TN History Textbook: Early Medieval India Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC

UPSC: TN History Textbook: Early Medieval India Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC

The document TN History Textbook: Early Medieval India Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation.
All you need of UPSC at this link: UPSC
 Page 1


163
After the death of Harsha, there was no political unity in north
India for about five centuries. The country was split up into a number
of states which were constantly fighting and changing their frontiers.
The important kingdoms in north India were Kashmir, Gandhara,
Sind, Gujarat, Kanauj, Ajmir, Malwa, Bengal and Assam. In the
early eighth century Kashmir was dominant. Then, the 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.
Even after that, many Rajput states continued to survive for a long
time. In the period of Muslim aggression, the Rajputs were the main
defenders of the Hindu religion and culture.
LESSON 15
EARLY MEDIEVAL INDIA
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. A brief history of the Rajput kingdoms.
2. Causes and results of the Arab conquest of Sind.
3. Mahmud of Ghazni and his invasions.
4. Mahmud of Ghori’s invasions.
5. Causes for the failure of Hindu states.
Page 2


163
After the death of Harsha, there was no political unity in north
India for about five centuries. The country was split up into a number
of states which were constantly fighting and changing their frontiers.
The important kingdoms in north India were Kashmir, Gandhara,
Sind, Gujarat, Kanauj, Ajmir, Malwa, Bengal and Assam. In the
early eighth century Kashmir was dominant. Then, the 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.
Even after that, many Rajput states continued to survive for a long
time. In the period of Muslim aggression, the Rajputs were the main
defenders of the Hindu religion and culture.
LESSON 15
EARLY MEDIEVAL INDIA
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. A brief history of the Rajput kingdoms.
2. Causes and results of the Arab conquest of Sind.
3. Mahmud of Ghazni and his invasions.
4. Mahmud of Ghori’s invasions.
5. Causes for the failure of Hindu states.
165 164
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 and killed him in a well-contested battle. His capital
Aror was captured. Qasim extended his conquest further into Multan.
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.
However, Sind continued to be under the Arabs. But the
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.
Since Sind was a part of the Arab empire, the
inflow of Indian knowledge was great.
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. His successor and son-in-law Sabuktigin
PORTRAIT OF  
MAHMUD OF GHAZNI 
There are several theories about the origin of Rajputs. They
were considered as the descendents of the foreign invaders and the
Indian Kshatriyas. The foreign invaders were Indianized and
absorbed into Indian society. Many legends of Rajputs support this
theory. Therefore, 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. The Arab travellers refer to the prosperity of the land
and the great trade of the cities. They built strong forts.
The 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. Vigraharaj was their most
important king, who occupied Delhi. Therefore the 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. His military conquests as well as
cultural contributions remain notable in the history of Rajputs.
Constant fighting weakened the Rajputs. Also, they never
united against a common enemy. Their lack of political foresight
and constant rivalries prevented any combined opposition to the
Muslim invaders.
Arab Conquest of Sind (712 A.D.)
The 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
Page 3


