Muslim Invasion and Muslim Rule

From 1 CE until 1000 CE, India’s economy is estimated to have been the largest in the world, having between one-third and one-quarter of the world’s wealth.

The wealth India possessed at that time must have attracted invaders wanting to get some booty.. Even though Muhammad bin Qasim was the first Muslim Invader in 712 CE, the real invasion started nearly 300 years later, around 1000 CE with the great plunderer of all, Mahmud Ghazni.. He had Turkish father but hailed from Afghanistan.. He invaded India 17 times between 1000 to 1025 & always went back with huge booty.. He also came all the way to Somnath Temple in 1025; attacking and breaking it’s Jyotirling.. What is surprising is that there was hardly any resistance in all his 17 times..

Then came the Afgan, Muhammad Ghori who can said to be the true founder of Muslim Rule in India.. He ruled from 1175 to 1206.. His rein coincides with Prithviraj Chauhan, the Rajput King.. There are very different versions of how many battles both fought.. The figures vary from 2 to 8 to 21 and except for last one Ghori lost all others.. Once Prithviraj captured him but let him go when he agreed to apologise.. Unbelievable but true.. Prithviraj only lost last battle; was captured and executed.. Later Ghori appointed his slave, Aibak as the General in 1193 and returned to Persia (Iran)..

After Ghori was assassinated in 1205, Qutub-ud-din Aibak was the logical successor and became the Sultan in 1206 till 1210.. He started building Qutub Minar.. This slave dynasty was known as Mamluk Dynasty..

The ancient Nalanda University was destroyed by the Muslim army led by the Turkish leader Bakhtiyar Khilji, who was the military general of Qutub-ud-din Aibak in 1193.. It is believed that Buddhism as a major religion in India had a setback for hundreds of years due to the loss of the religious texts during the attack.. And what was the reason to for such ransacking:- It is said that Bakhtiyar Khilji had fallen sick and doctors in his court failed to cure him.. Then, someone advised him to get himself cured by Rahul Sri Bhadra, the principal of Nalanda University. Khilji was too proud of his Islamic culture and refused to get himself treated by a person outside his religion.. But his health worsened and he was left with no other option but to invite Bhadra from Nalanda.. But Khilji put a condition and asked Bhadra to cure him without any medicines.. Bhadra then asked Khilji to read some pages from the Koran as a remedy to his illness and to everyone’s surprise Khilji was cured.. Disturbed by the fact that an Indian scholar and teacher knew more than the doctors of his court, Khilji decided to destroy the roots of knowledge, Buddhism and Ayurveda, from the country.. He set fire to the great library of Nalanda and burned down nearly 9 million manuscripts.. The library was so vast and strong that it took three months to completely destroy it.. The Turkish invaders also murdered monks and scholars in the university..

Aibak bought another slave named Iltutmish from Ghori at high price of 10000 silver coins.. Aram Shah had been appointed as successor to Aibak upon his death in 1210 but Iltutmish attacked & killed him and became the Sultan in 1211 and ruled till 1236..

Iltutmish had 4 sons and his eldest was expected to succeed him but he got killed in an accident and Iltutmish felt that his other 3 sons were incapable and hence appointed his daughter Razia Sultan as his heiress but she had no support being a woman.. But Razia was very strong & capable leader and ruled from 1236 till 1240.. Razia remains the only woman ruler of Delhi Sultanate..

Next few years were of instability till the advent of Khilji Dynasty under leadership of Jala-ud-din Khilji of Turkish origin.. He ruled from 1290 till 1296 till his nephew, Ali Gurshasp killed him..

Upon the death of Jala-ud-din Khilji, his nephew Ali Gurshasp aka Alauddin Khilji became the emperor from 1296 till 1316.. No need to mention anything about Alauddin and the infamous episode of Rani Padmini Johar and the latest controversial film..

Khilji Dynasty 👆👆

Alauddin’s slave Malik Kafur then became de-facto ruler after his death in 1316 and appointed Alauddin’s son Shihabuddin as puppet monarch but Kafur himself was murdered immediately thereafter..

Then Tughlaq dynasty took over the Delhi Sultanate in 1320 and lasted nearly 100 years till 1413.. Notable rulers of the dynasty were Muhammad bin Tughlaq from 1325 till 1351.. He was also known as वेडा मोहम्मद as he tended to commit the same mistakes over & over again.. Then came Firuz Shah Tughlaq who ruled from 1351 till 1388.. Tughlaq’s basically were again from Turkey..

When Tughlaq dynasty was on decline around 1390’s, Mongolian general Timur or better known as Taimur-i-lang attacked Northern India in 1398.. He then appointed Sayyids as the governors of Delhi.. Their dynasty lasted from 1414 till 1451 with rulers being Khizr Khan (1414-1421), his son Mubarak Khan (1421-1434), his nephew Muhammad Shah (1434-1445) and finally a very weak ruler in Ala-ud-din Alam Shah (1445-1451)..

