The Thwarting to Islamic Aggression
The Arab empire was one of the most stunning events in history. Within a very short time-span of 70 years, it managed to expand across three continents. Not only that, the conquest which started on around 630 A.D., actually conquered a number of formidable civilizations of its ime – The Persians, The Byzantines, The Jews (Jerusalem), Egypt (Alexandria), Syrians, Soghdians, Romans (Sea Warfare), Spain, Southern Italy. This astonishing victories of the conquered lands were immediately followed by rapid Islamization which helped the arabic culture and language to become the prevailing ones, suppressing and annihilating their native counterpart, using by both sword and preachers. Surprisingly, it was not the scenario for Bharat. As we all read in history, Muslim leaders ruled Bharat for almost 1200 years, but still, they failed to annihilate the native culture, the Hinduism. What is the reason that stopped them from achieving the same what they did to almost every other part of the world ?
First and foremost reason, Muslim rulers with all their cruelty, barbarism and firepower were no match for Hindu kingdoms of that time. It was constant and persistent resistance from Hindu Kings and Leaders that halted Islamic aggression for approx one and a half millennia.
Indian history preceding the Islamic invasion has deliberately been sidelined from the course of mainstream history. Academic textbooks on history focus only on the rule and success of the invaders, like the Mughals, the Slaves, the Khaljis etc. Only those few battle outcomes are highlighted to young kids where the foreign invaders somehow managed to defeat the indigenous rulers. Those little flashes of success accomplished by intruders has been over-amplified to outshine countless victories of the sons of soil. The distorted history teaches the students about that one successful raid of Babur where he had beaten the Rajput kings, but completely ignores previous four failed attempts where Babur was lucky to have his head intact. Akbar is depicted as a king who established the Mughal rule in entire India, while the truth remains hidden that Akbar has made a alliance with most of Rajput clan; almost 50% of victories were achieved by these Rajput allies. During the so-called “Islamic period”, mere dominion of islamic rulers in a small area surrounding the city of Delhi is falsely presented as an islamic state throughout entire India. Historians intentionally remain silent about the contemporary powerful Hindu empires throughout other parts of Indian landmass. Following the information provided in books, most of historical movies and TV serials do the same. However, it is far from truth, from the time when Muslims managed to enter Bharat mainland, mostly they were limited to the plains. The north-eastern part of India and most of southern part remains untouched throughout the so-called “islamic period”.
Medieval history of India in textbooks is filled up with sporadic Islamic territories which temporarily bubbled up across random parts of Bharat subcontinent. Starting with Qasim’s invasion of Sindh in 712 AD, the narrative (mostly translated from arabic scripts) abruptly touches the fictitious undefeated campaign of Mahmood, family feud of the slaves and fabricated glorification of Mughal rule. The century-long fierce resistance offered by smaller Hindu kingdoms at the western border goes absolutely unnoticed. Historians never attempt to explain the surprising absence of islamic invaders throughout entire India in intermittent periods between Arabs and Ghaznabaids, or that between Ghaznabaids and Turks. Our biased historical narratives remain silent about successive defeats of Arab invasions by an arc of resistance formed by Bharat kingdoms. The credit for the fall of Turks is very often attributed to ‘internal conflict’, while the triumph of Bharat alliance over those invaders gets suppressed. It is unfortunate that while a similar event in Europe (The Battle of Tours — 732 AD) is widely known and celebrated, hardly anyone has heard of Nagabhata I, Bappa Rawal, Pulakesiraja, Lalitaditya, Yashovarman, Bhoja or Suhaldev. Obviously, the Arab historians carefully omitted any crushing defeat arabs faced in the hands of Chalukyas, The Rajputs, Kashmir, Rastrakutas or the Gurjaras.
Many people fail to swallow the bitter truth that Islam suffered its first and only one severe blow when it tried to enter India. The unstoppable Arab caliphate touched the shore of Atlantic and spread until the feet of Hindukush within just 70 years. But, it took them more than 100 years to actually set a foot across the river Sindhu (Indus). It took them 200 more years to enter the Indian mainland. Even then until the year 1557 A.D., Islam failed to actually become a significant name throughout entire India. Islamic invaders could never enter the modern day North-East India and Major part of Southern India. Go through the below chronology and you can get a glimpse of what the Islamic conquerors faced in medieval Bharat.
Naval Expeditions – Setback of Arabs
When we say the word “Navy”, immediately we visualize the empires of Greeks or Romans. Even the smaller tribes like Vikings or Gauls are also well acknowledged for their naval expeditions. Excessive ease of availability of records in support of naval supremacy of European nations, very often covers up the proud naval history of India herself. Usually India is famous for the gigantic size and diversity of ranks in her armies. But very few are actually aware of the fact that not only Indian kingdoms used to maintain a formidable naval wing, but no Indian navy have ever faced an outright defeat also against any external force. The true history is rarely heard that first islamic attempts to take over Bharat civilization were initiated not by land, but through sea warfare. Absence of arabic records stating any naval victory proves that, will all their powers, the invaders failed to put even a single hole in Indian naval defense.
636 A.D. – During the vigorous campaign of strongly expansionist second Caliph, Umar-bin-Akhtab, first Arab invasion of Bharat took place through an expedition by sea to conquer modern day Thane near Mumbai. At the same time, arabic fleets arrived at the ports of modern day Oman and Bahrain. After quick and uneventful captures of those coastal countries, he turned towards the final frontier – Bharat. But his realization came very soon that this time, he was not facing any ill-equipped group of tribal warriors. Instead, a highly sophisticated and battle-hardened full-fledged Armada was waiting for them. [Kitab Futuh Al Buldan: Vol. 2, P 209 — Al Baladhuri Tr. By Francis Clark Murgotten] The Arab force was repulsed decisively by then Chalukya king Pulakeshi II.[Indian Resistance To Early Muslim Invaders Upto 1206 AD, P 18 — Dr. Ram Gopal Mishra] After the straightway defeat, he thought it wise to leave Bharat alone as of then.
636 A.D. – 637 A.D. – Sensing that Bharat navy could not be beaten be raw power, the Caliphate adopted a strategy relying on agility and surprise attack. Immediately after the retreat from the Chalukya kingdom, a second naval expedition was sent to conquer Barwas or Barauz (Broach) on the coast of modern day southern Gujarat. [Kitab Futuh Al Buldan: Vol. 2, P 209 — Al Baladhuri Tr. By Francis Clark Murgotten] . Sadly for Caliph, the Bharat navy did not comprise of standalone fleets at different ports. On the contrary, there was a well-coordinated naval defensive umbrella built up across the sea-shore, which Arabs never could imagine. This attack too was repelled by Pulakeshi II and the Arabs were driven back successfully.
643 A.D. – Upon getting a vision of Chalukya power, arab leaders re-calculated the risk and went for another comparatively less intimidating target – the state of Sindh. The third naval invasion, which was also the first attack on Sindh, was sent to the port of Dewal (near today’s Karachi). But the ruler of Sindh, king Chach Rai was too blunt to compromise even the slightest when it comes to a matter of battleground. Debal was a seaside town inhabited mostly by merchants, and was one of the driving force for strong economy of that region. Arabian fleet met with the coastal forces of Chach Rai, who were not any less stubborn than their king himself. The decisive victory of Sindh over the intruders marked an end to arabian naval expeditions to Bharat. [The Chachnama: Volume 1 (1900), P 57 — Translated from Persian by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg]
When the regional governor was summoned by the Caliph as part of an inquiry for detailed information about the extent of success against Al-Hind, all the Caliphate received was a series of news of unconditional surrenders or complete annihilations of islamic forces. The Bharat kingdoms along western coast of the subcontinent had already proved to be strong enough to withstand and repel the wrath of Caliphate. For the first time in islamic history, any imperial campaign by the Caliphate resulted in an islamic loss. The leaders of the arab army even advised the Caliph that he should think no more of Hind, since the powerful kingdoms of Bharat will not bow down under any circumstances. [The History And Culture Of The Indian People: Vol. 3 — The Classical Age, P 169 — R. C. Majumdar] [The Chachnama: Volume 1 (1900), P 58 — Translated from Persian by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg]
Tight Slaps on Bharat Gateway
After the naval defeat, Arab Caliphate mobilized the Royal army by land and launched repetitive expeditions across Hindukush. But the battle experience was not much different than their earlier naval devastation. On the other side of river Sindhu (Indus), the Hindu kingdoms, in spite of being considerably small in terms of landmass occupied, proved to be powerful enough to out-muscle the Caliphate in military strength. The ferocious opposition offered by those kingdoms managed to halt the islamic invasion for around a century. After experiencing a couple of humiliating retreats, the Caliph sensed the heat of scorching conflict ensued, and finally decided to forget the idea of Ghazwa-e-Hind for that time being. This Hindu history of modern day Afghanistan remains completely under shadow to today’s scholars.
662 A.D. – Kikan was the chief target of Arab military crusades during this period. Then Arab general, Abdullah, attacked Kikan with a large contingent of 4000 Arab warriors. But this little province was well prepared for this kind of all-out assault. The Arab regiment was welcome with such a brutality that the mountain passes became a valley of death for them. Local people of Kikan also came out in large numbers to fight the marauders. Being unable to understand the defensive death-trap set up by Kikan army, arabs were not able to cope up with the swift and lightning-fast strikes they have never dreamt of. Arab troops were defeated by the valiant and fearless army of Kikan and eventually the army of Islamic Arabs was made to flee to Makran as, “the whole mountainous region became alive with fighting men and the Mussulmans beat a hasty retreat.” [The Chachnama: Volume 1 (1900), P 61 — Translated from Persian by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg]
670 A.D. – 680 A.D. – While Kikan gave arabs the taste of Bharat military power, situation got worse for the invaders when they tried to look straight into the eyes of the powerhouse in this region – Kabul. The Caliph Muawiyah (661–680 A.D.) took up the task of making a permanent foot-mark on the shores of Indus. He concentrated major of Caliphate power in this area to subjugate Kabul and Zabul. Led by Abdur Rehman, a large Arab army laid siege to Kabul. After a month-long continued siege, finally arabs managed to storm into the kingdom. But the news spread like fire to the neighboring allies and backup arrived pretty soon. Caliphate did not have enough stamina to cope up with multitudes of Bharat forces and they were forced to go back until Bust. It is unclear who was the king of Kabul at that time. [The History Of India As Told By Its Own Historians, Vol. 2 — The Muhammadan Period, P 415 — Elliot And Dawson]
683 A.D. – 685 A.D. – Following the turns of tide in Kabul, the next Caliph, Al Mansur, tried to subdue the other powerhouse here, Zabul, which was ruled by Ranawal (a.k.a. Zunbil) and forcefully collect financial tribute. The Arab generals tried their best, but never managed to make a lasting impact on the region, as Zabul was never completely subjugated. The battle against Ranawal again proved the supremacy of Bharat army against islamic invaders. Observing the numerical supremacy of islamic army, the king of Zabul tempted them deep within Zabul territory. While the Arabs were still under a false impression of an easy victory, Ranawal quietly blocked the mountain passes which were the exit route for Arabs, resulting the capture of the entire army. Needless to say, the arabian troops became a sitting duck. Though it is not explicitly mentioned, we can assume that they were not able to go back. At the same time, another branch of Arab army was wiped out in Battle of Junzah against Kabul. Simultaneous defeat in two fronts made Arabs to go into a cool-down period again. [Kitab Futuh Al Buldan: Vol. 2, P 153–154 — Al Baladhuri Tr. By Francis Clark Murgotten][The History And Culture Of The Indian People: Vol. 3 — The Classical Age, P 168 — R. C. Majumdar]
692 A.D. – Next Caliph Abdal Malik bin Marwan vowed to finish the incomplete task by his predecessors, and appointed Abdullah as the governor to immediately resume the raids on Kabul and Zabul. Still, no fruitful result came out for years even though arabs continued to suffer heave losses.