163
After the death of Harsha, there was no political unity in north
India for about five centuries. The country was split up into a number
of states which were constantly fighting and changing their frontiers.
The important kingdoms in north India were Kashmir, Gandhara,
Sind, Gujarat, Kanauj, Ajmir, Malwa, Bengal and Assam. In the
early eighth century Kashmir was dominant. Then, the 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.
Even after that, many Rajput states continued to survive for a long
time. In the period of Muslim aggression, the Rajputs were the main
defenders of the Hindu religion and culture.
LESSON 15
EARLY MEDIEVAL INDIA
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. A brief history of the Rajput kingdoms.
2. Causes and results of the Arab conquest of Sind.
3. Mahmud of Ghazni and his invasions.
4. Mahmud of Ghori’s invasions.
5. Causes for the failure of Hindu states.
165 164
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 and killed him in a well-contested battle. His capital
Aror was captured. Qasim extended his conquest further into Multan.
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.
However, Sind continued to be under the Arabs. But the
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.
Since Sind was a part of the Arab empire, the
inflow of Indian knowledge was great.
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. His successor and son-in-law Sabuktigin
PORTRAIT OF  
MAHMUD OF GHAZNI 
There are several theories about the origin of Rajputs. They
were considered as the descendents of the foreign invaders and the
Indian Kshatriyas. The foreign invaders were Indianized and
absorbed into Indian society. Many legends of Rajputs support this
theory. Therefore, 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. The Arab travellers refer to the prosperity of the land
and the great trade of the cities. They built strong forts.
The 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. Vigraharaj was their most
important king, who occupied Delhi. Therefore the 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. His military conquests as well as
cultural contributions remain notable in the history of Rajputs.
Constant fighting weakened the Rajputs. Also, they never
united against a common enemy. Their lack of political foresight
and constant rivalries prevented any combined opposition to the
Muslim invaders.
Arab Conquest of Sind (712 A.D.)
The 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
167 166
the west and from Samarkand in the north to Gujarat in the south. The
Ghaznavid empire roughly included Persia, Trans-oxyana, Afghanistan
and Punjab. His achievements were due to his leadership and restless
activity. 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, an
account on India. His conquest of Punjab and Multan completely
changed the political situation in India. He paved the way for the Turks
and Afghans for further conquests and make deeper incursions into the
Gangetic valley at any time. He drained the resources of India by his
repeated raids and deprived India of her manpower. The exhaustion of
India’s economic resources and man power had its adverse effect on
the political future of India. The Hindu Shahi kingdom was guarding the
gates of India against foreign invaders. Mahmud destroyed it and thus
India’s frontiers became defenceless. The inclusion of Punjab and
Afghanistan in Ghazni’s kingdom made the subsequent Muslim conquests
of India comparatively easy.
Muhammad Ghori
The 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.
Having made his position strong and secure at Ghazni, Muhammad
Ghori turned his attention to India. Unlike Mahmud of Ghazni, he
wanted to conquer India and extend his empire in this direction.
In 1175, Muhammad Ghori captured Multan and occupied
whole of Sind in his subsequent expeditions. In 1186 he attacked
Punjab, captured it from Khusru Malik and annexed it to his domin-
ions. The annexation of Punjab carried his dominion eastward to
the Sutlej and led his invasion of the Chauhan kingdom.
wanted to conquer India from the north-west. He succeeded in
capturing Peshawar from Jayapala. But his raids did not produce a
lasting effect. He was succeeded by his son, Mahmud
Mahmud of Ghazni (A.D. 997-1030).
Mahmud is said to have made seventeen raids into India. At
that time, North India was divided into a number of Hindu states.
On the frontier of India, there existed the Hindu Shahi kingdom
which extended from the Punjab to Kabul. The other important
kingdoms of north India were Kanauj, Gujarat, Kashmir, Nepal,
Malwa and Bundelkhand. The initial raids were against the Hindu
Shahi kingdom in which its king Jayapala was defeated in 1001.
After this defeat, Jayapala immolated himself because he thought
that his defeat was a disgrace. His successor Anandapala fought
against Mahmud but he was also defeated in the Battle of Waihind,
the Hind Shahi capital near Peshawar in 1008. In this battle,
Anandapala was supported by the rulers of Kanauj and Rajasthan.
As a result of his victory at Waihind, Mahmud extended his rule
over most of the Punjab.
The subsequent raids of Mahmud into India were aimed at
plundering the rich temples and cities of northern India. 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. The ruler of Kanauj, Rajyapala abandoned Kanauj and
later died. Mahmud returned via Kalinjar with fabulous riches. His
next important raid was against Gujarat. In 1024, Mahmud marched
from Multan across Rajaputana, defeated the Solanki King
Bhimadeva I, plundered Anhilwad and sacked the famous temple
of Somanatha. Then, he returned through the Sind desert. 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
Page 4


