Tarikh Yamini, or Kitabu-l Yamini of Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn Muhammad al Jabbaru-l ‘Utbi.
In The History of India as Told by its own Historians. The Posthumous Papers of the Late Sir H. M. Elliot. John Dowson, ed. 1st ed. 1867. 2nd ed., Calcutta: Susil Gupta, 1956, vol. 1, pp. 12-47.
The Tarikh Yamini, also known as the Kitabu-l Yamini, is an important early history of Muslim rule in India; it is a celebrated work and an major sources for later authors who wrote on the Ghaznivite period. Its author, Al-‘Utbi, lived during the late tenth and early eleventh centuries. He was a member of the aristocratic ‘Utba clan, members of which held important offices under the Samanis. He himself was Secretary to the Sultan Mahmud. He thus played an important role in the government at Ghazni, and no doubt had first hand knowledge of many of the events he described, at least those that took place in the capital. His work covers the entire reign of the first sultan of Ghazni Nasiru-d din Subuktigin, and of his son Mahmud up to the year 410 H. (1020 CE). As the founder of the Ghaznivite dynasty, Subuktigin played an extremely important role in the history of India and Central Asia. He initiated the pillaging and slave raids which were continued and expanded under his successor, Sultan Mahmud. The author evidently lived somewhat beyond this date, as he also refers to an event that occurred in 420 H. (1030 CE).
Despite his proximity to Sultan Mahmud, Al-‘Utbi seems to have little or no direct knowledge of India. He seems to have little knowledge of Indian topography and his statements regarding localities and place names are unreliable. No Indian words appear in his text aside from Rai.
The work was composed in Arabic, and was translated into Persian several times, in which it bears the title Tarjuma-i Yamini. The oldest of these is that of Abu-l Sharaf Jabadkani, or Jabazkani, which was made in 582 H. (1186 CE). Manuscripts of this version are quite rare; it was translated into English by J. Reynolds, and published by the Oriental Translation Fund (London, 1858). There is also the modern Persian translation of Muhammad Karamat ‘Ali of Delhi. It is a literal and correct translation, which is relatively more common. The Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris has three copies of the Arabic text and one of the Persian. Copies are not uncommon in India. Particularly useful is a lithographed edition in Delhi, dated 1847, which contains useful marginal notes explaining textual difficulties. This text has been edited by Maulavi Ashraf ‘Ali and Dr. Sprenger.
The lengthy excerpts included here deal with the numerous raids of Amir Subuktigin of Ghazni (in modern Afghanistan) and his son and successor, Sultan Mahmud. Amir Subuktigin made his first of many raids into India in 376 H. (986-87 CE), and was assisted by his son Mahmud in many of them. Mahmud, after succeeding his father to throne of Ghaznî, in 997 CE, continued his father’s policy and conducted many more raids until his death in 1030 CE. His numerous incursions into India were largely raids designed to capture spoil in material wealth, slaves and livestock. He is portrayed as a zealous Muslim eager to destroy “idol temples”, but this was probably justification for pillage, since these activities contravened the earlier Arab policy of granting Hindus and Buddhists protected dhimmi status. These raids generally were not conquests resulting in annexation of territory, with the exception of the Punjab, most of which he did annex. Ghaznivite control even of the Punjab passed away with Mahmud. His incessant raiding over the course of almost thirty years, however, clearly destabilized Northern India and paved the way for the Muhammad Ghûrî’s invasion of northern India in 1175 CE, which led to the establishment of the Delhi sultanate.
The excerpts included here narrate many of the raids undertaken by them, including Amir Subuktigin’s First Invasion of Hind and conflict with Râja Jaipâl of Bathindah (986-7 CE), his second conflict with Jaipâl (988-9 CE), and his final defeat of Jaipâl and his confederacy of Indian kings (including Râjyapâla, the Pratihâra King of Kanauj, and Dhanga, the Chandel King) at Peshwar in 991 CE. This opened the way for many more raids, including the major raids on Kangra (1009 CE), and Mathura and Kanauj (1018-9 CE).
- 1. Amir Subuktigin’s First Invasion of Hind and defeat of Jaipâl.
- 2. Amir Subuktigin’s Second Invasion of Hind and second defeat of Jaipâl.
- 3. Final Defeat of Jaipâl and his confederacy at Peshwar
- 4. The Conquest of Bhatia
- 5. The Capture of Multan
- 6. The Capture of Bhimnagar (Kangra)
- 7. The Capture of Narain
- 8. Embassy from India to Ghazna
- 9. The Conquest of Nardin
- 10. The Conquest of Tanesar
- 11. Expedition to Punjab and Jammu
- 12. The Capture of Mathura
- 13. The Conquest of Kanauj
- 14. Capture of Asi and the Defeat of Chand Rai
When Jaipal1 had ascertained the calamity which had befallen him from the reports of the people who travelled in his country, and how Subuktigin was taking different parts of the territory into his own possession, and injuring everybody who opposed him in his projects of ambition, the deepest grief seized him and made him restless, and his lands [p. 16] became narrow under his feet, though their expanse was broad. Then he arose with his relations and the generals of his army, and his vassals, and hastened with his huge elephants to wreak his revenge upon Subuktigin, by treading the field of Islam under his feet, and doing dishonour to that which should be treated with respect. In this disposition he marched on until he passed Lamghan, and approached the territory of Subuktigin, trusting to his own resources and power, for Satan had laid an egg in Jaipal’s brain and hatched it; so that he waxed proud, entertaining absurd thoughts, and anticipating an immediate accomplishment of his wishes, impracticable as they were.
