Political Condition of India on the Eve of Muhammad Ghori's Invasion

Before making a study of the various expeditions of Muhammad Ghori it shall be desirable to have an idea of the political condition in India on the eve of him invasions.

The political condition of India on the eve of Muhmmad Ghori's invasion was almost identical to the one prevailing at the time of the invasion of the Arabs or Mahmud Gajnavi with the only exception that certain changes had taken place in the ruling dynasties and territories of their kingdom. Whole country was divided into many small kingdoms who were engaged into mutual jealousy and conflict. For the sake of convenience of study, we can divide the states of the time into following three parts:

(a) Muslim Kingdom,

(b) Rajput Kingdoms and other states, and

(c) States of Southern India.

(a) Muslim Kingdom

(i) Gaznavid Kingdtipi of Gazni:

In the north the Gaznavids were ruling over the Punjab. Their capital was at Lahore. Their hold extended from Peshawar in the North-West to Jammu in the North-East. The Southern boundry of the Kingdom was unstable. They had snatched from the Chauhans of Delhi the Region of Hansi and Bhatinda. At the time of Ghori's invasion the rein of this Kingdom was in the hands of an incapable and luxurious Ruler Khusr Malik.

(ii) Multan:

The main city of the Southern Part of Indus valley was Multan ruled at the time by Ismailia Shias. At the time of the invasion of Muhmmad Ghori, carmethian Dynasty ruled over this part.

(iii) Sind:

The Kingdom of Sind was under a local dynasty, the Sumras. They were also Shia Muslims. Any Muslim invader was not likely to experience much trouble in invading and conquering the above mentioned kingdoms because not only were their resources limited but also they lacked popular cooperation. The rulers of these kingdom were all incapable and luxury loving and for other people of these areas the success of any Muslim conqueror merely meant the replacement of one Muslim state by other.

(b) Rajput Kingdoms and Other States

Apart from the three Muslim kingdoms, there were many small Rajput Kingdoms in the East and North of India. The following four were more prosperous of the states of North India and there were some others as well.

(i) Chauhans of Delhi and Ajmer:

At the time of Muhammad Ghori's Indian invasions, Delhi and Ajmer were being ruled by the Chauhan ruler, Prithviraj III. He was also famous as Raj Pithora. The account of Prithviraj's conquest available in Chandrabardai's Prithviraj Raso is not be wholly believed still it appears that he had impressed upon his neighbouring kingdoms his bravery and courage. He defeated and humiliated the Chalukya kings of Southern India, seized Mahoba from its Chandel Ruler Paramdev. The frontier forts of this kingdom were Hansi, Pakpottan and Bhatindas. Prithviraj III had forcibly carried away from the Swayamvar Sanyogita, the daughter of neighbour king Jaichand of Kanauj and so Jaichand harboured intense hostility towards him.

(ii) Chalukyas of Gujrat and Kathiawad:

The most important kingdom was those of the Chalukyas in Western India. Anhilwara (Paatan) was their capital. The most famous king of this dynasty was Jai Sing Siddharaj (1102-1143 A.D.). He defeated the Paramaras of Malwa and Guhilots of Chittor. After that the kingdom disintegrated and only Gujrat and Kathiawad were left to it. The ruler was Mulraj II at the time of Muhammad Ghori's Indian invasions.

(iii) Gahadwalas or Rathors of Kannauj:

The kingdom of Kannauj comprised Kashi, Benaras, Allahabad, Kannauj Oudh etc. Jaichand was its ruler when Muhammad Ghori invaded India. He had intense enemity with the ruler of Delhi and Ajmer, Prithviraj Chauhan.

(iv) Chandelas of Bundelkhand:

In the Chandela kingdom was included Mahoba, Kalinjar, Khajuraho, Jhansi, Ajaygarh etc. In the last quarter of the 12th century its ruler was Parmardidev. Prithviraj Chauhan of Ajmer had defeated him and annexed quickly a large part of his kingdom in his Empire.

Apart from the above mentioned four Rajput States, Pala and Sena Kingdoms were other states of Northern India which deserve mention.

(v) Pala kingdom of North Bengal (Modern Bihar):

At one time the Palas over entire Bengal and Bihar but their power declined in the 12th century. Later kings of this dynasty like Kumarpala (1126-1130), Madavpala (1130-1150) were all very weak rulers. Many parts of the kingdom became independent. At the time of Muhammad Ghori's attack, the dominance of Palas was limited to some parts of Bhiar only.

(vi) Senas of Bengal:

The Senas are said to have come from South India and settled in Bengal. Originally they were feudatories of Palas. In the 11th century they declared themselves independent in Eastern Bengal. When Muhammad Ghori atacked India, Lakshman Sena (1170-1206) was ruling over Eastern Bengal.

(c) State of Southern India

At the time of Muhammad Ghori's invasions Yadavas were ruling over Devgiri, Kakatiyas in Warrangal and Hoysalos in Dowrasamudra. In the far South Cheras were ruling in Kerala and Pandyas in Madura. All the kingdoms of South were mutually jealous of each other. They had no interest in the politics of North India and therefore no influence as well.

In brief then, at the time of Muhammad Ghori's invasion India was divided into many states. Every kingdom was busy extending its areas and influence. Despite invasion by the foreign Turks, they did not get the common sense of putting an end to mutual quarrels otherwise they might have sent their spies to read the internal situation in the Turkish kingdom.

The Rajputs did not do this. The outlook of the ruling Rajputs was so narrow at the time that even at the time of external danger staring at their face, they felt happines at defeating their neighbouring king with the help given to the invader. This foolishness of theirs became a cause of their downfall.