Hindu resistance to the Islamic conquest of Sindh, Punjab and Kabul




Hindu resistance to the Islamic conquest of Sindh, Punjab and Kabul

By Meenakshi Sharan

People across the world today have taken up Vedanta, Bhagawad Gita, Yoga, Ayurved, Indian classical music, dance and various Indian arts. Writing books, giving lectures on those subjects and selling related merchandise have earned them fame and millions. Yet a Hindu is called communal when he talks about the Dharma that is the basis for this Spirituality and his vast, variegated accommodating Sanatana Dharma is termed as intolerant. 


Conversely, a creed that conquered large parts of Asia and Africa within a few years, took seventy years to step into India, another five hundred to reach Delhi and few hundred more to reach South India and got wrapped up with the rise of the Marathas is looked at as the epitome of virtue and tolerance. Our prolonged National struggle is taught to us as 'Muslim conquest of India’ in our history books whilst we are termed as Hindu Terrorists by the Western academia & their ilks.


To safeguard the integrity of the Nation under assault by the Islamic world and Western academia, we need to acquire knowledge about ourselves, our enemy and glorious past and the several ideological aggressions mounted against our Society. 


The culture that refuses to come to terms with our Samskriti, which uses force and fraud in the name of religion and harbours imperialistic ambitions is flourishing on our soil in the garb of being a minority. They claimed and were granted special privileges from those who fought their tyranny from 715 to 1761 A.D., faced their atrocities during the Freedom struggle right up to 1947 and post-independence in 1989, Godhra, Kairana...? 

Can one expect anything else when the barbarians stepped on our soil with such instructions from their religious leaders? For example -


"When you encounter the unbeliever, strike off their heads...., make a great slaughter among them.., those who survive, bind them in bonds, pardon no one, spare none of them..”- Al Hajjaj bin Yousuf (661-714). The governor of the Umayyad caliphate said this in a letter to Bin Qasim, his seventeen year old nephew and son-in-law.


It was the Baluchs who put up a stiff resistance against the first Arab Muslim attack on Makara in 638  and thereafter up to 715, when the Muslims overran Baluchistan and invaded Sindh. The defeats that they suffered at Baluch hands, are documented by Arabs chroniclers as:

"The Hindus of Makaran (Makran) practice Voodoo and Black Magic and so bring Jinns and Shaitan to help them win in war. Hence the Arabs cannot defeat them, the way the Arabs could easily defeat the Persians and the Byzantines."

 The Hinglaj Mata Mandir/ Nani Mata Jo Mandir, the pilgrimage to which starts with a visit to Baba Chandrakup, a mud filled volcano that has been revered since Hindu times. The Bugti clan of Balouchs (has both Hindu and Muslim today) are proof of the long forgotten Hindu heritage of Makara of Baluchistan. 


The Muslim tyranny in India was as blood-thirsty as it was in all other parts of the world. Hindus fought the Muslims on the battlefield but did not slaughter Muslim civilians giving them the choice of Hinduism or death, molest Muslim women en masse, destroy mosques, impose a penal tax like jaziya on non-Muslims and build Mosques over Temples after emerging victorious. There is no record of the defeated Muslim women saving their skins and avoid conversion to Hinduism by jumping in to the common fire as Hindus did in Jauhar.

The Hindus were not compulsive mass murderers as were the Crusaders, the Franks and the Mongols but after the initial setbacks, they grew wiser relatively faster and paid back Muslims in their own coin. Whereas, to put an end to the relentless barbarism of the Muslims, the Crusaders overwhelmed them with even greater barbarism in their first rush itself. They not only slaughtered the Muslims, but went further to roast and eat them in a gruesome barbecue.  With this reversal of attitudes of ravaging the ravagers with a force more barbarous they defeated the Muslims.


Muslims invaded Persia in 634 and Sindh in 638, while Persia succumbed by 651, i.e. in seventeen years, it took them seven hundred years to overrun India. They were repeatedly defeated by the Rajas of Makara/ Makran and Sindh for more than eighty years. 


Raja Dahir 

To prevent Qasim from crossing the Indus River, Raja Dahir moved his forces, led by son Jaisindh, to the eastern banks at Jitor. 


Bin Qasim had heard that the strength of the Sindh army lay in the massive Hindu temple inside the fort of Debal (from Deval meaning Temple), an important trading city in Sindh. The temple was garrisoned by 4,000 Rajputs, 3,000 Brahmins and the Hindus could not be defeated as long as the Bhagwa flag fluttered atop the temple.

