Indian campaigns of Muhammad of Ghor

The Indian campaigns of Muhammad of Ghor were a series of invasions by the Ghurid ruler Muhammad of Ghor (r. 1173–1206) in the last quarter of the twelfth and early decade of the thirteenth century which lead to the widespread expansion of the Ghurid empire in the Indian subcontinent.

Indian campaigns of Muhammad of Ghor
Part of Ghurid conquests

Total extend of Ghurid Dynasty
Present day Pakistan, North India and Bangladesh
Result Ghurid victory
•Fall of Ghaznavids, Chahamanas of Shakambhari, Jadaun Rajputs, Chahamanas of Naddula, Qarmatians, Gahadavala dynasty, Kachchhapaghata dynasty

•Weakened Chaulukya dynasty, Sena Dynasty, Soomra dynasty, Chandelas of Jejakabhukti, Guhila dynasty

• Establishment of the Delhi Sultanate
Expansion of Ghurid Empire as far as Bengal Delta
Ghurid Empire Ghaznavid Empire
Rajput confederation
Kachchhapaghata dynasty
Soomra dynasty
Guhila dynasty
Chaulukya dynasty
Paramara dynasty
Bhati Rajputs
Chahamanas of Shakambhari
Gahadavala dynasty
Chahamanas of Jalor
Chahamanas of Naddula
Soomra dynasty
Chahamanas of Shakambhari
Guhila dynasty
Kingdom of Mewar
Gahadavala dynasty
Jadaun Rajputs
Parihar Rajputs
Sena Dynasty
Dor Rajputs
Chandelas of Jejakabhukti
Paramaras of Chandravati
Commanders and leaders
Muhammad of Ghor
Qutb ud-Din Aibak
Nasir ad-Din Qabacha
Bahauddin Tughril
Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji
Husain ibn Kharmil
Khusrau Malik
Prithviraj Chauhan
Govindaraja IV
Mularaja II
Bhima II

Muhammad of Ghor incursions into India started as early as 1175 and thenceforth continued to lead his armies in the Indian subcontinent until his assassination near the Indus on March 15, 1206. During these invasions, Muhammad conquered the Indus Basin from the Ghaznavids and other Ismāʿīlīya rulers and penetrated into the Gangetic doab after defeating a Rajput Confederacy led by Prithviraj Chauhan near Tarain avenging his earlier rout at the same battlefield. While the Ghurid empire was short lived and fell apart in 1215, Mu'izz al-Din's watershed victory in the Second Battle of Tarain established a permanent Muslim presence and influence in the Indian subcontinent.

During his campaigns in India, Mu'izz al-Din extirpated several local dynasties which included the Qarmatians of Multan, Ghaznavids of Lahore, Chauhans of Ajmer, Tomaras of Delhi, Jadauns of Bayana and possibly the Gahadavalas of Kannauj as well.

Background Edit

During the later half of the twelfth century, the Šansabānī (Ghurids) a Persianate Tajik dynasty of the eastern Iranian origin[3] which was centred in present-day Afghanistan began their political expansion amidst the collapse of the Ghaznavids who were considerably weakened in their struggle with the Seljuk Empire.[4] In 1163, Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad succeeded as the Ghurid Sultan.[5][6] In a decade, Ghiyath defeated the Ghuzz Turks and annexed Ghazna and stationed his brother Muhammad of Ghor in Ghazna which was used by him as a base for further inroads into India.[7] Ghiyath al-Din with his centre in Firuzkuh confronted the Khwarazmian Empire for the Ghurid expansion in Central Asia while Muhammad, motivated by the exploits of Mahmud of Ghazni began raiding in the Indian Subcontinent from 1175.[8][9]

The Persian accounts only mentioned a few invasions by the Ghurids prior to their decisive victory of Tarain.[10][a] Contray to the Persian authorities, the local Hindu and Jain works claimed that the "Mleccha Ghori" (barbarian) was defeated several times before the First Battle of Tarain.[12][13] While these accounts vastly exaggerate the number of Ghurid invasions[b] in order to magnify the scale of native resistance, though the Ghurids generals after their occupation of Punjab in 1186, possibly began to raid into the territories of north but were fended off by the Rajput chiefs.[15]

