Jewels from the Christian World Civilization



Turks and Afghans





THE Arabs never carried the standards of Islam far beyond the Indus, and though the doctrines of the new faith were accepted by many and familiar to all of the inhabitants of Sind, and Muhammadan dynasties were ruling at Mansura until AD 976 and at Multan until a later date, India in general remained untouched by Islam until the beginning of the eleventh century, by which time the faith had lost its political unity and the control of its destinies had passed from the hands of the Arabian successors of Muhammad into those of independent dynasties acknowledging the Caliph at Baghdad merely as a spiritual head.

In the early part of the tenth century the descendants of Saman, a Persian chieftain of Balkh who had accepted Islam, extended their dominion over Transoxiana, Persia, and the greater part of the present kingdom of Afghanistan, but their great empire waned almost as rapidly as it had waxed and their power gradually passed into the hands of the Turkish slaves to whom they had been wont to entrust the principal offices in their court and kingdom. One of these, Alptigin, rebelled and established himself at Ghazni, where he reigned as an independent sovereign, though his successors found it convenient, when they were in difficulties, to acknowledge the Samanids, who now held their court at Bukhara, and to court their favor. Alptigin was succeeded in 963 by his own son Ishaq, on whose death in 966 Mansur I of Bukhara acknowledged Balkatigin, a former slave of Alptigin. Pirai succeeded in 972, whose reign of five years is remarkable for the first conflict in this region between Hindus and Muslims, the former being the aggressors. The raja of the Punjab, whose dominions extended to the Hindu Kush and included Kabul, was alarmed by the establishment of a Muslim kingdom to the south of the great mountain barrier and invaded the dominion of Ghazni, but was defeated.

Pirai’s rule became unpopular and he was expelled, and on April 9, 977, Sabuktigin, a slave upon whom Alptigin had bestowed his daughter’s hand, ascended the throne at Ghazni. He found it expedient to seek, and readily obtained, confirmation of his title from Nuh II of Bukhara, but thenceforward made small pretence of subservience to a moribund dynasty.

Later Muhammadan historians are prone to represent Sabuktigin, who never crossed the Indus and led only two expeditions against the Hindus, as a champion of the faith whose chief occupation was the propagation of Islam with fire and sword among the idolaters of India. In fact he was fully employed in extending the area of his small state, which at first comprised little beyond the immediate neighborhood of Ghazni. In the first twelve years of his reign he extended his frontiers to the Oxus on the north and approximately to the present boundary between Afghanistan and Persia on the west. Two years after his accession Jaipal, raja of the Punjab, again invaded the kingdom of Ghazni from the east, but terms of peace were arranged, and in 986 Sabuktigin, whose power had been rapidly growing, invaded his enemy's territory and carried off many captives and much booty. Two years later he again attacked Jaipal and compelled him to cede Kabul and much other territory, but these expeditions were undertaken rather as measures of reprisal and for the purpose of securing his dominions than with any intention of propagating the faith.

In October 994 Sabuktigin, by aiding Nuh II of Bukhara to expel Abu Ali Sunjur; a rebel and a leader of the Ismailian heretics, from Khorasan, obtained the government of that province, to which he appointed as his deputy, his eldest son, the famous Mahmud. Sabuktigin died, in August 997, near Balkh, having firmly laid the foundations of the great empire which was to be extended and consolidated by his more famous son.

The nobles of Balkh, in obedience to Sabuktigin’s will, acknowledged as their sovereign his younger son Ismail, but a party favored the claims of the more able and energetic Mahmud. Mahmud wrote to his brother demanding the cession of Ghazni and promising to retain him as governor of Balkh, but his demand was rejected, and the two brothers, one from Nishapur and the other from Balkh, marched on Ghazni. In a battle fought near the city Ismail was defeated and compelled to take refuge in the fortress, but his nobles surrendered him to his brother, who imprisoned him for the rest of his life.




Mahmud was born on November 1971, and was therefore twenty-seven years of age when he deposed his brother and ascended the throne in 998. His kingdom at the time of his accession comprised the country now known as Afghanistan, and Khorasan, or eastern Persia. In the following year he added to it the province of Sistan. After this success he sought formal recognition of his sovereignty from the Caliph, al-Qadir Billah, who sent him a robe of investment and a patent conferring on him the titles Yamin-ud Daulah and Amin-ul Millah, from the former of which his successors are known to eastern historians as the Yamini dynasty. It was on this occasion that he is said to have vowed to undertake every year an expedition against the idolaters of India, but intestine troubles claimed his immediate attention. Abdul Malik II, the last Samanid ruler of Bukhara, was driven from his kingdom in 999 by Abul Husain Nasr I, Ilak Khan, of Kashghar, and his brother, Abu Ibrahim al-Mustansir, who had found an asylum in Gurgan, thrice attempted to establish himself in Khorasan, where his forefathers had held sway. Twice he drove Nasr, Mahmud’s brother, from Nishapur, only to be expelled when Nasr returned with reinforcements, and on the third occasion he was defeated and fled to the Ghuzz Turkmans, with whom he took refuge.

It is difficult to follow the long series of expeditions led by Mahmud into India in pursuance of his vow, to reconcile the accounts of historians who contradict not only one another but themselves, and to identify places disguised under a script ambiguous in itself and mutilated by generations of ignorant scribes. The number of these expeditions is almost invariably given as twelve, but there are few historians who do not give accounts, more or less detailed, of more than twelve. The first is said to have been undertaken in 999 or 1000, when Mahmud, after annexing Sistan, crossed the Indian frontier and plundered or annexed some towns, but the authority for this expedition is slight, Mahmud had at this time little leisure for foreign aggression, and the campaign may be regarded either as apocryphal or as a foray undertaken by some of his officers.

In September, 1001, Mahmud left Ghazni with 15,000 horse and advanced to Peshawar, where Jaipal I of the Punjab was prepared to meet him with 12,000 horse, 30,000 foot and 300 elephants. The raja was expecting reinforcements and was in no haste to engage before their arrival, but Mahmud’s impetuosity left him no choice, and on November 27th the two armies advanced to the attack, discharging clouds of arrows. Those of the Hindus did great execution, but the Muslims had the better mark, and their arrows, as well as the swords of their horsemen, rendered many of Jaipal’s elephants unmanageable or useless. The Hindus could not withstand the impetuosity of the Muslim horse and by noon were in full flight, leaving 15,000 dead on the field or slain in the pursuit. Jaipal and fifteen of his relations were captured, and their jewels, including a necklace of enormous value worn by the raja, formed part of Mahmud’s plunder.

After the battle Mahmud attacked and plundered Und, then an important city,(variously called Hind, Ohind, and Waihind), and Jaipal was permitted to ransom himself for a large sum of money and a hundred and fifty elephants, but as the ransom was not at once forthcoming was obliged to leave hostages for its payment. His son, Anandpal, made good the deficiency and the hostages were released before Mahmud returned to Ghazni, his soldiers speeding them on their way with a contemptuous buffet on their hinder parts.

After Mahmud’s departure Jaipal, overwhelmed with shame and mortification, bowed to the decision of his subjects, who refused to acknowledge a king who had been a captive in the hands of the Muslims, and, after designating Anandpal as his successor, mounted a funeral pyre and perished in the flames.

