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. The 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 the 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 the 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 the Rajput clan; almost 50% of victories were achieved by these Rajput allies. During the so-called “Islamic period”, the 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 the other parts of Indian landmass. Following the information provided in books, most of the historical movies and TV serials do the same. However, it is far from the 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 in India often begins with Mohammed Bin Qasim’s invasion of Sindh in 712 AD and quickly jumps to Mahmud of Ghazni’s invasion of 1001 AD. What happened in the intervening 300 years? The answer lies in the successive defeat of Arab invasions by several Indian rulers. From Kashmir’s Lalitaditya to the Chalukyan king Vikramaditya II in today’s Karnataka, an arc of resistance kept the invaders at bay for centuries. 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, Jayabhat-IV, Dantidurga, Jaysingh or Yashovarman. Obviously, the Arab historians carefully ommitted 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. Islam spread upto modern day Spain and Southern Italy, northern Africa, entire middle-east 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 invadors could never enter the modern day North-East India and Major part of Southern India. The unstoppable Arab caliphates who controlled everything from Spain to Southern Italy could not get past the Indus so easily. 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
636 A.D. – The first Arab invasion of India was an expedition by sea to conquer Thana near Mumbai, undertaken during the vigorous expansionist regime of the second Caliph, Umar-bin-Akhtab, who was on a proselytizing mission to spread Islam to all corners of the world. He appointed Usman, of the tribe of Sakif, to capture Bahrain and Oman. Usman sent his brother Hakam to Bahrain and himself proceeded to Oman. Upon reaching Oman, Usman sent a naval expedition to capture Thana on the western coast of India. [Kitab Futuh Al Buldan: Vol. 2, P 209 — Al Baladhuri Tr. By Francis Clark Murgotten] The Arab army was repulsed decisively by the Chalukya king Pulakeshi II.[Indian Resistance To Early Muslim Invaders Upto 1206 AD, P 18 — Dr. Ram Gopal Mishra] and returned to Oman and the first ever Arab raid on India was defeated.
636 A.D. – 637 A.D. – A second naval expedition was sent to conquer Barwas or Barauz (Broach) on the coast of southern Gujarat by Hakam, [Kitab Futuh Al Buldan: Vol. 2, P 209 — Al Baladhuri Tr. By Francis Clark Murgotten] the brother of Usman. This attack too was repelled by Pulakeshi II and the Arabs were driven back successfully.
643 A.D. – A third naval invasion, which was also the first attack on Sindh, was sent by Hakam to the port of Debal near Karachi. He sent his brother Mughairah as the leader of the Arab army. The target of the first Arab naval expedition to Sindh was the port of Debal or Devalaya at the mouth of the Sindhu river. Debal was a seaside town inhabited mostly by merchants, and was under the command of Samah, son of Dewaji, who was a governor of Raja Chach Rai. When Mughairah reached Debal with his expedition, he was engaged in battle by the brave Samah, who personally led his army against the Arab invaders. The Arabs were defeated by Samah, and their leader, Mughairah was killed in battle. [The Chachnama: Volume 1 (1900), P 57 — Translated from Persian by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg]
Umar also commanded Abu Musa, governor of Iraq for detailed information about the extent of success against Sindh and Hind. Abu Musa had come to know about the defeat and death of Mughairah and victory of Raja Chach and so he advised Umar that the kingdom of Sindh was a very powerful one that would not succumb to Islamic domination at any cost [The History And Culture Of The Indian People: Vol. 3 — The Classical Age, P 169 — R. C. Majumdar] and that “he should think no more of Hind.” [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. But the battle experience was not much different than what arabs have already suffered. There was three powerful Hindu kingdoms reigning on the other side of river Sindhu (Indus) – Kabul, Zabul and Sindh. Though being considerably small in terms of landmass occupied, they managed to crush all arab incoming for around 80 years.
