Pre-Ghaznavid history of Punjab

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Ninth and tenth centuries were the happiest period of Indian history.[1] This article focuses on the history of this period, particularly in respect of the pre-Ghaznavid Punjab.

The ‘early medieval’ period in India (or seventh to eleventh centuries) is an age which has fallen out of favour with the historians, leaving aside a few exceptions. In Indian Universities ‘Ancient history’ deals with the period from the Mauryas, or perhaps earlier, up to the Guptas … with the Harsha's Buddhist Empire of the early seventh century usually pulling the final curtain. Then the lights go out, as it were, and we have to sit through the ‘dark period’ of early medieval India.

—André Wink, Al Hind[2]

Harsha did not leave any able successor and there was chaos after him. A great conqueror like Yashovarman is found ruling in Kannauj for some time. He joined hands with Lalitaditya of Kashmir against inroads by the Arabs and the Tibetans. But the allies fell out soon and Lalitaditya destroyed the power of Yashovarman. It was in the beginning of the ninth century that Kannauj became the capital of the Pratihara Empire and regained its renown. Meanwhile great religious, social and political developments had taken place in the country.

Religio-cultural resurgence[edit]

Buddhism had been almost entirely supplanted. The great philosophers Kumarila and Shankara had re-established the Aryan (varnasharam) religion on firm though new basis, both ritually and spiritually. Islam had not yet appeared on the scene and there was no inter-religious strife. Intra-religious feuds of HinduismShaivism versus Vaishnavism and Advaita versus Dvaita – had not yet come into existence. There was great unity of belief in the people and Shiva was the most predominant deity. The four varnas had not yet imploded into numerous hard-bound castes – an objectionable feature of modern Hinduism.[3] A high moral tone prevailing among the people struck the foreigners who visited India during this period.[4] It was a great factor in contributing to happiness in the society. The deterioration began from the eleventh century.

Political upheaval[edit]

Political upheaval followed the religio-social resurgence. The conquest of Sindh by the Arabs, under a new virile religion, sent a shock wave through India and roused forces of opposition to foreign faith and domination among the orthodox population. The Guhilots of Mewar under Bappa Rawal (c. 750 CE), the Chahamanas of Sambhar under Samanta and the Pratiharas of Mandor under Nagabhata I obtained renown by opposing the Arabs surging forward from Sindh towards Rajputana for conquest as well as conversion.[5] The world conquering Arabs were contained within Sindh where they managed to survive. Chandellas of Bundelkhand and Kalluchuries of Chedi were the other Kshatriya families that gained prominence.

Our focus is on the ninth and tenth centuries. The Rashtrakutas had established themselves in the Deccan Plateau. The Palas were ruling in Bengal. Kannauj became the national capital of the Pratiharas (c. 815 CE), setting in motion a tripartite struggle between these three large kingdoms for all India supremacy and the prized imperial capital of Kannauj. But what was happening in the north-west India – that is Punjab?

History of pre-Ghaznavid Punjab[edit]

Of the history of the kingdom of Punjab… little is known.

The Cambridge History of India[6]

It is very difficult to determine the Punjab kingdoms of the period (800–1000 CE).

—'History of Mediaeval Hindu India[7]

There is some inscriptional evidence that Dharmapala King of Bengal (770–810 CE) established sovereignty over Uttarapatha (Northern India) and held a magnificent Durbar in Kannauj in which, among others, the rulers of Gandhara, Kira (Kangra), Madara (Central Punjab), Yadu (Singhpura?), Kura (Thanesar), Avanti (Malwa) and Matsya (Jaipur) were present, “bowing down respectfully with their diadems trembling”.[8] No further details are available about the identity of these rulers, or their mutual struggle for supremacy after Dharmapala’s influence waned and his protégé Chakrayudha lost the throne of Kannauj.

