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



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tCh. 2
Muslim society with the Hindu caste system, and the cleanliness and decency of Muslims with many filthy customs current among the Hindus,15 but he pointed out Muslim weaknesses also. While appreciative of Mahmud in many respects, Al-Biruni did not hesitate to point out the complications created for the students of Hindu sciences by Mahmud’s military expeditions. ”Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, and performed wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people. Their scattered remains cherish, of course, the most inveterate aversion towards all Muslims. This is the reason, too, why Hindu sciences have retired far away from those parts of the country conquered by us, and have fled to places, which our hand cannot yet reach, to Kashmir, Benares, and other places ”1S
Mahmud’s Successors. On Mahmud’s death, there was a struggle for the throne in which his eldest son Mas’ud was successful (422/1031) Affairs at Lahore were soon to receive Mas’ud’s attention Being dissatisfied \vith Ghazanaud governor of the place, he recalled him and later sent Ahmad Niyaltgin, his father’s treasurer, in his place. The instructions issued to the officers at Lahore at the time of this administrative reorganisation are interesting:
” The> \\cre not to undertake without permission expeditions beyond the limits of the Punjab, but were to accompany Ahmad on any expedition which he might undertake, and they were to drink, play polo, or mix in social intercourse with the Hindu officers at Lahore, and they were to refrain from wounding the susceptibilities of these officers and .their troops by inopportune display of religious bigotry ”
Ahmad Niyaltgin soon got into difficulties with Abu alBasan, ”The Shirazi Qadi,” who had been sent to collect the revenue and inquire into the affairs of the earlier administration. In 425/1034, Ahmad returned from a very

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successful raid against Benar^ but failed to remit the spoils of victory to Ghazni. This gav^ an opportunity to the Qadi who sent reports to Mas’ud thajt the governor was utilising the plunder of Benares to raise a powerful army and was on the point of revolt. Mas’ud decided upon punitive action against the governor, and the cotnmand of this responsible and hazardous expedition was entrusted to Tilak, one of his Hindu generals. Ahmad Niyaltigin was defeated, and his head was sent to Ghazni. In 428/1037, Mas’ud came to India and, in fulfilment of a vow taken during an illness, attacked and captured the fortress of Hansj, hitherto considered impregnable by the Hindus. During his Absence, the Saljuq Turks invaded the western and northern territory of the Ghaznavid empire and occupied Nishapur Mas’ud returned to deal with them, but was defeated and fled towards Lahore. When the royal party reached Marigala pass between Rawalpindi and Attock, the Turkish and Hindu guards Mutinied, and the Sultan’s brother was placed upon the throne. Mas’ud’s son Maudud, however, defeated his uncle and in 433/1042 occupied the throne. During his reign Mahipal, the raja of Delhi, made a determined attempt to oust the Ghaznavids from the Punjab. He recaptured Hansi, Thanesar and Kangra and besieged Lahore, but was unable to take the town. In Lahore there is an old graveyard, known as Ganj-i Shahidan (The Repository of Martyrs), and, according to local tradition, the Muslims who lost their lives while defending Lahore are buried there. In 440/1048, Maudud appointed two of his son, to the government of Lahore and Peshawar, and sent Bu’Ali Hasan, the kotwal of Ghazni, to deal with Hindu resurgence. These measures were successful, but Maudud died shortly thereafter (December 1049).
The next important ruler was Sultan Ibrahim, whose long and peaceful reign of forty years (451-493/1059-1099) constitutes the golden period Of Ghaznavid Punjab. Ibrahim had ensured the stability of his northern and western frontiers by entering into a treaty with the Saljuqs and his son Mas’ud II married the daughter of Sultan Malik Shah. Secure at home,
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Yamini Dynasty of Ghazni and Lahore
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Ibrahim could pay attention to India, and in 471/1079 crossed the southern border of the Punjab, and captured Ajodhan, now know as Pakpattan. His military, commander at Lahore, the brilliant Abual-Najm Zarir Shaibani was constantly on the offensive, and carried successful raids against Benares, Thanesar and Kanauj, but the main achievement of Ibrahim’s reign was the rise of Lahore as a great cultural centre under the viceroyalty of Shizad, his grand-son. Ibrahim was succeeded to the throne by his son Mas’ud in, who also ruled peacefully for sixteen years (492-509/1099-1115).Shirzad succeeded him, but he was deposed in the following year, and after the brief rule of Arsalan, Bah ram came to the throne.
Conflict with Ghitr and the Destruction of Ghazni. In