Conquest of Multan and Uch Edit

In 1175, Muhammad crossed the river Indus through the Gomal Pass instead of the Khyber Pass, as the former was a shorter route to make inroads into the coastal plain of Gujarat and for subsequent advance into the Peninsular India.[16][17] His first expedition was against the Qarmatians (Shia sect) in Multan. The Qarmatians were crushed by Mahmud of Ghazni in the early eleventh century, although they soon regained their yoke in Multan and even as far as the upper plain of Sindh and possibly Uch as well soon after his death in 1030.[18][9][19] They were defeated and Mu'izz al-Din captured Multan after a stiff resistance by the Qaramatians in 1175.[20][21]

Uch Edit

After capturing Multan, Muhammad marched to Uch (situated between Chenab and Jhelum river) which was annexed in 1176.[22]

The exact event of the Ghurid conquest of Uch is contradictory among the contemporary and the later sources. The contemporary author Ibn al-Athir claimed that Uch was under the rule of the Bhati Rajputs.[23] According to his account, when Muhammad besieged the fort, he made a proposal to the influential Rajput queen of Uch and promised to marry her, If she aids him in his conquest and put her husband to death. Ibn al-Athir further stated that she poisoned her husband and offered to marry her beautiful daughter to the Sultan instead on the condition that after the conquest of the fort, the Sultan will not plunder their royal treasure after the conquest of Uch. Muhammad agreed and married her daughter and converted her to Islam.[9] This story is also repeated by the later chroniclers including Ferishta. However, the authenticity of this account is uncertain as the annals of the Bhattis themselves do not mentioned their rule in Uch.[23] The territory of Uch, thus, was possibly ruled by another sect of the Ismāʿīlīyah monarchs before Mu'izz al-Din's conquest of the region.[24]

The forts of Multan and Uch were placed under Ali Kiramaj and Mu'izz returned to Ghazna.[9] Within a short span, Mu'izz al-Din swiftly moved across the Indus and annexed most of the Sindh and its adjoining areas to facilitate his northward expansion.[25]

Early invasion of Rajasthan Edit

Location of the battle site in the present-day state of Rajasthan

After the conquest of Mulan and Uch, Muhammad from the lower Sindh marched into the present-day state of Rajasthan and Gujarat in Anhilwara. The city of Anhilwara was sacked by the Ġhaznāvid ruler Mahmud of Ghaznavid in 1026, who also desecrated the Somnath temple.[26] However, the Solankis regained their influence under Kumarapala. On the eve of Ghurid invasion, Anhilwara was ruled by Mularaja II[c] who marshalled a formidable army of the Rajput veterans which included the Chahamana ruler of Nadol Kelhanadeva, Chahamana ruler of Jalore Kirtipala who was founder of the Jalore line of the Chahamanas and the Parmar ruler Dharavarsha of Abu. The Ghurids were famished in their long march from the arid desert of Rajasthan. In the ensuring battle, the Ghurid troops were thoroughly routed by the Rajput host and Muhammad of Ghur barely managed to escape alive.[28][29]

The debacle of Kayadhara, made Muhammad change his route, who thence turned towards the Ghaznavids of Lahore.[30]

Campaign against Ghaznavids Edit

In 1180 or thereabouts, Muhammad marched towards Peshawar and annexed it where the Soomra ruler acknowledged his authority. Afterwards, he turned his attention towards Lahore which was under the possession of Ghaznavid ruler Khusrau Malik who was not capable enough to offer a military resistance considered treaty. He accepted the Ghurid supremacy and further sent his son Malik Shah along with some elephants as hostage for the future conducts.[31]

However, the treaty was for a short while as Muhammad again marched upon Lahore in 1184/1185. On the Ghurid advance, Khusrau Malik shut himself inside the city walls. Muhammad though, captured Sialkot in 1185.[6] He returned to Ghazni after erecting a fortress in Sialkot.[31] The advancement of Ghurids in Sialkot, lead to a response from Khusrau Malik who besieged the fort in 1185. However, the Ghurid governor of Sialkot managed to defy the Ghaznavid advance. Khusrau Malik, thus, returned to Lahore after a futile effort.[32]

