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.

Defenders at the Borders of Ancient Bharat

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.

Ancient Bharatbarsha had a strong navy also

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]

Arabs were no match for Bharatbarsha navy

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.

Kikan Warriors managed to push Arabs back

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]

Kabul, Zabul and Sindh – These Ancient Indian Kingdoms Repelled Islamic Aggression for nearly 100 Years

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]

Battle of Deval (Devalaya) – Destruction of Islamic Caliphate by Hindu Shahis

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.

Indian Kingdom was too strong for Arabs

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.

Arab Defeat by Chalukyas

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.

Islam failed to enter into Kashmir for a really long time

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 of Rajasthan
Unheard, untold tale of Battle of Rajasthan – where the Caliphate met its nemesis in the hands of an alliance of Bharat kingdoms. Seemingly unbelievable but true, almost all the clans of western Bharat let go of their internal differences and joined hands against a bigger threat. This extraordinary event in southern Asia was no way less significant than the much celebrated European counterpart – popularly known as “Crusade”. This sketch attempts to overlay the army bases and areas of conflict on a satellite image of Indian subcontinent.

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)” .

Empire of Lalitaditya Muktipada who conquered much of Turk Terrory (upto modern day Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan)

759 A.D. – Arabs switched their battle strategy again and tried the naval route for a fourth time to establish their supremacy over Saurashtra. Looks like the Caliphate deliberately wanted to avert any direct contact with the Chalukyas. The legendary commander of the Saindhabas, Agguka-I, disappointed the Caliphate this time.

776 A.D. – The Caliphate already suffered much and they did not expect such a turn of tide. In a rentless attempt of 100 continuous years they managed to subdue mere border tribes of Bharat. But, instead of Bharat forces giving up, the islamic army had to deal with fiercer and stronger resistance. In their entire history of more than 200 years, there was not another single instance where the islamic expansion collapsed. Realizing that any land based offensive will only result in more and more loss of Caliphate itself, in a final and furious attempt, another naval fleet was sent by Arabs against Saindhaba kings. This time they faced such a disastrous defeat by Agguka-I, that the Arabian dream of Ghazwa-e-Hind ended completely. In the Saindhava inscription Agguka-I is titled as Samudradhipati or Master of the western sea.

986 A.D. – 987 A.D. – Probably the conclusive outcome of the battle of Rajasthan ignited the spirit of other indigenous kings who were earlier subjugated against Arabs. King of Udbhandapur, Jaypala was holding his patience for such kind of any opportune moment. To hit the enemy in its weakest condition, he quickly assembled an army. At the same time, he sent his diplomats in other nearby powerful kings also for military and/or tactical support to which, most of the the Kings responded. We can see references of armies from different clans of Rajputs, Kanauj and Gurjaras to join ranks. This coalition advanced into the heartland of the Islamic kingdom of Ghazni and captured it within a mere span of few days. According to Utbi, the battle lasted several days and the warriors of Subuktigin, including prince Mahmood, were reduced to despair. It is true that this success was not permanent, but according to Dr. Ram Gopal Mishra, that, had such kind of aggression and spirit to hunt down the enemy been present in successive Rajput rulers also, probably there would have been no presence of Islam in entire Indian subcontinent today.

All these unimaginable struggle was absorbing military and economic resources of the Caliphate. Proportionately, the arab army were also becoming lower and lower in their confidence and willingness to carry on with the seemingly failed project of Ghazwa-e-Hind. The arabs already have had enough in their century-long struggle against the Bharat kingdoms. And the defeat at the battle of Rajasthan was the ultimate blow to them. Arabs never came back to Bharat either by land or sea. Arab chroniclers themselves also admit that the Caliph Mahdi gave up the project of conquering any part of India after this. The Arab provinces which were left behind, became scattered and lost all their power, some of them survived through paying tribute to Bharat kingdoms.

Humiliating Defeat of Turks

After the arabs gave up, next islamic invasion in Bharat happened after three centuries, originated from islamic provinces in central Asia. Most prominent of all those invaders, Mamud of Ghazani is said to remain undefeated throughout his 17 campaigns when he destroyed entire North-West India single-handed. But the reality differs from the narrative. After such a bull-dozing military victory, entire western India should have been islamized by now, just what happened with Persia (Iran). Not only that, there is no logical explanation about why the Caliphate did not expand up to central India after such astonishing success of Mamud. Analyzing from a military angle, it is really impossible to grasp why there was the need of 17 campaigns in the first place when the initial one was supposed to be of such huge success. There is no permanent islamic settlement in any part of western India even today. None of Indian accounts have ever mentioned about any major conflict with islamic forces which was able change the demography there. In arabian texts also, only one battle is mentioned very briefly while others are mentioned with a varying degree of detail. Lack of proofs indicates that the rest of the invasions might just be a theory or small border skirmishes or very insignificant ones. Hence, after analyzing all reliable sources, we can deduce that, Mamud’s smaller-scale and short-lived venture consist of at least two decisive defeats and consistent running away from battle to avoid further humiliation.

King Bhoja – Whose name was enough to Frighten Mahmud of Ghazani

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.

Nayaki Devi

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.

Vidhyadhar Chandella

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.

Battle of Bahraich
Approximate locations of camps of Turk-Ghaznabaid army. The confederation of Bharat kings attacked or laid siege to all the camps at the same time. Bahraich was the place of final battle.

1031 A.D. – Battle of Bahraich Nephew of Mamud, known as Masud, wanted to make a everlasting mark in history by expanding the Caliphate, covering territories of the Ganges plain. Having the same thrust as his ancestors, he charged towards India with an army of more than 120,000 soldiers backed by the even more imperial Turk Army. After Mamud’s retreat, ghaznabaid control over the banks of Sindhu (Indus) was decaying. Masud’s first job was to restore this which he achieved successfully. Now he turned towards the same goal which his uncle, Mamud failed to achieve i.e. to islamize the central Indian region, however, he never knew what was lying ahead of him. Masud’s invasion remains as a very important chapter in Bharat history. In spite of absence of any single authoritative power, largest ever military confederation known in Indian history, was formed in this time. 17 Kings of Bharat forged an alliance to stop that joint venture of Turks and Ghaznabaids. Kings and rulers who stepped forward against islamic alliance were king Raib, king Saib, king Arjun, king Bheekhan, king Kanak, king Kalyan, king Makaru, king Savaru, king Aran, king Birbal, king Jaypal, king Shreepal, king Harpal, king Hakru, king Prabhu, king Deo Narayan and king Narsinha. King Bhoj contributed a major part of his troops and held one flank of the alliance army. Masud set up a forward base of operation at Satrikh. One plan of attack was devised and army regiments were placed in critical strategic points selected with fine precision. Once the islamic force is surrounded completely from all directions, head of Bharat confederation, king Rajbhar Suhaldev, ignited an organized ambush. As we can retrieve from the records, numerical superiority of Turk-Ghaznabaid force appeared to be of no use against that well though-out assault. At the same time, the auxiliary guard of the alliance army attacked six other secondary bases of Masud. There was no way backup could arrive for Masud, there was no escape route, no chance of switching battleground. In that battle, popularly known as Battle of Bahraich, each and every man in Masud’s camp was killed. Masud was beheaded, no prisoners of war were taken, no mercy was shown on the Turk army. Three more regiments of the Turk-Ghaznavaids were present in norther-western India. Once the annihilation of imperial Turk army in Bahraich was announced, other Bharat kings who earlier were under a peace treaty with turks, immediately seized the opportunity and turned against them. Within a very shot span, islamic presence in Bharat went down to zero. King Gangadev of Kanauj had also defeated the Ghaznabaid army on their way of retreating from Varanasi. This battle was like a utter shock to Caliphate and it took them another 160 years to form another army strong enough to invade Bharat.

No Place of Ethics in Warfare

After the failure of Arabs and Ghaznabaids, it was the Turks who held the flag of Islamic Caliphate and appeared on the other side of Hindukush. They have witnessed first success in India. But it was very often overlooked that the success of Caliphate was witnessed due to over-confidence of one Hindu king – Prithwiraj Chauhan. At first, he refused to join hands with Chalukyas during the initial invasion of Turks. Had he did that, the already battered army of Turks would not get a chance to go back. He did a huge mistake again by allowing the Turks to go back after successfully humbling them in first battle of Tarain. He was too arrogant to learn from the events of his predecessors. His outdated ethics of not chasing a fleeing enemy proved to be too fatal. The turks got enough time to re-organize themselves and come back with more power, with knowledge of strength and weakness of Prithwiraj’s army. Even in the second battle, Prithwiraj Chauhan did not concentrate all his power against the Turks, a major part of his army was busy in eastern border against the Pala-s. Some sources suggest that another battle took place in between and Prithwiraj Chauhan repeated the same mistake of letting the enemy go unharmed. This temporary fall of Rajputs allowed the invaders to pierce through the Ganges plane. However, the Turk settlement in Bharat was restricted to the city of Delhi and Bengal mostly. Modern history always tries to portray a Turk empire throughout entire Northern and Central India. But, if we look at the events of Turk rulers, we can see that they were always busy at battle with different kingdoms of Northern, Eastern and Central India, which signifies that the so-called Turk empire never managed to become anything more than a regional power in Bharat.

Battle of Bahraich: Where the Imperial Army of Turk was mostly destroyed

1180 A.D. – Prior to Ghori’s encounter with Prithwiraj Chauhan, one lesser known shameful defeat of the Turk army took place in hands of the Chalukya queen, Nayaki Devi. When Ghori entered into Bharat, he avoided any conflict with Rajputs and went for the Deccans, where the mighty Chalukyas were at their low. The official ruler of the Chalukyas was a teenager by that time, and unofficially it was his mother, Nayaki Devi. Miscalculating a woman ruler as equivalent to a weak ruler, Ghori dared to take on Chalukyas hastily. The rulers of Bharat mainland lacked the political awareness like it was present within the rulers during the Arab and Ghaznabaid invasions. Most of Nayaki Devi’s diplomatic missions failed. Still, the queen once again proved that preparation and planning are essential for war. First of all, the terrain which she chose carefully was entirely unfamiliar to Caliphate; and thus provided a crucial advantage to the defenders. The strategic counter-offensive of Chalukyas caught the islamic forces off-guard. To avoid imminent death and destruction, Ghori fled with a handful of bodyguards, whoever managed to survive. In a major part of Persian, Hindu and Jain chronicles, this glorified victory of one Hindu queen against the fearsome Turk power is highlighted with great dignity. Ghori never tried to invade the region for a second time in his lifetime.