Khomana Rasa, the most ancient of the poetic chronicles of Mewar, describes a formidable invasion of Chittor by Arab Muslims during the reign of Khoman I (812–836 CE). This Guhilot King successfully defended the “crimson standard” of Mewar, treated with contempt the demand of tribute and drove back the “barbarian”. According to Khoman Rasa the capital of Lahore was then held by the tribe of “boosa” who came to the succour of Chittor, along with many other rulers, to throw back this invasion from Khurasan.[9]

Fresh historical evidence[edit]

According to another significant source, it was during this period of resurgence that a militant Brahmana chief named Raja Bachan Pala established his dynasty in the Punjab in the early ninth century. It can only be presumed that, like other stalwarts of that period, his rise to power may also be related to his role in the grand confederacy against the Arabs. After a long rule, Bachan Pala died in 866 CE when he was succeeded by his son Raja Ram Singh who ruled up to 891 CE. He was followed by his son Raja Bir Singh. Prithvipala, the only son and heir designate (yuvaraja) ascended the throne after his father’s death in 936 CE.[10] Gradually the dynasty had gained control of the area roughly between the rivers Satluj and Sindh.

There is reliable information about another political revolution during the early ninth century, across river Sindh, in Kabul. Southern Afghanistan south of Koh Hindu Kush, was then, culturally and politically, part of Hindu India. The Brahmana Vazir, named Kallar, put the incompetent Kshatriya Buddhist ruler of Kabul in prison and established himself on the throne. This event may have taken place around 840 CE but the date cannot be confirmed. After Kallar ruled “the Brahmanas Samand (Samanta), whose successor was Kamalva (Kamalavarman), whose successor was Bhima[11] …” They ruled with power and glory for more than one century and “other kings found safety under them.”

Amalgamation of kingdoms of Punjab and Kabul[edit]

Bhima, the last king of this dynasty, died without a male heir and his kingdom came under the jurisdiction of Prithvipala, the then ruler of Punjab. Prithvipala died in the following year and his son Jayapala succeeded to the combined kingdoms of Punjab and Kabul.[12] This brought the Punjab dynasty into prominence. Jayapala’s successors – Anandapala, Trilochanapala, and Bhimapala (Nidar Bhima or fearless Bhima) – are well known in history from the accounts left by Al-Beruni, Al-Utbi, Kalhana Pandit and other chroniclers. They stoutly defended the Punjab – but we should first introduce their adversaries – the Ghaznavids – before stating their history. This takes us back to Afghanistan.

Arab failure in southern Afghanistan[edit]

Within hundred years of the advent of Islam, the Arabs had conquered vast areas in three continents from Sindh to Spain and Khorasan to Morocco. However, in spite of repeated campaigns they could not occupy the Kandahar-Ghazni-Kabul land route leading to the Khyber Pass – the strategic gateway to India. Two Hindu states of Zabul and Kabul (Southern Afghanistan) stubbornly defended their territory. The Arabs ceased to be a strong political power by 800 CE and their governors and the newly converted tribes started establishing their independent kingdoms in the far flung regions of the caliphate.

It is of considerable interest here that in the beginning of the ninth century a strong Muslim dynasty of Persian origin – the Samanids – came up at Bukhara (c. 819–1005`CE) and occupied the whole of the eastern caliphate.[13] Unconnected with the political churning in India during this period, they were capitalising on the waning political power of the caliphs of Baghdad. Under the Samanids, Central Asia prospered with notable expansion of industry and commerce.

As in the case of India, the ninth and tenth centuries were a period of great prosperity for Central Asia also. And there was a common link. Caravans engaged in international trade started from Kannauj, with valuable goods from India, travelled peacefully through the intermediate kingdoms of Punjab and Kabul and reached Bukhara, for onward journey to join the famed "silk route" linking China and Europe. There were also auxiliary east-west trade routes, in conjunction with this north-south route. From Bhera, situated in the Salt Range in Punjab, some traders moved westward to Multan for joining the caravans going to the Middle East via Sindh and Makran. Likewise some trade moved westward from Kabul through Ghazni.

It needs highlighting that the intermediate Brahmana kingdoms of Punjab and Kabul, which were probably affiliated as a sort of confederacy, maintained a perfect “balance of power” against their belligerent neighbours, namely the Pratiharas of Kannauj to their east and the Samanids of Bukhara to their west – apart from Kashmir and Multan. Since no battles were reported during the long (pre-Ghaznavid) period, the Brahmana rulers of these middle kingdoms received very little notice in contemporary chronicles – making it a “dark period” for modern historians. It has gone un-noticed that India not only benefited economically from smooth conduct of international trade but politically also.