When the Amir heard of Jaipal’s approach towards his territory and of his great power, he girt up his loins to fight and collecting his vasals and the Muhammadan forces whose duty it was to oppose infidels, he advanced from Ghazna against Jaipal, who was encamped between that place and Lamghan, with soldiers as black as night, and as impetuous as a torrent. Yaminu-d daula Mahmud accompanied Amir Subuktigin, like a lion of the forest or a destructive eagle, and they attempted no difficult undertaking which they did not easily accomplish.
The armies fought several days successively against each other, and cups filled to the brim with blood, drawn from wounds inflicted by sword and spear, circulated amongst them till they were drunken. In the field of this battle there was a very lofty mountain near the infidels, which was very difficult to ascend, called the ‘Ukba Ghuzak.2 In one of its ravines there was a clear fountain of water of the dimensions required by the Hanafi law for purification,3in which there were no impurities, or even watermoss. If any filth were thrown into it, black clouds collected, whirlwinds arose, the summits of the mountains became black, rain fell, and the neighbourhood was filled with cold blasts, until red death supervened. The Amir ordered that some dirty substance should be thrown into it, and immediately upon doing so the horrors of the day of resurrection rose up [p. 17] before the wicked infidels, and fire fell ,from heaven on them, and hailstones accompanied by loud claps of thunder, and a blast, calculated to shake trees from their roots, blew upon them, and thick black vapours formed around them, as that they could not see the road by which they could fly, and their food and water were filled with dust.4
In consequence of the great fear which fell upon Jaipal, who confessed he had seen death before the appointed time, he sent a deputation to the Amir soliciting peace, on the promise of his paying down a sum of money, and offering to obey any order he might receive respecting his elephants and his country. The Amir Subuktigin consented on account of the mercy he felt towards those who were his vassals, or for some other reason which seemed expedient to him. But the Sultan Yaminu-d daula Mahmud addressed the messengers in a harsh voice, and refused to abstain from battle, until he should obtain a complete victory suited to his zeal for the honour or Islam and of Musulmans, and one which he was confident God would grant to his arms. So they returned, and Jaipal being in great alarm again sent most humble supplications that the battle might cease, observing, “You have seen the impetuosity of the Hindus and their indifference to death, whenever any calamity befalls them, as at this moment. If, therefore, you refuse to grant peace in the hope of obtaining plunder tribute, elephants and prisoners, then there is no alternative for us but to mount the horse of stern determination, destroy our property, take out the eyes of our elephants, cast our children into the fire, and rush on each other with sword and spear, so that all that will be left to you, is stones; and dirt, dead bodies, and scattered bones.”
When the Amir heard these words and knew what Jaipal would do in his despair, he thought that religion and the views of the faithful would best be consulted by peace, and the acquisition of tribute. So the Amir Mahmud agreed with Subuktigin as to the propriety of withdrawing [p. 18] the hand of vengeance, on the condition of receiving at that time 1,000,000 dirhams of royal stamp, and fifty elephants, and some cities and forts in the middle of his country, Jaipal was to deliver these forts to the officers nominated by the Amir, and was to send hostages from among his relatives and friends to remain with the Amir until these conditions of cession were fulfilled. The Amir sent two deputies with Jaipal to see that he did not swerve from his engagements, and they were accompanied by confidential officers who were to receive charge of the ceded places.
When Jaipal had marched to a great distance, and thought that the demand upon him had relaxed, and that the rope round his throat was loosened, his bad disposition suggested to him to break his engagements, and his folly made him beget enmity, insomuch that he imprisoned those who accompanied him on the part of the Amir, in reprisal for those of his relations whom the Amir had taken as hostages.
The Amir marched out towards Lamghan, which is a city celebrated for its great strength and abounding in wealth. He conquered it and set fire to the places in its vicinity which were inhabited by infidels, and demolishing [p. 19] the idol-temples, he established Islam in them. He marched and captured other cities and killed the polluted wretches, destroying the idolatrous and gratifying the Musulmans. After wounding and killing beyond all measure, his hands and those of his friends became cold in counting the value of the plundered property. In the completion of his conquest he returned and promulgated accounts of the victories obtained for Islam, and everyone, great and small, concurred in rejoicing over this result and thanking God.
When Jaipal saw what had occurred to him on account of the infraction of his engagements, that his chiefs had become the food of vultures and hyenas, and that weakness had fallen on his arm, he became greatly agitated, and knew not whether to retire or advance. He at last determined to fight once more, and satisfy his revenge. He thought, resolved, gave orders, and collected troops to the number of more than one hundred thousand. When Amir Subuktigin heard this intelligence, he again advanced to fight him, and ascended a lofty hill from which he could see the whole army of the infidels, which resembled scattered ants and locusts, and he felt like a wolf about to attack a flock of sheep. He urged the Musulmans upon the uncircumcised infidels, and they willingly obeyed his orders. He made bodies of five hundred attack the enemy with their maces in hand, and relieve each other when one party became tired, so that flesh men and horses were constantly engaged, till the accursed enemy complained of the heat which arose from that iron oven. These detached parties then made one united charge, in order to exterminate their numerous opponents. Men and officers mingled in close conflict, and all other arms were useless except the sword. The dust which arose prevented the eyes from seeing; swords could not be distinguished from spears, men from elephants, the valiants from cowards. It was only when the dust was allayed that it was found that the impulse infidels were defeated, and had fled, leaving behind them their property, utensils, arms, provisions, elephants, and horses. The jungles were filled with the carcasses of the infidels, some wounded by the sword, and others fallen dead through fright. “It is the order of God respecting those who have [p. 20] passed away, that infidels should be put to death, and the order of God is not changed respecting your execution of the same precept.”