King Suhaldev : Head of the Confederation formed against Turks

1191 A.D. – The Great Mistake – After returning back from the edge of obvious death, Ghori tried his luck against the Rajputs. Most notable of Rajput rulers of that time was Prithwiraj Chauhan. Absence of political wisdom of those rulers becomes prominent when ruler of Kannauj denied to make alliance with Prithwiraj because of their mutual rivalry. Worse part is, ruler of Kannauj is not the only example. Prithviraj managed to unite some other smaller states to present a united front against the common enemy. Even with most of military strongholds staying out of the battle, Turk army was no match against mighty troops of Prithwiraj. Islamic forces started to flee from the battle. Ghori himself was wounded and almost captured. However, he was carried away from the battle-field by a soldier. But, there came the biggest blunder in Bharat history, – Prithwiraj allowed the Turk forces to go back unharmed, neither did he snatch away all their territory or resources.

1192 A.D. – Ghori came back one year later. Prithwiraj was confident of his supremacy over Ghori. He did not even bother before deploying two of his ablest generals along with a major chunk of his army in eastern frontiers against the Pala-s. The de-powered and isolated Prithwiraj could not make it this time. His army was defeated. Prithwiraj was captured and slain. However, some sources have another version to tell. Unlike the Bharat tradition, islamic rulers never showed any dignity towards the loser. On the contrary, they were known to treat their enemies as worse and ridiculous as possible. The king Prithwiraj was appointed as a performer in Ghori’s personal circus. Knowing Prithwiraj’s ability to shoot an arrow just by hearing the sound of the target, Ghori ordered to pluck Prithwiraj’s eyes. And then, in a public exhibition, Ghori instructed Prithwiraj to shoot an animal. But Prithwiraj Chauhan pulled out his last trump card at the very last moment. Ghori ensured that the arena maintained sufficient silence for Prithwiraj to hear the sound of the target. Utilizing this opportunity, Prithwiraj Chauhan focused his mind on Ghori’s voice (whenever he was talking) instead of the animal. When Ghori ordered to shoot, king Prithwiraj fulfilled his revenge; he targeted his arrow towards Ghori instead of the animal. Ghori faced an instant death. Prithwiraj Chauhan accepted his execution calmly.

Kuram Devi : Unsung warrior who defeated Qutubuddin Aibak

1194 A.D. – Prithwiraj Chauhan’s defeat was an unexpected shock to Bharat civilization. It took them quite a bit of time to recover and regroup themselves. This time, the warrior who was leading the counter-strike was Kuram Devi, daughter of legendary Nayaki Devi (who defeated Ghori), and queen of Samar Singh – a direct descendant of Bappa Rawal. Just like her mother, Kuram Devi was a born leader. After Samar Singh’s death against the battle with Ghori, she sat on the throne and focused on driving away the invaders from Bharat soil. Kuram Devi led the charge from the front on horseback. She encountered islamic establishment near old Amber fort. Her army adopted a tactic of lightning-first strike and she directly went for Qutubuddin himself. Caliphate army was not accustomed to this particular style of warfare and they could not make any counter move. Qutubuddin was forced to be engaged into a duel against the queen. Kuram Devi delivered a fatal blow to Qutubuddin and buries her sword deep in his chest. Qutubuddin fell from his horse. Believing him dead, islamic army fled from the battlefield with the deadbody. With this undisputed victory, Kuram Devi managed to successfully accomplish her mission. However, in reality, Qutubuddin did not die, and he came back again. Kuram Devi’s son could not repeat the feat and lost the battle. But, Qutubuddin did not live long enough to celebrate. It is said that he fell from his horse and die from the wound; legend says that a royal horse refused to turn against his master (Kuram Devi’s son) and in turn killed Qutubuddin himself. However, real reason of Qutubuddin’s death is still unknown.

Ahom Kingdom defeated Islamic Invaders 17 Times

1206 A.D. – Bakhtiar Khilji (who destroyed Nalanda) was right-hand man of Qutubuddin. After capturing modern day Bengal, his next way-point was Assam. King Prithu was on the throne of Assam then. Khilji appeared on the planes of Kamarupa with 12000-man strong cavalry. In an attempt to gain strategic advantage, he wanted to capture the Assam fortress lying ahead of him. But soon the islamic troops were forced to go defensive from an offensive stance. Khilji did not expect such kind of strong and stubborn resistance. Still, he somehow managed to hold his ground. While Assamese army kept Caliphate forces busy at the border, another flank of Assam army appeared as a reinforcement. Finally accepting the fact that conquering Assam as an impossible task, Khilji ordered a retreat. But, lack of battle-strategy of Caliphate again came out in daylight when they saw that their supply lines had been cut off and there way of retreat was already been blocked. Islamic army was massacred and they ran for their lives. After a considerable part of Khilji’s troops had been destroyed, the remnants appeared on the riverside. But the bridges were also broken. It was clear that the Kingdom of Assam came up with a fullproof plan of crushing down the enemy without any mercy. Islamic forces resorted again to their dirty tactic of using Hindu respect on religious places as their shield. Rest of Khilji’s army took shelter in a temple. But the Assam King turned out to be wiser than the Sahi-s (kingdom of Kabul and Zabul). He did not bother before laying siege to the temple. In a last desperate attempt to save their heads, Turks jumped into nearby river. Almost entire army were carried away by the stream. A handful of them managed to return to their base. Khilji did not live much longer after this battle

1244 A.D. – The eastern base of Turk forces was set up in Bengal. After their eastern expedition to Assam resulted into a disaster, they focused on strengthening their settlement in Bengal. They were caught by surprise by another Bharat kingdom. King Narasimhadev I of Kalinga, was keeping a close eye on Turk activities. He understood their project of converting Bharat into a part of Caliphate empire. After fall of Rajputs, there were no major power in northern Bharat to challenge the Turks at that point of time. Narasimhadev I did not want to wait until Turks made the first move; he decided to take the battle to enemy’s backyard instead. By looking at the history, his military generals figured out that if the Muslims attacked first, then Kalinga (Odisha) would have to maneuver their army in a defensive manner and would no way decrease the Muslim threat over the years. So, they decided to go on “offense” as it is the best method of defense. Southern part of islamic Bengal got overrun by first wave of Kalinga attack. Then the king laid siege on the fort of Lakhnauti, which was strategically critical point for Delhi Sultanate, since it was the corridor between eastern provinces of sultanate with rest of Turk forces in Bharat. Once Turks retaliated, Kalinga forces made a strategic retreat until modern day Contai. While being under a false impression of successfully driving back Kalinga forces from islamic territory, Caliphate army fell in the trap of Narasimhadev I. At the frontier of Katasin (Contai), Kalinga forces already had dug trenches and other military bunkers. While Turks had no idea about what Kalingas were about to do, Narasimhadev I unleashed the final bait to lure the turks within point blank range. A small part of his force was deliberately sent back to Kalinga (and making sure that Turks saw the army retreating). Believing that they had won the battle, Turks called it a day and decided to have their meals. Then suddenly, Kalinga forces came out from the pre-built hideouts. The unprepared Turks found themselves surrounded from all directions. Sadly for them, the Eastern Bharat kingdoms were not as ethical as Rajputs. Turks never got a chance to pick up their weapons. What happened afterwards has been recorded in the inscription of Ananta Vasudeva temple – the water of the Ganges was blackened by the blood of Turk soldiers. Later, Kalinga forces again attacked the fort of Lakhnauti. This time, the strategy changed and a battle ensued in open ground. Turks were no match for Kalinga troops and they called for reinforcements from Delhi. It’s unclear what happened once the backup forces arrived, but Turks had suffered heavy losses which is synonymous for a defeat. It is said that Kalinga pushed the Turks back as far as the banks of Padma river. This aggressive stance of Kalinga proved to be fruitful because there is no record for even one islamic invasion in Kalinga territory for almost 100 years afterwards.

1248 A.D. – 1253 A.D. – We only know about that one battle between Turks and Rajputs where Ghori somehow managed to breach Prithwiraj Chauhan’s defence. Complete omission any subsequent mentioning of Rajputs give us a false impression that Rajputs surrendered before Turk empire after second battle of Tarain. Needless to mention, it is just the opposite of the truth. The series of battles against invaders which started with Kuram Devi, lasted until the takeover of British. Whenever some specific Rajput province fell against the Turk force, some other province continued the opposition. Had it not been because of lack of unity, united Rajput clan would have become far more superior power and dominating force in entire Northern and Western Bharat. Border re-designs between Rajputs and Turks never came to a standstill. The battles were so fierce that Turk empire used to engage a significant part of their army against Rajputs all the time. In 1236, during the reign of much-discussed Razia (or Rizia), Raputs retook control of fort of Ranthambhore which was in a crucial geographic position. Turks left no effort unspent to restore their dominion in that region. Even after a decade, Turks did not see any success. Within a span of only 5 years, at least two major invasion was successfully thrashed by king Bhagabata Chauhan.

Kangra Fort

1303 A.D. – Real Story of Padmavati – It is true that, Turks were the first of all foreign forces to have ever managed to enter Bharat. But, even before their celebration begins, they soon understood that powers like Nayaki Devi or Prithwiraj Chauhan were just the tip of iceberg. Their fear came true when it became evident that it was quite impossible for any foreign force to rule entire subcontinent. Though Turks were lucky to somehow take advantage of pride of Prithwiraj Chauhan and subdue majority of Ganges plane, both intensity and frequency of retaliations from indigenous kingdoms were on the rise. Turk army in the subcontinent were never able to leave battlefield any single day. In the western front, there was no short of effort spent from Rajputs. In one such instance, Alauddin Khilji tricked the king of Mewar, Rana Ratan Singh, to appear for a discussion but when he arrived, Khilji held him captive and demanded ransom (including women) from Rajputs. (The story of Alauddin Khilji requesting to see Queen Padmini and Rajputs allowing him to see her through mirror is a shameless myth that originated from Padmavat – a poem by Malik Muhammad Jayasi.) Rajputs seemingly agreed to send their women in palanquins. Palanquins arrived to Khilji as expected. Suddenly something happened for which even a treacherous person like Khilji was not prepared for. Rajput warriors came out under the camouflage of female outfit. Rajputs paid back Turks with their own coin. Khilji’s regiment was butchered, Rana Ratan Singh was rescued. It is said that Khilji was allowed to go back in one piece only after adhering to Rajput’s demand of begging naked to Queen Padmavati. One almost similar kind of tale has been told by Rabindranath Tagore in one of his poem.

