This article explains in detail the Conquest of Muhammad Ghori In India. Besides, the article also deals with the first expedition against India that take place in 1175 CE. The article also includes various conflicts between the Ghurdis and the Rajputs rulers of Northern India.
However, before we explain in detail, let us first understand Ghurids.
WHO ARE THE GHURIDS?
Ghur was a small area located in the mountain region between the Ghaznavid Empire and the Seljuk. The early history of the Ghurids is closely associated with the changing balance of power in Central Asia.
The Ghurdis, who inhabited the region between Ghazni and Herat, rose rapidly to power during the last half of the 12th Century. Ghur converts to Islam in the early part of the 12th Century after Mahmud of Ghazni raided it and left teachers to instruct the Ghurids in the precepts of Islam.
But, in 1449 CE there was a brief conflict between the last Ghaznavid ruler, Bahram Shah, and a local Ghurid leader and in the latter was poison by the former. In retaliation, Alaudin Hussain Shah defeated Bahram Shah and capture Ghazni. This marked the final decline of the Ghaznavids and the emergence of Ghur as the strongest power on the fringe of the Islamic world.
Like their predecessors, the Ghurids constantly fought with the Seljukids for control of areas like Khurasan and Merv. Like the Ghaznavids, the Ghurids too were unpopular in Khurasan on account of their authority there. This end the perpetual conflict with the Seljukids and the Turkish tribes across the Oxus (river in Central Asia) were factors that impelled the Ghurids towards the people of India.
In 1163 CE, Ghiyas Uddin Muhammud assumed the throne of Ghur. Recalling Turkish tribal tradition, he appoints his younger brother Muizuddun Muhammud, the ruler at Ghazni. This unique partnership enables one brother to engage all his energies for the conquest of India and the elder brother to concentrate on Central Asia and Western Asian problems.
CONDITION OF NORTH INDIA DURING THE CONQUEST OF MUHAMMAD GHORI IN INDIA
In North India, the Chauhans tries to extend their territory to Gujarat and also toward Delhi and Mathura. They also had to bear the brunt of the plundering raids of Mahmud Ghazni’s successors, the greatest of the Chauhan rulers.
However, the most famous among the Chauhan rulers was Prithiviraj III who ascended the throne in or about 1177 CE. He immediately commenced a vigorous policy of expansionism at the cost of smaller states in Rajasthan.
Prithiviraj Chauhan gained a significant victory against the Chandelas and then he turns his attention towards his ancient period rivals, the Chalukyas of Gujarat.
But, he was unsuccessful as a result of which he turns his attention towards the Ganga valley and Punjab. There was also a tussle between him and the rule of the Gahadvalas, Jain Chand for control over Delhi Sultanate and the upper Ganga doab. This rivalry may account for the subsequent attitude of the Gahadvalas.
The point to note is that by leading an expedition against all his neighbors, Prithiviraj had isolated himself politically. This proves to be costly to him when he had to face the Turkish armies of Muizuddin Muhammad a few years later.
THE CONQUEST OF MUHAMMAD GHORI IN INDIA
Even before the conquest of Muhammad Ghori in India, most Northern India was already in contact with Ghur. The contact was through an extensive trading network, particularly for horses.
The Ghurids are reputed as horse-breeders. They are also popular to supply Indian and Turkish slaves to Central Asia markets. Besides, Muslim merchants and saints had already settled in different parts of India. The Ghurdis were also familiar with the fabulous wealth of Western and Central India.
THE FIRST EXPEDITION OF MUHAMMAD GHORI IN INDIA
Muhammad Ghori’s first expedition against India happens in 1175 CE when he attacked and captured Multan. The following year he conquered Uchch. But, when he proceeds to Gujarat he was defeated by its ruler near Mount Abu.
After this failure Muizuddin (also known as Muhammad of Ghur) changed his whole plan of operations. He captured Peshwara from the Ghaznavids and marched on to Lahore. Then he expands his control over Punjab and consolidates his control over Sind up to the coast.
BATTLES OF TARAIN
First Battle of Tarain
After consolidating his position in Sind and Punjab in 1991 CE, Muizuiddin attacks and capture the fortress of Tabarhinda which was strategically important for the defense of Delhi.
But, Prithviraj immediately marched towards Tabarhinda because he realized its importance. The result was that Muizuiddin was defeated in the ensuing battle. The battle is famous as “The First Battle of Tarain”.
Prithiviraj treated the struggle with Muizuddin as only a frontier fight and as a result, he made little preparation for a future contest with the Ghurid chief. As such, he seriously underestimated the danger from the side of the Ghurdis.
The Second Battle of Tarain
The Second Battle of Tarain in 1192 CE is rightly considered as one of the turning points in Indian history. Muizuddin had made careful preparations for the contest, disgracing many Amirs who had not stood firm in the field of battle earlier.
There are varying accounts of the exact number of men who fight in this battle. But in general, it would be safe to conclude that the forces of Pritiviraj were larger than those of Muizuddin’s.
The second battle of Tarain was more a war of movement than of position. Muizuddin’s lightly armed archers begin to harass the slow-moving forces of Pritiviraj and attacked from all sides.
In the process, they created confusion and chaos among their opponents. Prithviraj suffers a complete defeat and runs away, but he was caught. There are varying accounts concerning the fate of Prithiviraj with some saying that he was taken to Ajmer and allowed to rule where he rebelled and was executed.
BATTLE OF CHANDAWAR
While the second battle of Tarain was very significant, there was another battle that proves to be equally significant. This battle is famous as the “Battle of Chandawar.
After consolidating their position in the Delhi region, the Turks were now poised for an attack on the Gahadvalas (Rajputs) of Kannauj, reputed to be the most powerful kingdom in the country.
In 1194, Muizuddin advanced towards Kannauj and Banaras and the two armies met at Chandawar. Jai Chand, the ruler of Kannauj suffer a disastrous defeat. In the process, Varanasi was raid and Kannauj was finally conquest in 1198.
Thus, the battle of Tarain and Chandawar laid the foundations of Turkish rule in the Ganga Valley.
REASONS FOR THE CONQUEST OF MUHAMMAD GHORI IN INDIA
- Muhammad of Ghur was an ambitious ruler. He has an imperialist mindset. As a result, he always wants to extend his kingdom because he was not satisfied with Ghor’s Kingdom.
- During this time, India’s political, social, religion in India and military strength was weak. So he takes advantage of its weakness to expand his kingdom.
- His religious policy also makes him conquest India. He was a ruler of Sindh; he wants to convert the Hindus to Islam.
- Besides, India was rich in gold. So his greed for gold also makes him conquest India.
- Also, Muhammad Ghori needs money for his central Asian wars, if he conquest India, he will be able to procure gold from the temples and kings of India. As a result, he conquest India.
- Muhammad of Ghur wants to enhance his power and establish a new territory. He feels that if he extends his territory it will be an achievement and fame in the Islamic world.