The Hindus turned their tails towards their heads like frightened dogs, and the Raja was contented to offer the best things in his most distant provinces to the conqueror, on condition that the hair on the crowns of their heads should not be shaven off. So the country in that neighbourhood was clear and open before Amir Subuktigin, and he seized all the wealth which was found in it. He levied tribute and obtained immense booty, besides two hundred elephants of war. He increased his army, and the Afghan and Khiljis having submitted to him, he admitted thousands of them5 whenever he wished into the ranks of his army ” and thereafter expended their lives in his service.
That infidel remained where he was, avoiding the action for a long time, and awaiting craftily the arrival of reinforcements and other vagabond families and tribes which were on their way; but the Sultan would not allow him to postpone the conflict, and the friends of God commenced the action, setting upon the enemy with sword, arrow, and spear, – plundering, seizing, and destroying; at all which the Hindus, being greatly alarmed, began to kindle the flame of fight.
The Hindu set his cavalry in and beat his drums. The elephants moved on from their posts, and line advanced against line, shooting their arrows at one another like boys escaped from school, who, at eventime, shoot at a target for a wager. Swords flashed like lightning amid the blackness of clouds, and fountains of blood flowed like the fall of setting stars. The friends of God defeated their obstinate opponents, and quickly put them to a complete rout. Noon had not arrived when the Musulmans had wreaked their vengeance on the infidel enemies of God, killing 15,000 of them, spreading them like a carpet over the ground, and making them food for beasts and birds of prey. Fifteen elephants fell on the field of battle, as their legs, being pierced with arrows, became as motionless as if they had been in a quagmire, and their trunks were cut with the swords of the valiant heroes.
The enemy of God, Jaipal, and his children and grandchildren, and nephews, and the chief men of his tribe, and his relatives, were taken prisoners, and being strongly bound with ropes, were carried before the Sultan, like as evildoers, on whose faces the fumes of infidelity are evident, who are covered with the vapours of misfortune, will be bound and carried to Hell. Some had their arms forcibly tied behind their backs, some were seized by the cheek, some were driven by blows on the neck. The necklace was taken off the neck of Jaipal, composed of large pearls and shining gems and rubies set in gold, of which the value was two hundred thousand dinars; and twice that value was obtained from the necks of those of his relatives who were taken prisoners, or slain, and had become the food of the mouths of hyenas and vultures. God also bestowed upon his friends such an amount of booty as was beyond all bounds and all calculation, including five hundred thousand slaves, beautiful men and women. The Sultan returned with his followers to his camp, having plundered immensely, by God’s aid, having obtained the victory, and thankful to God, the lord of the universe. For the Almighty had given them victory over a province of the country of Rind, broader and longer and more fertile than Khurasan. This splendid [p. 23] and celebrated action took place ‘on Thursday, the 8th of Muharram, 392 H. (27th November, A.D. 1001).
After the victory, the Sultan directed that the polluted infidel, Jaipal, should be paraded about, so that his sons and chieftains might see him in that condition of shame, bonds, and disgrace; and that the fear of Islam might fly abroad through the country of the infidels. He then entered into conditions of peace with him, after demanding fifty elephants, and took from him as hostages his son and grandson, till he should fulfill the conditions imposed upon him. The infidel returned to his own country and remained there, and wrote to his son, Andpal, whose territory, on which he prided himself, was on the other side of the Sihun (Indus), explaining the dreadful calamity which had befallen him, and beseeching him with many entreaties to send the elephants which were according to agreement to be given to the Sultan. Upon this Andpal sent the elephants to Jaipal, after dismissing the courier who had brought the letter, and the elephants were sent on to the Sultan. The Sultan, therefore, ordered the release of the hostages, and his myrmidons gave them a smack on the buttocks, telling them to return to their country.
Andpal reflected that his father, Jaipal, had put on the sheaf of old age, and had fallen under the influence of Lyra and other unlucky constellations, and it was time he should contemplate his death and devote himself to religious exercises. There is a custom among these men that if anyone is taken prisoner by an enemy, as in this case Jaipal was by the Musulmans, it is not lawful for him to continue to reign. When Jaipal, therefore, saw that he was captive in the prison of old age and degradation, he thought death by cremation preferable to shame and dishonour. So he commenced with shaving his hair off, and then threw himself upon the fire till he was burnt.6
The Sultan fought against him for three days and nights, and the lightnings of his swords and the meteors of his spears fell on the enemy. On the fourth morning a most furious onslaught was made with swords and arrows, which lasted till noon, when the Sultan ordered a general charge to be made upon the infidels. The friends of God advancing against the masters of lies and idolatry with cries of “God is exceeding Great!” broke their ranks, and rubbed their noses upon the ground of disgrace. The Sultan himself, like a stallion, went on dealing hard blows around him on the right hand and on the left, and cut those who were clothed in mail light in twain, making the thirsty infidels drink the cup of death. In this single charge he took several elephants, which Biji Rai regarded as the chief support of his centre. At last God granted victory to the standards of Islam, and the infidels retreated behind the walls of their city for protection. The Musulmans obtained possession of the gates of the city, and employed themselves in filling up the ditch and destroying the scarp and counterscarp, widening, the narrow roads, and opening the closed entrances.
When Biji Rai saw the desperate state to which he was reduced, he escaped by stealth and on foot into the forest with a few attendants, and sought refuge on the top of some hills. The Sultan despatched a select body of his troops in pursuit of them, and surrounded them as a collar does the neck; and when Biji Rai saw that there was no chance of escape, he drew his dagger, struck it into his breast, and went to the fire which God has lighted for infidels and those who deny a resurrection, for those who say no prayers, hold no fasts, and tell no beads. – Amen.
