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Sultan Shahab-ud-din Ghauri

Sultan Shahab-ud-din Ghauri

Moiz-ud-Din Mohammad bin Sam (Shahab-ud-Din Ghauri) is rightly called the true founder of the Muslim empire in India as it was he who compressed the political muscle of the Rajputs and laid the foundations of a strong Muslim India. Ghaur is the name of a Turk tribe in the White Mountain Range in the north and east of Ghazna.

In the 12th century AD when the Ghaznavids were on the verge of collapse, Ghauris headed towards Ghazna. The Ghauri tribe was led by Ghiyath-ud-Din who was made the king of Ghaur in 1160 AD. Shahab-ud-Din, his fourth brother invaded the west of India in the get-go and then attacked the north of India. Following it, he turned his face to Ghazna in 1173 AD and reconquered it. He conquered Multan in 1175 AD while Sindh and Lahore came under his rule in 1182 AD and 1184 AD respectively. Moiz-ud-Din Mohammad Ghauri could not succeed as Muhmud Ghanavi did some 200 years ago.

Mohammad Ghauri marched towards India in 1178 AD but was defeated in Anhalwara. Khusrau Malik, the last Ghaznavid king mutinied in Lahore and Mohammad faced him in the next year snatching Peshawar from him followed by a fort built at Sialkot. Pushed by Ram Chakar, the ruler of Jammu, he launched another expedition against Khusrau Malik whose authority was already on the wane. Mohammad captured Bathenda and Sirhind and appointed Zia-ud-Din the governor of Bathenda who made the history in the face of Prithvi Raj later.

First Battle of Tarain (1191)

On hearing the news of Mohammad Ghauri’s arrival, Raja Prithvi Raj of Ajmer and Delhi planned to meet him. Sultan stepped ahead to reach Punjab crossing the Khyber Pass and faced Prithvi Raj in the battle field of Tarain in 1191. Severely wounded Mohammad had to retreat from the battle field and Prithvi came up as the man of the day. He captured the fort of Sirhind.

Second Battle of Tarain (1192) and the aftermaths

To brush off the humiliation of the first battle of Tarain, Mohammad left for India against 150 Hindu rajas who solicited an alliance against him. A huge Hindu army consisting of 3 lac pedestrians, 3 lac horse riders, and 3000 elephants while Sultan’s army was constituted by 120,000 armed soldiers met in the battlefield of Tarain again. Mohammad invited Prithvi to embrace Islam but he refused. Ghauri attacked his army and Prithvi had to lose this time when he left the elephant and rode a horse. He was arrested, blinded and later killed. The victory of Sultan led to his upper hand on the areas of Ajmer, Hansi, Sarsoti, and other districts. The second battle of Tarain takes a remarkable place in history as it founded the Sultanate of Delhi in India. Qutab-ud-Din Aibak was appointed the viceroy of Delhi when Shahab went back to Ghazna. Aibak occupied the areas of Koel (Ali Garh) and Meerath and looted Ajmer which was given to the son of Prithvi Raj.

Mohammad Ghauri plundered the empire of Jai Chand Rathore (Prithvi Raj had forcibly wedded his daughter Sanjogta) in 1196 AD and massacred the men therein sparing ladies and children. Jai Chand, wounded in his eye, could not survive. After it, Ghauri looted Benaras (which was considered the center of Hindus) and carried the booty on 14,000 camels to Ghazna. Beyana and Gwalior also came under Ghauri. Provoked by the ruler of Anhalwara, the Raja of Ajmer stood against Ghauri.  Ghauri sent two expeditions to crush the rebellion of Raja Bhem, the ruler of Anhalwara. First expedition in 1195 AD met with failure whereas the second one in 1197 AD resulted in the humiliating defeat of Raja Bhem. Ghauri, then, marched towards the Chandel rulers of the central India and captured the forts of Kalinjar.

Behar and Bengal (1197, 1199 AD)

Bengal and Behar were being occupied under Ikhtiyar-ud-Din Mohammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji, a Turk slave. He captured Behar in 1197 AD and in 1199 AD he forced Rai Lakhshmania, the raja of Bengal to flee, looted the treasure and captured the city. When the generals of Ghauri were making history with their conquests in India, he himself had to face an embarrassing defeat at Andkhoi at the hands of Turks in 1205 AD. A rumor of his death exploded and the Khokhars on the boundary rioted and marched ahead defeating the ruler of Multan. They blocked the passage to Ghazni from Lahore. Finding Qutab-ud-Din Aibak unable to handle the deteriorated situation, Sultan Mohammad Ghauri himself reached India and crushed the Khokhar forces between River Jehlum and Chenab. Khokhars were massacred and enslaved on a large scale

Death of Mohammad Ghauri

Sultan Mohammad Ghauri came to Lahore on February 25, 1206 and left for Ghazni but was killed on March 15, 1206 on the bank of the River Indus. His killer is a myth even today. Some historians say that he was avenged by the Khokhars and according to some, Hindus murdered him. His dead body was carried to Ghazna where he was buried. He had no issue but he was proud of tens of his loyal companions who fought for him. He was succeeded by two of his peers but his real legacy were the four Turk slaves who jazzed his rule up with their devotion and loyalty. They included Taj-ud-Din Yaldoz, the ruler of Ghazni, Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha, the governor of Multan, Ikhtiyar-ud-Din, the ruler of Lakhnowti and Qutab-ud-Din Aibak, the ruler of Delhi. The slaves especially Qutab-ud-Din Aibak earned historical status by elevating himself from the slave to the king and founded the Slaves’ Dynasty in the days to come.

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