Vincent Arthur Smith.

The Oxford student's history of India online

. (page 8 of 27)
Online LibraryVincent Arthur SmithThe Oxford student's history of India → online text (page 8 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Again leaving Ghazni in the autumn of 1019, he forced the
passage of the Jumna in spite of the opposition of Trilochanpal,
and advanced into the territory of Ganda Chandel, who had
assembled a huge army. Even Mahmud's stout heart quaked,
and ' he regretted having come thither '. But during the
night the courage of Ganda failed, and he shamefully stole
away with a few followers, leaving his camp and 580 elephants
a prey to the sultan, who, ' loaded with victory and success,
returned to Ghazni '. In 1021-2 Mahmud once more entered
the Chandel dominions, and invested the famous fortress of
Kalanjar, now in the Banda District, which was held by the
Raja. Again Ganda feared to fight, and was content to buy
peace. The sultan, laden as usual with ' immense riches and
jewels, victoriously and triumphantly returned to Ghazni '.

Expedition to Somnath. The most adventurous of Mah-
mud's expeditions was that against the shrine of Somnath at
Prabhasa in the south of the Surashtra peninsula. Starting
from Ghazni in the middle of December, A.D. 1023 (10th
Shaban, A. H. 414), and marching through difficult country by
way of Multan, Ajmer, and Anhilwara in Gujarat, he arrived
at his destination in the beginning of March, A.D. 1024 (middle
of ZI-1-ka'da). 2 Overcoming a fierce resistance, he stormed

1 These kings of Kanauj had no connexion with the Pala kings of Bengal,
as a certain text-book alleges them to have had.

4 According to other authorities Mahmud left Ghazni in 1024, and sacked
Somnath in the beginning of 1025. The exact chronology of the early
Muhammadan history of India is not easy to settle.


the Hindu fortress which stood on the sea-shore and was
washed by the waves. A dreadful slaughter followed, the
magnificent temple was laid low, and the sacred lingam, one
of the twelve most holy ones in India, was smashed, parts of
it being taken to Ghaznl, and cast down at the threshold
of the great mosque to be trodden underfoot. The gates
now lying in the Agra Fort, brought from Ghazni in 1842 as
being those of the temple of Somnath and made the subject
of a silly proclamation by Lord Ellenborough, are Musalman
work and never came from a Hindu temple. The sultan's
army suffered severely on its return march through the Sind
desert, but enjoyed compensation in the vast treasure plun-
dered from the shrine, which was estimated to exceed two
millions of dinars.

Death of Sultan Mahmud : his patronage of scholars. The
last of Mahmud's Indian expeditions took place in A.D. 1027,
when he attacked the Jats near Multan, and is said to have
fought them on the rivers with a fleet of boats constructed
for the purpose. During the rest of his life he was occupied
with troubles at home. He died in April, A.D. 1030 (A.H. 421).
Sultan Mahmud is famous for the magnificence of his court
and buildings and for his patronage of numerous Persian
poets, especially Unsari and Firdausi, although it is true
that the latter, the author of the epic poem called Shahnama,
did not consider himself well treated by the sultan, who
bears the reproach of avarice. Alberuni, a mathematician
and astronomer of profound learning, accompanied Mahmud
to India, and wrote in Arabic a valuable account of the
country and its institutions, which he completed in the year
of his patron's death.

Destruction of Ghaznl. The wars and dynastic troubles in
the kingdom of Ghaznl which followed on the death of Mah-
mud do not concern India and need not be related. It will
suffice to say that the cruelties practised by Bahrain, one
of his successors, on a chieftain of Ghor, an obscure princi-
pality in the mountains to the south-east of Herat, were