The army of the Sultan kept moving on, and committing slaughter and pillage. One hundred and twenty elephants8 [p. 26] fell to the share of the Sultan, besides the usual share of property and arms. He also obtained an accession of territory without any solicitation. He remained at Bhatia till he had cleansed it from pollution, and appointed a person there to teach those who had embraced Islam, and lead them in the right way. He then returned to Ghazna in triumph and glory, and his fortune was in the equator (ascendant); but as his return was during the rains, when the rivers were full and foaming, and as the mountains were lofty, and he: had to fight with enemies, he lost the greater part of his baggage in the rivers, and many of his valiant warriors were dispersed. God, nevertheless, preserved his person from those calamities which beset his road, for God is the friend of the virtuous. …
He then issued orders for the assembling of armies from among the Musulmans for the purpose of joining him in this holy expedition, – those on whom God had set his seal and selected for the performance of good deeds, and obtaining either victory or martyrdom, He departed with them towards Multan in the spring, when the rivers were swollen with the rain, and the Indus and other rivers prevented the passage of the cavalry, and offered difficulties to his companions. The Sultan desired of Andpal,9 the chief of Hind, that he would allow him to march through his territory, but Andpal would not consent, and offered opposition, which resulted in his discomfiture. The Sultan, consequently, [p. 27] thought it expedient to attack Rai Andpal first, notwithstanding his power, in his jungles, to bow down his broad neck, to cut down the trees of his jungles, to destroy every single thing he possessed, and thus to obtain the fruit of two paradises by this double conquest.
So he stretched out upon him the hand of slaughter, imprisonment, pillage, depopulation, and fire, and hunted him from ambush to ambush, into which he was followed by his subjects, like “merchants of Hazramaut, who are never without their sheets.”10 The spears were tired of penetrating the rings of the coats of mail, the swords became blunt by the blows on the sides, and the Sultan pursued the Rai over hill and dale, over the soft and hard ground of his territory, all his followers either became a feast to the rapacious wild beasts of the passes and plains, or fled in distraction to the neighbourhood of Kashmir.
When Abi-l futuh, the ruler of Multan, heard what had happened to the chief of Hind, notwithstanding all his power and the lofty walls of his fort, and his shining sword, and when he began to measure their relative strength, and considered how Andpal, a much greater potentate than himself, had been subdued, he looked upon himself, as compared with the Sultan, as a ravine in comparison with the top of a mountain. He, therefore, determined with all expedition to load all his property on elephants, and carry it off to Sarandip, and he left Multan empty for the Sultan to do with it as he chose.
The Sultan marched towards Multan, beseeching God’s aid against those who had introduced their neologies into religion and had disparaged it. The inhabitants of the place were blind in their errors, and desirous of extinguishing the light of God with their breath, so the Sultan invested Multan, took it by assault, treated the people with severity, and levied from them twenty thousand thousand dirhams with which to respite their sins. Then the reports of the Sultan’s conquests spread over distant countries, and over the salt sea as tar even as Egypt; Sind and her sister (Hind) trembled [p. 28] at his power and vengeance; his celebrity exceeded that of Alexander the Great, and heresy (ilhad), rebellion, and enmity, were suppressed.
So the Sultan advanced near to this crow’s fruit,15 and this accumulation of years, which had attained such an amount that the backs of camels would not carry it, nor vessels contain it, nor writers’ hands record it, nor the imagination of an arithmetician conceive it.
The Sultan brought his forces under the fort and surrounded it, and prepared to attack the garrison vigorously, boldly and wisely. When the defenders saw the hills covered with the armies of plunderers, and the arrows ascending towards them like flaming sparks of fire, great fear came upon them, and, calling out for mercy, they opened the gates, and fell on the earth, like sparrows before a hawk, or rain before lightning. Thus did God grant an easy conquest of this fort to the Sultan, and bestowed on him as plunder the products of mines and seas, the ornaments of heads and breasts, to his heart’s content. The Sultan entered the fort, with Abu Nasr Ahmad bin Muhammad Farighuni, the ruler of Juzjan, and all his own private attendants, and appointed his two chief chamberlains, Altuntash and Asightigin,16 to take charge of the treasures of gold and silver and all the valuable property, while he himself took charge of the jewels. The treasures were laden on the backs of as many camels as they could procure, and the officers carried away the rest. The stamped coin amounted to seventy thousand thousand royal dirhams, and the gold and silver ingots amounted to seven hundred thousand four hundred mans in weight, besides wearing apparel and fine cloths of Sus, respecting which old men said they never remembered to have seen any so fine, soft, and embroidered. Among the booty was a house of white silver, like to the houses of rich men, the length of which was thirty yards and the breadth fifteen.17 It could be taken to pieces and put together again. And there was a canopy, made of the fine linen of Rum, forty yards long and twenty [p. 31] broad, supported on two golden and two silver poles, which had been cast in moulds.
The Sultan appointed one of his most confidential servants to the charge of the fort and the property in it. After this he returned to Ghazna in triumph, and, on his arrival there, he ordered the court-yard of his palace to be covered with a carpet, on which he displayed jewels and unbored pearls and rubies, shining like sparks, or like wine congealed with ice, and emeralds like fresh sprigs of myrtle, and diamonds in size and weight like pomegranates. Then ambassadors from foreign countries, including the envoy from Taghan Khan, king of Turkistan, assembled to see the wealth which they had never yet even read of in books of the ancients, and which had never been accumulated by kings of Persia or of Rum, or even by Karun, who had only to express a wish and God granted it.
The Sultan accepted his proposal, as Islam was promoted by the humility of his submission and the payment of tribute. He sent an envoy to see that these conditions were carried into effect. The ruler of Hind strictly fulfilled them and despatched one of his vassals with the elephants , to see that they were duly presented to the Sultan. So peace was established, and tribute was paid, and caravans travelled in full security between Khurasan and Hind.
