Yamini Dynasty of Ghazni and Lahore
NOTES & REFERENCES
1. For details, see Caroe, The Pathaws, pp. 95-97.
2. For the location of the Hindu ShaBii capital, see ibid, p 98.
3. Cambridge History of India, in, F2.
4. A fully account of the sect is contained in the supplementary not added by Professor Sa’id Nafisi to Tarikh~t Baihaqi, Volume II (University of Tehran,
1326 A.M.) ,PP. 915-65 Also see C.E. Bosworth, The Gaznavids, PP. 185-89.
5. Tarikh-i Baihaqi, II, 921, 959.
6. Professor Sa’id Nafisi thinks that the sect lost its importance during the upheaval caused by the Mongol invasion.
It is more likely that it was superseded and its adherents absorbed by the Hanbali and Ash’arite schools oP thought, which continued the struggle against the Isma’ilis and the Mu’tazilites.
7. Raverty, Tr., Tabaqat-i Nasiri, P . 11.
8. Elliot and Dowson, History of !n«Jia As Told by Its Own Historians, 11,3.
9. B.C. Sachau, Tr., Albenim’s Indma, I, 137.
10. Observance of these principles, Lancommon even at present, was of course rare in the Middle Ages. In Dabisiara-i-Madhahib, however, we find an approach similar to that of al-Biruni.
11 Sachau, Tr., op. cit., I, 8.
12. Ibid., 1.9.
13. Ibid., I, 144.
14. Ibid., I, 22-23.
15. Ibid., I, xix.
16. Ibid., I, 22.
17. The Cambridge History of India, 111,29.
18. This area is now known as Hszarajat. In the sixth/twelfth century, it ”was probably inhabited by an eastern Iranian people conveniently known to both Afghans and Turks as Tajiks” (Caroe, the Pathans,p 122). Firuz Koh has been located in the Herat Province of? Afghanistan. It is 65 Kilometres northwest of Chist, the birth-place of Khwajata Mu’m-ud-dm Chishti of Ajmer. A magnificent minaret, which is believed to l~iave inspired Qutb Minar of Delhi, has been recently discovered, close to time river Han Rud, and not far from what is believed to the site of Firuz Koh_
19. Elliot and Dowson. op.cit., II, 3(5.
20. 7feM., II, 251.
21. Fasih-ud-dm Batkhi, Tarikh-i Mcmgadh, pp. 85-89.
22. This is Harsha the ruler of Kash mir (1089-1101), and not the famous Harsha of
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 50
Mohibul Hasan, Kashmir Under the Sultans, pp 234-35 Elliot and Dowson, op en , II, 132
This ,s based on Cambridge H.story oflnd.a.m, 13 Bosworth however, says Oat the Indian troops were of a good quahty,” and their ”poor showmg at Kirrnan m 1034 seems to have been an isolated occurrence” (7J,e Ghaznav.ds p 110)
Tadhhrah Al ,-Ghayim, p 37, quoted by Professor M A Cham in Pre-Moghal Persian w Hindustan, p 194 *
Hafi? Mahmud Khan Sheram, Punjab MainUrdu, pp 32-33 M Hazar Shirazi, Ed , Shanasa-i Sa’di, pp 94 95
SfflHAB-UD-DIN GHURI AND THE CONQUEST OF NORTHERN INDIA
Muslim Conquest of Northern India. After the death of Mahmud in 421/1030, there were occasional incursions into Hindu territory from the Ghaznavid base at Lahore, but no major territorial changes took place and Hindu India enjoyed a respite from foreign invasion for a century and a half. This, however, did not lead to national consolidation, and a number of principalities grew up in different parts of the subcontinent. In the north the most important were the kingdoms of Delhi, Ajmer, Kanauj, Bundhelkhand, Gujarat, Malva and Bengal. On occasions, they would come together for common purposes, but normally there was no cohesion between them, and it was possible for a leader of determination to subdue them one after the other.
Shihab-ud-din Ghuri1 who exploited this situation did not confine himself, like Mahmud, to military raids and glory, but laid firm foundation of the Muslim Empire in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. To do so he had to bring under his control Muslim kingdoms on the frontier, and in 571/1175, soon after the conquest of Ghazni, he occupied Multan and Uch. At that time the most frequented route from Ghazni into India was not the well-known Khyber Pass, or the Bolan Pass in the south, but the Gomal, which led to present Dera Ismail Khan and to upper Sind Sagar Doab. Shihab-ud-din followed this route, and for some years left Peshawar and Lahore undisturbed. After
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 52
occupying upper Sind in 754/1178, he turned to Anhilwara or Patan, the capital of Gujarat, possibly attracted by its riches which could provide an economic basis for his military schemes. He was, however, defeated and had to change his strategy. He now turned to the Khyber and the Punjab. Peshawar was taken in 575/1179, Sialkot fell in 581/1185, and Lahore was finally occupied in 582/1186. In the winter of
587/1190-91, Ghuri conquered the Hindu fort of Tabarhind (Bhatinda)2 and placed it in charge of a governor. He was returning to Ghazni when he received information from the governor that Prithvi Raj, the raja of Ajmer and Delhi, was on his way to Bhatinda, and immediate help was needed. Part of the Muslim army had already dispersed, but, in view of the danger to which Bhatinda was exposed, Shihab-ud-din returned and met the forces of Prithvi Raj at Tarain (modern Taraori), near Karnal. The Rajputs attacked with such vigour that the Muslim forces were broken up, and both wings of the Muslim army were driven out from the field. The centre, however, stood firm under Shihab-ud-din, who in a determined charge against the Hindu centre in person attacked Govind Rai, the raja’s brother and commander-in-chief of the Indian army. The Muslim commander struck Govind Rai with a lance, and shattered his front teeth, but the Hindu general drove his javelin through his arm. Shihab-ud-din, faint from pain and loss of blood, was about to fall from his horse when a young Khalji, with great presence of mind, sprang upon his horse, steadied him and carried him back to the place where the Muslim army had halted. Here a litter was hastily prepared for the prince and the army returned to Ghazni in comparative order.