163
After the death of Harsha, there was no political unity in north
India for about five centuries. The country was split up into a number
of states which were constantly fighting and changing their frontiers.
The important kingdoms in north India were Kashmir, Gandhara,
Sind, Gujarat, Kanauj, Ajmir, Malwa, Bengal and Assam. In the
early eighth century Kashmir was dominant. Then, the 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.
Even after that, many Rajput states continued to survive for a long
time. In the period of Muslim aggression, the Rajputs were the main
defenders of the Hindu religion and culture.
LESSON 15
EARLY MEDIEVAL INDIA
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. A brief history of the Rajput kingdoms.
2. Causes and results of the Arab conquest of Sind.
3. Mahmud of Ghazni and his invasions.
4. Mahmud of Ghori’s invasions.
5. Causes for the failure of Hindu states.
165 164
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 and killed him in a well-contested battle. His capital
Aror was captured. Qasim extended his conquest further into Multan.
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.
However, Sind continued to be under the Arabs. But the
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.
Since Sind was a part of the Arab empire, the
inflow of Indian knowledge was great.
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. His successor and son-in-law Sabuktigin
PORTRAIT OF  
MAHMUD OF GHAZNI 
There are several theories about the origin of Rajputs. They
were considered as the descendents of the foreign invaders and the
Indian Kshatriyas. The foreign invaders were Indianized and
absorbed into Indian society. Many legends of Rajputs support this
theory. Therefore, 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. The Arab travellers refer to the prosperity of the land
and the great trade of the cities. They built strong forts.
The 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. Vigraharaj was their most
important king, who occupied Delhi. Therefore the 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. His military conquests as well as
cultural contributions remain notable in the history of Rajputs.
Constant fighting weakened the Rajputs. Also, they never
united against a common enemy. Their lack of political foresight
and constant rivalries prevented any combined opposition to the
Muslim invaders.
Arab Conquest of Sind (712 A.D.)
The 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
167 166
the west and from Samarkand in the north to Gujarat in the south. The
Ghaznavid empire roughly included Persia, Trans-oxyana, Afghanistan
and Punjab. His achievements were due to his leadership and restless
activity. 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, an
account on India. His conquest of Punjab and Multan completely
changed the political situation in India. He paved the way for the Turks
and Afghans for further conquests and make deeper incursions into the
Gangetic valley at any time. He drained the resources of India by his
repeated raids and deprived India of her manpower. The exhaustion of
India’s economic resources and man power had its adverse effect on
the political future of India. The Hindu Shahi kingdom was guarding the
gates of India against foreign invaders. Mahmud destroyed it and thus
India’s frontiers became defenceless. The inclusion of Punjab and
Afghanistan in Ghazni’s kingdom made the subsequent Muslim conquests
of India comparatively easy.
Muhammad Ghori
The 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.
Having made his position strong and secure at Ghazni, Muhammad
Ghori turned his attention to India. Unlike Mahmud of Ghazni, he
wanted to conquer India and extend his empire in this direction.
In 1175, Muhammad Ghori captured Multan and occupied
whole of Sind in his subsequent expeditions. In 1186 he attacked
Punjab, captured it from Khusru Malik and annexed it to his domin-
ions. The annexation of Punjab carried his dominion eastward to
the Sutlej and led his invasion of the Chauhan kingdom.
wanted to conquer India from the north-west. He succeeded in
capturing Peshawar from Jayapala. But his raids did not produce a
lasting effect. He was succeeded by his son, Mahmud
Mahmud of Ghazni (A.D. 997-1030).
Mahmud is said to have made seventeen raids into India. At
that time, North India was divided into a number of Hindu states.
On the frontier of India, there existed the Hindu Shahi kingdom
which extended from the Punjab to Kabul. The other important
kingdoms of north India were Kanauj, Gujarat, Kashmir, Nepal,
Malwa and Bundelkhand. The initial raids were against the Hindu
Shahi kingdom in which its king Jayapala was defeated in 1001.
After this defeat, Jayapala immolated himself because he thought
that his defeat was a disgrace. His successor Anandapala fought
against Mahmud but he was also defeated in the Battle of Waihind,
the Hind Shahi capital near Peshawar in 1008. In this battle,
Anandapala was supported by the rulers of Kanauj and Rajasthan.
As a result of his victory at Waihind, Mahmud extended his rule
over most of the Punjab.
The subsequent raids of Mahmud into India were aimed at
plundering the rich temples and cities of northern India. 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. The ruler of Kanauj, Rajyapala abandoned Kanauj and
later died. Mahmud returned via Kalinjar with fabulous riches. His
next important raid was against Gujarat. In 1024, Mahmud marched
from Multan across Rajaputana, defeated the Solanki King
Bhimadeva I, plundered Anhilwad and sacked the famous temple
of Somanatha. Then, he returned through the Sind desert. 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
169 168
of Tarain and Chandawar contributed to the establishment of Turkish
rule in India.
Causes for the failure of Hindu kingdoms
The causes for the downfall of Hindu states have to be analysed
historically. The most important cause was that they lacked unity.
They were divided by factions. The Rajput princes exhausted one
another by their mutual conflicts. Secondly, many Hindu states were
declining in power. Their military methods were out of date and far
inferior to those of Muslims. 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. Among the Hindus, 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.
Learning Outcome
After learning this lesson the students will be able to explain
1. A brief history of the Rajput kingdoms in northern India.
2. Arab Conquest of Sind and its results.
3. Causes and results of the Mahmud of Ghazni’s invasion
of India.
4. Mahmud of Ghori and his capture of Indian territories.
5. Causes for the failure of the Hindu states against Muslim
invasions.
The Battle of Tarain (1191-1192)
Realising their grave situation, the Hindu
princes of north India formed a confederacy
under the command of Prithiviraj Chauhan.
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. Prithviraj rejected this proposal
and prepared to meet the invader. He gathered a large force
consisting of 3,00,000 horses, 3000 elephants and a large body of
foot soldiers. 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.
The second battle of Tarain was a decisive battle. It was a
major disaster for the Rajputs. Their political prestige suffered a
serious setback. The 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. In
1193 he prepared the ground for another invasion by Muhammad
Ghori. This invasion was directed against the Gahadavala ruler
Jayachandra. Muhammad routed Jayachandra’s forces. Kanauj was
occupied by the Muslims after the battle of Chandawar. The Battles
PORTRAIT OF PRITHIVIRAJ
CHAUHAN 
Page 5