When the Sultan arrived near the end of his destination, he set his cavalry in array, and formed them into different bodies, appointing his brother, Amir Nasr, son of Nasiru-d-din, to command the right wing, consisting of valiant heroes; Arslanu-l J azib to the left wing, consisting of powerful young men; and Abu’ Abdulla Muhammad bin Ibrahimu-t Tai to the advance guard, consisting of fiery Arab cavaliers. To the centre he appointed Altuntash, the chamberlain, with the Sultan’s personal slaves and attendants, as firm as mountains.
Nidar Bhim, the enemy of God and the chief of Hind, alarmed at this sudden invasion, summoned his vassals and generals, and took refuge within a pass, which was narrow, precipitous, and inaccessible. They entrenched themselves behind stones, and closed the entrance to the pass by their elephants, which looked like so many hills from their lofty stature. Here he remained in great security, being persuaded that the place was impervious to attack, but he did not know that God is the protector of the faithful, and the annihilator of infidels!
When the Sultan learnt the intention of Nidar Bhim, with respect to the protraction of the war, and his confidence in his security, he advanced against them with his Dailamite warriors, and Satanic Afghan spearmen, and they penetrated the pass like gimlets into wood, ascending the hills like mountain goats, and descending them like torrents of water. The action lasted for several days without intermission, till at last some of the Hindus were drawn out into the plain to fight, like oil sucked up into the wick of a candle, or like [p. 34] iron attracted by a magnet, and there they were assaulted and killed by the cavalry, just as the knight on the chessboard demolishes pawns.
When his vassals had joined Nidar Bhim with reinforcements, he consented to leave his entrenchments and come out himself into the plain, having the hills behind him, and elephants drawn up on each wing. The battle raged furiously, and when the elephants of the Hindus moved on, with the object of destroying their opponents, they were assailed by showers of arrows upon their trunks and eyes. When Abu Abdullu-t Tai had through his bravery advanced into the midst of the infidels, he was wounded in his head and different parts of his body; but the Sultan, seeing the extreme danger to which his general was exposed, despatched part of his own guards to his assistance, who brought him out of the conflict to the Sultan, severely wounded in many places. The Sultan ordered him to be placed on an elephant, in order to relieve him from the pain of his wounds, and thus he was exalted like a king above all the leaders of the army.
The conflict continued as before until God blew the gale of victory on his friends, and the enemy were slain on the tops of the hills, and in the valleys, ravines, and beds of torrents. A large number of elephants, which the enemy had looked upon as strongholds to protect them, fell into the hands of the victors, as well as much other booty. So God granted the Sultan the victory of Nardin, such as added to the decoration of the mantle of Islam, which had not before that period extended to that place.
A stone was found there in the temple of the great Budda,21 on which an inscription was written purporting that the temple had been founded fifty thousand years ago. The Sultan was surprised at the ignorance of these people, because those who believe in the true faith represent that only seven thousand years have elapsed since the creation of the world, and the signs of resurrection are even now approaching. The Sultan asked his wise men the meaning [p. 35] of this inscription, and they all concurred in saying that it was false, and, that no faith was to be put in the evidence of a stone.
The Sultan returned, marching in the rear of this immense booty, and slaves were so plentiful that they became very cheap, and men of respectability in their native land were degraded by becoming slaves of common shopkeepers. But this is the goodness of God, who bestows honours on his own religion and degrades infidelity.
Beneath it (Tanesar?) flowed a pure stream; the bottom was covered with large stones, and its banks were precipitous and sharp as the points of arrows. The Sultan had reached this river where it takes its course through a hill-pass, behind which the infidels had posted themselves, in the rear of their elephants, with a large number of infantry and cavalry. The Sultan adopted the stratagem of ordering some of his troops to cross the river by two different fords, and to attack the enemy on both sides; and when they were all engaged in close conflict he ordered another body of men to go up the bank of the stream, which was flowing through the pass with fearful impetuosity, and attack the enemy amongst the ravines, where they were posted in, the greatest number. The battle raged fiercely, and about evening, after a vigorous attack on the part of the Musulmans, the enemy fled, leaving [p. 36] their elephants, which were all driven into the camp of the Sultan, except one, which ran off and could not be found. The largest were reserved for the Sultan.
The blood of the infidels flowed so copiously, that the stream was discoloured, notwithstanding its purity, and people were unable to drink it. Had not night come on and concealed the traces of their flight, many more of the enemy would have been slain. The victory was gained by God’s grace, who has established Islam for ever as the best of religions, notwithstanding that idolaters revolt against it. The Sultan returned with plunder which it is impossible to recount. Praise be to God, the protector of the world, for the honour he bestows upon Islam and Musulmans!
As no part of Hind remained unconquered, except Kashmir, he resolved on an expedition to that country. Between it and Ghazna there were forests resounding with the notes of birds and other animals, and the winds even lose their way in it. It happened that 20,000 men from Mawarau-n nahr and its neighbourhood, who were with the Sultan, were anxious to be employed on some holy expedition, in which they might obtain martyrdom. The Sultan determined to march with them towards Kanauj, which no other king but the all-powerful Gushtasp had been able to take, as has been related in the histories of the Magians.