Using foul tactics, he kidnapped three children of the chief guardsman of the fort of Debal. Beheading one & threatening to behead the other two, they blackmailed their father into leaving a secret trap door open.  Despite a bold fight, the Hindus suffered defeat and the seventeen year old Mohammed-ibn-Qasim, on the orders of Al-Hajjaj, captured Debal for the Ummaid Caliphate. 


A huge booty and a large number of women fell into the hands of the Arabs. On refusing to embracing Islam, thousands of Hindus including Brahmins were mercilessly butchered. The massacre continued for three days.


From Debal Qasim marched north taking Nirun, ruled by Raja Dahir’s son Jai Sindh, Sehwan ruled by Dahir's cousins Bajhra and Sisam, the capital of the Jats of Budhiya, ruled by Kaka. It is said that Nirun fell because of the treachery of its Buddhist citizens, Bajhra took shelter in Sisam after his defeat, Kaka was defeated and Bajhra and his followers were killed. One fifth of the booty and slaves were sent to the Caliph and Hajjaj. 

The powerful king of Sindh, Raja Dahir, with a huge army of 50,000 sword men, horsemen and elephantry fought Qasim at Rawar on 20th June 712 A.D. Stuck with a burning arrow, Dahir’s ‘howdah’ was set  flame and an injured Dahir fell of his elephant. The frightened elephant ran towards the river Sindhu. Dahir resumed fighting riding on a horse back. He was killed after two days of a bloody battle, his head was cut off and sent to Hajjaj. 


Refusing to surrender the fort of Rawar, his widow Queen Ranibai fought the invader and performed jauhar in the end.


It took Qasim about eight months to take control of Sind as he had to face tough resistance by the people of many towns including Alor and Brahmanabad. Killing many, he enslaved thousands of men, women in Debal, Rawar and Brahmanabad, all under the age of 30 were put in chains, all capable of bearing arms were beheaded.


Qasim marched towards Multan but the city was strongly fortified and its people stood in full revolt. After Qasim cut-off the source of water supply to the city, Multan fell into the hands of the invader in 713 A.D. The Arabs massacred and plundered the city. Women and children were made captives and a large quantity of gold was collected by the Arabs. He obtained so much gold that they named the city as the ‘city of gold’.

In this treacherous attack on Sindh, Qasim kidnapped two princesses Suriya and Preemal of Raja Dahirsen Debal and sent them as a gift with a message that they were royal virgins, meant to be ravished by his holiness - the Caliph himself. 


As described by Historian Mir Massum in his “Tarik Sind', "these princesses outsmarted the Caliph and conveyed to him that their modesty had been violated by Qasim. Chained and locked in a barrel with nails on the inside of it, he was rolled down a hill". The Caliph is recorded to have been filled with remorse on discovering the truth and ordered the sisters to be buried alive in walls. 


The Chach Nama also attributes the death of Qasim to these brave girls. 


After occupying Sindh, the Arab Muslims attacked Punjab, but were repulsed, attacked Rajputana, but were repulsed by Kings like Raja Bhoj, and when they attacked Gujarat, they were defeated by the Chalukya - Solankis of Anahilwada at the battle of Mount Arbuda / Abu.


When Arabs failed to conquer India, Turks and Mongols (Mughals) took up the Jihad against India. Sabuktagin’s spies had told him that the Hindus did not fight from sunset till sunrise. Foul tactics  were used by the Muslims, they muffled the sounds of their horses by covering their hooves with felt and cloth to ensure the secrecy of their advance. 


They plundered and destroyed Hindu shrines at Purushapura/ Peshawar, Luvkushpura/ Lahore, Mulasthana/ Multan, Somnath at Prabhash Patan in Gujarat, Palitana, Staneshwara/ Thanesar, Mathura, Kannauj, Khajuraho regularly every year with the aim of collecting a large booty and take Hindus to be sold into slave bazaars of Baghdad and other Muslim cities is seared in Hindu memory even today.


Unable to make any headway into India from their occupation of Sindh in 715 up to 980, instead of attacking Rajasthan, Punjab and Gujarat from Sindh, using another gateway they attacked the Shahiya kingdom in Upaganastan/ Afghanistan . The first Turko-Persian Muslim chieftain to attack the Hindu domains was Sabuktagin.