512/1118, Bahram ascended the throne of Ghazni and had a long troubled reign of thirty-three years. He was a patron of letters. Amongst the poets who wrote panegyrics in his praise were Hakim Sana’i (the author of the famous mystical mathnavi Hadiqah) and Hasan Ghaznavi, but he got into serious trouble with the chiefs of Ghur,which proved fatal to his dynasty. Ghur is the hilly area between Herat and Kabul, and was conquered in the days of Mahmud, but owing to its inaccessibility many areas remained virtually independent. There was repeated fighting between the Ghaznavids and the chiefs of Ghur v,ho gradually grew powerful, while the reigning dynasty was weakened by protracted fighting with the Saljuqs. During Bahram’s reign Qutb-ud-din Muhammad, a Ghuri chief, took the title of Malik al-Jabal (the King of the Mountains). Bahram gave him his daughter in marriage, but later, suspecting trouble, had him poisoned. To avenge his death his brother Saif-ud-din collected a large body of men at Firuz Koh, the capital of Ghur, and set out for Ghazni. He defeated Bahram and forced him to flee to India, but in

544/1149 Bahram returned suddenly to Ghazni, surprised Saifud-Din and reoccupied his capital. Saif-ud-din, who had surrendered on the promise of his life being spared was put to death under revolting circumstances This aroused the ire of his

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brother, ’Ala’-ud-din Husain known in history as Jahan Suz, or the World-Burner, who took a terrible vengeance. He captured Ghazni in 546/1151 and set fire to the splendid capital, which was reduced to ashes. The remains of the Ghaznavid kings, other than Mas’ud I and Ibrahim, were dug up and burnt and their tombs destroyed. The same process of destruction was repeated in the provinces. Bahram, who reoccupied what remained of Ghazni when ’Ala-ud-din Husain was defeated and temporarily imprisoned by Sultan Sanjar Saljuqi, died in

547/1152 and was followed by Khusrau Shah. During his reign a horde of the Ghuzz tribe of Turkmans occupied Ghazni and Khusrau escaped to the Punjab, now the sole possession left to the Ghaznavids. He died in 556/1160 and was succeeded by Khusrau Malik in whose days the power of the Ghurids was revived. By then the hardy mountaineers had become more cultured and civilised and started their conquests on a more systematic basis. Their capital, Firuz Koh,18 attracted men like Nizami Arudi, the author of Chahar Maqalah, ”One of the most interesting and remarkable prose works in Persian.” After the death of ’Ala-ud-din Jahan Suz, his son succeeded him, but ultimately the authority at Ghur fell into the hands of his two nephews, whom ’Ala’-ud-din had kept imprisoned, but who were released by his son. In 569/1173, Ala-ud-din’s nephews drove out the Turkmans from Ghazni and the younger brother Mu’iz-ud-din Muhammad b. Sam (better known in Indo-Pak subcontinent as Muhammad Ghuri) was stationed there as the lieutenant of the elder brother Ghiyath-ud din Muhammad, who governed the extensive Ghurid dominion from Firuz Koh. From his base at Ghazni Muhammad Ghuri undertook the conquest of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. In 582/1186, he captured Khusrau Malik, annexed Lahore, and brought to end the rule of the Yamini dynasty.


Hindu-Muslim Relations during the Ghaznavid Period. Mahmud invaded the subcontinent several times and sacked many rich Hindu temples. His successors attempted to repeat his performance whenever an opportunity offered itself. This
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Yamini Dynasty of Ghazni and Lahore
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could not have endeared them to the Hindu rajas or even the people at large, but there is plenty of evidence to show that even during the Ghaznavid period there were peaceful contacts between Hindus and Muslims. They were interrupted during military operations, but as soon as they were over and peace restored, ”caravans travelled in full security between Khurasan and Hind.19 When Mas’ud I captured Benares in 424/1033, he found Muslim merchants prisoners in the fort. According to Ibn al-Athir, there were Muslims in the Benares area ”since the days of Mahmud bin Subuktigin, who continued faithful to the law of Islam, and constant in prayer and good works.”20 There is a persistent local tradition in certain old centres in the heart of Uttar Pradesti that Muslim families had settled there long before the conquest of the area by Muhammad Ghuri. The Benares District Gazetteer, for example, states that in the city of Benares there are Muslim muhaHahs, which are anterior in date to the conquest of Benares by the Muslims. Similar traditions are current about Maner in Bihar.21
The only area, of which anything like history for the Hindu period is available, is Kashmir, and there we get plenty of informations about the peaceful presence of the Muslims amongst the Hindus. ”Muslim traders and soldiers of fortune began to enter Kashmir from an early date. Kalhana records that Lalitaditya’s son and successor Vajraditya sold many men to the melecchas, and introduced into the country practices which befitted the melecchas. Later, Harsa22 employed Turkish soldiers and under Muslim influence adopted elaborate fashions in dress and ornaments. During the reign of Bhiksacara (1120-