On the report of Ghaznavid advance in Silakot, Muhammad advanced from Ghazna with 20,000 cavalry to eradicate the Ghaznavids. As the Ghurids laid siege to Lahore, Khusrau Malik was hard pressed and soon the garrison capitulated. Khusrau Malik was brought out of his castle in accordance with negotiations but was treacherously imprisoned by Mu'izz al-Din and later executed along with all of his family in 1191[33] or possibly by 1186 itself.[34] Thus, Mu'izz al-Din overthrew the Ghaznavids by 1186.[20]

After the campaigns against the Ghaznavids, Muhammad captured the upper Indus plain and most of Punjab to march into the Northern India.[35][36]

Invasion of the Doab Edit

Muhammad marched from Ghazni and captured Bhatinda in 1190[37] which was under the control of the Chahamana (Chauhan) Rajput clan who emerged as the leading power of northern India in the later twelfth century.[38] The Chahamana ruler of Ajmer, Prithviraj Chauhan (c. 1166-1192), aided by his Rajput allies gathered a vast army of 100,000 lancers and advanced to dislodge the Ghurid garrison in Bhatinda.[39][40] In a decisive battle fought north of Delhi in Tarain, the outnumbered Ghurid forces were completely routed by the forces of Prithviraj.[41] Muhammad was himself wounded in personal combat with Govind Rai of Delhi. However, he was carried away from the battlefield by a Khalji stripling.[42] The Rajputs, however did not chase the Ghurids in their retreat and followed up their victory by laying siege to the fort of Tabarhind (under possession of Mu'izz's general Qazi Ziauddin Tulaki) which was captured after a long siege of thirteen months.[43]

The last stand of Rajputs portraying the Second Battle of Tarain

After the disaster of Tarain, Muhammad began his preparations to advance once more in the Chahamana kingdom and took an oath that he will not "visit his wife" and "change his clothes" till he avenge his defeat.[44] He raised a vast army of Tajik, Turkic and Afghan troopers and advanced again in 1192 with an army consisting of 120,000 to 130,000 horsemen.[35] The battle was fought at the same place, in which the Ghurids secured a decisive victory after the final assault by their contingent of 10,000 mounted archers under Husain Kharmil which decided the issue.[45][46]

Govindaraja of Delhi[47] along with the Guhila Samant Singh of Mewar were among the slains.[48] Prithviraj was captured and summarily executed. The Ghurids penetrated into the core kingdom of the Chahamanas and annexed whole of their Sapādalakṣa territory including Ajmer.[49] However, the Ghurids, as corroborated by the numismatic evidences, reinstated Prithviraja's minor son Govindaraja IV as their de facto ruler on the condition of tributary.[50][51] The Ghurids followed their victory by sacking Ajmer in the course of which they massacred several civilians, took many as slaves and destroyed several Hindu temples of Ajmer.[52]

The decisive battle of Tarain is regarded as a landmark event in the Medieval India, which led to the destruction of Rajput powers for a while and laid the foundation of the Muslim rule in the Indian Subcontinent.[53]

Further campaigns Edit

Mu'izz al-Din after his triumpth in Tarain, limited his presence in India to centralize himself in the Ghurid expansion in Transoxiana.[36]

In 1194, Muhammad returned to India and crossed the Jamuna with an army of 50,000 troopers to confront the Gahadavala king Jayachandra who held his sway over extensive territories in the present-day Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In a decisive battle fought near the modern day Chandawar, the Gahadavalas managed to kept the Ghurid forces at bay until a chance arrow killed Jayachandra and his armies were routed.[54][55][56] The Ghurids pillaged the holy city of Kāshí after capturing Kannauj and destroyed many Hindu temples there.[57][58]

