(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit)
Born in 971, Mahmud Ghaznavi was the elder son of Subuktagin, the king of Ghazni. When Subuktagin attacked on King Jaipal, Mahmud fought for his father in the battlefield. But, Mahmud was not the next king, though he was the elder son of his father.
It is said that in his last days, Subuktagin was not happy with Mahmud. So, when Subuktagin died in 997, his younger son Ismail became the king of Ghazni.
Ismail became the king, but only for a little time. Very soon, Mahmud defeated him and became the king.
Mahmud began a series of raids into northwestern India at the end of the 10th century. He raided as far as the present state of Uttar Pradesh in north central India. Mahmud did not attempt to rule Indian territory except for the Punjab.
He invaded India for seventeen times. Here is the list of his main invasions: –
War against Jaipal
Jaipal was the king of Hindushahi Kingdom. Mahmud had already fought against him, when Subuktagin was the king of Ghazni. When Mahmud became the king, he decided to attack on Hindushahi Kingdom, as its king, Jaipal, was his old enemy.
In 1001, Mahmud attacked on Hindushahi Kingdom. 15,000 Hindu army men were killed. Jaipal was defeated and captured. He was presented before Mahmud with his 15 other relatives.
Mahmud looted all his wealth. He got 2,50,000 Dinar (a currency) to free Jaipal. About 5,00,000 Indians were taken to Ghazni as slaves. Though Jaipal was freed, but he refused to survive his disgrace. He cast himself upon a funeral pyre and died.
War against Anandpal
Anandpal was the son of Jaipal, who was defeated by Mahmud. Now Anandpal became the king of Hindushahi Kingdom.
In 1008, Mahmud attacked on Anandpal. Anandpal called other Hindu kings to help him. The kings of Ujjain, Gwalior, Kalinjar, Kannauj, Delhi, Ajmer etc. came to help him with their armies. In the battlefield of Peshawar, both the armies remained standing before each other, but no one attacked each other.
Meanwhile the Khokhars (a race) also came there to help Hindus. Mahmud deployed 6, 000 archers to attack. Khokhars attacked on Muslims and started to kill them. Approximately 5,000 Muslims were killed.
Unfortunately, Jaipal’s elephant got mad and took him out of the battlefield. As soon as Jaipal left the battlefield, the Hindu army got confused and ran away. Muslims chased them and killed 20,000 Hindus.
Thus, the best organized national efforts ever made by medieval Hindu India against the foreigners ended.
Invasion on Nagarkot or Kangra
Nagarkot was very famous for its temples and wealth kept in these temples. So, Mahmud decided to invade Nagarkot. His army ruined the area of Nagarkot.
The Mahmud’s army was coming like a swarm of locusts. The Hindus opened the gate out of fear and fell on the earth. Mahmud got lots of jewelry, gold and silver from here. When he returned to his capital, the people congregated to see the incredible wealth of India.
It was the year of 1009.
Invasion on Thanesar
Mahmud came to know that there was too much gold and diamonds in Hindu temples in the city of Thanesar. So, he ordered his army to attack.
In 1014, he invaded Thanesar. Hindus wanted to reach on a compromise, but Mahmud refused. His army destroyed the city and plundered the sacred temples. This carnage was so terrible that the water of the stream became red with the blood of the innocents.
Invasion on Mathura and Kannauj
In 1018, Mahmud invaded Mathura. He was amazed to see huge and beautiful Hindu-temples in Mathura. No one dared to stop him. Thus, he entered into the city without any resistance. Hindu-temples were looted.
Then, he attacked on Kannauj. It was January of 1019. King of Kannauj, Rajpal Pratihar did not dare to stop him and ran away. The invaders looted the sacred temples. Many innocent people were killed.
Later, the king of Kannauj, Rajpal Pratihar accepted the superiority of Mahmud Ghaznavi and then Mahmud returned back.
Invasion on Kalinjar
Rajpal Pratihar, the king of Kannauj, accepted the superiority of Mahmud. This made other Rajput kings angry. The Rajput kings of Kalinjar, Gandda Chandel, with the king of Gwalior and others attacked on Kannauj and killed the king Rajpal Pratihar.
Mahmud was unhappy with this. To punish the culprits, he attacked on Kalinjar. The king Gandda Chandel accepted the superiority of Mahmud. Mahmud got sufficient money from him and returned.
It happened in the year of 1021.
The Somnath expedition
Mahmud’s sixteenth invasion on India is very famous. This time, Mahmud attacked on the famous Somnath temple, in Gujrat.
The Somnath temple was very famous for its treasures. There were one thousand priests to serve the temple. Hundreds of dancers and singers played before its gate. There was famous Linga, a rude pillar stone, adorned with gems embroidered with precious like stars, which decorated the shrine.
In 1025, Mahmud Ghaznavi attacked on the Somnath temple. The brave Hindu Rajputs came forward to defend the temple. Shouting ‘Allah hu Akbar’, the enemy tried to entered into the temple. The Hindus fought very bravely and the invaders could not damage the temple. The battle lasted for three days.
After three days, the invaders succeeded and entered into the Somnath temple. 5,000 Brahmans and Rajputs died in the battlefield.
Mahmud ordered to destroy the sacred Linga. He looted the treasures of the temple. It is said that he got wealth worth 2, 00, 00, 000 Dinars.
Definitely, it was one of his remarkable acts of military adventure.
The Last Expedition
After looting the Somnath temple, when Mahmud was going back to Ghazni, the Jats attacked on his army. So, to punish the Jats, he returned and defeated them. It happened in the year of 1026.
It was his last invasion on India. On April 30, 1030, he died in Ghazni at the age of 59 years.