Tamil Nadu History Book

LESSON 15 : EARLY MEDIEVAL INDIA (Revision or Short Notes) Tamil Nadu Book (Medieval India)

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LESSON 15 : EARLY MEDIEVAL INDIA

(Revision or Short Notes)

Tamil Nadu Book (Medieval India)

 

Background

  • After the death of Harsha, there was no political unity in north India for about five centuries
  • Palas of Bengal reigned supreme till the Pratiharas became the most powerful rulers of north India. But in the tenth century, the Rashtrakutas of Deccan tried to extend their power in north India but ultimately failed in their attempt.

Rajput Kingdoms

  • The dominance of Rajputs began from the seventh and eighth centuries and lasted till the Muslim conquest in the twelfth century.
  • the period of Muslim aggression, the Rajputs were the main defenders of the Hindu religion and culture origin of Rajputs.
  • They were considered as the descendents of the foreign invaders and the Indian Kshatriyas.
  • foreign invaders were Indianized and absorbed into Indian society.
  • it can be said that diverse elements constitute in the shaping of the Rajput clan.
  • They became homogenous by constant intermarriage and by adopting common customs. They made war as their chief occupation. However, trade and agriculture also prospered.
  • They built strong forts
  • Gurjara-Pratiharas were the earliest of the Rajput rulers.
  • Its first great leader was Harischandra. He conquered extensive territory in Rajaputana and ruled with his capital at Bhinmal.
  • The Gurjaras were in different branches. One branch ruled Gujarat and another at Avanthi.
  • The Pratiharas involved themselves in a three cornered contest with the Palas of Bengal and the Rashtrakutas of Deccan.
  • Later the Pratiharas became weak. The Chauhans, the most valiant of the Rajput races, ruled Ajmir.
  • Chauhans faced the onslaught of the Muslims under Muhammad of Ghori. The Paramaras were also important Rajput rulers of this period. The most important king was Bhoja.
  • Chauhans faced the onslaught of the Muslims under Muhammad of Ghori. The Paramaras were also important Rajput rulers of this period. The most important king was Bhoja.

Arab Conquest of Sind (712 A.D.)

  • Religion Islam was born at Mecca in Arabia. Its founder was Prophet Muhammad. But his teachings made the wealthy people of Mecca his enemies.
  • Therefore, he migrated to Medina in 622

Arab Conquest of Sind (712 A.D.)

  • Religion Islam was born at Mecca in Arabia. Its founder was Prophet Muhammad. But his teachings made the wealthy people of Mecca his enemies.
  • Therefore, he migrated to Medina in 622 A.D., which was the starting point of the Muslim calendar and the Muslim era called hijra.
  • After eight years he returned to Mecca with his followers. He died in 632 A.D
  • The followers of Muhammad set up an empire called the Caliphate.
  • The Umayyads and the Abbasids were called the caliphs.They expanded their rule by conquests and spread their religion Islam.
  • In 712 A.D., Muhammad bin Qasim invaded Sind. He was the commander of the Umayyad kingdom. Qasim defeated Dahir,the ruler of Sind
  • Qasim organized the administration of Sind. The people of Sind were given the status of zimmis (protected subjects).
  • There was no interference in the lives and property of the people. Soon, Qasim was recalled by the Caliph.
  • Muslims could not expand their authority further into India due to the presence of the powerful Pratihara kingdom in western India.
  • Although the conquest of Sind did not lead to further conquests immediately, it had resulted in the diffusion of Indian culture abroad.
  • Many Arab travelers visited Sind. Indian medicine and astronomy were carried to far off lands through the Arabs.
  • The Indian numerals in the Arabic form went to Europe through them.

Mahmud of Ghazni and his Invasions

  • By the end of the ninth century A.D., the Abbasid Caliphate declined.
  • The Turkish governors established independent kingdoms and the Caliph became only a ritual authority. One among them was Alptigin whose capital was Ghazni

Mahmud of Ghazni (A.D. 997-1030)

  • Mahmud is said to have made seventeen raids into India
  • On the frontier of India, there existed the Hindu Shahi kingdom which extended from the Punjab to Kabul.
  • The initial raids were against the Hindu Shahi kingdom in which its king Jayapala was defeated in 1001.
  • His successor Anandapala fought against Mahmud but he was also defeated in the Battle of Waihind, the Hind Shahi capital near Peshawar in 1008
  • As a result of his victory at Waihind, Mahmud extended his rule over most of the Punjab

Mahmud

  • In 1011, he raided Nagarkot in the Punjab hills and Thaneshwar near Delhi. In
  • 1018, Mahmud plundered the holy city of Mathura and also attacked Kanauj.
  • In 1024, Mahmud marched from Multan across Rajaputana, defeated the Solanki King Bhimadeva I, plundered Anhilwad and sacked the famous temple of Somanatha.
  • This was his last campaign in India. Mahmud died in 1030 A.D
  • Mahmud was not a mere raider and plunderer of wealth. He built a wide empire from the Punjab in the east to the Caspian sea on the west and from Samarkand in the north to Gujarat in the south
  • Mahmud was considered a hero of Islam by medieval historians. He also patronized art and literature. Firdausi was the poet-laureate in the court of Mahmud. He was the author of Shah Namah. Alberuni stayed in Mahmud’s court and wrote the famous Kitab-i-Hind,
  • He paved the way for the Turks and Afghans for further conquests and make deeper incursions
  • Hindu Shahi kingdom was guarding the gates of India against foreign invaders. Mahmud destroyed it and thus India’s frontiers became defenceless.

Muhammad Ghori

  • Ghoris started as vassals of Ghazni but became independent after the death of Mahmud.
  • Taking advantage of the decline of the Ghaznavid empire, Muizzuddin Muhammad popularly known as Muhammad Ghori brought Ghazni under their control

The Battle of Tarain (1191-1192)

  • Prithviraj rose to the occasion, and defeated Ghori in the battle of Tarain near Delhi in 1191 A.D. Muhammad Ghori felt greatly humiliated by this defeat.
  • To avenge this defeat he made serious preparations and gathered an army of 1,20,000 men.
  • He came with this large force to Lahore via Peshawar and Multan. He sent a message to Prithviraj asking him to acknowledge his supremacy and become a Muslim.
  • Many Hindu rajas and chieftains also joined him. In the ensuing Second Battle of Tarain in 1192, Muhammad Ghori thoroughly routed the army of Prithiviraj, who was captured and killed.
  • second battle of Tarain was a decisive battle. It was a major disaster for the Rajputs.
  • whole Chauhan kingdom now lay at the feet of the invader. The first Muslim kingdom was thus firmly established in India at Ajmer and a new era in the history of India began.
  • After his brilliant victory over Prithiviraj at Tarain, Muhammad Ghori returned to Ghazni leaving behind his favourite general Qutb-ud din Aibak to make further conquests in India.
  • Aibak consolidated his position in India by occupying places like Delhi and Meerut
  • Kanauj was occupied by the Muslims after the battle of Chandawar.
  • Battles of Tarain and Chandawar contributed to the establishment of Turkish rule in India.

Causes for the failure of Hindu kingdoms

  • Lacked unity
  • They were divided by factions
  • The Rajput princes exhausted one another by their mutual conflicts.
  • Methods were out of date
  • Indians continued to rely on elephants while the Muslims possessed quick-moving cavalry.
  • The Muslims soldiers had better organization and able leaders.
  • Their religious zeal and their greed for the greater wealth of India provided stimulus to them.
  • The duty of fighting was confined to a particular class, the Kshatriyas.
  • Moreover, the Hindus were always on the defensive, which was always a weak position.