Afterwards, Muhammad marched towards India again in 1196 and captured the territory of Bayana from the Jadaun Rajputs after a brief siege to guard the southern flank of Delhi.[59] The newly conquered territory was placed under his senior slave Bahauddin Turghil who further laid siege to the Gwalior fort and annexed it after subjugating the Parihar ruler.[59][60][61]

Muhammad's slave commanders continued the expansion of the Ghurid empire and raided the Rajput strongholds in the Doab, Rajasthan, Malwa and uptil Kalinjar in the Ganga Valley. In the decade of the 1200s, another lieutenant of Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji expanded the Ghurid influence in west of the Ganges Basin in states of Bihar and Bengal. He defeated the Sena king of Bengal Lakshmana Sena and expanded as far as Lakhnauti in Bengal.[62]

Final Campaign Edit

In March 1203, his brother died in Herat due to illness and Muhammad succeeded him as the sole ruler of the Ghurid dynasty. In 1204, he suffered a sharp reverse near the river Oxus against the combined forces of Qara Khitai (Western Lio) and the Kara-Khanid Khanate contingent led by Tayangu (as aid of Alauddin Shah) which lead to the loss of most of the Khurasan (except Herath and Balkh) and initiated a number of rebellions in his empire.[63]

Depiction of Mu'izz al-Din's assassination

The Hindu Khokhars rebelled by cutting Muhammad's supply line between Lahore and Ghazna. According to the 16th-17th century chronicler Firishta, the Khokhars were a "disgraced race" who considered "slaying of Muslims as the path to paradise".[64] Muhammad dispatched a force under his slave Illtutmish to suppress the revolt, although he later himself marched for his last campaign into India in late 1205. In the ensuring battle, the Khokhars were routed after Qutb ud-Din Aibak or Illtutmish arrived with a contingent from Lahore.[17] After the battle, Mu'izz al-Din ordered a general massacre of the Khokhars and further enslaved many of them.[36]

On his way back to Ghazna, Muhammad of Ghor was assassinated near the Indus in Dhamyak by the Ismāʿīlīyah Muslims on 15 March 1206.[65][d] After his death, his empire collapsed[66] as his successors were forced to acknowledge the suzerenity of Alauddin Shah of Khwarazm who overthrew them by 1215.[67] However, his slave generals after a brief struggle sustained his conquests in north India and established the Delhi Sultanate in 1206.[68]

Footnotes Edit

  1. ^ Hasan Nizami who wrote Taj ul-Masir also omitted the First Battle of Tarain and Battle of Kasahrada[11]
  2. ^ All of the Hindu and Jain works collaboratively mentioned that Mu'izz al-Din was defeated at least seven times prior to his victory in Tarain and some of them even exaggerate the number to twenty one.[14]
  3. ^ Tabaqat-i Nasiri claimed that the Solanki ruler at the time was Bhima II.[27]
  4. ^ Some later accounts stated that his assassins were Khokhars, see his assassination part on the main article