662 A.D. – After the rout of Arab army in Kikan, this region became the chief target of Arab military crusades. Abdullah proceeded to attack Kikan with a large contingent of 4000 Arab warriors. When they arrived in Kikan, Abdullah and his army were assaulted by the brave Jat and Med soldiers of the provincial chief and fierce battle took place between the two armies. The local people of Kikan also came out in large numbers to fight the marauders. They occupied the mountain passes and the battle raged furiously. Abdullah’s 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. – Early on in his reign, the first Umayyad Caliph, Muawiyah (661–680 A.D.) appointed Abdur-Rehman-ibn-Samurah as governor of Seistan once again with the aim of conquering Kabul and Zabul. Led by Abdur Rehman, a large Arab army laid siege to Kabul. After a long siege extending over a month, the Arab army stormed Kabul and finally managed to take possession of Kabul. But “the king of Kabul made an appeal to the warriors of India and the Musalmans were driven out of Kabul. He recovered all other countries and advanced as far as Bust.” [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. – Caliph Al Mansur tried to subdue the Hindu Ranbal and force him to make the tribute but he did not succeed against the valour of the Ranbal . The Arab generals of the Caliphate tried their best to collect the financial tribute from the Ranbal as much as possible, but they never managed to make a lasting impact on the region, as “Seistan was never completely subjugated.”. The king of Zabul tempted muslim army deep within their territory and then blocked the mountain passes, resulting the capture of the entire army. At the same time, Yazid-ibn-Ziyad was killed in Battle of Junzah against Kabul army along with many other prominent warriors of Arab aristocracy and his army was slaughtered in large numbers. [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. – Caliph Abdal Malik ibn Marwan appointed Abdullah as the governor of Seistan. Abdullah immediately resumed the raids on Kabul and Zabul. But it also failed by Ranbal (king of Zabul).
695 A.D. – 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 the kingdoms of Zabul (Ranbal)and Kabul (Ratanpal) combined their armies and inflicted a crushing defeat on the army of the Caliphate [Indian Resistance To Early Muslim Invaders Upto 1206 A.D., P 40 — Dr. Ram Gopal Mishra]. Ubaidullah marched upto the neighbourhood of Kabul and camped there but his passage was blocked by the king’s armies and he was forced 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] Ubaidullah was forced to retreat leaving his three sons as hostages with Ranbal. He also made a treaty with the Zunbil(Ranbal) to not fight as long as he was governor. However, the treaty was rejected by the other Arab leaders, including Shuraih who instigated Ubaidullah to fight. Shuraih was killed in the battle that ensued thence, and Ubaidullah’s 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 Ranbal after the disastrous debacle of Abdur Rehman’s military failure. Therefore, the mightiest military power of that time couldn’t conquer even the borders of Al-Hind, as is the name of India ascribed to it by Arabs.
708 A.D. – The Arabs had been vying to conquer Sindh for nearly seventy years and one incident at Debal merely provoked the pre-existing hostilities between the Arabs and Sindh and gave Al Hajjaj the pretext to declare a religious war on Sindh. Raja Dahir got informed of the large Arab expedition that had landed at Nerun. He sent his son Jaisiah with a 4000 strong army with horses and camels and elephants to defend Debal. Jaisiah’s army battled with the Arabs relentlessly for a full day from early morning till evening. [The Chachnama: Volume 1 (1900), P 69 — Translated from Persian by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg] The Arab army was defeated overwhelmingly.
The news of the crushing defeat of the Arab army in Sindh yet again left Caliph Al Walid crestfallen and despondent. When Al Hajjaj asked him for permission again to invade Sindh one more time, Caliph Al Walid discouraged Hajjaj 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]
Rise of The Indian Alliance
Arabs took almost one decade after their back-to-back failure. Now, they have invested almost all their effort in conquering ‘Al-Hind’ (as they referred ancient Bharat by that name). This time, they managed to come across the barriers of border states. Today, most of us are not aware of the Hindu lineage of Afghanistan/Pakistan. But, the heroic resistance of the Hindu provinces at the border managed to keep the Islamic invasion at bay for almost a century. But after their fall, several rulers from modern day Kashmir to Karnataka rose to the common challenge and took up the baton of the task of crushing Arabian dream.
712 A.D. – Muhammad bin Qasim sent a cavalry of 10,000 to Kanauj, along with a decree from the Caliph. He himself went with an army to the prevailing frontier of Kashmir called panj-māhīyāt (in west Punjab). Nothing is known of the Kanauj expedition. The frontier of Kashmir might be what is referred to as al-Kiraj in later records (Kira kingdom in Kangra valley), which was apparently subdued.
715 A.D. – Jai Singh, son of Dahir captured Brahmanabad(modern Multan) and Arab rule was restricted to the Western shore of Indus.
