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next year, he captured Somnath and marched to Kachch against Bhima Deva. That
same year Mahmud also attacked the Jat people of Jud.
The Indian kingdoms of Nagarkot, Thanesar, Kannauj, Gwalior, and Ujjain were
all conquered and left in the hands of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist kings as vassal states
and he was pragmatic enough not to shirk making alliances and enlisting local peoples
into his armies at all ranks. Destroying the temples and monuments, would destroy the
will power of the Hindus attacking the Empire since Mahmud never kept a permanent
presence in the northwestern subcontinent; Nagarkot, Thanesar, Mathura, Kannauj,
Kalinjar(1023) and Somnath all submitted or were raided. Mahmud's armies stripped the
temples of their wealth completely and then destroyed them at Maheshwar,
Jwalamukhi, Narunkot and Dwarka. During the period of Mahmud invasion, the Sindhi
Swarankar Community and other Hindus who escaped conversion fled from Sindh to
escape sectarian violence.
The last four years of Mahmud's life were spent contending with the influx of
Oghuz and Seljuk Turks from Central Asia and the Buyid dynasty. Initially the Seljuks
were repulsed by Mahmud and retired to Khwarezm but Togrül an
d Çagrı led them to
capture Merv and Nishapur (1028
1029). Later they repeatedly raided and traded
territory with his successors across Khorasan and Balkh and even sacked Ghazni in
1037. In 1040 at the Battle of Dandanaqan, they decisively defeated Mahmud's son,
Mas'ud I resulting in Mas'ud abandoning most of his western territories to the Seljuks.
Sultan Mahmud died on 30 April 1030. His mausoleum is located in Ghazni,
994: Gained the title of Saif ad-Dawla and became Governor of Khorasan under
service to Nuh II of the Samanid Empire in civil strife
995: The Samanid rebels Fa'iq (leader of a court faction that had defeated
Alptigin's nomination for Emir) and Abu Ali expel Mahmud from Nishapur.
Mahmud and Sabuktigin defeat Samanid rebels at Tus.
997: Kara-Khanid Khanate
999: Khorasan, Balkh, Herat, Merv from the Samanids. A concurrent invasion
from the north by the Qarakhanids under Elik Khan (Nasr Khan) ends Samanid
1000: Sistan from Saffarid dynasty
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1001: Gandhara: Sultan Mahmud defeats Raja Jayapala at Peshawar; Jayapala
subsequently abdicates and commits suicide.
1002: Seistan: Imprisoned Khuluf
1004: Bhatia (Bhera) annexed after it fails to pay its yearly tribute. in 1004 CE
1005-6: Multan: Fateh Daud, the Ismaili ruler of Multan revolts and enlists the aid
of Anandapala. Mahmud massacres the Ismailis of Multan in the course of his
conquest. Anandapala is defeated at Peshawar and pursued to Sodra
Ghor and Muhammad ibn Suri then captured by Mahmud, made prisoner along
with his son and taken to Ghazni, where Muhammad ibn Suri died. Appoints
Sewakpal to administer the region. Anandapala flees to Kashmir, fort in the hills
on the western border of Kashmir.
1005: Defends Balkh and Khorasan against Nasr I of the Kara-Khanid Khanate
and recaptures Nishapur from Isma'il Muntasir of the Samanids.
1005: Sewakpal rebels and is defeated.
1008: Mahmud defeats the Indian Confederacy (Ujjain, Gwalior, Kalinjar,
Kannauj, Delhi, and Ajmer) in battle between Und and Peshawar, and captures
the Shahi treasury at Kangra, Himachal Pradesh.
Note: A historical narrative states in this battle, under the onslaught of the
Gakhars, Mahmud's army was about to retreat when King Anandapala's elephant
took flight and turned the tide of the battle.
1010: Ghor; against Amir Suri
1010: Multan revolts. Abul Fatah Dawood imprisoned for life at Ghazni.
1012-1013: Sacks Thanesar
1012: Invades Gharchistan and deposes its ruler Abu Nasr Muhammad.
1012: Demands and receives remainder of the province of Khorasan from the
Abassid Caliph. Then demands Samarkand as well but is rebuffed.