1325 A.D. – 1328 A.D. – The Deccan Diaries – The legendary Chalukyas guarded the Deccans against the islamic invaders for almost 600 years. But, after 12th century, they started to become weaker gradually. This intermediate vacuum in southern Bharat opened the gateway for Turks to flood in. The comparatively smaller states usually were not wise enough to create a united resistance. History textbooks does not leave any sort of effort unspent to describe how quickly Turk Sultanate was able to subdue the Hoysalas and Kakatiyas. But, we never get any mentioning about the fact that Tuglaq only won one battle; actual war started afterwards when the indigenous kingdoms ultimately understood the upcoming danger of Turk empire and decided to join forces. The extraordinary aspect of this decade-long test of power was that, the comparatively smaller Bharat kingdoms chose to trade blows with mighty Turk empire even when a mere tribute was enough to guarantee their survival. If we study the Bharat tradition very carefully, we will see that this kind of ‘Battle for Honour‘ is not uncommon in Bharat culture. The payback started no more than two years after Caliphate’s temporary success. It all begun when Pralaya Verma Reddy, one not-so-popular king, made a move against invaders. He made alliance with one successor of Hoysala dynasty, Pralaya Nayaka. Their joint expedition was able to restore the East coastal region (modern day Andhra) very soon.

11-Year War: On the contrary to popular concept, Turk campaign of the Deccans was not as smooth as it is portrayed. Before the dust of Tuglaq’s campaign settled, Bharat kingdoms started a counter-offensive. Within a decade, islamic power in southern Bharat diminished to a great extent, which paved the way to rise of Vijaynagar empire.

1329 A.D. – The indomitable revival of Bharat forces on Eastern ghat spread very quickly to the western shores. Foremost leader of them, Veera Ballabha III, was an excellent strategist. He understood that another wave of islamic invasion was inevitable. He accurately analyzed crucial points to set up defensive fortifications. To deal with islamic threat in dual fronts – Delhi sultanate in north and Madurai sultanate in south, he appointed two of his most recognized generals, Harihara and Bukka (the same persons who were the founders of Vijaynagara empire) along the northern border to seal the boundary. And he himself focused on the southern frontier. As part of preparing the necessary infrastructure for upcoming battle, he established three different capitals in his kingdom – Dwarasamudra, Hosapattana and Thirubantamalai. Particularly the capital of Thirubanantamalai was set up to gain strategic advantage, since it was located on the connecting link between two sultanates. This particular defensive built-up proved to be enough to halt islamic progress for approximately 15 years.

1331 A.D. – 1333 A.D. – The Strike on Madurai Sultanate The other Bharat power here was the remnants of the Chalukyas under leadership of king Somdeva. This time ,an alliance was formed between four Bharat warrior clans of southern region – Chalukyas, Hoysalas, Kakatiyas and the Reddis. As part of their grand plan, king Somdeva initiated a military offensive against the islamic power. One attentive study of Somdeva’s campaign reveals that he, along with his allies, managed to bring down islamic power into an insignificant one in southern Bharat by just one clean sweep. At first, Rayalseema region was freed within weeks. One lightning strike at Satanikota destroyed the Turk garrison there. Then he cut off the supply line of Turk army at Kurnool region. Since Tuglaq was also struggling against northern Bharat forces during this period, southern sultanate did not have an answer to this aggressive military action by allied troops of Bharat kingdoms. Turk occupied forts in the doab of Krishna and Tungabhadra fell one after another without much resistance. Another islamic stronghold of Raichur offered stiff opposition. But, at the end, king Somdeva defeated the Turk army most brutally. It is said that the decapitated head of Turk governor was offered as a sacrifice in a temple. On his way back to Kurnool, his army met with main army of Madurai sultanate. However, rest of allied troops surrounded the Sultanate from behind. Entire islamic force of southern sultanate was wiped out after this campaign.

Speed and Agility – Indian kings often relied on these two to defeat muslims

1333 A.D. – Among a very long list of struggles of islamic leaders against Rajputs, one glorious victory of one Bharat kingdom against invaders often goes overlooked. During the reign of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq, the Caliphate wanted to expand through northern region of Bharat. At the foothills of Himalayas, there lied one comparatively smaller yet powerful kingdom – The Katoch. Legend says that the Katoch kingdom were the rulers of Kangra from the times of Mahabharata(Trigarta) till the pre-independence era. Tughlaq aimed a victory over China with his 1,00,000 man strong army. He did not take into consideration the resistance that might be offered by one smaller state of Bharat. However, he forgot that geography plays a very important role in turning the tide of a battle. Tughlaq brought a huge army – that is true, but in a region of steep hills and a freezing temperature, the best strategy is to rely on agility and speed while attacking your enemy. That is what Katoch forces actually did. Islamic army could not get the number advantage in the narrow passes of Himalayas, which is approximately 5000 meters above sea level. The clueless mammoth army of Tughlaq could not stand against frequent and consistent attacks. The Katoch kingdom not only managed to defeat an enemy at least 10 times stronger than them, but their victory was also so astounding that only 11 members of Tughlaq army were able to go back.

Wonder Women: 40000 Women Warriors of India fought to Defeat Taimur’s Army

1335 A.D. Dual thrashing in northen and southern Bharat had made Tuglaq very desperate. His stubbornness to restore Caliphate’s control in entire Deccan only increased exponentially. He brought his whole army in his secondary capital at Daulatabad. The Bharat alliance did not go into a direct military conflict. To prepare the ground to take back lost territories, the biggest obstacle was the presence of royal Turk army in the plateaus. Again, the military brilliance of Bharat masterminds proved to be unmatched when the Bharat alliance initiate a bio-warfare. Entire royal army of the Turks got decimated and Tuglaq was forced to leave. This absence of islamic force not only diminished islamic power in that region, but also brought back stability for quite a long time. This preliminary phase was essential to reinforce Bharat resistance and to be prepared for any subsequent invasion. The last islamic stronghold in southern Bharat, Warangal was taken back by indigenous rulers post this period. Reddi kingdom was restored in this region.

1333 A.D. – 1336 A.D. – Pride of Delhi Sultanate avenged to Dust – The legendary Rajputs very often fall prey to a mockery of not being able to win even a single battle. Entire credit for this misconception goes to the twisted portrayal of Rajputs by mainstream historians. While characterizing a Rajput warrior, almost none of entertainment media (novels, movies, theaters etc.) is able to come out of a stereotyped overly-ethical idealistic tragic hero. Since this depiction closely matches with the personality of Prithwiraj Chauhan, he appears to become the standardized illustration of an entire clan. But, if we start looking into our own historical records, we can see that such kind of diplomatic and strategic blunders like Prithwiraj Chauhan is really very rare among Rajput kings. On the contrary, they will easily find their place among the topmost deadly warrior clans of the world. Even if we exclude the factors of bravery and valor, they were no less than their contemporaries in terms of other parameters. There are numerous examples in medieval Bharat where the Rajput kingdoms managed to stay out of the reach of islamic rulers, against all odds. Prithwiraj Chauhan’s defeat worked like a booster to the Caliphate – that’s true, but there were no short of Rajput daredevils who did not restrain from continuing their effort to drive back the invaders. One lesser known such brave-heart, Rana Hammir, managed to shake the Turk base in the subcontinent. Starting from his teen-age, Rana Hammir focused on only this objective. Slowly but steadily, he managed to build up a united force. Sensing a strong opposition, Tuglaq made a move against him. Even being outnumbered by a proportion of four to one, Rana Hammir knew one doctrine of war, which, had his ancestors actually cared to know, could have resisted Caliphate from ever returning into Bharat. The doctrine is popularly known as : “The objective of a war, is to not die for the country, but to make the other man die for his“. Rana Hammir caught the Turk force by surprise when a small regiment attacked the base camp at midnight. That Turk army base turned into a slaughterhouse. Needless to say that the Bharat forces came out victorious of that battle. But the historical event which took place that night, was that, the ruler of the Turk empire, Muhammad-bin-Tuglaq became a prisoner of Rana Hammir. Rana Hammir decided to let Tuglaq go free after a short prison term instead of killing him. Consequence of this action was far-stretched. Islamic power in Bharat lost all their dignity and self-esteem. Post this period, though there was instances of islamic territories here and there, lack of any central formidable Caliphate force was evident.

Odisha – Another Stronghold of Hindus who denied any Islam Entry

1336 A.D. – Rise of Vijayanagar– After Rana Hammir’s decisive victory over Turk empire, islam was again on decline in Bharat mainland. Rajputs started to become dominating power in northern Bharat again. Regional Turk garrisons somehow managed to maintain their existence, but they lost all their influence. On the Eastern part, Kalinga and Assamese empires also emerged as sovereign powers throughout the islamic rule. After the united campaign of Munsuris, Reddis, Chalukyas and Kakatiyas, southern Bharat also witnessed a rise of native forces. This period of Indian history can be marked as an outstanding chapter, since all the different native kingdoms of Deccans got dissolved gradually and one unified empire rose from the debris of war – The Vijayanagar. The factor what made Vijayanagar so special that this empire managed to integrate a handful of Bharat native clans to stand against the invaders. Significance of rise of Vijayanagar lies in the fact that unlike the alliance in Battle of Rajasthan or Battle of Bahraich, Vijayanagar was not just a temporary coalition; this empire was built based on a long-term goal. It took a long waiting of centuries after the golden days of Mauryas or the Guptas, for another attempt of unification coming into political picture of Bharat.

1346 A.D. – 1356 A.D. – Though the southern Bharat alliance restored the Deccans from islamization, the leaders again made a grave mistake – after defeating Madurai sultanate, they did not finish it off. After their departure, islamic power again started to strengthen its foothold in this area. Initial decade of Vijayanagar kings was spent to bring indigenous powers of southern Bharat within one umbrella. Once the base of the future empire was solidified, the king, Harihara I, took up the task of putting an end to the only islamic presence in Southern Bharat. Though his campaign saw an undisputed success, islamic force was yet to be uprooted.

