Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji
|Ikhtiyar al-Din Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji|
Ikhtiyār al-Dīn Muḥammad Bakhtiyār Khaljī  also known as Malik Ghazi Ikhtiyar 'l-Din Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji or Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji or simply Bakhtiyar Khalji (died 1206), a military general of Qutb al-Din Aibak who conquered Bengal. His invasions are believed to have severely damaged the Buddhist establishments at Nalanda, Odantapuri, and Vikramashila.
Bakhtiyar Khalji, a member of the Khalaj tribe, a Turkic tribe long settled in what is now southern Afghanistan, was head of the military force that conquered parts of eastern India at the end of the 12th century and at the beginning of the 13th century.
Khalji came from the town of Garmsir in present-day southern Afghanistan. Tradition has it that Khalji's conquest of Bengal at the head of 18 horsemen was foretold. 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, recognised him for his worth. Husam gave him a landed estate in the south-eastern corner of modern Mirzapur district. Khalji soon consolidated his position by recruiting some fiercely Muslim soldiers under his domain and carried out successful raids into neighbouring regions.
Khalji'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 Lakshmana Sena in 1203. Subsequently, Khalji went on to capture the capital and the principal city, Gaur, and intruded into much of Bengal.
Bakhtiyar Khalji's invasions are believed to have severely damaged the Buddhist establishments at Nalanda, Odantapuri, and Vikramashila. Minhaj-i-Siraj's Tabaqat-i Nasiri suggests that Bakhtiyar Khalji destroyed a Buddhist monastery; the author simply calls the establishment a vihara. According to American scholar Hartmut Scharfe, the Tibetan sources suggest that this monastery was the one at Vikramashila; historian André Wink believes that this monastery must have been Odantapuri. According to the early 17th century Buddhist scholar Taranatha, the invaders massacred many monks at Odantapuri, and destroyed Vikramashila. The Tibetan pilgrim Dharmasvamin, who visited the region in the 13th century, states that Vikramashila had been completely razed to the ground by the Turushka (Turkic) invaders, and Nalanda was the residence of a Turushka military commander. Around 80 small viharas remained at Nalanda, but most of them had been damaged by the Turushkas, and had been abandoned: only two were in "serviceable condition".
Death and aftermath
Ikhtiyar Khalji left the town of Devkot in 1206 to attack Tibet, leaving Ali Mardan Khalji in Ghoraghat Upazila to watch the eastern frontier from his headquarters at Barisal. Khalji forces suffered a disastrous defeat in Assam during Tibetan expedition. The entire army of Bakhtiyar Khalji was defeated by King Vishwasundar Dev alias King Prithu Dev the descendant of King Vaidya Dev. Khalji then returned to Devkot with about one hundred surviving soldiers. Upon Ikhtiyar Khalji's return while he was lying ill at Devkot, he was assassinated by Ali Mardan.
Loyal troops under Muhammad Shiran Khalji avenged Ikhtiyar's death, imprisoning Ali Mardan. Ghiyas-ud-din Iwaz Khalji became the successor. Ali Mardan escaped and was made Governor of Bengal by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, but was killed in 1212. 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 Khalji as the praiseworthy hero of Muslim conquest of Bengal. During Bakhtiyar Khalji's reign, Islam gained a large number of converts in India. Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji 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.
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Nalanda, together with the colleges at Vikramasila and Odantapuri, suffered gravely during the conquest of Bihar by the Muslim general Muhammad Bhakhtiyar Khalji between A.D. 1197 and 1206, and many monks were killed or forced to flee.
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The Khaljis were a Turkish tribe from southwest Ghur. However, Bakhtiyar was ungainly in appearance...
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King Lakshman Sen
| Khalji Dynasty of Bengal
Muhammad Shiran Khalji