730 A.D. – Junayd ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Murri, the successor of Muhammad ibn Qasim, led a large army into the region. He divided his force into two. The southern army moving south into Gujarat was defeated at Navsari by Avanijanashraya Pulakesi who was sent by Vikramaditya II of the Chalukya Empire. The army that went east, reached Avanti whose ruler Gurjara Pratihara Nagabhata I utterly defeated the invaders and they fled to save their life.
Battle(s) of Rajasthan: Arab Caliphate vs Indian Alliance – During the time period (734 A.D. – 738 A.D.), Arabs concentrated all their effort to penetrate into Indian heartland. Sensing danger, Nagabhatt-I made a military alliance with Gohil Rajput ruler Bappa Rawal of Mewar, the Solanki ruler Jaysingh of Kathiawar, king Lalitaditya Muktipada of Kashmir, king Yashovarman of Kannauj, Chalukya king Vikramaditya-II who had sent his Governor Pulakesiraja, the Rashtrakuta ruler Dantidurga and king Jayabhat-IV of Gujarat. The united Indian 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 sent ‘Momin’ who was the governor of ‘Bukhara’ and wanted to invade Kashmir- Momin marched towards Lalitaditya after destroying the swat valley, he entered into the Kaghan Valley(now in pakistan) the marched towards kishanganga Valley(neelum valley) where his forces met with Lalitaditya and got defeated by him, it is said that Lalitaditya was himself leading his army into the battle. After that, Lalitaditya invaded turk region (approximately modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kyrgyzstan and southwest Kazakhstan), he 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.
734 A.D. – Hajjat sent an army to attack Mewar, but Bappa Rawal boldly defeated his army. Bappa Rawal of Rajput, Jaysimha Varman of the Rashtrakuta, Nagabhatta I of Gurjaras and the Chalukya ruler Vikramaditya II together defeated the combined army of Al-Hakmaq bin Alawa, Tamim bin Jaid al-Utbi and Junaid bin Abdul Rahman Al-Murai. Bappa also defeated ruler of Ghazni, Salim. For nearly 20 years, the Arabs were under the threat of Bappa Rawal. The city “Rawalpindi” is named after him.
738 A.D. – The Rashtrakuta ruler Dantidurga is also mentioned in some sources as having aided Pulakesiraja. Thus, the tide of invasion in Gujarat was successfully stemmed and any incursion to the South was also decisively halted.
Arabs got so scared that the next major invasion by land happened only in 1001 AD by Mahmud of Ghazni. “Not a place of refuge was to be found”, said Arabian chronologer Suleiman, who called Nagabhatt “the biggest enemy of islam, who came in the way of the conquest of Uzain (Ujjain)” .
759 A.D. – The Arabs made a fresh bid to establish their supremacy over Saurashtra. In 756 CE the Arab governor of Sindh sent a naval fleet against the Saindhavas. This naval attack was replused by the Saindhavas commander Agguka I
776 A.D. – Another naval expedition by the Arabs was defeated by the Saindhava naval fleet under the command of Agguka I. A Saindhava inscription relates that Agguka I inflicted a disastrous defeat on the Arab naval fleets which forced the Arabs to withdraw. In the Saindhava inscription he was titled as Samudradhipati or Master of the western sea.
986 A.D. – 987 A.D. – A confederate Hindu army to which the Rajas of Delhi, Ajmer, Kalinjar and Kanauj has contributed troops and money, advanced into the heartland of the Islamic kingdom of Ghazni. According to Utbi, the battle lasted several days and the warriors of Subuktigin, including prince Mahmood, were reduced to despair.
The Arabs in Sindh took a long time to recover from their defeat. In the early 9th Century the governor Bashar attempted an invasion of India but was defeated. After this the Arab chroniclers admit that the Caliph Mahdi, gave up the project of conquering any part of India‘. The Arabs in Sindh lost all power and broke up into two warring Shia states of Mansurah and Multan, both of which paid tribute to the Gurjara Pratiharas.
Humiliating Defeat of Turks
Mamud of Ghazani is said to remain undefeated throughout his 17 successful campaign in India when he destroyed entire North-East India single-handedly. However, only one battle is mentioned very briefly while others are mentioned with a varying degree of detail. The lack of proofs indicates that the rest of the invasions might just be a theory or small border skirmishes or very insignificant ones. His smaller-scale and short-lived venture consists of at least two concluding defeats and consistent running away from battle to avoid further more humiliation.