In 1002 Mahmud was occupied in crushing a rebellion in Sistan. The leader of the rebels escaped death by means of a ready tongue and when brought before his conqueror addressed him by the then unfamiliar title of Sultan. He was pardoned and rewarded with the government of another district, Sistan being included in the provincial government of Khorasan.

In his campaign against Jaipal Mahmud had expected aid from Bajra, the ruler of Bhatiya, the modern Uch, who had been on friendly terms with Sabuktigin, but he had been disappointed and in 1004 he marched from Ghazni to punish Bajra for his failure to support him. He was stoutly opposed but defeated Bajra before Uch and compelled him to flee for refuge to the jungles on the banks of the Indus, where, to escape capture by the Muslims, he stabbed himself. His head was carried to Mahmud and a general massacre of his disorganized troops followed. Mahmud, after plundering Uch, remained there for some time, engaged in making arrangements for the permanent annexation of the state and the conversion of its inhabitants, and it was not until the rivers were in flood in 1005 that he set out on his return journey. In crossing them he lost his plunder and much of his baggage, and was attacked during his retreat by Abul Fath Daud, the ruler of Multan, and suffered considerable loss.

Daud was the grandson of Shaikh Hamid Lodi, who had established himself in Multan and had always cultivated friendly relations with Sabuktigin, but his grandson had embraced the doctrines of the Ismaili sect, and was therefore as abominable in Mahmud’s eyes as any idolater in India. In the autumn of 1005 Mahmud had marched against him, and in order to avoid the passage of the rivers in their lower waters marched by way of Und, in the dominions of Anandpal, of whose subservience he was assured. Anandpal, however, opposed his advance, but was defeated and fled into Kashmir, and Mahmud pursued his way through the Punjab, plundering the country as he advanced.

Defeat of Anandpal

The defeat of Anandpal and Mahmud’s triumphal and devastating progress overcame the resolution of Daud, who shut himself up in Multan, and when Mahmud prepared to form the siege of the city offered as the price of peace a yearly tribute of 20,000 golden dirhams and abjuration of his heretical doctrines. The invasion of his northern province by the Turks of Transoxiana under Abul Husain Nasr I of Bukhara obliged Mahmud to accept these terms, and he returned with all speed towards the Oxus, appointing as governor of Und, by which place he marched, Sukhpal, a grandson of Jaipal, who, having been taken prisoner with his grandfather, had accepted Islam, and was now known as Nawasa Shah. We are not concerned with the details of Mahmud's campaign against the Ilak Khan, who was defeated and driven across the Oxus, but it is an interesting fact that a corps of Indians formed part of the victorious army.

On his return towards Ghazni in 1007 Mahmud learnt that Nawasa Shah had apostatized, was expelling the subordinate Muslim officers from the district committed to his charge, and purposed to rule it either as an independent sovereign or as the vassal of his uncle, Anandpal. He marched at once towards Und and ordered those of his officers whose fiefs lay near that district to attack the renegade. They captured Nawasa Shah and the treasure which he had amassed and carried him before Mahmud, who confiscated his wealth and imprisoned him in a fortress for the remainder of his life.

In the following year Mahmud resolved further to chastise Anandpal for his opposition to the passage of the Muslim army through his dominions on its way to Multan, and in the autumn of 1008 marched to Peshawar. Anandpal, who had been aware of his intention, had appealed for aid to other Hindu rajas, and one historian mentions the rajas of Ujjain, Gwalior, Kalinjar, Kanauj, Delhi, and Ajmer as having either marched in person or sent troops to his assistance. The number and consequence of his allies are perhaps exaggerated, but it is evident from Mahmud's excessive caution that Anandpal had received a considerable accession of strength and that the army which he led into the field was a very different force from that which Mahmud had so easily brushed aside on his way to Multan. Among the most valuable of Anandpal’s auxiliaries were the wild and warlike Khokars from the lower hills of Kashmir.

The Hindu army was encamped between Und and Peshawar, and Mahmud lay in camp before it for forty days without venturing to attack it, although each day’s delay brought it fresh reinforcements and the only inconvenience which it suffered arose from the difficulty of provisioning so great a force. This was alleviated by the devotion of the men's wives, who sold their jewels to enable their husbands to keep the field.

Mahmud protected his flanks with entrenchments and instead of following his usual impetuous tactics strove to entice the enemy to attack him in his own strong position. In this he succeeded and the Hindus attacked on December 31. A force of 30,000 Khokars, bareheaded and barefooted and armed with strange weapons, charged both his flanks simultaneously, passed over his trenches, and did such execution among his troops that he was meditating a retreat when a fortunate accident decided the day in his favor. Anandpal’s elephant took fright and bore his rider from the field, and the Hindus, believing their leader's flight to be intentional, broke and fled. The battle was now at an end and the pursuit began. The Muslims pursued their enemy for a great distance, slaying 8000 and taking thirty elephants and much other plunder.

The dispersal of this great army opened the way for a raid into India and Mahmud marched towards the fortress of Nagarkot, or Kangra, famous for its wealth. So little had his victory and subsequent advance been expected that the fortress had been left without a garrison, and was occupied only by the Brahmans and servants of the temple, who appeared on the walls and offered to surrender. After some parleying the gates were opened to Mahmud on the third day after his arrival, and the booty which fell into his hands is said to have amounted to 700,000 golden dinars, besides large quantities of vessels of gold and silver and of unworked gold and silver, and jewels. With this plunder he returned to Ghazni and exhibited it, piled on carpets in the courtyard of his palace, to the wondering eyes of his subjects.

A year later he marched to Ghur, a small district in the hills between Ghazni and Herat, which had hitherto remained independent under its Tajik or Persian rulers, defeated its prince, Muhammad bin Suri, and reduced him to the position of a vassal. This expedition, though not directly connected with the history of India is interesting in view of the subsequent relations between the princes of Ghur and those of Ghazni. The former exterminated the latter and achieved what they had never even attempted—the permanent subjugation of northern India.

Defeat of Bhimpal

Later in 1010 Mahmud again invaded India. There are some discrepancies regarding his objective, which the later historians, who confound this expedition with that of 1014, describe as Thanesar. He probably intended to reach Delhi but he was met at Taraori, about seven miles north of Karnal, by a large Hindu army, which he defeated and from which he took much plunder, with which he returned to Ghazni.

In 1011 he visited Multan, where his authority was not yet firmly established, brought the province under more efficient control, and extinguished the still glowing embers of heresy.

Meanwhile Anandpal had died and had been succeeded by his son, Jaipal II, who made the fortress of Nandana his chief stronghold, and in 1013 Mahmud invaded India to attack him. On hearing of Mahmud’s advance he retired into the mountains, leaving his son Nidar Bhimpal, or Bhimpal the Fearless, to defend his kingdom. The accounts of the campaign are strangely at variance with one another. According to one Bhimpal was besieged in Nandana and forced to surrender, while according to another he ventured to meet Mahmud in the open field, and was with difficulty defeated. Defeated, however, he was, and Mahmud turned into the hills in the hope of capturing him, but captured only his baggage. Large numbers of the natives of the country, guilty of no crime but that of following the religion of their fathers, were carried off to Ghazni as slaves, and the remarks of one historian probably reflect contemporary Muslim opinion on this practice: “Slaves were so plentiful that they became very cheap and men of respectability in their native land were degraded to the position of slaves of common shopkeepers. But this is the goodness of God, who bestows honor on His own religion and degrades infidelity”. An officer named Sarugh was appointed governor of Nandana and held that position at the time of Mahmud’s death.