Sayyid Dynasty 👆👆

The Sayyid Dynasty was ousted by Lodhi Dynasty from Afghanistan in 1451 and ruled till 1526.. The main rulers were Bahlul Lodhi (1451-1489), Sikandar Lodhi (1489-1517) and finally Ibrahim Lodhi (1517-1526)..

In 1526, Babur, an Uzbek or a Mongolian (as Taimur-i-lang was the great-great-great grandfather of Babur) descended in India and defeated Ibrahim Lodhi in the 1st war of Panipat and ousted the Lodhi Dynasty and founded the Mughal Empire.. He also defeated Rana Sanga, the famous Mewar king to stamp his authority.. He ruled till 1530..

Babur’s son Humayun took over in 1530 and ruled till 1540 when Sher Shah Suri defeated him and Humayun brokered a peace deal with him by which Suri became the King of Delhi and Humayun went away.. Then Suri’s ruled Delhi from 1540 till 1555 with Sher Shah Suri (1540-1545), Islam Shah Suri (1545-1554) and finally Adil Shah Suri (1555-1556) who ruled only small portion East of Delhi as Humayun had defeated Sikandar Shah Suri in 1555.. But Adil Shah Suri still held forth on the strength of his Hindu Chief Minister, Hemu (Hemchandra Vikramaditya) who had not lost in 22 battles..

Sur / Suri Dynasty 👆👆

However Humayun’s son Akbar defeated Hemu in 2nd War of Panipat in 1556 and become the ruler and ruled till 1605.. Akbar also defeated Maharana Pratap in the famous battle at Haldighat in 1576..

Akbar’s son Salim (Jahangir) then took over upon his death in 1605 and ruled till 1627.. Jahangir is more famous in history on account of tale of his relationship with the Mughal courtesan, Anarkali, and the same has been widely adapted into the literature, art and cinema of India..

Upon death of Jahangir, his son, Shahryar Mirza did take over for a brief period from 1627 till 1628 with the help of his powerful step mother, Noor Jehan (Jahangir’s 12th Wife).. Funnily enough his step mother was also his mother-in-law..

Shahryar’s brother Shah Jehan then killed his brother and put to death all of his rivals for the throne and crowned himself emperor in January 1628 and ruled till 1658.. Again here Shah Jehan is more famous for his love towards his wife, Mumtaz Begum.. He also built the famous monument Taj Mahal in her memory..

What Shah Jehan did to his brothers was repeated again by his son, Aurangzeb when he killed his brothers, Dara Shukoh and Murad Baksh and crowned himself as emperor June 1659 and ruled for 49 years till 1707.. By 1689, almost all of Southern India was a part of the Mughal Empire and after the conquest of Golconda, Mughal Empire expanded to 4 million square kilometres,.

After Aurangzeb’s death in 1707, “a string of weak emperors, wars of succession, and coups by noblemen heralded the irrevocable weakening of Mughal power”.. Within decades of Aurangzeb’s death, the Mughal Emperor had little power beyond the walls of Delhi..

The emperors who ruled after Aurangzeb are mentioned only as a part of history.. They were Mumammad Shah Azam (1707), Bahadur Shah I (1707-1712), Jahandar Shah (1712-1713), Farrukhsiyar (1713-1719), Muhammad Shah, also know as Sada Rangila (1719-1748), Ahmad Shah Bahadur (1748-1754), Alamgir II (1754-1859), Shah Alam II (1759-1806), Akbar II (1806-1837) and finally Bahadur Shah Zafar (1837-1857)..

The British East India Company rule in India can said to have commenced in 1757 after the battle of Plassey; expanded in 1765 when they were granted the right to collect revenue in Bengal & Bihar; consolidated when they established capital in Calcutta in 1773 and finally their supremacy was complete with the defeat of Marathas and pensioning of Peshwa in 1818..

To summarise the Delhi Sultanate and the Moghul Empire ruled over India for the following period

Ghori (Afgan) – 1175 to 1206

Mamluk (Turkish) – 1206 to 1290

Khilji (Turkish) – 1290 to 1320

Tughlaq (Turkish) – 1320 to 1413

Sayyids – 1414 to 1451

Lodhi (Afgan) – 1451 to 1526

Mughal (Uzbek) – 1526 to 1540

Sur / Suri (Afgan) – 1540 to 1555

Mughal – 1556 to 1857

Hence even if we take into account Mughals had very little presence for last 130 years of total 680 years of Muslim Rule, it is evident that they ruled India for nearly 550 years..

The credit for ending the Muslim / Mughal Rule in India goes primarily to the Maratha Empire and then followed by British.. The history of India will be incomplete if we don’t take into account the Maratha Empire established by Chhatrapati Shivaji.. We will take that up in our final article..

Yeshwant Marathe

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