695 A.D. – As a last attempt, the caliphate initiated yet another offensive against Kabul. The governor of Iraq, Al-Hajjaj, sent his one of the ablest generals, Ubaidullah to subdue Kabul. This time Ranawal (king of Zabul) and Ratanpal (king of Kabul) combined their armies [Indian Resistance To Early Muslim Invaders Upto 1206 A.D., P 40 — Dr. Ram Gopal Mishra]. For the second time, the arab army was tricked into entering within a dead-end at the neighborhood of Kabul. Once the escape route was blocked, the arabs managed to maintain their nerve for a couple of weeks before going into submission. [Al Hind: The Making Of The Indo Islamic World, Vol. 1 — Early Medieval India And The Expansion Of Islam — 7th-11th Centuries, P 122 — Andre Wink] The general was forced to retreat leaving his three sons as hostages with Ranawal. One non-aggression treaty was also signed between the forces. However, the arabs broke the promise and attacked again. This time, the Bharat forces were not the same forgiving. All the major leaders were killed in the battle and arab army was completely routed in the desert of Bust by the brave troops of Kabul and Zabul. [Kitab Futuh Al Buldan: Vol. 2, P 151 — Al Baladhuri Tr. By Francis Clark Murgotten]. Al Hajjaj was left with no choice but to make peace with the Hindu kingdoms here after this disastrous failure of Abdur Rehman’s military campaign. Therefore, Al-Hind, as India was ascribed in the Arabic texts, still remain unconquered by even the mightiest military power of that time.
708 A.D. – With back-to-back failure of earlier three Caliphs, next one moved the focus of attack towards the southern prosperous kingdom of Sindh. The military might of Sindh resisted arabic imperialistic dream for so many days. But the failure in other fronts had made the arabs desperate enough in an hasty attempt to take over Sindh. Arabs provoked the political situation onto the shores of Arabian sea by interfering into the trade activities of Sindh. The Caliphate cunningly set up a blockade on the port of Sindh, which was known as ‘Dewal’, vying to crush the economy. King of Sindh, Dahir, got informed of the large Arab expedition. He sent his son Jaisiah with a 4000 strong army with horses and camels and elephants to defend Dewal. Jaisiah’s army battled with the Arabs relentlessly for a full day from early morning till evening. Again, the arab conquerors got absolutely overwhelmed and they ran for their lives. [The Chachnama: Volume 1 (1900), P 69 — Translated from Persian by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg] .
The news of the crushing defeat of the Arab army in Sindh, Kabul and Zabul left Caliph Al Walid crestfallen and heart-broken. He was asked for permission again to invade Sindh one more time, Caliph Al Walid discouraged the arab general by saying, “… This affair will be a source of great anxiety and so we must put it off; for every time the army goes (on such an expedition) (vast) numbers of Mussulmans are killed. So think no more of such a design.” [The Chachnama: Volume 1 (1900), P 71 — Translated from Persian by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg]. Probably this is the first time Islamic expansion met such an immovable defensive lineup and they could not digest it. Later, the Hindu resistance ultimately failed after a century-long battle. But, what we can come to know from the records, that arabs resorted up to treacherous activity like poisoning source of drinkning water to capture Sindh. For Kabul and Zabul, arab army used to take shelter in a temple, while they were hammered. Religious belief of Hindu soldiers prevented Bharat army to attack the arab regiment within the temple. To summarize, fall of these kingdoms happened primarily due to arab activities which entirely broke the ethics of war.
Rise of The Indian Alliance
It took almost one decade for Arabs to recover from the shock they have got in their attempt to cross Hindukush. The Caliphate now invested all their resources to conquer ‘Al-Hind’ (as they referred ancient Bharat by that name) and made a huge push. Now, going as far as implying the dirty method of bio-terrorism, they had managed to breach the gateway of Bharat mainland. Though celebration of the Caliphate did not last much longer. If the heroic resistance of the border states of modern day Pakistan and Afghanistan seemed like a nightmare to islamic invaders, then what the mainland kingdoms offered can be described as a complete butchery. As soon as islamic invasion crossed the river Sindhu (Indus), there were no more strategic battles or death-traps, the arabs were introduced with warfare based on raw power. Instead of quick and swift attacks, Bharat armies started to hammer down the Caliphate army. Depletion of arabian manpower increased exponentially. The final days of Arabs in Bharat mainland came to an end when a never-foreseen alliance of Bharat kingdoms assembled against them. That unofficial crusade did not go so well for the Caliphate. The seemingly invincible troops of Caliphate was massacred so heavily that it is said that they did not dare to look back until they reach to the other side of river Sindhu (Indus). Later, some of Bharat kingdoms took it to another level and occupied territory from Caliphate itself.
712 A.D. – The overly praised hero of arabic history, Muhammad bin Qasim brought a mammoth chunk of islamic army along with him and he created two battle fronts against Kashmir and Kannauj, respectively. He sent a cavalry of 10,000 to Kanauj, and himself went with an army to the prevailing frontier of Kashmir. Almost nothing can be retrieved about any of these expeditions. However, since no islamic presence can be found in these regions for this period, we can consider that the Qasim did not succeed. More than that, there was not any lasting impact in either of those kingdoms. Possibly, both adventures turned into another set of humiliating defeats for the Arabs.
715 A.D. – Fall of Sindh is highlighted in arab history with extra importance. But the fact gets ignored that Sindh fought back 4 years later under the leadership of Jai Singh, son of Dahir. Upon receiving the news of islamic setback on the fronts of Kashmir and Kannauj, he managed to gather some allies through diplomacy and waged war against arabs. Allied army of Sindh gained upper hand against a demotivated Caliphate force. They managed to take back most of their lost territory. They went up to the region of Brahmanabad(modern day Multan, probably) and Arab rule was restricted to the Western shore of Indus.
730 A.D. – Assessing the failure to enter into the stronghold of Northern Bharat states, Junayd, successor of Muhammad bin Qasim, focused to shift the conflict towards the south-western zone of Bharat mainland. The prevailing forces there were the Gurjaras, Solankis and the Rastrakutas. Needless to say about the presence of Chalukyas too. He divided his force into two – one branch went eastwards to enter into the Ganges plane, other one moved southwards to subdue the Deccan. In the eastern front, they met with Nagabhatt-I of the Gurjaras. Arabs were no match for Gurjaras and they suffered a utter blow right on their face. Arab chronicles referred Nagabhatt-I as the biggest enemy of Islam. Fate at the southern front was not any better either; there they got decimated by frightening military of Chalukya king Vikramaditya-II. The army general of Vikramaditya-II, Pulakeshiraja was known as the savior of the Deccans. Some sources mention that the Rastrakuta ruler Dantidurga also took part in the defense against arabs.
734 A.D. – Another arab general, Hajjat analyzed the absence of any strong united authority in the deserts of modern day Rajasthan and he planned a quick attack in this region. But an young ruler, Bappa Rawal, brought almost all Rajput clans under his leadership. The smaller provinces put aside there internal differences and joined hands against a common enemy. Hajjat appealed for help towards the neighboring islamic provinces and they came to his aid. On the other hand, the Solanki ruler Jaysingh (not sure if he is somehow related to Dahir dynasty) took the side of the Rajputs. For nearly 20 years, the Arabs were under the threat of Bappa Rawal. The city “Rawalpindi” is named after him.
736 A.D. – Arabs were facing continued struggle in both Rajasthan and Gujrat (as in modern day) frontiers, as in both zones they had to face a united army of Bharat kings. To prevent the northern kingdoms to provide any military or tactical aid in either of the battlegrounds, the Caliph sent the governor of Bukhara, Momin, with a mission to invade Kashmir. Momin destroyed swat valley and entered into Kaghan Valley(now in pakistan). But Bharat kings seemed to learn from their past. Here also, the king of Kashmir, Lalitaditya immediately ordered a ceasefire with his arch-enemy, Yashovarman (king of Kannauj). The long-time rivals stood side-by-side against arabs. Thus, the plan of Caliphate backfired, since they have unwittingly opened a third front which started to make matters worse. Instead of arabs invading Kashmir and Kannauj, the situation reverted. Joint forces of Laliltaditya and Yashovarman started to invade arabian territories. Later, Lalitaditya invaded turk region (approximately modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kyrgyzstan and southwest Kazakhstan), and ordered captured turk army to shave half of their head as a punishment. There is not many occasions where a king snatches away islamic territory from them. Lalitaditya is one of such rare kings.
Battle(s) of Rajasthan: Arab Caliphate vs Indian Alliance – Battle of Rajasthan refers to a final campaign of united Bharat kings against Caliphate. This is the first time the dice has flipped and the Caliphate turned into a victim instead of a hunter. There are still disagreements among sources whether there was any final decisive battle or not. But, the campaigns in all three frontiers coincided with each other. The grand alliance of Nagabhatt-I of Gurjaras, Bappa Rawal of Rajputs, Jaysingh of Solankis, Lalitaditya of Kashmir, Yashovarman of Kannauj, Vikramaditya-II of Chalukyas (who had sent his Governor Pulakesiraja), Dantidurga of Rastrakutas and Jayabhat-IV of Pratiharas stretched from Karakoram to the Western Ghats. The arab army was said to comprise of more than 70000 soldiers. Even such a bone-chilling force met their doom in the hands of Bharat kings. Interesting angle of history is, before and after the islamic presence in the area, all these kingdoms used to oppose each other. This gives rises to a possibility that, may be, all Hindu kingdoms became united against a common enemy in order to save their religion; which in turn marks this conflict as a crusade. The united Bharat army taught Arabs a lesson for their life and entirely broke their backbone. The ‘Prashasti’ (symbol of glory) pillar in Gwalior, which was constructed by Mihirbhoj or king Bhoj – the descendant of Nagabhatt, in the 9th century, has the story of this huge and historical military success, inscribed on it. Arabs got so scared that next major invasion by land happened only after 300 long years. According to arabian chronologer Suleiman, there was no place of refuge to be found”. He also called Nagabhatt as “the biggest enemy of islam, who came in the way of the conquest of Uzain (Ujjain)” .