Turkish Sultanate at Ghazni[edit]

“Royal families gradually tend to deteriorate in kingly values and become old and rotten.” In course of time the Samanids interested themselves in “high culture” and left the affairs of their state, including the governorships of the provinces, to Turk nobles. Scramble for power ensued and ambitious persons started carving fiefdoms for themselves. A strong Sultanate came up at Ghazni, then a province of the Samanid kingdom. Sabuktagin, a former slave (door keeper) occupied its throne in 977 CE. Within twelve years of his reign he had extended his frontiers to the Oxus on the north and the present boundary between Persia (Iran) and Afghanistan.[14] He then started nibbling at the Brahmana Shahi state of Kabul, then ruled by Jayapala.

Jayapala[edit]

It has already been stated that after Bhimadeva Shahi, Jayapala – a scion of the reigning dynasty of Punjab – became the ruler of the combined kingdoms of Punjab and Kabul c. 960 CE. On his coronation Jayapala adopted the additional deva name-ending of his predecessor dynasty and was known as Jayapaladeva Shahi. Barikot Inscription refers to him as “Paramabhattarka maharajadhiraja parmeshwvara” (supreme sovereign, the superior king of great kings and supreme lord).[15] He reorganised his administration, leaving the ancestral territory of Punjab under his son Anandapala and directly governing Afghanistan region from their national capital of Udabhandapura – situated fourteen miles above Attock on the right side of river Sindh. He reigned peacefully for some time.

Observing the Turkish menace he decided to nip the evil in bud. With this aim he twice attacked Ghazni but failed in his purpose. The whole of his domain north of the Khyber Pass was gradually lost to him – including the town of Kabul. He continued to rule from Udabhandapura. Sabuktagin also got deeply involved in the affairs of his overlord, the Samanid King of Bukhara.

Mahmud ascends the throne of Ghazni[edit]

Sabuktagin died in 997 CE. After a brief war of succession his son Mahmud ascended the throne of Ghazni in the following year. Like his father, Mahmud first consolidated his position in the west. The tottering Samanid Kingdom was given a shove and their dominion divided by Mahmud and Ilak Khan of Kashghar, with Oxus as the boundary. The great Samanid Kingdom virtually came to an end in 999 CE. Mahmud now stood in the place of the Samanids, his former overlords, in direct subordination to the caliph.[16] Having acquired considerable fighting experience and a seasoned army Mahmud was ready to deal with ‘Hind’.

In 1001 CE Mahmud marched against Jayapala and pitched his tents before Peshawar. On 28 November 1001, in the Battle of Peshawar the two armies fell on each other and "did justice to their traditions of warlike courage". Mahmud was victorious – and Afghanistan was lost to Hindu India.[17] Centuries-old civilizational links were severed as the population of Afghanistan was converted to Islam, like other conquered territories.

Anandapala[edit]

Anandapala, son of Jayapala, succeeded to the truncated Shahi Kingdom in 1002 CE. His kingdom of Punjab was the biggest obstacle in Mahmud’s passage to the riches of India but there were also two allies of Anandapala – Abdul Fateh Daud of Multan and Bijay Rai of Bhatia (modern Uch: 29.13N, 71.09E) south-west of Multan.[18] As a matter of strategy Mahmud decided to first clear his flank. In 1004 Mahmud proceeded by way of Sistan and Balochistan and crossing river Sindh in the neighbourhood of Multan he attacked Bhatia. Raja Bijay Rai, the king of the wealthy state of Bhatia came out of his fort and engaged the Turks for three days. “Although the Mahomadans advanced with great impetuosity they were frequently repulsed with slaughter.” But Bhatia was taken and there was great pillage and slaughter. All inhabitants who refused to be converted to Islam were killed. Mosques were constructed and Islamic teachers appointed. The kingdom of Bhatia “with its dependencies” was annexed to Mahmud’s own dominion. During his return the rivers were swollen and foaming and Mahmud was harassed by his adversaries. He lost greater part of his baggage and barely managed to save his life.