1013: Bulnat: Defeats Trilochanpala.
1014: Kafiristan attacked
1015: Mahmud's army sacks Lahore, but his expedition to Kashmir fails, due to
1015: Khwarezm: Marries his sister to Abul Abbas Mamun of Khwarezm who
dies in the same year in a rebellion. Moves to quell the rebellion and installs a
new ruler and annexes a portion.
1017: Kannauj, Meerut, and Muhavun on the Yamuna, Mathura and various
other regions along the route. While moving through Kashmir he levies troops
from vassal Prince for his onward march, Kannauj and Meerut submitted without
1018-1020: Sacks the town of Mathura.
1021: Raises Ayaz to kingship, awarding him the throne of Lahore
1021: Kalinjar attacks Kannauj: he marches to their aid and finds the last Shahi
King, Trilochanpaala, encamped as well. No battle, the opponents leave their
baggage trains and withdraw from the field. Also fails to take the fort of Lokote
again. Takes Lahore on his return. Trilochanpala flees to Ajmer. First Muslim
governors appointed east of the Indus River.
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1023: Lahore. He forces Kalinjar and Gwalior to submit and pay tribute:
Trilochanpala, the grandson of Jayapala, is assassinated by his own troops.
Official annexation of Punjab by Ghazni. Also fails to take the Lohara fort on the
western border of Kashmir for the second time.
1024: Ajmer, Nehrwala, Kathiawar: This raid was his last major campaign. The
concentration of wealth at Somnath was renowned, and consequently it became
an attractive target for Mahmud, as it had previously deterred most invaders. The
temple and citadel were sacked, and most of its defenders massacred.
1024: Somnath: Mahmud sacked the temple and is reported to have personally
hammered the temple's gilded Lingam to pieces and the stone fragments were
carted back to Ghazni, where they were incorporated into the steps of the city's
new Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) in 1026. He placed a new king on the throne
in Gujarat as a tributary. His return detoured across the Thar Desert to avoid the
armies of Ajmer and other allies on his return.
1025: Marched against the Jats of the Jood mountains who harried his army on
its return from the sack of Somnath.
1027: Rey, Isfahan, Hamadan from the Buyids Dynasty.
1028, 1029: Merv, Nishapur lost to Seljuq dynasty
Attitude towards religious freedom
Following Mahmud's recognition by the Abbasid caliphate in 999, he pledged a
jihad and to raid India every year. In 1005 CE, Mahmud conducted a series of
campaigns during which the Ismailis of Multan were massacred.
However, modern historians, such as Thapar, Richard M. Eaton etc have
portrayed a different view of Mahmaud as far as his religious policy is concerned.
"Of the mercenaries, not an insubstantial number were Indians and, presumably,
Hindus. Indian soldiers under their commander, referred to as Suvendhary, remained
loyal to Mahmud. They had their own commander, the sipasalar-i-Hinduwan, lived in
their own quarter in Ghazni and continued with their religion. When the Turkish
commander of the troops rebelled, the command was given to a Hindu, Tilak, and he is
commended for his loyalty. Complaints are made about the severity with which Muslims
and Christians were killed by Indian troops fighting for Mahmud in Seistan."
Mohammad Habib states that there was no imposition of Jizya on "non-Muslims"
during the reign of Mahmud of Ghazni nor any mention of "forced conversions":
"[H]is (Mahmud's) expeditions against India were not motivated by religion but by
love of plunder."
Attack on the Somnath Temple
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In 1024, Mahmud raided Gujarat, plundering the Somnath temple and breaking
its jyotirlinga. He took away a booty of 2 crore dinars. Historians expect the damage to
the temple to have been minimal because there are records of pilgrimages to the temple
in 1038, which make no mention of any damage to the temple. However, powerful
legends with intricate detail had developed regarding Mahmud's raid in the Turko-
Persian literature, which "electrified" the Muslim world according to scholar Meenakshi
Historiography concerning Somnath
Historians including Romila Thapar, A.K. Majumdar and Richard M. Eaton have
questioned the iconoclastic historiography of this incident. Thapar quoted
"But, as is well known, Hindu sources do not give any information regarding the
raids of Sultan Mahmud, so that what follows is based solely on the testimony of Muslim
Thapar also argued against the prevalent narrative :
"Yet in a curiously contradictory manner, the Turko- Persian narratives were
accepted as historically valid and even their internal contradictions were not given much
attention, largely because they approximated more closely to the current European
sense of history than did the other sources."
