|Common languages||Sanskrit, Sindhi|
|Today part of||Sindh, Pakistan|
The Rai dynasty (Sindhi: راءِ گهراڻي) (c. 489–632 CE) was a polity of ancient Sindh. It is also believed to be the first Sindhi dynasty being very early at that time. They were contemporary with the Alchon Huns, who invaded northern India.
Sindh, as a region, had no record of extant written histories prior to an isolation period unlike its neighbours, until late-medieval era and our knowledge of Rai dynasty remains rudimentary; the lone primary source is of Rai Dynasty is in Famous Chachnama. No coins or inscriptions have been located either.
The dynasty reigned for a period of 144 years c. 489 - 632 A.D, concurrent with the Huna invasions of North India. The names of rulers might have been corruptions of Sanskrit names — Devaditya, Harsha, and SInhasena. The origins of the dynasty, caste status, and how they rose to power remains unknown. They apparently had familial ties with other rulers of South Asia including Kashmir, Kabul, Rajasthan, Gujarat etc. — Aror is noted to be the capital of both Hind and Sindh!
Alexander Cunningham had proposed an alternate chronology (? - >641 A.D.) — primarily on the basis of numismatic and literary evidence[a] — identifying the first two Rais as Hunas and the later three as rulers of Zabulistan and Khorasan.[b] However, there exists little historical evidence to favor the proposition of Hunas ever making to Sindh and the individual bases of his hypothesis stands discredited in modern scholarship.
The first three kings were Rai Diwaji, Rai Sahiras I, and Rai Sahasi I. Nothing is known about them — their names are mentioned in a single line, where Wazir Buddhiman describes the territorial expanses and administrative structure of Rais under Rai Sahiras II to Chach.
Rai Sahiras II
The Chachnama in its opening verses noted Rai Sahiras II to be famed for his justice and generosity; his coffers was overflowing with wealth.
The kingdom was divided into four units, each under either a governor or a vassal. The southern unit which extended from the coasts of Arabian Sea to Lohana and Samona — including Nerun and Debal port — had its capital at Brahmanabad. The central unit had Sewistan as its capital and spanned across the areas around Jankan and Rujaban to the Makran frontier. The third unit extended over a vast area — Batia, Chachpur and Dehrpur — of western Sindh; Iskalanda was the capital. The fourth unit was centered around Multan, adjoining Kashmir.
Sahiras II met his death while attempting to unsuccessfully ward off an invasion by the Sassanian King of Nimroz into Kirman — he was portrayed as a valiant King who battled till death despite much of his forces deserting the battle; Makran and other unknown territories were lost in the conflict.
Rai Sahasi II
Under his regime, the kingdom exhibited socioeconomic prosperity; Sahasi II is noted to be a benevolent ruler who chose to abide by his counsel. During his regime, Chach, a poor learned Brahmin was inducted under minister/chamberlain Ram in the epistolary office who would eventually usurp the throne — he impressed the King with his expertise and rose through the ranks quickly, eventually becoming his personal secretary after Ram's death. Sahasi II was married to Sohman Devi.
Conspiracy, demise and usurpation
Once Chach had gained access to the interiors of palace, Devi became enamored of him. Soon, she requested to be freed from a loveless (and childless) marriage but met with Chach's rejection, arising of a desire to not incur the King's wrath and swerve further away from scriptural ideals of a Brahminic life. Yet Chach accepted her request for providing company; they continued to meet more often and grew more close but within the accepted boundaries of social conventions. The King remained ignorant of this blossoming relation and Chach continued to gain unprecedented control in day-to-day affairs of the state.
Finally, after the demise of Sahasi II, Devi proposed that Chach exploit the opportunity to be the next king of Aror. Chach conceded to Devi's plan — but subject to consultation with "devoted servants" — and the news of his death was accordingly withheld when potential claimants to the throne were incited against each other in a fatal internecine warfare, that lasted a night.[d] In the meanwhile, ample supporters from the elites were obtained and Devi proclaimed that a "shocked" Sahasi II, though recovering quickly, was unable to hold court and had appointed Chach as the caretaker ruler for his lifetime. Gifts were lavished on important persons to win their trust on the occasion. These state of affairs continued for about six months.