Mahmud next decided to attack the hostile principality of Multan. Because of his earlier experience, this time he decided to come through the Khyber Pass, beyond which lay Anandapala’s kingdom. On a request being made for the passage, Anandapala refused peremptorily. Abdul Fateh Daud solicited the aid of his ally Anandapala, who true to his alliance dispatched a strong contingent of his army to oppose the Turks at Peshawar but it was defeated. When Daud “heard what had happened to the Chief of Hind notwithstanding his power” he lost courage and did not offer resistance. Daud offered a yearly tribute of 20,000 golden Dirhams as the price of peace and abjuration of heretical doctrines.[19] Before the Sultan could bring the outlying parts of Multan under his control he had to rush back to deal with Ilak Khan of Kashghar who had invaded his territory. A terrible battle followed in which Ilak Khan was defeated.

First battle for Punjab[edit]

Having secured his rear and western flank, Mahmud started his next campaign to Hind with full preparation in December 1008. Anandapala was not caught unawares and had collected a large force. There was large public enthusiasm to throw back the Turks. When Mahmud crossed the Khyber Pass he was met by Trilochanapala, son of Anandapala, at the head of a well equipped army. The Hindu army was encamped between Waihind and Peshawar and surrounding the Mahomedans “who were obliged to entrench their camps so that infidels might not be able to penetrate therein.”

Both armies faced each other for forty days, each hesitating to commence the offensive. Getting apprehensive of the daily increasing number of Hindu troops, Mahmud ordered six hundred archers to the front to provoke the enemy to attack his encampments. The archers were opposed by the Gakhars who, with their heads and feet bare, penetrated in to the Turkish lines and in a dreadful carnage killed 5000 Mahomedans in a few minutes. “The battle lasted from morning till evening and the infidels (i.e. Hindus) were near getting victory.[20]” But “on a sudden the elephant of the prince who commanded the Hindus became unruly from the effect of the naptha balls and the flight of arrows, turned and fled. The circumstance produced a panic among the Hindus, who seeing themselves deserted by their general, gave way and fled also.[21]” Retreating Hindu forces were pursued and killed in large numbers.

Raid on Nagarkot[edit]

Mahmud must have collected intelligence about the immense wealth in the temple of Bhimanagar (modern Nagarkot) because he next attacked that place. Ferishta states that Mahmud “invested the place with such speed that Hindus had no time to throw troops for its defence.[22]” Mahmud entered the place after stiff resistance for a few days. The booty was beyond imagination and it whetted the Sultan’s appetite to rob similar places of Hindu worship.

Peace treaty[edit]

Anandapala's kingdom, whatever was left of it, still blocked Mahmud's passage through the Punjab. The Shahis had to buy peace, and time, for the next conclusive contest which was inevitable. In a pragmatic move a treaty was concluded with Mahmud. Under this Sultan promised not to lead any invasions against the Shahi kingdom but his troops were to be allowed to pass through Punjab. Utbi records that “peace was established and the caravans travelled in full security between Khurasan and Hind.”

Anandapala appears to have died during this period of comparative peace, between 1010 and 1011 CE.

Trilochanapala[edit]

Trilochanapala ascended the Shahi throne after the death of his father Anandapala. Though more famous as the Kings of Lahore, the temple fort at Nandana, fourteen miles south-west of Choha Saidan Shah (near Katas Raj), situated on a remarkable dip of the outer salt range, had been a stronghold of the Vaid dynasty ruling Punjab. Lying midway between Lahore and Waihind, it must have served as the national capital of the Shahis after loss of Waihind. Ensconced in the mountain of Balanath, it had a strong fort and was strategically located not too far from the commercial town of Bhera and the river Jhelum.