1014 A.D. – Defeat at Kashmir – It is a historical fact that Mahmood Ghajnavi could not tolerate the sword of Kashmiri soldiers and could not fulfill the desire to win Kashmir throughout life! This bravery of Kashmir was written on the pages of history during the reign of Maharaja Sangramraj! Mamud could not even capture Loharkot fort.
1019 A.D. – When Mahmud Ran Away – Vidyadhara Chandella defeated and killed Mahmud’s stooge. In retaliation Mahmud came with his army and met with Chandella king at Bundelkhand hills. After the first day of battle, both armies became exhausted. At the same night, King Chandella spread his army into nearby villages. Understanding that his opponent will start a guerrilla warfare, Mahmud retreated with his army.
1022 A.D. – First Decisive Defeat of Mahmud of Ghazani – Driven by the urge of revenge, Mahmud attacked Bundelkhand again. He capture 15 different forts first. But at the Gwalior fort, even after 4 days of siege, Mahmud failed to defeat the commander – Kirtiraja. He then retreated and attacked Kalinjara fort, where Vidhyadhara Chandella himself resided. On that night, the King’s commander, Arjuna attacked Mahmud’s camp with a large army and elephants. Mahmud’s army suffered a huge damage. Mahmud retreated once again after surrendering the captured forts to King Chandella.
1027 A.D. – Retaliation for Destruction of Somnath Temple – An ardent Shaivite, King Bhoja was enraged when he discovered that Somnath temple was being demolished. He gathered a huge coalition of India kings and started marching towards the temple. The wily Mahmud chose to avoid the confrontation and selected a more difficult route through the deserts to flee back. The scarcity of food and water killed a large number of his soldiers and animals. Such was the fright of Bhoja’s name!! Mahmud of Ghazani preferred wrath of desert rather than facing King Bhoja’s army. Indian Kings were fed up of Mamud’s frequent attacks had joined hands with each other to drive away Ghazni from India. They were prepared with a huge army for Ghazni’s next expedition but Mahmud came to know this that a mighty army is waiting for him ,learning this he never returned to Somnath!
Mamud vs Chalukyas – Probably Mamud was defeated by Chalukyas also.
1031 A.D. – Avenge of Varanasi – The nephew of Mahmood Ghazni, known as Salar Masud Ghazni, invaded India with an army of more than 120,000 soldiers backed by the imperial Turk Army. Meanwhile, 17 Kings of North India forged an alliance. This is the biggest confederation that have ever existed in India . They were Rai Raib, Rai Saib, Rai Arjun, Rai Bheekhan, Rai Kanak, Rai Kalyan, Rai Makaru, Rai Savaru, Rai Aran, Rai Birbal, Rai Jaypal, Rai Shreepal, Rai Harpal, Rai Hakru, Rai Prabhu, Rai Deo Narayan and Rai Narsinha. Raja Bhoj of Malwa also played an important role in this battle. The head of this confederation was Rajbhar Suhaldev. In the Battle of Bahraich, each and every man in Masood’s camp was killed. No POW’s were taken, no mercy was shown on the Turkic army. Salar Masud was beheaded. Thee remaining army of the Ghaznavaids vanished from North India after hearing he defeat at Bahraich. King Gangadev of Kannauj had also defeated the Ghazni army after they retaliated from Varanasi. The invasion was completely crushed and such resounding was this victory that none of the foreign kingdoms dared to invade India for the next 160 years.
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 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 by again allowing the Turks to go back after successfully humbling them in first battle of Tarain. Even in the second battle, he did not concentrate all his power against the Turks, a major part of his army was busy in eastern border against the Pala-s.
1180 A.D. – In the battle that ensued (known as the battle of Kasahrada), the Chalukyan army under the command of Queen Naiki Devi and its troop of war elephants crushed the invading force of Mohammed Ghori that had once beaten the mighty sultans of Multan in battle. Facing a major defeat, Ghori fled with a handful of bodyguards. Firishta, a Persian historian of 16th century, described how the rulers have defeated the muslim army with “Great Slaughter”. His pride was shattered, and he never again tried to conquer Gujarat.