Between Ghazna and Kanauj the journey occupies three: months, even for camels and horses. So the Sultan bade farewell to sleep and ease, and praying God for success, he departed accompanied by his valiant warriors. He crossed in safety the Sihun (Indus) , Jelam, Chandraha, Ubra [p. 37] (Ravi), Bah (Biyah), and Sataldur (Sutlej). These are all rivers, deep beyond description; even elephants’ bodies are concealed in them, so it may easily be conceived what is the case with horses. They bear along with them large stones, so camels and horses are of course in danger of being carried down the stream. Whatever countries the Sultan traversed, ambassadors were sent to him proffering submission, inasmuch that Sabli, son of Shahi,22 son of Bamhi23 who held the passes leading into Kashmir, looking upon the Sultan as one sent by God, also came forward, offering his allegiance, and his services as a guide. He led the way, crossing forest after forest. At midnight the drum sounded for the march, and the friends of God mounted their horses, ready to bear the inconvenience of the journey, and they marched on until the sun began to decline from the meridian. They placed behind their backs the river Jun (Jamna) , crossing it on the 20th of Rajab, 409 H., 2nd December, 1018 A.D.
The Sultan sent his advance guard to attack Kulchand, which penetrating through the forest like a comb through a head of hair, enabled the Sultan to discover the road which led to the fort.26 The Musulmans exclaim “God is exceedingly great,” and those of the enemy, who were anxious for death, stood their ground. Swords and spears were used in close conflict…. The infidels, when they found all their attempts fail, deserted the fort, and tried to cross the foaming river which flowed on the other side of the fort, thinking that beyond it they would be in security; but many of them were slain, taken, or drowned in the attempt, and went to the fire of hell. Nearly fifty27 thousand men were killed [p. 39] and drowned, and became the prey of beasts and crocodiles. Kulchand, taking his dagger, slew his wife, and then drove it into his own body. The Sultan obtained by this victory one hundred and eighty-five powerful elephants, besides other booty.
In the middle of the city there was a temple larger and firmer than the rest, which can neither be described nor painted. The Sultan thus wrote respecting it: “If any should wish to construct a building equal to this, he would not be able to do it without expending an hundred thousand thousand red dinars, and it would occupy two hundred years, even though the most experienced and able workmen were [p. 40] employed.” Among the idols there were five made of red gold, each five yards high, fixed in the air without support. In the eyes of one of these idols there were two rubies, of such value, that if anyone were to sell such as are like them, he would obtain fifty thousand dinars. On another, there was a sapphire purer than water, and more sparkling than crystal; the weight was four hundred and fifty miskals. The two feet of another idol weighed four thousand four hundred miskals, and the entire quantity of gold yielded by the bodies of these idols was ninety-eight thousand three hundred miskals. The idols of silver amounted to two hundred, but they could not be weighed without breaking them to pieces and putting them into scales. The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naphtha and fire, and leveled with the ground.
The Sultan leveled to the ground every fort which he had in this country, and the inhabitants of them either accepted Islam, or took up arms against him. He collected so much booty, prisoners and wealth, that the fingers of those who counted them would have been tired.
He arrived on the 8th, of Sha’ban at Kanauj, which was deserted by Jaipal31 on hearing of his approach, for he fled [p. 41] across the Ganges, which the Hindus regard as of exceeding sanctity, and consider that its source is in the paradise of heaven. When they burn their dead, they throw the ashes into this river, as they consider that the waters purify them from sins. Devotees come to it from a distance, and drown themselves in its stream, in the hope of obtaining eternal salvation, but in the end it will only carry them to hell, so that it will neither kill them nor make them alive.
The Sultan advanced to the fortifications of Kanauj, which consisted of seven distinct forts, washed by the Ganges, which flowed tinder them like the ocean. In, Kanauj, there were nearly ten thousand temples, which the idolaters falsely and absurdly represented to have been founded by their ancestors two or three hundred thousand years ago. They worshipped and offered their vows and supplications to them, in consequence of their great antiquity. Many of the inhabitants of the place fled and were scattered abroad like so many wretched widows and orphans, from the fear which oppressed them, in consequence of witnessing the fate of their deaf and dumb idols. Many of them thus effected their escape, and those who did not fly were put to death. The Sultan took all seven forts in one day, and gave his soldiers leave to plunder them and take prisoners.
When Chandal heard of the advance of the Sultan, he lost his heart from excess of fright, and as he saw death with his mouth open towards him, there was no resource to him but flight. The Sultan ordered therefore that his five forts should be demolished from their foundations, the inhabitants buried in their ruins, and the demoniacal soldiers of the garrison plundered, slain, and imprisoned.
- “I sneeze with expanded nostrils, and hold the Pleiades in my hand even while sitting.”
Between him and Puru Jaipal,35 there had been constant fights in which many men and warriors had fallen in the field, and at last they consented to peace, in order to save further bloodshed and invasion of their respective borders. Puru Jaipal sought his old enemy’s daughter, that he might [p. 43] give her in marriage to his son, Bhimpal, thus cementing the peace between them for ever, and preserving their swords within their sheaths. He sent his son to obtain the bride from Chand Rai, who imprisoned the son and demanded retribution for the losses which had been inflicted by the father. Jaipal was thus compelled to refrain from proceeding against Chand Rai’s fort and country, being unable to release his son; but constant skirmishes occurred between them, until the arrival of Sultan Mahmud in those parts, who, through the kindness of God, had wish after wish gratified in a succession of conquests.
Puru Jaipal in order to save his life, entered into a friendly engagement with Bhoj Chand36 who was proud in the strength of his forts and their difficulty of access, and there he considered himself secure against pursuit in his inaccessible retreat. But Chand Rai, on the contrary, took up arms, trusting in the strength of his fort; but had he remained in it he would infallibly have had it destroyed, and had he trusted to his army, it would have been of no avail. Under these circumstances, Bhimpal37 wrote him a letter to this effect: “Sultan Mahmud is not like the rulers of Hind, and is not the leader of black men. It is obviously advisable to seek safety from such a person, for armies flee away before the very name of him and his father. I regard his bridle as much stronger than yours, for he never contents himself with one blow of the sword, nor does his army content itself with one hill out of a whole range. If therefore you design to contend with him, you will suffer, but do as you like – you know best. If you wish for your own safety, you will remain in concealment.”