Peace treaties between states are means of achieving national aims without resorting to war. Sultan Mahmud must have realised that the Shahis were not very pliable. He would not feel safe about his rear if he advanced deep into India beyond the territory controlled by the Shahis. So he decided to first attack the Shahi capital at Nandana and crush Trilochanapala. Mahmud collected a large army in the spring of 1014 and marched toward Nandana. When Trilochanapala became aware of the intentions of the Turk, he entrusted the defence of Nandana to his son Bhimapala – whom Utbi refers as Niddar Bhima (the fearless Bhima). The Shahis summoned their vassals and meanwhile Bhimapala advanced with his forces to take position behind the wings of a hill pass – probably Marigala Pass near Rawal Pindi. He positioned his elephants in the entrance of the narrow and precipitous pass while his forces occupied the hills on both sides. He thus waited in security while reinforcements kept arriving. Mahmud found himself outmanoeuvred and his spearmen failed to provoke the Hindus. “When his vassals had joined Bhimapala he left his entrenchments and came out into the plain, having the hills behind him and elephants drawn up on each wing. The battle raged furiously.” A general leading the Turkish vanguard was wounded grievously and Mahmud dispatched part of his own guards to extricate his commander. The conflict continued as before but the Turks were victorious at the end. Bhimapala survived the battle and escaped, entrusting the defence of their fort at Nandana to some of their devoted veterans. Mahmud advanced promptly to invest the fort. There was stiff resistance and Mahmud asked his sappers to lay mines under the walls, while the Turkish archers poured arrows into the fort. Finally the garrison surrendered. He next led is forces towards Kashmir to chase and destroy the Shahi King.

Meanwhile Trilochanapala had gone towards Kashmir along with some of his forces, to seek assistance from Sangramaraja, the ruler of Kashmir (1003–1028), who consented to help. Tunga, the commander of Kashmir forces, was sent at the head of a contingent consisting of several nobles, feudal chiefs and other ranks. From previous experience of battles with the Turks, Trilochanapala had devised a strategy quite similar to that followed by Bhimapala of blocking the advance of large Turkish army from behind a hill pass and later fighting on a restricted battlefield in the backdrop of these hills. He had advised Tunga accordingly. However, in his impetuosity Tunga came out in hasty moves. Mahmud found an opportunity to strike with full force and Tunga’s army dispersed. Trilochanapala tried to control the situation but was unsuccessful. Having routed the Hindu forces, Mahmud plundered the area, took many prisoners and converted much of the populace to Islam. Rajatarangini, a history of Kashmir, also gives a detailed account of this particular battle because forces of Kashmir state were involved in it.[23]

This was a severe blow which almost destroyed the Shahis as a strong reigning power. But they were not yet completely wiped out. Mahmud was still not confident of advancing deep into India with the bruised and mauled Shahis in his rear. He organised some probing campaigns to test political waters.

Plunder of Thanesar[edit]

Mahmud had gathered information that Thanesar had an idol Jugsoma (Chakraswamin) and the place was as holy in the eyes of Hindus as Mecca to Muslims. It was another potential Nagarkot and Mahmud organised a quick foray. Thanesar was under the jurisdiction of the Delhi Kingdom. Ferishta states that the Shahi ruler tried to dissuade Mahmud from his resolution in exchange for an annual tribute but it did not work. The Shahi warned Bijayapala, the Towar Raja of Delhi, about the impending danger but the Hindus were too slow in organising a joint defence. A Raja named Ram, probably the ruler of Thanesar, came out to stop the Turkish force, but lost. Mahmud continued his march to Thanesar, plundered the city and destroyed a large number of idols. The chief idol was carried to Ghazni for defilement.

Unsuccessful siege of Lohkot[edit]

In an effort to destroy the Shahi vestige and enter Kashmir, Mahmud besieged the fort of Lohkot in 1015 CE. Lohkot was remarkable on account of its height and strength. Mahmud failed to subdue this fort or get past it and enter Kashmir. According to Ferishta, Mahmud returned to Ghazni with great difficulty “having failed in all the enterprises of this campaign.[24]

Expedition to Kannauj[edit]

With Punjab subdued, time was ripe for Sultan Mahmud to organise a campaign for plundering the famed riches of temples and kingdoms of mid-India. In 1018 CE he fitted a large army of 100,000 chosen horse and 20,000 foot and marched towards India. In a long journey he crossed all the rivers of Punjab and put his forces across the Yamuna by 2 December 1018. Trilochanapala who was still ruling eastern Punjab refused to pay allegiance and sheltered himself in the Parmar kingdom of Malwa.