Mahmud was next attracted by the wealth of the sacred city of Thanesar, between Ambala and Karnal, and in 1014 marched from Ghazni. When Jaipal heard of his intention he sent a mission to Ghazni, offering to send him fifty elephants annually if he would spare so sacred a place, but Mahmud rejected the offer and required of Jaipal a free passage through his territory. Jaipal perforce assented, but warned Bijayapal, the Towar raja of Delhi, of the approach of the invader, thus enabling him to summon others to his assistance.

Mahmud marched with such rapidity through the Punjab as to forestall Bijayapal’s preparations, and found the shrine at Thanesar undefended. He entered it without encountering serious opposition, plundered it of its vast treasures, and destroyed its idols, except the principal object of worship, which was sent to Ghazni to be buried in a public thoroughfare, where it might be trodden underfoot by the people. After this easy success Mahmud wished to march on Delhi, but was overruled by his advisers, who were averse from advancing so far into India until the annexation of the Punjab should have furnished a base of operations within its borders.

In 1015 Mahmud invaded Kashmir and besieged Lohkot or Loharkot, but the weather was so inclement and the garrison so constantly received reinforcements that he was compelled to raise the siege and retire. This was his first serious reverse in India. His army lost its way in the unfamiliar highlands and its retreat was interrupted by flooded valleys, but at length, after much toil, it debouched into the open country and returned to Ghazni in disorder.

In 1016 and 1017 Mahmud was occupied in Khvarazm and in the northern provinces of his empire, and it was not until 1018 that he was able again to turn his attention to India. He now prepared to penetrate further into the country than on any former occasion, and to plunder the rich temples of Hindustan proper. With an army of 100,000 horse raised in his own dominions and 20,000 volunteers from Turkistan, Transoxiana, and the confines of Khorasan, soldiers of fortune eager to share in the rich spoils of India, he marched from Ghazni in September, before the rainy season in India was well past, and, guided by the Lohara raja of Kashmir, crossed with some difficulty the Indus and the rivers of the Punjab. On December 2 he crossed the Jumna and pursued his march southwards. Avoiding Delhi, he followed the eastern bank of the Jumna until he reached Baran, the modern Bulandshahr, the first strong place which lay in his path. Hardat, the governor, fled from the fortress and left the garrison to make what terms they might with the invader. They propitiated him by the surrender of a great quantity of treasure and thirty elephants, and he passed thence to Mahaban, on the eastern bank of the Jumna. Kul Chandra, the governor of this place, drew up his forces and made some attempt to withstand the Muslims but his army was put to flight and he first slew his wife and son and then committed suicide. Besides much other spoil eighty elephants were taken by Mahmud at Mahaban, and he crossed the river in order to attack Muttra, the reputed birthplace of Krishna and one of the most sacred shrines in India. The city, though fortified and belonging to Bijayapal, the raja of Delhi, was undefended, and Mahmud entered it and plundered it without hindrance. His hand was not stayed by his admiration of its marble palaces and temples, unsparingly expressed in the dispatch in which he announced his success, and the temples were rifled and, as far as time permitted, destroyed. The plunder taken was enormous, but it is difficult to believe stories of a sapphire weighing over sixteen pounds and a half and of five idols of pure gold, over five yards in height, though the quantity of gold taken may very well have been over 548 pounds, as is recorded.

Capture of Kanauj

Mahmud continued his march and on December 20 arrived before Kanauj, the capital of the Rahtor Rajputs, whose raja, Jaichand, terrified by the numbers, the discipline and the achievements of the invading army, withdrew from his strong city, the ramparts of which were covered by seven detached forts, and left it open to Mahmud, who occupied both the city and the forts. The raja returned and preserved his city from destruction by making submission to the conqueror and surrendering eighty-five elephants, much treasure and a large quantity of jewels.

From Kanauj Mahmud marched to Manaich, afterwards known as Zafarabad, near Jaunpur. The fortress was strongly garrisoned and well furnished with supplies, but a vigorous siege of fifteen days reduced the defenders to such despair that they performed the rite of jauhar, first slaying their wives and children and then rushing out to perish on the swords of the enemy.

After plundering Manaich, Mahmud attacked Asni, a fortress in the immediate neighborhood, defended by deep ditches and a dense jungle, that is to say an enclosure of quickset bamboos, similar to that which now surrounds the city of Rampur in Rohilkhand and forms an impenetrable obstacle. Asni was the stronghold of a powerful chief named either Chandpal or Chandal Bor, who had recently been at war with Jaichand. On hearing of Mahmud’s approach he fled, leaving his capital a prey to the invader.

From Asni Mahmud marched westwards to a town which appears in Muslim chronicles as Sharva and may perhaps be identified with Seunza on the Ken, between Kalinjar and Banda or Sriswagarh on the Pahuj not far from Kunch. This town was the residence of another Jaichand, who is said to have been long at enmity with Jaichand of Kanauj and even now held his foe’s son in captivity. Jaichand of Kanauj, who wished to terminate the strife and had sent his son Bhimpal to arrange a marriage between his sister and Jaichand of Sharva, wrote to the latter dissuading him from rashly attempting to measure his strength against that of the invader, and Jaichand of Sharva followed this advice and left his capital, taking with him into the forest in which he took refuge the greater part of his army and his elephants. Mahmud, not content with the plunder of Sharva, pursued him by difficult and stony tracks into the forest, suddenly attacked him shortly before midnight on January 5, 1019, and defeated him. Jaichand’s elephants were captured, specie and jewels rewarded the exertions of the victors, and captives were so numerous that slaves could be purchased in the camp at prices ranging from two to ten dirhams.

After this victory, the last exploit of a most laborious and adventurous campaign, Mahmud returned to Ghazni, and the booty was counted. It is impossible to reconcile the conflicting accounts of the enormous quantity of treasure taken, but the plunder included over 380 elephants and 53,000 human captives. Of these poor wretches many were sold to foreign merchants, so that Indian slaves became plentiful in Transoxiana, Iraq and Khorasan, and the fair, the dark, and rich and the poor were commingled in one common servitude.

It was after this most successful raid that Mahmud founded at Ghazni the great Friday mosque known as “the Bride of Heaven” and the college which was attached to it. His example was eagerly followed by his nobles, who had been enriched by the spoils of India and were amply supplied with servile labor; and mosques, colleges, caravanserais, and hospices sprang up on every side.