1191 A.D. – Prithviraj Chauhan was the ruler of Delhi and Ajmer when Ghori was marching towards Delhi after conquering several parts of Punjab. Prithviraj was able to unite some Rajput states to present a united front against the common enemy. Ghori was wounded and defeated. He was carried away from the battle-field by a Khalji soldier. His army fled. True to Indian traditions, the Rajputs did not follow the fleeing enemy—a blunder which India had to repent for centuries.
1192 A.D. – Prithviraj Chauhan was captured and slain. Chandbardai, the court poet of Prithviraj has another version to tell. According to him Prithviraj Chauhan was taken to Ghori as a prisoner. In a show of exhibiting his skill as an archer, the blind Prithviraj Chauhan shot a sound-guided arrow at Muhammad Ghori killing him instantly.
1194 A.D. – Forces of queen Kuramdevi met Qutub-ud-din Aibok near the old Amber fort, and the Rajputs won. At the head of her army, Kuramdevi drove deep into the Muslim ranks, deep enough for her to confront the Muslim general himself and to engage him in a personal duel during which she managed to bury her sword deep into his flesh, wounding him so severely that he tumbled from the saddle. In alarm his attendants carried him away. Seeing him fall, seeing his body thus carried from the fight and, consequently, believing him dead, others in the Muslim ranks near the site gave way to panic. The panic spread, and soon Qtub-ud-din’s entire army was in full flight.
1206 A.D. – Bakhtiar Khilji (who destroyed Nalanda) reached Assam with 12000 cavalry. Hearing a foreigner invasion, a large reinforcement was dispatched to annihilate muslim army from a fortified city called Karampatan . In face of such danger he decided to retreat. But the retreat was disastrous as Prithu’s army cutting his supply line attacked them.Large number of Muslim soldier were killed and captured . After a great hardship, Muhammad and his remnant of his army succeeded in reaching the river only to find it flooded,desperate and for the fear of life his army rushed to the river only to be washed away by its rapid currents. Only Muhammad and a few handful soldiers reached the opposite bank.
1247 A.D. – 1253 A.D. – King Narasimhadev I, the builder of the temple at Konark, was an excellent military strategist, he was convinced that the Muslim invasion was imminent. He figured out that if the Muslims attacked Kalinga first, he would have to maneuver his army in a defensive manner and would no way decrease the Muslim threat over the years. So he decided to go on “offense” as it was the best method of defense. This resulted in deaths of many Muslim generals and soldiers.
1303 A.D. – Real Story of Padmavati – Alauddin Khilji camped in outskirts of Chittor (Mewar) and called Rana Ratan Singh for negotiations pretending to be a friend. When Ratan Singh arrived, Alauddin showed his true colors and kidnapped him and demanded “give me all your gold and women”. (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 agreed to send their women in Palkis (palanquins) next morning. Palanquins arrive before dawn. But before palanquin-carriers leave, the Rajput women come out. And suddenly there is mayhem. No, they were not women. They were Rajput warriors who butchered the Khilji-army. Rani Ratan Singh was rescued. It is said that Khilji begged naked to Queen Padmavati.
1333 A.D. – The Katoch kingdom defeated the army of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq. Nearly all his 10,000 soldiers perished there. It is said that the Katoch kingdom were the rulers of Kangra from the times of Mahabharata(Trigarta) till the pre-independence era.
1333 A.D. – 1336 A.D. – Pride of Delhi Sultanate avenged to Dust – The battle between the forces of Mewar and that of Tuglaqs was the final testament of Rana Hammir ’s supremacy, both on and off the field. Even though his force was outnumbered four to one, Rana Hammir knew one maxim of the war, something that could’ve averted the plans of Muhammad Ghori and Alauddin Khilji, had Prithviraj Chauhan or Rawal Ratan Singh ever cared to know it. The maxim, later immortalized by famous American general George S. Patton, was:- ‘The object of a war, is to not die for the country, but to make the other man die for his’. As local legends tell us, Rana Hammir conducted a surprise attack on the enemy camp midnight, with only a battalion strength of his army. The enemy, taken unawares, were slaughtered like carrots. Not only Rana Hammir had won the war that very night, but also did the unthinkable, he took the Sultan of Delhi, Muhammad bin Tughluq as his prisoner.