This was the first major defeat suffered by Muslims in northern India, and it deeply hurt Muhammad Ghuri. On his return to the capital, he meted out exemplary punishment to the army chiefs who had fled from the battlefield. The prince imposed a severe penance on himself, and did not wear fine clothes or .engage in any festivities for one year, but
Shihab-ud-din Ghuri & Conquest of Northern India [ Ch. 3
concentrated all his energies on preparations for a ”second round”.
In 588/1192, the two armies met again on the battlefield of Tarain. The Indian armies far exceeded Muhammad Ghuri’s forces in number, but his brilliant generalship and superior tactics gave him a decisive victory. The Indian commander-inchief fell on the battlefield. Prithvi Raj was captured in the course of fight and the Indian army was completely routed. This victory made Shihab-ud-din master of Delhi and Ajmer. He left Qutb-ud din Aibak to consolidate the new conquests at Kuhram (in East Punjab), but in conformity with Muhammad b. Qasim’s policy of appointing local governors-a policy which Mahmud had also unsuccessfully tried to adopt~a son of Prithvi Raj was appointed governor of Ajmer on his undertaking to pay tribute. Prithvi Raj himself was taken to Ajmer, where, after some time, being found guilty of treason, he was executed-. A few of his coins with the Sanskrit superscription ”Hammira” (i.e. Amir) on th’e obverse have been found, which suggest his having initially accepted Muslim suzerainty.
Conquest of Bengal. Shihab-ud-din, who returned to Ghazni after the battle of Tarain, was back again two years later to deal with the powerful raja of Kanauj and Benares. This required elaborate preparations and the ensuing battle was severely contested, but the Muslims were victorious and added a great kingdom to their dominions. Meanwhile, early in
589/1193, Qutb-ud-din Aibak had occupied Delhi, the future seat of Muslim power in India. Hazbar-ud-din Hasan Adib, an adventurous officer, had conquered Badaun in the heart of the Gangetic Plain, even before Muhammad Ghuri had taken Sirhind and Malik Husam-ud-din Ughulbak, another leader of the vanguard of Islam, had established himself in Oudh.
These brilliant victories, indicative of the spirit and resourcefulness of early Muslim officers, were soon eclipsed by the exploits of Ikhtiyar-ud-din Muhammad, son of Bakhtiyar Khalji. He had been assigned certain villages in Oudh, and from his advanced base between the Ganges and the son,
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 54
carried on raids into Bihar and Tirhut. His success attracted to him a large number of adventurous soldiers and with them he invaded and conquered southern parts of Bihar, probably in
595/1199. Later, he presented himself before Aibak, who conferred on him his recent conquests as fief. This encouraged Ikhtiyar-ud-din who now planned to extend Muslim dominion to the most eastern parts of the subcontinent. In 517/1201, he left Bihar with a large body of horse and marched so rapidly against Nadiya, the capital of Bengal, that when he arrived at the city, only eighteen of his companions had been able to keep pace with him. Nadiya was partly deserted at this time, and the Muslim commander and his eighteen companions were able to pass through the city gates unchallenged, as they did not disturb anybody and were taken to be horse-dealers from the north. They reached the raja’s palace situated on the banks of the Ganges and cut down the guards. Raja Lakshmansena, the ruler of Bengal, was in the palace, but escaped through a postern gate by boat. Muslims were able to hold their own until the rest of the army arrived, when they took complete control of the capital and laid the foundation of Muslim rule in the north-western part of Bengal. The raja moved to Vikrampur (near modern Dacca), where his family continued to rule for three generations.
After his victory over the raja of Kanauj, Muhammad
Ghuri, who succeeded his brother on the throne in 599/1203,
remained preoccupied with the affairs of Central Asia. In
602/1205, he suffered a defeat at the hands of the Qara Khita’i
Turks and rumours spread that he had been killed. The
Khokhars and some other tribes in the Salt Range of the Punjab
rose in rebellion under the leadership of a renegade raja. The
rebels defeated the deputy governor of Multan, plundered
Lahore, and, by stopping communications between that city
and Ghazni, prevented the remittance of revenue from the
Punjab. The situation became so serious that it required the
Sultan’s personal attention, and in Rabi’I 602/October 1205, he
left Ghazni for India. The battle with the Khokhars was
55 Shihab-ud-din Ghuri & Conquest ofNorthein India [ Ch 3
severely contested, but after the arrival of Aibak with the army of Hindustan, the rebellion was completely crushed, and in Sha’ban 603/February 1206, Ghuri arrived at Lahore. He permitted his troops to return to their homes in order to make preparations for his projected operations in Central Asia, and was returning to Ghazni with a small contingent when on 15 March 1206, he was assassinated at Damiyak, probably by an Isma’ili fanatic.