Rani Karnavati imposed a humiliating defeat on Shahjahan

1356 A.D. – 1361 A.D. – Another islamic threat was on the rise along north-western regions of the Deccans. The Bahmanis, in spite of being a separate state, used to co-ordinate their attacks along with Madurai sultanate to establish Caliphate power here. To counter this joint offensive, Vijaynagar kings decided to make alliance with the Nayaka-s (on Eastern shore). During 1356-1357, one major invasion from the Bahmani-s were successfully beaten off by Vijayanagar. Although the treasury of the Bahmani-s were almost empty because of continuous conflicts, as a last attempt, they again tried to attack Vijaynagar in 1361. Bahmani-s made a non-aggression deal with islamic power in nothern Bharat. Then they all focused their power against Vijayanagar. The alliance of Bukka I and Kapaya Nayaka created two fronts against Bahmani-s. Victory was decisive for the Bharat alliance. Bahmani-s had to agree to all the conditions to save themselves from any counter-invasion. This peace treaty enabled Vijayanagar to push their border further.

1370 A.D. – 1378 A.D. – The End of Madurai Sultanate Successive king of Vijayanagar, Bukka I, did not repeat the same mistake of leaving his battered enemy alone. He restarted military campaign against Madurai sultanate. He appointed this task to his son, Kampana. In 1370, Vijaynagar army met their enemy in at Samayavaram. They gained an easy victory there. Same feat was repeated in Kannaur-Kuppam. In 1371, the conflict near Madurai resulted in death of Madurai sultan. Even after that, sultan’s successors did not give up. Vijayanagar army continued their pressure on islamic provinces. At last, after slow but steady procedure of annexation of islamic territories, in 1378, officially Vijayanagar declared takeover of the sultanate.

1398 A.D. – The End of Taimur-Len and his Holy War – The medieval history of Asia was infamous for one tyrannic conqueror – Taimur Len. His army used to be feared throughout Asia, Africa and Europe. Though his brutality and victory marches surprisingly make a significant portion of our history study, little is known about his catastrophic failure in Bharat campaign. After a easy victory over spineless islamic ruler of Delhi, Taimur went on to commit a mass genocide there (100000+ body count). Probably Taimur did not care to take into consideration the power of native warriors. The ruthless killing of innocent civilians ignited the flame. Almost after four centuries of glorious victory at the battle of Bahraich, another unified resistance was on the rise under leadership of Jograj Singh Pawar. While Taimur was busy celebrating his demonic massacre over Delhi citizens, Bharat alliance carried out one preemptive strike. Almost 9000 of Taimur’s soldiers were killed and corpses swept away by Yamuna. Taimur quickly recovered from the shock and proceeded towards Meerut with a 100000-men strong army. But they had to face direct war at day, guerrilla attacks at night and frequent sieges on supplies. At Jawalpur (modern-day), one regiment of Bharat alliance under Harbir Singh Gulia attacked Taimur’s troops. The conflict not only resulted in destruction of 5000 cavalry, Taimur also was wounded badly. Taimur-Len and his army continued to take damages as they proceeded towards Ganges. During one such guerrilla attack at one jungle surrounding Haridwar, another 2000 men of Taimur’s army was destroyed. At the banks of Ganges, Taimur faced his most horrible days of life; the battle was so savage that he could never imagine. Not being able to withstand the bloodbath, Taimur lost his stomach to fight. Even on Taimur’s way of retreat, Bharat army continued the onslaught. Almost 2/3 rd of Taimur’s army was destroyed (approx. 160000) and thus began the destruction of his ‘Holy Empire’.

During the Delhi Sultanate – Vijaynagar took up the task of defending Hinduism

1414 A.D. – Bengal was under islamic rule for almost a long 200 years. Gradually, to deal with native rulers of surrounding area, islamic kings started appointing local Hindus in the administration. One such person, Raja Ganesha, a direct descendant of the Deva dynasty of Bengal, was working behind the scenes restlessly to manipulate internal affairs of Bengal sultanate. Gradually, as mentioned with utmost hatred in islamic accounts, Ganesha brought the treasury under his control and then recaptured the throne of Bengal. It appears that he killed the sultan of Bengal, Shihabuddin. Islamic lobby in Bengal called for backup to the sultan of Jaunpur, Ibrahim Shah. It is not clear what was the outcome of Ibrahim’s battle against Ganesha. Some accounts mention a straightaway defeat for Ibrahim. Some mention that king Ganesha formed an alliance with kingdom of Mithila (king Sivasimha). Whatever may the details be, the battle resulted in a victory in favor of King Ganesha, because otherwise islamic dominion would have been returned there. Though king Ganesha’s rule lasted only for 3-4 years, this phase is critical in Bharat history because it was the first instance of Hindu uprising in Bengal deltas.

1437 A.D. – 1446 A.D. – After crushing defeat in hands of Rana Hammir, Turk establishment in Bharat was divided into local territories. Each one of them was too busy to maintain their existence against neighboring native Bharat states. Just like how southern sultanates were struggling against Vijayanagar or Eastern sultanates were under threat of Kalinga, western sultanates also had to deal with the Rajputs. Ruler of one such islamic state, Mandavgad (or Mandu) went on to interfere into internal affairs of Rajputs. As a result, Rana Kumbha declared war against him. In spite of repeated appeal, none of bordering sultanates agreed to help him against frightening force of Rana Kumbha. The armies met at Mandavgad. After a severe engagement, the Sultanate army could not withstand any longer and started to flee from battleground. Sultan himself fled to safe refuge of his fort of Mandu. Rana’s army followed up and laid siege to Mandu. Sultan was held captive and brought back to Chittor. Mandavgad sultanate again came back 5 years later and met with Rana Kumbha in Mandalgarh. After a fierce battle, again sultanate had to retreat. Again in 1446 A.D., the sultanate attacked Rana Kumbha’s territory, but the result was still the same. Mandavgad sultanate was left powerless after all these series of bloody battles.

Bappa Rawal – One of the leaders to thrash back Arab Invasion

1447 A.D. – King Ganesha’s short term rule saw an islamic retreat in Bengal. But after his death, islamic lobby managed to retake the hold of the throne with the use of treachery and conversion. Unfortunately for them, they were restricted by boundaries of two very powerful Bharat kingdoms in East and South. In the East there was the powerful armies of Assam, in South, there was Kalinga. When king Kapilendra Deva became the ruler of Kalinga in 1435, the first thing he focused on was reinforcing his military. Sultanate of Bengal saw a window of attack against Kalinga when Kapilendra Deva was busy against Reddi-s. Upon receiving the news of islamic threat on northern border, Kapilendra Deva immediately ordered a ceasefire on southern front and returned to take care of islamists. The battle that ensued proved to be too fatal for Bengal sultanate. Kapilendra Deva managed to capture up to Gauda region.

1455 A.D. – 1456 A.D. – After demolishing Mandavgad sultanate, Rana Kumbha turned towards Nagaur sultanate. Death of then ruler of Nagaur created a temporary vacancy and Rana Kumbha quickly grabbed this opportunity to make a move. With a delicate combination of power and diplomacy, he managed to gain control over the throne of Nagaur. However, his stooge later turned against him. Rana Kumbha took no chance and stormed Nagaur. It took no time for annexation of Nagaur. An ally of Nagaur, Gujrat sultanate appeared to take back the territory. Rana Kumbha drew the enemy in, to his home-ground and inflicted a disastrous damage. Gujrat sultanate army was almost annihilated.

1458 A.D. – 1459 A.D. – Just like last couple of decades, this time period also saw comeback of Bharat kingdoms against Turk power throughout Bharat landmass – Vijayanagar in South, Rajputs in West and Kalinga in East. Around 1458, Bahmani sultanate initiated an attempt of annexation of Deverkonda. Deverkonda ruler was aware of imminent defeat and called for help to Kapilendra Deva of Kalinga. Kalinga kingdom immediately came to their aid and stood firm against Bahmani army. Bahmani troops did not have any chance against the joint forces, they had to retreat.

1462 A.D. – 1463 A.D. We have heard much about Vijayanagar vs Bahmani conflicts. But very few of us are actually aware of campaigns against Bahmanis carried out by invincible Kapilendra Deva. Bahmani started to feel the heat four years after the defeat against allied force of Kalinga and Deverkonda. Kapilendra Deva, aided by Bellama chiefs, assembled a huge and powerful army to invade the islamic stronghold in Deccans. Bahmani was unable to make any resistance. Just when Bahmani sultanate was on the verge of submission, neighboring sultanate of Jaunpur attacked Kalinga from north. Kapilendra Deva had to step back temporarily to deal with that new threat. Jaunpur was absolutely of no match against that Bharat powerhouse. Arab chronicler, Ferishta tries very hard to make an impossible claim that Kapilendra Deva had to pay a ransom against Bahmani but it does not make any sense when validated against reality. Not only that, successive invasion from Kalinga resulted in fall of Bidar, then capital of Bahmani. This battle against Kalinga weakened Bahmani so much that few years later, it ceased to exist anymore.

Hindus united again and again, putting aside their differences, to defeat a threat against ancient Bharat

1492 A.D. After the fall of Tuglaq dynasty, it was getting clearer day by day that elimination of Turk power in Bharat was just a matter of time. Regional islamic states were struggling against Bharat kingdoms. Being unable to get an upper-hand on military power of Bharat kings, Turks tried to create imbalance on sociological stability. Frequent attacks on innocent civilians became a common thing. Destruction of records prohibits us from retrieving exact details of all those events. Obviously, when our biased history successfully distorts the details of major battles, all those minor events are expected to be omitted. One such forgotten hero appears to be Rao Satal. In order to save hundreds of women from Turk army, Rao Satal launched a campaign quickly. Turk battalion was destroyed. Although Rao Satal himself could not recover from his wounds.