1328 A.D. 1336 A.D. – After the attack of Tughlaq around 1323 A.D. the kingdom of modern-day Telengana scattered into smaller provinces, whose rulers were called as “Nayaka”-s. One of them, Pralaya Nayaka, went on to gather an army with other leaders like Veera Ballabha III, Kapaya Nayaka, Pralaya Vema Reddy, Ariyseti Annamantri, Kolani Prataparudradeva, Rachela Singhama Nayaka, Ekramnath Sambuvarapraya. First region to be liberated was the coastal region. In the western part, this army got aided by Chalukya King Somadeva. To check the Hindu resistance, Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq shifted his capital to Devagiri. One combined attack from Somadeva and Veera Ballabha III captured southern Tughlaq army. By 1336 A.D., the entire region came under the Hindu Kingdom once again.
1371 A.D. – The Vijayanagar army entered Madurai to put an end to the Muslim rule. In 1370, the army of Kumarakampana stared its journey from Chenji in South Arcot district. The Hindu army defeated the Muslim forces decisively at Samayavarm near Srirangam and captured Kannanur Kuppan, one of the strongest fortress of the Muslims. In an encounter between Tiruchirappally and Madurai, the sultan of Madurai Bakhruddin Mubarak shah was defeated. He was killed in April 1371, in a duel fight, held between Kumarakampana and Mubarak shah. As a result of the conquest of Madurai sultanate, the authority of Vijayanagar Empire extended up to Ramesvaram.
1398 A.D. – The End of Taimur-Leng and his Holy War – Taimur has easily defeated the state of Delhi and started mass genocide (some sources say 1,00,000+ killing daily, including women and children). Slowly an army started to be formed under the leadership of Jograj Singh Pawar. Communities from entire Northern and Central India came under same umbrella. First wave of attack fell on Taimur’s army at Delhi. Almost 9000 of Taimur’s soldiers were killed and corpses swept away by river Yamuna. Taimur then proceeded towards Meerut with his 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), Harbir Singh Gulia‘s army not only destroyed 5000 of Taimur’s cavalry, but also inflicting serious wound to Taimur as well. At one jungle surrounding Haridwar, one surprise attack from Dhula Dhardi again diminished another 2000 of Taimur’s army. In a vow of not letting Taimur’s army touch the banks of Ganges, the Indians fought the fiercest battle Taimur could never imagine of. Not being able to withstand the bloodbath, Taimur lost his stomach to fight. Even while retreating, Taimur continued to face the Indian onslaught; almost 2/3 rd of his army was destroyed (approx. 160000) and thus began the destruction of Taimur ‘Holy Empire’.
1414 A.D. – Raja Ganesha, a direct descendant of the Deva dynasty of Bengal, recaptured the throne of Bengal from Islamic rulers. He establish his superiority and Hindu dominion in a region dominated by the Muslims for over 200 years. According to the book, Riyaz-us-Salatin, a chronicle written in Persian language by Ghulam Husain Salim Zaidpuri on the complete history of the Muslim rule in Bengal, nobleman Ganesha killed Shihabuddin and seized the throne. In alliance with another Hindu king Sivasimha of Mithila, Ganesha defeated Ibrahim Shah, a neighboring Sultan.
1437 A.D. – The armies of Sultan Mahmud of Mandu met with army of Rana Kumbha at Battle of Mandavgad. after a severe engagement, the Sultans army was utterly routed. The Sultan fled to the safe refuge of his fort of Mandu. The Rana’s army followed up the victory and laid siege to Mandu. Sultan was held captive.
1458 A.D. – King Kapilendra Deva of Kalinga with his grand army aided by the Bellama chiefs marched towards Bidar, the capital of Bahamani kingdom. Sultan Nizam Shah was only eight years old. The Hindu army plundered and devastated the country while proceeding towards the capital of Bahamani kingdom. The fall of the Muslim Kingdom was inevitable. He captured Hahur, Bidar and several other places that rightly led him to justify the title ‘Kalavargasvara’.