The death of Sultan Muhammad Ghuri within fourteen years of the victory at Tarain was a great blow to the rising Muslim power in India; but his main task had been accomplished. At the time of his death, practically the whole of northern India was under Muslim rule, and in Aibak, Iltutmish, Nasir-ur-din Qabacha, and Muhammad b. Bakhtiyar Khalji, he was leaving a group of capable officers who could complete his task. The Sultan was without a son but when a courtier sympathised with him on this, he smiled and said that the large number of slaves whom he had brought up and trained were like sons to him. This was not wishful thinking, for the Sultan’s well-trained slaves, who rose to high positions and later established the Slave Dynasty, proved worthy heirs.
Muhammad Ghuri’s Character Muhammad Ghuri was not such a brilliant general as Mahmud, but he surpassed him in singleness of purpose, strength of character and constructive ability. The reverses on the battlefield did not deflect him from his objective, and, with his persistence and resourcefulness, he turned initial failures into fruitful victories. He was the founder of the Muslim Empire in India, but he was free from fanaticism, and was not guided by hatred or prejudices against nonMuslims. He had the support of the Hindu rajas in several battles. In his war against Muslim kingdoms on the frontier, the Hindu raja of Jammu sided with him and, according to Hindu writers, the raja of Kanauj was his ally in the second battle of Tarain. After his victories, the Sultan treated the old Hindu families with consideration. After defeating Prithvi Raj, he entrusted the government of Ajmer to his son, and only after
Bk I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 56
the latter’s treasonable conduct was Ajmer occupied and its administration entrusted to a Muslim governor. An interesting example of Ghuri’s moderation, practical outlook and regard for local usage (and the transitional stages through which Muslim sovereignty passed before its ultimate consolidation) may be seen in his Indian coinage, which is in Hindi script and in some causes bears the names of both the Sultan and Prithvi Raj.
Aufi records an interesting anecdote, which not only throws light on Muhammad Ghuri’s equity and good sense, but shows that peaceful commercial relations existed between Ghazni and Hindu India. When Ghuri was defeated in
574/1178 by the ruler of Gujarat and returned crest-fallen to Ghazni, he was told that there was a rich merchant at the capital of Gujarat who sent large consignments of merchandise to his agents and that at that time there was property belonging to him in Ghazni of the value of a million rupees. It was suggested that if the king were to confiscate this property for his own use, he would be able to raise an army and replenish the exhausted treasury. Ghuri replied that if he were to conquer Gujarat, he might appropriate the merchant’s wealth but to seize it in Ghazni would be contrary to the dictates of justice.3
The Sultan’s other remarkable quality was his deep sense of personal loyalty. He achieved his victories in India, when his brother occupied the throne at the Ghuri capital Firuz Koh, and he was only his Na’ib at Ghazni. Nobody acquainted with the course of Oriental history would have been surprised if he had asserted his independence, but he remained content with the position of a deputy. The richest items in the booty after every battle were reserved for the elder brother in Firuz Koh, who never set foot in the Indo-Pak subcontinent, but heads the list of the Muslim kings of Delhi inscribed on the Qutb Minar. On his brother’s death in February 1203, Muhammad Ghuri became the sole ruler of the Ghuri empire, but he entrusted vast territories to the sons of his brother.
Ikhtiyar-ud-din Muhammad b. Bakhtiyar Khalji and the
of Bihar and Rental The example of deep devotion
57 Shihab-ud-din Ghuri & Conquest ofN~’orthern India [ Ch. 3
and loyalty set by Muhammad Ghuri w-’as followed by his officers and generals with regards to him. They referred to him with almost filial devotion or the enthusiastic regard of a disciple for a pir. They attributed their victories to the Sultan’s blessing, and their set-backs to its Icoss. Muhammad b. Bakhtiyar Khalji, after his brilliant succes s in the eastern parts of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent, set ab-»out consolidating his position. His restless ambition and daring-, however, took him into perilous paths. After the conquest of Bihar and Bengal, he first annexed parts of Assam and later attempted an invasion of Tibet. Owing to little known and perilous*- communications, the hostility of the hill tribes and other toasic difficulties, the campaign was a disastrous failure, but, even though unsuccessful, it gives some measure of thne men who helped in establishing Muslim rule in India. An early British officer posted in the regions traversed by Mutnammad b. Bakhtiyar wrote:
”When we reflect that his expedition was made before the invention of the firearms, and the invacders had therefore no advantage over the people of country- in regards to their weapons, while the country is in no> • part favourable for cavalry, we cannot but feel our respect far the skill, energy and enterprise of the early Muhammadan conquerors of India considerably elevated.”4
After losing the greater part of his.. army, Muhammad b. Bakhtiyar returned heart-broken to Devkot, his headquarters, in northern Bengal, and soon died of grief, Minhaj al-Siraj, who visited Bengal shortly after this, records that in those dark moments, the Khalji chief would wond er why good luck had deserted him, and used to say that ””something must have happened to Sultan Ghuri and that ”-was why fortune had abandoned him”. This was not incorrecM as, shortly before this disaster, Muhammad Ghuri had met his end in the other corner of the subcontinent.5
Causes of Muslim Success. The most important factor responsible for the phenomenal Muslir-n success in India was
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 58
the quality of their men. Some indication of this has been given in the preceding paragraphs. The second factor, partly depending on the first, was the quality of Muslim leadership. The general impression that the Muslim victories were easy and uninterrupted is not correct, as may be seen from the career of Muhammad Ghuri himself.- They suffered reverses and, there was a powerful Hindu counter-offensive in many areas. Muslim commanders were not only able to wipe out the effects of various set-backs, but a study of crucial battles, like that of Tarain, shows that the Muslim victories against heavy odds were due to the superior generalship of the Muslim commanders and the fact that they were able to exploit their limited resources to the fullest possible advantage by adopting the most suitable tactics, like the feigned withdrawal of Muhammad Ghuri at the second battle of Tarain and the shock of a sudden surprise at Nadiya by Muhammad b. Bakhtiyar Khalji.