Chand Rai considered that Bhimpal had given him sound advice and that danger was to be incurred by acting contrary to his suggestions. So he departed secretly with his property, elephants, and treasure, to the hill country, [p. 44] which was exceedingly lofty, hiding himself in the jungles which the sun could not penetrate, and concealing even the direction of his flight, so that there was no knowing whither he was gone, or whether he had sped by night or day. The object of Bhimpal in recommending the flight of Chand Rai was, that the Rai should not fall into the net of the Sultan, and thus be made a Musulman, as had happened to Bhimpal’s uncle and relations, when they demanded quarter in their distress.
The Sultan invested and captured the fort, notwithstanding its strength and height. Here he got plenty of supplies and booty, but he did not obtain the real object of his desire, which was to seize Chand Rai, and which he now determined to effect by proceeding in pursuit of him. Accordingly, after marching fifteen parasangs through the forest, which was so thorny that the faces of his men were scarified and bloody, and through stony tracts which battered and injured the horses’ shoes, he at last came up to his enemy, shortly before midnight on the 25th of Sha’ban (6th January, 1019 A.D.). They had traveled over high and low ground without any marked road, not like merchants of Hazramaut travelling at ease with their mantles around them.
The Sultan summoned the most religiously disposed of his followers, and ordered them to attack the enemy immediately. Many infidels were consequently slain or taken prisoners in this sudden attack, and the Musulmans paid no regard to the booty till they had satiated themselves with the slaughter of the infidels and worshippers of the sun and fire. The friends of God searched the bodies of the slain for three whole days, in order to obtain booty. The elephants were carried off, some by force, some were driven, and some went without any compulsion towards Mahmud, upon whom God bestows, out of his great kindness, not only ordinary plunder, but drives elephants towards him. Therefore they were called “God-brought,”38 in gratitude to the Almighty for sending elephants to the Sultan, which are only driven by iron goads, and are not usually captured [p. 45] without stratagem and deceit, whereas, in this instance, they came of their own accord, leaving idols, preferring the service of the religion of Islam.
The booty amounted in gold and silver, rubies and pearls, nearly to three thousand thousand dirhams, and the number of prisoners may be conceived from the fact that each was sold for from two to ten dirhams.39 These were afterwards taken to Ghazna, and merchants came from distant cities to purchase them, so that the countries of Mawarau-n nahr, Irak, and Khurasan were filled with them, and the fair and the dark, the rich and the poor, were commingled in one common slavery.
Puru Jaipal was encamped on the other side of the river, as a measure of security, in consequence of this sudden, attack, with his warriors dusky as night, and his elephants all caparisoned. He showed a determination to resist the passage of the Sultan, but at night he was making preparations to escape down the river. When the Sultan learnt [p. 46] this, from which the weakness of his enemy was apparent, be ordered inflated skins to be prepared, and directed some of his men to swim over on them, Jaipal seeing eight men -swimming over to that distant bank, ordered a detachment of his army, accompanied by five elephants, to oppose their landing, but the eight men plied their arrows so vigorously, that the detachment was not able to effect that purpose. When the Sultan witnessed the full success of these men, he ordered all his soldiers who could swim to pass over at once, and promised them henceforward a life of repose after that day of trouble. First his own personal guards crossed this difficult stream, and they were followed by the whole army. Some swam over on skins, some were nearly drowned, but eventually all landed safely; and praised be God! not even a hair of their horses’ tails was hurt41 nor was any of their property injured.
When they had all reached the opposite bank, the Sultan ordered his men to mount their horses, and charge in such a manner as to put the enemy to flight. Some of the infidels asked for mercy after being wounded, some were taken prisoners, some were killed, and the rest took to flight, and two hundred and seventy gigantic elephants fell into the hands of the Musulmans.42
1. S. de Sacy reads Haibal, and says some manuscripts have it Hainal, and Djibal. He observes also that Dow has Jerpal and Abistagi for Alpteghin, Subultagi for Sebekteghin, Tigha for Togan, and Bab Toor for Baitour. Firishta has Jaipal, the son of Ishtpal, in Briggs, Hutpal. See Mem. sur l’Inde, p. 252.
2. Ghuzak or Ghurak is mentioned bv Al Biruni as one of the mountains under which the Kabul river flows. Vol. I, p. 47.
3. That is, a cube of ten spans.
4. This passage is omitted from S. de Sacy’s translation [Muhammad ‘Uti gives this story in his Jami’u-l Hilayat at greater length and with some variations, though he professes to have taken it from this work.
5. M. de Sacy says “they agreed to furnish 100,000 men whenever he wished.”
6. In the version of Jarbazkani it is said that, after the self-sacrifice of Jaipal, the Sultan again sent forth his army into Hindusthan, and that after having exterminated all those who had taken part in this rebellion, he returned in triumph to Ghazni. There is no authority for this in the original. The transactions at Waihind are not noticed in Jarbazkani. -Reynolds, 282 -Notices et Extraits, iv, 380.