1509 A.D. – 1511 A.D. – The first thing Krishnadevaraya did after coming to power was he immediately put an end to the annual jihad that was being undertaken by the Bahamanis. The Bahamanis led by the Sultans gathered in Bidar, started their jihad and proceeded to Vijayanagara. But to their surprise, they found that they were no longer free to plunder and ravage. The Bahamani forces were stopped at Diwani in which a decisive battle was fought in which the Vijayanagara forces won a commanding victory. The Bahamani Sultan himself was seriously injured. Krishnadevaraya chased after the retreating armies, especially of Yusuf Adil Khan who had actually formed a separate dynasty i.e. the Adil Shahi dynasty at Bijapur. In a fierce battle that was fought near Kovilkonda, once again Krishnadevaraya emerged victorious. Yusuf Adil Khan actually died on the battlefield and the fortress of Kovilkonda was annexed to the Vijayanagara Empire.
1518 A.D. – Ibrahim Lodi prepared an army and marched against Mewar. The Maharana Sanga advanced to meet him and the two armies met near the village of Khatoli on the borders of Haravati (Haraoti). The Delhi army could not stand the onslaught of the Rajput’s, and after a fight lasting two pahars (5 hours), the Sultan’s army gave way and fled, followed by the Sultan himself, leaving a Lodi prince prisoner in the hands of Sanga.
1519 A.D. – The Rajputs started the battle with a cavalry charge which was personally led by Rana Sanga, his cavalry with their accustomed valour, advanced and fell on the Sultans army, and in a short time put the enemy to flight. The Rajputs pushed the Sultans army up to Bayana. Hussain Khan taunted his fellow nobles from Delhi: “It is a hundred pities that 30,000 horsemen should have been defeated by so few Hindus.”
1520 A.D. – Nizam-ul-Mulk was alarmed of Rana Sanga’s advancement and fled to the Fort of Ahmadnagar. Sanga arrived at Idar and re-instated Rai Mal. Then the Rajputs captured Ahmadnagar but Nizam-ul-Mulk again fled towards Ahmadabad. Later, he completely destroyed the Gujrat sultanate.
1520 A.D. – The battle was fought in Raichur between the armies of Krishnadevaraya and Sultanate of Bijapur. Krishnadevaraya made a triumphal entry into it, and he treated the garrison with kindness and consideration. But Krishnadevaraya was brutal towards Bahmani Generals of Raichur as they had violated human rights by killing many people belonging to Hindu community. The crushing victory over the Bijapur sultanate took the power of the Vijayanagara kingdom to its zenith with none of the sultanates daring to risk another attack during Krishnadevaraya’s lifetime.
1565 A.D. – Bengal was not a Walk-Over – King Rudranarayan, expanded his empire in modern-day south-western Bengal. He made alliance with Kingdoms of Odissa, Bihar and other Hindu kings of Bengal and decided to stand against increasing Islamic confluence in Gaur. In the battle of Tribeni, the combined army under general Rajib Lochan Roy defeated the Islamic army.
The Islamic rulers still did not lose hope and after the death of the King, they again attacked the kingdom. This time the Queen, Rani Bhavashankari (Roybaghini), stood strong. After being notified of an advancing Islamic army through the darkness of night, immediately deployed troops from three nearby garrisons, including a female garrison. In the battle ensued, being unprepared for such an assault, the Islamic army under Osman Khan, suffered an unimaginable loss. Osman Khan fled the battlefield. Hearing about this, then Mughal King Akbar, did not try to advance against her.
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.
After the Turk imperial leaders submitted to Hindu powers throughout the subcontinent, the Mughals came to complete the unfinished business. But, on the contrary of overrated glorification of their era in modern day history, they even did not succeed. Babur could not proceed beyond the territory conquered during the initial thrust. Humayun spent most of his days in exile. Akbar, after a bloody battle against King Hemu, realized that it would not be wise to oppose the Hindus. So, he went to form alliance with Rajputs. That great Mughal rule until Aurangzeb was actually a Rajput-Mughal joint venture. Aurangzeb was too blunt and he went on with the illusion of islamification of India. The result was immediately taught to Mughals and we got Hindu domination again throughout India. Had it not a British invasion, the Hindu empires would be back.
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 Chandar Majumdar
Ancient Indian History and Civilization – Sailendra Nath Sen
Birotwe Bangali – Anil Chandra Ghosh
Classical Accounts of India – Ramesh Chandar 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
Maritime History of India: An Overview – Amit Kumar
Medieval India – K.L.Khurana
Military History of India – Jadunath Sarkar
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
Vijayanagar,Never to be Forgotten Empire – Suryanarayan Row