He had taken part in all his father’s campaigns against Jaipal and was as cognizant
Yamini Dynasty of Ghazni and Lahore
[Ch. 2
of the weakness of the Indian army as of the riches of the Indian rajas. On ascending the throne, he launched a series of invasions against the Indo-Pakistan subcSntinent.
Mahmud’s early expeditions were directed against the neighbouring territory of the Punjab. His first important battle was fought against Jaipal, in the vicinity of Peshawar (8 Muharram 392/28 November 1001). Jaipal was defeated and captured with his kinsmen. He obtained his release on the promise of paying a ransom, but his subjects refused to acknowledge him as king after his repeated defeats and captivity. He thereupon named his son. Anandpal, as his successor and immolated himself in flames according to Rajput custom. Three years later, Mahmud defeated the raja of Bhatiya (modern Bhera) who had been on friendly terms with his father and was expected to aid him against Jaipal, but had not fulfilled these expectations. While returning from Bhatiya, Mahmud lost much of his baggage in crossing the rivers of western Punjab, and was attacked by Abu. al-Fath Dawud, the Isma’ili ruler of Multan. In 395/1005, Mahmud returned to punish Dawud. His passage was obstructed by Anandpal, but Mahmud defeated him. Dawud shut himself up in the fort of Multan and obtained pardon on payment of ransom and the promise to abjure Isma’ili doctrines. Mahmud appointed Sukhpa, a grandson of Jaipal, who had accepted Islam and now known as Nawasah Shah, as governor of Waihind and returned to Ghazni. This first attempt to establish a centre of Muslim authority east of the Indus through a scion of the old ruling family did not succeed. Nawasah Shah apostatised, started expelling Muslim officers, and proposed to rule either as an independent king or as the vassal of his uncle, Anandpal. Mahmud returned in 398/1008 to deal with the situation, and found Anandpal fully prepared. He had obtained help from the Hindu rajas of Ujjain, Gwalior, Kalinjar, Kanauj, Delhi and Ajmer. It appears that by now Hindu India was alive to its peril. Not only did the rulers of northern and central India send their contingents, but according to Firishtah, there was great

Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 32

enthusiasm even among the masses. Hindu women sold their ornaments to help war effort, and sent their savings to the army. The battle was fought at a place between Peshawar and Waihind. In view of the odds confronting him, Mahmud took special precautions and his army was giving way under the charge of the warlike Khokhars when a fortunate accident decided the day in his favour. Anandpal’s elephant took fright and fled with its rider, converting what looked like a Hindu victory into a defeat. The army of the Rajputs, believing the Raja’s flight to be intentional, broke up and dispersed, hotly pursued by the Muslims.
The defeat of the great Hindu confederacy was a turning
point in Mahmud’s career. So far his campaigns had been
confined to the neighbourhood of the Indus. The break-up of
the Hindus army emboldened him, and now he marched against
the more distant Nagarkot (Kangra), where there was no
resistance. Nagarkot contained an ancient temple, which, like
other Hindu temple of the period, was a great repository of
jewels and other wealth donated by rich votaries. Mahmud
returned laden with rich booty, and henceforward the ancient
Hindu religious centres with their hoards accumulated over
centuries were to be a powerful temptation for him. His future
expeditions were even farther afield. Tarain (401/1010),
Thanesar (405/1014), distant Kanauj (409/1018) and Kalinjar
(413/1022) were the future scenes of Mahmud’s exploits in
which he was uniformly successful. He did not try to establish
his rule at any of these places, but in 411/1020 left a governor
at Lahore, which was incorporated in the Ghaznavid empire.
The most dramatic of Mahmud’s campaigns was against Somnath, the wealthy religious centre on the shores of the Indian Ocean. The dash to this distant goal, through an unknown and unfriendly area, across the deserts of Rajputana and marshes of Cutch, was a remarkable feat of courage, planning, resourcefulness and tenacity.of pu.rpo.ose In spite of the hardships which Mahmud and his army had to suffer on the return journey, the expedition was completely successful in its
Yamini Dynasty of Ghazni and Lahore
[Ch. 2
object. Mahmud returned laden with vast riches, till then unknown and unheard of in Ghazni.
Mahmud, who set out on the expedition to Somnath on 17 October 1024. did not return to his capital till the spring of

1026. Except for a brief punitive expedition in the autumn of the same year against the Jats of Sind who had harassed him during his return from Somnath, Mahmud did not return to India. Henceforth affairs in Central Asia occupied him till his death.

In death as in life, Mahmud displayed an indomitable will. During his long illness, he refused to lie in bed like a sick man. ”he sat day and night propped up with pillows, and breathed his last in this posture” on 30 April 1030.
Mahmud, as Gibbon remarks, was ”undoubtedly one of the greatest kings of the world”. He was a brave and resourceful general, who during thirty years of ceaseless warfare never suffered defeat. He was a cultured monarch, and by his munificence attracted great poets and scholars to his court, and made Ghazni the rival of Baghdad in regard to the splendour of its edifices and the number ot men of culture and learning. He lacked the constructive genius of Muhammad Ghuri, and, in spite of having overrun a gieat part of northern India, established Muslim dominion only up to Lahore, but he made the work of later Muslim conquerors easier. He gave support to the Sunni Khalifah ot Baghdad by defeating his Isma’ili opponents at Multan and Mansurah. His victories in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent certainly raised the prestige of Muslim arms, but it is difficult to accept the claim made by his court histonans that his expeditions to this subcontinent were undertaken solely for the glory of Islam. Not only did Mahmud wage wars against Hindu rajas, but he tought even more tenaciously and purposefully against Muslim rulers in Persia and Central Asia, where he tried to establish a permanent empire. The extent to which religion motivated his action may be judged by the fact that he maintained a large number of Hindu officers and troops, who were certainly not expected to abandon the religion ot their forefathers.

Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 34

Bosworth has brought together some significant details regarding Mahmud’s Hindu troops. It appears that they served under their own commander, the sipahsalar-i Hinduyan, and were employed as a systematic check on the Sultan’s own people, the Turks. ”They formed a counterweight to the Turks and seem to have been considered in many ways more reliable than them” (p. 110). The author of the Qabus Namah praises the racial diversity of Mahmud’s army whereby ”he constantly overawed the Hindus by means of the Turks and the Turks by means of thel lindus.with the result that both nations submitted to him through the fear of each for the other” (p. 107). They seem to have had a free hand in dealing with Sultan’s Muslim enemies In 394/100! ic uithm two years of Mahmud’s first victory over Jaipal, they were employed in the suppression of a revolt in Sistan, in which they ”behaved extremely savagely, sacking the Friday mosque of Zarang and massacring the Muslims in it, and killing the Christians in their church” (p. 89). An early historian of Sistan complains bitterly of the slaughter and violence meted out to the Muslims and Christians of Zarang by Mahmud’s pagan Indian troops (p. 110).
Al-Biruni (Circa 362-430/973-1038). Abu Raihan alBiruni’s saty in what is now Pakistan could not have been very long, but as his most famous work concerns the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent and forms an important source of information to writers like Abu al-Fadl, it may not be out of place to briefly refer to him. He was born in about 362/973 in Khwarizm (modern Khiva) and soon distinguished himself in astronomy, mathematics, logic and history. Sometime before 408/1017 Mahmud was able to get him at Ghazni, but evidence of close contact between the Sultan and al-Biruni is lacking. He was evidently in greater favour with the next ruler, Mas’ud, to whom he dedicated Qanun Mas’udi His other works include the Chronology of Ancient Nations, an intorduction to astrology, a treatise on Materia Medica, astronomical tables, a summary of Ptolemy’s Almagest, and several translations from Greek and Sanskrit.8 He must have written some books in Sanskrit as at one place he writes of ”being occupied in
Yamini Dynasty of Ghazni and Lahore • [ Ch. 2
composing for the Hindus a translation of the books of Euclid and of the Almagest, and dictating to them a treatise on the construction of the astrolabe, being simply guided herein by the desire of spreading science”.9 The work, however, which is of special interest to a student of civilisation in the Indo-Pak subcontinent is his famous hii(ih al-JInul which is a masterly survey of the religion, sciences and social customs of the Hindus, and which was completed shortly after Mahmud’s death. About this work, Sachau writes: ”If in our day a man began studying Sanskrit and Hindu learning with all the help afforded by modern literature and sciences, many a year would pass before he would be able to do justice to the antiquity of a India to such an extent and with such a degree of accuracy as al-Beruni has done in his Indica.” Pannikar calls al-Biruni ”the most observant scholar who studied Indian things,” and there is little doubt that as a study of an alien civilisation, not only does his book represent the peak of Muslim scholarship, but remains unsurpassed till today, as a masterpiece of erudite learning, penetrating observation and cool unbiased appraisal. In the Preface to his book al-Biruni discusses the principles which should guide a scholar in treating of societies and religious systems other than his own.10 He criticised the tendency to misrepresent other societies or to depend on ”second-hand information which one has copied form the other, a farrago of materials never sifted by the sieve of critical examination.”11 The principle which he adopted was to adhere to the accounts of the Hindus as given in their own authentic work. He says about his own work: ”This book is not a polemical one, I shall not produce the arguments of our antagonists in order to refute such of them as I believe to be in the wrong My book is nothing but a simple historic record of facts I shall place before the reader the theories of the Hindus exactly as they are, and I shall mention in connection with them similar theories of the Greek in order to show the relationship existing between them ”12

Bk I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 36
Al-Biruni considered the Hindus excellent philosophers, good mathematicians and sound astrologers. He fully appreciated their mental achievements and when he came across anything noble in their sciences or ptactical life, he did not fail to praise it. Writing about the large-sized Hindu tanks at holy bathing-places he says: ”In this they have attained a very high degree of art, so that our people (i.e. the Muslims) when they see them wonder at them, and are unable to describe them, much less to construct anything like them.”13
Al-Biruni was eminently fair and even sympathetic to the Hindus, but he fearlessly analysed their weaknesses, intellectual and others. A long section of Chapter XVI of his book deals with ”Strange manners and customs of Hindus” and contains such intimate details what Sachau, the translator of the book, had to give many passages in Latin rather than in plain English. His translation of Al-Biruni’s sarcastic remarks ”regarding the horrid practices of Rasayana, i e the art of making gold, of making old people young, etc ,” also contains a toned down version of the original. Al-Biruni had no patience with humbug. The first chapter of the Kitab al-Hind, dealing with the Hindus in general, is also a penetrating analysis of the intellectual weaknesses of the Hindu society. One of the passages deserves to be quoted at length:
”We can only say, folly is an illness for which there is no medicine, and the Hindus believe that there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs. They are haughty, foolishly vain, self-conceited, and stolid. They are by nature niggardly in communicating that which they know and they take the greatest possible care to withhold it from men of another caste among their own people, still much more, of course, from any foreigner.”14
In dealing with the Muslims, Al-Biruni displays similar objectivity and detachment He repeatedly refers to the matters in which Muslims could justly claim superiority over the Hindus of his day. He contrasted the democratic equality of the
Yammi Dynasty of Chazni and Lahore

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