7. Dow says Bachera; S. de Sacy, Bohaira; Wilken, Bahira; Briggs, Beejy Ray. Ibn Asir has Bahira.
8. Firishta says 280, and Mirkhond 120, but does not notice that this was the personal share of the Sultan.
9. No doubt Anand-pal as in Firishta; Mirkhond calls him Jaipal, as in the Tarikh-i Alfi.
10. This verse is quoted by the author from a poet named Jariru-l Khadfi.
11. De Sacy reads Ghozz, perhaps more correctly.
12. This is left out by all the other chroniclers.
13. The year is not mentioned, but that the Sultan should have gained his victory near Balkh, expelled Nawasa Shah, that he should have returned to Ghazna and rested and then have commenced another expedition, all within four months of the same year is to suppose almost an impossibility, unless Nawasa Shah was of the, Peshawar frontier.
14. Dow calls it Bime, S. de Sacy Behim-bagra, ‘Utbi has Bhim-naghar, and Rashidu-d din Bhinbaghra, Wilken Behim Bagsa, Briggs Bheem, D’Herbelot and Rampoldi Behesim, Tarikh-i Alfi ‘Bhim’. There can be no question that the lithographed edition is right in declaring the name to be Bhimnagar. Firishta uses the names of Nagarkot, or Fort of Bhim, (Briggs, I, 48). It is the modern Kangra which is still called Nagarkot.
15. That is, the best; and probably there is an allusion in the expression to the blackness of the Hindu the early Muhammadans , being fond of designating them as “crows,” as will be seen from the Taju-l-Ma-asir.
16. Reynolds gives this name as Istargin.
17. Jarbadkani, according to Reynolds, makes the measurement “sixty cubits long and fifty wide.”
18. This is called Nardin in Reynolds’ translation, p. 360.
19. Reynolds, in his translation of Jarbadkani’s version, gives the name as Nazin, and the date ” 400,” page 388.
20. This may also be rendered “boats.”
21. It is plainly so written in the Arabic original, and cannot be meant for But, “an idol,” as that word is Persian.
22. ” Janki,” marginal note in Dehli Edn.
23. S. de Sacy calls him Khabli-ben-Schami. Firishta says, “When Mahmud reached the confines of Kashmir, the ruler sent presents, which were graciously accepted, and he accompanied the advance guard.” Briggs, without authority, adds that Mahmud had established this prince in Kashmir. Reynolds gives the names Habali-‘bn Shasni.
24. ‘Ali bin Muslih says, in his commentary, that the name is Barbah, but that some copies read Barna. S. de Sacy reads Barma, so does [Jarbadkani., Reynolds, 451] Karamat ‘Ali and Rashidu-d din. The original copies read Barba, and Burdur. I make it Baran, the old name of Bulandshahr .
25. S. de Sacy gives Haroun and Harout. ‘Ali bin Muslih says it is either Hurdiz or Hurdit. Jarbadkani, according to Reynolds, reads Harun, p. 451.
26. The Tarikh-i Alfi calls the fort by the name of Mand.
27. Jarbadkani reduces the number to five thousand, according to Reynolds, p. 454.
28. S. de Sacy has “batie sur une eminence.” I see no authority for this in the original.
29. Authors who have succeeded ‘Utbi call this Mathura, but there is no other authority for it, but that which is in the text. It is probable that it may be here called “Maharat,” because in speaking below of the Great Temple, it is said to have been built by Maharat, i.e., experienced men, the plural of Mahir. Its resemblance to Mathura may have induced the pun. ‘Ali bin Muslih Sam’ani, in his Commentary, derives the word from Harir, “a dog’s whine,” because it resembles the chanting sound uttered by Hindus in worship. This is nonsense.
30. Kanauj and futuh, when spelt without diacritical points, assume the same form: a good illustration of the difficulty of reading accurately oriental names, -here two words of the same form, have not a letter in common.
31. S. de Sacy reads Hebal, Don calls the Raja Karrah. Reinaud reads Raja Pal, and Rajaipal. It may be presumed he is the same as the “Puru Jaipal,” subsequently mentioned. Jarbadkani has Haipal, Reynolds, 456.
32. Jarbadkani has Manaj, Reynolds, 457. The Rauzatu-s Safi has Mih and Bhij, Haidar Razi, Mabaj, Briggs says “the fort of Munj, full of Rajputs.” The Tarikh-i Alfi says “Manj.” Firishta says it held out fifteen days.
33. S. de Sacy calls it Aster, and Assir. Reynolds has “Aster, held by Jandbal the violent.”
34. Sirsawa, to the east of the Jumna near Saharanpur -Cunningham.
35. S. de Sacy reads Perou Hebal, and considers him the same as the Raja of Kanauj, previously called Hebal. (See Thomas’ Prinsep, I, 292)
36. Apparently the same as Chandal Bhor, the governor of Asi. Some copies read Bhoj-deo, whom M. Reinaud supposes to be the same as Bhoj-deva, who is mentioned by Al Biruni as the king of Malwa. See Mem. sur l’Inde, p. 261.
37. S. de Sacy calls him Behimal, and thinks he was probably the son of Perou-Hebal, whom Chand Rai retained as a prisoner.
38. This word is represented by the Persian Khuda-award, in the middle of the Arabic text.
39. The Tarikh-i Alfi adds that the fifth share due to the Saiyids was 150,000 slaves.
40. Reinaud observes that ‘Utbi does not name the river, but the place where the Raja had taken up his position was called Rahib, which means in Arabic “a monk.” I translate ‘Utbi differently. -See Mem. sur l’Inde, p. 267.
41. Literally, “Praise be to God! their horses tails were not distant.” S. de Stacy translates “Les autres en se tenant aux crines de leurs chevaux.” The Jami says, “Some swam over near their horses.” I have adopted Karamat ‘Ali’s as being more appropriate to the introduction of the pious ejaculation “Praised be God!”
42. The Jami’u-t Tawarikh leaves out two hundred. That work and the Yamini are the only two which mention the victory on the Rahib.