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 their enemy giving up, the islamic forces 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-East 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 by again 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. However, the Turk settlement in Bharat was restricted to the city of Delhi and surrounding area 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 Rajputs and different kingdoms of 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, Naiki 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, Naiki 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 Naiki 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. – 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