Defeat of Nanda

The date of Mahmud’s next expedition is given by some historians as 1019, but those authorities are to be preferred which place it in 1021. Its occasion was the formation of a confederacy, headed by Nanda, raja of Kalinjar, for the purpose of punishing Jaichand of Kanauj for his pusillanimity and ready submission to the invader. Nanda led the army to Kanauj and defeated and slew Jaichand, whose death Mahmud resolved to avenge, and an army greater than any which he had hitherto led into India was assembled at Ghazni for the purpose. Jaipal II, who had tamely acquiesced in Mahmud’s passage through the Punjab, was now dead, or had abdicated the throne, and had been succeeded by his more spirited son, Bhimpal the Fearless, who joined the Hindu confederacy but, instead of rashly opposing Mahmud on his western frontier where he would have been beyond the reach of help from his allies, withdrew to the banks of the Jumna, where they might have supported him. Here Mahmud found him encamped, and hesitated to attempt the passage of the swollen river in the face of his army, but eight Muslim officers, apparently without their king's permission or knowledge, suddenly crossed the river with their contingents, surprised the Hindus and put them to flight. The eight officers continued to advance and occupied a city which cannot now be identified, and Mahmud, whose way was cleared before him, crossed the Jumna and the Ganges, and found Nanda awaiting him on the banks of the Sai with an army of 36,000 horse, 105,000 foot, and 640 elephants. Before this host Mahmud’s heart failed him for a moment, and he repented of having left Ghazni, but prayer restored his courage and he prepared for battle on the following day. In the night, however, Nanda was unaccountably stricken with panic and fled with a few attendants, leaving his army, his camp and his baggage at the mercy of the invader. The confusion which prevailed among the Hindus on the discovery of Nanda’s flight was at first suspected by Mahmud to be a stratagem to induce him to attack, but having ascertained that it was genuine he permitted his army to plunder the camp, and a vast quantity of booty was collected without a blow. Of Nanda’s elephants 580 were taken and Mahmud, who was apprehensive of disturbances in the Punjab, returned, content with this victory, to Ghazni.

Later in the same year he led an expedition into two districts disguised in Persian histories under the names of Qirat and Nur and said to have been situated between the boundaries of India and Turkistan. The most probable conjecture identifies them with the districts of Dir, Swat, and Bajaur. The enterprise was successful and the command of the last named district having been bestowed upon Ali bin Qadr, a Saljuq Turk, Mahmud again invaded Kashmir and besieged Loharkot, but abandoned the siege after a month and retired from Kashmir. He did not return at once to Ghazni, but marched into the Punjab to chastise Bhimpal for having joined the confederacy of the rajas of Hindustan. The army, instead of besieging Lahore, dispersed throughout the neighboring country in order to subsist upon it and to prevent supplies from reaching the capital, and Bhimpal was reduced to such straits that he fled and sought an asylum with the Chauhan raja of Ajmer. His flight marks the formal annexation of the Punjab by Mahmud, who may henceforth be regarded as an Indian ruler. Less than a century and a half after his death the Indian province of his great empire became the kingdom and the sole refuge of his descendants.

In the autumn of 1022 Mahmud again invaded Hindustan in order to inflict further punishment on Nanda of Kalinjar. He marched through the Doab, crossed the Jumna below Delhi, and was attracted by the strong fortress of Gwalior, to which he laid siege but, finding that the operation was likely to be protracted, permitted the Kachhwaha raja to compound for a formal submission by a gift of no more than thirty-five elephants, and pursued his way towards his real objective, Kalinjar, to the reduction of which he was prepared to devote more time. After a protracted siege Nanda was permitted to redeem his stronghold for three hundred elephants which, instead of being formally delivered, were mischievously driven in a body towards the Muslim camp, in the hope that they would throw it into confusion; but the Turks had by now some experience of elephants, and caught and managed them. According to a possibly mythical account of the event, their success compelled the unwilling admiration of Nanda, who addressed to Mahmud an encomiastic poem which was so highly praised by learned Hindus in the Muslim camp that its author was rewarded with the government of fifteen fortresses, a grant probably as hollow as the flattery which had earned it. After this composition with Nanda, Mahmud returned to Ghazni with his spoils.


In 1023 he was occupied in Transoxiana and in the following year set out on his most famous expedition into India. There is a conflict of authority on the subject of the date of his departure from Ghazni, but he appears to have left his capital on October 17, 1024, at the head of his own army and a body of 30,000 composed, as on a former occasion, of volunteers from Turkistan and other countries, attracted by the hope of booty.

It is said that the impudent vaunts of the Brahmans attached to the wealthy religious establishment of Somnath, on the coast of Kathiawar suggested to Mahmud the desirability of striking a blow at this centre of Hinduism. The wealth and importance of the shrine far exceeded those of any temple which he had yet attacked. One thousand Brahmans daily attended the temple, three hundred barbers were maintained to serve the pilgrims visiting it, and three hundred and fifty of the unfortunate women whom the Hindus dedicate nominally to the service of their gods and actually to the appetites of their priests danced continually before the idol, which was a huge lingam or phallus. These priests and attendants were supported from the endowments of the temple, which are said to have consisted of the revenues of 10,000 villages, the idol was washed daily with water brought from the Ganges, 750 miles distant, and the jewels of the temple were famed throughout the length and breadth of India.

The Brahmans attached to this famous shrine boasted that their master Shiva, the moon-lord, was the most powerful of all the gods and that it was only owing to his displeasure with other gods that the invader had been permitted to plunder and pollute their shrines. This provocative vaunt suggested to Mahmud the destruction of the temple of Somnath as the readiest means to a wholesale conversion of the idolaters.

He reached Multan on November 20 and decided to march across the great desert of India to Ajmer. In his arduous undertaking he made elaborate preparations. Each trooper was ordered to carry with him fodder, water and food for several days, and Mahmud supplemented individual efforts by loading his own establishment of 30,000 camels with water and supplies for the desert march. These precautions enabled his army to cross the desert without mishap, and on its reaching Ajmer, or rather the Chauhan capital of Sambhar, for the modern city of Ajmer was not then built, the raja fled and the invaders plundered the city and slew many Hindus, but did not attempt the reduction of the fortress. From Sambhar the army marched towards Anhilvara, now known as Patan, in Gujarat, capturing on its way an unnamed fortress which furnished it with water and supplies. Mahmud, on arriving at Anhilvara early in January, 1025, discovered that the raja, Bhimdeo, and most of the inhabitants had fled, and the army, having plundered the supplies left in the city, continued its march to Somnath. On his way thither Mahmud captured several small forts and in the desert of Kathiawar encountered a force of 20,000, apparently part of Bhimdeo’s army, which he defeated and dispersed. Two days’ march from Somnath stood the town of Dewalwara, the inhabitants of which, secure in the protection of the god, had refused to seek safety in flight and paid for this misplaced confidence with their lives.

On reaching Somnath the Muslims perceived the Hindus in large numbers on the walls, and were greeted with jeers and threats. On the following day they advanced to the assault and, having driven the Hindus from the walls with well-directed showers of arrows, placed their scaling ladders and effected a lodgment on the rampart. Many Hindus fell in the street-fighting which followed but by dusk the Muslims had not established themselves sufficiently to justify their remaining in the town during the night, and withdrew to renew the attack on the following morning. They then drove the defenders, with terrible slaughter, through the streets towards the temple. From time to time bands of Hindus entered the temple and after passionate prayers for the moon-lord’s aid sallied forth to fight and to die. At length a few survivors fled towards the sea and attempted to escape in boats, but Mahmud had foreseen this and his soldiers, provided with boats, pursued and destroyed them.

