Date: 5/9/2006


MAHMUD AND MASOOD GHAZNAVI //////// In 1000 AD Mahmud defeated Raja Jaipal, a scion of the Hindu Shahiya dynasty of Kabul. This dynasty had been for long the doorkeeper of India in the Northwest. Mahmud collected 250,000 dinars as indemnity. That perhaps was normal business of an empire builder. But in 1004 AD he stormed Bhatiya and plundered the place. He stayed there for some time to convert the Hindus to Islam with the help of mullahs he had brought with him. In 1008 AD he captured Nagarkot (Kangra). The loot amounted to 70,000,000 dirhams in coins and 700,400 mans of gold and silver, besides plenty of precious stones and embroidered cloths. In 1011 AD he plundered Thanesar which was undefended, destroyed many temples, and broke a large number of idols. The chief idol, that of Chakraswamin, was taken to Ghazni and thrown into the public square for defilement under the feet of the faithful. According to Tarikh-i- Yamini of Utbi, Mahmud's secretary, "The blood of the infidels flowed so copiously [at Thanesar] that the stream was discolored, notwithstanding its purity, and people were unable to drink it. The Sultan returned with plunder which is impossible to count. Praise he to Allah for the honor he bestows on Islam and Muslims." In 1013 AD Mahmud advanced against Nandana where the Shahiya king, Anandapal, had established his new capital. The Hindus fought very hard but lost. Again, the temples were destroyed, and innocent citizens slaughtered. Utbi provides an account of the plunder and the prisoners of war: "The Sultan returned in the rear of immense booty, and slaves were so plentiful that they became very cheap and men of respectability in their native land were degraded by becoming slaves of common shopkeepers. But this is the goodness of Allah, who bestows honor on his own religion and degrades infidelity." The road was now clear for an assault on the heartland of Hindustan. In December 1018 AD Mahmud crossed the Yamuna, collected 1,000,000 dirhams from Baran (Bulandshahar), and marched to Mahaban in Mathura district. Utbi records: "The infidels...deserted the fort and tried to cross the foaming river...but many of them were slain, taken or drowned... Nearly fifty thousand men were killed." Mathura was the next victim. Mahmud seized five gold idols weighing 89,300 missals and 200 silver idols. According to Utbi, "The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naptha and fire, and levelled with the ground." The pillage of the city continued for 20 days. Mahmud now turned towards Kanauj which had been the seat of several Hindu dynasties. Utbi continues: "In Kanauj there were nearly ten thousand temples... Many of the inhabitants of the place fled in consequence of witnessing the fate of their deaf and dumb idols. Those who did not fly were put to death. The Sultan gave his soldiers leave to plunder and take prisoners." The Brahmins of Munj, which was attacked next, fought to the last man after throwing their wives and children into fire. The fate of Asi was sealed when its ruler took fright and fled. According to Utbi, ".... the Sultan ordered that his five forts should be demolished from their foundations, the inhabitants buried in their ruins, and the soldiers of the garrison plundered, slain and captured". Shrawa, the next important place to be invaded, met the same fate. Utbi concludes: "The Muslims paid no regard to the booty till they had satiated themselves with the slaughter of the infidels and worshipers of sun and fire. The friends of Allah searched the bodies of the slain for three days in order to obtain booty...The booty amounted in gold and silver, rubies and pearls nearly to three hundred thousand dirhams, and the number of prisoners may be conceived from the fact that each was sold for two to ten dirhams. These were afterwards taken to Ghazni and merchants came from distant cities to purchase them, so that the countries of Mawaraun-Nahr, Iraq and Khurasan were filled with them, and the fair and the dark, the rich and the poor, were commingled in one common slavery." Mahmud's sack of Somnath is too well-known to be retold here. What needs emphasizing is that the fragments of the famous Sivalinga were carried to Ghazni. Some of them were turned into steps of the Jama Masjid in that city. The rest were sent to Mecca, Medina, and Baghdad to be desecrated in the same manner. Mahmud's son Masud tried to follow in the footsteps of his father. //////// In 1037 AD he succeeded in sacking the fort of Hansi which was defended very bravely by the Hindus. The Tarikh-us-Subuktigin records: "The Brahmins and other high ranking men were slain, and their women and children were carried away captive, and all the treasure which was found was distributed among the army." Masud could not repeat the performance due to his preoccupations elsewhere. /////// 000000000