Mahmud destroyed several big and small kingdoms: Baran (modern Bulandshahr), Mahaban, Mathura, Kannauj, Munj, Asi and Sharva. There was a varying degree of resistance or lack of it. For example, at Munj known as “the fort of Brahmanas” the garrison resisted the invader for 25 days and died fighting heroically literally to the last man and not a single soul survived in the fort. Kannauj, the Imperial capital of India was then ruled by Gurjara Prathara Rajyapala. After the outlying forts were reduced, Rajyapala left Kannauj to wait for another day. Mahmud’s share of the plunder from this campaign consisted of two crore dirhams of gold and silver bullion, 5300 captives, 350 elephants, besides jewels pearls and other precious effects. Nor was the spoil of the army less than which came into the public treasury.[25]

The last Shahi effort to turn the tide[edit]

The Chandel of Kalanjar had formed a confederacy of some Hindu states and they killed Rajyapala of Kannauj for his cowardly submission to Mahmud. Still hoping to turn the tide and regain his kingdom, Trilochanapala Shahi had also joined the confederacy. The Chandella ruler had promised to bring an army to Punjab but procrastinated. So Trilochanapala marched with his forces to join the Chandella for a joint front against the Turks. In 1019 CE Mahmud set out from Ghazni “with an army greater than any which he had hitherto led into India” pre-empting moves regarding joining of the Shahi and Chandella forces. “Mahmud traversed stages after stages and overtook Purujayapala (Trilochanapala) and his forces on the 14th of Saban: between him and the Hindus was a deep river.” Trilochanapala determined to resist the passage of Sultan. Mahmud hesitated to attempt the crossing of the turbulent and muddy river. One night however eight Muslim officers, each followed by his troops, crossed the river apparently without the King’s knowledge. Entering the camp early morning by surprise, when Hindu soldiers were not yet through from their routine morning ablutions, they struck panic among the enemy ranks. The Shahi was worsted in this sudden encounter and escaped. “Two hundred and eighty eight gigantic elephants fell into the hands of the Mussalamans” among other booty. Trilochanapala made another attempt to join up with Vidyadhar Chandella for the next decisive battle. But history has no record of him from this point. According to Tarikh ul-Kamil, Trilochanapala was wounded after fighting for greater part of the day. He may not have survived the forced march towards Kalanjar.[26]

Confrontation with Chandelas[edit]

Vidyadhar Chandel had fielded 36,000 cavalry, 124,000 infantry and 640 elephants at the border of his kingdom. “Sultan reconnoitred the opposing army from an eminence and observing the vast numbers he regretted having come thither. Prostrating before God, he prayed for success and victory.” The engagement was probably indecisive and Vidyadhar retreated during the night possibly with the horses and elephants that could be retrieved. Sultan ordered the camp to be looted and did not advance further into Chandella territory. “Mahmud who was apprehensive of the disturbances in the Punjab, returned content with this victory to Ghazni.”

The exemplary resolve displayed by the Shahis was conspicuously absent amongst most of their fellow kings.[27] (John Keay) One cannot but speculate what would have been the outcome of this engagement if the intrepid Trilochanapala, who had a steely determination and experience of battling the Turks, been in command of the ample forces of Vidyadhar Chandella on that fateful day. Al Beruni, who came to India in the train of Mahmud Ghaznavi and was a contemporary of these Brahmana Shahis, paid a touching tribute:

This Hindu Shahiya dynasty is now extinct, and of the whole there is no longer the slightest remnant in existence. We must say that in all their grandeur, they never slackened in the ardent desire of doing that which is good and right, that they were men of noble sentiment and noble bearing.[11]

According to Al Beruni, Bhimapala succeeded his father Trilochanapala “and after five years under him the sovereignty of Hind became extinct and no descendant remained to light a fire on the hearth.” In 1021 CE Mahmud again marched towards Kashmir. “The fort of Lohkot was invested. A month was spent there. As the fort was strong it could not be taken.” Frustrated and enraged, Mahmud decamped and next proceeded to Lahore, the formal capital of the Shahis. He entered the city without opposition giving it over to be sacked by the troops. He appointed one of his officers to the Government and nominated other commanders to various districts before returning to Ghazni. The Punjab was finally annexed to the dominion of Ghazni after stubborn resistance, to the last man, by the Shahis for quarter of a century. Briggs, the translator of Ferishta remarks: “Thus after 23 years we find the Muslim governors, left in India, east of the Indus.” Islam had acquired a springboard for future forays in to the heartland of India.