Mahmud of Ghazni, under his reign the region broke away from the Samanid
sphere of influence. While he acknowledged the Abbasids as caliph as a matter of form,
he was also granted the title Sultan as recognition of his independence.
By the end of his reign, the Ghaznavid Empire extended from Ray in the west to
Samarkand in the north-east, and from the Caspian Sea to the Yamuna. Although his
raids carried his forces across the South Asia, only a portion of Punjab and Sindh in
modern-day Pakistan, came under his semi-permanent rule; Kashmir, the Doab,
Rajasthan and Gujarat remained under the control of the local Hindu dynasties.
The booty brought back to Ghazni was enormous, and contemporary historians
(e.g. Abolfazl Beyhaghi, Ferdowsi) give descriptions of the magnificence of the capital,
as well as of the conqueror's munificent support of literature. He transformed Ghazni,
the first centre of Persian literature, into one of the leading cities of Central Asia,
patronizing scholars, establishing colleges, laying out gardens, and building mosques,
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palaces, and caravansaries. Mahmud brought whole libraries from Rayy and Isfahan to
Ghazni. He even demanded that the Khwarizmshah court send its men of learning to
Mahmud patronized the notable poet Ferdowsi, who after laboring 27 years, went
to Ghazni and presented the Shahnameh to him. There are various stories in medieval
texts describing the lack of interest shown by Mahmud in Ferdowsi and his life's work.
According to historians, Mahmud had promised Ferdowsi a dinar for every distich
written in the Shahnameh (60,000 dinars), but later retracted and presented him with
dirhams (20,000 dirhams), the equivalent at that time of only 200 dinars. His expedition
across the Gangetic plains in 1017, inspired Al-Biruni to compose his Tarikh Al-Hind in
order to understand the Indians and their beliefs. During Mahmud's rule, universities
were founded to study various subjects such as mathematics, religion, the humanities,
On 30 April 1030, Sultan Mahmud died in Ghazni, at the age of 59. Sultan
Mahmud had contracted malaria during his last invasion. The medical complication from
malaria had caused lethal tuberculosis.
The Ghaznavid Empire was ruled by his successors for 157 years. The
expanding Seljuk empire absorbed most of the Ghaznavid west. The Ghorids captured
Ghazni in 1150 A.D., and Mu'izz al-Din (also known as Muhammad of Ghori) captured
the last Ghaznavid stronghold at Lahore in 1187.
The military of Pakistan has named its short-range ballistic missile in the honour
of Mahmud of Ghazni, the Ghaznavi Missile. In addition to this, the Pakistan Military
Academy, where cadets are trained for becoming Officers of the Pakistan Army also
gives tribute the Mahmud of Ghazni by naming one of its twelve companies; Ghaznavi
Under Sabuktigin, Ghazni found itself in conflict with the Shahi Raja Jayapala.
When Sabuktigin died and his son Mahmud ascended the throne in 998, Ghazni was
engaged in the North with the Qarakhanids when the Shahi Raja renewed hostilities.
In the early 11th century, Mahmud of Ghazni launched seventeen expeditions
into South Asia. In 1001, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni defeated Raja Jayapala of the
Hindu Shahi Dynasty of Gandhara (in modern Afghanistan), the Battle of Peshawar and
marched further into Peshawar (in modern Pakistan) and, in 1005, made it the center for
The Ghaznavid conquests were initially directed against the Ismaili Fatimids of
Multan, who were engaged in an ongoing struggle with the Abbasid Caliphate in
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conjunction with their compatriots of the Fatimid Caliphate in North Africa and the
Middle East; Mahmud apparently hoped to curry the favor of the Abbasids in this
fashion. However, once this aim was accomplished, he moved onto the richness of the
loot of wealthy temples and monasteries. By 1027, Mahmud had captured parts of North
India and obtained formal recognition of Ghazni's sovereignty from the Abbassid Caliph,
Ghaznavid rule in Northwestern India (modern Afghanistan and Pakistan) lasted
over 175 years, from 1010 to 1187. It was during this period that Lahore assumed
considerable importance apart from being the second capital, and later the only capital,
of the Ghaznavid Empire.