21), Muslim soldiers were again employed and sent to attack Sussala in Lahore. From the accounts of Marco Polo, the Venetian traveller, it appears that already by the end of the thirteenth century there was a colony of Muslims in Kashmir, for he says that the people of the valley do not kill animals, but that if they want to eat meat, they get the Saracens, who dwell among them, to play the butcher. These Saracens must have been either emigrants from Turkistan or Hindus converted to



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Islam by the pietist missionaries from India and Central Asia.”23
Apart from this peaceful co-existence, the position of the Hindu generals, soldiers and scholars at the Ghaznavid court was very significant. Even Mahmud, the iconoclast, had a contingent of Hindu officers and soldiers. He richly rewarded at least one Sanskrit poet (at Kalinjar) and even issued coins with Sanskrit inscriptions. He had Hindu pandits at his court. The status of the Hindus seems to have greatly improved in the days of his successor, Mas’ud. Only fifty days after the death of Mahmud, his son despatched Sewand Rai, a Hindu chief, with a large body of Hindu cavalry in pursuit of the nobles who had espoused the cause of his brother. Sewand Rai died in the ensuing battle but his selection for this important assignment indicates his position of trust and eminence. Five years later, Tilak, another Hindu general, acquired a dominant position. He was the son of a barber but had a good personality and an eloquent tongue.He wrote an excellent hand book in Hindi and Persian. He became ”one of the great confidants” of Khwajah Ahmad Hasan Maimandi, the influential wazir of Sultan Mahmud and his successor. The Khwajah made Tilak his secretary and interpreter between him and the Hindus. When in 424/1033, news was received from Lahore of the rebellion of Ahmad Niyaltigin, Tilak was sent to deal with him. The extreme measures which, according to the historian Baihaqi, were taken by the Hindu general against the Muslim partisans of Ahmad, show his confidence and sense of securtiy. ”Wheji Tilak arrived at Lahore, he took several Musulmans prisoners, who were the friends of Ahmad, and ordered their right hands to be cut off; that the men who were with Ahmad were so terrified at this punishment and display of power, that they sued for mercy and deserted him.”24 Tilak, ”in full confidence and power, pursued Ahmad with a large body of men, chiefly Hindus,” till the erstwhile governor was killed in an encounter, and his head taken to Ghazni by the victorious Tilak.
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Yamim Dynasty of Ghazni and Lahore
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The role of Hindus in Mas’ud’s arm> ma\ be estimated b\ the fact that at the battle of Kirman, they formed fully one-half of the cavalry, there being 2000 Hindus. 1000 Turks and 1000 Kurds and Arabs They fared very badl> m this battle, and. later six of their officers committed suicide m accordance vvith the Rajput practice The Hindu contingent was equally ineffective at Men’ sometime later ^ These repeated disasters must have led to the reduction of the Hindu element in the army of Ghazni. but the contemporary evidence clearly shows that the position of the Hindus under the Ghaznavids was very much better than it became in the early days of the Sultanate of Delhi
Lahore, ”the Smaller Ghazni ” Of more lasting importance than the vicissitudes of the house of Mahmud is the cultural heritage of Ghazni, particularly m relation to that part of the Ghaznavid empire which now constitutes Pakistan The court chroniclers of Ghazni have not paid the subject proper attention, but there are indication sin contemporary literature to show that the Muslim government at Lahore was vigorous and the city had become a great cultural centre Ghazni was at this time the most important Muslim cultural centre Ghazni, was at that time the most important Muslim cultural centre east of Baghdad, and the Turkish and Persian officers who were posted at Lahore tried to make the city a immature Ghazni Usually a distinguished ro\al prince was appointed the Naib (viceroy) of the Punjab, and maintained an elaborate court Conflicts with the neighbouring Hindu rajas necessitated that only trusted generals and experienced administrators should be posted at Lahore, and generally the regional capital had man\ distinguished residents The long and peaceful reigns of Ibrahim and his successor (451-509/1059-1115) provided the background for the first golden era of Ghaznavid rule at Lahore The cultural growth of the cit\ owed much to Abu Nasr Farsi, the distinguished secretary of Shirzad who was viceroy of Lahore for many years He established a kanqah (hospice) at Lahore which attracted scholars from far and near ”In large number seekers after knowledge from all parts of

