Raja Dahir

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Raja Dahir
Maharaja of Sindh
3rd and last Maharaja of Sindh
Predecessor Chandar
Successor Kingdom abolished
(annexed by the Umayyad Caliphate)
Born 663 AD
Alor, Sindh
(present-day Rohri, Sindh, Pakistan)
Died 712 AD (aged 49)
Indus River, Raor, Sindh
(near present-day Nawabshah, Sindh, Pakistan)
Spouse Ladi
Issue Surya Devi
Premala Devi
Jodha Devi
Full name
Raja Dahar Sen
House Brahmin Dynasty
Father Chach
Mother Rani Suhanadi
(Former wife of Rai Sahasi)
Religion Hinduism Monism

Raja Dahar (Sindhi: راجا ڏاھر‎; Sanskrit: राजा दाहिर, IAST: Rājā Dāhir; 663 – 712 CE) was the last Hindu ruler of Sindh. He presided over the Pushkarna Brahmin Dynasty of Sindh region of the Indian subcontinent, which included territories that now constitute parts of the modern-day states of Afghanistan, the Balochistan region of Iran and Pakistan, and parts of Punjab region of India and Pakistan. In 711 CE, his kingdom was conquered by Muhammad bin Qasim, an Arab general, for the Umayyad Caliphate. He was killed at the Battle of Aror at the banks of the Indus River, near modern-day Nawabshah.

Reign in the Chach Nama[edit]

The Chach Nama is the oldest chronicles of the Arab conquest of Sindh. It was translated in Persian by an Arab 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).

Dahir's kingdom was invaded by King Ramal of Kannauj. According to legend Raja Dahir granted refuge to a disloyal Muslim betrayer Muhammad Haris Allafi, who killed the Muslim governor of Makran. He also fought for Dahir during attack over Sindh by ruler of Kannauj in 687 CE.[2]

Following the footsteps of his father Chandar of Sindh who dispatched an army against the Umayyads referred to as Hussaini Brahmins to the Battle of Karbala to protect Husayn ibn Ali, Dahir allied himself with Ali ibn al-Husayn the chief of the Aliids and Bani Hashim, referred to as the Alawi in Arabic and Alafi in Sindhi. According to legends, the Alafi warriors (who were exiled from the Umayyad caliph) were recruited; they led Dahir's armies in repelling the invading forces, remaining as valued members of Dahir's court. In a later war with the caliphate, however, Alafi served as a military adviser but refused to take an active part in the campaign; as a result, he later obtained a pardon from the caliph.

G. M. Syed writes in his Sindhi language book "Sindhu Ji Saanjah" that Raja Dahir refused the Umayyad demand for handing over of Muhammad Bin Allafi,[3] a well-known follower of Imam Hussian and much wanted by the Umayyad.[4]

War with the Umayyads[edit]

"I am going to meet the Arabs in the 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."[5]

— Raja Dahir

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.[6] 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, in their bawarij and now 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 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 Hajaj 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 (Sehwan) 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 Jats, Meds, Bhuttos, and Buddhist Jat 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 for the Umayyad Caliphate.[7]

Sometime before the final battle, Dahar's vizier approached him and suggested that Dahar 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 Dahar, said the vizier, then he should at least send away his family to some safe point in India. Dahar refused to do either. "I cannot send away my family to security while the families of my thakurs and nobles remain here."[7]

Dahir then tried to prevent Qasim from crossing the Indus River, moving his forces to its eastern banks. Eventually, however, Qasim crossed and defeated forces at Jitor led by Jaisiah (Dahir's son). Qasim fought Dahir at Raor (near modern Nawabshah) in 712, killing him. After Dahar 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.

Three women from Chachnama[edit]

Three women from Chachnama, Dahar's wife, Queen Ladi, and Dahar's daughters Suriya and Preemal carry equal weight in the cultural memory of Sindhi and 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 conqueror.[7]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ Chapter-1, Page-30 of English translation of Sindhi language book "Sindhu Ji Saanjah" written by G.M.Syed published by gmsyed.org/gmsyed.htm [1]
  4. ^ Anwaar Hussain (September 12, 2017). "Muhammad Bin Qasim: No Tombstone For The Hero?". Dunya News Blogs. Retrieved November 19, 2017. 
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ 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 cloths they contained, captured the men and women, and carried away all the valuable property and jewels." [3]
  7. ^ a b c Manan Ahmed Asif (19 September 2016). A Book of Conquest. Harvard University Press. pp. 8–. ISBN 978-0-674-66011-3. 


  • 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 [4]
  • 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