When the work of blood was finished Mahmud entered the temple, the gloom of which was relieved by the light from costly lamps, which flickered on the fifty-six polished pillars supporting the roof, on the gems which adorned the idol, and on a huge golden chain, the bells attached to which summoned to their duties the relays of attendant priests. As the eyes of the conqueror fell upon the hewn stone, three yards in height above the pavement, which had received the adoration of generations of Hindus, he raised his mace in pious zeal and dealt it a heavy blow. Some historians relate that when he commanded that the idol should be shattered the Brahmans offered to redeem it with an enormous sum of money, and that their prayers were seconded by the arguments of his courtiers who urged that the destruction of one idol would not extinguish idolatry and that the money might be employed for pious purposes. To both Mahmud replied that he would be a breaker, not a seller of idols, and the work of destruction went forward. When the idol was broken asunder gems worth more than a hundred times the ransom offered by the Brahmans were found concealed in a cavity within it and Mahmud's iconoclastic zeal was materially rewarded; but this story appears to be an embellishment, by later historians, of the earlier chronicles. Of the fragments of the idol two were sent to Ghazni to form steps at the entrance of the great mosque and the royal palace, and two are said to have been sent to Mecca and Medina, where they were placed in public streets to be trodden underfoot.

Mahmud was now informed that Bhimdeo of Anhilvara had taken refuge in the island of Beyt Shankhodhar, at the north­western extremity of the peninsular of Kathiawar, and pursued him thither. If the chroniclers are to be credited it was possible in those days to reach the island on horseback at low tide, for native guides are said to have pointed out the passage to Mahmud and to have warned him that he and his troops would perish if the tide or the wind rose while they were attempting it. Mahmud nevertheless led his army across and Bhimdeo was so dismayed by his determination and intrepidity that he fled from the fortress in a mean disguise and left it at the mercy of the invaders, who slew all the males in the town and enslaved the women, among whom, according to one authority, were some of the ladies of Bhimdeo’s family.

From Beyt Shankhodhar Mahmud returned to Anhilvara, where he halted for some time to refresh his troops. It is difficult to believe that the climate and situation of the city and the reputed existence of gold mines in its neighborhood induced Mahmud seriously to propose that the court should be transferred thither. The historian responsible for this statement adds that Mahmud’s proposal was successfully combated by his counselors, who impressed upon him the impossibility of controlling from Anhilvara the turbulent province of Khorasan, the acquisition and retention of which had been so difficult and so costly; and Mahmud prepared to return to Ghazni. The line of retreat chosen was through the desert of Sind to Multan, for Mahmud was loth to risk his booty in a battle with the raja of Sambhar, who had closed with a great army the line by which he had advanced.

The army suffered much in its retreat, first through the arid desert of Sind and next through the Sind Sagar Doab, where it was so harassed and delayed by the Jats of that region that it was not until the spring of 1026 that it reached Ghazni.

Mahmud’s vanity was flattered after his return by the receipt of complimentary letters from the Caliph al-Qadir Billah conferring fresh titles on him, distinguishing his sons in the same manner, and formally recognizing him as ruler of Khorasan, Hindustan, Sistan, and Khvarazm, the whole of which great empire, with the exception of India, where he held only one province, actually acknowledged his sway.

In the autumn of this year Mahmud made his last incursion into India, a punitive expedition against the Jats who had harassed his retreat. He marched to Multan and there prepared a fleet of 1400 boats, each armed with an iron spike projecting from the prow and similar spikes projecting from the gunwale on either side and carrying a crew of twenty men armed with bows and arrows and hand grenades of naphtha. The Jats launched four, or, according to some authorities, eight thousand boats and attacked the Muslims, but their boats were pierced or capsized by the spikes and the victory was so complete that the Jats, almost to a man, were drowned or slain. The Muslims then disembarked on the islands where the Jats had placed their wives and families for safety and carried off the women and children as slaves.

The remainder of Mahmud’s reign was occupied by the suppression of the Seljuk Turks, whom he had incautiously encouraged too far and by the annexation of western Persia. He died at Ghazni on April 21, 1030.

It is only in a limited sense that Mahmud can be described as an Indian sovereign, for it was not until the later years of his reign that he annexed and occupied the Punjab, the only Indian province which he held, but he was the first to carry the banner of Islam into the heart of India and to tread the path in which so many followed him. He founded an Indian dynasty, for the later kings of his house, stripped of all their possessions in Persia, Transoxiana, and Afghanistan, were fain to content themselves with the kingdom of the Punjab, which had been but an insignificant province of his great empire.

To Muslim historians Mahmud is one of the greatest of the champions of Islam. How far his Indian raids and massacres were inspired by a desire of propagating his faith, for which purpose they were ill adapted, and how far by avarice, must remain uncertain, for Mahmud’s character was complex. Though zealous for Islam he maintained a large body of Hindu troops, and there is no reason to believe that conversion was a condition of their service. The avarice most conspicuously displayed in his review of his riches before his death and in his undignified lamentations over the prospect of leaving them gave way to lavishness where his religion or his reputation was concerned. His patronage of architecture adorned Ghazni with many a noble building and his no less munificent patronage of letters made his court the home of Firdausi, Asairi, Asadi of Tus, Minuchihri of Balkh, Unsuri, Asjadi of Marv, Farrukhi, Daqiqi, and many other poets of less note. His treatment of the first-named poet, whom he paid for his great epic in silver instead of the promised gold, is remembered to his discredit, though it was probably due less to his niggardliness than to a courtier's jealousy.

Some European historians, ignorant of the principles of oriental abuse and of the Islamic law of legitimacy have asserted, on the authority of the satire which Firdausi, after his disappointment, fulminated against his patron, that Mahmud was a bastard, but Firdausi’s charge against him is only that his mother was not of noble birth. He seems to have been the son of a concubine or hand­maiden, but by the law of Islam the son of a concubine or handmaiden is as legitimate as the son of a regularly married wife.

Masud I

The story of the contest between Mahmud’s two sons is a mere repetition of that of the contest between Mahmud and his brother Ismail. Masud, the abler of the two, was at Hamadan when his father died, and at once set out for Ghazni, where a party of the nobles had, in obedience to Mahmud’s will, acknowledged Muhammad as their sovereign. Masud was joined during his advance by several of the leading nobles, including Ayaz, Mahmud’s favorite slave and confidential adviser, and on October 4 those who had hitherto supported Muhammad perceived that his cause was lost, imprisoned him, and joined his brother, who had reached Herat, but their tardy submission availed them little, and they were either executed or imprisoned for life. The unfortunate Muhammad was blinded, and was carried by Masud to Balkh, which for a time became the royal residence.