163
After the death of Harsha, there was no political unity in north
India for about five centuries. The country was split up into a number
of states which were constantly fighting and changing their frontiers.
The important kingdoms in north India were Kashmir, Gandhara,
Sind, Gujarat, Kanauj, Ajmir, Malwa, Bengal and Assam. In the
early eighth century Kashmir was dominant. Then, the 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.
Even after that, many Rajput states continued to survive for a long
time. In the period of Muslim aggression, the Rajputs were the main
defenders of the Hindu religion and culture.
LESSON 15
EARLY MEDIEVAL INDIA
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. A brief history of the Rajput kingdoms.
2. Causes and results of the Arab conquest of Sind.
3. Mahmud of Ghazni and his invasions.
4. Mahmud of Ghori’s invasions.
5. Causes for the failure of Hindu states.
165 164
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 and killed him in a well-contested battle. His capital
Aror was captured. Qasim extended his conquest further into Multan.
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.
However, Sind continued to be under the Arabs. But the
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.
Since Sind was a part of the Arab empire, the
inflow of Indian knowledge was great.
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. His successor and son-in-law Sabuktigin
PORTRAIT OF  
MAHMUD OF GHAZNI 
There are several theories about the origin of Rajputs. They
were considered as the descendents of the foreign invaders and the
Indian Kshatriyas. The foreign invaders were Indianized and
absorbed into Indian society. Many legends of Rajputs support this
theory. Therefore, 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. The Arab travellers refer to the prosperity of the land
and the great trade of the cities. They built strong forts.
The 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. Vigraharaj was their most
important king, who occupied Delhi. Therefore the 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. His military conquests as well as
cultural contributions remain notable in the history of Rajputs.
Constant fighting weakened the Rajputs. Also, they never
united against a common enemy. Their lack of political foresight
and constant rivalries prevented any combined opposition to the
Muslim invaders.
Arab Conquest of Sind (712 A.D.)
The 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
167 166
the west and from Samarkand in the north to Gujarat in the south. The
Ghaznavid empire roughly included Persia, Trans-oxyana, Afghanistan
and Punjab. His achievements were due to his leadership and restless
activity. 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, an
account on India. His conquest of Punjab and Multan completely
changed the political situation in India. He paved the way for the Turks
and Afghans for further conquests and make deeper incursions into the
Gangetic valley at any time. He drained the resources of India by his
repeated raids and deprived India of her manpower. The exhaustion of
India’s economic resources and man power had its adverse effect on
the political future of India. The Hindu Shahi kingdom was guarding the
gates of India against foreign invaders. Mahmud destroyed it and thus
India’s frontiers became defenceless. The inclusion of Punjab and
Afghanistan in Ghazni’s kingdom made the subsequent Muslim conquests
of India comparatively easy.
Muhammad Ghori
The 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.
Having made his position strong and secure at Ghazni, Muhammad
Ghori turned his attention to India. Unlike Mahmud of Ghazni, he
wanted to conquer India and extend his empire in this direction.
In 1175, Muhammad Ghori captured Multan and occupied
whole of Sind in his subsequent expeditions. In 1186 he attacked
Punjab, captured it from Khusru Malik and annexed it to his domin-
ions. The annexation of Punjab carried his dominion eastward to
the Sutlej and led his invasion of the Chauhan kingdom.
wanted to conquer India from the north-west. He succeeded in
capturing Peshawar from Jayapala. But his raids did not produce a
lasting effect. He was succeeded by his son, Mahmud
Mahmud of Ghazni (A.D. 997-1030).
Mahmud is said to have made seventeen raids into India. At
that time, North India was divided into a number of Hindu states.
On the frontier of India, there existed the Hindu Shahi kingdom
which extended from the Punjab to Kabul. The other important
kingdoms of north India were Kanauj, Gujarat, Kashmir, Nepal,
Malwa and Bundelkhand. The initial raids were against the Hindu
Shahi kingdom in which its king Jayapala was defeated in 1001.
After this defeat, Jayapala immolated himself because he thought
that his defeat was a disgrace. His successor Anandapala fought
against Mahmud but he was also defeated in the Battle of Waihind,