Citations Edit

  1. ^ Schwartzberg, Joseph E. (1978). A Historical atlas of South Asia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 37, 147. ISBN 0226742210.
  2. ^ Richard Eaton 2019, p. 38.
  3. ^ Richard Eaton 2000, p. 100.
  4. ^ Richard Eaton 2000, p. 99.
  5. ^ K. A. Nizami 1970, p. 155.
  6. ^ a b Paramatma Saran 2001, p. 117.
  7. ^ Andre Wink 1991, p. 140-141.
  8. ^ C. E. Bosworth 1968, p. 165.
  9. ^ a b c d Mohammad Habib 1981, p. 110.
  10. ^ Dasharatha Sharma 1975, p. 58.
  11. ^ Rima Hooja 2006, p. 269.
  12. ^ Dasharatha Sharma 1975, p. 59.
  13. ^ Andre Wink 1991, p. 254.
  14. ^ Dasharatha Sharma 1975, p. 81.
  15. ^ David C. Thomas (2018). The Ebb and Flow of the Ghūrid Empire. Sydney University Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-74332-542-1. The frequency of Mu'izz al-Din dozen or more campaigns also indicates in part their lack of success in subduing the northern Indian Rajputs, until victory in the second battle of Tara'in in 588 AH/1192 CE opened the way to the conquest of northern India.
  16. ^ Romila Thapar 2004, p. 433.
  17. ^ a b Paramatma Saran 2001, p. 118.
  18. ^ K. A. Nizami 1970, p. 157.
  19. ^ Iqtidar Alam Khan 2008, p. 116.
  20. ^ a b Hermann Kulke & Dietmar Rothermund 2004, p. 167.
  21. ^ Iqtidar Alam Khan 2008, p. 117.
  22. ^ K. A. Nizami 1970, p. 158.
  23. ^ a b Andre Wink 1991, p. 244.
  24. ^ Andre Wink 1991, p. 244: "We know that Muhammad Ghuri captured both Uch and Multan in 1175, but the history of the former city is less clear. Some Muslim authors, beginning with Ibn al-Athir, state that Uch was held by the Bhatti Rajputs, but the Bhatti annals do not record their ever having held Uch"
  25. ^ Rima Hooja 2006, p. 211.
  26. ^ Iqtidar Alam Khan 2008, p. 108.
  27. ^ K. A. Nizami 1970, p. 178.
  28. ^ Mohammad Habib 1981, p. 111:"Rai Bhim Deo of Gujarat collected his Rajput veterans and after a stiff battle, in which most of the invaders were slain drove Shihabuddun away from his kingdom"
  29. ^ Rima Hooja 2006, p. 261:"Muhammad of Ghor advanced against Gujarat in AD 1178, which was then ruled by the Chalukyan ruler Bhima II (?Mularaj II?). The bravery and spirited fight put up by him and his allies (among them Kelhan of Nadol, his younger brother, Kirtipal Chauhan, founder of the Jalore line, and the Parmar ruler of Abu, King Dharavarsha, forced the enemy back from the vicinity of Abu, in Rajasthan. According to the Sundha Inscription, this decisive battle took place at Kasahrada, near Abu."
  30. ^ Satish Chandra 2007, p. 68.
  31. ^ a b Mohammad Habib 1981, p. 111.
  32. ^ Mohammad Habib 1981, p. 111-112.
  33. ^ K. A. Nizami 1970, p. 159.
  34. ^ Iqtidar Alam Khan 2008, p. 67.
  35. ^ a b Andre Wink 1991, p. 144.
  36. ^ a b c Satish Chandra 2007, p. 67.
  37. ^ David Ludden (2013). India and South Asia: A Short History. Oneworld Publications. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-78074-108-6. In 1190, he occupied Bhatinda, in Punjab, which triggered battles with the Rajput Prithviraja Chauhan, whom he finally defeated in 1192
  38. ^ Shail Mayaram (2003). Against history, against state : counterperspectives from the margins. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 22. ISBN 0-231-12730-8. OCLC 52203150. The Chauhans (Cahamanas) Rajputs had emerged in the later tenth century and established themselves as a paramount poweroverthrowing the Tomar Rajputs. In 1151 the Tomar Rajput rulers (and original builders) of Delhi were overthrown by Visal Dev, the Chauhan ruler of Ajmer
  39. ^ Kaushik Roy 2004, p. 39:"In 1191, Ghori fought the Rajput confederacy of one lakh Rajput calvalrymen led by Prithviraj at place called Tarain"
  40. ^ Iqtidar Alam Khan 2008, p. 111: "Leading an alliance of Rajput Rajas, Prithviraja defeated Mu izz-al Din Muhammad Ghauri in first battle of Tarain (1191). The next year in another contest with Muhammad Ghauri at the same battlefield, Prithviraj was defeated, taken prisoner and killed."