terribly avenged by that chieftain's brother, Ala-ud-dm
Husain, who, in A.D. 1150 (A.H. 544), sacked Ghazni for seven
days and nights and destroyed all its splendid buildings,
except the tombsof Sultan Mahmud and two of his descendants.
The Province of Lahore. This disaster did not immediately
deprive the dynasty of Ghazni of the Indian province of
Lahore, or the Pan jab, which had been annexed by Sultan
Mahmud. Khusru Malik, the last prince of the house of
Sabuktigm, a weak and pleasure-loving man, retained posses-
sion of Lahore until A.D. 1186 or 1187 (A.H. 582 or 583), when
he was expelled by Shihab-ud-dm, the Ghori, otherwise called
Sultan Muizz-ud-din, Muhammad, son of Sam. Khusru
Malik was shut up in a fortress and put to death fifteen or
sixteen years later. The student should remember that the
province of Lahore was the sole permanent possession in
India acquired by Mahmud, who made no attempt to hold
the regions in the interior which he overran in the course of
his raids.

Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni.


Accession ....... 997 or 998

Defeat of Jaipal 1001

Defeat of Anandpal .... 1005-6

Defeat of Brahmanpal (or Anandpal) . 1008-9
Capture of Kanauj . . . Jan. 1019

Rout of Ganda Chandel .... 1020

Somnath expedition .... 1024 or 1025

Last Indian expedition .... 1027

Death 1030 (AlberunI)


Hindu civilization on the eve of the Muhammadan rule in Hindustan.

Survival of the Hindu kingdoms. The forays of Sultan
Mahmud, destructive though they were of life and property,
did not shatter the Hindu kingdoms of the interior, which
survived the passing storms, and were left free to conduct
their affairs in their own fashion. The Panjab alone had


become a Muaammadan province. So far as appears, no
considerable body of foreigners settled in India, excepting
Sind and the Panjab, for about six centuries, from A.D. 600
to 1200, in round numbers. The serious efforts of the Musal-
mans to establish a permanent Indian dominion did not
begin until the closing years of the twelfth century.

Great Hindu powers of the twelfth century. At that time
the great Hindu powers of Northern India were no longer the
same as they had been in the tenth century (ante, p. 92), and
may be named as (1) the Gaharwars of Kanauj, (2) the Tomaras
of Delhi, (3) the Chauhans of Sambhar and Ajmer, (4) the
Palas and Senas of Bihar and Bengal, and (5) the Baghelas of
Gujarat. Of course, there were plenty of other kingdoms,
but those mentioned were the principal.

The Gaharwars of Kanauj. The Parihar dynasty of Kanauj
was rained by Mahmud, and soon faded into obscurity.
Towards the end of the eleventh century another Rajput clan,
of ' aboriginal ' origin, the Gaharwars, afterwards known as
Rathors, occupied Kanauj and founded a new dynasty,
which attained considerable power under Govindachandra and
his successors during the twelfth century. Raja Jaichand
(Jayachchandra), the last of them, famed in song and legend,
who fell in the struggle with the Musalmans, was the grandson
of Govindachandra.

The Tomaras of Delhi. Delhi, including under that name
a series of cities built under different names by many kings,
but excluding the legendary Indraprastha of the Mahabharata,
is one of the most modern of Indian capitals, and, according to
the best authority, was not founded till A.D. 993. Anangapala,
a Tomara chief in the middle of the eleventh century, was the
first prince to beautify the newly founded city with handsome
buildings. He erected a group of twenty-seven fine temples,
from the materials of which the Kutb mosque was built a
century and a half later, and set up beside them the famous
and ancient iron pillar, which was removed from its original
position, perhaps at Mathura. Anangapala and his successors


made Delhi the centre of a kingdom of moderate extent. The
common belief that the Tomaras also held Kanauj is an error.