Hindu Shahis and the Battle of Kubha/ Kabul, 980-1001 C.E.


The Hindu-Shahi kingdom of Jayapal Shahiya (964-1000), son of Asatapala Deva descendant of the Pandavas and the Raja of Kubha/ Kabul  extended to Kabul from the West, Bajaur to the North, Multan to the South, and the present day India-Pakistan border to the East. 


Seeing the danger of the Ghaznavids rising to power, Jaypal attacked the city of Ghazni during the reign of  Alptigin and his son Mahmood . Alptigin had  seized Ghazna during the fall out of Samanid of Bukhara.  His slave Sabuktigin, married his daughter and ruled Ghazni after his death. Forcing his way up to the domains of Hindu-Shahis, Sabuktagin challenged Jayapal Shahiya to an open warfare. 


True to his word, Raja Jaypal reached the appointed place one day earlier to the day of war. The two adversaries exchanged ambassadors and decided that the hostilities would commence at sunrise the next day. 


After the Hindus had retired for the night, taking cover of the dark stormy night, dressed in black, covering the hooves of their horses with felt and cloth, the Muslim Arabs attacked the sleeping Hindu army at 2 am . Caught unaware, half awake, struggling to prepare themselves for war, the Hindus put up a stiff fight against their beastly adversaries but were overpowered past dawn. They retreated back to Kabul with the Muslims in hot pursuit.  


After killing 15,000 fighting men, 5 lakh beautiful men and women were enslaved, Raja Jaipal, his children, grand-children, nephews, relatives, chief men of his tribe were taken prisoners, bound by ropes, their hands tied behind their backs, some were seized by the cheeks, some driven by blows on their neck. 


On Thursday the eighth day of Muharram, November 27 1001 A.D, Raja Jaipal was publicly paraded at a slave auction at Khurasan, so that his sons and chieftains could see him in a shameful state of disgrace and the fear of Islam might fly abroad through the country of the non-believers. A necklace of large pearls, gems and rubies set in gold was taken off from Jaipal’s neck, the value of which was two hundred thousand dinars. Twice that value was obtained from the necks of those of his relatives who were taken prisoners or slain. The amount of booty was beyond all calculation. 


Qasim stated conditions of peace with Raja Jaypal. After demanding fifty elephants Qasim sent him back to his country, keeping his son and grandson as hostages till the terms imposed were fulfilled. Jaypal could not bear the humiliation and immolated himself in a funeral pyre. 

The Muslims poisoned the elephants of the Hindus at the Battle of Lahore to snatch victory once again using subterfuge.

Anand Pal Shahiya

Anand Pal Shahiya, Jaipal's son, shifted his capital to Udabandapura, in modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa/ Paktoonisthan, the province of the Pakhta tribe mentioned in the Mahabharat, and finally to Luvkushpura/ Lahore.


Anand Pal allied with forces from the kingdoms of Delhi, Ajmer, Kalinjar, and Kannauj and assembled a larger army of 100,000 horses and an innumerable host foot to oppose the invading Muslims who were led by Sabuktagin’s son Mahmud of Ghazni. 


The armies met on the banks of the Ravi near Lahore. The Muslims were worsted by the Hindus who led the attacks using armour-clad elephants, pushing the Muslims up to the foothills of the Paariyatra Parvat/ Hindu Kush mountains.


The Paariyatra/  Pāriyatra Parvat is shamelessly called 'Hindu Kush', meaning, 'the Killer of Hindus', a name given by the Muslim to the Western Himalayas!  (Persian Kush means, to kill).


The Muslims sent an envoy to Anand Pal, suing for peace, that they be allowed safe passage out of the country. As a gesture of goodwill they wanted to come to the Hindu camp for a common meal with them and seal the peace treaty. Against the advice of his allies, an unsuspecting Anandpal agreed to meet the treacherous Muslim marauders.


The Muslims came for the luncheon arranged on the banks of the Ravi river where the Hindu army had encamped. While intermingling with the soldiers, they moved about towards the stables of the Hindu camp expressing surprise at the Hindus feeding their mighty elephants. Unsuspecting, Hindus with the belief of ‘Athithi Devoh Bhava’, showed them around the elephant stables,  the Muslims secretly fed the elephants poppy seeds (opium) mixed with fruits .