1509 A.D. – 1511 A.D. – The Caliphate’s attempts to re-establish islamic supremacy in the Deccan were continuously being challenged mostly because of presence of two major Bharat powers – Kalinga and Vijayanagar. After the decisive defeat against Kapilendra Deva, we do not see any significant Bahmani effort against Kalinga. Instead they introduced frequent plundering and looting of provinces within Vijayanagar empire. During this period, throne of Vijayanagar was assumed by Krishnadevaraya, who is considered as greatest ruler of that empire. One very important trait possessed by him, along with many others, was his military excellence. Extent of his military success can only be compared with one of his contemporaries, the invincible Kapilendra Deva. Krishnadevaraya’s first job what he did after ascending the throne, was to put an end to that frequent ravaging carried out by Bahmanis. He utilized his espionage and scouting division to identify potential spawning locations of Bahmani generals. This proved to be too critical to narrow down the lock-in zone. Finally, Bahamanis gathered in Bidar and were about to start their marauding. But to their surprise, Vijayanagar was ready that time. In Diwani, a decisive battle was fought resulting in undisputed and bull-dozing victory for Vijayanagar. Bijapur, Bidar and Gulbarga was annexed into Vijayanagar. Islamic governor of Golkonda province was defeated too. Bahmani sultan himself was seriously injured. In a fierce battle with the retreating army near Kovilkonda, once again Krishnadevaraya emerged victorious and annexed that region also.

1518 A.D. – Rana Kumbha had started the demolition of neighboring sultanates. His successors also shared the same expansionist view. His grandson, Sangram Singh, popularly known as Rana Sanga, achieved notable success in uniting the Rajputs again after a long time. During his reign, Turk rulers in Ganges plane were under constant threat. During one such event, then ruler, Ibrahim Lodi, prepared an army against Rajputs. Royal Turk army managed to endure heats of that battle no more than five hours. Lodi himself left battlefield to save life. One Turk prince was held captive, who, later was released against a huge ransom.

1519 A.D. – This year proved to be crucial in determining the establishment of Bharat supremacy finally against Turk force. Rajputs under leadership of Rana Sanga faced a simultaneous threat from all three powerful neighboring sultanates. In the front of Gagron, they faced a confederation of Gujrat and Malwa sultanate. Turks were well known for their cavalry. But, the Bharat forces also proved to be coping up with changes in styles of warfare. Rajput cavalry, with a swift and surgical attack, tore through the ranks of Gujrat sultanate. That lefts only the Malwa army in the ground. Malwa was not less intimidating, but with early destruction of their ally, they did not have a chance to stand against Rajputs. Sultan of Gujrat was taken as a prisoner. On second frontier of Dholpur, Ibrahim Lodi attacked Rajput troops. Lodi brought a gigantic military with him this time, to avenge his earlier defeat. Again, Rana Sanga depended on speed and agility to deal with a comparatively numerically superior enemy. Lodi was defeated a second time. Boundaries of Rajput territory expanded in both directions. As a result, both Gujrat and Malwa sultanates existed only by name. Lodi’s power also diminished to a great extent.

The popular notion about Hinduism restricting women freedom is wrong – ancient Hindu Women regular took part even in warfare

1520 A.D. – Turk forces tried to rise again in Gujrat sultanate within one year. The news reached to Rana Sanga within no time. He called for an ultimate war again Gujrat sultanate and assembled all his allies within the region. When Rana Sanga apeared at Idar, instead of facing his army, Nizam-ul-Mulk retreated to Ahmednagar. Rajputs re-captured Idar without much effort. But Rana Sanga went on with his invasion and reached Ahmednagar. Though islamic troops did make a resistance, again Nizam fled towards Ahmedabad. At Ahmedabad, reinforcements arrived for Nizam and he prepared a defensive garrison. But Rajputs came out on the top of conflict and Ahmedmagar. Gujrat sultanate finally fell before Rajputs.

1520 A.D. – Battle of Raichur – One of most memorable battles in medieval Bharat is the Battle of Raichur. For the first time since the Turk invasion, traditional Bharat style of putting a mammoth army in the battleground returned into reality. Usually, in early medieval times, heavily armored cavalry and elephants were put forward to bull-doze the enemy. With progress in time, quick attacks and hit-n-run techniques started to become prevailing strategies. For the same reason, usually none of parties involved in a warfare thought about deploying lakhs of soldiers in battle anymore. But, one of greatest military geniuses in medieval Bharat, Krishnadevaraya thought otherwise. In an attempt to hit a fatal blow on deccan sultanates, he brought out his full potential. Sources tell that size of his army will easily reach a head-count of 7,50,000; while not taking into account his ~50,000 scouts and spies. Not only that, he made commercial relations with Portuguese colony and hired Portuguese musketeers and arquebuses. Bijapur’s 1,40,000-men strong army was totally dwarfed by this gigantic Bharat force. One advantage that the sultanate possessed was superior firepower. Vijayanagar initiated the attack and hit the middle of Bijapur ranks. To recover from initial thrust, Bijapur sultan ordered extensive bombardment with all his cannons. It forced Vijayanagar army to retreat temporarily. Bijapur cavalry chased back first line of Vijayanagar ranks for over a mile where the second line of Vijayanagar forces were standing by. That extraordinary military arrangement absorbed that strike. Second push by Vijayanagar came out to be too much for Bijapur sultanate. The army was scattered, generals were killed, Vijayanagar army crossed the river and laid siege on Raichur fort. Portuguese arquebuses picked up defenders from fort’s wall which eased up the task of capturing the fort. After the fort was owned, Krishnadevaraya went ahead further and a bloodbath occurred in Sultan’s camp. Bijapur sultanate was annexed by Vijayanagar. This crushing victory spread throughout Bharat very soon. The tales had such a lasting impact that Babur did not dare to attack southern Bharat.

Going by the narrative of mainstream historians, the notion of existence of century-long Turk empire in Bharat seems to be a over-stretch. First of all, Turk rulers could not settle beyond the Ganges plain. In spite of Turk victory over Prithwiraj Chauhan, Rajputs did not bow down and they came back even stronger than before. In Eastern front, Assam and Kalinga kingdoms stopped their progress. In Southern Bharat, Turk expedition met temporary success but it did not last long. Not only that, even this regional province in Northern plains ceased to exist after one and a half century and it broke down into smaller independent territories, most of whom failed to maintain their sovereignty against Bharat states. It is too sad that then Bharat kingdoms could not put aside their internal differences and initiate a coordinated campaign to chase back the invaders. But a careful study of political landscape during that period discloses that Turk foundation was on the verge of complete destruction. Had the Bharat kingdoms (i.e. Rajputs, Kalinga, Vijaynagar, Reddis etc.) possessed same type of political awareness like their predecessor of the era of Arab Caliphate, probably for third time in a row, entire Bharat would have got rid of islam.

Yes!!! History Does Lie

While the Turk territories in Bharat were being squeezed from all directions by Bharat kingdoms, next wave of islamic invasion appeared in the north-western border. Those invaders from central asia, usually referred as ‘Mughals’ in educational books on history in modern India, had their heritage linked with the Turks. Studies on Asian anthropology do not reveal any particular tribe or community which can be termed as “Mughals”. In spite of very close similarity with pronunciation of the word “Mongols”, so-called Mughals had very little to no connection with them. Even in history syllabus in other countries, we cannot find any mentioning about Mughals. Lack of explanation about origin of the word “Mughal”, let us conclude that it was actually second Turk invasion in Bharat. Whatever the nationality of those invaders was, biased history of Bharat textbooks attach a badge of golden-era to those uncivilized vandals. Credit for everything extraordinary those were ever achieved in Bharat, starting from architecture to arts, science to economy, ultimately goes entirely or partially to those looters, in spite of lack of even slightest evidence. While this strange mindset of Bharat historians is yet to be understood, a detailed research quite easily brings out that Mughals were no better than the ancient Huns whose primary objective was to plunder. But, on the contrary of overrated glorification, they even did not succeed. That great Mughal rule was actually a Rajput-Mughal joint venture. The last one of them, Aurangzeb, was too over-confident and he went on with the illusion of islamization of Bharat. As a result, they met the same fate as previous islamic rulers and were badly beaten up by indigenous kingdoms. At the end, we see that Bharat forces (Marathas, Rajputs, Jats, Sikhs etc.) gradually becoming dominating ones. The only reason all lost territories could not be recovered was the arrival of multitude of European forces in Bharat mainland, which changed the political landscape to a great extent. In other words, British rule actually saved existence of islam in Bharat.

Vijayanagar Empire at its Zenith

1556 A.D.– Babur was able to set up a foothold through several holocausts, which obviously are deliberately ignored by history textbooks. But, as mentioned earlier, he did not dare to invade Deccans yet, because of presence of strong kingdoms like Vijayanagar or Kalinga. Though Rana Sanga faced his only defeate at first battle of Panipat, Rajputs were also trying to pull everything back together. Other Bharat warrior clans were on the process of regrouping themselves too. During reign of Babur’s son, Humayun, one tug-of-war started between Mughals and the Turk-Afghans for power of Delhi. While all these chaos were going on, slowly and silently, one Bharat warrior, disguised as a commander general, was building up his own army. When the time came, he began his campaign. He was on a mission to subdue the rebellions against the Turk-Afghan ruler, Sher Shah. He was doing that happily and with great enthusiasm, but his goal was not carrying the Turk flag of victory. His hidden agenda was to free Bharat land from both Turk and Mughal invaders. While he was defeating the rebels, he did not forget to establish his personal control over administration, treasury and army on those provinces. While he was in Bengal, a vacuum of power were seen at Delhi. This was the moment he was waiting for; now he returned towards Delhi. On his way through today’s Bihar, Uttar Pardesh, Madhya Pradesh, he is said to win 22 battles. His battle experience was so excellent that in almost all his enemies could not even finish the battle. On some occasions, Mughal commanders left their positions simply after hearing about his incoming. At Tuglaqabad, he declared one final battle against royal Mughal army. With over 50,000+ strong army, he, at first launched a fake attack on his enemies and quickly retreated. While his enemy thought that they had won and brought down their defense, then he ordered for actual attack. Mughals did not have any alternate plan and they fled the battlefield. He declared himself as the emperor. Probably you are wondering who might this legendary warrior be. Yes, he is almost forgotten today, his name was Hemchandra Vikramaditya.

1565 A.D. – Bengal was not a Walk-Over – After the reign of King Ganesha, although islamic rule was restored in Bengal, Bharat warriors did not give up. Gradually, sensing the increasing power of Bharat kings, islamic rulers decided to maintain peace with them in Eastern Bharat. But things were changing. Strategies were on their way to throw out the invaders. King Rudranarayan, one almost forgotten such hero, finally made a move. Slowly but steadily, he brought south-western Bengal within his rule. Then, he made alliance with Kingdoms of Kalinga, Bihar (modern day) and other indigenous kings of Bengal. This strategy to make alliance with Kalinga was a masterstroke, because Kalinga was already within a non-aggression treaty with Mughals; thus he ruled out the possibility of another Mughal army coming into Turks’ aid. After the diplomatic missions had been successfully carried out, he declared war against the islamic provinces of Bengal. The armies met in the battle of Tribeni, under general Rajib Lochan Roy. The result was decisive and islamic party was entirely destroyed in that battle. It is really unfortunate that today’s youth do not get a chance to know about this glorious history of Bengal.

