Raja Dahir

Raja Dahir Sen (Sindhi pronunciation: [rɑːɟɑː ɗɑːɦirə]; Sindhi: رَاجَا ڏَاهِرَ ,राजा ॾाहिर‎; Sanskrit: राजा दाहिर सेन, IAST: Rājā Dāhir; 663 - 712 CE) was the last Hindu ruler of Sindh, in present-day Pakistan, in the western region of the Indian subcontinent. In 711 CE, his kingdom was conquered by the Ummayad Caliphate led by Arab General. He was killed at the Battle of Aror which took place between his dynasty and the Arabs at the banks of the Indus River, near modern-day Nawabshah at the hands of the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim. His body was then decapitated and his head was sent to the governor of Basra, Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf. His headless body was then cremated by his own soldiers. His family name is now carried as Dahri clan which is known to be now living in Nawabshah District & Sanghar.

Raja Dahir
Maharaja of Sindh
3rd and last Maharaja of Sindh
Reign695 - 712 CE
PredecessorChandar
SuccessorKingdom abolished
(annexed by the Umayyad Caliphate)
RegentDahir Sen
Born663 CE
Alor, Sindh
(present-day Rohri, Sindh, Pakistan)
Died712 CE (aged 49)
Indus River, Sindh
(near present-day Nawabshah, Sindh, Pakistan)
SpousesLadi
IssueSurya Devi
Premala Devi
Jodha Devi
Full name
Raja Dahir Sen
HouseBrahman Dynasty
FatherChach
MotherRani Suhanadi
(former wife of Rai Sahasi)
ReligionHinduism

Reign in the Chach NamaEdit

The Chach Nama is the oldest chronicles of the Arab conquest of Sindh. It was translated in Persian by an Arab named Muhammad Ali bin Hamid bin Abu Bakr Kufi in 1216 CE[1] from an earlier Arabic text believed to have been written by the Thaqafi family (relatives of Mukhtar al-Thaqafi).

Raja Dahir's kingdom was also raided several times by the Buddhist kingdom of Kannauj.[2]

War with the UmayyadsEdit

"I am going to meet the Arabs in open battle, and fight them as best as I can. If I crush them, my kingdom will then be put on a firm footing. But if I am killed honourably, the event will be recorded in the books of Arabia and India and will be talked about by great men. It will be heard by other kings in the world, and it will be said that Raja Dahir of Sindh sacrificed his precious life for the sake of his country, in fighting with the enemy."[3]

The primary reason cited in the Chach Nama for the expedition by the governor of Basra, Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, against Raja Dahir, was a pirate raid off the coast of Debal resulting in gifts to the caliph from the king of Serendib (modern Sri Lanka) being stolen.[4] Meds (a tribe of Scythians living in Sindh) also known as Bawarij had pirated upon Sassanid shipping in the past, from the mouth of the Tigris to the Sri Lankan coast, and now they were able to prey on Arab shipping from their bases at Kutch, Debal and Kathiawar.

 
Sindh in 700 CE, under the Raja's dynasty. The Umayyad Caliphate can be seen advancing upon the western frontier of the Indian subcontinent.

Hajaj's next campaign was launched under the aegis of Muhammad bin Qasim. In 711 CE, bin Qasim attacked at Debal and, on orders of Al-Hajjaj, freed the earlier captives and prisoners from the previous (failed) campaign. Other than this instance, the policy was generally one of enlisting and co-opting support from defectors and defeated lords and forces. From Debal, bin Qasim moved on to Nerun for supplies; the city's Buddhist governor had acknowledged it as a tributary of the Caliphate after the first campaign and capitulated to the second. Qasim's armies then captured Siwistan and received allegiance from several tribal chiefs and secured the surrounding regions. His combined forces captured the fort at Sisam and secured the region west of the Indus River.

By enlisting the support of local tribes such as the Meds and also the support of the Buddhist rulers of Nerun, Bajhra, Kaka Kolak and Siwistan as infantry to his predominantly-mounted army, Muhammad bin Qasim defeated Dahir and captured his eastern territories which were added into the Umayyad Caliphate.[5]

Sometime before the final battle, Dahir's vizier approached him and suggested that Dahir should take refuge with one of the friendly kings of India. "You should say to them, 'I am a wall between you and the Arab army. If I fall, nothing will stop your destruction at their hands.'" If that wasn't acceptable to Dahir, said the vizier, then he should at least send away his family to some safe point in India. Dahir refused to do either. "I cannot send away my family to security while the families of my thakurs and nobles remain here."[5]

Dahir then tried to prevent Qasim from crossing the Indus River, moving his forces to its eastern banks. Eventually, however, Qasim crossed the river and defeated his forces at Jitor led by Jaisiah (Dahir's son). Qasim fought Dahir at Raor (near modern Nawabshah) in 671, eventually killing him. After Dahir was killed in the Battle of Aror on the banks of the River Indus, his head was cut off from his body and sent to Hajjaj bin Yousuf.

Four women from ChachnamaEdit

Four women from Chachnama, Dahir's wife, Queen Ladi, and Dahir's three daughters Surya, Premala, and Jodha carry equal weight in the cultural memory of Sindhi and the broader Indian past. The stories are recited to explicate the nationhood of Sindh to argue against imperial aggressors. These women are seen as proud, daring personifications of ancient Sindhi culture that resisted conquest.[5]

See alsoEdit

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ Common Era year is an approximation of the Islamic calendar date 613 AH.
  2. ^ Sajid Ali (September 23, 2015). "Who was Raja Dahir". Sindhi Dunya. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  3. ^ http://pakistanspace.tripod.com/khurram/dahar.htm
  4. ^ Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg: The Chachnamah, An Ancient History of Sind, Giving the Hindu period down to the Arab Conquest. Commissioners Press 1900, Section 18: "It is related that the king of Sarandeb* sent some curiosities and presents from the island of pearls, in a small fleet of boats by sea, for Hajjáj. He also sent some beautiful pearls and valuable jewels, as well as some Abyssinian male and female slaves, some pretty presents, and unparalleled rarities to the capital of the Khalífah. A number of Mussalman women also went with them with the object of visiting the Kaabah, and seeing the capital city of the Khalífahs. When they arrived in the province of Kázrún, the boat was overtaken by a storm, and drifting from the right way, floated to the coast of Debal. Here a band of robbers, of the tribe of Nagámrah, who were residents of Debal, seized all the eight boats, took possession of the rich silken clothes they contained, captured the men and women, and carried away all the valuable property and jewels." [1]
  5. ^ a b c Manan Ahmed Asif (19 September 2016). A Book of Conquest. Harvard University Press. pp. 8-. ISBN 978-0-674-66011-3.

SourcesEdit

  • Raja Dahir's Wife Rani Bai fled to the fort of Rawar with 15,000 troops from where she challenged Muhammad Bin Qasim for the battle. Muhammad bin Qasim chased her to Rawar and ordered his miners to dig and demolish the walls of the fort until the bastions were thrown down. Rani Bai, however, finding herself encircled, surrendered and burnt herself along with other ladies.
  • Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg: The Chachnamah, An Ancient History of Sind, Giving the Hindu period down to the Arab Conquest. Translated by from the Persian by, Commissioners Press 1900 [2]
  • R. C. Majumdar, H.C. Roychandra and Kalikinkar Ditta: An Advanced History of India, Part II,
  • Tareekh-Sind, By Mavlana Syed Abu Zafar Nadvi
  • Wink, Andre, Al-Hind the Making of the Indo Islamic World, Brill Academic Publishers, Jan 1, 1996, ISBN 90-04-09249-8