Essay on the Causes and circumstances of the Gaurid Invasion

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Motives behind the Campaigns

Although religious motives are regarded as the driving force behind the campaigns of the Ghurids, Professor K.A. Nizami considers that a careful analysis of the available data does not support such a conclusion. He argues that the soldiers were admittedly Mussalman, but they were not the rep­resentatives of Islam and though religious sentiments might have played some part on occasions, the inspiration was due to political objectives.

He says that the Ghurid army fought Muslims in Central Asia as they fought the Hindus in India. Like the Khwarizmians, they were also probably mercenaries and, like the lashkaris (professional soldiers) men­tioned in the poet Sa’adi’s works, fought for the wages they got and not for king, country and religion.

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Muizzuddin and Aibak’s conduct show that political necessity and not religious fervour and fanaticism guided their steps. Aibak employed Hindu cavalry and Hindu officers. Not many changes were made in the Delhi and Ajmer administrations. Hasan Nizami refers to the extensive posting of local ranas in the resettlement scheme of Aibak after the conquest of Asni in 1193 and Ibn-i-Asir mentions restoration of Anhilwara to Indian rulers.

Prof Nizami also states that there was no display of vindictiveness due to religious zeal after the conquests; the situations were handled in the spirit of expediency and to some extent compromise. Thus, Prithviraj’s son was allowed to continue in Ajmer after the conquest on condition of vassalage. Likewise, Govinda Rai’s son was allowed to rule over the territories after the conquest of Delhi. When Prithviraj’s son was harassed by the Chahamanas, Aibak took over Ajmer but compensated him by giving Ranthambor.

While this may be true, it is to be noted that Dr Haibullah said the Aibak’s “ex­treme liberality earned him the epithet of Lakh Bakhsh (giver of lakhs), while, characteristicaly enough, his killing is also said to have been by lakhs”. In any event, historians also regard the following as the motives behind the Ghurid inva­sions:

1. The search for power and glory: like other ambitious rulers, Muizzuddin was also after these and a conquest of India assured him of both.

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2. The ruling houses of Ghazni and Ghur were enemies of long and although the Ghaznavids were on their last legs and were ruling in Punjab only, Muizzuddin decided to annex their territories so as to finish them off entirely.

3. Muizzuddin also wanted to prevent any attack from the east, from the Ghaznavids.

4. The Khwarizms of Persia prevented the Ghurids from expanding to the west. As such, east was the direction to which they could expand.

5. The wealth of India was a powerful attraction, but that was one and not the sole reason.

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