Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji
|Ikhtiyar ad-Din Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji|
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|History of Bengal|
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Ikhtiyar ad-Din Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji (also known as Malik Ghazi Ikhtiyar 'l-Din Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khilji or Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khilji Bengali: ইখতিয়ার উদ্দিন মুহম্মদ বিন বখতিয়ার খলজী) (died 1206) was a Turkic military general of Qutb-ud-din Aybak. The biggest credit in his record is the conquest of Bengal, which marks the beginning of Muslim rule in the region, which turned predominantly Muslim in the subsequent years.
Ikhtiyar ad-Din Khilji, a member of the Khilji tribe, a Turkic tribe long settled in what is now southern Afghanistan, was head of the military force that conquered much of eastern India at the end of the 12th Century and at the beginning of the 13th century.
Khilji came from the town of Garmsir in present-day southern Afghanistan. Tradition has it that Khilji's conquest of Bengal at the head of 18 horsemen was foretold. It is reported that he was of common birth, had long arms extending below his knees, a short physical stature, and an unfavorable countenance. He was first appointed as the Dewan-i-Ard at Ghor. Then he approached India in about the year 1193 and tried to enter in the army of Qutb-al-Din, but was refused rank. Then he went further eastward and took a job under Maklik Hizbar al-Din, then in command of a platoon at Badayun in northern India. After a short period he went to Oudh where Malik Husam al-Din, recognized him for his worth. Husam gave him a landed estate in the south-eastern corner of modern Mirzapur district. Khilji soon consolidated his position by recruiting some fiercely Muslim soldiers under his domain and carried out successful raids into neighboring regions.
Evidence in literature suggests that in 1193, the ancient college-city of Nalanda was sacked by Bakhtiyar Khilji. The Persian historian Minhaj-i-Siraj, in his chronicle the Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, reported that thousands of monks were burned alive and thousands beheaded as Khilji tried his best to uproot Buddhism. The burning of the library continued for several months and "smoke from the burning manuscripts hung for days like a dark pall over the low hills."
Khilji's career took a new turn when he subjugated Bihar in 1203. This effort earned him political clout in the court at Delhi. In the same year he took his forces into Bengal. As he came upon the city of Nabadwip, it is said that he advanced so rapidly that only 18 horsemen from his army could keep up. He conquered Nabadwip from the old emperor Lakshman Sen in 1203. Subsequently Khilji went on to capture the capital and the principal city, Gaur, and intruded into much of Bengal.
Death and aftermath
Ikhtiyar Khilji left the town of Devkot in 1206 to attack into Tibet, leaving Ali Mardan Khilji in Ghoraghat Upazila to watch the eastern frontier from his headquarters at Barisal. Khilji forces were ambushed in Assam and Ikhtiyar returned to Devkot with about one hundred surviving soldier. Upon Ikhtiyar Khilji's return to India, while he was lying ill at Devkot, he was assassinated by Ali Mardan.
Loyal troops under Muhammad Shiran Khilji avenged Ikhtiyar's death, imprisoning Ali Mardan. Ghiyas-ud-din Iwaz Khilji became the successor. Ali Mardan escaped and was made Governor of Bengal by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, but was killed in 1210. Ghiyas-ud-din again assumed power and proclaimed his independence.
Al Mahmud, a leading Bangladeshi poet, composed a book of poetry titled Bakhtiyarer Ghora (Horses of Bakhtiyar) in the early 1990s. He depicted Khilji as the praiseworthy figurehead of conquest of Bengal. During Bakhtiyar Khilji's reign, Islam achieved most number of converts in India. Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khilji had the Khutbah read and coins struck in his own name. Mosques, madrasas, and Khanqahs arose in the new abode of Islam through Bakhtiyar's patronage, and his example was imitated by his Amirs.
Buddhist sources hold him responsible for the destruction of Nalanda. However, according to Tibetan legend, the university and library were reportedly repaired shortly after by Muditabhadra, a Buddhist sage. The library was again burned by Tirthaka mendicants.
King Lakshman Sen
|Khilji Dynasty of Bengal
Muhammad Shiran Khilji
- List of rulers of Bengal
- Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi
- Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud
- Khilji dynasty
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- Bakhtiyar Khalji, Banglapedia
- Sena Dynasty, Banglapedia