At the end of his reign, Mahmud's empire extended from Kurdistan in the west to
Samarkand in the Northeast, and from the Caspian Sea to the Punjab. Although his
raids carried his forces across Northern and Western India, only Punjab came under his
permanent rule; Kashmir, the Doab, Rajasthan, and Gujarat remained under the control
of the local Indian dynasties. In 1030, Mahmud fell gravely ill and died at age 59. As
with the invaders of three centuries ago, Mahmud's armies looted temples in Varanasi,
Mathura, Ujjain, Maheshwar, Jwalamukhi, Somnath and Dwarka.
Mu'izz al-Din better k
nown as Shahāb
-ud-Din Muhammad Ghori was a conqueror
from the region of Ghor in Afghanistan. Before 1160, the Ghaznavid Empire covered an
area running from central Afghanistan east to the Punjab, with capitals at Ghazni on the
banks of Ghazni river in present-day Afghanistan, and at Lahore in present-day
Pakistan. In 1160, the Ghorids conquered Ghazni from the Ghaznavids, and in 1173
Muhammad Bin Sām was made governor o
f Ghazni. He raided eastwards into the
remaining Ghaznavid territory, and invaded Gujarat in the 1180s but was defeated by
the Indian queen Naikidevi of Gujarat. In 1186 and 1187 he conquered Lahore in
alliance with a local Hindu ruler, ending the Ghaznavid empire and bringing the last of
Ghaznavid territory under his control, and seemed to be the first Muslim ruler seriously
interested in expanding his domain in the sub-continent, and like his predecessor
Mahmud initially started off against the Ismaili kingdom of Multan that had regained
independence during the Nizari conflicts, and then onto booty and power.
In 1191, he invaded the territory of Prithviraj III of Ajmer, who ruled much of
present-day Rajasthan and Punjab, but was defeated at the First battle of Tarain.
The following year, Mu'izz al-Din assembled 120,000 horsemen and once again invaded
India. Mu'izz al-Din's army met Prithviraj's army again at Tarain, and this time Mu'izz al-
Din won; Govindraj was slain, Prithviraj executed and Mu'izz al-Din advanced onto
Delhi. Within a year, Mu'izz al-Din controlled Northern Rajasthan and Northern Ganges-
Yamuna Doab. After these victories in India, and Mu'izz al-Din's establishment of a
capital in Delhi, Multan was also incorporated into his empire. Mu'izz al-Din then
returned east to Ghazni to deal with the threat on his eastern frontiers from the Turks
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and Mongols, whiles his armies continued to advance through Northern India, raiding as
far east as Bengal.
Mu'izz al-Din returned to Lahore after 1200. In 1206, Mu'izz al-Din had to travel
to Lahore to crush a revolt. On his way back to Ghazni, his caravan rested at Damik
near Sohawa (which is near the city of Jhelum in the Punjab province of modern-day
Pakistan). He was assassinated on 15 March 1206, while offering his evening prayers.
The identity of Ghori's assassins is disputed, with some claiming that he was
assassinated by local Hindu Gakhars and others claiming he was assassinated by
Hindu Khokhars, both being different tribes.
The Khokhars were killed in large numbers, and the province was pacified. After
settling the affairs in the Punjab. Mu'izz al-Din marched back to Ghazni. While camping
at Dhamayak in 1206 AD in the Jehlum district, the sultan was murdered by the
Hasan Nizami and Ferishta record the killing of Mu'izz al-Din at the hands of the
Gakhars. However, Ferishta may have confused the Ghakars with the Khokhars. Other
historians have also blamed Shahabuddin Ghori's assassination to a band of Hindu
Some also claim that Mu'izz al-Din was assassinated by the Hashshashin, a
radical Ismaili Muslim sect.