The widow of Bhimpala, with two minor sons, was given protection in Kashmir. The family later moved to Bhatner, the jagir bestowed on them by Bisal Dev Chauhan of Ajmer. Gorakh Rai, a scion of the Brahmin Shahi(Brahmin Shahi dynasty) family, was killed while fighting alongside Prithvi Raj Chauhan against Mohammad Ghauri at Taraori, in 1192 CE. Gorakh Rai’s descendants are among the present day Vaid Caste of Mohyal Brahmins and they still prefix the honorific Raizada (prince) to their names. Another branch of this clan, that first set up residence at a place called Jai Theriya near Lucknow, later moved east and established a state at Bettiah in Bihar. They were known as Jaitheriyas, now a sect of Bhumihar Brahmins.[28]

Punjab remained under the Muslim rule for about eight centuries. The Ghaznavids were followed by the Ghurids, who were in turn followed by the other tribes from Afghanistan till the Mughals set up a strong dynasty. Aurangzeb, the last of the great Mughals tried to run his administration in the light of the shria and persecuted the Hindus. In this milieu arose the Sikhs and began an armed struggle. The ninth Guru, Tegh Bahadur was killed under orders from Aurangzeb and his companions martyred through inhuman torture (1675 CE). Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru lost all his four sons – two of them, aged nine and seven – encased alive in a wall at Sirhand. Banda Bairagi, a sanyasi (an ascetic) took up arms on behalf of Guru Govind Singh, who had retired to south India. Leaving the neighbourhood of Delhi, Banda moved along the Grand Trunk Road reducing Sonipat, Kaithal, Samana, Shahbad, Sirhand … avenging the atrocities by Mughal officials. Disgruntled peasantry rose in arms and Banda was master of the region, for a while. The Mughal Emperor suspended other campaigns and directed his energies towards liquidating this Bairagi, who laid down arms on 17 December 1715. Banda was born as Lachman Das in village Mendhar in district Poonch (J&K) in a Chhibber (Mohyal Brahman) family on 27 October 1670. Bhai Mati Das and Sati Das, also from another Chhibber family of Karyala, district Jhelum, were earlier tortured and martyred alongside Guru Tegh Bahadur, for refusing to accept Islam.[29] The rise of the Marathas and Sikhs were important factors for the disintegration of the Mughal Empire. Ahmad Shah Abdali, the ruler of Afghanistan invaded India at least eight times between 1744 and 1766. The Punjabis suffered from these additional depredations. Sikhs strengthened themselves during this erosion of Mughal power in Punjab. Finally Ranjit Singh set up a Punjabi kingdom defeating the Afghans.[30] The Marathas and the Sikhs failed to join hands when the British appeared on the scene. But in the Great Uprising of 1857, the Punjabis were not keen to restore the Mughal Empire and sided with the British without hesitation. The British left in 1947 but the Punjab, for which the Brahmana Shahis had fought and the Sikhs had sacrificed, was lost in the bargain.

References[edit]