Masud never attempted to emulate his father’s activity, but history now sheds more light on the administration of the Indian province of the empire. The government of the Punjab had been entrusted by Mahmud to a Turkish officer named Ariyaruq, whom Masud summoned to Balkh. He was charged with oppression and extortion, with preventing his victims from having access to their sovereign, and with retaining with treasonable intent a large part of the revenue. His power was so great that it was considered unlikely that he would obey the summons of Masud, but he presented himself at Balkh with a large contingent of Indian troops and by ingratiating himself with the leading courtiers contrived to evade for some time an inquiry into his administration, but his enemies watched their opportunity and one day, when they knew that he was drunk, persuaded Masud to summon him to court. He was constrained to obey and Masud, incensed both by his dilatoriness in appearing and by the unseemliness of his conduct, caused him to be arrested as a preliminary to an investigation. His Indian troops were disposed to attempt a rescue but were dissuaded by the threat that the first act of violence would be the signal for his execution and by the promise that they should not suffer by the change of masters, the royal officers were thus enabled to enter Ariyaruq’s quarters, and seize his movable property, his treasure, and, more important than all, his accounts, which furnished ample evidence of his misconduct. He was sent to Ghur, where he was put to death, and his friend Asaftigin Ghazi shortly afterwards shared his fate.

Masud entered Ghazni on May 23, 1031, and incurred much odium by requiring, against the advice of his counselors, a refund of all the largesse which had been distributed by his brother on his proclamation as Amir.

The affairs of the empire were now suffering from the loss of Mahmud’s strong guiding hand. Western Persia was disturbed and a new governor was sent thither, but the Punjab was in even greater confusion, for no governor had been appointed since the recall of Ariyaruq, and the officers sent to seize his property and conduct a local inquiry into his administration were unable to cope with the opposition of his relations and their dependants and partisans. There was nobody at court fit for the important post of governor of the Indian province, and Masud, with some misgivings, appointed to it his father's treasurer, Ahmad Niyaltigin, whose honesty was dubious and whose inexperience of civil and military affairs was notorious. It was believed that the retention of his son at Ghazni as a hostage would ensure his fidelity and the instructions issued for the guidance of officials in India indicate the nature of the irregularities of Ariyaruq’s administration. They were not to undertake, without special permission, expeditions beyond the limits of the Punjab, but were to accompany Ahmad on any expedition which he might undertake; they were not to drink, play polo, or mix in social intercourse with the Hindu officers at Lahore; and they were to refrain from wounding the susceptibilities of those officers and their troops by inopportune displays of religious bigotry.

Troubles at Lahore

Masud would have visited the Punjab in person had his presence not been more urgently required in the north, where the Seljuks threatened Balkh, and in the west, where the governor of Iraq needed support and where the daily expected death of the Caliph, al-Qadir Billah, might breed fresh disorders. The news of his death actually reached Balkh on November 9. Ahmad Niyaltigin, on arriving in India, at once quarreled with Abul Hasan, the Shirazi Qazi, one of the officials who had been sent to collect the revenue and inquire into Ariyaruq’s administration. Abul Hasan was inclined to resent what he regarded as his supersession by Ahmad and the latter's success in collecting revenue which he himself had been unable to collect, but his opposition was based chiefly on the newcomer’s treasonable designs. Ahmad’s appointment had turned his head, and he encouraged the circulation of a rumor that his mother had been guilty of an intrigue with Mahmud, of which he was the offspring, and planned an expedition to distant Benares, the wealth of which might enable him to establish himself as an independent sovereign in India. Abul Hasan advised him to devote his attention to the civil administration and to delegate the actual command of the troops to a military officer, but was curtly told to mind his own business. Each party then reported the other to Masud, Ahmad complained that Abul Hasan was attempting to undermine his authority and Abul Hasan warned his master of Ahmad's designs. In this contest Abul Hasan was worsted. He was ordered to confine his attention to the collection of the revenue, which was his affair, and to leave the general civil and military administration to the governor.

Masud suffered for his neglect of the warning. Ahmad led his troops to Benares, indulged them with twelve hours’ plunder of the city and in 1034 returned to Lahore with enormous wealth. He reported his success in glowing terms to Masud, but his report was not accompanied by the expected remittance of spoil. Abul Hasan reported at the same time that Ahmad was employing the plunder of Benares in the raising of a large army recruited from the most turbulent and disaffected ruffians of Lahore and the Punjab, that he openly boasted of being the son of Mahmud, and that he was on the point of repudiating his allegiance. This report was corroborated by Ahmad’s conduct and it was decided to treat him as a rebel. There was an awkward pause when Masud asked who would undertake the task of crushing the rebellion. The Muslim nobles, who understood the difficulty of the enterprise and disliked the Indian climate, were mute, and their silence was the opportunity of the Hindu Tilak, who offered his services as a native who knew the country and for whom the climate had no terrors.

Tilak was of humble origin, being the son of a barber, but was handsome, enterprising and accomplished, speaking and writing well both Hindi and Persian. From the service of Abul Hasan he had been promoted to that of Mahmud’s minister and eventually to that of Mahmud himself. He had deserved well of Masud, for he had, at considerable personal risk, consistently supported his cause against that of his brother, and had been rewarded, after his accession, with the chief command of the Hindu troops and the rank of a noble of the empire.

When Tilak reached India he found that the officers and troops who remained loyal to Masud had taken refuge in a fortress near Lahore, where they were besieged by Ahmad. He occupied Lahore, seized several Muslims known to be partisans of Ahmad, and caused their right hands to be struck off. This ruthless measure so terrified the rebellious troops that many of them deserted Ahmad and joined Tilak. Judicious bribery still further thinned the ranks of the rebel army, and when Ahmad was forced to stand and face his pursuers he was defeated, and was deserted by all save a body of three hundred horse. Instead of pursuing him Tilak offered the lately rebellious Jats the royal pardon and a sum of 500,000 dirhams as the price of Ahmad's head. The Jats surrounded the fugitive, slew him, and demanded their reward. Tilak retorted that they had already received it from the plunder of Ahmad's camp, but after some chaffering Ahmad's head and his son, who had been taken alive, were surrendered in consideration of the royal pardon and 100,000 dirhams. Tilak presented his prizes to Masud at Mary and was rewarded by further tokens of his master’s favor.

On August 29, 1036, Masud sent his second son, Majdud, to India, as governor of the Punjab, and vowed, when he himself fell sick in the following year, that if he recovered he would lead an expedition into India and capture the fortress of Hansi. On his recovery his advisers warned him in vain of the folly of engaging in a purposeless enterprise in India while the Seljuks were threatening his northern and eastern provinces: Masud insisted on the fulfillment of his vow and on October 5, 1037, he left Ghazni for India. On November 8 he reached the Jhelum and was detained there for a fortnight by an illness serious enough to startle his conscience into abjuration of the sin of wine-bibbing, and his wine was poured into the river and the use of intoxicants forbidden in his army. By November 29 he was able to take the field and on December 20 arrived before Hansi and opened the siege of the fortress. In spite of an obstinate resistance the town was stormed on January 1, 1038, after the walls had been breached in five places, and was sacked; the Brahmans and the fighting men were put to the sword and the women and children were enslaved.