759 A.D. – Arabs switched their battle strategy again and tried the naval route for a fourth time to establish their supremacy over Saurashtra. Looks like the Caliphate deliberately wanted to avert any direct contact with the Chalukyas. The legendary commander of the Saindhabas, Agguka-I, disappointed the Caliphate this time.
776 A.D. – The Caliphate already suffered much and they did not expect such a turn of tide. In a rentless attempt of 100 continuous years they managed to subdue mere border tribes of Bharat. But, instead of Bharat forces giving up, the islamic army had to deal with fiercer and stronger resistance. In their entire history of more than 200 years, there was not another single instance where the islamic expansion collapsed. Realizing that any land based offensive will only result in more and more loss of Caliphate itself, in a final and furious attempt, another naval fleet was sent by Arabs against Saindhaba kings. This time they faced such a disastrous defeat by Agguka-I, that the Arabian dream of Ghazwa-e-Hind ended completely. In the Saindhava inscription Agguka-I is titled as Samudradhipati or Master of the western sea.
986 A.D. – 987 A.D. – Probably the conclusive outcome of the battle of Rajasthan ignited the spirit of other indigenous kings who were earlier subjugated against Arabs. King of Udbhandapur, Jaypala was holding his patience for such kind of any opportune moment. To hit the enemy in its weakest condition, he quickly assembled an army. At the same time, he sent his diplomats in other nearby powerful kings also for military and/or tactical support to which, most of the the Kings responded. We can see references of armies from different clans of Rajputs, Kanauj and Gurjaras to join ranks. This coalition advanced into the heartland of the Islamic kingdom of Ghazni and captured it within a mere span of few days. According to Utbi, the battle lasted several days and the warriors of Subuktigin, including prince Mahmood, were reduced to despair. It is true that this success was not permanent, but according to Dr. Ram Gopal Mishra, that, had such kind of aggression and spirit to hunt down the enemy been present in successive Rajput rulers also, probably there would have been no presence of Islam in entire Indian subcontinent today.
All these unimaginable struggle was absorbing military and economic resources of the Caliphate. Proportionately, the arab army were also becoming lower and lower in their confidence and willingness to carry on with the seemingly failed project of Ghazwa-e-Hind. The arabs already have had enough in their century-long struggle against the Bharat kingdoms. And the defeat at the battle of Rajasthan was the ultimate blow to them. Arabs never came back to Bharat either by land or sea. Arab chroniclers themselves also admit that the Caliph Mahdi gave up the project of conquering any part of India after this. The Arab provinces which were left behind, became scattered and lost all their power, some of them survived through paying tribute to Bharat kingdoms.
Humiliating Defeat of Turks
After the arabs gave up, next islamic invasion in Bharat happened after three centuries, originated from islamic provinces in central Asia. Most prominent of all those invaders, Mamud of Ghazani is said to remain undefeated throughout his 17 campaigns when he destroyed entire North-West India single-handed. But the reality differs from the narrative. After such a bull-dozing military victory, entire western India should have been islamized by now, just what happened with Persia (Iran). Not only that, there is no logical explanation about why the Caliphate did not expand up to central India after such astonishing success of Mamud. Analyzing from a military angle, it is really impossible to grasp why there was the need of 17 campaigns in the first place when the initial one was supposed to be of such huge success. There is no permanent islamic settlement in any part of western India even today. None of Indian accounts have ever mentioned about any major conflict with islamic forces which was able change the demography there. In arabian texts also, only one battle is mentioned very briefly while others are mentioned with a varying degree of detail. Lack of proofs indicates that the rest of the invasions might just be a theory or small border skirmishes or very insignificant ones. Hence, after analyzing all reliable sources, we can deduce that, Mamud’s smaller-scale and short-lived venture consist of at least two decisive defeats and consistent running away from battle to avoid further humiliation.
1014 A.D. – Defeat at Kashmir – After succeeding in capturing the territories of King Anandapala and Sukhpala, Mamud’s ambition propagated and he aimed for achieving a distant dream of capturing the kingdom of Kashmir. After death of Lalitaditya Muktipada, the golden days of Kashmir was over. Still, Kashmir was considered a stronghold in the geopolitics of that region. When Mamud marched his army on Kashmir border, the reigning king Sangramraj did not think twice to take the harder route. It is a historical fact that ghaznabaids could not tolerate the sword of Kashmir soldiers and Mamud could not fulfill his desire to win Kashmir throughout his lifetime. After being failed to capture Loharkot fort, Mamud gave up on his dream and went back; in other words, he accepted his defeat.
1019 A.D. – When Mahmud Ran Away – Remaining true to the strategic view of arabian predecessors, Mamud also did not knock for a second time on a locked door. He tried his luck on the western kingdoms of Rajput clan. Unlike before, Rajput kings failed to create a united front and the fell under the pressure, one after another. Once his journey at Rajputana was over, Mamud encountered the central Indian elites who were already united under the rule of Vidyadhara Chandella. All the arabian preachers try their best to describe how terrified king Chandella was and how he submitted before Mamud. However, all those islamic clerics maintain absolute silence about why Mamud failed to force king Chandella to embrace islam. Other sources have a different version. According to them, king Chandella drew the first blood; he defeated and killed Mahmud’s stooge. In retaliation Mahmud came with his army and met with king Chandella at Bundelkhand hills. After the first day of battle, King Chandella spread his army into nearby villages. Sensing a potential defeat in a guerrilla warfare in enemy’s home-ground, Mamud abandoned his mission.
1022 A.D. – First Decisive Defeat of Mahmud of Ghazani – Mamud’s lack of preparation to face a united Bharat army had made him retreat against king Chandella. Three years later, driven by the urge of revenge, Mahmud brought even a larger army and attacked central India. He managed to capture 15 different forts. But his progress was stopped at Gwalior fort, even after 4 days of siege, Mamud failed to defeat the commander – Kirtiraja. Patience and the waiting for a suitable moment is a precious virtue in warfare. Though the ghaznabaids were no short in power and endurance, they lacked this virtue. The experienced soldiers of Bharat kingdoms always managed to wear them out by lengthening the duration of conflict. The invaders always tried to capture a kingdom bit by bit, through quick and swift continuous series of attacks. The defenders in Bharat adopted a “one-punch” technique. Usually the indigenous forces held the enemy outside the boundary and calmly waited until the enemy loses their nerve. It worked every time against ghaznabaids. Following the failure at Gwalior fort, Mamud retreated and attacked Kalinjara fort, where Vidhyadhara Chandella himself resided. On that night, the King’s commander, Arjuna attacked Mamud’s camp with a large division of army and elephants. Mamud’s army could not make any defense against that timely attack and made an unconditional surrender. Mamud gave up all his conquered territory as terms of surrender.
1027 A.D. – Retaliation for Destruction of Somnath Temple – Mamud got the impression that even with all his power, there is no way he would be able to break through the central Indian strongholds. Hence, instead of going into a direct military clash, he went on to continue looting and terrifying neighboring localities. Mamud went too far when he sacked the famous Somnath temple. Somnath temple was one major center of Hinduism at that time. Irrespective of internal political rivalries, almost all the kings of Bharat used to provide financial and other donations to this temple. One important and astounding aspect of Indian style of warfare was that, usually innocent civilians, religious and cultural assets were left unharmed; neither of the parties of a war dragged them into the midst of a battle. Mamud refused to understand this vibe of Bharat culture and destroyed Somnath temple, killing thousands of devotees residing within the estate. Then Paramara King, Bhoja was enraged when he discovered that Somnath temple had been demolished. He gathered a huge coalition of India kings and started marching towards the temple. Mamud was shaken from his core after hearing the news of such a coordinated counter-attack and fled to save his life. To avoid the confrontation, he selected a more difficult route through the deserts to run away. Scarcity of food and water killed a large number of his soldiers and animals. Mainstream history never mentions anywhere that Mamud of Ghazani preferred wrath of desert rather than facing King Bhoja’s army. Bharat Kings were fed up of Mamud’s frequent attacks and joined hands with each other to drive away Ghazanabaids from Bharat. They were prepared with a huge army for Mamud’s next expedition. But just sheer mass of unified Bharat army turned out to be enough for Mamud to lose his guts for having another round. Mamud never dared to come back.
1031 A.D. – Battle of Bahraich – Nephew of Mamud, known as Masud, wanted to make a everlasting mark in history by expanding the Caliphate, covering territories of the Ganges plain. Having the same thrust as his ancestors, he charged towards India with an army of more than 120,000 soldiers backed by the even more imperial Turk Army. After Mamud’s retreat, ghaznabaid control over the banks of Sindhu (Indus) was decaying. Masud’s first job was to restore this which he achieved successfully. Now he turned towards the same goal which his uncle, Mamud failed to achieve i.e. to islamize the central Indian region, however, he never knew what was lying ahead of him. Masud’s invasion remains as a very important chapter in Bharat history. In spite of absence of any single authoritative power, largest ever military confederation known in Indian history, was formed in this time. 17 Kings of Bharat forged an alliance to stop that joint venture of Turks and Ghaznabaids. Kings and rulers who stepped forward against islamic alliance were king Raib, king Saib, king Arjun, king Bheekhan, king Kanak, king Kalyan, king Makaru, king Savaru, king Aran, king Birbal, king Jaypal, king Shreepal, king Harpal, king Hakru, king Prabhu, king Deo Narayan and king Narsinha. King Bhoj contributed a major part of his troops and held one flank of the alliance army. Masud set up a forward base of operation at Satrikh. One plan of attack was devised and army regiments were placed in critical strategic points selected with fine precision. Once the islamic force is surrounded completely from all directions, head of Bharat confederation, king Rajbhar Suhaldev, ignited an organized ambush. As we can retrieve from the records, numerical superiority of Turk-Ghaznabaid force appeared to be of no use against that well though-out assault. At the same time, the auxiliary guard of the alliance army attacked six other secondary bases of Masud. There was no way backup could arrive for Masud, there was no escape route, no chance of switching battleground. In that battle, popularly known as Battle of Bahraich, each and every man in Masud’s camp was killed. Masud was beheaded, no prisoners of war were taken, no mercy was shown on the Turk army. Three more regiments of the Turk-Ghaznavaids were present in norther-western India. Once the annihilation of imperial Turk army in Bahraich was announced, other Bharat kings who earlier were under a peace treaty with turks, immediately seized the opportunity and turned against them. Within a very shot span, islamic presence in Bharat went down to zero. King Gangadev of Kanauj had also defeated the Ghaznabaid army on their way of retreating from Varanasi. This battle was like a utter shock to Caliphate and it took them another 160 years to form another army strong enough to invade Bharat.