The Chauhans of Sambhar and Ajmer. After about a
century of Tomara rule, Delhi was annexed by Visaladeva
(Bisal deo), the Chauhan Raja of Sambhar and Ajmer in Raj-
putana, who thus became a powerful prince. His nephew
was the famous Prithiraj, who distinguished himself by
carrying off the daughter of Raja Jaichand of Kanauj about
1175, by defeating Parmal, the Chandel Raja of Mahoba in
1182, and finally by his gallant leadership of the Hindu host
against the Muhammadans a few years later. Most historians
state that the mother of Prithiraj was a daughter of Anan-
gapala, Raja of Delhi, but she seems really to have been
a princess of the Chedi kingdom in the south.

The Palas of Bengal and Bihar. Harsha, when at the height
of his power, appears to have enjoyed full dominion over
Western and Central Bengal. After his death in 647, that
country, like the rest of his empire, fell into disorder. Very
little is known about its history for nearly a century. About
730 or 740, the people of Central Bengal established order by
electing as their king one Gopala, the first of the dynasty
known to history as the Palas. Towards the end of a long
reign he annexed South Bihar. The second king Dharmapala,
and the third, Devapala, whose reigns covered about a century,
raised Bengal to the rank of one of the great powers of India.
We have seen (ante, p. 92) how Dharmapala was able to pull
down one king of Kanauj and set up another in his place.
All the members of the dynasty were devoted adherents of
Buddhism in its later forms. Early in the eleventh century,
two kings, Mahipala I and Nayapala, were zealous enough
to send missionaries to Tibet in order to revive Buddhism
in that country. The last powerful king of the line was
Ramapala (about 1084-1130), who conquered Tirhut or
North Bihar. The Palas, after enduring the ups and downs
of fortune for about four centuries and a half, were finally
uprooted by the Muhammadan conquest in 1197.


The Senas of Eastern Bengal. In the first quarter of the
twelfth century the greater part of Bengal was formed into
a separate kingdom by Vijayasena, whose successors are
known as the Sena kings. The Senas greatly reduced the
power of the Palas, who, however, usually retained possession
of South Bihar and sometimes held North Bihar or Tirhut.
At the time of the Muhammadan conquest in A. D. 1197-1200,
the Pala capital appears to have been either Mungir (Monghyr)
or the town of Bihar, while the Sena capital was at Nudiah
(Nuddea, Navadwip), in Bengal. The Senas were orthodox
Hindus. Ballala Sena is famous in the traditions of Bengal
as the king who is believed to have introduced the system of
caste rules known as ' Kulinism ' among the Brahmans,
Baidyas, and Kayasths, After the Muhammadan conquest
Sena princes continued to rule Eastern Bengal from Bikram-
pur near Dacca.

The Baghelas of Gujarat. During the twelfth century the
kingdom of Gujarat attained to great power under the rule
of the Chaulukya or Solanki kings, Siddharaja and Kumara-
pala, and it is even alleged that the authority of the latter
extended as far east as the Ganges. Towards the end of the
same century the throne passed from the Chaulukyas to
a Baghela dynasty. Raja Viradhavala of that dynasty was
strong enough to repel an attack on his country led by
Muhammad of Ghor, defeating the Musalmans with great

General condition ; architecture ; literature. The states
above described were independent one of another, frequently
at war, and not subject to any controlling power. They rarely
could combine, and when a confederacy was formed in a
desperate emergency, it was loosely held together and easily
dissolved. Many of the Rajas' courts were splendidly
appointed, and in the principal cities handsome buildings
were numerous. The Palas were the only considerable princes
who continued to profess and support Buddhism ; in all
other provinces either Jainism or Hinduism prevailed, and






the doctrine of Buddha was little regarded. The Buddhist
buildings of the Pala dynasty in Bihar have nearly all been
destroyed, but many Hindu and Jain temples of the period


survive elsewhere. The beauty of the Jain temples of Mount
Abu, built in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, is unsur-
passed, and the Hindu temples erected by the Chandel kings
at Khajuraho, a little before and after A.D. 1000, are among
the best examples of Indian architecture. The venerated
temple of Jagannath at Puri in Orissa, built by order of


Anantavarman Cholaganga in the closing years of the eleventh
century, is inferior in merit as a work of art. In the ninth
century, during the reigns of Dharmapala and Devapala, two
Bengal artists, Dhiman and his son Bitpalo, or Vitapala,
attained high fame as painters, sculptors, and bronze-founders.