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India, and from territories of Kashghar, Transoxiana, Iraq, Bukhara, Samarqand, Khurasan, Ghazni, Herat, etc. benefited by the same. Consequently a new settlement grew up in the neighbourhood of Lahore.”26 Equally distinguished in another sphere was Zarir Shaibani, the local commander-in-chief, whose successful expeditions ”revived the glories of Mahmud’s exploits”. He and other distinguished officers and administrators maintained a quasi independent government in the Punjab, and the court at Lahore was adorned by poets not much inferior to those living in Ghazni.
The first Persian poet of the area, to whom a reference is found in literary histories, was Mas’ud Razi who was contemporary of Sultan Mahmud and his son Mas’ud. In

430/1039, Razi recited a poem in the court ot Mas’ud in which he appealed to the king to deal with the growing menace of the Saljuqs. ”The ants have become snakes” and ”may become dragons, if neglected.” The king resented this overt reference to his weakness, and exiled the poet to the Punjab.27 Next year the king relented and appointed him in charge of the affairs at Jhelum, but did not permit his return to Ghazni. Mas’ud Razi died in 470/1077. With the exception of a few verses, his work has perished, but the Diwan of his distinguished son Abu alFarj Runi, who spent most of his time at Lahore, has survived, and has been published in Iran.


The most notable poet of the period, who was closely associated with Lahore, was Mas’ud Salman. His father held high office under the viceroy of Lahore, and Masud was born in (Circa) 440/1048 and educated in Lahore. He was a great favourite of Prince Saif-ud-daulah Mahmud, son of Sultan Ibrahim (451-492/1059-1099) when the prince was the viceroy of Hindustan, and composed many qasidahs eulogising the victories of his patron. When the prince fell out of royal favour, the poet lost \\\sjagir, and later remaind imprisoned for ten years on account of his suspected share in Saif-ud-daulah’s treasonable proceedings. He was released shortly before Su’tan Ibrahim’s death in 492/1099 and was given responsible posts,
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Yamini JSDynasty of Ghazni and Lahore
[Ch. 2
including the govern*- rship of Jullundur. When his patron Abu Nasr Farsi incurred royal displeasure, Mas’ud was again thrown into prison. He was ultimately released in about

397/1007, became ros^-al librarian, and, after a respite of some fifteen years which «==-nahlpiH him to arrange his voluminous diwan, died in 515/3B 121. Mas’ud wrote poetry in Persian, Arabic and (old) Hin«=adi, but no specimen of his verses in the


last two languages is extant His Persian works, published in Iran, cover nearly eijeght hundred pages, and modern Iranian
critic has included hi m among the ten greatest poets of the
Persian language.28 H fris most moving poems are his Habsiyat, the p.oems composed i TESTI captivity, in which he gives expression to a nostalgic lon^_ging for Lahore. Mas’ud and his contemporaries repres^s^nt the first phase of Persian poetry. This was the early virile ag:-e which produced the great national epic of Iran, and Mas’ud ”s poetry is marked more by rugged simplicity and vigour_ than the more refined lyricism of the latter date.
Amongst the pros ««e writers of this period, the most famous was the saint ’Ali Hdujwiri, popularly know as Data Ganj Bakhsh, of Lahore, wUho died in 463/1071. He wrote both in prose and verse, but hi s J/wanwas lost during his lifetime, and the few verse, that ares- quoted in his prose works are not of a high order. His fame -as an author rests on Kashf al-Mahjub, which is the oldest ext ant work on Sufism in Persian, and has been translated into English by Professor Reynold A. Nicholson. The value «=of Kashf al Mahjub lies not only in the authentic information which it gives about the earlier and contemporary mystic carders, but in being a systematic and sound exposition of tan: sawwuf, and it has been regarded as a standard text-book in si ifi circles.
A later scholar wr^no distinguished himself in the study of Hadith, Arabic philoso* phy, and even practical diplomacy was Imam Hasan al-Saghan:S. He was born at Lahore in 577/1181, and received his early education under his father, himself a scholar of distinction. By the age of twenty-five he had so