No Place of Ethics in Warfare
After the failure of Arabs and Ghaznabaids, it was the Turks who held the flag of Islamic Caliphate and appeared on the other side of Hindukush. They have witnessed first success in India. But it was very often overlooked that the success of Caliphate was witnessed due to over-confidence of one Hindu king – Prithwiraj Chauhan. At first, he refused to join hands with Chalukyas during the initial invasion of Turks. Had he did that, the already battered army of Turks would not get a chance to go back. He did a huge mistake again by allowing the Turks to go back after successfully humbling them in first battle of Tarain. He was too arrogant to learn from the events of his predecessors. His outdated ethics of not chasing a fleeing enemy proved to be too fatal. The turks got enough time to re-organize themselves and come back with more power, with knowledge of strength and weakness of Prithwiraj’s army. Even in the second battle, Prithwiraj Chauhan did not concentrate all his power against the Turks, a major part of his army was busy in eastern border against the Pala-s. Some sources suggest that another battle took place in between and Prithwiraj Chauhan repeated the same mistake of letting the enemy go unharmed. This temporary fall of Rajputs allowed the invaders to pierce through the Ganges plane. However, the Turk settlement in Bharat was restricted to the city of Delhi and Bengal mostly. Modern history always tries to portray a Turk empire throughout entire Northern and Central India. But, if we look at the events of Turk rulers, we can see that they were always busy at battle with different kingdoms of Northern, Eastern and Central India, which signifies that the so-called Turk empire never managed to become anything more than a regional power in Bharat.
1180 A.D. – Prior to Ghori’s encounter with Prithwiraj Chauhan, one lesser known shameful defeat of the Turk army took place in hands of the Chalukya queen, Nayaki Devi. When Ghori entered into Bharat, he avoided any conflict with Rajputs and went for the Deccans, where the mighty Chalukyas were at their low. The official ruler of the Chalukyas was a teenager by that time, and unofficially it was his mother, Nayaki Devi. Miscalculating a woman ruler as equivalent to a weak ruler, Ghori dared to take on Chalukyas hastily. The rulers of Bharat mainland lacked the political awareness like it was present within the rulers during the Arab and Ghaznabaid invasions. Most of Nayaki Devi’s diplomatic missions failed. Still, the queen once again proved that preparation and planning are essential for war. First of all, the terrain which she chose carefully was entirely unfamiliar to Caliphate; and thus provided a crucial advantage to the defenders. The strategic counter-offensive of Chalukyas caught the islamic forces off-guard. To avoid imminent death and destruction, Ghori fled with a handful of bodyguards, whoever managed to survive. In a major part of Persian, Hindu and Jain chronicles, this glorified victory of one Hindu queen against the fearsome Turk power is highlighted with great dignity. Ghori never tried to invade the region for a second time in his lifetime.
1191 A.D. – The Great Mistake – After returning back from the edge of obvious death, Ghori tried his luck against the Rajputs. Most notable of Rajput rulers of that time was Prithwiraj Chauhan. Absence of political wisdom of those rulers becomes prominent when ruler of Kannauj denied to make alliance with Prithwiraj because of their mutual rivalry. Worse part is, ruler of Kannauj is not the only example. Prithviraj managed to unite some other smaller states to present a united front against the common enemy. Even with most of military strongholds staying out of the battle, Turk army was no match against mighty troops of Prithwiraj. Islamic forces started to flee from the battle. Ghori himself was wounded and almost captured. However, he was carried away from the battle-field by a soldier. But, there came the biggest blunder in Bharat history, – Prithwiraj allowed the Turk forces to go back unharmed, neither did he snatch away all their territory or resources.
1192 A.D. – Ghori came back one year later. Prithwiraj was confident of his supremacy over Ghori. He did not even bother before deploying two of his ablest generals along with a major chunk of his army in eastern frontiers against the Pala-s. The de-powered and isolated Prithwiraj could not make it this time. His army was defeated. Prithwiraj was captured and slain. However, some sources have another version to tell. Unlike the Bharat tradition, islamic rulers never showed any dignity towards the loser. On the contrary, they were known to treat their enemies as worse and ridiculous as possible. The king Prithwiraj was appointed as a performer in Ghori’s personal circus. Knowing Prithwiraj’s ability to shoot an arrow just by hearing the sound of the target, Ghori ordered to pluck Prithwiraj’s eyes. And then, in a public exhibition, Ghori instructed Prithwiraj to shoot an animal. But Prithwiraj Chauhan pulled out his last trump card at the very last moment. Ghori ensured that the arena maintained sufficient silence for Prithwiraj to hear the sound of the target. Utilizing this opportunity, Prithwiraj Chauhan focused his mind on Ghori’s voice (whenever he was talking) instead of the animal. When Ghori ordered to shoot, king Prithwiraj fulfilled his revenge; he targeted his arrow towards Ghori instead of the animal. Ghori faced an instant death. Prithwiraj Chauhan accepted his execution calmly.
1194 A.D. – Prithwiraj Chauhan’s defeat was an unexpected shock to Bharat civilization. It took them quite a bit of time to recover and regroup themselves. This time, the warrior who was leading the counter-strike was Kuram Devi, daughter of legendary Nayaki Devi (who defeated Ghori), and queen of Samar Singh – a direct descendant of Bappa Rawal. Just like her mother, Kuram Devi was a born leader. After Samar Singh’s death against the battle with Ghori, she sat on the throne and focused on driving away the invaders from Bharat soil. Kuram Devi led the charge from the front on horseback. She encountered islamic establishment near old Amber fort. Her army adopted a tactic of lightning-first strike and she directly went for Qutubuddin himself. Caliphate army was not accustomed to this particular style of warfare and they could not make any counter move. Qutubuddin was forced to be engaged into a duel against the queen. Kuram Devi delivered a fatal blow to Qutubuddin and buries her sword deep in his chest. Qutubuddin fell from his horse. Believing him dead, islamic army fled from the battlefield with the deadbody. With this undisputed victory, Kuram Devi managed to successfully accomplish her mission. However, in reality, Qutubuddin did not die, and he came back again. Kuram Devi’s son could not repeat the feat and lost the battle. But, Qutubuddin did not live long enough to celebrate. It is said that he fell from his horse and die from the wound; legend says that a royal horse refused to turn against his master (Kuram Devi’s son) and in turn killed Qutubuddin himself. However, real reason of Qutubuddin’s death is still unknown.
1206 A.D. – Bakhtiar Khilji (who destroyed Nalanda) was right-hand man of Qutubuddin. After capturing modern day Bengal, his next way-point was Assam. King Prithu was on the throne of Assam then. Khilji appeared on the planes of Kamarupa with 12000-man strong cavalry. In an attempt to gain strategic advantage, he wanted to capture the Assam fortress lying ahead of him. But soon the islamic troops were forced to go defensive from an offensive stance. Khilji did not expect such kind of strong and stubborn resistance. Still, he somehow managed to hold his ground. While Assamese army kept Caliphate forces busy at the border, another flank of Assam army appeared as a reinforcement. Finally accepting the fact that conquering Assam as an impossible task, Khilji ordered a retreat. But, lack of battle-strategy of Caliphate again came out in daylight when they saw that their supply lines had been cut off and there way of retreat was already been blocked. Islamic army was massacred and they ran for their lives. After a considerable part of Khilji’s troops had been destroyed, the remnants appeared on the riverside. But the bridges were also broken. It was clear that the Kingdom of Assam came up with a fullproof plan of crushing down the enemy without any mercy. Islamic forces resorted again to their dirty tactic of using Hindu respect on religious places as their shield. Rest of Khilji’s army took shelter in a temple. But the Assam King turned out to be wiser than the Sahi-s (kingdom of Kabul and Zabul). He did not bother before laying siege to the temple. In a last desperate attempt to save their heads, Turks jumped into nearby river. Almost entire army were carried away by the stream. A handful of them managed to return to their base. Khilji did not live much longer after this battle
1244 A.D. – The eastern base of Turk forces was set up in Bengal. After their eastern expedition to Assam resulted into a disaster, they focused on strengthening their settlement in Bengal. They were caught by surprise by another Bharat kingdom. King Narasimhadev I of Kalinga, was keeping a close eye on Turk activities. He understood their project of converting Bharat into a part of Caliphate empire. After fall of Rajputs, there were no major power in northern Bharat to challenge the Turks at that point of time. Narasimhadev I did not want to wait until Turks made the first move; he decided to take the battle to enemy’s backyard instead. By looking at the history, his military generals figured out that if the Muslims attacked first, then Kalinga (Odisha) would have to maneuver their army in a defensive manner and would no way decrease the Muslim threat over the years. So, they decided to go on “offense” as it is the best method of defense. Southern part of islamic Bengal got overrun by first wave of Kalinga attack. Then the king laid siege on the fort of Lakhnauti, which was strategically critical point for Delhi Sultanate, since it was the corridor between eastern provinces of sultanate with rest of Turk forces in Bharat. Once Turks retaliated, Kalinga forces made a strategic retreat until modern day Contai. While being under a false impression of successfully driving back Kalinga forces from islamic territory, Caliphate army fell in the trap of Narasimhadev I. At the frontier of Katasin (Contai), Kalinga forces already had dug trenches and other military bunkers. While Turks had no idea about what Kalingas were about to do, Narasimhadev I unleashed the final bait to lure the turks within point blank range. A small part of his force was deliberately sent back to Kalinga (and making sure that Turks saw the army retreating). Believing that they had won the battle, Turks called it a day and decided to have their meals. Then suddenly, Kalinga forces came out from the pre-built hideouts. The unprepared Turks found themselves surrounded from all directions. Sadly for them, the Eastern Bharat kingdoms were not as ethical as Rajputs. Turks never got a chance to pick up their weapons. What happened afterwards has been recorded in the inscription of Ananta Vasudeva temple – the water of the Ganges was blackened by the blood of Turk soldiers. Later, Kalinga forces again attacked the fort of Lakhnauti. This time, the strategy changed and a battle ensued in open ground. Turks were no match for Kalinga troops and they called for reinforcements from Delhi. It’s unclear what happened once the backup forces arrived, but Turks had suffered heavy losses which is synonymous for a defeat. It is said that Kalinga pushed the Turks back as far as the banks of Padma river. This aggressive stance of Kalinga proved to be fruitful because there is no record for even one islamic invasion in Kalinga territory for almost 100 years afterwards.
1248 A.D. – 1253 A.D. – We only know about that one battle between Turks and Rajputs where Ghori somehow managed to breach Prithwiraj Chauhan’s defence. Complete omission any subsequent mentioning of Rajputs give us a false impression that Rajputs surrendered before Turk empire after second battle of Tarain. Needless to mention, it is just the opposite of the truth. The series of battles against invaders which started with Kuram Devi, lasted until the takeover of British. Whenever some specific Rajput province fell against the Turk force, some other province continued the opposition. Had it not been because of lack of unity, united Rajput clan would have become far more superior power and dominating force in entire Northern and Western Bharat. Border re-designs between Rajputs and Turks never came to a standstill. The battles were so fierce that Turk empire used to engage a significant part of their army against Rajputs all the time. In 1236, during the reign of much-discussed Razia (or Rizia), Raputs retook control of fort of Ranthambhore which was in a crucial geographic position. Turks left no effort unspent to restore their dominion in that region. Even after a decade, Turks did not see any success. Within a span of only 5 years, at least two major invasion was successfully thrashed by king Bhagabata Chauhan.