Literature was encouraged by many Rajas. For instance,
Rajasekhara, the dramatist, graced the court of two Parihar
kings of Kanauj ; Bhoja Pawar of Dhara, himself an author,
was always surrounded by a crowd of scholars ; and Visala-
deva, the Tomara ruler of Delhi, both produced and patronized
poetry. Kalhana, who wrote the Rajatarangiril, a Sanskrit
metrical chronicle of Kashmir, in 1149, was the son of a
minister at the Srinagar court. The Gita Govinda of Jayadeva 1
was composed shortly before the Muslim conquest of Bengal.

The foundations of vernacular literature were laid during
this period by the bards, among whom may be mentioned
Chand Bardai, the author of the Chand Raisa, an epic in
ancient dialects of Hindi, dealing with the exploits of Pri-
thiraj and other chieftains. The poem, in the shape generally
known, has been immensely expanded by later additions. The
manuscript of the work in its original form is said to be still
preserved in the Jodhpur state.


A.D. 1193 TO 1526.


Muhammadan histories numerous. Muhammadan literary men, unlike
the Brahmans, had a strong liking for the writing of histories, which, conse-
quently, exist in great numbers, in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. Every
Indo-Muhammadan dynasty, I think, has been treated in at least one formal
history. The modern writer, therefore, when undertaking to tell the story
of Muhammadan rule in India, turns fi rst to the history books. Inscriptions,
coins, and the evidence to be deduced from the remains of ancient buildings
or works of art, are of much less importance than they are for the Hindu
period, although they still afford evidence of much value about details, and
often settle doubtful dates.

Most of the histories dealing with India were written in Persian, and many
of them have been printed and translated into English or other European
languages. But many exist only in manuscript, and there is room for more
good translations.

Elliot and Dowson. The best view of the Muhammadan sources of
Indian history is to be obtained from The History of India as told by its own
Historians, by Sir H. M. Elliot and Professor John Dowson (8 vols., London,
1867-77). Sir E. C. Bayley's volume on the History of Gujarat (London,
1886) is a supplement to the work of Elliot and Dowson. The labours of
those gentlemen are invaluable. The editors were pioneers in the subject,
and naturally could not attain perfection, especially in the earlier volumes,
but the errors in detail are as nothing compared with the benefit conferred
on students by such a library of translations. Unfortunately, the book is
now scarce and expensive.

It would take up too much space to enumerate individual works. The
authorities for Akbar's reign are specially good, and are mostly accessible
in one or other European language. The substance of the Jesuit accounts
will be found in Mr. (Sir) E. D. Maclagan's admirable treatise, ' The Jesuit
Missions to the Emperor Akbar ' (J. As. Soc. Bengal, Part I, vol. Ixv (1896),
pp. 38-113).

Firishta. Elphinstone relied principally on Firishta or Ferishta, a careful
compiler who wrote in the seventeenth century. The best translation is
that by Briggs, which is most cheaply accessible in the reprint issued by
Cambray & Co. (Calcutta, 1908-10, 4 vols.) But the rendering by Briggs


is far from being perfect, and is spoiled by the insertion of passages which
are not in the original.

Royal memoirs. The memoirs written by various kings form an excep-
tionally interesting section of the Muhammadan histories. We have a short
tract by Firoz Shah Tughlak of the fourteenth century (Elliot and Dowson,
vol. iii), and Memoirs written or dictated by Timur, Babur, and Jahangir.
No use should be made of the edition of Jahangir's Memoirs translated by
Price in 1829, which is mostly fiction. The only genuine form of the
Memoirs is that translated by Rogers and Beveridge (R. As. Soc., 2 vols.,
1909, 1914), which is a work of high value. Jauhar's Private Memoirs of
Humayun (transl. Stewart, 1832), and the Life and Memoirs of Gulbadan
Begam, Akbar's aunt (transl. Beveridge, E. As. Soc., 1902), are nearly as
intimate as the works written by sovereigns in person.