Masud returned to Ghazni on February 11 to learn that the Seljuks were besieging the ancient town of Rai, near the modern Tehran, and had also invaded Khorasan. He encouraged his officers with promises of speedy relief but lingered at Ghazni until the following winter and by the time he had taken the field Chaghar Beg Daud the Seljuk was in possession of Nishapur. The campaign against the Seljuks was ended by a crushing defeat sustained by Masud in 1040 at Taliqan, three marches from Marv, Khvarazm was lost, and Masud was compelled to retreat to Ghazni while the Seljuks besieged Balkh. It was during this campaign that the character of the Hindu troops was first impugned. The Muslim officers complained that five hundred of them could not be induced to face ten Turkmans, and the Hindu officers retorted that while the Muslim troops had fared well their men were starved, and had received no flour for four months. When it was suggested that an Indian corps should be raised for the expulsion of the Seljuks, Masud exclaimed, with petulant ingratitude, “Never. These are the men who lost us Marv”.

On November 13 Masud, overcome by craven fear, set out from Ghazni for Lahore, taking with him the women of his harem, what remained of his father’s treasure, and the brother whom he had blinded years before. He was now an object of contempt to his own troops, and when he reached the Marigala pass, a few miles east of Hasan Abdal, his guards fell upon his treasure-laden camels, divided the spoils, and gaining possession of the person of the blind Muhammad, acclaimed him as their Amir. Masud was arrested and brought before the brother whom he had so cruelly mutilated, and was overwhelmed with shame when Muhammad told him that he bore him no malice and bade him choose his place of residence. Masud chose the fortress of Giri and was sent thither, but was put to death a few months later by order of Muhammad’s son, Ahmad.

Masud’s son Maudud, who was at Balkh, marched to Ghazni on hearing of his father’s deposition and Muhammad turned back to meet him. In the winter of 1041-42 the two armies encountered one another at Nangrahar, about half-way between Ghazni and the Indus, and after an obstinate conflict Maudud was victorious and avenged his father’s fate by putting to death with torture Muhammad and all his sons except two, Abdur Rahim, whom he spared in return for consideration shown for the imprisoned Masud, and Nami, who was governor of the Punjab. An officer sent to India had no difficulty in defeating and slaying Nami, but there still remained Maudud's own brother, Majdud, who had been appointed by his father to the government of the Indian province and had proved himself an energetic and capable commander. He had captured the important town of Thanesar and was now at Hansi, awaiting a favorable opportunity for attacking Delhi, but on learning that Maudud had sent an army against him returned rapidly to Lahore, and arrived there on July 27, 1042. Maudud’s troops reached the city one or two days later and it appeared probable that they would declare for the more capable and more popular Majdud, but on the morning of July 30 he was found dead in his bed. No cause is assigned for his death, and it may have been due to heat stroke, or some other rapidly fatal disease, but it is more probable that agents of Maudud had been at work.


Maudud and Ali

Maudud’s authority was now established in the Punjab but it commanded none of the respect which the Hindus had yielded to the great Mahmud, and two years later Mahipal, raja of Delhi, recaptured without difficulty Hansi, Thanesar, and Kangra, inflaming the zeal of his troops by exhibiting to them at the temple in the last-named fortress a replica of the famous idol carried off by Mahmud, now believed to have returned by a miracle to its former shrine.

Mahipal was encouraged by his success at Kangra to advance even to the walls of Lahore, and besieged the city, but the nobles, who had been too deeply engaged in quarrels regarding precedence, fiefs, and titles to send relief to the three lost fortresses, showed a united front to the enemy at the gates, and Mahipal was obliged to retire.

In 1046 Maudud’s chamberlain renewed the feud with Ghur by invading the small principality with a large force, and capturing two princes of the ruling house, who were carried to Ghazni and put to death.

In 1048 Maudud, in order to allay the strife between the nobles of the Punjab, appointed his two eldest sons, Mahmud and Mansur, to the government of Lahore and Peshawar, and at the same time sent Bu Ali Hasan, Kotwal of Ghazni, to India to curb the aggression of the Hindus, in which task he succeeded well and captured a fortress which cannot now be identified with any certainty, but he fell a victim to one of the intrigues so common in oriental courts, and was rewarded, on his return to Ghazni, by being cast into prison, where his enemies anticipated the probability of his restoration to power by murdering him.

Maudud died of an intestinal complaint on December 22, 1049, while preparing to visit his father-in-law, Chaghar Beg Daud the Seljuk, and in accordance, it was said, with his will, his infant son Masud, aged three, was proclaimed Amir by the servants of his household, who proposed that the boy’s mother, the daughter of Chaghar Beg Daud, should exercise the powers of regency, but the nobles of Ghazni, who had not been consulted, refused to ratify this arrangement, and on December 29 deposed the child and proclaimed his uncle, Ali Abul-Hasan, who married his brother’s widow, the Seljuk princess.

Ali proved to be a feeble ruler, and in 1052 his uncle, Izzud­-daulah Abdur-Rashid, the sixth son of Mahmud, was released from the fortress in which he had been imprisoned, advanced on Ghazni, deposed his nephew, and ascended the throne; while the daughter of Chaghar Beg Daud, bitterly resenting her husband's deposition, left Ghazni and returned to her father.

Abdur Rashid was a scholar with a taste for theology, but was as little fitted as Ali to hold the reins of government in troubled times. He appointed to the government of the Punjab Nushtigin, an able and active officer who recovered the fortress of Kangra and restored order, but in Tughril “the Ingrate”, another servant, who had been a slave of Mahmud, he was less fortunate. Tughril was sent to Sistan and reduced that province to obedience, but it was his own authority and not his master’s that he established. His successes, which appear to have included some victories over the Seljuks, who now ruled Khorasan, enabled him to raise and maintain a large army, with which he marched to Ghazni, defeated and put to death Abdur Rashid and nine other members of the royal house, and ascended the throne. His treachery was generally abhorred, and he was assassinated, after a reign of forty days, by the royal guards. Nushtigin, who had left India on hearing of Tughril's usurpation, arrived at Ghazni a few days after his death and took counsel with the nobles regarding the filling of the vacant throne. There still survived, imprisoned in a fortress, Farrukhzad and Ibrahim, two sons of Masud I, and the nobles elected the latter, but, on discovering that he was in feeble health, transferred their suffrages to his brother. Almost immediately after Farrukhzad's enthronement the kingdom was invaded by Chaghar Beg Daud who, after being defeated by Nushtigin, summoned to his assistance his more famous son Alp Arsalan, against whom Farrukhzad took the field in person. Alp Arsalan gained an indecisive victory and retired with his prisoners, leaving in Farrukhzad’s hands those taken from Chaghar Beg Daud by Nushtigin. An exchange formed the basis of a treaty of peace, and on Farrukhzad’s death in March, 1059, his brother Ibrahim, who succeeded him, renewed the treaty and arranged a marriage between his son Masud and the daughter of Malik Shah, Alp Arsalan’s son. The treaty was faithfully observed by the Seljuqs during Ibrahim’s long reign, and the security of his northern and western frontiers enabled him to devote his attention to India. In 1079 he crossed the southern border of the Punjab and captured the town of Ajudhan, now known as Pak Pattan. In the course of the same campaign he is said to have taken a town named Rupal, which was perhaps the place of that name in Mahi Kantha, as he appears to have advanced towards the western coast and to have come upon a settlement of Parsis which may be identified with Navsari in Gujarat. This is the only supposition by which it is possible to explain a Muslim historian's obviously inaccurate statement that he reached a town populated exclusively by Khorasanis who had been deported to India by Afrasiyab.