Sometime afterwards, the news of his death made way to Sahasi II's brother — Rai Mahrit, then ruler of Chittor — who claimed to be the rightful heir of the throne and mounted an unsuccessful (and fatal) military offensive against Chach.[e] Chach despite being ambiguous about the morality of taking on a legitimate successor, was coaxed by Devi's shaming of his masculinity. Post-battle, Chach had all but secured the throne with him commissioning triumphal arches and public feasts; soon, Devi had him declared as the heir to the throne, being a man of unsurmountable intellect and bravery, and went on to marry him with the approval of the court.
Thus the Brahman dynasty was established, in what was portrayed in Chachnama, as the intrigues of a femme fatale working in conjunction with a willing-yet-ethical apprentice. He would later have to subdue protracted resistance from Bachhera, a relative of Sahasi II and the governor (or vassal) of Multan province.
|History of Sindh|
|History of Pakistan|
- The end-date arrived as a result of equating Sindhu with the Sin tu kingdom, described in the Great Tang Records on the Western Regions during 641 A.D. Modern scholars reject this claim.
- Diwaji and Sahiras were respectively Toramana and Mihirakula. Rai Sahasi was held to be Tegin Shah, Rai Sahiras II to be Vasudeva, and Rai Sahasi II, an anonymous successor.
- This descent from Mauryas was proposed on the basis of Rai Mahrit, then ruler of Chittor claiming to be Sahasi II's brother. Rulers of pre-Sisodiya Rajasthan usually claimed a descent from Mauryas and this identification went perfectly with Xuanzang's noting the King of Sin-tu to be a Sudra.
- The potential claimants were asked to meet the King, who was "a bit healthy", one by one. In reality, Devi had them imprisoned only to claim before all of them that it was the King who had them imprisoned out of a quarrel with someone else. Thus, it was necessary to kill him to gain freedom and the King's trusts.
- Chach had challenged Mahrit to a one-on-one combat, claiming his Brahmin origins precluded learning the skills of cavalry. However, in the combat, Chach suddenly mounted a horse and had Mahrit beheaded. Mahrit's forces went into a disarray receiving the news of his death.
- Schwartzberg, Joseph E. (1978). A Historical atlas of South Asia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 145, map XIV.1 (i). ISBN 0226742210.
- Wink, Andre (1996). Al Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World. BRILL. p. 133, 152-153. ISBN 90-04-09249-8.
- Mirchandani, B. D. (1985). Glimpses of Ancient Sind: A Collection of Historical Papers. Sindh: Saraswati M. Gulrajani. pp. 25, 53–56.
- Asif, Manan Ahmed (2016). A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia. Harvard University Press. pp. 65, 81–82, 131–134. ISBN 9780674660113.
- Senior, R.C. (1991). "The Coinage of Sind from 250 AD up to the Arab Conquest" (PDF). Oriental Numismatic Society Newsletter. 129: 3–4.
- Senior, R.C. (1996). "Some new coins from Sind" (PDF). Oriental Numismatic Society Newsletter. 149: 6.
- Baloch, N. A., ed. (1983). Fathnamah I-Sind: Being the Original Record of the Arab Conquest of The Sind. Islamabad, Pakistan: Institute of Islamic History, Culture and Civilization: Islamic University.
- Pal, Sayantani (11 January 2016). Rai dynasty of Sind. Wiley Online Library. pp. 1–2. doi:10.1002/9781118455074.wbeoe051. ISBN 9781118455074. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
- Siddiqi, Iqtidar Husain (2013). Indo-Persian Historiography Up to the Thirteenth Century. Primus Books. p. 31.