Another factor which materially contributed to Muslim success was their superior horsemanship, and in fact the victories of Muslim over large Hindu hordes may be considered as the victory of the nimble footed horse over the stately but slow moving elephant.
Other factors also contributed to Muslim success. The Muslim were always on the offensive and had the advantage of greater initiative and strategic flexibilty. They were fighting hundreds of miles away from their homes, and had to fight desperately as they had no easy means of escape. Religious zeal must also have acted as a spur for their fighting qualities. The fighting men among Muslims were not confined to one class, like the Rajputs in India, and Muslim armies had picked and zealous soldiers from all classes and even different ethnic groups, such as the Turks, Tajiks, Khaljis and the Afghans.
The factors outlined above were responsible for the speedy / conquest of northern India. The consolidation of Muslim rule, however, owed not a little to another event which was a tragedy for the Muslim countries of Central and Western Asia,
59 Shihab-ud-din Ghuri & Conquest of No r-fhern India [ Ch. 3
but proved a blessing to Muslim India. Th i s was the Mongol invasion, which drove a large number of refugees, amongst whom were princes, chiefs, soldiers, scho 1-ars and saints, to Muslim India. Thus, a vast reservoir of man-power became . available to the new government at Delhi. ”These immigrants, having suffered so much, did not spare theanselves in making India a ”Citadel of Islam”
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 60
NOTES & REFERENCES
The name of the Ghuri king w» Muhammad. As « prince and deputy of hii royal brother, hii title was Shihab-ud-din After ascending the throne in
599/1203, he took the title of Mu’ivud-din, but as most of hii conquests in the Indo-Pik subcontinent were effected before this, he is often referred to as Shihab-ud-din Ghuri or simply as Muhammad Ghuri.
Tlii* is according to The Cambridge History of India. According to another \iew, the reference is to the fort of Sirhlnd.
Klliot nnd Dowion, History of India <\v Toldbv /ft own Historians, in, 2111. Journal of the Ro\al \siatu. Society of Bengal (18411), p. 48(1.
Referring to ”the mosques, madrassas, and khanqahs” set up by Muhammad b. Bakhtiyar in north Bengal, Dr Qanungo says: ”These have all perished, and even his last resting place in Devkot or Bihar none of his countrymen remembers” (History of Bengal, II, 14).
We cannot write here about ”the mosques, madrassas and khanqahs” which were established in the area around Devkot, but it is possible to quote from the Settlement Report about his countrymen’s remembrance of Muhammad b. Bakhtiyar’s ”last resting place”. Mr F.P.feell, I.C.S., Settlement Officer Dinajpur, writes in his setellment Report published in 1940: ”Two officers of our staff reported that there was supposed grave of Bakhtiyar Khalji at Narayanpur, west of Punarabk from Gangarampur.” The busy officer, however, dismissed the matter with the remark ”that the grave of such a celebrity” could not have been neglected by antiquarians for so many years. Little did he realise how badly Muslim monuments of Bengal have been neglected!
EARLY SLA-vVE KINGS AND
THE ESTABLMSHMENT OF THE
Qutb-ud-din Aibak The first independent Muslim king in the Indo-Pak subcontinent w-as originally a slave, and the rulers who succeeded him for neaarly ninety years were either slaves or descendants of slaves. Qj»utb-ud-din Aibak had in his early life been sold to the Qadi o f Nishapur, who impressed by his ability, gave him high education. After the Qadi’s death, he was sold to Shihab-ud-din Ghuri under whom he served with distinction, and in course oP” time was made the viceroy of his Indian possessions. On 24 June 1206, three months after Muhammad Ghuri’s death, he was crowned at Lahore. The contemporary ruler of Ghwr conferred on him the title of Sultan, sent him the royal in-signia and standard, but his formal manumission was not obtaianed till 605 1208.’ Owing to the disturbed situation in Ghazni and Ghur, he never moved east to Lahore, which remained his •capital throughout his reign. x
The main work of Aib-ak had been accomplished as the deputy of Sultan Muhammadi Ghuri. After his accession to the throne he made no new conq~uests, but consolidated the Muslim dominion by following a policy of conciliation and openhanded generosity, which eaarned him the title of Lakhbakhsh, or ”the Giver of Lakhs”. Aibwak commenced the building of two magnificent mosques at De^lhi and Ajmer He was a patron of •letters, and both Hasan Niz^ami and Fakhn- Mudabbir have dedicated their histories to tnim
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 62
Unluckily his career was cut short by early death in Rabi’ II 607/November 1210, from the effects of an accident on the polo ground. He lies in a side street of Lahore’s Anarkali Bazar.