  41. ^ Satish Chandra 2007, p. 69.
  42. ^ K. A. Nizami 1970, p. 161.
  43. ^ Kaushik Roy 2014, p. 41–42: "Cavalry was not suited for laying siege to forts and Rajputs lacked both the siege machines and infantry to storm and destroy fortress walls. Tulaki was able to keep Prithviraj at bay for thirteen months. Within this time, Mahmud Ghori had raised 120,000 cavalry."
  44. ^ K. A. Nizami 1970, p. 162.
  45. ^ Hermann Kulke & Dietmar Rothermund 2004, p. 167: "The first battle of Tarain was won by the Rajput confederacy led by Prithviraj Chauhan of Ajmer. But when Muhammad of Ghur returned the following year with 10,000 archers on horseback he vanquished Prithviraj and his army"
  46. ^ Marc Jason Gilbert (2017). South Asia in World History. Oxford University Press. pp. 68quote=In 1192, one of Mahmud's lieutenants and eventual successors, Muhammad of Ghur, defeated the chief opponent of the Muslim raiders, the Hindu Rajput Raja Prithvi Raj Chauhan, outside of his capital at Lolkat. ISBN 978-0-19-066137-3.
  47. ^ K. A. Nizami 1970, p. 171.
  48. ^ Rima Hooja 2006, p. 350.
  49. ^ Satish Chandra 2007, p. 72.
  50. ^ Dasharatha Sharma 1975, p. 87.
  51. ^ Satish Chandra 2007, p. 70.
  52. ^ Richard Eaton 2000, p. 108: "From Ajmer in Rajasthan, the former capital of the defeated Cahamana Rajputs – also, significantly, the wellspring of Chishti piety the post-1192 pattern of temple desecration moved swiftly down the Gangetic Plain as Turkish military forces sought to extirpate local ruling houses in the late twelfth and early thirteenth century"
  53. ^ Rima Hooja 2006, p. 458.
  54. ^ Kaushik Roy (22 May 2014). Military Transition in Early Modern Asia, 1400-1750: Cavalry, Guns, Government and Ships. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-78093-800-4.
  55. ^ Satish Chandra 2007, p. 71.
  56. ^ Mohammad Habib 1981, p. 116.
  57. ^ Andre Wink 1991, p. 248.
  58. ^ Richard Eaton 2000, p. 128.
  59. ^ a b Andre Wink 1991, p. 146.
  60. ^ Mohammad Habib 1981, p. 117.
  61. ^ K. A. Nizami 1970, p. 171 "In 592/1195-96 Muizzuddin again carme to India. He attacked Bayana, which was under Kumarapala, a Jadon Bhatti Rajput. The ruler avoided a confrontation at Bayana, his capital, but went to Thankar and entrenched himself there. He vas, howvever, compelled to surrender. Thankar and Vijayamandirgarh were occupied and put under Bahauddin Tughril. Mu'izzuddin - next marched towards Gwalior. Sallakhanapala of the Parihara dynasty, however, acknowledged the suzerainty of Muizzuddin"
  62. ^ Romila Thapar 2004, p. 434: "This campaign saw Muhammad in control of Lahore and led to visions of further conquests in India. An attack was launched on the Rajput kingdoms controlling the watershed and the western Ganges Plain, now beginning to be viewed as the frontier. The Rajputs gathered together as best they could, not forgetting internal rivalries and jealousies. Prithviraja defeated Muhammad Ghuri at the first battle at Tarain, north of Delhi, in 1191.Muhammad sent for reinforcements and, in 1192, a second battle was fought at the same place. Prithviraja was defeated and the kingdom of Delhi fell to Muhammad, who pressed on and concentrated on capturing the capitals of Rajput kingdoms with the assistance of his General, Qutub ud-din Aibak. Another General, Muhammad Bhaktiyar Khilji, moved to the east where he defeated the Sena King of Bengal. Although Muhammad was assassinated in 1206, this did not lead to the withdrawal of Turkish interests in India. Muhammad had been determined to retain his Indian possessions and his successors had equally ambitious visions of ruling in northern India"
  63. ^ Satish Chandra 2004, p. 29.
  64. ^ Mohammad Habib 1981, p. 134.
  65. ^ C. E. Bosworth 1968, p. 167.
  66. ^ Hermann Kulke & Dietmar Rothermund 2004, p. 168.
  67. ^ Satish Chandra 2007, p. 77.
  68. ^ Andre Wink 1991, p. 152.

Bibliography Edit