1576 A.D. – Battle of Haldighat– This is one of most acknowledged battle of history of medieval Bharat. Gravity of this battle does not lie within the magnitude or bloodshed. Mughal era, as already mentioned earlier, was actually an empire controlled by both Rajputs and Mughals. Mughals were under a non-aggression pact with most of Rajput kings. That is why they got rid of the threat from one of Bharat’s most famed warrior clan. That also explains about surprisingly little presence of Rajputs in the list of battles against Mughals. Going by the chronology in this article, it is very clear that Rajputs were the foremost power to throw Turks out of Bharat mainland. But, after Mughals came, there were very few instances of any major battle between Rajputs and Mughals. The only reason which restricted Rajputs from taking on those invader head-on was that they also had vested interest. But, obviously, there were exceptional brave-hearts who had something else in their mind. Foremost of them, almost been promoted to a level of a national icon today, Rana Pratap is one of perfect examples which demonstrates why Bharat is the only nation in the world to ever have survived islamic agression. He was almost out of his allies, resources and options. Still, against all odds, he stood apart from his contemporaries and challenged Mughals. Mughals, along with their allies and stooges, possessed a military strength which easily dwarfed that of Rana Pratap. But that could not make Rana Pratap to stand down. He went ahead and crafted out a professional army out of local tribes. In the battle of Haldighat, he brilliantly utilized his limited resource. Outcome of that battle was not decisive. It is true that Mughals held the ground, but Rana Pratap continued his war against Mughals for years. Even if the battle ended with Mughals in a slightly advantageous position, it was just the beginning of a war which Mughals were never able to finish.

Empire of Kapilendra Deva

1582 A.D. – The pages removed from mainstream history – Battle of Haldighat probably did not go that well for Rana Pratap. But, ultimate level of his stamina, determination and bravery came out when we see him continuing guerrilla warfare for long six years. Even after losing control of three critical military garrisons, he never lost his esteem. Even after he went underground, he continued to make new allies, new treaties, new army and his own administration. During these years, Mughals continued to send series of campaigns to capture and kill Rana Pratap. But every time, they were outwitted and outmuscled by inflexible fortitude and sheer willpower. Ultimate showdown happened in 1582, when Rana Pratap, along with his son Amar Sing, came back for another bout with Mughals in the Battle of Dewar. While historians keep mum about this battle, local tales describe about the horror created by Rajput army. It is said that Rana Pratap cut off a Mughal warrior in half, along with his horse, by just one strike of sword (Rana Pratap’s sword weighted 25 kg.). Among many such knee-cramping references, it is not possible to define which ones were real and which are just folklore; but the terror of that war sucked out the morale out of Mughal army. 36000 mughals put down their weapons to save their lives. After this, Rana Pratap continued his victory run for couple more years and recovered almost all lost territory. Akbar, after seeing back-to-back failures, decided to come himself; but after six months, he went back and decided to give up.

1603 A.D. – During late sixteenth century, islamic garrisons in Bengal started facing rising power of native kingdoms. Smaller and less powerful leaders started to collaborate with each other and stronger unions were formed. Those kingdoms used to show enough power to hold their ground against twofold invasion from two different imperial powers – Turks and Mughals. One such kingdom, Bhurishrestha, usually maintained a neutral stance in case of rivalry between two branches of islamic army. But, diplomacy alone never was enough to maintain peace. King Rudranarayan and his coalition defeated the invaders and stopped the invasions for few decades. But the Turks returned with newly built army. His wife and then queen of Bhurishrestha, Queen Bhabashankari, had extensive intellect and training in military and administrative tactics. Being afraid by her rising power, neighboring Turks carried out a surgical strike to capture the queen. But this type of sabotages were something she could foresee. She used to recruit army personnel from each and every layer of society, irrespective of caste, which was something rare those days. Her point of view proved its effectiveness when her spies informed the royal guards about the Turk infiltration much ahead. Not only that, over-glorified Turk forces failed to endure the swords of a handful of female bodyguards of the queen. Once the main army of queen joined the battle, the Turks abandoned their mission. Most of them were killed. Their leader, Osman Khan, fled under disguise.

1603 A.D. – 1604 A.D. – After the initial sneak attack failed, Turks quickly prepared for a full-fledged direct war. They already had a spy within Queen Bhabashankari‘s ranks. Turk strategy was to launch an internal treachery in parallel to external invasion. But, the robustness of the queen’s administration was again proved itself when the internal policing network preempted the plan and took countermeasures. Along with queen’s elite female battalion, three more divisions were dispatched from Chhaunapur, Basdingagarh and Laskardanga. As reserve forces, her royal advisors quickly assembled a standby regiment out of locals. Commander of Pendo fort led two regiments with him to intercept the renegade battalion, who were in their way to provide aid to Turks. All these were carried out so fluently that the invaders could not get even a slightest hint. The traitors were stopped before even taking a single step. Remaining four divisions made entrenchment at Bashuri. When Turk army arrived, they found themselves surrounded from three directions. Being in a disadvantageous position by both strategically and numerically, Turks definitely had no chance. They again failed in their mission. Queen Bhabashankari’s fame reached to Mughal court in Delhi. Hearing about all those battles, Mughals also did not dare to increase tension with her kingdom. Probably the name of queen Bhabashankari is not quite common now-a-days; but the title she received, “Ray-Baghini”, is used even today to indicate women empowerment.

1606 A.D. – Rajput resistance to Mughals did not end with Rana Pratap’s death. His successor, Amar Singh I also followed his footsteps. On the other side, Akbar also died and his son Jahangir became the ruler of Mughals. Jahangir restarted assault against Mewar. He deployed an army as strong as 80,000 soldiers and appointed two of his most trusted generals in this critical campaign. Not only Mughals placed an army at least four times bigger than Rajputs, historians mention that gears of Mughal army were of superior quality. However, they met in the same place where Rana Pratap destroyed Akbar’s pride, Dewar. Amar Singh ordered his troops to peel off Mughal regiment layer after layer from both flanks, instead of a direct attack. At the end, almost 50,000 warriors of Mughal army were killed. They had no other way than accepting defeat.

1615 A.D. – 1618 A.D. – Imperial expansion of Mughals clashed with the powerful Ahoms in their eastern front. Earlier, the same Ahom kingdom pushed back the Turks. Bakhtiar Khilji suffered a disastrous defeat against them. Post that incident, no islamic ruler dared to look up on far-east part of Bharat. The long-awaited conflict resumed on Mughal era. Mughals were eagerly waiting to find an excuse to declare war against Ahoms, which they have found when Ahom expelled a Mughal merchant based on legal terms. Mughals immediately launched an heavy assault on Ahoms. Ahoms were caught by surprise and they could not resist the invasion. After more than one such back-to-back attempts, Mughals were able to snatch away Ahom territory. But Ahoms quickly regrouped and they destroyed Mughals near Bharali. This initial success boosted Ahom morale and they continued their counter missions against Mughals. It intensified during the reign of Pratap Singha. Though during this period, there was no more major border redesign between them.

1621 A.D. – On the north-western frontier of Bharat, beside Rajputs, another Bharat community started to stand against the foreign invasion in mid-seventeenth century. Initially started the journey as a purely religious brotherhood, namely Sikhs, they converted into one of most ferocious armed military during that time. In spite of considerably small in terms of manpower and resources, Sikhs used to give really a tough time to Mughals. This transmission of Sikhs under Guru Hargobinda raised alarm of then Mughal leader, Jahangir. He tried to dominate Sikhs by imprisoning Guru Hargobinda, but all failed. The appeal of Sikhs was spreading very quickly. Conflict between them and Mughals were inevitable. First blood was drawn in the year 1621. In the battle of Rohilla, Mughals got the taste of Sikh swords. It seemed like they underestimated the uprising and was defeated quickly.

1628 A.D. – 1635 A.D. – Bharat warriors had a tendency to never have bowed down against foreign invasions. The same commitment towards motherland which was present during the time of Mauryas, appears to be driving the Sikhs also. Shortly after they took up weapons in their hands, they had become primary adversaries of Mughals. Initial setback during the time of Guru Hargobinda temporarily stopped Mughals to continue their expansionist policy towards western Bharat. But they came back after a decade. Mughals were aggressively searching for an excuse to pick up a fight. Little disagreements used to be turned into major conflicts. In one such incident, an army comprising of 9000 Mughal soldiers were dispatched to take on Sikhs in the city of Amritsar. After two days of horrible battle, Mughals suffered heave losses. Almost half of their army was destroyed which forced them to go back as of then. Mughals did not lose hope and they initiated planning for another all-out assault on Sikhs. Few years after, almost a 35,000+ strong Mughal army charged into another Sikh stronghold in Lahira. There are very few instances in the world where a huge disadvantage of numeric supremacy have been nullified by never-say-die attitude. Almost 4,000 Sikhs firmly held their ground against an enemy at least 8-9 times stronger. In subsequent year, in an attempt to strike into the heart of Sikhs, Mughal army laid siege to Kartarpur. Though the Sikhs had to go through a hell-like situation, they never preferred surrender over independence. The iron-like spine seemed to be unbreakable and the siege was about to be failed. At last, Mughals tried to penetrate through the defense and it all came to a duel. Seeing their commander dead in that duel, Mughals retreated. All these extraordinary accounts never found their rightful place in history syllabus, but local tales carry the records of those glorious incidents.