According to his wishes, Mu'izz al-Din was buried where he fell, in Damik. Upon
his death his most capable general, Qutb-ud-din Aybak, took control of Mu'izz al-Din's
Indian conquests and declared himself the first Sultan of Delhi.
Mu'izz was born in 1149 in the Ghor region of what is now present day
Afghanistan. The exact date of his birth is unknown. His father, Baha al-Din Sam I, was
the local ruler of the Ghor region at the time. Mu'izz also had an elder brother named
Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad. During their early life, Mu'izz and Ghiyath were imprisoned
by their uncle Ala al-Din Husayn, but were later released by the latter's son Sayf al-Din
Muhammad. When Sayf died in 1163, the Ghurid nobles supported Ghiyath, and helped
him ascend the throne. Ghiyath shortly gave Mu'izz control over Istiyan and Kajuran.
However, the throne was challenged by several Ghurid chiefs; Mu'izz aided Ghiyath in
defeating and killing a rival Ghurid chief named Abu'l Abbas.
Ghiyath was then challenged by his uncle Fakhr al-Din Masud, who claimed the
throne for himself, and had allied with Tadj al-Din Yildiz, the Seljuq governor of Herat,
and Balkh. However, the coalition was defeated by Ghiyath and Mu'izz at Ragh-i Zar.
The brothers managed to kill the Seljuq governor during the battle, and then conquered
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Zamindawar, Badghis, Gharchistan, and Guzgan. Ghiyath, however, spared Fakhr al-
Din and restored him as the ruler of Bamiyan. Mu'izz, after returning from an expedition
from Sistan, was shortly awarded with Kandahar by his brother. In 1173, the two
brothers invaded Ghazni, and defeated the Oghuz Turks who had captured the city from
the Ghaznavids. Mu'izz was then appointed as the ruler of Ghazni.
In 1175, the two brothers conquered Herat from its Seljuq governor, Baha al-Din
Toghril, and also managed to conquer Pushang. The ruler of Sistan, Taj al-Din Harb ibn
Muhammad, shortly acknowledged the sovereignty of the Ghurids, and so did the
Oghuz Turks dominating Kirman.
During the same period, the Khwarazmian Sultan Shah, who was expelled from
Khwarezm by his brother Tekish, took refuge in Ghor and requested military aid from
Ghiyath. Ghiyath, however, did not help the latter. Sultan Shah managed to get help
from the Kara-Khitan Khanate, and began plundering the northern Ghurid domains.
Invasion of India
After having helped his brother in expanding the western frontiers of the Ghurid
Empire, he began to focus on India. He shortly invaded India, first capturing Multan from
a fellow the Qarmatians in 1175
76. He then shortly captured Uch. Three years later he
invaded Gujarat and was roundly defeated by the Hindu Queen Naikidevi. However,
Mu'izz was able to take Peshawar and Sialkot. In 1186, Mu'izz, along with Ghiyath,
ended the Ghaznavid dynasty after having captured Lahore and executed the
Ghaznavid ruler Khusrau-Malik.
Mu'izz's campaign against the Ismaili rulers of Multan in 1175 had ended in
victory. He turned south, and led his army from Multan to Uch and then across the
desert towards the Gujarat capital of Anhilwara (modern Patan). In 1178, Muizz suffered
a defeat at the battle of Kayadara (Gujarat), during his first campaign against an Indian
ruler in India.
Gujarat was ruled by the young Indian ruler Bhimdev Solanki II (ruled 1178
1241), although the age of the Raja meant that the army was commanded by his mother
Naikidevi. Mu'izz's army had suffered greatly during the march across the desert, and
Naikidevi inflicted a major defeat on him at the village of Kayadara (near to Mount Abu,
about forty miles to the north-east of Anhilwara). The invading army suffered heavy
casualties during the battle, and also in the retreat back across the desert to Multan.
Mu'izz shortly returned to Ghor, and along with the rulers of Bamiyan and Sistan,
aided his brother Ghiyath in defeating the forces of Sultan Shah at Merv in 1190. He
also annexed most of the latter's territories in Khorasan.
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