State papers. In all European countries the mass of original state papers
relating to the centuries during which Musalman rule lasted in India is
enormous. Very few of such documents have escaped Indian revolutions
and white ants. Such as exist chiefly concern the reign of Aurangzeb.
A manuscript in London contains a collection of small slips of brown paper
forming what may be called the Court Circular of about thirty years of
Aurangzeb's reign. His correspondence has been preserved in large quan-
tity, but has never been properly edited. A good Persian scholar well read
in history might employ several years to advantage in bringing out a critical
edition and partial translation of Aurangzeb's correspondence. The task
would be a difficult one (see Sarkar, Hist, of Aurangzeb, vol. ii, 1912, p. 309).
We also possess some of the letters issued in Akbar's name, and preserved
by the Jesuits, besides a good many written by his secretary, Abul Fazl.
A few farmdns and other official documents of various reigns have escaped

Inscriptions. A list of the published Muhammadan inscriptions of
India, compiled by DP. Horovitz under the title Epigraphia Indo-Moslemica,
has been printed (Calcutta, 1912, Superintendent of Government Printing,

Coins. The Indo-Muhammadan coins have been fully discussed in the
official catalogues of the collections in the British Museum, Indian Museum,
Calcutta, and the Lahore Museum.

European travellers. Numerous European travellers throw an immense
amount of light on Indo-Muhammadan history. One of the best of them,
the Frenchman Bernier, wrote a formal and excellent narrative of the war
of succession by which Aurangzeb won the throne. His book, in English,
has been reprinted, with notes by Mr. A. Constable and the author of
this history, by the Oxford University Press (1914). A small cheap book
by Mr. E. F. Oaten, entitled European Travellers in India during the Fif-
teenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (London: Kegan Paul, Trench,
Triibner & Co., 1909), gives a serviceable list and summary of the principal
works, many of which are rare and costly. The writings of De Laet and


Manrique, published in the reign of Shahjahan, deserve modern editions.
De Laet's valuable little Latin book was partly translated by Lethbridge in
the Calcutta Review for 1873. Manrique, who wrote in Spanish, has never
been translated.

Modern histories. No good critical modern history of Musalman rule in
India exists. It is no disparagement of Elphinstone's justly admired work,
first published in 1841, to say that it is no longer adequate. Professor
Stanley Lane-Poole's Mediaeval India under Mohammedan Rule, 712-1764
(Unwin, 1903), is the best sketch, but does not pretend to be more. The His-
tory of Aurangzib, mainly based on Persian Sources, by Professor Jadunath
Sarkar (vols i, ii, Calcutta, 1912) at present only comes down to the begin-
ning of the War of Succession. The work promises to be of much importance.

The later Mughals. The late Mr. William Irvine, best known as the editor
of Manucci, had purposed to write in great detail from the original authorities
a history of the decline and fall of the Mughal empire from the death of
Aurangzeb in 1707 to the capture of Delhi by Lord Lake in 1803. But he
was never able to complete his design, and had to be content with the public-
ation of fragments in various periodicals. Pveferences to his more important
papers are as follow :

(1) J. A. 8. B., vol. Ixv, Part I, pp. 136-212 ; the reigns of Bahadur Shah
to Jahandar Shah, inclusive ;

(2) Ibid., voL Ixvii, Part I, pp. 141-66 ; the reign of Farrukslyar. Both
papers give full lists of authorities, and are the most satisfactory state-
ments on the rather dreary subject ;

(3) 'The Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir, 1618-1707,' in Ind. Ant., 1911,
pp. 69-85. This paper settles many doubtful points in the chronology of
the reign.