1303 A.D. – Real Story of Padmavati – It is true that, Turks were the first of all foreign forces to have ever managed to enter Bharat. But, even before their celebration begins, they soon understood that powers like Nayaki Devi or Prithwiraj Chauhan were just the tip of iceberg. Their fear came true when it became evident that it was quite impossible for any foreign force to rule entire subcontinent. Though Turks were lucky to somehow take advantage of pride of Prithwiraj Chauhan and subdue majority of Ganges plane, both intensity and frequency of retaliations from indigenous kingdoms were on the rise. Turk army in the subcontinent were never able to leave battlefield any single day. In the western front, there was no short of effort spent from Rajputs. In one such instance, Alauddin Khilji tricked the king of Mewar, Rana Ratan Singh, to appear for a discussion but when he arrived, Khilji held him captive and demanded ransom (including women) from Rajputs. (The story of Alauddin Khilji requesting to see Queen Padmini and Rajputs allowing him to see her through mirror is a shameless myth that originated from Padmavat – a poem by Malik Muhammad Jayasi.) Rajputs seemingly agreed to send their women in palanquins. Palanquins arrived to Khilji as expected. Suddenly something happened for which even a treacherous person like Khilji was not prepared for. Rajput warriors came out under the camouflage of female outfit. Rajputs paid back Turks with their own coin. Khilji’s regiment was butchered, Rana Ratan Singh was rescued. It is said that Khilji was allowed to go back in one piece only after adhering to Rajput’s demand of begging naked to Queen Padmavati. One almost similar kind of tale has been told by Rabindranath Tagore in one of his poem.
1325 A.D. – 1328 A.D. – The Deccan Diaries – The legendary Chalukyas guarded the Deccans against the islamic invaders for almost 600 years. But, after 12th century, they started to become weaker gradually. This intermediate vacuum in southern Bharat opened the gateway for Turks to flood in. The comparatively smaller states usually were not wise enough to create a united resistance. History textbooks does not leave any sort of effort unspent to describe how quickly Turk Sultanate was able to subdue the Hoysalas and Kakatiyas. But, we never get any mentioning about the fact that Tuglaq only won one battle; actual war started afterwards when the indigenous kingdoms ultimately understood the upcoming danger of Turk empire and decided to join forces. The extraordinary aspect of this decade-long test of power was that, the comparatively smaller Bharat kingdoms chose to trade blows with mighty Turk empire even when a mere tribute was enough to guarantee their survival. If we study the Bharat tradition very carefully, we will see that this kind of ‘Battle for Honour‘ is not uncommon in Bharat culture. The payback started no more than two years after Caliphate’s temporary success. It all begun when Pralaya Verma Reddy, one not-so-popular king, made a move against invaders. He made alliance with one successor of Hoysala dynasty, Pralaya Nayaka. Their joint expedition was able to restore the East coastal region (modern day Andhra) very soon.
1329 A.D. – The indomitable revival of Bharat forces on Eastern ghat spread very quickly to the western shores. Foremost leader of them, Veera Ballabha III, was an excellent strategist. He understood that another wave of islamic invasion was inevitable. He accurately analyzed crucial points to set up defensive fortifications. To deal with islamic threat in dual fronts – Delhi sultanate in north and Madurai sultanate in south, he appointed two of his most recognized generals, Harihara and Bukka (the same persons who were the founders of Vijaynagara empire) along the northern border to seal the boundary. And he himself focused on the southern frontier. As part of preparing the necessary infrastructure for upcoming battle, he established three different capitals in his kingdom – Dwarasamudra, Hosapattana and Thirubantamalai. Particularly the capital of Thirubanantamalai was set up to gain strategic advantage, since it was located on the connecting link between two sultanates. This particular defensive built-up proved to be enough to halt islamic progress for approximately 15 years.
1331 A.D. – 1333 A.D. – The Strike on Madurai Sultanate – The other Bharat power here was the remnants of the Chalukyas under leadership of king Somdeva. This time ,an alliance was formed between four Bharat warrior clans of southern region – Chalukyas, Hoysalas, Kakatiyas and the Reddis. As part of their grand plan, king Somdeva initiated a military offensive against the islamic power. One attentive study of Somdeva’s campaign reveals that he, along with his allies, managed to bring down islamic power into an insignificant one in southern Bharat by just one clean sweep. At first, Rayalseema region was freed within weeks. One lightning strike at Satanikota destroyed the Turk garrison there. Then he cut off the supply line of Turk army at Kurnool region. Since Tuglaq was also struggling against northern Bharat forces during this period, southern sultanate did not have an answer to this aggressive military action by allied troops of Bharat kingdoms. Turk occupied forts in the doab of Krishna and Tungabhadra fell one after another without much resistance. Another islamic stronghold of Raichur offered stiff opposition. But, at the end, king Somdeva defeated the Turk army most brutally. It is said that the decapitated head of Turk governor was offered as a sacrifice in a temple. On his way back to Kurnool, his army met with main army of Madurai sultanate. However, rest of allied troops surrounded the Sultanate from behind. Entire islamic force of southern sultanate was wiped out after this campaign.
1333 A.D. – Among a very long list of struggles of islamic leaders against Rajputs, one glorious victory of one Bharat kingdom against invaders often goes overlooked. During the reign of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq, the Caliphate wanted to expand through northern region of Bharat. At the foothills of Himalayas, there lied one comparatively smaller yet powerful kingdom – The Katoch. Legend says that the Katoch kingdom were the rulers of Kangra from the times of Mahabharata(Trigarta) till the pre-independence era. Tughlaq aimed a victory over China with his 1,00,000 man strong army. He did not take into consideration the resistance that might be offered by one smaller state of Bharat. However, he forgot that geography plays a very important role in turning the tide of a battle. Tughlaq brought a huge army – that is true, but in a region of steep hills and a freezing temperature, the best strategy is to rely on agility and speed while attacking your enemy. That is what Katoch forces actually did. Islamic army could not get the number advantage in the narrow passes of Himalayas, which is approximately 5000 meters above sea level. The clueless mammoth army of Tughlaq could not stand against frequent and consistent attacks. The Katoch kingdom not only managed to defeat an enemy at least 10 times stronger than them, but their victory was also so astounding that only 11 members of Tughlaq army were able to go back.
1335 A.D. – Dual thrashing in northen and southern Bharat had made Tuglaq very desperate. His stubbornness to restore Caliphate’s control in entire Deccan only increased exponentially. He brought his whole army in his secondary capital at Daulatabad. The Bharat alliance did not go into a direct military conflict. To prepare the ground to take back lost territories, the biggest obstacle was the presence of royal Turk army in the plateaus. Again, the military brilliance of Bharat masterminds proved to be unmatched when the Bharat alliance initiate a bio-warfare. Entire royal army of the Turks got decimated and Tuglaq was forced to leave. This absence of islamic force not only diminished islamic power in that region, but also brought back stability for quite a long time. This preliminary phase was essential to reinforce Bharat resistance and to be prepared for any subsequent invasion. The last islamic stronghold in southern Bharat, Warangal was taken back by indigenous rulers post this period. Reddi kingdom was restored in this region.
1333 A.D. – 1336 A.D. – Pride of Delhi Sultanate avenged to Dust – The legendary Rajputs very often fall prey to a mockery of not being able to win even a single battle. Entire credit for this misconception goes to the twisted portrayal of Rajputs by mainstream historians. While characterizing a Rajput warrior, almost none of entertainment media (novels, movies, theaters etc.) is able to come out of a stereotyped overly-ethical idealistic tragic hero. Since this depiction closely matches with the personality of Prithwiraj Chauhan, he appears to become the standardized illustration of an entire clan. But, if we start looking into our own historical records, we can see that such kind of diplomatic and strategic blunders like Prithwiraj Chauhan is really very rare among Rajput kings. On the contrary, they will easily find their place among the topmost deadly warrior clans of the world. Even if we exclude the factors of bravery and valor, they were no less than their contemporaries in terms of other parameters. There are numerous examples in medieval Bharat where the Rajput kingdoms managed to stay out of the reach of islamic rulers, against all odds. Prithwiraj Chauhan’s defeat worked like a booster to the Caliphate – that’s true, but there were no short of Rajput daredevils who did not restrain from continuing their effort to drive back the invaders. One lesser known such brave-heart, Rana Hammir, managed to shake the Turk base in the subcontinent. Starting from his teen-age, Rana Hammir focused on only this objective. Slowly but steadily, he managed to build up a united force. Sensing a strong opposition, Tuglaq made a move against him. Even being outnumbered by a proportion of four to one, Rana Hammir knew one doctrine of war, which, had his ancestors actually cared to know, could have resisted Caliphate from ever returning into Bharat. The doctrine is popularly known as : “The objective of a war, is to not die for the country, but to make the other man die for his“. Rana Hammir caught the Turk force by surprise when a small regiment attacked the base camp at midnight. That Turk army base turned into a slaughterhouse. Needless to say that the Bharat forces came out victorious of that battle. But the historical event which took place that night, was that, the ruler of the Turk empire, Muhammad-bin-Tuglaq became a prisoner of Rana Hammir. Rana Hammir decided to let Tuglaq go free after a short prison term instead of killing him. Consequence of this action was far-stretched. Islamic power in Bharat lost all their dignity and self-esteem. Post this period, though there was instances of islamic territories here and there, lack of any central formidable Caliphate force was evident.
1336 A.D. – Rise of Vijayanagar– After Rana Hammir’s decisive victory over Turk empire, islam was again on decline in Bharat mainland. Rajputs started to become dominating power in northern Bharat again. Regional Turk garrisons somehow managed to maintain their existence, but they lost all their influence. On the Eastern part, Kalinga and Assamese empires also emerged as sovereign powers throughout the islamic rule. After the united campaign of Munsuris, Reddis, Chalukyas and Kakatiyas, southern Bharat also witnessed a rise of native forces. This period of Indian history can be marked as an outstanding chapter, since all the different native kingdoms of Deccans got dissolved gradually and one unified empire rose from the debris of war – The Vijayanagar. The factor what made Vijayanagar so special that this empire managed to integrate a handful of Bharat native clans to stand against the invaders. Significance of rise of Vijayanagar lies in the fact that unlike the alliance in Battle of Rajasthan or Battle of Bahraich, Vijayanagar was not just a temporary coalition; this empire was built based on a long-term goal. It took a long waiting of centuries after the golden days of Mauryas or the Guptas, for another attempt of unification coming into political picture of Bharat.
1346 A.D. – 1356 A.D. – Though the southern Bharat alliance restored the Deccans from islamization, the leaders again made a grave mistake – after defeating Madurai sultanate, they did not finish it off. After their departure, islamic power again started to strengthen its foothold in this area. Initial decade of Vijayanagar kings was spent to bring indigenous powers of southern Bharat within one umbrella. Once the base of the future empire was solidified, the king, Harihara I, took up the task of putting an end to the only islamic presence in Southern Bharat. Though his campaign saw an undisputed success, islamic force was yet to be uprooted.