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distinguished himself in Islamic law that Sultan Qutb-ud-din Aibak wished to appoint him the Qadi of Lahore. Al-Saghani, however, declined and left for higher studies for Ghazni, and later for Hijaz. He ultimately settled down at Baghdad, where he was held in great respect. He was twice sent as an ambassador to Delhi by the Abbasid Khalifah and died at Baghdad in 650/1252. He wrote a large number of standard books on lexicography, Hadith and Fiqh, and his Masharaq alAnwar was for long the principal textbook of Hadith in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. It gained popularity in other countries also and is stated to have been the subject-matter of

2500 summaries and commentaries


The cultural importance of Lahore did not decline on account of the vicissitudes which Mahmud’s d\ nasty suffered in Ghazni. Indeed, when in 546/1151 Ghazni was reduced to ashes and the Ghaznavid kings had to flee from there, Lahore became the headquarter of the dynasty Along with the Ghaznavid ruler, many important poets, writers and philosophers migrated to Lahore Khusrau Malik, the last Ghaznavid ruler, did not distinguish himself on the battlefield, but his court contained many distinguished men of letters, and since throughout his reign and even earlier the administrative capital of the dynasty was Lahore, these poets and writer must have been the residents of this place. Unluckily, their works have perished, except for a few poems recorded by ’Aufi. When in 582/1186 Sultan Muhammad Ghuri captured Lahore, and Khusrau Malik was imprisoned, the local population transferred their allegiance to him. Lahore retained its importance for some years longer, and Sultan Qutb-ud-din Aibak lived throughout his reign at the old Ghaznavid stronghold in preference to Delhi. Later, when Iltutmish made Delhi his capital, Lahore lost its central position and did not recover its importance till days of Akbar.
Heritage of Ghazni. The Arab rule in Sind and Multan brought Islam to the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent on an extensive and organised basis. It resulted in the adoption of the
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Yamini Dynasty of Ghazni and Lahore
[Ch. 2
Arabic script for the Sindhi language, set a liberal pattern for dealing with Hindus and facilitated fruitful intellectual contacts between Baghdad and the subcontinent. The Ghaznavid occupation of Lahore and Multan had even more far-reaching results. To this period belong Mas’ud Sa’d Salman, the poet, and Data Ganj Baksh, the sufi saint, two towering figures of Indo-Muslim literary and religious history. The invisible and indirect consequences of the Ghaznavid rule were even more profound. Persian, which was adopted as the court language and was the vehicle of literary and cultrual expression during the Ghaznavid period, continued to hold this position throughout the Muslim rule. The form of Persian which remained current in Muslim India was that in vogue in Afghanistan and Central Asia and not the pure Persian of Isfahan and Shiraz. Partly on account of the linguistic affinity and partly on account of the fact that waves of the immigrants who established Muslim culture in the Indo-Pak subcontinent during the Ghaznavid and subsequent periods, came through Ghazni and Bukhara, the entire cultural pattern of Muslim India was dominated by the Central Asian tradition. This continued till the days of the Mughals who themselves were Turks from Central Asia, but in whose days closer contacts were established with Iran and Arabia, and the cultural pattern became more diversified. Even then, out of several strands which provided the warp and woof of Muslim civilisation in the Indo-Pak subcontinent, the most dominant during the period of Muslim rule was the influence of Central Asia. After the establishment of Muslim Delhi, the administrative system was modelled on that of Ghazni The ultimate prototype of the governments set up on the eastern frontiers of the Abbasid caliphate was the administrative structure at Baghdad, but they had developed marked characteristics of their own. The Samanids of Bukhara built up a centralised system of government (as opposed to the local autonomy of the older city states of Transoxiana), had an elaborate administrative structure consisting of nine diwans (departments of government) reminiscent in their multiplicity and nomenclature

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of the system °f government and following the example of Baghdad made their court a center of culliving. In sp\(l e government at Bulchara was what Rosenthall and Bosworth have called ”a power-state”. In Bukh^ra stood for stronS Sunni orthodoxy in the Shiah Buwaihids and Isma’ili. Ghazni
religion opposition to
inherited these traditions and administrative structure, and in due course the/ were transplanted to Delhi, Muslim political institutions, military and administrative organisation, ethics and jurisprudence, >n fact the entire Pattern of Muslim life, bear the impress of Oh921” and Bukhara. It was the Hidayah of a Central Asian lawyer> which became the standard legal textbook in Mus^m Incua> and the same tradition in other spheres. Cente^1 Asian cultural predominance became firmly entrenched, wben a larSe number of Muslim scholars, writers and dervishes from Central Asia took refuge in Muslim India, to escape the allies of the Mongols.
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