Mr. Irvine contributed to vol. ii of the ' Indian Empire ' in the new edition
of the Imperial Gazetteer, 1908, chapter x, a summary of the history of
Muhammadan India, which is generally, although not perfectly, accurate.
He also published in 1903 a treatise on the army of the Mughals, based on a
paper contributed in 1896 to the J. B. A. 8. for 1896, pp. 509-570. Mr. Irvine
aimed in all his publications at the compilation of an exact chronicle filled
with minute details.


Muhammad of Ghor (Ghori) : conquest of Hindustan, Bengal, and
Bihar : Kutb-ud-din Ibak ; the so-called ' Pathan dynasties ' ; the Mongol
(Mughal) invasions ; end of the Slave Kings.

Muhammad of Ghor (Muhammad Ghori, Shihab-ud-din).

Sultan Ala-ud-din Husain, the destroyer of Ghazm, died
about four years after the sack of that city (ante, p. 102), and
was succeeded in Ghor by his son, who was assassinated


a year later. The local nobles then raised to the throne the
murdered chief 's cousin, elder son of Baha-ud-din Sam, who
assumed the title of Sultan Ghiyas-ud-dm. His younger
brother, Muhammad, was known in early life as Shihab-ud-din
('the flame of religion'), but afterwards as Sultan Muizz-ud-
dm. His coins also describe him as Muhammad, son of Sam.
The historians of India are accustomed to designate him, with
various corruptions, either as Shihab-ud-dm or Muhammad
Ghori. We shall call him Muhammad of Ghor.

Occupation of Sind and the Panjab. Muhammad of Ghor,
having reduced Ghazm to obedience of his brother, turned his
attention to the rich plains of India. In A.D. 1175-6 he
attacked Multan, and shortly afterwards obtained possession
of Uchh in Sind through the treachery of the Rani. In 1178-9
Muhammad attempted to penetrate into Gujarat, but was
badly defeated by the Raja of Anhilwara. In 1186 or 1187,
as already mentioned (ante, p. 102), he deposed Khusru Malik,
the last prince of the house of Sabuktigin, and so made himself
master of the Panjab, as well as of Sind.

First and second battles of Taram. But the ambition of
Muhammad was not satisfied by the possession of these
frontier provinces. He desired to enjoy the plunder and
acquire the sovereignty of the richer kingdoms of the interior.
The Hindu Rajas combined against him, as they had done
against the Amir Sabuktigm and the Sultan Mahmud, and
met the invader on the plain of Tarain or Talawari, fourteen
miles from Thanesar. The Hindus, under the supreme
command of the brave Prithiraj Chauhan, Raja of Ajmer and
Delhi (ante, p. 104), routed the sultan, who was wounded in the
arm (A.D. 1191). Next year, A.D. 1192, the sultan returned,
fought the Hindu confederacy on the same ground, charged
the enemy with twelve thousand picked cavalry, utterly
defeated them, and captured the commander-in-chief,
Prithiraj, who was executed. Ajmer was sacked and the
inhabitants either killed or sold as slaves.

Reduction of Hindustan. The following year, A.D. 1193


(A.H. 589), Delhi, Kanauj, and Benares all fell before the resist-
less invader. Three years later Gwalior surrendered. In 1197
Anhilwara, which had baffled the Muslim arms nearly twenty
years before, was taken, and in A. D. 1203 the capitulation of
Kalanjar, the strong fortress of the Chandels, completed the
reduction of Upper India. The Gaharwar Rajputs of Kanauj
migrated to Marwar in Rajputana, where they became known
as Rathors and founded the Jodhpur State. Many similar
movements of Rajput clans occurred about the same time in
order to escape from the armies of Islam.

Death of the sultan. After these momentous events the
sultan, who had succeeded his brother early in A.D. 1203,
returned to Ghazm, but in the cold season of A.D. 1205 was

Online LibraryVincent Arthur SmithThe Oxford student's history of India → online text (page 8 of 27)