  1. ^ C.V. Vaidya, History of Mediaeval Hindu India, Vol.II, Chapter VIII: The Ninth and Tenth Centuries, A.D. – The Happiest Period in Indian History, pp. 247–258.
  2. ^ André Wink, Al Hind: The Making of Indo-Islamic Word, Early Medieval India and the Expansion of Islam 7th–11th centuries, Vol. I, pp. 219–220.
  3. ^ C. V. Vaidya, History of Mediaeval Hindu India, Vol. II, Preface. Also others: “The complete disintegration of the nation into numerous and distinct castes was subsequent to the Muslim conquest of India.” Romesh Chander Dutt, A History of Civilization in Ancient India, Vol. II (Mymensingh District, 1890). p. 214; A. Kumar Mazumdar, Early Hindu India: A Dynastic Study, Vol. III (Dacca, 1917), p. 820; Bhakat Prasad Mazumdar, Socio-economic History of Northern India, (1030–1194 AD), p. 93; Vibhuti Bhushan Mishra, The Gurjara Pratiharas and Their Times: and several other authorities on the subject of implosion of the four varnas into numerous castes.
  4. ^ Al Idrisi, “The Indians are naturally inclined to justice and never depart from it in their actions; their good faith, honesty and fidelity to their engagements are well known and they are so famous that people flock to their country from every side and hence the country is flourishing.”
  5. ^ C. V. Vaidya, History of Mediaeval Hindu India, Vol. II, p. iv. Also The Age of Imperial Kanauj, Foreword by K. M. Munshi, p. ix: “About 725 CE, Junaid the Sindh governor of Caliph Hasham of Baghdad sent an army for conquest of India. It over ran Saurashtra, Bhilamala (near Abu) and reached Ujjayni.”
  6. ^ Wolseley Haig, The Cambridge History of India, Vol. III, pp. 506–507.
  7. ^ C. V. Vaidya, History of Mediaeval Hindu India, Vol. II, p. 159.
  8. ^ R. S. Tripathi, History of Ancient India, p. 356 quoting Epigraphia Indica, IV, pp. 228, 252. Also The Age of Imperial Kanauj, p. 46:”These states were not annexed by Dharamapala, but their rulers acknowledged his suzerainty.”
  9. ^ James Todd, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan,Vol. I, p. 196-202.
  10. ^ Raizada Harichand Vaid, Gulshane Mohyali, II, pp. 80–82.
  11. ^ a b Edward C. Sachau, Tr. Al Beruni’s India, Vol. II, p. 13.
  12. ^ Raizada Harichand Vaid, Gulshane Mohyali, II, pp.82.
  13. ^ C. V. Vaidya, History of Mediaeval Hindu India, Vol. III, pp. 10–13.
  14. ^ Wolseley Haig, The Cambridge History of India, Vol. III, p. 12.
  15. ^ D. R. Sahni, "Six Inscriptions in the Lahore Museum" Epigraphia Indica, Vol. xxi, 1931–32, p. 299.
  16. ^ K. A. Nizami, Ed. Politics and Society during the Early Medieval Period, by Mohammad Habib, p.46.
  17. ^ Elliot and Dowson, History of India as Told by Its Own Historians, Translation of extracts from Tarikh Yamini, by Al Utbi.
  18. ^ Wolseley Haig, The Cambridge History of India, Vol. III, pp. 14. Historians have erroneously confused Bhatia with Bhera. Located near the Salt Range in West Punjab, Mahmud had yet to fight several battles to reach that area. For this – and details of other topics discussed here – see R. T. Mohan, Afghanistan Revisited: The Brahmana Hindu Shahis of Afghanistan and the Punjab (c. 840–1026 CE) (Delhi, 2010), pp. 123–124 and 143.
  19. ^ Elliot and Dowson, History of India as Told by Its Own Historians, Vol.II, Translation of extracts from Tarikh Yamini, by Al Utbi, p. 31.
  20. ^ Elliot and Dowson, History of India..., Vol.II, p. 33
  21. ^ John Briggs, Tr. History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India of Mahomed Kasim Ferishta, Vol. I, p.27.
  22. ^ John Briggs' Ferishta, Vol.I, p. 28.
  23. ^ M. A. Stein, Tr. Kalhana’s Rajatarangini, VII, Verses 47 to 63, pp. 270–72. Also, Elliot and Dowson, History of India by Its Own Historians, Vol. II, pp. 38ff and Appendix, p. 452.
  24. ^ John Briggs, Tr. History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India of Mahomed Kasim Ferishta, Vol. I, p.32.
  25. ^ R.C.Majumdar, The Struggle for Empire, p. 13.
  26. ^ H. C. Ray, The Dynastic History of Northern India, Vol. I, pp. 508–609. Also, Cambridge History of India, Vol. III, p. 21-22.
  27. ^ John Keay, INDIA; A HISTORY, p. 21 (Harper Collins Publishers India, 2000).
  28. ^ Raizada Harichand Vaid, Gulshane Mohyali, Part I, p. 53 and Part II, pp. 134–135.
  29. ^ P. N. Bali, The History of the Mohyals: A Legendary People,3rd Edition, 2006, pp. 87–89 and 95–97
  30. ^ Khushwant Singh, The Illustrated History of the Sikhs (Oxford University Press, 2006)