1640 A.D. – Shah Jahan attempted to do the same which none of his predecessors, not even the Turks were able to achieve. He went on to conquer the Himalayan range. After hearing news of death of the King Mahipati Shah, he sensed a perfect opportunity to start an offensive. But, Queen Karnavati took up the duty to protect her kingdom. She was well informed in advance about a large Mughal army advancing towards her kingdom. She built up series of hurdles and booby traps on the way of Mughal army. Stone walls, fallen trees, roadblocks – Mughals had to face every kind of obstructions possible every now and then. Not only they started to tire our physically, all those obstructions were placed so strategically that one strong and gigantic army slowly started to become divided into smaller groups. The narrow passes forced the Mughal army to divide into batches to overcome each barrier. As soon as one small regiment managed to cross one hurdle, Queen Karnavati’s army attacked with lightning-fast speed. In spite of possessing a quite intimidating military prowess, Mughals were never able to fight with their full potential. Since they were lured deep within the enemy territory, it was not possible for them to go back to safe house. Soon the monsoon started and the rain worsened situation. The journey appeared to be a never-ending one for them. Their inspiration and morale started to decline. Not being able to cope up with the full-proof defensive strategy devised by some of least-known and never-hailed army generals of medieval Bharat, Mughals scattered away from battlefield. Whoever managed to remain alive, they were caught and as per the queen’s orders, their noses were cut-off. That sign was labelled as a permanent mark of insult of so-called mighty Mughals.

Sikhs – who became a nemesis to Mughals

1661 A.D. – Rise of Chhatrapati Shivaji – Probably the great personality does not need another introduction. Amidst the terror of islamic expansion, though there was no short of resistance offered by different Bharat kings, they still lacked that uttermost push from within to wipe out last trace of invaders from Bharat. During the invasion of Arabs and Ghaznabaids, we see Bharat kings to stand united against a world-breaking force. Those era proved military might of medieval Bharat which decisively dominated even the mightiest power in rest of the world. Things changed during Turk era. Warriors forgot to join hands against a mightier force. Though they spent their last drop of blood in battlefield, that was not enough. Commanding an army of humongous magnitude certainly prove the might of a King, but, to win a war, it needs something more. Going by military journals of ancient Bharat, hitting hard often does not produce desired result, the King should know when and where to hit the enemy. Along with it, terrain can decide the fate of a war before it even starts. A King should know when to announce ceasefire and when to shift to offence. And probably most important of all, a King should be proficient in diplomacy, making or breaking alliances. Almost no single King during Turk invasion was able to meet all these checklists. As a result, islamic invaders were able to break the 500-year deadlock and could set a foot on Bharat. Still, Bharat kings lately realized their mistake and reconciled against those marauders. After the Turks submitted to Bharat kings, Mughals put forward their diplomats to make alliances and non-aggression treaties with regional Bharat powers. Diplomatic policy of Mughals is something that can be used as a learning material even today. They used to declare war against one target and make friendship with others at the same time, thus preventing the risk of facing any confederacy of Bharat kings. Clearly, Bharat desperately needed someone who could beat Mughals in their own game. Thankfully, one such leader, Chhatrapati Shivaji, emerged from the clan of Marathas. Mughals became wary about him and sent a mission in order to capture him in 1661. Marathas drew them within jungles and utilized their precise artillery strikes to bring them down. Mughals had no other way than unconditional surrender.

1663 A.D. – 1667 A.D. – The first phase of Ahom-Mughal conflict ended with Mughals giving up for then. But after a decade, they came back and a bloody war ensued. Ahoms were forced to sign into a peace treaty which was favorable to Mughals. But that maritime of Mughals did not last long. Ahom king Chakradhwaj Singha ascended the throne with a goal to drive back Mughals from his territory. He started with economic non-cooperation. Then, slowly but steadily, he went on to implement a policy to expel Mughals from everywhere of his kingdom. In spite of warnings and threatening from Mughals, he did not stop, instead he was preparing for another war. On 1667, the operation started; Ahom army marched down towards Mughal territory and surrounded it from two flanks – north and south. Without offering any significant fight, Mughals retreate again, Ahoms recovered all their lost territory.

After the fall of Rajputs, Marathas continued the blockade to Islamic Agression

1671 A.D. – Battle of Saraighat – Angered by Mughal defeat in hands of Ahoms, Aurangzeb dispatched an army of 50,000+ strength to subdue Ahoms. To deal with such a gigantic army, Ahom commander, Lachit Barphukan decided the hilly terrain of Guwahati. He set up a naval defense in one cleverly chosen area which was narrow and muddy. He knew that Mughals were more accustomed to a open-field war rather than a guerrilla tactics. Still, once the defensive setup proved to be not enough to hold back Mughals, he ordered a strategic retreat. He aimed to buy as much time as possible through diplomatic missions, fake retreats, proxy wars and what not!! At last, a direct war was ignited. Though Mughals had numerical supremacy by a huge margin, Ahoms had the home-ground advantage. That war started to cost both sides. Mughals aimed to break the moral backbone of Ahom soldiers by bringing in more and more reinforcements. Seeing the sheer size of Mughal navy, a minor part of Ahom regiment started to fall back. But all of sudden, Ahom admiral ordered an all-out attack on Mughal navy. That sudden strike came down on Mughals when they least expected it. The balance of the war drastically pivoted in favor of Ahoms after that attack. Mughal left the battlefield. This battle has been marked as one of most glorious events in Bharat history.

1672 A.D. – Credit of Maratha defeat in 1666 is commonly attributed to Mughals, but we often forget the reality that actually it was a Rajput vs Maratha war. Since Rajputs were allied with Mughals starting from Akbar’s time, Mughals did not dare to face Marathas by themselves. So, actually two of strongest Bharat forces of that time met at the battlefield. While nothing can explain why honorable Rajputs had fallen to such a depth, undoubtedly Mughals were benefited out of that battle. However, that battle cost Marathas 23 important forts. After that, in next 5-6 years, entire Bharat witnessed tyranny of Aurangzeb, Shivaji’s oath to protect Bharat, Aurangzeb’s call for ceasefire to Shivaji which actually was a betrayal, Shivaji’s famous escape and then Marathas’ rentless campaign against Mughals. On 1672, Chhatrapati Shivaji targeted to take back Salher, which was an important trade center. He deployed 40,000 soldiers under leadership of two of his famous generals. One of them, Prataprao Gurjar, hit the Mughal garrison at Salher with a small fraction of cavalries and quickly retreated. Since Marathas used light cavalry in this battle, Mughals had a hard time capturing them. When finally Mughal horses caught up with fleeing Marathas, they discovered that another 15000 fresh Maratha horsemen were ready to fight. On the other side, Moropant Pingle led a division of 20,000 infantry and attacked rest of Mughal forces at Salher. The victory was confirmed within one day in favor of Marathas. In the same year, Mughal suffered another heavy defeat by Marathas at the Battle of Vikramgad.

1681 – 1689 A.D. – Beginning of 27-year War – The battle ensued between Mughals and Marathas was already meant to be a long lasting one. Being famous in history as ’27-Year War’, its magnitude and impact can only be equated to another such marathon series of heroic battles against invaders; that is, the 11 year long battles carried out by Deccan Bharat kingdoms against Turks. Shivaji’s son, Shambhaji, increased the intensity of attacks against Mughals. It all started when Mughals laid siege on fort Ramsej. But it was not an easy task, even after several months, there were absolutely no progress (it took 7 years to capture that fort). Mughals made a pact with Portuguese which angered Shambhaji. In one quick and deadly attack, Marathas pushed back Portuguese far within their own territory. Mughal leader, Aurangzeb decided to come by himself and surround the Marathas from two sides – from North and South. Though Mughals gained some success initially, soon Marathas came back with a bang. Souther division of Mughals suffered heavy defeat and cut-off from their supplies. The northern division was still proceeding slowly, but within a couple of months they found themselves falling within Maratha trap. In that dual front battle against Marathas, they also surrendered. The next few years saw wins and losses on both sides. Finally, Shambhaji was captured and tortured to death, but his successor, Rajaram took up the mantle.

Chhatrapati Shivaji – without whom, history of Bharat will never be understood

1691 A.D – 1696 A.D. – The battle with the Marathas not only worked like a critical strike on Mughal military, but it hurt their economy also very badly. Seizing the opportunity, kings of Kangra valley and surroundings turned against Mughals. Fearing that the situation might go out of control, Aurangzeb ordered his general, Azim Khan to teach those kings a lesson. But the things had been changed. During the Turk invasion, Bharat kings used to face the enemy one by one, which only made the task easier for invaders. Whenever they sensed an obvious defeat, they called it a day and quickly retreated from battlefield. Thus they could have an estimate of respective Bharat king’s power and weakness, which used to become very crucial information for their next encounter. During the end of Mughal rule, we can see attempts of making alliances. In this period also, an agreement was accepted by King Bhim Chand, King Raj Singh, King Sukhdev, King Ram Singh and King Prithwi Chand. They called for help from the Sikhs also. Guru Gobind Singh was more than eager to diminish Mughal terrorism in Bharat and immediately answered. The combined resistance met Mughals at Nadaun. The battle ended in an outright defeat for Mughals. However, they did not stop attempting to bring their dominion back in this region but it all went in vain.

1698 A.D – 1707 A.D. – Second phase of Mughal-Maratha was marked an important chapter in both Bharat and islamic history. This is the period when Marathas was on their way to win the war. From islamic point of view, their one and a half-millennia long effort was finally about to meet to its end. Mughals put all their resources and power towards the southern border against Marathas. On the other hand, Marathas had two military genius, Santaji and Dhanaji. To deal with Mughal strategy to surround from northern and southern flanks, they decided stretch the battlefield from western coast to eastern seashore. Marathas were the dominating naval power that time and they could easily control trade routes. This strategy became very effective against Mughals, who were able to manage their undeserving glory solely depending on Rajputs and other allies. Flaws and shortcoming of Mughals started to become prominent. Usually Mughals were accustomed to bring an entire regiment with them, lay siege on enemy garrisons for some period and then rushing into enemy capital and creating terror upon innocents. But Marathas used to build up defensive fortifications in strategic location which were used to hold back Mughals for really long time. Marathas did not even try to finish their enemy; as mentioned in this article earlier, they knew where and when to hit, thanks to the teachings of Shivaji. While Mughals used to give their everything to capture one Maratha stronghold, Marathas used to hit somewhere else where Mughal army presence was minimal. Once Marathas managed to capture a territory, they again built up another fortification there. So, even if Aurangzeb continued to capture cities after cities from Marathas at the expense of huge amount of resources and bloodshed of his own side, at the end, it appeared that Marathas already made up for their lost territory with newly conquered lands. Political map of Bharat was rapidly changing, Mughals went out of plan and started randomly hitting here and there. It did not matter how hard Mughals pushed, Marathas resisted as long as possible only to lengthen tenure of conflict. In the meantime, Marathas concentrated their effort elsewhere. As a result, after three decades, Mughal treasury was almost nil, their military lost all its might, but Marathas still had their empire intact.