1356 A.D. – 1361 A.D. – Another islamic threat was on the rise along north-western regions of the Deccans. The Bahmanis, in spite of being a separate state, used to co-ordinate their attacks along with Madurai sultanate to establish Caliphate power here. To counter this joint offensive, Vijaynagar kings decided to make alliance with the Nayaka-s (on Eastern shore). During 1356-1357, one major invasion from the Bahmani-s were successfully beaten off by Vijayanagar. Although the treasury of the Bahmani-s were almost empty because of continuous conflicts, as a last attempt, they again tried to attack Vijaynagar in 1361. Bahmani-s made a non-aggression deal with islamic power in nothern Bharat. Then they all focused their power against Vijayanagar. The alliance of Bukka I and Kapaya Nayaka created two fronts against Bahmani-s. Victory was decisive for the Bharat alliance. Bahmani-s had to agree to all the conditions to save themselves from any counter-invasion. This peace treaty enabled Vijayanagar to push their border further.
1370 A.D. – 1378 A.D. – The End of Madurai Sultanate – Successive king of Vijayanagar, Bukka I, did not repeat the same mistake of leaving his battered enemy alone. He restarted military campaign against Madurai sultanate. He appointed this task to his son, Kampana. In 1370, Vijaynagar army met their enemy in at Samayavaram. They gained an easy victory there. Same feat was repeated in Kannaur-Kuppam. In 1371, the conflict near Madurai resulted in death of Madurai sultan. Even after that, sultan’s successors did not give up. Vijayanagar army continued their pressure on islamic provinces. At last, after slow but steady procedure of annexation of islamic territories, in 1378, officially Vijayanagar declared takeover of the sultanate.
1398 A.D. – The End of Taimur-Len and his Holy War – The medieval history of Asia was infamous for one tyrannic conqueror – Taimur Len. His army used to be feared throughout Asia, Africa and Europe. Though his brutality and victory marches surprisingly make a significant portion of our history study, little is known about his catastrophic failure in Bharat campaign. After a easy victory over spineless islamic ruler of Delhi, Taimur went on to commit a mass genocide there (100000+ body count). Probably Taimur did not care to take into consideration the power of native warriors. The ruthless killing of innocent civilians ignited the flame. Almost after four centuries of glorious victory at the battle of Bahraich, another unified resistance was on the rise under leadership of Jograj Singh Pawar. While Taimur was busy celebrating his demonic massacre over Delhi citizens, Bharat alliance carried out one preemptive strike. Almost 9000 of Taimur’s soldiers were killed and corpses swept away by Yamuna. Taimur quickly recovered from the shock and proceeded towards Meerut with a 100000-men strong army. But they had to face direct war at day, guerrilla attacks at night and frequent sieges on supplies. At Jawalpur (modern-day), one regiment of Bharat alliance under Harbir Singh Gulia attacked Taimur’s troops. The conflict not only resulted in destruction of 5000 cavalry, Taimur also was wounded badly. Taimur-Len and his army continued to take damages as they proceeded towards Ganges. During one such guerrilla attack at one jungle surrounding Haridwar, another 2000 men of Taimur’s army was destroyed. At the banks of Ganges, Taimur faced his most horrible days of life; the battle was so savage that he could never imagine. Not being able to withstand the bloodbath, Taimur lost his stomach to fight. Even on Taimur’s way of retreat, Bharat army continued the onslaught. Almost 2/3 rd of Taimur’s army was destroyed (approx. 160000) and thus began the destruction of his ‘Holy Empire’.
1414 A.D. – Bengal was under islamic rule for almost a long 200 years. Gradually, to deal with native rulers of surrounding area, islamic kings started appointing local Hindus in the administration. One such person, Raja Ganesha, a direct descendant of the Deva dynasty of Bengal, was working behind the scenes restlessly to manipulate internal affairs of Bengal sultanate. Gradually, as mentioned with utmost hatred in islamic accounts, Ganesha brought the treasury under his control and then recaptured the throne of Bengal. It appears that he killed the sultan of Bengal, Shihabuddin. Islamic lobby in Bengal called for backup to the sultan of Jaunpur, Ibrahim Shah. It is not clear what was the outcome of Ibrahim’s battle against Ganesha. Some accounts mention a straightaway defeat for Ibrahim. Some mention that king Ganesha formed an alliance with kingdom of Mithila (king Sivasimha). Whatever may the details be, the battle resulted in a victory in favor of King Ganesha, because otherwise islamic dominion would have been returned there. Though king Ganesha’s rule lasted only for 3-4 years, this phase is critical in Bharat history because it was the first instance of Hindu uprising in Bengal deltas.
1437 A.D. – 1446 A.D. – After crushing defeat in hands of Rana Hammir, Turk establishment in Bharat was divided into local territories. Each one of them was too busy to maintain their existence against neighboring native Bharat states. Just like how southern sultanates were struggling against Vijayanagar or Eastern sultanates were under threat of Kalinga, western sultanates also had to deal with the Rajputs. Ruler of one such islamic state, Mandavgad (or Mandu) went on to interfere into internal affairs of Rajputs. As a result, Rana Kumbha declared war against him. In spite of repeated appeal, none of bordering sultanates agreed to help him against frightening force of Rana Kumbha. The armies met at Mandavgad. After a severe engagement, the Sultanate army could not withstand any longer and started to flee from battleground. Sultan himself fled to safe refuge of his fort of Mandu. Rana’s army followed up and laid siege to Mandu. Sultan was held captive and brought back to Chittor. Mandavgad sultanate again came back 5 years later and met with Rana Kumbha in Mandalgarh. After a fierce battle, again sultanate had to retreat. Again in 1446 A.D., the sultanate attacked Rana Kumbha’s territory, but the result was still the same. Mandavgad sultanate was left powerless after all these series of bloody battles.
1447 A.D. – King Ganesha’s short term rule saw an islamic retreat in Bengal. But after his death, islamic lobby managed to retake the hold of the throne with the use of treachery and conversion. Unfortunately for them, they were restricted by boundaries of two very powerful Bharat kingdoms in East and South. In the East there was the powerful armies of Assam, in South, there was Kalinga. When king Kapilendra Deva became the ruler of Kalinga in 1435, the first thing he focused on was reinforcing his military. Sultanate of Bengal saw a window of attack against Kalinga when Kapilendra Deva was busy against Reddi-s. Upon receiving the news of islamic threat on northern border, Kapilendra Deva immediately ordered a ceasefire on southern front and returned to take care of islamists. The battle that ensued proved to be too fatal for Bengal sultanate. Kapilendra Deva managed to capture up to Gauda region.
1455 A.D. – 1456 A.D. – After demolishing Mandavgad sultanate, Rana Kumbha turned towards Nagaur sultanate. Death of then ruler of Nagaur created a temporary vacancy and Rana Kumbha quickly grabbed this opportunity to make a move. With a delicate combination of power and diplomacy, he managed to gain control over the throne of Nagaur. However, his stooge later turned against him. Rana Kumbha took no chance and stormed Nagaur. It took no time for annexation of Nagaur. An ally of Nagaur, Gujrat sultanate appeared to take back the territory. Rana Kumbha drew the enemy in, to his home-ground and inflicted a disastrous damage. Gujrat sultanate army was almost annihilated.
1458 A.D. – 1459 A.D. – Just like last couple of decades, this time period also saw comeback of Bharat kingdoms against Turk power throughout Bharat landmass – Vijayanagar in South, Rajputs in West and Kalinga in East. Around 1458, Bahmani sultanate initiated an attempt of annexation of Deverkonda. Deverkonda ruler was aware of imminent defeat and called for help to Kapilendra Deva of Kalinga. Kalinga kingdom immediately came to their aid and stood firm against Bahmani army. Bahmani troops did not have any chance against the joint forces, they had to retreat.
1462 A.D. – 1463 A.D. – We have heard much about Vijayanagar vs Bahmani conflicts. But very few of us are actually aware of campaigns against Bahmanis carried out by invincible Kapilendra Deva. Bahmani started to feel the heat four years after the defeat against allied force of Kalinga and Deverkonda. Kapilendra Deva, aided by Bellama chiefs, assembled a huge and powerful army to invade the islamic stronghold in Deccans. Bahmani was unable to make any resistance. Just when Bahmani sultanate was on the verge of submission, neighboring sultanate of Jaunpur attacked Kalinga from north. Kapilendra Deva had to step back temporarily to deal with that new threat. Jaunpur was absolutely of no match against that Bharat powerhouse. Arab chronicler, Ferishta tries very hard to make an impossible claim that Kapilendra Deva had to pay a ransom against Bahmani but it does not make any sense when validated against reality. Not only that, successive invasion from Kalinga resulted in fall of Bidar, then capital of Bahmani. This battle against Kalinga weakened Bahmani so much that few years later, it ceased to exist anymore.
1492 A.D. – After the fall of Tuglaq dynasty, it was getting clearer day by day that elimination of Turk power in Bharat was just a matter of time. Regional islamic states were struggling against Bharat kingdoms. Being unable to get an upper-hand on military power of Bharat kings, Turks tried to create imbalance on sociological stability. Frequent attacks on innocent civilians became a common thing. Destruction of records prohibits us from retrieving exact details of all those events. Obviously, when our biased history successfully distorts the details of major battles, all those minor events are expected to be omitted. One such forgotten hero appears to be Rao Satal. In order to save hundreds of women from Turk army, Rao Satal launched a campaign quickly. Turk battalion was destroyed. Although Rao Satal himself could not recover from his wounds.
1509 A.D. – 1511 A.D. – The Caliphate’s attempts to re-establish islamic supremacy in the Deccan were continuously being challenged mostly because of presence of two major Bharat powers – Kalinga and Vijayanagar. After the decisive defeat against Kapilendra Deva, we do not see any significant Bahmani effort against Kalinga. Instead they introduced frequent plundering and looting of provinces within Vijayanagar empire. During this period, throne of Vijayanagar was assumed by Krishnadevaraya, who is considered as greatest ruler of that empire. One very important trait possessed by him, along with many others, was his military excellence. Extent of his military success can only be compared with one of his contemporaries, the invincible Kapilendra Deva. Krishnadevaraya’s first job what he did after ascending the throne, was to put an end to that frequent ravaging carried out by Bahmanis. He utilized his espionage and scouting division to identify potential spawning locations of Bahmani generals. This proved to be too critical to narrow down the lock-in zone. Finally, Bahamanis gathered in Bidar and were about to start their marauding. But to their surprise, Vijayanagar was ready that time. In Diwani, a decisive battle was fought resulting in undisputed and bull-dozing victory for Vijayanagar. Bijapur, Bidar and Gulbarga was annexed into Vijayanagar. Islamic governor of Golkonda province was defeated too. Bahmani sultan himself was seriously injured. In a fierce battle with the retreating army near Kovilkonda, once again Krishnadevaraya emerged victorious and annexed that region also.