Hindus self-satisfied that the war was over and the peace sealed, began dismantling their camp  but in the next few hours they were surrounded and attacked by the Muslim cavalry with cries of Allahuakbar. Realizing that they had been double crossed, the Hindus mounted their elephants and charged. They were in for a shock when their elephants refused to obey their mahout's (the opium showed its effects) orders and started running helter-skelter.


Anandpal’s elephant ran a considerable distance away from the battle. Muslims spread the word that Anandpal was retreating.  Isolated from his main army, he was pursued by the Muslims, surrounding him they cut down the leather belts that held his howdah on the elephant & as it fell, they decapitated & beheaded him, stuck his head on a spike and paraded it before the confused Hindu army. A grisly sight never seen in battles before, unnerved Anand Pal's army. Their retreat turned into a rout, with many of them massacred on the battlefield.


Betrayal of the innate faith the Hindus placed even in an unscrupulous treacherous enemy, turned a Hindu victory into a Muslim one  (with the use of subterfuge). Hindus continue to behave like this today too, though the change is gradual. 


Using the patented Muslim mechanism of trickery, Trilochanpal was kidnapped and murdered by Muslims dressed as Hindu Sanyasis.

Tirlochanpal Shahiya

The seventeen year old grandson of Jayapal Shaiya, Tirlochanpal Shahiya took the reins of the death struggle against the Muslims in to his hands. He shifted his capital from Lahore to Kangra where he tried to reorganize the defence of his reduced Shahiya Empire that had once stretched from the rivers Yamuna to Kabul. 


The Shahiya Empire which stretched from Herat to Hardwar, was a now one fifth its size. Herat, once its western border was now pushed a thousand miles East at Kalka in the Shivalik Hills. The shrunk Shahiya domains were no more in a position to block the further advance of the Muslims into the Indian heartland. But he followed the valiant example of his father and grandfather and allied himself with the kings of Kashyapmeru (Kashmir) and Tibet, to eject Muslims from Punjab and Upaganasthan (Afghanistan).


Mahmud Ghazni, sent a group of his soldiers dressed up as Hindu mendicants to meet Tirlochanpal. Pretending to have come from Kubha/ Kabul with a message for their king, they gained entry into Tirlochanpala’s headquarters at the fortress of Kangra.  The unsuspecting young prince was surrounded and beheaded . The barbarians made off with his severed head, leaving a note beside his headless body:


"Islam will finally overcome anyone who decided to block the path of Allah’s soldiers."


A few days later, in 1020 C.E, the fort of Kangra, was sacked off its opulent riches by Muslim army. 


Bheempal Shahiya

Son of Tirlochanpal, succeeded his father in AD 1021 C.E. and was the last emperor of the famed Shahiya Dynasty. His kingdom was now at its lowest point. He personally commanded the battle of Nandana and wounded the Ghaznavid army commander Muhammad bin Ibrahim at-Tāī. Bheempal was killed in 1026. Abd al-Jabbar ʻUtbi in Kitabi-i-Yamini, refers to Bheempal as, ‘Bhīm, the Fearless’. 


“Thus after 23 years we find the Muslim governors, left in India, East of the Indus.”- Briggs, the translator of Ferishta.


Bhimpal's widow and with minor sons took shelter in Kashmir. 


The leaderless surviving remnants of the once formidable Shahiya army migrated deep into the Himalayas and  settled down as goat-herds known today as Gaddis . They still come down to the Shivalik foothills and the plains of Punjab in the winter to graze their cattle. 

Thus ended, with Bhimpala, the last scion of the Hindu dynasty that ruled Afghanistan . The memory of a dynasty that had held guard at the North West frontier of India since the days of the Kushans in the 3rd century C.E. disappeared into the sands of time leaving only the gold and silver coins artfully minted by them as reminders.

The defeat of the Shahiyas opened the Indian heartland to the marauder invaders enabling Mahmud of Ghazni to repeatedly attack India.


Millions of Hindu captives were transported on foot across the Western ranges of the Himalayas, many died on the way due to the merciless treatment of their cruel captors!

Part two shall be published shortly 



1  History of India. Edited by A. V. Williams Jackson, Professor of Indo-Iranian Languages in Columbia University, Volume 5-The Mohammedan Period as Described by its Own Historians.

2  The Sword of the Prophet: History, Theology, Impact on the World by Srdja Trifkovic. 

3. The False Prophet by Ellis H. Skolfield.

4. Perfect Soldiers: The Hijackers: Who They Were, Why They Did It by Terry McDermott. 




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