Raja Dahir

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Raja Dahir
Maharaja of Sindh
3rd and last Maharaja of Sindh
PredecessorChandar
SuccessorKingdom abolished
(annexed by the Umayyad Caliphate)
Born663 AD
Alor, Sindh
(present-day Rohri, Sindh, Pakistan)
Died712 AD (aged 49)
Indus River, Raor, Sindh
(near present-day Nawabshah, Sindh, Pakistan)
SpouseLadi
IssueSurya Devi
Premala Devi
Jodha Devi
Full name
Raja Dahar Sen
HouseBrahmin Dynasty
FatherChach
MotherRani Suhanadi
(Former wife of Rai Sahasi)
ReligionHinduism

Raja Dahar (Sindhi: راجا ڏاھر‎; Sanskrit: राजा दाहिर, IAST: Rājā Dāhir; 663 – 712 CE) was the last Hindu ruler of the Brahmin Dynasty of Sindh (present-day Pakistan). In 711 CE, his kingdom was conquered by the Ummayad Caliphate led by General Muhammad bin Qasim. 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 Muslim Muhammad Haris Allafi, who killed the governor of Makran. He also fought for Dahir during attack over Sindh by ruler of Kannauj in 687 CE.[2]

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."[3]

— 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.[4] 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.[5]

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."[5]

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.[5]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[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. ^ [1]
  4. ^ 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." [2]
  5. ^ a b c Manan Ahmed Asif (19 September 2016). A Book of Conquest. Harvard University Press. pp. 8-. ISBN 978-0-674-66011-3.

Sources[edit]

  • 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 [3]
  • 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