1518 A.D. – Rana Kumbha had started the demolition of neighboring sultanates. His successors also shared the same expansionist view. His grandson, Sangram Singh, popularly known as Rana Sanga, achieved notable success in uniting the Rajputs again after a long time. During his reign, Turk rulers in Ganges plane were under constant threat. During one such event, then ruler, Ibrahim Lodi, prepared an army against Rajputs. Royal Turk army managed to endure heats of that battle no more than five hours. Lodi himself left battlefield to save life. One Turk prince was held captive, who, later was released against a huge ransom.
1519 A.D. – This year proved to be crucial in determining the establishment of Bharat supremacy finally against Turk force. Rajputs under leadership of Rana Sanga faced a simultaneous threat from all three powerful neighboring sultanates. In the front of Gagron, they faced a confederation of Gujrat and Malwa sultanate. Turks were well known for their cavalry. But, the Bharat forces also proved to be coping up with changes in styles of warfare. Rajput cavalry, with a swift and surgical attack, tore through the ranks of Gujrat sultanate. That lefts only the Malwa army in the ground. Malwa was not less intimidating, but with early destruction of their ally, they did not have a chance to stand against Rajputs. Sultan of Gujrat was taken as a prisoner. On second frontier of Dholpur, Ibrahim Lodi attacked Rajput troops. Lodi brought a gigantic military with him this time, to avenge his earlier defeat. Again, Rana Sanga depended on speed and agility to deal with a comparatively numerically superior enemy. Lodi was defeated a second time. Boundaries of Rajput territory expanded in both directions. As a result, both Gujrat and Malwa sultanates existed only by name. Lodi’s power also diminished to a great extent.
1520 A.D. – Turk forces tried to rise again in Gujrat sultanate within one year. The news reached to Rana Sanga within no time. He called for an ultimate war again Gujrat sultanate and assembled all his allies within the region. When Rana Sanga apeared at Idar, instead of facing his army, Nizam-ul-Mulk retreated to Ahmednagar. Rajputs re-captured Idar without much effort. But Rana Sanga went on with his invasion and reached Ahmednagar. Though islamic troops did make a resistance, again Nizam fled towards Ahmedabad. At Ahmedabad, reinforcements arrived for Nizam and he prepared a defensive garrison. But Rajputs came out on the top of conflict and Ahmedmagar. Gujrat sultanate finally fell before Rajputs.
1520 A.D. – Battle of Raichur – One of most memorable battles in medieval Bharat is the Battle of Raichur. For the first time since the Turk invasion, traditional Bharat style of putting a mammoth army in the battleground returned into reality. Usually, in early medieval times, heavily armored cavalry and elephants were put forward to bull-doze the enemy. With progress in time, quick attacks and hit-n-run techniques started to become prevailing strategies. For the same reason, usually none of parties involved in a warfare thought about deploying lakhs of soldiers in battle anymore. But, one of greatest military geniuses in medieval Bharat, Krishnadevaraya thought otherwise. In an attempt to hit a fatal blow on deccan sultanates, he brought out his full potential. Sources tell that size of his army will easily reach a head-count of 7,50,000; while not taking into account his ~50,000 scouts and spies. Not only that, he made commercial relations with Portuguese colony and hired Portuguese musketeers and arquebuses. Bijapur’s 1,40,000-men strong army was totally dwarfed by this gigantic Bharat force. One advantage that the sultanate possessed was superior firepower. Vijayanagar initiated the attack and hit the middle of Bijapur ranks. To recover from initial thrust, Bijapur sultan ordered extensive bombardment with all his cannons. It forced Vijayanagar army to retreat temporarily. Bijapur cavalry chased back first line of Vijayanagar ranks for over a mile where the second line of Vijayanagar forces were standing by. That extraordinary military arrangement absorbed that strike. Second push by Vijayanagar came out to be too much for Bijapur sultanate. The army was scattered, generals were killed, Vijayanagar army crossed the river and laid siege on Raichur fort. Portuguese arquebuses picked up defenders from fort’s wall which eased up the task of capturing the fort. After the fort was owned, Krishnadevaraya went ahead further and a bloodbath occurred in Sultan’s camp. Bijapur sultanate was annexed by Vijayanagar. This crushing victory spread throughout Bharat very soon. The tales had such a lasting impact that Babur did not dare to attack southern Bharat.
Going by the narrative of mainstream historians, the notion of existence of century-long Turk empire in Bharat seems to be a over-stretch. First of all, Turk rulers could not settle beyond the Ganges plain. In spite of Turk victory over Prithwiraj Chauhan, Rajputs did not bow down and they came back even stronger than before. In Eastern front, Assam and Kalinga kingdoms stopped their progress. In Southern Bharat, Turk expedition met temporary success but it did not last long. Not only that, even this regional province in Northern plains ceased to exist after one and a half century and it broke down into smaller independent territories, most of whom failed to maintain their sovereignty against Bharat states. It is too sad that then Bharat kingdoms could not put aside their internal differences and initiate a coordinated campaign to chase back the invaders. But a careful study of political landscape during that period discloses that Turk foundation was on the verge of complete destruction. Had the Bharat kingdoms (i.e. Rajputs, Kalinga, Vijaynagar, Reddis etc.) possessed same type of political awareness like their predecessor of the era of Arab Caliphate, probably for third time in a row, entire Bharat would have got rid of islam.
While the Turk territories in Bharat were being squeezed from all directions by Bharat kingdoms, next wave of islamic invasion appeared in the north-western border. Those invaders from central asia, usually referred as ‘Mughals’ in educational books on history in modern India, had their heritage linked with the Turks. Studies on Asian anthropology do not reveal any particular tribe or community which can be termed as “Mughals”. In spite of very close similarity with pronunciation of the word “Mongols”, so-called Mughals had very little to no connection with them. Even in history syllabus in other countries, we cannot find any mentioning about Mughals. Lack of explanation about origin of the word “Mughal”, let us conclude that it was actually second Turk invasion in Bharat. Whatever the nationality of those invaders was, biased history of Bharat textbooks attaches a badge of golden-era to those uncivilized vandals. Credit for everything extraordinary those were ever achieved in Bharat, starting from architecture to arts, science to economy, ultimately goes entirely or partially to those looters, in spite of lack of even slightest evidence. While this strange mindset of Bharat historians is yet to be understood, a detailed research quite easily brings out that Mughals were no better than the ancient Huns whose primary objective was to plunder. But, on the contrary of overrated glorification, they even did not succeed. That great Mughal rule was actually a Rajput-Mughal joint venture. The last one of them, Aurangzeb, was too over-confident and he went on with the illusion of islamization of Bharat. As a result, they met the same fate as previous islamic rulers and were badly beaten up by indigenous kingdoms. At the end, we see that Bharat forces (Marathas, Rajputs, Jats, Sikhs etc.) gradually becoming dominating ones. The only reason all lost territories could not be recovered was the arrival of multitude of European forces in Bharat mainland, which changed the political landscape to a great extent. In other words, British rule actually saved existence of islam in Bharat.
1556 A.D.– Babur was able to set up a foothold through several holocausts, which obviously are deliberately ignored by history textbooks. But, as mentioned earlier, he did not dare to invade Deccans yet, because of presence of strong kingdoms like Vijayanagar or Kalinga. Though Rana Sanga faced his only defeate at first battle of Panipat, Rajputs were also trying to pull everything back together. Other Bharat warrior clans were on the process of regrouping themselves too. During reign of Babur’s son, Humayun, one tug-of-war started between Mughals and the Turk-Afghans for power of Delhi. While all these chaos were going on, slowly and silently, one Bharat warrior, disguised as a commander general, was building up his own army. When the time came, he began his campaign. He was on a mission to subdue the rebellions against the Turk-Afghan ruler, Sher Shah. He was doing that happily and with great enthusiasm, but his goal was not carrying the Turk flag of victory. His hidden agenda was to free Bharat land from both Turk and Mughal invaders. While he was defeating the rebels, he did not forget to establish his personal control over administration, treasury and army on those provinces. While he was in Bengal, a vacuum of power were seen at Delhi. This was the moment he was waiting for; now he returned towards Delhi. On his way through today’s Bihar, Uttar Pardesh, Madhya Pradesh, he is said to win 22 battles. His battle experience was so excellent that in almost all his enemies could not even finish the battle. On some occasions, Mughal commanders left their positions simply after hearing about his incoming. At Tuglaqabad, he declared one final battle against royal Mughal army. With over 50,000+ strong army, he, at first launched a fake attack on his enemies and quickly retreated. While his enemy thought that they had won and brought down their defense, then he ordered for actual attack. Mughals did not have any alternate plan and they fled the battlefield. He declared himself as the emperor. Probably you are wondering who might this legendary warrior be. Yes, he is almost forgotten today, his name is Hemchandra Vikramaditya.
1565 A.D. – Bengal was not a Walk-Over – After the reign of King Ganesha, although islamic rule was restored in Bengal, Bharat warriors did not give up. Gradually, sensing the increasing power of Bharat kings, islamic rulers decided to maintain peace with them in Eastern Bharat. But things were changing. Strategies were on their way to throw out the invaders. King Rudranarayan, one almost forgotten such hero, finally made a move. Slowly but steadily, he brought south-western Bengal within his rule. Then, he made alliance with Kingdoms of Kalinga, Bihar (modern day) and other indigenous kings of Bengal. This strategy to make alliance with Kalinga was a masterstroke, because Kalinga was already within a non-aggression treaty with Mughals; thus he ruled out the possibility of another Mughal army coming into Turks’ aid. After the diplomatic missions had been successfully carried out, he declared war against the islamic provinces of Bengal. The armies met in the battle of Tribeni, under general Rajib Lochan Roy. The result was decisive and islamic party was entirely destroyed in that battle. It is really unfortunate that today’s youth do not get a chance to know about this glorious history of Bengal.
1603 A.D. – During late sixteenth century, islamic garrisons in Bengal started facing rising power of native kingdoms. Smaller and less powerful leaders started to collaborate with each other and stronger unions were formed. Those kingdoms used to show enough power to hold their ground against twofold invasion from two different imperial powers – Turks and Mughals. One such kingdom, Bhurishrestha, usually maintained a neutral stance in case of rivalry between two branches of islamic army. But, diplomacy alone never was enough to maintain peace. King Rudranarayan and his coalition defeated the invaders and stopped the invasions for few decades. But the Turks returned with newly built army. His wife and then queen of Bhurishrestha, Queen Bhabashankari, had extensive intellect and training in military and administrative tactics. Being afraid by her rising power, neighboring Turks carried out a surgical strike to capture the queen. But this type of sabotages were something she could foresee. She used to recruit army personnel from each and every layer of society, irrespective of caste, which was something rare those days. Her point of view proved its effectiveness when her spies informed the royal guards about the Turk infiltration much ahead. Not only that, over-glorified Turk forces failed to endure the swords of a handful of female bodyguards of the queen. Once the main army of queen joined the battle, the Turks abandoned their mission. Most of them were killed. Their leader, Osman Khan, fled under disguise.