Shmas-ud-din Iltutmish (608-633/1211-1236) On Aibak’s death, his son, Aram Shah, occupied the throne at Lahore, but he lacked ability, and the nobles at Delhi elected Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, the competent governor of Badaun and son-in-law of Aibak, as the ruler of Muslim India.
Iltutmish was faced with a very difficult task. Not only was the Muslim rule in India far from consolidated, but the powerful tnuqtis in Bengal, Sind, and Multan challenged his claim. Yildiz, the ruler of Ghazni, laid claim as Muhammad Ghuri’s successor to suzerainty over all the latter’s Indian dominions. On the other hand the Hindu chiefs had by now recovered from the stunning effects of Muslim victories, and were winning back many of the strongholds conquered by Muslims. Kalinjar had been recovered by them as early as
603/1206, and in course of time Jalor, Ranthambhor, Gwalior, and even Badaun, where Iltutmish held his last post before accession to the throne, were lost to the Muslims. In Oudh and Doab, the situation was most disturbed, and Minhaj al-Siraj speaks of a Hindu chief named Baitu (Prithu) ”beneath whose sword about a hundred and twenty thousand Musalmans had attained martyrdom”.
Iltutmish, a wise and patient statesman, trained in the traditions of Muhammad Ghuri and Aibak, took his own time in dealing with these problems, but eventually overcame all of them. He first consolidated his authority in the areas of Delhi, Badaun, Oudh and Benares, and then dealt with his Muslim opponents one by one. In 613/1216, he defeated and captured Yildiz, who, after his expulsion from Ghazni by the Khwarizmshahis, had occupied Lahore. In 622/1225, he turned his attention to Bengal and forced the local ruler to abandon use of the royal title, acknowledge the authority of Delhi and pay regular tribute. After this, he dealt with Nasir-ud-din
63 Early Slave AT ngs & Establishment of Delhi Sultanate [ Ch 4
Qabacha, the power-fill and popular ruler of Sind and western Punjab. On 9 Febnauary 1228, Iltutmish arrived at Uch, the capital of Qabacha, -and opened the siege. Uch surrendered on
4 May, and a few d_ays later Qabacha, who had moved to the island fortress of &-hakkar (situated between modern Sukkur and Rohri), found a -watery grave in the Indus.
Iltutmish’s reigraa coincided with the Mongol invasion of the Muslim lands. In 6M8/1221, Prince Jalal-ud-din of Khwarizm (modern Khiva), flweeing before the terrible Chingiz Khan, reached Lahore witUi 10,000 troops, and sent an envoy to Iltutmish, asking for asylum in his dominion. Iltutmish who did not wish to attract diingiz Khan’s wrath put off Jalal-ud-din, who, after nearly th»ee years’ stay in the Punjab in the course of which he entered into an alliance with the Khokhar raja of the Salt Range, harrSed the dominions of Qabacha, and left for Persia.
Iltutmish was a pious ruler. He had great regard for the Chishti saint Khwajmh Qutb-ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki, who came to Delhi from Ush, near Baghdad, and died on 7 December
1235. The Qutb Mirmar was built in 638/1231-32 in his honour and according to Sir- Wolseley Haig, ”has no reference, as is commonly believed to Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the master and patron of Iltutmish.”=
In 631/1234, am attempt was made by Isma’ili fanatics to assassinate the Sulta n in order to establish their own faith as the State religion. lit mtmish used to attend the great mosque for Friday prayers like an ordinary Muslim and without any guards. One Friday, while the congregation was at prayers, a large body of armed. Isma’ilis entered the mosque, drew their swords and cut the ir way through the congregation to the Sultan. Before they could attain their object, the alarm was given, the Sultan effected his escape, and the insurgents were successfuly dealt witlH by the neighbouring population.
Organisation of~ Early Muslim Government. Iltutmish can well contest with BaL ban the distinction of being the greatest of
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 64
the Slave kings. They were opposites of each other in temperament and administrative policy, and, though to judge by later history Balban’^ metamorphosis of the royal position became firmly ingrained in the fabric of Muslim government, yet Iltutmish’s work was historically of great importance. -• Aibak could do nothing except to maintain the position as it existed during Muhammad Ghuri’s days, and Iltutmish was, for practical purposes, the first independent Muslim ruler of India. He had not only to deal with the opposition of powerful Muslim rivals and Hindu counter-offensive, but he had also to build up the fabric of a new administration, and organise different departments of the central government at Delhi. He was a cool, skilful organiser, and dealt with the problems of administration in the same statesmanlike manner in which he handled the threats to the security and integrity of the realm. In this his task was greatly facilitated by the model of government organisation which had been established at Ghazni and the copious literature which had appeared on statecraft and the art of government in Muslim countries. By now some of the classics of Muslim political theory, like the Arabic Ahkam alSultaniyah’ the Persian Qabus Namah (475/1082) and the Siyasat Namah (485/1092), had already been written, in addition to other similar works which have perished. Iltutmish eagerly sought for them, and Barani quotes Balban as speaking of two works on statecraft-Adah al-Salatin and Ma ’athir alSalatin-v/hich were brought from Baghdad in Iltutmish’s reign. He also received the assistance of those well versed in principles of Muslim political theory and governmental organisation, and Adah al-Muluk, the first Indo-Muslim classic on the art of government and warfare, was written for Iltutmish. With this background, Iltutmish was able to lay the basis of a well-coordinated structure of government. During his lifetime, the organisation of the central government was completed, and various departments of State came into existence.