the Hind Shahi capital near Peshawar in 1008. In this battle,
Anandapala was supported by the rulers of Kanauj and Rajasthan.
As a result of his victory at Waihind, Mahmud extended his rule
over most of the Punjab.
The subsequent raids of Mahmud into India were aimed at
plundering the rich temples and cities of northern India. 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. The ruler of Kanauj, Rajyapala abandoned Kanauj and
later died. Mahmud returned via Kalinjar with fabulous riches. His
next important raid was against Gujarat. In 1024, Mahmud marched
from Multan across Rajaputana, defeated the Solanki King
Bhimadeva I, plundered Anhilwad and sacked the famous temple
of Somanatha. Then, he returned through the Sind desert. 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
169 168
of Tarain and Chandawar contributed to the establishment of Turkish
rule in India.
Causes for the failure of Hindu kingdoms
The causes for the downfall of Hindu states have to be analysed
historically. The most important cause was that they lacked unity.
They were divided by factions. The Rajput princes exhausted one
another by their mutual conflicts. Secondly, many Hindu states were
declining in power. Their military methods were out of date and far
inferior to those of Muslims. 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. Among the Hindus, 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.
Learning Outcome
After learning this lesson the students will be able to explain
1. A brief history of the Rajput kingdoms in northern India.
2. Arab Conquest of Sind and its results.
3. Causes and results of the Mahmud of Ghazni’s invasion
of India.
4. Mahmud of Ghori and his capture of Indian territories.
5. Causes for the failure of the Hindu states against Muslim
invasions.
The Battle of Tarain (1191-1192)
Realising their grave situation, the Hindu
princes of north India formed a confederacy
under the command of Prithiviraj Chauhan.
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. Prithviraj rejected this proposal
and prepared to meet the invader. He gathered a large force
consisting of 3,00,000 horses, 3000 elephants and a large body of
foot soldiers. 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.
The second battle of Tarain was a decisive battle. It was a
major disaster for the Rajputs. Their political prestige suffered a
serious setback. The 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. In
1193 he prepared the ground for another invasion by Muhammad
Ghori. This invasion was directed against the Gahadavala ruler
Jayachandra. Muhammad routed Jayachandra’s forces. Kanauj was
occupied by the Muslims after the battle of Chandawar. The Battles
PORTRAIT OF PRITHIVIRAJ
CHAUHAN 
171 170
c) Rajputs stood united against the Muslim invasions.
d) Mahmud of Gahzni handed over the Indian possessions to
Aibak.
V. State whether the following statements are True or
False.
1. The Ghoris originally remained vassals under the Ghazni rulers.
2. Prithiviraj Chauhun defeated Mahmud of Ghori in the first
Battle of Tarain.
VI. Write short notes (Any three points).
1. Muhammad bin Qasim.
2. Second Battle of Tarain.
3. Gurjarapratiharas
4. Alberuni
VII. Answer briefly (100 words).
1. Assess the impact of the Arab conquest of Sind.
2. Bring out the causes for the decline of Rajput kingdoms.
3. Analyse the causes for the failure of Hindu states against the
Muslim invasions.
VIII. Answer in detail (200 words).
1. Give an account of the invasions of Mahmud of Ghazni.
2. Examine the military conquests of Mahmud of Ghori.
MODEL QUESTIONS
I. Choose the correct answer.
1. The Second Battle of Tarain was fought in the year
(a) 1190 (b) 1191
(c) 1192 (d) 1292
2. The author of Kitab-i-Hind
(a) Firdausi (b) Barani
(c) Mahmud (d) Alberuni
II. Fill in the blanks.
1. The ruler of Sind during the invasion of Muhammad bin Qasim
…..
2. The first Muslim kingdom in India was firmly established at
……
III. Match the following.
1. Gurjarapratiharas a) Kanauj
2. Rajyapala b) Bhinmal
3. Solankis c) Aror
4. Dahir d) Anhilwad
IV. Find out the correct statement. One statement alone is
right.
a) The important cause for the defeat of Hindu states was lack
of unity among them.
b) Indians possessed efficient cavalry to fight against the
Muslims.
Read More

Related Searches

Extra Questions

,

TN History Textbook: Early Medieval India Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC

,

pdf

,

ppt

,

Previous Year Questions with Solutions

,

past year papers

,

Objective type Questions

,

TN History Textbook: Early Medieval India Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC

,

TN History Textbook: Early Medieval India Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC

,

Free

,

Sample Paper

,

mock tests for examination

,

Semester Notes

,

Exam

,

study material

,

Viva Questions

,

MCQs

,

shortcuts and tricks

,

Important questions

,

practice quizzes

,

video lectures

,

Summary

;