1603 A.D. – 1604 A.D. – After the initial sneak attack failed, Turks quickly prepared for a full-fledged direct war. They already had a spy within Queen Bhabashankari‘s ranks. Turk strategy was to launch an internal treachery in parallel to external invasion. But, the robustness of the queen’s administration was again proved itself when the internal policing network preempted the plan and took countermeasures. Along with queen’s elite female battalion, three more divisions were dispatched from Chhaunapur, Basdingagarh and Laskardanga. As reserve forces, her royal advisors quickly assembled a standby regiment out of locals. Commander of fort at Pendo led two regiments with him to intercept the renegade battalion, who were in their way to provide aid to Turks. All these were carried out so fluently that the invaders could not get even a slightest hint. The traitors were stopped before even taking a single step. Remaining four divisions made entrenchment at Bashuri. When Turk army arrived, they found themselves surrounded from three directions. Being in a disadvantageous position by both strategically and numerically, Turks definitely had no chance. They again failed in their mission. Queen Bhabashankari’s fame reached to Mughal court in Delhi. Hearing about all those battles, Mughals also did not dare to increase tension with her kingdom. Probably the name of queen Bhabashankari is not quite common now-a-days, but the title she received, “Ray-Baghini”, is used even today to indicate female empowerment.
1640 A.D. – Shah Jahan, attacked the Garwhal region after the death of their King. Rani Karnavati. Rani Karnavati was a titan of Military tactics. She instructed her commander to build hurdles on the route from where the Mughal army was marching. On every mile, the Mughal army has to cross a wall of stones and fallen trees. It not only wasted their time and energy but also distributed them in small troops. On the other side the Garhwal soldiers attacked them in the speed of thunder and after the attack, they used to hide quickly. Soon the monsoon season got started and the rain worsened the situation, the nights became ghosts for the Mughal soldiers and a few days journey seemed like a never-ending gradient. Some of Mughal Army died, some fled from the war zone to save their life and some jumped into the river Alaknanda and drowned in the river eventually. As per the orders of Rani Karnavati the remaining Mughal army soldiers were captured by the Garhwal army as and their noses were cut off – a parmanent mark of the defeat.
1621 A.D. – 1700 A.D. – Sikhs began to become united against the Mughal army. 9 – 10 battles were fought between Mughals and Sikhs (under the leadership of Guru Hargobind and Guru Govind Singh). Every time, Mughals suffered heavy loss.
1659 A.D. – Rise of Hindu Empire: Chhatrapati Shivaji – Accounts vary on whether Chhatrapati Shivaji or Afzal Khan struck the first blow. Maratha chronicles accuse Afzal Khan of treachery, while Persian-language records attribute the treachery to Shivaji. In the fight, Afzal Khan’s dagger was stopped by Shivaji’s armour, and Shivaji’s weapons inflicted mortal wounds on the general; Shivaji then fired a cannon to signal his hidden troops to attack the Bijapuri army. In the ensuing Battle of Pratapgarh, Chhatrapati Shivaji’s forces decisively defeated the Bijapur Sultanate’s forces. More than 3,000 soldiers of the Bijapur army were killed.
1671 A.D. – The Battle of Saraighat was fought between the smaller Ahom army led by Lachit Borphukan and the greater Mughal army, under the rule of Emperor Aurangzeb. Combining his incredible tactical knowledge, guerilla warfare and intelligence gathering, Lachit Borphukan led a downstream expedition on the Brahmaputra, to take back a captured Guwahati. It is said that Mughals were defeated 17 times by Ahom. The last time they were so badly and irreversibly defeated that they never dared to turn towards North East again during their rule.
1672 A.D. – Sardar Moropant Pingle and along with his army of 15,000 captured the Mughal forts Aundha, Patta, Trimbak and attacked Salher and Mulher. This led Aurangzeb to send two of his generals Ikhlas Khan and Bahlol Khan along with 12,000 horsemen to lay siege on Salher. In return Shivaji commanded his two commanders Sardar Moropant Pingle and Sardar Prataprao Gujar reclaim the fort. The battle lasted for an entire day and it is estimated that around 10,000 men were killed on both the sides. The Mughal military machines (consisting of cavalry, infantry, and artillery) were outmatched by the light cavalry of the Marathas. The imperial Mughal armies were completely routed and the Marathas gave them a crushing defeat. 6,000 horses, an equal number of camels, 125 elephants, and an entire Mughal train were captured by the victorious Maratha Army.
1683 A.D. – In late 1683, Aurangzeb moved to Ahmednagar. He divided his forces in two and put his two princes, Shah Alam and Azam Shah, in charge of each division. Shah Alam was to attack South Konkan via the Karnataka border while Azam Shah would attack Khandesh and northern Maratha territory. Using a pincer strategy, these two divisions planned to encircle Marathas from the south and north to isolate them. The beginning went quite well. Shah Alam crossed the Krishna river and entered Belgaum. From there he entered Goa and started marching north via Konkan. As he pushed further, he was continuously harassed by Marathas forces. They ransacked his supply chains and reduced his forces to starvation. Finally Aurangzeb sent Ruhulla Khan to his rescue and brought him back to Ahmednagar.
1684 A.D. – Aurangzeb’s other general Shahbuddin Khan directly attacked the Maratha capital, Raigad. Maratha commanders successfully defended Raigad. Aurangzeb sent Khan Jehan to help, but Hambirao Mohite, commander-in-chief of the Maratha army, defeated him in a fierce battle at Patadi. The second division of the Maratha army attacked Shahbuddin Khan at Pachad, inflicting heavy losses on the Mughal army.
1686 A.D. – Aurangzeb changed his strategy. He planned to consolidate his power in the south by undertaking expeditions to the Muslim kingdoms of Golkonda and Bijapur. Both of them were allies of Marathas and Aurangzeb was not fond of them. He broke his treaties with both kingdoms, attacked them and captured them. Taking this opportunity, Marathas led by Shanbhaji launched an offensive on the North coast and attacked Bharuch. They were able to evade the Mughal army sent their way and came back with minimum damage.
1691 A.D. – Bavdekar, Pralhad Niraji, Santaji, Dhanaji, and several Maratha Sardars met in the Maval region and reformed the strategy. Aurangzeb had taken four major forts in Sahyadrais and was sending Zulfikar khan to subdue the fort Ginjee. So according to new Maratha plan, Santaji and Dhanaji would launch offensives in the East to keep rest of the Mughal forces scattered. Others would focus in Maharashtra and would attack a series of forts around southern Maharashtra and northern Karnataka to divide Mughal won territories in two, thereby posing significant challenge to enemy supply chains. Having a strong navy established by Shivaji, the Marathas could now extend this divide into the sea, checking any supply routes from Surat to south.
1774 A.D. – 16-year-old Sansar Chand of Katoch forged an alliance with the Kanhaiya Misl, one of the twelve Sikh Misls that ruled Punjab before Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and re-captured the Kangra fort. Kangra was liberated from Mughal rule and the young Sansar Chand was feted as a hero and saviour.
1813 A.D. – Fateh Khan set off from Kashmir at the head of 15,000 cavalry in April 1813 and invested Attock Fort. At the same time Ranjit Singh rushed Dewan Mokham Chand and Karam Chand Chahal from Burhan with a force of cavalry, artillery, and a battalion of infantry to meet the Afghans. Fateh Khan opened the battle by sending his Muslim army on a cavalry charge which was repulsed by heavy fire from the Sikh artillery. The Muslims rallied under Dost Mohammad Khan, who led the Ghazis on another cavalry charge which threw one wing of the Sikh army into disarray and captured some artillery. When it appeared the Sikhs had lost the battle, Dewan Mokham Chand led a cavalry charge atop a war elephant that repulsed the Muslims “at all points”, and routed the remaining Muslim troops. Fateh Khan, fearing his brother, Dost Mohammad Khan, had died, escaped to Kabul and the Sikhs captured the Muslim camp, including the lost artillery pieces. Muslims lost over 9,000 soldiers in this battle.
Thus, we have seen that, starting from the year 636 A.D. until the British Rule, in spite of waves of attacks from Islamic forces (Arabs, Turks and Mughals), Hindu kingdoms never completely bowed down to them. Apart from the major battles listed here, there were countless others which impossible to mention within one single answer. There were border pushbacks and changes in geo-political maps. But islamic rulers never got a chance to breathe, as they were always busy in the Battlefield against the Hindu kings – be it Rajput, Sikh, Marathas, Gurjars, Rastrakuts, Kashmir or any other. Though Islam managed to enter India after a long waiting of 300 years, still it has failed to conquer India. Today, India is a going-to-be superpower in the world and possess enough strength to wipe out entire Arabian world in a conquest.
Al Hind: The Making Of The Indo Islamic World, Vol. 1 — Early Medieval India And The Expansion Of Islam — 7th-11th Centuries — Andre Wink
An Advanced History of India – Ramesh Chandra Majumdar
Ancient Indian History and Civilization – Sailendra Nath Sen
Birotwe Bangali – Anil Chandra Ghosh
Classical Accounts of India – Ramesh Chandra Majumdar
Conquest of Tamerlane – Cothburn O’Neal
Early Chauhan dynasties – Dhasrath Sharma
Hindu Pad Padshahi – Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
History of Origin of Some Clans in India – Mangal Sen Jindal
Indian Resistance To Early Muslim Invaders Upto 1206 AD — Dr. Ram Gopal Mishra
Kitab Futuh Al Buldan: Vol. 2 — Al Baladhuri, Translated by Francis Clark Murgotten
Land and Local Kingship in Eighteenth – John R. McLane
Maharana Kumbha : Sovereign, Soldier, Scholar – Har Bilas Sarda
Maritime History of India: An Overview – Amit Kumar
Military History of India – Jadunath Sarkar
Medieval India – K.L.Khurana
Medieval Odissa : A Socio-Economic Study – Shishir Kumar Panda
Padmavati – Sanjeev Newar
Pashchim Bonger Sanskriti – Binoy Ghosh
Saffron Swords – Manoshi Sinha Rawal
Sahyadris to Hindukush – Aneesh Gokhale
South India and her Muhammadan invaders – S.K.Aiyangar
The Arabs in Sind — 712-1026 AD – John Jehangir Bede
The Chachnama: Volume 1 (1900) — Translated from Persian by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg
The Dynastic History Of Northern India — Vol. 1 — H. C. Ray
The History And Culture Of The Indian People: Vol. 3 — The Classical Age — R. C. Majumdar
The History Of India As Told By Its Own Historians, Vol. 2 — The Muhammadan Period — Elliot And Dawson
The History of the Reddi Kingdoms – Malampalli Somasekhara Sarma
The Naked Mughals: Illustrated – Vashi Sharma
The Princely and Noble Families of the Former Indian Empire: Himachal Pradesh – Mark Brentnall
The Qarnuah Turks – Ishwari Prasad
The Royal Gurjars : Their contribution to India – Naunihal Singh
The Rise of Islam and The Frontier of Bengal, 1204 – 1760 – Richard M. Eaton
Vijayanagar,Never to be Forgotten Empire – Suryanarayan Row