Apart from the model and technical guidance outlined above, the pattern of the new government established at Delhi
65 Early Slave Kings & Establishment of Delhi Sultanate [ Ch. 4
was determined by Iltutmish’s own temperament and the realities of the Indian situation. Much of the territorial expansion of Muslim India had been the work of individual commanders and resourceful adventurers. They or their successors, or others who had risen to prominence in Muhammad Ghuri’s or Iltutmish’s service, were now in occupation of large tracts. Their privileges were not severely curtailed, and the system of administration which came into existence was a loosely knit decentralised form of government. Iltutmish’s own temperament contributed to this. He made no attempt to weaken the position of his nobles, and, indeed, felt like one of them. He used to admit openly that God Almighty had raised him above his peers who were a thousand times better than him. Barani quotes him as saying: ”When they stand before me in the durbar I feel abashed at their grandeur and greatness, and desire that I should descend from the throne and kiss their hands and feet.”3
It was typical of Iltutmish’s mild temperament that he did not adopt a hostile policy towards sufis. He valued and respected them as a source of spiritual and moral strength. The high education which Iltutmish gave to his daughter Radiya, and the fact that in his heart of hearts he preferred her as his successor to the throne, would show that he was free from the prejudices of his Turkish nobles and was considerably ahead of his times. He tried to maintain a balance between the Turks who provided the all powerful generals and governors, and the Persian-speaking Tajiks who provided ”penmen” and dominated the imperial secretariat. After his death the balance was upset, but by then the basic task of organising the new Muslim government had been accomplished.
Iltutmish had also to deal with the crucial question of the position of the Hindus. By then the Muslim Law had been codified, and the freedom of action, which Muhammad b. Qasim enjoyed, had disappeared. Three out of the four schools of Islamic Law favoured the extermination of all idolaters, but the practice, initiated by Muhammad b. Qasim and maintained by
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan
67 Early SmJave Kings & Establishment ofC^>elh\ Sultanate [ Ch. 4
the Ghaznavids, of treating the idolatrous Hindus at least as privileged dhimmis proved more powerful. When the ulema urged Iltutmish to give effect to the opinion of the majority of the founders of Islamic schools of law, he convened a conference and called upon his wazir, Nizam al-Mulk Junaidi, to explain the position, the wazir ably brought out the peculiarities of the contemporary local situation and urged, on grounds of expediency, for shelving the question.4 This move was successful, the status quo accepted and tha question was never raised again in this form.
Iltutmish had to deal with extremists and idealists like Nur-ud-din Mubarak Ghaznavi, but his cool statesmanlike approach disarmed them. He also took other steps to strengthen the fabric of the new government. To give it a legal basis in the eyes of the orthodox, he is said to have sought from the Abbasid Khalifah of Baghdad confirmation of his royal title. On 19 February 1229, the Khalifah’s envoy arrived with a robe of honour, and delivered to Iltutmish a patent which conveyed the Khalifah’s recognition of his title as the Sultan of India. The Khalifah’s recognition was largely formal, and this seems to be one of the two occasions when a ruler of Delhi troubled himself about obtaining foreign recognition. In the initial stages of Muslim rule, however, this step was useful; it confirmed the sovereignty of Delhi against the claims of Ghazni, gave it a legal basis in the eyes of the orthodox, and also silenced those local rivals who challenged the Sultan’s authority.
After this investiture, Iltutmish attended to the coinage, an important symbol of sovereignty. The name of the Khalifah was inscribed on the coins issued from the royal mint and the Sultan was described therein as ”Helper of the Commander of the Faithful”. So far the Muslim rulers had issued small bullion coins of the native form inscribed with their names in Nagari and sometimes in Arabic characters, and bearing symbols familiar to Hindu population, the Bull of Shiva and the Chauhan horseman. Iltutmish now introduced a purely Arabic coinage,
a standard coin, the >ee.
discarded Hin-du symbols and adopted, as silver tanka, thne ancestor of the modern ruirz:
Delhi ha<3 been founded in the fourth/We: •enth century. Before Muslim occupation it was not a large -«c;ity, and ranked in importance be low Ajmer even in the Chauh. an kingdom. It could not meet the -requirements of the large po»~ fmlation attracted by the seat of th e new government, and IHu*t:Tnish had to provide proper amenities and adorn the new c - ~qpital He built or completed the Qutb Minar, greatly extenczzled Quwwat al-Islam mosque, giviung it a distinctly Islamic loe^z^k and constructed a large water reservoir (Haud-i Shamsi) to i - aneet the requirements of the citizeiMs of Delhi. The educational needs of the people were also lo«oked after, and the Madras -=ah-i Nasiri of which historian Mirashaj al-Siraj was the head at czizsne time, was built in his reign.5
Nizam al-Mulk Junaidi. Iltutmi temperament and political philosophy administratio n, but he was fortunate in assistance an-d guidance from some able a
Principasl amongst Illutmish’s co-wc Nizam al-Mt_ilk Kamal-ud-din Muhamma
ih’s own outlook, reflected in his receiving competent id farsighted people.