Ibrahim died on August 25, 1099, after a comparatively peaceful reign of forty-two years, and was succeeded by his twenty-third son, Alaud Daulah Masud III, surnamed al-Karim, who had married the daughter of Malik Shah. The chief events of his peaceful reign of seventeen years were an expedition beyond the Ganges, led by Tughatigin of Lahore, of whose exploits no details are given, and the appointment of Husain, son of Sam, to the government of Ghur, which is interesting as evidence that the Shansabani princes were still vassals of Ghazni. Masud III died in 1115 at the age of fifty-seven, and was succeeded by his son Shirzad, who was deposed in the following year by his brother Arsalan Abdul Malik. Arsalan’s half brother Bahram, who was the son of the Seljuk princess, fled for refuge to his uncle, Sultan Sanjar, in Khorasan, and Arsalan was foolish enough to treat his stepmother with indignity, and even to offer her a gross insult. His folly incensed Sanjar, who was already disposed to espouse the cause of his nephew Bahram, and he advanced on Ghazni with a large army. Arsalan was defeated within a few miles of the city and fled to India, and Sanjar placed Bahram on the throne and returned to Khorasan. Arsalan, on learning of his departure, returned to Ghazni and expelled Bahram. In 1117 Sanjar, who had succeeded, on the death of his brother Muhammad, to the sovereignty of all the dominions of the Great Seljuks, was too much occupied with his own affairs to be able to send assistance to Bahram, but in 1118 he provided him with troops, and he marched to Ghazni and defeated and captured his brother. He was at first disposed to spare his life, but, on discovering that he was hatching schemes for the recovery of the throne, put him to death.

Shortly after his accession Bahram marched into India to reduce to obedience Muhammad Bahlim, who, having been appointed governor of the Punjab by Arsalan, refused to acknowledge his successor. Bahlim was defeated and captured on January 22, 1119, but Bahram, with culpable leniency, not only pardoned but reinstated him, and returned to Ghazni. Bahlim displayed great energy in subduing the minor Hindu chieftains on the borders of the Punjab and established himself in Nagaur, where he again repudiated his allegiance to Bahram. Bahram marched from Ghazni against the rebel, who foolishly advanced northward and met him in the neighborhood of Multan, where he was defeated, and in attempting to escape was swallowed up, with two of his sons, in a quicksand. He deserves to be remembered, because he established Muhammadan rule over provinces which had never acknowledged the authority of the greatest of the Ghaznavids. Nagaur is situated more than 300 miles to the south of Lahore, and it is said that Bahlim was accompanied, on his march against Bahram, by ten sons, each of whom ruled a province or district.

The later years of Bahram’s reign were overshadowed by the menace of the growing power of the Shansabani princes of Ghur, who had husbanded their resources while the Ghaznavids and the Seljuks were at strife. Qutb-ud-din Muhammad of Ghur, having quarreled with his brother, fled to Ghazni and married a daughter of Bahram, who, after harboring him for some time, suspected him of plotting against him and removed him by poison. Qutb-ud-din’s next brother, Saif-ud-din, prince of Ghur, invaded the Ghaznavid dominions to avenge his brother’s death, defeated Bahram, drove him to India, and occupied Ghazni, appointing his brother Baha-ud-din Sam his lieutenant in Ghur. In 1149 Bahram returned suddenly from India, surprised Saif-ud-din, and put him to flight. He was pursued and overtaken and was induced to surrender by a promise that his life should be spared, but the perfidious Bahram, having secured his enemy, first publicly exposed him to the derision of the populace and then put him to death. Baha-ud-din Sam is said to have died of grief for his brother, and another brother, Alauddin Husain, succeeded to the principality and in 1115 took a terrible revenge for Saif-ud-din’s death. He invaded the Ghaznavid kingdom, defeated Bahram in three successive battles, captured Ghazni, and burnt it to the ground. The flames raged for seven days and the outrage earned for its author the name of Jahansuz, “the World-burner”. The remains of the kings, except Mahmud, Masud I and Ibrahim, were torn from their graves and burnt, and their tombs were destroyed, the male inhabitants, except the Sayyids, who were carried to Ghur to be put to death there, were slaughtered and the women and children carried off into slavery, and Ala-ud-din, after leaving Ghazni, marched through other provinces of the kingdom, destroying the monuments of the taste and munificence of its former rulers.

Bahram had fled to India after his defeat, but ventured to return to Ghazni when the World-burner, shortly after his victories, incurred the wrath of Sultan Sanjar the Seljuk and was defeated and temporarily imprisoned by him. Bahram, who died shortly afterwards, is favorably known as a patron of literature. The famous poet Sanai resided at his court and another writer made for him a Persian translation of the Arabic version of the story Kalilah wa Damnah, the better known translation of which, the Anvar-i-Suhaili, by Mulla Hasan Waiz, al-Kashifi, was made in the reign of Sultan Hasan the Timurid.


The End of the Dynasty

Bahram was succeeded by his son Khusrav Shah, a feeble ruler in whose reign a horde of the Ghuzz tribe of Turkmans invaded Khorasan and defeated and captured Sultan Sanjar, who died in their hands in 1157. From Khorasan the Turkmans advanced on Ghazni, and Khusrav Shah fled before them to Lahore, where he dies in 1160. The Punjab was all that now remained to the descendants of Sabuktigin of the wide domains of their ancestors. The Ghuzz Turkmans retained possession of Ghazni for ten years and it then fell into the hands of the princes of Ghur.

Khusrav Shah was succeeded by his son Khusrav, who bore the title of Malik. He was a mild and voluptuous prince to whom authority was irksome. The governors of the districts of his small kingdom behaved as independent rulers, but he reeked nothing, so long as the means of indulgence was at hand. The districts fell one by one, as will be related in the following chapter, into the hands of Muizz-ud-din Muhammad bin Sam, the World Burner’s nephew, who occupied Ghazni and ruled the southern portion of the country now known as Afghanistan as the lieutenant of his elder brother, Ghiyas-ud-din Muhammad, who governed the now extensive dominions of his family from his capital, Firuzkuh in Ghur. In 1181 Muizz-ud-din Muhammad appeared before Lahore and compelled Khusrav Malik to surrender, as a token of submission, his finest elephant, and as a hostage, his son. Muhammad then marched to Sialkot, built the fort there and placed one of his own officers in command of it. After his departure Khusrav Malik plucked up courage and besieged Sialkot, but could not take it and returned to Lahore. In 1186 Muhammad again appeared before Lahore and Khusrav sued for peace. He left the city, under a safe conduct, to arrange the terms, but Muhammad violated his engagement, seized him, and occupied Lahore. Khusrav Malik was sent to Ghiyas-ud-din at Firuzkuh, where he remained a prisoner until 1192, when Ghiyas-ud-din and his brother were preparing for hostilities against Sultan Shah Jalal-ud-din Mahmud of Khvarazm and put him and his son Bahram to death as dangerous incumbrances.