1708 A.D – 1710 A.D. – The storming Marathas overshadows valor and bravery of Sikhs against Mughals during early eighteenth century. Though the magnitude of Sikh-Mughal war was nothing compared to that of Maratha-Mughal war, the intensity was no less. Sikhs suffered temporary setbacks earlier. But they did not let go of their honor and culture. They geared up to face another series of Mughal aggression. Just like how Marathas were pressing Mughals from south, Sikhs were doing the same from north. Shortly after Aurangzeb’s death, Banda Singh Bahadur led the Sikhs to attack a Mughal garrison at Sonepat. Almost without any opposition, Sikhs gained the victory. After that, Sikhs marched to the city of Samana. Not only defeating the Mughal army-posts here, Sikhs only stopped after killing every last one of Mughal supporters there (the same technique Caliphate used to apply on conquered provinces). Other Mughal-majority establishments met the same fate. First major resistance Sikhs faced was at Sirhing, where an army of 20,000 Mughal soldiers were ready for them. In the battle that ensued, Sikh troops scattered Mughals away. Forced islamization was already in progress in all its neighboring area. After conquering any city/province, Mughals used to focus on changing the demography there, to increase their supporting base; it involved both conversion and migration. Arrival of Sikhs not only stopped it; Sikhs took extra care to prevent any more possibility of such initiatives in future by eliminating all Mughal sympathizers.

1728 A.D – A Copybook Checkmate – Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting“. This famous quote, as specified in military classic, “Art of War“, was converted into a practical example in medieval Bharat. From the very beginning, Marathas used to attempt to attain victory with minimum loss of resource possible. This evolution of battle strategy reached to its perfection in the Battle of Palkhed, by Bajirao I. Mughal influence was declining that time, major part of their territory was conquered by rising Bharat powers; while rest of them was split into independent states. One such newborn islamic state was the Nizams. With increasing dominance of Marathas over Mughals, another change in political angle of Bharat was on its way. Conflict of interest between Marathas and Nizam quickly progressed into army maneuvers. At early stage, powerful regiments from both sides were mobilized towards each other. But Bajirao abandoned this route midway and turned northwards and then, to west. Predicting a traditional head-on collision, Nizam brought his formidable heavy artillery. Aiming to crush Marathas, he diverted all his focus in a pursuit behind them. But Marathas brought their light cavalry into play. Nizam was not able to cope up and turned towards Maratha capital. Unguarded Maratha outposts and fortifications were falling without much resistance. Apparently a Nizam victory seemed like only a matter of time. But Marathas never came back to recover their capital, as Nizam expected them to do. Instead, they initiated a rush into the heart of Nizam territory. Nizam absolutely got trumped by this move and was forced to hastily redirect his troops once more. Again, Bajirao did not care to set up any obstruction in front of Nizam until they reach Palkhed, where they were cut off every type of supplies. Bajirao knew that his lightly armored troops will vanquish against Nizam’s heavy artillery and that’s why he remained out of their range and laid siege on them. Seeing no other way, Nizam agreed to come to each and every terms as claimed by Marathas, which was just another name of unconditional surrender. Bajirao fooled Nizam into penetrating deep, and thus managed to clear out his way towards Nizam capital without having the need to engage even one soldier. This historic event has been reduced to a one-liner in today’s textbooks.

1736 A.D – 1737 A.D. – History syllabus of modern Bharat dedicates almost one chapter to chant names of each Mughal ruler. It elaborately mentions how Mughals spread their influence in different parts of Bharat. But it allots only one paragraph for describing the events during later phase of Aurangzeb’s rule and afterwards, until arrival of British. It completely eliminates the crucial phase of Bharat legacy, where the Caliphate project of an islamized Bharat finally was about to meet an end. The Marathas came a long way from a regional force to becoming an imperial power. Not only that, after the days when an union of Bharat kingdoms drove away foreign enemies (Battle of Bahraich), it was the first instance when any Bharat-originated clan was showing the potential to project power outside the natural boundaries of Hindukush range. Under the command of Bajirao I, Marathas planned a final assault on Mughal capital itself, Delhi. He sent half of his army under Malhar Rao Holkar and Pillaji Yadav, towards the Ganges plane, which was the economic base of Mughals. As expected, Mughals dispatched significant part of their forces to defend that region. Bajirao himself led rest of his army towards Delhi. Though Mughals gained victory in the Ganges front, they later understood that it was only a diversion. Unguarded Delhi fell very easily against Marathas. Later, Mughals joined hands with Nizam and declared war against Marathas. But, the two-front war ended in a conclusive victory for Marathas and finalized the fate of Bharat. Defeat of this united islamic front determined the failure of last attempt of islamic forces to take over Bharat.

Almost every other ancient civilizations could not endure the Islamic onslaught. It’s not that they were weak, on the contrary they were very advanced and developed civilization of that time; besides, their military might was also beyond question. They even defeated the Islamic aggression initially. But the pure imperialistic Caliphs used to pour down continuous waves of attacks without any break. Thus, wealth of these ancient civilizations started to be sucked up by continuous warfare. Soldiers became demotivated after seeing that all their might actually has no effect to inflict any fear on the Caliphate army. And after a quite long restless battle (probably spanning a couple of years), the civilizations actually gave up and bowed down to Islam. But there was a big difference in case of Bharat rulers then, the ancient Hindu-s. The explanation is twofold. First, The strategy of the Caliphate was to sent attacks after attack on enemy territory regardless of the outcome, at last the enemy got tired and gave up. But in Bharat, when the Islamic army managed to conquer any Bharat kingdom, the Bharat King did not surrender to them. If they were able to come out alive and without being captured from the battlefield, instead of giving up, they took one step backward, gathered up new army, formed new alliance and went ahead for another round. Thus the Caliphate met a force not only devastating in nature, but also capable of using the same potential of pouring down continuous and consistent aggression without being bothered about the result, which rivaled the strategy of Caliphate itself. Other ancient civilizations gave up once they faced a crushing defeat. But Hindu Kings believed in ideology of “losing the battle, winning the war”. So, what was the result? – Caliphate experienced that even after 100 years of consistent war and millions of islamic death, it did not even set a foot beyond river Indus. Caliphate got a taste of its own medicine and this time, it was their turn to give up. The first major success of Islam came only because of Treachery of one Bharat general and over-confidence of one Bharat King. Second, the Caliphate were also infamous for their behavior to non-islamists. The Bharat armies also treated them in the same way but of a higher magnitude. In medieval Bharat, it was a very common scenario that the Islamic leaders were running away leaving their armies behind, just to save his own head. In Battle of Rajasthan, the fleeing Arab army did not even look back unless they cross the river Indus. In the Battle of Bahraich, since the Hindu kings blocked all the escape routes, entire Islamic royal army got slain (amounting 120000+ at least). When Hindu Shahis of Kabul and Zabul joined their forces, the destruction was enough to shake the Caliphate so that they gave up the dream of conquering Bharat for decades. To conclude, yes, it’s true that Islam manged to enter Bharat heartland and conquer some lands at last. But gradually Hindus came back, becoming stronger and stronger. Even after Islam gains some temporary success, they failed to conquer Bharat, instead their power itself diminished by the same kind of aggression displayed by the Hindu-s, which they once applied on their enemies. Today, India is a going-to-be superpower in the world and possess enough strength to wipe out entire islamic world in a conquest.


Sources:
Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India – Jaswant Lal Mehta

Al Hind: The Making Of The Indo Islamic World, Vol. 1 — Early Medieval India And The Expansion Of Islam — 7th-11th Centuries — Andre Wink
An Advanced History of India – Ramesh Chandra Majumdar
Ancient Indian History and Civilization – Sailendra Nath Sen
Birotwe Bangali – Anil Chandra Ghosh
Classical Accounts of India – Ramesh Chandra Majumdar
Conquest of Tamerlane – Cothburn O’Neal
Early Chauhan dynasties – Dhasrath Sharma
Hindu Pad Padshahi – Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
History of Origin of Some Clans in India – Mangal Sen Jindal
Indian Resistance To Early Muslim Invaders Upto 1206 AD — Dr. Ram Gopal Mishra
Kitab Futuh Al Buldan: Vol. 2 — Al Baladhuri, Translated by Francis Clark Murgotten
Land and Local Kingship in Eighteenth – John R. McLane

Maharana Kumbha : Sovereign, Soldier, Scholar – Har Bilas Sarda
Maritime History of India: An Overview – Amit Kumar

Military History of India – Jadunath Sarkar
Medieval India – K.L.Khurana

Medieval India : From Sultanate to Mughals – Satish Chandra
Medieval Odissa : A Socio-Economic Study – Shishir Kumar Panda
Padmavati – Sanjeev Newar
Pashchim Bonger Sanskriti – Binoy Ghosh
Saffron Swords – Manoshi Sinha Rawal
Sahyadris to Hindukush – Aneesh Gokhale

Sikh Militancy in the Seventeenth Century – Hardip Singh Syan
Shivaji : Hindu King in Islamic India – James W. Laine
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 Early Rulers of Khajuraho – Shishirkumar Mitra
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 Indian Empire : Its History, People and Products – William Wilson Hunter
The Khalsa Raj – Anil Chandra Banerjee
The Naked Mughals: Illustrated – Vashi Sharma
The Princely and Noble Families of the Former Indian Empire: Himachal Pradesh – Mark Brentnall
The Qarnuah Turks – Ishwari Prasad
The Royal Gurjars : Their contribution to India – Naunihal Singh

The Rise of Islam and The Frontier of Bengal, 1204 – 1760 – Richard M. Eaton
Vijayanagar, Never to be Forgotten Empire – Suryanarayan Row


Reference Articles:
A History of Sikhs : From The Origin of the Nation to the Battles of the Sutlej

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7 Comments

  1. Pratapaditya of jessore (Bengal) defeated akbar thrice before falling to treacherous jehangir’s army in 1611 and Raja Sitaram Roy who revolted against aurangzeb and uprooted mughals from Bengal before being trapped by the nawab and murdered in 1714. Thanks for mentioning rani bhawashankari and raja ganesh of Bengal. Try to write about kedar ray, bir hambir of bishnupur. Write about bengali freedom fighters like khudiram bose, masterda surya sen, subash chandra bose and thousands of others

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the information. Could you please provide some more details or some reference about King Pratapaditya and Kedar Roy.

      Like

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