rkers was his wazir, i Junaidi, who seems
to have been a man of culture, a distinguis. Tied patron of learning and a stateswnan of strong views. ’Aufi dedicated his famous JawamV al--Hikayat to him and, in a poems interspersed in the book, has prai statesmanshi p, skill in warfare, a contemporar-y poet Rida’ has also praising these qualities of Nizam al
umber of verses and ed Junaidi’s wisdom,6 id generosity. The ritten many poems, Mulk and has even
mentioned h_is calligraphy and excellent L iterary style. Junaidi’s strength of -character may be seen from the fact that when, on Iltutmish’s death, his worthless son Rukr^i -ud-din Firuz began to squander public money and misbehave^, the wazir risked his office and r-efused to side with Firuz. H^Ce also refused to take ’the oath of allegiance to Radiyah who h ^=ad ascended the throne without consultation with the provincial chiefs and the wazir. The most fruitful part of Junaidi’s cares r was under Iltutmisn,
of A/;/\/;w/ Ci\ illation in India A 1’akntan
when he was in charge of the entire government, both civil and military departments, and even the functions which were later entrusted to the Sadr-i Jahan. Barani’s account of the conference7 which was convened to determine the treatment of the Hindus shows that in such major political issues, Nizam alMulk’s opinion counted for much. He advocated a liberal, tolerant and humane line of action, and, though he based his viewpoint on the grounds of expediency, he achieved the practical end he and the Sultan had in view. The prominent role which he played in dealing with this difficult and crucial question would suggest that he had an equally important part in the formulation of other decisions and actions of Iltutmish’s government.
The Mongol Invasion and Its Consequences. An important development of the period, which directly affected only the border areas, but had far-reaching indirect consequences for the new empire, was the rise of the Mongols under Chingiz and Hulagu and their ”dance of death” in Central and Western Asia. It was the biggest blow which the Muslim world ever suffered and is the great dividing line in its history. A modern Western writer calls it ”the supreme catastrophe of Islam,” a blow from which the Muslim civilisation ”has never recovered”. A contemporary author, ”the sober and careful historian, Ibnul Athir, called it ”the death-blow of Islam and the Muslims”. It began in 616/1219 (i.e. barely twenty five years after the foundation of the Muslim Empire of Delhi) with Chingiz Khan’s invasion of Transoxiana, and resulted in the destiuction of numberless cities, the desolation of large cultivated areas, the ruin of libraries and madrasas, and the endless slaughter of men, women and children. It culminated in the sack of Baghdad and the end of the Abbasid Caliphate at the hands of Hulagu Khan in 656/1258.
An account of the Mongol invasion is outside the scope of this book, but it may be useful to quote from Professor E.G. Browne to give some idea of the catastrophe which afflicted greater part of Asia, and, but for the vigilance and
69 Early Slave Kings <&. Establishment of Delhi Sultanate [ Ch 4
resourcefulness of the Delhi Sultans, might have involved the Indian subcontinent. He says:
”In its suddenness, its devastating destruction, its appalling ferocity, its passionless and purposeless
- cruelty its irresistible though shortlived violence, this outburst of savage nomads hitherto hardly known by name even to their neighbours, resembles rather some brute cataclysm of the blind forces of nature than a phenomenon of human history. The details of massacre, outrage, spoilation, and destruction wrought by these hateful hordes of barbarians, who, in the space of a few years, swept the world from Japan to Germany, would, as d’Ohsson observes, be incredible were they not confirmed from so many
^ different quarters.”8
The new government early experienced the impact of this gigantic militaiv movement, when Jalal-ud-dm, the luiei of Khwarizm, whose father had first attracted the wrath of Chingiz Khan, crossed the border and sought aid from Iltutmish. The latter refused to be embroiled in a dispute with the Mongol chief, gave evasive replies, and the danger of the Indian subcontinent being involved in the first onrush of the Mongol invasion was avert. Still, waves of the Mongol hordes continued to reach the subcontinent, and during the chaos following Iltutmish’s death they destroyed Lahore (639/1241). They remained entrenched for several years, and nearly for half a century the principal preoccupation of the Delhi government was to defend the subcontinent from the fate which Centtal and Western Asia had suffered Thanks to Balban’s well-planned and efficient measures and ’Ala’-ud-din Khalji’s military prowess, this danger was averted, but the indirect consequences of the Mongol eruption and their activities beyond the border were not small. Partly the danger in the north was responsible for Balban’s ruthless policy of internal consolidation and centralisation. The Mongol atrocities in the Muslim countries and the threat to their newly-won empire also
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 70
steeled Muslim hearts in the subcontinent and inspired them to great efforts. Even more important was the large influx of the refugees from Central Asia, Khurasan, Iran, Iraq and modern Afghanistan, who found a haven of refuge in the newly conquered territories. The arrival of soldiers, scholars, saints and citizens from the Muslim countries provided the manpower which was needed for the consolidation of Muslim rule and the firm planting of Islamic religion in the Indian subcontinent. These developments continued during the greater part of the seventh/thirteenth century, but they began during Iltutmish’s reign, and both Minhaj al-Siraj and ’Isami refer to the large number of distinguished refugees at his court.
Early Sufis. We shall deal elsewhere with the religious work of sufi saints; their impact on administrative and public life was also considerable, and deserves to be mentioned here.
By the time the Muslim Empire was established at Delhi, the sufi fraternities had come into being and the sufi influence was far more powerful than in earlier days under the Arabs in Sind or the Ghaznavids at Lahore. The two great fraternities which established themselves very early in Muslim India were the Suhrawardiyah and the Chishtiyah. The Suhrawardi order was founded by Shaikh Abu al-Najib Suhrawardi (490-
557/1097-1162) and was introduced into Muslim India by Shaikh Baha’-ud-din Zakariya (578-666/1182-1267-68) of Multan, who was initiated by Shaikh Shihab-ud-din Suhrawardi (540-631/1145-1234), the famous author on Sufism and virtually co-founder of the Suhrawardi silsilah. With Multan as its centre the silsilah became dominant in the areas which now constitute Pakistan. Hadrat Baha’ud-din and his successors at Multan were universally respected, and at the time of Mongol invasion of Multan, they became the spokesmen for the common people. They introduced an hereditary system of succession and were able to build up large properties. Their interest in cultural and intellectual life of the State was, however, minor.
71 Early Slave Kings & Establishment qfCDelhi Sultanate [ Ch. 4
The Chishtiyah silsilah was introduced in the subcontinent by Hadrat Khwaja Mu’in-ud-din, who was born in Sijistan and, after extensive travels and spiritual traia ing at the hands of many leading sufis, came to the Indo-M’ak subcontinent in
588/1192. After spending some time at Lamhore and Multan, he settled down at Ajmer, which was the capital of Prithvi Raj, and died there in 633/1236. As he established in the Indian subcontinent the first sufi silsilah, he is often referred to as Hind al-lVali (the Saint of India) or Sultan al-Hincf the (spiritual) Sultan of Hindustan. At his hands many Hindus accepted Islam, and the local Hindu accounts are also full of his praise. Rai Bahadur Harbilas Sarda in his book on Ajmer says: ”Khwaja Muin-ud-din lived a life o*F piety. He is said to have passed the days together in devotion* and meditation. His diet was simple and sparse, and his dress consisted of a simple tunic which when torn in many places waas patched by himself. He never preached aggression, was a man of peace and goodwill towards all God’s creatures.”9 Even after his death a large number of Hindus used to visit his tomb and make offerings. According to Siyar al-’Arifin, written by Jamali, the teacher of Sikandar Lodi (894-922/14-89-1517), ”A large number of prominent Hindus of that aresa became Muslims at his hands, and those who did not adopt Islam sent large offerings. This practice is maintained b^ those Hindus even now. They would assemble every year, b«ow their heads before that lofty Dargah, pay large sums to its caretakers and perform various services.” Khwaja Mu’in-ud din _Ajmeri had important disciples at Ajmer and Nagor in Rajputan-a and at Nandurbar in Khandesh, but his chief disciple Klhwajah Qutb-ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki lived at Delhi.
Khwajah Qutb-ud-din Bakhtiyar KaJci was held in great esteem by Iltutmish and his influence on nthe cultural life of the capital was considerable. His close assoc iate was Qadi Hamidud-din Nagori, who was originally the qai_di of Nagor, and later became a dervish and, after a prolonged stay in Baghdad, joined Khwajah Qutb-ud-din Bakhtiyar ICaki at Delhi. Both of
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 72
them were fond of sama’ (music) and their influence was initially responsible for its introduction at Delhi in spite of the objections of the ulema. Qadi Hamid-ud-din Nagori is the author of several prose works including ’hhqiyyah, a highly rhapsodical and emotional work. His experience and knowledge of law enabled him to deal with the criticism of the ulema who, not only condemned sama’, but also criticised what they called lack of orthodoxy and discipline amongst the sufis. The earlier tadhkirahs record two major occasions when there were public disputes between the sufis and the ulema, but the popular esteem in which Khwajah Qutb-ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki was held, the legal arguments of Qadi Hamid-ud-din Nagori and Iltutmish’s own attitude favoured the sufis. The early unsettled conditions and the absence of a general spread of knowledge of Islamic Law must also have facilitated their task. The result was that the general atmosphere in Iltutmish’s days was not only liberal but somewhat lax. Khwajah Qutb-uddin Bakhtiyar Kaki died in 635/1237. His great successor was Baba Farid (d. 665/1266), who decided to abandon the capital with its conflicts and diversions, and settle down in the distant Ajodhan in the uninhabited wilds of the Punjab and for a long time Delhi remained without a major sufi saint.
Early Successors of lltutmish, Iltutmish died on 29 April
1236. His eldest son had died during his lifetime and in his last days Iltutmish was faced with a difficult problem. His other sons were incompetent and he had an able daughter, but the Turkish nobles were opposed to the accession of a woman to the throne. Iltutmish tried various experiments to deal with the situation. When he set out for Gwalior in 628/1231, he left Radiyah in-charge of the capital, and was so satisfied with her handling of the affairs during his long absence, that on his return he thought of issuing a proclamation appointing her as his heir. Her name was included along with that of the king in a series of coins, but, for one reason or another, Iltutmish did not take the final step of naming her as his successor. He entrusted the viceroyalty of Lahore to his eldest surviving son,